October 2018- World Rabies & FDA News Release

Happy Fall! We hope you are enjoying the start of fall, despite the remnants of the muggy summer heat. We would like to thank you all for referring friends and family to our hospital. We have been able to help more pets in our community and continue our mission to provide compassionate medical care to Rockbridge county. We are passionate about education and want to keep your lovable companions happy and healthy.

On Friday, Sept 28th, on World Rabies Day, we hosted a rabies clinic for Rockbridge County. We were able to vaccinate 75 dogs and cats. Rabies is a fatal disease that is 100% preventable with vaccines. Here are some rabies facts:

  1. Rabies is a disease that kills >56,000 people worldwide each year
  2. 40% of rabies deaths are children
  3. 99% of human cases result from dog bites.
  4. Cats are the #1 domestic species infected with rabies nationwide
  5. Raccoons are the #1 wildlife species infected with rabies in Virginia

We would also like to bring a recent FDA news release to your attention:

The FDA is investigating a potential link between grain-free diets and the development of a fatal heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. DCM is a disease where the heart muscle weakens and has poor pumping ability, and can ultimately cause congestive heart failure. Large breed dogs, particularly Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, and Dobermans, are most commonly affected through a genetic link. Since the 1980s, it has been known that diets deficient in taurine, an amino acid vital for heart health, can cause DCM in both dogs and cats.

Recently, there have been many reports of small breed dogs and atypical large breed dogs, such as Labradors and Golden Retrievers, developing dilated cardiomyopathy. These dogs have all been on grain-free diets, whose main ingredients include peas, lentils, or potatoes. While the mechanism is unknown, the concern is that something about the grain-free diet interferes with a dog’s ability to absorb taurine despite being in appropriate levels in the food. These dogs seem to develop a deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy.

If your pet is currently on a grain-free diet or has been on a grain free diet in the past, some cardiologists are recommending to evaluate the dog’s blood levels for taurine. If they are low, they recommend to switch diets or supplement with taurine if necessary.

Signs of heart disease in dogs include lethargy, weakness, slowing on walks, coughing, fainting, and having trouble breathing. As always, we are happy to discuss your pet’s diet and be sure that it is safe and balanced. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.





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