Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Heartworm, Aspergillosis, and Colorado Protocol for Canine Parvovirus?

A Banner Year for Heartworm Disease

Dr. Nancy Kay/Spot Speaks

"If ever there was a year to be vigilant about heartworm prevention, this is it. The number of dogs and cats diagnosed with heartworm disease within the United States is expected to increase this year because of above-average precipitation and temperatures, ideal conditions for the propagation of mosquitoes that transmit heartworms to our pets." ~Dr. Nancy Kay

Up here in Ontario, heartworm doesn't get much publicity. It seems that it's not nearly as prevalent here than south of the border. However, it is the last thing I'd be willing to take any chances with and I do use a preventive monthly, period, no arguments. This is definitely one of the diseases where preventive is by far the lesser of the evil.

Are you using heartworm preventive for your dog?

Read Dr. Kay's report on the subject.

Aspergillosis in Dogs – A Destructive Sinus & Nasal Disease

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

Microscopic appearance of Aspergillus fumigatus. Photo CriticalCareDVM

Which type of infection scares you the most? Bacterial, viral of fungal? When it comes to bacterial infections, my answer would be that it depends. Generally, bacterial infections are relatively easy to treat with antibiotics. There is the looming armageddon of increasing resistance.

Viral infections are trickier. You cannot kill something that technically isn't alive in the first place. There are very limited treatments and the go-to strategy are vaccines; priming the immune system to be prepared to tackle certain serious viral infections should they come about. This, of course, works only for viruses that have been around long enough for the vaccine to have been developed. Other than that, medicine cannot even treat a common cold.

So what about fungal infections? Fungi are technically "alive" and can be killed but it's not easy and treatments are quite nasty and potentially dangerous. Look at the little success there has been with something as common as athlete's foot.

The most common fungal infection dogs get is aspergillosis. Aspergillus is found pretty much everywhere. It's impossible to prevent by avoidance. Most dogs have an effective defensive system in their nasal passages and sinuses that stops the fungus from doing any harm. In dogs who actually get sick, this defense doesn't function properly, resulting in actual disease.

Aspergillosis is one of the things that can be behind a dog's nose bleeds.

Read Dr. Byers' comprehensive article explaining what aspergillosis is.

Using the Colorado Protocol for Canine Parvovirus 

Dr. Justine Lee

Canine parvovirus is a highly infectious, life-threatening disease. It requires aggressive supportive treatment and three to five days hospitalization. The term "golden standard" represents the best, accepted treatment known at the time. But that sometimes means a treatment that many people cannot afford. Is there an alternative?

The "Colorado protocol" is an alternative, "outpatient" treatment protocol for parvovirus.

"While this study stated that it was an assessment out an outpatient protocol for dogs with parvovirus, it wasn’t." ~Dr. Justine Lee

The "outpatient" dogs were still hospitalized for an average of 3.8 days before the actual outpatient therapy.

So is this option any good and is it really more affordable? Read Dr. Lee's thoughts.

And don't forget, vaccination is almost 100% effective in preventing this disease in the first place.