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Brown Recluse Spider Bites and Your Pet!

April 24, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 3:51 pm

Pet Talk


Brown Recluse Spider Bites and Your Pet!

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


With the arrival of spring means the coming out of spiders, especially the brown recluse.  They have been holed up somewhere warm for the winter and are ready to get out and be active.


One bite from a brown recluse spider will probably mean several weeks of pampering for your pet while she heals. Although the wound may appear nasty, your pet will usually recover fully, though you may want to take a trip to the veterinarian to be sure.


A brown recluse spider is a half-inch to 2 inches long. They are usually identified by a distinctive fiddle-shaped mark on their back. Although usually residing in the midwestern United States, the brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa) often travels with people as they move, hiding in boxes or other dark, secluded areas.


While not aggressive, these spiders will bite if they feel threatened. The bite itself does not cause much pain, and your pet may not even know she was bitten. After a while, a reddened area develops, with fever and nausea. The underlying tissue may die, and bleeding may occur. With or without treatment, the wound may take weeks to heal. Sometimes the pet may have an autoimmune reaction to the venom and serious systemic signs may appear.


The best way to prevent a bite is to limit your pet’s access to places where spiders may reside. This means checking dark areas, like dark basement corners or rarely used closets, for evidence that spiders are also residing in your home.


The diagnosis is based on the appearance of the skin wound and whether the brown recluse spider is present. Although the wound may heal on its own, it’s better to be safe and have your pet checked out by a veterinarian. This may prevent further tissue damage and infection.


Home and Veterinary Care


At home, clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide, chlorhexidine or povidone iodine. Do not use a tourniquet; because the venom stays in the area of bite, a tourniquet is not necessary. The tourniquet may cause circulation damage.


If you see your pet acting lethargic, begin vomiting or the wound becomes larger, it is strongly recommended that you bring your pet to the veterinarian. Treatment may be necessary to reduce these symptoms.


Your veterinarian will treat the bite wound and may give your pet antibiotics to prevent infection. Surgery may be necessary to remove the skin around the affected area, if other treatments do not heal the wound. Generally, pets recover fully from these spider bites after several weeks.


If you have questions regarding spider bites, please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Best Friends Vet Mobile Service and Trumann Animal Clinic at

What is heartworm disease?

April 19, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 2:14 pm

Pet Talk


Dr. Norette L. Underwood


What is heartworm disease?

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. Heartworm disease affects dogs, cats and ferrets, but heartworms also live in other mammal species, including wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions and—in rare instances—humans. Because wild species such as foxes and coyotes live in proximity to many urban areas, they are considered important carriers of the disease.

Dogs. The dog is a natural host for heartworms, which means that heartworms that live inside the dog mature into adults, mate and produce offspring. If untreated, their numbers can increase, and dogs have been known to harbor several hundred worms in their bodies. Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs and arteries.  For this reason, prevention is by far the best option, and treatment—when needed—should be administered as early in the course of the disease as possible.

Cats. Heartworm disease in cats is very different from heartworm disease in dogs. The cat is an atypical host for heartworms, and most worms in cats do not survive to the adult stage. Cats with adult heartworms typically have just one to three worms, and many cats affected by heartworms have no adult worms. While this means heartworm disease often goes undiagnosed in cats, it’s important to understand that even immature worms cause real damage in the form of a condition known as heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD). Moreover, the medication used to treat heartworm infections in dogs cannot be used in cats, so prevention is the only means of protecting cats from the effects of heartworm disease.

How is heartworm disease transmitted from one pet to another?

The mosquito plays an essential role in the heartworm life cycle. Adult female heartworms living in an infected dog, fox, coyote, or wolf produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites and takes a blood meal from an infected animal, it picks up these baby worms, which develop and mature into “infective stage” larvae over a period of 10 to 14 days. Then, when the infected mosquito bites another dog, cat, or susceptible wild animal, the infective larvae are deposited onto the surface of the animal’s skin and enter the new host through the mosquito’s bite wound. Once inside a new host, it takes approximately 6 months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Once mature, heartworms can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs and up to 2 or 3 years in cats. Because of the longevity of these worms, each mosquito season can lead to an increasing number of worms in an infected pet.


Please see your veterinarian to get your pet tested and on heartworm prevention. If you have questions concerning heartworms contact Dr. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile at

Easter Lily Ingestion Toxicity in Cat

April 10, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 3:45 pm

Pet talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


Easter Lily Ingestion Toxicity in Cat




  1. Spring signifies renewal. New green growth and blooming flowers mark a new beginning.  Many people will celebrate during this time by adorning their households with flowers and plants. However, cat owners need to beware that some of the most common plants are highly toxic to their beloved feline companions.


  1. Easter lilies and other species of the genus Lilium (Tiger lily, rubrum lily, Japanese show lily, and Asiatic hybrid lily), are highly toxic to cats leading to kidney damage. All parts of the plant are considered toxic, and intoxication can occur with ingestion of less than one leaf. To date, the toxic component has not been determined.


  1. Within the first two to six hours of lily ingestion, a cat may manifest intestinal upset including vomiting, loss of appetite, and depression.


  1. Signs may temporarily subside only to return within twelve to eighteen hours as kidney damage ensues.


  1. Treatment consists of rapid decontamination (inducing vomiting to remove plant material and administration of activated charcoal), and intravenous fluid.


  1. Postponing treatment for more than eighteen hours can result in renal failure, and death; therefore, prompt and aggressive veterinary care is paramount.  With prompt treatment, full recovery is possible. However, if treatment is delayed, varying degrees of permanent kidney damage will occur. If the cat is not treated at all, death usually occurs in three to seven days.


  1. Cats can be extremely inquisitive, and may graze on plants in and around a house. Therefore, cat owners are encouraged to avoid placing lilies where cats reside, whether indoor or outdoor.


  1. During Easter celebration and for that matter year around, substituting Easter lilies and other kidney toxic plants with plants such as Easter Orchids, Easter Lily Cactus, Easter Daisy or violets is recommended.


Internet Resources

Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). Easter lilies can be deadly for your cat!!!.


Lilies know to cause kidney failure in cats include*:


Common names           Scientific names

Easter lily                            Lilium longiflorum

Tiger lily                              Lilium tigrinum

Rubrum lily                         Lilium speciosum

Japanese show lily             Lilium lancifolium

Daylily                                           Hemerocallis species


Other members of the Liliaceae family are suspected to also known to be toxic to cats.


If you have questions about lily toxicity contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of the Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at

Rabbits and Chicks As Easter Gifts

April 4, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 8:28 pm

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


Rabbits and Chicks As Easter Gifts

With Easter approaching here are some top tips about giving rabbits and chicks as Easter Gifts.


1.    Say no to live rabbit and chicks as Easter gifts


  1. Around Easter, many pet stores stock up on hot items including live chicks and rabbits. Theses animals are often given to young children as presents.


  1. Often many folks think rabbits are low maintenance pets that only require a small cage and pets.


  1. Truth is, they have dietary requirements that include a balanced diet of pellets, fresh lettuce and other vegetables, and grass hays. They also require daily exercise and space enough to perform 3 consecutive hops in a cage.


  1. Young children tend to be rougher and not understand that rabbits can easily break their backs when handled. Plus rabbits have long toenails that leave deep scratches especially if handled improperly.


  1. Chicks can carry salmonella and E. coli that may cause serious diarrhea and possible death to young children.


  1. Chicks grow into chickens. Roosters when they hit sexual maturity, have the potential to become aggressive.


  1. Rabbits are the third most relinquished pets to animal shelters, which are usually equipped to handle only a few rabbits and rodents at a time.


  1. After Easter many shelters, are overwhelmed by the number of relinquished rabbits and have to euthanize several.


  1. Rabbits are also often released to the wild to fend for themselves and those that do not starve to death, become easy prey for predators in the wild.


  1. For more details check out the Make Mine Chocolate Campaign by the HSUS and the American House Rabbit Society.


For more information contact dr. Norette L. Underwood of the Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at if you have questions about pets as Easter gifts.