All posts by James

External Parasites That Harm Cats

If you own a cat, proper parasite control is important not only for your feline friend’s health, but for your family’s—some of these pests can be transmitted from cats to humans! External parasites live on your cat’s body and feed off of blood or tissue. Below, learn more about external pests and how to keep your cat safe from harm.

Fleas

Fleas are tiny brown-colored parasites that cause skin irritation, allergies, and even more serious problems like anemia in severe cases. To make matters worse, fleas can jump several feet, possibly jumping off of your cat and infesting surfaces, items, and other pets or family members in your home.

If you’ve noticed your cat scratching themselves more than usual, or if there are visible black particles underneath your pet’s fur (these are flea droppings!), make an appointment at the vet’s office. A flea treatment will be prescribed—shampoos, liquids or gels applied to the skin and fur, a flea collar, oral tablets, and other products are available—and your cat will be put on a flea preventative after the infestation is over.

Ticks

Ticks latch on to your cat’s skin and draw out blood, growing larger the longer they remain. They can transmit many dangerous diseases, including Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Ticks can also be brought indoors on your cat and then infest other pets or human family members. Luckily, they’re easily prevented with simple precautions; keep your cat on a high-quality flea-and-tick preventative, and check your cat’s body regularly for ticks if they venture outdoors.

Lice

Lice are another type of external parasite that can hurt your cat, although it’s a far less common problem than flea or tick infestations. These tiny parasites, like fleas, cause skin irritation and can even lead to cases of anemia without treatment. Eradication involves applying shampoos or other topical products that kill off both lice and lice eggs on your cat’s body.

Mites

There are various types of mites, including some that live normally on your cat’s skin and don’t cause any problems. When an infestation occurs, your cat will suffer from irritated skin and possible hair loss. Medications to eradicate mites will need to be given for several weeks if your cat is found to be suffering from an infestation.

To learn more about keeping your cat—and family—safe from parasites, call your vet’s office today!

Meet the AKC’s Newest Breed: The Azawakh

The ‘puparazzi’ are all buzzing about the latest dog news: the AKC has just welcomed another new breed into their ranks. The Azawakh (pronounced Oz-a-wok) was formally inducted on January 1, 2019. This brings the total number of AKC-recognized breeds to 193, including the 2018 inductees: the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje and the Grand Basset Griffon Vandeen. In this article, a local vet discusses the Azawakh.

History

The Azawakh is actually an ancient breed, having originated in West Africa. They were first bred as guard dogs, companions, and hunters by the blue-clad Tuareg nomads, who cherish and love their canine friends. Long-legged and elegant, the Azawakh is a sighthound, hunting by sight rather than scent. In fact, their name means ‘Sighthound of the free people’ in the Tuareg language. Quick and hardy, these fast pooches are renowned at hunting antelope, wild boars, hares, and other game.

Physique

The Azawakh has a unique, elegant appearance. They have long legs and a short, fine coat, which only needs occasional grooming. These lovable pooches come in all colors and color combinations, from black and brown to fawn to brindle. Sometimes, they have a black ‘mask’ on their faces, and/or white markings on their legs, chest, or tails.

Training

Azawakhs are both smart and independent, so proper training is a must. Socialization is also very important. It’s worth noting that they are quite proud, and don’t do well with negative reinforcement. To keep things positive–and keep that tail wagging–focus on rewarding Fido for being good.

Diet

The Azawakh doesn’t have any specific dietary needs, so a good, high-quality dog food will do fine. You do have to be careful not to overfeed Fido, however. These friendly pups do tend to gain weight easily, and are at risk of becoming obese. Ask your vet for specific nutritional advice, including portion sizes.

Temperament

Azawakhs are quite affectionate and lovable, and become very attached to their owners. Though they have a sweet, calm, demeanor, they are quite energetic, and need regular exercise to stay healthy. These dogs make great pets for joggers! However, you may need to urge Fido to keep moving: left alone, your canine buddy will probably opt to just take a nap.

Please feel free to contact us, your local vet clinic, for all of your furry friend’s veterinary care needs. We are dedicated to offering great care!

Caring For Your Pet as They Age

While the exact age that your pet is considered “old” can vary depending on species, size, and breed, one thing is for sure: our animal companions need our love and care as they get older! As your pet enters their senior years, there are several things you can do to make sure that they stay happy and healthy.

Frequent Veterinary Visits

One of the best ways to make sure your senior pet stays in good shape is by having them examined at the veterinarian’s office regularly. This way, health concerns can be found early and treated quickly. Plus, your vet can offer tips on continuing to keep your aging pet in good health as time goes on.

Senior Nutrition

Senior pets’ nutritional needs are different than those of younger animals. Older pets might need diets that are easier to digest, and they often benefit from diets with specially formulated nutrient levels or anti-aging properties. Ask your veterinarian if your pet is ready to be given a senior formula, and ask for tips on transitioning your pet from the old diet to the new.

Preventative Care

Just because your pet has gotten older doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t need preventative care! Vaccinations and pest-control medications are just as important now as they ever have been—since older pets’ immune systems tend to be weaker than those of younger pets, a serious disease or a pest infestation can sideline your aging pet’s health before you know it. Consult your vet right away if your pet needs vaccinations or parasite control medicines.

Appropriate Exercise

Exercise is important for your pet’s health throughout life, but it’s especially critical in the senior years. Light exercise helps your pet’s entire body remain more mobile, and it helps keep muscle mass at appropriate levels and also avoids dangerous obesity. Ask your veterinarian what kind of exercise will keep your pet’s body in great shape without over-exerting them.

Mental Stimulation

Keeping your pet stimulated mentally is another key step for maintaining good health in the senior years. Many older companions begin to suffer from cognitive dysfunction—think of it as your pet’s version of Alzheimer’s disease—and mental stimulation can help to avoid it for as long as possible. Play with your pet regularly, and try puzzle toys to give the mind a good workout.

For more tips, contact your vet’s office. We’re here to help!

Cinco De Meow

Did you know there’s a cute kitty holiday coming up? You may know of May 5th as Cinco de Mayo. The official holiday commemorates Mexico’s victory over Napoleon during the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862. However, for our feline friends, it’s now also Cinco de Meow! Every year, we’re seeing more and more animal shelters and charities celebrate the day by offering adoption events. It’s always a good time to help and/or adopt kitties in need. We love seeing cats go to great homes, so we are more than happy to support this great cause. Read on as a local vet discusses this new holiday.

How To Help

There are far too many kitties in shelters, who desperately need good homes. If you are ready to adopt a new cat, this is a great time to do that! Just make sure that you are ready to commit to caring for Fluffy for her entire life. Adopting a pet is a serious, long-term commitment!

Other Ways To Help

Even if you aren’t quite ready to adopt a kitty just yet, you can still help other pets in need. Donations of money or supplies are always welcome. If you are willing to make a bigger commitment, you may want to consider fostering. This isn’t for everyone, but it can be a great way to help our feline pals. Ask your local shelter or animal charity for more information. You can also just share posts about kitties that need good homes. Every little bit helps!

Purrito

While this is a great time to help cats that need homes, there’s no reason you can’t spoil your own feline buddy a bit. Give Fluffy some fish tacos by offering her some plain whitefish with a little spinach and some cilantro. (Your cat probably won’t mind if you skip the actual tacos.) You can also turn your furball into a purrito by making her a little kitty tunnel out of a paper grocery bag. Or, get her a cute pet tent. Your feline buddy will also be pleased with toys, treats, kitty furniture, and, of course, attention. Take time to play with your furry friend, and let her snooze on your lap if she wants!

Please contact us, your local vet clinic, for all of your cat’s veterinary care needs. We are dedicated to offering great veterinary care.

The Building Blocks of Your Pet’s Nutrition

Proper nutrition is a must for any healthy pet. Modern pet foods are specially formulated to give great nutrition to your companion, and there are plenty of options out there. In the end, though, your pet’s nutrition comes down to the basic building blocks—you’ll find that the nutrients that your pet needs are many of the same ones that you do! Let’s take a closer look at the building blocks of your pet’s nutrition.

Protein

Protein is essential for building all of your pet’s bodily tissues. That’s why diets made for young pets—puppy and kitten formulas—are typically very high in protein; it promotes healthy tissue and muscle development as a young pet grows. A high-protein diet might also be appropriate for a pregnant dog or cat, as they need extra protein to safely deliver their litter.

Carbohydrates

Your pet’s body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, a simple sugar that provides energy. Carbs are the “fuel” for the body’s cells—they’re what keeps your animal friend going! Foods like rice and potatoes are high in carbohydrates, and are therefore included in pet food formulas often.

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is also key for a pet’s good health. Insoluble fiber works to regulate glucose levels by slowing the absorption of sugar into your pet’s bloodstream. Fiber also helps your pet to feel full—it’s no accident that many weight-loss diets for pets are high in fiber!

Fats

Just like humans, pets need proper fats to stay healthy. It’s another important component for providing your pet with energy. The fat that your pet’s system doesn’t use for physical activity will be stored in the body to be used as a reserve.

High-energy pets will need more fat in the diet to retain high activity levels. A working ranch dog, for instance, needs more fat in their diet than an aging housecat does. Ask your veterinarian if your pet’s fat levels are appropriate for their needs.

Vitamins and Minerals

Of course, your pet also needs essential vitamins and minerals, as well as fatty acids, amino acids, and other nutrients, for proper nutrition throughout life. High-quality pet foods are made with just the right amounts of vitamins and minerals to keep your pet healthy for a lifetime.

Want to know more about your pet’s nutrition? Need a recommendation on a great diet choice? Call us today to learn more.

Key Vaccinations for Dogs

One very important part of dog ownership is making sure your dog stays up to date on his vaccinations. This is actually required by law in many places, and with good reason. Vaccinations help build your pup’s immune system, protecting him from dangerous and deadly diseases. They also help curb the spread of infectious disease. Because some diseases—such as rabies—can be transmitted to people, human safety is also a factor. In this article, a vet discusses important vaccines for dogs.

Core Vaccines

There are four main vaccines, generally called core vaccines, which all dogs should have. These are canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis, and rabies. Canine parvovirus—or parvo, as it is sometimes called—is a deadly disease that affects dogs’ gastrointestinal systems. It is extremely contagious, and can be spread very easily, even without direct dog-to-dog contact. Puppies are at high risk, as are unvaccinated dogs. Distemper is another dangerous virus. It can affect dogs’ gastrointestinal, respiratory, and central nervous systems. Canine hepatitis is an acute liver infection, which is transmitted through body fluids, such as blood and saliva. The rabies vaccine is also crucial. Many people don’t realize that rabies has a 100% fatality rate in people once symptoms begin to show. It’s extremely fatal for dogs as well.

Non-Core Vaccines

In addition to the core vaccines, your vet may recommend a few other vaccines, depending on your dog’s exposure risk. These vaccines—known as non-core vaccines—include vaccines for Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi, and Leptospira bacteria. Bordetella affects dogs’ respiratory system, and is often known as kennel cough. You may not know the term Borrelia burgdorferi, but you may be familiar with it regardless. It is the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease, which, as you may know, is generally tick-borne. Leptospira bacteria causes Leptospirosis, an infectious disease that can affect both pets and people.

Vaccination Schedule

Fido’s vaccinations should start when he is about 6 to 8 weeks old. Typically, they are administered in groups, and are given every 3 to 4 weeks until puppies are about 4 months old. Once your dog is an adult, he should only need booster shots. Some of these should be given yearly, while others may only be needed every few years. Ask your vet to recommend an appointment schedule.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns about vaccinations, or about your dog’s health or care. We’re always here to help!

Tips for Keeping an Indoor Cat Happy

Do you keep your cat indoors? If, so, that’s great! There are many benefits to keeping Fluffy inside. She’ll be much less likely to ingest toxic chemicals, such as fertilizer and antifreeze. You’ll also greatly reduce the risk of her getting lost, and keep her safe from cars, predators, and other hazards. Last but not least, you won’t have to deal with your pet leaving you gifts on your doorstep. However, indoor cats don’t get as much activity or stimulation as outdoor cats, so you’ll need to take some steps to keep Fluffy happy and purring. Here, a local Georgetown, IN vet discusses indoor cat care.

Safe Space

Cats may try to make us think that they are fearless and invulnerable, but at the end of the day, they’re very small, and are easily frightened. Make sure Fluffy has a hiding spot in each room. This can be a kitty tent, pet tipi, or an enclosed level of a cat tower. Even a spot behind the couch or under the bed will work.

Scratching Posts

Outdoor cats often use trees as nail-care stations. Indoor kitties, however, need something to scratch. Cat towers are great, but you can also use posts or boards.

Veterinary Care

Even if Fluffy stays indoors, she’ll still need regular veterinary care to stay healthy. Most kitties should come in at least once a year. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Entertainment

We know, Fluffy spends a rather excessive amount of time napping. However, she’ll need entertainment options to amuse herself with when she is awake. Offer your feline friend lots of toys, and play with her every day.

Kitty Garden

Give your cat a little taste of nature by setting out pet-safe plants for her to nibble on and hide behind. You can find a full list of suitable plants online at the ASPCA website here.

Vertical Space

If you don’t have a lot of floor space, consider giving Fluffy some vertical space. Get your kitty a cat tower, or put up a catwalk or some cat shelves.

Live Entertainment

Make sure your furball has at least one comfy spot where she can relax and look out the window. Our feline pals absolutely love birdwatching!

Please reach out to us, your local Georgetown, IN vet clinic, for all of your kitty’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!

Signs of Illness in Dogs

Our canine pals can be pretty expressive when they want to be. Fido doesn’t usually have too much trouble making his point when he needs a walk or wants you to play with him. However, it isn’t always as easy to know when our furry friends aren’t feeling well. In this article, a Georgetown, IN vet lists some signs of illness in dogs.

Bad Breath

Fido will probably never be known for having minty-fresh breath. However, if your pup’s breath could kill plants, he could be sick.

Skin/Coat Trouble

Skin issues, such as crusting, flaking, redness, and scabbing, are also a sign that something is wrong. Fur loss is another red flag.

Loss of Mobility

Noticeable changes in Fido’s mobility and/or range of motion can be signs of illness. This may manifest as limping, trouble climbing stairs, and/or stiffness.

Change In Appetite/Thirst

Man’s Best Friend is usually very, very enthusiastic about his dinner. If Fido has lost his appetite, he could be ill. Sudden increases in appetite can also be indicative of medical issues.

Respiratory Issues

Coughing, wheezing, and gasping are definitely warning signs in our furry buddies. Prolonged and/or unexplained panting is also a red flag, as is shortness of breath.

Sleeping Too Much

Dogs certainly love their naps. In fact, many pooches spend about half their time snoozing. However, if Fido is sleeping more than that, or if you’ve noticed a sudden increase in the amount of time your furry pal spends sleeping, he could be sick.

Change In Eye Appearance

Your four-legged friend’s eyes can tell you quite a bit how he’s feeling. Healthy dogs have clear, bright eyes. If Fido’s peepers look dry, dull, red, watery, or sunken, there may be something going on with him.

Tummy Upsets

While an occasional, isolated incident of vomiting or diarrhea isn’t necessarily uncommon, it’s always best to consult your vet when this happens. Frequent or excessive bouts of tummy troubles are definitely a red flag.

Behavioral Changes

Just like people, dogs don’t always feel very sociable when they are ill. Fido may seem grumpier than usual if he’s sick. He may withdraw, and isolate himself. Your canine buddy may also lose interest in playing, seem restless, and/or vocalize in a different way than usual.

As your local Georgetown, IN vet clinic, we are dedicated to offering great care. Please contact us anytime.

Grooming Your Cat

One great thing about kitties is that they are very good about keeping up with their beauty rituals. However, that doesn’t mean Fluffy can’t use a little help now and then. Here, a Georgetown, IN vet discusses grooming your cat.

Bathing

While you don’t absolutely have to bathe your cat, you can if you want to. Just make sure to check with your vet first, to make sure he or she doesn’t object. (Your cat may very well object, but that’s beside the point.) Start by putting a rubber mat down in the tub or sink. Then, fill it with a few inches of warm—not hot—water. Be sure to use a shampoo that is specifically made for kitties. Lather Fluffy up gently, taking care not to get soap in her eyes, ears, nose, or mouth. Then, rinse her gently with a sink sprayer or teapot. When you’re done, pat your furball dry with a soft towel. She’ll take it from there!

Brushing

Even if you don’t bathe your cat, she will benefit from regular brushing. This will remove dead fur, dander, and dust from her coat, which will help keep her looking and feeling great. Brushing also reduces the risk of hairballs, since you’ll be grabbing that fur with a brush before Fluffy can swallow it. (Bonus: you’ll also find less cat fur everywhere.) Pick a time when your kitty is relaxed, and start by petting her gently. Then, incorporate the brush.

Fur Cuts

Does your kitty have long hair? If so, Fluffy may benefit from having the hair around her bottom trimmed. This will stop litter and waste from getting stuck in her fur. Just be sure to use blunt-end scissors.

Eyes

You really shouldn’t need to do much to your kitty’s eyes, though you should keep them clear of ‘eye boogers.’ Just wipe them away gently with a damp cloth or cotton ball. If your pet’s eyes are often watery, red, or full of gunk, contact your vet: this can be a sign of medical issues.

Ears

To clean Fluffy’s ears, you’ll want to use a soft cotton ball and a pet ear cleaner. Gently wipe Fluffy’s ears clean. Never insert anything into your cat’s ear canal. If you see discharge, tiny black dots, or discolored wax, call your vet.

Please call us, your Georgetown, IN vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!

Autumn Dangers for Dogs

Fall is officially here! All of the seasons have specific hazards for pet parents to be aware of, and autumn is no different. Here, a Georgetown, IN vet discusses autumn dangers for dogs.

Lawn/Garden Chemicals

At this time of year, many people treat their lawns and gardens with pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers. Your pooch could get sick just by licking his paws after walking through an area that was recently treated. Water your property after applying chemicals, so they soak down into the earth. You may also want to wipe your pup’s paws and belly off before you bring him indoors.

Wild Animals

As the weather cools, many wild animals will be searching for spots to hibernate. This can make them rather cranky, and more aggressive than usual. When walking Fido, don’t let him sniff around anything that could be a potential den. Snakes are a particular concern here: they sometimes hide in piles of leaves.

Antifreeze

Antifreeze is extremely dangerous to Man’s Best Friend. It’s highly toxic, and is particularly concerning because many pets like the way it tastes. Clean up any spills right away. If you see stains or damp spots, put cat litter or sand over them.

Plants

Many plants that bloom in autumn are poisonous to dogs. Mushrooms are a common one. Chrysanthemums are also dangerous to pets. And, while Fido may love playing in piles of dead leaves, be careful here: they can harbor mold or bacteria.

Decorations

Autumn decorations have a special whimsical feel, but you do need to be careful with what you put out. Fido is definitely not above trying to eat a cardboard pumpkin! He could also get tangled up in lights or cords. Hang things above your pet’s height, and be sure to secure wires and cords.

Candy

Candy is also dangerous to your furry best friend! Many sweets, such as chocolate, raisins, nuts, and anything containing xylitol, are toxic to Fido. Hard candies are also unsafe, as they present serious choking risks.

Weather

Fido may have a fur coat, but he isn’t immune to cold weather. Limit your pet’s outdoor time on cold days, and make sure he has a warm bed. If your pooch has thin fur, get him some doggy clothes for frigid days.

Please call us, you Georgetown, IN vet clinic, for all your dog’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!