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Prevention and Treatment of Heartworm Disease in Dogs and Cats

Heartworm can have devastating consequences for your pet, including death. It is especially tragic when dogs and cats succumb to heartworm disease since it’s entirely preventable. Now that warm weather is finally here, your dog or cat has a much greater likelihood of acquiring heartworm just by being outside since the most common route of transmission is a bite from an infected mosquito. However, pets can pick up the heartworm parasite any time of year. This is the reason veterinarians at Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital recommend year-round heartworm protection.

 

Heartworm Prevention and Testing


Although it's more common for dogs to get heartworm disease because they make an ideal host and typically spend more time outdoors, it’s important to understand that cats get heartworm as well. Unfortunately, for our feline friends no effective heartworm treatment exists for cats who test positive.

Puppies should start preventive medication for heartworm by eight weeks old. While it isn’t necessary to test puppies that young before starting on a product, puppies over six months old do require testing. Puppies and dogs need only one simple blood test to determine the presence of heartworm. Similarly, cats should be started on a heartworm preventive once they are eight weeks old.

Common Signs of Heartworm Infestation

When dogs acquire heartworm, the parasite usually lives in the heart and the right ventricle. This produces the following types of symptoms:

·      Coughing

·      Fatigue

·      Lethargy

·      Loss of appetite

·      Vomiting

·      Weight loss

It’s also possible that your pet won’t show any indication of heartworm even when he has them. Sadly, the first indication of heartworm in some pets can be sudden collapse and death. All pets should have year-round heartworm protection, even those who never go outside. It’s too easy for mosquitoes to get into your home and infect them.

If you suspect that your dog or cat has heartworm based on these symptoms, please schedule an appointment at Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital right away. We will complete testing and discuss treatment options if results come back positive.

It’s Easier to Prevent Heartworm Than Treat It

We’re happy to let you know that we carry many heartworm prevention products in our clinic. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you would like a recommendation on the most effective product for your pet. You can schedule an appointment by calling our clinic at 763-755-3595.


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A New Year Equals New Opportunities to Be a Great Pet Owner!

A New Year Equals New Opportunities to Be a Great Pet Owner!
January 2019

Now that the calendar has officially flipped over to 2019, you may be focusing on meeting some new resolutions for the upcoming year. Perhaps one of those is to be an even greater pet owner than you already are. This is an excellent resolution, and Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital wishes to offer some tips below to help you achieve it!

Wellness Visits and Preventive Care Exams

Just as growing children and adults at various stages need regular preventive care, the same is true of our pets. Puppies and kittens will likely have several visits during their first year of life to ensure they are off to a great start and to receive both required and optional vaccinations. These appointments are also a good opportunity to discuss behavioral concerns and get started on a proactive parasite prevention plan.

Adult dogs and cats should come in for a preventive care exam at least once a year. Pets reach middle age when they are around seven years old and the senior years by age 10 (this varies by breed).  We recommend bi-annual preventive care exams starting at age seven. This gives us the chance to detect common age-related diseases as early as possible and to intervene to give your pet a more comfortable and healthy life.

Prevent Parasites All Year Long

Some pet owners assume that they can stop parasite prevention treatment during the winter months because their pets don’t go outside as much. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that people continue to use products to kill fleas, ticks, heartworm, and other highly devastating parasites all year long. We understand it can be a challenge to determine which products are most appropriate for your pet and will work with you and your pet to determine the appropriate products based on age, health and lifestyle.

Professional and At-Home Dental Care

Imagine the terrible condition your teeth would be in if you didn’t brush them daily, or even more so, for your entire life. Unfortunately, some dogs and cats do go a lifetime with no routine oral healthcare. It’s important to establish a tooth brushing routine with your pet as soon as he or she comes to live in your home. You might be surprised at how quickly your pet will come to accept it if you’re consistent, gentle, and offer plenty of praise (TREATS!) for cooperation. Just be certain to use the right size of toothbrush and proper toothpaste for your pet’s species.

Pets also benefit from an annual dental appointment that includes professional cleaning of their teeth. This is typically done under anesthesia to allow for deeper cleaning below the gumline and to ensure the pet’s cooperation with the process.

Relax and Enjoy Your Pet

Although having a pet comes with much responsibility, it is a relationship that brings great joy. In 2019, resolve to spend as much one-on-one time as possible with your pet to help deepen your bond. The rewards are priceless!

To schedule an appointment with Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital, please call 763-755-3595.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Safe and Thankful

The hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving is a part of the tradition for many families. But in the commotion, it's important to keep safety in mind for our four-legged family members. Our Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital veterinary staff offers these Thanksgiving safety tips to help you all have a safe and special holiday!


Even if your house will be full of guests or your entire family is traveling, double check that all pets are wearing a collar and identification tags with current contact information. The same goes for microchipped pets. Make sure all pets are up-to-date on vaccinations and parasite prevention before traveling also.

If your pet is staying behind for the holiday, use a reputable pet sitter or boarding facility. Pets should never be left at home alone, even with food and water, for any extended length of time.

Stay in the same exercise and meal routine with your pets during the holiday. Going on your daily walk with your pet will also help you counteract that large Thanksgiving feast!

With guests in the house, pets may have sensory overload and need a little distraction from the distraction. Keep pet-safe toys and treats on hand and reward your pet for good behavior.

Remind guests and hosts alike that your pet should not eat table scraps. Not only are a lot of human foods high in sodium and sugar that can cause gastrointestinal issues in pets, many of our common Thanksgiving foods are highly toxic to pets, especially those containing onion, garlic, grapes or raisins and chocolate.

If your pet seems to be eyeing the counter for any accidentally dropped food while you are cooking, have a reliable guest or family member keep her occupied in a different room.

Before everyone settles into their post-meal naps, take all trash outside away from pets. Bones, scraps and packaging from food may seem like a tempting chew toy, but they can cause serious harm to your pets, especially if ingested.

If you have any questions about having a safe Thanksgiving holiday with everyone in your family, contact us at 763-755-3595. Happy Thanksgiving!

Copyright © 2018 by Uhlig LLC. All rights reserved
Image Credit: Chepko/ istock / Getty Images Plus

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Safe Spooking

Do you have plans for trick-or-treating this month? Parties? Visiting kiddos in creative costumes? As Halloween activities can often stretch through much of October, our Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital veterinary staff provides these tips to help keep this fun and spooky holiday safe for furry family members, too! You can help your pet enjoy the season by being mindful of “F.E.A.R.: food, environment, attire and recovery”

Food. Many of the foods associated with Halloween are toxic to pets, especially chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol. Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine that is deadly to both dogs and cats and is more concentrated the darker the chocolate is. Xylitol has been proven to be deadly to dogs. The risk to cats is not firmly established, but why chance it? Keep all candy out of reach. If you feel like you’re leaving your pet out of a chance to fully participate in the holiday, we have treats that are safe AND tasty in our clinic!
 
Environment. Keep all animals inside and provide a safe, stress-free place where they can while away the holiday free of all the commotion and any potential dangers. It is best to walk your dog early in the evening, preferably before the trick-or-treating begins and then retire all pets to their safe haven at least 30 minutes before you expect any trick-or-treaters.
 
Attire. Know whether your furry friend enjoys participating in the festivities in costume or in his "birthday suit" and let him celebrate accordingly. If he'll be dressing up, make sure the costume does not restrict movement or vision and that there are no loose or small parts that could be ingested.
 
Recovery. Have a plan in place in case your pet becomes sick or injured this holiday. Our clinic phone number is a good start: 763-755-3595. And it's always a good idea to ensure your pet has up-to-date ID, in the form of a collar and tag and microchip, just in case he gets lost. Our Foley Boulevard Animal Hospital veterinarians can easily microchip your pet in a quick and painless appointment, if he’s currently without his permanent ID. Microchips provide the best chance of reuniting with your pet if he or she becomes separated from you. If your pet already has a microchip, be sure  to verify that the information on file with the registry is up-to-date; it’s the only way for you and your pet to be reunited. 
 
With a little bit of planning and foresight, you can ensure your Halloween celebrations only spook those they should. Have a safe and happy Halloween!
 
Image credit: tobkatrina / iStock/ Getty Images Plus
Copyright © 2018 by Uhlig LLC. All rights reserved. 
 

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