Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Your Furbabies and Fireworks

Some dogs have no problem with the sight and sound of fireworks if they’ve been desensitized — hunting dogs, for example, grow used to the sounds and smells of hunting rifles and gun powder. Most dogs, however, are not used to these things, so the 4th of July can be a particularly stressful holiday for dogs and their humans alike. More pets run away and are lost on the 4th of July and New Years than any other day, so you should take extra steps to ensure their safety. Keep a keen eye on your dog during the commotion, and make sure your dog is wearing proper identification. It is natural for dogs to be afraid of loud noises. The sounds trigger their nervous system, and they can become anxious, afraid, unsure, or shy. Running away from the noise is a survival mechanism. Remember, to your dog, the experience of fireworks is different than other loud natural noises, like thunder. They are closer to the ground, more vibrant, and are accompanied by sudden booms, flashes and burning smells. Remember, dogs experience the world through their senses – nose, eyes, ears — and the typical 4th of July celebration can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to help keep your dog calm, making for an easier holiday for both of you. 1. Preparation. Arrange to have your dog in a place where there won’t be loud fireworks displays — a friend’s or relative’s home or a doggie day care with which your dog is familiar. If it’s an unfamiliar place for your dog, take him over there a few times in the days before the holiday so that it won’t be a surprise when you take him there on the Fourth. 2. Accommodation. If you cannot take your dog to a place away from fireworks, then have a travel kennel at home for her to feel safe in. if you’re not going to be home, have a friend or sitter there to keep your dog company and take her out to relieve herself every four hours. 3. Acclimation. The best way to prepare your dog for fireworks is to make sure he’s comfortable with the sound in advance. While this is a simple process, it can take time — possibly three or four months of playing the recorded sound of fireworks for your dog at an increasingly louder volume before he eats, before a walk, before affection and play, and condition him by association to hear the sound and interpret it as something good. While you can try this method over only a week or two, in such a short time span it should only be used in conjunction with one or more of the other tips. In any case, play the firework sounds. 4. Sedation. If you do find it necessary to use medication or a thundershirt to calm your dog during the fireworks, remember that you must introduce any such tool at the right time, conditioning your dog to understand that the medication or thundershirt is there to bring them to a calm state. This means that you must bring your dog to that calm state first, then introduce the tool — before the fireworks and the anxiety begin. If she is already at an anxiety level of 8 or 9, then her mental state will overrule the medication. If she is already breathing heavily, then the thundershirt, which is designed to slow her breathing, won’t work. A tool is an intellectual thing we use with a dog’s instincts. The challenge is knowing how and when to connect the two. 5. Communication. If you are going to be with your dog during the fireworks, sending the calming message that they are nothing to worry about will also help him to relax. Remember, though, while humans communicate with words, dogs communicate with energy, and will look to their pack leader for clues on how they should behave. If you’re not making a big deal or showing excitement about the fireworks, then he will learn to be less concerned as well. In all cases above, expend your dog’s excess energy first, before the fireworks start, by taking her on a very long walk to tire her out and put her in a calm state. Most importantly, don’t think of this in terms of your dog as your child who is missing out on a great, fun time. That’s human guilt. Your dog won’t know what she’s missing. You’re being a good pack leader by not exposing her to a situation that will trigger her flight instinct in a negative way. When the booms and bangs are over, your dog will be grateful for you having made it a less stressful experience. We sell stress away all natural chews for fireworks if needed!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Anal Glands

Anal gland disease is a common problem in dogs and cats. The anal glands, also called 'anal sacs,' can become impacted, infected, and abscessed. Affected pets may lick the anal area, 'scoot' along the floor, or have problems with defecation. This behavior is most commonly linked to anal glands, not to worms, as is commonly believed. This article will help you better understand anal glands. Location and function of anal glands As the dog or cat is viewed from behind, anal glands (also called anal sacs) are located on each side of and slightly below the anal opening, at the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions. A tiny duct or tube leads from the gland under the skin to an opening directly beside the anus. All predators, whether they are canines or felines in the wild or skunks in your backyard, have anal glands. They just use them differently. Skunks discharge the secretion from these glands as a form of defense, while dogs use it primarily for territorial marking or as a form of communication. In dogs and cats, every time a stool is passed, it should put enough pressure on the anal glands that some of the secretion is deposited on the surface of the stool. Other dogs and cats are then able to tell who has been in the neighborhood, just by sniffing the stools they find. Additionally, dogs and cats recognize each other by smelling each other in the general area of the anus, since each animal's anal glands produce a unique scent. Diseases of the anal glands Anal gland impactions, infections, and abscesses can occur. Here is how: For various reasons, such as the conformation of the animals, the thickness of the gland's secretions, or the softness of the stool, these glands and their ducts often become clogged, or 'impacted.' When this occurs, the animal will sit down on its rear quarters and drag its anal area across the floor or ground. This is called 'scooting.' Both dogs and cats may lick the anal area excessively. Impacted anal glands are a very, very common problem for dogs, especially the smaller breeds. Anal glands may also become infected and abscess. Bacteria make their way into the glands, probably through the ducts. This is a very painful condition, and the first sign you may see is that the animal attempts to bite or scratch when you touch the area near the tail. Treatment and prevention When the glands become impacted, a veterinarian, groomer, or the pet's owner must clean them out, or 'express' them. This empties the glands of all material. It is done by applying pressure with the finger, start below the gland and then pushing upwards. In some dogs, this needs to be done every week or two. Impacted glands do not affect the overall health of the pet. The problem is that pets may injure the anal area when scooting across the ground, or discharge the secretion on the carpet or floor. And this material has a terrible odor. Anal gland abscesses must be lanced by a veterinarian, and antibiotics are usually given to the pet for seven to 14 days. Using warm compresses on the area often helps to relieve some of the pain and reduce swelling. Secondary problems sometimes occur with abscesses, as they may cause scar tissue or other damage that may affect the nerves and muscles in this area. This can cause fecal incontinence, meaning the pet cannot retain its stools. If an individual pet only has an occasional problem with the gland, they can be dealt with as needed. However, for pets with repeated or chronic problems, surgical removal of the glands is recommended. This procedure is called an "anal sacculectomy".With the removal of these glands all problems associated with these glands are eliminated for the remainder of the pet's life. Although a fairly simple procedure, complications such as fecal incontinence can rarely occur. Dogs with recurrent anal gland impactions are often placed on a high fiber diet. The high fiber makes the animal's stool more bulky. The stool will put more pressure on the anal glands as it is passed, and hopefully the glands will express themselves when the animal defecates. There are several commercial brands of high fiber dog food available. Animals may also be supplemented with bran or medications such as Metamucil which will increase the bulk of the stool.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Holiday Hazards and Your Pets!

Preventive Measures Can Save Pets The holidays are a festive time for us and our pets. However, due to ongoing activities and constant distractions, we can easily overlook potential dangers to our four-legged family members. Take preventive measures to protect your pets this holiday season. Being aware of these top five dangers could save you a trip to the veterinary emergency room. 1. Holiday Tinsel and Ornaments Tinsel, while not toxic, is very attractive to pets, particularly cats. The shiny, dangling decoration reflects light and can move in the slightest draft — appearing to come alive to watchful critters. The problem with tinsel is that once it’s consumed, it can cause serious injury to your pet. If not caught in time, this foreign body ingestion could actually be fatal as it twists and bunches inside your pet’s intestines. Immediate veterinary care is required. In addition, bright and colorful tree ornaments can attract your pet’s curiosity. Place glass, aluminum and paper ornaments higher up on the tree. Pets can chew and swallow these fragile objects and not only can broken pieces form sharp edges that may lacerate your pet’s mouth, throat and intestines, they could also create a choking hazard. 2. Holiday Lighting and Candles Twinkling, shiny and dangling holiday lights — such as the icicle, netting, garland, curtain, rope and candle varietal — may be another source of danger to your curious pets. Got a pet that likes to chew? Electrical shock may occur when a pet chomps down on an electrical cord, causing tongue lacerations and possible death. Check your holiday lights for signs of fraying or chewing and use a grounded three-prong extension cord as a safety precaution. If you have candles on display, place them in a hard-to-reach spot so that your pets can not access them. Not only can pets seriously burn themselves, but knocking over candles creates a fire hazard and may leave a trail of hot wax that will easily burn the pads of paws and more. 3. Gift Wrap Ribbon You may be tempted to fashion your pet with a decorative ribbon “collar” but beware that this could become a choking hazard. Also, it’s best to quickly discard ribbons and bows wrapped around holiday gifts so that your curious companions won’t be enticed to chew or swallow them. Ingested ribbon can cause a choking hazard and ultimately twist throughout the intestines, leading to emergency surgery and even death. 4. Food Hazards Festive events often mean edible treats — and lots of them. Unfortunately, some of the most popular holiday goodies, such as chocolate, bones and nuts, can be extremely toxic or fatal to pets. Different types of chocolate contain various levels of fat, caffeine and the substances methylxanthines. In general, the darker and richer the chocolate (i.e., baker’s chocolate), the higher the risk of toxicity. Depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, dogs might experience vomiting, diarrhea, urination, hyperactivity, heart arrhythmias, tremors and seizures. Fat trimmings and bones are dangerous for dogs. Fat trimmed from meat, both cooked and uncooked, may cause pancreatitis. And, although it seems natural to give a dog a bone, a dog can choke on it. Bones can also splinter and cause an obstruction or lacerations of your dog's digestive system. Abundant in many cookies and candies, certain nuts should not be given to pets. Almonds, non-moldy walnuts and pistachios can cause an upset stomach or an obstruction of your dog's throat and/or intestinal tract. Macadamia nuts and moldy walnuts can be toxic, causing seizures or neurological signs. Lethargy, vomiting and loss of muscle control are among the effects of nut ingestion. Keep your pet on her regular diet and caution visitors against giving your pet special treats or table scraps. For a full list of toxic foods, visit our toxic food guide for pets. 5. Toxic Holiday Plants They may be pretty, but some holiday plants are poisonous—even deadly. As little as a single leaf from any lily variety is lethal to cats. Others to avoid: Christmas tree pine needles can produce oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, trembling and posterior weakness. Holly, commonly found during the Christmas season, can cause intense vomiting, diarrhea and depression. Mistletoe, another Christmas plant, can cause significant vomiting and diarrhea, difficulty breathing, collapse, erratic behavior, hallucinations and death when ingested. Poinsettias can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach and sometimes vomiting. For more on toxic plants, visit our toxic plant guide. Taking precautions with pets during these festive times can help ensure that you and your family will enjoy a happy — and healthy — holiday season!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Antifreeze poisoning

Antifreeze poisoning is one of the most common forms of poisoning in small animals, and this is because it is so commonly found in households. Antifreeze poisoning typically happens when antifreeze drips from a car’s radiator, where it is licked off the ground and ingested by a pet. Your dog may also come into contact with antifreeze that has been added to a toilet bowl. This occurs in homes where the residents will use antifreeze during the cold months to "winterize" their pipes. Even if you do not take this action in your own home, it is something to be aware of when visiting other homes, or when vacationing at a winter residence. It is the toxin ethylene glycol that makes antifreeze lethal. Because of this, dogs will consume great quantities of ethylene glycol before being repulsed by its aftertaste. By then, it is too late. It does not take a significant amount of ethylene glycol to cause fatal damage to the system; less than three ounces (or 88 ml) of antifreeze is sufficient to poison a medium-sized dog. Antifreeze poisoning affects the brain, liver, and kidneys. Ethylene glycol is also found in engine coolant and hydraulic brake fluids. Symptoms Some common signs of antifreeze poisoning in dogs and cats include: •Drunken behavior •Euphoria/Delirium •Wobbly, uncoordinated movement •Nausea/Vomiting •Excessive urination •Diarrhea •Rapid heart beat •Depression •Weakness •Seizures/Convulsions/Shaking tremors •Fainting •Coma Diagnosis Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your pet, taking into account the background of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition. A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile and a urinalysis. Your veterinarian will want to test the vomit or stool, if possible, as it may assist the veterinarian in diagnosing the type of poisoning and expedite your dog's treatment. The treatment will also be based on the medical history presented by you, so you will need to be as detailed as possible. Treatment For immediate first aid, and only if you are positive that your dog has ingested antifreeze , try to induce vomiting by giving your dog a simple hydrogen peroxide solution -- one teaspoon per five pounds of body weight, with no more than three teaspoons given at once. This method should only be used if the toxin has been ingested in the previous two hours, and should only be given three times, spaced apart at 10-minute intervals. If your pet has not vomited after the third dose, stop giving it the hydrogen peroxide solution and seek immediate veterinary attention. You may want to call your veterinarian before trying to induce vomiting, since it can be dangerous with some toxins; some poisons will do more harm coming back through the esophagus than they did going down. Do not use anything stronger than hydrogen peroxide without your veterinarian's assent, and do not induce vomiting unless you are absolutely sure of what your dog has ingested. Also, if your pet has already vomited, do not try to force more vomiting. A final word, do not induce vomiting if your dog is unconscious, is having trouble breathing, or is exhibiting signs of serious distress or shock. Whether your pet vomits or not, after the initial care, you must rush it to a veterinary facility immediately. Your veterinarian will be able to safely administer antidotes to the poison, such as activated charcoal to prevent further absorption of the toxin, and 4-methylpyrazole, which can treat antifreeze poisoning very effectively if given shortly after the consumption of antifreeze. Your dog may need to be held in intensive care to prevent kidney failure. Living and Management Dogs that have consumed antifreeze in very small quantity may survive, but will develop kidney failure within days of ingestion. Unfortunately, death due to kidney damage is common among animals that have been poisoned by antifreeze. Prevention Antifreeze poisoning can be easily avoided by following a few simple precautions: 1.Keep antifreeze containers tightly closed and stored out of the reach of pets. 2.Take care not to spill antifreeze, and if it is spilled, ensure that it is immediately and thoroughly cleaned up. 3.Dispose of used antifreeze containers properly. 4.Check the radiator of your car regularly, and repair leaks immediately. 5.Do not allow your dog to wander unattended where there is access to antifreeze (e.g., roads, gutters, garages, and driveways). 6.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has labeled propylene glycol safe and it is now used for antifreeze. Look for antifreeze with this ingredient instead, to keep your pet safer from accidental poisoning.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pet Diabetes

What Is Diabetes? Diabetes in dogs is a complex disease caused by either a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to insulin. After a dog eats, his digestive system breaks food into various components, including glucose—which is carried into his cells by insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. When a dog does not produce insulin or cannot utilize it normally, his blood sugar levels elevate. The result is hyperglycemia, which, if left untreated, can cause many complicated health problems for a dog. It is important to understand, however, that diabetes is considered a manageable disorder—and many diabetic dogs can lead happy, healthy lives. What Type of Diabetes Do Most Dogs Get? Diabetes can be classified as either Type 1 (lack of insulin production) or Type II (impaired insulin production along with an inadequate response to the hormone.) The most common form of the disease in dogs is Type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas is incapable of producing or secreting adequate levels of insulin. Dogs who have Type I require insulin therapy to survive. Type II diabetes is found in cats and is a lack of normal response to insulin. What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs? The following symptoms should be investigated as they could be indicators that your dog has diabetes: •Change in appetite •Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption •Weight loss •Increased urination •Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath •Lethargy •Dehydration •Urinary tract infections •Vomiting •Cataract formation, blindness •Chronic skin infections What Causes Diabetes in Dogs? The exact cause of diabetes is unknown. However, autoimmune disease, genetics, obesity, chronic pancreatitis, certain medications and abnormal protein deposits in the pancreas can play a major role in the development of the disease. Which Dogs Are Prone to Diabetes? It is thought that obese dogs and female dogs may run a greater risk of developing diabetes later in life (6-9 years of age). Some breeds may also run a greater risk, including Australian terriers, standard and miniature schnauzers, dachshunds, poodles, keeshonds and samoyeds. Juvenile diabetes can also be seen and is particularly prevalent in golden retrievers and keeshonds. How Is Diabetes Diagnosed? In order to properly diagnose diabetes, your veterinarian will collect information about your dog’s clinical signs, perform a physical examination and check blood work and a urinalysis. How Is Diabetes Treated? Diabetes treatment is based on how severe the symptoms and lab work are and whether there are any other health issues that could complicate therapy. Each dog will respond a little bit differently to treatment, and therapy must be tailored to the individual dog throughout his life. •Some dogs may be seriously ill when first diagnosed and will require intensive hospital care for several days to regulate their blood sugar. •Dogs who are more stable when first diagnosed may respond to oral medication or a high-fiber diet that helps to normalize glucose levels in the blood. •For most dogs, insulin injections are necessary for adequate regulation of blood glucose. Once your pet’s individual insulin treatment is established, typically based on weight, you’ll be shown how to give him insulin injections at home. •Spaying your dog is recommended, as female sex hormones can have an effect on blood sugar levels. Your vet may also show you how to perform glucose tests at home. What Should I Know About Treating My Diabetic Dog at Home? As your veterinarian will explain, it’s important to always give your dog insulin at the same time every day and feed him regular meals in conjunction with his medication. This allows increased nutrients in the blood to coincide with peak insulin levels, and will lessen the chance that his sugar levels will swing either too high or too low. You can work with your vet to create a feeding schedule around your pet’s medication time. It is also important to avoid feeding your diabetic dog treats that are high in glucose. Regular blood glucose checks are a critical part of monitoring and treating any diabetic patient, and your veterinarian will help you set up a schedule for checking your dog’s blood sugar. Please also consult your vet about a consistent, daily exercise program and proper nutrition for your dog to help keep his weight in check. How Can Diabetes Be Prevented? Although a certain form of diabetes—the type found in dogs less than a year of age—is inherited, proper diet and regular exercise can be very effective in helping to prevent onset of diabetes in older dogs. Aside from other negative health effects, obesity is known to contribute to an ability to respond normally to insulin. What Should I Do If I Think My Dog Has Diabetes? If your dog is showing any of the clinical signs listed above, please see your veterinarian right away. What Can Happen If Diabetes Goes Untreated? If diabetes progresses without being treated, dogs can develop secondary health problems like cataracts and severe urinary tract problems. Ultimately, untreated diabetes can cause coma and death.If you suspect diabetes in your pet call 940-855-0451 today!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Top 10 Toxins in the Kitchen

There are 10 toxins in your kitchen that you may not even be aware of. 1. Chocolate 2. Grapes, Raisins and Currants 3. Xylitol/Sugar-Free Gum/Candy 4. Fatty Table Scraps 5. Onions and Garlic 6. Compost 7. Human Medications 8. Macadamia Nuts 9. Household Cleaners 10. Unbaked Bread Dough/ Alcohol If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these and is displaying any symptoms call your local vet or Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-289-0358.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Employee Spotlight Raynae Long

Raynae is our newest practice manager at A Caring Heart Veteriary Hospital. She was previously the nurse manager and has been great at everything she does. She has a passion for animals and it shines through to her work. Her favorite drink is Dr. Pepper and favorite restaurant is Olive Garden. In her free time she enjoys camping and riding four wheelers. She has two amazing children who she is very proud of. Most of you that have come here have met her she has never met a stranger!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Wellness Exam Importance

Veterinarians recommend regular wellness exams for the same reason your physician and dentist recommend them, if you can detect a problem in its early stages, it's more likely to be treated and resolved with less expense, less difficulty and better success. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Vaccinations, heartworm prevention and routine deworming are important components of wellness care and can prevent diseases that are not only life-threatening, but very expensive to treat. Your veterinarian can recommend a wellness program based on your pet's breed (some breeds are predisposed to certain health problems), age, lifestyle and overall health. October is our Wellness Month and is 10% off our $42 exam call 940-855-0451 today to book your appointment!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Halloween Safety For Your Pets!

Halloween can be a fun time of year for the whole family - even your dog. However, there are also many potential dangers and sources of stress for your dog. Just remember to keep your dog safe from these Halloween hazards. •Halloween Candy and Other Treats Remember that human treats are not usually good for dogs! Candy - especially chocolate - can be extremely toxic to your dog. Artificially sweetened candy, gum and other goodies may also contain xylitol, a highly toxic substance. Dogs may also ingest food wrappers, causing a risk of choking, upset stomach or gastrointestinal blockage. Various party snacks can be too salty and may contain ingredients that can poison your dog. Alcoholic beverages and dogs do not mix - they pose a significant risk of severe illness or even death! Keep all of these "human goodies" far out of your dog's reach. If you are not positive that you can keep your dog away from these hazards, then consider confining your pet to another area of your home during the festivities. Keeping appropriate dog treats around for your dog can be a great idea, but remember not to overfeed. Sliced carrots or apples (hold the caramel) can be tasty and healthy snack alternatives for people and dogs alike! More Info: Foods That Can Poison Dogs •Halloween Decorations Your dog is bound to be curious about new objects around the house, and that includes Halloween decorations. Be sure decorations are not in areas where your dog could ingest them or bump into them. Power cords trip your dog or lead to electrical shock if chewed. Be careful with the placement of jack-o-lanterns - have you ever seen a dog eat a whole pumpkin? It is not pretty! Also, candles can be knocked over, potentially burning your dog and/or starting a fire. Other decorations can be eaten or broken, causing serious harm to your dog. Have fun and decorate - just think about your dog first! •Trick-or-Treaters and other Guests Though many dogs love visitors, some can become fearful of strangers. Many dogs will even be afraid of people they know if those people are in costumes. Plus, constant ringing of the doorbell might get your dog over-excited or very stressed out. Think about your dog's typical reaction to visitors and take extra precautions for Halloween. Keep your dog at a distance when greeting trick-or-treaters by putting up an baby gate or confining her to another area of the home. When inviting guests into your home, introduce them to your dog in a positive manner. If your dog seems afraid of guests in costumes, remove her from the situation calmly. During parties and loud gatherings, your dog might do best in another area of your home unless she is used to these types of events and has done well in the past. •Halloween Costumes for Dogs Some dogs really enjoy getting dressed in costumes - they might ham it up and revel in the attention. Other dogs can become scared or uncomfortable in clothing of any type. If you want to dress your dog up, start simple and see how she handles it. If she does not like it, then don't push the issue. Try a Halloween bandanna or collar instead. If your dog does seem to enjoy getting dressed up, be certain you choose a costume that fits comfortably. If it is too tight, it could cut off circulation or cause sores to develop. Loose-fitting outfits can trip your dog or get caught on objects around the house. Because of these potential dangers, never leave your dog unattended in the costume. She could become injured or may ingest parts of the costume and choke, become sick, or develop gastrointestinal blockage. •Outdoor Dangers I personally feel that unsupervised dogs are best kept indoors year-round, though some dogs will do fine living outdoors alone. However, the rules are different during the Halloween season! It is extremely crucial that you keep your dog indoors unless directly supervised. Sadly, there are cruel people who have twisted ideas of fun this time of year - and your dog can be the victim. Though it is more widely know that black cats are targeted during Halloween, any household pet can be at risk and MUST be kept indoors!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Laser Therapy

The most common Laser Therapy indications are: *Arthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease) *Back Pain (Intervertebral Disc Disease) *Trauma (Skin, Muscle, Bone) *Wounds (Trauma) *Surgery (Incisions, Growth Removals, Bone Surgery) *Inflammatory Conditions: *Acute or chronic otitis (Ear problems) *Anal Gland inflammation *Periodontitis (Gingivitis) *Hot Spots *Lick Granulomas *Idiopathic Cystitis - (Bladder Inflammation) *Sinusitis, Rhinitis (Nasal problems) What is Laser Therapy? There are basically two types of laser therapy units: Continuous and Pulsed Lasers. Continuous Laser emissions act fast on inflammation, stimulating blood and lymphatic circulation, and inducing fast reabsorption of fluid build-ups; however, they only have a secondary effect on pain, which is diminished after reducing the inflammatory process. Pulsed Laser emissions, on the other hand, have an immediate effect on pain, since they are able to produce analgesia, interfering with the very transmission of the pain impulse to the higher brain centers, but they are less effective at treating inflammation and edema, only achieving results after a long period of application. Until now, no diode laser was able to induce strong anti-inflammatory, anti-edema, and analgesic effects simultaneously and within a short period of time. The Therapy Laser was developed to overcome the limits of traditional Laser therapy. The Therapy Laser is able to overcome the limits imposed by selecting one of the two emission types, since it is based on the characteristic therapeutic properties of a new Laser Pulse. It uses an MLS Pulse, which combines and synchronizes emission of continuous and pulsed Laser emissions with different infrared wavelengths. This patented control system synchronizes the two emissions and shortens the treatment period for treating pain, inflammation, and edema, and for repairing superficial lesions. All of our veterinary technicians are now certified in the Cutting Edge Laser Technology. We strive to keep up with all the latest and greatest to make sure your babies have the best possible!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Weight Coach

We now have a certified weight coach. If you think your pet may be overweight call Ashley to set up an appointment and get them to the correct weight it will be beneficial to your pets health and let them live longer lives!

Friday, September 27, 2013


Each year millions of beloved pets end up lost and separated from their owners for various reasons. According to the American Humane Association, less than 20% of dogs and less than 2% of cats are reunited with their families. Most end up in shelters with no identification on them. Our pets cannot talk and tell their rescuers who they belong to or where they live, so it is up to us to provide that information. First and foremost, your pet should always wear a collar with their current dog license tag as well as a tag with your current address and phone number. If you move, be sure to update the information. If a stray pet is found wearing a current license tag, the license number can easily be looked up online through the county’s dog license website. Collars can however, come off, fall off, or be removed. Therefore, in addition to a collar, consider a more permanent form of identification such as a microchip. Microchipping has been gaining in popularity and next to an ID tag, is the most successful in reuniting lost pets with their owners. A microchip is inserted by a veterinarian beneath the surface of the skin between the animal’s shoulder blades. It is about the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique ID code that can be read by a microchip scanner. The procedure is quick and painless, not much different from an ordinary vaccination. The permanent microchip stays with your pet and will last their lifetime. You MUST register the chip with your address and phone number for it to be effective, and if you move, you need to update the information. Studies show that nearly 75% of dogs and cats brought to shelters with microchips are reunited with their owners. The reasons for the ones not reunited are largely due to incorrect or outdated information in the registry. You can use the link on this page to go to the Home Again website to register or update information, they are the most well-known and widely used microchip company. Even if you think your pet is safe in a fenced in yard, or well trained, you never know what can happen. Dogs can easily be attracted by scent or curiosity and can wander off in no time. Gates to the yard can be accidentally left open. And pet thefts are increasing at alarming rates. It’s best to be on the safe side at all times and know that your pet has identification on them. Since the presence of a microchip is only detected through the use of a microchip scanner, it is important to keep your pet's collar and ID tags on at all times. But even if they lose their collar, nearly all shelters, rescues and vets will scan animals found for the presence of a microchip, resulting in much higher chances of them being reunited with you. We offer microchipping here at A Caring Heart Veterinary Hospital for $35.00 call 940-855-0451 to schedule yours today!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Importance of Dental Care for Your Pets

Bad breath in pets, particularly dogs, is often joked about, but it is not a laughing matter. Dental disease affects up to 80% of pets over the age of three, and just like humans, there can be serious consequences of poor dental health. How many teeth do dogs and cats have, anyway? Dogs start out with 28 deciduous (baby) teeth, cats start out with 26 deciduous teeth. By six months of age, these baby teeth fall out and are replaced by permanent teeth, 42 in the dog and 30 in the cat. Will I find the deciduous teeth, and what happens when they don't fall out on their own? You may or may not find the teeth as they fall out. As dogs play and chew on toys, you might see a tooth. Likewise, as a cat grooms, you may find a tooth in the fur. If the deciduous teeth don't fall out and the permanent teeth erupt under them, this can lead to problems, such as increased tartar formation, malocclusion problems, and gingival (gum) irritation. When should dental care start with my pet? The earlier the better. With the help of your Veterinarian, be on the lookout for retained deciduous teeth and malocclusion (bad bite) problems. Your Veterinarian can teach you how to care for your pet's teeth and gums early on. How can I tell if my pet has dental problem? Bad breath is often a first indicator of dental disease. Gently lift the lips and check for tartar, inflamed gums, or missing/broken teeth. Cats may exhibit increased drooling. Both cats and dogs can exhibit reluctance to eat or play with toys, "chattering" of the teeth when trying to eat, lethargy, bleeding gums, eroded teeth, and failing to groom (cats). Dental disease progresses in stages -- if caught early, you can prevent further damage and save as many teeth as possible. How is the rest of the body affected by bad teeth? Infected gums and teeth aren't just a problem in the mouth -- the heart, kidneys, intestinal tract, and joints may also be infected. The tartar and any infected areas of the mouth contain a multitude of bacteria than can 'seed' to other parts of the body. With regular dental care, you can prevent some of these more serious side effects. Where should I start? With a new puppy or kitten, talk to your Veterinarian at the vaccination appointments on how to initiate a good dental care program at home. Most Veterinarians are happy to provide brushing lessons, and many carry brushes and toothpaste specifically for dogs and cats. (NOTE: do not use human toothpaste on your pet!) If your pet is an adult over 3 years of age, it would be wise to schedule a dental check up with your Veterinarian. If a dental cleaning is necessary, it is advisable to do pre-anesthesia blood work to make sure your pet does not have any underlying problems. My pet needs a dental cleaning -- what is involved with that? As mentioned above, pre-dental blood work is recommended. This is a check on the overall health of the pet to make sure that liver, kidneys, and blood counts are within normal ranges and to reduce any risks possible prior to the anesthesia. Many pets with bad teeth will be put on an antibiotic a few days prior to the dental to calm the infection and reduce possibility of complications. Your pet will be fasted from the evening before for the anesthesia. The dental itself is similar to a human dental cleaning - tartar removal, checking for cavities, gingival (gum) pockets, loose teeth, any growths on the gums or palate, removal of diseased teeth, and finally, polishing. The polishing is to smooth the tooth after tartar removal, as the tartar pits the tooth. A smooth tooth will not encourage tartar formation as easily as a roughened tooth. Click here for a photo essay on a dental cleaning in a cat. With good dental care, your pet can enjoy a long and healthy life.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Overview Some dog owners consider clipping their pet's nails an uncomfortable and unnecessary chore. But there are a number of reasons why nail trimming should be made part of a dog's grooming routine. Unlike humans, a dog walks and runs on its toes. Dogs that regularly walk on concrete, gravel or other hard or rough surfaces will "buff" their nails naturally. Those that run on carpeting or get little exercise will require a regular pedicure. Health Effects-when a dog's nails become too long, they interfere with the dog's gait and as the dog's nails continue to grow, walking will become awkward and painful. If nails are left to grow too long, they can split and bleed or cut into the pad of a dog's foot. Dewclaws- The dewclaws grow on the inside of a dog's paw and don't touch the ground as it walks. If left untrimmed, they can curl up and pierce the footpad, causing pain and infection. Time to Trim- Healthier Dogs recommends a dog's nails be checked and clipped once or twice a month or when you can hear its nails clicking on the floor. Our September special os a nail trim for $7.00 call 940-855-0451.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hazardous Foods to Dogs

Most dogs love food, and they’re especially attracted to what they see us eating. While sharing the occasional tidbit with your dog is fine, it’s important to be aware that some foods can be very dangerous to dogs. Take caution to make sure your dog never gets access to the foods below. Even if you don’t give him table scraps, your dog might eat something that’s hazardous to his health if he raids kitchen counters, cupboards and trash cans. For advice on teaching your dog not to steal food. Avocado leaves, fruit, seeds and bark may contain a toxic principle known as persin. The Guatemalan variety, a common one found in stores, appears to be the most problematic. Other varieties of avocado can have different degrees of toxic potential. Birds, rabbits, and some large animals, including horses, are especially sensitive to avocados, as they can have respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the heart, and even death from consuming avocado. While avocado is toxic to some animals, in dogs and cats, we do not expect to see serious signs of illness. In some dogs and cats, mild stomach upset may occur if the animal eats a significant amount of avocado flesh or peel. Ingestion of the pit can lead to obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract, which is a serious situation requiring urgent veterinary care. Avocado is sometimes included in pet foods for nutritional benefit. We would generally not expect avocado meal or oil present in commercial pet foods to pose a hazard to dogs and cats. Bread Dough Raw bread dough made with live yeast can be hazardous if ingested by dogs. When raw dough is swallowed, the warm, moist environment of the stomach provides an ideal environment for the yeast to multiply, resulting in an expanding mass of dough in the stomach. Expansion of the stomach may be severe enough to decrease blood flow to the stomach wall, resulting in the death of tissue. Additionally, the expanding stomach may press on the diaphragm, resulting in breathing difficulty. Perhaps more importantly, as the yeast multiplies, it produces alcohols that can be absorbed, resulting in alcohol intoxication. Affected dogs may have distended abdomens and show signs such as a lack of coordination, disorientation, stupor and vomiting (or attempts to vomit). In extreme cases, coma or seizures may occur and could lead to death from alcohol intoxication. Dogs showing mild signs should be closely monitored, and dogs with severe abdominal distention or dogs who are so inebriated that they can’t stand up should be monitored by a veterinarian until they recover. Chocolate Chocolate intoxication is most commonly seen around certain holidays—like Easter, Christmas, Halloween and Valentine’s Day—but it can happen any time dogs have access to products that contain chocolate, such as chocolate candy, cookies, brownies, chocolate baking goods, cocoa powder and cocoa shell-based mulches. The compounds in chocolate that cause toxicosis are caffeine and theobromine, which belong to a group of chemicals called methylxanthines. The rule of thumb with chocolate is “the darker it is, the more dangerous it is.” White chocolate has very few methylxanthines and is of low toxicity. Dark baker’s chocolate has very high levels of methylxanthines, and plain, dry unsweetened cocoa powder contains the most concentrated levels of methylxanthines. Depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, the signs seen can range from vomiting, increased thirst, abdominal discomfort and restlessness to severe agitation, muscle tremors, irregular heart rhythm, high body temperature, seizures and death. Dogs showing more than mild restlessness should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Ethanol (Also Known as Ethyl Alcohol, Grain Alcohol or Drinking Alcohol) Dogs are far more sensitive to ethanol than humans are. Even ingesting a small amount of a product containing alcohol can cause significant intoxication. Dogs may be exposed to alcohol through drinking alcoholic drinks, such as beer, wine or mixed drinks (those with milk, like White Russians and “fortified” egg nog, are especially appealing to dogs), alcohol-containing elixirs and syrups, and raw yeast bread dough (please see the above section on bread dough). Alcohol intoxication commonly causes vomiting, loss of coordination, disorientation and stupor. In severe cases, coma, seizures and death may occur. Dogs showing mild signs of alcohol intoxication should be closely monitored, and dogs who are so inebriated that they can’t stand up should be monitored by a veterinarian until they recover. Grapes and Raisins Grapes and raisins have recently been associated with the development of kidney failure in dogs. At this time, the exact cause of the kidney failure isn’t clear, nor is it clear why some dogs can eat these fruits without harm, while others develop life-threatening problems after eating even a few grapes or raisins. Some dogs eat these fruits and experience no ill effects—but then eat them later on and become very ill. Until the cause of the toxicosis is better identified, the safest course of action is to avoid feeding grapes or raisins to your dog. Dogs experiencing grape or raisin toxicosis usually develop vomiting, lethargy or diarrhea within 12 hours of ingestion. As signs progress, dogs become increasingly lethargic and dehydrated, refuse to eat and may show a transient increase in urination followed by decreased or absent urination in later stages. Death due to kidney failure may occur within three to four days, or long-term kidney disease may persist in dogs who survive the acute intoxication. Successful treatment requires prompt veterinary treatment to maintain good urine flow. Hops Cultivated hops used for brewing beer have been associated with potentially life-threatening signs in dogs who have ingested them. Both fresh and spent (cooked) hops have been implicated in poisoning dogs. Affected dogs develop an uncontrollably high body temperature (often greater than 108 degrees Fahrenheit), which results in damage to and failure of multiple organ systems. Dogs poisoned by hops become restless, pant excessively, and may have muscle tremors and seizures. Prompt veterinary intervention is necessary to prevent death in these dogs. Macadamia Nuts Although macadamia nut toxicosis is unlikely to be fatal in dogs, it can cause very uncomfortable symptoms that may persist for up to 48 hours. Affected dogs develop weakness in their rear legs, appear to be in pain, may have tremors and may develop a low grade fever. Fortunately, these signs will gradually subside over 48 hours, but dogs experiencing more than mild symptoms can benefit from veterinary care, which may include intravenous fluid therapy and pain control. Moldy Foods A wide variety of molds grow on food. Some produce toxins called tremorgenic mycotoxins, which can cause serious or even life-threatening problems if ingested by dogs. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to determine whether a particular mold is producing tremorgenic mycotoxins, so the safest rule of thumb is to avoid feeding dogs moldy food. In other words, if you wouldn’t eat it, neither should your dog. Promptly remove any trash or moldy debris (road-kill, fallen walnuts or fruit, etc.) from your dog’s environment to prevent him from eating it. The signs of tremorgenic mycotoxin poisoning generally begin as fine muscle tremors that progress to very coarse total-body tremors and, finally, convulsions that can lead to death in severe cases. Left untreated, these tremors can last for several weeks. Fortunately, they usually respond well to appropriate veterinary treatment. Onions and Garlic All close members of the onion family (shallots, onions, garlic, scallions, etc.) contain compounds that can damage dogs’ red blood cells if ingested in sufficient quantities. A rule of thumb is “the stronger it is, the more toxic it is.” Garlic tends to be more toxic than onions, on an ounce-for-ounce basis. While it’s uncommon for dogs to eat enough raw onions and garlic to cause serious problems, exposure to concentrated forms of onion or garlic, such as dehydrated onions, onion soup mix or garlic powder, may put dogs at risk of toxicosis. The damage to the red blood cells caused by onions and garlic generally doesn’t become apparent until three to five days after a dog eats these vegetables. Affected dogs may seem weak or reluctant to move, or they may appear to tire easily after mild exercise. Their urine may be orange-tinged to dark red in color. These dogs should be examined by a veterinarian immediately. In severe cases, blood transfusions may be needed. Xylitol Xylitol is a non-caloric sweetener that is widely used in sugar-free gum, as well as in sugar-free baked products. In humans, xylitol does not affect blood sugar levels, but in dogs, ingestion of xylitol can lead to a rapid and severe drop in blood sugar levels. Dogs may develop disorientation and seizures within 30 minutes of ingesting xylitol-containing products, or signs may be delayed for several hours. Some dogs who ingest large amounts of xylitol develop liver failure, which can be fatal. All dogs ingesting xylitol-containing products should be examined by a veterinarian immediately.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Importance of Dog Vaccinations

Just like in humans, vaccinations are the element of the preventative care of your dog. Vaccines protect dogs from a wide variety of diseases and help them to live longer, healthier lives. Veterinarians used to recommend that dogs get vaccinated every year, but recent research shows that some vaccinations last much longer than that and do not need to be re-administered annually. In addition to protecting your dog from illness, vaccines also raise group immunity. Group immunity is the resistance of a population of dogs to a particular pathogen. A high group immunity raises the chances of the eradication of the pathogen from the dog population, and greatly reduces the likelihood that un-vaccinated dogs will be exposed. Vaccinations Your Dog Needs According to the American Animal Hospital Association, there are two classes of vaccines: core and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are typically recommended for all dogs because they protect against serious and fatal illnesses that are easily transmitted between animals. Non-core vaccines target less virulent pathogens and are generally recommended for dogs with high-risk lifestyles or immune deficiency. Types Core vaccines include distemper, parovirus, rabies and adenovirus. Noncore vaccines include kennel cough, leptospirosis and lyme disease. A puppy receives a large number of antibodies from his mother. These maternal antibodies can block the action of many vaccines. Because of this, veterinarians often recommend puppies reach at least 6 weeks of age before administering vaccinations. When Should Puppies Be Vaccinated? The window of susceptibility can vary from litter to litter, and even from puppy to puppy. For this reason, veterinarians recommend a series of vaccinations in the first year of life, to make sure the puppy is protected from pathogens. Vaccinations are typically given at 6 weeks, with boosters every three weeks until about 16 weeks of age. Vaccination Risk According to the American Animal Hospital Association, vaccine reactions are extremely rare. Most reactions that do occur are minor and involve local swelling and pain. Sometimes, however, an allergic reaction to the compounds in the vaccine can occur. When this happens, emergency treatment is recommended. As with all medical procedures, the benefits should be weighed against the risks. Statistically, the risk of disease is much greater than the risk of adverse vaccination reactions.Call Today to make sure your family member is protected at 940-855-0451.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Heartworm Awareness

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and occasionally in the right side of the heart of dogs, cats and other species of mammals, including wolves, foxes, ferrets, sea lions and (in rare instances) humans. Heartworms are classified as nematodes (roundworms) and are filarids, one of many species of roundworms. Dogs and cats of any age or breed are susceptible to infection. Where is Heartworm Disease? Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states. The map below shows particularly endemic areas based on the number of cases reported by clinics. History The first published description of heartworm in dogs in the United States appeared more than 100 years ago in an issue of "The Western Journal of Medicine and Surgery."1 Heartworm in cats was first described in the early 1920's., Since then, naturally acquired heartworm infection in cats and dogs is identified as a worldwide clinical problem. Despite improved diagnostic methods, effective preventives and increasing awareness among veterinary professionals and pet owners, cases of heartworm infection continue to appear in pets around the world. Osborne, TC. Worms found in the Heart and Bloodvessels of a Dog; Symptoms of Hydrophobia. The Western Journal of Medicine and Surgery, 1847. Riley, WA. Dirofilaria immitis in the heart of a cat. J Parasitol 1922;9:48 Travassos, LP. Notas Helminthologicas. Brazil-Med. An. 1921;35 2(6):67 How Heartworm Happens: The Life Cycle First, adult female heartworms release their young, called microfilariae, into an animal's bloodstream. Then, mosquitoes become infected with microfilariae while taking blood meal from the infected animal. During the next 10 to 14 days, the microfilariae mature to the infective larval stage within the mosquito. After that, the mosquito bites another dog, cat or other susceptible animal, and the infective larvae enter through the bite wound. It then takes a little over 6 months for the infective larvae to mature into adult worms. In dogs, the worms may live for up to 7 years. Microfilariae cannot mature into adult heartworms without first passing through a mosquito. What Are the Signs of Heartworm Disease? For both dogs and cats, clinical signs of heartworm disease may not be recognized in the early stages, as the number of heartworms in an animal tends to accumulate gradually over a period of months and sometimes years and after repeated mosquito bites. Recently infected dogs may exhibit no signs of the disease, while heavily infected dogs may eventually show clinical signs, including a mild, persistent cough, reluctance to move or exercise, fatigue after only moderate exercise, reduced appetite and weight loss. Cats may exhibit clinical signs that are very non-specific, mimicking many other feline diseases. Chronic clinical signs include vomiting, gagging, difficulty or rapid breathing, lethargy and weight loss. Signs associated with the first stage of heartworm disease, when the heartworms enter a blood vessel and are carried to the pulmonary arteries, are often mistaken for feline asthma or allergic bronchitis, when in fact they are actually due to a syndrome newly defined as Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD). How Do You Detect Heartworm Disease? Heartworm infection in apparently healthy animals is usually detected with blood tests for a heartworm substance called an "antigen" or microfilariae, although neither test is consistently positive until about seven months after infection has occurred. Heartworm infection may also occasionally be detected through ultrasound and/or x-ray images of the heart and lungs, although these tests are usually used in animals already known to be infected. Prevention Because heartworm disease is preventable, the AHS recommends that pet owners take steps now to talk to their veterinarian about how to best protect their pets from this dangerous disease. Heartworm prevention is safe, easy and inexpensive. While treatment for heartworm disease in dogs is possible, it is a complicated and expensive process, taking weeks for infected animals to recover. There is no effective treatment for heartworm disease in cats, so it is imperative that disease prevention measures be taken for cats. There are a variety of options for preventing heartworm infection in both dogs and cats, including daily and monthly tablets and chewables, monthly topicals and a six-month injectable product available only for dogs. All of these methods are extremely effective, and when administered properly on a timely schedule, heartworm infection can be completely prevented. These medications interrupt heartworm development before adult worms reach the lungs and cause disease. It is your responsibility to faithfully maintain the prevention program you have selected in consultation with your veterinarian. Treatment Heartworms in the heart of a dog Usually, all but the most advanced cases of heartworm disease can be successfully treated in dogs. Currently, there are no products in the United States approved for the treatment of heartworm infection in cats. Cats have proven to be more resistant hosts to heartworm than dogs, and often appear to be able to rid themselves of infection spontaneously. Unfortunately, many cats tend to react severely to the dead worms as they are being cleared by the body, and this can result in a shock reaction, a life-threatening situation. Veterinarians will often attempt to treat an infected cat with supportive therapy measures to minimize this reaction; however it is always best to prevent the disease. Heartworms in the Pulmonary Artery of a dog Adult heartworms in dogs are killed using a drug called an adulticide that is injected into the muscle through a series of treatments. Treatment may be administered on an outpatient basis, but hospitalization is usually recommended. When the dog is sent home, exercise should be limited to leash walking for the duration of the recovery period, which can last from one to two months. This decreases the risk of partial or complete blockage of blood flow through the lungs by dead worms.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Microchipping dogs is a safe, permanent method of identifying canine pets. Statistics show that 1 in 3 dogs will become lost during their lives, but only 17 percent of those animals return to their owners. A microchip can help improve the odds of your dog being returned safely if he wanders off or is taken from your home. How Does a Microchip Work? A microchip helps identify your dog. Animal shelter or veterinary clinic staff members use a scanner to read the small computer chip, which contains a unique code number that will help reunite you and your dog. Microchip manufacturers estimate that 275 billion unique identification numbers are currently available, which means that no two dogs can ever have the same number. The information in the chip connects the staff member to the registry that manages your dog’s microchip. The registry has your contact information on file, and the staff member can now alert you to your dog’s location. While a microchip is very helpful at locating a lost pet after the fact, it cannot be used to track an animal on the move because the radio frequency emitted by the chip is only detectable by a scanner that’s held over the chip. Your veterinarian can implant a microchip in your dog fairly easily. He or she will inject the chip between your dog’s shoulder blades, and your dog will feel very little (if any) pain. Any dog aged 6 months or older is a candidate for the microchip implant. The chip is designed to last about 25 years. Better Scanners Now Available European pet owners have made better use of microchip pet identification than American owners have. A major drawback to more widespread microchip use in the United States has been that the microchip manufacturers have been reluctant to join together and share resources, but that has begun to change. The companies have designed universal scanners, which read more than one type of chip, and have made the scanners easily available to shelters and veterinary clinics. The chip manufacturers are also collaborating with the American Animal Hospital Association to create an Internet search engine to help shelter and veterinary clinic workers locate microchip code information that will help pets and owners get back together. What’s Good About a Microchip? Microchips are a permanent method of identification and an ideal backup to your dog’s identification tags and collar. While some dogs seem to always lose their ID tags, the microchip will always be with them. If your dog runs away from your home or gets lost while you’re out on a walk, a microchip implant helps improve his odds of being reunited with you. The chip can help humane organizations reunite you and your pet more quickly, and it can also help you prove ownership of a companion animal if there is a dispute.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cutting Edge Laser Therapy

At A Caring Heart Veterinary Hospital we know your pets are part of your family, and you want them to have the best quality of life. Laser therapy can help achieve that goal. We have the most advanced equipment on the market to deliver those results. Conditions that can be improved include the following: *Arthritis *Acute and Chronic Pain *Back Injuries *Sprains and Strains *Inflammation and Edema *Wound Healing What advantages does laser therapy have over other forms of therapy? *Does not require the use of drugs or surgery *Few side effects/risks *Quick and convenient *Studies show it is equal to or more effective than other forms of physical therapy *Benefits include the following: *No patient sedation or restraint required *Nonsurgical treatment *Extremely safe with no side effects *Can be combined with other medications or other arthritis treatments *Immediate results: Most pets feel better in 12 to 24 hours after treatment *Speeds healing process

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Kennel cough, the common name that is given to infectious canine tracheobronchitis, is a very highly contagious respiratory disease among dogs. As the name of the disease suggests, it is typified by inflammation of the trachea and bronchi. This disease is found throughout the world and is known to infect a very high percentage of dogs at least once during their lifetime. It is also medically referred to as tracheobronchitis and Bordetella. Young puppies can suffer the most severe complications that can result from this disease, since they have an underdeveloped immune system that is still strengthening. Also at increased risk are older dogs, which have decreased immune capabilities, and pregnant bitches, which also have lowered immunity to infections. Symptoms Dry hacking cough is the most common symptom Cough may sound like honking Retching Watery nasal discharge In mild cases, dogs would likely be active and eating normally In severe cases, symptoms progress and can include pneumonia, inappetence, fever, lethargy and even death Unvaccinated puppies and young dogs, or immunocompromised dogs might experience the most severe symptoms of the disease Causes Most of the time there has been a recent boarding that has placed the dog in contact with a number of other dogs. Some of the most common causes that contribute to the infectious canine tracheobronchitis disease are Bordetella bronchiseptica, parainfluenza virus, and mycoplasma. Apart from the canine herpes virus, reovirus and the canine adenovirus can also cause this disease. As any one of these organisms can cause the symptoms of this disease, in most of the cases, the result of the disease is thought to be more than one organism combined. However, the most common and important organism that causes tracheobronchitis is the parainfluenza virus. This particular virus causes gentle symptoms that last less than a week, unless there is an involvement with other bacteria. The Bordetella bronchiseptica is also a common type of bacteria that is often isolated from this disorder. According to the clinical signs the visible onset of infection usually occurs three to four days after initial exposure, but when it is combiend with other organisms – such as a combination parinfluenza-bordatella infection – the symptoms may last for up to three weeks. Diagnosis The diagnosis for this disease is largely based upon the type of symptoms that are being presented and your dog's history with regards to exposure to other dogs. You will need to give a thorough history of your dog's health and onset of symptoms. A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. These blood tests, along with viral isolation and bacterial cultures, will be performed in order to verify individual agents that are causing the kennel cough. Treatment Depending on the severity of the infection and the severity of the symptoms, there are two main types of treatments that can be given for canine tracheobronchitis disease. In the most common and uncomplicated type of disease, there is generally no need for antibiotics. If your dog is alert, but has only minor symptoms along with the recurrent cough, then it is often left alone to go through the course of the disease, just like the common cold in humans. Most of the time an anti-inflammatory agent will be given to your dog in order to reduce the severity and frequency of coughing episodes and to make the dog more comfortable. Antibiotics will be used if your dog is not eating, is running a fever, and is showing signs of severe respiratory troubles, as this may indicate pneumonia. While your dog is recovering from the infection, allow it to breath without anything that might irritate or constrict its throat – such as collars or scarves/bandannas. For walks and outings, you can substitute the collar with a body harness. Living and Management In order to prevent this disease, it is recommended that you not expose your dog to kennel like or boarding conditions, where large populations of dogs are contained and mixed together. However, if you cannot avoid this, then a proper vaccination would be the best option. Talk to your veterinarian about what is available for your dog, since there are certain vaccines that can have worrisome side effects. Therefore, vaccines to prevent tracheobronchitis are generally only given to dogs that are at high risk. Even with precautions, a large number of dogs acquire this respiratory infection. It is best to be observant and prepared. Although this infection usually does not cross over to humans, there are instances where young children and adults with compromised immune systems are at risk for infection. In these cases, care must be taken to protect those at risk from coming into contact with the sick dog until it has fully recovered. If contact cannot be avoided, extra care will need to be taken with hygiene.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Seizures In Dogs

What is a seizure? Seizure, convulsion, fit, epilepsy. These terms all describe the same thing: What happens when a sudden and uncontrolled burst of neurologic activity occurs in the brain. Sometimes the neurological disturbance remains localized to a small area, such as the face or one limb. Usually, however, the uncontrolled firing of neurons spreads from the brain throughout the body, causing generalized convulsions. A seizure is not always easy to recognize, and no two look exactly alike. The typical seizure, however, might proceed as follows: 1) The dog becomes nervous or agitated, sensing that something abnormal is about to happen. Some dogs seek out their owners, looking for help and reassurance. This is called the pre-ictal period. 2) The dog begins to tremble. His eyes glaze over and he loses touch with his environment, appears blind, and will not respond to his owner's voice or touch. 3) The trembling becomes more severe and the dog stiffens. He falls, usually on his side, and begins to paddle his legs and convulse, sometimes violently. The teeth might be clenched or the dog may champ his jaws as the seizure progresses. Often, he salivates and appears not to breathe. This entire stage, the ictal stage, usually lasts less than two minutes. 4) The next stage is called the post-ictal period. The dog begins to recover, but a varying degree of neurological signs will persist. Commonly, dogs remain blind for some time after a seizure. They often pant and seem disoriented. Some dogs sleep for a long period following a seizure. The post-ictal stage usually lasts for less than an hour, but can be considerably longer - up to two days. What isn't a seizure? Sometimes owners rush to the veterinarian, thinking their dog has had a seizure - but he hasn't. Numerous conditions, some normal and some pathologic, are often misinterpreted as seizures. For example, dogs with a disease of the middle ear, the vestibular nerve or vestibular nucleus of the brain can show abnormal head position and loss of balance.. The onset of symptoms can be quite sudden and can be confused with seizures. Dogs with cardiac and respiratory diseases can experience fainting episodes which leave them profoundly weak; many may fall abruptly. These dogs might pant rapidly as they try to compensate for poor oxygenation. This also is often confused with seizures. Another false alarm is a condition known as reverse sneezing, a common complaint in small animal practice. This usually affects smaller dogs and is characterized by a rapid series of violent and noisy inspirations. Often the chest and abdominal muscles will contract spasmodically during these episodes, which are always self-limiting and are of little medical significance. The cause of reverse sneezing is unknown and there is no known treatment. Then there are those dogs who twitch or paddle their legs while sleeping. Some will even vocalize. This is especially common in young puppies although many older dogs show similar behavior. This is normal and is usually associated with very deep sleep. Folklore has it that dogs paddling their legs during sleep are dreaming of running through an open field. Who knows? At any rate, it's not a seizure. The biggest difference between seizures and non-seizures is the dog's state of consciousness. If a dog is doing something that resembles a seizure while conscious, is aware of its surroundings, or is easily aroused (as in sleep), it is not having a true seizure. What causes seizures? The normal brain exists in a constantly changing state of balance between excitatory and inhibitory bioelectrical impulses. At a certain threshold point, excitatory activity can overwhelm inhibitory influences and a seizure can result. How far away any given animal is from this point - called a "seizure threshold" - is influenced by a number of factors including disease, trauma, genetics, toxins, and factors yet to be discovered. In other words, whether or not an individual dog has a seizure in response to a given stimulus depends on its own particular seizure threshold. Many causes of seizures have been documented in dogs. In some individuals, the cause is metabolic. For example, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a common cause of seizures in toy breed puppies. Hypoglycemia brought on by giving excessive doses of insulin to diabetic dogs, or by insulin-secreting tumors of the pancreas in older dogs, may also precipitate seizures. Hypocalcemia (low calcium levels) is another metabolic cause of seizures especially common in post-partum lactating bitches. Hypocalcemia and hypoglycemia are both thought to be involved in seizures seen in young puppies with intestinal parasites. High blood ammonia levels also can lead to seizures. This metabolic disturbance is seen in dogs with liver disease (for example, portosystemic shunts in puppies). Kidney failure and high levels of circulating uremic toxins have been known to cause seizures, although this is less common. The most common toxic cause of seizures is probably lead poisoning. Another important differential for seizures in dogs is ingestion of something toxic - insecticides and rat poisons, for instance. The most common toxic cause of seizures, however, is probably lead poisoning. Dogs are exposed to toxic levels of lead from a variety of sources. These include old, peeling oil-based paint, batteries, linoleum, tarpaper, roofing materials, drapery weights, fishing sinkers, champagne bottle foil and golf ball coverings, just to name a few. The amount of lead needed to instigate a seizure in a given dog depends on the dog's own seizure threshold. Seizures can also be caused by inflammation of the central nervous system (CNS), also called encephalitis. There are many important infectious causes of encephalitis in dogs. Canine distemper, for example, is one of the most common causes of seizures in puppies. Other infectious causes of neurologic disease include toxoplasma, neospora caninum, cryptococcus and rabies. Some important non-infectious causes of encephalitis are granulomatous meningoencephalitis (GME) and chronic encephalitis of Pugs. Heat stroke is an all too familiar cause of seizures and death in dogs. Everyone knows heat stroke happens when animals are left unattended in automobiles on a warm day, with or without the windows open. But anyone who goes to outdoor dog shows in hot weather has heard horror stories of dogs overcome by excessive heat, particularly heavily coated and/or brachycephalic breeds. Being a Pekingese owner, I never go to dog shows without plenty of ice and water on hand to prevent just such an emergency. Congenital malformations of the CNS also cause seizures. Examples include hydrocephalus, a disease in which fluid inside the brain does not drain properly and contributes to high intracranial pressure, and lissencephaly, a brain malformation observed in Lhasa Apsos. Trauma to the head can lead to seizures due to hemorrhage or swelling of the brain or surrounding tissues, often with subsequent formation of scar tissue or blood clots. It is not uncommon to see seizures result from a traumatic episode that occurred years earlier. Bleeding and swelling can also be caused by tumors of the CNS or surrounding structures. Tumors are most common in older dogs. Although there are many known causes of seizures in dogs, the most common cause remains unknown; these dogs are diagnosed as having "idiopathic epilepsy." Although the term idiopathic means self-originated, it's really just a technical way of saying the cause of the disease is unknown. Even though a large percentage of seizures end up being diagnosed as idiopathic, testing for other possible causes should always be performed, especially if the seizures are severe, frequent or occur in clusters. If an underlying cause is found, therapy can be directed specifically at correcting the abnormality. Idiopathic epilepsy is believed to be an inherited disorder, at least in some breeds. Breeding studies have shown a genetic basis for the disorder in German Shepherds, Belgian Tervuren, Keeshonden, Beagles and Dachshunds. Although inheritance patterns have not been documented, the disease also appears to be quite common in Poodles (all varieties), Saint Bernards, Irish Setters, Siberian Huskies, Cocker Spaniels, Wire-haired Fox Terriers, and Labrador and Golden Retrievers. How is the cause diagnosed? The initial workup of a patient with seizures includes a thorough physical examination, a meticulous medical history, screening blood work and a urinalysis. A complete blood count can reveal signs of infection or inflammation. A chemistry profile helps to investigate metabolic causes of seizures by testing for biochemical markers of liver, kidney, glucose, and electrolyte disturbances. Changes in the urine can also reflect kidney, liver or other metabolic abnormalities. In addition, if there is any possibility of exposure, a blood sample may reveal toxic levels of lead. If an obvious cause isn't discovered with the initial testing, further tests can prove useful. An important element in the clinical evaluation of just about any patient with a central nervous system disorder is the analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Changes in CSF protein concentration, blood cell population and pressure indicate specific diseases of the CNS. CSF is collected while dogs are under general anesthesia. They are positioned on their side and an area at the base of the skull and upper neck is clipped and surgically scrubbed. Once the head is positioned just so, a needle is carefully placed into the space between the base of the skull and the first cervical vertebra. The fluid is then collected through the needle and submitted to a laboratory for analysis. To measure CSF pressure, a manometer can be attached to the needle; pressure is often elevated in the case of brain tumors, for example. While the patient is anesthetized, an electroencephalogram (EEG) also can be performed. Although EEG equipment is usually found only at teaching hospitals or large referral centers, the test can yield useful information. To perform an EEG, small wire electrodes are placed in the skin at various points overlying the brain, and electrical activity of the brain is observed. The pins penetrate the skin, but they are very small and non-traumatic. In fact, EEGs can usually be performed in awake dogs. This test is simple and risk-free to perform (it's similar to an EKG of the heart), but interpretation usually requires the services of a specialist in neurology. The last diagnostic option available to investigate seizures is a brain scan. Computerized tomography (CT scan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are just becoming available in veterinary medicine. These diagnostic imaging techniques yield a wealth of information and can be very sensitive indicators of structural CNS diseases. However, as with all other tests, these scans are negative in cases of idiopathic epilepsy. Brain scans also require the use of general anesthesia. What treatments are available? If the underlying cause for a dog's seizure disorder is identified, treatment can be directed at correcting the abnormality or eliminating the causative factor. Even if an underlying cause is found, however, anticonvulsant drugs are commonly needed to control seizures. This is also true in the case of dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. Owners should realize that seizures are rarely eliminated completely. The goal of therapy is to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures to a level the dog and its family can live comfortably with. Of the numerous anticonvulsant drugs available, phenobarbital is the most important and most useful. With appropriate doses and periodic monitoring of phenobarbital blood concentration to ensure adequate levels, most dogs with seizures can be well controlled. The drug is safe, inexpensive, and usually has to be given orally twice a day. Primidone is also used to treat seizures in dogs. This drug is converted in the bloodstream to phenobarbital and is an effective anticonvulsant. It has the additional advantage of not being a controlled substance like phenobarbital. However, primidone has been associated with more side effects and is also more costly to use than phenobarbital. In some dogs, phenobarbital alone will not control seizures. Studies are currently underway to assess the benefits of other drugs such as potassium bromide and long-acting benzodiazepines (valium-related drugs) to control seizures refractory to phenobarbital alone. Of these drugs, potassium bromide used in combination with phenobarbital appears to be the most promising. Dilantin is a drug used commonly in human medicine to treat epilepsy. This drug has been tried in dogs as well, but is not effective. Another familiar human drug, valium, is effective in stopping seizure activity, but only momentarily. Its long-term use is not recommended in dogs. What should I do if my dog has a seizure? Watching a dog have a seizure is terrifying - especially if it's a dog you love. If the dog is a young puppy or a lactating bitch, it should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. A single isolated seizure in an otherwise healthy adult dog, however, does not usually require emergency veterinary care, though an appointment should be scheduled promptly for a thorough work-up. If there are multiple seizures in a day, emergency care should be sought without delay. When a dog has a seizure, as difficult as it may be, it is important for owners to remain calm. The dog should be moved to a safe place or laid on a rug to minimize the chances of injury. If possible, time the length of the seizure and observe carefully so that you can give a veterinarian a clear and accurate account of the event. Dogs do not swallow their tongues during seizures and owners should never put their hands near a seizuring dog's mouth. Many veterinarians believe that the length and severity of the post-ictal phase can be decreased by gently trying to calm and soothe the dog. Panicking won't help. It's important to remember that seizures themselves are almost never fatal. When seizures occur in clusters, however, dogs are prone to developing status epilepticus, a condition characterized by continuous, uncontrollable seizure activity. Continuous seizures can lead to exhaustion, hypoglycemia, hyperthermia, oxygen depletion, brain damage, and eventually, death. Status epilepticus is an extreme emergency and often requires general anesthesia for prolonged periods of time to control. It would be unwise to repeat a breeding that resulted in an epileptic dog.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Employee Spotlight:Ashley

Meet Ashley our Administrative Assistant she has been with A Caring Heart since August 2012. She is a certified weight coach for our patients and our Cutting Edge laser technology. She is married to her husband of 8 years and they have 3 beautiful children together. She enjoys spending time with her family outdoors.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Pets for Depression

Could a kitten's purr or a dog's wagging tail help with your depression? It might. "Pets offer an unconditional love that can be very helpful to people with depression," says Ian Cook, MD, a psychiatrist and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA. You Don't Have to Live With Depression Understand the symptoms of depression, from sadness to hopelessness to headache. Depression Myths and Facts What’s Causing Your Depression? Getting Help: Where You Can Look Questions to Ask Your Doctor 18 Positive Steps to Feel Better Studies show that animals can reduce tension and improve mood. Along with treatment, pets can help some people with mild to moderate depression feel better. If you're depressed, here's a rundown of how pets could help. Uncomplicated love. Are your relationships with family and loved ones complicated and frayed? A pet can be a great antidote. "With a pet, you can just feel," says Teri Wright, PhD, a psychologist in private practice in Santa Ana, Calif. "You don't have to worry about hurting your pet's feelings or getting advice you don't want." Responsibility. You might not think you can take care of a pet right now. Taking care of yourself may seem hard enough. But experts say that adding a little responsibility can help. It adds a new and positive focus to your life. "Taking care of a pet can help give you a sense of your own value and importance," says Cook. It will remind you that you are capable -- that you can do more than you might think. Activity. Are barely getting off the couch these days? You need to get more physical activity. Pets can help. "If you have a dog, that dog needs to be walked," Cook says. A little extra physical activity is good for your physical and mental health. Routine. Having a daily schedule helps people with depression. An animal's natural routine -- waking you in the morning, demanding food or walks -- can help you stay on track. Companionship. Depression can isolate you. It can make you pull back from your friends and loved ones. If you have a pet, you're never alone. That can really make a difference. Social interaction. Having a pet can gently push you to get more social contact. You might chat with others while walking your dog at the park or waiting at the vet. Pets are natural icebreakers and other pet owners love to talk about their animals. Touch. Studies show that people feel better when they have physical contact with others. Pets offer something similar. There's something naturally soothing about petting a cat on your lap. Studies have shown that petting a dog can lower your heart rate too. Better health. Research has found that owning a dog can lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, and boost levels of feel-good chemicals in the brain. One study of Chinese women found that dog owners exercised more often, slept better, reported better fitness levels and fewer sick days, and saw their doctors less often than people without dogs.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lyme Disease

Ticks cause a host of illnesses, including Lyme disease, which affects dogs and people alike. A bite from an infected tick can mean tiredness, fever, joint pain, and loss of appetite. Antibiotics generally provide relief from Lyme disease, but relapses can occur. Spot-on tick-control products can kill or repel ticks that carry Lyme disease, as can some tick collars. There is a Lyme disease vaccine for dogs, but it’s not always part of a dog’s routine vaccination protocol. Lyme disease is one of a number of frustratingly common tick-borne diseases that are regarded by both veterinarians and human physicians as stubborn, insidious, and just plain problematic in a number of ways. An infection caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium, Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick and can affect many species, including dogs and humans. Ticks of the Ixodes species (called deer ticks) are known to transmit Lyme disease when they attach to a host and feed. Because the tick must be attached for at least 50 hours to transmit Lyme disease, frequent inspection for ticks (and quick removal) can reduce the risk of disease transmission. Lyme disease is more common in certain areas of the United States, including the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and upper Midwest. Symptoms and Identification Clinical signs may not appear for several months after a dog is infected with Lyme disease. In fact, many dogs fail to display any obvious clinical signs at all. When signs of infection are noted, they may include the following: Lethargy (manifested as tiredness or exercise intolerance) Fever Painful joints Loss of appetite Signs may seem to resolve on their own only to reappear later. Lyme disease has also been linked to long-term complications involving the joints, kidneys, heart, and nervous system. Lyme disease is usually diagnosed based on a medical history that includes the possibility of tick exposure, suspicious clinical signs, and results of diagnostic testing. Several tests can identify the Borrelia burgdorferi organism in blood or tissues. In addition, a test (called a quantitative C6 antibody test or QC6 antibody test) can measure the level of antibodies to help veterinarians determine whether treatment is recommended. However, many veterinarians test for Lyme disease using an in-hospital SNAP test. SNAP tests are a group of quick, convenient, blood tests that can be performed at your veterinarian’s office. There are various SNAP tests for different purposes: SNAP Heartworm RT Test: screens for heartworm infection SNAP 3Dx Test: simultaneously screens for heartworm disease, Lyme disease, and ehrlichiosis (another tick-borne disease that can affect dogs) SNAP 4Dx Test: simultaneously screens for heartworm disease, Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis (also a tick-borne disease that can cause illness in dogs) SNAP testing is very accurate and is a good way to identify dogs that may be infected with one or more of these diseases. SNAP testing is also very convenient because it uses a very small amount of blood and takes only a few minutes to perform. However, sending blood to an outside laboratory for testing can be every bit as reliable as an in-hospital SNAP test. In some cases, veterinarians may recommend additional testing to follow up a test result or look for other evidence of illness related to heartworm disease or one of the tick-borne infections. Testing may involve sending additional blood samples to a laboratory for further analysis or performing other diagnostic tests to obtain more information about a dog’s condition.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Myths About Parvo

Canine parvovirus is one of the most feared diseases your dog can get, and with good cause: it can kill a dog within a couple of days after a dog shows symptoms. Here are some common misconceptions that could create a false sense of security and leave a beloved pooch exposed. My dog is vaccinated. He's safe from parvo, right? Not necessarily. The immunities a puppy receives from its mother can interfere with the parvo vaccination, so while it is important to keep up with boosters if you choose to use this route, and while vaccinations certainly do reduce the chances of your dog catching the virus, it is not failsafe, and prevention can go a long way in protecting your dog. My dog is an adult. He can't get parvo anymore, right? While parvo is less common in adult dogs, they can still get and die from parvo. Usually this occurs in dogs with weakened immune systems, but no dog is completely safe. It's not uncommon for adult dogs to contract parvo. It's best to prevent, and be prepared. There is nothing that can fight parvo because it's a virus. We can only hydrate and hope for the best. Another myth. While it's true that there are no traditional, man-made antibiotics to treat a virus, the environment is loaded to the gills with herbs that offer highly effective healing from viral, parasitic, and bacterial infections, including canine parvovirus. Treating a dog with parvo is expensive and requires hospitalization, doesn't it? I can't afford it, so I'll need to put my dog to sleep. Herbal supplements that effectively cause dogs to heal from parvo can be purchased for around $40.00, more for care packs with additional products to help your pet fight dangerous secondary infections, treat the new, more aggressive strain of parvo, or provide healing for parvo's copycat diseases, such as coccidia. Hydration is important too, since most dogs with parvo die of dehydration before organ failure from the virus itself occurs. Gentle use of an oral syringe is effective, or you can ask your vet to provide you with bags of fluid that you can inject under the dog's skin at home. Since we bleached the area where my dog did his business, so we should be safe from reinfection. Unfortunately, the virus is very contagious and very small amounts do serious damage. It is very important to disinfect your entire floor, your yard (it will kill the grass, but better that than your furry baby), the inside of your car, plus anywhere your feet or your dog's feet may have traveled (don't forget the countertop if your furry baby is large and tends to put his front paws up there while searching for goodies). Also, as you've been cleaning up after your dog, the virus has spread to your clothing, items you've touched...it's everywhere. So you'll need to disinfect as best you can, using half a cup of bleach to a gallon of water. This will lighten your carpet and clothes. Also, in order to respond quickly if parvo strikes, you'll need to remain watchful for symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes bloody stool (although a new strain does not necessarily show blood in the stool but rather a gelatinous texture), listlessness, depression, loss of interest in food and then water, and a thin appearance. If you see any of these symptoms, particularly vomiting and diarrhea together, please get your dog to a vet immediately for diagnosis. Put the dog on an effective herbal health aid, and as with any disease, the sooner you address the issue, the greater your chances of succeeding. The new F strain has reportedly been known to kill the same day a dog shows symptoms. This is not an illness where you'd want to to wait and see. Another thing you can do to help your dog is to keep a first aid kit just for him. It should include an antiviral, antibacterial, and antiparasitic health aid, a pain reliever designed just for dogs (many human medications are toxic to them), and other products designed to boost your furry friend's immune system and detoxify him after wormers or vaccinations. Self-closing bandages or bandages with dog-safe closures are good to keep on hand as well, and don't forget to keep this kit with you when you travel or spend time outdoors.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Flea and Tick Prevention

Safety Tips for Using Flea and Tick Products on Pets Flea and tick prevention is an important part of taking good care of your cat or dog. That’s because pets can get a variety of diseases from fleas and ticks. And flea and tick bites can make your pet (and you!) very uncomfortable. But flea and tick preventives contain substances that can be harmful if not handled properly, so it’s important to know how to use these products safely. When to Use Flea and Tick Control Products When should you treat your cat or dog with flea or tick products? It depends on where you live. Fleas are worst during warm weather months, but they can live inside all year long. Spring and summer can also be the worst time for ticks. In some areas of the U.S., they survive year-round. If you see signs of fleas or ticks on your pet, be sure to treat them right away. Otherwise, start treating at the beginning of flea or tick season. Types of Flea and Tick Prevention Many products are available for flea control in cats and dogs. Some products also prevent ticks or other pests. The most popular products for their effectiveness and ease of use are the topical or ''spot-on'' treatments (applied between the shoulder blades) and oral medications. Flea and tick preventives also come in the form of dips, shampoos, collars, and foggers or sprays. Flea and Tick Prevention: Medication Safety Guidelines 1. Check with your vet before using flea and tick products, even if you purchase them over the counter. This is especially important for elderly or sick pets, puppies or kittens, pets who are on other medications, or pets who are pregnant or nursing. For these and pets that have had reactions to tick and flea products, your vet may suggest using a flea comb instead to pick up fleas, eggs, and ticks. Deposit them in hot, soapy water. 2. Read and carefully follow instructions when using flea and tick products. Do not use dog products on cats or cat products on dogs. Cats are very sensitive to insecticides – a few drops of a spot-on treatment designed for dogs can be fatal to a cat. Only apply the amount needed for the size of your cat or dog. Never double up on products – applying powders in addition to spot-on products, for example. 3. Wear gloves or wash your hands with soap and water after applying a flea and tick preventive. Be sure to follow the instructions for proper storage and disposal of packaging. 4. When applying spray or spot-on flea and tick preventives, keep pets separate while the product dries. This will keep them from grooming each other and swallowing the chemicals. 5. After applying a product, watch your cat or dog for signs of a reaction, especially if it’s the first time you’re using it. Call your vet if your pet has symptoms such as: Poor appetite Vomiting or diarrhea Excessive salivation Depression If you cat or dog has a bad reaction to flea and tick products such as spot-ons, sprays, or powders, immediately bathe your pet thoroughly with soap and water and follow any instructions from the package insert. Call your vet and report problems to the National Pesticide Information Center at 1-800-858-7378. We at A Caring Heart offer multiple products ask at your next visit!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Heat Stroke in Dogs

Heat stroke is an emergency and requires immediate treatment. Because dogs do not sweat (except to a minor degree through their foot pads), they do not tolerate high environmental temperatures as well as humans do. Dogs depend upon panting to exchange warm air for cool air. But when air temperature is close to body temperature, cooling by panting is not an efficient process.
  • Common situations that can set the stage for heat stroke in dogs include:
  • Being left in a car in hot weather
  • Exercising strenuously in hot, humid weather
  • Being a brachycephalic breed, especially a Bulldog, Pug, or Pekingese
  • Suffering from a heart or lung disease that interferes with efficient breathing
  • Being muzzled while put under a hair dryer
  • Suffering from a high fever or seizures
  • Being confined on concrete or asphalt surfaces
  • Being confined without shade and fresh water in hot weather
  • Having a history of heat stroke
Heat stroke begins with heavy panting and difficulty breathing. The tongue and mucous membranes appear bright red. The saliva is thick and tenacious, and the dog often vomits. The rectal temperature rises to 104° to 110°F (40° to 43.3°C). The dog becomes progressively unsteady and passes bloody diarrhea. As shocksets in, the lips and mucous membranes turn gray. Collapse, seizures, coma, and death rapidly ensue.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Employee Spotlight: Jorden

Meet Jorden our office manager. She was born in Wichita Falls. Went to school and earned her degree at Oklahoma University for Interdisiplinary Studies. She enjoys spending time with her family and two dogs Gus and Lincoln and her cat Luna. She enjoys volunteering with her church doing mission work. Come see her smiling face soon!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

We now carry Iverhart Maxx!!!

Iverhart Max kills the immature form of the heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) in dogs and puppies. It is also used for the treatment and control of hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum, A. brasiliense, and Uncinaria stenocephala), roundworms (ascarids - Toxocara canis, Toxascaris leonina) and tapeworms.
Who is it for?
For dogs and puppies 8 weeks of age and over. The safe use of this product has not been evaluated in pregnant or nursing dogs.
What are the benefits?
*Monthly oral heartworm preventive medication for dogs and puppies 8 weeks and over

Also used for the treatment and control of hookworms, roundworms and tapeworms *Flavored chewable tablets are palatable to your pet
How does Iverhart Max work?
Iverhart Max is used in the prevention, control, and treatment of various worm infections. Iverhart Max contains three active ingredients: ivermectin, which interferes with the parasite's nerve transmission, causing paralysis and death of the immature heartworms (larvae); and pyrantel pamoate which also interferes with nerve transmission in worms, causing paralysis and death of roundworms and hookworms. Death of intestinal worms occurs when they are passed into the environment. Praziquantel, the third ingredient is thought to damage the parasite's skin causing death of the tapeworm.
Is there a generic equivalent available?
How is it given?
Iverhart Max must be administered monthly, preferably on the same date each month. Drs. Foster and Smith recommends (and our guarantee requires) that Iverhart Max be given year round, although some veterinarians may recommend giving it only during the mosquito season. If given seasonally, the first dose must be given within 30 days of the dog's first exposure to mosquitoes. The last dose must be given within 30 days after the dog's last exposure to mosquitoes.
Most dogs like the taste of Iverheart Max and will accept the chewable tablet as a treat. The chewable should be administered in a manner that encourages the dog to chew, rather than to swallow without chewing. Iverhart Max Chewables may be broken into pieces and fed to dogs that normally swallow treats whole. Care should be taken that the dog consumes the complete dose, and treated animals should be observed for a few minutes after administration to ensure that part of the dose is not lost or rejected. If not entirely consumed, give another full recommended dose as soon as possible.
What results can I expect?
Iverhart Max will kill the immature heartworms the dog was exposed to in the preceding month. It will treat an intestinal infection with adult hookworms, tapeworms and roundworms.
What form(s) does it come in?
Chewable Tablet