Veterinary: A New Frontier To Help Care Your Pets

The digital future of healthcare services is upon us as telemedicine is emerging to be more accessible and prevalent than ever. As the demand for telemedicine grows, so as well for veterinarian services in the same circle.

It is reported that the growth of the pet-care market in Asia is estimated to be a value of US$1.5 billion in 2020. This upsurge growth evaluates the potential success of the veterinary industry to continually progress within the upcoming years.

With the involvement of telemedicine and veterinarian solutions, this will create a better connection between pet owners and doctors for consultation and medical advice through virtual means.

As telemedicine is known to be a rising trend, especially since the recent pandemic, telemedicine offers several benefits as to why it is a useful medium to assess the health and vitality of your pets.

But before we continue in helping you understand the advantages of telemedicine and how it may help your fur-friend.

It is best to remember that telemedicine should not be subjected as a replacement for veterinary medicine. Still, it should be harnessed as a convenient approach to augment the care needed for your pets.  

 

Advantages of Telemedicine For Your Pets

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Easier access

Are you tired of searching a multitude of results regarding your pet’s conditions from the Internet? It can be tiresome as you would need to know which information is trustworthy and has a reliable source.

With telemedicine, you can easily find resourceful information to care for your pets in a matter of seconds. With modern technology, you can retrieve information by scrolling on to the website or by using telehealth apps such as WhatsDoc — to obtain the best care for your pets.

 All you really need is your own personal devices.

Post-consultation services

Post-consultation care is absolutely crucial when your pets underwent surgery and other risky treatments. Rather than visiting a clinic or going for a check-up, your pets can be monitored and assessed at the comfort of your own home.

With the power of telecommunication, you can receive updates of your pet’s condition from a doctor by sending images or arranging a quick video call. This way, the veterinarian can keep track of specific injuries such as incision healing, abnormalities, and even observe the animal’s behaviour. Your pet won’t feel anxious or restless, and the doctor can produce the best possible results.

More convenient approach

With telemedicine becoming more popular and accessible, pet owners have more freedom and options in handling their anxious pets or older pets within a safe environment.

As movement from one place to another may seem difficult for pets, tele-veterinary offer pet owners a more convenient way to obtain medical advice, quick check-up analysis, and more without the need to spend extra cost for a consultation appointment.

By simply using a smartphone, you can generate and obtain the necessary requirements based on your pet’s suitability and favourability. You will only be required to take your pets to the vet clinic when it is absolutely essential.

Looking forward

Looking forward to your pet

Telemedicine is never going to replace the active approach of a veterinarian service but presents as an added-value service for the pet’s in-person exam. After all, owning a pet is undoubtedly one of the greatest pleasures in life as it provides true friendship and giggles galore.

But the benefits do not end there; utilising telemedicine in veterinary services may offer a stress-free solution for animal care.

If you want to know more about how telemedicine can resolve your fur-friend’s health issues, feel free to contact us. WhatsDoc has a team of veterinary specialists available 24/7.

References:

1. Telemedicine can help pet

2. Tech Focus veterinary medicine meets telemedicine

Allergies in Dogs: Overcoming the Obstacles

When we are a paw parent for our dogs and cats, we will always prioritise their health and
wellbeing. We also need to be aware of the conditions that they are facing, like the sort of
allergies that might irritate them.


What are Allergies, and How Common Do Dogs Get Them?

Both people and pets can suffer from allergies. To further understand what is an allergy,
allergy is a reaction or hypersensitivity to foreign substances called an allergen by the
body’s immune system.


Unfortunately, just like humans, allergies are quite common in dogs of all breeds and
backgrounds. Many experts believe 20% of all dogs will develop allergies over their lifetime
with most allergies appearing after the pet is six months of age, and with the majority of
affected dogs over age one or two.


What are Some of the Common Allergens?

Most substances can act as allergens and a lot of them are proteins from plants, insects,
animals, or foods.


Examples of common allergens are:
● dust mites
● pollens
● mould spores
● shed skin cells
● insect proteins such as flea saliva
● certain medication
● other environmental allergens


Types of Allergies in Dogs


There are many types of allergies that can occur in dogs and in some cases and for certain
dog breeds, the allergies can be inherited – mainly for skin conditions and diseases.


Here are some common types of allergies:

1) Skin Allergies:
Also known as Canine atopic dermatitis (allergic dermatitis, canine atopy). For a dog
to develop atopy, it would have had constant/ repeated exposure to the causal
allergen(s) over a period of time and for the allergy to develop. The disease
develops due to a combination of both a genetic predisposition and environmental
factors that the dog is exposed to.

2) Flea allergy dermatitis:
An allergic reaction to flea bites/ flea saliva. They make the skin extremely itchy,
especially at the base of the tail. The dog’s skin may become red, inflamed, and
scabbed.

3) Food allergies:
A dog’s diet might be the cause of some allergies as well, like certain ingredients in
the food given. This will cause an itch on their ears and their paws, and this may be
accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms. Other parts that might be affected
include wrists, ankles, muzzle, underarms, groin, around the eyes, and in between
the toes.

4) Environmental allergens:
The environment that your dog is exposed to can include allergens like dust, pollen
and mould that can cause an atopic allergic reaction.
In most cases, these allergies are seasonal, so you may only notice your dog itching
during certain times of the year.

5) Contact allergy:
Contact allergies can develop to practically anything and at any age. It is often
caused by direct contact to allergens, such as pyrethrins found in flea collars,
pesticides used on the lawn, grasses, materials such as wool or synthetics used in
carpets or bedding, etc.

Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs

The symptoms of allergies in dogs may vary depending on the cause. Some of these
symptoms of all the different types of allergies can overlap.

In the dog, the most common symptom associated with allergies is itching of the skin, either
localised (in one area) or generalised (all over the body). Common reactions of dogs to
allergies include itching, scratching, licking, biting, rubbing, chewing, gnawing which will
then lead to infections if not taken care off.

For serious cases, an allergic reaction can cause your dog to go into anaphylactic shock
and it will have a drop in blood pressure followed by shock. This is very different from a skin
condition.

In other cases, the symptoms involve the respiratory system, with coughing, sneezing, and/
or wheezing. Sometimes, there may be runny discharge from the eyes or nose.
For food allergies, the allergic symptoms will affect the digestive system resulting in
vomiting and diarrhoea.

In general, there are some common symptoms that could trigger the signs of an allergic
reaction.
● Constant licking
● Chronic ear infections
● Diarrhoea
● Hives
● Itchiness
● Red, inflamed skin/ ears
● Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps
● Sneezing
● Vomiting
● Watery eyes

Treatment & Prevention
If you noticed some of the odd behaviours and symptoms of your canine friend, it is time to
consult a veterinarian!

The best way to treat an allergy is avoidance of the cause and allergen, and this includes
some lifestyle changes for you and your dog. Your vet may advise to rule out any other
condition that could be causing your dog’s symptoms.

Allergy testing is one of the trying ways in order to determine the cause of the allergen that
is causing the reaction. However, this testing may not always be possible or accurately
determine the cause of an allergy.

Depending on the symptoms and type of allergy, here are some of the possible ways of
diagnosing:

a) Flea allergy dermatitis: Identifying fleas on your dog’s body and applying an
animal-friendly skin product to kill the fleas before they start to bite.

b) Food allergies: Diagnose using an elimination diet trial or applying a change in
certain food for the diet using a hypoallergenic diet. A food trial consists of feeding a
dog one source of protein and carbohydrate for 12 weeks. Why specifically 12
weeks? This is because it takes at least eight weeks for all other food products to be
eliminated from the body,

Besides the necessary lifestyle changes, your vet might also prescribe some medication to
help with the allergy relief and soothe the itching and skin infections that could have
developed due to the irritation.

Other available therapies are advised based on necessity and the condition that your dog
might be in like anti-inflammatory therapy (with antihistamines and other related medication
suitable and appropriate for your dog), shampoo therapy (bathing in hypoallergenic
shampoo to soothe the skin irritation), or even Hyposensitization or desensitisation therapy
(allergy serum injections).

Should the allergy testing show positive responses and improvement of your dog’s allergy
condition, your veterinarian will advise you on how to proceed.

NEVER Self-Diagnose Your Dog!

Do keep in mind though symptoms might look mild, if not provided with the necessary
attention, the conditions might become worse.

Always keep in mind that the allergy symptoms can sometimes be confused or overlap with
other disorders, or occur concurrently with them. Therefore, do not attempt to self-diagnose
your dog without veterinary professional assistance.

If needed, prepare yourself for a full diagnostic report by your veterinarian in order to fully
understand the condition your dog is in, and to slowly rule out other causes of itching and
skin problems. Where full treatment is concerned, always follow your veterinarian’s advice
closely in order to successfully relieve your pet’s discomfort.

If your dog has a severe allergic reaction, your best course of action is to get him to an
emergency veterinary hospital as quickly as possible.
Consult a certified veterinarian in the comforts of your own home with WhatsDoc!

References:

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-allergies-symptoms-treatment/
https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/allergy-general-in-dogs
https://www.smartypawshealth.com/blogs/all/how-to-tell-if-your-dog-is-suffering-from-
seasonal-allergies
https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/food-allergies-vs-seasonal-allergies-dogs
https://www.richellusa.com/the-most-common-dog-allergens-and-how-to-avoid-
them/#:~:text=Unfortunately%2C%20just%20like%20humans%2C%20a,and%202%20year
s%20of%20age.
https://animalmedcenter.com/canine-allergic-
dermatitis/#:~:text=Canine%20atopic%20dermatitis%20(allergic%20dermatitis,and%203%2
0years%20of%20age.
https://bondvet.com/b/allergies-in-dogs-common-allergens-treatment
https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-allergies-symptoms-treatment/
https://animalmedcenter.com/canine-allergic-dermatitis/
https://vethelpdirect.com/vetblog/2020/09/30/is-skin-disease-in-dogs-inherited/

Tick Bites: A Nuisance to Your Pets, and Your Skin

When we have pets, there are times that they might get affected with fleas and ticks when exposed to the outdoors and the environment around them. 
Ticks tend to manifest quickly and will irritate the host body as well as may cause other skin issues.

So, What Are Ticks?

Ticks are small spider-like animals (arachnids). They bite to fasten themselves onto the skin and feed on blood. 

Ticks live in the fur and feathers of many animals. They are usually attracted to people and their pets and can easily move between the two. They are not ordinary bugs that bite you and then leave you or your pets alone. When one gets on your body, it finds a place to burrow its head through to eat. And if you wait till it starts to set up camp with a lot of blood to feed on, it continues to stay there for many days.

Sounds like there is nothing to worry about, right? Because we could just look for those ticks and dispose of them, but it isn’t that easy. 

Tick bites seldom cause any harm or any itchy sensation to the host, and it may look like a fleck of dirt in the beginning, or you might not see it either. But as the tick continues to feed, it swells up and becomes more prominent. 

While most ticks don’t carry diseases, and most ticks don’t cause health problems, they can still cause allergic reactions. On the other hand, some ticks can also pass diseases to pets and humans which can be deadly.

There are two different types of ticks:

  • Hard ticks: These ticks attach and feed for days. As the tick becomes full of blood, it tends to transmit diseases.
    The life cycle of ticks starts from the larva stage, then to the nymph, and to the adult male or female stage.
  • Soft ticks: These ones are rounded and soft, and feed for less than an hour but is able to transmit diseases as fast as less than one minute.

The most common species found in Singapore is Rhipicephalus sanguineus, also known as the Brown Dog tick. The males are much smaller than the females, about 3mm in length, whilst the female after feeding can be 10-12mm long.

Identifying Tick Bites

Ticks typically bite people and animals where it is warm, moist and hairy, namely the scalp, armpit, groin, the skin behind the ear and skin between the fingers and toes.

Besides identifying ticks on the body, you might want to identify if your pets have ticks in the first place by paying attention to the bite symptoms that may react and appear on the skin.

A tick bite may take shape like the following:

  • Bite wounds (that may lead to an infection)
  • A small hard bump or sore
  • Redness
  • Swelling

It needs to be understood that different people’s skins react different to tick bites and some bodies react with 1 to 2 inches of redness around the bite. Usually, the red area would not get any bigger. However, unless it’s really a rash, then it may be a sign of disease.

In Singapore, ticks are known to carry parasites which can cause tick fever and might affect the immune system of your pets – where the red and white blood cell count may drop to a dangerous level that blood transfusion might be needed.

Safely Removing Ticks from Pets

If you somehow found ticks on your pet, it is important to remove it as soon as possible, BUT NEVER directly pull it off. Why? 

This is because the mouthpiece of the tick may still be left on the skin, and it will cause prolonged bleeding. Also, NEVER TOUCH ticks with your bare hands as they may transmit infections.

Here are some suggestions in removing ticks safely and securely from your pets:

  • Using tweezers, grasp the tick firmly at its mouth or head.
  • Pull firmly and gently until the tick fully detaches from the skin. Make sure you do not twist or harshly move the tick to avoid leaving some parts inside in the skin.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water. 
  • Return to the site of the bite on your pet or on your skin and wash it. Then, swab the bite site properly with alcohol.

Preventing Tick Bites

To ensure your pets do not catch the ticks, there are some ways in preventing tick bites that will lead to tick-borne illnesses and other skin issues for you and mainly your pets.

Though Singapore does not really have big woods or forests that may attract ticks to come home, parks and gardens that have long grass and bushy areas might be where ticks lurk.

Here are some tips that can assist in preventing ticks:

  • Wash It Off: Shower your pet and yourself after spending time outdoors. Running water and scrubbing with soap and recommended pet shampoos can help remove ticks from the body. 
  • Do tick checks: Take the time to groom your pet and look for ticks that may be on their bodies, as well as on your clothing. Use a mirror or magnifying glass for hard-to-see areas.
  • Use tick repellants for your pets, and insect repellents on yourself.

Do Not Miss Visits to the Vet!

While tick bites may not appear to be very serious (in the context of Singapore), our pets are still prone to attracting them even if we are most of the time indoors (can be the wind blowing the travelling ones in, who knows?). Constant checks may ease your pets from the itchiness, as well as preventing the from getting other tick-related diseases that may affect their health.

If you notice odd marks on your pets, or if they are still itching even when you have tried different solutions, make sure to check in with a trusted vet. 

Many vets are available on WhatsDoc, so ask away!

References:

https://www.doctena.com/en-at/blog/ticks-when-should-you-worry-about-a-tick-bite

https://www.healthline.com/health/tick-bites

https://www.everydayhealth.com/bug-bites/tick-bites/

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/is-that-a-tick-bite

https://www.medicinenet.com/ticks/article.htm

https://www.prevention.com/health/a27392774/tick-bite-pictures/

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/tick-bites-sheet.html

https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/tckbt

https://vetpal.co/fleas-ticks/