All posts by Heather M

Running With Your Dog

Have you ever considered taking your dog running with you? It’s great exercise, both for yourself and your canine companion! Going on a run with your dog is more complicated than simply clipping on the leash and heading outside, though. Learn more below:

Breed Considerations

Before going on a run with your pooch, take his or her breed into consideration. Brachycephalic dogs—breeds with “squashed” faces like pugs, bulldogs, Boston terriers, and the Pekingese—don’t do well when they’re over-exerted, especially in hot weather. It’s safest to avoid going on runs with these types of breeds altogether.

Muscly dogs like pit bulls and boxers, and even the Greyhound which we classically associate with running, aren’t necessarily built for long-distance. These breeds prefer to sprint rather than jog over a long period of time.

In general, the best dogs for jogging and/or long-distance running are Labradors, Retrievers, Border collies, pointers, and similar breeds. Certain small dogs, like the Chihuahua and Shih Tzu, can also make good running partners.

Check With Your Vet

Always check with your veterinary professional before taking your dog running with you. Even athletic dogs who are well-built for long-distance running may have certain health factors that prevent them from running safely. Age is another consideration; if your dog is elderly, they simply don’t have the stamina to run for miles on end. Your veterinarian can also give you advice on proper running gear for dogs and tell you how to prepare your pooch for long-distance treks.

Choosing a Route

Softer surfaces like grass or dirt will be a bit easier on your dog’s paws, joints, and paw pads than hard pavement or concrete. Plus, pavement can heat up dramatically in hot weather, potentially scorching your dog’s feet. Try to avoid gravel surfaces, as pieces can get lodged painfully between your dog’s toes. Do your best to choose a route without a lot of traffic.

During Your Run

Rule number one for running with your dog: take it slow at first, and don’t overdo it. Give your dog frequent breaks, especially early on. If you see your canine companion becoming tired or if they’re lagging behind, it’s time to stop. It’s also a good idea to bring along a bottle of water for your dog to prevent dehydration, but don’t give them too much at once.

For more information on running with your dog, contact your vet’s office.

Tips for Saving on Pet Care

Wouldn’t we all like to save a little money now and again when it comes to pet care? The trick is doing this without slighting your animal companion’s health and wellness! Here, your Georgetown, IN veterinarian offers a few tips.

Adopt, Don’t Shop

Saving money when it comes to pets can happen before you even own one—instead of purchasing a pet from a pet store or breeder, consider adopting one from a shelter. The cost of adopting a pet is almost always far less than a breeder’s rate, and you’ll be saving a life!

Preventative Care

Preventing a problem before it begins isn’t just smart—it’s cost effective. Have your pet stay up-do-date on pest preventatives to ward off fleas, ticks, and dangerous worms. Also make sure Fido or Fluffy has received their essential vaccinations to protect against disease. By taking these preventative steps, you’re saving yourself the cost and hassle of treating a problem after the fact. Remember: prevention is almost always far cheaper than treatment!

Portion Control

Make sure to feed your pet in proper portion sizes. By overfeeding your four-legged friend, you’re wasting food, meaning that you’ll have to purchase more kibble more frequently. You’re also contributing to obesity, which will be costly and difficult to correct down the road! Take a look at your pet’s food packaging, or ask your veterinarian for advice on the perfect portion size for your animal companion.

Spay and Neuter

Spaying and neutering is one of the best things you’ll ever do for your pet’s health. It’s also a great way to save money. That’s because the spaying and neutering procedure eliminates the risk of genital cancers from developing, and it greatly reduces the chance of other cancers like breast and prostate cancer from occurring. Even common ailments like UTIs aren’t as likely to occur in pets who have had the procedure done. By avoiding these problems, you’re avoiding the expensive bills that come with treatment.

Skip the Extras

Let’s face it—your pet doesn’t really know, much less care, if she’s wearing a name-brand clothing item or a designer collar. Indulgences like these are fun every once in a while, but overdoing it is only wasting your hard-earned cash. Stick to the basics; your pet won’t mind!

Does your pet need vaccinations or pest-control medicines? Would you like to set up a veterinary exam? Call your Georgetown, IN vet.

Vaccines for Your Puppy

August is Immunization Awareness Month. If you’ve recently adopted a puppy or plan on adding one to your home soon, vaccines will be an essential step toward a lifetime of great health! Below, your Georgetown, IN veterinarian goes over the basics that you need to know.

What Vaccinations Do Puppies Need?

All puppies will need what are known as the core vaccines; these are given to all pups because of the dangerous and/or contagious types of diseases they protect against. Distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, hepatitis, and rabies are some of the most common. Ask your veterinarian for further specifics on these diseases and how exactly vaccinations help to protect your dog.

Are There Non-Core Vaccinations?

Yes, non-core vaccinations are also administered to most puppies. As the name implies, they’re not essential for all dogs but may benefit some; it depends on factors like risk of exposure, environmental elements, and others. The Bordetella vaccine and the Lyme disease vaccination are just two examples. For information on the non-core vaccinations that your puppy might benefit from, call your vet’s office today.

Puppies can usually begin receiving vaccinations as early as eight weeks of age. Talk to your veterinarian if your pup hasn’t already received vaccines, or if you’re unsure about what particular vaccines your dog requires.

Is There Any Risk of Side Effects?

Vaccines are extremely safe and are a very effective way to ward off dangerous diseases. Since a vaccine is introducing a small strain of disease to your pup’s system, however, it can occasionally cause minor side effects. Usually, these include general soreness or a possible low-grade fever, and they’ll usually dissipate on their own in a day or two. If you think your puppy is reacting adversely to a vaccination, let your veterinarian know.

What About Booster Shots?

Most of your puppy’s vaccines will require booster shots to keep them effective over the course of your dog’s lifetime. These are most often given on a yearly basis, although some vaccines only require booster shots every few years. Talk to your veterinarian for further specifics, and ask about setting up a convenient booster-shot schedule.

How Do I Get My Puppy Started?

Does your puppy need core or non-core vaccinations? Do you have more questions about the vaccines your puppy needs for a happy, healthy life? We’re here to help! Set up an appointment right away at your Georgetown, IN animal hospital.

Pet Food Safety Tips

Does your furry friend come running when it’s time for dinner? If there’s one thing our four-legged buddies have in common, it’s an appreciation for good food. Making sure that your beloved pet is eating a nourishing, nutritious diet is very important. Read on as a local vet offers some great pet food safety tips.

Choosing The Right Brand

Reading pet food labels can be both tricky and frustrating. With so many different brands to choose from, how do you choose the one that’s best for your furry pal? Reading the ingredients label is key. There are a few things that can help make this a bit easier. Since pet food labels list ingredients according to proportion, the first ingredient listed is the one that the food contains the most of. Look for brands that list meat as the first and most numerous ingredient. You’ll also want to look for ingredients you can actually identify.

Storage

Just like human food, pet food can spoil quickly if it isn’t kept properly. Dry food lasts longer than kibble, but even dry foods can grow dangerous mold and bacteria if they are damp or stored incorrectly. Keep your furry buddy’s food in a clean, dry area. While you can refrigerate leftover wet food, if you leave it in the can, it may not taste very good. Storing your four-legged friend’s food in glass or Tupperware containers can help keep it fresh. If you buy Fido’s kibble in bulk, you can use a storage tote, but be sure to choose one that closes securely, and replace it when it starts to look worn. Plastic cracks as it ages, and those tiny crevices can make very inviting homes for harmful bacteria.

Pet Food Recalls

Recalls are, unfortunately, not uncommon with either pet food or people food these days. While there is no way to completely protect against the chances of picking up a bad product, you can stay on top of things by monitoring pet food recalls.

General Tips

Always pay attention to your pet’s food. If it smells or looks off, don’t take chances: discard it, and give Fido or Fluffy something else.

Do you have questions about your pet’s health, care, or diet? Call us! As your local animal clinic, we are here to serve all of your pet’s veterinary care needs.

How Animal Hospital of Lanesville LLC is Making a Difference, One Kiva Loan at a Time

At Animal Hospital of Lanesville LLC, we consider ourselves much more than just an animal clinic. Sure, our goal is to help local pet parents keep their animal family members happy and healthy. In addition, our mission is to also help as many people in this world as we possibly can. You see, we want to do more than just change the way vet care is delivered. We want to change the world for the better.

We know that with every client that we assist, we are improving the lives of pets. We are also making a significant impact on the lives of others across the globe through our ongoing commitment to Kiva loans.

Kiva is a non-profit organization that facilitates the lending of micro loans to help people around the world create opportunities for themselves, their families and their communities.

Our own team members are encouraged to select the loan recipients they’d like to support. Being able to read the stories of the various recipients and how they feel a loan will change their lives is an incredibly inspirational experience for all of us at Animal Hospital of Lanesville LLC.

Examples of some of the more recent loans funded include:

  • Saripuddin from Indonesia so that he can purchase farm inputs to continue to improve his farming business.
  • Benicia from Peru so she can to continue to sell textiles, clothing, and footwear.
  • Carlos from Ecuador bought calves, vitamins and rock salt so he can continue preserving his business and bringing the daily bread to his home.
  • Recelia from the Philippines raises pigs and was able to purchase medicines and vaccines for them.
  • Magdalena and her group from Guatemala are investing in their businesses growing and selling tomatoes, onions, peppers, corn and green beans.
  • Sonali and her group from India were able to purchase raw materials to expand their vegetable vending business.

From the very beginning, we have always felt this is what animal health care should be all about… making a real impact, having fun, and helping people and pets along the way. Together we’re making as big a positive impact in the world as possible.

Tips on Finding a Lost Cat

It’s a scenario none of us want to imagine—your beloved feline friend escapes out the front door or manages to slink out the back while no one’s looking. What do you do when you discover that your cat is lost? Here are a few tips for helping to increase the odds that your pet is returned quickly and safely:

In the Yard

If you know that your indoor cat has escaped into your yard or the immediate area around your home, act quickly. Head outside with a bag of treats or a can of cat food. Do this quietly; clapping or shouting your cat’s name may only frighten them further and could cause them to dart away. It’s likely that your cat is hiding nearby, so calmly stand still in your yard and shake the treat bag or open the can of food. If your cat doesn’t come back shortly, be patient. Try again shortly after midnight, as many cats are likely to come out under cover of darkness in the early morning hours.

Hit the Pavement

Create fliers for your lost cat, complete with a recent photograph. Head around town and staple the fliers to telephone poles. Ask permission to post fliers at your local grocery stores, the post office, small businesses, restaurants, etc. You can also ask mailmen, paper delivery boys, and other folks who walk through the neighborhood if they’ve seen any sign of your lost pet.

Spread the Word

Call veterinarian’s offices and animal shelters in your area and let them know your cat has escaped, and check to see if they will allow you to hang a flier in their offices. Often, lost cats will be dropped off at these locations. You can also try placing a notice in the lost-and-found section of your local newspaper offering a reward for your cat’s return.

Prevention Tips

Of course, it’s best to prevent a lost cat in the first place if you can. Make sure Fluffy is microchipped and wears up-to-date ID tags. Pay attention when you leave home or return so that your cat doesn’t have a chance to slip outside.

A final tip: be patient. Runaway cats have been known to return home all by themselves days, weeks, or even months after the fact!

Would you like further advice on what to do if your pet gets lost? We’re here to help—call today.

Probiotics for Pets

You’ve heard of antibiotics—these medicines destroy or stop the growth of harmful microorganisms in both human and animal patients. You may not be familiar with probiotics, though! Although probiotics have been commonplace in human medicine for a while now, the use of probiotics for our furry friends is still a relatively new pursuit. Read on to find out more.

What Exactly Are Probiotics?

A probiotic is a beneficial microbe—a bacteria or yeast—that lives in a pet’s digestive tract (either in the small or large intestine). Think of probiotics as “friendly” microbes that help to keep “bad” microbes at bay. Millions of these organisms live in your pet’s digestive tract, and probiotics work to help digest food, manufacture vitamins and other nutrients, and fight off pathogens. Probiotics can ultimately help the immune system to function better.

Probiotics that are prescribed to pets may take several forms. Some come in a yogurt or kefir product, while some may come in capsule or chew form. Still others are crushed into powder or are included in packaged dog food.

Why Are Probiotics Prescribed to Pets?

In a general sense, probiotics are prescribed to pets to maintain the proper intestinal microbial balance; this means that they help to maintain the balance between healthy and disease-causing microbes residing in your pet’s gut. When this balance is disrupted, your pet may experience diarrhea, cramping, gas, and other digestive-health symptoms. Probiotics help to restore that balance, reducing or preventing symptoms in the long run.

Veterinarians may prescribe a probiotic supplement to a pet in order to help manage or correct infections, parasitic infestations, colitis, or any other health issue that causes digestive disorders. Another common ailment that probiotics may be prescribed to correct is stress—dogs, in particular, may develop diarrhea and cramping as a result of stress, and some studies indicate that probiotic supplementation may work to prevent or
at least lessen the problem.

Does My Pet Need a Probiotic?

You may be wondering if your beloved animal companion needs a probiotic to live a healthy, happy life. Here’s a general rule to follow: don’t purchase and administer a probiotic to your pet without first consulting your veterinarian. Working together, you and your veterinarian can decide whether or not a probiotic supplement may be beneficial for your pet’s health and well-being.

Do you have more questions about probiotics and your pet? Call us today!

Dealing With Your Cat’s Dull Coat

Cats are excellent self-groomers. They spend hours cleaning themselves in order to look their best! With that being said, it’s not uncommon for our feline friends to experience dull coats every now and then.

Here’s what to do if you think your cat’s coat of fur is looking a little lackluster:

See Your Veterinarian

The first thing you should do when you suspect your cat of an unhealthy coat is set up an appointment at your veterinarian’s office. It’s possible that medical issues—skin infections, parasitic infestations, allergies, even serious diseases like diabetes—could be the root cause of your cat’s less-than-stellar appearance! You’ll want to have any serious medical concerns addressed before moving on to other solutions.

Improve Kitty’s Diet

A poor diet is one of the leading causes of dull coats in cats. Just like humans, cats require the right balance of proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and fats from the diet in order to have healthy skin and hair. A low-quality food with a lot of “filler” material is sure to cause a dull, coarse coat of fur. Often, switching your cat to a premium diet that is appropriate for her age and body condition is all that’s needed to return the coat to normal. Consult your vet for a recommendation, and be sure to ask about transitioning between foods.

Groom Regularly

Some of our feline friends aren’t as good at grooming themselves as others. This is especially true of obese cats, who may not be able to reach certain areas of their body, and older animals who can’t twist and turn as easily in order to lick and scratch themselves. In these instances, you’ll have to give your cat a helping hand in the grooming department. Run a brush made just for cats through the coat on a daily basis; this helps remove loose hair and spreads essential skin oils through the coat to keep fur moisturized naturally.

Avoid Over-Bathing

Bathing your cat too frequently can dry out their skin, leading to a dry coat and an increase in shedding. Many veterinarians recommend bathing your feline friend only when she gets into something grimy or greasy. When you do give your pet a bath, make sure to use a feline-formulated shampoo and conditioning rinse.

Do you need help dealing with your cat’s dull coat? Call us today—we’re here to serve all of your veterinary care needs.

Helping Your Get Through Mosquito Season

Hot weather tends to bring with it a few pet hazards, one of which is outdoor pests. Mosquitoes are more than just a nuisance to us humans—they can bite our canine companions as well! Read on to find out more about the dangers these pests pose and how to keep your four-legged friend safe from harm.

Mosquito Bites

A dog’s coat of fur does offer some protection against mosquito bites, but mosquitoes can still bite our dogs on areas of exposed skin like that on the nose or ear edges. Bites may result in an irritating red bump, similar to what would appear on human skin. The greater danger, though, is the diseases that mosquitoes can carry.

Dangers of Mosquitoes

The chief danger of mosquitoes to our canine friends is heartworm disease. Heartworm is a serious condition, spread by mosquitoes, that affects millions of pets every year. When a mosquito carrying the heartworm larvae bites your dog, the larvae is passed into your dog’s tissue, where it proceeds to grow into parasitic adult worms. From there, your dog’s arteries, lungs, and heart are affected. Associated symptoms include coughing, weakness, vomiting, and trouble breathing.

Heartworm disease is the main concern when it comes to mosquitoes and our dogs, but other diseases can be spread by these pests as well. Although very rare in dogs, West Nile Virus, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), and other diseases can be transmitted through mosquito bites.

Dealing with Mosquitoes

First and foremost, keep your dog on a year-round heartworm preventative. This essential healthcare step is your dog’s first line of defense against mosquitoes and the main danger they present: heartworm disease. If your dog isn’t already on a heartworm
preventative, set up an appointment at your vet’s office promptly.

There are other steps you can take to minimize the risk of mosquitoes biting your dog in the first place. First, remove any sources of standing water around your property; mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. Outfit your home with sturdy window screens to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside. Don’t allow your dog to explore marsh areas—where mosquitoes thrive—and keep them indoors during the early morning and early evening hours, when mosquitoes tend to be most active.

If you have questions about protecting your dog from mosquitoes and the diseases they carry, contact your veterinarian’s office. We’re here to help with all of your pet-care needs!

Spotlight on the Sphynx Cat

The Sphynx cat, with its hairless body, large ears, and wide eyes, is certainly one of the most unique feline breeds to be found anywhere. These distinctive animals also make wonderful pets—what’s not to love? Learn more about the Sphynx cat’s history, personality, and care requirements below.

Origins

Although there are records of hairless cats as far back as the early 1900s, the origins of the modern Sphynx cat date to 1966. It was then that a pair of domestic shorthair cats in Toronto, Canada produced a litter with a hairless kitten, thanks to a random genetic mutation. In the following decades, breeders across North America and Europe began pairing hairless cats to “perfect” the breed, leading to a modern Sphynx breed that is stable and vigorous with a large gene pool.

Physical Features

The most noticeable physical characteristic of the Sphynx cat is, of course, its hairlessness. You may be surprised to learn, though, that not all Sphynxes are completely hairless—most of these cats have a fine down, or fuzz, covering the body. Sphynxes’ skin pigmentation is what gives them their color, rather than the fur color itself as is the case with most cat breeds.

Sphynx cats are medium- to large-sized and boast big, open ears that are somewhat reminiscent of bat ears. The eyes are wide-set and open, giving the Sphynx a friendly, inquisitive appearance. Sphynx cats are also noted for their wrinkles, which are usually most prominent around the shoulders, between the ears, and near the muzzle.

Personality

Sphynx cats have a hearty appetite and a high metabolism; this means that they are typically very energetic. You’re likely to see a Sphynx climbing, jumping, and performing acrobatic maneuvers that other cats wouldn’t attempt! Sphynxes love attention and are curious, inquisitive animals. They’re also very intelligent and friendly—they’re an excellent choice for families with young children or other pets.

Care

The Sphynx is generally a very healthy breed, and there are no specific health problems that they’re predisposed to. Sphynxes’ dietary and care needs are similar to other cats, with one notable exception: skin care. Sphynxes will require regular bathing (at least once a week) to remove the build-up of body oil that isn’t absorbed by fur. They’ll also need proper sun protection if they venture outdoors.

Would you like further insight into these fascinating cats? Call today to learn more about the Sphynx!