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Pet Health

  1. PET HEALTH
    1. CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
      1. Canine Parvovirus (CPV)
      2. Congestive Heart Failure
      3. Heart Disease
      4. Heartbeat Arrhythmia
    2. GENERAL HEALTH CONDITIONS
      1. Breathing Problem
      2. Cancer In Pets
      3. Diabetes
      4. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
      5. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
      6. Hernias
      7. Hyperthyroidism
      8. Hypothyroidism
      9. Obesity
      10. Separation Anxiety
      11. Vision Problems
    3. INTESTINAL HEALTH
      1. Anal Sac Disease
      2. Canine Distemper Virus (CDV)
      3. Canine Parvo Virus (CPV)
      4. Diarrhea In Canines
      5. Diarrhea In Felines
      6. Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV)
      7. Foreign Bodies in Esophagus
      8. Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)
      9. Gastro Intestinal Obstruction
      10. Intestinal Tract Problems
      11. Liver Shunt
      12. Vomiting
    4. NEUROLOGICAL HEALTH
      1. Epilepsy
      2. Seizure (Non-Epileptic)
      3. Vestibular Disease
    5. Orthopedic Health
      1. Arthritis
      2. Elbow Dysplasia
      3. Hip Dysplasia
      4. Legg Perthes Disease
      5. Luxating Patella
      6. Torn ACL
    6. Parasites, Bacteria, and Viruses
      1. Fleas, Mites, and Ticks
      2. Hookworm, Roundworm, Tapeworm, and Whipworm
      3. Kennel Cough (Bordetella)
      4. Leptospirosis
      5. Lyme Disease
      6. Rabies
      7. Salmonella
  2. VIDEOS
    1. PET HEALTH RELATED VIDEOS
      1. CPR for pets
      2. Blood Tests For Pets
      3. Flea and Tick Preventives
      4. Heartworm Prevention
      5. Obesity and Your Pet
      6. Preventive Care Visits
      7. Spaying and Neutering
      8. Vaccines
    2. Dental Related Videos
      1. How to Brush Your Pets Teeth
      2. Periodontal Disease
    3. Pet Safety Videos
      1. Dogs in Parked Cars
      2. Holiday Pet Hazards
      3. Pet Microchipping
      4. Preventing Dog Bites
      5. Traveling with your Pet
      6. When to visit the Veterinarian
      7. Your Pets Toys
  3. YOU AND YOUR PET
    1. LIVING TOGETHER
      1. Daily Pet Responsibilities
      2. Grooming Your Pet
      3. How Old is My Pet?
      4. Pet Insurance
      5. Pet Sitters
      6. Senior Pet Care
      7. Traveling with Your Pet
    2. Potentially Dangerous Foods
    3. Saying Goodbye
    4. Your Pet’s New Home
      1. Obedience and Training
      2. Vaccination and Your New Pet
      3. Your Pet’s First Veterinary Exam

1.PET HEALTH #

1.1.CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH #

A pet’s cardiovascular system is composed of a heart with chambers and ventricles, veins and arteries, just as a human’s is. Because of its intricacies, a pet’s heart is prone to various debilitating and life-threating conditions and diseases. Often, the sooner these illnesses are diagnosed, the more positive a pet’s outlook is. For this reason, it is important to seek veterinary care when you first notice a change in your pet’s normal temperament. To learn more about various cardiovascular ailments and symptoms to look for, click the links below.

Please contact our office if you have any questions or would like to schedule a veterinary examination.

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.1.Canine Parvovirus (CPV) #

Canine Parvovirus (CPV) is a contagious disease attacking cells that rapidly reproduce. It can occur at any age but is ordinarily seen in puppies around 6 to 20 weeks old. There are two types of CPV, intestinal and cardiac. Intestinal CPV is most common and is distinguished by diarrhea, decreased appetite, vomiting, and weight loss. Cardiac CPV is usually only seen in very young puppies and attacks their heart muscles, typically resulting in death. Vaccination is extremely important and can help prevent Canine Parvovirus. Certain breeds, namely Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers, are particularly susceptible to infection so extra caution should be taken.

CPV can be contracted directly or indirectly. Most dogs obtain the virus via fecal-oral contact. Heavy concentrations of Canine Parvovirus are excreted in an infected dog’s stools, so if a healthy dog sniffs or licks contaminated feces, it can contract the disease. Even indirect contact with fecal matter on an owner’s shoes can bring the disease into an environment. The virus is extremely resilient and can live in soil for up to one year, and it is resistant to weather changes and most cleaning products. If you suspect CPV to be present in your home, bleach is the only household disinfectant known to kill the virus. Should you bleach any surface your pet comes into contact with, be sure they are not present and do not ingest the bleach. Also, cats cannot contract parvovirus, but they can be carriers for it. If you have a household with multiple pets, it is important to be sure that one isn’t infecting another.

Possible symptoms of Canine Parvovirus: 

  • Diarrhea (often containing blood).
  • Depression.
  • Vomiting.
  • Bloodshot eyes.
  • Coughing.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Lethargy.

How is CPV diagnosed and treated?

Canine Parvovirus is diagnosed with a physical examination, biochemical tests, urine analysis, and X-rays and ultrasounds of the abdomen. When bringing your dog in for its exam, we might also ask for a brief history of the past few days’ activities and when you first noticed changes in your pet’s behavior.

CPV is a viral infection, and currently, there is no cure. Because the infection itself cannot be cured, treatment focuses on curing the symptoms it creates and preventing any secondary infection. Hospitalization is often necessary because of the frequentness and threatening nature of dehydration that is commonly associated with CPV. Most canines who face a life-threatening prognosis also suffer from dehydration. If it is not already occurring, the veterinarian might be able to prescribe medication that can lessen vomiting and reduce nausea, in an attempt to prevent dehydration. The survival rate for adult dogs diagnosed with Canine Parvovirus is high and is only slightly lower for puppies.

If you think your pet might have CPV, contact our office immediately so we can schedule an exam.

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.2.Congestive Heart Failure #

With its ability to onset at any age, in any breed or gender, congestive heart failure (CHF) is one of the most serious canine and feline heart conditions. Congestive heart failure is characterized by the heart’s inability to circulate enough blood to meet the body’s demands. Because a heart muscle becomes weakened by CHF, the health of other organs suffers, including that of the liver, kidneys, and lungs.

CHF can be caused by the left, right, or both valves interrupting blood flow and causing blood to back up. Left side valvular disease occurs when blood accumulates in the lungs or abdomen, though this is less common in cats. Right side valvular disease arises when blood has collected in the vena cava and jugular vein, which causes the heart to pump faster and work harder; this eventually causes the heart to enlarge, forcing the heart’s internal chamber capacity to decrease, which means less blood can be pumped out. This entire consequence is cyclic, again causing the heart to work harder and continue to enlarge.

A pet with congestive heart failure can continue to function normally for months, even years, without exhibiting any outward signs of something being wrong; therefore, it can be difficult for an owner to tell that a serious cardiovascular condition exists.

Early signs of congestive heart failure: 

  • Bloating.
  • Coughing during increased activity.
  • Decreased activity level.
  • Easily tiring.
  • Fainting.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Pacing and restlessness before bed.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Unexplained weight loss.

Diagnosis of congestive heart failure

Identifying the cause of congestive heart failure is often an involved process. Diagnosis begins with a full physical examination, during which the veterinarian can find key indicators of congestive heart failure, including a scratchy sound in the lungs when breathing or a subdued sounding heartbeat. Following the physical, there are several tests the veterinarian may perform:

  • Blood pressure measurement – high blood pressure suggests CHF.
  • Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) – allows the veterinarian to visualize valvular deformities, cardiac muscle-wall thickening, and valvular leakage.
  • Electrocardiogram – measures electric impulses of the heart.
  • X-rays – can depict fluid build-up in the abdomen or lungs. Can also show an enlarged heart.

Depending on specific indicators, other tests can be performed, including heartworm tests in dogs and feline leukemia virus tests in cats. The veterinarian will determine which tests your pet needs based upon the results of their physical exam.

Treating congestive heart failure

While there remains no cure for congestive heart failure, the ability to treat its symptoms depends on the severity and causes. The goal of treatment is to enable a pet’s body to compensate for its enlarged heart, thus preventing further damage. Most often, CHF is treated on an out-patients basis unless breathing is extremely difficult, in which case a pet may need to be placed on oxygen therapy and held overnight.

There are several medications that might be prescribed to help improve a pet’s quality of life. Depending on the amount of fluid in the chest, a diuretic may be necessary to aid with drying out the bodily tissues. Alongside a diuretic, various vasodilators can improve blood flow, while other drugs can improve the strength of the heart. Prescriptions are written on an individual basis, and the veterinarian will determine which medications are best for your pet’s needs. Usually it is beneficial for all CHF sufferers to limit their sodium intake, as sodium helps determine the amount of water in the blood vessels and body tissues, and drying up excess fluids is beneficial for CHF sufferers.

If you have any questions about congestive heart failure or would like to discuss any health concerns with our staff, contact our office today.

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.3.Heart Disease #

Pet hearts are very similar to human hearts; they both have four main valves: a mitral valve, tricuspid valve, pulmonic valve, and aortic valve. The mitral valve, located between the heart’s left atrium and left ventricle is a pet’s most fragile valve and is usually the first to fail. In dogs, this failure occurs slowly and causes the pet to exhibit tell-tale symptoms that could trigger a pet-owner to realize something is wrong. However, heart disease in cats progresses much more rapidly and involves failure of the entire heart, which makes a pet owner’s detection of it much less likely.

At the onset of heart disease, a pet’s circulatory system starts to fail. With that failure, the kidneys, liver, and other vital internal organs are flooded with stationary blood and cannot function properly. The organs no longer get the essential amount of oxygen they need and slowly start to die. Heart disease is a very serious medical condition that must be addressed promptly. If you notice any of the following symptoms, please contact our office at your earliest convenience.

Symptoms of heart disease in pets: 

  • Bloated stomach.
  • Coughing.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Lethargy.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Reduced appetite.
  • Restlessness.
  • Weight loss.

Diagnosing a pet with heart disease

If a pet patient is suspected of having heart disease, the veterinarian will first listen to their heartbeat with a stethoscope. If a heart murmur can be heard, it signals the vet that one or more valves are not functioning correctly. The veterinarian will then perform an X-ray, checking for an enlarged heart. Additional testing may include an EKG or echocardiograph.

How is heart disease treated?

If heart disease is a pet’s official diagnosis, the treatment and prognosis varies based on pet species, breed, and the underlying causal condition. The veterinarian will formulate a treatment plan that focuses on getting the heart to pump efficiently to help your pet live comfortably. There are numerous medications that can help a pet when heart disease is caught early enough.

If you have any questions about heart disease or think your pet is demonstrating possible symptoms, please contact our office.

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.4.Heartbeat Arrhythmia #

A cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) is any abnormality in pace, intensity, or regularity of a pet’s heartbeat. Though not every arrhythmia is cause for concern, others can be an indication of a serious, life-threatening disease. Cardiac arrhythmias can be caused by genetic abnormalities, environmental factors, or breed predisposition. They can occur in all canine and feline breeds, ages, and genders.

A pet’s heartbeat should be regular and strong. If beating slightly alters while breathing in and out, this can be caused by an unfamiliar environment or momentary stress; however, abnormalities, including a speedy or sluggish pulse, can indicate anemia, lung disease, pressure on the brain, or a failure of circulation. The only way to determine the underlying issue is to have a veterinarian develop a proper diagnosis. Until the origin is determined, an arrhythmia should not be taken lightly. The symptoms of an arrhythmia may come and go; regardless of whether your pet is currently showing indications of an irregular heartbeat, we recommend scheduling an appointment with the veterinarian to ensure there are not any serious underlying cardiac issues.

Possible indications of a heart arrhythmia: 

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Fast heart rate when pet is relaxed.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Lethargy.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Slow heart rate when activity level is high.
  • Sudden, unexplainable collapse.
  • Weakness.

Diagnosing heart arrhythmia

In diagnosing an arrhythmia, a full physical will be performed with a complete blood analysis. The veterinarian will determine if an ECG or EKG are necessary. Blood work can establish whether a pet has anemia and can also detect whether the organs are working properly. An EKG can detect the arrhythmia, while an ECG can determine the type of arrhythmia. Chest X-rays might be necessary to determine if heart disease or heart failure has occurred.

How is heart arrhythmia treated?

After the veterinarian has obtained a positive diagnosis, they will discuss the various treatment options. Surgery and prescription medications are both available to your pet as possible therapies.

Prescription medication – Several medications are available to help control arrhythmias, and the veterinarian will discuss which prescription is best for your pet’s age, gender, and breed.

Surgery – There are two surgical options, both of which must be performed by a veterinary cardiology specialist.

Catheter ablation – destroys the defective electrical pathways within and around the heart that cause the arrhythmia. It involves inserting a catheter into the faulty blood vessel and using electrical impulses to destroy tissue. This method has been used in canines successfully, but has yet to be tested in felines.

Implanting a pacemaker – similar to a human implant, pet pacemakers control cardiac arrhythmias. Pet pacemakers have only been tested in canines.

If you have any questions about an irregular heartbeat, feel free to contact our office.

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.2.GENERAL HEALTH CONDITIONS #

A pet’s well-being is typically an owner’s number one concern. As a pet ages, certain species or breeds are predisposed to particular health conditions. For this reason, it is important to take notice of changes in pet behavior and maintain regular veterinary check-up exams. The following are general health concerns along with suggestive symptoms and possible treatment options. If you have any questions about these illnesses, or if you have noticed your pet exhibiting any questionable symptoms, please contact our office at your earliest convenience.

Allergies

Allergies among pets are fairly similar to human allergies and can be described as an abnormal sensitivity when exposed to particular elements. While there is no breed susceptibility, it is believed that allergies can be genetically inherited. Most pets start to show signs of an allergy around the age of 1 to 4 years old.

If you think your pet is exhibiting the signs of an allergy or you have questions about pet allergens, please contact our office.

Common allergens for pets:

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Medical prescriptions
  • Cleaning products
  • Mold
  • Dust
  • Perfume
  • Feathers
  • Tree pollens
  • Food ingredients
  • Weed pollens
  • Grass pollens
  • Wool

How are specific allergies determined?

There are numerous tests that can help determine specific allergies in pets. The following two exams are the methods commonly implemented to test pets for allergies. If a more involved diagnosis is required for your pet’s particular condition, we will make additional arrangements.

Skin allergy panel – This test usually requires your pet to be sedated. During the test, the veterinarian will shave off a small section of your pet’s hair and will draw a grid directly on their skin. The vet will then inject common known allergens alongside control variables to determine which injections (allergens) the pet is allergic to.

Food trials – Food trials are simply the process of trying out different pet foods to alleviate a food allergy. The veterinarian will work with you to test various types of food (natural, organic, with or without by-product, gluten-free, etc.) and various proteins (beef, chicken, lamb, salmon, etc.) to determine which food works best for your pet. Each food’s trial period will last around 6 weeks and will require close observation and recording at home to be sure that the allergy is still present, or to determine if it has been relieved.

Symptoms of allergies in pets: 

  • Continual scratching.
  • Constantly licking skin.
  • Frequent sneezing.
  • Itchy ears.
  • Itchy red skin.
  • Itchy, watery eyes.
  • Paw chewing.
  • Scabbed skin.
  • Swelling of paws.
  • Swelling of eyelids.
  • Vomiting.

Treating pets with allergies

Depending on the allergy, there are several methods of treatment that can help alleviate the agony of allergies. More generic forms of relief include regularly shampooing your pet to reduce itchiness and remove any bacteria and scabs. Also consider washing and rinsing paws with a cool bath any time they seem to be suffering. The veterinarian might recommend applying hydrocortisone cream to the affected area, but it should be used sparingly and only under the veterinarian’s supervision. Also, consider over-the-counter antihistamines, namely Benadryl, but only administer medication under veterinary supervision to ensure dosage is appropriate for your pet’s size.

For indoor pets suffering from allergies, try removing the plants from inside your home. If you prefer to keep plants, prevent mold growth by covering the soil with activated charcoal bits, which you can purchase from an aquarium supply store. Also be sure to keep your house free from dust and other airborne allergens.

After positively diagnosing your pet with a specific allergy, the veterinarian can recommend a more detailed treatment for their particular case.

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.2.1.Breathing Problem #

Breathing problems in a pet suggest a problem within the respiratory tract. While the cause of this problem may range from a mild allergy to a complicated cancer, it is critical that your pet be examined by a veterinarian the moment you notice a change in their breathing pattern. Changes in a pet’s breathing pattern indicate distress and should not be confused with panting, which can be described as fast-paced, open-mouthed breathing that dogs perform to relax or cool off.

When at rest or around the house, a pet’s normal breathing rate is between 10 to 30 breaths per minute. Faster breathing suggests anxiety, fever, pain, or a serious health issue. If your pet appears to have rapid breathing or labored breathing, we advise against trying to manage the situation on your own and recommend seeking veterinary care immediately.

Symptoms of breathing problems: 

  • Coughing.
  • Exercise intolerance.
  • Eye discharge.
  • Excessive and labored/forced breathing.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nasal discharge.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Shallow breathing.
  • Sneezing.
  • Snorting.
  • Weight loss.

Common causes of respiratory complications: 

  • Allergies.
  • Laryngeal paralysis.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Nasal tumor.
  • Cancer.
  • Obesity.
  • Complications of heartworm disease.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Congestive heart failure.
  • Poisoning.
  • Fluid in lungs or chest cavity.
  • Pulmonary thromboembolism.
  • Foreign object in throat.
  • Severe anemia.
  • Heat stroke.
  • Shock.
  • Kennel cough.
  • Swelling of larynx.
  • Ketoacidosis.
  • Trauma.

How are breathing problems treated? After a pet has entered the exam room and the purpose of the veterinary appointment is communicated, the veterinarian will check if labored breathing is visibly apparent. If it is, the veterinarian will immediately try to regain normal breathing by administering oxygen therapy or corticosteroids. In extreme cases or situations where the pet owner has witnessed their pet swallowing an object prior to the veterinary appointment, the vet might try removing the foreign object lodged in the throat or may perform a tracheostomy. After stabilizing the pet’s breathing, a thorough physical examination can be performed to determine any additional causes of the breathing difficulty.

Pets that are diagnosed with more serious conditions usually require hospital care until the veterinarian can ensure that they can breathe sufficiently on their own. Once a pet’s breathing is stabilized, it can be released to the owner with prescription medication. The owner will need to continue giving the pet its medication and restrict their pet’s activity (preventing strenuous exercise), in order to help the pet fully recover.

While some conditions are curable, others will require medicated management or activity reduction for the remainder of the pet’s life. Also, any pet with a history of breathing difficulties should immediately see the veterinarian when there are questionable changes in their breathing patterns.

If you have any questions about breathing irregularities in pets please contact our veterinary office.

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.2.2.Cancer In Pets #

Our veterinarians are highly knowledgeable in diagnosis and offer aggressive treatment plans to help your pet endure a long, healthy life. With extensive training and experience treating pet cancer, our veterinarians and staff can provide quality care and support throughout the therapy process. We know that a positive cancer diagnosis can be difficult, troubling, and confusing. Our staff is here to offer our complete support throughout your pet’s treatment, and we are here to help your family through this trying period.

While a cancer diagnosis in domestic pets was once unheard of, it is becoming increasingly common due to advances made in veterinary care. Feline cancer, however, is less common than canine cancer, and the more prevalent types of feline cancer can usually be prevented through early vaccination and spaying or neutering. Because cancer is quite prevalent among elderly dogs, early detection is critical in effective treatment planning, and prompt discovery can increase survival rates.

Symptoms that possibly indicate cancer in pets: 

  • Bleeding from body openings.
  • Difficulty making bowel movements or urinating.
  • Hesitation to move.
  • Inclined to sleep more throughout the day.
  • Lethargy.
  • Sudden and unexplained collapse.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Unexplained weight loss.

Diagnosing pet cancer

Currently, there are several tests that help detect cancer in pets. Depending on the location of the tumor, the oncologist will determine the method that will best help to visualize the area in question. The following are some of the methods utilized in diagnosis:

  • Biopsy – Remove a sample mass of the affected area and have it lab tested for cancerous cells. If those tests are positive, more samples might be necessary to see if cancer is spreading.
  • Blood tests/chemistry functioning – Test doesn’t diagnose cancer, but major changes in the composition of blood indicate health problems. High white blood cell count, low red blood cell count, and changes in kidney and liver functioning are all examined.
  • Bone marrow aspiration – Involves removing and testing bone marrow.
  • CT scan/MRI – Used to identify tumors near the bone that cannot be seen with an X-ray.
  • Endoscopy – A thin tube with a camera attached is inserted into the mouth and nose to discover tumors. Similar to an ultrasound, a biopsy is then required to test the findings.
  • Fine needle aspiration (FNA) – Similar to a biopsy, but does not require removal of a mass. Cells are extracted for testing from the mass with a needle. If those cells test positively, more cells might be tested to see how far cancer has spread.
  • Immunologic studies – Entails testing the dog’s immune system response.
  • Lymph node aspirate – Requires removing and testing lymph node fluid.
  • Surgery – Enables veterinarian to examine all potentially cancerous areas in question.
  • Ultrasound – Typically used to indicate tumors in the abdomen; a biopsy is then performed to verify the findings.
  • X-ray – Allows veterinarian to detect and visualize tumors in chest, bones, and lungs.

Treating pet cancer

In planning your pet’s cancer therapy, we utilize different approaches depending on the type of cancer and how far it has progressed. In learning about various forms of treatment, it is important for pet owners to understand cancer and how it advances.

Cancer is more commonly referred to as a tumor, and it manifests itself as a bump internally or just under the surface of your pet’s skin. Tumors (collections of cancer cells) come in two forms:

  • Benign: Slow growing; don’t spread. Usually surgically removed, but sometimes left alone if they are considered a non-threat.
  • Malignant: Also called carcinomas, sarcomas, and lymphomas; spread to other parts of the body. Can lead to pet death.

While healthy cells within a feline age and die, they are also limited in the number of times they can replicate. Malignant cancer cells are mutated and don’t age, enabling them to reproduce an unlimited number of times. This mutation allows cancer cells to outlive healthy pet cells, slowly outnumber them, and take over. In treating pet cancer, we strive to kill these mutated cells and stop the cancer before it spreads.

The most common cancer treatment methods for pets include chemotherapy, cryosurgery, electrocautery, immunotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Depending on your pet’s circumstances, one or multiple treatments might be appropriate for their particular cancer. Also, some pet cancer cases might need to be referred to an oncology specialist. If your pet requires treatment beyond what we offer in-house, we may refer you to a specialist that we are in close contact with.

The following briefly describes what each treatment method entails:

Electrocautery/Cryosurgery – Surface tumors are removed by electrically burning them off or by freezing them off.

Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy kills cancer cells along with normal, healthy cells. “Chemo”, as it is commonly referred to, tends to be more toxic to the cancer cells rather than healthy cells, but can kill both, leaving a pet fragile and potentially more susceptible to catching a viral or bacterial illness.

Immunotherapy – The veterinarian injects the patient with antibodies that engage the patient’s immune system to help kill malignant cancer cells.

Radiation – Radiation localizes energy waves to penetrate cancer cells, killing them by damaging their DNA and stopping them from multiplying. The veterinarian focuses treatment only on the affected area.

Surgery – Completely removes certain cancers and makes others much less substantial. Surgery is typically performed before cancer cells further replicate and advance to other areas of the patient’s body.

If you have any questions about pet cancer, please contact our veterinary practice. We will try our best to answer any and all questions, or we can refer you to a pet oncologist who can further meet your needs.

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.2.3.Diabetes #

Diabetes, also referred to as Diabetes Mellitus (DM), affects a pet’s ability to properly use or produce insulin; their body stops producing insulin altogether or cannot produce the quantity necessary. With diabetes, a pet’s body also inhibits organs and muscles from converting sugars into energy, creating a condition known as hyperglycemia – an excess of glucose in the bloodstream.

Female, obese, and elderly canines run a much higher risk of obtaining diabetes, whereas male felines have twice the risk as female cats. While the cause of each individual pet’s case is difficult to determine, genetics and obesity are believed to be the top two risk factors.

Symptoms that may indicate diabetes: 

  • Anorexia.
  • Canines occasionally develop cataracts.
  • Dehydration.
  • Depression.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Increased urination.
  • Labored breathing.
  • Sudden increase in appetite and excessive hunger.
  • Sweet smelling breath.
  • Tiredness combined with weakness.
  • Unexplainable weight loss.
  • Vomiting.

Treatment for diabetes

If we suspect that a patient may have diabetes, we usually perform a blood count, chemical profile, and urinalysis as standard tests to diagnose diabetes. Once a positive diagnosis is made, our veterinarian will discuss a custom treatment plan with you. Disease management differs for every pet depending upon their current health status and activity level. Most every pet can benefit from exercise, especially a diabetic animal. Daily exercise lowers insulin demand and is usually included in a treatment plan.

Nutrition is also an important aspect of care. We commonly enforce a strict nutritional diet alongside owner-administered insulin. You will receive proper instruction about correct dosages and timing prior to administering the insulin on your own. Keeping the amount of calories your pet eats consistent is critical, because insulin dosages are calculated upon that determinant. Diabetic pets perform best with regularly scheduled meals, and insulin dosages should be given at the same time every day. Diabetes is incurable, but the sooner a pet is examined and diagnosed, the sooner the disease can be managed; and the better the pet’s outlook is.

Please contact our veterinary office if you suspect that your pet might be suffering from diabetes.

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.2.4.Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) #

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is comparable to AIDS in humans and is often found simultaneously occurring in cats with feline leukemia virus (FeLV). Similar to AIDS, FIV is present in blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and saliva. The most common transmission of the virus is through a cat fight or during pregnancy as an infected mother passes it to her offspring. In very rare cases, a cat may contract FIV through saliva. Feline immunodeficiency virus is a slowly progressing virus and cannot survive outside its host.

FIV is species-specific, meaning it cannot be acquired from another species, nor can it be passed to another species; it only occurs within cats. Male cats are almost twice as likely to acquire feline immunodeficiency virus, reflecting their propensity to roam as well as quarrel with other cats.

Common illnesses that may occur simultaneously: 

  • Diarrhea.
  • Eye disease.
  • Fever.
  • Neurological problems.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Sinus infection.
  • Skin disease.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.

Diagnosing and treating FIV

The veterinarian can diagnose feline immunodeficiency virus using a blood test that can detect specific antibodies within the bloodstream. Likely, a second test will be performed called a Western Blot Test to confirm the diagnosis.

After a positive diagnosis is established, there is not much that can be done by means of treatment. Treatment is focused on keeping the cat indoors and away from other cats, preventing the pet from contracting secondary illness and acquiring any sort of infection. FIV-positive cats are capable of living somewhat normal lives when kept in good health and when FIV is detected in earlier stages.

Currently there is a non-core vaccine available for FIV; however, there is controversy surrounding the vaccine due to the fact that inoculated cats test positive with FIV because current FIV antibody tests cannot distinguish between the disease and the vaccination antibodies. Be sure to inform your veterinarian if your cat has obtained the FIV vaccine.

If you have any questions about feline immunodeficiency virus or the FIV vaccine, please contact our office.

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.2.5.Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) #

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is responsible for the majority of household cat deaths. It affects all breeds, though it is more common in males and typically occurs in felines aged one to six years old. Outdoor cats and cats in multiple-cat environments are considered the most at-risk for contracting FeLV, a virus spread through warm fluids, such as nasal secretions, saliva, urine, or a mother’s milk. It can also be spread from a mother to her kittens while they are still in the womb. Grooming one-another and fighting tend to be the most common ways in which the virus spreads. Because feline leukemia cannot survive outside of a host, ordinary detergents, including bleach, successfully kill the virus on household surfaces.

The virus only affects cats and cannot be transmitted to humans, dogs, or any other animal. Through immunosuppression, FeLV impairs the affected cat’s immune system and is capable of causing a variety of diseases such as liver disease and intestinal disease as well as certain types of cancer. Because of their impaired immune system, cats with FeLV are also highly susceptible to various general infections.

It should be noted that there is a vaccination available for FeLV, though it is considered a non-core vaccine. Veterinarians usually suggest the vaccination for outdoor cats or cats in multiple-cat households. Please inquire about the vaccination if you consider your cat to be at-risk, as FeLV is often fatal.

What are the symptoms of FeLV? 

  • Avoiding litter box.
  • Bladder infection.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes.
  • Fatigue.
  • Fever.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Seizures.
  • Skin lesions which may or may not be infected.
  • Tumors
  • Uneven pupils.
  • Weight loss.
  • Wiry, coarse coat.
  • Wobbly gait.

Diagnosing and treating FeLV

The process of diagnosis for FeLV is fairly simple. A blood test called an ELISA can positively identify the FeLV protein within the blood, making an accurate diagnosis within our veterinary clinic possible. The ELISA test is so perceptive to these proteins that it can identify FeLV infections soon after a pet contracts the illness, even if they have not begun showing symptoms. In FeLV cases that have progressed, an IFA test can confirm the findings of an ELISA test. IFA tests are sent to commercial laboratories for completion. Cats with positive results to an IFA test are unlikely to cure themselves and usually have unfavorable prognosis. Urinalysis and bone marrow biopsy may also be used to aid in diagnosis.

Because there is no known cure for feline leukemia, there is no specific treatment. Numerous therapies have been researched and are currently being studied with no conclusive results. Current treatment includes spaying or neutering an infected cat and keeping them indoors, away from other cats. This protects other cats from becoming infected, as well as protecting your cat from developing any disease or illness they may come into contact with.

Efforts to prolong life include feeding your pet a nutritious diet, preventing exposure to disease, reducing stress levels, controlling parasites, and aggressive treatment of any secondary illness. Generally, FeLV is eventually fatal so ensuring your pet a comfortable lifestyle should be a primary concern.

If you believe your pet has contracted FeLV or you have any questions about the virus, feel free to contact our office at your earliest convenience.

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.2.6.Hernias #

A hernia is caused by a body of tissue allowing itself through an opening in the structure walls that usually contain it. To envision the process, imagine a hole the size of a penny in saran-wrap, then forcefully pushing your fist through the hole. In this instance, the saran-wrap would be the structure walls and your fist would represent the tissue. After enough force, the saran-wrap would tear, and your fist would burst through the other side. The body of tissue within pets is usually fat or internal organs and most commonly occurs near the abdomen but can occur in other places. While hernias can be life threatening, they are entirely treatable and have an excellent prognosis when given prompt veterinary care.

There is no guaranteed method of preventing hernias. Acquiring them is usually hereditary or inflicted by trauma. If you have any questions about hernias in pets, or would like more information, feel free to contact our office.

Signs your pet might have a hernia: 

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Bulging of the skin in abdominal area.
  • Coughing.
  • Dehydration.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Hard knots in the abdominal or groin area.
  • Suppressed appetite.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Weakness.
  • Vomiting.

What types of hernias do pets get?

Diaphragmatic – Can occur in any age of pet; some pets are born with these types of hernias, others develop them after an injury. With Diaphragmatic hernias, the internal organs enter the chest cavity making breathing difficult.

Hiatal – Occurs when part of the stomach forces itself into the diaphragm at the point where the esophagus meets the stomach. Hiatal hernias can be caused by trauma or can be congenital.

Inguinal – These happen when a pet’s inner rear leg fixes to the body wall, near the groin area. Depending on the size of the hernia, segments of the bladder, intestine, and uterus have been known to get caught, creating a life-threatening problem. Inguinal hernias are congenital and usually affect female pets, namely those pregnant and middle-aged. These are usually surgically fixed immediately.

Perineal – Usually occurs when pelvic muscles tear, allowing abdominal muscles to enter the area bordering the anus. While it is merely believed that some breeds are more susceptible to perineal hernias, it has definitively been proven to occur in older, unneutered male pets.

Umbilical – Typically seen in younger pets, umbilical hernias are the most common type of hernia and are located near the bellybutton. Smaller hernias can close up on their own, or can be left alone and never bother a pet over the course of its life; larger umbilical hernias are usually fixed during spay or neuter surgery.

How are hernias treated?

A hernia is a condition best treated in a timely manner; the earlier one can be corrected, the better. After a pet has been diagnosed with a hernia, we usually recommend prompt surgical correction. In some cases, the veterinarian might be able to push back the projecting tissue manually. While this method is more cost-effective for the pet owner, it is not considered as reliable as surgery and can cause the hernia to become strangulated which is a serious medical emergency. After surgery, most pets take some time to recoup, but the long term prognosis is highly favorable.

If you think your pet might be suffering from a hernia, please contact our office as soon as possible to schedule an exam.

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.2.7.Hyperthyroidism #

When a pet’s body overproduces the thyroid hormone, it increases their metabolism, potentially resulting in weight loss, anxiety, diarrhea, and a multitude of other symptoms. This condition, known as hyperthyroidism, is fairly rare in canines but increasingly common among cats. Hyperthyroidism is a condition that usually affects older pets and is most likely caused by multiple factors.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism in canines: 

  • Depression.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Enlarged thyroid gland.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Forced breathing.
  • Heavy, rapid breathing.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Increased energy.
  • Increased urination.
  • Nervousness.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Shaggy hair texture.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weight loss.

Treatment options for pets with hyperthyroidism

There are three primary forms of therapy used to treat hyperthyroidism depending on the severity of a pet’s particular case as well the cause behind the issue. When a pet owner opts for non-invasive treatment, medication is prescribed that inhibits the production of thyroid hormones. By preventing the pet’s body from making more of these hormones, the issue usually subsides.

Other treatment options are more involved, requiring pets to undergo monitoring and stay within our facility for several days but can permanently solve canine hyperthyroidism. Surgery comprises of the veterinarian removing the thyroid gland entirely, though it is usually only performed when one gland is causing problems so that the body still has one functional gland remaining. If both thyroid glands are removed, the opposite condition, hypothyroidism, can result. When a tumor is causing overactive thyroid, radioactive iodine therapy is usually the treatment of choice. In liquid form, radioactive iodine destroys thyroid tissue without harming any other bodily tissues. Eventually the iodine is passed out of the dog’s body through the urinary tract, but until this takes place, the pet will be held in isolation to prevent exposing other pets in our facility to the radioactive materials.

If your pet is exhibiting the symptoms of hyperthyroidism or you have more questions about the condition, please contact our office today

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.2.8.Hypothyroidism #

Hypothyroidism is a pet’s inability to create enough of the necessary thyroid hormone, which results in a low-functioning metabolism. The disease is usually caused by a shrunken or inflamed thyroid gland, which commonly appears in middle-aged large dog breeds; hypothyroidism rarely occurs in cats and small dogs. On occasion, hypothyroidism is caused by a tumor that forcefully puts pressure on cells of the pituitary gland. In these cases, hypothyroidism can be life-threatening, thus seeking veterinary care is critical.

Most thyroid hormone deficiencies go unnoticed by pet owners because the symptoms appear gradually. By the time a new symptom onsets, an owner has already adjusted to a previous issue, not considering that the two could be connected and caused by the same underlying problem. If your pet is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, please contact our office to schedule an exam.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism: 

  • Droopy facial expression.
  • Dull coat.
  • Hair loss or thinning of hair.
  • Increased shedding.
  • Intolerant of cold temperatures.
  • Lethargy.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Unexplained weight gain.

Treating hypothyroidism in pets

Pets that are positively diagnosed with hypothyroidism undergo hormone replacement therapy and remain on synthetic hormones for the remainder of their lives. In certain instances, the veterinarian may also find dietary restrictions helpful for your pet as well, such as limiting fat intake. After implementing the supplements, most symptoms subside within a few months, and the veterinarian will determine if levels can be reevaluated or adjusted, though this isn’t certain in all cases.

For pets receiving hormone therapy it is important to note that pet owners should not administer any medications or herbal supplements without consulting the veterinarian first. Medications react differently with synthetic hormones and it’s best to inquire first in order to prevent any subsequent issue.

If you have any questions about hormone therapy or about hypothyroidism, feel free to contact our office at your earliest convenience.

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.2.9.Obesity #

Obesity takes an immense toll on a pet’s body; overweight animals are more likely to experience skin problems, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and even certain cancers. Obesity causes pets to be more susceptible to infection, torn knee ligaments, and spinal disc issues. For overweight pets, exercise is difficult, fatigue is common, and blood pressure is usually high. This combination causes the heart to work much harder than the heart of a healthier pet, resulting in heart disease, and eventually, congestive heart failure.

An obese pet is also considered high-risk during surgical procedures. Overweight pets are at-risk when undergoing anesthesia, with their weight causing decreased lung functioning, reduced kidney and liver functioning, as well as a need for increased anesthetic than a pet of normal size. All of these complications create a life-threatening scenario for a procedure that might otherwise be routine. The obstacles caused by obesity attribute to a reduced lifespan, affecting a dog’s quality of life, their happiness, and comfort.

As pet owners, it becomes our responsibility to inform ourselves of how to best care for our pet and ensure their well-being. Nearly 24-40% of all pets suffer from some degree of obesity. A condition primarily affecting middle-aged pets, obesity has several causes, many of which can be prevented.

Leading causes of pet obesity: 

  • Aging.
  • Breed susceptibility.
  • Dry food diet.
  • Free-feeding (keeping a bowl full of food and allowing the pet to have unlimited access to it) or overfeeding a spayed or neutered pet.
  • Illness that causes weight gain.
  • Injury that requires sedentary lifestyle (either momentarily or prolonged).
  • Little to no exercise.

Affording your pet a healthy lifestyle

The first step in helping your pet lose weight is to stop free-feeding. Giving your pet unlimited access to food is one of the worst things you can do for their health. Pets should be fed small, regular meals, 2 to 4 times per day. Frequently feeding smaller meals allows your pet to feel fuller without overfeeding and enables the body to burn off the meals more easily, concentrating on burning fewer calories at a time (rather than trying to burn off one giant meal). Also, avoid feeding your pet table scraps; human food is high in calories and fat. Finally, try to increase physical activity. Simply adding just 30 minutes of exercise per day can help your pet lose weight. For cats, consider switching to a canned or medicated food. Most dry foods are high in carbohydrates which can cause weight gain. Wet food and medicated dry food have fewer carbohydrates and can help with weight loss.

If your pet needs the support of our veterinary or nutritional staff, we can recommend a specialized diet and exercise plan for them, building a custom plan that will help them lose weight and maintain the weight loss. Veterinary support is especially helpful for pets that are experiencing weight gain caused by an illness such as a thyroid problem. In these instances, medication can be prescribed that will suppress the appetite and help stop fat absorption.

If you have questions about pet obesity, believe your pet is overweight, or you would like the support of our knowledgeable staff, contact our office today!

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.2.10.Separation Anxiety #

Canines and felines experience separation anxiety for very different reasons and exhibit very different symptoms. Cats may feel anxious after being separated from their mother, from early weaning, or when purchased from a pet store. A dog might begin experiencing separation anxiety after a change in ownership or a serious alteration in their owner’s routine or schedule. Shelter dogs also experience anxiety, because rescue animals live in constant fear of abandonment. Some degree of separation anxiety is estimated to occur in about 30% of all dogs, making it one of the most prevalent disorders among canines; however, it is so uncommon in cats that until recently, it was thought to be non-existent.

To eliminate the fears of separation anxiety, gradual behavior modification is necessary. With the help of our staff and your dedication and commitment, we can build a treatment plan that helps your pet enjoy or tolerate being left alone, easing their grief and yours.

Indications of a dog with separation anxiety:

  • Barking or howling when owner leaves.
  • Chewing up things in owner’s absence.
  • Consuming feces only in owner’s absence.
  • Digging in owner’s absence.
  • Dog is overly excited when owner gets home.
  • Escaping confinement when owner isn’t present.
  • Exhibiting obsessive compulsive disorder.
  • Need to be by owner’s side constantly.

Symptoms of a cat with separation anxiety: 

  • Having “accidents” outside of the litter box in their owner’s absence.
  • Hiding in owner’s absence.
  • Needing to be in owner’s presence.
  • Refusing to eat.
  • Vomiting in owner’s absence.

Treatment options for separation anxiety:

Persistence with any treatment plan is critical. Working alongside our veterinarian, we can form a customized behavior modification plan that allows you to gradually train your pet to be self-sufficient, calming their anxiety. In cases of moderate-to-severe separation anxiety, we might suggest prescription medication to supplement training. Prescriptions will be tapered off once pets start to show improvements in behavior and begin accepting the training process.

For severe canine separation anxiety, we recommend pet owners taking their dogs to a doggie daycare or hiring a pet sitter. Many times having some attention, even if it isn’t from the pet owner, takes a dog’s mind off of the owner being away. While the cost of a caregiver can be expensive, it could potentially outweigh the cost of expensive damage caused by an anxious dog left alone.

No matter the case, punishment should never be used on a pet with separation anxiety. This will only increase their anxiety and cause them to act out more. Similarly, frantic, hyper pets should never be awarded with attention immediately after an owner gets home; let pets settle down before rewarding them with attention, letting them know that they will only receive acknowledgement when they are calm and quiet.

If you have questions regarding separation anxiety or would like to enroll your pet in behavior modification classes, please contact our veterinary office at your convenience.

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1.1.2.11.Vision Problems #

When a pet is suffering from eye discomfort or is having difficulty seeing, most pet owners take notice right away. The symptoms are usually apparent, which allows an owner to quickly notice the issue and schedule an exam. Most common eye problems are either hereditary or caused by trauma, and when given proper veterinary care, heal well.

Symptoms of eye problems in pets: 

  • Clumsiness.
  • Difficulty finding food and water bowls or other common items.
  • Enlarged eyeballs or swelling around the eye socket.
  • Eye discharge or crusty build-up around eyes.
  • Eye glow happening more frequently, even in well-lit situations.
  • Hesitation when entering dark rooms or unfamiliar areas.
  • Increased instances of pupil dilation.
  • Lethargy.
  • Pawing at eyes.
  • Redness.
  • Watery eyes.

Common eye diseases

  • Cataracts – The gradual clouding of a pet’s lenses. Cataracts are usually genetic and do not begin occurring until a pet is elderly, though there are exceptions. Surgical removal is the best form of treatment.
  • Cherry eye – The loosening of a dog’s second eyelid tissue-membrane that causes it to prolapse, creating a swollen red mass in the lower corner of the eye. If left untreated, cherry eye can cause chronic dry eye which can lead to more serious problems.
  • Chronic conjunctivitis – Similar to conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) in humans. Pets experience puffy, red, itchy eyes and sensitivity to light. It occurs most commonly in large breeds because of their sizeable eye sockets.
  • Chronic superficial keratitis – Scar tissue and blood vessels enter cornea, leaving the affected areas black in color. When not taken care of, keratitis can eventually cause permanent blindness.
  • Corneal ulcers – Occurs when a dog gets something stuck in their eye or injures it, and the eye becomes infected, requiring antibiotics. Depending on the size and type of object stuck, surgical removal might be required.
  • Glaucoma – The build-up of fluid in the eye, causing an increase in pressure. When glaucoma is not addressed immediately in a pet, it usually causes permanent vision loss.
  • Progressive retinol atrophy (PRA) – Several inherited, progressive diseases that affect the retina. Simultaneously occurring in both eyes, PRA usually causes complete vision loss in pets. Currently there is no cure.

In some instances, other diseases can cause these vision problems. Pets suffering from distemper, infectious hepatitis, Lyme disease, and rocky mountain fever are recommended to undergo a routine eye exam to check for any potential coexisting eye diseases.

How is a pet’s eye disease treated?

When a pet is diagnosed with any eye issue, there are various methods that can treat the problem depending on the diagnosis and the severity. Some diseases require prompt surgery while others can clear up with a simple prescription ointment or eye drops. The veterinarian will determine what treatment method is suited best for your pet’s case and will discuss all treatment options during your visit. If you have any questions about the various treatment options, please feel free to ask questions during your appointment, we encourage all of our pet owners to be well-informed.

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1.1.2.3.INTESTINAL HEALTH #

Your pet’s gastrointestinal tract is an expert at maintaining stasis, balancing internal living organisms and healthy bacteria. So long as these networks remain in sync, they will continue to provide the body with essential nutrients and will protect against harmful pathogens within the intestines. Numerous outside factors can cause a shift in this fragile balance, wreaking havoc on the gastrointestinal tract.

With a prompt, accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, a pet’s intestinal health can be recovered, restoring balance to your pet’s GI tract and comfort to their being. If you have questions about pet intestinal health or are concerned about your pet’s current condition, please contact our office.

Learn more about pet intestinal illnesses and indicative symptoms of a major health issue:

 

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1.1.2.3.1.Anal Sac Disease #

Anal sacs, also called anal glands, are located within a pet’s rectal area, between the internal and external sphincter muscles. These glands are sometimes referred to as “scent glands,” because they excrete a clear discharge when an animal defecates. This discharge has a scent that is unique to each individual and allows canines to identify one another.

Anal sac disease occurs when these glands become disturbed by tumors or are otherwise obstructed, constricted, or irritated, though cats most frequently experience the disease when these glands become impacted. Anal gland problems are relatively common in canines and occur most frequently in smaller breeds, namely Chihuahuas, Miniature Poodles, and Toy Poodles. Most problems with the anal glands are not life threatening, but anal gland disease can quickly worsen if left untreated. If you witness your pet exhibiting any indicative symptoms, a veterinary exam is recommended to check for any existing infection.

What are signs that indicate anal gland disease? 

  • Chasing tail endlessly.
  • Exhibiting discomfort or pain when sitting down.
  • Frequently scooting their bottom across the floor.
  • Having difficulty defecating.
  • Leaning to one side to avoid sitting on their bottom.
  • Licking or biting at their bottom, attempting to relieve pain.

How is anal sac disease treated?

After a thorough examination and diagnosis, a veterinarian or veterinarian technician will perform a manual expression of the anal glands. During the expression, if the vet or vet tech notices that a more serious infection is present, the anal glands will be doused in a sterile saline solution, and an antibiotic ointment will be applied to the affected areas.

If your pet has frequent reoccurrences of anal gland infections, the veterinarian may teach you how to express their anal glands on your own. This can prevent frequent veterinary visits and allows you to perform expression the second you notice your pet suffering.

For pets with ongoing infections, we might suggest combining anal gland expression with preventative treatment methods which can include implementing a weight management program, increasing fiber intake, and for more extreme cases, surgical removal of the anal sacs and any present tumors; though most affected pets respond well to non-surgical treatment methods. The veterinarian will inform you of any instance that sedation or anesthesia is necessary to perform treatment.

If you have any questions about anal sac disease, please contact our office at your convenience.

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1.1.2.3.2.Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) #

Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) is a viral disease that infects the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and central nervous systems. Dogs who have not been vaccinated for Canine Distemper are the most at-risk. While the disease can also be contracted when improperly vaccinated or when a dog has high susceptibility to bacterial infection, these cases are rare.

CDV can be spread through direct contact (licking, breathing air, etc.) or indirect contact (bedding, toys, food bowls, etc.), though it cannot live on surfaces for very long. Inhaling the virus is the primary method of exposure. There is no known cure for CDV, and quick response to the disease greatly improves your pet’s chances at survival, especially for younger puppies. Because of its severity, we advise you to contact our office as soon as you notice something might be wrong.

Symptoms of Canine Distemper Virus:

CDV initially attacks the tonsils and lymph nodes, and symptoms can be unnoticeable for the first 6 to 9 days. Pay close attention to your pet for any of the following ailments, as they may indicate CDV:

  • Bloodshot eyes.
  • Coughing.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fever.
  • Lack of interest in food.
  • Lethargy and tiredness.
  • Paralysis.
  • Seizures.
  • Thickening of the skin on feet and nose.
  • Vomiting.
  • Watery discharge excreted from eyes and nose.

Diagnosing and treating CDV

There are a number of tests that can be performed to determine if your pet has CDV. The two most common types are biochemical tests and urine analysis. Biochemical tests will reveal if your dog has a reduced number of lymphocytes, and urine analysis will detect viral antigens. Together, they indicate that the body is fighting an infection and which infection it is likely fighting. If neurological damage is suspected, a CT scan or MRI might be warranted to determine whether any lesions have developed on the brain.

Once CDV has been diagnosed, treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms since there currently is not a cure for the disease. Most treatment plans differ because there are numerous strains of CDV, and every canine’s disease progresses differently. Treatment planning is conducted after a dog is evaluated, the strain they’ve contracted is verified, and their current status is determined. In managing your pet outside of the treatment provided by our veterinarian, it is important to monitor your dog for symptoms of dehydration or pneumonia:

  • Coughing.
  • Depression.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Lethargy.
  • Thick mucousy nasal discharge.

It is entirely possible to recover from Canine Distemper Disease. Recovery is usually dependent upon the strength of the dog’s immune system and the strain of distemper they have contracted. It can take up to 2 months to fully recover. How quickly you respond to potential CDV symptoms also impacts your pet’s chances at survival. Studies show that canines vaccinated as many as 4 days after contracting the disease still receive immunity and can fully recover. We highly recommend seeking immediate veterinary attention after suspecting that your pet has come into contact with the disease.

If you have any questions about Canine Distemper or think your pet may have come into contact with the disease, please contact our office.

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1.1.2.3.3.Canine Parvo Virus (CPV) #

Canine Parvovirus (CPV) is a contagious disease attacking cells that rapidly reproduce. It can occur at any age but is ordinarily seen in puppies around 6 to 20 weeks old. There are two types of CPV, intestinal and cardiac. Intestinal CPV is most common and is distinguished by diarrhea, decreased appetite, vomiting, and weight loss. Cardiac CPV is usually only seen in very young puppies and attacks their heart muscles, typically resulting in death. Vaccination is extremely important and can help prevent Canine Parvovirus. Certain breeds, namely Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers, are particularly susceptible to infection so extra caution should be taken.

CPV can be contracted directly or indirectly. Most dogs obtain the virus via fecal-oral contact. Heavy concentrations of Canine Parvovirus are excreted in an infected dog’s stools, so if a healthy dog sniffs or licks contaminated feces, it can contract the disease. Even indirect contact with fecal matter on an owner’s shoes can bring the disease into an environment. The virus is extremely resilient and can live in soil for up to one year, and it is resistant to weather changes and most cleaning products. If you suspect CPV to be present in your home, bleach is the only household disinfectant known to kill the virus. Should you bleach any surface your pet comes into contact with, be sure they are not present and do not ingest the bleach. Also, cats cannot contract parvovirus, but they can be carriers for it. If you have a household with multiple pets, it is important to be sure that one isn’t infecting another.

Possible symptoms of Canine Parvovirus: 

  • Diarrhea (often containing blood).
  • Depression.
  • Vomiting.
  • Bloodshot eyes.
  • Coughing.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Lethargy.

How is CPV diagnosed and treated?

Canine Parvovirus is diagnosed with a physical examination, biochemical tests, urine analysis, and X-rays and ultrasounds of the abdomen. When bringing your dog in for its exam, we might also ask for a brief history of the past few days’ activities and when you first noticed changes in your pet’s behavior.

CPV is a viral infection, and currently, there is no cure. Because the infection itself cannot be cured, treatment focuses on curing the symptoms it creates and preventing any secondary infection. Hospitalization is often necessary because of the frequentness and threatening nature of dehydration that is commonly associated with CPV. Most canines who face a life-threatening prognosis also suffer from dehydration. If it is not already occurring, the veterinarian might be able to prescribe medication that can lessen vomiting and reduce nausea, in an attempt to prevent dehydration. The survival rate for adult dogs diagnosed with Canine Parvovirus is high and is only slightly lower for puppies.

If you think your pet might have CPV, contact our office immediately so we can schedule an exam.

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1.1.2.3.4.Diarrhea In Canines #

Diarrhea can occur in canines for numerous reasons – some as minor as a change in diet, others as serious as infectious disease. Treating dogs with diarrhea is very successful so long as pet owners address the issue in a timely manner. Acute and chronic are two different severities of canine diarrhea, and each requires specific attention and care.

Acute diarrhea can last for a couple days to a couple weeks. In most cases, it is caused from a sudden change in food, an allergy, or bacteria. There is no need to be alarmed; symptoms typically subside after some time, and most dogs still appear happy and active despite having diarrhea. Once acute diarrhea has lasted beyond two weeks, it is classified as chronic diarrhea, and the situation is deemed much more serious. Continual diarrhea can initiate essential nutrient loss, making the body become toxic, lowering immune system function, and obstructing a dog’s ability to heal itself. As the immune system’s functionality is impaired, secondary disorders are able to develop, causing the body to deteriorate.

When to take your dog to the veterinarian: 

  • Abdomen is sensitive to touch or pressure.
  • Frequent and excessive vomiting.
  • Gums are dry or sticky (sign of dehydration).
  • Have a fever.
  • Have large amounts of blood in fecal matter.
  • Have visible bloating.
  • They show extreme lethargy.

If condition worsens or persists after 2 weeks, please contact our office immediately to schedule an appointment.

At-home treatment for acute diarrhea: 

  1. The first step to alleviate a diarrhea problem is to implement a change in diet. You want to be feeding your dog something that is easily digested and free from extra fat and oil – absolutely NO PEOPLE FOOD. A diet consisting of skinless, boiled chicken with rice is usually best until the diarrhea has subsided. Slowly reintroduce pet food.
  2. Add a probiotic supplement to your pet’s diet to aide in regulating gastrointestinal health.
  3. The most important step is to keep your dog hydrated. If necessary, dilute sports drinks (half sports drink, half water) to keep your dog interested in drinking fluids. Diarrhea causes a loss in electrolytes and replenishing those electrolytes is critical.

What causes chronic diarrhea?

Chronic diarrhea is usually caused by a food allergy, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, parasites, or a more serious (but often rare) condition that the vet will need to diagnose.

As diarrhea symptoms continue, you might notice that your dog’s coat becomes rough or wiry, your pet has less energy, and/or your dog seems dehydrated. All of these are side effects of chronic diarrhea and will continue until treatment is implemented.

Treating chronic diarrhea

If your dog is experiencing chronic diarrhea, we recommend you call and schedule an appointment immediately. Our veterinarian will examine your pet for internal parasites and disease, conduct blood tests, and assess dehydration levels. Complete diagnostics might also be necessary. After completing a thorough exam, we will be able to distinguish what is causing the diarrhea and will be able to develop an effective treatment plan.

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1.1.2.3.5.Diarrhea In Felines #

Diarrhea is a common ailment in cats, indicated by frequent, loose bowel movements. It is not a disease, rather a symptom of minor to severe illnesses. Diarrhea is caused by food passing too quickly through the digestive tract, not allowing it to completely digest and preventing the body from absorbing any fluid the food contained. Because of this lack of absorption, it is very easy for cats with diarrhea to become dehydrated.

The cause of diarrhea in felines ranges from a bacterial infection or parasite, to a systemic illness or cancer; however, a sporadic case could be caused by something as simple as a change in diet. The condition can be acute or chronic, where acute diarrhea occurs suddenly and for a short period of time, and chronic diarrhea is a continuing ailment over a period of a few weeks. If you witness your cat having diarrhea, it is important to monitor the issue, and schedule a veterinary appointment if symptoms last longer than a couple of days.

Symptoms of feline diarrhea

Diarrhea in cats can be caused by either the small intestine or large intestine, each with its own indicative symptoms.

Small intestine symptoms 

  • Frequent bowel movements.
  • Gas.
  • Increased stool amount.
  • Vomiting.

Large intestine symptoms 

  • Blood in stool, or tarry appearance.
  • Difficulty expelling stools.
  • Frequent bowel movements.
  • Mucous discharge in stool.
  • Urgency to defecate.

Additionally, there are several symptoms that occur regardless of where the issue originated, each of which indicate that diarrhea is being caused by a serious medical issue in need of veterinary attention:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Dehydration.
  • Depression.
  • Fever.
  • Lethargy.
  • Pale-colored gums.
  • Stools that are a deep red, or black in color.

How is diarrhea in felines treated?

Prior to implementing treatment or a special diet, the veterinarian will first want to determine what is causing the diarrhea. The veterinarian will perform a physical evaluation and ask the pet owner specific details about their pet’s condition. If necessary, testing and diagnostics will then be performed. The veterinarian will determine which tests are necessary to aid in diagnosis. These may include: FIV and FeLV tests, cultures, endoscopy, X-rays, ultrasound, or intestinal biopsy.

Depending on the result of lab tests and the veterinarian’s official diagnosis, a custom treatment plan will be established. In addition to treatment, most cats are fasted for 24 to 36 hours, only being given water and crushed ice, to help their digestive system recover. After this initial fast, they are slowly reintroduced to food with low-fat, bland meals that are given in frequent, small portions.

If you have any questions about diarrhea in cats, please feel free to contact our office.

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1.1.2.3.6.Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV) #

Feline panleukopenia (FPV), also known as feline distemper, is a viral infection among cats that is caused by parvovirus. Similar to parvovirus, it is extremely resilient and can survive on nearly any surface and for extensive periods of time. FPV is highly contagious and often fatal. While it is not contagious for humans or dogs, ferrets can spread the disease to and can obtain the disease from cats. Panleukopenia is spread through contact with an infected animal’s bodily waste, body fluid, bed, or dishes. Pet owners can also carry the disease on their clothing and shoes.

FPV harms a cat by depleting their white blood cell count, leaving them susceptible to secondary infection; and attacks the lining of their gastrointestinal tract, causing internal inflammation, pain, and bleeding. The disease is entirely preventable with regular vaccination. Mothering cats can also spread the virus to their unborn kittens; therefore, it is highly recommended that pregnant cats are routinely vaccinated to prevent spreading FPV to their offspring.

If you have any questions about vaccination scheduling or would like to schedule a booster vaccine for your cat, contact our office today!

Symptoms of feline panleukopenia virus 

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Bloody diarrhea.
  • Depression.
  • Fever.
  • Lethargy.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Severe dehydration.
  • Tail-biting.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weight loss.

If your cat exhibits any of the aforementioned symptoms, please contact our office immediately, as it may indicate a life-threatening illness.

How is feline panleukopenia treated?

Upon bringing your pet in, the veterinarian will first perform a thorough physical exam to properly diagnose FPV. A Complete Blood Cell Count test will be completed, along with testing on a fecal specimen (when possible). The blood sample will indicate a drop in white blood cell count, suggesting panleukopenia, while the specimen can register traces of the FPV virus.

Because there is not a cure for panleukopenia, treatment is focused on supporting the side effects until the virus subsides, much like treating a human cold. Administering fluids to prevent dehydration, inoculating antibiotics to prevent systemic infection, and providing supplementary medications to curb diarrhea and vomiting are all possible therapies. In most cases, successful veterinary care of FPV patients involves 24/7 in-patient care.

Remember, FPV can be prevented with a proper vaccination regimen. Please consider pet vaccination before it is too late.

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1.1.2.3.7.Foreign Bodies in Esophagus #

Nearly every pet owner has witnessed their pet chewing on something they aren’t supposed to. Oftentimes, these objects end up being swallowed. Such swallowed foreign bodies tend to get stuck in the body, and the first place they can get lodged is within the esophagus. Bones or string are the most common objects that gets caught; other common items include sewing needles, socks, fishhooks, rawhide, and wood. Regardless of what object your pet swallows, promptly removing it before it causes further damage should be a primary concern.

Symptoms of a foreign body in esophagus: 

  • Anorexia.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Gagging.
  • Lethargy.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Repeatedly trying to swallow.
  • Spitting up.
  • Weight loss.
  • Pawing at the mouth.

Identifying foreign bodies

When a pet owner brings in their animal either having witnessed them swallowing an article, or suspecting them having swallowed an object, most foreign bodies can be detected with an X-ray. If the item swallowed was translucent, a contrast esophagoscopy will need to be performed in order to detect the item and where it is located. This test utilizes biocompatible dyes to make transparent articles better visible in imaging.

How are foreign elements removed from the esophagus?

Once foreign objects have been positively identified, they should be removed promptly. The outlook for foreign object removal is very good, and most pets do very well. Depending on the precise location of the item, the veterinarian will advise you on the different methods of removal, and you can decide which method is best for your pet. Some objects can be removed with induced vomiting; others can be extracted with an endoscope and forceps. If the object has moved further down the esophagus, it can be pushed into the stomach with the endoscope where it will be digested and passed.

In some cases, surgery is necessary, and the object will be pushed into the stomach so it can be surgically removed via gastrotomy. Gastrotomy is a safe surgical incision that enables the veterinarian to examine the contents of the stomach and remove the foreign object without disturbing surrounding organs. If the article has punctured the esophagus, immediate surgery becomes critical. The article cannot be moved and surgery must be performed in the location of the object.

If you have observed your pet swallowing foreign items or they are exhibiting any suspicious symptoms, we strongly advise you to contact our office, and schedule an exam.

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1.1.2.3.8.Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) #

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) is a multifactorial issue that can be caused by a combination of genetics, anatomy, and environmental factors. GDV is the twisting of the stomach in a way that cuts off blood supply, trapping gasses and creating a life-threatening circumstance. Typically, larger dog breeds or breeds with narrow, deep chests are at a higher risk for GDV, and that risk increases with age. Cats and small dogs can still develop GDV, though it is very rare.

GDV is a two part process in which the stomach first bloats or dilates, filling with air, then undergoes torsion or volvulus, spinning on its axis. In less severe cases, a pet suffers from bloat (gastric dilatation) alone. The actual twisting of the stomach (volvulus) is a life-threatening situation that can be fatal within a matter of minutes. When a pet suffers GDV it can then cause the following emergencies:

  • Swollen stomach.
  • Pressure on the abdomen.
  • Damage to cardiovascular system.
  • Decreased blood flow.

If your pet can burp or vomit it is probably not experiencing GDV. However, if your pet seems to be in excruciating pain, contact our office immediately and we can initiate tests to check for torsion.

Symptoms that could indicate Gastric Dilatation Volvulus:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Anxiousness.
  • Depression.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Excessive salivation.
  • Hardness developed in the stomach.
  • Sudden collapse.
  • Unexplainable weakness.
  • Vomiting or dry heaving.

Treatment options for bloat and Gastric Dilatation Volvulus

Gastric dilatation is considered an emergency situation. Once your pet arrives, we will assess their condition and administer any necessary pain relievers or antibiotics prior to gastric decompression. After relieving the bloat from the stomach, we will perform X-rays to determine if your pet is suffering from dilatation alone or if volvulus has also occurred.

If volvulus is present, surgical options will be discussed. Surgery is necessary to return internal organs to their normal positioning, and permanent gastropexy (surgically securing stomach in upright position) is often recommended. Once a volvulus has occurred, 75 to 80% of dogs develop it again; gastropexy can prevent future reoccurrences of GDV.

If you witness any of these changes in your pet, please contact our office immediately as it could indicate a serious health emergency.

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1.1.2.3.9.Gastro Intestinal Obstruction #

It’s no surprise that pets chew on and swallow things that they shouldn’t, and we can’t always watch their every move. While some foreign objects are small enough to naturally pass, others can get stuck and cause problems. Toxic items, such as lead, can also pose a serious threat. Gastrointestinal obstruction is the most common surgical emergency in veterinary medicine, and is seen primarily in younger dogs.

Several items are particularly known for getting tangled and blocking a pet’s intestinal tract, including string, ribbon, socks, underwear, and rocks. Keeping these items out of a pet’s reach, combined with close monitoring, can prevent your pet from suffering an obstruction.

Symptoms of a foreign body impeding gastrointestinal tract: 

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Abdominal swelling.
  • Bloating.
  • Dehydration.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Lethargy.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Vomiting.

Identifying foreign bodies

Our veterinarian can typically detect most foreign bodies with an X-ray. If the item swallowed was translucent, a contrast esophagoscopy (test utilizing biocompatible dye to show transparent articles) will need to be performed in order to determine where the item is located.

How do you remove obstructions from the stomach and intestines?

If foreign bodies are present in the stomach or intestine and cannot pass naturally, they need to be removed; articles can either be removed through endoscopy or surgery. If the item is small enough to grasp and remove without surgery, the veterinarian will sedate the canine and use an endoscope and forceps to find and remove the foreign body through the esophagus and out of the mouth. For larger articles, surgery via gastrotomy is necessary. During gastrotomy, a pet is sedated under general anesthesia so they remain completely unaware of the procedure. A small incision is then made in the stomach, which allows the veterinarian to locate the object within and remove it. Gastrotomy is a very safe surgery and does not disrupt surrounding organs.

If your pet is exhibiting symptoms of having a foreign body in the gastrointestinal tract, or you have witnessed them swallow an object, please contact our office immediately. Removing the article is very important.

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1.1.2.3.10.Intestinal Tract Problems #

Intestinal Tract Problems (IBD, IBS, and Colitis)

There are various types of intestinal tract problems among pets, and often, pet owners get them confused. Each causes a pet to exhibit similar symptoms, but not all are alike. In learning the subtle differences, you can help understand which issue your pet is suffering from and get them the treatment they need.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a psychosomatic disease (mental illness that is characterized by physical symptoms) and is entirely self-inflicted by an over-abundance of anxiety.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome:

  • Constipation.
  • Cramping.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Mucous in stool.
  • Urgency to defecate.

Treatment of IBS

The treatment of IBS focuses on identifying and addressing the anxiety or stressor. Inconsistent schedules, frequent moving, or weather changes can all contribute to anxiety, as can numerous other causes. Increasing fiber in the pet’s diet tends to help IBS symptoms, as does adding an anti-diarrheal medication during flare-ups. In extreme cases, the veterinarian can prescribe anti-anxiety medication to keep a pet’s stress level under control, but this is typically used as a last resort.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders affecting cats and dogs. IBD is characterized by chronic inflammation of the small and large intestines which results in a disruption of the digestive system’s regular contractions. This disruption produces irregular contractions that cause mucus and toxins to collect in the intestines and build a partial obstruction that traps gas and feces. This obstruction results in bloating, distention, and constipation.

Most causes of IBD are unknown but could be related to food allergies, bacterial or viral infection, or parasites.

Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease: 

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Anorexia.
  • Bloating.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Flatulence.
  • Mucous in stool.
  • Nausea.

Treatment for inflammatory bowel disease

Treatment for inflammatory bowel disease is a tough balancing act, because pets respond drastically different and causes of IBD usually cannot be determined. Prescription medication along with dietary restriction is usually the best method of treatment, though some pet owners are against medicating their pets. Dietary management comprises of eliminating allergens from the diet and adding non-fermentable fiber with the intention of normalizing a pet’s bowel movements. The veterinarian also recommends limiting tap water intake and opting for bottled water, because tap water can contain lead, copper, mercury, and aluminum, which can irritate a sensitive stomach and cause inflammation. It is important to note, that it is difficult to obtain a full recovery with diet alone.

If you opt for medication for your pet, the veterinarian will determine which is best based on your pet’s species. Some medications are better for dogs, while others work best for cats.

Colitis

Colitis is a condition similar to inflammatory bowel disease and causes rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and abdominal spasms. It is more common in dogs but reported instances in cats have been increasing. Because finding the origin of the problem is difficult, treatment is typically symptomatic.

How is colitis treated? 

  • Drug therapy – implements the use of anti-inflammatories. This form of treatment can have long-term side-effects, so it is rarely used over an extended period of time.
  • Dietary management – initiating a change in diet to control fiber and polyunsaturated fatty acids with the intention of controlling colitis.
    • Elimination diets: consists of removing all additives and supplements from diet, stripping it down to one carbohydrate and one “novel” protein (a protein that the pet has previously been unexposed to). After the symptoms dissipate, a normal diet can be reintroduced.
    • Hypoallergenic diets: involves feeding one “novel” protein for a 4 week period then slowly introducing a second “novel” protein. This second protein can typically be used to manage symptoms long-term.

If you have any questions about intestinal tract issues or if your pet is exhibiting any of the issues described above, please contact our office, and we can help diagnose the issue and formulate a treatment plan.

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1.1.2.3.11.Liver Shunt #

In a healthy pet, the liver functions by removing toxins from the bloodstream, storing sugars, and distributing proteins. Pets with a liver shunt cannot properly filter their blood. Veins bypass the liver when moving blood from the intestines, pancreas, spleen, and stomach, causing nutrients and toxins to reach the heart. Liver shunts can be intra-heptic (inside the liver) or extra-heptic (outside the liver) and are typically present at birth but can also be acquired with liver disease. Intra-heptic shunts are more common among large dog breeds, whereas extra-heptic shunts are more common among small dog breeds and cats – namely Persians, Himalayans, and mixed-breeds.

There is no way to prevent a liver shunt from developing. The condition occurs towards the end of gestation within the mother’s uterus, and most animals start showing signs of the disease within their first 6 months of living. On occasion, shunts aren’t prevalent until much later, when an elderly pet begins to develop bladder problems or kidney stones.

Symptoms of a liver shunt:

  • Depression.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Growing slower than peers (underdevelopment).
  • Inability to gain weight.
  • Lethargy.
  • Odd behaviors (disorientation, pacing, staring off).
  • Seizures.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weakness.

How is a liver shunt treated?

A liver shunt is first diagnosed through blood tests. From conducting specific tests, the veterinarian can observe liver function and draw a positive conclusion. The veterinarian will then discuss the various methods of surgical and non-surgical treatment that are available.

Non-surgical therapy typically includes a precise eating regimen that is comprised of a low-protein diet alongside prescribed medications which help stop the production and absorption of toxins. Several herbal compounds can also be added to the pet’s diet to support blood flow to the liver, such as milk thistle and dandelion. After an extended period of time, some pets will still experience liver failure with this method of treatment, eventually requiring surgery.

Surgical treatment involves closing the shunt as best as possible. For both intra- and extra-heptic shunts, constrictors (metal loops) are placed around the vessels causing the shunt; these constrictors gradually close around the shunt. In some cases, the shunt cannot be entirely closed, but in most cases, even a partial closure is enough to relieve the symptoms of the disorder. Following surgery, the pet’s low-protein diet will need to continue until bile acid levels return to normal.

If your pet exhibits any of the described symptoms, we strongly recommend you contact our office and schedule an exam with the veterinarian, as it may be an indication of a liver shunt.

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1.1.2.3.12.Vomiting #

Vomiting is a normal, healthy function for dogs and cats. On occasion, pets eat things that do not agree with their stomachs or cats need to expel a hairball, and purging brings the body back into stasis, eliminating toxins within the stomach. This sort of sporadic vomiting is not cause for alarm; however, if vomiting is occurring on a regular basis, it could be indicative that something serious is wrong with your pet.

In determining if your pet has vomited and whether or not it is a serious health concern, you must first establish whether the hurling is vomit or regurgitation. Vomiting involves physical retching and heaving from the stomach, and the product expelled is fully digested and typically has a yellowish fluid (bile) present within it. Regurgitation is hacking from the throat, and the substance is not fully digested, remaining tubular in shape; usually you will see pieces of whatever your pet has swallowed within it. During regurgitation, a pet will lower their head and dismiss the food without a lot of effort. Regurgitation is often considered less serious than vomiting, though continual regurgitation and the inability to hold food down does indicate the need for immediate veterinary attention.

An interesting fact for pet owners! – Horses, rabbits, and rats are among the few pets that possess muscles around their esophagi that prevent them from vomiting.

Three stages of vomiting in pets 

  1. Nausea – indicated by drooling, frequent swallowing, yawning, or lip smacking. Most pets will also find a space in which to hide.
  2. Retching – the contracting of the stomach in a way that prevents them from relaxing so nothing comes from the mouth.
  3. Vomiting – when food physically expels from the mouth.

Pets need immediate veterinary care if they: 

  • Also have diarrhea and lethargy.
  • Are vomiting multiple times per day.
  • Are vomiting though they have not eaten in several hours.
  • Have a fever.
  • Have projectile vomiting.
  • Have vomit containing bright red blood, or if vomit looks like coffee grounds.
  • Show signs of depression or physical agony.
  • Vomits once in a day and continues to vomit the following day.

Any of these symptoms can signify serious illness including ulcers, kidney or liver failure, distemper, cancer, diabetes, poisoning, or Addison’s disease.

Treatment for vomiting pets

Treatment for vomiting varies, depending on whether the vomiting is acute or chronic. Acute vomiting is vomiting that has occurred occasionally over a period of less than two weeks, whereas chronic vomiting has lasted frequently over a period of at least two weeks. During your pet’s physical evaluation, the veterinarian will discuss which form of vomiting your pet has been exhibiting and will ask questions about symptoms, such as whether food or bile was present in the vomit. Blood tests can be performed to determine the functioning of the pancreas, liver, and kidneys and can also determine if there are any toxins in the bloodstream. Digital imaging can discover any foreign bodies that might be present in the stomach or intestines.

Treatment will ultimately depend on the cause of the veterinarian’s findings and could range from medication to control vomiting to treatment for cancer if a tumor is found. Regardless of the diagnosis and treatment plan, pay close attention to your pet after treatment is implemented, and if any drastic changes occur, be sure to notify the veterinarian. Keep our office informed of any improvement or worsening of the condition, and follow-up with all appointments until the problem subsides.

Keep in mind that the following foods are harmful to most pets’ digestive tracts and can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea: 

  • Alcohol.
  • Avocados.
  • Baby food.
  • Chives.
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus.
  • Coffee or tea.
  • Dough containing yeast.
  • Eggs.
  • Fruit seeds/pits.
  • Garlic.
  • Grapes and raisins.
  • Liver.
  • Macadamia nuts.
  • Milk.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Onions.
  • Salt.
  • Tomato.
  • Tuna.
  • Xylitol.

If you have any questions about vomiting in pets, please contact our office.

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1.1.2.3.4.NEUROLOGICAL HEALTH #

A pet’s neurological health affects the brain, neuromuscular system, and spine. Because of the complexity of the nervous system, as well as its importance in relaying messages between the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, the slightest injury can cause serious complications; any sort of damage or disease can cause difficulty with motor skills and sensory response. Typically, the onset of a serious neurological disease is irreversible, but there are treatment options that can help manage side-effects. A proper diagnosis can help your pet obtain the treatment they require. If your pet is behaving unconventionally, read through the sections below to better understand neurological diseases in pets, their symptoms, and possible treatments.
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1.1.2.3.4.1.Epilepsy #

In accurately diagnosing a pet with epilepsy, our veterinarians rely heavily on pet-owner cooperation. The process of diagnosis requires close observation and recording of a pet’s seizure activity outside of our veterinary office, as well as observation from the vet. Epilepsy is a disease that has symptoms similar to other diseases; when possible, video and written records of episodes of seizures greatly improve accurate diagnoses, and we appreciate you actively participating in your pet’s treatment.

Epilepsy is a persistent neurological condition that is distinguished by seizures. There are several different types of seizures which are classified by the affected pet’s reaction to the episode and the brain activity patterns it causes. Seizures can be partial, secondary generalized, or generalized. Partial seizures are localized within a specific area of the brain; when a partial seizure spreads to the cortex it is considered secondary generalized. A generalized seizure is one that involves the entire cortex.

In all cases, the cause of epilepsy is difficult to determine. Some predisposing factors include bacterial/viral encephalitis, brain malformations, brain trauma, brain tumor(s), high fever, genetic and hereditary factors, metabolic disturbances, and stroke. When the onset of epilepsy can be determined, it is considered Secondary Epilepsy. If the reason for seizures cannot be established, it is referred to as Idiopathic Epilepsy.

Types of seizures in pets

  • Cluster: numerous seizures within a short span of time, allowing very short periods of consciousness between each seizure.
  • Complex partial: involves behaviors that are continually repeated throughout the seizure. In otherwise normal pets these behaviors include biting, chewing, hiding, vocal noises, running. Seizure side effects can also include biting oneself, diarrhea, temporary blindness, and vomiting.
  • Partial: seizure-like jerking movement limited to specific areas of the body. (i.e. localized muscle spasms, facial twitches).
  • Petit mal: there are several different indications of a petit mal seizure and all do not necessarily occur at once. Some pets shake their head left and right for a few minutes: others’ entire bodies shake throughout the extent of the seizure. Some pets blankly stare with a glazed look while others continuously blink while arching their backs.
  • Status epilepticus: life threatening emergency of a continuous seizure lasting longer than 30 minutes, or a series of multiple seizures in a short time without periods of consciousness in between.
  • Tonic-clonic: a pet typically falls over, losing consciousness and extending its limbs to a rigid outstretched position. Breathing stops for a short period of 10-30 seconds until the convulsing movements begin which can include chewing or making a paddling motion with the limbs. Some dogs exhibit dilated pupils, excessive drooling, and incontinence.

Stages of pet seizures: 

  1. Prodome – preceding a seizure (hours to days) a pet’s mood/behavior might begin subtly changing from its normal essence.
  2. Pre-ictal phase – marks the beginning stages of the seizure and can include constant salivation, nervousness, trembling, or whining. It can last seconds to hours.
  3. Ictal phase – the actual seizure. Most last from a few seconds to a few minutes and are characterized by tensed muscles and partial paralysis. Some pets lose control of their salivary glands and bowels.
  4. Post-ictal Phase – the post-seizure period in which the dog is still disoriented, confused, and possibly dehydrated or salivating. Some pets also experience temporary blindness and wander aimlessly.

Treatment options for pets with seizures

Once a thorough neurological examination has been completed (accompanied by necessary blood tests) and epilepsy has been diagnosed, it is typically controlled with medication. The veterinarian will decide which medication is best for your pet based on their species and breed. In more severe cases epilepsy can be treated with surgery, but surgical options will be determined by the veterinarian for those particular cases. If your pet’s seizures are severe enough to be placed on a medication, common anti-seizure medications for pets can include the following:

  • Clorazepate – A relatively mild anticonvulsant that is also used to treat anxiety and phobias in canines and felines. Side effects include tiredness, increased appetite, and lack of coordination.
  • Diazepam – An extremely fast acting anticonvulsant typically used to treat status epilepticus. Side effects include hypotension, hypoventilation, and impaired consciousness.
  • Felbamate – Highly effective in controlling partial seizures with little-to-no side effects when used as the only anticonvulsant in a treatment plan. Side effects are limited in reported case studies due to the drug’s short half-life.
  • Levetiracetam – Can be used singularly or combined with a Phenobarbital or Potassium Bromide and is one of the newer anti-seizure medications for pets. Must be administered three times per day. So far, the most common side effect is that some pets develop a tolerance for it, thus losing its effectiveness.
  • Phenobarbital – Most commonly prescribed anti-seizure medication. Side effects can include increased appetite, dehydration, frequent urination, lethargy, or ataxia.
  • Potassium Bromide – Can be used singularly or in addition to Phenobarbital and is the second most prescribed anticonvulsant. The commonly reported side effects are increased appetite, dehydration, frequent urination, lethargy, or ataxia (involuntary muscle movements).
  • Primidone – Similar to Phenobarbital in effectiveness, but has a greater risk of causing liver disease so is only prescribed when Phenobarbital proves ineffective. Side effects can include agitation, anxiety, ataxia, dehydration, depression, frequent urination, increased appetite, or lethargy.
  • Zonisamide – Used to treat generalized seizures in canines but it is not commonly prescribed as it is very expensive. The most common side effects are ataxia (involuntary muscle movements), nausea, and tiredness.

If you think your pet may have had a seizure, the first step is to remain calm and keep your voice mellow and soothing in an effort to prevent the seizure from reoccurring. Show your pet love and affection, allowing them to understand that they have done nothing wrong and that everything will be okay. Please contact our office immediately so we can complete a full pet evaluation to ensure there are no pressing health issues that require emergency medical attention. It is important to remember that epilepsy treatment is not curative and is only meant to help prevent seizures from occurring; though a pet can relapse, and they can still occur.

If you think your pet may have epilepsy or have questions about the disease, please contact our office.

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1.1.2.3.4.2.Seizure (Non-Epileptic) #

The primary difference between an epileptic seizure and a non-epileptic seizure is their underlying cause. Non-epileptic seizures are usually focal-motor seizures and are caused by an abundance of electrical activity in the brain due to a brain lesion, such as an abscess or tumor. During a focal-motor seizure, a pet convulses or twitches, but that twitching is limited to a specific part of the body.

If your pet has a seizure, you must take them to see a veterinarian immediately to be sure that brain damage has not occurred and that no major health issues are the cause. During your pet’s exam, try to inform the veterinarian of as many details about the seizure as you can remember. After a thorough diagnosis, the veterinarian will be able to determine and treat the underlying cause.

Common causes of non-epileptic seizures: 

  • Brain abscesses.
  • Brain injury.
  • Brain tumors.
  • Concussion (seizure typically occurs weeks to months after injury).
  • Distemper.
  • Encephalitis.
  • Heartworm disease.
  • Heat stroke.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Liver failure.
  • Poisoning.
  • Stroke.

Treatment of non-epileptic seizures

If seizures are recurring over a period of several days, anticonvulsants might be prescribed for a period of 1 to 2 weeks after the initial seizure. If medication is needed beyond that, the veterinarian will reevaluate levels and write a new prescription. If a more serious medical condition exists, such as heartworm or liver failure, and is determined to be the underlying cause of the seizures, the veterinarian will address the larger health issues at hand.

In a majority of the cases, non-epileptic seizures end up being a one-time occurrence that disappears once the causal illness is treated. If the ailment takes an extended period of time to treat, multiple seizures can occur which is why prompt treatment is essential.

If you have questions about seizures in domestic pets, feel free to contact our office at your convenience.

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1.1.2.3.4.3.Vestibular Disease #

Any animal with a vestibular system can suffer from vestibular disease; this ranges from fish and birds to dogs and cats. A pet’s vestibular system is comprised of nerves and inner ear workings that inform the brain of bodily motion, maintain equilibrium, and control eye movement while the body is in motion; essentially, it is responsible for balance, coordination, and posture. Vestibular disease occurs when the nerves have difficulty performing these functions. There are two types of vestibular disease, peripheral and central, with peripheral vestibular disease being more common. Peripheral vestibular disease is caused by disorders of the inner ear (the body’s balance center), whereas central vestibular disease arises from balance issues within the brain.

There are many possible causes of vestibular disease, though the exact catalyst is often unable to be determined. The following are several commonly known triggers.

Causes of vestibular disease: 

  • Brain or inner ear polyps.
  • Brain or inner ear tumor.
  • Ear infections.
  • Negative reaction to certain medications.
  • Nerve damage.
  • Old age.
  • Stroke.
  • Trauma to the head.
  • Under-active thyroid.

Vestibular disease is commonly misdiagnosed as a seizure, stroke, or poisoning. The symptoms between each of these illnesses can be very similar so diagnosis can be extremely difficult. Pets usually begin displaying symptoms quite suddenly, and because most sufferers are elderly animals, the ailments can be debilitating. The peak level of discomfort usually occurs between 24 to 36 hours after initial onset, but clumsiness can remain for several weeks.

Symptoms of vestibular disease: 

  • Circling.
  • Dehydration.
  • Dizziness.
  • Excessive vomiting.
  • Head tilt.
  • Lack of coordination.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Loss of balance/disorientation.
  • Rapid eye movements.
  • Staggering.
  • Unwarranted falling over.

How is vestibular disease treated? To diagnose vestibular disease, the veterinarian carefully performs diagnostic tests, examining the ear canals and performing a neurological exam. After it is certain that vestibular disease is the cause of the pet’s symptoms, very little can be done. There is not a cure for vestibular disease, so treatment usually involves curing the side-effects; the veterinarian can prescribe a medication to relieve nausea or a sedative that helps your pet manage its balance complications. The disease will gradually resolve on its own over the next 7 to 30 days. There remains no way to accelerate this process. Also, for some pets, the head-tilt side-effect will remain permanent. Once a pet gets vestibular disease, it is very rare that it reoccurs, though it is entirely possible for this to happen.

For pets suffering from vestibular disease caused by another serious medical issue, further testing and attention may be necessary. If your pet requires further care, the veterinarian will address a treatment plan during your pet’s exam.

Please feel free to contact our office with any questions you might have about vestibular disease.

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1.1.2.3.4.5.Orthopedic Health #

Pet orthopedic health focuses on providing animals with treatment and therapies that maintain joint function and comfort. Over a pet’s lifespan there are numerous problems that could cause joint lameness and immobility. Knowing the tell-tale signs could help you know when to schedule a veterinary appointment for your pet, allowing them to recover more quickly and providing them with the comfort they deserve.

Read through the following orthopedic health concerns to understand more detail about each subject, common symptoms your pet may exhibit, and possible treatment options.

Please call our office if you have any questions or pressing concerns. We look forward to welcoming your pet to our veterinary family!

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1.1.2.3.4.5.1.Arthritis #

Arthritis is a common degenerative disease that occurs in a pet’s joints. It slowly destroys the cartilage between bones, causing inflammation and chronic pain. Given our experience and familiarity with cases of arthritis, we can properly diagnose your pet with the correct type and cause, as well as develop an appropriate treatment plan to help manage pain.

There are several different types of arthritis including degenerative joint diseases that are resultant of stress on joints or are caused by malformation of joints; inflammatory joint diseases that are hereditary or caused by bacterial, fungal, or tick-borne illnesses; and idiopathic diseases where the cause is unknown. Regardless of your pet’s type of arthritis, our veterinarian is here to help formulate a treatment plan and ease suffering.

Symptoms of arthritis: 

  • Difficulty climbing stairs. 
  • Difficulty jumping up on furniture. 
  • Difficulty walking longer distances. 
  • Favoring particular limbs (namely when they get up from a resting position).
  • Hesitant to eat hard, dry food.
  • Hesitant to rise from a resting position. 
  • Lethargy. 
  • Limping. 
  • Stiff in the morning. 
  • Unexplained weight loss. 
  • Unwillingness to sit or refusal to stand.

How is arthritis treated?

Unfortunately arthritis isn’t curative, but there are ways that you can help prevent your pet from acquiring arthritis at a young age. Because the most prevalent types of arthritis are influenced by obesity, regular exercise and a healthy diet are essential. Maintaining a healthy weight is the best preventative strategy in prolonging the onset of arthritis.

If your pet is already suffering from arthritis, there are several methods of treatment that can help relieve pain. For obese pets that suffer from arthritis, the first step is to monitor weight loss to reduce stress being placed on joints. Supplements can also be used to aide in pain relief. Analgesics, anti-inflammatories, chondroitin, fatty acid supplements, and glucosamine can all aid in relieving inflammation and reducing pain.

For pet owners who prefer natural relief for their pets, there are homeopathic treatments available. Cayenne, ginger, ginseng, guggul, and milk vetch are all natural plants or spices that can be added to your pet’s diet to offer relief from arthritis.

If you have questions about arthritis, or think your pet might be suffering from arthritis and want to seek treatment, contact our office today.

 
 
 
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1.1.2.3.4.5.2.Elbow Dysplasia #

Elbow dysplasia is caused by malformation or degeneration of the elbow joint and is very common in larger dog breeds but rarely affects cats or small dogs. Most pets inherit the disease, which is first noticeable when they are younger, between the ages of 4 and 10 months old. However, some pets do not show signs of elbow dysplasia until late adulthood. Dysplasia can be characterized by bony fragments in the joint, elbow incongruity, or severe arthritic changes. All can be managed with proper veterinary care. If you think your pet might be suffering from elbow dysplasia, contact our office to schedule an exam. We can start your pet’s treatment plan right away!

Some of the most susceptible breeds include: 

  • Australian Shepherds 
  • Mastiffs 
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs 
  • Newfoundlands 
  • Chow Chows 
  • Rottweilers 
  • English Setters 
  • Saint Bernards 
  • German Shepherds 
  • Shar-Peis 
  • Golden Retrievers 
  • Shetland Sheepdogs 
  • Labrador Retrievers 
  • Springer Spaniels

What symptoms will my pet exhibit if they have elbow dysplasia? 

  • Flipping of feet when walking or running. 
  • Holding elbows outward from chest. 
  • Inclination to hold painful limb out and away from the body.
  • Noticeable pain when extending or flexing elbow. 
  • Reduced range of motion during walks or play. 
  • Swelling near the elbows. 
  • Weakness that worsens with movement and exercise.

Living with elbow dysplasia

An initial diagnosis is necessary prior to any treatment; X-rays are usually taken to ensure that elbow dysplasia is the cause of the pet’s pain. Managing pain caused by elbow dysplasia is absolutely probable. There are both surgical and non-surgical treatment options available with positive and negative aspects of both options.

Surgery is one treatment option that typically provides a sort of permanent relief for elbow dysplasia sufferers. However, if there are multiple defects in the joint and the defects are severe, the surgery can prove less successful, and a dog can still develop degenerative arthritis.

For dogs who are not good candidates for surgery or whose owners opt against it, traditional therapy involves a combination of weight control, moderate exercise, and anti-inflammatory medications. Additional therapies might be suggested, depending on a dog’s current health status. For severely overweight dogs, hydrotherapy might be recommended to alleviate additional joint stress, and allow for weightless, no-impact fitness until significant weight loss is seen. These traditional therapies are more of an “elbow dysplasia management”, as they will not cure the disease and will have to be incorporated throughout the remainder of the pet’s lifespan.

If you have any questions about elbow dysplasia or the treatment options we offer, please contact our office.

 
 
 
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1.1.2.3.4.5.3.Hip Dysplasia #

Hip dysplasia is the abnormal development or degeneration of the hip joint with regards to pelvis and femur size or shape. The problem frequently coincides with Osteoarthritis. Most often, pet owners don’t notice the subtle differences in their pet’s hips because they appear normal, while internally, they develop differently.

Being one of the most common skeletal diseases among dogs, hip dysplasia usually affects large and giant breeds. Though it is less common in cats, hip dysplasia is relatively common among Persian cats and Maine Coons. It can affect both male and female and is believed to be a genetically inherited disease. For this reason, we do not recommend breeding pets that have been positively diagnosed with hip dysplasia, nor do we recommend breeding any parent whose offspring has received a positive diagnosis, as the disease is likely to reoccur within each litter.

Symptoms of hip dysplasia: 

  • Bunny hops when running or climbing stairs. 
  • Clicking noise coming from hips during movement. 
  • Narrow stance of hind legs. 
  • Hip area is sensitive to touch. 
  • Reluctant to get up. 
  • Scoots across floors. 
  • Stiffness when standing up from a resting position, or increased stiffness in the morning and after naps.
  • Sways when walking. 
  • Walks with a limp.

Pets that grow at a rapid pace or are of predisposed breeds are at an increased risk for hip dysplasia. We would like owners to pay special attention to these pets, especially during their early and elderly years.

How is hip dysplasia diagnosed?

If you suspect your pet might have hip dysplasia, you should first schedule an evaluation. During the exam, the veterinarian will perform a physical assessment complete with a urinalysis and blood work. X-rays are also performed to accurately diagnose the disease. An exact diagnosis requires precise positioning of the hips by our skilled radiography technicians.

After a positive diagnosis, the veterinarian will discuss appropriate treatment options with you. While hip dysplasia is not curable, there are surgical and non-surgical treatment methods that can help reduce patient discomfort and improve quality of life.

Treating hip dysplasia

Both surgical and non-surgical treatment methods for hip dysplasia are intended to lessen the discomfort caused by hip dysplasia.

Non-surgical: Some non-surgical treatment options include weight management, nutritional supplements, and anti-inflammatories. Often, obese hip dysplasia sufferers have increased pressure placed on their joints due to excess weight. After restricting food and implementing light exercise, weight loss can reduce the burden placed on the joints, allowing some relief. Natural supplements that include glucosamine can help a dog’s cartilage and relieve pain, especially when combined with an anti-inflammatory. While liver toxicity is always a concern, check-up exams should be maintained to monitor the levels of supplements.

Surgical: There are several femur and hip modification surgeries that can be recommended for severe cases of hip dysplasia. The most common type of surgery recommended and performed, which also has the highest rate of success, is total hip replacement surgery. Performed similarly in humans, this surgery involves implanting a prosthetic, functional joint. With this surgery, most pets return to a healthy, high-activity status post-surgery.

Keep in mind that a pet with hip dysplasia experiences extreme discomfort in their hind legs, so exercise and activity should never be too rigorous. While treatment is intended to help relieve pain, said relief is not intended to allow for rough-housing or performing strenuous activities. For all methods of treatment, follow-up appointments are recommended, and in some cases required, in order to monitor healing and treatment.

If you have any questions about hip dysplasia or the various treatments we offer, please contact our office.

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1.1.2.3.4.5.4.Legg Perthes Disease #

Legg Perthes disease affects the hip joint and ultimately causes arthritis and inflammation. The pain inflicted from this disease can be debilitating, and immobility is common. The disease starts when the head of the femur bone slowly begins to lose blood supply, eventually causing the head to die off. This portion of the bone collapses (in an X-ray you can see the femur head is far less dense than normal bone), and the surrounding cartilage cracks and warps.

There is no known cause of Legg Perthes disease, but it typically occurs in miniature, toy, and small breeds within their first year of living. If your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms, feel free to contact our office to schedule a treatment evaluation.

Symptoms of Legg Perthes Disease:

  • Clicking sound coming from hip joint. 
  • Lameness in hind leg(s). 
  • Limping. 
  • Reluctant to stand up, play, or jump. 
  • Thinning of thigh muscles. 
  • Weakness.

Diagnosing and treating Legg Perthes disease

Diagnosing Legg Perthes is not complicated, but some symptoms can mirror other degenerative hind leg diseases such as hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. During your pet’s appointment, the veterinarian will take radiographs that can help distinguish which disease your pet is suffering from.

In treating Legg Perthes, surgery is the method of choice for most veterinarians. Femoral head and neck ostectomy (FHO) is the most common and most successful surgical procedure for this particular disease. During this procedure, the veterinarian will remove the femur head, and in more severe cases, the neck of the femur bone as well. After healing, a pet’s body repairs itself to create a new joint of fibrous tissue and scar tissue, filling in the ball-and-socket joint area where the femur head once was. After the pet has had weeks to rest and allowed this scar tissue to build up, physical therapy rehabilitation is started to extend range-of-motion through hydrotherapy and other non-weight bearing activities. Also, weight management becomes extremely critical to prevent putting added stress on the hip joints. For pets that are genetically inclined to obesity, a nutrition plan might be implemented. The FHO surgery is often very successful in preventing further pain, improving range of motion, and increasing activity levels.

If you have any questions about treatment for Legg Perthes disease, please contact our office

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1.1.2.3.4.5.5.Luxating Patella #

Luxating patella is a condition that occurs when the kneecap slides out of place, getting dislocated from the joint. Each time the kneecap slides out of place, the cartilage becomes increasingly more damaged. If the problem persists and does not receive veterinary care, the damage causes excruciating pain and eventually triggers osteoarthritis. While it occurs most frequently in smaller dog breeds, cats and larger dogs are still susceptible. Luxating patella can be an acquired condition or can exist at birth. Most cases are believed to be genetic so pets with confirmed instances of luxating patella are encouraged to not be used for breeding.

Any pet with a suspected luxating patella should undergo weight management and light exercise to prevent obesity as excess weight can cause increased pressure on joints, worsening an existing condition. The symptoms a pet exhibits will vary depending on their particular level of pain tolerance; some pets might simply freeze in place until the kneecap moves back into position, while others may vocally express their pain.

Symptoms of luxating patella: 

  • Extending one leg for a period of time prior to quick movements. 
  • Favoring a particular limb. 
  • Hesitant to jump up on things or move hastily. 
  • Shaking of a particular leg. 
  • “Skipping” (running while holding one leg off the ground). 
  • Sudden lameness in a limb with quick recovery. 
  • Temporary paralysis of one or multiple legs.

Diagnosing luxating patella

During your pet’s exam the veterinarian can often determine a luxating patella simply through manually manipulating the kneecap. Depending on the severity of pain and based on the symptoms you describe your pet experiencing, sedation might be necessary for the vet to fully manipulate the kneecap and perform this diagnosis. In some cases, supplementary X-rays might also be recommended to visualize the joint and help with treatment or surgical planning.

In an effort to prevent further damage to joints, pet owners should never manipulate the kneecap or joints on their own. Doing so could worsen their pet’s suffering and cause additional harm to cartilage.

Classifications of luxating patella

There are four different classifications that veterinarians use to judge the gravity of a pet’s luxating patella. The system ranks pets’ symptoms with numbers ranging from 1 to 4 with 1 being the least severe and 4 being the most severe. The following is a list of each pain level and what the number signifies: 

  1. Kneecap can be manually popped out of place, or can pop out on its own. Pops back into place on its own. 
  2. Kneecap pops out on its own, but occasionally needs to be manually popped back into place. 
  3. Kneecap sits outside of groove a majority of the time, but can be manually popped back into place. However, it will not stay in place very long. 
  4. Kneecap sits outside of groove entirely. Cannot be manually popped back into place.

How is luxating patella treated?

After properly determining the severity of your pet’s luxating patella, the veterinarian will discuss the various methods of treatment available. There are both surgical and non-surgical methods of treatment. Often, pet owners who opt against surgery find that their pet’s condition worsens and must eventually undergo surgery to fix the problem.

Non-surgical treatment involves managing pain by administering anti-inflammatories (non-steroid), which helps lessen discomfort and reduce inflammation. Along with a medicated diet, exercise, and a physical therapy routine, pet’s that have type 1 or type 2 luxating patella often find that this method of pain management helps strengthen the quadriceps muscles and provides relief from pain.

There are several surgical methods that can help alleviate pain. The most common procedures involve one of the following: reconstructing the soft tissues surrounding the knee joint which helps support the kneecap; deepening the groove in the femur bone that the kneecap rests within; or securing the kneecap to the outside of the bone to prevent it from sliding. If you opt for a surgical treatment for your pet, the veterinarian will further discuss the various options and will review which method is best for your pet’s particular case. As with most severe conditions, with more acute cases of luxating patella, surgery is the preferred method of treatment.

If you notice any questionable symptoms in your pet, contact our office as soon as possible to schedule an exam.

 
 
 
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1.1.2.3.4.5.6.Torn ACL #

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) stabilizes a pet’s knee joint and keeps the lower leg bones in place beneath the thigh bones. An ACL tear can be partial or complete, causing immense pain and suffering for an animal. Being the most common cause of rear leg lameness and one of the major causes of degenerative joint disease, ACL ruptures cause gradual and irreversible damage to joint cartilage. Though the condition is very common, it is still considered to be quite serious and requires immediate veterinary care. A majority of ACL tears need surgical stabilization of the knee joint and the sooner the surgery is performed, the less likely a pet is to suffer secondary injuries such as a second ACL tear in the opposing hind leg.

An ACL tear can happen from acute trauma or from chronic repetitive injuries. Most happen during physically demanding activities like jumping, playing, running, or roughhousing. Most commonly, pet owners report their pet stumbling and being unable to get back up – holding its leg at an awkward angle. It is important to note that all breeds, genders, and ages are susceptible to ACL tears, and overweight pets are at an increased risk. Helping your pet maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition and exercise can help lower this risk.

What symptoms would my pet exhibit if they tore their ACL? 

  • Arched back in attempt to force weight onto front limbs. 
  • Begins to side-sit with no apparent purpose. 
  • Decrease in muscle mass. 
  • Reluctance to use one or both hind legs. 
  • Reluctant to jump, run, or stand. 
  • Sudden and severe lameness in one or both rear legs. 
  • Weakness.

Surgical treatment for a torn ACL

There are numerous therapies available for ACL ruptures, and combined with anti-inflammatories and rest, they can help manage the pain caused by an ACL tear. But, these therapies will never fully cure the injury. In these cases, we believe that surgery is a pet’s best chance to fully restore motion and permanently manage pain.

There are a number of various surgical techniques and more are being developed all the time. During your pet’s exam, we will determine which technique is best for their circumstance. After surgery, rehabilitation will take anywhere from 2 to 4 months for full recovery. In most cases, we prescribe anti-inflammatories and medication to help with cartilage repair. During the recovery period, pet owners are advised to help their pets maintain a healthy weight by limiting their food intake and switching pet food to a healthier brand. Pets will also need their exercise restricted. Long, controlled walks will help prevent muscle loss without overexerting rear leg ligaments. Finally, some pet owners also see it fit to have their pet attend physical therapy for rehabilitation purposes. 

If you have any questions about ACL surgery, feel free to contact our office at your convenience.

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1.1.2.3.4.5.6.Parasites, Bacteria, and Viruses #

Parasites, bacteria, and viruses are fairly common among pets. Whether acquired from another pet, a wild animal, or their own mother, infection typically occurs within a pet’s direct environment. Many of these contagions are also zoonotic or capable of being transmitted to human pet owners, which makes them even more concerning.

While a veterinary exam is not always necessary as some viral infections can subside on their own, others need immediate care, so it is always best to seek proper diagnosis and treatment. If you notice abnormal behavior or symptoms in your pet, please contact our office so we can determine what is ailing them.

Read through the following sections to learn more about common viruses, parasites, and bacteria which affect pets.

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1.1.2.3.4.5.6.1.Fleas, Mites, and Ticks #

Parasites are common among pets, especially dogs and cats that are allowed to roam outdoors. Various parasites can be native to a location, affecting pets throughout diverse times of the year. Pet owners should take note of the parasites common within their locale and observe their pets during the seasons they are most prone to infection.

Fleas

The most common flea is the Ctenocephalides Felix, more commonly known as the cat flea, though there are various other types. This particular type of flea is capable of hosting on humans, cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, rats, mice, guinea pigs, ferrets, and birds. These fleas rapidly reproduce and are capable of quickly infesting an entire household with both humans and pets as their hosts. If one pet has fleas, all pets within the household must be treated.

Fleas survive by ingesting the blood of their hosts. When they bite the host’s flesh, their saliva irritates the skin, causing the host to itch which in turn, may cause an allergic reaction. To determine if your pet has fleas, comb a section of hair on their back, towards a white piece of paper. If black flecks, resembling dirt, fall onto the paper, gently drop a very small amount of water onto the paper. If the black flecks begin to turn a rust-colored red, your pet has fleas. The rust hue is resultant of the blood being sucked out of your pet. If nothing comes off of your pet when brushed, or if the black flecks remain black, your pet is healthy.

Household inhabitants with fleas may experience: 

  • Anemia. 
  • Mild to severe scratching. 
  • Open sores. 
  • Pet owners experiencing flea bites.

Treatment for fleas

If one pet in the household has fleas, all household inhabitants should be treated. Treatment can include either a shampoo or a topical treatment. Shampoos will kill fleas for a few days, whereas topical creams or gels will kill fleas for a few weeks. We recommend using topical treatments for a more thorough solution. If you would like recommendations when choosing a flea preventative, contact our veterinary office, and we would be happy to assist you in selecting a superior product for your pet.

Mites

Similar to numerous other parasites, mites exist in multiple forms. The ear mite is the most common type of mite among cats and dogs and frequently causes feline ear disease. Most mites are barely visible, forcing veterinarians to use a microscope to detect them on a pet and to determine the specific type. Most often, a pet contracts mites from another pet or from another pet’s bedding. Some mites, including scabies, are contagious to humans, while others, such as mange, are not.

Symptoms that a pet has mites: 

  • Crusty rash around ears. 
  • Dark, waxy or crusty ear discharge. 
  • Hair loss from excessive scratching. 
  • Head shaking. 
  • Large blood blisters around ears. 
  • Patches of scaliness. 
  • Scratching.

Treatment for mites

After the veterinarian has determined the type of mite bothering your pet through a microscope evaluation, they will determine the best form of treatment. Some mites can be treated with topical medications or oral medication; others are best handled with a medicated bath or dip. Some types of mites cannot be cured, but with the appropriate medication, the condition can be kept under control.

Ticks

There is no question that pets are curious beings, often wandering into every shrub or bush they can squeeze through. In certain geographical areas, this roaming can cause a pet to acquire ticks. More common in dogs than cats, ticks attach themselves to a pet’s neck, ears, or skin folds. The bites can cause irritation, spread disease, and can eventually cause anemia.

If you live in an area prone to tick infestation, be sure to periodically examine your pet after walks or after they have roamed for long periods outside.

What do I do if my pet has a tick?

Promptly removing a tick upon discovering one is the easiest way to prevent disease transmission. To remove a tick, carefully grip the tick with tweezers as close to the pet’s skin as possible. Firmly pull the tick away from the skin while holding the tweezers tightly closed. After removing the tick, crush it, but avoid contact with the innards, as they could be carrying disease. If you do not pull the tick off just right, the head can remain attached and will continue to infect your pet, so it is critical that you remove the tick in its entirety.

During tick season, try using a tick preventative to reduce your pet’s chances of acquiring ticks, especially if taking your pet through heavily infested areas when hiking or camping.

If you are unfamiliar with tick removal or feel unconfident removing your pet’s tick on your own, contact the veterinarian, and they can remove the tick for you.

 
 
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1.1.2.3.4.5.6.2.Hookworm, Roundworm, Tapeworm, and Whipworm #

Worm parasites are fairly common among pets with some being more dangerous than others. Most of these common parasites are contracted by ingesting infected soil, water, bodily waste, or an infected host such as a bird or rodent. The parasites can also usually be caught by consuming an infected mother’s milk or by eating infected fleas while self-grooming; some parasites can even burrow through skin to infect a pet.

To determine if a pet has a particular worm infestation, the veterinarian will usually perform a fecal floatation exam. During this exam a stool sample is placed in a special solution that causes the fecal matter to sink and any parasite eggs to float, allowing the veterinarian to collect a sample of the eggs and examine them further under a microscope. Once under a microscope, the veterinarian will be able to determine the exact type of worm contaminating a pet.

Treatment for worm parasites is a simple medication prescribed by the veterinarian. Prescriptions vary depending on the level of infection as well as the type of parasite. Some medications will only kill adult worms, so a combination of dewormers might be prescribed. Alternatively, a medication might be prescribed for a prolonged period of time to ensure that the parasite is fully exterminated.

Pet owners should remain cautious because some parasites will be killed off by dewormers, but can remain dormant within the host, reappearing during times of stress or when a mother gets pregnant. Also, while some pet owners may decide to administer a dewormer on their own, some parasites, such as tapeworms, are not curable with generic, over-the-counter dewormers, so a trip to the vetrinarian is necessary.

Keeping kennel areas clean, controlling rodents, and testing females prior to breeding can all help prevent the spread of parasites.

Symptoms of a worm parasite in pets can include: 

  • Bloody stools. 
  • Diarrhea. 
  • Itching around anus. 
  • Lethargy. 
  • Pale tongue, gums, and nose. 
  • Pot-bellied appearance 
  • Visible worms in vomit or stool. 
  • Weight loss.

Additional details about the most common parasitic worms follow. If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, please contact our office and schedule an appointment today.

Hookworms

Hookworms are small, thin worms that attach to the small intestine and live off the host’s blood and tissue. They are most common in warm, humid geographical areas and most often infect puppies, though they are capable of contaminating older dogs and cats as well. Eggs are shed in an infected pet’s stools, causing concern for multi-pet households.

Humans are capable of contracting hookworms from their pets, though the parasite cannot survive very long in a human environment. Hookworms penetrate human flesh and migrate, causing a small red, itchy patch of skin; they eventually die off.

Roundworms

Most kittens and puppies are born with roundworms and extract the infection from the mother’s tissues or the mother’s milk. These worms sit in the intestinal tract, growing up to 5 inches in length. Roundworm eggs are coated in a hard shell that allows them to survive for years in soil and on other surfaces, potentially re-infecting your pet for a prolonged period of time.

Roundworms can also infect humans; the most common cases are among children. When not treated immediately, they can cause severe damage to a human host and can even cause blindness.

Tapeworms

Tapeworms are white in color with a long, segmented body. They live in the digestive tract by burrowing their head into the intestinal lining. With their body left floundering downstream, the worm is able to absorb nutrients as they pass through the intestinal tract.

Humans can contract tapeworms by coming into contact with fecal matter from a dog that is infected. Humans are not a definitive host and therefore adult tapeworms will not develop, however the larvae can produce cysts on the lungs, liver and brain which can lead to serious illness or even death.

Whipworms

Whipworms are common among canines, namely older dogs, but can still infect cats. They are small and have a whip-like body with a narrow head that gets progressively larger towards the tail. These parasites attach to the walls of the large intestine and survive by feeding on the host’s blood. Whipworms can survive for years within their host as well as in soil, food, water, and on animal flesh.

Cats infected with whipworm usually have very light infections and do not show any outward symptoms. Humans have their own form of whipworm, though it is not the same type that infects pets nor can it be contracted from pets.

If you have any further questions about parasitic worms, feel free to contact our office.

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1.1.2.3.4.5.6.3.Kennel Cough (Bordetella) #

Kennel cough (also known as bordetella) is a highly contagious bacterial disease that can affect dogs, cats, and humans. Dogs are most commonly affected, though cats are often carriers of the disease, never showing any symptoms but spreading the disease to other pets and pet owners. For pets and pet owners, the disease is most common among those with compromised immune systems, such as the very young or the elderly, and extra precaution should be taken with both age groups.

A pet contracts kennel cough when they inhale particles of a virus or bacteria which then lingers in their respiratory tract, trapping the infectious particles and resulting in an inflammation of the trachea and bronchi. Several factors are believed to expose pets to these contagious particles, some of which include cigarette smoke; crowded and inadequately ventilated areas, such as a kennel or shelter; cold weather; stress caused by traveling long distances; and dust. If you suspect your pet to be experiencing any of these conditions in the near future, it is recommended that a bordetella vaccination be administered; however, please keep in mind that the vaccination cannot prevent all strains of bordetella, as the virus comes in various forms.

What are the symptoms of kennel cough? 

  • Cough that sounds similar to honking. 
  • Dry hacking cough. 
  • Eye discharge. 
  • Fever. 
  • Retching. 
  • Reverse sneeze. 
  • Runny nasal discharge. 
  • Sneezing.

Treating bordetella

Numerous tests can be performed to diagnose a pet with bordetella. Pets suffering from indicative symptoms usually have a complete blood count and chest X-rays performed. Additionally, the veterinarian may swab nasal passages or the throat for any discharge and send the samples to an external lab for testing. An external lab can tell the veterinarian exactly what type of microorganism is infecting your pet.

The most common type of kennel cough is relatively mild and does not need to be treated with antibiotics. The infection will run its course, similar to a fever or cold in humans. More severe infections will be treated with oral antibiotics for a period of 10 to 14 days, sometimes longer if the symptoms are more severe. If secondary health issues are a concern, such as pneumonia or dehydration, hospitalization might be required, so the veterinarian can administer IV fluids and additional antibiotics, as well as monitor the pet.

Because kennel cough is severely contagious, it is important to thoroughly sanitize an infected environment as soon as the contamination is known. Bowls, bedding, and litter boxes all need to be disinfected as well as any other object a pet has come into contact with.

If you have any questions about bordetella, feel free to contact our office at your convenience.

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1.1.2.3.4.5.6.4.Leptospirosis #

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that occurs most frequently in mild to tropical climates. Reported cases of contracting the disease are more common during late summer and fall, after heavy rainfalls. Cases are far less common in winter months due to the fact that the bacteria cannot survive freezing temperatures. Dry heat kills the bacteria, but it thrives in stagnant water, alkaline conditions, dampness, and mud. While some areas of the country are more apt to this kind of weather, others are not, thus the leptospirosis vaccine remains a non-core vaccine.

Most pets contract the disease when they come into contact with a body of water that is infected with the bacteria, such as a puddle, rainwater, or drain. Other known methods of transmitting the infection include physical contact with saliva, feces, or the infected animal itself. The disease spreads via bodily fluids, through the bloodstream, and usually gets flushed into the kidneys where it often remains and reproduces, infecting the urine. Here it spreads to other animals that come into contact with the infected animal’s waste. The severity of the infection depends on the strength of an animal’s immune system. Younger animals with less developed immune systems are at a much higher risk of death when contracting leptospirosis. Pets that are the most at-risk for contracting the infection are hunting dogs, pets that live in wooded areas, pets that live on farms, or pets who live with other animals.

Because there is a vaccine for leptospirosis and any pet could come into contact with the disease at some point, we do recommend getting your pet vaccinated, especially pets who live in high-risk areas or pets who have contracted the disease once before. Leptospirosis is zoonotic, which means it can spread between infected humans or animals to others.

If you have any questions about the infection or would like to make an appointment for vaccination, please contact our office.

Indications your pet might have leptospirosis: 

  • Dehydration. 
  • Depression. 
  • Excessive drooling. 
  • Fever. 
  • Increased thirst. 
  • Jaundice. 
  • Muscle tenderness. 
  • Red colored urine.
  • Runny nose. 
  • Shivering. 
  • Vomiting.

Pet owners will start to notice signs of a fever within 4-12 days of exposure to the bacteria. We recommend contacting our office at the first indication that something might be wrong. Like most infections, leptospirosis is easily managed when first contracted but can cause more damage the longer it remains in the body; it is also contagious for humans and other household pets.

While there are over 213 strains of leptospirosis, only 8 can infect humans and dogs, and 5 can infect cats. This table shows you the various strains that are contagious to humans and domestic pets, the primary sources the bacteria can be developed from, and other known sources from which you or your pets might obtain the disease:

How is leptospirosis diagnosed?

During your pet’s exam the veterinarian will ask you to describe the symptoms that led you to believe your pet was ill. If a leptospirosis diagnosis is positive, this information will give us a good indication of the progression of the infection and will aide in combating the bacteria. Urine and blood samples will be taken and cultured to determine if any bacteria is present, and the body’s immune system response to infection will be tested by measuring antibodies in the bloodstream; this will help determine the level of infection.

Diagnosing leptospirosis is always done cautiously. Because humans can contract the bacteria from pets, our vets and technicians handle these cases with extreme caution, and we advise pet owners to also take extreme caution when handling a potential case of leptospirosis. Any bodily fluid is a biohazard and needs to be disposed of properly to avoid contamination of oneself, other pets, and wildlife.

Treating leptospirosis

Most pets diagnosed with leptospirosis need to be in isolation to prevent spreading infection to owners and other animals. For severe infection that has progressed beyond the early stages, hemorrhaging and dehydration may have started occurring which will require hospitalization. If a pet comes to our facility with either of these symptoms, they will need 24-hour care and observation until their condition improves.

Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics for a period of four weeks or longer, depending on the stage of the bacterial infection. During the period that your pet is being medicated, they should remain under close observation and be checked for any negative reaction to prescribed medications. The prognosis for most pets is positive when severe organ damage has not yet occurred. If you notice any changes in your pet’s behavior while taking medication, contact our office immediately.

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.2.3.4.5.6.5.Lyme Disease #

Lyme disease is caused by exposure to a spirochete bacteria (double-membrane, asexual bacteria that is cylindrically shaped). Infection carrying ticks spread Lyme disease to pets, generally canines, by attaching to the pet and feeding on their blood for an extended period of time. This bite transmits the bacteria from the tick to the pet. Ticks that carry Lyme disease are most common in specific geographic areas – the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, and upper Midwest regions; they also thrive in temperatures above freezing, so more cases are reported during the months of March through October. After feeding on an animal’s blood supply for several hours, it can take weeks to months for the bacteria to self-replicate and travel through the bloodstream and embed itself in muscles, joints, tendons, the heart, and lymph nodes.

Some pet breeds can develop a fatal type of Lyme disease that specifically attacks their kidneys. Because Lyme disease can be fatal if left untreated, we recommend contacting the veterinarian when you first notice something might be wrong with your pet. For pet owners who live in high-risk areas, vaccination is highly recommended.

Symptoms of Lyme disease in domestic pets: 

  • Decreased appetite. 
  • Depression. 
  • Diarrhea. 
  • Fever. 
  • Hesitant to get up from resting position. 
  • Hesitant to run, jump, or walk. 
  • Lethargy. 
  • Limping on one leg then shifting to another. 
  • Occasional or permanent inability to bear weight on a limb. 
  • Swollen, painful joints. 
  • Swollen lymph nodes. 
  • Vomiting. 
  • Weight loss.

How is Lyme disease treated?

Lyme disease is often extremely difficult to detect. When the veterinarian suspects a patient to have contracted the bacteria, its blood will be tested. It takes most animals 1 to 5 months to exhibit symptoms of an infection after becoming contaminated, if they show outwardly signs at all. Often, pet owners bring in their animal to address another issue; after blood tests are conducted, they are surprised to learn their pet has Lyme disease.

Once your pet has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, it can be treated with oral antibiotics that are administered daily for a period of 4 weeks. If the disease has progressed to the point of causing kidney damage, more powerful antibiotics might be necessary, and hospitalization can be required. Reoccurrence can happen, though it is rare. In these instances, the disease is managed with antibiotics for an extended period of time.

Please contact our office if you would like more information on the dangers of Lyme disease or if you wish to schedule a vaccination appointment.

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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1.1.2.3.4.5.6.6.Rabies #

Rabies is an often fatal viral infection that is transferred when a pet comes into contact with an infected host. Most often, exposure occurs through contact with affected wildlife, namely bats, coyotes, foxes, or skunks. A rabid animal could bite another or make contact with an existing wound, resulting in an infection; transmission can also occur when an animal makes contact with infected saliva through the eyes or mouth. Being that the virus is zoonotic, humans are capable of contracting rabies from their pets.

A rabies vaccination is currently required by law in every state; however, exemptions do exist in 15 states. An exemption can be obtained for various reasons, including if the pet owner plans on keeping their pet in isolation or if a serious medical issue proves the vaccination would cause more harm than good. In most cases, veterinarians strongly recommend a rabies vaccination for all mammalian pets, and booster shots are required every one to three years.

Symptoms that a pet has rabies

There are several different phases during which a rabid pet will exhibit symptoms of rabies: the prodromal phase, the furious phase, and the paralytic phase. The furious phase most commonly occurs among cats, and the paralytic phase can occur either after the prodromal or furious phase. It can take up to eight weeks for noticeable symptoms to appear; however, a pet can become contagious up to ten days prior.

Prodromal phase: 

  • Bouts of irritability. 
  • Fever. 
  • Nervousness. 
  • Shyness. 
  • Solitude.

Furious phase: 

  • Biting. 
  • Disorientation. 
  • Increased sensitivity to sound and light. 
  • Irritability.
  • Possible viciousness. 
  • Restlessness. 
  • Seizures.

Paralytic phase: 

  • Eventual respiratory failure.
  • Facial paralysis. 
  • Inability to swallow. 
  • Increased salivation. 
  • Labored breathing.

What do I do if my pet is exposed to rabies?

Rabies is impossible to positively diagnose in a living animal or human. In order to definitively determine whether a pet has the virus, the brain tissue must be examined; therefore, tests are not conducted until a pet has passed on.

If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to a rabid animal, call the veterinarian immediately. Also, be sure to report the incident to your local health department and animal control center, and listen to their recommendations. If you must handle your pet, be sure to do so cautiously, as the virus can live on a pet’s skin for a few hours. Preventative measures, including wearing gloves and protective clothing, are the best way to prevent self-exposure to the virus.

Pets that are up-to-date on their vaccinations and have been bitten will be immediately administered with another vaccination and should be closely monitored by their owners for the next 45 days. If a pet is not vaccinated, euthanasia is highly recommended. If a pet owner is against euthanasia, it is possible to keep the pet in isolation for a 6 month period (usually at a pound or shelter), administering a vaccination immediately and again after 28 days. In these instances, it is rare that the pet will survive, but it still remains an option. If a vaccination has lapsed, public health officials will determine what action to take based on how past-due a pet is, the pet’s overall health, and how severe the exposure was.

If you have any questions about rabies or preventative measures you can take for your pet, please contact our office.

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1.1.2.3.4.5.6.7.Salmonella #

There are over 2,000 different strains of salmonella (salmonellosis). Affecting mammals and reptiles, the common bacterial infection can affect nearly every type of pet. Salmonella usually affects the gastrointestinal tract after it settles in the lymph nodes and drops down into the intestines. It is a zoonotic disease so humans are highly capable of contracting the infection from their pets. Sources of salmonella include natural pet treats such as rawhide or pig ears, raw pet food, or the feces of an infected animal. Bacteria is shed in the feces of a previously infected animal for months after it seems to have resolved, so humans and other animals can still become infected even if it appears that a pet is no longer contagious.

Pets and pet owners who are most at risk are those with weakened or underdeveloped immune systems, namely the very young or very old. Also, pets taking antibiotics or pets with weakened gastrointestinal systems are at an increased risk.

Symptoms indicative of salmonella 

  • Abdominal pain. 
  • Dehydration. 
  • Diarrhea. 
  • Fever. 
  • Lack of appetite. 
  • Lethargy.
  • Rapid heart rate. 
  • Skin disease. 
  • Vomiting.
  • Weight loss.

Diagnosing and treating salmonella

The veterinarian will perform a complete diagnostic evaluation, collecting urine and fecal samples for laboratory analysis. Depending on the severity of your pet’s circumstances, blood cultures may also be collected. The laboratory analysis will identify the bacteria present in your pet’s stool sample and will also determine if there are any intestinal parasites that are causing any of the symptoms your pet is exhibiting.

In less severe cases, salmonella is treated by feeding a pet bland food that is easily digested, while increasing their water intake. If symptoms persist, or if pet waste becomes excessively foul smelling or bloody, seek veterinary care immediately. Pets with severe cases of salmonella will need to be prescribed antibiotics. Extra care should be taken when cleaning up after a contaminated pet to ensure that you do not become infected.

If you have any questions about salmonella or think your pet may have an infection, please contact our office.

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Last updated on October 21, 2018
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2.VIDEOS #

2.1.1.CPR for pets #

The following is a simple breakdown of dog and cat CPR. It is written for the average pet owner and in plain language. It uses the common accepted approach to pet cardiopulmonary resuscitation according to accepted standards of Pet First Aid courses throughout the United States. This text is not intended to take the place of professional veterinary care. It is recommended that you take a Pet First Aid or Pet CPR course from a certified instructor.

ABCs (Airway, Breathing, Circulation)

Airway

Probably one of the most important things you can do after SAFETY is to make sure your dog or cat is breathing. To do this, you want to gently tap your dog or cat and call out his or her name to see if there is any movement. Then (being careful not to get bitten or scratched) lean down close and LOOK, LISTEN AND FEEL for breathing.

LOOK: at the chest of the animal to see if its moving.

LISTEN: to see if you can hear them breathing.

FEEL: on your cheek or back of your hand for a breath.

Breathing

If your dog or cat is not breathing, pull their tongue just a little bit, close the mouth and tilt their head just a little to open their Airway. Give them 4-5 breaths from your (guess what?) mouth to their nose! This is “Mouth-to-Snout Resuscitation.” You’ll want to give them just enough air to make the chest rise. Big dogs need more— little dogs or cats much less. Remember not to give too much air! You don’t want to hurt them.

Circulation

This means you’re checking to see if their heart is working okay. To do that you must check for a heart beat—the pulse. There are pulse points located in various areas on your dog or cat. For a dog the best place to find the pulse is on the inside of the rear leg, towards the top of the leg. This is called the Femoral Pulse. For a cat the best place to find the pulse is on the outside of the left front leg, just behind the shoulder. This is called an Apical Pulse.

Rescue Breathing

Rescue Breathing is when you have to breath for your dog or cat because they are not breathing on their own. You do this when your dog or cat has a pulse but is not breathing.

Step 1

First do your ABCs: don’t forget to LOOK, LISTEN, and FEEL for breathing.

Step 2

If not breathing, give 4-5 breaths using Mouth-to-Snout Resuscitation (see Breathing, above).

Step 3

Check for pulse on the Femoral Artery for dogs or check the Apical Pulse for cats or really small dogs.

Step 4

If there is a pulse, but no breathing start Mouth-to-Snout Resuscitation giving 1 breath every 3 seconds. For cats or really small dogs, give 1 breath every 2 seconds.

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2.1.2.Blood Tests For Pets #

Even pets that appear happy and healthy can have hidden medical problems that might grow serious, even life-threatening, if left undetected. Blood tests are essential for identifying diseases at the earliest, most treatable, stage possible.

We may recommend blood tests to:

Screen your pet for developing problems that can be treated before becoming serious.

Rule out underlying kidney or liver problems before giving your pet certain medications.

Establish a baseline picture of what represents “good health values” for your individual pet.

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2.1.3.Flea and Tick Preventives #

The most common flea is the Ctenocephalides Felix, more commonly known as the cat flea, though there are various other types. This particular type of flea is capable of hosting on humans, cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, rats, mice, guinea pigs, ferrets, and birds. These fleas rapidly reproduce and are capable of quickly infesting an entire household with both humans and pets as their hosts. If one pet has fleas, all pets within the household must be treated.

Fleas survive by ingesting the blood of their hosts. When they bite the host’s flesh, their saliva irritates the skin, causing the host to itch which in turn, may cause an allergic reaction. To determine if your pet has fleas, comb a section of hair on their back, towards a white piece of paper. If black flecks, resembling dirt, fall onto the paper, gently drop a very small amount of water onto the paper. If the black flecks begin to turn a rust-colored red, your pet has fleas. The rust hue is resultant of the blood being sucked out of your pet. If nothing comes off of your pet when brushed, or if the black flecks remain black, your pet is healthy.

Household inhabitants with fleas may experience:

  • Anemia
  • Mild to severe scratching
  • Open sores
  • Pet owners experiencing flea bites

Treatment for fleas

If one pet in the household has fleas, all household inhabitants should be treated. Treatment can include either a shampoo or a topical treatment. Shampoos will kill fleas for a few days, whereas topical creams or gels will kill fleas for a few weeks. We recommend using topical treatments for a more thorough solution. If you would like recommendations when choosing a flea preventative, contact our veterinary office, and we would be happy to assist you in selecting a superior product for your pet.

Mites

Similar to numerous other parasites, mites exist in multiple forms. The ear mite is the most common type of mite among cats and dogs and frequently causes feline ear disease. Most mites are barely visible, forcing veterinarians to use a microscope to detect them on a pet and to determine the specific type. Most often, a pet contracts mites from another pet or from another pet’s bedding. Some mites, including scabies, are contagious to humans, while others, such as mange, are not.

Symptoms that a pet has mites:

  • Crusty rash around ears
  • Dark, waxy or crusty ear discharge
  • Hair loss from excessive scratching
  • Head shaking
  • Large blood blisters around ears
  • Patches of scaliness
  • Scratching

Treatment for mites

After the veterinarian has determined the type of mite bothering your pet through a microscope evaluation, they will determine the best form of treatment. Some mites can be treated with topical medications or oral medication; others are best handled with a medicated bath or dip. Some types of mites cannot be cured, but with the appropriate medication, the condition can be kept under control.

Ticks

There is no question that pets are curious beings, often wandering into every shrub or bush they can squeeze through. In certain geographical areas, this roaming can cause a pet to acquire ticks. More common in dogs than cats, ticks attach themselves to a pet’s neck, ears, or skin folds. The bites can cause irritation, spread disease, and can eventually cause anemia.

If you live in an area prone to tick infestation, be sure to periodically examine your pet after walks or after they have roamed for long periods outside.

What do I do if my pet has a tick?

Promptly removing a tick upon discovering one is the easiest way to prevent disease transmission. To remove a tick, carefully grip the tick with tweezers as close to the pet’s skin as possible. Firmly pull the tick away from the skin while holding the tweezers tightly closed. After removing the tick, crush it, but avoid contact with the innards, as they could be carrying disease. If you do not pull the tick off just right, the head can remain attached and will continue to infect your pet, so it is critical that you remove the tick in its entirety.

During tick season, try using a tick preventative to reduce your pet’s chances of acquiring ticks, especially if taking your pet through heavily infested areas when hiking or camping.

If you are unfamiliar with tick removal or feel unconfident removing your pet’s tick on your own, contact the veterinarian, and they can remove the tick for you.

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2.1.4.Heartworm Prevention #

Heartworm disease is one of the major health problems of dogs in the United States and throughout the temperate and tropical areas of the world. As well as being found in dogs and other species, it is now being found in cats in ever increasing numbers. The disease develops when a pet becomes infected with parasites called Dirofilaria immitis that are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Heartworms are “foot long” worms that live in the heart and major blood vessels of the lungs. Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes to both dogs and cats as well as other animals, such as foxes, coyotes, and wolves, which act as reservoirs and help spread the disease. While dogs can be infected with just a few to hundreds of worms, cats generally have low worm counts. Even one or two heartworms, however, can be life threatening to a cat. While there is a treatment for infected dogs it is time consuming and costly. There is NO treatment approved for cats so prevention is critical. Heartworm infection often leads to severe lung disease and heart failure and can damage other organs in the body as well.

Heartworm infection primarily affects dogs, but infection also occurs in cats. In fact, diagnosis in cats is on the rise. Ferrets, as well as other mammals, such as wolves, coyotes, foxes, and even sea lions, can be infected with heartworms. Outdoor pets are at greatest risk for infection, especially in regions of the world with high mosquito populations. However, even indoor pets become infected by heartworms as infected mosquitoes can, and do, get into houses. In addition, the disease has been found in all 50 states.

Many factors must be considered even if heartworms do not seem to be a problem in your local area. You may travel with your pet to an area where heartworms are more common and not even know it. Heartworm disease is spreading to new regions of the country each year. Stray and neglected dogs and certain wildlife such as coyotes, wolves, and foxes can be carriers of heartworms. Mosquitoes blown great distances by the wind and the relocation of infected pets to previously uninfected areas all contribute to the spread of heartworm disease. This happened following Hurricane Katrina when 250,000 pets, many of them infected with heartworms, were “adopted” and shipped throughout the country! The safest thing to do, and the best insurance against infection, is to administer a year-round heartworm preventive.

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2.1.5.Obesity and Your Pet #

Obesity takes an immense toll on a pet’s body; overweight animals are more likely to experience skin problems, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and even certain cancers. Obesity causes pets to be more susceptible to infection, torn knee ligaments, and spinal disc issues. For overweight pets, exercise is difficult, fatigue is common, and blood pressure is usually high. This combination causes the heart to work much harder than the heart of a healthier pet, resulting in heart disease, and eventually, congestive heart failure.

An obese pet is also considered high-risk during surgical procedures. Overweight pets are at-risk when undergoing anesthesia, with their weight causing decreased lung functioning, reduced kidney and liver functioning, as well as a need for increased anesthetic than a pet of normal size. All of these complications create a life-threatening scenario for a procedure that might otherwise be routine. The obstacles caused by obesity attribute to a reduced lifespan, affecting a dog’s quality of life, their happiness, and comfort.

As pet owners, it becomes our responsibility to inform ourselves of how to best care for our pet and ensure their well-being. Nearly 24-40% of all pets suffer from some degree of obesity. A condition primarily affecting middle-aged pets, obesity has several causes, many of which can be prevented.

Leading causes of pet obesity:

  • Aging
  • Breed susceptibility
  • Dry food diet
  • Free-feeding (keeping a bowl full of food and allowing the pet to have unlimited access to it) or overfeeding a spayed or neutered pet
  • Illness that causes weight gain
  • Injury that requires sedentary lifestyle (either momentarily or prolonged)
  • Little to no exercise

Affording your pet a healthy lifestyle

The first step in helping your pet lose weight is to stop free-feeding. Giving your pet unlimited access to food is one of the worst things you can do for their health. Pets should be fed small, regular meals, 2 to 4 times per day. Frequently feeding smaller meals allows your pet to feel fuller without overfeeding and enables the body to burn off the meals more easily, concentrating on burning fewer calories at a time (rather than trying to burn off one giant meal). Also, avoid feeding your pet table scraps; human food is high in calories and fat. Finally, try to increase physical activity. Simply adding just 30 minutes of exercise per day can help your pet lose weight. For cats, consider switching to a canned or medicated food. Most dry foods are high in carbohydrates which can cause weight gain. Wet food and medicated dry food have fewer carbohydrates and can help with weight loss.

If your pet needs the support of our veterinary or nutritional staff, we can recommend a specialized diet and exercise plan for them, building a custom plan that will help them lose weight and maintain the weight loss. Veterinary support is especially helpful for pets that are experiencing weight gain caused by an illness such as a thyroid problem. In these instances, medication can be prescribed that will suppress the appetite and help stop fat absorption.

If you have questions about pet obesity, believe your pet is overweight, or you would like the support of our knowledgeable staff, contact our office today!

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2.1.6.Preventive Care Visits #

Pets age faster than humans. While their lives progress more quickly, serious medical conditions do too. Annual pet wellness exams can help detect serious medical conditions and allowing our facility to treat them before their status becomes unmanageable. In seeing your veterinarian annually, you have the opportunity to discuss your pet’s future health outlook, and ask questions about any existing conditions. Prior to your pet’s wellness exam, note any severe changes that have occurred with your pet including: vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, weight gain/loss, excessive thirst, or increased aggression. If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms or has developed any abnormal behavior since their last wellness exam, please inform the veterinarian.

During your pet wellness exam we can perform:

Complete dental exam

Full body physical exam

Heartworm check

Lab tests (blood work, urine/stool testing, and parasite evaluation)

X-rays

Puppy and kitten exams

Because puppies and kittens have less developed immune systems, they are far more susceptible to disease and parasitic infection. During puppy and kitten wellness exams, vital statistics are taken and recorded. Depending on the age of your pet, we might also perform lab work to provide a comparative chart for future visits. We also examine your pet from head-to-tail, checking the vital organs for bloating or pain, and joints for any limited range of motion or discomfort. If you get a new pet, a wellness exam is recommended to detect any existing illness so we could promptly begin treatment.

Adult pet exams

Similar to a younger pet exam, our physicians will examine your adult pet from head-to-tail, inspecting all of the central organs, checking joint functioning, and recording vital statistics to ensure normality. If there are any pressing irregularities, lab tests or X-rays might be necessary. During adult exams, it is also a good idea to discuss diet and nutrition, as diet plays a vital role in maintaining good health. Pet owners are encouraged to consult with the veterinarian about their pet’s current diet and eating habits, and discuss healthier options (if any).

Senior pet exams

Senior pets require more care than their youthful counterparts. Because older pets are more susceptible to age-related illnesses, it is recommended that elderly pets receive a wellness exam twice each year, with complete lab work performed once per year. During senior pet exams, our physicians take your pet’s vital statistics and perform a complete head-to-tail exam of internal organs and joints, accessing any abnormalities or pain your pet might be exhibiting.

To schedule your pet’s wellness exam, contact our office today!

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2.1.7.Spaying and Neutering #

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In an effort to help your pet live a healthy life, we provide spay and neuter services. Choosing to spay or neuter your new pet is one of the most responsible decisions you can make as a pet owner. Spaying and neutering pets is estimated to add years to your pet’s life in decreasing or eliminating their chances of getting certain cancers; it also helps decrease the amount of animals in shelters and the number of euthanized pets each year.

With statistics indicating that nearly 4 million pets in the United States are put down annually, we believe spaying and neutering animals is a productive initiative. In providing these services, we hope to prolong pets’ lives and help the community in preventing pet overpopulation.

Reasons to spay or neuter your pet:

  • Decrease aggressive behaviors in male pets
  • Decrease desire for pets to roam and find mates
  • Decrease pet overpopulation and pet euthanasia
  • Decrease risk of mammary gland tumors
  • Eliminate heat cycles, bleeding, and yelling for a mate
  • Eliminate or reduce marking and spraying
  • Reduce risk of ovarian and uterine cancers
  • Reduce risk of prostate cancer and testicular cancer

What does spaying or neutering involve?

Both spaying and neutering are surgical procedures that prevent an animal from reproducing. Spaying and neutering are typically recommended for pets that are at least 6 months old and are not going to be used for breeding. Spaying is performed on female animals and involves surgically removing the uterus and ovaries to prevent pregnancy. Neutering is implemented on male animals and encompasses removing the testicles to eliminate fertility. While each of these surgeries sound involved, they can usually be completed within a few hours and do not require an overnight hospital stay.

Your pet may experience increased discomfort in the days following surgery. Depending on your pet’s surgery, pain medication can be prescribed. These tips should be followed to ease your pet’s recovery:

  1. Do not allow your pet to run or jump for the next few days.
  2. Examine the incision daily to ensure proper healing.
  3. Keep your pet confined from others, and allow them to have a quiet resting place.
  4. Prevent your pet from licking the surgical site by keeping close watch or by using an Elizabethan collar.
  5. Wait at least 10 days after surgery to bathe your pet. If your pet’s incision has opened or if you notice excessive swelling, redness, or discharge, contact our office immediately.

If you have further questions about the spay and neuter procedures or would like to schedule the surgery for your pet, contact our office at your convenience.

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2.1.8.Vaccines #

While nursing, pets receive antibodies and nutrients from their mother’s milk. When nursing stops, pets become more susceptible to illnesses because their immune systems do not have the same support they once did. As part of a preventative care routine, pet vaccinations can help protect your pet from life-threatening diseases.

For most pets, routine vaccinations start around the age of 6 to 8 weeks old and continue regularly throughout adulthood. Some vaccinations are even combined into a single syringe so a pet experiences fewer injections. After being vaccinated, most young pets take about 5 days to build protective antibodies with complete protection taking place after 14 days. Some vaccines require multiple dosages given over a short period of time, and most require booster shots every 6 months to 3 years. Pets who have been vaccinated have an advantage over those who have not. When a disease is detected, your vaccinated pet’s immune system quickly responds, decreasing severity of the illness or preventing it altogether. While it is rare, some pets do not develop immunity from their vaccinations and still become ill. If your pet has been vaccinated, is current on all of their booster shots, and has never shown signs of illness or disease, it has likely been successfully vaccinated.

Pet owners should note that vaccinations are preventative, not curative. A vaccination will prevent an illness, but if your pet is already suffering from a disease, a vaccine will not cure them.

Core and non-core pet vaccinations

There are several pet vaccinations that are necessary for all pets and others that are recommended only under special circumstances. Core vaccinations are those that are commonly recommended for all pets, and non-core vaccinations include those that are only administered to pets considered to be “at-risk.” Necessary vaccines depend on local regulations, geographic location, and your pet’s lifestyle. Your pet will be vaccinated according to their risk of exposure and your veterinarian will discuss the best options for your pet.

Canine vaccinations

Bordetella (kennel cough) – This is also a non-core vaccine, and your veterinarian might not consider your pet to be at risk. The vaccination is first given to puppies when they are 9 weeks old, and it is repeated a full 3 weeks later. Booster shots are then given every 6 to 12 months, depending on the dog’s exposure.

Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus (DHPP) – These vaccines are considered core vaccines. Your puppy will receive their first vaccination between 6 and 8 weeks old, and booster shots will be given once every 3 weeks until your puppy is 15 to 18 weeks old (depending on when vaccinations were started). A booster vaccination is administered after the first year and every third year following that.

Heartworm – Heartworm prevention is considered a non-core treatment and is given to a puppy/dog monthly for the extent of their life. Usually, a routine Heartworm test is performed at the 1 year exam. If Heartworm is detected, treatment is implemented.

Leptospirosis – This non-core vaccine can be given to a puppy aged 6 months or older and is an annual vaccination that is intended to prevent bacterial infections in the kidneys, liver, and other major organs. Depending on your dog’s risk of exposure, this vaccination could be unnecessary.

Lyme – The Lyme vaccination is a non-core vaccine that is first administered when the puppy reaches 12 weeks old. The first booster is given to the puppy at 15 weeks old, and annual boosters are recommended for dogs that reside in areas with increased exposure to ticks carrying Lyme disease.

Rabies – The rabies vaccine is considered a core vaccine, and many states require pets to have it by law, but there are a few exceptions. The initial vaccine is first given when the puppy reaches 16 weeks old. A booster shot is necessary after 1 year, then typically every 3rd year following that.

Feline vaccinations

Feline Herpesvirus, Calici Virus, Feline Distemper – These vaccines are considered core vaccines. Your kitten will receive their first vaccinations between the ages of 6 and 8 weeks, and they will need to be repeated once every 3 weeks until your kitten reaches 15 to 17 weeks old (depending on when vaccinations were started). A booster vaccination is administered annually for Feline Rhinotracheitis and Calici Virus. Feline Distemper boosters are given every 3 years.

Feline Leukemia (FeLV) – Feline Leukemia is a core vaccine and the disease is the number one cause of death in cats. The first vaccine is given when a kitten is 12 weeks old and the first booster is administered when the cat reaches 15 to 16 weeks old. Booster shots are recommended to be updated annually at pet wellness exams.

Rabies – This vaccine is also a core vaccination for kittens. The initial vaccine is first administered between 12 and 16 weeks of age. A booster shot is necessary after 1 year, then typically every 3 years following that.

Non-core vaccines for felines include Chlamydia, Feline Infectious Peritonitis, and Ringworm vaccines, but their use is only considered for pets with a high risk of exposure.

Preventable canine diseases and symptoms:

  • Adenovirus – a life-threatening disease that causes hepatitis.
  • Distemper – also a life-threatening disease that causes diarrhea, pneumonia, seizures, and vomiting.
  • Heartworm – a life-threatening parasite contracted through mosquito bites. These parasitic roundworms reside in the lungs and if left untreated, spread to the heart. Early symptoms include coughing and exhaustion, especially when exercising. Rarely, the roundworms get lost within the host and spread to other parts of the body, causing blindness, immobility, or seizures. Without treatment, roundworms build up in the lungs and heart, causing a pet to cough up blood, faint, and lose significant weight. It eventually results in congestive heart failure.
  • Leptospirosis – a life-threatening disease that causes severe liver and kidney damage and hemorrhaging within the lungs. Symptoms include loss of appetite, yellowed eyes (jaundice), vomiting, lethargy, and urine that is dark brown in color.
  • Lyme – a disease transferred through ticks. It is most common in the northern hemisphere which is why the vaccination remains “non-core”. Symptoms include circular skin rashes, depression, fatigue, fever, and headaches. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics if it is caught in earlier stages.
  • Parainfluenza and Bordetella – both are illnesses that are highly contagious and cause kennel cough. While it is generally not life-threatening, symptoms include a non-stop runny nose and excessive coughing.
  • Parvovirus – a potentially life-threatening disease that results in diarrhea, vomiting, and deterioration of the white blood cells.
  • Rabies – a fatal disease attacking the central nervous system. Because there isn’t a cure for rabies, animals that contract the disease are euthanized. The greatest risk of keeping the pet alive is that the disease can be spread to humans.

Preventable feline diseases and symptoms:

  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) – a retroviral disease (one that duplicates itself and integrates with the host’s DNA) that causes immune suppression. Most cats that have the illness appear normal for years until the disease eventually depletes the immune system entirely, resulting in death.
  • Feline Leukemia Virus – a potentially life threatening virus that causes chronic immune suppression, leading to frequent infection and illness. It often results in cancer.
  • Herpesvirus and Calicivirus – highly contagious illnesses that cause fever, malaise, runny nose, and watery eyes.
  • Panleukopenia (also known as Feline Distemper) – a life threatening disease that causes pets to suffer dehydration, diarrhea, low white blood cell count, and vomiting.
  • Rabies – a fatal disease attacking the central nervous system. Because there isn’t a cure for rabies, animals that contract the disease are euthanized. The greatest risk of keeping the pet alive is that the disease can be spread to humans.

Pet vaccination concerns

Similar to human vaccinations, pet vaccinations do carry a risk of side-effects. While negative side-effects do exist, it is important to note that your pet is statistically more likely to develop a life-threatening illness when not vaccinated, than to suffer adverse results from a vaccination. None-the-less, it is important to remain informed so you can ask your veterinarian the appropriate questions at your pet’s appointment.

After being vaccinated, the injection site can be swollen or sore. Some pets also have a reduced appetite, fever, and experience lethargy. These side-effects should diminish over the next 24 to 48 hours. If you notice your pet’s side-effects are not subsiding, please contact our office. Very rarely, pets develop an allergy to a vaccine. Allergies can be detected within minutes of receiving a vaccination and if left untreated, can result in death. If you witness any of the following, contact our office immediately: collapse, non-stop diarrhea, continual vomiting, difficulty breathing, itching, or swelling of the legs or face.

Regulations regarding rabies vaccinations

While the federal government does not mandate pet vaccinations for rabies, most states implement their own laws regarding pet vaccination. Vaccination laws also vary from country to country, so if you plan on moving, be sure to check necessary requirements to ensure a smooth transition for your family.

States in which your pet can receive exemption from being vaccinated include: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey (dogs only), New York, Oregon (dogs only), Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. All other states require rabies vaccinations by law – for all pets.

If you have any questions about vaccinations or scheduling new pet vaccinations, you may contact our office at your convenience

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2.1.2.1.How to Brush Your Pets Teeth #

Some simple home hygiene tips are:

  • Brushing your pet’s teeth as little as one time a week can cut down on 50-60% of tartar build-up.
  • Dental products specifically designed for pets, including Oravet and CET, can help protect gums and lessen tartar.
  • Dry pet food is better for teeth than canned food; it causes abrasion to tooth surfaces when chewed, helping remove tartar build-up. Other treats such as raw-hide can also help remove built-up plaque.
  • There are many pet toys that support dental health. Buying your pets these toys not only entertains them, but offers a dual purpose in helping clean teeth.

Remember, creating a smooth clean tooth surface makes it more difficult for tartar and plaque to build up!

If you would like to schedule a professional dental cleaning for your pet, call our office to schedule an appointment, and allow your pet to experience a healthy smile!

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2.1.2.2.Periodontal Disease #

In an added effort to provide your pet with quality care, we offer pet dental services in our veterinary office. It is estimated that 80% of pets exhibit the beginning stages of periodontal disease by age 3, which is why dental exams and teeth cleanings are essential. Also, studies indicate that pets with good oral hygiene tend to live 2 to 4 years longer than pets who neglect dental care. While periodontal disease is entirely preventable, when left untreated it can lead to cardiac disease, kidney infection, liver infection, or stroke.

Reasons for regular dental check-ups:

  • Avoid tooth loss due to periodontal disease
  • Help your pet avert unnecessary pain
  • Help your pet maintain healthy and functional teeth
  • Improve foul breath
  • Prevent potential damage to the brain, heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys

What does a pet dental exam involve?

Pets can experience many of the same dental issues that humans do, including gingivitis, periodontal disease, necessary tooth extraction, and deep scaling. Regular dental exams and cleanings can help you avoid the costliness of involved dental procedures and can help prevent your pet from unnecessary suffering.

Pet dental exams are similar to human dental exams and involve teeth cleaning and buffing. Additional services offered include sedation dentistry and dental X-rays. If more serious conditions are discovered, root canals, tooth extraction, etc. might be required.

During your pet’s teeth cleaning, a dental technician will gently clean the surface of the teeth with an ultrasonic scaler that cleans using the vibration of sound waves and water. The waves push the water creating tiny scrubbing bubbles that implode on tooth surfaces and kill microbes as they separate plaque from the tooth structure. After scaling the teeth, the technician lightly buffs and polishes your pet’s teeth to complete their dental cleaning.

After the cleaning, we will provide you with a comprehensive analysis of your pet’s oral health. You will receive at-home oral hygiene tips specific to your pet, and if any serious dental conditions exist, you will be notified prior to any treatment planning.

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2.1.2.3.Pet Safety Videos #

2.1.2.3.1.Dogs in Parked Cars #


The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is warning pet owners—dog owners in particular—that leaving a pet in a parked car, even for just a few minutes, can be a deadly decision. On sunny days, the temperature inside a parked car can rise faster than you think, and every year many dogs die from heat stroke because they were left in cars. Dr. Kimberly May of the AVMA talks to an animal control officer about the dangers of leaving your pet in a parked car

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2.1.2.3.2.Holiday Pet Hazards #

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2.1.2.3.3.Pet Microchipping #

Even the most responsible pet owner could leave the garage door open or forget to close the gate, resulting in a lost pet. Microchipping your beloved pet could be the difference between having your pet returned and not being able to find them. While it is estimated that nearly 3 million pets in shelters are euthanized annually, some of those animals are pets whose owners were unable to find them. AVID, one of the major microchip manufacturers, states that approximately 1,400 pets with microchips are reunified with their owners per year, saving them from euthanasia.

The pet microchip technology continues to evolve. Currently, microchip implants are designed to last the extent of your pet’s life and are also composed of biocompatible elements that can coexist with your pet’s body tissues without causing harm. Currently, microchips can be placed in a variety of pets, including reptiles, dogs, cats, horses, ferrets, and birds. You also do not need to worry about someone stealing your information from the microchip or reprogramming it – only a veterinarian, animal shelter, or animal control center can scan the microchip.

Reasons for microchipping a pet:

  • It can help return a lost animal to their proper owner.
  • Microchips help animal shelters avoid the unnecessary expense of boarding an animal that belongs to a loving home.
  • Microchips provide a permanent method of identifying your pet. If your pet is lost/stolen and its collar is removed, a vet/shelter can still return your pet home.
  • Some countries require a microchip that must also be cross-referenced with an up-to-date vaccination record before an animal is allowed to enter the country.
  • They can help distinguish the legal owner of a pet when the ownership of the animal is in dispute.

What does microchipping involve?

Implanting the microchip is a quick and easy process that is relatively painless for your pet. We prefer to implant the chip during a vaccination series because the sensation is very similar to getting a shot. The microchip is about the size of a single granule of long-grained rice and is injected under your pet’s skin with a needle and syringe. The standard injection site is between the shoulder blades, and there is no anesthetic involved when implanting the microchip. While the chip can migrate from the initial injection site, trained technicians know to scan a pet’s entire body before determining whether your pet does or does not have microchip identification.

How are pets found?

More often than not, pets are recovered at animal shelters. Whether your pet was brought into a veterinarian’s office, an animal shelter, or was recovered by animal control, all agencies are trained to scan all pets upon receiving them. After scanning the implant site with a radio frequency identification (RFID) scanner, the technician will be able to see a unique identification number that coordinates with your contact information, your pet’s name, your pet’s veterinarian, and the animal shelter they were adopted from, if any. You will then be contacted and informed of where you can pick up your pet.

If you have further questions about pet microchips or would like to schedule an appointment for microchipping, contact our office at your convenience.

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2.1.2.3.4.Preventing Dog Bites #


In 2010, nearly 5 million people were bitten by dogs in the United States, and nearly a million people, more than half of them children, require medical attention for dog bites every year. In this video, Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), gives some sensible advice from the AVMA about preventing dog bites. He introduces Kelly Voigt, a dog bite victim herself and expert, who explains how to educated children to avoid dog bites.

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2.1.2.3.5.Traveling with your Pet #

When leaving on vacation, many pet owners opt to leave their pet behind at a boarding house or with family or friends; however, you should know that you can always take your pet with you. Traveling with your pets allows them to experience new sights and smells, averts separation anxiety, and prevents you from worrying about your pet while you’re away. Before traveling with pets, be sure to check local regulations regarding pet travel and safety. Also confirm that the places you will be staying (hotel, friend’s house, etc.) allows pets. Always make sure traveling pets have proper identification tags on their collars, as well as internal microchips for added safety.

Airplane

Each airline has different regulations regarding pet travel. Some airlines allow small pets in the cabin when kept in a carry-on, others do not. Most airlines require a certificate of health and proof of vaccination dated no more than 10 days prior to your flight. Many also recommend that pets traveling in winter months travel midday and in the early morning or late evening during summer months. It is also recommended that you purchase a non-stop flight which does not change planes. The following requirements are true for most major airlines:

  • Allow your pet a familiar toy during the flight.
  • Attach a pet water container to the side of the crate.
  • Crate must have slits for ventilation and handles to grip.
  • Crate should be lined with absorbent materials in case of pet accident.
  • Crate should have contact information labeled clearly on it along with a current photo of the pet owner.
  • Pet should have proper identification on collar.
  • Pets need to be secured in a bolted crate.
  • Trim your pet’s nails to avoid catching on crate openings.

Car

Traveling by car is one of the most common ways pet owners travel. For pets accustomed to car rides, travel is fairly easy on both pet and owner. Pets will need a comfortable area to lie down, frequent stops for exercise, and ventilation via windows. Be sure to bring your pet’s leash and an adequate supply of food and water for the trip. Pets should never be left in the car alone and should never have access to a fully opened window. If you are traveling with cats, it is suggested that they remain in a small crate which allows more security than being allowed to roam the car.

Bus or Train

Generally, pets are not allowed on trains or buses, though some exceptions do exist. If you plan on traveling by bus or train, be sure to check with local regulation. Service pets for owners with disabilities are usually allowed on most trains and buses.

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2.1.2.3.6.When to visit the Veterinarian #

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2.1.2.3.7.Your Pets Toys #


Playing and chewing are natural canine behaviors. Though some dogs will play or chew more than others, dog toys are essential items for all dogs. In fact, behavior problems can develop when dogs do not have the proper outlets to follow their instincts.

Dog toy options are nearly endless, so choosing toys for your dog can be overwhelming. Some owners end up with a heap of toys gathering dust because they do not interest their dogs. How do you choose toys that your dog will actually like? A dog’s toy preference depends on her personal style of playing and chewing. Try a few different types of toys for your dog and learn how she likes to play and chew. If you seem to end up with too many toys, try putting a bunch of them away for a while and reintroduce them in the future. Months later, your dog will think they are brand new. You can use the following list as a guide to choosing the best toys for your dog.

It’s important to remember that all toys can pose a risk if your dog ingests them, so play should be supervised, especially with aggressive chewers. No matter how durable a toy seems, there is still a possibility that pieces can be chewed off and ingested.

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3.YOU AND YOUR PET #

Regardless of the type of pet you choose, indoor or outdoor, big or small, it is important to fully understand their present and future needs regarding health, housing, and old age.  The following pages are intended to better acquaint you with various aspects of pet ownership and provide advice about different difficulties you may experience.

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3.1.LIVING TOGETHER #

Animals that are kept as pets rely on their human owners for complete care, including grooming, feeding, dental care, and entertainment among many other things. Understanding your pet’s daily needs will allow for better communication and understanding between you and your pet. The following pages offer information about routine care for animals and how to adjust to living with your pet.

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3.1.1.Daily Pet Responsibilities #

Having a pet is similar to having a child, meaning as a pet owner, you are fully responsible for their well-being. If you work eight hours every day, consider hiring a pet sitter, or train your pet to stay in a crate while you’re away. Giving pets a specific routine will help them remain confident and content. Pets have specific daily needs and fulfilling these requirements will make for a happier, more trusting pet, thus strengthening the bond between you and your animal.

Altering living conditions to accommodate weather changes

As the weather changes, your pet’s living space will require adjustments, especially for those pets and owners living in places with very cold winters or very warm summers. During the rainy season, adequate shelter should be provided for pets remaining outdoors, offering a dry place to sleep and eat. In very cold locales, pets with shorter hair will need blankets or some sort of sweater to keep warm. If a pet has very short hair, keeping them indoors is highly recommended. You will also want to check daily that an outdoor pet’s water dish hasn’t frozen over. In warm climates, pets with long hair should be closely monitored for overheating. To keep outdoor pets cool in warmer months, consider shaving their hair or giving them a small wading pool to cool off in.

Exercise

Certain pet breeds are very active and require daily exercise. If your pet is of a breed needing exercise daily, consider: 

  • Going for a jog. 
  • Playing tug-of-war with a rope toy. 
  • Stimulating your pet with play hunting toys. 
  • Throwing a ball and playing fetch. 
  • Walking to a local park.

How do I know when to feed my pet?

With pet feeding, it is important to implement a routine feeding time, and remain consistent throughout the course of owning your pet. Once a feeding schedule is introduced, pets will adapt accordingly and will expect their meals at your planned time. Young, growing pets generally need to be fed more frequently than their adult counterparts, but be sure to check with the breed or species standard.

How much do I feed my pet?

The amount of food you give your pet will depend on their breed or species specifications, as well as their size. A 10 pound dog will eat much less than a 50 pound dog, but two different breeds of similar height and size may have different feeding requirements based on activity level. Often pet food packaging will state a recommended amount for a pet’s height and weight, but always check to make sure this is acceptable for your breed. For example, a Whippet is similar in size to a Spinone, but they certainly do not eat the same amount of food. If you have difficulty finding what amount to feed your pet, you can always consult with your veterinarian.

Cleanliness

Some pets require daily grooming, whether it be brushing or deshedding. Pay careful attention to the needs of your pet; neglected pets can end up with horribly tangled hair, requiring a groomer to eventually shave it all off. Hair mats also provide the ideal climate for bacteria to breed. Also be sure to bathe your pet according to their breed needs.

All pets need a clean habitat. Cleaning out their home daily, removing waste, and replacing anything that is destroyed and potentially dangerous is important. Pet waste can also harbor bacteria and disease so removing it from a pet’s surroundings is a primary way to stop infection from starting or persisting.

Training

If you’re having difficulty getting your pet to perform the skills you want, consider how little or often you’ve trained them. Pets require repetitious conditioning, and most benefit from a training regimen with reward. In order for a pet to learn, an owner must dedicate a significant amount of time and patience to train their pet. Working with your pet daily will reiterate training “lessons” and will provide your pet a better opportunity for success.

 
 
 
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3.1.2.Grooming Your Pet #

Keeping your pet clean is an essential aspect of pet ownership. Pets, like humans, need to be bathed to maintain the health of their skin and coat. How often you bathe your pet will depend on the type of hair they have and their propensity to get dirty. Certain types of pets need to be bathed once a week, while others clean themselves and don’t need baths – ever. It is important to understand your pet’s specific grooming needs, and it is equally as important to meet them, either by means of at-home grooming or by hiring a professional groomer.

Grooming supplies

If you plan on home-grooming, it is important to obtain the supplies necessary to properly clean your pet. The following is a list of some supplies you might consider: 

  • Brush – either a massaging brush or bristle brush help smooth and shine hair. 
  • Dematting comb – helps comb out mats in fur. 
  • Ear cleaner –gently clean pets’ ears. 
  • Eye-stain cleaners – great for pets with excess tear production. Cleans stains around eyes and disinfects. 
  • Facial scissors – with rounded tips to avoid poking eyes. 
  • Grooming table and grooming arm – allow you to safely secure your pet while grooming them. 
  • Nail Clippers –keep pet’s nails at a healthy length. 
  • Oatmeal baths – for pets with allergies. Help soothe skin and prevent dryness. 
  • Professional pet clippers – cut through pet hair with ease. 
  • Shedding blade – catches a pets’ undercoat and helps pull out shedding hair. 
  • Soft Paws or Soft Claws – protective silicone coating put over a cat or dog’s nails to prevent harm to furniture or floors. 
  • Toothbrush – rid pets’ mouth of bacteria and plaque.

If you prefer to take your pet to a professional groomer, many of these services are combined in packages to allow you to easily select a desired grooming session. If any extra services sound appealing, ask you groomer if they offer such services or if they could perform them for your pet.

 
 
 
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3.1.3.How Old is My Pet? #

Pets age differently than humans, so it can be difficult to determine the exact age of your animal. The following charts are intended to give insight into how cats and dogs age relevant to human years: 


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3.1.4.Pet Insurance #

Pets are thought of as family members rather than animals, and pet owners are increasingly concerned with affording their pet excellent health care. Similar to human health insurance, some companies and organizations are now providing pet health insurance, which can allow pet owners to avoid expensive veterinary bills. Most pet insurances work the same as human medical insurance; there is a standard monthly fee as well as qualifications a pet must meet. Most plans also have exclusions that will not be covered under the pet insurance.

What is covered and what is excluded?

While different providers have different regulations, the following are typically excluded from a pet insurance plan: 

  • Pre-existing conditions. 
  • Preventative and routine care. 
  • The veterinary exam fee.

Included with most pet health insurances are: 

  • Blood tests. 
  • Cancer treatment. 
  • Hereditary disease (unless the condition is preexisting). 
  • Overnight hospitalization. 
  • Pet emergency accidents. 
  • Prescriptions. 
  • Surgeries.
  • Ultrasound. 
  • X-rays.

Cost

Pet health insurance policies differ in price depending upon your coverage level. Plans that cover minimal health problems can be purchased for less than twelve dollars per month, while more comprehensive packages could be as much as one-hundred and fourteen dollars per month.

Pet insurance tips

When choosing an insurer, you want to be overly critical and examine all aspects of their policies. Check to see whether you can choose your own veterinarian or if you have to visit one of their providers. Determine whether they have exclusions for particular breeds’ susceptibility to certain diseases. Understand the age restrictions and coverage details based on pet maturity. Figure out if the insurance company increases your monthly premium once a claim is made. You may also want to examine the insurer’s policy for reimbursement (e.g. how complicated it is, what percentage is reimbursed, etc.).

If you have any questions regarding pet insurance, our veterinarian would be happy to assist you in choosing a provider that meets your needs.

 
 
 
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3.1.5.Pet Sitters #

As a pet owner, you will soon learn that you can’t always be home to take care of your pet. Whether your travel destination doesn’t allow pets or you simply work eight hours per day, hiring a pet sitter may seem fitting. Before hiring someone to look after your pet, always check their references and verify whether the sitter is a member of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters or Pet Sitters International. Both of these institutions pride themselves on providing superior knowledge about professional pet care so being affiliated with either is notable. Check that the pet sitter is insured and licensed in pet CPR. When you have finally found a pet sitter who meets your requirements, be sure there is a signed agreement outlining your pet’s care, including how frequently the pet sitter will visit.

Benefits of hiring a pet sitter

  • Attention is still given to your pet, even when you’re away. 
  • Can eliminate destructive behaviors caused by anxious pets.
  • Pet sitters can also take care of the house while you’re away. 
  • Pets with separation anxiety can become accustomed to the pet-sitter, relieving any stress and allowing them to be more relaxed. 
  • You have peace-of-mind, knowing that your pet is being effectively cared for. 
  • Your pet doesn’t have to adjust to a new environment or someone else’s schedule.
  • Your pet gets to stay in an environment they are comfortable in.
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3.1.6.Senior Pet Care #

Whether you have watched your pet age or you have adopted an older pet, senior pet care is very different than caring for a younger animal. As your pet ages, you will notice tell-tale signs that they are entering their senior years, with greying facial hair and decreased mobility. Providing your pet with proper nutrition and superior care can increase their lifespan and ensure further comfort during their last remaining years.

Common ailments affecting senior pets

Similar to humans, senior animals are prone to specific injury and disease. Some of the more common illnesses include: 

  • Arthritis. 
  • Cancer (numerous types). 
  • Heart disease.
  • Increased irritability.
  • Hip or elbow dysplasia. 
  • Lack of appetite. 
  • Liver disease. 
  • Senility. 
  • Sore joints which make it difficult to get up, stand, or walk. 
  • Weakness.

Recommended care for senior pets

It is highly recommended that older pets receive semi-annual veterinary check-up exams rather than one annual exam. Because pets are at an increased risk for disease and cancer, semi-annual exams can help detect problems closest to when they started so treatment can be promptly implemented. This also allows the vet to potentially detect and treat issues before they become major health concerns.

Maintaining physical and mental exercise with your pet is an important factor in promoting wellness. Adjusting the frequency and duration of exercise may be necessary to accommodate ailing joints, but some amount of daily exercise is highly recommended. You also want to continue stimulating your pet’s mind with toys or games that require cognitive stimulation.

For pets with joint issues or mobility problems, supplements such as glucosamine can be introduced into the diet to promote flexibility and increased range-of-motion. Ask the veterinarian about which supplements would be beneficial to your pet. You may also want to consider purchasing an orthopedic bed for your pet. These comfortable surfaces conform to a pet’s body, providing superior support and creating a restful surface for them to lie on.

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3.1.7.Traveling with Your Pet #

When leaving on vacation, many pet owners opt to leave their pet behind at a boarding house or with family or friends; however, you should know that you can always take your pet with you. Traveling with your pets allows them to experience new sights and smells, averts separation anxiety, and prevents you from worrying about your pet while you’re away. Before traveling with pets, be sure to check local regulations regarding pet travel and safety. Also confirm that the places you will be staying (hotel, friend’s house, etc.) allows pets. Always make sure traveling pets have proper identification tags on their collars, as well as internal microchips for added safety.

Airplane

Each airline has different regulations regarding pet travel. Some airlines allow small pets in the cabin when kept in a carry-on, others do not. Most airlines require a certificate of health and proof of vaccination dated no more than 10 days prior to your flight. Many also recommend that pets traveling in winter months travel midday and in the early morning or late evening during summer months. It is also recommended that you purchase a non-stop flight which does not change planes. The following requirements are true for most major airlines: 

  • Allow your pet a familiar toy during the flight. 
  • Attach a pet water container to the side of the crate. 
  • Crate must have slits for ventilation and handles to grip. 
  • Crate should be lined with absorbent materials in case of pet accident. 
  • Crate should have contact information labeled clearly on it along with a current photo of the pet owner. 
  • Pet should have proper identification on collar. 
  • Pets need to be secured in a bolted crate. 
  • Trim your pet’s nails to avoid catching on crate openings.

Car

Traveling by car is one of the most common ways pet owners travel. For pets accustomed to car rides, travel is fairly easy on both pet and owner. Pets will need a comfortable area to lie down, frequent stops for exercise, and ventilation via windows. Be sure to bring your pet’s leash and an adequate supply of food and water for the trip. Pets should never be left in the car alone and should never have access to a fully opened window. If you are traveling with cats, it is suggested that they remain in a small crate which allows more security than being allowed to roam the car.

Bus or Train

Generally, pets are not allowed on trains or buses, though some exceptions do exist. If you plan on traveling by bus or train, be sure to check with local regulation. Service pets for owners with disabilities are usually allowed on most trains and buses.

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3.1.2.Potentially Dangerous Foods #

Pets have sensitive stomachs and gastrointestinal tracts. While many pet owners think by feeding their beloved pet table scraps is showing affection, it may actually cause a serious medical reaction. There are numerous “human” foods that cause severe stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting for pets and should be entirely avoided when possible.

The following foods are harmful to pets’ digestive tracts and overall well-being: 

  • Alcohol. 
  • Almonds. 
  • Avocados. 
  • Baby food. 
  • Chives. 
  • Chicken bones. 
  • Chocolate. 
  • Citrus. 
  • Coffee.
  • Cocoa powder. 
  • Dough containing yeast. 
  • Eggs. 
  • Fat trimmings. 
  • Fish bones. 
  • Fruit seeds/pits. 
  • Garlic. 
  • Grapes. 
  • Liver. 
  • Macadamia nuts. 
  • Milk. 
  • Mushrooms. 
  • Nutmeg. 
  • Onions. 
  • Pistachios. 
  • Raisins. 
  • Raw eggs. 
  • Raw or undercooked meat. 
  • Rhubarb.
  • Salt. 
  • Tea. 
  • Tomato. 
  • Tuna. 
  • Walnuts. 
  • Xylitol.

If you are unsure whether a food is poisonous to your pet, please consult the veterinarian prior to feeding it to your animal. Should your pet accidently consume one or multiple of these foods, contact our office immediately.

 
 
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3.1.3.Saying Goodbye #

Most people struggle with the thought of losing their beloved pet, and having to say goodbye can be one of the most difficult things you will have to face. Some pets will pass in their sleep, while others may require the painful decision to put them down. Whatever the case may be, dealing with the loss is exceedingly difficult.

Choosing euthanasia

Many pet owners fear choosing euthanasia for their pet because they see it as giving up on them or lacking the ability to provide for them. In reality, deciding to euthanize a suffering pet is one of the most humane choices you can make. Oftentimes, we selfishly try to keep our pets with us as long as possible, causing our pet pain and misery. If your pet would benefit from an eternal sleep, the veterinarian can walk you through the procedure and answer any questions you might have. Some veterinary offices will even allow you to stand by your pet as they introduce the final injection.

Dealing with the loss

After we lose a beloved pet, it is always difficult adjusting to life without them. Most pet owners suffer one or multiple stages of grief in various sequences: 

  1. Denial – wondering how you will survive without your pet. Often ask yourself “why” questions, such as “why me?” or “why now?”. 
  2. Anger – usually anger is directed at people around you and is your only way to outwardly express your feelings. 
  3. Bargaining – asking yourself “what if” questions about alternative decisions you could have made or things you could have done differently. 
  4. Depression – a feeling of emptiness without your pet or feeling that life isn’t as happy as it used to be. 
  5. Acceptance – the acknowledgement that your new reality exists, though not stating it is acceptable. Finally understanding that your pet is gone.

Moving forward

Pet owners cope in various ways, and there are numerous services that help make the loss of a pet easier. There are pet crematories that can help preserve your pet, pet loss hotlines, and even support groups. Finding an outlet that allows you to manage your loss is very important.

Getting a new pet

In their process of healing, some pet owners decide to get a new pet, thinking it may help heal their grief. In reality, a new pet should not be introduced until a pet owner is ready to move on. Allow yourself to go through the stages of grief before considering a new animal. Pet owners who do not let themselves heal before getting a new pet are more likely to place the pet in a shelter at a later date. The following guidelines are intended to help you choose your new pet: 

  • Avoid comparing your new pet to the pet you lost. They will never be the same and you are only adding grief and stress for your new pet. 
  • Consider purchasing a new pet before you lose your elderly pet; this may cause your older pet to hang on longer and prevents you from having to get acquainted with a new pet while still mourning the loss of another. 
  • Do not give your new pet the same name or a nickname of your pet that has passed.
  • Do not purchase a pet as a replacement for your pet that has passed away.
  • Look for a pet that is different from your last pet, either in breed, species, or personality. 
  • Take time to think about what kind of pet you want and what sort of pet fits in with your lifestyle.

If you are having trouble grieving the loss of your pet or have questions about choosing euthanasia, feel free to contact our office at your convenience.

 
 
 
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3.1.4.Your Pet’s New Home #

Before you bring your pet home, it is important to pet proof the areas they will be allowed in. If you are getting an indoor pet, make sure your home is safe for your pet by: covering all cords; securing your banister and spindles if you have stairs; eliminate harmful household cleaners; and keep breakables out of reach. If you are bringing an outdoor pet home: make sure to remove anything you do not wanted chewed on; be wary of fertilizers; have a secure fence in place; and be certain there aren’t animal poisons they could get ahold of, such as rat poison. You will also want to make sure you have proper identification for your pet along with a phone number for someone to contact you in emergency situations. Alternatively, you can have your pet microchipped as a form of permanent identification.

Set up designated areas

Pets learn best when their parameters are clearly defined, and the earlier you implement these “rules”, the sooner they will understand. Make sure you have a designated feeding and drinking area for your pet, as well as a defined sleeping space. Be sure to fully understand your pet’s needs prior to establishing these areas. For example, some pets are nocturnal, and some pets fear loud noise: so ensure that you are meeting these requirements.

Common plants which are poisonous to most pets

The following indoor and outdoor plants are some of the most common florae that are harmful to pets. While some cause minor symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting, others are very severe and can even cause sudden death. Be sure to remove any of the following plants from your home or yard:

  • Aloe Vera 
  • Asparagus Fern 
  • Azaleas 
  • Baby’s Breath 
  • Begonias 
  • Carnations 
  • Corn Plant 
  • Daffodils 
  • Fern Palms 
  • Geraniums 
  • Hydrangeas 
  • Ivy 
  • Jade Plant 
  • Lillies 
  • Pencil Cactus 
  • Poinsettias 
  • Ribbon Plants 
  • Sago Palms 
  • Tomato Plants 
  • Tulips

Set up house rules early on

Do you want pets to remain off furniture, or are they allowed free range? Or perhaps, you will allow them on your bed but not on couches. Whatever your preferences are, start enforcing these rules immediately. Again, the earlier you start conditioning your pet, the easier it will be for them to pick up good habits. When you have an area where pets cannot be on furniture, keep a comfortable bed or blankets for them to relax on; having their own cozy area will deter them from wanting yours. The same rules apply for outdoor pets. For example, if you do not want your pet climbing on your embankment, implement the rule immediately and provide them an area in which they are allowed.

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3.1.4.1.Obedience and Training #

After you bring your pet home, it is important to implement the rules of the house right away. Introducing your pet to obedience training can strengthen the bond between owner and pet and provides a level of expectation for your pet. One of the most important training regimens to begin is “potty-training”, so pets have an understanding of where they should relieve themselves. Both male and female animals urinate to mark their territory, so bathroom training is essential. Remember that when training, you have to be consistent with training regimens, and communicate in a way that your pet understands.

What pets can be trained?

Nearly any pet can be trained when given enough attention, patience, and time. Some trainable pets include: 

  • Birds. 
  • Cats. 
  • Dogs. 
  • Horses. 
  • Rabbits.

Newspaper and litter box training

Litter box training a cat is one of the simplest things to teach a pet. Once you show your cat where the box is, gently scrape its paw in the litter, informing the cat that they are allowed to dig; this will peak their interest, as they prefer to bury their waste. Start by limiting your cat to the litter box area, closing off other rooms of the home. After your cat begins to use it faithfully, gradually give the cat more space away from the litter box. If your cat has an accident outside of the box, check to make sure the box is clean. Cats are very meticulous and prefer clean spaces; if the litter box is too dirty, your cat may start relieving themselves just outside of it.

Bunnies can also be litter box trained using a method similar to cat training. After you bring your bunny home, pay attention to where they use the restroom. Like cats, they prefer to have clean living spaces and will relieve themselves in a similar location each time. After their spot is defined, place a litter box over it filled with rabbit-specific litter. The rabbit should gradually begin using the box.

Newspaper training a puppy is best started when they are very young. Begin by keeping the dog in a confined area with a bed on one side and newspaper on the other. Because dogs have a natural inclination to eliminate away from their living area, the puppy should eliminate on the newspaper side of their confinement. Each time they use their designated newspaper, offer praise. Be sure to keep one small piece of soiled newspaper on top; it will allow the dog to smell their scent and understand where their bathroom area is. As they continue using the correct area, begin to cluster the newspaper in an increasingly smaller area; gradually move it closer to the door you wish your pet to eliminate outside of, eventually placing it outside the door entirely. Continue praising the puppy as you move the newspaper and they continue to use it. Once you remove the paper from the house entirely, be sure to take your puppy outside before bed, when they wake up, and periodically throughout the day and praise them as they continue to eliminate in the correct place.

If any pet has an accident inside, be sure to use an enzyme-based cleaner not a cleaner that contains ammonia. In time, the ammonia will mimic the smell of urine which will encourage your pet to continue eliminating in that same spot.

Crate training

Crate training is the easiest way to train a dog to eliminate outside, because it doesn’t allow them room to go inside. A proper-sized crate is just big enough for your pet to stand, turn around, and lay down. With little extra room, the dog will be discouraged to eliminate within. Immediately after letting the pet out of their crate, take them outside to use the restroom, offering praise after they go. With persistent, continual training, the dog will eventually only go outside.

Professional obedience training

If your pet is stubborn or difficult to train, or you want them to learn impressive tricks, a professional obedience trainer may be a good idea. Puppies can start as young as 8 weeks old, whereas horses wait until they are at least 2 years old.

Most professional trainers use a system of operant conditioning with positive and negative reinforcers. Because animals respond well to this sort of consistent training, they are capable of understanding what is expected of them, what is deemed “good” behavior, and which behaviors are unacceptable. Reinforcers (positive or negative) are gestures following a behavior with the intention of encouraging the behavior.

  • Positive reinforcers: positive gestures, such as being given a treat, or loud verbal praise; it is a reward given when the correct behavior is performed with the intent of strengthening the good behavior.
  • Negative reinforcers: the removal of an unpleasant gesture after a display of good behavior. By removing an unpleasant act when the correct behavior is performed, pets learn that bad behavior gets an unlikeable stimulus which will be removed only when they behave well. Most sporting horses are trained with negative reinforcers such as spurs or a riding crop.

Some professional pet trainers believe in only using positive reinforcers, others use different methods entirely. Be sure to search for a trainer that meets your needs, standards, and anticipated level of expertise.

 
 
 
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3.1.4.2.Vaccination and Your New Pet #

Pet vaccinations, similar to human vaccinations, protect animals from life-threatening illness. Using parallel methods of protection as in humans, pet vaccines initiate defensive immune response, preparing the animal’s body to fight a potential future infection. Depending on your pet type and geographical location, the veterinarian will recommend vaccinations based on their need for protection. Pet vaccinations, especially for young pets, are highly recommended.

Why vaccinate pets?

It is important to vaccinate pets for the same reasons it is important to vaccinate humans. Pets, especially those kept outdoors, are highly susceptible to numerous health risks, some of which may even cause death. In majority of cases, vaccination prevents these illnesses, averting the spread of infection. Within the last few years, the occurrence of numerous diseases has lessened due to the increase in pet owner awareness and the increase in pet vaccination.

Risks of pet vaccinations

Vaccinations carry very little risk, though some pets may experience adverse, mild and temporary reactions. The most common side-effects are: 

  • Fever.
  • Lethargy. 
  • Pain or swelling at the injection site.
  • Reduced-appetite.

The following side-effects should be promptly communicated to the veterinarian:

  • Diarrhea. 
  • Excessive pain or swelling lasting longer than two days. 
  • Inability to sleep. 
  • Itching. 
  • Swollen legs or face. 
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Vomiting.

When should my pet be vaccinated?

After purchasing your new pet, contact your veterinarian to inquire about creating a vaccination schedule. Pets are vaccinated on a routine schedule, with younger pets requiring multiple series of vaccines to gradually build up immunity. Also, younger pets are more susceptible to infection because their immune systems are less developed, thus a series of vaccinations is critical. The veterinarian will implement a vaccination schedule according to local regulation, as well as protecting your new pet from common diseases within your locality.

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3.1.4.3.Your Pet’s First Veterinary Exam #

Your pet’s first veterinary exam is important to their well-being. As a responsible pet owner, it is critical that you provide your pet with superior care; taking your new pet to the veterinarian is the first step. The veterinarian will want to get acquainted with your new family addition as well as offer advice on nutrition and general health.

Pets purchased from breeders are often given a particular window to get the animal examined. Typically, an exam within the first week of ownership is recommended to ensure the animal is in good health. During your first visit, you will be required to fill out forms for your pet’s medical record, so be sure to have important personal information with you in order to complete the paperwork.

Physical exam

During your visit, the veterinarian will perform a new pet physical, and the following will be thoroughly examined:

  • Abdominal area for bloat or abnormality. 
  • Bellybutton (in puppies and kittens) for possible hernia.
  • Condition of the skin and coat. 
  • Genitals for malformation. 
  • Heart and lungs to check for irregularity. 
  • Joint movement. 
  • Teeth, ears, and eyes.

Getting to know your pet

When first visiting the veterinarian, it is important for the physician to get to know your pet’s personality and disposition. The vet may also ask questions about your pet’s behavior, diet, and daily activities. In getting to know your new pet, the veterinarian will establish the pet’s medical record, taking note of specific habits. This provides a record of normalcy to which the veterinarian can compare your pet should they ever be brought in when you report odd behaviors. Getting better acquainted with your new pet will also enable the vet to recommend suitable vaccinations for their lifestyle.

 
 
 
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