Category: Cats

Where’s Fido?

raising-a-happy-dog-7Searching games may be fun in books looking for a happy stripe shirt guy with glasses, but when it comes to your pet it’s no longer a game but a full on panic attack. Our furry family members are naturally curious and can be excellent escape artists. That’s why it is so important to make sure your pet can find its way back to you. Even if you have indoor pets that don’t wander outside, we never know what life will throw at us. Things like natural disasters and house fires, are just a few unfortunate events that might land our precious fur babies outside. Collars and tags are great but often times they can come off during our pets’ unexpected adventure. It’s time for a more permanent solution.

Microchips may sound scary or like something out of a sci-fi movie, but in reality think of it more as food. That’s right – I said food your, pet loves food! The microchip looks like a microchip-ricegrain of rice (but it does not go in your pets’ mouth – that would be a less permanent solution!) and is inserted into the muscle between your pets’ shoulder blades. By inserting it into the muscle instead of just under the skin, the chip stays in that location. Placing chips under the skin is perfectly fine, but then it migrate to different places all over the body. It can still be read, but it may take more time for a vet clinic or shelter to find it. I know inserting something into the muscle sounds painful but not to worry – we have that covered! Though the injection should only sting a little, we want to make sure your fur babies are 100% comfortable so we administer a light sedative to make sure they don’t feel anything.

Are microchips really helpful?
Yes! The Humane Society of the United States did a study and found that the number of lost dogs reunited with their families increased 250% with microchips & cat reunions increased to 20%! Doesn’t that just make you feel all warm and furry to think of how many families got a second chance when they may have lost hope on finding their missing pet? We all want to hope for the best, but we should always prepare for the worse by making sure our much loved four legged friends can always find their way home.

So you got your pet micro-chipped, what’s next?
A peace of mind for one, but don’t forget the register those chips! Every chip has a unique number that you need to register to you with your information so vet clinics or shelters know how to find you. We cannot stress enough the importance of keeping this information updated. We’ve had countless animals brought to us with out-of-date contact information and while the chips can be traced back to the clinic or shelter that purchased it, out-of-date information makes it incredibly difficult to get pets back home.

a-gray-kitten-asleep-in-a-bedThere are numerous brands of microchips available, such as AVID, 24PetWatch, and HomeAgain (just to name a few). At TLC Animal Hospital, we use PetLink microchips. The great thing about PetLink is that they offer a lifetime registration with no monthly fees. Other benefits that are included with PetLink chips are access by web or phone 24/7 365 days a year, free tips, and free posters that include your pet’s photo if they do wonder off.

Your pets are family and life is unpredictable. Give yourself the peace of mind that no matter the situation, your pet has the best tools to find their way back home.

For more information check out petlink.net

 

Advertisements

Products for a Paws-sitively Radiant Smile!

When was the last time that you took a peek in your pets’ mouth?dog-breath

Did you know that nearly 85% of dogs and cats over the age of 3 are affected by periodontal disease? In fact, dental disease is one of the most common conditions seen by veterinarians. Periodontal disease begins when a combination of plaque, bacteria and food particles collect on the teeth and work their way up under the gum line. If left untreated, it can lead to the destruction of tissue and bone that anchor the teeth in place. Bacteria can also enter the bloodstream, affecting the heart, liver and kidneys.

Prevention is KEY!

Imagine what would happen if you didn’t routinely care for your teeth in between professional dental cleanings. Pretty gross… right? Pets need dental care too!

Just like their owners, all pets should have a regular dental care regimen at home. Having to take care of your furbabies teeth everyday may sound a little overwhelming but luckily, there is a large variety of products on the market today that help prevent plaque and tartar buildup, as well as combat bacteria in the mouth. Using one or a combination of these products on a regular basis will likely greatly reduce the amount of time needed between dental cleanings and will help to prevent periodontal disease.

Some of the many products available that support dental care and that we carry are:

dental dietDental Diets- Most kibble is designed to crumble the second that a dog or cat bites into it.  Dental diets are designed specifically so that your pet has to bite into the kibble 2 to 3 times before it will crumble. This creates a brushing effect. In addition to scraping the teeth, the dental diets are high in sodium tripolyphosphate. This helps to reduce dental tartar (calculus) formation by binding salivary calcium and making it unable to form of calculus. These diets are also high in antioxidants that reduce the formation of plaque while boosting overall health and immunity.

Enzadent Toothpaste- Brushing is always best. Designed to provide natural antibacterial action and to inhibit the formation of plaque. Also acts quickly to help eliminate mouth odors. Comes in poultry flavor.

DentaClenz – a drinking water additive that combats bacteria in the pet’s mouth as well as in the water bowl; freshens breath and creates a barrier that helps to prevent plaque from adhering to the surface of the tooth.

chlorazincChloraZinc Rinse- offers an easier alternative to brushing. It delivers antibacterial action and superior plaque prevention in a soothing, refreshing solution that quickly covers and rinses the entire mouth. Its unique combination of chlorhexidine gluconate and zinc produces a well-known antiseptic activity. Its bent-stem applicator allows you to easily point-and-squeeze directly into the mouth. This should be done after each meal.

Oral Wipes- MAXI/GUARD Oral Wipes are both an effective pet oral product and applicator all in one. Cleansing the oral cavity of pets is much faster and easier since the wipes are infused with a unique zinc formulation. This taste free compound neutralizes offensive mouth odors, helps reduce the deposition of plaque and aids in gingival inflammation.

dentahexDentaHEX Chews– offer a great alternative to brushing. What makes them better than a regular rawhide? Aside from scraping the teeth as your dog chews them, DentaHex Chews are coated with chlorhexidine- an antiseptic solution that fights bacteria in the mouth.

Oravet Chews- Each Oravet dental hygiene chew releases delmopinol, an innovative compound originally developed for human dentistry and exclusively licensed to Merial for veterinary use. Delmopinol creates a barrier that prevents bacterial attachment to teeth, tongue and gingiva, inhibiting the production of biofilms that form plaque and the volatile sulfur compounds of halitosis. During chewing, the malleable, high-density treat also helps scrub away existing plaque and calculus. For dogs 6 months of age or older.

Using one or a combination of these products on a regular basis will likely greatly reduce the amount of time needed between dental cleanings and will help to prevent periodontal disease. Not to mention, make Fluffy much more kissable!

kisses

February is National Pet Dental Health Awareness Month- all dental products and cleanings are 15% OFF!

By: Tara Sansing

“Hear” are the Facts about Ear Infections

Have you ever noticed your dog scratching at their ears or shaking their head a lot? Hair loss or redness around the ears? Have you ever seen a yucky (totally scientific term), waxy debris in the outer ear? Or perhaps noticed an odor that is quite unpleasant coming from the ears? Let’s not forget our feline friends. Have you seen scratching behind the ears, discomfort when the ears are massaged, or a dark, crusty debris in the ear canal that resembles coffee grounds? Unfortunately, these are a few of the symptoms of an ear infection.

There are different causes of ear infections in dogs and cats. Usually they are caused by yeast, bacteria, or parasites such as ear mites. Dogs, like humans, have certain organisms feline_feveroccurring naturally. It is only when these organisms are given an environment to multiply that they can cause problems. Cats are lucky in that they have ear infections much less frequently than dogs but the causes can be more troubling. In cats the cause is usually ear mites (which can be contagious to other cats), allergies, or an abscess from a bite (the bite can lead to other illnesses such as feline leukemia or FIV).

Do their ears hang low, do they wobble to and fro?

Some canine breeds are predisposed to ear infections due to their ear canal characteristics. Dogs with long, 2-2floppy ears such as Basset Hounds, or heavy skin folds like Shar Peis are examples. They are more likely to get an ear infection because debris and microorganisms become trapped, which can lead to an overgrowth. Often water loving breeds such as Labradors and Goldens spend time at lakes, swimming pools, or beaches. Wet ears can create the perfect environment for bacterial or yeast overgrowth. Some breeds like Poodles and Schnauzers often have long hair in their ears which can trap debris and lead to an infection as well. Ear infections are also very common in pets with allergies. Any pets with hot spots due to flea allergy dermatitis are more likely to develop ear infections as are any pets with skin allergies.

As with any type of infection, it is best to treat as soon as possible. Outer ear infections can lead to more serious middle ear infections in which the ear drum may rupture. From there, an inner ear infection and hearing loss is possible. These infections can be quite painful as well. Much better to treat sooner than later!

34881717_228366501285964_8554352003428384768_nOnly your veterinarian can diagnose and treat an ear infection. She or he will first need to obtain a history and examine your pet. A sample (swab) from inside your pet’s ear canal will be collected. A slide with the material (ear cytology) and if necessary, a culture will be prepared so that the doctor can determine if there is an infection. If so, we’ll know what type of organism is present. This will help determine the proper course of treatment.

There are many treatment options for ear infections. There are drops that you can administer daily after cleaning the ears or packings that stay in the ear canals for two weeks. Depending on how severe the infection is, we may also send your pet home with pain medications. No matter how you treat, it’s important to follow up to ensure that the infection is completely resolved.

R_aurocinAs the old adage goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Prevention is most definitely the way to go! Make sure your furry friend’s ears stay clean and dry. This is especially important for dogs who swim. The clinic offers products for at home care. We are also more than happy to show you how to clean your dog’s ears so you can you feel comfortable and confident doing it at home. If you are concerned that your pet is at risk for an ear infection please call the clinic and talk with a vet tech or doctor. If you suspect your pet has an ear infection, please set up an appointment to see the veterinarian.

700-00091532

By: Kathy Berrier

Trick or Treat! Help your Pets have a Hazard-Free Halloween!

It’s that spooky time of year again! Witches, ghosts, scary movies, creepy decorations, haunted houses, grave yard tours, & above all, candy! While this is a fun time for people of all ages, don’t forget to make sure that your pets stay safe & don’t get into any trouble.

candy1

Candy, candy, & more candy!

Just as a reminder, chocolate (in all forms) is toxic to both cats & dogs. The artificial sweetener Xylitol can cause problems for your pets as well. Ingestion of these can cause diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, & worse. So be sure to keep the candy bucket, treat bags, & your own personal stash of Halloween candy out of reach from your pets! As always, if you pet does get into something, be sure to contact either the ASPCA Poison Control Center or your local animal emergency clinic.

Halloween-Candles-candles-32510707-1024-768

Jack-O-Lanterns, Cobwebs, & Wires –  Oh My!

Everyone knows that old saying about curious cats, but this time of year we need to be extra cautious with our spooky decorations. Those cobwebs look excellent, but you might need to move them if you notice your cat trying to eat them. Make sure that any open flames are out of reach from your pets & secured so that they can’t be accidentally knocked over. Keep wires secured as well as some pets may like to chew on them. We don’t want anyone getting shocked, starting a fire, or needing to have surgery to remove cobwebs from your pet’s digestive tract.

Be sure to also keep glow sticks out of reach from your pets. If your pet tries to play with these, they may puncture them & ingest some of the liquid. While most glows ticks are non-toxic, it may have a very bitter taste which may cause your pet to because nauseated.

bantha-pet-costumeSpooky Costumes!

Your pet’s comfort should always be your top priority when it comes to dressing them up. While it may look hilarious, if you know that your pet does not like to wear things, don’t force them to. You wouldn’t go to a party without having tried out your costume first, right? You should always make sure that the costume for your pet fits properly & that they are comfortable with it ahead of time. Costumes should never restrict your pet’s movement & it should never inhibit their ability to see. This can cause them to stress & possibly hurt themselves trying to get out of them. Caution should also be taken with costumes that have things hanging off of them. These could get caught on something or your pet may decide to try to eat it.

Don’t worry – Your pet can still be festive even if they’re not wearing a full costume! Halloween shirts, bandannas, collars, & harnesses are available pretty much everywhere in all shapes & sizes.

f4717c63ac9c0af1866a8cfc9d8b5ab9--halloween-costumes-for-cats-pet-costumesWhy are all of these weird-looking people coming to my house?! I’m outta here!

While Halloween is a fun holiday for everyone, your pet may be stressed or frightened with everything that’s going on. If your pet is a nervous one, be sure to take proper steps to ensure that they also have a Happy Halloween.

If they don’t like the door bell or people coming to the door, sit outside to hand out treats or leave the treat bucket out on your porch. If you have your dog outside with you, make sure that they’re on a leash & have their collar on. Make sure that you have a secured hold on the leash as well.

If your pet has a habit of running off when they’re nervous, make sure that they’re kept secure either in their kennel or in another room to prevent them from running out the door while you’re handing out candy. As we’ve talked about before, there are all sorts of options available to help calm down your nervous pets. If you’re concerned about your pet needing something to help take the edge off, talk to your veterinarian.

You should also make sure that your pets are wearing their collars & have their tags. Yes, even with their costumes! While shelters & clinics can check for microchips, a collar with tags is a quick & easy way for anyone to get a lost pet back home.

Speaking of microchips, this is the perfect time to make sure that your pet’s microchip information is up-to-date! If your pet was microchipped with us at TLC Animal Hospital, visit petlink.net to check the information that is associated with your pet’s chip. Not sure what company the chip is registered through? That’s ok! AAHA (The American Animal Hospital Association) has set up this fantastic website that allows you to search for your pet’s microchip number & it will tell you where to go to from there.iStock-612816962

With these tips in mind, you & your pets should be able to have a worry-free Halloween!

By: Ashley Elliott

Sources:
Halloween Safety Tips from ASPCA
Celebrating Safely with your Pets this Halloween from ASPCA
Universal Pet Microchip Lookup

 

The “Kissing Bug” Disease

Chagas disease is an infection with a parasitic protozoa called Trypanosoma cruzi. An insect that carries the protozoa in called a triatomine bug, commonly found in our area.

chagas
The triatomine bug is nocturnal and comes out at night to feast on the blood out of their sleeping victims, which includes humans and animals both. The bug typically feeds around the eyes or mouth (hence the name, the “kissing bug”). At the time of feeding, the bug defecates on the skin, releasing the parasite in its feces. The feces enters the skin through the bite or through mucous membranes.

Chagas can be life-threatening if left untreated, but treatment for Chagas is most effective in the early stages of the disease. Symptoms include fever and swelling where the bite took place. If left untreated, the infection can lead to complications with the heart, esophagus, and colon. Contact your health provider if you think you might infected or at risk.Tcruzi_thin_giemsa5_zoom

Alternate ways of infection:

  • Congenital transmission (pregnant mother to baby)
  • Blood transfusion/Organ transplantation
  • Accidental lab exposure
  • Consumption of uncooked food or drinks contaminated with feces from infected bugs

Three-Triatoma-TX-smWho is at risk:

  • People living in substandard housing
  • Animals living in/People who have animals living in collective animal housing (henhouse, stables)

Prevention:

  • Do NOT touch the bug with bare, uncovered hands
  • Any surfaces that come into contact with the bug can be disinfected with bleach or other common household disinfectants
  • Insecticides can be used in the house and yard to target these bugs
  • Screening blood donations for the disease

More information can be found online at:
http://www.kissingbug.tamu.edu/found-a-bug
http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/chagas

Life-cycle-of-Trypanosoma-cruzi-An-infected-triatome-vector-or-kissing-bug-takes-a

By: Madison Cole