Ask A Vet: Orlando Veterinarians Answer Your Questions

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Should I vaccinate my dog ​​against leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a bacterial spirochete infection that is transmitted through the urine of rodents and raccoons. Dogs get leptospirosis by sniffing infected urine or drinking from contaminated standing water. It causes flu-like symptoms such as lethargy, anorexia, vomiting, abdominal pain, and frequent urination. It can lead to liver and kidney failure and possibly death. Leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans by handling infected urine from your dog or other wildlife. There is a safe vaccine with minimal side effects to prevent this disease. Fears that the vaccine could cause more allergic reactions are unfounded. Leptospirosis can be death in dogs and people, and the vaccine is important to keeping you and your dog healthy.

Dr. Kimberly Lee
Orlando Veterinary Clinic

2Why is my dog ​​vomiting?

We have seen an exponential increase in gastroenteritis and life threatening pancreatitis in our canine patients over the past few years. That increase, in my opinion, is related to how many choices we now have for dog food brands, ingredients, and options – from dry, canned, moist, and raw. A major component of pancreatitis is an increase in the amount of fat in dog food or treats. High fat levels cause overstimulation of the pancreas and subsequent inflammation, which, if left untreated, leads to vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and even death. Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the stomach and intestines that also causes vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. We see this most often with an abrupt change in diet and also requires medical treatment. If your pet is vomiting, it is best to rest the stomach for a few hours, offer small amounts of water, then feed, and if vomiting persists, see your veterinarian immediately!

Dr. Anne Scholl Mealey
Chickasaw Trail Veterinary Clinic


Is it worth taking out dog liability insurance?

Pet insurance is similar to human health insurance in that it pays part of your pet’s medical bill. Since no one is planning an illness of their animal, an animal insurance helps to compensate for unexpected costs. Most insurances work under an agreement where pet owners pay upfront and are reimbursed after treatment. As with personal insurance, pet insurance offers different types of policies, each with their own coverage options and costs. However, knowing that you can provide the best care for a four-legged family member is priceless!

Dr. Kristin Wolfenden
Underhill Animal Hospital

4thIs it important to prevent fleas and heartworms in domestic cats?

In Florida’s hot and humid environment, fleas and mosquitoes are common year round. It is important that our feline friends are protected from these insects to prevent the spread of serious diseases. Fleas can be carriers of several diseases such as tapeworms and bacterial infections, and they can even cause a stronger allergic reaction leading to a more severe form of chronic itching and irritation. On the other hand, mosquitoes spread heartworm disease. This can lead to respiratory complications and a shortened lifespan in cats. While heartworm treatment is available for dogs, it is important to keep in mind that this type of treatment is not available for cats who are already sick with the disease, underscoring the need for preventive medication. Please contact your veterinarian to fi nd the monthly prevention plan that best suits your cat’s needs.

Dr. Jane Ketcham
Underhill Animal Hospital

5How Can I Help My Aging Dog With Arthritis?

Many owners may notice that their dog is beginning to “slow down” or stop doing activities that they did when they were younger, such as jumping on the couch. These changes could be signs of arthritis. Although arthritis can be a normal part of aging, there are ways we can treat arthritis in our canine patients. Weight management is crucial as obesity can put additional strain on the joints. You can also work your dog in low-impact activities such as swimming and walking on a leash. In addition, dietary supplements containing chondroitin, glucosamine, and omega-3 fatty acids can support joint health. However, not all supplements are created equal and should therefore be discussed with your veterinarian first. Medications are also available to help relieve arthritis-related pain and make your dog more comfortable. Your veterinarian can help you determine which medications are best for your pet’s specific needs.

Dr. Alexandria Velez
Veterinary clinic winter garden

6thWhy does my dog ​​itch so much?

Itching in dogs is usually caused by allergies or infections. Thankfully, veterinarians now have exciting new treatments to control itching. Allergies in Florida are difficult because we have seasonal allergens (think pollen) and permanent allergens (think grass, mites, and flies). Food allergies can also cause itching. You can help your veterinarian by watching your dog: Do your dog’s symptoms occur at a specific time of year or during a specific activity? Many dogs are allergic to flea saliva, so it is important to keep your dog on vet recommended flea control. Dogs need consistent protection through products that work systemically rather than topically. The more information you give us, the better we can take care of your animal.

DR. Caitrine Hellenga
Veterinary Clinic Winter Park