Posts Tagged ‘pet insurance’

Nationwide $500 Amazon giveaway

New pet owners can enter weekly to win one of 7 $500 Amazon.com gift cards good for everything their new BFFs (Best Fur Friends) will need!

Visit www.petinsurance.com/NewBFF and submit a new BFF e-card to enter.

 


Neither Dr. Miele nor Little Creek Veterinary Clinic or its staff is associated with this offer; this post is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee that any particular reader will win. For complete contest rules and information, click the link above.

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How to Help Your Dog’s Goopy and Itchy Eyes and Ears, Part 1

Close-up of man and dog eyes

Your dog may have these eye ailments in common with you!

Dr. Chris Roth, DVM

As a vigilant dog owner, it’s important to monitor unusual symptoms in your pet to keep them healthy. Ignoring issues can not only lead to an irritable pup, but to bigger, more costly problems. Dog eye discharge and itchy dog ears are two common afflictions that our four-legged family members suffer from. In this article, we will cover the various causes of these conditions and offer possible treatments.

Common Causes of Irritated Dog Eyes
If your dog is suffering from itchy or inflamed eyes, the culprit can range from a condition that is relatively easy to fix to something more serious. An understanding of the following dog eye infections might provide valuable insight into your dog’s situation.

When are a Dog’s Goopy Eyes a Cause for Concern?
The inner corner of your dog’s eyes is where her tear ducts are located. From time to time, goop or crust might form in this area as a result of an accumulation of dried tears, oil, and mucus. Most times the substance will be clear, but it can also be brown in color. This is completely normal. So long as your dog’s eyes are not red and they aren’t agitated by the goop or crust, there is no need to worry.

You can simply take a moist cotton ball and wipe her eyes clean of the discharge. If your dog, however, is rubbing her eyes or blinking and squinting frequently, you should bring her in to see a veterinarian, as this could be a symptom of the conditions listed below. Treating your dog with over-the-counter eye drops is not recommended without first consulting with a medical professional.

Conjunctivitis
If the lining of your dog’s eyelids becomes inflamed, she might have conjunctivitis. This ailment, which is akin to pink eye in humans, can trigger a clear and runny discharge or yellow-green pus in one or both of your dog’s eyes. Conjunctivitis can also make your dog’s eyes red, crusty, and swollen. You might see your pup blinking excessively, pawing at her eyes, or keeping her eyes closed.

The cause of conjunctivitis can be allergies, environmental irritants, or a bacterial infection. Once you bring your dog to a veterinarian, the doctor will examine your dog’s eye to see if a foreign body is causing the problem. If this is the case, the debris or object will be removed. If an allergy is responsible for the condition, your vet might prescribe antihistamines. If a bacterial infection turns out to be the cause of the conjunctivitis, your dog will be given eye drops and antibiotics. There is no reason to worry that you’ll contact conjunctivitis from your dog as it is not contagious.

Epiphora
Epiphora is an eye ailment that causes an abnormal flow of tears. Tearing is a natural reaction to an irritant and acts to flush away foreign bodies from the eye. But if your dog’s eyes are overly wet, and it’s not a result of something getting into her eyes, you should investigate the matter further. Epiphora can cause a darkening of fur around your dog’s eyes. Other symptoms of this condition are squinting, inflammation, redness and irritation, and discharge from the eye.

The causes of epiphora can be wide-ranging and include allergies, a parasite in the eye, glaucoma, sinusitis, or a blocked tear duct. Some breeds are susceptible to a blockage of their tear ducts or poor eyelid function as a result of a deformity. Treatment for epiphora will depend on what your vet finds to be the underlying cause and can range from topical solutions to surgery.

Dry Eye
The opposite of a dog with excessively watery eyes is one with dry eyes or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). The condition can be caused by congenital or immune related causes. It can also be the side effect of certain medications or previous surgeries to treat “cherry eye.” Symptoms include decreased tear production or insufficient tear secretion. These symptoms can lead yellow or gray, goopy discharge, eye redness, corneal ulcers, and blindness in extreme cases.
Dog breeds such as Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, and Pugs, can be predisposed to dry eye.

KCS is most commonly caused by a response from the dog’s immune system, which can cause inflammation and deterioration of glands in the eye. Toxicity caused by sulfa drugs, hypothyroidism, and canine distemper can also create trouble with a dog’s tear film. Unfortunately, there is no cure for dry eye and ongoing treatment is required. A daily administration of topical medications will stimulate tear production and replace tear film, which will keep your dog’s cornea protected and healthy.


Part II focuses on itchy ears — stay tuned!


Source: https://www.petsbest.com/blog/dogs-with-goopy-eyes-ears

Photo by Kamille Sampaio from Pexels

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The American Red Cross has designated April
as Pet First Aid Awareness Month.

Every home should have a first aid kit for people. Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, says pet owners should also have a special kit for their furry family members. You can put together your own kit (using a watertight container) with these items:

  • Veterinarian’s contact information
  • Emergency veterinary hospital contact information
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Gloves
  • Gauze pads
  • Gauze rolls
  • Soft muzzle
  • Alcohol prep pads
  • Cold pack
  • Digital thermometer
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Rags or rubber tubing
  • Blanket or towel

Just as important as having the kit,
is knowing how to use it.
See the Suggested Reading section below
for resources on first aid techniques at home.

Nationwide Pet Insurance provides these tips on knowing how to respond in an emergency:

“While it’s important not to self-diagnose your pet’s symptoms, you must first determine the situation. Next, stabilize your pet, then take him to the veterinarian, who will want to know what happened and when, and if your pet is feeling worse, better or the same since the incident occurred.”

Note that First Aid does not mean you provide all the medical care at home in a true emergency. However, there are occasions, such as in heat stroke or burns, where some home treatment is necessary to stabilize the pet in order to transport him safely to the hospital.

Ask for your copy of “First Aid for Your Pet” [brochure; while supplies last] or purchase a first aid book, such as one from the list below.

Suggested reading:

The First Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats

Cat First Aid by the American Red Cross

Dog First Aid by the American Red Cross

Need to Know Now:
BluePearl Emergency Pet Hospital…..………757-499-5463
Pet Poison Helpline…………………………………….1-855-764-7661
(fee charged to your credit card)
Nationwide Pet Insurance…………………………1-888-899-4874


This post originally published June 24, 2011. Links updated.

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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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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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Puppy Milestones: 4 Things You Need to Know

Posted on January 13, 2020 under Dog Articles

By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for the Pets Best Pet Insurance Agency, offering pet health insurance for puppies and dogs.

In honor of National Puppy Day, here are some fun facts about puppies. Do you have a new puppy at home? Do you know the important milestones of puppy development? Find them out below!

1. When do puppies lose their baby teeth?
Puppies begin losing their baby teeth around 12-16 weeks of age. The first teeth that fall out are the incisors (the tiny little teeth at the front of the mouth). Around age 4-6 months, puppies will lose their canine teeth which are those sharp little fang teeth. Puppies lose their molars last, usually around 5-7 months of age. The age at which your puppy will lose its baby teeth depends on the breed and size of the dog.

2. When will my puppy be house trained?
As soon as you get your new puppy you can begin the process of house training and teaching the puppy to go potty outside. However, if you don’t provide enough trips outdoors, your puppy may not be able to hold it for very long! As a rule of thumb, you can expect your puppy to hold its bladder for 1 hour for every month of its age. That means that a 5-month-old puppy cannot be expected to hold his bladder for more than 5 hours. Your best bet for minimizing accidents is to take your puppy outside to potty right after he wakes up from a nap and right after eating and playing. Once puppies reach 6 months and older, they have full control over their bladders and they can start to sharpen their housetraining skills into perfection as adults. Keep in mind that even older puppies and adult dogs can still have accidents in the house sometimes!

3. When will my puppy lose his baby fur?
There’s nothing as soft as puppy fur. This fluffy baby coat is typically shed around 6 months of age. However, the breed, time of year and exposure to light all affect the hair growth cycle. Some breeds will take even longer to shed their puppy coat and replace it with an adult coat. Keep your puppy well groomed and brushed to minimize shedding in the house.

4. When will my puppy mellow out?
This depends on the puppy! Smaller breeds reach maturity faster than larger breeds. Usually, dogs reach maturity between 6 months and 1.5 years of age. For example, your 1-year-old Chihuahua might be completely mellow, but a 1-year-old Great Dane might still act like a puppy. Often, dogs will still have excess energy as young adults for a few years after puppyhood. The breed is another factor in determining when an individual dog will mellow. Some breeds are mellower than others naturally, and some breeds are highly active. The point at which your puppy will stop acting like a puppy really depends on the breed and the individual. Some of us are always young at heart!


Contact Us to schedule an appointment for your new puppy!

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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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November is Pet Diabetes Month

 

It’s TRUE!

Cats and dogs can develop diabetes. Luckily, treatment is available.

 

What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the body either does not produce enough insulin (Type I) or is unable to effectively use the insulin it does produce (Type II). In either case, serious health disturbances result.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, necessary for processing blood sugar (glucose). Without insulin, blood sugar passes into the urine, rather than being used by body tissues.

When body tissues are starved for sugar, they begin to break down and no longer function normally, resulting in:

  • cataracts
  • skin sores and infections
  • urinary and respiratory infections
  • pancreatitis
  • neuropathy
  • vomiting and dehydration
  • coma and death

The kidneys, liver, heart, and nervous system can also suffer as a result of diabetes.

Type I diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and is often seen in older, overweight female dogs and in cats.

Type II diabetes, also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) is often seen in cats, but is rare in dogs.

What signs should I look for in my pet?

  • excessive thirst and urination
  • weight loss
  • poor appetite
  • weakness, inactivity
  • vomiting
  • dandruff and unkempt appearance (scruffy coat)
  • muscle wasting
  • plantigrade stance in cats (see photo)
Click to enlarge. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

Click to enlarge. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

What causes diabetes?

  • genetic predisposition
  • viral infection
  • pancreatitis and other diseases
  • hormone-type drugs
  • obesity

Is there a cure?
No, diabetes is not curable, but it can be controlled.

What kind of treatment is available?
Insulin injections and a specialized diet are indicated for Type I diabetes. You will learn how to give your pet its insulin injections at home. You may also need to monitor its blood sugar and urine sugar levels.

Type II diabetic patients may require a specialized diet and feeding schedule, along with blood sugar monitoring.

Nearly all diabetic patients require some amount of exercise, and female patients should be spayed to prevent hormone fluctuations from disturbing blood sugar levels.

Your pet’s veterinarian or vet specialist will recommend a suitable diet to manage glucose levels and weight, such as one that is low calorie, low carbohydrates, low fat, and high fiber, and features appropriate levels of protein and taurine.  

Will pet insurance companies help pay for treatment?
Some of them will, unless your pet’s diabetes is a pre-existing condition — meaning that it was diagnosed before you signed up for pet insurance. The best time to sign up for pet insurance is while your pet is young and healthy.


Note: The information above is a partial explanation of diabetes, its symptoms, and treatment. There are other diabetes-related diseases that are not mentioned here.
This article is not a substitute for medical care. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any condition. If you believe your pet has an illness, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian today.


Resources:
American Veterinary Medical Association
Hill’s Pet Nutrition publication
Instructions for Veterinary Clients
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary
Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice
The 5 Minute Veterinary Consult


This post originally appeared on October 10, 2012.

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November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Tips From the American Veterinary Medical Association

It’s a sobering reality: Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs and while it’s not as prominent in cats, it’s often a more aggressive form of cancer.

You can be your pet’s advocate when it comes to treating cancer early on by spotting the telltale signs.

Contact your veterinarian if your dog or cat displays any of these signs of possible cancer. Remember, early detection is critical in the fight against pet cancer.

*Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow.
*S
ores that do not heal.
*Weight loss.
*Loss of appetite.
*Bleeding or discharge from any body opening.
*Offensive odor.
*Difficulty eating or swallowing.
*Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina.
*Persistent lameness or stiffness.
*Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating.

Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, adds that cancer in pets can mimic other diseases and disorders, so it’s important to perform tests that can tell the difference.
In Hampton Roads, we refer to oncologists who diagnose and treat cancer in pets.

Contact Us to schedule an appointment for your pet. 

Pet cancer infographic

Double-click to enlarge

Article and infographic courtesy of Nationwide Pet Insurance.

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