This is one of the most recent methods of identifying your pet. If your pet should ever get lost, this is the best way of ensuring that you will be reunited. From april 2013 onwards it is compulsory to microchip your dog. A microchip is also necessary if you are planning to travel with your pet.
A microchip is a transponder the size of a rice grain. This transponder contains a unique number, which can be obtained with a microchip reader. The chip is placed under the skin with an injection needle over the left shoulder blade, this is usually quite pain free. The veterinarian will always check if the microchip is working properly before and after placement.
The unique serial number of the microchip is placed in the pet passport and on a registration form. The registration form had to be fully completed with your personal information: name, adres, telephonenumber and a signature.
We will send the registration form to the Nederlands Databank voor Gezelschapsdieren (NDG) which is the Dutch databank. You will receive a confirmation of this registration at home.
Many dogs and cats have dental problems like dental plaque, calculus built up, infected gums and damaged teeth. This problems are often only seen once your pet denies eating hard foods, starts to drule, has a bad breath or shows pain in another way.
Teeth problems start with the formation of dental plaque. This is a soft biofilm that sticks to the teeth, it is produced during the day from a combination of food particles, saliva and bacteria in the mouth. If this dental plaque is not removed on time, for example by brushing the teeth, it can turn into a calcified calculus layer. This is a hard usually yellow/brown layer on the teeth, that you cannot remove with brushing alone. Below this hard layer there are still bacteria that cause inflammation of the gums. If the teeth are not clean over time this can cause teeth to become loose and fall out. Some of the ways of keeping your pets teethe clean are brushing the teeth, special diet and extra dental care products.
Dental care products:
Fleas are a very common problem, and can cause many forms of disease such as worminfection and allergies. Many people don’t know that their pet might be suffering from a flea infection. Below you can read what signs to look for, and what you can do if your pet has fleas.
Who can be infected with fleas?
Manly dogs and cats get flea infections, but also rabbits and rats may carry fleas. All pets with a hair coat can have fleas in their coat, but fleas have preferences. The prefer foxes, hedgehogs en squirrels, but if there is no other animal around even humans can be bitten by fleas, and cause mainly itchiness.
How do you get a flea infection?
This is relatively simple. A dog may meet another flea infected dog in the park, or a cat. Fleas are able to jump over a meter in distance to a new hoste. It is also possible to carry flea larvae or eggs into the house one your shoes. (re) Infection from fleas on favourite toys and blankets in the house are also very important.
How do I tell my pet has fleas?
The fleas themselves live on your pet, the eggs larvae and cocoons live in the surroundings, in your house! Fleas live on your pet to attain blood as source of food, and to lay eggs. The search of a suitable feeding sight does not have to take longer than 15 minutes, the meal itself only lasts for abour 15 seconds. The best way to find out if your pet is infected by fleas is to use a fine flea combe. With this comb you will either find flea stool, these are small brown/black grains, many people think these are flea eggs. If you rub these brown grains on a white piece of paper with some water the paper will turn red, this is due to the undigested blood that is in the stool, and proof that these brown grains are actually flea stool and not mud from the yard. The other thing you might find whilst combing are actual fleas! Keep a small bowl of soapy water ready so you can drown them.
Life cycle of the flea.
A flea lives on your pet to feed and to produce eggs. It feeds of blood, that it sucks from small veins in the skin. To prevent the blood from clotting the flea spits saliva into the skin. This saliva is the “bad guy” it causes itchiness!
Without a blood meal a flea only lives for a few days. The male and female fleas mate and already after 1 day the female will start to lay eggs. Before starting to lay eggs a female must consume a blood meal. A single female flea can lay anywhere up to 50-100 eggs per day!!! The flea eggs are white, very small and have a smooth surface, they fall from your pet on the floor.
After a few days a larvae will hatch from the eggs. These larvae hide in nooks and crannies, their they grow by eating flea stool and skin flakes. After five moults the larvae spins a cocoon. in this cocoon the larvae turns into a flea. In this cocoon the flea can survive up to half a year. The flea comes out of the cocoon because of vibrations as soon as the new flea is out of the cocoon it will search for a new host and blood meal.
In favourable circumstances the whole life cycle only takes 10 days, but it may also take anywhere up to 18 months. Favourable circumstances are a moist and warm environment. Especially in the summer we tend to see more flea infections, but in the winter we turn on the heating and this also creates a good environment for fleas. And fleas can reproduce at temperatures above 10 degrees Celsius.
What damage do fleas cause?
A flea causes itchiness, a single flea bite itches for several days. If the itchiness lasts for some time, your pet will bite and scratch at its skin, and this may cause hair loss and irritated skin, small crusts and even wounds. In cats they may also cause hairball formation, because your cat is overgroming due to the fleas and therefore ingesting more hair than usual.
Some pets have “Flea-allergy “. These pets may have 6 weeks of itchiness after a single flea bite. This may prevented well by using good flea control medication.
The flea may spread other disease like the tapeworm. The tapeworm lives in the intestine of a pet, en lets go of small segments of its body. These segments come out of the body through the anus and fall down onto the floor or stick to the coat. At this point they might still move a little, but in time they dry out and look like small rice grains. These segments contain many tapeworm eggs. Flea larvae eat these segments. The tapeworm eggs develop into larvae in the muscle tissue of the flea larvae. The flea larvae grows and turns into a flea, who still carries the tapeworm larvae with it. The bites a cat or dog, who starts to scratch at the bite site, and ingests the flea. In the dog or cat the tapeworm larvae develops into an adult tapeworm. The lifecycle is now completed, the new tapeworm is going to start producing new segments with eggs. A pet can be infected with many tapeworms, and 1 tapeworm may have a body length of 10-70cm.
Flea, what do I do now?
If you or the veterinarian has found a flea infection on your pet it is wise to do something about it. Not just to wear off the fleas, but also the potential tapeworm infection.
We are happy to provide you with all the information you need at the clinic, you can contact us by phone or ask our nurses at the front desk for advice.
There are a number of different type of worms that will all be discussed here. Worms can be grouped into different categories. The most important of which are the roundworms and the tapeworms. The difference between them is the round shape of the round worms, there are two different sexes and they don’t need a host animal to replicate. The tapeworms do need a host animal and is hermaphrodite, the worms therefore don’t have to breed with in a pair, but is able to fertilize its own eggs.
Below we will discuss the most important types of round- and tapeworms and what you can do to prevent infection of your pet.
How do I know my pet has a worm infection?
Most of the time you will not be aware that your pet has an intestinal parasite. So watch out. Often you may see a worm or pieces of a worm in vomit or stool. Pieces of a tapeworm can also stick to the coat of your pet, usually around the anus.
The veterinarian can do a stool sample examination. The vet searches for worm eggs in the stool, under the microscope. This does not give a 100% guarantee that there are no worms present if the sample is negative, but if we find worm eggs your pet has a worm infection.
There are different types of tapeworm but they all live in a very similar fashion. They are build out of a head that can attach very firmly to the intestinal wall and their bodies are segmented. They live in the intestine of dog and cats where they feed themselves with bowel content. In their life they keep producing new segments, the oldest segments being near the tail of the worm. The oldest segments contain ripened eggs, they fall from the rest of the worm and come out through the anus. You may find segments in the hairs of your pet or on their bedding that look similar to small rice grains.
A flea/rabbit/rat or mouse are the between host, they eat the small segments. In the host animal a small cyst is formed in muscle tissue. In the wall of this cyst thousands of small tapeworm heads are formed. When the between host is eaten as prey the small heads are released from the muscle tissue and can infest the intestine again to go on and produce more segments.
In our pets it is mostly the flea that causes infection with tapeworm. That another reason to prevent flea infection in your pets.
These are the worms that are commonly described as small white elastic bands, that can be found in either stool or vomit. The larvae of the roundworm can make a migration route through the whole host body. In the dog and cat there are two main types that can spread through the stool and through the mothers breast milk. In the dog the worm can also be transmitted in the uterus from mother to pup. De-worming of puppies and kittens together with their mother is therefore essential.
De-worming before or during the pregnancy does not prevent the necessity to de-worm after the puppies are born. This is because the worm larvae are in rest and hide out in the muscle tissue. During the pregnancy the larvae migrate to the uterus and milk glands. In this resting phase they are immune to de-worming medication.
The adult roundworm lives in the small intestine, and can cause infection at any age. In the intestine the worm produces thousands of eggs, that come into the environment through stool. The eggs ripen and these ripened eggs are ingested again by new dogs/cats/mice where they grow into larvae and into adult worms again. Pets can ingest the eggs by sniffing at the grass outside or you can walk them into the house on the bottoms of your shoes.
Heartworm is a parasite we only see in the southern parts of Europe. They are transmitted by biting insects, and can cause serious illness in your pet. If you are thinking of taking your pet abroad then please contact us at the clinic and we will happily inform you of good heartworm prevention medication.
What is heartworm?
The heartworm is a parasite that, like the name suggests, lives in the heart of dogs and cats. It does this once it has grown to be an adult worm. Many heartworms can be in the heart at the same time. In this way it prevents the heart from functioning, killing its host. The host can be a dog or a cat.
How does my pet get heartworm?
The adult heartworm ( Dirofilaria immitis) live in the heart of dogs and cats, larvae live in the blood of the host. The larvae are sucked up by biting mosquitos, when they bite a new host they transmit the heartworm larvae. Infection therefore only takes place in areas of the world where these mosquitoes live. Direct transmission between dogs or cats is not possible. The larvae or microfilaria turn into adult worms producing new larvae.
In what areas are contaminated with heartworm carrying mosquitos?
In the southern European countries below Paris the mosquito is wide spread, the highest level of infection in the river areas of northern Italy and the Rhone-delta in France, but no area in southern Europe is completely free of these mosquitos.
What can I do against adult heartworms?
There is no treatment against adult heartworm infection at this time. There are some new specialist techniques whereby the worms are removed through surgery, but there are still many risks.
What can I do against the larvae?
In the areas where mosquitos live that carry the heartworm larvae we can prevent heartworm infection in dogs and cats. Preventing your pet being stung by a mosquito is very difficult. We therefore use ant parasitic medication that kills the heartworm larvae before they reach the adult worm stage that lives in the heart. This is not only important for pets living in these areas of the world, but it is also important for pets traveling outside of the Netherlands to southern Europe.
Please contact the clinic for up to date heart worm prevention medication and advise. Thankfully we diagnose heartworm disease rarely in the Netherlands. This may be due to the good health and immune system of most Dutch pets.
Ticks are small spider like insects that live from the blood of their host. They can live on dogs and cats but also on snakes and birds.
How does my pet get a tick?
Ticks live in shrubs and bushes and drop themselves onto your pet, they than attach onto the skin and to draw blood.
What ticks do we see in the Netherlands?
Our cats and dogs can be caries of the following ticks in the Netherlands
This is the most common tick in the Netherlands. It can transmit lyme disease.
This tick is also called the dog tick, because it is very host specific and therefore usually only is found on dogs. The tick is originally from Africa, but has been spread with the dig to al warmer countries. It can be brought to the Netherlands by dogs traveling from the Mediterranean area. In the home environment the tick can survive and continue its life cycle. It can be carrier of the dangerous Ehrlichia and Babesia blood parasites.
This tick originally only lived in southern European countries, but has now also started to live in northern Eurpope including the Netherlands. In dogs this tick can transmit the Babesia blood parasite. Dogs that do not travel to southern Europe but stay in the Netherlands can therefore also be infected with Babesia.
What do ticks do?
Ticks drop from shrubs and bushes onto your pet and attach to the skin. They bite through the skin to obtain a blood meal. During this process they leave some saliva in the wound this prevents the blood from clotting. These small wounds the ticks leave behind can be an entrance port for bacteria and this may lead to a local infection of the skin. Ticks that are not removed completely can also cause inflammation. During the biting process ticks can transmit disease that they carry with them, like lyme disease, babesiosis and ehrlichiosis. If your pet is infected with many ticks at the same time this may also cause anaemia, because they all draw small amounts of blood from your pet.
How do I remove a tick from my pet?
You can best remove ticks with a special tick tweezers. You but it as closely to the skin as possible around the tick, you can then turn in 360 degrees twice and then gently pull the tick out of the skin. You have removed the whole tick when you can see its little legs move!
How do you prevent your pet getting ticks?
In the Netherlands ticks are mostly active from march until November. They live in mainly shrubby areas like the forest, dunes and parks. Check your dog for ticks daily. It takes at least 20 hours after a tick has attached before it can transmit disease, so checking your pet on a daily basis can prevent them causing illness. In the period that ticks are most active you can also use a Scalibor protector collar for your dog. Your dog is not a loud to swim for a few days after placing the collar but after that initial period swimming is no problem. It starts to be fully effective after about two weeks of putting it on, and works for half a year. For cats that get a lot of ticks we advise Frontline spot on drops.
Are ticks dangerous for humans?
People can also be bitten bij ticks, and for us it is also important to remove the ticks as soon as possible.
Babesiosis in The Netherlands
In 2004 there were some cases of Babesiosis in Arnhem and in The Hague. The ill dogs had not been abroad. Up till now we believe that carrier of the disease the, dermacentor tick, only lives south of The Netherlands. If this tick can also survive in The Netherlands, or if they might have accidentally travelled with a dog who had been abroud is unclear. There has been reports of this tick in 2005, so perhaps it is now indigenous here.
The Babesiosis parasite comes into the blood circulation of your dog through the saliva of the tick. The tick has to be attached for at least 20 hours before it can transfer the Babesia parasite through its saliva. The Babesia parasite multiplies in the host red blood cells, thereby destroying them. Signs of the disease are general lethargy and red coloured urine. These signs are seen about two weeks after infection with the parasite. If you see these signs in your dog, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. The sooner we catch the illness, the more chances we have in treating it successfully.
If your pet has gone missing, you can inform the pet database ( registration of microchip). They then know you are looking for your pet. Contact authorities that may find your pet. Like the animal ambulance, your veterinarian, local recue centres and animal shelters . You can find their information below. Another good idea is to make a notice of your pet with a good picture and hang this in shops etc around your neighbourhood. Other authorities that you should contact are Amivedi and if your pet has a microchip, the databank that has its registration.
Amivedi registers all pets that have gone missing. They will note all the detailsabout your pet, and will look in their system if anybody has found him/her.
If your pet has a microchip you can contact the NDG (Nederlands Databank voor Gezelschapsdieren), this is where all animals that have a microchip are registered.
If you have found a pet please go to one of the following: your veterinarian, shelter/recue center, animal ambulance. They all have a microchip reader, if the pet has a microchip they can read the specific number and can search for the owner information and if the pet has been reported missing.