Don’t Give Them the Cold Shoulder… Or Paws… Or Nose… Or Tail…

Living where we do we are accustomed to protecting our pets from the intense heat that come with our Texas summers. It isn’t as common for us to see severe cold conditions that would cause us to take more precautions regarding our pets and being outside during the winter. When we think of a frigid winter, we usually think of images on the news of snowed in towns, 18 car pileups, and that sense of thankfulness that we do not live there! But, even with our mild winters, there are still hazards that can affect the health of our pets.

Capture-3
I’m not going outside right now. I’m busy being a warm, cozy puppy burrito!

Cold weather can worsen conditions that a good majority of our older pets have such as arthritis. Have you ever woken up on a chilly morning and needed extra time to get moving? Do you ever joke that “it’s a cold one outside – my knees are the best weathermen I know!” Well, our older pets feel the changes in their joints just as we do, they might move slower on cold days or might not want to be outside as long as they usually would have. If we were to have any freezing episodes, older pets could also have a hard time walking in slippery conditions – like they do on our slippery floors inside. If you feel like your pet is having arthritic changes (slowing down, not jumping on things like before, weakness or shaking of limbs, loss of muscle mass over their hind end, etc.) – come talk with us about how we can help relieve their discomfort!

gray-cat-wrapped-in-blanket-SW
Sorry but this super soft, warm, comfortable blanket is occupied.

Just like people, pets have their limits as to how much cold they can handle. A young husky is more likely to enjoy a crisp day, than an old chihuahua – who probably wouldn’t step foot outside on a cold day (and you’d most likely get the “you expect me to go out there” look as they run back to their place on the couch). Coat type, body fat stores, activity level, and overall health and age are all factors that can affect just how much cold a pet can tolerate. Long-haired breeds will be able to stay outside longer than short-haired breeds, but they are still at risk to cold weather. Both very young and elderly pets should be limited on their outside time during very cold times.

UntitledHealth conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) already limit a pet’s ability to regulate their body temperature and this makes them more susceptible to problems from very hot or very cold temperatures. If your daily routine involves time outside, consider buying a jacket or sweater for your pet to wear. Do not overfeed your pets during cold months. It’s commonly thought that more fat = more body heat, but the health risks associated with increased weight greatly outweigh the myth of more warmth. Keep your pet at a healthy, ideal weight all year long to limit any effects on their joints or general body functions.

Vehicles can provide hazardous concerns as well. Leaking antifreeze can lead to poisoning in our dogs and our cats. It has a sweet smell and taste so our furry friends are attracted to it – ingestion of the chemical has rapid absorption and even a small amount can lead to permanent damage to the kidneys. Larger ingestion amounts have a narrow margin of safety and could lead to death. Be sure to keep these chemicals securely put away and clean up any leaks or spills that you see.

cars-750x500Vehicles also act as a “shelter” for stray cats. They will seek out the warmth from the engine after a car has parked for the night, hiding in the fender wells or under the hood in the engine compartment. Before starting your vehicle after a cold night, honk the horn multiple times or bang on the hood or sides to wake up and scare off any animals that might be hunkered down in there.

Cold weather can also lead to dry, itchy skin. Keeping your home humidified can help relieve this. Do not shave your pets down to their skin in the winter. Pet’s fur is specially designed to help them regulate their body temperature.

Remember – if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them!

By: Kaitie Barczak

“My Dog Isn’t Mean – It’s Had The Distemper Shot!”

Annotation 2020-02-18 150926Canine distemper is a contagious viral disease that attacks multiple parts of the body in dogs like the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. The virus has also been present in canidae species like wolves, coyotes, raccoons, and skunks (or “creatures that party in the night” as Dr. Kuecker refers to them). Even ferrets can get distemper!

The distemper virus is airborne meaning that is spread by the spit and mucus particles from an infectious dog. The virus can also be transmitted by fomites like water bowls, equipment and food, or by a mother dog to her puppy through the placenta. Infectious wild animals can also transmit distemper.

Symptoms include:
STAGE ONE: Pus-like discharge from eyes, fever, nasal discharge, coughing, lethargy,  reduced appetite, and vomiting.
STAGE TWO: The nervous system becomes infected and dogs begin exhibiting neurological signs like walking in circles, head tilt, muscle twitches, seizures and potentially paralysis – either partial or full.
In wildlife species, the infection symptoms seem to closely resemble rabies.

Annotation 2020-02-18 150957Unfortunately, pets don’t usually survive distemper. Most that do survive end up having lasting, irreparable damage to their nervous system.

Infected dogs are usually diagnosed by how they present in-clinic, bloodwork, and other laboratory testing. There is currently no cure for distemper, so treatment consists of supportive care: Fluids to replenish hydration that is lost through vomiting/diarrhea, medications to control and reduce vomiting/diarrhea, and medications to help with the neurologic symptoms. Care to prevent secondary infections must also be taken. It is also recommended that infected dogs be isolated from all other dogs to help prevent the spread of the disease.

While all dogs are at risk for acquiring distemper, puppies younger than four months and unvaccinated dogs are at a much higher risk of catching distemper.

Annotation 2020-02-18 151023Prevention is key!
Consistent and complete vaccination has proven to be extremely effective in preventing our canine friends from contracting distemper. The distemper vaccine is normally combined with some other common vaccines, such as parvovirus, parainfluenza, hepatitis, and sometimes leptospira. We’ll call it the five-in-one special! Along with the rabies vaccine, distemper is considered to be a “core vaccination” that every dog should have.

This vaccination is given as a series. Depending on the age of your dog, your doctor may administer the first distemper vaccine and then have you come back in a couple weeks to re-administer. After that, your dog may only need to be re-vaccinated once a year. As with all vaccinations, the repeated exposure to the virus helps the dog’s immune system build immunity to the disease that they are being vaccinated for.

-Madison Cole

Sources:
https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/canine-distemper

Distemper in Dogs – Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

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

T.L.C. Animal Hospital

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.

candy1Candy, 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-32510707-1024-768Jack-O-Lanterns, Cobwebs, & Wires –  Oh My!

Everyone knows…

View original post 688 more words

Rebates, coupons, & savings – Oh my!

School is starting up soon! Which means new clothes for the kids, books, supplies, & everything else in between. That all adds up, plus the cost of your pet’s medications? Goodness! But not to worry! There are plenty of rebates, coupons, & deals going on to help you out. Take a look below & be sure to take advantage of these great programs.

Can't you see I'm busy?
These are savings you can really sink your teeth into!

Zoetis Petcare Rewards

  • Eligible Products: Apoquel, Simparica, ProHeart6, Convenia, Revolution, Revolution Plus, Rimadyl
  • Purchases made in clinic or online through our VetSource are eligible
  • Purchases must be submitted within 60 days.
  • Each purchase you submit earns points. Once you have $10 worth of points, request your Visa Debit card to be mailed to you. This Visa card is re-loadable – so don’t throw it away once you’ve used it! Keep it to redeem your rewards faster!
  • This rebate card can only be used on purchases made at the clinic. But you can use it towards anything here- Exams, vaccines, more prevention, even treats & toys! Think of it as a gift card for us!
  • Please go to their website for full details, purchase minimums, & submission instructions.

Elanco Rebate Center

  • Eligible Products: Trifexis, Comfortis, Atopica, Galliprant, Interceptor
  • Purchases made in clinic or online through our VetSource are eligible
  • Please go to their website for full details, purchase minimums, & submission instructions.
    Untitled

Ceva Pet Rewards

  • Eligible Products: Vectra 3D, Milbeguard, Feliway, Adaptil, Douxo shampoos
  • Only purchases made in clinic are eligible.
  • Rebates available for some items, free product available for others!
  • Please go to their website for full details, purchase minimums, & submission instructions.

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Coupon Center

  • Eligible Products: FortiFlora, Veterinary Diets dry or canned (example: EN or DM)
  • Coupons must be printed ahead of time & given to the front desk at time of invoice.
  • Available for both feline & canine versions of these products!

Hill’s Special Offers

  • While these are not for the prescription diets, we still wanted happy-dogto make sure that you know about these great offers from Hill’s! Take a look & print out the coupons that you need to use at the retailer you purchase your Hill’s from.
  • These are not eligible on the products that we carry in clinic.
  • Whenever we do have coupons for the prescription diets, we make sure that you get them & redeem them for you. Because every little bit helps!

BI (Merial) Animal Health Pet Rebate Center

  • Eligible Products: Heartgard, Nexgard, Frontline, Oravet Chews, & more!
  • Purchases made in clinic or online through our VetSource are eligible
  • While we don’t carry most of these in clinic, we still waned to make sure that you have the rebate information!
  • Please go to their website for full details, purchase minimums, & submission instructions.

If you ever need another copy of your invoice, or have any questions about these rebates just let us know!

By: Ashley Elliott

Dog Days of Summer

It’s summer time in Houston and that means hot, hot, and hotter! Here in Texas we are experts at staying cool on a hot day, but we can’t forget our little four legged friends who are literally walking around in fur coats. Heat exhaustion is a very serious situation for dogs that can lead to potentially fatal conditions such as heat stroke. It’s our job as pet owners to be aware of how the heat affects our fur babies.

Dog-on-beach-with-sunglasses_ThinkstockPhotos-518565035

It’s important to understand that dogs don’t sweat out excess body heat like humans, they have a few sweat glands on their paw pads but mostly they keep themselves cool by panting. However, panting isn’t always enough to keep their body temperature cool in extreme heat.

First off, just like with your children, never leave your pet in a locked car! The interior temperature of a car can raise almost 30º within 20 minutes. The AVMA has a whole section on their website about pet safety in cars here you can read.

What are the signs to look for?

The first signs of over-heating to look for are excessive panting, being less responsive to commands, disoriented, glazed or sunken eyes, excessive drooling, and lethargy. Dogs may experience these symptoms when their body temperature is above 103º. Some more severe signs include possible collapsing, convulsion, vomiting/diarrhea, or gums and BA5F44AC-5056-8063-181731A193F2C757tongue turning blue or bright red. Once a dog’s temperature reaches above 106º, they are at a high risk for a heat stroke where the organs can begin to shutdown and the heart can stop all together.

If you recognize any of these signs immediately move your dog to a cooler area such as the shade or indoors. If there is a body of water nearby you can let them cool off in it as well. Other ways to help cool them down would be to get a cool wet towel and place it on the neck, armpits, and between the hind legs. It’s also helpful to gently wet your dog’s ears and paw pads. If your pet is willing to drink you can offer some water, but NEVER force them to drink or feed them ice cubes (ice cubes can cause the body temperature to drop quickly causing shock).

Get to your vet as quickly as possible – if you are able to take your dog’s temperature it could help the vet judge the severity of the situation. It is always best to go to the vet even if you feel you have the situation under control. Your veterinarian can do a full exam to make sure no internal damage was done and that your dog is both fully hydrated and healthy.

Some breeds are more sensitive to heat

All dogs can be affected by the hot summers but there are some that should be extra cautious in the heat. It may seem obvious, but thick and long hair canines are likely to get hotter quicker. The best way to prevent this is letting your pup have a nice air conditioned spa day and get a “cool” shorter hairdo (if appropriate for the breed). Just be careful not to have them shaved to the skin as that hair also protects their skin from the sun.

However, these dogs are not the only ones at risk when it comes to heat and hot weather. Brachycephalic breeds (short noses and flat faces such as boxers, pugs, ect.), overweight dogs, and dogs with any breathing or medical problems (such as heart conditions) should all be monitored closely while outside during the summer.

brachycephalic_dog_breeds_list_characteristics_and_care_2922_orig

Walking your dog during the cooler hours of the day like early morning or later evenings can greatly reduce exposure to heat while still giving them the exercise they need. Carrying water for them will be greatly appreciated by your four legged friend as well. There are all sorts of portable water bowls available, so you should have no issue finding one that works for you and your pet.

Lastly, keeping an eye on your working/hunting dogs is also very important. Working breeds often times become extremely focused on their task that they don’t stop to rest or drink water. It’s up to us as their guardians to make sure they rest and stay cool.

Always be prepared!

Living in Houston we know all about the heat and how to beat it or tolerate it at the very least, we also know a thing or two about hurricanes. Our summer months falls smack dab in the middle of hurricane season and that means we always have to be prepared for power outages or possible A/C breakdowns. When preparing for these situations don’t forget about your furry family members, and if you plan to evacuate make sure your pet is welcome where ever you are going. If your A/C units go out have extra water for your pets and keep an eye on them to make sure they stay cool. Read our previous post on preparing for disasters and evacuating safely with your pets here.

Petpreparedness_Infographics

When it comes to our pets we do everything to keep them happy and healthy. The best thing we can do for them is to keep ourselves well informed on the dangers that they may encounter and how to prevent them. Because there is nothing quite as special as having fond memories of summer nights with our amazing dogs that will last a lifetime!

By: Deanna Smith