Category Archives: Pet Care

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 

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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.

Your Pet’s Pearly Whites: Teeth Care

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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

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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.

Seasonal Allergies, Part I: Spring and Your Dog

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Are you struggling with itchy, watery eyes and sneezing? You aren’t the only one; just as humans struggle with Spring allergies, so do dogs, and yours may need some extra attention, too.

Your dog’s allergies will come in different forms. Like you, dogs can have respiratory problems. They may sneeze, have watery noses and eyes, a cough, and develop infections just like people. Dogs can be negatively affected by pollens and other outdoor allergens, particularly since they often have their noses in almost everything. They may also show increased redness in their eyes and on their skin.

More often, dogs suffer from skin-related allergies, or allergic dermatitis. They’re skin will be inflamed and irritated, and they’ll scratch noticeably more than normal. They may scratch with their feet, their teeth, or they may start rubbing on the carpet and other things excessively, desperate to put an end to the itchiness. If the itch is left untreated, it could result in worse symptoms, such as bald patches, sores, tender skin, and more.

Ear itchiness is another common allergy-related problem for dogs. If your dog is focusing a lot of scratches on the ears, shaking her or his head, or appears to be losing hair in the area, she or he may have ear allergies. The ear canals become inflamed as a response to allergens and can get infected, which leads to discharge and other unpleasant symptoms.

It’s important to watch your dog carefully for these signs and treat them as quickly as you would if they were yours. Seasonal allergies can turn into long-term problems if left untreated, so it is important to see your vet as soon as possible. While medication is important, your vet may also want to try and find the primary cause of the allergy and provide treatment that prevents issues from reoccurring.

If your dog is clearly as miserable as you this spring, visit the drugstore for yourself, and the vet for your dog. Contact us at Pet Vet Animal Hospitals today for help with your dog’s seasonal allergies.