July 3-9 questions

West Nile Virus and dogs

Pit bull puppy with skin lesion

12 yr old yellow lab with seizures

Gerbil breeding

Torn out cat claw



Question from:Tammy, Crete, Illinois
I live in an unincorporated rural area where mosquito spraying is not done. Mosquitoes infected with WNV have been found in the area. What percentage of dogs bitten with WNV mosquitoes get really ill?

Answer: Hi Tammy, great question. In all of 2003 only 40 infected dogs were reported in the US. The majority of dogs infected with West Nile virus do not show any clinical signs. If your dog does become infected, there is little if no risk that your family could become infected from your dog. Please check out the CDC website for great information on WNV. Another big concern with mosquitos is heartworms.

Question from:CHERI, RUSSELLVILLE, AL
PLEASE HELP. MY 6 MONTH OLD PITTBULL PUPPY HAS DEVELOPED SEVERAL RED RINGS ON HER BELLY AND HIND LEGS. MY HUSBAND THINKS IT IS RINGWORM; I NEED TO KNOW IF IT COULD BE SOMETHING ELSE ASAP. I AM OUT OF STATE WITH MY DOGS. PLEASE HELP.....

Answer: Hi Cheri, it sounds like a likely cause of this rash could be contact dermatitis, perhaps with weeds, grass, etc. Ringworm usually appears as only one spot, but sometimes more. But the location and appearance suggests to me contact dermatitis. Usually treated with antihistamines or anti-inflammatory. Check out my new article on ringworm.

Question from:Terri, Muncie, Indiana
I have a 12 year old yellow lab. She has these "seizure" type of episodes that last for a few seconds in which she loses her balance and twitches very badly. They seem to be getting worse and more frequent. Any idea what it could be? Thanks!

Answer : I would take your dog to the Vet for blood work and a complete physical exam. Seizures can have many causes, but most are idiopathic (unknown). If no obvious causes of the seizures are known, seizures can often be controlled with a drug called Phenobarbital.



Question from:Sarah
I have a male & female gerbil that have been mating regularly for about 2 or 3 months now, with no result. Will they ever produce a litter, or is this normal?

Answer:Hi Sarah. It takes patience to breed gerbils. Sometimes after putting them together they will breed in about a week. Sometimes it will take months before they will mate. Please double check to make sure that these two gerbils are of breeding age, and that you in fact have on male and one female gerbil.

Question from:KateMy cat (nine months old), looks like she has pulled one of her nails out on her hind leg. Should I leave it or take her to a vet?

Answer:If the nail bed is bleeding or looks like it has become infected I would take your cat to the Vet. Otherwise I think you could just observe it for now.

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