Halifax Veterinary Hospitals Inc. has been providing leading-edge, comprehensive animal health care since 1952. They are committed to offering excellence in animal care and promoting conscientious pet ownership through education.
Few things are worse than fleas and ticks! Not only can they make your furry friend miserable, but they can also become a health risk too! So what should you do if you find out they have fleas or ticks? Chances are your first reaction might be to freak out, but as with most other problems in life, this too has a resolution to it!
First and foremost, make sure that its actual fleas that your pet is having issues with. For example, if your pet is itching his ears it could be a sign of mites - or an ear infection. If they are, however, licking other parts of their body this could be a food allergy or another irritation. Fleas are usually pretty easy to see but even the evidence of flea dirt will be a sign that you will want to look out for on your furry friends.
Secondly, after you've established your furry friend has fleas you will want to delouse your pet and take them to the vets. The veterinarian will be able to provide suggestions and recommendations on products you can use, not only for your pet but to safeguard your home. Fleas are already a pain as is, but because fleas can tapeworms its a good idea to get them checked out by a local vet!
Lastly, you will want to clean your home. If you have a smaller infestation it is easier to "clean up" yourself but if you have a major infestation you might need to call in a flea removal company to help rid you of any fleas. Fleas can easily hide in furniture and between carpet fibers so it's better to make sure they are completely gone! Vacuum well, especially edges, seams etc and empty the bag immediately and a premise spray.
Ticks are a little scarier because they pose an obvious health risk. Not only can ticks transmit Lyme disease to your pets, but to humans as well. Ticks can also cause blood loss, skin irritation and anemia.
Ticks are more active in the spring through fall and they tend to live in grassy areas, brush, and bushes. They attach themselves when your pet wonders through these areas. They can however survive in temperatures anywhere from 4 C and above so be on the lookout year round.
Why A Vet Is Important
Not only will a vet remove the tick the right way, but they will also give you tips on how to protect your pet in the future. They also may need to give your dog antibiotics if the tick has caused any damage and they can offer treatments to help keep ticks off of your pet.
Ticks tend to be easier to see than fleas but they are also harder to get rid of. Not only can ticks spread disease while on your pet, but if you try to remove the tick and do so improperly, the body or blood left behind by the tick can cause even more problems!
One of the best ways to keep fleas and ticks away is to prevent infestations from even starting. You should have your pet on flea and tick control throughout the year. These treatments will protect you and your pet from fleas and ticks! Early detection is incredibly important which is why it's important to pay attention to your animal’s signs that something might be going on. Look for excessive itching, biting or nibbling of the paws, ears, and skin.
Our pets feel pain just like we do, but they might act slightly different depending on what is going on with them! If you're wondering about some of the signs of pain in your pet, these are some symptoms you should look out for.
When a pet is in pain, be it a dog, cat or even a bunny, they will may have some sort of a mobility issue. These issues include:
- Limping or skipping around
- Moving or playing less than usual
- Lots of sleeping or not wanting to get up and move
- Hesitance to play, or not wishing to go up or downstairs
- Changes in posture - if you see that their rear is closer to the floor, they are holding themselves differently or they have an arched back
Changes In Eating
If your pet has a normal eating habit and then suddenly they seem to be eating less, food keeps dropping out of their mouths, they drool more than usual, etc. these could all be signs of mouth pain. Perhaps they have a laceration in their mouth, tooth decay or even missing or broken teeth - all of these are common, especially in older dogs.
Often when a pet is in pain, like with humans, they won't want to eat in the same way or at the same frequency that they used to.
Agitation and Restlessness
Like with humans, if a pet is in pain you might see restlessness or agitation in their behavior and attitude. This includes changing positions often, pacing from or laying down and getting up frequently.
Changes In Vocalizations
A lot of the time your pet will tell you if they are in pain. Listen/watch out for:
- Unusual Growling
- Or even no sounds at all. If you have a pet that is talkative and suddenly he or she stops making any noises, this could also be a sign that they are in pain.
Pets will also sometimes hide away or shy away from certain normal activities. For example, if your pet likes to be rubbed under the chin or on their side and suddenly out of the blue he or she doesn't want to be touched there, or they move their head or body away from your hand, this could be a sign they are in pain.
Take notes on exactly what avoidance behaviors they are showing and make sure you mention it to your vet so they can look in those specific places and look for injuries!
Another way to tell if a pet is in pain is their bathroom habits. For example, if you have a male dog that has always lifted his leg to urinate and suddenly he's not or he wobbles while doing so, this could be a sign he is in pain.
Also, pay attention to how often they need to go to the bathroom.
Excessive Grooming Habits
Often a pet will lick their paws when they are looking for a way to soothe themselves. But, also pets, especially dogs, have an instinctual habit to clean an area that is wounded or painful by licking it. If you find your pet licking themselves more than usual or in a specific spot take a look (if they let you!) and see if you can see any obvious signs of injury.
No matter what type of behaviours you see your pets having, if you have any inkling that they might have an injury or might be in pain, it's a good idea to make an appointment with your local vet and have them checked out.
Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to certain products, foods, and allergens as well. While cats are allergic to some things like certain flowers, dogs are more allergic to more things, especially food items. When talking about dogs, the most common food items that they will be allergic to are:
But, this doesn't mean that another breed not listed above is any less susceptible, it's just more common in the breeds above.
How Are Dog's Allergies Determined?
If you find that your dog is having allergic reactions, there is only one real way to determine what exactly they are reacting to. A vet might suggest that you completely remove everything from the dog's diet. Then, give them a food that they have never had before. Once the symptoms of the allergy start to clear up, you can then start to reintroduce food to the dog's diet one ingredient at a time. Usually, when you add one ingredient, say beef, you would wait 1-2 weeks to see if there are any noticeable allergic reactions. If no symptoms are seen, this would be added to the list of foods your dog is NOT allergic to. This is called an elimination test.
Once that's finished another ingredient would be added, and so on and so forth. It can take time. It can be frustrating. But, if you love your dog as much as I think you do, you're more than willing to take small steps in order to make your dog feel happier, more comfortable, and healthier!
But, if you take them to a vet, they can also do tests to rule out allergies. For example, they can take discharge from the dog's ears or test their skin to see if they have allergies. In the case of dogs, blood tests are not accurate.
Symptoms Of Food Allergies
If you notice that Fido is/has:
- Chronic Ear Infections - Chronic Ear Inflammation - Digestive Issues - Chronic Diarrhea - Chronic Gas - Itchy or red anus - Licking their feet, biting or scratching their skin
These can all be symptoms that your dog has an allergy - but these symptoms aren't just pointed towards food allergies, but any allergy; grass, dust mites, other animals, other animals dander/hair, etc. That's why its best to see a vet if you see one or more of the above symptoms in your dog. For owners its sort of a "where do I go from here" situation, but a vet is trained in all situations and can make recommendations on what to do next!
Is Cooking Their Food More Beneficial?
On one hand, if you decide to cook your dogs food with natural fresh ingredients, you know exactly what is in the food, down to the very last grain. However, raw feeding is a pretty scandalous topic among dog owners. Some people think it's amazingly healthy, while others don't - for obvious reasons... raw meat anyone?!
Some vets agree that feeding a dog a raw diet is okay, but you have to understand the basics of how to do a raw food diet for your dog - and the Internet just won't cut it. Instead, talk to your vet and see what they recommend. If they think that a raw food diet would be good for your pet, talk to them about what foods to give them, how to prepare the food, etc.
Trupanion Express has changed the old pet insurance model by introducing instant online claims and direct payments to veterinary hospitals. The unique web-based application makes it possible to submit claims online in seconds, eliminating paperwork, large upfront costs and reimbursements for your clients.
We love Trupanion Express because, we can deliver exceptional medical care for pets and with the immediate pay direct this reduces the stress for the pet owner as their out of pocket costs are reduced to a small portion of the total cost of the services, this is especially important when discussing more extensive illness or injury.
As pet owners you'll love Trupanion Express as well because it allows you to provide the best pet health care without the hassles of paperwork.
Watch this short video to see what makes Trupanion a truly innovative medical insurance for cats and dogs, not just pet insurance.
For a long time, ticks were just a small, localized problem. Very few regions suffered from significant tick populations. However, ticks are now more wildly spread, and they are causing problems for cat owners all over. Not only are they everywhere, the climate of many places mean that ticks are a problem year round. All it takes is four degrees above zero for ticks to be an active problem for you and your pets.
Fleas and Ticks
Many pet owners have dealt with fleas in the past. They are small creatures that make your pet very uncomfortable and carry a host of different diseases. Fleas can live for a great deal of time, even when owners are actively treating the animal. As such, it is important that the treatment happens on two fronts. The animal itself must be treated and so must the area the animal resides in.
Ticks are a little bit different in their life cycle. Unfortunately, while ticks are unlikely to infest your house, it only takes one tick to cause major illnesses. The main concern with ticks is Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a significant illness, which, when untreated, can cause a host of substantial symptoms. It is also very difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms vary greatly from case to case.
Prevention of Fleas and Ticks on Cats
Currently there are only a few products that are labeled for safe treatment against ticks in cats. They usually also deal with fleas very well in addition to preventing ticks. These preventative treatments are typically topical solutions that are applied to the back of your cat's neck. The duration of treatment options ranges from one to three months. Make sure you avoid products containing permethrin as they are very toxic to cats. Talk to your veterinarian to find the best flea and tick prevention for your kitty.
Staying Safe by Checking for Ticks
With the risk of Lyme disease being so extreme, taking extra steps to protect you, your family, and your pets is recommended. The ticks can sneak into your pet’s fur, leaving it plenty of time to latch onto anyone in your household. While preventative treatments provide protection for your pet, the tick can still infiltrate your home. To prevent this hidden threat, look through your pet’s fur every day.
Your cat is going to be at a lower risk than a dog who is regularly exploring the woods. However, they are still at risk no matter how little exposure they receive. If your cat is regularly out in the woods, more caution is required.
Fleas are uncomfortable, infest your home, and can transmit a number of diseases. Ticks also transmit diseases between animals and humans. Of these diseases, Lyme disease is a significant concern. To protect your health, and the health of your pets, be sure to take the right preventative measures. A topical application gives your cat the protection they deserve from both ticks and fleas.
Your pet is a family member and you want them to be safe at all times. When your pet gets loose, you don't want to waste a minute. If you don't already have a plan to put into action if your dog gets lost, take a few minutes to think through the following items.
In order to be proactive about losing your dog, microchipping is a great idea. Wherever your dog is found, he can be scanned and that microchip will lead right back to you. If he's picked up at a shelter or clinic, they will call you and let you know your dog is safe and sound. All thanks to the microchip. Make sure the information regarding your address is up to date on that microchip for the best results.
Have Quality Pictures
If you need to make posters or put your dog's image out there in other manners, it is good to have good quality pictures from a lot of different angles. Sure, you take pictures of your dog on a regular basis, but pay attention to how you take them and put the quality pictures in a different folder so you have easy access if you ever need them.
Make the Collar a Must
Make sure your dog is never outside without his collar, complete with identification tags. It is best for him to wear it at all times, even inside your home and yard, because you never know when he might get out and take off. Having a collar on will give him a good chance at finding his way home. If anyone runs across him, they will know who to call and where he belongs.
If your dog gets out and you want to take action right away, make up some posters to distribute around the neighborhood. Make it simple and put "Lost Dog" on the top in large letters. Include a picture and brief description along with your name and phone number in large letters. You can put these up on poles around the neighborhood so if anyone sees your dog, they know where he goes.
Call By Name
As you look around the area yourself, walk around and call for your pet by name. Tell everyone searching your dog's name so they know what to say when they see a dog that looks like yours. If you are driving, drive slowly, roll the windows down, listen, and call your pet by name,
Put a Call Out on Social Media
In Nova Scotia, we have a great resource in Nova Scotia Lost Dog Network. With almost 30,000 followers, they are a great resource to share with.
Your friends and neighbors are constantly connected on social media. Put a call out as soon as your dog is missing and it's possible someone you know will have seen him. The connections on social media are endless and you never know who might find your dog and where.
Thinking through your options when your dog is safely in your house is a good way to prevent panic if he gets out and gets lost. You can follow a few simple steps and get him home much faster that way. The best thing to do in these situations is to simply keep at it. Don't give up! Your dog is out there somewhere and while he may make it home on his own, he has a lot better chance with your help.
To learn more about microchiping your pet, click the learn more button:
Pets quickly become a cherished member of the family and it can be hard to imagine life without them. However, part of life is aging and pets generally have much shorter lives than their owners. When the time comes to make a decision for your pet, it's never going to be easy. But you can move forward with peace of mind that you did the right thing if you follow certain signs and do the right amount of research. The day will be hard, but in the end, euthanizing your pet can be what's best for everyone involved. When considering whether euthanasia is the right direction for your family and your pet, think of the items in their life like a pyramid and use these tips to help you make the agonizing decision.
The emotional involvement of your pet is at the top of the pyramid. It will help make a small portion of the decision. Ask yourself if your pet still has their dignity. Can they go to the bathroom on their own and eat alone or do they need help with some of the most basic items? Do they seem lax in their will to live or are they still looking for attention and acting like themselves? These emotional items will tell you a little more about what your pet might want if they could talk to you.
You know what your pet is like when they are healthy. How they act socially will tell you a lot about the direction you should take. Does your pet still engage with your family and play? Do they want to have pets and cuddles like they used to? Are they engaged with the other pets in your house if you have them? Pets who show some social engagement are healthier and in a better place than those who don't. If your pet is pulling back in a social way, they may be nearing the end of their time with you.
The bottom part of the pyramid is the largest portion and a big deciding factor as to what you need to do with your pet. You want your pet to be happy and healthy, but when they're not, you want to ensure that they aren't in any pain, if at all possible. Take a look at their mobility and hygiene. Are they able to keep clean like they used to and get around as needed? Are they safe or are they stumbling and stairs becoming a danger to them? Sometimes you can tell a pet is in pain because of the way they act and other times, they suffer silently. The best thing you can do when it comes to pain is consult with your vet. They are experts in the field and can tell you what your pet may be experiencing. The last thing you want is for your pet to suffer and if it is evident they are and there's no end in sight, you will know what to do.
Every pet is an individual and an important member of your family. No two pets are alike and there is no one right answer when it comes to the end of their life. If you are able to take a look at the emotional, social, and physical pyramid and fill in the gaps, you will better be able to come up with an answer that will give you peace of mind about the direction you take with your pet.
When you buy a dog, it's a life-long commitment. You have to make sure they are fed properly, taken to the veterinarian many times during their lives, make sure they get walked, etc.
One of the topics we are going to discuss today is bloat or Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). This is an extremely serious situation and should be considered life-threatening. There are no natural or home remedies for bloat so if your dog is having symptoms related to this disease - which we will be going through below, you need to see your Veterinarian ASAP.
Dogs with bloat can die within several hours so time is of the essence. Even when a dog gets treatment there is still a chance that they may not survive.
With bloat, for a number of different reasons, your dog's stomach can fill up with air and put extra pressure on the other organs in the dog's body. It can also cause the stomach to rotate onto itself and pinch off the blood supply. Once this happens the blood supply is cut off and the stomach begins to die.
The pressure makes it difficult for the dog to breath and it can also compress larger veins in the abdomen which can prevent blood from returning to the heart.
Breeds That GDV Is More Common In
As with a lot of other health issues and diseases, GDV is more common in some breeds than it is in others.
Great Danes have a 4.1 risk ratio German Shepherds have a 4.1 Golden Retrievers have a 1.2 Mini Poodles have a 0.3 etc.
GDV tends to be much more common in larger dogs than smaller dogs, hence the numbers above.
It's a good idea to not only talk to your veterinarian about GDV but also talk to them about your specific breed.
Dogs also over the age of 7, who are male, who are fed less than 1 times a day are also more at risk to get GDV than dogs who are not.
Signs Of Bloat In Dogs
Some of the symptoms you'll want to look for in your dog include:
While getting care for your dog after the fact can keep GDV from coming back later on in the dog's life, most vets agree that having a surgery called gastropexy, while they are young, is the best way to keep dog bloat away entirely. A gastropexy can be done on both male and female dogs and it can be done at the same time as they are being spayed or neutered.
In gastropexy, the dog's stomach will be sutured and attached to the abdominal wall or the diaphragm and this is what will keep the dog's stomach from flipping over on itself.
For most dog lovers and owners, that stat alone is worth getting the gastropexy.
Other Preventative Measures:
- Owners should be aware that they have a dog breed who is more susceptible to GDV.
- Dogs who are more susceptible should be fed 2-3 times a day, rather than 1 time a day.
- Water should always be available, however, it should be limited after the dog is done eating.
- While exercise is great for any dog, dogs that have a higher chance of getting GDV should not exercise vigorously, be too excited or stressed out 1-2 hours before and 1-2 hours after a meal.
According to studies, dogs that have the gastropexy have a small 4.3% chance of getting GDV in the future versus the 54.5% who can get it in the future who have NOT gotten gastropexy.
When you own an animal, few topics raise eyebrows as much as the term anal glands, but actually, this is a very important topic!
Anal glands are small pouches that are located between an animals internal and external sphincter muscles. These glands empty through narrow and short ducts inside the anus of the animal. These sacs are lined with modified sebaceous oil and sweat glands - the substance that is secreted from the area can be an oily almost brownish fluid that has a pretty strong odor to it.
Usually when an animal defecates the liquid inside the sac will be expelled, but if this process does not happen on a daily or weekly basis, the material inside will thicken and make it harder for the animal to pass it. If this situation keeps happening over time, the anal gland can become impacted, inflamed, or even infected. If it becomes bad enough, it can even cause a rupture through the skin via an abscess.
While some Veterinarian say that the reason for anal glands is to help create a territorial marker, others state that the anal sac oils actually help lubricate hard stool, which makes passage easier and more comfortable for the animal.
While this problem is less common in cats, it still is an issue. In dogs this issue becomes even more prevalent - around 12% of dogs will face the issue with their anal glands at least one time in their life.
Dogs who are overweight also experience this issue more than dogs who are not. Some breeds or certain dogs may be born with narrow anal ducts.
Age and Breed Considerations
Anal gland issues are more common in dogs, yes, but they are even more common in smaller breeds of dogs including toy poodles, teacup terriers, bichon frise's, cocker spaniels, beagles and even Chihuahuas. When it comes to anal glad issues and sexes - both female and male dogs can be affected.
Why Their Diet Matters
While a diet change won't resolve all of the issues your dog might be having right off the bat, it's still a good place to start. Make sure that your dog has a diet that is rich in fiber which will help prevent issues in the future.
Expressing The Glands By Hand
While you can express the glands by hand, most vets will tell you that this should NOT be done to a normal dog with no history of issues with their anal glands. Instead, if you are worried if your dog has anal gland problems or you find that they are experiencing issues when defecating; it's a good idea to talk to your veterinarian to see if there is a true issue or not. If the anal glands need to be expressed, your veterinarian can do this process for you or even teach you how to do it for your own dogs.
Recognizing A True Problem
Some of the more common symptoms, become very obvious almost right away because these "acts" may not be something your dog did before and suddenly does now. The symptoms or signs of something possibly being wrong include; scooting their bottom across the floor, trying to lick the anal region or displaying discomfort in the area of the glands.
Impaction and infection are two of the most common worries when it comes to issues with anal glands, but if you ignore the problem as time goes on, this can eventually turn into an even bigger problem such as cancer. If you find that your animal is suffering from issues with their anal glands, see your veterinarian immediately.
Essential oils are nothing new - they've been around for years, but more and more these days these essential oils are showing up in the news because of incidents regarding children. Children are at risk when it comes to ingesting essential oils, but so are pets!
If you use essential oils in your home, that's fine, but it's also important to keep your pets safe by following the rules below. These rules are primarily for essential oils.
Essential Oils Can Be Toxic
Aromatherapy for humans uses essential oils to create a relaxing atmosphere to calm people, take away headaches, reduce stress, etc. Unfortunately, if your pet gets into contact with these essential oils they can also become really sick. Make sure that if you use these oils at home that you keep your animals away from them. Pets should not lick, smell or eat these oils and they definitely shouldn't come into contact with them in terms of getting the oils on their feet, in their eyes, or on their skin.
Essential Oils Can Be irritants
As you probably know animals, especially dogs, and cats have a heightened sense of smell, more so than humans. Because of this some scents may become overpowering to them and cause irritations to the inside of their nose or eyes. Beyond just being able to smell better than humans do, dogs and cats have a more sensitive respiratory system than we do as well, which is why essential oils are NOT recommended around pets.
Pet Aromatherapy vs Human
If you visit your local pet shop or favorite online store you might see these pet aromatherapy products for pets, the pet variations are greatly diluted which does make them safer for animals. It's still a good idea to talk to your veterinarian though before using any oils on your pet. And never ever use these oils on open wounds, scratched skin, irritated skin, broken skin, etc.
Never apply human aromatherapy oils to your animal as these compounds can quickly be absorbed into the skin and go into the bloodstream to cause possible issues to your dog's organs.
Potpourri has long been touted as the perfect way to make your home smell nice. And while this is true, it can also lead to serious problems for your pets, especially when it comes to liquid potpourri which is made from essential oils and cationic detergents. These ingredients can cause chemical burns on the face, mouth or in the eyes. Not to mention the pure heat that comes from a pot of liquid potpourri can cause burns - or even death.
Keep your animals away from liquid potpourri and away from the stove or oven while it’s on. If your pet does accidentally come into contact with liquid potpourri, essential oils or any other type of harmful liquid, bath them immediately using a hand-safe natural dishwashing agent and call the veterinarian just in case.
While humans might find benefits in using essential oils, they are simply not made for pets, especially if they are not meant for pets or they are not diluted properly. If there ever comes a time when you want to try aromatherapy for pets on your animal, always make sure that you talk to your veterinarian first before using it on the animal.
Your veterinarian is more experienced and has more knowledge on this and therefore can offer a heads up on any issues you might see if you use the product, symptoms to look out for, and what to do in case of an emergency regarding your pet and these caustic liquids.
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