Category Archives: Pet Care

Be Ready with Your Pets This Hurricane Season

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man saves his dog from a floodWith the arrival of Tropical Storm Cindy comes a reminder of the dangers that a yearly hurricane season brings. Though this season began on June 1st, it is never too soon to begin planning for this time each year, particularly if you live near the coast.

Things can occur suddenly. As you prepare yourself, your home, and other details, consider your pets. They should be a part of your plans to evacuate, or stay inside and wait out the storm. Make sure you have all travel necessities ready. If your pet needs a crate or carrier, keep it where you have easy access in a hurry. Purchase some extra pet food and other items. You can even plan for how you will pack your car so that you can do it fast.

Make sure that all vaccinations are up-to-date, as well as any other health-related details. If you have to board your pet, or you have to stay in a hotel, you will probably need evidence of your pet’s vaccines. Plus, terrible storms can cause all sorts of unexpected circumstances, like sudden separation. If you lose your pet, you want to be able to find him or her again easily. So, make sure that your pets are microchipped. Keep ID tags on your pet, or within easy reach, too.

At Pet Vet Hospitals, we cannot stress the importance of taking these precautions enough. Because of this, we are offering a discount of $5 off our microchipping procedure. All you need to do is make an appointment and mention this blog when you do so.  Pet Vet Hospitals also offers certificates as evidence of your pet’s vaccinations; these should be kept on hand with other vital information in case you need them.

Stay safe this hurricane season.

Potential Canine Flu Outbreak Means It’s Time for Vaccinations

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Vet using technologyAt Pet Vet Animal Hospitals, we know you trust us to protect your pets and we take that responsibility very seriously. As such, we feel it necessary to make you, the local dog community and dog lovers, aware of a potential life threatening, yet preventable, virus threatening your pet in our area.

During the past few years there have been outbreaks of a severe new flu virus in dogs called Canine Influenza Virus (CIV). To date, the outbreaks have primarily been in Chicago and the South East United States, including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Louisiana, with North Carolina recording two deaths.  This virus is migrating west–toward us.

The Houston area has had two confirmed cases of CIV in the past month.  While this does not constitute an epidemic, it is serious enough that our doctors want to address the issue before it becomes one.

This virus is especially dangerous because a sick dog can be contagious for up to four days before showing symptoms. Twenty percent of infected dogs show no symptoms at all, but can still spread the virus to others for up to a month. Simply avoiding other dogs that appear sick does not offer any protection from this virus.

Symptoms of CIV can be high fever, coughing, sneezing, nasal and ocular discharge, lethargy, and loss of appetite. There are two strains of the disease: H3N8 and H3N2. Depending on the strain a dog contracts, it may need to be treated and isolated up to four weeks. The mortality rate is below 10%.

Prevention is the best way to avoid an epidemic in our community.  There is now a vaccination that is available to protect dogs from both the H3N8 and the H3N2 strains of CIV. An initial vaccine is followed in three weeks by a second booster. Both are required for proper immunity. Pet Vet Animal Hospitals and the manufacturer of the vaccine are confident of its efficacy.  Should a dog contract the virus after proper vaccination, the manufacture will cover treatment at no charge to our clients.

Ideally, all dogs should be vaccinated against CIV, however, some dogs are at a higher risk.  Pet Vet feels that it is imperative these “High Risk Dogs” be properly protected by the vaccine.

Your dog is at High Risk if they go to:

  • Day Care
  • Boarding
  • Grooming
  • Dog Parks
  • Dog Shows
  • Dog Friendly Shops and Hotels
  • Anywhere large numbers of other dogs gather.

Just as in humans’ cases, older dogs and dogs with chronic diseases should also be vaccinated since they cannot fight off the effects of the disease. Many boarding facilities now require vaccination against CIV to be admitted.  This is especially important if your family is considering boarding your dog while on a summer vacation. Keep in mind that you have to wait three weeks from the first vaccination until you receive the booster vaccine for full protection.  Plan ahead.

Bottom line, no one can predict if Houston will have an outbreak or an epidemic.  Thankfully, we have not so far, but we cannot predict if or when our luck might run out. It is everyone’s responsibility to protect our pets and the pet-loving community we share. The best way to do this is to prevent the spread of this dangerous virus simply by vaccinating your dog as soon as possible.  If you have any questions regarding CIV, vaccination protocol, or you would like to make an appointment, please call us today at (281) 879-PETS.  Pet Vet Hospitals is here to protect and care for your pets!

Fostering a Pet

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dogs people connection adoptionIf you’re an animal lover with a strong need to care for pets, you may have considered fostering them. Becoming a foster parent to a pet is a wonderful and challenging undertaking. Pet fostering exists because there are simply more pets than there are homes and shelters are overflowing. Foster parents give pets a temporary home, with all the comforts and care, until a forever home can be found.

Though the home is meant to be temporary, it’s important to understand a few things before fostering.

Fostering a pet is a real commitment. Because there is always a shortage of permanent homes for pets, you never know how long you may end up having the pet in your foster home. You have to be ready for anything, including a pet that is not adopted. In a few cases, you can get financial help with care if you foster as part of a shelter, group, or system. Most of the time, however, you are required to handle those details for whatever length of time the pet is with you.

You need to be emotionally ready to foster a pet. Some people are perfectly happy with the system; they love the animals while they have them in care, and are equally happy to see them placed with a loving family. In other cases, fosters end up adopting one or more animals because they become attached, which is not necessarily a bad thing. They may even continue fostering other animals after adopting. For others, however, they quickly realize that fostering is not for them. Letting go of the animals that come into the home is simply too difficult for them.

Whatever your reasons for opening your home to foster animals, it’s a worthy consideration. You may discover that it’s your calling, or that you simply need a pet in your life. Either way, you’re helping creatures that need you. Whether you’re a fostering a pet, or you own one, bring your furry friend to Pet Vet Hospitals for all the healthcare you’ll need.

A Pet’s Never-Ending Ear Infection

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Do you have a pet that is prone to ear infections (like a basset hound or cocker spaniel)? Ear infections are some of the most common ailments that veterinarians see. Chronic ear infections (chronic otitis) are also common, and many a pet owner has spent years battling them for the sake of his or her friend. Sometimes, it just seems as though it is just your pet’s never-ending ear infection.

What can you do? The first thing is obvious: see your vet. Your vet understands ear infections and will find out what type of infection your pet is experiencing. Sometimes, you may be surprised, and the infection can be cleared up with a thorough round or two of treatment.

Other times, it’s not quite so simple. Many pet owners, particularly dog owners, have complained that rounds of antibiotics in combination with other treatments simply haven’t eliminated the problem. Some say their pet’s problem always returns in a matter of weeks, or even days.

So, what’s to be done?

Start by not giving up on your vet. Your vet understands your frustration. Together, you can discuss alternate treatments, or find out if there is a surgical option. If not, your vet will help you develop a long-term treatment plan. This methodical plan may include regular ear flushing to prevent buildup, drops that are safe to use in the long-term, and regular vet visits to make sure that the never-ending problem isn’t causing serious damage. Your vet can prescribe special flushes and medications that you cannot get over the counter; these will likely work far better than what you get at your local pet store.

It’s important to take this route because, though chronic infections can be managed, even when they start to seem “normal,” that doesn’t mean they won’t hurt your pet’s hearing and health in the long-term. Don’t try to tackle your pet’s never-ending ear infection on your own. Talk to a vet. Come see us at Pet Vet Hospitals.

On the Road with Your Pet

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Whether you travel on vacation, you move to a new home, or get on the road for any other reason, you may find yourself taking your pet on the road. It’s less common to take cats on vacation because they don’t often travel well, but many people take their dogs wherever they go. No matter what pet you take, traveling with a pet can be both fun and trying.

Keeping Calm

An important part of traveling with a pet is keeping it cadog-237187_1280lm. Some pets get situated easily and can be distracted with treats and toys. Others need some help. It may require some hands-on soothing. Or, some natural soothers found at your local pet store may help. You can certainly talk to your vet about sedation if you feel it necessary. However, never try to sedate your pet without talking to your vet.

Safety

Keeping your pet safe in the car is also paramount. Restrain your dog with appropriate accouterments. There are devices made specifically for this that you can purchase. Keep your dog’s head out of the window at all times. For cats, it’s best to keep them confined to their carriers. Make sure they have enough room to move, turn, and be comfortable.

Taking Breaks

Your pets need breaks from the car. They need to stretch their legs, get some air, and relieve themselves, just like you. So, plan to take a few extra breaks on your way. Find a good rest stop with some open space. Keep your pet on a leash when you take him or her out. Show your cat the litter box and give him or her a chance to use it. Offer your pets water, too; travel can sometimes bring on dehydration, particularly if your pet gets motion sickness.

If you need more advice for going on the road with your pet, come see us at Pet Vet Hospitals.

Pet Boarding

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dogs people connection adoptionAs much as we would like it, sometimes it’s just not feasible to take our pets with us. They may not travel well, they may not be welcome at the destination, etc. So, finding suitable pet boarding is something that every pet owner should do in order to be prepared for those times when pets cannot go on the trip.

When it comes to cats, it is usually best not to take them with you on a trip unless you’re forced to because you’re moving, or some other necessary reason. In fact, it’s also better not to board a cat; if you can leave your cat at home and have someone come to visit every day, that is best. Cats often do not react well to being removed from their comfortable, familiar environment for a lengthy period of time.

Dogs are better travelers. Many people take dogs on trips, even long ones. However, when it’s simply not possible, a good boarding system is a must. Your dog should receive the best care—exercise and playtime, regular potty breaks, a comfortable, clean space, food, water, etc. The same can be said for cat boarding. If you must board your cat, you want to make sure he or she is getting the very best attention.

Veterinary clinics often offer more than medical services. Sometimes, they also offer pet grooming, daycare, and boarding. So, if you have a vet whom you trust, start there. Ask about potential boarding services. If your vet does not offer them, then the next best thing to do would be to ask your vet’s opinion on other options. She or he probably knows of good boarding in your area.

It’s also great to ask other pet owners whom you know and trust. Online searches and reviews are an essential part of searching for businesses, now. Ultimately, you’re looking for a place that will not only board your pet, but that is trustworthy and will give more than basic care for your animal. It’s hard to leave a pet behind, sometimes. You want it to get the same care you give and it can be worrisome, wondering if they’re okay.

When you need vet care, call us at Pet Vet Hospitals. We can provide and recommend the best.

Choosing Your Vet

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Vet using technologyVets are important parts of pet owner’s lives. When they’re great, they save pets’ lives, and keep the family together. So, it makes sense that pet parents search hard and choose wisely when they seek out a vet. If you’re in the market for a vet, don’t put the search off; get a good vet before you need one.

Start by asking around.

People whom you trust are the best sources of information, as are those who own pets. “Old-school” talking is still one of the best ways to get what you need. So, ask friends about the vets to whom they go. Ask questions such as:

Are they kind?

Are they thorough?

Are they more concerned with pet health than with money?

You can learn a lot by going directly to people like you.

Google still works well.

Most businesses, including veterinarians, now run on positive online reviews. So, Google, Google, Google, or use whatever search engine you prefer. Read reviews carefully and watch for clearly-padded positive reviews, negative reviews that don’t really seem to be fair, etc.

Take your time without taking too long.

You want to be thorough so that you find the right person. However, you don’t want to take too much time; the longer you wait, the longer your pet will go without good care.

Try a test visit.

If it’s not too expensive for you, you might narrow down your list of potential vets to just a very few, and then pay them a visit. Start by calling and asking some fundamental questions. Then, if you’re still not sure, make an appointment. Some vets will offer a first-time reduced fee for new patients, so it is worth asking if that’s the case.

At Pet Vet Hospitals, we are proud of our service records. Call us and ask us anything about our services. We’re happy to prove ourselves to be your best option for veterinary services.

The Big C: Watching for Signs of Cancer in Your Pet

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labrador-380800_1920Cancer is a terrible, all-too-common thing. People all over the world fight it every day, and so do our pets. Give your pet a fighting chance; know and watch for the signs of cancer in your pet. The earlier you catch it, the better the chances that you and your pet will continue to live happily together.

Check for Lumps

Some dogs are just “lumpy.” Many times, the lumps are just cysts that will go away on their own, or that need to be perforated and heal. However, it’s important to keep an eye on them, even if your pet has a history of them. Check them often and watch for changes in consistency, color, and size. Have your vet evaluate them, tell you what to expect and how to check them, and see your vet anytime you suspect changes have occurred. When it comes to concerns about cancer, you cannot be too careful.

Wounds that Won’t Heal

A wound that won’t heal could be a sign of infection. Or, it could be a cancerous area. Always have persistent wounds checked ASAP. Generally, it’s good to have a vet check any wound on your pet to make sure that it heals properly.

Strange Smells

New smells can indicate a lot of things. For example, your dog’s ears may have an odor if they have an infection. Always have new smells checked by your veterinarian. They may turn out to be nothing terrible, but even if they’re just an infection, you can get whatever it is treated before it gets worse. The same goes for unusual discharge. Any new smells or leaks should be evaluated immediately.

Talk to your vet about the signs of cancer in your pet. Know what to watch for, particularly if your pet is older. Come see us at Pet Vet Hospitals; we’re here to keep your pet healthy.

Your Pet’s Cuts and Scrapes

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bulldog lying down pantingNo matter how much you protect your pets, you cannot stop everything. They will find ways to get into things they shouldn’t, or have accidents. A pet with a cut or scrape is common. This doesn’t necessarily warrant a trip to the vet, however. There are some tips to treating your pet’s cuts and scrapes at home, and know when it’s time to see the vet.

Examine the wound.

Start by being calm and speaking gently and soothingly to your pet. If necessary, ask someone to help you hold her. Inspect the wound carefully. It’s best if you use some gloves for this and it may help to have a cotton ball, or cloth to dab at blood so that you can see better. How deep is the wound? Is there anything inside it? If it is very deep and might need stitches, it’s best to see the vet. If there is something inside it, you might be able to extract it yourself gently with tweezers. If you’re very uncomfortable with that, there’s always the vet to help.

Wash and dry the area.

Clean debris and blood away gently with warm water and an antiseptic solution. Chlorhexidine is a common, easy-to-find solution that works well. Once you’ve rinsed the area clean, pat it dry.

Apply an ointment.

To help a wound heal, apply an antimicrobial ointment, just as you would on yourself. Something with neomycin is usually safe. If you’re unsure of what to use, ask your vet.

Dress it carefully.

Animals are known to chew at wounds. So, it’s important to make sure they’re covered. This can get a little difficult if the wound is in a hard-to-wrap place. If your pet is persistent about the licking and chewing, try a cone to prevent them from doing so. Leave the dressing on for a long while. You should change it at least once a day. Give the wound a chance to air out for a little while between changing bandages if you can.

Is it large and bleeding heavily?

If the wound is sizeable and bleeding significantly, don’t wait. Bandage it quickly—and safely—and head straight for the vet’s office. Whether your pet needs treatment for an injury, or need to know how to treat one at home, we’re here for you at Pet Vet Animal Hospitals.

When Bathing Your Pet

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wellness spa wash sponge dogThe internet is full of videos of pets relaxing in the bath. The truth is, however, that many a pet hates taking a bath. They fight and cry, and make the task a hated one for you, too. However, it is a necessary chore and there are better ways to get it done.

First, it’s important not to bathe too often. Your animal’s coat and skin have natural oils to keep them healthy. If you wash too much, you remove those healthy oils and your pet’s skin may become dry and itchy. Talk to your vet about precisely how often you should give your pet a bath.

When you choose a soap, select something gentle. If you’ve never really had trouble with your pet’s skin and fur—she’s never shown signs of allergies—then selecting a safe, natural wash should be easy. If your pet has a history of itchy skin, you may want to look into soaps formulated for pets with allergies. You can also talk to your vet about what you should use.

When it comes to the bath itself, try these tips:

  • Come bath time, start with a good brushing. This will reduce the amount of fur that comes off in the water.
  • Warm water—not hot or cold—is best.
  • Avoid getting your pet’s ears wet. Wet inner ears can get infected.
  • Stay calm if your pet resists. If you react to your pet’s fighting, it will only make the stress of the situation worse. Speak softly and soothingly, and be gentle. Sometimes holding him gently by the scruff will help still him.
  • Use a towel for dripping moisture, and then let them dry naturally. A hair dryer is often too hot and can cause excessively dry skin.

Hopefully, over time your pet will adjust to the process. If you have any questions about bathing your pet, or any other type of care, contact us at Pet Vet Hospitals.