What Is Heartworm Disease?
Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal disease in both cats and dogs. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of the affected pets. Heartworms can cause severe lung disease, heart failure, damage to other organs in the body, and even death. It affects both dogs and cats, but also other mammals which can be carriers as well.
Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitos and studies have shown that "indoor" pets are just as susceptible to infection as those who spend more time outdoors. This is especially true in climates such as ours. Once a pet is bitten by an infected mosquito, it will take 6 months for heartworm larvae to mature into adults that are detectable by current testing methods.
Dogs are considered to be a natural host for heartworms. Heartworms will progress to adults and can live up to 7 years in the heart and lungs, causing damage to these organs the entire time. Cats are considered to be an atypical host, so heartworms do not usually develop to maturity. Instead, the larvae can induce a severe immune response that can leave the lungs of infected cats just as damaged as those of an infected dog.
What are symptoms of heartworm disease?
Signs of heartworm disease may include:
Signs of heartworm disease in cats can be very subtle or very dramatic. Symptoms may include:
If I give my pet their monthly heartworm preventative, is it still necessary to get them tested yearly for heartworms?
Although heartworm preventative is incredibly effective, no medication is 100% effective in preventing heartworms or parasites from developing. Getting your pet tested yearly can help catch unwanted parasites early on. Puppies should start their monthly preventative medicine right away and should be tested yearly during their annual examination appointment.
Prevention is CRITICAL for cats because, sadly, there is no approved treatment for heartworm infection in cats. Heartworm infection in cats is harder to detect than in dogs because cats are much less likely than dogs to have adult heartworms.
Follow the American Heartworm Association recommendation: Give your pet's their preventative medicine 12 months out of the year and get them tested for heartworms every 12 months!
To schedule your pet's annual heartworm test at one of our animal clinics in The Woodlands, click here.
To order your pet's monthly heartworm preventative medication, click here.
“Neutering” refers to the sexual altering of both a female or male cat or dog. Not only does neutering have health benefits, it also helps to decreased pet overpopulation.
Sadly, millions of unwanted pets are euthanized in shelters every year.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, five out of 10 dogs and seven out of 10 cats in shelters go un-adopted and are eventually destroyed. In most cases, these dogs are not born on the street. Actually, one in four of these dogs are purebred and many are the offspring of cherished family pets.
Neutering Can Prevent Hormone-Driven Diseases
How Spays & Neuters Can Help With Behavioral Issues
Recommended times for neutering your pet vary depending on the breed, size, activity level and certain health conditions. Please discuss this with one of our knowledgeable veterinarians. They can also explain the ways in which we strive to minimize pain and discomfort associated with surgical procedures.
Ready to book an appointment to get your pet spayed or neutered or have questions regarding pricing? Give us a call!
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, about 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of dental disease by the age of three.
Plaque, tartar and bacteria in the mouth lead to periodontal disease which can be painful and dangerous for pets. Bacteria from the mouth enters the body through the bloodstream which can cause damage to the heart, liver and kidneys. This may shorten your pet's life.
Since gum disease increases the risk for other, more serious health conditions, daily home care in conjunction with annual veterinary dental exams and cleanings are essential. In fact, studies indicate that daily home brushing and regular dental care may add as much as five years to your pet's life!
Your pet's overall wellness depends on good oral health.
The following factors can contribute to dental disease in your dog or cat:
Dental disease becomes more common and worsens rapidly as your pet gets older. Without proper care, periodontal disease can progress, become painful, cause tooth/bone loss and contribute to more serious health conditions. While home dental care is ideally started at a young age, it's never too late to start!
Some breeds have a predisposition to periodontal disease. Brachycephalic breeds like Pugs, Shih-Tzus and French Bulldogs often have overcrowding of teeth which leads to more extensive plaque/tartar buildup and tooth issues. Many purebred cats such as Siamese, Persians and Himalayans are also predisposed to severe gingivitis and early onset periodontal disease. Home care is recommended at least 4-5 times weekly for all pets, but especially those with known predisposition.
Feeding a well balanced diet for your pet's life stage, breed and specific medical needs is pertinent to your pet's overall health which includes their oral health. There are specific diets devoted to oral health, but they may not be the right fit for all pets. Consult your veterinarian for questions regarding the best diet for your pet. It's important to remember that the right diet is only one part of maintaining good dental health.
How do I know if my pet has dental disease?
If you are wondering if your dog or cat has periodontal disease, watch out for tartar, bad breath, red/inflamed gums, painful chewing, or other oral concerns. Consult your veterinarian immediately, and after a proper oral exam, your veterinarian can make a treatment plan to ensure your pet remains healthy and happy!
Are you in The Woodlands? We offer state of the art dental cleanings that include full mouth dental radiographs, hand AND ultrasonic scaling of the teeth and under the gum line, polishing of all tooth surfaces, extractions or other necessary dental treatments and comprehensive dental charting. Call us at 281-292-4700 or schedule your pet's dental cleaning online.
January is National Walk Your Dog Month! There are numerous benefits to walking your dog. Make walking part of your daily routine this year. Here are just a few good reasons why you should start today.
Dogs need to release energy.
If a dog doesn’t expend extra energy, behavioral issues such as chewing, digging, desire to escape and other negative behaviors can develop. Walking is an excellent way to provide mental and physical stimulation, which can reduce undesirable behaviors.
An exercised dog is also more focused and easier to train than a dog full of energy. During walks, training such as sit, stay, heel and others can be reinforced. If your pet is a puller, the use of certain harnesses can aid in a more pleasurable walking experience.
Dogs are social animals.
Socialization builds your dog's confidence. Walking with your dog gives you the chance to reinforce appropriate interactions with other people and dogs. While on your walk, you can monitor their behavior from the safety of a leash while your dog enjoys all the excitement and stimulation of meeting friends (both human and canine)! Always ensure the acceptance and willingness of other dog owners and their dogs prior to allowing interaction.
Walking is good for your dog's health!
Walking for 30 minutes or more each day can reduce your dog's risk of heart disease and other illnesses as well as improve the digestive health of your pet.
Over half of all dogs suffer with complications from excessive weight. Obesity complicates many diseases like osteoarthritis, diabetes, heart disease and others. Exercise helps prevent and manage chronic diseases by keeping your pet at a healthy weight.
Bonding with your dog.
Setting aside time for you and your furry friend builds trust and respect. Just like us, dogs need love and attention. Going on routine walks with your dog can help strengthen your bond and lead to a long, loving friendship!
SAFETY TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN WALKING YOUR DOG
Animal Clinics of The Woodlands works with pet parents to make sure that their pet is happy and healthy. If you need to get your pet's vaccines updated or you have concerns about your pet's weight or overall health, make an appointment with one of our caring and highly trained veterinarians!
Dogs and cats are known to chew on and eat plants, some of which pose toxicity dangers to pets. Sago palms are one of these plants. All parts of the sago palm can cause severe damage to the liver and potentially death when they are ingested by dogs or cats.
Symptoms and types
The symptoms and effects of sago palm ingestion can be severe. Please look out for the following symptoms:
When a dog or cat ingests a sago palm, a toxin called cycasin begins to damage the liver. Liver disease can lead to abnormal bleeding and clots in the bloodstream in addition to neurological abnormalities.
Diagnosis And Treatment of sago palm poisoning
A series of blood and urine tests are performed, and test results may show signs of liver disease. Diagnosis is also based on history of presence and ingestion of the plant.
If ingestion has just occurred and symptoms are not present, your veterinarian may induce vomiting.
If evidence of liver disease is present via clinical signs or abnormalities in blood and/or urine tests, additional treatment will be necessary. Fluid therapy and blood/plasma transfusions will be required. Controlling vomiting with anti-emetic medications is recommended. Antibiotics, gastrointestinal protectants and vitamin K may also be administered by your veterinarian. S-Adenosylmethionine, Ursodeoxycholic acid, or vitamin E may be of benefit as well.
preventing sago palm poisoning
You can help avoid ingestion by making sure the sago palm is out of reach of your pets. Ideally, this plant should be removed from your yard to ensure your pet's safety. If you remove a sago palm from your environment, it's important to ensure no debris remains that your pet may be tempted to ingest. Many sago palm toxicities occur when squirrels or other animals transport portions of sago palms into other yards that may not contain the plant itself, so always be cautious of any plant debris your pet can ingest.
If you suspect that your pet has ingested any part of a sago palm, please call one of our 3 locations immediately or click on the button below in order to seek help from the best veterinarians in The Woodlands.
Dental Care For Dogs And Cats
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, about 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of dental disease by their 3rd birthday.
Plaque, tartar and bacteria in the mouth may lead to periodontal disease which can spread through the bloodstream to the heart, liver and kidneys and shorten your pet's life.
Periodontal disease increases the risk for other, more serious health conditions. Because of this, daily home care in conjunction with annual veterinary dental exams and dental cleanings as needed are essential. In fact, studies indicate that daily home brushing and regular dental care may add as much as five years to your pet's life!
Your pet's overall wellness depends on good oral health. The following factors can contribute to dental disease in your dog or cat:
Dental disease becomes more common as your pet gets older. Without proper care, dental disease can pose a problem. If nothing is done to care for your pet's mouth, periodontal disease can progress and your pet may even lose teeth. Dental disease can be painful, causing your pet to avoid or have difficulty eating meals. This may result in weight loss and an unkempt hair coat.
Some breeds have a predisposition to periodontal disease. This can occur for several reasons. Dog's with short faces like the Pug, Shih-tzu, Lhasa Apso, French Bulldog, and their mixes have teeth that are overcrowded making it more difficult to keep teeth and gums clean. Toy breed dogs have a tendency to develop periodontal disease at an earlier age. Many purebred cats are also predisposed to worse dental disease, especially Siamese, Abyssinians and Persians.
Poor nutrition can contribute to the development and progression of periodontal disease. Feeding a premium, well balanced diet for your pet's life stage is paramount to maintaining your pet's overall health.
Routine dental home care can significantly slow the progression of periodontal disease. Dental home care is recommended at least 4-5 times weekly. While brushing is best, enzymatic oral rinses and chews can all be part of a proper dental home care routine.
Uh-oh - There's tartar on my pet's teeth!
If you notice your pet has bad breath, tartar build up or other oral concerns, call the office to schedule an appointment for one of our veterinarians to examine your pet. They can determine if a dental cleaning is in your pet's best interest. During a dental cleaning, your pet will be placed under general anesthesia to allow for airway protection, complete oral examination, full mouth dental radiographs to evaluate the health of the teeth under the gum line and hand/ultrasonic scaling of the tooth surfaces and beneath the gum line. After a thorough dental cleaning, routine dental home care is recommended at least 4-5 times weekly.
If your dog or cat is due for a dental cleaning, make an appointment with one of our caring veterinarians and vet tech staff by calling us at 281-292-4700, or by clicking on the button below.
Heatstroke is a common danger for dogs and cats because they cannot cool down by sweating the way humans do. Dogs will continue to overexert themselves when playing and exercising. As responsible pet owners, it's our obligation to help keep them cool.
In heat and high humidity, play time can quickly turn to heatstroke. Heatstroke can occur in all pets but is seen most often in out of shape pets, pets that are unaccustomed to the heat and short-faced breeds like Bulldogs, Pugs, or Pekingese.
Be mindful of hot surfaces such as patios, decks, sidewalks, etc, and potential for paw damage. When temperatures are high, avoid walking dogs on these hot surfaces. As a general rule, if you cannot tolerate the back of your hand on the surface for 5-10 seconds, then it's too hot for your pet to walk on.
Follow these tips to help prevent overexertion and heatstroke in pets:
Leaving or confining your dog or cat in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger their health or well-being could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal. Don't take that chance!
Even though you are taking every precaution to keep your pet(s) cool, there are certain breeds that are simply more susceptible to overexertion and heatstroke.
So keep your eyes peeled for the following signs of overheating:
If you notice these signs, or suspect heatstroke in your pet, seek veterinary attention immediately! A dog or cat can suffer permanent damage or death in a very short time when left in a parked vehicle. NEVER leave animals in cars unattended, not just when conditions are hot. Even in cool conditions, car temperatures can be higher than expected. The heat-related death of a beloved pet is a tragic, completely preventable situation. There are no statistics on how many dogs die every year from heat exposure, because the majority of cases go unreported.
Give us a call to make an appointment for your pet and let our front desk staff know if it is an emergency situation.
When it comes to taking care of your pet's health, it's important to take them to their vet for their regular check ups, vaccines, parasite prevention and dental care; but don't forget to protect them at home as well. Although some substances that are poisonous to humans are also poisonous to pets, there are many items that we ingest or are surrounded by that can seriously harm your dog or cat. The best thing to be is an educated and aware pet parent! Learn to identify pet toxins in the home and protect your beloved four-legged family member from harm.
Top 10 Poisons For Dogs
Top 10 Poisons For Cats
Poisonous Plants Warning
Many beautiful flowers and plants in our homes, yards and gardens are very dangerous for our pets.
If ingested, azaleas, oleander, sago palms and yew plants can be fatal to dogs and cats. Many types of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats.
Cocoa mulch in the garden contains theobromine, the same chemical in chocolate that is toxic to dogs and can be deadly when ingested even in small quantities.
Poinsettias, apple seeds, buttercups, English ivy and about 700 other plants are identified as having varying degrees of toxicity for pets. Fertilizers, weed killers, insecticides and other pest control poisons can also cause severe illness.
If your suspect that your pet has ingested any of these materials or other suspicious substances, and exhibits abnormal behavior or symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. You can also click here for a more comprehensive list of pet toxins courtesy of the ASPCA.
We have 3 locations in The Woodlands to serve you and take emergency visits.
January is National Walk Your Dog Month
There are numerous benefits to walking your pet! Make sure to keep your pet's vaccinations up-to-date, and make walking part of your daily routine this year. Here are just a few good reasons why you should start today.
Dogs need to release energy
If a dog doesn’t expend extra energy, behavioral issues, such as chewing or separation anxiety, can develop. A tired dog is easier to train than a dog full of energy. Plus during the walks, you can reinforce training such as heeling, sitting, etc. If your pet is a puller, gentle leaders and harnesses can help.
Help prevent roaming
During the course of a walk, your dog will be exposed to a variety of smells, sights, and sounds. Getting out of the house is a way to fulfill a dog’s need to roam and improve his/her sense of direction.
Do It Regularly
Regular walks can improve and lengthen your pet’s life. Just like humans, dogs need regular exercise to help improve their heart function, and muscle tone.
Keep Your Dog Healthy
Over half of all dogs suffer with complications due to obesity. Exercise helps prevent and manage chronic diseases by keeping your pet at a healthy weight. Dogs with arthritis and diabetes can benefit greatly from walking.
Safety Tips To Keep In Mind When Walking Your Dog
As you, your family and pet enjoy walking out doors this season, follow the number one safety tip: Keep your pet leashed while on walks or exercising in public.
No matter how well-behaved and trained your pet is, outside distractions can be dangerous, even deadly. A leash helps prevent your pet from getting lost, fighting with other pets, chasing wild animals or running into traffic. Keeping your pet leashed can also prevent them from eating or drinking something that could make them sick.
During warmer weather and heightened outdoor activity, your pet may be tempted to drink from puddles, which could contain toxic chemicals such as car radiator coolant. Antifreeze smells and tastes sweet to your pet but if ingested can be bitterly fatal in even small quantities.
Play it safe with your pets this season and keep them on a leash when walking or exercising.
Please keep in mind that puppies should be NOT be walked in areas with other dog traffic until they are fully vaccinated to avoid exposure to disease. They should also avoid trails in The Woodlands until fully vaccinated due to concerns about leptospirosis.
Our animal hospital works with pet parents to make sure that their pet is happy and healthy. If you need to get your pet's vaccines up-to-date, or if you have any concerns about your pet's weight or overall health, make an appointment with one of our caring and highly trained vets!
To make an appointment for your dog or cat click here.
July 15th is Pet Fire Safety Day, and hurricane season, which started on June 1st, is in effect. Hurricanes generally allow us time to prepare; however fires, or other natural disasters, can happen at any time. Remember to include your pets in your emergency planning.
Pet Emergency Preparedeness Tips
Pet Safety Tips For Preventing House Fires And General Pet Fire Safety
To get an ID chip for your pet, or to update their vaccines, click below to make an appointment at any one of our 3 clinics.
For more information, visit www.ready.gov.