SERVING LONGVIEW & SURROUNDING AREAS
FOR OVER 475 DOG YEARS!

2500 Estes Parkway, Longview, TX
Call Today! 903-758-2082

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Dr. Melissa O’Reilly Joins the Team

Dr. Melissa O'Reilly (Longview Animal Hospital New Veterinarian) and Dr. Brian FoyeLongview Animal Hospital is pleased to announce the addition of a new Veterinarian, Dr. Melissa O’Reilly, to their team, beginning on December 4, 2017.  Dr. O’Reilly graduated in May of 2015 from Louisiana State University with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and she comes to Texas from Virginia with her husband, Patrick, a mechanic.

The practice has experienced steady growth each year since Dr. Brian Foye took over in 2011 and according to Dr. Foye, “We’ve been stretching ourselves in different ways to care for all our clients’ fur babies.  It will be so helpful having a second veterinarian to meet our growing needs.”  In addition to enhanced appointment opportunities during normal operating hours, the addition of a second Veterinarian will enable the practice to extend their Thursday hours for full day operations and to open on two Saturday mornings each month, beginning in January.

“Many of our clients find it hard to schedule appointments during the work week and we’ve had requests for Saturday hours.  We’re thrilled to have Dr. O’Reilly join us and we know our clients are going to love her”, said  Jill Foye, Practice Manager for Longview Animal Hospital.

Dr. O’Reilly is looking forward to being part of the family at Longview Animal Hospital and to settling into the area with her husband and her animals. Their household currently includes horses, chickens and goats!  “I’m so excited to get back to the South to be near family and friends.  I believe I’ve found an excellent team to join and look forward to working with Dr. Foye and others at this well-established historic practice!”

The expanded hours on Thursdays will begin on Dec. 21 and Saturday walk-in appointments will start in January (2 Saturdays per month) from 8am to noon.

Longview Animal Hospital is one of the oldest continuously operating vet clinics in the area.  The practice, originally named Longview Veterinary Hospital, was established in 1949 by Dr. Alec Sears.  It has changed owners several times over its long history: Dr. Jack Clayton (Owner from about 1950-1954); Dr. Bob Terrell (Owner from 1954-1994); Dr. Christina Odum (Owner from 1994-2011).

In 2011, the practice was taken over by Dr. Brian Foye.  Located at 2500 Estes Parkway, just south of the location where Estes divides and turns into High Street and Mobberly Avenue, the clinic offers updated state-of-the-art medical equipment and a full spectrum of Veterinary Services including diagnostics, surgeries, dental cleanings and extractions, vaccines and boarding.  Learn more about Longview Animal Hospital at their website at https://www.longviewanimalhospital.com or call 903-807-0887.

To Share or Not to Share - What Foods From the Dinner Table are Safe for Your PetWhich Foods from the Dinner Table Can Your Pet Eat?

It’s Thanksgiving time, again!  We know we all like to make our pets happy by giving them treats from the table every now and then, but some foods that we eat can actually be quite dangerous for them.  So, which foods are safe?  Here are some things to keep in mind this holiday season:

Hard No’s

Alcohol, avocado, caffeine, grapes, raisins, and some artificial sweeteners like xylitol found in some candies and gums can all cause death, among other dangerous side effects.  Raw meats may contain bacteria that can contribute to the development of infections.  Onions, garlic, and chives can cause vomiting, discolored urine, asthma, tiredness, and diarrhea, all indicating the damage they do to the gastrointestinal tract, red blood cells, and the liver.  Chocolate, any baked good that contains yeast, and macadamia nuts can also have negative effects on your dog or cat’s health.  Sometimes, it only takes a small amount of these substances to be lethal.  To read more about the signs and symptoms that your pet may be displaying in a negative reaction to any of these foods, click to view slides here.

Maybe’s

We’ve heard mixed messages about dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheeses, and you may also be surprised to find bones on this list, too!

One source says that our pets’ digestive systems aren’t designed to process dairy products, and thus can produce diarrhea and vomiting.  At the same time, not all cats and dogs that drink milk have this response, so not all are lactose-intolerant.  Another source argues that yogurt can improve pets’ digestive systems, just as it does for humans, as long as the yogurts and cheeses they consume are non- or low-fat and are without flavoring or sweetening.  Cottage-cheese is recommended for dogs, and harder cheeses, like Gouda, are recommended for cats.

As for bones, the process of gnawing on them can clean your pet’s teeth, but they can also splinter and cause internal damage if those fragments are swallowed.  As such, it is important to get pressed bones if you choose to buy any bones at all.  Some toys and baby carrots are also said to work just as well for dental hygiene.

Hard Yes’s

Fruits and vegetables are in!  Pears, bananas, oranges, seedless watermelon, blueberries, pumpkin, and green beans are all good and safe sources of nutrition.  That being said, it is a good idea to mind seeds and remember that all is in moderation!  Apple slices can be particularly beneficial, helping your pet’s breath to smell better and clean their teeth, not to mention they are a good source of fiber and vitamin A and C.  Remember to peel them for your cats, though.  Green beans and pumpkin are also high in fiber and low in calories, which may help your pet lose some extra weight.

If something doesn’t sit well with your pet, make sure to call us at Longview Animal Hospital: (903)-807-0887 or (if outside of our normal operating hours): East TX Pet Emergency Hospital: (903)-759-8545.

We have great news to share with you!  On December 4, Dr. Melissa O’Reilly, will be joining our veterinary team at Longview Animal Hospital.  We are thrilled to be working with Dr. O’Reilly and can’t wait for all our clients to meet her.  We’ll be sharing a bit more information in the next few weeks, but for now, please meet our newest Veterinarian on the Longview Animal Hospital team by watching the short introduction below.

Meet Dr. Melissa O’Reilly

Fun and Creative Ways to Exercise Your PetAre you and your dog tired of playing fetch?  Is your cat acting up out of a longing for more diverse activity?  There are many fun and creative ways to exercise your pet, both novel and spin-offs of more traditional activities, that can freshen up your routine on pet exercise, and even your own.  Not only do these contribute to a healthy body, but with creativity and challenge they can also grow a healthy and confident mind.

Traditional

Here’s a reminder of the basics, which can be a good place to start with a dog if there are a lot of outside constraints: fetch, tug-of-war, tricks and obedience commands, and play-dates.  This last one can allow dogs to exercise at their own will and to create their own games.  

Sports

If you are an active person, chances are that you already take your furry fido on some of these adventurous outings.  The following list is a refresher, just in case something hadn’t occurred to you before: Flyball competitions, agility classes, tracking competitions, dancing, biking, fitness and yoga classes inclusive of dogs, stand-up paddleboarding, swimming, kayaking, and running.  Learn more about how to best incorporate your dog into these activities here and here.  In the first link, you can learn about training some dogs for soccer – isn’t that exciting?!

Fun Twists

We also enjoy how the second link presents a handful of ways to spin staple exercise methods: let your dog lead you on the leash when it won’t intrude on someone else’s activities; running at their pace and allowing them to stop and investigate; practice tracking challenges at home with treats and toys or treats inside toys; and working out by doing rigorous exercises while your dog retrieves and returns during fetch.

Exercise Your Pet Indoors

Some of the above you can already do indoors, such as running around the house, workout fetch, tracking, all of the traditional methods, and maybe a gentle game of soccer (…maybe).  A healthy dog may also be keen on running up and down stairs.  Obstacle courses can also be an exciting change for your dog and a creative outlet for you.

Cats

Last, but not least, cats also need physical and mental exercise, and some of the same activities that engage dogs also animate cats, such as play-dates, obstacle courses, agility courses, treadmills or wheels, mouse- and bird- like toys and wands, treats, and teaching tricks and commands.  Cats may easily get bored with their toys, so it may help to cycle through toys, storing some while using others.  An at-home hockey rink with a ball in a tub or a cardboard box can also be oodles of fun for you and exhilarating for your cat.  Lasers, cat towers, and yarn are also standard favorites for cats and their companions.  Healthy doses of catnip for some cats can be enjoyable, but others become aggressive, and this doesn’t mix well with the usual stress of going to the vet.  Walking your cat on a harness outdoors or otherwise letting them roam in your backyard can also be enriching for your cat, although it may be more difficult for older cats to learn to walk on a leash and some cats also may never want to give up being outside.

As you consider these options for exercising with your pet, please keep in mind everyone’s safety and, related to that, your specific pet’s capabilities and limitations.  Always supervise your pets when they are on complex equipment such as wheels and kayaks, and be sure to give some trial runs and training getting into and out of, or onto and off of, such equipment.  Dispose of or pick up any toys or components of them that could cause harm, such as string in the digestive system or a large toy at the top of the stairs.  Should accidents happen, Longview Animal Hospital and our expert Veterinarians are only a phone call and a short drive away.  (903)-807-0887, 2500 Estes Parkway, Longview, Texas.

Training Your Children for a New Pet

Bringing a new pet into your home is a big decision for a family, especially when there are children in the household.  Pets can bring a lot of joy to any home and can help children learn the responsibilities that go along with caring for another living creature.  They provide opportunities for fun and companionship as well as teaching us about compassion.  It is also shown that having a pet in the home reduces the development of allergies to animals. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to help with training your children for a new pet.

 

Sometimes, however, a pet might not be a good fit.  The temperament of both the pet and the child (or children) have to be taken into consideration.  Toddlers, for example, tend to be grabby and will need active supervision and guidance on how to carefully interact with pets.  Respectful interaction is needed to ensure learning and improvement for all. If you are unsure of how a pet will respond to your children (or how your children might respond to your pet), you might consider waiting a few years until children are older and better able to understand what is expected in regards to caring for and living with a dog or a cat.

 

If you decide that a pet is a good fit for your household, there are several things you can do to make this transition easier for both your family and your new addition.  One of the first things is to do some research on dog breeds and their temperaments to determine what breed might be a good fit for your lifestyle and your family dynamic.  There are some online resources you can use as well to help match your child’s age and personality to a fitting breed (i.e. http://www.parents.com/parenting/pets/kids/the-best-pet-for- your-child/#page=5 ).

 

Once you have decided to move forward, consider bringing your child or children to a shelter to meet some prospective pets and determine if there is an animal there that might be considered a good match.   You can also do research together on how to care for a new pet that can include what foods you want to use or what kind of toys might be fun for them or what games might be appropriate to play.  If you are bringing home a puppy or a kitten, you might want to discuss how to handle training for going outside or using a litterbox and what to do when accidents happen.  Knowing the basics of training in advance can help all members of your family start their relationships with a new pet on the right foot.  Small caretaking responsibilities can be decided on in advance so that children are involved, but not overwhelmed.

 

When you reach the day when you bring your new pet home, plan on careful parental supervision and commitment to both pet and child. Designating specific feeding and sleeping areas within your home will help to allow for your new pet to have their own safe space.  You can also consider hiring a trainer to work with you and your family transition to your new roles as caring pet owners.  Discuss and model respectful behaviors (like leaving a dog alone when they are in their crate) and teach your children about guidelines for proper pet interactions. You can also include how to behave around other animals they might meet when out of the home (i.e. ask permission before petting someone else’s dog or cat).

 

There is no doubt that growing up with a pet in your household is a wonderful thing that makes a lasting impression and expands your family.  With some careful assessments and planning, you can prevent some of the mishaps and be assured that the experiences are positive for all involved.  If you are looking for guidance on a new pet, our Team at Longview Animal Hospital is happy to provide assistance.  You can call us at 903-807-0887 or stop in at our office at 2500 Estes Parkway in Longview, TX.  For more information about us and our veterinary services for new pets, please visit http://longviewanimalhospital.com .

Canine influenza, or dog flu, is becoming a threat to dogs throughout the United States.  There are two strains of the virus (CIV H3N8 and CIV H3N2) both of which cause a respiratory infection in dogs.  These relatively new viruses are suspected of coming from mutations of other forms of influenza, such as those affecting horses and birds.  Since these are new viruses, dogs don’t currently have a natural  immunity to it.  It is thought that the Canine influenza viruses can lead to other respiratory infections like Kennel Cough and the symptoms are often similar.  As of May 2017, there are documented cases of Canine influenza in Texas.

This highly contagious virus is passed on through direct contact with infected dogs, as well as through secondary surfaces, clothing and people’s hands.  Cats are also susceptible to the virus (symptoms are runny nose, congestion, general discomfort, lip smacking, and extra salivation) and are able to pass it along to dogs.  At this time, the viruses are not transmissible to humans.

Canine influenza is not usually fatal (less than 10%) and will usually run its course in about 2-3 weeks.  Some dogs don’t display symptoms.  Symptoms in mild cases include a gentle wet or dry cough, lethargy, anorexia, low grade fever, eye and or nose discharge (the latter typically responds to antibiotics indicating a secondary infection resulting from the flu).  Severe cases often present with a high fever (104-106), and symptoms similar to pneumonia including high respiratory rates.

Since these are new viruses, most dogs are vulnerable, with young and older dogs being at greater risk along with dogs that have a lot of contact with other dogs.  Preventive measures include limiting contact with other dogs and staying away from places where flu has been reported.  If you are in the habit of petting other dogs, washing your hands before petting your own dog is a good practice to help prevent spreading the virus.  Good nutrition and strong healthcare practices help make pets less vulnerable.

Treatment for Canine influenza in most cases is supportive and includes cough/respiratory medications, hydration (and antibiotics if a secondary bacterial infection is suspected).  Rest and isolation for the pet are recommended.  For more severe cases, fluid therapy or hospitalization may be required.

Testing is currently available to identify the two strains of the virus (H2N8 and H3N2), and Longview Animal Hospital carries a vaccine to protect against both.  If you have any questions, please contact our team at (903) 807-0887.

For more information, visit www.canineinfluenza.com

You are bringing home a new dog soon.  You have done research on its breed, age, and history, so you have an idea of what behaviors you can expect from it.  You have all of the gear–leash, crate, collar, and food. Now, you are in a bit of a panic, as you are thinking of some of the ways in which your life will be different from here-on-out.  One way is that your daily routine will change. In the first couple of weeks, you will not have the relationship with your new companion that includes the mutual understanding and teamwork to ensure safety, order, and the balancing of needs of both pet and parent.

Hoping to get started on that new relationship and move towards the reestablishment of harmony?  Beginning promptly to housetrain your dog and teach them obedience–with constancy and positive reinforcement–can really make a difference!  You may want to make your dog’s first day with you a full one in order to advance as much as possible towards your goal.

Acclimation

The word “training” may send off signals to you to look at the section on basic commands, but beginning with housetraining–allowing them to explore home, crate, designated waste areas, and leash life–can address needs, such as your dog’s sense of security and ease.  It can also make progress towards your own needs for your house’s cleanliness, and for building a strong foundation for  caring for, trusting, and understanding your new pet.

The Spruce has 4 articles on each of the above topics–and many more–that offer “how to’s,” tips, and explanations on the purposes of some of the methods:

  1. How to Crate Train Your Dog or Puppy by Amy Bender

  2. How to House Train Your Puppy by Jenna Stregowski, RVT

  3. Introducing Your Dog to the Leash by Amy Bender

  4. Leash Training for Dogs by Amy Bender

Basic Commands

Practicing the basic commands of “sit,” “come,” “down,” “stay,” and “leave it”  with your dog within the first few days of bringing them home is of great importance.  It contributes to your own peace of mind, as you can begin to trust that your dog will do as you ask in service of their safety or your need for order and peace.  Juliana Weiss-Roessler wrote a helpful article for Cesar’s Way that describes a step-by-step process of training your dog for these 5 commands.

Methods and Strategies

The methods you use for training are important because they can both facilitate and/or hamper the learning process for your dog, and they can also influence whether your relationship is built on things like affection or fear.

Positive reinforcement is held in high regard as an effective and affectionate method for training pets.  Rewards such as praise, petting, and treats are received happily by dogs and are shown to yield results.  To better ensure that learning will happen, you can choose to follow desired behaviors swiftly with such rewards.  It is also constructive to reward any progress made towards the fulfillment of commands and to practice the same behaviors often, eventually in different situations.  This being said, the learning curve for your dog may be slow and they may not behave as you expected them to based on your research.  Be patient and be willing to get creative and go through some trial and error with commands and treats!

The effectiveness and ethical value of negative reinforcement is contested in the training community.  One resource suggests that non-physical negative reinforcement, such as placing motion-sensing air compressors in areas that you want your pet to avoid, like countertops or spaces containing fragile valuables or wires, produces results.  Another argues that punishing pets for not completing a command can foster fear and resistance.

Training is a wholesome activity for you and your dog.  It can be a good mental exercise for them, as they are challenged to figure out what it is you want them to do, or to figure out how they can get that treat.  Furthermore, it can be a satisfying way of consuming energy, although other types of training, like sports or agility,  can be more effective at tiring dogs out!

If you and your dog are hitting a roadblock in training with certain behaviors and are having issues finding the source and solution, a professional perspective can be beneficial.  Veterinary behaviorists can help identify the cause of certain behaviors and offer suggestions for future work.  Sugar Land, Texas is home to the Texas Veterinary Behavior Services, which can be contacted Monday-Friday and some Saturdays, from 10am-6pm at (281) 980-3737.  Locally, you can contact Jennifer Lavendar or Pam Orms (contact information below).

Good luck training!  And don’t forget that cats can do it, too, with many of the same strategies, and that both pet and parent can benefit from the process.

Pam Orms, Pam’s Dog Grooming and Obedience School, 2508 Hendricks St, Gladewater, Texas 75647,(903) 845-4890; https://www.facebook.com/PamsDogGroomingAndObedienceSchool

Jenny Lavender, People Training for Pets, 315 Meadowlark Lane, Longview, Texas 75603; (903) 702-9877;
https://www.facebook.com/PTFPeasttexas903

Studies have shown that people invest a lot in their pets, but not in pet insurance: Americans spent $50 billion on pets in 2011 and $15 billion on veterinary bills in 2014, but less than 5% of dogs and 1% of cats are insured.  These staggering numbers may indicate unawareness, misunderstanding or incomplete understanding, or distrust of the concept.

What is Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance operates a lot like health insurance for your family members, maintaining their well being and your finances, but for your pet instead of a relative.  There are a variety of policies that cover the costs of veterinary bills for a variety of health risks and procedures.

Some statistics on pet health:

  • 4 out of 5 pets will experience a medical emergency in their lifetime
  • 1 in 3 pets will need unexpected veterinary care each year

Why Some People Buy Pet Insurance

If you browse the web, you will find that, when people buy pet insurance, they do so generally out of the desire to meet 3 needs – financial security, peace of mind, and contributing to the life of their pet.  They want to protect their emotions, their wallets, and their pets from some of life’s most unfortunate accidents and developments.

  • Personal Security & Contribution to Life of Pet
    Buying pet insurance contributes to personal security and the desire to care for life in a variety of ways.  In general, it grants you some ease in decision-making about medical issues and peace in the downtime when there isn’t a medical matter at hand.  For example, certain policies can allow you to authorize or deny medical treatment for your pet solely on the basis of how it may contribute to the future well being of your pet – without the stressful consideration of how much money you have in the bank.  A pet health insurance policy can also give you reassurance that, should an accident happen or an illness develop, all can be taken care of.  Furthermore, pet insurance policies can contribute to the well being of both you and your pet in that they allow you to choose any vet, whether out of the comfort of familiarity or the assurance of quality care, or both!  Those who opt for pet insurance also appreciate when it covers for costly but effective and life-enhancing remedies, technologies, and procedures.
  • Financial Security 
    When people buy pet insurance for financial security, they may do so to protect their lifetime investment from the rising costs of emergencies and even general checkups, and from high-interest credit cards or loans.  Some of the ways that pet insurance helps are by reimbursing up to 80% of the cost of a bill after deductibles and preventing you from drawing capital from other funds – emergency or otherwise – and from friends.  It also provides you with the money when you need it, allowing you to avoid setting up a plan to repay a large bill to your vet in installments over a long period of time.

Why Some People Don’t Buy Pet Insurance

For many pet owners, not buying pet insurance may also be a way of meeting a need for financial security.  The decision to refrain from the purchase is likely not for lack of care for one’s pet or out of disregard for one’s emotional needs.  Different providers offer different payment strategies – month-to-month, bi-annually, or annually, for example – but a policy might generally start out at a premium of $20-$50 per month, and then increase as your pet ages.

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

  • The claim-making process may vary across insurance providers and veterinarians.  Some plans may ask that you pay your vet and then send the receipt for your bill to your provider who, in a few days to a few weeks, will send you a check for part or all of the costs, as agreed upon in your policy.  In some instances, your vet may file paperwork for you.
  • Different plans cover different needs: some only cover accidents, others only cover vaccinations and checkups, and others will cover for certain conditions.
  • There are more options for coverage if you sign up when your pet is young.
  • Most policies don’t cover for pre-existing conditions.
  • Most plans offer discounts for additional pets

If you’re a pet parent or are about to become one and you are considering buying pet insurance, there is a great resource available at Reviews.com – Pet Insurance that gives all the ins and outs about the plans and options that are available.  You can also learn more at http://www.petinsuranceguideus.com/the-basics/.

If you are not quite sure you are ready for pet insurance, feel free to give Dr. Foye’s team at Longview Animal Hospital a call at (903) 807-0887 and ask us about CareCredit – a program that allows payments over 6 months with no interest!

 

You know you want to get a pet.  You may even know what kind of pet you want.  But, you’re not sure what it takes to provide for one, and you’re afraid things could end badly, so you’re stuck between your yearning and your fear, looking for some guidance.   Being  aware of some of the personal factors that can affect your ability to provide for the needs of a prospective pet in the first place can be helpful.  Below is a list of such factors.

Just because you may be limited in one or two areas doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t have a pet!  We hope our list prompts you to consider what kind of animal companion might work best with your needs, or what areas in your life you might be able to adjust to meet the needs of the pet you want.  Happy pet matchmaking!

Personal Factors that Affect Your Ability to Care for a Pet:

  • 1 – Lifestyle and Time.  Consider the demands of your job, family and social life, daily routine, hobbies, and plans for the future of your living situation.  Do you think you could make sacrifices in some of these areas to make room for caring for a pet?  For example, some plants, foods, and common house chemicals are toxic to some pets – could you give them up or reconfigure the layout of your home so that your pets can’t get into them?  Furthermore, given your current life schedule, do you think you have or could make the time to devote to training, experimenting with foods, treats, and toys, playing, and researching?

    • Tip – Cats, dogs, and bunnies tend to fare better when they have a lot of attention, but tend to suffer in solitude.  Fish are a little less high-maintenance, and guinea pigs have a reputation for being a good first family pet, as they are social and playful, tolerant of petting, and are usually a short-term time commitment.  If you have children, you may also want to research the temperament of cats and dogs breed-by-breed to minimize the likelihood of biting and scratching.

 

  • 2 – Personality and Energy.  After tending to the above aspects of your life, what would you say is your average level of energy in a day?  You might want a pet whose energy level matches yours, so that neither of you are too exhausted after time together or are just not interested in spending time together.  Do you have the energy or the interest to put into training a dog or a cat?  Be sure to research breed-by-breed, again!

  • 3 – Location and Space.  Certain accommodations, neighborhoods, and climates may be better for some pets and worse for others.  If you’re renting, you’ll want to respect the building’s and owner’s pet regulations.  Some dwellings might not be big enough to keep a dog or a cat, or have the neighborhood ideal for walking and playing with them.  Furthermore, you’ll also want to have a good veterinarian fairly close by, as well as options for petsitters and boarding.

 

 

  • 4 – Bank Account.  Multiple sources agree that it may take about $1,000 annually to take care of a pet, including their food, toys, collar/id and pictures, vet’s visits, and grooming, among other costs.  Some specific pets may cost more than others depending on different health or grooming needs.  Professional grooming for dogs with long hair can cost between $50 and $90.

  • 5 – Health.  You may also want to consider your own health needs, and whether they are compatible with owning a pet.  Be aware of allergies, and make sure medications stay far away and out of reach of your pets.

 

Getting a pet is a big decision and requires a lot of forethought. Our team at Longview Animal Hospital is available to advise you with guidance about your prospective pet’s needs, such as vaccinations, diets, spaying and neutering, and dental hygiene.  Give us a call at (903) 807-0887 or stop by for a visit at our offices at 2500 Estes Parkway in Longview!