*Do I need to use flea control in the winter?
Yes, the myth that fleas don’t survive in the winter is false. During the winter months, fleas are commonly found indoors where the temperatures are warmer and ideal for their survival. While the numbers may be lower, proper flea control is necessary to minimize the risk of infestation all year round.
*What effects can fleas have on my pet?
Flea bites are often unnoticeable on some pets but others can suffer from slight irritation, severe itching, red lesions, hair loss and even ulcers. The severe lesions are caused by hypersensitivity to flea salvia and this problem is called flea allergy dermatitis. Most commonly seen are tape worms, Dipylidium caninum, which reside in the intestines living off your pets nutrients.
*Why does my dog scoot its butt on the floor?
There are numerous reasons that your dog is scooting its butt on the floor, but the most common reason is due to full anal glands that are located around the dog’s anus. These anal glands produce an oily and strong smelling liquid that, in the wild is used for marking territory. When these glands become full, they start to become very uncomfortable. Other causes can be due to gastrointestinal parasites or allergies. This problem can be easily fixed by visiting your veterinarian.
*Why is it important to microchip my pet and how does it work?
Microchipping your pet can greatly increase your chances of being reunited if the pet goes missing. The microchip is implanted under the skin with a syringe and is about the size of a grain of rice. When a microchip scanner is passed over the pet’s body, an identification number will appear on the scanner. All animal shelters, humane societies, and veterinary clinics are equipped with these scanners and are required to check every stray pet that enters their facility. The San Joaquin County has also passed a law that requires all pets to be microchipped in order to register them with the county.
*How can I tell if my pet has worms?
Many pets don’t always show signs of being infested but knowing what to look for is the first step in protecting your pet. On the occasion that a pet does show signs, common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, low energy, vomiting, diarrhea, butt scooting, and bloating of the stomach (especially in puppies). The CDC recommends that a bi-annual fecal test is preformed to ensure that, should you pet be infested, a treatment can begin before any critical health problems occur.
*Must I get a physical examination when my pet is just coming in for its annual vaccinations?
Yes. The purpose of the exam is to evaluate your pet for any possible heath issues that can become problems later on, and address them before they get costly and out of hand. Signs like plaque build up on the teeth or dirt in the ears. These two examples may not be problems now but if left unattended for too long, infection can set in and create an even larger problem that will be not only painful for your pocket but painful for your pet. In addition, vaccinations are a form of the virus we are trying to prevent. If a vaccine is given to a pet with a potential health problem, the pet could become very ill.
*Should I declaw my cat?
Declawing is a very controversial discussion. May people choose to declaw their cats for numerous reasons from protecting their furniture to protecting themselves. Declawed cats can live a normal and happy life of that of a clawed cat. However there are a few things to consider before committing to this decision. The declawing process can be painful with many complications. Cats that are declawed should not be allowed out side due to the fact they no longer have any way to defend themselves from any attackers. If you have any questions regarding this procedure contact you veterinarian.
*What foods should I avoid feeding my pet?
While there are many foods that are ok for pets, there are several foods that a pet owner should avoid. The most common foods are as follows: avocado, chocolate, coffee, onions and onion powder, garlic, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, alcoholic beverages, moldy or spoiled food, salt, fatty foods, tea leaves, raw yeast dough, and foods that are sweetened with Xylitol (like mints, gum, and candy). If there are any other foods that you might be questioning, consult a veterinarian.
*Why is it important to spay/neuter my pet?
Every year, thousands of animals are brought into this world due to irresponsible or accidental breeding. Many of these animals end up in shelters because they either were not able to find homes or the owners can no longer take care of them. As a result of over population, many of these animals are euthanized to make room for others. Before purchasing from a breeder, potential pet owners are urged to look in shelters.
Spaying and neutering can also improve your pet’s health and life expectancy. Spaying a female eliminates the chance of getting uterine and ovarian cancer and also reduces the chances of breast cancer. Neutering a male reduces the possibility of prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. Spaying and neutering your pet will also make it more affectionate, less likely to get into fights, roam or get lost.
*How long are dogs and cats pregnant and what are the symptoms?
On average, cats are pregnant for nine weeks (58-65 days). Before giving birth, the cat’s nipples will become enlarged, as well as pink and soft. There will also be a weight increase and an appetite increase. Also, several days before the birth, the mother cat will also nest and create a soft dry place to have her kittens.
The gestation period for dogs is about 63-65 days. Signs of pregnancy are an enlarged vulva after heating ends, enlarged nipples, and they often become more loving.
*What is Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition that causes poorly fitting hip joints. It can occur on one or both hip joints and will eventually lead to arthritis, which will cause pain in the affected joint. The amount of pain usually depends on the amount of arthritis formed and the pain threshold of your pet. There are many available medications to help control the pain associated with hip dysplasia. Consult with your veterinarian if any concerns arise regarding your pet.
*What is kennel cough?
Kennel cough (a.k.a. canine cough) is a respiratory disease usually contracted in areas where a large number of pets are housed, such as a pet boarding facility or a pet grooming facility. There have been outbreaks of kennel cough in recent years at leash-free parks where a lot of dogs run and play together. If your dog frequents these types of places, you should protect him from this disease by vaccinating him against kennel cough.
*If I don’t board my dog, is it necessary to vaccinate my dog against kennel cough?
Kennel cough is caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria that are airborne. If your pet walks with you in public areas with other dogs or visits the groomer, then a kennel cough vaccination may prevent him from contracting this disease, or at the very least make the signs less severe and easier to treat.
*What is parvovirus?
Parvovirus is a disease that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea, often bloody, with lack of appetite and depression in dogs. The disease is considered deadly and since viral diseases cannot be treated, the best we can do is to give supportive care to the affected dog until its own system is strong enough to fight off the disease. Vaccinating against parvovirus is strong recommended to prevent the possible contraction of this often fatal disease.
*What can I expect after my pet has been vaccinated?
Muscle soreness, lethargy, and mild fever persisting for a day or two are common reactions associated with vaccinations. Vaccine reactions beyond this are uncommon, but still possible. More severe reactions, such as facial swelling, hives, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea, are a strong indication that special care should be taken in administering future vaccines. Since allergic reactions can become potentially worse with each subsequent episode, it is vital that pet owners consider these severe reactions a very serious condition. If your pet experiences any one of these severe reactions, you should call your veterinarian immediately and you will most likely be advised to bring in your pet immediately for evaluation and treatment.