All posts by James

External Parasites That Harm Cats

If you own a cat, proper parasite control is important not only for your feline friend’s health, but for your family’s—some of these pests can be transmitted from cats to humans! External parasites live on your cat’s body and feed off of blood or tissue. Below, learn more about external pests and how to keep your cat safe from harm.

Fleas

Fleas are tiny brown-colored parasites that cause skin irritation, allergies, and even more serious problems like anemia in severe cases. To make matters worse, fleas can jump several feet, possibly jumping off of your cat and infesting surfaces, items, and other pets or family members in your home.

If you’ve noticed your cat scratching themselves more than usual, or if there are visible black particles underneath your pet’s fur (these are flea droppings!), make an appointment at the vet’s office. A flea treatment will be prescribed—shampoos, liquids or gels applied to the skin and fur, a flea collar, oral tablets, and other products are available—and your cat will be put on a flea preventative after the infestation is over.

Ticks

Ticks latch on to your cat’s skin and draw out blood, growing larger the longer they remain. They can transmit many dangerous diseases, including Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Ticks can also be brought indoors on your cat and then infest other pets or human family members. Luckily, they’re easily prevented with simple precautions; keep your cat on a high-quality flea-and-tick preventative, and check your cat’s body regularly for ticks if they venture outdoors.

Lice

Lice are another type of external parasite that can hurt your cat, although it’s a far less common problem than flea or tick infestations. These tiny parasites, like fleas, cause skin irritation and can even lead to cases of anemia without treatment. Eradication involves applying shampoos or other topical products that kill off both lice and lice eggs on your cat’s body.

Mites

There are various types of mites, including some that live normally on your cat’s skin and don’t cause any problems. When an infestation occurs, your cat will suffer from irritated skin and possible hair loss. Medications to eradicate mites will need to be given for several weeks if your cat is found to be suffering from an infestation.

To learn more about keeping your cat—and family—safe from parasites, call your vet’s office today!

Meet the AKC’s Newest Breed: The Azawakh

The ‘puparazzi’ are all buzzing about the latest dog news: the AKC has just welcomed another new breed into their ranks. The Azawakh (pronounced Oz-a-wok) was formally inducted on January 1, 2019. This brings the total number of AKC-recognized breeds to 193, including the 2018 inductees: the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje and the Grand Basset Griffon Vandee. In this article, a local vet discusses the Azawakh.

History

The Azawakh is actually an ancient breed, having originated in West Africa. They were first bred as guard dogs, companions, and hunters by the blue-clad Tuareg nomads, who cherish and love their canine friends. Long-legged and elegant, the Azawakh is a sighthound, hunting by sight rather than scent. In fact, their name means ‘Sighthound of the free people’ in the Tuareg language. Quick and hardy, these fast pooches are renowned at hunting antelope, wild boars, hares, and other game.

Physique

The Azawakh has a unique, elegant appearance. They have long legs and a short, fine coat, which only needs occasional grooming. These lovable pooches come in all colors and color combinations, from black and brown to fawn to brindle. Sometimes, they have a black ‘mask’ on their faces, and/or white markings on their legs, chest, or tails.

Training

Azawakhs are both smart and independent, so proper training is a must. Socialization is also very important. It’s worth noting that they are quite proud, and don’t do well with negative reinforcement. To keep things positive–and keep that tail wagging–focus on rewarding Fido for being good.

Diet

The Azawakh doesn’t have any specific dietary needs, so a good, high-quality dog food will do fine. You do have to be careful not to overfeed Fido, however. These friendly pups do tend to gain weight easily, and are at risk of becoming obese. Ask your vet for specific nutritional advice, including portion sizes.

Temperament

Azawakhs are quite affectionate and lovable, and become very attached to their owners. Though they have a sweet, calm, demeanor, they are quite energetic, and need regular exercise to stay healthy. These dogs make great pets for joggers! However, you may need to urge Fido to keep moving: left alone, your canine buddy will probably opt to just take a nap.

Please feel free to contact us, your local vet clinic, for all of your furry friend’s veterinary care needs. We are dedicated to offering great care!

Caring For Your Pet as They Age

While the exact age that your pet is considered “old” can vary depending on species, size, and breed, one thing is for sure: our animal companions need our love and care as they get older! As your pet enters their senior years, there are several things you can do to make sure that they stay happy and healthy.

Frequent Veterinary Visits

One of the best ways to make sure your senior pet stays in good shape is by having them examined at the veterinarian’s office regularly. This way, health concerns can be found early and treated quickly. Plus, your vet can offer tips on continuing to keep your aging pet in good health as time goes on.

Senior Nutrition

Senior pets’ nutritional needs are different than those of younger animals. Older pets might need diets that are easier to digest, and they often benefit from diets with specially formulated nutrient levels or anti-aging properties. Ask your veterinarian if your pet is ready to be given a senior formula, and ask for tips on transitioning your pet from the old diet to the new.

Preventative Care

Just because your pet has gotten older doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t need preventative care! Vaccinations and pest-control medications are just as important now as they ever have been—since older pets’ immune systems tend to be weaker than those of younger pets, a serious disease or a pest infestation can sideline your aging pet’s health before you know it. Consult your vet right away if your pet needs vaccinations or parasite control medicines.

Appropriate Exercise

Exercise is important for your pet’s health throughout life, but it’s especially critical in the senior years. Light exercise helps your pet’s entire body remain more mobile, and it helps keep muscle mass at appropriate levels and also avoids dangerous obesity. Ask your veterinarian what kind of exercise will keep your pet’s body in great shape without over-exerting them.

Mental Stimulation

Keeping your pet stimulated mentally is another key step for maintaining good health in the senior years. Many older companions begin to suffer from cognitive dysfunction—think of it as your pet’s version of Alzheimer’s disease—and mental stimulation can help to avoid it for as long as possible. Play with your pet regularly, and try puzzle toys to give the mind a good workout.

For more tips, contact your vet’s office. We’re here to help!

Cinco De Meow

Did you know there’s a cute kitty holiday coming up? You may know of May 5th as Cinco de Mayo. The official holiday commemorates Mexico’s victory over Napoleon during the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862. However, for our feline friends, it’s now also Cinco de Meow! Every year, we’re seeing more and more animal shelters and charities celebrate the day by offering adoption events. It’s always a good time to help and/or adopt kitties in need. We love seeing cats go to great homes, so we are more than happy to support this great cause. Read on as a local vet discusses this new holiday.

How To Help

There are far too many kitties in shelters, who desperately need good homes. If you are ready to adopt a new cat, this is a great time to do that! Just make sure that you are ready to commit to caring for Fluffy for her entire life. Adopting a pet is a serious, long-term commitment!

Other Ways To Help

Even if you aren’t quite ready to adopt a kitty just yet, you can still help other pets in need. Donations of money or supplies are always welcome. If you are willing to make a bigger commitment, you may want to consider fostering. This isn’t for everyone, but it can be a great way to help our feline pals. Ask your local shelter or animal charity for more information. You can also just share posts about kitties that need good homes. Every little bit helps!

Purrito

While this is a great time to help cats that need homes, there’s no reason you can’t spoil your own feline buddy a bit. Give Fluffy some fish tacos by offering her some plain whitefish with a little spinach and some cilantro. (Your cat probably won’t mind if you skip the actual tacos.) You can also turn your furball into a purrito by making her a little kitty tunnel out of a paper grocery bag. Or, get her a cute pet tent. Your feline buddy will also be pleased with toys, treats, kitty furniture, and, of course, attention. Take time to play with your furry friend, and let her snooze on your lap if she wants!

Please contact us, your local vet clinic, for all of your cat’s veterinary care needs. We are dedicated to offering great veterinary care.

The Building Blocks of Your Pet’s Nutrition

Proper nutrition is a must for any healthy pet. Modern pet foods are specially formulated to give great nutrition to your companion, and there are plenty of options out there. In the end, though, your pet’s nutrition comes down to the basic building blocks—you’ll find that the nutrients that your pet needs are many of the same ones that you do! Let’s take a closer look at the building blocks of your pet’s nutrition.

Protein

Protein is essential for building all of your pet’s bodily tissues. That’s why diets made for young pets—puppy and kitten formulas—are typically very high in protein; it promotes healthy tissue and muscle development as a young pet grows. A high-protein diet might also be appropriate for a pregnant dog or cat, as they need extra protein to safely deliver their litter.

Carbohydrates

Your pet’s body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, a simple sugar that provides energy. Carbs are the “fuel” for the body’s cells—they’re what keeps your animal friend going! Foods like rice and potatoes are high in carbohydrates, and are therefore included in pet food formulas often.

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is also key for a pet’s good health. Insoluble fiber works to regulate glucose levels by slowing the absorption of sugar into your pet’s bloodstream. Fiber also helps your pet to feel full—it’s no accident that many weight-loss diets for pets are high in fiber!

Fats

Just like humans, pets need proper fats to stay healthy. It’s another important component for providing your pet with energy. The fat that your pet’s system doesn’t use for physical activity will be stored in the body to be used as a reserve.

High-energy pets will need more fat in the diet to retain high activity levels. A working ranch dog, for instance, needs more fat in their diet than an aging housecat does. Ask your veterinarian if your pet’s fat levels are appropriate for their needs.

Vitamins and Minerals

Of course, your pet also needs essential vitamins and minerals, as well as fatty acids, amino acids, and other nutrients, for proper nutrition throughout life. High-quality pet foods are made with just the right amounts of vitamins and minerals to keep your pet healthy for a lifetime.

Want to know more about your pet’s nutrition? Need a recommendation on a great diet choice? Call us today to learn more.

Key Vaccinations for Dogs

One very important part of dog ownership is making sure your dog stays up to date on his vaccinations. This is actually required by law in many places, and with good reason. Vaccinations help build your pup’s immune system, protecting him from dangerous and deadly diseases. They also help curb the spread of infectious disease. Because some diseases—such as rabies—can be transmitted to people, human safety is also a factor. In this article, a vet discusses important vaccines for dogs.

Core Vaccines

There are four main vaccines, generally called core vaccines, which all dogs should have. These are canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis, and rabies. Canine parvovirus—or parvo, as it is sometimes called—is a deadly disease that affects dogs’ gastrointestinal systems. It is extremely contagious, and can be spread very easily, even without direct dog-to-dog contact. Puppies are at high risk, as are unvaccinated dogs. Distemper is another dangerous virus. It can affect dogs’ gastrointestinal, respiratory, and central nervous systems. Canine hepatitis is an acute liver infection, which is transmitted through body fluids, such as blood and saliva. The rabies vaccine is also crucial. Many people don’t realize that rabies has a 100% fatality rate in people once symptoms begin to show. It’s extremely fatal for dogs as well.

Non-Core Vaccines

In addition to the core vaccines, your vet may recommend a few other vaccines, depending on your dog’s exposure risk. These vaccines—known as non-core vaccines—include vaccines for Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi, and Leptospira bacteria. Bordetella affects dogs’ respiratory system, and is often known as kennel cough. You may not know the term Borrelia burgdorferi, but you may be familiar with it regardless. It is the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease, which, as you may know, is generally tick-borne. Leptospira bacteria causes Leptospirosis, an infectious disease that can affect both pets and people.

Vaccination Schedule

Fido’s vaccinations should start when he is about 6 to 8 weeks old. Typically, they are administered in groups, and are given every 3 to 4 weeks until puppies are about 4 months old. Once your dog is an adult, he should only need booster shots. Some of these should be given yearly, while others may only be needed every few years. Ask your vet to recommend an appointment schedule.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns about vaccinations, or about your dog’s health or care. We’re always here to help!

All About Antibiotics for Pets

Human patients commonly use antibiotics to treat bacterial infections. Did you know that antibiotics are also very commonly prescribed to pets? They’re essential for helping pets with infections make full recoveries! Here’s everything you need to know about antibiotics for pets:

What Do Antibiotics Treat?

Antibiotics kill bacteria—not viruses—in or on the body. Antibiotics will never be prescribed to fight viral infections directly, although antibiotics could be used to treat a pet suffering from a virus if that pet has developed secondary bacterial infections.

How Do Antibiotics Work, Exactly?

There are multiple types of antibiotics, and they work in different ways. Some antibiotics weaken the cell wall of the bacteria until it bursts. Others stop the bacteria from multiplying, and still others interfere with bacteria cells’ capacity to repair themselves.

How Are Antibiotics Administered?

Antibiotics can take several forms. Some are administered orally in pill form to treat internal infections, while others are applied topically. These are usually in cream or ointment form, and are used to treat external infections on the outside of the body.

It’s essential to follow the label instructions properly when administering an antibiotic to your pet. Keep in mind that some antibiotics must be given on an empty stomach to prevent the medication from binding with ingredients in your pet’s food. Other antibiotics, though, must be given with meals to improve the rate of absorption. If you’re unsure whether or not your pet’s medicine should be given with food, call your veterinarian right away. Also, make sure to ask before you split or crush a pill—this could render medicine ineffective, and it could cause serious side effects in some cases.

Always finish the full regimen of antibiotics that has been prescribed to your pet, even if your companion seems to look or feel completely better before all of the pills are gone. Stopping medication before the infection is gone, or lapsing during treatment, can lead to dangerous bacterial resistance. This means that the bacteria harming your pet develops a resistance to the antibiotic, rendering the medication useless!

Is There Any Possibility of Side Effects?

It’s possible for some pets to have adverse reactions to antibiotics, such as vomiting or diarrhea. Let your vet know right away if your pet seems to be reacting poorly to their medication!

Would you like to know more about antibiotics for pets? Call your vet’s office today.

Cats With Curls

Have you ever seen a curly-haired cat? While most of our feline pals have straight fur, there are some curly kitties out there. A local vet discusses cats with curls below.

Selkirk Rex

Did you happen to notice the buzz last year when a special kitty—an orange cat with curls—caught the internet’s heart? This furball’s story dates back to 1987, when a kitty named Miss DePesto, was born in a Montana shelter. Though her siblings had straight fur, Miss DePesto had curls. Later, she was bred to a black Persian. Their kittens, who also had curls, became the original Selkirk Rex. In 1992, The International Cat Association accepted the Selkirk Rex as a breed. Six years later, the American Cat Fanciers Association added it as well. Today, the Selkirk Rex is known for being gentle, loving, and cuddly.

LaPerm

The LaPerm also traces back to the 1980s, which is rather fitting given that perms were all the rage at the time. The first LaPerm kitten was actually born hairless. However, over the next few months, her curls came in. The owner, realizing that her feline pal was quite rare, began breeding the kitten’s offspring. Today, their descendants look rather like teddy bears. These sweet, lovable kitties are often referred to as the poodle of cats. Even their whiskers are curly!

Cornish Rex

The Cornish Rex is a British kitty, originating in Cornwall in the 1950s. These cute furballs have cream-colored coats, and actually look like lambs. Cornish Rex cats have quite tight curls, big ears, and slender bodies. Their coats are very soft, which is a good thing, because these friendly, sociable kitties absolutely love to cuddle. They have fun, affectionate personalities, and even like to play Fetch!

Devon Rex

Last but not least, we have another British feline, the Devon Rex, from Devonshire, England. The breed is traced back to a stray who gave birth to a curly kitten in the 1950s. Today’s Devon Rex kitties are all descended from that cat, whose name, ironically, was Kirlee. Playful and curious, the breed is known for being super cuddly, and forming extremely close bonds with their humans. They often like to follow and supervise their owners 24/7, and absolutely hate being ignored.

Do you have questions about your cat’s health or care? Call us, your local vet clinic, today! We are always happy to help!

Teaching Your Puppy His Name

If you’ve recently adopted a puppy or plan on getting one soon, one of the first orders of business will be teaching young Fido his name. It’s the foundation of your relationship and the starting point for all other training. Use the following tips to successfully teach your puppy his name:

Choosing a Name

First, set yourself up for success by choosing a great name for your pup. Try to pick a name with two or more syllables, rather than a single-syllable name; it’s easier for your puppy to distinguish and understand, and it won’t sound like any single-syllable commands such as “sit,” “stay,” or “down.”

Another naming tip: don’t use nicknames (“Bud” instead of “Buddy”, for example) when training your puppy, as this could confuse him. Consistency is key!

Training

Begin by simply saying your puppy’s name. Speak clearly and firmly, but use a pleasant tone of voice throughout the whole process. When your puppy looks at you, reward him with a treat. Allow your puppy to look away, then repeat the above process. Offer a treat as soon as he looks—this is reinforcing the notion that looking at you upon hearing his name results in a reward.

Repeat this process a few times, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want your puppy to lose interest and make things harder on yourself. Try breaking up name-training into a few short sessions per day, and try training in different rooms of the home so that your puppy doesn’t start to associate his name with one particular area. It won’t be long before your puppy has learned his name successfully!

Avoiding Negative Reinforcement

Many puppy owners make the mistake of accidentally providing negative reinforcement. This might occur, for example, when your puppy has an accident in your home. Your instinct is probably to yell “Fido, no!” or “Bad dog, Fido!” but this could backfire. It’s associating your puppy’s name with a negative scenario, which could lead to behavior and training problems in the future. When your puppy misbehaves, leave his name out of your reprimand. Simply say “No!” in a firm, authoritative voice without adding your pup’s name.

Do you need help with your puppy’s training or behavior? Does your pet need his initial veterinary examination or vaccinations? We’re here to help with all of your puppy’s care needs. Set up an appointment here at the clinic today.

5 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Has your dog or cat been fixed yet? If not, we strongly recommend that you see to this right away. Although spay/neuter surgery should ideally be performed before your pet reaches sexual maturity, it can safely be done on adult pets as well. Making sure your furry pal has been spayed or neutered is very important! Read on as a local veterinarian lists some reasons to get your four-legged buddy fixed.

Better Behavior

Good petiquette is one of the biggest benefits to spaying or neutering your furry friend. Dogs and cats that have been fixed are typically much calmer—and therefore better behaved—than those who are intact. They’re also less likely to engage in unwanted behaviors, such as mounting and marking their territory by spraying.

Safety

Safety is another concern with intact pets. They often try to escape so they can go looking for love. This puts Fido and Fluffy at greater risk of being lost or seriously injured!

Support Animal Welfare

Pet overpopulation is a huge problem, and one of the main reasons that there are so many homeless pets out there. A single pair of cats can have 11,606,077 descendants in just nine years! We know, kittens and puppies are adorable, but there are already far too many wonderful dogs and cats in need of loving homes. Also, even if you do find great homes for your four-legged friend’s babies, there’s really no way to guarantee that their own offspring will fare so well. Making sure your pet doesn’t contribute to pet overpopulation is a great way to support good animal welfare!

Health Benefits

Did you know that spaying and neutering can prevent certain health issues? Getting your female dog or cat spayed will reduce the risk of her developing uterine infections and breast tumors, which are often malignant. Neutering male pets protects them from certain prostate problems and testicular cancer. Ask your vet for more information.

Spare Yourself The Sound Of Kitty Caterwauling

Have you ever heard the “love songs” of an amorous kitty looking for a mate? If so, you probably will agree that being spared Fluffy’s singing is reason enough to get your furball fixed!

Are you ready to make an appointment for your pet? Contact us, your vet clinic, anytime. We offer excellent veterinary care.