Big Sky Pet Center Library

Abscess:

Bite wounds, lacerations, and other punctures that then become infected (abscesses) are one of the most common problems we see in veterinary medicine.  They are especially common and potentially deadly in cats. Many people don’t realize that their pet has an abscess because the swelling is often hidden under the fur, but they’re bring their pet into the vet because it lame, not eating, or lethargic.

Allergies:

Allergens can be problematic when inhaled, ingested or contact a dog’s skin. As his body tries to rid itself of these substances, a variety of skin, digestive and respiratory symptoms may appear. The best way to treat allergies is to remove the offending allergens from the environment. Since certain substances cannot be removed from the environment, your vet may recommend medications to control the allergic reaction. Discuss with your veterinarian about what allergies your pet may have and what course of action to take.

Anal Gland Problems:

Anal sacs are small paired pockets located between the internal and external anal sphincter muscles, one on each side of the anus at the 4 and 8 o’clock position. The sac empties through a short and narrow duct to the surface near the inside edge of the anus. Each sac is lined with abundant sebaceous (oil) glands and numerous apocrine (sweat) glands.

Arthritis:

Also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, causes pain and inflammation in a pet’s joints. Although fairly uncommon in felines, arthritis tends to affect the elbow joint when it does strike—but many joints can be afflicted.

Bad Teeth:

Infected gums and teeth aren’t just a problem in the mouth — the heart, kidneys, intestinal tract, and joints may also be infected. The tartar and any infected areas of the mouth contain a multitude of bacteria than can ‘seed’ to other parts of the body. With regular dental care, you can prevent some of these more serious side effects.

Back Problems:

Back pain in dogs can be caused by a variety of conditions ranging from cancer to an enlarged prostate, but the most common problem is what is informally called a “slipped disc.” A dog’s spine consists of a series of hollow bones called vertebrae that cover and protect the spinal cord. Gel-like cushions called discs separate the vertebrae and act as shock absorbers. Over time, the discs can become brittle, and the jelly-like core can bulge out. This material puts pressure on the spinal cord, causing inflammation of the nerves and pain.

Breeders:

In the United States, a backyard breeder is someone who breeds animals, often without registration and with a focus on profit. In some cases the animals are inbred narrowly for looks with little regard to health.The term is considered derogatory. If a backyard dog breeder has a significant number of breeding animals, they become associated with puppy mills. Most puppy mills are licensed with the USDA.

Cat Diseases:

The signs of kidney disease can be difficult to recognize because they are similar to those of other disorders like diabetes and hyperthyroidism. If you notice any of the following, it could mean your cat has a kidney problem. If you notice any of the following signs in your cat, contact your veterinarian for a complete examination.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination or no urination
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Poor coat appearance
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Bad breath
  • Sore mouth
  • Weakness
  • Lack of energy and increased sleeping

Diabetes is a medical condition in which the body cannot absorb sufficient glucose, thus causing a rise the blood sugar levels. The most consistent finding in patients with diabetes is higher than normal levels of glucose in the blood. If infection is present, white blood cell count will also high. Other findings may include: high liver enzymes, high blood cholesterol levels, accumulation in the blood of nitrogenous waste products that are usually excreted in the urine, low sodium levels in the blood, low levels of potassium in the blood, and low levels of phosphorous in the blood.

Hyperparathyroidism is medical condition in which abnormally high levels of parathyroid hormone are circulating in the blood as the result of an overactive parathyroid gland. There is no known genetic cause for primary hyperparathyroidism, but its association with certain breeds suggests a possible hereditary basis in some cases. Secondary hyperparathyroidism can develop in association with hereditary kidney disease, but is not inherited per se.

Cats Using Cars for Heat

When winter winds begin to blow, outside cats and small wildlife begin to hunt for warm places to curl up in that gets them out of the weather. A parked car with a warm engine is a perfect spot in the mind of a cold animal. It’s a good idea to check before you start up your car’s engine just in case an animal is sleeping under the hood.

Choosing the Right Pet:

Sharing your life with an animal has great benefits and can bring you great joy. If you are thinking about adding a pet to your family, it’s best to learn about the needs of different types of pets to find one that will best suit your lifestyle. Each type of pet is different in terms of care, feeding, behavior, cost, housing and demands on your time. If you know what you’re getting into, you’ll be more likely to have a happy animal, a good relationship with your pet, and an easier time dealing with any challenges that might arise.

Coccidiosis:

A fecal examination is the most common method of diagnosis for this infection. The coccidium parasite will be readily visible under a microscope. Stress, as from moving, travel and weather changes, and being in an environment with other infected animals are the most common causes of this parasitic infection to develop. It is spread through fecal matter, and is most commonly found in puppies that have contracted the parasite from an adult dogs’ feces. The coccidiosis infection is of particular danger for young dogs, since their immune systems are still underdeveloped.

Cold Weather:

The obvious threat that comes with winter is lower temperatures. It is important to protect pets from being left outside too long and getting hypothermia. Pets should stay indoors for the winter as much as possible, even if they are normally outdoor animals. If animals cannot be brought in for the winter, you should create a wind proof, waterproof enclosure for them with plenty of clean, dry bedding, according to the World Animal Foundation (WAF).

Conjunctivitis:

More commonly known as “pink eye” is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva of the eye. The conjunctiva is the clear membrane that covers the outermost layer of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids. This area of your pet’s eye is particularly vulnerable to irritants and allergens which can cause inflammation, and viruses, bacteria and fungi which can cause infection.

Dewclaws:

The dewclaw served a purpose in ancient dogs, but it’s not relevant for modern canines. In the wild and today, the extra digit helped canines climbing or holding objects such as the dead animals they were snacking on. These days, they might aid dogs snacking on bones or chew toys. Today the dewclaw is not just essentially without a purpose; it’s a hazard. It’s attached to your dog’s leg by some loose skin. If the dewclaw catches on something, it can rip open. The painful, probably bloody mess will likely require a veterinary visit. Not all dewclaws are firmly attached, so these loose digits can pose problems.

Docked Tails:

Docking is carried out when puppies are tiny. Their eyes are not yet open and long experience indicates that carried out correctly, the procedure causes no pain or discomfort. Indeed, some puppies which are docked whilst they are asleep, do not even wake up. After docking, puppies will immediately return to their dam to feed, and there is no evidence that development or weight gain is in any way arrested by the docking procedure. Nor does a dog which has been docked as a puppy have any problems with balance or communication.

Dogs Eating Grass:

Dogs eating grass is actually quite common (it has been observed in wild dogs, too, and may be completely natural) and this form of pica does not usually cause too many problems. In fact, most veterinarians consider it a normal dog behavior. One small-scale study of 49 dog owners whose dogs had regular access to grass and other plants found that 79% of the dogs had eaten plants at some time. Another survey about plant-eating dogs found that grass was the most commonly eaten plant.

Ear Infections:

Canine ear infections are most often due to bacteria or yeast. Ear mites, growing hair, trapped water, a tumor or foreign body in the ear canal can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast. Infections may also develop when allergies, hypothyroidism or an excessive amount of ear wax are present.

Frequent bathing, swimming and incorrect cleaning methods can also lead to infections. Because a dog’s ear canals plunge downward and then horizontally from the ear opening, it is difficult for caught debris or water to be released as it must work its way upward to escape; this makes dogs especially susceptible to ear infections.

Euthanasia:

While some pets die of old age in the comfort of their own home, many others become seriously ill, get injured in some way or experience a significantly diminished quality of life as they grow very old. In these situations, it may be necessary for you to consider having your pet euthanized in order to spare it from pain and suffering.

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV):

Is a retrovirus that infects cats. FeLV can be transmitted from infected cats when the transfer of saliva or nasal secretions is involved. If not defeated by the animal’s immune system, the virus can cause diseases which can be lethal. One disease caused by this virus is a form of cancer of the blood cells called lymphocytes (a leukemia).

Feline UTI

Although some cats present with urinary crystals, stones, or infection, the majority of cases do not have a readily identifiable cause. Stress is thought to be a trigger in many cases, causing a painful syndrome similar to interstitial cystitis that occurs in people. Regardless of the cause, prompt veterinary care is key to a positive outcome. All cat parents should be aware of the signs of urinary tract disease so they can be evaluated quickly if these symptoms occur.

Ferrets:

Ferrets are very intelligent and highly curious, which can lead to some frustrating moments for unprepared ferret owners! They require training and lots of interaction with humans for proper socialization. Ferrets are social animals that bond with their owners and their fellow ferret cage mates.

Fire Evacuation for Pets:

Emergencies come in many forms, and they may require anything from a brief absence from your home to permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your pets safe. The best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared.

Fireworks:

The Fourth of July and New Years are exciting events for us humans, but some pets are severely distressed by the noise of fireworks. Remember, dogs’ and cats’ hearing is much more sensitive than ours so those loud booms can be extremely uncomfortable.

FIV:

Mainly passed from cat to cat through deep bite wounds, the kind that usually occur outdoors during aggressive fights and territorial disputes—the perfect reason to keep your cat inside. Another, less common mode of transmission is from an FIV-infected mother cat to her kitten. FIV does not seem to be commonly spread through sharing food bowls and litter boxes, social grooming, sneezing and other casual modes of contact.

Fleas and Ticks:

Despite your efforts to reduce the fleas and ticks in your yards, our pets may still be exposed to these parasites, so you should take measures to help protect them. Treat all dogs and cats in the household with a flea and tick control product. One untreated pet can lead to a flea infestation in the household.

Food, Water, and Shelter:

Your pet needs food for energy. It is very important that your pet eats the right food and the right amounts of food. Too little or too much food or the wrong type of food can cause health problems for your pet. It is also important to give them fresh food every day and to keep their food bowl clean. If you are unsure about what to feed your pet, it’s a good idea to ask your vet.

Just like humans, all animals need water to survive. It is very important that your pet has fresh clean water at all times. Your pet relies on you to provide clean drinking water each day. Always check to their bowl and never let it get empty.

Pets need protection from the weather. If it is too hot or too cold, they need a safe, comfortable place to feel protected and secure. Some pets live outdoors and others live indoors. Some pets need protection from other larger animals, so make sure your pet’s shelter offers safety and protection.

Giardia Intestinalis:

This is a common, microscopic (intestinal) parasite that commonly affects humans, dogs, and cats. Common signs and symptoms of Giardia infection (in both humans and pets) are diarrhea, gas, abdominal discomfort, nausea, and vomiting. However, it is possible to be infected and have no signs or symptoms of illness.

Heartworms:

A heartworm is a parasitic worm (Dirofilaria immitis) that lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an infected animal. The worms travel through the bloodstream—harming arteries and vital organs as they go—ultimately completing their journey to the vessels of the lung and the heart chamber about six months after the initial infection. Several hundred worms can live in one dog for five to seven years. Heartworm disease is serious, and can be fatal.

Helping Your Pets with Loud Noises:

Like people, dogs can show fear under many circumstances, and their fear can be slight or extreme. Phobias are intense fear reactions that interfere with normal functioning and are experienced in response to some specific thing or situation. A dog is considered to have a noise fear or phobia when he shows fearful behaviors specifically in reaction to a noise-related event, regardless of whether he actually hears a noise, whether he reacts because he finds himself in a place where he’s heard a noise that frightened him in the past, or whether he sees some object or person that he associates with a scary noise.

Herpes in Cats:

The most common way for the herpes virus to spread is through contact with discharge from an infected cat’s eyes, mouth or nose. Cats can catch this virus by sharing litter boxes, food and water dishes with an infected cat, as well as by mutual grooming. Once infected, the majority of cats do not get rid of the virus. However, symptoms can be treated. Veterinarians may prescribe oral antibiotics or antiviral medications to help ease symptoms, and drops or creams may be used for conjunctivitis or other eye irritations. With medication, good nutrition and tender loving care, most cats will make a successful recovery.

Holiday Awareness with Pets:

The holidays are a festive time for us and our pets. However, due to ongoing activities and constant distractions, we can easily overlook potential dangers to our four-legged family members. Take preventive measures to protect your pets this holiday season. Being aware of these top five dangers could save you a trip to the veterinary emergency room.

Holiday Tinsel and Ornaments

Holiday Lighting and Candles

Gift Wrap Ribbon

Food Hazards

Toxic Holiday Plants

Holiday Boarding:

Most folks look forward to spending a week or two lounging on the beach, navigating a road trip, or exploring a foreign country. Unfortunately, not all such adventures are so accommodating to their furry, or sometimes not so furry, friends. While the number of pet friendly destinations is growing, such places are still not the norm.

Holiday Decorations:

Twinkling lights, sparkly tinsel, brightly colored garland, and delicate ornaments – what’s not to love about holiday decorations? The dangers they can pose for your beloved pet, that’s what. While avoid may be too strong of a word, as we’re not suggesting you do away with all of these decorations completely, please be mindful of the sorts of decorations you use and their placement this holiday season.

Holiday Plants Awareness:

Many people are decorating their homes for the holidays, but pet owners should be aware that some plants used for holiday decorating can be dangerous to cats and dogs. Understanding which plants are toxic, and which are not, can help bring home the festive spirit and avoid danger for pets.

Holiday Tinsel and Pets:

While tinsel isn’t “poisonous” per se, it’s extremely dangerous to your dog or cat (particularly cats, as they are more curious!). If you own a cat, toss the tinsel (or anything stringy like yarn, cassette tape, ribbon, etc.)! What looks like a shiny toy to your cat can prove deadly if ingested. Tinsel can result in a severe linear foreign body if ingested. A linear foreign body occurs when your cat swallows something stringy which wraps around the base of the tongue or anchors itself in the stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. As the intestines contract and move, this string or linear foreign body can slowly saw through the tissue, resulting in severe damage to your pet’s intestinal tract. Ultimately, pets run the risk of severe injury to, or rupture of their intestines and treatment involves expensive abdominal surgery.

Hyperactive Thyroid Tumors:

Hyperthyroidism is the most common glandular disorder in cats and dogs. It is caused by an excessive concentration of circulating thyroxine—a thyroid hormone better known as T4—in the bloodstream.

Ingesting Rocks:

First, chewing rocks is dangerous to a dog’s mouth and teeth. Sharp edges can cut delicate gums and tongues, and crunching down can break teeth. Additionally, swallowing rocks can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal blockage, and even choking if the rock is too large for the dog’s throat. As common as rock chewing is, it can be due to several possibilities ranging from medical to developmental.

Injuries:

Trauma can range from minor to fatal, and many injuries can be hidden. To prevent such accidents, your pet should be on a leash or under your control at all times. If you see or suspect a car has hit an animal, stabilize any obvious injuries by wrapping it with something soft like a towel, and have the animal evaluated by a veterinarian. Many injuries, such as bruising of the lungs, can worsen. Diaphragmatic tears or ruptures can go unnoticed by owners for days to weeks.

Intestinal Parasites:

Intestinal parasites are one of the most common problems veterinarians see in dogs. Although pets of any age can carry them, they are a health a problem primarily in young dogs, dogs whose life style increases their risk of exposure, dogs living in sub-standard conditions and dogs with other health issues. There are only a select few parasites that can be seen by the naked eye, the rest are all microscopic.

Juvenile Cats:

Feline infectious peritonitis is a viral disease of cats seen worldwide. Not all cats infected with the virus causing FIP will become ill, but cats who do develop signs of FIP will likely succumb to the disease eventually. The coronavirus is spread through direct contact via the nose and mouth with infected feces, so sharing litter boxes is a major route of transmission of coronavirus. However, as previously noted, FIP only develops in some cats who are infected with the coronavirus, so exposure does not automatically mean cats will get FIP.

Kitten Vaccinations:

The American Association of Feline Practitioners divided vaccines into two categories-core and non-core. Core vaccines are considered vital to all cats and protect against panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline calici virus, feline herpes virus type I (rhinotracheitis) and rabies. Non-core vaccines are given depending on the cat’s lifestyle; these include vaccines for feline leukemia virus, Bordetella, Chylamydophila felis and feline immunodeficiency virus. Your veterinarian can determine what vaccines are best for your cat.

Limping or Lameness in Dogs:

Many cases of lameness are due to foot injuries such as sprains, pad lacerations, broken nails, and penetrating puncture wounds caused by thorns and splinters. Carefully feel the leg from the toes up. Locate areas of tenderness by applying gentle pressure. You may also feel areas of swelling. Then, call your veterinarian with your observations and concerns.

Litter Box Problems:

Medical problems are one possibility. Inflammation of the urinary tract may cause painful or frequent urination, inability to urinate, bloody urine, and crying during urination. An affected cat is likely to eliminate outside the litter box if he comes to associate the box with painful urination, or if he has an increased urgency to urinate. In addition, kidney, liver, and thyroid diseases often lead to increased drinking and urination. Inflammation of the colon or rectum, intestinal tract tumors, intestinal parasites, and other gastrointestinal conditions may cause painful defecation, increased frequency or urgency to defecate, and decreased control of defecation. Age-related diseases that interfere with a cat’s mobility (for example, arthritis, nervous system disorders, or muscular diseases), or with his cognitive functions can also influence his ability to get to the litter box in time.

Mange:

There are three types of demodectic mange that affect canines.

  • Sarcoptic mange (Sarcoptes scabei) is transferred easily between hosts. Also known as canine scabies, sarcoptic mange is caused by mites that are oval-shaped, light-colored and microscopic.
  • All dogs raised normally by their mothers possess demodectic mange mites (Demodex canis), which are transferred from mother to pup via cuddling during the first few days of life. Most dogs live in harmony with their mites, never suffering any consequences.
  • Generalized demodectic mange, in contrast, affects larger areas of skin or a dog’s entire body. Secondary bacterial infections make this a very itchy and often smelly skin disease. This form of mange could also be a sign of a compromised immune system, hereditary problem, endocrine problem or other underlying health issue. Treatment depends on the age at which the dog developed the disease.

Medicating Canines:

Placing a pill in your dog’s food in the hopes that he will eat it accidentally is a simple way to get the pill down his throat, but it doesn’t always work if the taste is unpleasant or the pill is large, even for dogs that normally eat anything. Watch the dog eat to make sure he swallows the pill. You can push the pill into a piece of hot dog or cheese, or wrap it in a meatball of canned dog food. Try to make this treat small enough for the dog to swallow in one bite. Some dogs will not take the treat if they see you putting the pill into it. Watch the dog to make sure he does not spit the pill out after eating the treat. If this happens, you will need to force the pill.

Myelopathy Part 1:

Affected dogs are usually greater than 5-years-old and develop non-painful weakness of the hind legs that causes an unsteady gait. Early cases may be confused with orthopedic injuries; however, proprioceptive deficits (inability to sense where the limbs are in space) are an early feature of degenerative myelopathy and are not seen in orthopedic disease. Signs slowly progress to paralysis of the back end of the body over 6-36 months, although severity of signs may fluctuate.

Myelopathy Part 2:

Degenerative myelopathy of dogs is a slowly progressive, non-inflammatory degeneration of the white matter of the spinal cord. It is most common in German Shepherd Dogs and Welsh Corgis, but is occasionally recognized in other breeds. The cause is unknown, although genetic factors are suspected.

National Pet Dental Health Month:

More than just a cosmetic issue, bad breath and yellow teeth can be a sign of serious disease in our pets, which may affect their kidneys, livers, and hearts. Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets, and 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats by age 3.

Options to Surgery:

Training: A Non-Surgical way to save the Furniture: Cats seem to prefer to scratch upholstery with a vertical drag to the fabric. Furniture can be upholstered in an unacceptable fabric and a scratching post can be swathed in an appropriate fabric (rather than the usual carpet). Furniture can be made unacceptable by using plastic or even aluminum foil to cover the target pieces. Spray-on antiperspirants can be sprayed on the furniture as a repellent. Double stick tape can be used on furniture to create an undesirable scratching area. Treats or catnip can be used to attract the cat to the scratching post.
Nail Trimming: For some cats, simply keeping the nails short is adequate control but many people do not know how to trim their cat’s nails. In fact, the non-pigmented nail of a cat makes it easy to see where not to cut.
SOFT PAWS: The nail caps will wear off but not at the same time. After a couple of weeks some of the nails will be capped and others will not be. The nail caps must be replaced as the nail grows out.

Overweight Pets:

Obesity is an extremely common problem in pets and, as with humans, can be detrimental to the health of a dog. The overweight pet has many added stresses upon his body and is at an increased risk of diabetes, liver problems and joint pain.

Parvo Virus:

The virus is shed in large amounts in the stools of acutely infected dogs for up to several weeks following infection. The disease is transmitted by oral contact with infected feces. Parvo can be carried on the dog’s hair and feet, as well as on contaminated crates, shoes, and other objects. When the dog licks the fecal material off hair, feet, or anything that came in contact with infected feces, he acquires the disease.

Pet Allergies:

Just like people, dogs can show allergic symptoms when their immune systems begin to recognize certain everyday substances—or allergens— as dangerous. Even though these allergens are common in most environments and harmless to most animals, a dog with allergies will have an extreme reaction to them. Allergens can be problematic when inhaled, ingested or contact a dog’s skin. As his body tries to rid itself of these substances, a variety of skin, digestive and respiratory symptoms may appear.

Pet Foods:

When it comes to nutrition, dogs are a lot like people. They’re omnivores, meaning they can live healthy lives while eating a variety of food. Meats, vegetables, and grains all can be a part of a dog’s diet. Your vet can be a good guide to selecting an appropriate dog food both for your dog’s health and your budget.

Cats are carnivores. That’s the most important thing to keep in mind when considering what to feed yours. You can ask your vet what type of food (wet or dry) they recommend for your cat. Once you’ve made your choice, let your cat do a taste test. If your cat likes the food and doesn’t have any gastrointestinal upsets (such as diarrhea) afterward, you’ve chosen well.

Pet Glaucoma:

Glaucoma is a condition in which there is increased intraocular pressure within your pet’s eye. The cells of the eye produce a clear fluid called aqueous humor. This fluid provides nutrients to tissues inside the eye and also helps maintain the shape of the eye. Basically it is a fluid-filled ball.

Pet Grooming:

This is a vital part in the well-being and healthiness of a dog which can improve their lifespan. All Breeds require daily grooming, how much depends on the breed, age, or health of the pet. Regular grooming helps to ensure the dog is healthy and comfortable.

Pets Outside:

A dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors. If for some reason your dog is outdoors much of the day, he or she must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The house should be turned to face away from the wind, and the doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.

Pet Safety:

As the weather gets warmer, more dog owners will take their pets for car rides, something most dogs love to do.  Before you pull your car out of the driveway, be sure to make the trip safe for you and your pet.

Missing Pets:

Getting the word out early is the key to getting your dog or cat back safely and soundly. Don’t assume your pet will return on his own in a few hours. Don’t wait around to see if he’ll find his way home. As soon as you are aware that your pet is missing, GET THE WORD OUT. Remember, have good, clear photos on hand just in case, and ALWAYS make sure your dogs and cats are wearing a collar with identification tags. Microchipping is an excellent form of identification, but always make sure your pet has a visible collar and tags.

Pet Sedation:

Sedatives and tranquilizers are used to relax an animal for procedures such as trimming nails, taking x-rays, or drawing blood. These medications are injected either into a muscle or directly into a vein. Sedatives and tranquilizers are commonly used in combinations as preanesthetics before general anesthesia to relax and sedate the animal.

Pets and Chemicals:

Unfortunately, each year thousands of dogs and cats suffer from accidental ingestion of household poisons. As a pet owner, are you aware of the common toxins that can poison your pet? Common household items such as foods, medications, chemicals, and plants can harm your pet if ingested. We’ll teach you how to help you understand the signs and symptoms of dog or cat poisoning.

Pets as Gifts:

For the holidays or a birthday, it can be tempting to give a cute, cuddly pet as a gift. Yet along with the precious purr that won’t quit or the fluffy tail that never stops wagging, there comes a commitment to another life for the next 10, 15, even 20 years. Continue reading below… No one wants to give an unwanted gift — especially a vulnerable one that lives and breathes. If you’re thinking about giving a pet as a gift, the experts offer these tips to help you make sure that that gift is actually a good idea. Give friends and family a pet as a gift — but never as a surprise. Pets are a wonderful addition to life, yet not everyone has the time, energy, money, or interest in having a pet.

Pets in Hot Cars:

Every year, dogs suffer and die when their guardians make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car—even for “just a minute”—while they run an errand. Parked cars are deathtraps for dogs: On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

Poisons and Halloween Candy:

The number one cause of poisoning was accidental ingestion of medications, human and pet. A poisoning can mean a life-or-death emergency for your pet, a traumatic experience for family members, and a significant hit to your credit card or bank account. Not only should you store all your medications, and your pet’s, out of reach of your dog or cat, you must also be careful not to leave loose pills on a countertop or table within reach of a curious animal. Also chocolate, coffee and other products containing caffeine are at the top of the list. These food and drink items contain methylxanthines, stimulants that are toxic to your dog or cat.

Porcupine Quills:

Commonly found embedded in muzzle, face, head and neck of dogs, but can be found anywhere. The trouble is, quills keep moving inward. Your veterinarian is best-equipped to remove quills. Quill removal is painful and quills may break off inside your pet. Removing quills under anesthesia reduces traumatic removal/quill breakage and allows for more thorough checking.

Puppy Basics:

You will be training your puppy from the moment you bring it home and start to house train. Puppies start learning from birth and good breeders begin handling and socialization right away. Some training can begin as soon as the puppy can open its eyes and walk. Young puppies have short attention spans but you can expect them to begin to learn simple obedience commands such as “sit,” “down,” and “stay,” as young as 7 to 8 weeks of age.

Puppy Strangles:

Puppy strangles is an odd disease. First of all, it tends to only affect puppies younger than four months of age, and for all the world it looks like it should be caused by a bacterial infection. Affected puppies develop some combination of the following symptoms:

  • facial swelling
  • papules (small, solid, raised masses) around the face and ears
  • pustules (small pockets of pus) around the face and ears that usually rupture and crust over
  • enlarged lymph nodes behind the jaw that may rupture and drain
  • fever
  • poor appetite
  • lethargy
  • joint pain (less common)

Puppy Care:

The first things to research when you are thinking about getting a puppy are;

  • Feeding
  • Exercise
  • Grooming
  • Handling
  • Housing
  • Licensing and Identification

Puppy Exercise:

Dogs can be like young children. If you don’t give them something constructive to do with their energy, they’ll find something to do on their own—and you may not like it! Some of the most common behavior problems seen in dogs who don’t get enough exercise and play are:

Destructive chewing, digging or scratching

Investigative behaviors, like garbage raiding

Hyperactivity, excitability and night-time activity

Unruliness, knocking over furniture and jumping up on people

Excessive predatory and social play

Play biting and rough play

Attention-getting behaviors like barking and whining

Puppy Hiccups:

Dogs generally get them from the air they swallow when they eat or drink too fast, but stress, fatigue and excitement can also bring on a bout. Some experts believe the harmless spasms can actually help your puppy relieve stomach gas or irritation.

Puppy Training:

A well-behaved companion canine is a joy. But left untrained, your dog can cause nothing but trouble. Teaching your dog the basics—”Sit,” “Stay,” “Come,” “Down,” “Heel,” “Off” and “Leave it”—will improve your relationship with both your dog and your neighbors. If you have a puppy, start teaching him his manners as soon as possible! Use little bits of food as a lure and reward. Puppies can be enrolled in obedience courses when they have been adequately vaccinated.

Rabies:

Rabies virus is spread by contact with the saliva of an infected animal. Transmission is usually through a bite wound, but the disease has been known to spread through a scratch or an existing open wound. There is no cure for rabies, and it is almost always fatal. Once clinical signs occur, an infected animal usually dies within five days.

Reverse Sneeze:

During a reverse sneeze, the dog will make rapid and long inspirations, stand still, and extend its head and neck. A loud snorting sound is produced. Reverse sneezing also commonly occurs while the dog is asleep or immediately following a long nap. Other dogs may experience it following play, exercise, or meals. However, episodes are typically random. Though smaller dogs seem slightly more susceptible to reverse sneezing, any dog can develop it, regardless of size. It can also happen by breathing in dust.

Ringworm:

Ringworm can be caught from a variety of sources ranging from the soil, other people and also from your pets. It is one of the few infections that can be transferred from animals to humans. As the fungi can live on stray hair follicles and skin cells, it is quite easily transmitted. One species of ringworm (Microsporum gypseum) is a soil organism and can be picked up spending time in the garden. If you know your pet or another person has ringworm, avoid the following: Skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or animal Sharing of towels, clothing or sports gear Contact with infected household items, such as a brush, pet clothing, towels and furniture.

Seizures:

Seizures are frightening to witness. Stay calm. Try to time how long the seizure lasts. First thing to do is to stay clear. Seizuring animals may bite (without knowing it) and trying to hold them down may cause injury. They will not ‘swallow their tongue’ as you may have heard. Keep fingers away from the pet’s mouth. Remove any objects in the area that can injure the animal. Call your vet. With the first seizure, the patient receives a full physical exam, blood work up, and is monitored — seizure control medications usually wait at this point.

Senior Pets:

Due to improved veterinary care and dietary habits, pets are living longer now than they ever have before. One consequence of this is that pets, along with their owners and veterinarians, are faced with a whole new set of age-related conditions. In recent years there has been extensive research on the problems facing older pets and how their owners and veterinarians can best handle their special needs.

Skin Mites:

Dogs and puppies are the hosts to several species of mites that seem to have evolved along with the various mammal species of the world. These mites have become so specialized in their lifestyles and diets that some can only survive on certain species such as cats or dogs.

  • Sarcoptic Mites
  • Demodectic Mites
  • Nose Mites
  • Cheyletiella Mites
  • Ear Mites

Swallowing:

Dysphagia may be a mild problem in some animals, or it may cause extreme distress in some patients. With longstanding dysphagia the dog may loose a lot of weight due to its inability to eat and swallow (despite a normal appetite). Dysphagia may represent a transient local problem, or a severe, systemic illness. The recognition of dysphagia in your dog warrants an immediate examination by your veterinarian to determine the cause and institute appropriate therapy.

Tapeworms:

Tapeworm parasites are quite a common in dogs and cats. Luckily, the symptoms they cause are not severe and your veterinarian has excellent ways to help you eliminate them. Unlike the other common intestinal worm of pets, like roundworms and hookworms, tapeworms require two different types of animals (hosts) to complete their complicated life cycle. Fleas are the intermediate host of the most common tapeworm of pets, Dipylidium caninum, and dogs and cats are its final host.

Tendonectomy vs Declawing:

Most cat owners at some point face the decision on whether to declaw their feline companion at the time of the neuter or spay surgery. Most concerns regarding this procedure center on patient discomfort. At Jane Animal Hospital, we routinely perform feline front declaw, however we also want to make aware an alternative procedure that can achieve the same desired result.

Declawing: A feline declaw is the surgical removal of the third joint on each forelimb digit. Ideally, this procedure is performed during the spay/neuter surgery at 6 months of age. All declawed cats should remain indoors.

Tendonectomy: The flexor tendon at the base of each digit on a cat’s paw is responsible for pushing out the claws when flexed. In a feline Tendonectomy, this tendon is severed and the claws remain permanently retracted, limiting the cat’s ability to scratch.

Tearing Eyes in Dogs:

There are many conditions in which a watery or mucus discharge overflows the eyes and runs down the face. With a severe watery eye there is constant wetness and the skin may become inflamed and infected, adding to the dog’s unsightly appearance and physical discomfort. Epiphora is primarily a cosmetic problem unless it causes inflammation or is a symptom of a painful eye. For example, entropion, conjunctivitis, foreign bodies, corneal ulcers, anterior uveitis, and acute glaucoma are all accompanied by excessive tearing. Excessive tearing may also be caused by eye irritation due to extra eyelashes or facial hairs that rub on the surface of the eye.

Toenail Care:

Nail trimming is an important part of a regular grooming routine. If your dog’s nails get too long, they can break, which is painful and sometimes results in infection. Long nails can also cause an irregular gait that leads to skeletal damage.

Despite its importance, many people can’t or don’t like to trim their dog’s nails. It’s a task that can make both people and dogs anxious. Although it can seem daunting, if you keep a few guidelines in mind and maintain a consistent schedule, nail trimming doesn’t have to become a stressful chore.

Torn ACL:

An ACL injury is extremely painful and affected dogs experience pain while simply walking. A tear or rupture leads to joint swelling, pain and instability in the knee joint. If left untreated it will cause lameness in the affected rear leg and, ultimately, chronic irreversible degenerative joint changes. Damage to the ACL is a major cause of progressive osteoarthritis in the knee joint of dogs. The good news is that there is a high success rate with surgeries performed to repair ACL injuries and that dogs who receive surgical treatment can resume regular activities after rehabilitation.

Training Your Cat:

Concentrate on making your relationship fun, rewarding, playful and interesting. Sometimes this change alone will solve your cat training problems. Cats are known to become overly active and destructive when bored. Daily play sessions and relaxing massages help your cat calm down. Cats that feel neglected will often stop using their litter box. If you schedule regular sessions to give your cat undivided attention and to play games with him, even litter box problems can disappear almost overnight.

Urinary Tract Infections:

What Causes Lower Urinary Tract Problems?

  • Stones, crystals or debris accumulation in the bladder or urethra
  • Bladder inflammation or infection
  • Incontinence from excessive water drinking or weak bladder/hormonal issue
  • Trauma
  • Cancer
  • Stress
  • Spinal cord abnormalities
  • Congenital abnormality
  • Prostate disease

If you suspect that your cat or dog has a UTI please schedule an exam with you regular veterinarian as soon as possible to prevent further issues.

Vaccination Side Effects in Cats:

Vaccines can lessen the severity of future diseases and certain vaccines can prevent infection altogether, and today, a variety of vaccines are available for use by veterinarians. Any treatment carries some risk, but these risks should be weighed against the benefits of protecting your pet from potentially fatal diseases. Vaccine side effects commonly happen and can develop within hours of vaccination. Milder side effects include: local swelling and discomfort at vaccination site, mild fever, lethargy and decreased appetite.

Vaccination Side Effects in Dogs:

Vaccinations are one of the most important weapons in the fight against infectious diseases in animals. Many diseases have been virtually eliminated through disease control programs that have incorporated vaccination as one of the control measures. However, vaccines are not without their limitations and there are vaccine failures. In fact, in some cases the reactions or side effects can be worse than the disease they are being used to prevent. The use, or overuse of vaccines is being carefully evaluated by veterinary researchers and clinicians the world over.

Veterinary Careers:

Embark on an exciting career path in veterinary medicine, where you can put your knowledge and compassion into practice. Preventing disease and healing animals is at the heart of what veterinarians do.

Veterinary Specialists:

A veterinary specialist is a veterinarian who has completed additional training in a specific area of veterinary medicine and has passed an examination that evaluates their knowledge and skills in that specialty area.

Wild or Barn Cats:

The term “barn cats” refers to any cats that do not adapt to indoor homes. Sometimes the cats are feral, which means they were born and raised in the wild with little or no human contact. Others are strays, cats that were once domestic but reverted to unsocialized behavior after long periods of surviving on their own.