Tag Archives: vets Roanoke VA

World Rabies Day

September 28th is World Rabies Day. Rabies is fairly rare now, but it hasn’t gone away. In fact, it may be more dangerous than ever, as many people do not realize how deadly it is. A local Roanoke, VA vet goes over some key information about rabies in this article.

Basics

This deadly disease’s name comes from the Latin word rabies, which means madness. Rabies is a zoonotic disease, which means that it can affect both people and pets. The virus spreads through the bite of infected animals, usually skunks, bats, coyotes, or foxes. After a person has been bitten, there is only a limited time where they can seek treatment. This can be as little as four days, though it can take as much as six years. However slowly or quickly this happens, once symptoms begin to appear, the outcome in nearly 100 percent of cases is, unfortunately, death.

Symptoms

It’s important for pet owners to know the signs of infection. In dogs, some of the signs to watch for include fever, trouble swallowing, restlessness, vomiting, drooling, staggering, and seizures. Your canine pal may also seem hyper reactive to stimuli, such as lights and sounds. Aggression can be a sign. However, contrary to popular belief, that isn’t always the case. Cats may withdraw, or just start acting erratically. Cuddly felines may get grumpy, while grumpy kitties may become affectionate. Difficulty swallowing is also a red flag in both people and pets. Contact your vet immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.

Prevention

Rabies fortunately isn’t very widespread these days. However, there are still about 500 cases of pets contracting it every year. Sadly, there are no known successful treatments for pets. Fortunately, all you have to do to protect your furry pal is keep up with their vaccinations. Be sure to keep your pet’s paperwork handy, just in case anything happens. We also recommend that you refrain from handling wild animals. If you have any risk—no matter how small–of coming into contact with an infected animal, you’ll also need to keep up with your vaccines. Even waking up to find a bat in your room is cause for a call to your doctor.

Is your pet due for a vaccine or exam? Contact us, your local Roanoke, VA animal clinic, today. We are dedicated to offering the best veterinary care around.

 

Frozen Doggy Treats

Does your dog get excited over the prospect of a yummy treat? If not, you may want to make him an appointment, as that is definitely unusual. Just like people, many pups enjoy cold snacks on sweltering days. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet lists a few ‘pawesome’ cold treats for dogs.

Cold Food

Combine some of Fido’s canned food with water and freeze that. Or, make it a slushie by combining it with ice in a blender.

Doggy Ice Cream

For this one, you’ll need to start with a base. This can be plain fat-free yogurt, natural peanut butter, pureed squash or pumpkin, ripe bananas, organic baby food, or sodium-free broth. For ‘toppings’ you can add things like cut-up hot dogs, shredded meat or cheese, bacon bits, or safe fruits and veggies.

Slice Of Happiness

Fido’s summer treats don’t have to be complicated or difficult to make. Get a roll of pre-cooked beef, chicken, or lamb. When you want to give your pooch a special treat, carefully slice off a thin piece.

PB/Banana Bites

Combine natural PB with some ripe bananas. Add some water to thin it out if you like. Divide the mixture into small servings, using an ice cube tray, freezer molds, or paper cups.

Apple Chicken Yums

You’ll need an ice cube tray for this one as well. Cut up some apple slices, and put the pieces in an ice cube tray. Add shredded cheese, and a bit of cooked, boneless chicken. Canned is fine. Pour sodium-free chicken broth over the mix and freeze.

Brr-Grrs

This one is similar to the apple chicken ones, except that you’ll use ground beef or turkey, bacon bits, and shredded cheese for the ‘base,’ and sodium-free beef instead of chicken broth as the liquid.

Pupsicles

Start by putting water or sodium-free broth into waxed paper cups. Pour some water or sodium-free broth over them, and pop into the freezer overnight. Voila!

Tips

These are just a few pawsible options. There are many more! You can also make something up yourself. Just don’t include anything that isn’t safe for Fido. Some dangerous foods include garlic and onions; avocado; chocolate; pitted fruits; nuts; grapes, currants, and raisins; and anything that contains xylitol. Ask your vet for more information.

As your local Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic, we’re here to help! Please feel free to call us anytime!

Arthritis in Dogs

Did you know that arthritis is one of the most common afflictions that our canine buddies face? Well over half of senior pooches are affected. A local Roanoke, VA vet discusses arthritis in dogs below.

Signs

Like many other medical issues, arthritis often starts out mild, but gradually worsens. Limping is often the earliest warning sign. At first, Fido may only limp briefly, usually when he first gets up. Over time, that limp will become more pronounced. Arthritis can also cause dogs to have a hard time getting up or down, climbing stairs, and/or getting in and out of cars. Your canine pal may also lick or nibble at sore spots, particularly on his legs or the base of his tail. He may not feel very active or playful, and may whine or flinch when touched. These things may get worse when it’s chilly out, as cold, damp weather tends to exacerbate arthritis. If you see any of these red flags in your furry friend, call your vet right away. The sooner an issue is caught and treated, the better!

Treatment

There’s both good and bad news here. The bad news is that arthritis cannot be cured. However, it can be managed. In fact, there are now many different products and treatments that can help your beloved pet feel better. Laser therapy, for example, can be very helpful. It’s really wonderful to see a stiff, old dog becoming more active and playful again! Your vet may also recommend medications and/or other treatments. You’ll be able to discuss specific options once Fido has been properly diagnosed.

Home Care

In addition to proper veterinary care, there are also things you can do at home to keep your faithful buddy comfortable. A good bed is an absolute must. Fido won’t sleep very well on a thin pad! Your pup may also benefit from pet ramps or stairs, which will help him get around more easily. Supplements, such as fish oil, glucosamine, and Omega oils, can also be beneficial. It’s also worth mentioning that obesity often aggravates—and therefore worsens—arthritis. Keep your pooch at a healthy weight. It’s also important to make sure your pup is getting the right type and amount of exercise. Ask your vet for specific care tips.

Do you know or suspect that your dog has arthritis? Contact us, your local Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic today!  

4 Ways to Make Vet Visits Easier on Fluffy

August 22nd is Take Your Cat To The Vet Day! We know, most kitties would rather stay home and take yet another nap. Cats can get very nervous at their doctors’. We understand this! We know that strange smells and sounds, combined with the scents and presence of other pets, can be a lot for a little furball. We do all we can to make Fluffy’s appointments easy on her, but there are also things you can do. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet offers some advice on making veterinary appointments easy on your feline buddy.

Make The Car Ride Comfy

Although our canine patients usually enjoy car rides, cats are generally much less enthusiastic about them. In fact, for many of our feline pals, the ride itself is more distressing than the appointment. When you have Fluffy in the car, avoid bumpy routes, and try not to start or stop too suddenly. It will also help to crack a window, so your furball always gets some fresh air. Playing the radio softly can also keep your kitty cool. If your furry friend gets extremely nervous, ask your vet about using cat-calming products, like treats and collars. These can really help soothe uneasy pets.

Choose Fear Free

We’re happy to declare our commitment to being Fear Free. That means we take every possible precaution to make appointments easier on our feline friends. This entails doing things like minimizing waiting time, using gentle handling techniques, and making our waiting room as comfy as possible for kitties. These small steps can really add up!

Cozy Carrier

Does your feline friend run for her favorite hiding spot as soon as she sees her carrier? Make it less threatening to her by leaving it out between appointments. Adding comfy bedding and perhaps some fun toys to it will also help. You can also give Fluffy treats, catnip, and attention near the carrier.

Don’t Skip Appointments

Don’t wait until your cat is ill or scratching with fleas to bring her in. Keep up with your furry pal’s preventative and wellness care. This will help keep Fluffy safe from many parasites and diseases. Regular exams also increase the chances of issues being diagnosed early on. Early treatment is always beneficial!

Please contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, for all your cat’s veterinary care needs.

Tips for Reducing Hairballs

April 26th is Hairball Awareness Day! We know, hairballs aren’t exactly something to celebrate. It would be much more fun to talk about Cat World Domination Day or Hug Your Cat Day. While hairballs are more or less ‘purr’ for the course with kitties, they are definitely no fun for either you or Fluffy. However, sometimes they are more than an unsightly nuisance. They can occasionally cause dangerous intestinal blockages. Fortunately, there are some ways you can reduce the amount of hairballs your pet gets. Here, a Roanoke, VA vet lists a few things that can help reduce the amount of hairballs your cat gets.

Brush Fluffy

As you may know, hairballs form when kitties swallow their own hair during grooming sessions. If you brush your feline friend regularly, you can grab that fur with a brush before Fluffy swallows it. Less fur on your cat means less fur in your cat. This is especially important during shedding season.

Keep Kitty In

We recommend keeping cats indoors for several reasons. Our feline pals are just better off as indoor pets, as they will be protected from dangers like cars, weather, traffic, and other kitties. Keeping Fluffy inside will also help with hairballs, if in a roundabout way. Indoor cats often shed less than kitties that go outdoors, because they aren’t as exposed to the seasonal weather changes that trigger shedding cycles.

Offer Good Food

Make sure Fluffy is eating nutritious, high-quality kitty food! A proper diet will help keep your furry pal’s coat soft and shiny, which will reduce the amount of fur she sheds. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Parasite Control

Fleas can make pets miserably itchy. Cats with fleas often continuously lick or groom themselves. This inevitably results in them swallowing more fur, which in turn leads to more hairballs. Keep up with your kitty’s parasite control!

Hairball Prevention

As the name suggests, hairball prevention products can help reduce the amount of hairballs your furry buddy gets. These are particularly helpful for longhaired kitties. Ask your vet for more information.

Bonus: Catnip

Catnip won’t actually do anything as far as preventing hairballs. However, if your feline overlord is feeling content, she may at least decide against leaving one where you’ll step on it!

Please contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

Keep Your Pet Safe from Holiday Hazards

The holidays are in full swing! Make sure your pet stays safe this time of year, because there are several holiday hazards to be aware of. Learn more in this article from your Roanoke, VA veterinary professional.

Ornaments and Decorations

Pets sometimes see those shiny holiday decorations—ornaments, tinsel, candles, etc.—as fun toys. But they can cause harm if a pet were to play with them. Tinsel can actually wrap itself around a pet’s intestines when swallowed, causing serious problems, and tree ornaments could break into sharp pieces and cut your pet’s mouth. Monitor your pet closely to make sure they don’t play with ornaments and decorations.

Holiday Plants

There are plenty of holiday plants that can hurt your dog or cat. The danger of poinsettias is somewhat overblown, but they can cause mouth or stomach irritation if enough is swallowed. Holly and mistletoe are actually more dangerous—these common holiday plants both contain toxins that can cause serious symptoms in animals. Lilies, common this time of year in bouquets and floral arrangements, are also very dangerous for cats, in particular. Don’t let your pet get too close!

Toxic Foods

All sorts of foods on your holiday dinner table could cause harm if your pet gets their paws on them. The list includes onions, garlic, shallots, scallions, chives, leeks, chocolate, candy, grapes and raisins, buttery or rich foods, macadamia nuts, and salty snacks, among others. Keep your far away from the dinner table, and make sure to put harmful foods inside closed containers or cabinets where pets can’t gain access.

Alcohol

Alcohol is very dangerous for pets. It actually affects cats and dogs in the same way it affects us! The difference is that it only takes small amounts to result in alcohol poisoning. This rule goes for liquor, wine, beer, and champagne, as well as foods cooked with alcohol, like rum cakes. Don’t let your pet sip alcoholic beverages of any kind, and never give your pet alcohol purposely.

Stress and Anxiety

The holiday season’s hustle and bustle can put undue stress on pets, especially if you’re hosting a party or family gathering this season. Set up a “safe zone” of sorts for your pet, complete with a bed and a few favorite toys, in a quiet, low-key area.

Want to know more about keeping your pet safe this holiday season? Call your Roanoke, VA veterinarian for help.

Everything You Need to Know About Pet Microchips

Is your pet properly identified? For many years, ID tags on the collar worked well—and they still do. Now, though, another type of pet identification is extremely helpful for your pet: the microchip.

Learn more about microchips in this article from a Roanoke, VA veterinarian.

What is a Microchip, and How Does it Work?

A microchip is a tiny computer chip. A unique identification number is implanted electronically on this chip, and that number corresponds to the chip manufacturer’s database where your pet’s name and contact information is stored. The chip itself is implanted under your pet’s skin, and specialized scanning devices at veterinary offices and shelters can read the chip’s number when a lost pet is relinquished to these facilities. That allows the professionals to quickly find out exactly who the lost pet belongs to!

Why Should I Get My Pet Microchipped?

The benefits of microchips are numerous. For one, they’re secure—there’s no need to worry about your pet removing it, either accidentally or on purpose. The chip remains secure under your pet’s skin, so even if he escapes unexpectedly without a collar on, you don’t have to worry.

Another benefit of the microchip is that it’s cost-effective for pet owners. You only have to purchase it once, and then your pet can continue to wear it for their entire lifetime. Even if you change addresses or get a new phone number, all you’ll have to do is contact the chip manufacturer to have your contact information updated. Your pet keeps the same chip the whole time!

What’s the Implant Procedure Like? Is There Any Risk?

The microchip itself is housed in a small glass capsule. This capsule is inserted under your pet’s skin using a specialized hypodermic needle-like device, and it only takes a few minutes. All your pet feels is a momentary pinch, just like a regular vaccination.

The microchipping procedure is virtually risk-free. Some pets develop minor swelling or irritation around the injection site, but it usually subsides on its own after only a day or two. If your pet has recently been microchipped and you think they’re reacting poorly, let your veterinarian know.

How Do I Get Started?

Do you want to know more about pet microchips? Ready to have your pet outfitted with a chip for a lifetime of quality identification? Contact your Roanoke, VA vet clinic to set up an appointment.

Springtime Hazards for Cats and Dogs

Your pet is probably looking forward to the warmer weather of spring just as much as you are. Now that it’s officially here, it’s important to keep in mind some seasonal pet hazards! Below, your Roanoke, VA vet tells you about common springtime dangers for cats and dogs and how to keep your companion safe.

Parasites

Spring is prime-time for outdoor pests like fleas, ticks, and parasitic worms to start wreaking havoc on our pets’ health. If your pet isn’t protected with preventative medications, they’ll be at risk of a dangerous infestation or infection! Make sure your pet wears a flea-and-tick preventative and is taking a heartworm medication; these measures keep most pets pest-free throughout the season. Talk to your vet right away if your pet needs these preventatives.

Cleaning Supplies

Doing a little spring cleaning this time of year? Remember to keep your pet elsewhere. A variety of cleaning products can harm pets; everything from household disinfectants and toilet-bowl cleaner to carpet shampoo and air fresheners poses a threat. It’s safest to move your pet to another room if you’re using something that gives off strong chemicals. Also, be sure to store cleaning products safely inside a locket supply closet where pets can’t reach.

Toxic Plant Life

Did you know that there are hundreds of potentially harmful plants and flowers out there for pets? Some of the most common include dieffenbachia, rhododendron (also called azalea), philodendron, amaryllis, lilies, tulips, daffodils, ivy, chrysanthemums, elephant ear, oleander, the sago palm, and various types of aloe plants. Check your home, garden, and landscaping to make sure you haven’t planted something harmful for your pet.

Allergies

Humans aren’t the only ones who can suffer from springtime allergies. Pets, too, might be sniffling and sneezing more than usual this time of year! In addition to tree pollen, pets can experience allergies to dirt, dust, mold, and a variety of other substances. If you think your pet might be suffering from springtime allergies, contact your vet’s office for help.

Escape

You’re probably looking forward to opening a few windows around the house to let in the comfortable breezes of spring. Just make sure your pet can’t escape—outfit all windows with sturdy mesh screens, and identify your pet properly with a microchip, ID tags, or both to be safe.

For more tips on keeping your pet safe this spring, call your Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic.

Winter Pet Toxins

When winter weather hits, it’s important to keep your pet’s safety in mind. There are several toxins that present a real hazard this time of year! Here, your Roanoke, VA veterinarian tells you about the most common winter pet poisons and how to have your pet avoid them.

Ice Melt

Most ice melt products are made with sodium chloride, otherwise known as salt. You don’t want your pet ingesting it! Small amounts of salt can lead to an upset stomach and skin irritation, while large amounts can result in a serious case of poisoning. Don’t allow pets to track ice melt indoors on the paws; avoid ice patches when outdoors, and store ice melt carefully where pets can’t reach.

Antifreeze

Episodes of antifreeze poisoning rise in the wintertime, as car owners use the substance to keep their engines running smoothly. Antifreeze is often made with ethylene glycol, an alcoholic substance that can poison pets in very small amounts. It even smells and tastes sweet, which could attract pets! Don’t use antifreeze with your pet nearby, and clean up any spills right away.

Holiday Plants

Holly and mistletoe, common around the holidays, can poison a pet who ingests too much. Poinsettia plants aren’t likely to cause serious poisoning, but they can upset your pet’s stomach and cause mouth and throat irritation. Other common wintertime plants like lilies, Autumn crocus, and Amaryllis also present a hazard. Make sure your pet stays far away from harmful plant life!

Pesticides

Small rodents and insects like to invade our homes in the winter in an effort to seek shelter from the cold weather outside. You might use pesticide or rodenticide products to ward them off. Remember that these products are poisons, designed to kill! Place pesticides very carefully, or choose non-toxic alternatives like traps, so that your pet stays safe.

Medicine

Cold and flu season will be upon us before you know it. Remember that a variety of human medications—cough syrup, aspirin, prescription drugs, and much more—can poison your pet! NSAIDs like ibuprofen are an especially common pet poison, and can cause reduced blood flow to your pet’s kidneys and damage to the intestinal lining. Keep the medicine cabinet shut tightly so that your pet can’t reach any harmful pills!

Want more tips for keeping your pet safe as the winter weather rolls on? We’re here for you. Call your Roanoke, VA vet.

Are These Pet Toxins Already in Your Home?

Believe it or not, you most likely already have a variety of potential pet toxins inside your home. Don’t worry, though—with a few simple precautions, you can keep your animal companion safe and sound! Learn more here from your vet in Roanoke, VA.

Pesticides

Do you use pesticides or rodenticides around your home to ward off pesky intruders? Remember that pesticide products are poisons, designed to kill the critters that come in contact with them. That’s why it’s important to choose pet-proof pesticides or go with alternative pest-control options that aren’t toxic to pets, like traps. Ask your vet for further advice.

Dangerous Foods

A great many human foods can prove harmful to a pet. The list includes grapes and raisins, onions, garlic, chives, leeks, scallions, shallots, avocado, chocolate, candy, salty items like chips and pretzels, fatty or rich foods, and alcoholic beverages, among others. To protect your pet, don’t leave foods out on the kitchen table or countertops where pets may be able to reach them. Instead, store foods in cabinets or the refrigerator where they belong.

Human Medication

Various human medicines—standard painkillers like Advil or Motrin, antidepressants, cough syrup, all sorts of prescription drugs, and more—can prove toxic to a pet who manages to get their paws on them! A determined pet may even be able to chew right through a child-proof plastic bottle cap. Store all medicines inside a closed cabinet or drawer where your pet won’t be able to reach, and store your pet’s own medicine in a separate area from human medications so the two don’t get mixed up.

Poisonous Plant Life

Plenty of plants and flowers can harm a pet who ingests them. Oleander, dieffenbachia, elephant ear, philodendron, rhododendron (also called azalea), lilies, tulips, the sago palm, a variety of aloe plants, and ivy are just a few examples. Inside and outside your home, make sure you’re not harboring a harmful plant variety. Ask your vet what kinds of toxic plants are most common in the area where you live.

Cleaning Products

While a pet isn’t likely to seek out a cleaning solution to ingest, you’ll want to play it safe. Everything from household disinfectants and air fresheners to bleach-based products and carpet cleaner could cause serious problems! Keep the supply closet shut tightly at all times.

To learn more about pet toxins at home, call your Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic.