Late in Life Health and Your Dog 

By | Caring for your dog | No Comments

Old labrador retriever.Dogs are not just a fifteen-or-so-year commitment; a true canine companion remains with you for a lifetime. There will come a time, however, when they must age. Though we can’t stop the death of your pet, we can help keep them as healthy as possible, for as long as possible.

As your dog ages, it becomes more and more important to have them examined regularly, and take preventative measures for their health. It’s also essential to watch out for some common issues in elderly dogs:

Arthritis: Like humans, dog joints wear over time. Canine arthritis is not uncommon in older dogs. When it hits, your dog may slow down, be less-than-willing to climb stairs, and may not walk as long.

Weight Gain: As dogs mature, they become less energetic, and their metabolisms slow. This makes it more difficult to keep them at a healthy weight, and they may easily gain too much of it. It’s important to check with your vet about feeding habits to prevent this problem, which can cause others.

Heart Disease: Old age can bring on heart problems, which can lead to congestive heart failure. Sometimes it’s caused by other factors, and sometimes it just comes with age. Know the signs.

Diabetes: Diabetes Mellitus is a disease of the pancreas; your dog becomes unable to process glucose and insulin as he once did. He may show similar signs as a human with diabetes, such as increased thirst, appetite, and urination. The treatment for this is regular insulin shots and a change in diet.

Dental Disease: Your dog’s teeth and gums will wear with time. It may become harder for him to chew as he once did, and he will be more susceptible to tooth and gum diseases. Keep your pet’s teeth healthy from day one, and have them cleaned by a vet regularly.

All these things are more are risks to your dog as he ages. At Pet Vet Hospitals, we perform regular exams of all dogs, including the elderly—ages seven and older. We highly recommend our 7th Year Geriatric Health Check for your aging dog, and regular screenings after that.

Canine Noise Aversion and the 4th of July: SILEO Treatment

By | Pet Care | No Comments

Happy dog playing outside and carrying the American flagMost of us are familiar with anxiety in dogs. It is not uncommon for dogs to fear people, other pets, separation from their owners, and, of course, noises. Many dogs cower in reaction to loud sounds like those made by fireworks on the 4th of July, or thunderstorms all summer long. This fear is known as canine noise aversion, noise anxiety, or noise sensitivity. Some dogs have mild cases that are no real cause for concern. Others, however, can develop more severe versions of this phobia. Unfortunately, because it’s so common to see the occasional dog hide under the picnic table at Independence Day parties, many dogs go untreated. Now, however, owners and veterinarians who are concerned about the level of anxiety have a medical treatment option that may help.

SILEO® (dexmedetomidine oromucosal gel) is a new treatment for canine noise aversion, and the first and only one to be approved by the FDA. The medication includes a mild sedative to help keep your dog calm. However, the sedative should not make a dog drowsy, he should still be able to function normally and, of course, be less concerned with the loud pops and cracks of firework celebrations, thunderstorms, or other problematic noises.

In fact, SILEO studies were conducted utilizing a specific sound as the stimulating noise: fireworks. Dose amounts and frequency, timing, and reactions were all monitored and recorded over time. The dogs’ owners monitored any changes in their pets’ anxiety. These studies revealed that SILEO had an overall positive outcome for dogs with noise aversion.

The prescription drug is a gel and at-home administration is a very simple process; the owner rubs the gel on the dog’s gums. SILEO is designed to be given by the owner after learning how to do so from a vet. If possible, it should be given before the dog shows signs of anxiety—about a half-hour or hour—or immediately after the dog becomes anxious. Extra doses are possible, but there is a limit, and, as with any drug, there are risks; a vet can go through these with the owner.

If you believe your dog suffers from noise-related anxiety and may have a difficult time during the coming 4th of July celebrations, call us at Pet Vet Animal Hospitals and talk to us about SILEO. We can discuss the treatment with you in detail, and help you determine if this is the right choice for you and your friend so you both can have the happiest holiday.

Early Days: Kitten Care

By | Cats | No Comments

beautiful small kittenEarly Days: Kitten Care

Your new ball of hyperactive fur is undoubtedly as adorable as you think she is. You may be ready to take your new fur-baby home and play, but she’s going to need you to do much more than that. Your baby needs your help to adjust to her new home, and grow up healthy and happy.

The First Few Days or Weeks:

Bonding

Kittens are generally several weeks old before going home, and unless they were unfortunate enough to lose their mother, they may have had more time with other kittens than humans. When you first choose your kitten, she may seem friendly. Once you get her home, however, she may seem skittish and react badly. Do not be upset by this. Give your fur-baby some space to adjust. Continue gently encouraging her with food and toys, but don’t overdo it. She’ll likely come out in time and let you know when she’s ready to play and cuddle.

Food

Your kitten needs to begin with the right kind of food. Hopefully, you don’t have to worry about bottle feeding, and your little one is ready to eat kitten food. You can always talk to your vet about the best food, but make sure you choose something with plenty of calories and fats, and other essentials for growing kittens.

Behavior

Your kitten may already have some litterbox experience, and most are naturally inclined to bury their waste. However, it may take time a patience as your little one adjusts. She may go outside the box, or play in the litter. Put the litterbox where she can easily find it, and don’t get upset or punish her if she doesn’t do as you hope. Try using a different type of litter, or box, or move the box to the spot on which she seems to prefer.

Your excitement is not unfounded; you are likely in for a long, loving, fun future with your new fur-baby. Don’t forget to contact us at Pet Vet Hospitals and let us examine your new kitten to help you keep her in the best of health, now and in the future.

The Lost and Found: Pet Microchipping 

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cat-71494_1280Every year, millions of pets go missing. Sometimes they run off and get lost or injured, sometimes they’re stolen, or worse. Even if these dogs make their way to shelters, there’s no guarantee that owners will ever see them again. All this leaves owners troubled at minimum, but more often devastated and heartbroken. Microchipping can help change all of this.

Since microchipping was implemented, studies have shown that shelters report significant increases in animal returns to owners. This tiny, high-tech, harmless little chip can prevent danger to your pet and pain in your heart. With the help of databases and the internet, recovering a lost pet is easier than ever.

This little device also helps reduce overcrowding at animals shelters. Not all lost animals make it to shelters, and those that do don’t always make it home. Since the introduction of the microchip, more shelter pets have been returned to their loving homes, significantly decreasing the chances of life at a shelter, or worse, death at a shelter.

For these reasons and more, veterinarians highly recommend microchipping. In fact, many shelters have begun having all pets microchipped by a vet, prior to adoption, as part of the animal’s health exam and vaccinations package, which is typically included in the adoption fees. In addition to returning pets and keeping families happy, reducing the number of homeless pets, and lessening the pressure on shelters, microchipping means fewer pets with diseases. The longer pets are lost, the higher are their chances of getting sick or injured, and some of them may never see a vet in time.

At Pet Vet Animal Hospitals, we utilize this state-of-the art technology and implant microchips for our clients’ health and safety. It’s quick, easy, and not painful at all. If your pet is not microchipped, please come in and have it done today for your pet’s future.

Your Pet’s Pearly Whites: Teeth Care

By | Pet Care | No Comments

Dog toothbrushPet owners know that they need to help their pets maintain healthy teeth. However, too often they fall behind on teeth cleaning because they don’t consider it a priority. Dental health is more important than you think. Your pet’s mouth should be checked as regularly as its overall health, and you should take steps to maintain it throughout the year.

Once a year, let your vet, or a veterinary dentist whom your vet recommends, to perform an oral exam. During this exam, your vet will evaluate your pet’s teeth and gums, take x-rays if necessary, scale and polish to remove plaque and tartar, and other things similar to what your dentist does for you.

If your dog or cat has bad breath, discolored or broken teeth, signs of pain or bleeding at the mouth, or any strange oral-related things, see your vet. Even something that seems minor can quickly become major. Not attending to dental problems in a pet can lead to:

  • Infection
  • Brittle, Decaying, and Broken Teeth
  • Misalignment
  • Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is fairly common, and all of these problems, and more, are possible. You can help prevent these issues with at-home measures. Believe it or not, you can brush your pet’s teeth at home, just as you brush your own. They may not make it easy, but you can do it with some patience, and there are even flavored pastes to make it easier. There are also chews to help your pet’s teeth. To choose the most effective, talk to your vet. She or he may recommend a particular brand for your pet, or a specific diet and brand of food.

Talk to your vet and learn more about dental health, specifically your pet’s. Don’t waste any more time ignoring your pet’s teeth. If you want advice, we can answer your questions at Pet Vet Animal Hospitals.

Shelter vs. Home: What to Consider when Adopting a Shelter Pet

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dogs people connection adoption

 

 

 

 

 

Getting a new pet is exciting. However, it’s important to remember that being ready to truly love an animal and making it part of your family may mean some extra work. It’s a misconception that adopting from a shelter means adopting a problem pet; but being left in a shelter can be painful for an animal, and they need some extra love and care.

Behavior

Pets are left at shelters for many reasons, the most common being:

  • Owners moved to an apartment that doesn’t allow pets.
  • Pet grew and the owner could no longer take care of it.
  • Owner discovers he or she has an allergy.
  • Divorce, breakups, and other personal problems.

Often, the pet’s behavior has nothing to do with being left. However, it is a huge adjustment to make, being left at a shelter, particularly for an older pet. Then, being adopted and adjusting to a new home and people is yet another big change. If you’re considering adoption, remember that it may take some time for your pet to grow accustomed to you and surroundings. She or he may show anxiety through bodily functions, chewing, howling and crying, or more. Your vet can help you figure out how to deal with this behavior, and let you know what to do if it doesn’t improve.

Costs

Many shelters have low adoptions fees. While it’s not the same as getting a free pet, you are paying for basic services that may cost you more if you paid a vet directly, and you know you are getting a pet that needs a good home. However, it’s important to remember that these fees may not cover everything, and you may need to take your pet in for a checkup immediately. Shelters cannot always provide all vaccines and procedures, so you may be in for some extra costs.

It is entirely worth it, though. You’ll still pay less than you would for a free pet, and many shelters work with local vets to offer you a special deal on checkups and any issues found at the first visit.

If you’re considering adopting a shelter pet, you’re on the right track for pet ownership. Though shelter pets sometimes take more adjustment time, and you may still need to shoulder some costs, your pet will help make your house a home in return. Let us at Pet Vet Hospitals help you and your pet get ready for a new life together.

It’s Getting Hot in Here: Pets and Heatstroke

By | Pet Care | No Comments

Things are heating up and summer will be here soon. While your pets have fur to protect them when it’s cold, the heat is a different story. Make sure that your pets don’t suffer in the summer sun.

bulldog lying down pantingHeatstroke can be the result of any circumstance in which a dog or cat is exposed to too much heat for too long. Leaving an animal in a hot car is always a risk. But, if your air conditioning is out, your dog has been playing outdoors in hot weather, or your cat has been out on the porch too long, heatstroke is a real possibility. The older your animals grow, the more susceptible they are to the issue.

Dogs and cats react to heat differently than people. Dogs deal with heat by panting and they sweat through their feet. Cats also sweat through their foot pads. If overheating is not dealt with quickly in either pet, the results can be dangerous, and even deadly. It’s important to know the signs.
Dogs usually show symptoms via excessive panting. They may breath erratically and collapse. Cats may be restless, desperate to find a cool place to relax; they may also pant and breathe erratically, and collapse.

If you recognize the possibility of heatstroke in your pet, you can perform one of the following actions:

  • Check their temperature immediately, and continually.
  • Place your pet in cool water, but make sure it is not too cold. You want to reduce their temperature gently. Briefly place something frozen on their belly and between their legs.
  • Try to get your pet to drink water.
  • If their symptoms do not slow or cease, see your vet immediately.

If your pet is too far gone, a vet can administer fluids intravenously. This will provide more than your pet will gain from drinking water. Your vet will also need to check for other problems, such as kidney failure, blood pressure, and neurological problems.

Always exercise caution; you can protect your pet from heatstroke. If your pet should  need help, however, we can help you at Pet Vet Hospitals.

Don’t Mess with Mosquitoes: Protect Your Dog

By | Dogs | No Comments

You and your dog will soon be ready for summertime fun. We’re all concerned about mosquitoes, particularly in reaction to the recent spread of the Zika virus. However, as you coat yourself with protection against pesky mosquitoes, don’t forget to protect your dog from them as well.

Summer means a high season for fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, and they carry dangers for everyone, including your dog. The grass and foliage can sometimes make dog owners feel wary, even when they take precautions. But, it’s not good for your dog to stay indoors at all times, so here are some ways to help ease your mind.

Get your pet flee protection today.Ask the Vet: Your vet will let you know what prevention is best for your dog. Vets know what brands protect better against mosquitoes, particularly the heartworms they can spread. Sure, you can sometimes find over-the-counter meds that claim to protect against mosquitoes, but that simply may not cover it. Also, do not use human repellents on dogs. There are flea and tick medications that double as heartworm prevention, which is the number one reason we protect dogs against mosquitoes.

Avoid Stagnant Water: Old, still waters attract mosquitoes; they’re a veritable playground. Try to avoid them, and definitely avoid allowing water to stagnate around your home. If you live in a moist climate, take preventative actions; do research on ways to help create a barrier around your home.

Defend Your Home: Mosquitoes are not often found in your home, but they can make their way there. Watch your doorways and windows. Repair tears and hold in screens, and patch up gaps to the outside world. These are also places to put outdoor prevention tools.

Don’t let the possibility of mosquitoes ruin your dog’s outdoor playtime. Just be as safe as you can, and then relax and enjoy all that summer has to offer. Come talk to us at Pet Vet Animal Hospitals for more information on how to protect your dog.

Indoor Cats, Outdoor Issues

By | Cats | No Comments

Most of our cats are indoor cats because we feel that’s safest for them. It’s important to remember, however, that even indoor cats need a little extra protection from problems commonly associated with the outdoors.

Parasites: Parasites are common enough problems, even for indoor cats. Parasites come in many forms, including fleas and various worms. Indoor cats can still get fleas rather easily, and thus tapeworms become a potential problem, too. If a mosquito makes its way into your home, your cat could also contract heartworms. It’s important to keep your cat updated on all prevention medications, even if she is lone, indoor cat.

cat-649164_1920Plants: Sometimes we bring plants into the home, and usually, when we think of the issues involved with cats and plants, we think of how to keep cats from tearing them apart or knocking them over. However, even somewhat common houseplants can pose a risk: poison. There are hundreds of different plants that can be toxic to pets, including types of lilies, heartleaf philodendron, certain ferns, and more. So, be sure to consider your cat before you add greenery to your home.

Other Cats: Other cats pose a risk outdoors; feral cats are at much higher risk for disease and can be vicious, and even outdoor cats with a caring owner can carry these problems. However, that doesn’t mean that two indoor cats who live together and appear to get along are completely safe. Together, they can get into all sorts of trouble, including fights that result in injuries, passing fleas and illness between one another, and more. Two can be better than one, but it does mean a little extra work to keep them healthy and happy.

Many people argue in favor of keeping cats as purely indoor pets for many reasons; it’s estimated that they’ll be safer and live much longer. Just remember to be prepared for outdoor problems that may make their way indoors, too.  Contact Pet Vet Animal Hospitals today to find out how we can help.

Playtime Safety for Your Dog

By | Dogs | No Comments

Regular walks and social time outdoors are healthy for your dog. As you prepare to enjoy the weather with your friend, there are some things of which you should be aware before heading outdoors. Whatever your plans, here are some things to remember as you get ready to play.

The Open Road: On the way to play, a dog with its head out the window, or in the bed of a truck, tongue and ears waving in the breeze, and nose sniffing the air seems like a normal, happy picture. However, even if your dog is buckled in, this can be rather dangerous. Sudden stops and starts can throw your dog around, or out of the vehicle. The dog may also hit her or his head on something outside, or suffer heatstroke from the sun. Buckle your canine in, safe and comfy, and completely inside the car.

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Keep Watch: Whether your dog is on the leash, or off it at the dog park, keep a weather eye open for trouble. Dogs are adept at chewing, but they can still choke on things, so be aware of what yours picks up. Plants can also be a poisonous problem if your dog eats the wrong one. Even the best of dogs can find trouble on their own, or with other dogs. Do what you can to watch and avoid a trip to the emergency vet.

Keep a Firm Hold: Your dog’s collar, harness, and leash are essential accessories, especially if you live in the city. Make sure your dog’s accouterments are in good shape and holding. A broken leash or collar at the wrong moment could result in many unpleasant circumstances on which we prefer not to think. Don’t make things too tight, however. You don’t want your dog to be in pain or develop skin irritation. Also, make sure that your pet has an ID, is micro-chipped, and have its rabies vaccine tag on the collar, or at the ready.

Safety is necessary, but it doesn’t have to spoil the fun. Just make safety a habit and enjoy the healthy, outdoor fun with your furry friend. For help keeping your dog healthy, contact us at Pet Vet Animal Hospitals.