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FOR OVER 475 DOG YEARS!

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July 4th Celebrations can be Scary for Pets

sparklers-923029_640Everyone loves a good Independence Day party complete with cookouts and guests and a night full of fireworks.  The 4th of July is our annual kickoff for the summer season – long days, warm nights and lots to do.  As much as we love to celebrate July 4th, our Independence Day celebrations can often be scary for our pets.  According to the Humane Society, animal shelters throughout the US report a dramatic increase in the number of lost pets during the 4th of July weekend.

Help to keep your pet as comfortable as possible during the weekend by following these simple tips for safety:

•  Whatever your plans, keep your pets indoors and make sure you leash your pet when going for walks throughout the weekend.  Find a quiet, comfortable room for your pet to stay in throughout the festivities and provide water throughout the day.  If you are hosting your own party, this will prevent your pets from becoming anxious or overexcited from having a lot of people around.  It also assures that they can’t get into human food that might accidentally get dropped on the ground.  If you are attending a barbecue somewhere else, keeping your pets contained indoors will prevent them from roaming to a neighbor’s celebration where the good smells of grilling foods can lure them away from home.

•  Excessive heat can also be a cause for concern for pet’s on the 4th of July.  Be aware of the temperature and watch your pet for signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion.  More information about heat and your pets can be found here.

•  Keeping your pet safely away from fireworks is necessary to prevent accidental burns or ingestion, but also helps to prevent them from running off due to the loud noises, bright flashes and strong smells of explosives.  Turning on a TV or a radio in the room with your pet can help keep them distracted from the jarring noises of nearby fireworks.  If you are traveling to watch a community fireworks display, leave your pet safely at home.

•  If your pet is severely impacted by the noise, we can help you find a medication that can be used to help reduce your pet’s anxiety (never provide over the counter medication without guidance from your vet).   If you are with your pet during these times of fear, resist the urge to comfort or distract your pet with food or treats as this can be interpreted as a reward for their nervous behavior.

•  As a general safeguard, make sure that your pets  are wearing collars and that they have appropriate identification tags so if that should they run off, they can be easily identified and returned to you. If you are considering using a microchip for your pet, please let us know – we can help you with up-to-date information and procedures.

Our team at Longview Animal Hospital wishes you and your families a Happy and Safe 4th of July!  

 

For more summer safety tips, click the poster image below from Petfinder!

july-4-dog-632x817

 

Excellent Care To The Max!

MrsWillis_Max_Hailey

On March 21st, Mrs. Willis brought the cutest 2 year old Yorki Poo named Max to us saying that he just wasn’t acting right for a few days. We performed bloodwork on Max and determined that he was severely anemic, meaning his red blood cells were lower than normal.

We hospitalized him so that we could recheck his red blood cells in a few hours. When we checked him again, his red blood cells were even lower. So low, in fact, Max would die soon without a blood transfusion! A test we ran confirmed that Max had Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA), a disease in which Max’s immune system starts to destroy his own red blood cells.

Billy-Blood DonorWe knew we had to act fast, so luckily we keep a blood donor dog at our hospital, a loveable black lab named Billy who we rescued after he was hit by a car a few years ago. Dr. Foye and his lead tech Hailey immediately anesthetized and prepped our hero Billy to pull over 300 mls of blood from him.

Once the blood was gathered, the medical team hooked it up to Max and slowly began infusing him with the life-saving blood. We could tell that Max felt better and stronger almost immediately.

His blood count rose slowly and then leveled off. We were concerned when it soon dropped again. Max was not responding to the medicine we were giving to suppress his immune system to keep it from destroying the red blood cells. We needed to add another hard-to-find medicine to his treatment and called a local pharmacy to compound some for us ASAP.

Once we got that medicine started, Max’s blood levels started to rise again. After a few more days in the hospital providing medicines, supportive care and rechecks, Max was sent home. He’s been in twice since that time and we are so happy to report that Max is back to being his crazy, lively self!

 

Hailey Overseeing Max's Transfusion

Summer Heat can be Dangerous

Summer is a wonderful time of year for all kinds of outdoor activities, but the extreme heat of the season can be dangerous for both humans and pets.  Similar to people, cats and dogs can suffer from heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  They can get a sunburn and they can suffer from the effects of hot surfaces as well.  There are several things that we can do as pet owners to reduce the amount of stress from heat to our pets and to help keep them safe from harmful effects.

The most serious concern in severe heat is heat stroke.  This comes about when the animal overheats and is no longer able to cool down to maintain a normal temperature (100-102.5 degrees for dogs; 100.5-102.5 for cats).  This is a very serious condition and can cause organ failure, seizures, brain damage and death.  A pet that is showing signs of heat stroke should be seen immediately by a veterinarian for treatment as soon as possible.  They will need specialized fluids and possibly oxygen and monitoring for additional organ damage.

Animals more susceptible to suffer stress from heat include both very young and older animals, those with darker fur, overweight animals, brachiocephalic breeds with short noses (such as Boxers, Bulldogs, Pugs) and those who have been recently ill. Pets that suffer from and survive heat stroke are more likely to experience it again, so extra care must be taken in the future to protect them from excessive heat.

If your pet is overheating, they might exhibit signs of heat exhaustion prior to collapse.  Symptoms can include excessive panting, lethargy, drooling, fever and vomiting.  A first step in helping your pet is help them to lower their body temperature.  Move them to a cooler location – preferably somewhere indoors with a fan or air conditioner  – and provide cool fresh water for them.  Use room temperature water (either by hand or in a misting spray bottle) to help cool their skin via evaporation.  Monitor your pet closely for improvement.

There are other things you can do to help protect your pet from adverse effects from heat, such as limiting exercise periods during hot days.  Take walks in the morning and evening hours so that you can minimize their exposure during the hottest parts of the day.  Keep them on grassy areas if possible as hot surfaces can harm their paw pads as well as increase their body temperatures. Outside areas should have access to a shady or sheltered area and should always have easy, nearby access to cool clean water – preferably in a container that can’t be tipped over.  Help keep water cool by using ice cubes or adding a container of frozen chicken or beef stock.  If you have access to a small clamshell pool or a sprinkler, you can allow your dog to use these to cool off as well (with supervision).

Never use a muzzle for your dog in hot weather as it restricts their ability to pant – which is how they cool themselves off to maintain their body temperature.  Grooming to remove shedding fur or trimming long hair can help to keep your pet cooler, but don’t shave too close (leave at least an inch in length) as the fur protects your pet from sunburn.

Finally, never leave your pet in a parked car as temperatures will rise very quickly – even if the windows are open.  If you have any additional questions about heat issues for your pet, please let us know!  Contact our team at Longview Animal Hospital at 903-807-0887.

car temp

 

One of the most common infectious disorders in dogs is parvovirus.  When left untreated, parvovirus claims the lives of over 90% of those infected.  The best treatment for parvovirus is prevention through vaccination.  This highly contagious infection is a huge concern for puppies and older dogs since they have weaker immune systems.

 

Electron micrograph of canine parvovirus (CC0 wikimedia)
Electron micrograph of
canine parvovirus
(CC0 wikimedia)

Parvovirus typically affects the gastrointestinal system in dogs. The virus is spread through oral contact via feces or infected soil and can remain alive in organic material for more than a year.  Some dogs will exhibit symptoms within 3-10 days after exposure, however many adult dogs will show no symptoms.

Signs of parvovirus include a loss of appetite, lethargy, fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhea with abdominal pain and blood in the stool.  Dehydration and secondary infections are also possible if untreated.  If you notice lethargy, lack of appetite, or blood in the stool, contact us for an immediate appointment.

The virus affects lymphocytes in lymph nodes and also kills tissue in the intestines which causes bacteria to leak through the intestinal walls and enter the bloodstream.  This can cause sepsis and even death.  Side effects following infection for surviving dogs can be severe.  Virus remnants remain for up to three weeks and a previously infected dog will be a carrier of the virus forever.

While cats don’t get parvovirus, there are two similar viruses that they are susceptible to, feline infectious enteritis and feline panleukopenia, both of which are similar in effect to parvovirus.  Again, in both cats and dogs, the best treatment is prevention through vaccination.

To prevent these deadly diseases, we recommend puppies start vaccines at 8 weeks of age and get booster vaccines at 12 weeks and 16 weeks. If you follow our vaccination schedule, your puppy should be protected and live a long, happy life!

As always, if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, Contact our Team at Longview Animal Hospital.

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.

hwmap2013

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.