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Protecting Your Pets: Parasite Prevention in 2017

With our unusual winter weather, parasites will be quite abundant this year. Is your pet adequately protected? In 2016, we had 104 dogs test positive for Lyme disease, 26 dogs test positive for Ehrlichia, 68 dogs test positive for Anaplasma, and 8 dogs test positive for heartworm disease. Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma are all tick-borne diseases; heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. These diseases can be a significant threat to your pet if unprotected. Our goal is to help you protect your pets and reduce the prevalence of these diseases in our pet community.

All dogs should receive Heartgard Plus, Tri-Heart Plus, or an equivalent product once monthly year round for heartworm, roundworm, and hookworm prevention. Nexgard and Frontline Gold are our recommended products for flea and tick prevention in dogs. Nexgard is a chewable tablet to prevent fleas and ticks, while Frontline Gold is applied topically. Frontline Gold has an additional ingredient called pyriproxyfen to help prevent the growth and development of fleas. It is as safe as Frontline Plus, but more effective; Nexgard is the most effective product available. This year, when you purchase 12 Heartgard Plus and 12 Nexgard or Frontline Gold at St Francis, you will receive a $50 mail-in rebate.

Did you know that many cats are left unprotected? Like dogs, cats are susceptible to heartworm disease, intestinal parasites, fleas, and ticks. Heartworm disease in cats is difficult to diagnose. Clinical signs may include coughing, respiratory signs, vomiting, lethargy, or even sudden death. Since there is no treatment for this disease in cats, prevention is essential. For cats, we recommend Revolution once monthly from May through October. At St Francis, when you purchase 6 doses of Revolution, you receive 2 doses free. If your pet is outdoors often and has significant tick exposure, we recommend a combination of Revolution and Frontline Gold.


Leptospirosis is a disease caused by a spiral-shaped bacteria (spirochete) called Leptospira interrogans. Dogs usually become infected when infected urine is ingested in water, food, bedding, soil, plants, or other contaminated material. Infection may also occur if the bacteria are absorbed through damaged skin. Wild animals such as raccoons, squirrels, rodents, skunks, opossums, deer and farm animals serve as reservoirs for this disease. Less commonly, infection may be transmitted between dogs. The organism can survive in the environment for weeks to months.

Following infection, the bacteria target the kidneys and liver. Clinical signs of leptospirosis vary. Often, pets have no clinical signs or nonspecific signs such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, decreased appetite, increased water consumption, lethargy, or weakness. Unfortunately, many other more common clinical conditions can cause these clinical signs, so leptospirosis is easily missed in these early stages. Kidney failure, liver failure, joint pain, muscle pain, stiffness, spontaneous bleeding, and meningitis are some of the more severe clinical issues seen with this disease.

A vaccination is available that offers protection against four of the six serovars in Minnesota: L. icterohaemorrhagiae, L. canicola, L. grippotyphosa, and L. pomona. While this vaccine does not offer 100% protection, vaccination is still recommended. If possible, keep rats, mice, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, and deer out of your yard and avoid contact with urine from farm animals. Lastly, prevent the accumulation of standing water in your yard and prevent your dog from drinking from water puddles. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease; humans are susceptible. We encourage you to take these steps to protect yourself and your pets.

Vetsource:  Our Online Store

We understand how challenging it is to fit one more errand into your busy day. That’s why we offer an online store to purchase your pet’s food and medications when it’s convenient for you! Not all online sources are reputable, and in fact, some of the largest ‘online pharmacies’ like 1-800-PetMeds are simply large warehouses staffed with non-veterinary personnel. Products may be dispensed incorrectly, labeled inappropriately, or expired; these products are not supplied by veterinary manufacturers. There are often no trained professionals to discuss side effects or other medical concerns with you.

By authorizing a phone or fax prescription directly from one of these large warehouses, we are responsible for the products that you receive. For these reasons, we cannot directly authorize these requests. We will gladly provide you with a written script for any product for you to fill at a pharmacy of your choice or you may visit our online store. Our store is powered by Vetsource, a veterinarian-approved, reputable source for your pet’s food and medications. Because it is affiliated with a veterinary practice, we can offer the same guarantees that you would have if you purchased products directly from us.

For preventative products such as Heartgard Plus, Nexgard, or Frontline Gold, our in-house prices tend to be more competitive than any online pharmacy due to the rebate offers we can provide. However, for those who prefer to buy one month at a time or who need to spread out the annual costs, Vetsource offers a monthly autoship of these products directly to your door – one dose at a time. In addition, if your pet is on a prescription diet, you can sign up for autoship of your pet’s favorite food and you may receive an additional 15% off! Our goal is to save you both time and money while providing the best care for your pet. Click here to learn more about these options.

News Briefs

St Francis Integrative Services: Massage Therapy: Massage can be a valuable component of physical therapy for your pet. While massage therapy is most often applied after an injury, massage may be useful for many other purposes as well. Massage therapy can be used routinely to help maintain your active pet before an injury even occurs and is very beneficial for pain management in aging animals. To learn more, please contact Christine Severance, CVT, CMT at (651) 645-2808.

St Francis’ 25th Anniversary: We are celebrating our 25th Anniversary in April 2017. Visit us on Facebook on the 25th of each month to help us celebrate with great prizes and exciting events!

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Sunday, September 10th from 1-4 pm. We’ll be hosting an Open House celebration at both St Francis and St Francis Integrative Services. We hope to see everyone there!

Thank You For You: Thank you so much for loving St Francis! If you refer a new client to us, ask them to give us your name when they visit us for the first time. We’ll send you a $20 coupon for each new client you send our way. In addition, if you write a positive review on Google, Yelp, or Facebook, let us know and we’ll send you a $10 coupon for sharing your thoughts! We love being part of your family and your pets’ lives!


Image credit:  Solovyova | Getty Images