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Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center | Pe.. by The Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Te.. - 1w ago

The term “whisker fatigue” isn’t generally thrown around in daily conversation. Although it may sound like something that a man may get when tired of having to trim his beard, whisker fatigue is actually a condition among cats that can cause significant stress.

The Incredible Whisker

It’s hard to imagine a cat without a set of luxurious, adorable whiskers. However, these long, thick hairs are not there just to make your cat look cool. The primary function of whiskers is to serve as touch receptors that tell a cat a great deal about the world around them.

Whiskers, also called tactile hairs or vibrissae, transmit information about a cat’s environment via tiny sensory organs known as proprioceptors. These organs are located at the base of each whisker and help cats orient themselves, navigate their environment in the dark, hunt for prey (by sensing air currents), and determine whether or not they can fit into a tight space.

Whisker Fatigue

Whiskers, much like any other sensory organ, can suffer from overstimulation under the right circumstances. Whisker fatigue doesn’t exactly mean the whiskers are tired, rather, they’ve become stressed from overuse. The most common cause of whisker fatigue is something a cat does every day – eating and drinking.

Small, high-sided bowls typically used for feeding a cat’s food and water are usually to blame for whisker fatigue. As the cat attempts to eat or drink, the whiskers repeatedly brush against the sides of the bowl, which can cause reactions ranging from irritation to pain, depending on the sensitivity of the cat’s whiskers.

Cats that experience whisker fatigue or whisker stress may show it by not settling down in front of its food bowl, eating only out of the center of the bowl, trying to get the food out of the bowl or tipping it over to eat off the floor. These cats may also become aggressive toward other pets around food.

A Simple Solution

Fortunately, the solution for whisker fatigue is simple – just change your cat’s food and water bowls! A wide, flat bowl with plenty of space for the whiskers to clear the bowl on both sides of your cat’s face – or even a plate – is ideal for feeding a sensitive cat. A circulating pet fountain that has a wide bowl, may also be well-received by cats experiencing whisker fatigue while drinking water.

As you can see, your cat’s whiskers serve an important role in helping it live safely and comfortably in its environment. If you haven’t already, the next time you feed your cat, take a moment to watch your cat’s behavior while it is eating. If your cat appears to be experiencing whisker fatigue, a simple change of bowls may be all you need to improve your cat’s comfort, as well as its overall health and well-being.  

If you suspect something more serious may be going on with your feline friend or just have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center.  We love helping cats live healthy and happy lives!

The post Avoiding Whisker Fatigue in Cats appeared first on Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center.

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If you’re a longtime Denver area resident, you’ve surely noticed how much the metro area has grown over the past 10 years. And, our population growth continues to extend outward beyond the city and surrounding suburban areas.

While Colorado’s popularity as a great place to live is mostly a good thing, it also affects us in ways that we may not think of, such as how it affects our pets. With more and more people and pets moving here, the number of heartworm disease cases seen by local veterinarians has increased every year.

A Growing Epidemic

Denver’s growing pet population is one of the main reasons veterinarians have seen a sharp increase in the number of heartworm cases. As pets move into Colorado from warmer climates where heartworm disease is common, many arrive already infected. This increase is also being seen at local shelters and rescues. As the population of infected pets grows, so does our population of infected mosquitos, making transmission of the disease more likely.

At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we think it is important to focus on the devastating effects of heartworm disease, especially, since this disease is one that is preventable.

The Nitty Gritty

Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes. A mosquito becomes a carrier of the disease when it bites an infected animal and ingests its blood, which contains the microscopic form of the parasite known as microfilaria. Over the next several months, these microscopic larvae migrate from the soft tissues underneath the skin into the blood vessels, where they continue to grow in size while migrating to the heart and lungs. Once there, they mature into adult worms and obstruct the flow of blood in the vessels they inhabit, eventually causing heart failure or kidney and liver disease, instead. (imagine the heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels clogged with spaghetti, a close facsimile of what happens with an adult heartworm infestation!)

But We Don’t Have Mosquitoes in Colorado, Do We?

One of the best parts about living in Denver is the weather – dry, sunny, and hardly any mosquitos! However, this seemingly lack of mosquitoes doesn’t mean your pet is safe from contracting heartworm disease. Although Colorado has a mostly dry climate, our part of the Front Range is situated in a river basin, which can still have the damp conditions that mosquitoes love. We are also surrounded by many lakes and reservoirs, as well as areas where farming and irrigation are common, so wet areas are still plentiful — especially during the years that have more rain and snow.  

It is important to note, too, that it doesn’t take much water to provide a suitable environment for mosquito larvae. A small puddle in the bottom of a bucket or flower pot is all that’s required for a female to lay thousands of eggs.

Preventing Heartworm Disease

Keeping your pet on a year-round heartworm preventive, along with annual heartworm testing, is the best way to ensure that your pet remains protected. Although you won’t see many mosquitoes during our Colorado winters, it takes months for these worms to fully develop inside a pet’s body. Any lapse in protection can still put your furry companion at risk. It’s also important to note that indoor-only pets aren’t immune to the threat of heartworm, as mosquitoes can and will find their way indoors at every opportunity.

Prevention is always the best defense and safest, as treating the disease once it’s taken hold can take several months, and the medications required to kill the worms off completely in a pet with heartworm disease are much harsher than heartworm preventives.

Boosted Immunity

Heartworm disease isn’t the only rising threat to Colorado pets. West Nile virus used to be limited to the northeastern United States, but is increasing in our area, along with Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. Be sure to maintain your pet’s flea and tick prevention, especially during the warmer months, and make sure your pet gets regular wellness exams and stays up-to-date on vaccinations. Don’t forget the importance of feeding your pet a quality diet as recommended by your veterinarian, and the value of giving your pet playtime and exercise every day.

At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, your pet’s health and well-being are our top priority. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you have about your pet!

The post Heartworm Disease: A Growing Threat in Colorado appeared first on Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center.

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We brush our teeth twice a day, floss regularly, and visit the dentist every 6 months. Why do we do all this work? To prevent cavities, of course! We all want to avoid a date with the dentist’s drill, and most of us will do anything to keep those nasty little holes from developing in our teeth.

When it comes to pet dental care, however, (which is something we’re passionate about here at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center!), cavities aren’t always on the radar. Although rare, cavities in pets are certainly possible, and preventing them is important to keeping your pet’s teeth and gums healthy.

Cavities in Pets

Also called dental caries, cavities occur in approximately 5% of dogs. Cavities typically develop when a dog has a high salivary pH, providing the perfect environment for bacteria on the teeth to ferment leftover food particles in the mouth. The acid produced by the bacteria can wear down the enamel, causing painful caries to develop.

Cats don’t develop cavities as we know them, but they can develop holes in their teeth caused by tooth resorption, a progressive disease where the tooth structure breaks down, starting with the outer enamel surface. These holes, called feline odontoclastic resorption lesions (FORLs), are usually located at or below the gumline, causing extreme pain and difficulty eating. The exact cause of FORLs isn’t known, but factors such as diet, water supply, dental disease, genetics, and illness, can all play a role.

Keeping Cavities at Bay

Dedication to at-home dental care is crucial when it comes to preventing cavities in pets. Dogs and cats should have their teeth brushed at home on a daily basis. Before you roll your eyes at the idea, we want to assure you that most pets (yes, even cats!) can become accustomed to this daily care routine with patience and commitment. Our veterinarians and veterinary technicians are always happy to demonstrate proper brushing techniques, and can answer any questions you might have about starting and maintaining this important habit.

Because the majority of dental problems occur below the gumline, most pets also require professional dental exams and cleanings that are performed while the pet is under anesthesia. These preventive measures allow us to safely and thoroughly inspect the mouth, take digital x-rays of the mouth (teeth, roots, jawbone), and descale and polish each tooth. Any extractions or other dental work may also be performed during the same dentistry appointment, if needed.

Cavities in pets may not be as common as they are in people, but that they do happen serves as a good reminder of the importance of regular dental care for our furry loved ones. Please don’t hesitate to contact the staff at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center with any questions or concerns you have about your pet’s oral health.

The post Filling in the Blanks: Do Pets Get Cavities? appeared first on Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center.

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Ringing in the New Year with a list of ways we’d like to improve our lives is a time-honored tradition. Whether it’s eating healthier, exercising more, or quitting a bad habit, there are endless ways to start 2019 off on the right foot. Pets can also benefit from lifestyle tweaks aimed at enhancing health and happiness. That’s why we’ve identified some New Year’s resolutions for pets that can help you both live your best and happiest lives together.

New Year’s Resolutions for Pets and Their Owners
  1. Brush daily. Good dental care is a cornerstone of your pet’s health. And, brushing your pet’s teeth on a daily basis is the single best way to keep its oral health in tip-top shape (and prevent expensive dental procedures in the future!). Check out our pet dental care blogs for a variety of information on pet dental health.
  2. Provide a nutritious diet. Re-evaluate your pet’s diet to make sure it is the the right product for your pet’s age and activity level, and contains the right nutrients. Portion size is also important for weight management, as is limiting treats and avoiding table scraps. We are happy to help you determine the correct food portions for your pet.
  3. Commit to winter fitness. For optimal health, pets need daily exercise, regardless of how frightful the weather is outside. Commit to daily walks or indoor play sessions (on those really cold days). For dogs, consider our doggie playcamps with our resident obedience instructor. Remember, play and exercise for your pet is important and translates into exercise for you, too!
  4. Keep your appointments. Regular wellness checkups ensure that early signs of health problems aren’t missed. They also give you the chance to ask questions and discuss any other concerns you have for your pet with your veterinarian.
  5. Stay current on vaccinations. Keeping your pet up-to-date on immunizations will not only offer protection against diseases, it also protects and improves the health of all pets in our community by helping stop the spread of communicable diseases. Our veterinarian will work with you to determine the vaccination schedule that suits the individual needs of your pet.
  6. Pay attention. Pets are hard-wired to hide signs of illness and injury, but problems can be detected by observing changes in their eating or activity habits, and their general behavior or appearance. You know your pet better than anyone else, so reporting any changes (big or small) can help alert us to underlying health issues before they get out of hand or become expensive to treat.
  7. Observe year-round parasite prevention. Protection from fleas, ticks, and heartworm isn’t a seasonal decision. Providing your pet with year-round parasite prevention medication is the only way to guarantee he or she remains free from otherwise preventable diseases.
  8. Learn a new trick. A new year is the perfect time to take on the fun challenge of teaching your pet a new skill (or brushing up on basic obedience). Both dogs and cats can learn new tricks at any age, and the extra time together will strengthen the bond you share with your pet.
  9. Keep them looking good. Regular grooming, whether at home or from a professional, is about so much more than just having a clean pet. Grooming prevents matted fur, removes oily buildup and debris, stimulates blood flow to the skin, keeps the paws healthy, and can alert you to possible skin or ear issues, abnormal lumps and other potential problems hidden by your pet’s haircoat. Keeping your pet groomed also makes it easier to keep your home and furnishings clean and smelling fresh.
  10. Have fun! The daily details of pet care are important, but so is remembering why you adopted your pet in the first place: To enjoy life together! Make this the year you commit to having more fun with your pet – engage in play with a favorite ball or toy, explore a new walking path or hiking trail, take an agility or barkour class together, or teach your cat how to walk on a leash. Lastly, just make sure to carve out some special companion time with your pet every day.

What are your favorite New Year’s resolutions for your pets? We’d love to hear them the next time you’re in to see us! As always, please contact the team at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center with any questions or concerns.

The post 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Pets and Their Owners appeared first on Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center.

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It’s hard to believe that a new year is already upon us! As we reflect on the many valuable lessons and special moments of 2018, we’re reminded that none of it would be possible without our beloved patients and clients. Serving Denver area pets and their families is a privilege, and we’re so grateful for the relationships we’ve formed, both old and new.

Our monthly pet care blog is part of our ongoing service to you, and we’re thrilled that so many have been reading and enjoying it. Without further ado, we’re proud to present our top 10 most popular pet care blogs of 2018!

Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center’s Top 10 Pet Care Blogs of 2018

#10: A Brave New (Pain Free) World: All About CBD Oil for Pets
In 2000, Colorado became one of the first states to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Since then, many other states have followed suit (29 to be exact). Nine states (including Colorado) have legalized its recreational use, as well. What does this have to do with pets? More than you may realize. Keep reading…

#9: Meow-Wow! The New Cat Lodge at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center
When people see our new, beautiful Cat Lodge, they’re pretty impressed! With its sleek condo spaces, stunning wall murals reflecting Colorado mountainscapes, custom built cat trees made from real aspen and spruce, and a colorful and entertaining fish tank, we couldn’t be happier to show it off! Read more…

#8: Deep Connections: The Power of the Human-Animal Bond
Our veterinarians and veterinary support staff share a deep love for animals, and if you’re reading this, we’re guessing that you feel the same. Our pets bring so much love, joy, affection and humor to our lives, it probably comes as no surprise that the human-animal bond may be deeply intertwined with our health, well-being and, possibly, our survival as a species. 

#7: The Choice Is Clear: The Advantages Of Laparoscopic Spaying
Each year in the United States, 83% of pet dogs and 91% of pet cats are spayed or neutered. Having your pet “fixed” has many advantages; besides reducing pet overpopulation, spaying and neutering can reduce the risk of certain cancers and ameliorate behavioral problems in many cases. Read on!

#6: Happy Paws: Your Guide to Pet Safe Lawn Edging
Spring is just around the corner and it’s the time when our thoughts naturally turn to outdoor activities. Looking forward to hiking, biking, gardening, and being out in our yards with family and friends, are some of the best things about the coming warmer days. Read more…

#5: My Pet Ate What? GI Obstruction in Pets
Every pet owner knows how much pets enjoy food. Unfortunately, sometimes this love of chewing and swallowing can get our pets into trouble, particularly when they ingest something inedible causing a GI obstruction. Keep reading…

#4: The Four Stages of Pet Dental Disease
Pet dental disease, also called periodontal disease, is one of the most common clinical conditions seen by our veterinarians. This comes as no surprise when we consider that most adult dogs and cats show some signs of the disease by the time they reach 3 years of age. If left untreated, pet dental disease can lead to pain, tooth loss, infection, and even damage to the vital organs, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys. 

#3: Green Grass, Happy Dog: Preventing Dog Urine Spots on Lawns
We love everything about our dogs, but we don’t always love some of the side effects of “doggie business”, such as those yellow or brown dog urine spots on the lawn. Not only do the spots make the yard look less attractive, they are also hard to get rid of. Add in two or more dogs, and you may be facing a completely dead lawn in the not too distant future. Read on!

#2: Pets, Pets Everywhere: The World’s Most Popular Pets
Choosing a family pet is an important life decision, one that will affect not only the quality of your daily life, but the health and welfare of the pet you’re considering to bring into your home. There are so many factors to consider when deciding which type of pet is right for you; space, cost, activity level, and time commitment, to name a few. Read more…

#1: Cat or Lion: Differences Between Wild and Domestic Cats
Although we have been sharing our lives with cats for thousands of years, which may have originated with their rodent control abilities, our modern day house cats are still considered to be semi-domesticated. This characteristic is quite different from dogs, which are considered fully domesticated and probably have been since caveman times. Keep reading!

A Bright Future!

We look forward to another great year of partnering with you to provide the best possible healthcare for your precious pet. If there are any topics you’d like to learn more about in a future blog, please don’t hesitate to contact the staff at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center. Here’s to a great 2019!

The post Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center’s Top 10 Pet Care Blogs of 2018 appeared first on Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center.

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There’s something special about dogs. Perhaps it’s their unwavering loyalty and devotion or their unique ability to read our emotions and body language. Maybe it’s the way they inspire joy in our lives every single day. Whatever the case, the bond between human and canine is awe-inspiring.

When most of us look at our dogs, we only see their inner light, and this is never more apparent than with deaf dogs. Unfortunately, deaf dog myths abound in our culture, but in reality, dogs of any ability level can lead happy, productive lives. At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we’ve set out to dispel the top 5 deaf dog myths and to show our readers what these often misunderstood pets can do.

Top 5 Deaf Dog Myths
  1. Deaf dogs don’t bark. Deaf does not mean mute, and deaf dogs have the same vocalization abilities as hearing dogs. Although they may not bark in response to noise-related stimuli (such as thunder or fireworks), deaf dogs can certainly bark when they see other animals or people, when they want something, or when they’re excited or alarmed.
  2. Deaf dogs are difficult / impossible to train. While a deaf dog may not respond to verbal commands, the majority of deaf dogs can be trained using hand signals or other visual cues. Dogs and humans have evolved alongside each other for thousands of years; this bond has made them adept at watching and interpreting our body language, making it possible to train virtually any dog.
  3. Deaf dogs are easy to startle/more aggressive. There’s a widespread belief that deaf dogs are inherently more likely to bite or snap, especially when touched unexpectedly. The reality is that many dogs, hearing or otherwise, simply don’t like being startled! Deaf dogs that do startle easily can be slowly acclimated to unexpected touch with the help of a trainer or patient owner. They’re no more prone to aggression than any other dog.
  4. Deaf dogs always have other health problems. There’s no scientific evidence behind this idea, especially since there’s a wide variety of reasons a dog may be deaf. Causes can include trauma to the head, prolonged infection, foreign bodies in the ear, a response to antibodies or certain medications, congenital issues (from birth), or simply a result of aging.
  5. Deaf dogs have a poor quality of life. This is perhaps the most damaging of all deaf dog myths and is probably the reason why so many hearing-impaired canines languish in shelters or are euthanized by breeders as puppies. Deaf dogs are just as capable as their hearing counterparts of experiencing joy, love, and a fully active life, as well as the uniquely special bond with their human companions that dogs are known for!

At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we love and admire dogs of all ages, shapes, sizes, and abilities, and our certified dog trainer is experienced at working with dogs that are deaf. If you have any questions about living with or training a deaf dog, or about your pup’s next wellness appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns.

The post Differently-Abled, Definitely Wonderful: Dispelling Deaf Dog Myths appeared first on Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center.

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Did you know that we now have our very own App? At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we recognize that the benefits of smartphone technology are far reaching for our patients and their families, and it’s our pleasure to bring this service to your fingertips. We are excited to announce the launch of our new Lone Tree Vet App, available free of cost, for both android and iPhone! You can download our new App by searching Lone Tree Vet in your App store or by simply following the links above.

There’s an App for That

With our new App, you’ll have easy access to your pet’s vaccine information, be able to request an appointment or food product, get a reminder or message from us, and post your pet selfies — all from the convenience of your phone.

You’ll also be able to participate in our new Rewards Program, where you’ll earn a paw print for every $100 you spend during your visit at our facility. Once you reach 16 paw prints, you’ll receive a $100 gift credit on your account to be used on your next visit for any of our services, as well as products available in our lobby retail shops. These benefits and so much more, are what the Lone Tree Vet App has to offer!

The Lone Tree Vet App

At our facility, we’re all about convenience and our LoneTreeVet App carries on this tradition by providing you with the following services:

  • Request appointments – Schedule appointments for your pet at your convenience.
  • Call or email us – Reach us immediately with a tap of your finger.
  • Reorder medication or food – Provide your pet with the therapeutic food or medications it needs for easy pickup at our facility, or access our online store for home delivery.
  • Receive updates and alertsPet food recalls, special promotions, and other important information will be passed along to you instantly via our app. You’ll also be able to receive an update after your pet’s surgery.
  • View your pet’s upcoming services – Check on your pet’s scheduled appointments, upcoming vaccinations, and other services.
  • Receive important reminders – Request to receive reminders for when it’s time to administer your pet’s monthly heartworm and other parasite preventive medications.
  • Join our Rewards Program – Earn a paw print each time you spend $100 on services or products during a visit at our facility. Once you reach 16 paw prints, we’ll reward you with a $100 credit on your account to use on your next visit!
  • Use our resource database – Get links for researching pet diseases and symptoms from reliable sources; you’ll also have access to our blogs (we have well over 100 topics!)
  • Easy access to our Facebook page – Stay on top of our latest photos, videos, announcements, latest blogs, and other information right from your phone.
The Benefits Add Up

We rely on apps each day for a wide variety of things and because they make our lives easier, we didn’t want you and your pet to miss out on the convenience and flexibility that this technology offers. We also hope you’ll enjoy the benefits of our new Rewards Program!

All of us at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center are happy to answer any questions you have about using our new mobile technology. Just give us a call!

The post The New Lone Tree Vet App: Care at Your Fingertips appeared first on Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center.

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Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center | Pe.. by The Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Te.. - 8M ago

Pet dental disease, also called periodontal disease, is one of the most common clinical conditions seen by our veterinarians. This comes as no surprise when we consider that most adult dogs and cats show some signs of the disease by the time they reach 3 years of age. If left untreated, pet dental disease can lead to pain, tooth loss, infection, and even damage to the vital organs, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys.

The dental health of our patients is important to us at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center. In recognition of National Pet Dental Health Month, which is observed every February, we’d like to place the spotlight on periodontal disease and what pet owners can do to prevent and treat this serious condition.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease in pets occurs when plaque film and tartar (hardened plaque) build up on the teeth both above and below the gumline. This accumulation irritates the gum tissue and allows bacteria to flourish, leading to damage of the supportive structures of the teeth, which are the gums and the fibrous connective tissue that connects the roots of the teeth to the surrounding alveolar bone.

Significant pain, oral infection, bone and tooth loss, and even systemic damage can occur as a result of untreated periodontal disease.

Stages of Pet Dental Disease

Pet dental disease can be broken down into four stages, as follows:

Stage 1 – This early stage is characterized by gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums in response to the presence of tartar and bacteria. You may observe some swelling of the gums. A thin red line on the gums next to the teeth may also be visible during this stage.

Stage 2  – Also known as early periodontitis, this stage occurs when there is a small amount of bone loss – less than 25% – visible on oral radiographs. You may notice inflammation of your pet’s gums, bad breath, and some visible plaque and tartar. At this point, your pet will need a professional cleaning to thoroughly remove the plaque and tartar, and to reverse the progress of dental disease.

Stage 3 – Serious dental damage begins to occur at stage 3, also known as moderate periodontitis, when 25-50% bone loss is visible on oral radiographs. Gums will be swollen and irritated, and probably bleed easily. There is loss of gum attachment to the tooth, forming areas known as periodontal pockets. Your pet may also experience bad breath and significant pain, and need to have infected and/or damaged teeth removed.

Stage 4 – Extreme, chronic periodontal disease is evident in the 4th and final stage, where bone loss of 50% or higher is visible on oral radiographs. Your pet is not only in severe pain, it is at risk of losing multiple teeth, as well as systemic infection and damage to internal organs, due to bacteria from the mouth entering the bloodstream and spreading throughout the body.

Preventing and Treating Pet Dental Disease

An oral examination is an important part of your pet’s annual wellness exam. A thorough look into your pet’s mouth, combined with your report of any symptoms or problems you have observed, will help our veterinarian determine the next step in your pet’s oral care. Most pets require regular cleanings performed while the pet is under general anesthesia in order to ensure the health of their teeth, as well as to correct any problems caused by periodontal disease.

Regular teeth brushing at home is also an essential part of your pet’s ongoing oral health maintenance program, and takes just a minute a day to accomplish. Your veterinarian will be happy to demonstrate proper brushing technique and answer any questions you have regarding dental disease and your pet. Daily brushing, combined with checkups and dental cleanings when needed, will help your pet have a healthier and more comfortable life.

As always, your team at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center is here for you and your pet! Don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule your pet’s next visit.

The post The Four Stages of Pet Dental Disease appeared first on Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center.

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When it comes to pet pain management, veterinary medicine has made tremendous strides in the past century. It’s now common knowledge that pets feel pain in much the same way as humans and that chronic pain can impair the healing process by interfering with immune function, decreasing appetite, and increasing anxiety.

At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, improving the quality and longevity of our patients’ lives is one of our top priorities. Let’s take a moment to focus on a pet’s pain and the various ways we can help manage it.

Assessing Pet Pain

Identifying a pet’s pain is the first step towards treatment. Most animals will hide signs of pain and discomfort because this would convey weakness and vulnerability. Consequently, knowing when a pet is hurting is not always easy.

Interestingly, there are different types of pain and different types of causes. Since pain is a sensory response to a painful stimulus, there are often situations where the source of a pet’s pain is not obvious, as it would be if the pet had a visible wound or injury.   

You know your pet better than anyone else, so by being observant and paying attention to your pet’s behavior you are better able to spot potential problems early on. Take note of any changes in behavior such as, sudden limping, pacing, growling or crying out when touched, excessive licking, loss of appetite, not getting up off the floor, lagging behind on walks, hiding, lethargy, or just a general appearance of discomfort. These can all be indications that your pet is experiencing pain and should be seen by a veterinarian right away.

Pet Pain Management Strategies

At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we offer different pain management strategies for pets depending on what is causing the pet to be in pain. This will be determined by our veterinarian after examining the pet and evaluating any diagnostic test results, if needed.    

  • Medications – Pain management medications can play an important role in reducing pain, with dosages that can be adjusted specifically to a pet’s weight, size, and comfort needs and, with the guidance of your veterinarian, be stopped if no longer needed. Today’s pet pain medications can also be prescribed specific to your pet’s type of pain, such as pain from an injury, after a surgery, a disease or chronic pain that is age-related. Since not all pain medications work in the same way or are effective for all types of pain, your veterinarian will prescribe the one best suited for your pet’s needs. It is important to note that you should never give your pet human pain medication, as these medications are highly toxic to pets and can cause fatal reactions.  
  • Physical Therapy Exercises – In many cases, simple exercises recommended by your veterinarian can help a pet feel better, especially, after a surgery where regaining strength, range of motion, and mobility is the goal.
  • Weight Management – It is not unusual for a pet’s pain to be compounded by being overweight. Additional pounds place excessive pressure on joints and the supporting ligaments and tendons, which over time can lead to arthritis and other problems that cause pain. Maintaining a healthy weight through proper diet and regular exercise can help prevent this type of pain.
  • Diet – Having a pet on the right diet for its age, health status, and nutritional needs can also help to keep painful conditions under control or at bay. Prescription diets are formulated specifically to treat health problems, including, joint and mobility issues, weight management, allergies, dental health, and urinary and kidney function, to name a few. We recommend and carry these diets both in our lobby and online stores because they help in the management of many conditions, resulting in a better quality of life for the pet.
  • Laser Therapy – Another effective method of reducing pain and promoting healing is through the use of cold laser therapy, a noninvasive, pain-free technique, that involves the use of a hand-held tool that emits a focused beam of high-energy light (photons) to a specific area of the body. The photons then stimulate cell regeneration, increase blood circulation, and reduce inflammation, all which help decrease pain and promote healing. The following are examples of conditions that can be improved with cold laser therapy:
    • Wounds, hot spots, and other skin infections
    • Soft tissue injuries
    • Post-surgical healing
    • Arthritis, hip dysplasia, degenerative joint disease
    • Sprains and strains
    • Muscle, tendon, or ligament injuries
    • Chronic ear infections
    • Dental conditions

A multi-modal approach (more than one strategy at a time) is often recommended to provide your pet with maximum relief. Your veterinarian will work with you to determine the treatment plan that’s right for your pet.

Please let the team at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center know if there’s any way we can be of assistance to you and your pet!

The post When a Kiss Won’t Cut it: A Spotlight on Pet Pain Management appeared first on Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center.

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Most of us know that our pets need to be vaccinated, and when we follow through with their regular wellness exams, this is usually done during the exam within the appropriate time frame. Knowing which vaccines your pet needs, however, as well as why and when, isn’t always something that’s widely understood by pet owners.

Since August is National Immunization Awareness Month, we at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center can’t think of a better time to discuss this important component of pet care.

Core and More

Pet vaccinations are designed to protect your pet against infectious diseases that could be fatal or greatly reduce your pet’s quality of life. Some are mandatory and some not. To add to the confusion, they’re not all given on the same schedule or at the same time.

Vaccines are categorized into two major groups as follows:  

Core vaccines — are those that are required because the diseases they protect against are fatal, highly contagious, or can be transmitted to humans.  At our facility, these include rabies, distemper (DHPP), and leptospirosis for dogs, and the combination respiratory and gastrointestinal viral vaccine (FVRCP) for cats.

Rabies is one of the most serious diseases your pet is likely to encounter, as it is always fatal in a pet that has not been vaccinated for it because there is no cure. Since keeping your pet up-to-date on the rabies vaccine is it’s only protection and because rabies is classified as a zoonotic disease — meaning it can be transmitted to humans — all dogs and cats are required by law to be current on the rabies vaccination.

Besides rabies, there are other immunizations that may be considered core vaccines for pets, but these can vary and will usually be specific to the geographic region the pet lives in.

Non-core vaccines — are those that are not required, but are recommended or required only for certain purposes, such as boarding, grooming or obedience training. At our facility, these include bordetella and canine flu for dogs, and feline leukemia for cats. These vaccines help protect against illness that are contagious and commonly spread in places where pets of the same species congregate.

We may recommend additional vaccinations based on your pet’s lifestyle and environment, as well as where your pet travels.  The Lyme disease vaccine and rattlesnake vaccine for dogs fall into this category.

Pet Vaccinations

When it comes to infectious diseases, you don’t want to take any chances. Many vaccines can (and should) be administered as early as 6 weeks of age. Puppies receive boosters every 3 to 4 weeks until 16 weeks of age, which is the point when there is no longer any maternal antibody interference from the mother.

We understand that some pet owners are concerned about over-vaccinating their pets, which is why we recommend regular wellness exams so we can administer only the vaccines your pet needs, when they need it.

At Your Fingertips

If you haven’t already downloaded the Lone Tree Vet App, now is the perfect time! Our free app gives you access to your pet’s vaccination information, allows you to request appointments, and provides reminders for parasite protection, upcoming appointments, and much more. For more information about pet vaccinations, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center. We’re always here for you and your pet!

The post Keeping Illness at Bay with Pet Vaccinations appeared first on Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center.

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