The Dangers of Hot Cars for Pets

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We all know that we shouldn’t leave our pets in cars, particularly when it’s hot. We hear it all the time, see local news reports on it. There are plenty of excuses for doing it, but they are not truly good ones. We know that it can harm them, but how much do you know about why it’s harmful?

Too many pets still die from heat exhaustion in cars because people still don’t take the warnings seriously. They may think, “It’s all exaggerated,” or, “I have the windows down and I won’t be gone long.” The risks, however, are too great to convince yourself it’s okay.

dog-237187_1280The temperature in your car rises incredibly fast. It can go from 80 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees in a matter of ten minutes, and upward from there. And, don’t be fooled by the fact that your pet is shaded by the car; the temperature can reach a level well above that outside the car, and rolling down the windows helps little, to not at all. This means that even if the temperature outside seems reasonable, the car could still become too much for your pet. This puts your pet at risk not only of heatstroke, but heart attack and dehydration, as well. Additionally, your pet could suffocate in a hot, closed car.

Even if you are merely running into a store for one single item, finding the item, a long checkout line, and other things could prevent you from returning in time. Your dog may panic and make the situation even worse. Plenty of incidents could happen to exacerbate the circumstances.

We want only the best for your pets at Pet Vet Animal Hospital. Always do what you know is right for them, and if they need care, call us and let us help you and your furry family member.

Hot Cats: Cool Them Off in Summer

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cat-649164_1920The summer heat can be stifling for everyone, your cat included. Your poor cat is covered in fur and has few options to keep cool—just shade, a cool floor, and water. You can help your cat stay cool this summer, and prevent potentially dangerous, heat-related problems.

Water, Water, Everywhere

Make sure your cat has plenty of water, and offer chilled water sometimes, or place some ice in the bowl. Staying hydrated is very important and the cold water will add some heat relief to that hydration. Refresh the water regularly. You can even offer your cat frozen treats.

Lounge in the Shade

Your cat probably has favorite spots. Make those spots a little better in terms of temperature by shading it, especially if it is outside. Add a fan to the room, or point it at the area. Your cat will seek hard, cold floors when he’s feeling warm, so make sure those areas are kept cool. You can even buy cat cooling beds and pads to help; these are particularly useful if your air conditioner or electricity fails and you are out of options.

Lazy Days

Avoid the outdoors. If your cat is purely an indoor cat, this may not be an issue. However, if your cat is accustomed to an open window as “cat TV,” it is best to close the window and avoid the incoming heat. An indoor/outdoor cat should stay indoors as much as possible. If your cat is crying to get out, try to distract him with a toy or treat, and lift the window shades instead.

There are plenty of ways to prevent heatstroke and other related problems this summer. You and your cat can enjoy the summer together and stay cool. If your cat is showing signs of heat-related distress, call us at Pet Vet Hospitals and let us help.

Home and Hospice

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cat, cats, petsMost of us have to wait anxiously at some point while our beloved pet goes through surgery. It may be merely a routine spaying or neutering, or something more serious. It feels great to know everything went well and that your pet is healing. Then, it’s your turn to make certain the healing continues. Your vet will let you know what to do in order to take care of your recuperating cat, dog, or other pet. Whatever needs to be done, your vet and technicians can help.

Your pet may need to spend more time recuperating at the clinic. Once home, if your pet was under anesthesia, she may still be drowsy. Try to keep your pet calm in a quiet, comfortable place. Avoid strenuous play time, and settle for comforting down time. Your vet may want you to be more strict about this and place your pet in a carrier, or some other container to prevent movement. You can make this comfortable for her, though she may resist at first. Make sure there is proper food, water, and a way for your pet to relieve herself.

Your dog or cat may need to urinate or defecate more often as a result of fluids, or medications. If you need to restrict activity, only let them out when necessary. There may be food restrictions, as well. Follow your vet’s feeding advice carefully. It may mean less food, more water, or a special type of food. Also follow the medication administration to the letter.

Keep a watchful eye on stitches and wounds. Noticeable heat, discharge, or odors are potential problems and should be reported to your vet. Ask your vet if you may keep the area clean with a gentle swab of disinfectant from time to time. If a chew collar was given to you, make sure it stays on, as some pets will try their hardest to remove it.

It’s always a little stressful when your pet undergoes surgery and is healing. At Pet Vet Hospitals, we do everything we can to make sure your pet gets back up and playing as soon as possible.

Healthy Heart: Heartworms and Your Pet

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bulldog lying down pantingWe all know that heartworms are a possibility for our pets. How much do we know, however, about what we’re trying to prevent in our pets?

Heartworms are caused by Dirofilaria immitis, a type of roundworm. These worms are spread via mosquitoes carrying the larvae. Humid, tropical areas and any outdoor time may put dogs and other pets at risk. These worms make their way through the body to the heart and lungs. The process can take time, and so symptoms may not appear until long after infection. Infections can be mild or severe, and are more likely in some states in comparison to others. This rather common problem is preventable and treatable.

There are levels of infestation. Class I is very mild and may present no symptoms, or little more than a cough, while Class II pets will cough and be sluggish. Severe cases present with sluggishness, anemia, fainting, and heart failure. If your vet thinks that heartworms might be present in your dog or pet, she will look for heart problems with an electrocardiograph. She may also test urine, perform X-rays, and more.

If a dog is infected, he will need hospitalization and treatment to kill the infection. You may also have to administer monthly treatments at home. If the worms have grown significantly, then surgery may be necessary to extract the worms.

When recovering, your pet should be inactive to prevent strain on the heart. A special diet may be necessary, too. He will need regular testing to make certain the problem is dissipating, and not recurring; re-infestation, or resistant infestation is a possibility, particularly for older dogs.

The first step to dealing with heartworms is to prevent them. Regular, monthly medication should be administered to prevent infestation from beginning. You can even purchase prevention medication that is also your regular flea prevention, all in one treatment. To find out what is best for your pet, contact us as Pet Vet Animal Hospitals today.

 

Safe this Summer with Your Pet

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Get your pet flee protection today.Summer fun is upon us. Pools are opening, children are out of school, and vacations have begun. Your pet wants to enjoy this time with you, too. So, as you play it safe with your family and friends this summer, do the same with your pet.

Keep it Cool

Heatstroke is a very real possibility. When you take your dog outside, make sure there is plenty of water nearby to help keep him cool. Don’t stay in the sun too long with him, either. If your dog has light fur and skin, some sunscreen may be a good idea, too. Talk to your vet about sunscreen for pets.

Never, ever leave your animal in a hot car, even with the windows down. Make sure your indoor pet has ways to keep cool, too. If you’re comfortable, you pet will mostly likely be, too, but watch for signs of overheating, just in case. If your pet is panting excessively, unstable, or drinking excessively, do what it takes to cool him down, or take him to the vet.

Protection

It’s important to maintain your pet’s vaccinations and medications all year ‘round, summer included. The hot months often mean time outdoors where the fleas and mosquitoes wait. These pests can make their way indoors, too. Protect all your pets from fleas, mosquitoes and heartworms, and any other prevention that your vet may recommend.

Keep your dog on a leash anywhere without fences, and with other dogs. Keep your eye on all your pets. Watch for potential predators or any accidents, such as those during swimming, that may occur.

At Pet Vet Hospitals, we want our clients happy and healthy so that they can enjoy every moment with you, their friend. Come see us and let us make certain that your pet is safe and ready for a fantastic summer with you.

Hurricane Pets

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dog-237187_1280Our hurricane season has begun. If you live near the coast, you are probably familiar with emergency planning for your home, neighborhood, and city. You, your house, and your escape plan aren’t the only things of which to think. Your pets should be part of your plans, as well. Though weather services track weather patterns that may result in hurricanes for some time, things can still happen quite suddenly.

Whatever you need to travel safely and comfortably with your pet, have it ready. Set the items (carrier, etc.) where you can get to them easily and quickly. Keep some extra food and emergency kit items ready for travel, just as you would for yourself, and know where pets fit into your vehicle with your other essentials so you can load fast.

Keep up with all vaccinations and healthcare, and microchip your pet. In emergency situations, you never know where you and your pet may end up. If you board your pet during an emergency, they will need the up-to-date information. If your pet is separated from you, you want anyone who finds him to know he’s vaccinated and safe to handle, and how to get in touch with you, and you want to be able to find him. It’s best to keep ID tags on regularly, but in case your pet does not wear a collar at all times, keep it and the tags ready.

Finally, one of the most important things you can do is be calm. Whether you stay in and ride out the storm, or you leave town, prepare for your pet as much as you prepare for yourself. At Pet Vet Hospitals, we’re accustomed to hurricane emergency planning, and we can help you make certain your pet is healthy, up-to-date on all vaccinations, and ready to be safe with you during hurricane season.

The Importance of Spaying and Neutering 

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cat-and-dog-775116_1920There simply aren’t enough homes in the world for all the pets; it’s a constant battle to prevent overcrowded shelters, kill shelters, puppy and kitten mills, and help the homeless pet population. One proven way to help, even slightly, is by spaying and neutering your pets.

Breeding pets may seem like a nice idea, particularly since people are willing to pay good money for a purebred animal. However, this only adds to an already-overflowing amount of pets who need homes, and runs the risk of adding to the homeless pet population. Even if you don’t plan to breed your pet, accidental pregnancy is still a possibility, leaving you with more animals for which to care than you planned.

A spayed female will never go into heat, and may live longer, too. Spaying even helps prevent cancer and tumors, and urinary infections. In males, neutering may prevent testicular and prostate issues, and even behavioral problem, like marking, mounting, and aggression.

Spaying and neutering are not as expensive as you might think, particularly considering the overall benefits. Dogs are usually spayed or neutered before they’ve reached a year in age, perhaps even at 6 months or younger. Kittens may have the procedures as young as a couple of months. In fact, if you adopt a pet you may find that the procedure has already been performed; many shelters and adoption agencies require that the procedure be performed prior to adoption, and include it in the adoption fees.

Your vet can determine at what age your pet should be spayed or neutered. At Pet Vet Hospitals, we offer low cost spaying and neutering as part of our commitment to the humane control of animal homelessness and overpopulation. We do our best to do an excellent job of the procedures at a cost that every owner can afford. We highly recommend doing this for your pet, so call us today.

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

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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

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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.