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Have you ever wondered what a heartworm is or how it affects your pet's health? Heartworms are parasites transmitted by mosquitoes that attack a dog's lungs, heart, vascular system, and other organs. Heartworm disease caused by these heartworms can be devastating to a dog's health, and even fatal, if not caught and treated early.
Symptoms of Heartworm Disease
Signs of heartworm disease may include:
Dogs with large numbers of heartworms can develop a sudden blockage of blood flow within the heart leading to a life-threatening form of cardiovascular collapse. Without prompt heartworm treatment, few dogs survive.
The Cost of Treating Heartworm Disease
The cost of heartworm prevention ranges from $5-$15 per month. Compare this to the cost of treating heartworm which can range from $400-$1000. Treatment can also entail injections and oftentimes, hospitalization of your pet is required.
While heartworm medication is highly effective, i'ts not 100% effective. This is why we encourage our clients to bring their dogs in yearly to get tested.
We recommend following the American Heartworm Association's counsel that you give your dog their heartworm preventative medicine 12 months a year and bring them in every 12 months for their heartworm test.
If you've noticed any of these symptoms in your pet, contact your veterinarian right away. If you live in the Cypress, Northwest Houston, Spring, or Tomball area, call us at 281-970-0601 to schedule your dog's heartworm test right away.
The holiday season is a wonderful time of year. We look forward to sharing time with family and friends, decorating, eating extra special dishes, enjoying holiday music and festivities. Many people include their pets in the festivities as well! There are a just a few precautions that pet parents need to take to keep their pet's safe this holiday season. Dr. Rusty Tracy, D.V.M. lists the 5 most common things to watch out for.
Human foods that are high in fat can be especially harmful to your pets. Since dogs and cats are accustomed to normal to low fat diets, ingesting fatty foods can cause weakness and pain as well as severe stomach upset including throwing up, diarrhea, and severe pancreatitis which is potentially life-threatening. If your pet exhibits several of these symptoms repeatedly, contact your veterinarian right away. Avoid giving your dog ham, fatty table scraps and left overs, and dark turkey meat.
Bones & Other Choking Hazards
Ham bones & turkey bones are choking hazards for your pet. While you may not be directly giving your pet leftovers or bones, many dogs and cats get into the trash. For this reason we recommend that you take your trash out quickly. During this time of year we see an increase in dogs coming in for foreign body removals of disposable plates, silverware, or other items that had food remnants on them.
Chocolates & Sweets
Candy, chocolate, and other sweets that contain xylitol can be toxic for both dogs and cats. Xylitol is just a sugar substitute found in some sugar-free candies, gum and recipes. When ingested by pets, xylitol may cause vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and in severe cases, liver failure. Make sure that you put your sweets far out of reach from your pets.
Certain foods like nuts & raisins can also cause stomach upset for your pets. In high quantities, these can be toxic. Keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food. It's also okay to set some house rules for your guests and ask your them to not feed your pets.
Tinsel & Holiday Decorations
Cats are notorious for eating tinsel. This sparkling decoration attracts cats like nothing else, so it's best to use a different decoration for your tree. Tinsel is thin and sharp and can easily wrap itself around the intestines or ball up in the stomach once ingested. Dr. Tracy has had to do several surgeries to remove balls of tinsel from cat intestines. Lights are another thing to watch out for.
Dr. Rusty Tracy states, "You've got to watch out for cats getting up into the tree and electrocuting themselves. They like to chew on those lights! You don't have to get rid of all your decorations; it's just a time of year to be cautious."
Be mindful of where you place your electrical outlets, and if possible, keep them out of reach from your pet.
What To Do If Your Pet Is Ill
If you suspect your pet is ill, contact your veterinarian right away. If you are in Cypress, Texas or the surrounding areas, you can call us at 281-970-0601. Dr. Rusty Tracy, Dr. Tanner Tracy, and the staff at Tracy Animal Hospital are here to help. For after hours help, we recommend contacting BluePearl Veterinary Partners.
Share our article with others and have a happy and safe holiday season!
Do everything you can to prepare for a natural disaster or an emergency - your pets depend on you!
Hurricanes generally allow us time to prepare; however, other natural disasters or man-made disasters can strike at any time. Even with advanced preparation, many important things can be overlooked. Pets are family too, so remember to include your pets in your emergency planning.
Pet preparedeness checklist
Prepare and plan ahead of a natural disaster or emergency to help keep your dog or cat as safe as possible:
For more information, visit www.ready.gov.
Microchips and the role they play in helping reunite owners with their dogs or cats
Even with the best planning and preparation, there may be times in an emergency situation where you and your pet get separated. A microchip is the single most important gift you can give your pet to help increase your chances of being reunited with your dog or cat. If your family pet does not have microchip identification, consider these amazing reunion stories!
Rocco, a beagle from Queens, New York went missing in 2003. Five years later, Rocco was reunited with his family after animal control officials in Georgia identified him by his microchip!
Brooke Burke, Season 7 champion of "Dancing with the Stars", had her chocolate lab, Jake, returned to her after he was lost for nine months. When the man who found and kept Jake took him in for a check-up, the veterinarian scanned for a microchip and began the reunion process.
For a happy ending should your pet stray, have your pet microchipped as soon as possible.
Are you in Cypress or the surrounding areas? Make an appointment at our animal hospital for your pet's exam, vaccines, heartworm & parasite preventative, dental cleaning and more. You can also schedule a time to have your dog or cat come in to get a microchip.
Regular Visits To The Vet Can Help Your Cat Live A Longer Life
You bring your dog in for regular physical exams, but what about your cat? Cats need wellness visits, too, especially outdoor only and barn cats. Nearly half of homes with a dog also have a cat, but cats are much less likely to receive the veterinary care that is essential to maintaining their frisky nature. A healthy adult cat should have a check-up at least once a year, and senior cats aged 7 and older every six months. Changes in eating, grooming or litter box habits may be your cat's way of telling you that something is wrong. Unfortunately, because cats aren't brought in as often as dogs, many times diseases have significantly progressed and the feline has suffered.
To help catch and prevent serious conditions early, veterinarians recommend wellness exams at least once a year for adult cats and dogs, and twice a year for senior pets over age 7. Regular routine physical exams and laboratory diagnostic testing are critically important for preventing disease, maintaining your pet's health, and prolonging their life. Regular check-ups include a hands-on, nose to tail physical exam. Your veterinarian will conduct routine blood panels and health screens, administer appropriate vaccines, prescribe and refill parasite control medication, and monitor your pet's weight, development and fitness.
Regular veterinary care is just as important for your cat as it is for your dog. A lot can change with your pet's health in just a short amount of time. Give yourself peace of mind, and your pet a healthy life, by scheduling and keeping regular comprehensive wellness exams. Many veterinarians offer Wellness Packages that help to reduce the cost of your felines care.
Fleas & Ticks. Fleas and ticks are not just uncomfortable for pets they also pose serious health threats for animals and humans alike. Flea bites can cause allergy dermatitis, which may result in chronic misery for your pet and lead to serious infections. Pets with fleas may develop anemia or be infected by tapeworms.Fleas and ticks can also carry disease. Ticks can infect your pets with Lyme disease, tick fevers like ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, as well as other severe blood infections. Keeping your cat on a flea & tick preventative is great for both the pet as well as pet owners.
Hairballs. Cats are wonderful but hairballs are probably their least endearing quality. Occasional hairballs are unavoidable. However, severe internal impaction can lead to dangerous digestive health problems. Hairballs can obstruct the pathway for food or block the intestines. Vomiting of undigested food, retching, constipation, diarrhea, and a swollen abdomen are all signs of hairball distress. To avoid serious blockages, routinely brush your cat and provide fresh water at all times. Also, keep in mind that overweight cats have difficulty grooming themselves. Keeping your kitty slim and trim helps them be more efficient self-groomers, which can in turn reduce hairballs. At home maintenance programs, with laxatives, medications, and prescription hairball reducing food, provides relief for cats frequently troubled by hairballs. Always contact your veterinarian if you have concerns about your cat's health.
Pet Obesity. An occasional treat can be a great motivator for your pet and a way to show love for your four-legged friend. However, many pet treats and most table scraps are high in calories and fat. If given too often, these indulgences can lead to obesity. Did you know an estimated 54% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese? Even just a few pounds above your pet's ideal weight can increase its risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, cancer, and other life threatening diseases affecting the organs. As with human diets, good nutrition, and portion control are keys. A variety of prescription and maintenance diets are available from your veterinarian. A combination of medical and nutritional options, plus lifestyle changes, can help your pet achieve and maintain its ideal weight, so they can stay fit and healthy for many years to come.
Spraying. Unneutered male cats begin spraying to mark their territory when they reach sexual maturity at about six months. Both male and female cats can spray, however males are the more likely culprit. The best approach is to stop the spraying before it even starts by neutering your kitten early. Neutering is also effective for curbing this nasty behavior in older cats. If your cat does spray he will continue to return to that spot, so eliminate the urine odor immediately and completely with a special cleaner designed specifically for offensive pet odors. Spraying can also be a warning sign for conditions like a blocked urethra, urinary tract infection, or diabetes. If spraying is a problem call your veterinarian for advice.
We want your cat to live a long and healthy life! Contact our veterinary clinic here in Cypress to make an appointment with one of our caring vets.
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