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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.

Never Forget the Importance of Microchipping

By | Pet Care | No Comments

In the wake of recent hurricanes, homes and lives have been left in disarray. This is true of both humans and animals. Owners were separated from their beloved pets during the chaos and some pets were simply left behind to survive on their own. The stories are saddening. They are also why microchipping exists.

man saves his dog from a floodReuniting Pets and Their Families

Fortunately, there are many trying to make the best of terrible situations. Volunteers have traveled from across the country to the cities hit hardest to aid both humans and animals affected by these natural disasters. Some have gone to help find these animals, rescue them, and provide them with temporary shelters. Vets have gone to offer medical care. And, of course, there are efforts to reunite these pets with their owners. If the latter isn’t possible, these volunteers try to find new homes for the animals.

Of course, a great deal of the problems associated with losing a pet are made much better through microchipping. In fact, some cities and states require that all adoptable pets be microchipped. The tiny microchips that are implanted under a pet’s skin are not only safe for the pet in the long-term, they’re a great safety measure overall. They help ensure that you’ll be reunited with your pet under such circumstances as a natural disaster. They also help prevent your pet from being lost in general, taken, and reduce the chances of something terrible happening, in general. A vet, or person at a shelter can have the chip scanned. You can also perform a search using your pet’s chip ID number. As long as the information is valid, you can be reunited with your pet.

Microchipping has the potential to save you and your pet a great deal of trouble and pain. In addition to your pet’s regular vaccinations and checkups, have your pet microchipped, if he or she is not already. Talk to you vet about how. Make sure to take care of the information, too, in case anything happens. At Pet Vet Hospitals, we hate to see families and their pets torn apart. Take precautions with microchipping.

(Archive) Happy Safe Halloween with Your Pets

By | Pet Care | No Comments

beagle in pumpkinHalloween is fast approaching, and most people are gearing up to get the decorations ready, and plan the parties and trick-or-treating. Among the many amusing things people do on Halloween—and through October in general—is dress up their animals and take them out as part of the fun. As always, when you take your pet anywhere with your or engage in activity, be aware of ways to keep safe.

Candy is for People

Keep the candy away from your pets. It’s pretty common knowledge that one of the most popular types of candy—chocolate—is bad for dogs and cats. Many candies also contain artificial sweeteners that are poisonous, like xylitol. Plus, all that sugar in general isn’t good for your pet’s health.

Watch out for other trick ‘r treaters.

Just because you think your pet is adorable doesn’t mean others will be so appreciative. Halloween is also notorious for tricksters, and even some not-so-fun mayhem. Plus, you never know how your pet will react to all of the excitement. Keep a watchful eye on your pets and those with whom they come into contact to avoid incidents, and make sure they have all of their ID tags on them.

Remember fire safety.

Those lit pumpkins are creative and spooky, but remember that they can be a fire hazard. Never leave your pet alone with lit pumpkins and other lit objects. And, remember to extinguish them before you leave for a long period, or go to bed. Also, remember that pets sometimes get excited and chew on new things, like decoration cords and lights. So, be cautious as you decorate for Halloween and keep those lights out of your pets’ reach.

Don’t force the costume.

Some pets simply don’t like being dressed in costumes, and it’s not fair to force them. You wouldn’t want someone force-dressing you, so don’t put your pets through that. If they’re fighting the costume, let them win.

We’re here for you and your pet on Halloween, and any other time of the year. Enjoy the holiday, and remember to play it safe.

Remember Your Pet’s Yearly Checkup

By | Pet Care | No Comments

Houston Vet with DogAs we enter the fall season, we’re quickly reminded that winter is not far behind. Even as the Halloween items begin to sell, Christmas products are already appearing on the shelves. Thus, even though there is still time before the end of the year and the beginning of the next, it’s a great time to think about your pet’s health and yearly checkup.

In fact, it’s always a great time to think of your pet’s health.

All pets should see the vet at least once a year. This yearly visit allows your vet to assess your pet’s overall health. She’ll conduct a basic exam for any outward signs of physical problems and may recommend, or even insist upon some x-rays to check for interior issues. The latter is particularly true if your pet is older.

In fact, if your pet is aging, more than one visit yearly may be necessary. As your pet grows older, problems can appear more often. There may also be unseen problems that develop slowly, but must be caught quickly; the only way to do so is make certain that your pet sees the vet often enough to find them before they become deadly.

Consider insurance to help pay for these checkups.

Of course, many pet owners avoid regular vet visits due to costs. You can, however, reduce these costs by investing in pet insurance. With many carriers, you can pay less for checkups, and even get a single, yearly one completely covered. You’ll also save on the costs of major procedures and common medication. It is well-worth the monthly fee.

As fall progresses and winter approaches, start thinking of that next vet visit. When you’re ready, bring your pet into Pet Vet Hospitals. Let us make sure your pet’s next year goes just as well, or even better.