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Pet Health F.A.Q.

Puppies and Kittens

Parasites

Immunization

Reproduction and Sterilization

 

Common Medical Inquiries

 

PUPPY AND KITTEN QUESTIONS

What is a spay?
Spay is the common term for a complete ovariohysterectomy, or the removal of the entire uterus and ovaries. Spaying can be performed any time after the age of 8 weeks.

What is a neuter?
Neuter is the common term for castration, or the removal of the testicles.  Neutering can be performed any time after 8 weeks of age.

What is the best way to identify my pet?
Keep a collar with identification on her at all times. A cat should wear an elasticized or breakaway collar. Microchipping is also available. It is implanted in her neck and is completely painless. All shelters scan for this chip and, if your pet is lost, she could be returned to you much easier by a local shelter.

 

PARASITE QUESTIONS

What is a parasite?
A parasite is an organism that lives at the expense of another living being. In our pets, these usually take the form of intestinal worms (internal parasites) and fleas and ticks (external parasites).

I saw small worms caught in the hair on my pets hind legs and tail. What are they?
Small white worms about the size of a grain of rice in length are tapeworm segments. They come from swallowing fleas or from eating mice. There are tablets you can purchase from your veterinarian to eradicate tapeworms. There are NO products in the pet stores or grocery stores to kill tapeworms. Also, in order to keep them away, you should practice good flea control.

Are flea collars very effective?
Not really. Since they are placed around the neck of the pet, they usually cannot kill any fleas which are around the tail of your pet. The insecticide from flea collars is designed to be absorbed into the pets blood stream and can be toxic. There are much better forms of flea control. Call us for more information.

What are Heartworms and how can I prevent my dog from getting them?
Heartworms are parasites that actually live in the dog's heart. There is a blood test available to test for heartworm. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitos so dogs need to be treated in mosquito season. There is a once a month tablet that is used for prevention and can be given to your dog after they are confirmed heartworm negative with a blood test. Phone your veterinarian if you have any further questions about heartworm.

 

IMMUNIZATION QUESTIONS

What is Parvo Virus?
Parvo virus is a disease that causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. This virus is deadly and can be contracted from any substance, such as the soil or walking in the same area as a dog which has been incubating the virus . We recommend vaccinating your dog once a year for adequate protection.

What is Canine Distemper?
Distemper is a highly contagious disease among dogs. It is almost always fatal. Although it is more common in puppies than in adult dogs, all dogs are susceptible to it. We recommend yearly vaccinations against this dangerous disease.

What is Kennel Cough?
Kennel Cough is a respiratory disease usually contracted in areas where large numbers of dogs are housed such as a kennel or a grooming salon. It is transmitted by nose to nose contact so they can get it from any dog. There is a vaccination available for protection against Kennel Cough.

Does my pet really need a Rabies vaccination?
YES. Rabies is a fatal disease if left untreated and can affect all mammals including humans.

My cat stays inside all the time. Why does it need vaccinations?
If you ever have a personal emergency where you have to board your cat or a medical emergency where your cat must be hospitalized, the unvaccinated cat will be vulnerable to any of the feline diseases. It may be even more susceptible than other cats since it has never been exposed to any type of disease. You can also unknowingly bring some viruses home on your clothing from a stray or other sick cat.

We have adopted a stray cat. Should I do anything special before I let it play with my other cats?
You should have the new cat examined by the veterinarian before exposing it to your cats. The new cat should be tested for FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) and Feline Leukemia - two deadly diseases that could be transmitted to your cats.

 

REPRODUCTIVE QUESTIONS

How long is a dog or cat in season?
A dog is in season (or heat) for about 21 days. The first 10 days include bleeding from the vagina, then your dog is ready to accept the male. A cat is completely different from a dog. They go in and out of season all year round until they are either bred or spayed. It is always best to spay your pet if you do not intend to breed her so that she does not develop breast or uterine cancer.

How long does pregnancy last in a dog or cat?
A dog is pregnant for 63 days and a cat for 61 days. The newborns should be examined by a veterinarian within 24-48 hours.

Will spaying or neutering my dog or cat make them fat and lazy?
No. Spaying or neutering will not contribute to obesity at all. If you watch your pet's diet and give them plenty of exercise you should not have a problem.

Can my female dog be spayed while she is in heat or while she is pregnant?
It is best to wait until a female is out of heat before she is spayed. During the heat cycle all the blood vessels that lead to the ovaries and uterus are inflamed and this makes surgery more of a risk to the dog. A dog can be spayed if she is early pregnant. You should discuss this with a veterinarian.

How soon after my dog or cat has had puppies or kittens can she be spayed?
As soon as the puppies or kittens are weaned and the mother's milk had dried up, she can be spayed.

I've heard that letting my female have a litter makes her a better pet. Is this true?
ABSOLUTELY NOT. In fact, more heat cycles and pregnancies increase the chances of mammary tumors later in life. Some pets also have behavioral changes after having a litter.

If I neuter my cat, will he stop spraying my furniture?
When a cat sprays, he is exhibiting the male tendency to mark his territory with urine. Neutering decreases his male hormones and makes him much less likely to exhibit this undesirable trait (Although - neutering does not guarantee that he will stop spraying).

Couldn't I just give my a dog a vasectomy? Why does he have to be castrated?
A vasectomy, although it makes your dog incapable of breeding, does nothing to diminish his sexual drive. He will still roam, still fight with other dogs and still tend to be aggressive. By castrating, you reduce the hormones that are causing the undesirable behaviors.

 

MEDICAL QUESTIONS

My dog was accidentally hit by a car but appears fine. Is it okay to watch him for a while?
NO! Many times dogs hide a concussion which can be life threatening if not treated immediately. Also, dogs and cats can suffer from a condition called "traumatic lung syndrome" , a condition in which the lungs can become full of fluid after a sudden blow. It is best to contact a veterinarian anytime your pet has been in an accident with a car.

My cat is going to his litter box a lot and seems uncomfortable. What does that mean?
Cats are very prone to a condition called "feline lower urinary syndrome". Basically, it is a urinary bladder infection which can lead to urinary tract obstruction in male cats. This is a serious condition and you should contact your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.

My dog licks his feet all the time. Why?
A dog that licks his feet, rubs his face, or scratches behind his elbows may be showing signs of an allergy. Dogs can be allergic to all sorts of things such as house dust, grass or weeds. Consult your veterinarian about this, especially if your dog is showing any hair loss.

What is a dog's or cat's normal temperature?
Cats and dogs have a higher body temperature than ours, which is why they sometimes feel "hot" to the touch. Their normal body temperature is 100 - 102.8 Fahrenheit or 38.5 + or - 1 degree Celcius. The best way to see if your pet is running a fever is to take his temperature with a rectal thermometer. If you notice that your pet's temperature is above normal, you should contact a veterinarian immediately.

My dog has diarrhea. What can I do?
If your dog is acting normally other than the diarrhea, then you can try withholding all food and water for 12 hours. After that time period, you can introduce small amounts of food at a time. However, if your dog is lethargic in any way, you should call a veterinarian for instructions.

My dog is "scooting" his behind on the carpet - Does he have worms?
He may have worms but that is not why he is "scooting". It is usually an indication that his anal glands are full and need attention by a veterinarian. Anal glands are small glands on either side of the rectum. They contain a fishy smelling substance and before domestication dogs and cats used them to mark their territory. Pets no longer have active control of these glands and therefore they can become full and need emptying. Cats will generally lick their rectal area excessively if their anal sacs are full.

My dog smells. What could it be?
There are three main areas that are usually associated with a dog being smelly - ears, teeth, and skin. If your dog has any brownish material in her ears she may have an ear infection. If she has tartar on her teeth or very red gums her teeth need attention. If her skin is dry or has bumps on it this may be the cause of the odor. Contact your veterinarian if any of these conditions occur.

My dog has been coughing for several days. What should I do?
A cough can be caused by a number of things such as allergies, bronchitis or even kennel cough. A doctor should check your dog so they can determine the cause of the problem.

My dog (cat) has licked up some antifreeze. Will this hurt him?
Antifreeze is extremely poisonous to dogs and cats. Please bring your pet to a clinic immediately for treatment.

 

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