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It’s Spring: Heartworm Disease and Lyme Disease

It’s April – and it finally is beginning to feel like spring. April is both Heartworm Awareness Month and Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs Month. Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and can affect dogs, cats, and ferrets. Lyme disease is transmitted by deer ticks and is primarily a disease that affects dogs.

Fortunately, we have good protection for both of these diseases. Providing your pet with a monthly heartworm preventative is essential for anyone who has any mosquito exposure. We recommend Heartgard Plus for dogs and Revolution for cats and ferrets. To protect your dog against Lyme disease, we recommend a combination of a flea and tick preventative (Nexgard or Frontline Gold) as well as the Lyme vaccine for those dogs who have tick exposure.

We also recommend testing your dog each year for these diseases. We offer the 4Dx test which tests for heartworm disease and the three most common tick-borne diseases (Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma). In addition to the basic 4Dx test, depending on your dog’s age and lifestyle, we have packages that allow you to screen for other disease conditions as well.

Idexx 4Dx Test: $52.75

Our standard Idexx 4Dx test includes the basic Heartworm Test as well as screening for the most common tick-borne diseases in Minnesota: Lyme Disease, Anaplasma, and Ehrlichia. If your dog is positive for Lyme disease, we may discuss a follow up quantitative test called a Quant C6 ($55.00) to determine your dog’s antibody levels.

If your dog was previously positive for Lyme, we recommend 4Dx Quant C6 Package: $85.00.

Idexx 4Dx Test / Mini Panel: $93.75

If your dog is over 8 years of age or has never had a baseline chemistry panel, this is an excellent panel to perform. It provides us with the standard Idexx 4Dx as well as valuable screening information about your dog’s liver, kidneys, blood glucose, and protein level.

Tick Borne Parasite Wellness Screen: $167.75

If your dog has significant tick exposure (i.e. hunting dog, camping, enjoys the cabin), this is a wonderful package with exceptional value. It includes the following tests:

  • Basic Heartworm Test
  • Tick-Borne Diseases: Lyme Disease, Anaplasma, and Ehrlichia.
  • Quant C6: If your dog is Lyme (+), the lab will quantify the level of antibodies reflecting the severity of disease.
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): Evaluates your dog’s red cells, white cells, and platelets.
  • Chem 10: Evaluates your dog’s liver, kidneys, blood glucose, and protein level.
  • Fecal Intestinal Parasite Examination.

If you have any questions about how to best protect your pet as we head into spring, please reach out to us at (651) 645-2808 or group@stfrancisabh.com. You may also visit the American Heartworm Society and the AVMA Lyme Disease: A Pet Owner’s Guide website for additional information on these diseases.

Dr. Charlie Cosimini

It is with great sadness that we share that Dr. Charlie Cosimini has accepted a full time position to pursue his passion caring for reptiles and exotics. He will be leaving St Francis Animal & Bird Hospital on Saturday, May 19th.

We have been honored to have him on our veterinary team for the past three years, but wish him well as he pursues this lifelong career goal.

On Monday, May 14th, we will host a book reading and signing event to showcase his book, “A Hedgehog With A Sneeze”. This event will be held at St Francis Integrative Services located next door to St Francis at 1235 Larpenteur Ave W in Roseville from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

There is no charge for this event. However, donations will be accepted to support the Falcon Heights Elementary Read-A-Thon.

Our space is limited to 20 attendees for the book reading from 7:00-7:30 pm, so please RSVP at (651) 645-2808 or by replying to this newsletter. However, anyone may stop by between 7:30 pm-8:00 pm to purchase a book, have your book signed, or to wish Charlie farewell.

Books will be available onsite or may be purchased in advance on Amazon.

Integrative Services: Laser Therapy

Christine Severance, CVT, CMT

We have had great success with our integrative services. Each month, we hope to share a story or a snippet of information with you about how these modalities can offer us an additional tool to treat your pet. Cody is an 8 year old Lhasa Apso/Poodle who was diagnosed with a bilateral cruciate ligament injury. On presentation, Cody was not bearing weight well on his right rear leg. Rimadyl, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain medication, was given and he was directed to rest (i.e. no running, jumping, or playing). Surgery was recommended if there was no improvement in his condition.

In addition to traditional care, Cody had laser therapy performed on both knees twice per week for 12 sessions. Cody responded very well to laser therapy. He gradually started to use his leg and eventually stopped limping completely. He is now more playful and seems much more energetic overall. Laser therapy uses specific wavelengths of light to induce a therapeutic effect in the body. In general, laser therapy is used to reduce pain, reduce inflammation, and increase healing. To learn more, please visit our website.

Surgical interventions for cruciate ligament tears are still the gold standard in most cases, especially for large breed dogs. However, we have had several small dogs who have had complete resolution of their lameness with medical therapy including laser therapy. In addition, laser therapy can be very beneficial before and after surgery to aid in healing and to reduce pain. Additional therapy such as acupuncture, acupressure, massage therapy, herbal therapy, physical medicine, or the Assisi Loop may also be useful tools for your pet. If you are interested in learning more, please call us at (651) 645-2808.

News Briefs

Canine Influenza

Board of Animal Health: Two cases of canine influenza have been confirmed in Minnesota. One involved a 13 week old puppy from Kandiyohi County. A veterinary clinic examined the puppy and noted a persistent cough, high fever and runny nose. The second case was a 21 week old puppy that also presented with a persistent cough. This puppy is currently undergoing treatment.

If your dog is exposed to other dogs (i.e. boarding, classes, dogs shows), you may want to consider the H3N2 influenza vaccine. To learn more, please call us at (651) 645-2808.

Essential Oils and Cats

While essential oils can make our home smell great and can make us feel good, they can also be dangerous, especially to cats. The Pet Poison Helpline recently posted this article titled Essential Oils and Cats. It is important to be very cautious with essential oils. Active diffusers are not recommended, and we never recommend applying concentrated oils directly to the skin. Drooling, vomiting, tremors, ataxia (drunkenness), respiratory distress, low heart rate, low body temperature, and liver failure can potentially develop depending on the type of essential oil that was used and the dose that the cat was exposed to.

Jessica Lewis, DVM

Some of you had the opportunity to work with Jessica Lewis over the past 4 weeks as she completed a clinical externship at St Francis. We are honored to have her join the St Francis team on May 29thas our new veterinarian. Having worked at St Francis as a technician for the past seven years, she embraces our practice philosophy and shares the same passion that we all do for exceptional patient care and client education. Jessica’s professional interests include internal medicine, preventative care, nutrition, and anesthesia/pain management. She has also completed the Fear Free Certification program.