Stings and bitey things

A dog out hunt­ing will come across some usual bugs and germs in the unique en­vi­ron­ments they work in and some even pose a risk to hunters.

Field and Game - - VET ADVICE - With Dr Karen Davies

Bitey Bugs: these might in­clude fleas, bees, wasps etc.

Be mind­ful of the prod­ucts that you use to pre­vent fleas. Topi­cal prod­ucts are of­ten not water proof so the minute your keen hunter dives in the water after their quarry, they may be wash­ing the sub­stance off.

Oral op­tions are the best and com­bi­na­tion prod­ucts of­ten help pre­vent other nas­ties as well. While there is noth­ing we can do to pre­vent bee and wasp stings there are some handy first aid tips. Check with your vet for ap­pro­pri­ate anti-his­tamines and a dose rate for your dog and keep some handy in your first aid kit. Ticks: There are nu­mer­ous types of ticks, most of them found on wildlife and feral an­i­mals and on shrub­bery, lead­ing to in­creased risk of ex­po­sure in our hunt­ing breeds.

We are see­ing more tick cases these days with estab­lished pop­u­la­tions in new ar­eas pre­vi­ously thought to be “tick free.” Clin­i­cal signs of weak­ness, in­ap­pe­tence (lack of de­sire or ap­petite), drool­ing, vom­it­ing, through to paral­y­sis and death can oc­cur.

If you sus­pect that your dog has been ex­posed to one of the paral­y­sis caus­ing ticks then you should seek ur­gent ve­teri­nary at­ten­tion.

Do not try to re­move the tick un­less you have the equip­ment and the skill, as re­mov­ing the body from the head will cause the tick to in­ject more of the toxic saliva into your dog. Try­ing to burn them off pro­duces the same toxic saliva re­sponse and risks burn­ing your dog. Preven­tion is the best cure and mul­ti­ple prod­ucts are now avail­able.

Nex­gard Spec­tra will treat for fleas, ticks, heart­worm and in­testi­nal worms as a monthly com­bi­na­tion prod­uct. Bravecto will treat ticks and fleas for three months with a sin­gle chew, and Seresto Col­lars will pre­vent ticks for four months and fleas for up to eight months. You will still need to check for ticks even with pre­ven­ta­tive treat­ments.

It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that ticks will also feed on hu­mans and can cause paral­y­sis and dis­eases such as Lyme dis­ease, so be mind­ful of your risk too.

In­testi­nal worms: Hook­worms can cause se­vere dis­ease. They are blood feed­ers, the an­i­mal will be­come weak, and

some­times black, tarry stools can be seen. There may be vom­it­ing and di­ar­rhoea. In se­vere in­fes­ta­tions, an­i­mals may cough or de­velop pneu­mo­nia as the lar­vae mi­grate through the lungs. An­i­mals may be­come ema­ci­ated and even­tu­ally die from the in­fec­tion. The lar­vae can be in­gested in con­tam­i­nated drink­ing water or food, or bur­row through the skin to in­fect the host. The whip­worm (Trichuris vulpis) par­a­site is usu­ally trans­mit­ted to dogs when they eat con­tam­i­nated mat­ter, al­though whip­worms pass from in­fected an­i­mals as well. Whip­worm eggs can live in an en­vi­ron­ment for years, and can be present in soil, food, or water, as well as in fae­ces or an­i­mal flesh. Ad­di­tion­ally, whip­worms can in­fect dogs of any age. Hy­datids are the most se­ri­ous of the in­testi­nal worms, con­tracted when a dog eats the car­cass of an in­fected sheep or goat. The dog car­ries the adult hy­datid tape­worm, which is about 4–6 mm long, with tape­worm eggs and seg­ments passed in its dung. The sheep, goat or hu­man swal­lows the eggs re­leased from the tape­worm seg­ments, which fur­ther de­velop in the small in­tes­tine lead­ing to cyst for­ma­tion in tis­sues such as the liver or lungs. Sheep or goats tend to suf­fer no ill ef­fects and after ini­tial ex­po­sure, their re­sis­tance gen­er­ally pre­vents new cysts from form­ing. In hu­mans, how­ever, the cysts can cause se­ri­ous ill­ness or even death. Surgery is re­quired to re­move cysts. Avoid­ing feed­ing dogs fresh flesh from hunted car­casses, and reg­u­larly worm ev­ery three months.

Wash­ing your hands after han­dling prey

and your hunt­ing dogs should keep you safe.

Vac­ci­na­tions: Par­vovirus causes the loss of the gut lin­ing and bloody di­ar­rhoea, ex­po­sure can oc­cur from any con­tam­i­nated body flu­ids or di­rect con­tact with an in­fected an­i­mal. Vac­ci­na­tions will pre­vent risk of con­tract­ing this po­ten­tially fa­tal dis­ease. Dis­tem­per and In­fec­tious Ca­nine Hep­ati­tis are less com­mon with good com­mu­nity vac­ci­na­tion pro­grams; how­ever, re­mote pop­u­la­tions and wild dogs can see lo­calised ar­eas where in­fec­tion is a risk. Dis­tem­per is a vi­ral dis­ease, which af­fects the gas­troin­testi­nal, res­pi­ra­tory, and cen­tral ner­vous sys­tems in dogs and your fer­rets. It is highly con­ta­gious, and is of­ten fa­tal how­ever eas­ily pre­vented with vac­ci­na­tion.

In­fec­tious Hep­ati­tis is also vi­ral and can cause symp­toms from sud­den death to liver dis­ease, ab­dom­i­nal pain, di­ar­rhoea, jaun­dice, and bleed­ing dis­or­ders. Foxes and din­goes can be car­ri­ers putting your dog at risk. Vac­ci­na­tion is the best method of preven­tion.

Less com­mon dis­eases that you may be un­aware of that can also be vac­ci­nated for are Carona virus, Lep­tospiro­sis and Tetanus. In adult dogs, the ma­jor­ity of Carona in­fec­tions will be in­ap­pe­tent, with no symp­toms to show. Some­times, a sin­gle in­stance of vom­it­ing and a few days of ex­plo­sive di­ar­rhoea (liq­uid, yel­low-green or or­ange) may oc­cur. Fever is typ­i­cally very rare, while anorexia and de­pres­sion are more com­mon. Oc­ca­sion­ally, an in­fected dog may also ex­pe­ri­ence some mild res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems. Pup­pies may ex­hibit pro­tracted di­ar­rhoea and de­hy­dra­tion, and are most at risk of de­vel­op­ing se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions with this virus. Se­vere en­teri­tis (in­flam­ma­tion of the small in­tes­tine) in pup­pies will oc­ca­sion­ally re­sult in death. ‘Lepto’ (as it is called) oc­curs when a dog drinks water con­tam­i­nated by urine from in­fected rats, mice, or even na­tive mar­su­pi­als. Warm weather and swampy con­di­tions fa­cil­i­tate trans­mis­sion; hence it is more com­mon in North­ern Aus­tralia, and also ru­ral ir­ri­ga­tion ar­eas. The dis­ease can be trans­mit­ted to hu­mans, al­though, so far, no di­rect dog-to-hu­man trans­mis­sion has been sus­pected (i.e. hu­mans try to avoid water con­tam­i­nated by dog urine!). Clin­i­cal signs in dogs in­clude lethargy, vom­it­ing, and di­ar­rhoea, usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with a fever. Jaun­diced (yel­low) gums are com­mon. The on­set of signs is usu­ally sud­den and the course of the dis­ease is dra­matic, with dogs dy­ing within a few days. Dif­fer­ent strains oc­cur in North­ern Aus­tralia com­pared to fur­ther south with each hav­ing their own par­tic­u­lar vac­ci­na­tion avail­able. Tetanus is a bac­te­rial dis­ease, normally con­tracted from con­tam­i­nated soil through an open wound. This may be a punc­ture wound from a branch or a boar’s tooth, to lac­er­ated gums in a teething pup and even from chew­ing on bones. A nerve toxin leads to mus­cles spasm and rigid­ity. Ini­tially the ears will rise on the crown, third eye lids will come across, “lock jaw” may de­velop and a “sawhorse stance.”

Treat­ment needs to be rapid and ag­gres­sive if there is any hope of sav­ing your dog. This is not a dis­ease we would rou­tinely vac­ci­nate against in dogs, but I cer­tainly rec­om­mend speak­ing to your vet about vac­ci­nat­ing your hunt­ing dog due to the in­creased risk.

Con­tam­i­nated water can also lead to Giar­dia (pro­to­zoal par­a­site we are fa­mil­iar with caus­ing “Bali-belly”) can also cause ex­plo­sive di­ar­rhoea.

Bo­tulism, Sal­monella and E.coli can be con­tracted from con­tam­i­nated meat, of­fal, and water sources. Symp­toms may vary from ab­dom­i­nal pain and di­ar­rhoea to se­vere ill­ness. All off these dis­eases can af­fect hu­mans.

Lastly a few nas­ties that can­not be vac­ci­nated for, Bru­cel­losis and Q-fever.

These dis­eases used to be the do­main of North­ern Aus­tralia, how­ever with live­stock move­ment, en­vi­ron­men­tal changes, greater num­bers of feral an­i­mals and hunters pre­pared to travel, this is no longer the case.

In­fected pigs may show no clin­i­cal signs or may be­come lame with swollen joints. In­fected boars may de­velop swollen tes­ti­cles and there may be re­pro­duc­tive fail­ure. There may be signs of in­co­or­di­na­tion and hind limb paral­y­sis. Sows may abort and de­velop steril­ity. Piglets may be born dead or weak. In­fected dogs may not de­velop clin­i­cal signs, but oc­ca­sion­ally de­velop fever, en­larged lymph nodes, and swollen tes­ti­cles. Hu­mans with bru­cel­losis gen­er­ally de­velop signs five to 60 days after ex­po­sure, al­though in some cases on­set is de­layed for sev­eral months. Symp­toms in­clude in­ter­mit­tent fever, sweat­ing, lethargy, loss of ap­petite, headaches, joint, and body pain. Typ­i­cally, symp­toms per­sist for two to four weeks, fol­lowed by spon­ta­neous re­cov­ery. Some peo­ple de­velop chronic ‘un­du­lant’ fever.

Q-fever: Lungs are thought to be the main source of en­try into body. C. bur­netii will then repli­cate in the or­gan’s lin­ing, caus­ing wide­spread in­flam­ma­tion of the dog’s blood ves­sels will re­sult in the death of its blood cells and haem­or­rhag­ing of the lungs, liver, and cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem. Once the dog has con­tracted the dis­ease, it may dis­play some of the fol­low­ing symp­toms: Fever, Lethargy, in­ap­pe­tence, de­pres­sion, in­co­or­di­na­tion and seizures. A dog will most com­monly be­come in­fected with the or­gan­ism if it in­gests in­fected bod­ily flu­ids (i.e., urine, fae­ces, milk, dis­charges), tis­sues, or dis­eased car­casses (e.g., those from cat­tle, sheep, or goats). The bac­te­ria can also be­come air­borne and is trans­mit­table through fleas or lice.

So in short keep your dogs and fer­rets up-to-date with vac­ci­na­tions, par­a­site con­trol and min­imise the risk through con­trol­ling feed­ing of fresh car­cass prod­ucts no mat­ter how tempt­ing it may be, cook, or freeze for pro­longed pe­ri­ods to in­crease safety.

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