Did you know that more than 50% of all dogs and cats are obesity, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention? The team at Affordable Pet Care Basse wants to lower that number by helping pets of Texas reach a healthy weight with our 90-day pet weight loss challenge. This challenge will be held from May 16 to August 15 and include four categories: small, medium, large dog, and cat. Each category will have a winner. During your pet’s initial weigh-in, our team will discuss a diet plan to help them reach their weight loss goal. Subsequent weigh ins will occur every two to three weeks, with a minimum of four weigh-ins during the challenge. The final weigh-in must occur during the week of August 8. The four pets (one from each category) that lose the largest percentage of weight will be declared the winner and receive prizes.
Pet Weight Loss Challenge Requirements
Initial weigh-in/deadline to enter challenge: May 16
Final weigh-in deadline: August 15
Minimum number of weigh-ins required: 4, every 2-3 weeks*
Pets must be current on annual exams to enter
Pets must follow a restrictive diet, but can be fed the food of their owners’ choice (prescription or over-the-counter)
*Missed weigh-ins will result in disqualification.
Pet Weight Loss Challenge Prizes
Free bag of prescription Science Diet® or Purina® food*
*Only pets competing on a prescription diet are eligible
Stop in to Affordable Pet Care Basse to enter our pet weight loss challenge, or give us a call at 210-735-2273 to request your pet’s annual wellness exam to qualify.
There are many causes of kennel cough, both bacterial and viral. Canine influenza virus (CIV) is one of the viral causes of kennel cough. This highly contagious respiratory disease has affected thousands of dogs in the United States. Because CIV is a relatively new virus, most dogs have not been exposed to it before. Dogs of any age, breed, and vaccine status are susceptible to this infection.
How Could My Dog Catch Canine Influenza Virus?
CIV is easily transmitted between dogs through a combination of aerosols, droplets, and direct contact with respiratory secretions. The virus does not survive for a long time in the environment, so dogs usually get CIV when they are in close proximity to other infectious dogs.
Which Dogs Are Prone to Canine Influenza Virus?
Any dog who interacts with large numbers of dogs is at increased risk for exposure. Pet owners should consult their veterinarian for information about the canine influenza vaccine.
What Are the General Signs of Canine Influenza Virus?
While most dogs will show typical signs of kennel cough, but a small percentage of dogs will develop a more severe illness. Signs of canine influenza virus include:
Clear nasal discharge that progresses to thick, yellowish-green mucus
Loss of appetite
Can Dogs Die From Canine Influenza Virus?
If CIV is quickly diagnosed and treated, the fatality rate is quite low. Deaths are usually caused by secondary complications, such as pneumonia. It is important that dogs with CIV receive proper veterinary care.
How Is Canine Influenza Virus Diagnosed?
Veterinarians will typically conduct a thorough physical examination and run a series of tests to diagnose the illness.
How Is Canine Influenza Treated?
Because CIV is a virus similar to the flu in humans, there is no specific antiviral medication available. However, supportive care and appropriate treatment of secondary infections are important. Your veterinarian may advise the following to soothe your dog while the condition runs its course:
Good nutrition and supplements to raise immunity
A warm, quiet, and comfortable spot to rest
Medications to treat secondary bacterial infections
Intravenous fluids to maintain hydration
Workup and treatment for pneumonia
Be advised, while most dogs will fight the infection within 10 to 30 days, secondary infections require antibiotics and, in the case of pneumonia, sometimes even hospitalization.
What Should I Do if I Think My Dog Has Canine Influenza Virus?
If you think your dog has canine influenza virus, immediately isolate him or her from all other dogs and call your veterinarian.
Can I Catch Canine Influenza From My Dog?
So far there has been no evidence to indicate that dogs can transmit CIV to humans.
How Can I Help Prevent My Dog From Spreading the Disease?
Any dog infected with CIV should be kept isolated from other dogs for 10 to 14 days from the onset of signs. Dogs are most infectious before signs are apparent, and can continue shedding the virus for approximately 10 days. This means that by the time signs of the illness are seen, other dogs may have already been exposed.
The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline receive hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies.
“Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.”
In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures.
“There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag. “If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.”
Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately.
There are several other types of lilies that are toxic to cats as well. They are of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species and commonly referred to as Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies. Popular in many gardens and yards, they can also result in severe acute kidney failure. These lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets, so it is imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling.
Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Other Dangers to Pets at Easter Time
Pet Poison Helpline also receives calls concerning pets that have ingested Easter grass and chocolate.
Usually green or yellow in color, Easter grass is the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. When your cat or dog ingests something “stringy” like Easter grass, it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.
Lastly, during the week of Easter, calls to Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increase by nearly 200 percent. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The chemical toxicity is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death. Other sources include chewable chocolate flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.
Spring is in the air and Easter is a wonderful holiday. Remember that your pets will be curious about new items you bring into your household like Easter lilies, Easter grass and chocolate. Keep them a safe distance away from your pets’ reach and enjoy the holiday and the season.
Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.
What is veterinary dentistry, and who should perform it?
Veterinary dentistry includes the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of your pets’ teeth and all other aspects of oral health care. These procedures should be performed by a veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist. Subject to state or provincial regulation, veterinary technicians are allowed to perform certain dental procedures under the supervision of a veterinarian.
The process begins with an oral exam of your pet’s mouth by a veterinarian. Radiographs (x-rays) may be needed to evaluate the health of the jaw and the tooth roots below the gumline. Because most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where you can’t see it, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation are performed under anesthesia. Dental cleaning includes scaling (to remove dental plaque and tartar) and polishing, similar to the process used on your own teeth during your regular dental cleanings.
Oral health in dogs and cats
Your pet’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.
Have your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:
broken or loose teeth
extra teeth or retained baby teeth
teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
reduced appetite or refusal to eat
pain in or around the mouth
bleeding from the mouth
swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth
Some pets become irritable when they have dental problems, and any changes in your pet’s behavior should prompt a visit to your veterinarian. Always be careful when evaluating your pet’s mouth, because a painful animal may bite.
Causes of pet dental problems
Although cavities are less common in pets than in people, they can have many of the same dental problems that people can develop:
broken teeth and roots
abscesses or infected teeth
cysts or tumors in the mouth
malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
broken (fractured) jaw
palate defects (such as cleft palate)
Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.
It starts with plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gumline can often easily be seen and removed, but plaque and tartar below the gumline is damaging and sets the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the tooth to the jaw bone. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe).
The treatment of periodontal disease involves a thorough dental cleaning and x-rays may be needed to determine the severity of the disease. Your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist will make recommendations based on your pet’s overall health and the health of your pet’s teeth, and provide you with options to consider.
Why does dentistry require anesthesia?
When you go to the dentist, you know that what’s being done is meant to help you and keep your mouth healthy. Your dentist uses techniques to minimize pain and discomfort and can ask you how you are feeling, so you accept the procedures and do your best to keep still. Your pet does not understand the benefit of dental procedures, and he or she reacts by moving, trying to escape, or even biting.
Anesthesia makes it possible to perform the dental procedures with less stress and pain for your pet. In addition, anesthesia allows for a better cleaning because your pet is not moving around and risking injury from the dental equipment. If radiographs (x-rays) are needed, your pet needs to be very still in order to get good images, and this is unlikely without heavy sedation or anesthesia.
Although anesthesia will always have risks, it’s safer now than ever and continues to improve so that the risks are very low and are far outweighed by the benefits. Most pets can go home the same day of the procedure, although they might seem a little groggy for the rest of the day.
What can I do at home for my pet’s oral health?
Prevention of the most common oral disease in pets consists of frequent removal of the dental plaque and tartar that forms on teeth that are not kept clean. Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings, and may reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian. Daily brushing is best, but it’s not always possible and brushing several times a week can be effective. Most dogs accept brushing, but cats can be a bit more resistant – patience and training are important.
There are many pet products marketed with claims that they improve dental health, but not all of them are effective. Talk with your veterinarian about any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you’re considering for your pet, or ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.
During the winter months, it’s easy to get a little cabin fever. And you know what? Our pet’s aren’t immune to that same feeling! That’s one of the reasons it’s important to try and stay active and energized. Affordable Pet Care Basse would like to help keep your pet healthy and happy, which usually means active and entertained! Check out some of the fun pet-friendly activities we suggest:
Take a hike. Going out one a park trail, whether paved or not, can be a fun wintertime activity for you and your pet! Even if it’s just a half hour hike, it gets the blood flowing and muscles moving.
Play a game inside. Sometimes our pets can be stimulated by an active inside game too. Even if you don’t have a lot of space for your pet to run, a game of hide-and-seek or chase can be really fun! If your dog is large, you may need to “puppy proof” the room you’re playing in first to avoid accidents.
Strengthen your pet’s brain. Cognitive games for pets are very popular right now and can really benefit your pet. Plus, they can be quite fun! You can pick up some interesting cognitive games at your local pet supply store or online. It can be fun to see what your pet is capable of!
No matter what life stage your pet is in, they can benefit from physical activity, bonding with you, and cognitive exercise. It’s easy to squeeze these activities into our day during the summer, but in the winter it can be a lot easier to let things slip. Add daily pet time to your to-do list this winter and watch your pet get healthier and happier. Who knows, it might benefit your health too!
Your dog can’t tell you in words that his teeth hurt, nor can your cat confide that her leg doesn’t feel right. Fortunately, information like that—and much more—can be determined during a pet’s physical exam.
“When you consider that our pets age at approximately six to seven times the rate that we do, it’s easy to see that yearly veterinary exams are important not only for vaccinations and vital statistics but also to notice any early signs of disease or other problems,” states the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Web site.
Checkups keep your pet healthy by allowing your veterinarian to spot small problems before they escalate and thus resolve them more easily, less expensively and with a greater outcome of success. They can also help your pet to avoid common discomforts such as heartworm and dental disease.
By the time your pet reaches about 7 years of age, yearly visits become even more important. The cost of a routine wellness exam is going to be much lower than treatment of an advanced disease. Catching a problem early can prevent your pet from unnecessary pain, suffering and possibly, even loss of life.
What Happens During a Yearly Checkup
An annual exam allows your veterinarian to take a close look at your pet and compare findings with those of the previous visit. It’s also your opportunity to report on anything out of the ordinary that you’ve noticed such as excessive water drinking, loss of appetite, coughing, diarrhea or constipation.
A thorough, nose-to-tail physical exam typically starts with a weigh-in and includes taking the patient’s temperature, which for both dogs and cats is normally between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your pet’s doctor will also conduct a visual inspection; clean skin, clear eyes and a shiny coat are indicators of good health. Some problems are caused by poor diet, and it’s possible that changing nutrition or adding a supplement that the veterinarian recommends can clear up things in a matter of weeks.
Ears should also be checked, especially on dog breeds with floppy ones that trap bacteria, such as cocker spaniels. Many of these dogs have ongoing problems. Your veterinarian can bring you up to date on the best way to manage them at home and will prescribe medication, if necessary.
Using a stethoscope, the veterinarian listens for clear lungs and a healthy heart rhythm. If an abnormality is detected, further investigation is warranted. If not, then it’s onto the pet’s underside to palpate the liver, kidneys, and other vital organs.
It’s also essential for a veterinarian to examine your pet’s mouth. Loose or rotted teeth, infected gums and other problems can be causing your pet discomfort without your knowing it. Even if bad breath is the only problem, a cleaning at a later date may be in order.
Once your pet is deemed free of serious problems, your veterinarian will most likely discuss vaccinations, heartworm prevention and flea and tick treatments, depending on the season. And if your pet hasn’t been spayed or neutered ormicrochipped yet, a reputable veterinarian should bring it up—if you don’t first.