What are the most common dental problems in pets?

Over 70% of all dogs and cats over five years of age suffer from periodontal disease, which means that they have loss of the supporting structures of the teeth. In most cases this process is uncomfortable, and it will eventually lead to problems such as loose teeth, bacteria in the blood stream, and damage to the kidneys, heart and liver. Many dogs and cats seen at this practice over the age of 5 have one or more painful teeth in their mouth.

Why is my pet's breath so bad?

Bad breath is usually associated with bacteria in the mouth that produce sulphur containing compounds such as hydrogen sulfides and methyl mercapatans. These compounds not only smell bad, but they also are damaging to the oral tissues. Professional cleaning along with home plaque control (see home care) gives the best results. Bad breath that returns shortly after a cleaning may indicate that there may be some deep-seated problems.
Bad breath is occasionally seen with medical conditions such as kidney failure and diabetes.

How can I take weight off my pet?

First, visit your veterinarian to be sure the weight gain is not caused by a medical condition. Then, switch to a reduced calorie formula diet (the veterinarian can suggest one) and curb the amount of treats. Adding vegetables to your pet's food will add bulk to a meal without adding calories. Visiting the veterinary hospital for frequent weigh-ins will help keep you and your pet on the right track.

The boarding kennel wants my dog to have the "kennel cough" vaccine. What is that?

'Kennel cough' is a bacterial infection involved in infectious tracheobronchitis and is spread by airborne bacteria. A dog may come in contact with this bacteria through contact with other dogs in places such as kennels, dog shows and field trials. It is recommended that dogs who will be in these situations be vaccinated.

When can I get my pet spayed or neutered?

Generally, puppies and kittens can be spayed or neutered at six months of age.

How long does a female dog stay in heat?

A female dog usually remains in heat for 2 1/2 to 3 weeks.

Why do you recommend performing bloodwork on a yearly basis on my pets?

This is a question my receptionists get all the time. In addition to performing a yearly physical exam we recommend performing yearly bloodwork. This yearly blood exam checks your pet' kidneys, liver, blood sugar and blood protein. It is very easy to perform these blood tests at the same time we perform the yearly physical exam. In our senior or geriatric pets we may recommend some additional and more frequent blood testing.

How long is a Rabies Vaccine good for?

The first vaccine that a pet receives is good for 1 year, each one after that as long as they are not overdue are good for 3 years.

When should flea prevention be started, and should it be used year round?

Flea prevention is recommended according to an animal's environment. If fleas are a concern, prevention can be initiated as early as 8 weeks depending upon the product used. In endemic areas where fleas are prevalent, year round prevention is recommended. For good control and prevention, every dog and cat in the household should be included in the eradication or prevention. The house and yard should also be considered a part of the treatment protocol. Your veterinarian is the best source for flea control products and advice as they understand your pet's specific needs and concerns.

How can I tell if my pet is in pain?

Animals do not necessarily show pain the way humans do. Any behavioral abnormality can be a sign of pain. Some signs would be depression, limping, lethargy, no appetite, aggressive behavior and inappropriate vocalization. Pain can actually further debilitate an already injured or sick pet. Arthritis is a common cause of pain, especially in the older pet. Once discomfort and pain are controlled, pets generally become much more active and are able to play and enjoy their environment again. Ask your veterinarian any questions that you may have relative to pain control for your pet.

How does my pet get tapeworms?

The most common source of tapeworm infestation is the flea. Other sources include ingested rodents or rabbits. Fleas can harbor tapeworm larvae, and when they are ingested during grooming, the larvae will develop into adult tapeworms which live in the pets intestinal tract. As the parasite grows, egg packets develop in segments of the worm and are passed with the feces. These segments are white and will move about. Dried segments may appear as pieces of brown rice or sesame seeds around the rear of the pet. We have medication that will eliminate tapeworms from your pet but the best treatment is prevention. To prevent tapeworms, you must prevent fleas. We recommend Bravecto.

How Should I Brush My Dog's Teeth?

Brushing your dog's teeth is the single most effective means to curtail dental disease. This makes sense because the bacterial film known as 'plaque' is the root of many dental problems. This film is easily displaced by simple mechanical disruption as the teeth are brushed. Daily brushing is required to improve dental health, while brushing every other day will help maintain the dental health in its current state. Many dogs will eventually accept brushing. The key to success is to be patient and gradual in your approach, brushing mainly the outsides of the 'cheek teeth'. A pet that resists brushing may do so because they have painful areas in their mouth that need to be addressed. We recommend CET toothpaste for pets, which is pet safe and come in several flavors such as poultry, malt and mint. Avoid human toothpastes as they usually contain abrasives and detergents that can be irritating if swallowed. Specific veterinary toothbrushes are very soft to assist in brushing the teeth.

Is it okay to feed my cat milk?

Veterinarians generally do not recommend feeding milk to our feline friends. A cat's digestive system does not digest milk well. Feeding milk to your cat can cause diarrhea, which can lead to further nutritional problems (your cat won't be able to absorb nutrients from his food).