Archive for the ‘Pet Health’ Category

Is it your imagination, or does your “brachy” dog have more problems than the Labradoodle next door? According to Nationwide Pet Insurance, you are not imagining it.

Let’s break it down:

A dog’s skull falls into one of three categories:
Dolichocephalic, mesaticephalic, or brachycephalic, as illustrated by the photo below.

Click to enlarge. Image can be found at http://www.onemedicine.tuskegee.edu

Brachycephalic (or “brachy”) dogs are those breeds with a flat, broad head. These breeds include —

  • Affenpinscher
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Bulldog breeds
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Japanese Chin
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Mastiff breeds
  • Pekingese
  • Pug
  • ShihTzu

Nationwide Pet Insurance compared data for brachycephalic dog breeds versus dogs with longer skull types (dolichocephalic and mesaticephalic) and discovered that the dog breeds known for their flat, broad skulls showed a higher prevalence of certain diseases.

That means that more “brachy” dogs suffered the following conditions — 

  • otitis externa (ear infection)
  • pyoderma (skin infection)
  • atopic/allergic dermatitis
  • conjunctivitis (eye infection)
  • canine cystitis (bladder infection)
  • anal gland impaction
  • fungal skin disease
  • malignant skin neoplasia (cancer)
  • pneumonia

Does this mean you should stay away from “brachy” breeds? Not necessarily, as they can be very lovable and faithful companions.

But Norfolk veterinarian Dr. Donald Miele agrees that it does mean owners of those breeds should be aware of the greater likelihood of health problems, and that veterinary pet insurance is a worthy investment for owners of “brachy” breeds.


Learn more about Nationwide Pet Insurance


This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, or suggest treatment or cure for any disease.
Your pet’s veterinarian is the best source of information on your pet’s health.

 

 

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Does your cat have itchy ears? The #1 cause of itchy ears in cats is ear mites, according to Dr. Lynette Cole of Ohio State University.

At a lecture attended by Norfolk veterinarians and their staff, Dr. Cole listed the top three most common causes of itchy, inflamed ears in cats: parasites, polyps, and allergies.

Ear mites, which are a type of parasite, appear to be tiny white specks that move around, when seen through a magnifier such as an otoscope

Veterinary otoscope, used to examine ears.

 

Looking through an otoscope at a model cat ear.

Seen under a microscope, however, the situation becomes much more clear. Ear mites, known also as Otodectes cynotis, have eight legs and are very active crawlers. And if that weren’t enough Ick Factor — ear mites are arachnids, putting them in the same class as spiders and ticks.

Ear mite removed from a kitten. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Ear mite removed from a kitten. (2) Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

What’s the first sign of ear mites? Since you can’t see the mites with your naked eye, the first visible sign of a problem may be a layer of crusty, black debris in your pet’s ear. Sometimes it looks like coffee grounds. By the time this debris appears, your cat is probably scratching her ears, which may be what prompts you to look inside the ears.

Since there may be other causes of “crud” in the ears, you’ll want your cat’s veterinarian to examine the ears to find out if ear mites are present. Then, the veterinarian will devise an appropriate treatment plan.

Ear mites can be transmitted from one pet to another, so the veterinarian may advise treating all pets in the household at the same time.

Check out these videos we’ve uploaded to our You Tube channel, featuring the ear mites shown in the photos above. One mite is mired in mineral oil, while the other mite speeds out of view!

Does your cat have itchy ears or suspicious-looking debris inside? Contact Us to schedule an appointment today!

[Our doctor cannot diagnose your pet over the phone or the Internet, so please schedule an appointment today.]

Bonus: Our cat patients that are treated with Revolution to protect against fleas, heartworms, and intestinal worms are also receiving protection from ear mites!


Disclaimer: Information on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure your pet. Information provided on this site does not take the place of a valid client-patient-doctor relationship, nor does it constitute such a relationship. Your pet’s veterinarian is the best source of information regarding your pet’s health. Your pet may require an examination and testing by a licensed veterinarian in order to provide proper diagnosis and treatment. Neither Dr. Miele nor Little Creek Veterinary Clinic or its staff is responsible for outcomes based on information available on this site. Every pet’s condition is unique and requires the direct care and oversight of its own veterinarian.

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We Love Cats
Most of us think
of our cats as self-sustaining little creatures (except when it comes to using a can opener) — but the truth is, cats need vet care just like dogs.

Cats are especially stoic and will often hide signs of disease or illness until the problem becomes serious. An annual exam can help catch problems in the early stages. And even if a disease or physical disorder is not evident at the time of the exam, the veterinarian can remind you what to look for throughout the year and make health recommendations based on your cat’s age and living conditions.

If more than a year has passed since your cat’s last check-up, it’s time to get him to the vet.

 

Quick questions: Are your cat’s vaccines (including Rabies) up-to-date? When was the last time your cat’s stool was tested for parasites?

Now, take note of your cat’s everyday habits and appearance (especially cats older than 7):

  • Does it use the litterbox or has your cat begun urinating and defecating in inappropriate areas?
  • Does your cat urinate more frequently or in larger amounts than usual?
  • Does your cat eat and drink more or less than it used to?
  • Has your cat gained or lost a significant amount of weight?
  • Does your cat sleep longer hours than usual?
  • Does your cat howl or vocalize more often, especially at night?
  • Have you noticed any lumps, bumps, sores or other skin irregularities on your cat?
  • Are its eyes bright and shiny or cloudy and dull?
  • Are its ears clean and pale pink or crusty, bloody, or filled with dark wax?
  • Are its teeth clean and white or brown and coated with tartar?
  • Does your cat have foul, stinky breath?
  • Is your cat’s fur shiny and smooth or dull and spiky?
  • Does your cat have trouble jumping onto its favorite perch or climbing stairs?
  • Does your cat have fleas or Tapeworms?

Let’s get together and talk about your cat’s health:  load your cat into its carrier and bring her in for a check-up. Make notes of your concerns, so we address the changes you’re seeing in your cat at home.

One last tip: your cat’s toenails need regular trimming if she is not wearing them down on a scratching post. Learn how to clip your pet’s nails or ask a professional to trim them.


 

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February is Responsible Pet Ownership Monthorange cat beside puppy

 

Being a responsible pet owner isn’t just about following some rules. It’s really about being a loving and caring pet owner. And what better month than February to celebrate love?

Here’s how to be a responsible [loving, caring] pet owner: 

  1. Choose a pet wisely based on your schedule, budget, and living environment. Consider the pet’s physical and behavioral needs.
  2. Discuss the responsibility of pet ownership with a veterinarian as soon as possible after bringing a new pet home.
  3. Establish a preventative health care program for your pet that includes regular checkups, vaccinations, dental care, parasite control, and reproductive options.
  4. Feed a pet food that is appropriate for your pet’s age, nutritional requirements, activity level, and special health needs.
  5. Provide your pet with fresh water at all times, cleaning the bowl daily.
  6. Provide your pet with daily exercise, according to your pet’s age and physical condition.
  7. Spend time with your pet every day to develop a positive human/animal bond and to teach your pet “social skills.”
  8. Begin your pet’s training early, starting with basic house training and proceeding to obedience training when your pet is ready.
  9. Learn how to detect signs of pet illness and always follow the expert advice of your veterinarian.
  10. Obey local ordinances and leash laws. Be a good pet neighbor.
  11. Provide adequate shelter and protection from the elements (think: heat, cold, rain, snow, hailstorms, hurricanes, plagues of locusts.) Are you able to let your pet live indoors with you?
  12. Do not leave your pet in a parked vehicle during the summer.
  13. Have an emergency plan in place that includes your pet, if you ever have to evacuate the area.
  14. Have your pet microchipped with a permanent pet ID, like HomeAgain.
  15. Protect your pet with veterinary pet insurance, so you can make the best medical decisions for your pet, and get help paying vet bills.

Questions? Please Contact Us today!


Tips 1-10 borrowed from Ralston Purina Company, “The Pet Owner’s Checklist,” 1994.

Image by Snapwire via Pexels.com.

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February is National Pet Dental Health Month, of course.

But what else is going on?

Here’s the list:

February pet awareness events

Take this quiz — 

How much do you really know about your pet’s dental health?

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Time for a pop quiz!

Q: Is “flea season” over?

A: Trick question — in Hampton Roads, flea season never ends!

The series of photos below depicts flea dirt (aka flea feces, aka flea poop) removed from an indoor-only cat this past week.

Fleas can transmit Tapeworms and the bacteria that causes Cat Scratch Disease. Large numbers of fleas can cause anemia, especially in puppies and kittens, and weak or sick pets. Additionally, some pets are highly allergic to flea bites, resulting in extreme itching and fur loss.

Get the facts about fleas.

Clients, please Contact Us for a flea product recommendation for your dog or cat.

Flea dirt dry and wet

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Pyometra is a potentially fatal disease of female dogs and cats that can be prevented through ovariohysterectomy surgery [spay], in which the pet’s ovaries and uterus are removed. Intact (non-spayed) females are at risk for pyometra, which often presents 1-2 months after estrus [heat cycle]. Elevated hormone levels can lead to greater than normal secretions in the uterus, providing a breeding ground for bacteria.

Affected pets may have an “open” pyometra, in which pus, mucus, and blood may be seen draining from the vulva. Alternately, in a “closed” infection, the accumulated pus does not drain, and the pet may show more severe signs of illness. Symptoms of pyometra can include lethargyanorexia, depression, and excessive thirst. Additionally, pets with ”closed” infections may exhibit vomiting and diarrhea, shock, and collapse. However, fever is not always present.

In most cases, spay surgery is the preferred remedy for pyometra. Due to the illness, the risks of surgery are elevated because the infected organ must be removed from the body without introducing its contents to the body cavity. Adding to the risk is the pet’s poor general health as a result of the infection. For these reasons, prevention through early spay surgery is recommended.

Infected dog uterus and two normal uteri

 

If your female dog or cat has not been spayed and is showing signs of illness, especially after a recent heat cycle, talk to your veterinarian about whether pyometra is a concern.

 Glossary

  • anorexia – loss of appetite
  • estrus – the portion of the reproductive cycle in which female animals will accept a mate; “heat”
  • intact – not spayed or castrated
  • lethargy – tiredness, reluctance to move or engage in normal activity
  • ovariohysterectomy – surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus; “spay” surgery
  • pyometra – infection of the uterus
  • vulva – the external female genitals

Resources:
Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice (Birchard, Sherding)
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary (Blood, Studdert)


This article is not a substitute for medical care. It is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you believe your pet is exhibiting signs of illness or injury, contact your regular veterinarian or veterinary emergency hospital right away.

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