Spring Cleaning & Your Pet

Spring cleaning isn’t just about household chores. Your pet can benefit from some spring cleaning, too! We’ll advise you on the best way to bathe your pet without scaring them off (yes, it’s possible), which household cleaning products are safest to use around your pet, and where to buy their parasite control preventatives. Spring brings lots of wonderful things—sun, warm weather, flowers, the promise of summer—but it can bring lots of hazards, too. Below, we’ve compiled information for you to keep your pet happy, healthy and safe this spring. If you have any questions about the topics covered below, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Parasite Preventives

Whether your pet spends most of their time indoors or outdoors, it’s important to implement a parasite control program to protect them from parasitic diseases, such as heartworm, Lyme, and flea allergy dermatitis. We maintain a fully stocked pet pharmacy with a variety of preventive medication options to provide year-round parasite control for your companion.

Household Items to Watch Out For

Many common household items can pose a threat to our animal companions—even some items specifically meant for pets could cause health problems. To protect your pet, simply use common sense and take the same precautions you would with a child. Although rodent poisons and insecticides are the most common sources of companion animal poisoning, the following list of less common, but potentially toxic, agents should be avoided if at all possible.

Dangers just outside your door

Antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol has a sweet taste that attracts animals but is deadly if consumed in even small quantities; one teaspoon can kill a seven-pound cat. The HSUS recommends pet owners use a safe antifreeze in their vehicles. Look for antifreeze that contains propylene glycol, which is safe for animals if ingested in small amounts. Ethylene glycol can also be found in common household products like snow globes, so be sure to keep these things out the reach of animals.

Cocoa mulch contains ingredients that can be deadly to pets if ingested. The mulch, sold in garden supply stores, has a chocolate scent that is appetizing to some animals.

Chemicals used on lawns and gardens, such as fertilizer and plant food, can be easily accessible and fatal to a pet allowed in the yard unsupervised.

Cans and garbage can pose a danger when cats or smaller dogs attempt to lick food from a disposed can, sometimes getting their head caught inside the can. To be sure this doesn’t happen, squeeze the open end of the can closed before disposing.

Traps and poisons Pest control companies frequently use glue traps, live traps and poisons to kill rodents. Even if you would never use such methods to eliminate rodents, your neighbor might. Dogs and cats can be poisoned if they eat a rodent who has been killed by poison (called secondary poisoning).

Threats inside the house

Cedar and other soft wood shavings, including pine, emit fumes that may be dangerous to small mammals like hamsters and gerbils.

Insect control products, such as the insecticides used in many over-the-counter flea and tick remedies, may be toxic to companion animals. Prescription flea and tick control products are much safer and more effective. Pet owners should never use any product without first consulting a veterinarian. Read more about potential poisoning from flea and tick products »

Human medications, such as pain killers (including aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen), cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, anti-depressants, vitamins and diet pills can all be toxic to animals. Keep medicine containers and tubes of ointments and creams away from pets who could chew through them, and be vigilant about finding and disposing of any dropped pills.

Poisonous household plants, including azalea, dieffenbachia (dumb cane), lilies, mistletoe and philodendron. See our full list of poisonous plants »

Tools for keeping your pet safe

The HSUS recommends that pet owners use all household products with caution. We also recommend that you put together a pet first aid kit (for dogs and cats) and have a manual readily available.

If all of your precautions fail, and you believe that your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinary service immediately. Signs of poisoning include listlessness, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, lack of coordination and fever.

Source: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/common_household_dangers_pets.html 

7 Common Bath-Time Mistakes Pet Owners Make

For most of us, taking a shower or bath is usually a calming experience. For our pets, however, bathing may be anything but relaxing. Between the water, the noise, the confinement, the scrubbing and the suds, it’s no wonder why your cat or dog may sprint in the other direction of the tub.

Unfortunately, grooming our pets is a necessary evil. It minimizes shedding, keeps your pet’s coat healthy, reduces allergies, decreases chances of infection and diminishes the spread of dirt and germs throughout your home.

While your dog or cat may never willingly jump under the faucet, you can make bath time as positive, easy and fast an experience as possible by avoiding these common mistakes:

Wrong Water Temperature

Shoot for lukewarm water, says Jocelyn Robles, a professional groomer at Holiday House Pet Resort, a veterinarian-owned pet resort and training center in Doylestown, Pa. Water that’s too hot or too cold will create a negative stimulus for your pet, which may turn them off of bath time for the long haul.

So how do you know it’s the right temperature? Spray the nozzle on your forearm first, just like you would if you were giving a baby a bath, Robles says. The area of skin is more sensitive to temperature than your hands.

Harsh Spray

The easiest way to bathe your cat or dog is with a handheld shower head or faucet nozzle in a tub or sink (if you have one, there’s no need to fill the tub or sink with water when you bathe your pet), but the sound of the loud running water combined with the water pressure may frighten and upset your pet.

Instead of spraying the water jet straight on to his fur, try to keep your pet calm by letting the water hit the back of your hand first as you move the nozzle across your pet’s body, Robles says. Your dog or cat will feel your comforting touch as opposed to the pounding of the water. Once he is at ease, you can move your hand away—just make sure you get his entire coat wet.

Wrong Shampoo Selection

Don’t automatically grab your own shampoo—even if it’s an “all-natural” solution or a mild baby shampoo, Robles says. “A pet’s skin has a different pH balance than humans,” she added. “Your shampoo will be drying to them.”

Your veterinarian can help you with product recommendations, but you’ll generally want to look for brands that are specifically formulated for cats or dogs and follow the directions for shampooing on the label. Oatmeal-based shampoos are a gentle option. Medicated shampoos are an essential part of treating many skin conditions. Ask your veterinarian which might be right for your dog or cat.

If your pet has sensitive skin, test the shampoo on a patch on the back of his leg first, and then look for any signs of irritation a couple days before a bath.

Poor Soap Application

You may want to apply soap to your pet’s fur and then let it “soak in” for a couple minutes, but you won’t remove all the dirt and oil that way, Robles says. You need to agitate the shampoo to trap the grime and wash it away.

Actively massage the soap into your dog or cat’s fur with your hands and fingers for four minutes. Start with your pet’s legs and work your way up to his face (the most sensitive area), Robles says. Clean his face with a cotton ball or washcloth and be careful to avoid his eyes.

Wash the outside of his ears with a tiny bit of shampoo on your fingers, a washcloth or a cotton ball. Tilt your pet’s head down before rinsing (for instance, if you’re washing his left ear, angle the left side of his head down) to keep water from going into the ear canal and to prevent ear infections, Robles says. Pay extra attention to your pet’s paw pads, too, as these areas can sweat and trap odor.

Then rinse away the shampoo with the shower nozzle, reversing the order in which you shampooed. Start with your pet’s head this time and then work your way down to his legs. That way, if any soap got in your pet’s eyes, they’ll be rinsed first. Make sure the water runs clear of suds before you finish.

Bad Brushing Technique

You should brush your dog or cat before and after a bath, but only if you regularly brush him at least three times a week, Robles says.

Brushing can be painful and uncomfortable if there are matts or knots in your pet’s fur. “This can turn grooming into a negative,” she says. “You can’t just brush them out.”

If your dog or cat has tangled fur, take him to a professional groomer first, then start a regular brushing routine. This will not only keep your pet’s coat shinier and tangle-free, but also keep him cleaner between baths.

For breeds with double coats that shed (such as Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds), you can brush your pet while he is shampooed to help remove some of the excess undercoat, but for all other breeds, make sure your pet is as dry as possible after the bath and before brushing, Robles said. If his fur is too saturated with water, you’ll only create mats. You can even wait until the next day to brush.

A slicker brush and/or long-tooth comb will work best for most breeds. Some de-shedding tools and undercoat rakes have been known to knick the skin and cause infections, so double check all tools with a professional groomer or veterinarian you trust before using them, Robles says. A groomer will also be able to demonstrate the proper way to brush your pet from head to paw.

Hasty Drying Technique

Make sure you have towels ready to go before the bath (the last thing you want is a soaking wet pet sprinting through your home!) and, if you own a dog, have a few towels on the floor and one ready to drape over his back in case he wants to shake off during the bath.

After a bath most pet owners quickly towel down their pet, but you should try to get the fur as dry as possible, Robles says.

Use a towel to gently squeeze the fur and pull out as much water as possible, she said. By the end, your pet should be damp but not dripping wet.

You’ll want to leave using a blow dryer or any other type of drying tool to the professional groomer, Robles says. It’s difficult to regulate the temperature of the airflow, which increases the risk of burning your pet’s skin. Plus, most animals are scared of the noise, which may put a damper on the end of an otherwise positive bath time experience.

Bathing Too Often

Dogs and cats naturally groom themselves, so you probably don’t need to bathe your pet more than once a month, Robles says. Too many baths can actually strip away the natural oils in your pet’s coat and cause skin irritation. Speak with your veterinarian to determine the best grooming schedule and best type of shampoo for your pet’s breed and activity level.

Source: http://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/7-common-bath-time-mistakes-pet-owners-make

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Holiday Safety Tips

The holiday season is upon us, and many pet parents plan to include their furry companions in the festivities. As you gear up for the holidays, it is important to try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. Also, please be sure to steer pets clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations.

Be Careful with Seasonal Plants and Decorations

  • Oh, Christmas Tree: Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
  • Avoid Mistletoe & Holly: Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
  • Tinsel-less Town: Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
  • That Holiday Glow: Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
  • Wired Up: Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.

Avoid Holiday Food Dangers

  • Skip the Sweets: By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising pet will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
  • Leave the Leftovers: Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.
  • Careful with Cocktails: If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
  • Selecting Special Treats: Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer.

Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.

Plan a Pet-Safe Holiday Gathering

  • House Rules: If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.
  • Put the Meds Away: Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
  • A Room of Their Own: Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.
  • New Year’s Noise: As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears. And remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.

Source: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/holiday-safety-tips

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Top 10 Cat Emergencies

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Cats often become reclusive and hide when they are not feeling well, which makes knowing when they need to be seen by your veterinarian a challenge. They have unique signs of emergency conditions that often go unrecognized by owners. Some injuries are obvious, such as a cat with an open wound, while others have more subtle signs that can be equally dangerous if left untreated. Knowing signs of illness is crucial in determining when to seek emergency care for your cat. Below is a list of some of the most common cat emergencies and their signs.

 

Urethral Obstruction

This is a condition in which a cat, usually male, is unable to urinate due to a blockage in the urethra (the tube leading from the urinary bladder to the outside environment).

 

Cats will show a sudden onset of restless behavior, which includes frequent trips in and out of the litter box. They will often attempt to urinate in unusual places such as in a bath tub or on a plastic bag. You may notice a very small stream of urine that contains blood. More often than not, despite a cat’s straining, there may be no urine or even just a drop produced. In later stages of the obstruction, cats may cry loudly, vomit, and become lethargic.

 

You should consider these signs a serious emergency and seek veterinary care immediately. There are reports of cats developing kidney failure and dying within 12 hours after the onset of signs. Expect your cat to be hospitalized at least 36 hours for treatment of this condition. Veterinary treatments may include a urinary catheter, intravenous fluids, and pain management. Female cats are less likely to become obstructed due to their wider urinary tract.

 

Toxicities (Poisoning)

The combination of their curious nature and unique metabolism (the way their body breaks down chemicals) makes cats vulnerable to toxins. Owners are often unaware that their home contains multiple products that are poisonous to felines. The most common cat toxins include antifreeze, Tylenol, and rat or mouse poison.

 

The signs your cat displays depends on the type of poison he or she has encountered. Antifreeze will often cause wobbliness or a drunken appearance first, then progresses to vomiting/weakness as the kidneys fail. Tylenol may cause an unusual swelling of the head and changes the cat’s blood color from red to chocolate brown. Rat or mouse poison interferes with blood clotting so you may see weakness from internal blood loss or visible blood in the urine or stool.

 

Breathing Problems

Often, cats hide the signs of breathing problems by simply decreasing their activity. By the time an owner notices changes in the cat’s breathing, it may be late in the progression of the cat’s lung disease. There are several causes of breathing changes, but the most common are feline asthma, heart disease, or lung disease.

 

Foreign Object Ingestion

Many cats love to play with strings or string-like objects (such as dental floss, holiday tinsel, or ribbon), but those strings can be dangerous for your cat. When a string is ingested by a cat, one end may become lodged or “fixed” in place, often under the cat’s tongue, while the rest of the string passes further into the intestine. With each intestinal contraction, the string see-saws back and forth actually cutting into the intestine and damaging the blood supply.

 

Signs that your cat has eaten a foreign object may include vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, and weakness. Occasionally owners will actually see part of a string coming from the mouth or anal area. You should never pull on any part of the string that is visible; instead, call your veterinary health care team immediately.

 

Surgery is usually necessary to remove the foreign object and any damaged sections of intestine.

 

Bite Wounds

Cats are notorious for both inflicting and suffering bite wounds during encounters with other cats. Because the tips of their canine, or “fang,” teeth are so small and pointed, bites are often not noticed until infection sets in, which is usually several days after the initial injury.

 

Cats may develop a fever and become lethargic 48 to 72 hours after experiencing a penetrating bite wound. They may be tender or painful at the site. If the wound becomes infected or abscessed, swelling and foul-smelling drainage may develop.

 

You should seek emergency care for bite wounds so your veterinarian can thoroughly clean the area and prescribe appropriate antibiotics. Occasionally, the wounds can develop large pockets called abscesses under the skin that require surgical placement of a drain to aid in healing.

 

Hit By Car

Cats that spend time outdoors are at a much greater risk for ending up in the emergency room. Being hit by a car is one of the most common causes of traumatic injuries, such as broken bones, lung injuries, and head trauma. You should always seek emergency care if your cat has been hit by a vehicle, even if he or she appears normal, because many injuries can develop or worsen over the following few hours.

 

Increased Thirst and Urination

Sudden changes in your cat’s thirst and urine volume are important clues to underlying disease. The two most common causes of these changes are kidney disease and diabetes mellitus.

 

Your veterinarian will need to check blood and urine samples to determine the cause of your cat’s change in thirst and urine. Having your pet seen on an emergency basis for these signs is important because prompt treatment increases chances for recovery. Exposure to certain toxins, such as antifreeze or lilies, will show similar signs, and delaying veterinary care can be fatal.

 

Sudden Inability to Use the Hind Legs

Cats with some forms of heart disease are at risk for developing blood clots. These clots can sometimes lodge in a large blood vessel—the aorta—where they can prevent normal blood flow to the hind legs. If your cat experiences such a blood clotting episode (often called a saddle thrombus or thromboembolic episode), you will likely see a sudden loss of the use of his or her hind legs, painful crying, and breathing changes.

 

On arrival at the emergency room, your cat will receive pain management and oxygen support. Tests will be done to evaluate the cat’s heart and determine if there is any heart failure (fluid accumulation in the lungs). Sadly, such an episode is often the first clue for an owner that his or her cat has severe heart disease. In most cases, with time and support, the blood clot can resolve, but the cat’s heart disease will require lifelong treatment.

 

Upper Respiratory Infections

Cats and kittens can experience a variety of upper respiratory diseases caused by a combination of bacteria or viruses. An upper respiratory infections, or URI, can cause sneezing, runny nose, runny eyes, lack of appetite, and fever. In severe cases, it can cause ulcers in the mouth, on the tongue, and on the eyes. More often than not, severe cases are seen in cats that have recently been in multiple-cat environments, such as shelters. Small kittens, or kittens struggling to thrive, are also easily infected and may develop more severe complications, such as low blood sugar.

 

Sudden Blindness

A sudden loss of vision is most likely to occur in an older cat. The most common cause is increased blood pressure (hypertension), which may be due to changes in thyroid function (hyperthyroidism) or kidney disease. There are some cats that appear to have hypertension with no other underlying disease.

 

Sudden blindness should be treated as an emergency and your veterinarian will measure your cat’s blood pressure, check blood tests, and start medications to lower the pressure and restore vision.

 

If you notice a change in your cat’s eyes, whether he or she loses vision or not, you should consider this an emergency have your pet seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

 

 

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary-related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at cathealth.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.

 

 

SOURCE: http://www.cathealth.com/safety/top-ten-emergencies-in-cats

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Easter Pet Poisons

iStock_000058647528_MediumThe veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline receive hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies.

“Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.”

In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures.

“There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag. “If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.”

Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately.

There are several other types of lilies that aretoxic to cats as well. They are of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species and commonly referred to as Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies. Popular in many gardens and yards, they can also result in severe acute kidney failure. These lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets, so it is imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling.

Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Other Dangers to Pets at Easter Time

Pet Poison Helpline also receives calls concerning pets that have ingested Easter grass and chocolate.

Usually green or yellow in color, Easter grass is the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. When your cat or dog ingests something “stringy” like Easter grass, it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.

Lastly, during the week of Easter, calls to Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increase by nearly 200 percent. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The chemical toxicity is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death. Other sources include chewable chocolate flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

Spring is in the air and Easter is a wonderful holiday. Remember that your pets will be curious about new items you bring into your household like Easter lilies, Easter grass and chocolate. Keep them a safe distance away from your pets’ reach and enjoy the holiday and the season.

 

SOURCE: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/seasons/easter/

 

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Important Pet Dental Information in Newport News, VA

Why Your Pet Needs Dental Care
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Your pet obviously can’t brush their own teeth (alhough it’d be a sight to see if they could), which means it’s up to you as the owner to maintain their oral health for them. Overtime, plaque and tartar can accumulate on your pet’s teeth, just like it can on your own teeth. This buildup can eventually lead to gum disease, which can leave your pet in a great deal of pain. It can also affect their liver, heart, and kidneys if not treated. Don’t let it get that for YOUR pet. Colony Animal Hospital in Newport News offers comprehensive dental services to help prevent dental disease, so your four-legged friend can be with you for as long as possible.

What Exactly Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease in pets is very similar to that in humans, both in how it starts and how it progresses. In pets, it includes four stages of progression, which are detailed below:

Stage 1 Gingivitis: At this stage, there is light plaque accumulation on the teeth and minor gum inflammation. These conditions are reversible with professional dental treatment at Colony Animal Hospital.

Stage 2 Early Periodontitis: This is when a pet is likely to start feeling pain, due to the inflammation of the entire gum area. Another common symptom at this stage is bad breath. Luckily, professional dental treatment and at-home dental care can still reverse these effects.

 Stage 3 Moderate Periodontitis: This is the first phase of gum disease. When early periodontitis is allowed to progress to this stage, the bacterial infection and tartar start to destroy the gums, resulting in bone loss, sore mouth, and persistent bad breath. Typically, the mouth soreness affects a pet’s eating habits. Stage 3 may or may not be reversible.

Stage 4 Advanced Periodontitis: At this stage, the infection continues to break down the gum and bone tissue as well as the tooth itself. This is the most severe case because the bacterial infection can now enter the blood stream, potentially leading to liver, heart, and kidney disease.

How to Prevent Pet Gum Disease

brushing dog's tooth for dental care

brushing dog’s tooth for dental care 

Remember, we at Colony Animal Hospital are pet owners, too, so we want your pet to be disease-free, just as much as you do. One of the easiest ways to prevent gum disease is by bringing your pet in at least once a year for a pet wellness exam. During these exams, we’ll examine the mouth to look for any signs of gum disease, such as those mentioned above. If we think a pet dental cleaning is necessary, we’ll schedule a separate appointment so we can perform a full cleaning and dental exam under general anesthesia. We can also give you our recommendations for at-home dental care. Our pet dental services are both safe and effective, and they can help eliminate the risk of gum disease, so schedule an appointment today!

 

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5 Ways to Have Fun with Your Pet This Winter

5 Ways to Have Fun with Your Pet This Winter

Who said you can’t have fun with your pet in the winter?! Regardless of the season, keeping your pet active and stimulated (whether it’s inside or outside) is important so they can stay healthy. Colony Animal Hospital has created the following five ways to have fun with your pet this winter, so you can kiss those winter blues goodbye!

Teach Your Pet a New Trick

Both dogs and cats can learn tricks like “sit,” “fetch,” and even “stay,” so why not use your indoor time to teach your canine or feline friend a new trick? Training your pet can strengthen your bond with them and improve their overall behavior, so it’s certainly worth the effort. Of course, always reward your pet for doing the trick, and make sure to limit the training sessions to about 15 minutes a day.

 

Play Hide and Seek

Who said hide and seek is just for kids? Dogs and even cats can have fun with this game. Simply hide your pet’s favorite toy or treat in a place where they can see. Then, let them have fun retrieving it. For cats, you can try leaving the toy or treat high on the highest level of their tower so they have to climb up to get it. And if your pet is well trained, YOU can be the one to hide and let your pet find you. This game works great for herding breeds like collies and German shepherds.

 

Take a Walk with Your Pet

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice walk with your dog. Just like any other exercise, walking provides some great cardiovascular benefits for you and your pet and can even help you bond with your canine companion. Just be sure to wipe off any salt from your dog’s paws when you come inside, since it can irritate them.

 

Go for a Jog

If your dog is more of the active type, or maybe you just want to get a better winter workout, you can turn your walk into a jog or an interval walk. And of course, increasing your speed will help you both stay warm, too. If you want even more of a challenge, find some hills in the area that you both can tackle.

 

Play Tag

Most people don’t associate tag with dogs, but it’s definitely possible to play tag with a dogs. You can play in the privacy and comfort of your back yard or visit the nearest park. Tag your dog, and take turns chasing each other around. You’ll both have fun and get a good workout, too!

If you’d like to schedule an appointment at Colony Animal Hospital, give is a call at 757-877-6464, and have a happy, safe winter with your pet!

 

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Holiday Pet Safety Tips in Newport News

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As 2015 comes to a close, and you do your last-minute party planning and decorating, don’t forget about your pet. The holiday season can bring with it a few hazards to your four-legged friend if you’re not careful. Colony Animal Hospital wants to keep your pet safe during these winter holidays and every other time of year. Consider the following holiday pet safety tips, which will help you and your pet have a safe, happy holiday. Happy New Year!

Dangerous Christmas Decorations

If you have a cat or other curious pet, be careful with tinsel, ribbons, and garland. These shiny, sparkly decorations can easily draw the attention of a pet and become a target to paw at and even chew on. However, if ingested, these decorations can do a lot of damage as a result of the intestinal blockage they can cause. Christmas lights and poinsettia plants can also be dangerous, so either keep these decorations out of your pet’s reach or consider some alternatives instead, such as fiber optic lights and artificial plants.

Holiday Parties

The holiday season is a time for friends and family, so if you’ll be hosting a party at your home this year, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Consider your pet’s behavior around large groups of people to determine if you should leave them out or put them in a room, away from the festivities. This is both for your pet’s safety and that of your guests. If you plan to leave your pet out, keep an eye on them around your guests, especially if any of your guests are children.

Safe and Unsafe Table Food for Pets

We know how tempting those puppy dog eyes are during dinner time, but before you decide to throw your pet some table scraps, make sure you know which foods are safe for pets and which ones aren’t. Chocolate, raisins, macadamia nuts, and foods with the sugar substitute xylitol are all toxic to pets, so avoid feeing your pet any food with these ingredients. On the “safe foods” list are green beans, cooked rice, chopped apples and carrots, and lean poultry (no bones or skin).

If you have any questions about these holiday pet safety tips, or if you would like to schedule an appointment for your pet at Colony Animal Hospital in Newport News, give us a call at 757-877-6464. One of our team members will be happy to assist you.

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Diabetes in Pets

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Diabetes in pets is a complex disease caused by either a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to insulin. After a dog eats, his digestive system breaks food into various components, including glucose—which is carried into his cells by insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. When a dog does not produce insulin or cannot utilize it normally, his blood sugar levels elevate. The result is hyperglycemia, which, if left untreated, can cause many complicated health problems for a dog.

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It is important to understand that diabetes is considered a manageable disorder—and many diabetic dogs can lead happy, healthy lives.

Diabetes can be classified as:

  • Type I (lack of insulin production)
  • Type II (impaired insulin production along with an inadequate response to the hormone).

The most common form of the disease in dogs is Type I, insulin-dependent diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas is incapable of producing or secreting adequate levels of insulin. Dogs who have Type I diabetes require insulin therapy to survive.

Diabetes Symptoms in Dogs

The following are signs that your dog may be diabetic:

  • Change in appetite
  • Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption
  • Weight loss
  • Increased urination
  • Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting
  • Cataract formation, blindness
  • Chronic skin infections

Causes of Diabetes

The exact cause of diabetes is unknown. Autoimmune disease, genetics, obesity, chronic pancreatitis, certain medications and abnormal protein deposits in the pancreas can play a major role in the development of the disease.

Dogs More Prone to Diabetes

  • It is thought that obese dogs and female dogs may run a greater risk of developing diabetes later in life (6-9 years of age)
  • Some breeds may also have a greater risk, include Australian Terriers, Standard and Miniature Schnauzers, Dachshunds, Poodles, Keeshonds and Samoyeds
  • Juvenile diabetes can also be seen and is particularly prevalent in golden retrievers and keeshonds

Diagnosing Diabetes

To properly diagnose diabetes, your veterinarian will collect information about clinical signs, perform a physical examination and check blood work and urinalysis.

Treating Diabetes

  • Every diabetic dog is an individual and will respond differently to therapy. Diabetes treatment is based on how severe the signs of disease are and whether there are any other health issues that could complicate therapy.
  • Some dogs are seriously ill when first diagnosed and require intensive hospitalized care for several days to regulate their blood sugar levels.
  • Dogs who are more stable when first diagnosed may respond to oral medication or a high-fiber diet that helps to normalize glucose levels in the blood
  • For most dogs, insulin injections are necessary for adequate regulation of blood glucose. Once your pet’s individual insulin treatment is established, typically based on weight, you will be shown how to give him his insulin injections at home.
  • Spaying your dog is recommended, as female sex hormones can have an effect on blood sugar levels.

As your veterinarian will explain, it’s important to always give your dog insulin at the same time every day and feed him regular meals in conjunction with his medication; this allows increased nutrients in the blood to coincide with peak insulin levels. This will lessen the chance that her sugar levels will swing either too high or too low. You can work with your vet to create a feeding schedule around your pet’s medication time. It is also important to avoid feeding your diabetic dog treats that are high in glucose. Regular blood glucose checks are a critical part of monitoring and treating any diabetic patient, and your veterinarian will help you set up a schedule for checking your dog’s blood sugar.

Diabetes Prevention

Although a certain form of diabetes—the type found in dogs less than a year of age—is inherited, proper diet and regular exercise can go a long way to avoid the development of diabetes. Aside from other negative effects, obesity is known to contribute to insulin resistance.

If You Suspect Your Dog Has Diabetes

If your dog is showing any abnormal clinical signs as listed above, make an appointment to see your veterinarian immediately. If a diabetic dog is not treated, he can develop secondary health problems like cataracts and severe urinary tract problems. Ultimately, untreated diabetes can cause coma and death.

SOURCE: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/common-dog-diseases

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6 Halloween Pet Safety Tips

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Trick or treat! It’s that time of year again! Halloween can be a fun holiday for people, but it can be a dangerous one for pets if their owners aren’t aware of the potential threats. As always, Colony Animal Hospital in Newport News wants to make sure that your companions are safe, which is why we recommend the following six Halloween safety tips.

  1. Choose Your Pet Costume Wisely

If you’ll be dressing your pet up, make sure the costume is comfortable and not too tight. If your pet is a “chewer,” it’s best to avoid buying a costume with loose, dangling, or small pieces that can pose a choking hazard if ingested. Always save your receipts, in case you have to make an exchange. It’s also a good idea to try to get your pet comfortable in the costume a few days before Halloween.

  1. Provide Sufficient Identification

At the very least, Colony Animal Hospital recommends that your pet have an ID tag/collar with your current contact information. You may also want to consider microchipping your pet to provide a permanent form of identification and increase the chances of a happy reunion, should your pet go missing on Halloween—or any other day.

  1. Don’t Give Pets Candy

We know those big eyes can be hard to resist, but giving pets candy can actually make them sick. Chocolate contains an alkaloid called theobromine that’s toxic to dogs and cats, and the sugar substitute xylitol (common in gums and certain candies) contains ingredients that can lead to hypoglycemia. Buy your fur babies some new doggy/kitty snacks instead so they can enjoy their OWN Halloween treats without getting sick.

  1. Keep Your Pet Inside

Sadly, Halloween is the time of year when people pull pranks involving pets. It’s best to keep your pet indoors during the week of Halloween, where they can be safe from these pranksters. This is especially important if you have a black cat.

  1. Use Caution When Decorating

Candles, lit jack-o-lanterns, wires, and items with dangling pieces are just a few of the many decorations that can be dangerous to pets—especially curious pets. Make sure to pet-proof all the decorated areas of your home if your dog or cat is known to snoop around. The last thing you want is to have to make an emergency visit to the vet because your pet ate something they shouldn’t have.

  1. Keep Your Pet Away from Front Door

Every time that doorbell rings is an opportunity for your pet to dash through the open door. Even if your pet is well trained, having costumed trick-or-treaters arrive at your door every few minutes might cause them to behave erratically, so keep this in mind before trick-or-treat hours begin. Keep your pet in a confined area, away from the front door, both for their safety and that of the trick-or-treaters.

Feel free to give us a call at (757) 877-6464 if you have any questions about the tips mentioned above or if you’d like to learn more about Colony Animal Hospital. Happy Halloween!

 

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Zoonotic Diseases

In 64 million American household’s pets are a source of joy and perhaps even the key to longer, healthier lives. However, pet-owning households with young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems need to be aware that their animals can play host to disease-causing microorganisms.

Humans are not likely to catch a disease through their pets, but in very rare cases it can happen. Fortunately, most of these diseases rarely occur in healthy individuals, are mild and can be easily treated. Others, like toxoplasmosis, can be far more serious. Diseases transmitted from animals to humans are called zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases usually live out their complex life cycles in animals, but sometimes cross into human bodies. Usually contracting a pet-borne disease requires very close contact with animals or their excretions, so zoonotic diseases can be avoided with common sense, cleanliness and regular pet examinations and vaccinations.

Children often put their hands in their mouths, providing an easy route for bacteria to travel into their bodies. For example, children who eat dirt are more susceptible to contracting zoonotic diseases. Children also are more susceptible to pet-borne illness because they carry fewer antibodies than adults do. The same holds true for puppies and kittens, making them more likely to carry disease than older dogs and cats.

Although the chances of getting a zoonotic disease from your pet are slim, these are some common pet-borne illnesses that can make people sick:

Salmonellosis

This bacteria generally makes its way into human bodies through contaminated food. The bacteria can be passed through animal feces and may cause symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea and exhaustion.

Roundworms

Roundworm eggs and microscopic adult worms can be excreted in the feces of dogs and cats infected by the worms. Children may be at a higher risk for contracting roundworms because they play near pets or touch infected feces and put their hands into their mouths. Because of the risk to children, all cats and dogs should be taken to their veterinarians for regular fecal examinations. Also remember to cover all sandboxes when not in use to prevent children from contacting contaminated feces. Symptoms can include fever, cough, loss of appetite, weakness and lung congestion.

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Cat Scratch Fever

This bacteria is usually transmitted from cats to humans through scratches. The bacteria is found on nails or claws and can cause high fever, loss of appetite, weakness and swollen lymph nodes. In otherwise healthy people, Cat Scratch Fever is usually mild and resolves itself. However, the bacteria caused by Cat Scratch Fever can be extremely dangerous or even fatal if left untreated in immune-compromised individuals. It’s important for these pet owners to tell their doctors they own a cat. Young children should be sure to wash scratches thoroughly with soap and water.

Strep Throat

Though your pet is probably not the culprit bringing strep into your household each year, the possibility does exist. Recently, researchers have found that it’s more likely that people are infecting their pets. In any case, keep your children from kissing, licking or exchanging food by mouth with their pets.
Ringworm

A fungal infection of the skin, hair or nails, ringworm starts as a rapidly spreading hairless, circular lesion. Humans can be infected through use of contaminated objects like hair brushes, towels or clothing or by contact with infected animals like cats, dogs, mice, rats and guinea pigs.

Scabies

Also called sarcoptic mange, scabies is a skin disease caused by itch mites which burrow under the skin. Scabies cause intense itching and scratching that can result in severe eczema. Humans can be infected through contact with infected animals.

The most effective way to prevent zoonotic diseases and ensure your good health is to ensure good health for your pets. This means taking your pet to the veterinarian for regular exams and vaccinations. Most pet owners find that by following their veterinarian’s nutritional and health recommendations, their pets will lead happy, healthy lives with little risk of zoonotic infections.

SOURCE: https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/pet_health_library/general_health_care/diseases_transmitted_by_pets.aspx

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