There are many different threats that our pets face in everyday life, from cars on the road to aggressive dogs, and even parasites. While parasites are a common cause of disease in dogs, many dog owners are ill-informed about parasites and the different threats that face your pup.
While many people know a lot about the external parasites like fleas and ticks, there are many intestinal parasites that can cause significant health problems.
So what are these dangerous intestinal parasites?
Intestinal parasites live inside the host animal’s gastrointestinal tract. Examples include roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, tapeworms and protozoa.
How does my dog get these intestinal parasites?
There are many different ways that dogs can contract intestinal parasites, they are often transmitted when an animal mistakenly ingests parasite eggs in different situations. Some of these threats include contaminated soil, water, feces or food. In the case of tapeworms, they can also be transmitted if a dog ingests an infected flea. Puppies can also get them from their parents, through utero or nursing.
What will parasites do to my canine companion?
Intestinal parasites can cause many different issues such as malnutrition, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and anemia. Besides making our pets sick, many of these parasites can affect people in ways you wouldn’t foresee happening. According to kidshealth.org, “20% of dogs pass toxocara eggs in their stool.” Toxocara can cause damage to the eyes and if left untreated can lead to vision loss, especially in children.
How can I tell if my dogs have intestinal parasites?
While fleas and ticks are easy to spot, intestinal parasites are rarely seen because they live inside your pet’s intestinal tract. Tapeworms are one exception, they shed segments that resemble sesame seeds or grains of rice and are typically seen in your pet’s stool or around their rectum. Roundworms are another exception since they may occasionally be seen in your pet’s vomit or stool. If you see any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately so they can diagnose any issues.
The following symptoms can show potential signs of intestinal parasites:
- A distended abdomen
- Excessive weight loss
Since dogs infected with intestinal parasites can exhibit none or subtle symptoms that can be easily overlooked, the best way to ensure that your dog is parasite-free is to take him to the veterinarian at least once a year for check-ups. Your veterinarian will examine your dog and perform fecal testing which allows your veterinarian to diagnose intestinal parasites by looking for microscopic eggs or spores in your pet’s stool.
Although intestinal parasites are treatable, remember that the best way to protect your pets against parasites is to keep them on parasite preventatives and have their stool checked at least once a year.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian as soon as possible.
You hear about it in pets all the time, but what is Heartworm disease? Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease that is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. Heartworm disease affects more than just dogs and cats but it also can harm other mammal species, including wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions and in rare instances, humans.
A dog is a natural host for heartworms, which means that heartworms live inside the dog, mature into adults, mate and produce offspring. If untreated, their numbers can increase, and dogs have been known to harbor several hundred worms in their bodies. Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs, and arteries, and can affect the dog’s health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone.
When finding out your pet has a heartworm, it can be a difficult time for you and may cause you a great deal of stress. The good news is that most dogs infected with heartworms can be successfully treated. The best course of action is to prevent heartworms in your pet, but if you do find heartworms in your pet make sure to follow a few simple steps to ensure they are healthy happy companions!
- Confirm the diagnosis. Once a dog tests positive on an antigen test, the diagnosis should be confirmed with a second, different test.
- Restrict exercise. Your dog’s normal physical activities must be restricted as soon as the diagnosis of a severe heartworm is confirmed because physical exertion increases the rate at which the heartworms cause damage in the heart and lungs. The more severe the situation is, the less activity your dog should have.
- Administer treatment. Once your veterinarian has determined your dog is stable and ready for heartworm treatment, he or she will recommend a treatment protocol involving several steps. The American Heartworm Society has guidelines for developing this plan of treatment.
- Determine the severity of the disease. Dogs with no signs or mild signs of heartworm disease have a high success rate with treatment. More severe infections can also be successfully treated, but the possibility of complications is much greater.
- Test to prevent further issues. Around 6 months after treatment is completed, your veterinarian should perform a heartworm test to confirm that all heartworms are completely gone. To avoid the possibility of your dog contracting heartworm disease again, you will want to administer heartworm prevention year round for the rest of his or her life.
Making sure you keep your pets healthy and happy is very important to make sure they live a long and happy life with you! So make sure to follow these guidelines and keep them free from pain or discomfort and any long-term issues.
Have you ever heard of leptospirosis? Did you know it can endanger not only you but your pets as well? Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease which can affect many animals, and while it is rare in cats, it is much more common in dogs. In addition to affecting animals, leptospirosis is a “zoonotic disease”, meaning it can be passed from animals to humans.
This disease is caused by a complex group of closely related bacteria of the genus Leptospira. There are several strains that occur in different locations and tend to affect certain species more than others.
This disease is contracted in several different ways; Leptospira bacteria survive especially well in warm, humid areas, and are often found in stagnant water or carried by wild animals. Therefore, dogs with a high level of exposure to contaminated water and wild animals and their urine are at a greater risk.
Adult dogs and large breed dogs appear to have a higher rate of infection. However, any dog can be exposed, since even urban wildlife such as rodents may carry the bacteria. Most infections happen in the summer and early fall, and outbreaks sometimes follow flooding.
How can you tell if your dog is infected with this bacteria or disease? There are several symptoms that can be good indicators, the severity certain symptoms depend on a few factors within the dog (age, immune response, vaccination status). Some dogs may have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, but it is important to notice any of the following signs and symptoms as severe cases can be fatal.
Signs to look for are:
- Joint or muscle pain — this may manifest as a reluctance to move.
- Decreased appetite.
- Vomiting and diarrhea.
- Discharge from nose and eyes.
- Frequent urination — may be followed by lack of urination.
- Yellowing of the gums, membranes around the eyes, and skin.
If you recognize any of these symptoms, it is vitally important to contact us to get proper medication for your pup, usually an antibiotic. The antibiotic is used in two stages, and the pup is given one type of antibiotic to treat the initial infection followed up with a different kind of antibiotic to combat the shedding of bacteria in the urine. The earlier treatment is started, the better as once the issue progresses liver failure or damage could follow and cause many serious repercussions.
It is better to prevent this nasty disease before it even becomes a threat. Ask your vet about whether it is offered in your area, as the vaccines are only produced for a few specific varieties of Leptospira, in areas where leptospirosis is common.These vaccines don’t offer long-lasting immunity, so they need to be repeated often.
Be sure to watch after your own health as well, as Leptospirosis can also affect humans. It can cause flu-like symptoms in people, which in some cases can progress to serious illness. If your pet has been diagnosed with leptospirosis, the risks can be managed primarily with careful hygiene.
It is important to always be careful, as an undiagnosed furry friend could be the biggest threat so be sure to adhere to these tips to remain healthy:
- Avoid contact with urine if possible, and wear protective clothing (gloves, etc.) if you need to handle urine.
- Practice good hygiene including careful hand washing.
- Disinfect surfaces where infected pets have urinated
- Follow your vet’s advice for treatment and make sure all medications are given as directed.
If any people in contact with a dog diagnosed with leptospirosis become ill, be sure to mention the dog’s illness to health care providers to ensure they receive proper diagnosis and treatment.
Why You Should Choose Your Vet for Pet Boarding
Deciding where to board your furry friend while you are away for business or on vacation is no small matter. Though there are many options available for cat and dog boarding, you can have peace of mind when you entrust your pet’s care to your veterinarian. In this article, we will discuss some reasons why you should choose your vet for all your pet boarding needs.
Takes Measures to Prevent Sickness
When many dogs are housed together in close proximity, it can create an environment where viruses can be passed from one animal to another. Nobody wants to go on a trip, only to return and be presented with a sick dog or cat. Your veterinarian may require that your pet undergo a round of vaccinations, for example, for the Bordetella virus in order to prevent upper respiratory illnesses from developing while under their care.
Access to Better Food
It is no secret that animals respond to the additives and chemicals in their food in much the same way that people do. Your furry friend can be affected by allergies and sensitivities, and many brands of dog food are problematic for this reason. They often contain ingredients that your dog would never encounter in the wild and that are difficult to digest. Your vet can readily accommodate the special dietary needs of your pet, feeding them nutritious fare free that is free from allergens.
Fast Medical Attention
You can be sure that if problems arise that they will be attended to professionally and quickly. Not only does your veterinarian have the expertise to handle any emergencies, but he or she also has the tools available to treat your pet properly. You can safely leave older pets who have health considerations, as these will also be tended to effectively. If your dog is on medication, your veterinarian can correctly administer them in your stead.
Some options, such as doggie day care, can charge a great deal more than your veterinary clinic will, and depending on how long you must be away from your pet, the costs can really add up. Your veterinary clinic is an especially economic choice when you consider that the staff attending to your pet are trained in veterinary medicine. You do not need to sacrifice quality in order to save money, as your veterinarian will provide clean facilities and supervised care.
Experience with Your Pet
When you travel out of town, it can be a comfort to know that the veterinary clinic where you are leaving your pet will have experience in dealing with the issues specific to your dog or cat. Some pets are stressed when going to a new environment with people they do not know, and pet boarding with your veterinarian can help to alleviate this common concern.
Premier Veterinary Hospital offers a variety of services, and is a great choice for boarding your pets. You can call their friendly staff, or contact them online to find the solution to all your dog and cat boarding needs.
We know you love your pet, and of course they love you too. Making sure your pets are happy and healthy is probably toward the top of your priority list. One of the best ways to help pets stay happy and healthy is to have them groomed on a regular basis.
Benefits of grooming your dog
There are lots of benefits associated with grooming your dog, including some you might not be familiar with. Here are just a few examples:
One benefit that few pet owners are aware of is that grooming actually improves the socialization of your pet. This is particularly true if you have your pet groomed when it is a puppy, and it continues to be the case even into your pet’s later years. The reason for this is straightforward, but many people don’t realize the importance of grooming a pet until it is pointed out to them.
Being groomed puts dogs in a position in which they interact with many different and unfamiliar people, often surrounded by unfamiliar dogs and other animals at the same time. This experience could be overwhelming at first, but once dogs realize it is a positive experience, and once they feel the benefits of being clean and well-groomed, they will become more confident and comfortable when put into social situations in the future.
Reduced Medical Expenses
Having your dog groomed regularly is also a great way to reduce the medical expenses you’ll pay over the lifetime of your dog. This is because groomers will often be able to identify potential problems and diseases before they become a serious medical condition.
In addition, having a dog that is clean with shorter groomed hair reduces the possibility of bacterial infections in its skin, teeth, nails, eyes, ears and anywhere else.
Eliminating & Preventing Discomfort
There is no doubt that a clean and well-groomed dog will feel much better than a dog with dirty, matted fur, overgrown nails, and fleas or ticks. By being proactive about those problems, you can make your dog feel clean, happy and healthy.
Using The Right Groomer
Clearly, there are lots of benefits associated with having your dog groomed regularly. That’s why it is so important to choose a groomer who knows how to take excellent care of your pet.
At Premier Veterinary Hospital, we take pride in offering full-service pet grooming. We offer everything from baths and nail trimming to skin and fur moisturizing. If you want your pet to have the best care possible, all while under the supervision of qualified veterinarians, simply contact us at (903) 617-6072!
Along with fleas, ticks are one of a pet owner’s least favorite insects. The blood-sucking bugs are especially a problem for pets who spend a lot of time outdoors rolling around in the grass and bushes where ticks live. Ticks can be a painful annoyance to both you and your pet, and they can transmit dangerous diseases. To help you keep your dogs and cats tick-free, be sure to consider the following tips!
How To Get Rid Of Ticks
Treat Your House Lawn
The first and probably most effective thing you should do to prevent your pets from getting ticks is to eliminate the ticks that live where your pet spends time. Start by keeping your lawn and bushes trimmed.
The fewer places you give ticks to live and breed, the less of a problem they will become. In addition, consider treating your lawn with one of the many available commercial sprays and granular treatments. These treatments are designed to kill the ticks that already live in your lawn and make it unlivable to new ones. Just be sure to use precaution when handling and using these treatments as they are toxic to both humans and pets.
Give Your Pets Preventive Treatments
There are a wide variety of treatments available that are designed to keep dogs and cats from getting ticks, and many of them are quite effective. These treatments may come in the form of powders that are applied to your pet’s fur, pills that can be ingested, spot treatments applied to the skin, and even collars that your pet can wear. Tell your vet about your pet (breed, size, age, etc.) and he or she will be able to recommend a treatment that will work best.
Keep Your Pets Indoors
If at all possible, keep your pets indoors, especially during the spring and summer months when ticks are most prominent. When you do let your pets out, try to keep them away from tall grass, bushes and wooded areas where ticks reside.
After your pet comes in from outside, be sure to check for ticks, searching underneath the armpits, ears, between the toes, and any other places a tick might be. If you find one, carefully remove it, making sure to pull out all parts of the tick that are stuck in your pet’s skin.
Dealing with ticks can be a frustrating hassle, but it is absolutely necessary for the health and happiness of your pet. If you would like to learn more about how to prevent ticks and the medications and treatments we have available, feel free to contact us today!
Laser therapy for dogs is a non-invasive veterinary procedure in which a light is used to treat a variety of conditions. There are two types of laser treatments: cold laser therapy that is used to treat the surface of the skin and hot laser treatments that are used on tissues that lie deeper. Due to the increase in the laser beam’s intensity, hot laser treatments have an increased risk of burning and cutting.
Cold Laser Therapy Basics
Though use of cold laser therapy continues to increase, this type of treatment is a fairly new concept that is still in its infancy. Other names that laser therapy might be called include Class IV laser therapy or low-level laser therapy. Basically, laser therapy involves a beam of light that generates heat and can penetrate tissue because of the frequency that it travels. The latest in laser therapy treatments are programmable for a range of frequencies that enable veterinarians to treat numerous problems that afflict dogs.
How Laser Therapy Helps Dogs
Vets who offer laser therapy for dogs know how effective it can be for a wide range of conditions. For example, laser therapy can treat acute conditions and those that are chronic, including strains, sprains, muscular-skeletal abnormalities, swelling that is the result of spinal disc issues, arthritis and more. Injuries that are chronic and those that are acute can be treated effectively with laser therapy. Another valuable advantage that helps dogs recover faster is the ability of laser therapy to regenerate nerve tissue following a surgery.
Vets and Laser Therapy
In most cases, if a vet has made an investment in laser therapy, it is a medical device that only a doctor is able to possess and use. Vets who are dedicated to providing the best in services to their patients are the ones who have made the investment in equipment and training. Like other offerings that vets make available to pets and their owners, laser therapy is a tool that is designed to ease pain and improve healing.
What to Expect When a Dog Has Laser Therapy
Most dogs find laser therapy relaxing and look forward to receiving it. Many dogs lie down during treatment, but some feel more comfortable standing. During sessions that usually last about 10 to 20 minutes, a laser wand is used to apply the treatment to the affected area. Most dogs feel better right away after finishing laser therapy, which creates a positive association with their visit to the vet. Because laser therapy is noninvasive, there is no preparation, such as shaving. However, the vet will perform an exam prior to recommending the procedure and provide a diagnose for the dog’s condition.
There are a number of intestinal parasites that can affect dogs and cats. While not all pet owners may be familiar with these parasites, it’s important for you to know what signs and symptoms to look for. If you think your cat or dog may have an intestinal parasite, we can help. Bring your pet to us for the proper testing, so we can determine what parasite your furry friend has. Proper treatment will make all the difference and allow for a quick recovery from any symptoms your pet may be suffering from.
Here are some of the most common intestinal parasites your pet may have:
Tapeworms are very common in cats and dogs. They can come from rodents or fleas, and your pet can’t pass them along to you. Look for small, white segments around your pet’s anus or in their stool. These segments will move if alive, and they look very much like yellowish grains of rice once they dry up. While unpleasant, they don’t cause a lot of harm and are easily treatable. The right medication will clear them up quickly, and there are steps you can take to help keep your pet from being re-infected.
Roundworms are more serious than tapeworms and will be much longer when they are expelled from the body. You may see them in your pet’s feces or vomit, and both cats and dogs can get them. They’re very common in puppies, and, if not treated, they can cause an intestinal blockage or even migrate to the lungs. Since they can also be transmitted to humans, they need prompt treatment.
Dogs can get whipworms, but they are very rare in cats. These worms are hard to detect but can cause a severe infection along with rectal bleeding, bloody stools, diarrhea, and weight loss. Even if a stool sample comes back negative, you will want to have your pet retested if another cause for their medical problem can’t be found. Because of the way whipworm eggs are shed, it’s possible to see a negative result even if your pet actually has these intestinal parasites. Repeat testing can help detect them so your dog can be treated.
Hookworms affect both dogs and cats, and they are a very serious intestinal parasite. They attach themselves to the lining of the intestine and cause weight loss, black, tarry, or bloody stools, and anemia. They can also cause sudden death in animals who are very young or old, or who are already weak or malnourished. These worms can be transmitted to people, too, and can cause skin problems and other issues. Getting your dog or cat treated if you suspect hookworms is very important for your pet’s health and your own. By keeping an eye on changes to your pet’s health, you’re more likely to catch problems early!
How to Prevent Heartworms
For dog and cat owners, heartworms are a troubling threat. More than just a nuisance, these parasites can be (and often are) fatal. They are transmitted by mosquitos, yet can grow up to a foot long once they have been transferred to a host. As their name suggests, these parasites live within the heart of their host. Untreated, they will continue to grow and reproduce until the tangled mass of them becomes a fatal blockage within the dog’s or cat’s heart.
Fortunately, there are ways to ensure your beloved pet never suffers from heartworms. As with most serious conditions, the best treatment for heartworms is prevention. Outlined below are some of the most effective heartworm prevention methods.
Have Your Pet Examined for Heartworms
Your pet should be examined for heartworms periodically. For dogs, it is recommended to have them tested for heartworms annually. This testing is a relatively simple process and can be done at your dog’s routine checkup.
For cats, heartworms are much rarer, but they are also much harder to detect. There is no proven treatment for cats that contract heartworms, meaning that effective prevention methods are even more critical. It is recommended that you have your cat tested for heartworms once before you put them on preventive medication, and then tested again as your veterinarian sees fit based on your cat’s risk factors.
Give Your Pet Preventive Medications
The most effective thing you can do to ensure that your pet never contracts heartworms is to give them preventive medications. These medications are administered monthly and can come in the form of a pill, topical medication, or injection. These heartworm medications work by killing heartworm larvae as soon as they are transmitted to your pet through a mosquito bite. Though all of these medications are incredibly effective, you will want to make sure to always administer them on schedule for them to work. Heartworms must be killed in their larval stage, which can last as few as 51 days. If your pets are given their medication on time each month, heartworms will never live long enough to grow into their adult stage. Being late with the treatment, though, or skipping it a month could render preventive medications ineffective.
These medications do work extremely well when used properly and they can prevent your dog and/or cat from ever dealing with deadly heartworms.
Start Preventing Heartworms as Soon as Possible
If your dog or cat has never been screened for heartworms or if they are not currently on preventive medication, it is recommended that you take them to a veterinarian as soon as you can to have them screened and put on preventive medications. Heartworms are a terrible parasite, but they can be prevented, allowing your pet to live a long, heartworm-free life.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!
Canine and Feline Toxicity
As a pet owner, it’s important to be aware of the different hazards that your furry friend may encounter during this time of year. There are many holiday foods and plants that can be toxic for your pet, so be careful this winter when you invite friends and family over to enjoy seasonal festivities.
Among the biggest risks to your pet this holiday season are rich, fatty foods. While they may be delicious, sharing too much of these foods with your pets can cause upset stomach and even pancreatitis. We would recommend avoiding giving your pets these types of foods, but if you must, make sure to only give them a small taste. And NEVER treat your pets with the bones of holiday meats, as they can splinter and cause severe internal damage.
Another risk to be aware of is holiday plants. We love to decorate our homes with the beautiful and festive plants that signify the holidays, but some of them can be toxic to curious pets. Poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, and certain flowers like lilies can be toxic to your dog or cat if ingested. If you have these in your home, make sure to keep them out of paw’s reach so hungry pets aren’t tempted to try them for a snack.
Also make sure to keep your pets away from candy (especially chocolate ones), alcohol, and fruit cakes that may contain raisins. If you suspect your pet may have ingested a toxic substance, make sure to contact a veterinarian immediately or call the Pet Poison Hotline at 855-764-7661.
Dog flu, or canine influenza, is a respiratory infection caused by a virus that attacks our dogs. It is highly contagious, and can be very serious if not prevented properly. As recently as 2015, the Center for Disease Control declared a canine influenza outbreak in the midwest, and we are also currently seeing more cases pop up around the country.
With that in mind, it’s important to protect your dog from this virus. This is especially true if your dog is in contact with other dogs, like at a dog park, day care or grooming facility, or if they accompany you when you go out. But even dogs who mostly stay at home are still at risk and their health can be compromised.
Some symptoms you should be on the look out for include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, or discharge from the nose. You may also see a loss of appetite, lethargy, or fever. If you notice these symptoms in your dog, contact us or a nearby veterinarian as soon as possible.
The best thing you can do to protect your dog is to vaccinate against the virus. The vaccine prevents the transmission of the virus, and it also contains no risk of infection when administering to your pet. We highly recommend that you vaccinate your dog against this potentially deadly virus.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. We would be happy to speak with you about how you can protect your dog.
Traveling With Your Pets
This time of year, many of us are traveling for vacation or to visit family for the holidays. And while traveling is often fun for us humans, it can be quite stressful for our pets. But there are some tips you can keep in mind to help make traveling with your pet easier for both you and your pets!
Read below to learn more about the proper way to transport your pets during travel.
Kenzie is currently attending Tyler Junior College. She will graduate in the spring with an Associate Degree in Science. Kenzie has worked in the Equine Veterinary Field for three years and is a certified Equine Veterinary Technician through AAEVT. She is looking forward to gaining more experience and knowledge in small animal medicine. Kenzie is the proud owner of a Great Dane/Lab mix named Baby, and a new puppy named Zelda. She also owns two horses Batman and Kodi. In her free time, Kenzie enjoys horseback riding and spending time with her two dogs, family, and friends.
Protecting your pets from TICKS
Ticks are more than a disgusting nuisance — they present a serious health risk for people and pets. Tick-borne diseases can be difficult to diagnose and treat, and harder still to live with. That’s why when it comes to ticks and pets, prevention and quick removal are the best strategies by far. For more information, click here
Exercise Keeps Pets Healthy
Exercise keeps pets healthy and happy! An active pet is less likely to be obese and develop health issues. Since obesity is one of the most common illnesses among our pet population, it is imperative that pet owners provide the proper exercise and nutrition for their pet’s stage of life. Contact us today to learn more about how exercise can enhance your pet’s life, we’d be happy to speak with you!
Preventing Heartworm in Pets
The idea of your pet being infested with heartworms is a disturbing thought, but it’s also a medical issue that can have serious consequences if not properly dealt with or prevented. Heartworms pose a variety of health issues for our pets, who can be very susceptible to certain parasites depending on age, region, and other factors. It can even be fatal.
At Premier Veterinary Hospital, we emphasize the importance of preventing heartworm. Through preventative measures, you can successfully protect your pet. But pets that are not protected often develop parasites, leading to serious problems for them and their owners.
The cost of prevention is minimal compared to the cost of treatment, which can be expensive and stressful on your pet. Heartworm can even be fatal, so protecting your pet is of the utmost importance.
The Dental Care Series
By Jan Bellows D.V.M. DipAVDC
All Pets Dental Clinic
Click on the link below to read about dental disease in pets:
Periodontal Disease in Pets
Canine influenza (Dog Flu)
Canine influenza (Dog Flu) is an important illness that poses an emerging threat to all dogs. For more information, click here