SERVING LONGVIEW & SURROUNDING AREAS
FOR OVER 475 DOG YEARS!

2500 Estes Parkway, Longview, TX
Call Today! 903-807-0887

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They say that April showers bring May flowers, but there’s no cute little rhyme to remind us that May is also the start of the season in our region where pets are most at risk of getting heartworm disease due to heavy mosquito activity. Heartworm disease can be fatal to pets and is caused by worms that live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of infected animals. Dogs are particularly susceptible, but cats, though it is less likely, can get them too.

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Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, which inject infective larvae into your pet when they bite. Once there, the larvae migrate through tissues and organs, causing damage, before they attach in the heart, where they mature. Adult heartworms can live up to seven years in a dog and quickly begin reproducing.  In cats, larvae will mature, but they will not reproduce. Cats will have fewer heartworms than dogs, but due to the large size of the adult worms (about a foot long) it only takes one or two to do serious damage. Even indoor cats are susceptible.

After an infection, treatment of heartworm disease can be costly and dangerous.    That’s why it’s cheaper, safer and more practical to focus on prevention.

Signs of infection in dogs can include coughing, reluctance to exercise, fatigue, decrease in appetite, and weight loss. Signs of infection in cats include asthma-like attacks, vomiting, decreased appetite, weight loss, and sometimes fainting, trouble walking, or even sudden death. If heartworm disease goes unchecked, the worms will eventually cause congestive heart failure and death.

In warmer climates such as East Texas, our heartworm season is pretty much year-round but peaks during the months of May-October (coinciding with our mosquito season), and it’s recommended that pet owners test for heart worms at least one yearly, even if your pet is on prevention.  Even the best preventative is only 99% effective.  The earlier you catch the disease, the easier it is to treat.

Contact our team  at Longview Animal Hospital with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment.  We can recommend the proper heartworm disease prevention for both your dogs and your cats and discuss treatment if necessary.  See you soon!

Pets Get Allergies Too!

Spring is a wonderful time of year and warmer weather means more time outdoors for both our furry friends and their owners, but it is also a time of year when we suffer from allergies.  While humans react to allergens with itchy watering eyes and sneezing, our pets suffer from them a bit differently.  Allergies develop with age, and symptoms in pets generally worsen as they get older.

The most common form of allergy in dogs and cats is called atopy.  Atopy can be caused by a number of things i.e.: ragweed pollen in the fall; dust mites in the winter and grass and tree pollen in the spring.  Licking and chewing the feet is a classic sign of allergy to pollen.  They may also scratch excessively.  This behavior can cause welts, sores (which may become infected) and loss of hair.  Ear infections may also be a result of allergies in dogs.  In addition to licking, chewing and scratching, your dog or cat might rub their face, or you may notice hot spots on their skin, small areas of scabs or even respiratory problems (sometimes wheezing in cats).  

Dog_licking_wound - (Image: CC0)

Dogs and cats can also develop allergies to other things in their environment – such as carpets, cleaners and plastics as well as to foods. Flea allergies result from toxins in the flea saliva.  (See more on fleas and ticks here.)

Some allergy symptoms can be treated at home, typically with foot soaks and grain-free baths to wash away allergens that are on the coat and skin.  Vacuuming floors and bedding on a regular basis and washing floors with non-toxic cleaning agents can help as well. In our warmer climate, consider changing out your air conditioner filters each month.  Moving your pet onto an anti-inflammatory diet, low in grain content can also help.  

There are also supplements and medications that can help suppress or alleviate the effects of allergies.  Contact our team at Longview Animal Hospital for recommendations on the best approach for your pet!

How to keep fleas and ticks off your pet and out of your home.

As the weather continues to warm in the spring months, fleas and ticks become more prevalent outdoors.  Although we think of these as mostly a nuisance for our pets, causing itching and scratching, they actually have the potential for some serious health risks.

For example, ticks are carriers of some serious illnesses like Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  Although Lyme started out in the Northeast US, it has been moving into more southern territories and is now considered endemic to (regularly found in) Texas. Toxins from ticks can also cause paralysis in a pet’s legs and muscles.  This usually dissipates once the tick is removed.  Health risks for your pet from fleas include allergic reactions which can be extreme, anemia and low iron levels especially if your pet is small and has many fleas, and exposure to tapeworm infections.

While fleas will jump onto your pet from shady areas like shrubs and trees, ticks will generally crawl or brush onto them while walking in grassy areas.  As a general preventative measure, you can maintain your pet’s areas by keeping grassed areas short and pruning and trimming shrubs, raking out debris from shady spots.

Continued vigilance and ongoing maintenance is needed to keep a flea and tick free environment.  Check your pet for ticks on a regular basis when you return from walks, and check with our team at Longview Animal Hospital for recommendations on the most appropriate preventative treatments for your pets.  Fleas tend to become resistant to treatments after a while, so it is good to change products periodically.   An integrated approach to prevention can include grooming and baths, medications and sanitation for your home (a combination of vacuuming, laundry and cleaning).

 

If you are looking for guidance on prevention or treatment options for an existing infestation, please give us a call at (903) 758-2082 or email us at longviewanimalhospital@gmail.com.  We are happy to help you and your pet.

 

We know your dog loves them! And we do too, because healthy treats are great to use as positive reinforcement for dogs during training, to tackle bad breath, or to keep teeth healthier.  You can also give a few of them to your guests when they come to visit to help them make fast friends. Or use them after dinner when you otherwise might be tempted to scrape some of your leftovers into the dog dish.  However you use them, we thought we would give you an overview of some of our favorites!  (NOTE: Treats should be no more than 10% of your pet’s diet.)

Science Diet Dental Chews

  • Freshens breath
  • All natural treats made from the best ingredients
  • Great taste and great nutrition
  • Recommended for adult and mature adult dogs, not recommended for puppies less than 6 months or 5 pounds

Prescription Diet Canine Treats

  • Low in calories
  • Helps maintain weight
  • Not recommended for growing puppies, pregnant or nursing dogs.

Prescription Diet Hypo-Allergenic Treats
A healthy way to reward pets with adverse reactions to food and inflammatory skin conditions.

  • Helps maintain weight and a healthy immune system
  • Nourishes pets skin and hair coat

For Puppies and Adult Dogs!
Science Diet Soft & Chewy Training Treats

Stop by this week and pick up a sample bag of this treat!

  • For normally active puppies (9+ weeks old), adult and mature adult dogs
  • Ideal for training
  • Great taste and great nutrition
  • Real beef is the #1 ingredient

 

treats

Being prepared in advance for an emergency evacuation can save you and your animals a considerable amount of stress. Use the tips below to put together your own emergency kit.  A pdf download of this information is available here.

 

 

Canine/Feline Disaster Kit

  • Emergencies come in many forms and they can be anything from a brief absence from your home or permanent evacuation
  • Being prepared in advance can reduce stress for yourself and your animals

 

ARRANGE A SAFE HAVEN

  1.  Remember if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets
  2.  Not all Red Cross disaster shelters accept pets, so it’s important that you determine where you will take your pets ahead of time
  • Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding facilities
  • Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care
  • Identify hotels outside of your immediate area that accept pets
  • Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they could take in your pet

 

PREPARE EMERGENCY SUPPLIES AND TRAVELING KITS IN ADVANCE

  1. Keep an Evac-pack and supplies handy for your pets
  2. Make sure everyone in the house knows where it is
  3. Make sure it’s easy to carry and clearly labeled
  • Pet first aid kit supplies
  • 3-7 days’ worth of canned pop top food or dry food- rotate every 2 months
  • Disposable litter and litter trays
  • Paper towels
  • Liquid dish soap (Dawn)
  • Garbage bags for clean-up
  • Pet feeding dishes
  • Extra collar, leash and or harness
  • Photocopies of medical records & waterproof container with 2 week supply of any meds
  • Bottled water, at least 7 days’ worth for each pet
  • A traveling bag, crate or carrier, one for each pet ideally
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket/towel for scooping fearful pet
  • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” pets posters)
  • Dogs – extra leash, toys and chew toys, cage liner
  • Cats – pillowcase, toys, scoopable litter
  • List of hotels that accept pets and boarding facilities on hand
  • Remember food and medications need to be rotated out otherwise they may go bad and become useless

CLICK ON ANY OF THE IMAGES BELOW TO VIEW IN FULL-SIZE CAROUSEL.

CHOOSE DESIGNATED CAREGIVERS

This step takes time and thought

Temporary caregivers – lives close, generally home during the day, easy access to your home (give a set of keys), works well with neighbors

Permanent caregivers– consider people who have met your pet and have cared for them before

 

EVACUATION PREPARATION

Plan for worst case scenario

If you think it may be a day, plan for longer

When recommendations for evacuation have been announced- follow instructions of local and state officials. To minimize time- take these simple steps:

  • Store emergency kit and leashes as close to exits as possible
  • All pets need to wear collars and tags with up-to date ID- labeled with: name, phone #, urgent medical needs
  • Label carriers with name and your contact info
  • Micro-chips implanted and registered are great ways for permanent ID
  • Always bring pets indoors at first sign or warnings of a storm or disaster
  • Consider your evacuation route and call ahead to make arrangements for boarding your pet outside the danger zone

 

HELP INFO ONLINE

Longview Animal Hospital can help:

www.longviewanimalhospital.com, Go to ‘Services’ then click on ‘Online Pet Records’ to access your pet’s vaccination records – provide Longview Animal Hospital with your email address for full access.

Depending on the area being evacuated, Longview Animal Hospital offers boarding facilities for dogs under 80 pounds and cats.

  • Aspca.ORG- Has an online form for a Rescue Alert sticker for your home
  • ASPCA Disaster Prep APP for pet parents
  • Recommendations for other pets such as reptiles, birds and other small animals

 

Crazy things Pets Eat (and Associated Health Hazards)

 

Animals can do some crazy things, but when it comes to eating things they shouldn’t, dogs top the list.  Where cats will get into things like string and tinsel, dogs tend to be much less discriminating with the things they ingest.  Chances are, if it looks good to them, they will eat it, so it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for things around your house that could possibly end up in your dog’s stomach – even if you think it might be unlikely!

Veterinary Practice News runs a contest each year where veterinarians send in x-ray images of the most bizarre things they encounter.  Winners in 2015 included a Doberman with 26 golf balls in it’s stomach, a Labrador puppy who ate the end of a fishing pole, and a Lab that ingested a door hinge.  Other entries included hair ties, plastic children’s toys, kitchen utensils, socks, stuffed animals and more.

If your pet is vomiting bile and seems lethargic, is drooling excessively, suffering from weight loss, dehydration, experiences diarrhea for an extended period of time, or if he/she indicates signs of pain, call your vet.  In many cases, when an obstruction is caught in time, foreign objects can be removed and your pet can experience a full recovery.

xray-toys
Photo from Veterinary Practice News – 2014 Contest Winner

If you suspect that your pet has eaten a foreign object, you should not wait to see if it will pass through on its own and do not try to induce vomiting without veterinary supervision. Typically, an x-ray is required to determine the correct method of treatment for extraction – sometimes through non invasive procedures, other times requiring surgery.  If there is a chance that the item ingested contains toxins, the situation could warrant immediate attention.

If you have a pet that likes to eat things that aren’t food items, the best thing you can do is take the time to ‘dog-proof’ your home.  Be diligent about making sure that items are out of reach of your pet or behind closed doors. Preventative measures for your home and keen supervision of your pet are the most cost effective solutions for this issue.

If you ever have questions or concerns about your pet’s health, feel free to give our team a call at Longview Animal Hospital at (903)758-2082 or reach out to us by email at longviewanimalhospital@gmail.com. For more information about us, please visit our website at http://bit.ly/1TAp2D5.

paw-print-220232_1280In 2013, according to the National Retail Federation, $815 million was spent on Valentine’s gifts for pets.  Amazing, right?  Crazy gifts like hats with hearts and fru-fru ribbon collars, dog cakes, pendants, and fur coats make up the list of things people purchase for their pets.  On the heels of Valentine’s Day comes Love Your Pet Day on Feb. 20.  You may want to wait on purchasing for the 14th and pick up some items on sale for the 20th instead!

Below are seven ideas for gifts for your favorite furry friend – some are a bit more on the practical side, others just look like fun!   

Don’t forget, your pet will always love extra time with you too!  Plan for a special outing or walk or just spend some time playing or cuddling.  Don’t forget the treats to make it more fun!  

dogs-CC0 PublicDomain-PixabayIt is always great to see well-behaved pets out in public, and it is equally nice to have a pet in your home that displays good manners.  Training helps to teach your dog about how to fit well into our human lives and also enables us to learn about their needs.  

Training should be fun for both owner and pet and should be humane, gentle, kind and effective.  By rewarding good behavior and preventing bad behavior, a pet owner can lay the foundation for years of positive experiences with their dog.  

It is recommended to start by doing some reading on dog-friendly training and methodologies to become familiar with some of the principles of training, and then follow up with a course with a good instructor so that you can ask questions and receive additional guidance.  If you can, try to get into a group training class as well.  Training with a group helps to work on socialization skills with both other dogs and humans.  It is also a great arena to share your challenges and your successes with others and to learn from other dog owners about things they have found that work for them.  

Typically, training begins for puppies at 9-16 weeks of age and includes a good deal of the basics which include how to pay attention, sitting, lying down, taking and leaving items, heeling nicely on a leash, and coming when called.  Older dogs can be trained, but sometimes with more difficulty as they will have to unlearn bad habits.  Beginner training can also give the owner ways to address other undesired behaviors like jumping up on people or chewing items that aren’t chew toys.  

Overall, the training experience should be one that actively engages your pet in the process and should be fun for both the pet and the owner.  The experience strengthens the bond between the two and is helpful for preventing accidents as well as creating a positive home environment that will assure a good lasting relationship.

For Dog Training in our area, contact:

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

or

Jenny Lavender, People Training for Pets, 315 Meadowlark Lane, Longview, Texas 75603; (903) 702-9877;
https://www.facebook.com/PTFPeasttexas903
For additional questions about pet care, please feel free to contact our team at Longview Animal Hospital at (903) 758-2082 or stop by our offices, located just south of LeTourneau University at 2500 Estes Parkway, Longview, Texas 75602 (approximately 1 mile north of Interstate 20).  

dogpawThe winter months can be tough to get through for us humans, but they can take a toll on your pet as well.  Although we don’t often get snow or ice in our region, when it does happen we need to be cautious about how it affects our pets.  When it is cold outside, we typically use deicers and salts to melt the ice on pavement, sidewalks, driveways and road surfaces to make them less treacherous.  While we are able to navigate these areas with our winter boots and shoes, our pets are not as fortunate.  

Prolonged exposure to these chemicals can lead to burns on your pet’s paw pads, and long exposure to cold surfaces can lead to frostbite as well.  Instead of taking long walks in winter months, shorter, more frequent walks are recommended.  If you can, keep your pet on grassed or snowy areas instead of on the pavement.  

Some dogs have long hairy feet with longer fur that grows between their toes and paw pads.  These hairs can trap water and freeze causing ice balls to form.  Ice balls can also contain the chemicals from deicers, so keeping these hairs trimmed during the winter months can be helpful.  

To avoid ingesting toxins from deicers and salts, you can wipe your pet’s paws with a soft cloth in warm water when you return from your walks.  You can also use Bag Balm or Vaseline on paw pads during the winter months.  A thin layer applied daily can prevent paw pads from cracking and bleeding, and using a Paw Wax prior to walks can help to keep their sensitive feet from exposure to chemicals on the ground (this works for protecting paws on hot pavement surfaces in the summer too).  

bootiesIf possible, you can use pet friendly products around your home to prevent slippery areas, like sand or kitty litter or commercial products like Safe Paw Deicer.  There are also options for pet boots, sock like coverings with velcro to keep them on.  Booties should not be too tight and may take some time and practice for your pet to adjust to wearing them.  You can start with having them wear them for short times around the house and then longer as they adjust.

If you have any questions about pet care, please feel free to contact our team at Longview Animal Hospital – we are happy to help you!

 

Longview Animal Hospital is honored to serve Longview and surrounding areas for over 420 dog years (60 years!) Although we recommend you call ahead for a pet  health appointment, we welcome dog care and cat care walk-ins as well. If your schedule doesn’t permit staying for an animal services appointment, we’ve got you covered. Simply drop off your furry friend for the day. Give us a call today – (903) 758-2082 or click here to request a pet health appointment.

The holidays just aren’t quite complete without something special for our furry friends.  If you find yourself searching for just the right thing for them, consider one of these!

For Dogs who love squeaky plush toys, but ruin them within a day with punctures, go for the Kyjen Invincible Snake Dog Toy, a stuffing-free plush toy that comes with either 3 or 6 squeakers and a tail that rattles.  The squeakers continue to work even if punctured!

If you don’t need the plush outside, you can’t go wrong with any of the Kong Squeezz toys – These toys are always durable and also continue to squeak when punctured.

We love dog treats that are easy to make yourself – you know exactly what is in them.  For those who have baking on their schedule you can try this recipe and let us know how your dog likes them:

Homemade Dog Biscuitsdog biscuits

Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup nonfat powdered milk
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup hot water or chicken broth

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. You may have to use your hands as it will be very dry. Pat it onto a cookie sheet to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes of your choice. You can let dry or bake in a 350 degree F oven until firm, about 10-15 minutes.

Once you’ve made your treats, you can use them in one of the treat dispensing toys to help keep your dog engaged and happy for hours!  Look for durable, easy to clean dispensers like the Kong Ball or a Tux Treat Toy (you can mix the treats with peanut butter or dog food and serve either frozen or thawed)!

For your feline friend, try Hagen’s Catit Design Senses Speed Circuit for a complete sensory activity center.  This is an expandable product which can be made larger with add on components too!

 

cat tableOf course, everyone knows how much cats love boxes.  The Japanese Company, 9Lives makes a perfect magazine table that doubles as a hiding place for your kitties.  While shipping for this item may be prohibitive, you might be able to use the concept for upcycling something similar.

And then there are the old standby’s, tried and true toys that all cats seem to love including feather dancers, string toys (for use with supervision), and catnip plushes (we like the refillable kind).  

 

If you find your pet has a favorite gift this year, please share on our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/LongviewAnimalHospital along with photos!  It might just make our list for next year!