By far and away the number one thing you can do to maintain your pet's health is to be certain that it receives a physical exam at least once yearly. Pets age much more quickly than we do, so it is important to recognize and treat the signs of disease as early as possible. Because we cannot directly communicate with our pets, it is very important to have a physical exam performed each year by a veterinarian. Very often abnormalities can be present which go unnoticed for many reasons. These can include weight gain, dental disease, heart murmurs, ear problems, eye disease, internal growths, arthritis, early kidney or liver failure etc. Too many times owners do not notice subtle changes occurring in their pets because they see them every day, do not routinely look in the ears or mouth, incorrectly attribute changes to being "normal" aging changes, or because the changes are occurring inside the body and cannot be detected without special training, equipment, or tests. A recent study found that 85% of dogs over three years of age need a dental cleaning.
One of the few dangerous diseases we can catch from our pets. It is caused by a virus, which must enter the body through open skin. It is virtually 100% fatal by the time symptoms begin. All animal admitted to our hospital must be current on their rabies vaccination.
This term actually refers to vaccination given for multiple viruses which are combined in a single injection. As with the rabies vaccination all hospitalized pets must have a current distemper vaccination. At the Little Falls Animal Hospital we include protection against the following six diseases in the "Distemper" vaccination:
- Adenovirus Type 1 - causes liver disease (canine infectious hepatitis), which is severe and can also affect the kidneys. It is often fatal.
- Adenovirus Type 2 - Affects the respiratory tract and is one of the agents which causes kennel cough.
- Parainfluenza - Another respiratory infection contributing to kennel cough, and which can be severe in the young and debilitated animals.
- Parvovirus - A disease which causes vomiting and diarrhea which results in dehydration, weakness, listlessness etc. This is a very widespread disease and is severe in puppies and often fatal if untreated.
- Coronavirus - Similar to parvovirus this disease causes vomiting and diarrhea, and is very contagious. Fatalities occur if dehydration is not treated aggressively.
- Leptospirosis - An infection by a bacteria which infects the kidneys and sometimes other organs. It is spread through contact with infected urine, and can affect humans. We recommend it in hunting animals, and animals which have contact with livestock.
This bacteria is another cause of kennel cough. Most kennels require protection against it before an animal is admitted as do many groomers. We recommend it be given routinely with the yearly distemper vaccination.
This infection spread by the bite of an infected tick can cause high fevers, loss of appetite, and permanent damage to joints resulting in arthritis. We advise that all pets who are frequently exposed to ticks be protected. This includes hunting dogs, those which accompany the family on hikes, camping trips, or down the shore.
Heartworms are a disease of dogs, (and less commonly cats), which is spread by mosquitos. Immature worms circulate in the blood stream, and can cause damage to many organs. They mature into adults in the heart and lungs, and can cause heart failure and respiratory problems. Preventative medications are easily given monthly. Many owners choose to keep their pets on the preventative year round for ease, and because the medication also prevents intestinal parasites (worms). Some heartworm pills include a flea prevention component that sterilizes fleas if they bite a dog taking the medication. While this may not completely eradicate fleas it works well in conjunction with other medications to prevent infestations
It is a good practice to test a dogs stool for parasites yearly. For those animals who are not routinely receiving heartworm preventative this should be done every six months.
As a dog ages it often make good sense to do some tests or examinations more frequently. In pets considered geriatric (usually over 8 years of age) annual blood tests to check the status of internal organs is often warranted. We make recommendations depending on your pets individual breed, age, and needs. These tests may include checking kidney and liver function, screening for diabetes or anemia, electrocardiograms or x-rays to check the heart, tests for glaucoma, among others. We have an extensive in house lab and state of the art diagnostic equipment which can make the turnaround time for these tests extremely short. Our hospital also offers microchip implantation to electronically identify your pet.
As you can see, having a pet carries a certain degree of responsibility, and basic knowledge. We feel that one of the most important functions we can perform is to make every pet owner well informed. This is the reason we developed this website, as well as produce many handouts and client information brochures. We encourage questions, and will do our best to give you the most up to date information is an understandable manner. Please become an active participant in your pets health and well being. It pays immeasurable dividends.
An abnormal, excessive fear reaction to being left alone, during which time the dog exhibits one of more of the following: destruction (often directed towards exit points), excessive vocalization, housesoiling, anorexia, pacing and hypersalivation. When the owners are present, the dog does not exhibit these behaviors. As they prepare to leave, the owners may observe increasing signs of anxiety. Owners often describe these dogs as "needy" or "clingy". It may be possible to leave these dogs alone until the owner has been able to implement the treatment program and the anxiety has subsided.
TREATMENTS: * Systematically desensitize the dog to departure cues. * Encourage independence when owners are home by having the dog sit/stay away from the owner. * Minimize excitement associated with greetings and departures. Countercondition the dog to departures by giving him a longlasting food treat prior to departure. * Drug therapy to decrease anxiety-drug of choice-Clomicalm