Archive for the ‘Pet Health’ Category

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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Weird Cat Behaviors Explained —
by Pets Best Pet Health Insurance

Cat inside a box

Posted on December 19, 2019 under Cat Articles

Cats are one of the most fascinating creatures on earth. They manage to simultaneously be one of the most efficient predators in the world, while also being our domesticated buddies that have evolved to enjoy human companionship. Cats haven’t changed much since befriending humans; however, there are plenty of examples of odd behavior that mesmerizes owners.

Let’s go over some of the most exciting cat behavior facts and look at some of the weird things cats do.

1) Rubbing Their Head on Things
One of the most common cat behaviors is when they rub their heads on various objects, other pets, or you. While it may seem like a strange behavior, it is actually quite understandable. Cats experience the world through scent, so when they rub against you, they are showing that they trust you and are claiming you as their own. In fact, you could even consider this headbutting and rubbing as a sort of greeting, so these types of odd behaviors can be explained quite easily.

2) Slow Blinking
Do you sometimes notice your cat slowly blinking while looking at you, as if it was sleepy? Well, many people may want to write this facial expression off to the fact that cats are weird, but really, it’s perfectly normal behavior. When cats blink slowly, they are showing you affection – they indicate that they trust you enough to close their eyes. If you slowly blink while looking back, they can also interpret this as a sign of affection, so it is a way for you to bond with your feline buddy.

3) Kneading
Cats are well-known masseuses. Their owners often find amusement in the fact that their cats like to use their little paws to massage them, but this strange behavior also has a very positive backstory. It can be traced back to the earliest instincts that a cat develops, which is to knead their mother’s mammary glands, stimulating milk production. When an adult cat kneads, it usually means that the cat is content, relaxed, and is also perceiving you as their “mommy”.

4) “Zooming” Around the House
When you’re trying to sleep, hearing your cat zooming through the halls and rooms at light speed can be quite annoying. While this unusual cat behavior may appear out of place, this cat behavior can be explained quite easily. You need to remember that your cat has a ton of energy that it doesn’t get to use up because it’s living in a comfortable home setting. Combine this with the fact that cats are nocturnal hunters and you can easily explain why your cat has the urge to sprint around the house, playing with its toys, other cats, or even your toes.

5) Chattering
Chattering is one of the weirdest cat behaviors, and the truth is, even scientists aren’t exactly sure how it evolved. According to some, it is a sign of frustration when the cat sees a prey in the distance and cannot reach it. Others think that it may be the cat trying to mimic the sounds of birds to attract them. Although the exact underlying reason isn’t clear, one thing is certain – chattering is one of the most bizarre and entertaining behaviors that you can see.

 6) Purring
 7) Laying Belly Up
 8) Sitting in Boxes
 9) Laying on Your Computer
10) Eating Grass

Click here to learn the secrets behind weird cat behaviors 6-10!

Kitten on its back


Photo credits
Top: Tomas Ryant
Bottom: Pixabay
Both via Pexels.com


Pets Best
Although cats can often become our closest companions, they are mysterious creatures whose behaviors can sometimes be hard to understand. In this article, we went through some of the more common feline behaviors, but you should monitor your cat and talk to a veterinary professional if you aren’t sure in any situation. At Pets Best, we offer comprehensive cat insurance that keeps your feline companion covered and protected. Get a quote online or call 1-877-738-7237 to learn more!

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Typical broken New Year’s Resolutions:

eat less
exercise more
stop smoking
be kinder to mother-in law

Now here’s a resolution you can keep:
Protect your pet with veterinary pet insurance.

Pet insurance

If your pet is healthy and active, you may not believe that insurance is necessary. But this is actually the best time to buy pet insurance. Here’s why:

*Will you get a telegram announcing that a pet emergency is on the way? No!
Pet injuries and accidents are often unforseen, which means that your healthy, active pet could suddenly wind up in the emergency hospital with a treatment bill totalling in the hundreds or thousands of dollars. Wouldn’t you like to have help footing the bill? Of course you would!

*If your pet is diagnosed with a chronic illness, your insurance options will become limited.
Don’t count on pet insurance companies agreeing to cover pre-existing conditions. Most won’t. Get your pet protected before it develops disease, so that you’ll have help covering the costs of treatment.

Remember: although many illnesses and injuries are unpredictable, it’s a pretty safe bet that the longer your pet lives, the more likely it is to develop an illness — like kidney, liver, or heart disease. You don’t have to handle those long-term care expenses on your own — if you opt to insure your pet before it develops disease.

*Pet insurance premiums tend to be lower for young, healthy pets.
Who doesn’t want to save money these days? And you can opt for coverage for routine care items, such as vaccines, heartworm and flea control, spay/neuter surgery, and annual lab tests. Preventive care is an important part of keeping your pet healthy — and pet insurance can help you pay for that, too!

So where do you start?

Check out these companies, all licensed to insure pets in Virginia:

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance

Pets Best

Nationwide Pet Insurance

Trupanion

Brochures for these companies are available at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.


This post originally appeared on January 16, 2014.

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One of the easiest and most important things you can do for your pet is to have its stool checked for parasites, blood, and foreign objects, at least twice a year.

Intestinal parasites shed microscopic eggs while inside your pet; these eggs are then expelled from the body during a bowel movement. In many cases of parasite infestation, the pet owner will not see adult worms, but the veterinary staff will find the eggs, using a fecal flotation method and a microscope. 

Sometimes, while examining the stool sample for parasites, the veterinary staff will find blood or foreign objects, which the owner may not have noticed.

Don’t rely on just your eyes — Contact Us to find out when your pet is due for its next stool sample analysis. (Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, recommends at least twice-a-year testing.)

Because stool testing is so important to a pet’s health, we like to recognize those pets that have poop that’s Clean As A Whistle — free of parasites, eggs, blood, and foreign objects. This is the coveted award that all pets strive for (we hope!)

Here is a list of our most recent award winners:

Award for clean stool

List of names


Links — What could be hiding in your pet’s poop?

Tapeworms

Roundworms

Hookworms

Whipworms

Coccidiae

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Is pet-pilling time the most dreaded time of
your day? Let’s talk about it!

Pills spilling out of blue vial


When a sick or injured pet is non-cooperative at dosing time, it can lead to less-than-ideal outcomes, such as delayed recovery or worsening of a medical problem — not to mention the stress suffered by the pet owner.

 

However, a non-cooperative pet is not the only reason that medications may not be given as prescribed.
Some of the top reasons pet owners may not be giving medications as directed are:

  • forgetfulness / distraction
  • worry of side effects
  • inability to understand instructions
  • inability to administer medicine due to physical limitations
  • inability to administer medicine due to scheduling conflicts
  • inability to administer medicine due to pet’s character
  • the pet’s refusal to accept medication due to size of tablet or objectionable flavor
  • the pet’s apparent improvement before the course of treatment has been completed

It is important to inform the veterinarian that a medication has not been given as instructed, so that you can work as a team to come up with a solution.  

Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, also advises:

  • Make sure you understand all instructions given to you, including dosage amount, frequency of administration, what to do if you forget to give a dose, whether it’s okay to combine different drugs, and whether to give the medication with food or on an empty stomach.
  • Ask questions about anything you do not understand. If you get home and realize you have a question, call the veterinarian ASAP.
  • Request easy-open (non-childproof) containers when needed.
  • Ask for a typed copy of instructions not already included on the pill container.
  • If you cannot give your pet its medication at all (especially if you fear being bitten), tell the doctor right away, so that any other treatment options can be considered.

Let us know how we can better serve you when we dispense medications.

  • Do you need a large-print version of all instructions?
  • If a choice is available, would you prefer liquid or tablet medications?
  • Would you like a dosing demonstration?
  • Would you like a written timetable to coordinate administering multiple drugs?
  • Would smaller quantities help? It can be budget-friendly.
  • Would you like recommendations on flavorful pill concealers or other tricks to improve the taste of medications?

What are your concerns about administering medications to your pet? Registered clients, please Contact Us.


Bonus Content — We found this pet pilling demo on YouTube: How to Give Your Pet a Pill.


This article was originally posted on July 20, 2012.

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During the holidays, batteries abound, because so many of the gadgets we buy for ourselves and our loved ones run on AA, D-cells, 9-volts, button batteries, and more.

But if those shiny objects look like candy to your dog or cat, you could be in for a shock: batteries can cause painful burns and ulcers inside your pet and may require a special procedure to remove them if they become lodged in your pet’s body.

remote control with batteries

Has the remote become your pet’s new favorite chew toy? That could be a real problem!

Alkaline batteries, which are often used to power common items like toys, electronics, remote controls, and clocks, contain potassium hydroxide, which can destroy delicate tissues and cause ulcers if ingested. Although early signs of damage can appear within 1-2 hours, further damage can occur over the first 24 hours after contact.† This includes injury from a pet chewing the battery, but not necessarily swallowing the pieces.

Disc batteries, which power hearing aids, watches, car key fobs, greeting cards, toys, and more, are very easy for your pet to swallow whole or chew into small pieces. They can also cause burns and possibly become stuck inside your pet’s body.

As a result of chewing or eating batteries, your pet may need Xrays to locate the pieces, bloodwork to determine how his health may be affected, or a special procedure to remove the battery if it is stuck inside your pet’s body.

Along with testing and any special procedures, your pet’s doctor may prescribe pain medication, antibiotics, fluids, and special medications used to treat ulcers.

†Monitoring for further complications following battery ingestion can last as long as 6 weeks, while pets recover at home.

What you might see if your pet chews or swallows a battery:

  • grey, white, or red burns in your pet’s mouth
  • swelling inside the mouth
  • difficulty eating or swallowing food
  • drooling
  • wheezing / noisy breathing / difficulty breathing
  • vomiting
  • lethargy / reluctance to move
  • pain at the mouth or abdomen

What to do if your dog or cat chews or eats a battery:
Call your local veterinary emergency hospital or animal poison control hotline for guidance [see references below], as soon as you become aware that your pet ate or may have eaten or chewed a battery. Since injury can continue to occur for some time after the initial exposure to potassium hydroxide, immediate action is key to a good outcome. In other words — don’t wait!

Prevent battery snacking!
This holiday season — and all year-round — be mindful of the items within your curious or hungry pet’s reach.

Pets that like to dig through the trash can may chew up a greeting card or used battery they find there. Children’s animatronic stuffed animals may look similar to a pet’s chew toy and pose a danger with their batteries and stuffing.

Take an inventory of each room and try to identify the objects within your pet’s reach, that contain batteries of any type or size. You may be surprised!

Even pets that don’t have a history of eating or chewing non-food items may suddenly develop interest in a new object, according to Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian.

Bottom line: Don’t let battery ingestion be a drain on your pet’s health!

Note: 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.


Keep these numbers handy for emergencies –
Blue Pearl Emergency [hospital] in Virginia Beach 757-499-5463
Pet Poison Helpline 1-855-764-7661 [$59 fee charged to your credit card*]
ASPCA Animal Poison Control 1-888-426-4435 [a fee may be charged to your credit card]

*This fee is current as of the date of this post.


Link: https://www.aspca.org/news/dangers-batteries-and-your-pets-what-you-should-know

 

 

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Cat under Christmas tree with gifts

Make this holiday season healthy and fun for everyone!
Photo by Jenna Hamra via Pexels.

Whether you’re decking the halls or going into hibernation mode, there are things you can do to protect your pet from holiday hazards.

Make your home safe for live-in and visiting pets with these tips and reminders.

Frostbite and snow-removal salt:

Snow and salt should be removed from your pet’s paws immediately. 

Frostbitten skin is red or gray and may slough (peel off.)

Apply warm, moist towels to thaw out frostbitten areas slowly until the skin appears flushed.

Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible for further care.

Snow removal products should be stored out of the reach of pets and small children, as the products’ toxicity varies considerably.

Golden retriever and Chrismas tree

Keep the holidays merry and bright for all your loved ones!
Photo by Leah Kelley via Pexels.

Toxic plants and holiday/winter products:

     Plants and other items associated with the winter and holiday season can be toxic to your pets.  What follows is a general guide.  Please consult your veterinarian, animal poison control, and the manufacturer for specifics.  Remember, the earlier you seek treatment, the better for your pet!

Plants:

  • poinsettia leaves and stems
  • balsam
  • pine
  • cedar
  • fir
  • holly berries and leaves
  • mistletoe, especially berries

Decorations/chemicals/other:

  • angel hair (spun glass)
  • Christmas tree preservatives
  • snow sprays, snow flock
  • tree ornaments
  • super glue
  • styrofoam
  • icicles
  • tinsel
  • crayons, paints
  • fireplace colors/salts
  • plastic model cement
  • bubbling lights (contain methylene chloride)
  • snow scenes (may contain salmonella)
  • aftershave, perfume
  • alcoholic beverages
  • chocolate
  • epoxy adhesives
  • antifreeze

Some of the above items are notable not just for their toxicity, but also for the danger they pose of intestinal blockage or severe irritation to the skin and mucous membranes. 


Keep these numbers handy for emergencies –

Blue Pearl Emergency in Virginia Beach 757-499-5463

Pet Poison Helpline  1-855-764-7661

ASPCA Animal Poison Control  1-888-426-4435


This post was originally published on December 9, 2011.

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