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mosquito

Important reminder.  With all of the flooding we have had here in Texas the past month we expect the mosquito population to be massive.  With a high mosquito population comes a higher risk of your pet contracting heartworm disease which is transmitted by mosquitoes.  It is extremely important that your pet be on a monthly heartworm preventive medication year round to prevent this deadly disease.  If your pet has not been on regular heartworm preventive it is important to have your pet tested for heartworms prior to starting the preventive medication.  Please contact your veterinarian to discuss which heartworm preventive would be best for your pet as there are several options from which to choose.

Visit this link for more information on heartworm disease and prevention. https://www.heartwormsociety.org/

 

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timberlinevet

valentine puppies

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  If you are sharing sweets with your sweetheart here are some things to remember.  Chocolate can sicken and even kill dogs and cats.  It is one of the most common causes of canine poisoning.

Chocolate contains two substances that are toxic to dogs and cats; theobromine and caffeine.  Dogs and cats metabolize these substances much slower than people do.  Both theobromine and caffeine are stimulants to the central nervous system.  If too much chocolate is ingested then the increased stimulus to the central nervous system can cause increase in blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms and possibly even death.

Dark and baker’s chocolate are the most dangerous.  Milk chocolate and white chocolate pose a much less serious risk.  Mild symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea.  More severe symptoms include hyper-excitability, hyper-irritability, restlessness, increased heart rate and muscle tremors.

Also, Macadamia nuts are commonly used in…

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timberlinevet

Dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions seen by veterinarians.  Over 68% of all dogs over the age of three are estimated to have some form of periodontal or dental disease.  The most common dental problems seen in dogs is periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease is a term used to describe inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth.  Accumulation of tartar and calculus on the teeth causes gum recession around the base of the tooth.  Infection soon follows and the gums recede further, exposing sensitive unprotected tooth root surfaces and the bony tooth sockets.  Left untreated, the infection spreads deep into the tooth socket, destroying the bone.  Ultimately, the tooth loosens and falls out.

The best way to prevent tartar build-up is regular home care, particularly tooth brushing using a toothpaste that is specifically designed to be swallowed.  Human toothpaste should never be used in dogs. …

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dog in cap and scarf

It seems that most of the United States is in a deep freeze right now.  These conditions can be tough for humans but can be especially tough for our pets.  Here are some tips to keep your pets safe and warm.

Keep pets indoors as much as possible during cold weather.  Like humans, animals can get frostbite

Never let your dog off leash on snow or ice, especially during a snow storm.  Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost.  More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wear ID tags.

Outdoor cats and other wildlife seeking shelter and warmth can crawl under the hood of a car or truck.  Banging on the hood of your car before starting the engine should scare away any stowaways.

Road salt and other de-icing chemicals are damaging to pets’ paws and can be hazardous if ingested.  Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of sleet, snow or ice.  It is also a good idea to trim the long hair on the bottom of a pet’s feet to prevent ice balls from forming.

Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth.  When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before going out for a walk.  If you own a short-hair breed consider getting him a coat or sweater.

Antifreeze is a lethal poison to dogs and cats.  Be sure to thoroughly clean up an spills from your vehicle and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts.  A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

 

Terrier Dog  and Cat Sitting on a Sofa

November is national pet diabetes awareness month.  Therefore, we wanted to present answers to some frequently asked questions about pet diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a disease caused by lack of insulin that affects the level of glucose, or sugar, in your dog or cat’s blood.  The glucose comes from the food that your pet eats.  The food is broken down into very small components by the digestive system so that the body can use it for energy.  Insulin is required for the cells throughout the body to absorb glucose.  Insulin is produced in the pancreas in response to the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Healthy pets produce insulin easily, but pets with diabetes don’t. In canine and feline diabetes, unused glucose builds up in the bloodstream.

How common is diabetes?

Diabetes is reported to affect anywhere between 1 in 100 to 1 in 500 dogs and cats.  But experts believe that this disease is on the rise.

Can diabetes lead to other health problems?

Yes, dogs and cats with diabetes can develop other health problems.  For dogs, the most common complication of diabetes is cataract formation.  Persistently high blood glucose levels make the lens of the eye become opaque, causing blindness.

For cats, weakness  of the hind legs is a common complication.  Persistently high blood glucose levels may damage nerves, causing weakness and muscle wasting.  For this reason, early diagnosis of diabetes in you dog or cat is especially important.

What are the risk factors for diabetes?

Risk factors for dogs include age, (middle-aged to older dogs are more affected), genetics, obesity and recurring pancreatitis.  It is suspected that some breeds are more at risk.

Risk factors for cats include age (older cats are more susceptible), obesity and physical inactivity.  Other disorders or diseases such as pancreatitis or hyperthyroidism can cause insulin reduction or resistance.

Some common signs of diabetes in dogs and cats include:

Excessive thirst

Excessive urination – your pet produces more urine per day and may have “accidents” in the house (dogs) or outside the litterbox (cats)

Excessive weight loss despite a normal appetite and eating habits

Lethargy (less active/sleeps more)

Cloudy eyes in dogs

Decreased grooming in cats

Decreased jumping ability and rear limb weakness in cats

Thinning, dry and dull hair

How do I know if my dog or cat is diabetic?

If you observe your pet exhibiting signs of diabetes, a simple blood or urine test at your veterinarian’s office can help to confirm the diagnosis.  Your veterinarian can then advise you on the appropriate next steps, treatment and care of your pet.

How do I take care of a pet with diabetes?

Although there is no cure for diabetes, the disease can be successfully managed with the help of your veterinarian. Daily insulin injections are usually required to restore your pet’s insulin level and control their blood glucose levels.  Diet plays a vital role in helping to keep your pet’s diabetes regulated.  A high-quality, consistent source of protein is an essential part of any diabetic diet. Consistent timing and size of meals is also very important.

Exercise can help dogs with diabetes, but it needs to be regulated because activity affects blood glucose levels. Frequent veterinary check-ups can help identify changes in your pet’s condition and help you manage this disease successfully over time.

Managing your dog or cat’s diabetes will require some effort, but the rewards are well worth it.  Pets whose diabetes is under control are less likely to develop complications.

 

 

 

 

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There is good news in the pet food industry.  Calorie counts will soon start appearing on the labels of almost all dog and cat foods and treats, which will help owners and veterinarians compare products and determine feeding amounts.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is adding the new labeling requirement to its 2014 model feed regulations on the recommendation of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.  It is felt this information is important to address the issue of obesity, since a recent survey indicated that 53% of dogs and 55% of cats in the United States are considered obese or overweight by their veterinarians.  But this caloric information is also important for working dogs, dogs and cats in gestation and lactation, and growing puppies and kittens.  Consumers need to know the calories in order to make good feeding decisions.

Currently, the AAFCO model regulations require light or low-caloried pet foods to list calories and in January 2013, AAFCO approved a proposal requiring all dog and cat foods to list calories.  A spokesperson for AAFCO said the new labeling requirement protects consumers by helping them make more meaningful comparisons between foods.  This change safeguards animal health by making it easier for pet owners and veterinarians to determine the right amount of food for pets.  The new labeling requirement also covers pet treats.

It is important for consumers to know that not all pet food manufacturers follow AAFCO standards.  We recommend that one purchase only pet food with the AAFCO feeding trial statement to guarantee the food meets the minimum standard set by pet food regulators.

Pooh Bear

Once upon a time, a young Chow dog was found abandoned in a ditch behind a school in the Dallas area.  He was lucky enough to be taken in by a great group of people at dfwrescueme.org where he received medical care, love and attention.  On December 26, 2012 he received a special gift from Santa and was adopted by a very loving family and went to his new forever home.  Three weeks later his new owners were notified that he had heartworm disease.  This is a deadly disease caused by mosquitoes and can be easily prevented with preventive medicines.  Pooh Bear then had to undergo the very painful and dangerous treatment for heartworm disease.  But he was a trooper.  He had some complications with breathing and had to be on oxygen therapy for a time, but now is recovering nicely.  He still has some health issues that are  being addressed, but for the most part is in good physical condition.  His age is estimated to around 3 to 4 years old.

But here is where the story gets better.  Pooh Bear was adopted by a Vietnam veteran and has been a very healing presence in the life of this man who has suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  He is now scheduled to begin therapy dog training in the hopes of helping many others with PTSD.  We know he will good at this because you can tell by that face that he a such a gentle soul.   The moral of this story is we often do something good in the hopes of improving another being’s life, such as adopting a pet.  But the love and gratitude that a pet gives in return often improves one’s own life.