Zoonotic Diseases

In 64 million American household’s pets are a source of joy and perhaps even the key to longer, healthier lives. However, pet-owning households with young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems need to be aware that their animals can play host to disease-causing microorganisms.

Humans are not likely to catch a disease through their pets, but in very rare cases it can happen. Fortunately, most of these diseases rarely occur in healthy individuals, are mild and can be easily treated. Others, like toxoplasmosis, can be far more serious. Diseases transmitted from animals to humans are called zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases usually live out their complex life cycles in animals, but sometimes cross into human bodies. Usually contracting a pet-borne disease requires very close contact with animals or their excretions, so zoonotic diseases can be avoided with common sense, cleanliness and regular pet examinations and vaccinations.

Children often put their hands in their mouths, providing an easy route for bacteria to travel into their bodies. For example, children who eat dirt are more susceptible to contracting zoonotic diseases. Children also are more susceptible to pet-borne illness because they carry fewer antibodies than adults do. The same holds true for puppies and kittens, making them more likely to carry disease than older dogs and cats.

Although the chances of getting a zoonotic disease from your pet are slim, these are some common pet-borne illnesses that can make people sick:


This bacteria generally makes its way into human bodies through contaminated food. The bacteria can be passed through animal feces and may cause symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea and exhaustion.


Roundworm eggs and microscopic adult worms can be excreted in the feces of dogs and cats infected by the worms. Children may be at a higher risk for contracting roundworms because they play near pets or touch infected feces and put their hands into their mouths. Because of the risk to children, all cats and dogs should be taken to their veterinarians for regular fecal examinations. Also remember to cover all sandboxes when not in use to prevent children from contacting contaminated feces. Symptoms can include fever, cough, loss of appetite, weakness and lung congestion.

Cat Scratch Fever

This bacteria is usually transmitted from cats to humans through scratches. The bacteria is found on nails or claws and can cause high fever, loss of appetite, weakness and swollen lymph nodes. In otherwise healthy people, Cat Scratch Fever is usually mild and resolves itself. However, the bacteria caused by Cat Scratch Fever can be extremely dangerous or even fatal if left untreated in immune-compromised individuals. It’s important for these pet owners to tell their doctors they own a cat. Young children should be sure to wash scratches thoroughly with soap and water.

Strep Throat

Though your pet is probably not the culprit bringing strep into your household each year, the possibility does exist. Recently, researchers have found that it’s more likely that people are infecting their pets. In any case, keep your children from kissing, licking or exchanging food by mouth with their pets.


A fungal infection of the skin, hair or nails, ringworm starts as a rapidly spreading hairless, circular lesion. Humans can be infected through use of contaminated objects like hair brushes, towels or clothing or by contact with infected animals like cats, dogs, mice, rats and guinea pigs.

cat worm extermination


Also called sarcoptic mange, scabies is a skin disease caused by itch mites which burrow under the skin. Scabies cause intense itching and scratching that can result in severe eczema. Humans can be infected through contact with infected animals.

The most effective way to prevent zoonotic diseases and ensure your good health is to ensure good health for your pets. This means taking your pet to the veterinarian for regular exams and vaccinations. Most pet owners find that by following their veterinarian’s nutritional and health recommendations, their pets will lead happy, healthy lives with little risk of zoonotic infections.

SOURCE: https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/pet_health_library/general_health_care/diseases_transmitted_by_pets.aspx

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La Crosse Veterinary Clinic Voted Best of La Crosse County

With a history that dates back to 1948, La Crosse Veterinary Clinic has been serving the pet community with compassion and professionalism, and we’re pleased when we learn that our dedication doesn’t go unnoticed. We are proud to announce that we recently received the honor of being awarded as the top veterinary practice in La Crosse, WI by the second annual Best of La Crosse County survey, and it’s all thanks to YOU, our loyal clients!

What Is Best of La Crosse County?

Best of La Crosse County is an annual survey, organized by the La Crosse Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, that allows visitors and residents of La Crosse County, WI to nominate their favorite restaurants, veterinarians, and other venues over a three week period. There are over 180 categories to vote on, giving the city plenty of opportunities to highlight their best spots. Once the nominations are submitted, the community votes on their favorites of the pool of nominees.

The 2015 winners were announced by the LACVB and WKBT News 8 on August 12, and La Crosse Veterinary Clinic was humbled and honored to be voted the #1 veterinarian in the county! Thanks to your votes, other pet owners can now make more informed decisions about where to bring their furry companions, and we can continue to do what we do best: provide pets with high quality, compassionate care.

The Future of Best of La Crosse County

Every year, new categories are added to the contest pool, and we’re confident that the veterinary category will be one of them for years to come. We can’t express our gratitude enough for those who nominated and voted for La Crosse Veterinary Clinic as the best veterinary practice in La Crosse, and we congratulate the other winners who share the honor of being voted “the Best of La Crosse County.” We hope you’ll vote for us again in 2016! Until then, we’ll wear the honor with a smile!

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1 Thing You Should Never See on Your Pet Food’s Label

If you see the words “veterinarian approved” on your pet food label, look out. That claim is always untrue. 

Pet Dish and Flatware

Veterinarians do not approve labels or products. Only state regulatory agencies can do that, according to the The Business of Pet Food, a new website launched by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

That’s just a taste of the information you’ll find on the site: www.petfood.aafco.org.

What else?

Ingredient lists, labeling requirements, analyses of commercial pet food and government regulations for making and labeling pet food.

The site is for people who sell pet food — or want to. But there’s lots of information for pet owners, too.

“Many people are surprised by how many regulations apply to the pet food industry,” says Liz Higgins, Chair of AAFCO‘s Pet Food Committee.

For example, did you know “veterinarian recommended” means that the company making the food actually surveyed veterinarians to find out if they would recommend the food?

And, like we said, “veterinarian approved” is never true.

So, if you’ve ever wondered …

What’s really in my pet’s food?

What would it take to turn my secret recipe for Tasty Treats into a mail-order business?


Go to http://www.petfood.aafco.org.

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Travelling by Car with Pets

Do you know the best place for your dog or cat in your car? Read on to find out how to safely travel in the car with your best pal.

Dogs in a car

Riding in cars with dogs

If your dog enjoys travel by car, the safest way for them to accompany you is secured in a crate that has been anchored to the vehicle using a seatbelt or other secure means. Dog restraints or seatbelts are useful for preventing your dog from roaming around the car and being a distraction to the driver, but they haven’t been reliably shown to protect dogs in the event of a crash.

Cars and cats

Because most cats are not as comfortable traveling in cars, for their own safety as well as yours, it is best to keep them in a carrier. It is important to restrain these carriers in the car so that they don’t bounce around and cause possible harm to the animal inside. It is best to do this by taking a seat belt and securing it around over the front of the carrier.

Leave the front seat for humans

It is also a good idea to travel with your pet in the back seat of the car (although, never in the bed of a pickup truck!), because of the possibility of a front-seat passenger side airbag deploying in an accident and possibly injuring your pet.

Inside, please!

Dogs and cats should always be kept safely inside the car. Pets who are allowed to stick their heads out the window can be injured by particles of debris or become ill from having cold air forced into their lungs. Never transport a pet in the back of an open pickup truck.

Rest stops

Stop frequently to allow your pet to exercise and eliminate. Never permit your pet to leave the car without a collar, ID tag, and leash.

Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car. On warm days, the temperature in your car can rise to 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, even with the windows opened slightly. Furthermore, an animal left alone in a car is an invitation to pet thieves.

Originally published by the Humane Society.

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Hot Weather Tips

Little golden dog

“Most people love to spend the warmer days enjoying the outdoors with friends and family, but it is important to remember that some activities can be dangerous for our pets,” said Dr. Camille DeClementi, Senior Toxicologist at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center. “By following a few simple rules, it is easy to keep your pet safe while still having fun in the sun.”

Take these simple precautions, provided by ASPCA experts, to help prevent your pet from overheating. And if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, get help from your veterinarian immediately.

Visit the Vet 
A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is a must. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm if they aren’t on year-round preventive medication. Do parasites bug your animal companions? Ask your doctor to recommend a safe flea and tick control program.

Made in the Shade
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.

Know the Warning Signs 
Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

No Parking!
Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. “On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time-even with the windows open-which could lead to fatal heat stroke,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. Also, leaving pets unattended in cars in extreme weather is illegal in several states.

Make a Safe Splash
Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool-not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other                                                                                          chemicals that could cause stomach upset.

Screen Test 
“During warmer months, the ASPCA sees an increase in injured animals as a result of High-Rise Syndrome, which occurs when pets-mostly cats-fall out of windows or doors and are seriously or fatally injured,” says Dr. Murray. “Pet owners need to know that this is completely preventable if they take simple precautions.” Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.

Summer Style
Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.

Street Smarts 
When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.

eating do on the grass

Avoid Chemicals 
Commonly used flea and tick products, rodenticides (mouse and rat baits), and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. Keep citronella candles, oil products and insect coils out of pets’ reach as well. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance.

Party Animals
Taking Fido to a backyard barbeque or party? Remember that the food and drink offered to guests may be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression and comas. Similarly, remember that the snacks enjoyed by your human friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol.

Fireworks Aren’t Very Pet-riotic
Please leave pets at home when you head out to Fourth of July celebrations, and never use fireworks around pets. Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma to curious pets, and even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Many types of fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as potassium nitrate, copper, chlorates, arsenic and other heavy metals.


Article originally published by the ASPCA.

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Canine Influenza Virus – What you need to know to protect your pet

Canine Influenza - Protect your pet CIV is part of the family of Canine Infectious Respiratory Diseases. This is a disease of dogs, not of humans.

About 80% of dogs infected will have a mild-moderate form of the disease. The % of dogs infected with the disease that die is small.

Symptoms include pneumonia-like symptoms, high fever, cough, lethargy and runny nose.

CIV can be spread to other dogs by direct contact with respiratory secretions from infected dogs and contaminated objects.

Treatment for CIV is supportive care for secondary symptoms such as fluid therapy, antibiotics, pain-inflammation relief, etc.

Vaccination is available. The vaccine is not 100% preventative, but it helps decrease symptoms, duration and shedding of the disease if contracted. The vaccine is not a cure for CIV. Immunity is reached in 7-10 days. FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT FOR VACCINATION, PLEASE CALL OUR CLINIC AT (608) 781-3466

Vaccination is recommended for dogs that are high risk for contact with other dogs that may be infected or have come in contact with infected dogs . . . . boarding, day-care, dog shows, doggie parks, traveling.

Testing is available through our clinic by sending in nasal, throat and conjunctiva swabs to an outside laboratory. Results are received in 1-3 days.

Recent outbreaks have been in Chicago, and now a variety of cases are showing up in Wisconsin and other Midwest states. Madison, Wisconsin has now reported positive cases, however, there have been no outbreaks reported. Our understanding is that these were dogs that had been traveling to the Chicago area.

For more information: Centers for Disease Control

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Did you know that Dr. Skime is a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP)? This means that we have made changes to decrease stress and provide a more calming environment such as a feline-only examination room and pheromone enhanced cat blankets. Our staff has also been trained in feline-friendly handling and understanding cat behavior in order to increase the quality of care for your cat.


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January is Fitness and Weight Control Month

January is Fitness and Weight Control Month at La Crosse Veterinary Clinic! Diet and nutrition are two of the most important components of your pet’s health, just as they are for your own health. We are encouraging pet owners to take action and keep their pet on a sensible diet and exercise regimen. See the charts and information below that may be helpful or call us today at 608-781-3466 to schedule your pet’s examination to see if they are in need of prescribed diet foods that can help their weight issues.



Squirt’s Weight Graph Chart


Whiskers’ Weight Graph Chart


Nutrition and Healthy Weight

Calorie-Counts Calories-in-pet-treatsDiet2 IMG_0106 IMG_0109

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Rango’s Journey: NOT ALL IS LOST!


My family had the pleasure of entertaining a little miniature poodle named Stella for a few nights.  I was very weary knowing that Rango’s specialty was “little dogs”, so when I brought her home I took all of the precautions necessary.  I had Rango on a leash in our house & had put Stella in our bedroom with the door closed.  After the rest of my family came home, I decided to let Stella out of the bedroom.  My husband (the dominant male in Rango’s life) took Rango’s leash for the evening & watched him very closely.  Stella made her way through all of the family members saying hello & turning on the charm to each one.  She paid no attention to Rango.  This was to her advantage I found out!

Stella would go from couch to chair, from person to person & never gave Rango the time of day.  During this whole time, Rango never got excited, dominant, barked or growled at little Stella.  I was so proud of him!  Then Stella jumped off the couch, ran past Rango & into the kitchen which got Rango’s attention.  He ….advanced….. toward her.  Not the best word for it, but he showed a little “chasing interest” at that time.  My husband quickly corrected him with a voice command only & he laid back down.  Impressed I was!


Stella & Rango spent one more night together with Rango listening very well & Stella not caring who or what he was.  We were even able to get some pictures of her & Rango in close quarters for proof!  I will have to refer to those once in a while to remind myself that we are making progress & that he is not a horrible dog eating monster.   It was good to know that eventually, we may be able to get another dog & that all hope is not lost with Rango.

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Rango’s Journey: “I’m gonna take them all on!”

Well, after slowing down on training, I thought it would be good to take Rango back to work with me.  He, of course, doesn’t mind one bit.  He gets treats, nap time, staff talks to him, love time with Echo, and all that goes with being the cutie that he is.  He is very alert & excited when walking around the clinic, which isn’t a good thing.  I need him to focus on me not what’s around him.  Maybe I need a tastier treat?

I’m sure some of you remember Scott, our technician.  He has retired but came in with his 3 standard poodles for their yearly exam.  I asked Scott if he minded if I brought Rango out into the lobby to look/meet his 3 dogs.  Of course, Scott said that was fine.  Here’s what I was expecting:  Rango would growl at them.  He would smell nose to nose (that’s the only way he knows how to greet dogs right now) & the other dogs would smell his rear end (the way dogs are supposed to greet).  Rango would get a bit confused but then realize he was out numbered & maybe try to play with them???  I know, I know, wishful thinking.

Here’s what actually happened:  Scott brought the dogs out.  I had Rango muzzled for safety.  He saw the dogs, his tail went straight up like a rake that was stepped on & he started to advance toward the dogs.  Scott brought the dogs closer to greet Rango.  Rango went nose to nose & when the other 3 dogs tried to smell him, he tried to attack all 3!  He was going to take on all 3 dogs at the same time!  Scott’s dogs looked at Rango with a confused reaction trying to figure out why he tried that.  I spun Rango around to face me & had his dogs smell Rango to show him how you are supposed to greet dogs.  The dogs quickly lost interest in Rango & hung back with Scott.

Not what I pictured, but I guess I should have known that would happen.  Some of the staff tried to have Rango meet just 1 of the dogs, who was a female.  No luck either.  He became very agitated & even started to stare down the humans.  Time to retreat.  Sorry Rango, no play time for you.

I think I will start having him out in the lobby again to see more dogs.  First I will find a very tasty treat that he can’t refuse though.   I’m going to start using the calming cap more too, maybe that will not create so much anxiety when walking around the clinic.

Rango needs to try a little harder to be on the nice list or he’ll end up with coal from Santa this year.  Merry Christmas everyone!

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