Health Tips for Pets Moving to Kauai
Please be aware of the following health threats to your new pet on Kauai
Paraquat is an herbicide that is most often encountered with malicious poisonings in dogs. Scores of Kauai dogs have been poisoned by eating poison-laced meat while wandering their neigborhoods. The chemical creates intense gastrointestinal upset quickly after ingestion occurs. After 1-2 weeks animals begin showing signs of respiratory distress and eventually die from the damage done to the lungs. If the poisoning is caught quickly activated charcoal or bentonite can be administered to prevent and slow absorption. Unfortunately the prognosis for this type of poisoning is poor.
The best prevention is obeying the leash laws and keeping your pet confined on your property.
Leptospirosis is a zoonotic bacterial disease that is prevalent in Hawaii. The disease is transmitted between animals through bite wounds, infected urine, or ingestion of infected tissues. Hawaii has many fresh water streams that are a perfect place for the organism to reside in the environment. Animals that come in contact with the bacteria become ill as the organism moves through and replicates in the body. The organs most likely affected are the liver and kidney, but also include the eye, spleen, CNS, and urogenital tract. Clinical signs can include but are not limited to fever, anorexia, dehydration, muscle weakness, vomiting, weight loss, and icterus. The best prevention for acquiring the disease is through vaccinations and limiting exposure.
Heart worms are a parasite that live in the heart of dogs and cats. They are transmitted by infected mosquitos and take 6 months to develop into adult worms in the dog or cat. Clinical signs of heart worm disease are coughing, exercise intolerance, difficulty breathing, and eventually heart failure. The disease is easily prevented by taking monthly heart worm pills. Due to our year-round mosquito season, heartworm prevention needs to be given throughout the year. It is necessary to have your animal evaluated, by blood testing, for heart worms annually.
Ehrilichiosis is a common bacterial infection caused by an organism that is carried in Ticks. Bites from infected ticks can cause high fever, anemia and low blood platelets. More severe infections can cause liver or kidney failure. Antibiotics are usually effective in treating this disease but prevention of ticks is the best management.
Bufo marinus is a poisonous toad that resides on the Hawaiian Islands. This toad can excrete a thick, irritating venom that can cause extreme irritation in the mouths of animals. The poison glands are on the back of the neck of toads. Dogs contact the poison when they bite or mouth the hopping reptiles. The most common clinical signs are retching, vomiting, pawing at the mouth, and hypersalivation. When a large amount of venom is absorbed an animal can go into convulsions and have cardiac arrhythmia's. If you suspect recent exposure, flush your dog's mouth with water from a garden hose. Therapy for intoxication is mainly supportive and limiting further absorption of the venom. If severe signs are seen, treat this condition as an emergency and call immediately.
Feline Liver Flukes
Feline liver flukes are uncommon in cats on the mainland US, but due to the high number of intermediate hosts living in Hawaii the disease is more common on the islands. Platynosomum concinnum, is the most common liver fluke identified in cats. Cats become infected by ingesting geckos, skinks, lizards, and Bufo toads carrying the flukes. Liver flukes reside in the gall bladder and usually do not cause any problems. Occasionally clinical disease will develop and animals will show signs of liver disease including but not limited to vomiting, anorexia, weight loss, and jaundice. A distinct type of fecal float will identify the eggs of the flukes. There are limited treatment options for cats infected with the flukes. It is best to minimize your cats exposure to the intermediate hosts in the environment by keeping them inside.