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Cat Flu Awareness

By | Cats | No Comments

Like other types of influenza, cat flu is caused by viruses, and sometimes bacteria. And, like other types of flu, a healthy cat can survive it, but it can be fatal for kittens and older cats with other health complications. It’s important to be aware of cat flu, how to recognize it, and how to treat it.

How it Spreads

Depositphotos_82165668_m-2015Cat flu spreads like many other viruses. It is in nasal discharge, saliva, and eye discharge. Cats that are already sick are the biggest concern, but there are some who carry the virus with no symptoms. The virus can survive for several days on surfaces, which means that other cats can catch the virus indirectly.

To diagnose a cat with the flu, your vet may take swabs. Unfortunately, there are no specific treatments for cat flu, though there are ways to alleviate the symptoms until the cat recovers. The biggest concern is spreading the virus to cats with poor, or underdeveloped immune systems.

The Symptoms and Risks

If your cat has the flu, she may sneeze. She may also have runny eyes and a runny nose. Other symptoms may be hard to see in your cat, as cats often don’t show obvious symptoms. Your cat may experience aches and pains, fever, sneezing, and more.

The real trouble comes with kittens and older cats. Defeating the virus needs a healthy immune system. Kitten immune systems may not be strong enough, and other cats’ immune systems have weakened. Cats that are already ill can be killed by the flu, too.

Unfortunately, there are no antivirals for cat flu. Like human flu, antibiotics may help if bacterial infections make things worse. In most cases, your cat needs good care at home. Your cat will need some encouragement when it comes to eating a drinking. Take care to clean up after your cat, and sanitize to help prevent further spread of the virus. Steam can help clear some symptoms, so let your cat in the bathroom when you shower.

Be aware of cat flu, and watch for the symptoms. If you’re worried that your cat has the flu, bring her in to Pet Vet Hospitals immediately.

When is Your Pet Too Old for Cancer Treatment?

By | Pet Care | No Comments

When that inevitable moment comes and your pet is facing the end of his life, you will feel a range of emotions. All of them will be valid. Though it’s your vet’s job to remain professional and give you the facts, he or she will also have to make recommendations for you and your pet, and that’s not an easy job. It is no better when the diagnosis is cancer, and you simply don’t know if you should put your aging pet through cancer treatment, or say good bye.

Concerns About Cancer and Age

Old labrador retriever.If your pet is older and has cancer, it’s not uncommon for age to factor into your decision whether or not to pursue treatment, or how far to take that treatment. You may wonder if your elderly pet can withstand chemotherapy, or surgery. You might worry that medication side effects will be more pronounced.

The truth is that there isn’t an easy answer to whether or not you pet is too old for cancer treatment. It is possible that your pet would not survive cancer treatment, or that the disease has progressed so far that treatment would do more harm than good. Your vet will give you all the facts. He or she will make all the recommendations for treatment.

Asking Your Vet for Advice

If you ask for your vet’s take on the issue of age, she or he will be honest. Your vet will let you know of the risks, the possible results, and give you all the support possible. However, don’t be surprised if your vet is unwilling to tell you, outright, what route to choose. Trying to save a pet’s life, even when the situation is dire, is what your vet is all about. Of course, your vet also understands the desire to save your pet from the agony of cancer and treatment at the end of his life.

If the time comes for you to decide if your aging pet should receive cancer treatment, you want vets who care enough to be honest when advising you. You can trust our vets at Pet Vet Hospitals.

The Dog Mounting Problem

By | Dogs | No Comments

How many times have you laughed at candid photos of one dog mounting another, or something, or someone else? It’s a natural instinct, and it can be funny. It can also be embarrassing. As a dog owner, you may apologize, try to stop the mounting, and even feel angry. Have you ever wondered why it is that your dog does this? Is it purely hormones, or a need to mate? Or, is there more to dog mounting?

Mounting Reasons

bulldog lying down pantingMany, possibly most, people assume that mounting is about some sort of dog attraction. Asserting dominance is another common belief. While these scenarios may sometimes be true, in many cases, mounting is about anxiety, or an uncomfortable emotional state. While that doesn’t make mounting abnormal, it does mean that your dog could be trying to settle some unease.

It’s called “displacement behavior.” When your dog is anxious or overstimulated, he may mount instinctively as a way to relieve that tension. Humans have their own types of displacement behaviors—though it’s usually far less embarrassing.

Mounting Solutions

Like any behavior, you have to be consistent in addressing it. It’s important not to reward it, but it’s also important not to create more fear and anxiety. As long as the mounting isn’t harming anything, and it’s not excessive, you may want to leave your dog alone. If it is excessive, then you can apply many of the training techniques you use for other issues. Try to diverting your dog when he starts to mount. If you suspect it may be an issue of boredom, try to relieve that with more stimulation.

It may also help to speak with a vet. Physiological and neurological problems can sometimes cause these behaviors. If you’re concerned about an embarrassing dog mounting problem, bring your pet into Pet Vet Hospitals.

Canine Influenza Awareness

By | Dogs | No Comments

Sick DogA flu season has been in full swing for many recently. One after another, co-workers and family members have “dropped,” staying at home for days fighting the virus. We may get so busy trying to avoid the flu, or fighting it ourselves, that we forget our pets have their version, too. Canine influenza is a very real possibility for your dog and it’s important to know the signs, and to be aware of how to prevent it and treat it.

The canine flu virus is called Influenza Type A (H3N8). It is a very contagious virus and there is a vaccine. Your vet will always insist that you get your dog the vaccine. However, that doesn’t mean that the virus isn’t a threat.

Symptoms

Dogs infected with canine flu may have a lot of symptoms similar to those in humans. Ranging from mild to severe, these symptoms may include:

  • Coughing
  • Nasal Discharge
  • Eye Discharge
  • Red Eyes
  • Fever
  • Trouble Breathing
  • Sneezing
  • Fatigue

Similar to humans, these symptoms can be mild to severe. When severe, your dog could be a risk of developing pneumonia—bacterial infection in the lungs—and that could become deadly, too. You can prevent these severe results, however, if you know the signs.

Healing

If you see any of the above symptoms, take your pet straight to the vet. Your veterinarian will perform a physical and may check blood, mucus, and may take x-rays to check for signs of lung infection. If you take your pet fast, you may have no trouble getting your pet through the virus. Wait too long, however, and you could be facing a long, expensive recovery.

Because canine influenza is so contagious, he should be kept from other dogs as much as possible. If you hear of another dog having the flu and yours was in contact with that dog recently, go ahead and keep your dog away from others pets, even if he doesn’t yet show symptoms. If your pet has contracted the virus, he will probably show symptoms very soon.

It also helps to have some pet insurance when you bring your sick dog into the vet’s office. Come see us at Pet Vet Hospitals and let us help you keep your pet in good health.

Starting the New Year with Your Pet

By | Pet Care | No Comments

A new year is on its way. Soon, people will begin preparing with hope for a year better than the last. In addition to the celebrations, they will begin preparing things like finances, and making health-related appointments for early in the year. Of course, your pets cannot do this for themselves. They need your help to be ready for everything the next year may throw at them. Start the new year with your pet in all the right ways.

Schedule a Checkup

Your pet nHappy New Year puppyeeds a doctor’s visit every year, just like you. And, just like you, when age comes, those visits might need to come twice a year. So, as you schedule your own doctor’s visits, go ahead and schedule that vet visit, too. If you get all this out of the way in the beginning of the year, you’ll be finished with it and won’t have to think about it again, hopefully, for the rest of the year.

Get Pet Insurance

Is your pet insured? You probably are, so why not your pet? Many of us put off getting pet insurance because we feel that we have time, but that incident that costs you a lot of money can happen at any time; it could happen tomorrow, in fact. Don’t put that off any longer. Make it your Christmas or Hanukkah gift to your pet. Or, if you know someone who needs it, give it as a gift to them. Helping someone take good care of their pet is always a good gift idea. That small monthly fee is nothing compared to what you could save should something happen in the coming year.

Start Saving

You have savings accounts for yourself, but do you consider your pet when you put money aside? Just like insurance, having some savings for your pet could be a great benefit for you. So, start saving this year. You don’t necessarily have to get a separate account, just add a little extra to whatever you already set aside for yourself. If you don’t use it by the end of the year, then the worst you have is some extra spending money for whatever you or your pet may need.

We can help you start the new year with your pet. Come see us a Pet Vet Hospitals.

The Cat that Marked the Couch: Cat Marking

By | Cats | No Comments

Has your cat marked the couch? That can be a disturbing thing to discover, as is that your cat has marked anything. The odor of cat marking is unpleasant and very hard to be rid of permanently. There are many, many sprays that claim to do the job, but even those don’t always work they way you hope. Plus, there is the added problem that once your cat has marked, stopping him from doing it again is sometimes a difficult job.

Why does my cat mark?

cat-649164_1920If a cat feels insecure about his place in the home, he may mark and area to make it feel more like it belongs to him. Other cats may cause this insecurity, but it is not uncommon for humans to be the cause. In some cases, finding the reason for your cat’s displays of dominance or insecurity isn’t simple.

How can I stop the marking?

One important thing you need to address your cat’s marking is patience. Another important thing is persistence. Figuring this out will take time and you will have to take the steps over and over again. If you’ve discovered that your cat is marking, determine all spots where this has happened. You can get an affordable black light and go through the house. Remember that not everything that shows up under black light is urine.

Take note of all the spots. In each spot, place something that already belongs to your cat. This includes bedding, food and water, toys, and anything that carries your cat’s scent. It is also a good idea to add another litter box to the house for your cat and place that in one of the spots, too.

It may take time, but with some persistence, your cat should recognize the spots as his and no longer feel the need to mark. It’s a good idea to check the house regularly in future for signs that the marking has started again.

If you’re struggling with cat marking, don’t give up. Call us at Pet Vet Hospitals if you need advice, or think it may be health-related.

Pet Safety During the Holidays

By | Pet Care | No Comments

The holidays can be great fun. So much that we sometimes forget to be safe. Our pets need help staying safe during the holidays, too. In all the excitement of decorations, food, people, and more, they don’t know how to sense and avoid dangers, and don’t know what poses dangers. Remember to practice pet safety during the holidays this season.

Christmas Tree Safety

pets-962215_1280Christmas trees are particularly tricky things when it comes to keeping your pets safe. A cat, in particular, is likely to be mesmerized by the tree and all its baubles. There are innumerable videos of cats wreaking havoc with the Christmas tree. Dogs are not immune to chewing on them, however. So, if you put up a tree, do your best to keep it blocked from your pets. Put it somewhere hard to reach and place the decorations too high for reaching paws.

Candles and Lights

Electric lights are a shock and fire hazard when they’re not used properly. If your pet gets into them, they could be deadly. Do what you can to keep those stringed lights out of sight and mind. If you light candles, keep them up and away from places where your pet can knock them over, too.

Gift Wrapping

While watching your pet play in the wrapping paper and string may look fun, your cat or dog could get tangled and trapped, not to mention make a mess of things. Do your gift wrapping somewhere away from your pets.

Poison Plants and Inedibles

Several of the common holiday plants—holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia—are poinsonous if ingested by your animals. If you use them, keep them well out of range. You may be eating a lot of special foods this holiday season, but remember that, no matter how good they may smell and taste, your pet doesn’t need them. Instead of giving your pet those rich scraps, get some special, pet-safe holiday treats.

No matter what or how you celebrate this season, we wish you the happiest of holidays and can’t wait to see your and your pet in the New Year at Pet Vet Hospitals.

Snuggle Your Pets this Season and Keep Them Warm

By | Pet Care | No Comments

Just as no one should ever leave their pet in a hot car, or exposed to extreme heat in general, pets should not be left in the cold, either. Yes, they have fur; but, this is not always enough to keep them safe and warm, particularly when the temperatures drop to freezing levels and your pet is outdoors.

Dog dressed with hat, scarf and sweaterThough it is more common for pet owners to have indoor pets, including dogs, there are still plenty of owners who prefer to let their pets roam the yard. Though you may have provided your outdoor dog with a house and beds, there is still plenty of exposure to the cold for him to endure. So, it’s important to have backup plans to keep your pets warm and safe.

Know the Temperature

Be mindful of temperature fluctuations. If the weather is cooling, get an idea of just how cold. Know at what temperatures your pet will be fine, when you need to put out more bedding, and when you need to consider bringing your pet indoors.

Have a Backup Plan

Weather can shift rather suddenly, and predictions are not always accurate. So, have some contingency plans. Outdoor pets are usually outdoors for a reason. If you can’t bring your pet into the house, consider setting him or her up in the garage. Of course, if the heat in your home isn’t functioning, then you may need to curl up with your pet so that you can both get warm together.

Also, if you’re not sure how much your pet can handle, talk to a vet. Some pets are better equipped to handle colder temperatures than others, and so you can set your rules according to their tolerance levels. Of course, it never hurts to be extra cautious and go with your instinct; if you feel that your pet might need that extra blanket, or to come inside, then go with your feelings.

Should you come across any problems or questions this winter, don’t hesitate to contact us at Pet Vet Hospitals.

Check Your Pet’s Poop

By | Pet Care | No Comments

cleaning up after a bad dog - english bulldog with spray bottle and spongeIt’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it: dealing with pet poop. Every pet owner knows the annoyance and disgust of dealing with a pet’s droppings. Dog owners take their dogs out and pick up after them. Sometimes, they pick it up off the floor in the home. Cat owners scoop it out of the litter box. Sometimes, people pay others to take care of it because it is such a gross hassle.

The fact is that it must be done. However, that disgusting pet’s poop could be more important than you think. There are many, many pet health concerns for which symptoms include changes in fecal matter. When vets run tests on pets, they often test the poop to check for abnormalities, or the make sure there are none.

When your pet has an upset stomach, for example, she or he may have a watery stool, or diarrhea. This loose stool may tell you a few things; if it is loose, but still brown, it may be a simple case that calls for some unsweetened pumpkin. If the poop is very, very watery and continues to be so, or there is blood, it may be more serious and in need of a trip to the vet.

Just a few of the diseases and infections your vet can detect in your pet’s fecal matter are:

  • Tapeworms
  • Parvo Virus
  • Roundworms
  • Salmonellosis
  • Other worm types
  • And more…

This is why city ordinances often demand that all pet owners pick up after their pets, or face fines if they fail to comply; many diseases found in poop can spread to humans. This potentially toxic waste can be a public safety hazard. So, never underestimate the power of your pet’s poop.

Remember to take a quick look at your pet’s poop. It could tell you something about your dog or cat’s health. If you see something amiss, talk to us at Pet Vet Hospitals.

Continue Heartworm Prevention in Fall and Winter

By | Pet Care | No Comments

It’s often a relief when the mosquitoes seem to be fewer in numbers. The weather is cooling steadily and mosquitoes are less of a problem in many places. While it is a nice change, it does not mean that the threats these bugs carry are gone entirely.

labrador-380800_1920If you’re tempted to take a break from your pet’s heartworm prevention, don’t.

The fact remains that heartworms are still a very real possibility for your pet, even in fall and winter. First, it can take months for heartworm symptoms to appear in your pet. Thus, your pet could still be fighting that infection as you enter in the fall season and you may not know. It is best for your pet to continue the standard preventative treatment throughout, just in case.

Additionally, all it takes for your dog, or cat to contract heartworms is one single bite from one stray mosquito. Since mosquitoes do not disappear entirely during the cooler seasons, there is still risk. If you live in a place like Houston, you know that winter does not always bring that incredibly cold weather. While you may be able to leave that mosquito spray at home the next time you go out, your pet needs your help with protection. An outdoor dog, in particular, needs some extra help.

The best methods for preventing heartworms from hurting your pet are prevention and attention. Prevention, of course, it giving your pet the regular medication all year long, no matter the season. Attention is knowing the signs of a heartworm infection and seeking help immediately. With these two keys, you can prevent and control heartworms for your pet’s sake.

If your pet needs heartworm prevention, come see us at Pet Vet Hospitals. Don’t let the signs of an infection get past you, either. The moment you notice something may be wrong, bring your pet in to us.