Rabies isn't the only disease transmitted from animals to humans. In fact, you and your pet may share more diseases than you may realize. Fortunately, it's easy to avoid these diseases or conditio ...View Article
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The Russell Animal Hospital is honored to have been selected Small Business of the Year by the Greater Concord Area Chamber of Commerce.
Award winners gathered for a photo after the Pinnacle Awards. L-R: James L. Paine, DVM, Russell Animal Hospital; Jerry Kingwill, Cobb Hill Construction, Inc.; Ellen Groh, Concord Coalition to End Homelessness; Claudia B. Walker, Merrimack County Savings Bank; Donna Rice, Premiere Properties, Inc.; Angie Lane, NH Public Radio; Tim Sink, Chamber; and Gary Miller, Unitil.
The Russell Animal Hospital has been asked to participate in an Oklahoma State University tick study for cats. If you find ticks on your cat and would like to participate in this CAT ONLY tick study, please call our office during normal business hours.
Below is information for cat pet owners on Ticks and Cats.
Ticks on domestic cats are often overlooked as parasites and vectors of disease agents. This oversight results from the belief that cats are fastidious groomers and remove these ectoparasites before attachment. It is also possible that some cats spend a majority of their time indoors, leading owners to believe that the cats are not exposed to ticks. There are a limited number of studies that report feline tick infestations and occurrence of feline tick-borne diseases in the United States. This article will provide updated information about feline ticks and tick-borne diseases in the U.S.
Yoko Nagamori, DVM, and Mason V. Reichard, MS, PhD
Oklahoma State University
Amblyomma americanum, the lone star tick, lives in wooded habitats, especially woody areas with large populations of white-tailed deer, in the south central and southeastern U.S., with a range extending along the Atlantic coast from New York to Florida and to Texas and Oklahoma.
In the southeastern U.S., nymphs and adults are most active in late spring, while larvae appear in late summer. All stages of this tick (ie, larvae, nymphs, adults) feed on cats, dogs, livestock, wildlife, and humans.1 The lone star tick is an important vector for Cytauxzoon felis (cytauxzoonosis),2,3 Francisella tularensis (tularemia),4 and Ehrlichia species (ehrlichiosis) in domestic cats.5
Dermacentor andersoni, the Rocky Mountain wood tick, is distributed throughout the Rocky Mountains in the western part of the U.S. Adults and nymphs are active in the spring and early summer and infest medium- and large-sized mammals, while larvae are most active in the summer and prefer to feed on small mammals.1 The Rocky Mountain wood tick is a vector for F tularensis in domestic cats.4
Dermacentor occidentalis, the Pacific coast tick, is distributed throughout the western U.S., along the Pacific coast. Adults feed on medium-large mammals, such as cattle, horses, deer, dogs, cats, and humans; immature ticks are thought to feed on small mammals.6 Adults and nymphs are most active during late winter and early spring, while larvae are active from summer through winter, with peak activity in July.7 The Pacific coast tick is a vector for F tularensis in cats.4
Dermacentor variabilis, the American dog tick, is found in grassy meadows and along trails in forested areas throughout the eastern, south central, and western U.S. Larvae and nymphs actively feed on small mammals in late winter and spring, while adults feed on cats, dogs, livestock, wildlife, and humans. Adult D variabilis are most active in late spring and early summer.1 The American dog tick can be a vector for C felis,8 F tularensis,4 and Ehrlichia species5,9 in cats.
Ixodes scapularis, the black-legged tick or deer tick, is most abundant in dense, humid, wooded habitats, and widespread throughout most of the eastern, south central, and midwestern U.S. Immature stages usually feed on small mammals, lizards, and birds. Seasonal activity peaks for nymphs and larvae in May through August and July through September, respectively. Adults feed on medium- and large-sized animals, especially white-tailed deer, and become most active during October and May.1,10 The black-legged tick is a vector for Borrelia burgdorferi11,12 and Anaplasma phagocytophilum (anaplasmosis)9,13 in cats.
Ixodes pacificus, the western black-legged tick or deer tick, is found in western North America, primarily along the Pacific coast. Habitats, feeding targets, and seasonal activities are similar to those for I scapularis.1 The western black-legged tick is a vector for B burgdorferi11,12 and A phagocytophilum in cats.9,13
Rhipicephalus sanguineus, the brown dog tick, is a common tick found throughout the world. Although dogs are its primary host, this tick also feeds on other animals, including cats14; those living in homes with infested dogs are at an increased risk. All motile stages of this tick can be found on the same host. Seasonal activity peaks in summer; however, the brown dog tick can remain active throughout the year when home infestations occur.1 Species of Ehrlichia are thought to be transmitted to cats by the brown dog tick.5,9
Transmission. Cytauxzoonosis—a C felis infection transmitted by A americanum2,3 and D variabilis8—is the most severe disease transmitted by ticks to domestic cats.15
Infected bobcats are the wild animal reservoirs and chronically infected domestic cats are the urban reservoirs. Cytauxzoonosis is seen in domestic cats throughout the central, southeastern, and south central U.S., including Missouri, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Kansas, Illinois, Ohio, and Virginia.16-18
Seasonal activity of ticks is a key component in the transmission of C felis to cats because the number of cytauxzoonosis cases increase when A americanum is more active.19 In addition, outdoor cats living in the wooded habitats, where reservoir hosts and ticks are present, are at higher risk for C felis infection.17 Neither age nor breed predisposition for infection in cats has been documented.
Diagnosis. Infection with C felis in domestic cats causes severe, acute disease characterized by fever, inappetence, anorexia, dyspnea, and icterus. The disease progresses quickly, with fatalities reported 1 to 7 days after clinical signs. Diagnosis of cytauxzoonosis was historically based on observation of C felis piroplasms in stained thin blood smears by light microscopy; however, the current gold standard is detection of C felis DNA extract from anticoagulated whole blood by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification, which allows detection of infection prior to onset of clinical signs.20
Treatment. Recommended treatment for cytauxzoonosis is atovaquone (15 mg/kg PO Q 8 H), along with azithromycin (10 mg/kg PO Q 24 H) and excellent nursing care.21 Historically, imidocarb dipropionate was used, but is no longer recommended due to its lack of efficacy and side effects.21
In cats that are too ill for oral medication, consideration should be given to administration of azithromycin intravenously as a slow infusion. However, this is off-label use of the human intravenous azithromycin preparation. Azithromycin is administered at the same dose orally and intravenously.
Transmission. Infection with A phagocytophilum in cats causes feline granulocytotropic anaplasmosis. In the U.S., A phagocytophilum is transmitted by I scapularis and I pacificus. Although A phagocytophilum is a common tick-borne disease agent of deer, dogs, and humans in the northeastern part of the U.S., feline anaplasmosis is under recognized. In a survey of 460 blood samples collected throughout the U.S., 20 (4.3%) had antibodies against A phagocytophilum.22
Diagnosis. Clinical signs of feline anaplasmosis include fever, lethargy, anorexia, joint pain, lameness, enlarged lymph nodes, weight loss, periodontal disease, conjunctivitis, and neurologic signs.13,23 Diagnosis can be based on clinical signs, history of tick exposure, and microscopic detection of morulae within neutrophils in acutely infected cats. However, morulae may be difficult to find as rickettsemia can be low.
Recently, serologic methods, such as an immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) followed by PCR, are preferred for diagnosis confirmation. However, several studies noted negative PCR results from cats that were clinically ill and antibody positive.22-24 These confounding results in DNA and antibody-based diagnoses may be due to A phagocytophilum being sequestered in low numbers in tissues, or infected cats quickly clearing the rickettsial agent.
Treatment. Recommended treatment of cats with anaplasmosis includes supportive care, fluid therapy, and doxycycline (10 mg/kg PO Q 24 H for 28 days).9,13
Transmission. Tularemia—an infection caused by Francisella tularensis—is a notifiable zoonotic disease that occurs naturally in the U.S.20 Cats, dogs, and humans are exposed to F tularensis through direct contact with infected wildlife, vectors, or contaminated environment; cats are more susceptible to tularemia than dogs.
Throughout the U.S., F tularensis transmission to cats occurs via bites from infected A americanum, D andersoni, D occidentalis, and D variabilis. Cats can also be exposed to the disease from hunting and eating infected wildlife, such as cottontail rabbits, hares, and rodents.
Diagnosis. Clinical signs in cats include fever, anorexia, marked depression, dehydration, lymphadenopathy, splenomegaly, hepatomegaly, icterus, and acute oral or lingual ulcers. Diagnosis is most commonly based on clinical signs and confirmed by a titer rise in specific serum antibodies.
Treatment. Treatment of choice is gentamicin (5–6.6 mg/kg SC, IV, or IM Q 24 H for 7–14 days).4
Transmission. Lyme borreliosis is caused by infection with the spirochete, B burgdorferi. Despite antibodies to B burgdorferi being found in cats from endemic areas, a distinct clinical entity has not been described. However, cats are hosts for the tick vectors, I scapularis and I pacificus, and a prevalence of antibodies to B burgdorferi (up to 47%) has been reported in endemic areas of the northeastern U.S.11
Diagnosis & Treatment. Cats experimentally infected with B burgdorferi showed signs of lameness and multilocalized inflammation, such as arthritis and meningitis.12 Recommended treatment for suspected Lyme borreliosis in cats is doxycycline (10 mg/kg PO Q 12–24 H for 28–30 days).11,12,23
Transmission. Feline monocytotropic ehrlichiosis is caused by infection with an Ehrlichia canis–like agent.5 Pathogenesis of feline ehrlichiosis is still unknown, and even though a large number of suspected feline ehrlichiosis cases have been reported, E canis–like DNA has been demonstrated from only a few infected cats.5
Diagnosis. Clinical signs include fever, lethargy, inappetence, weight loss, and polyarthritis. Diagnostic criteria for feline ehrlichiosis have not yet been established, although positive serology and organism detection in blood support the diagnosis.
Treatment. For cats with suspected clinical ehrlichiosis, administration of doxycycline (10 mg/kg PO Q 24 H for a minimum of 28 days) is recommended.5,9
If only a few ticks are present on a cat, manually remove individual ticks with forceps and gloved hands. When cats are heavily infested with ticks, or too fractious to handle, sedation may facilitate tick removal and acaricide application.
To remove an intact tick:
Certain methods, such as suffocation with petroleum jelly, heat from matches, and acetone (finger nail polish remover), should never be used to remove a tick. These methods are not effective, may interfere with tick identification, and may increase the likelihood of pathogen transmission through regurgitation.27,31
Transmission. Tick paralysis—induced by compounds secreted in the saliva of feeding ticks—is a serious and potentially fatal neurologic disease affecting domestic animals, companion animals, and humans. This disease has been reported worldwide, including North America, Europe, Asia, South Africa, and eastern Australia.1
Most studies have focused only on humans and dogs; cases in cats have been limited. However, tick paralysis in cats, caused by infestation with I holocyclus and I cornuatus, is considered a common condition in Australia.19,25 While cases of feline tick paralysis have not been reported in the U.S., canine cases are common and are associated with infestation by D variabilis, which infests cats.1
Diagnosis. Common clinical signs include hindlimb weakness, ataxia, pupillary dilation, and dysphonia or aphonia due to laryngeal paralysis. Additionally, retching, vomiting or regurgitation, and bladder voiding dysfunction may occur. Diagnosis in cats is generally determined by detection of ticks, along with typical clinical signs.26
Treatment. The 3 key components for treating cats affected by tick paralysis are (1) removal of tick(s), (2) administration of canine-derived tick antitoxin serum (TAS), and (3) supportive care. Recovery time varies depending on severity of disease. Prognosis for cats is better than that for dogs.26
To reduce the risk of tick infestation and tick-borne disease, we recommend:
Acaricides should be applied to both outdoor and indoor cats because:
Currently, etofenprox, fipronil, and flumethrin are approved acaricides for use on cats.27
Application of the 10% imidacloprid/4.5% flumethrin collar was shown to protect cats against the transmission of C felis from infected A americanum.30
Home hygiene and environmental management are essential for controlling ticks.
ELISA = enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; IFA = immunofluorescence assay; PCR = polymerase chain reaction; TAS = tick antitoxin serum
Every year, the "Concord Insider" offers the greater Concord community the opportunity to vote for their favorite service provider. Online voting takes place during the month April with results publicized mid May. The Russell Animal Hospital is honored to have been voted once again the "best vet" in the area. Thank you to you, our clients, for your confidence and support.
CONCORD, N.H. – Six New Hampshire citizens and organizations were recently recognized by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission with Awards of Excellence for their efforts in the conservation field in support of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s mission.
"What a privilege it is to present these awards, which recognize truly significant contributions in support of the mission of New Hampshire’s wildlife agency, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department," said Robert S.S. Blake, Fish and Game Commissioner for Strafford County and chair of the Commission's Awards of Excellence program. The awards were presented at the Commission's April meeting at the N.H. Fish and Game Department in Concord.
Russell Animal Hospital staff with award
Russell Animal Hospital staffers Diana Nason, Sara Blackman and Jenny Fecteau accept the Volunteer Award on behalf of Dr. James Paine.
The 2011 Commission Award of Excellence recipients (presented in 2012):
The Ellis R. Hatch Jr. Commission Award of Excellence, the commission's highest honor, was presented to Paul Hammond of Raymond, N.H., for his work opening more than a thousand acres of town-owned land to hunting. Hammond is a long-time volunteer Hunter Education instructor with Fish and Game. For many years, his home town of Raymond, N.H., had an ordinance prohibiting hunting on town-owned property, and Hammond spoke out at many town meetings to help people understand the benefits of allowing hunting on these lands. In 2010, Hammond generated a citizen petition warrant article and gathered signatures in support of allowing hunting on town-owned lands. The measure made it to the ballot and passed. In large part thanks to Hammond's endeavors, the Town of Raymond currently allows hunting on 1,880 acres of town-owned land.
The Conservation Organization Award of Excellence was presented to the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire. This award recognizes an organization, group, foundation or agency that has excelled in efforts to enhance the welfare of fish, wildlife and marine resources in support of the Department’s mission. The Foundation is Fish and Game’s official nonprofit partner, a charitable, non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the critical conservation programs of Fish and Game through providing private financial support.
"With each year that goes by, the Foundation plays a more significant role in conservation of New Hampshire’s fish and wildlife resources and maintaining the traditions of hunting, fishing and wildlife watching for future generations," said Blake.
The many initiatives that Foundation grants have funded include extensive improvements at Fish and Game's Owl Brook Hunter Education Center and the Great Bay Discovery Center, support for Discover Wild New Hampshire Day and National Hunting and Fishing Day Expo activities, publication of Discover Wild Times for Kids, and support for programs such as Operation Land Share, Barry Conservation Camp, the aerial stocking of remote trout ponds, and Fish and Game Law Enforcement Division's K-9 conservation corps.
"The Foundation is making a huge difference for this Department. Its work would not be possible without its capable and dedicated board of directors and is a key part of creating a stable financial future for the Fish and Game Department," said Blake.
Two individuals were honored with the Volunteer Award of Excellence. The first was Dr. James Paine, a veterinarian at the Russell Animal Hospital in Concord, who was honored for his work with the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program. Paine provided vital services related to Fish and Game's research on threatened black racer snakes. The project called for costly skilled veterinary services, which Dr. Paine graciously offered at no cost. Over two years, the Russell Animal Hospital examined 27 individual black racers, conducting health screenings and scientifically approved surgical procedures. The value of donated staff time, supplies and equipment exceeded $8,000.
"As a result of Dr. Paine's work, Nongame Staff will be able to provide sound recommendations to federal, state and private landowners to help maintain black racers as an important part of New Hampshire's native wildlife diversity," said Blake. "In recognition of Dr. Paine's generous assistance, we are pleased to award him with the 2011 Volunteer Award of Excellence."
A second Volunteer Award of Excellence was presented to Ammy Heiser of Pembroke, whose efforts resulted in the permanent conservation of the Hillman property in Pembroke, a 44-acre working farm along the Suncook River. As Chair of the Pembroke Conservation Commission, Heiser led the process to conserve the farm. She thoroughly researched the parcel and found that its soils were of statewide agricultural importance. She then worked with the Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission to develop an Open Space plan, discovering in the process that the property was also of significant environmental, historical and cultural value.
Heiser took on the monumental task of applying for a Federal Farm and Ranch Land Protection grant and succeeded in obtaining $300,000 in matching funds for the acquisition of the property and purchase of a permanent conservation easement. Even with this grant funding, she still faced an uphill battle to educate and convince the selectmen and taxpayers to support the project. While many would have given up, Ammy rolled up her sleeves and spearheaded an education campaign about the importance of open space.
"In the end, her tenacity won out, with an overwhelming show of support at Town Meeting," said Blake. "As a result, there is permanent protection of a working farm with many other conservation values, including a significant riparian buffer on the Suncook River and public access for fishing, as well as forest, field and aquatic habitat protection."
The Communication Award of Excellence was presented to Jeff Mucciarone of Manchester, a news writer for the Manchester-based Hippo Press. This category recognizes an outdoor communicator or media source that has written or published materials beneficial to public understanding of fish, wildlife or marine resources as they relate to Fish and Game’s mission. During the past year, Mucciarone has reported on his personal adventures trying upland bird hunting and ice fishing, as well as exploring topics ranging from wildlife management to big game hunting.
"Now, you might wonder how an urban lifestyle magazine feature writer like Jeff qualifies for a Fish and Game award!" quipped Blake. He went on to explain: "By regularly covering these topics, Jeff is bringing knowledge and awareness of outdoor recreation and fisheries and wildlife management to a young, urban audience. Fostering support from a broad and diverse public is key to ensuring that our activities remain relevant through the 21st century and beyond."
The Youth Conservationist Award was earned by Destiny Fiaschetti of Manchester. This award recognizes an individual, 18 years of age or younger, who has excelled in efforts to benefit fish, wildlife or marine resources or the Department’s mission through any variety of involvement. Fiaschetti served as a capable, enthusiastic member of the Student Conservation Association (SCA)'s Manchester Conservation Leadership Corps, a group that aims to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire young people to lifelong stewardship of their environment and communities.
Through her work with SCA, Fiaschetti made countless contributions to New Hampshire resources and habitats, from improving Karner blue butterfly habitat to maintaining hiking trails in the White Mountain National Forest. In all, she completed over 170 service and education hours and took part in 10 service learning projects, in the process gaining leadership skills and an on-going commitment to conservation.
There are seven award categories for New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission Awards of Excellence. Nominations are accepted each year, and must be submitted by December 31. Consider nominating your conservation hero or a worthy organization for next year's awards! For a description of the various award categories and a nomination form to download, visit www.wildnh.com/Inside_FandG/commission_awards.html.
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