Pet Vet has our “eye” on your pet!

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Learn about the anatomy of the eye and common eye ailments.

At Pet Vet Roanoke, a full physical exam is an important part of our annual vaccination protocol. Pets can have many problems and diseases of the eye that can cause redness, inflammation, excessive tearing, or damage to the eye. Many eye problems can be easily diagnosed by your veterinarian with an ocular examination and specialized tests. A yearly evaluation, early detection, and prompt treatment of abnormalities can keep your pet’s eyes healthy.

When performing an ocular exam, a Pet Vet veterinarian checks the following eye structures:

– The cornea (the outer surface of the eye) for abrasions or abnormal pigmentation.
– The sclera (the white of the eye) and the conjunctiva (the eyelids) for redness or inflammation.
– The lens (located behind the cornea and focuses light) for changes or clouding.
– The pupil (the black opening of the eye) for normal contraction and dilation.

Lenticular Sclerosis
Lenticular Sclerosis is commonly mistaken as cataracts by many owners. The eye may appear more cloudy or grey as a result of normal aging changes to the lens. Most dogs start to develop lenticular sclerosis around 6-8 years of age. It is not painful, usually does not affect vision, and does not require treatment.

A cataract in an opacity in the lens the eye causing the eye to look cloudy. When a cataract becomes thick and dense, it can lead to blindness. In some cases the lens can break free and float around causing painful inflammation, damage to the eye, or can lead to glaucoma. Cataracts can be genetic, caused by injuries, or certain diseases. Dogs and cats with diabetes have a high incidence of cataracts. Cataracts are also common in schnauzers, spaniels, terriers, and poodles. An eye exam with your veterinarian can diagnose cataracts and a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist can perform surgery to remove them.

Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye does not adequately drain and becomes enlarged. Your veterinarian can test the pressures of the eye to diagnose glaucoma during an exam. If left untreated, it can cause blindness.

Eye Injuries
A common eye injury is a corneal ulcer, a disruption of the surface of the eye, usually caused by a scratch or foreign object. It is diagnosed by applying fluorescent stain to the eye, the glowing stain will adhere to any abnormalities on the cornea. Severe eye injuries, such as an eye popping out of the socket or rupture of the eye, are usually caused by trauma and may require surgical repair or removal of the eye.

Chronic Dry Eye (KCS)
Chronic dry eye (KCS) is a common problem in dogs where one or both of the eye does not produce enough tears. Low tear production causes the surface of the eye to become too dry, resulting in pain, inflammation, and damage to the eye. This condition can easily be diagnosed with a tear test administered by your veterinarian at the time of an exam. Long term treatment consists of eye drops that stimulate the eye to produce tears and a medication to lubricate the eye.

Entropian is the inward rolling of the eyelids. This causes the eyelashes to rub on the eye, resulting in irritation and excessive tearing. Severe cases can cause damage to the surface of the eye. Most cases of entropian are congenital, meaning your pet was born with the abnormality, and it commonly affects chows, bulldogs, and shar-peis. Treatment depends on the severity of the problem, and can include surgical repair.

Cherry Eye
Cherry eye is a condition in which the tear gland of the third eyelid becomes detached and causes a red protrusion from the corner of the eye. The cause is not known, but it can cause infection and damage to the eye. Surgery consists of repositioning or removal the gland. Cherry eye typically affects younger dogs, and is most common in “bug-eyed” breeds such as spaniels, pugs, bulldogs, boston terriers, and shih tzus.

Do not hesitate to call Pet Vet immediately if you notice any of the following indications of an eye problem:

– redness
– excessively rubbing the eye(s)
– bulging of the eyeball
– swelling
– increased tearing
– dilation of pupil
– squinting
– cloudy appearance

Kennel Cough in Dogs

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Kennel Cough
Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC)

The key word is complex.

It is not a single organism disease.

It is similar to the common cold in people in that multiple organisms (ten or more) may be involved and there is not a vaccine to protect against all of them.

We do have quality vaccines against three of the causative agents- adenovirus, parainfluenza, and bordatella.

The current standard of care is to use both intranasal vaccine drops and injectable. No vaccine protocol can be 100% effective in preventing the disease. The intranasal vaccine stimulates the type of immunity that traps germs along the surface of the respiratory tract.

The subcutaneous vaccine stimulates the type of immunity that attacks the germs that manage to get below the lining of the respiratory tract and into the body.

The adenovirus and parainfluenza antigens are in every distemper vaccine we administer. It is another reason why yearly boosters are important.

The immune status of any one pet is unknown. Laboratory blood titers do not correspond to a pets active resistance to respiratory disease. Even vaccinated pets exposed to the many “bugs” of CIRDC has the potential to develop a serious illness including sneezing, laryngitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia.

Pet owners must be aware that taking pets to dogs parks, daycare facilities, grooming, and boarding kennels may expose their pet to this disease complex. A vaccination protocol with properly scheduled booster vaccines is the only way to decrease the incidence and severity of CIRDC. Ask our veterinarians what is best for your pet.

10 Most Common Pet Toxins

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The 10 most common pet toxins according to the ASPCA Poison Control Center.

#10 most common pet toxin- AUTOMOTIVE PRODUCTS– With more people keeping their animals inside (especially cats), the number of animals exposed to automotive products (particularly antifreeze because of it’s sweet taste) has dropped. Many of these products, if ingested, can be life-threatening to pets.

#9 most common pet toxin LAWN AND GARDEN PRODUCTS Fertilizers, which can be made of dried blood, poultry manure and bone meal, are very attractive to pets, there was almost 3,900 calls in 2011 on lawn and garden items.

#8 most common pet toxin PLANTS About 4% of phone calls are about animals eating plants. This is one category that cats lead dogs in the number of exposures. Lilies can cause kidney failure and death in cats. Other dangerous plants include Sago Palm, Coontie Palm, and Poinsettia.

#7 most common pet toxin RODENTICIDES When putting out baits to kill mice and rats, never underestimate the resourcefulness of your pet. Most bait is grain based and is attractive to dogs. Depending on the type of rodenticide, ingestion can cause internal bleeding, kidney failure, or seizures.

#6 most common pet toxin VETERINARY MEDICATIONS Chewable medications make it easy to give your dog or cat a pill. However, this tasty pill can also mean that the pet, if given access, will ingest all the pills in the bottle. Always make sure to keep pet medications out of reach. Contact your veterinarian if your pet ingests more than its proper dose of medication or ingests another pet’s medication.

#5 most common pet toxin HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS It is amazing what animals can find to chew up around the house from fire logs to paint. Some household items may just cause stomach upset, while others can be deadly. Make sure to to practice safe spring cleaning and do not allow products to come in contact with or be inhaled by your pet.

# 4 most common pet toxin PEOPLE FOOD Chocolate is still the number one people food that pets ingest (with over 7,600 calls last year). Too much chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, high heart rate and seizures. The second most common food is xylitol (the sugar substitute commonly found in gum). Also be cautious with bones, raisins, onions, alcohol, garlic, raw dough, caffeine, macadamia nuts, and avocado.

#3 most common pet toxin OVER-THE-COUNTER HUMAN MEDICATIONS Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be very dangerous for your pet. Never give any medication to your pet without consulting with your veterinarian first, even well intentioned pet owners can unknowingly poison their pet.

#2 most common pet toxin INSECTICIDES These include products used on the lawn, in the house, and on the pet. The most important thing to do is read the label before you use any insecticide, and never use a product labeled for dogs on cats. Pets, especially cats, can also be very sensitive to over-the-counter flea products containing pyrethrins.

#1 most common pet toxin PRESCRIPTION HUMAN MEDICATIONS Almost 25,000 calls were about human prescription medications. Pets, especially dogs, are notorious for ingesting any dropped pill. Cardiac and ADHD medications make up a large percentage of these calls. Always make sure to take these medications in a safe place away from your pets.

SAVE THIS LINK -> EVERY dog and cat owner should have access to this information.

Heart Disease in Dogs and Cats

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Is heart disease common?
The risk of heart disease increases dramatically with age. An estimated 60% of aged dogs may have heart disease. The rate of heart disease in cats is unknown because it often goes undiagnosed, however it may be present in up to 15% of cats. Certain breeds and overweight pets may be more prone to heart disease.

How is a heart problem diagnosed?
An evaluation of your pet’s heart health begins with a physical exam. There are many diagnostic tools available, including thoracic x-rays, ECG, cardiac ultrasound, and blood tests. It is important to evaluate your pet annually, or more often as they get older. Symptoms such as a murmur or arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) can only be detected by an examination with a veterinarian. While there is no cure for heart disease, symptomatic treatment and specialty diets can greatly improve the quality of your pet’s life. Early detection is important, if heart disease goes undiagnosed and untreated, it can eventually result in heart failure.

What are the signs of heart disease?
The signs of heart disease may be subtle and easily mistaken for changes associated with aging, and dogs and cats are affected differently. You and your veterinarian should watch for symptoms such as exercise intolerance, lethargy, difficulty breathing, and coughing.

How does heart disease affect pets?
Cat and dogs are most commonly diagnosed with one of three cardiac conditions.
1) Mitral Valve Disease- The most common type of heart disease in dogs, a valve becomes leaky and allows blood to flow through the heart in the wrong direction.
2) Dilated Cardiomyopathy- Also common in dogs, the heart’s muscle becomes stretched and weak, reducing the heart’s effectiveness to pump blood, and the heart becomes enlarged.
3) Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy- More common in cats, this disease is characterized by thickening of the heart’s muscle, making it an ineffective pump.

Important facts all cat owners should know about Feline Leukemia and FIV

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Never place a newly acquired cat or kitten into your home without first having it blood tested for feline leukemia and feline immunosuppressive virus.

The diseases are caused by a virus and there is no cure for Leukemia or FIV

They are only contagious between cats. People and dogs are not at risk.

FIV is commonly transmitted by fighting and mating

Feline Leukemia is very contagious, it can be transmitted just by hissing, grooming, and sharing water bowls

All cats should be vaccinated for Leukemia to keep them healthy

Cats that go outdoors, fight, are intact, have oral disease, or have abscess wounds are at a greater risk of infection

Felines with these infectious diseases can have little to no symptoms. Testing is the only way to know for sure if a cat is infected

All cats should be tested for Leukemia and FIV. Pet Vet has an in-house blood test will indicate a cat is infected

Any newly acquired kittens or cats from an outside environment, shelter, or adoption center should be isolated from other cats until testing is complete

Due to the many variables associated with these diseases, a consultation with one of our veterinarians is highly recommended.

Read about Heartworm disease, learn about worms, and find out why we have no time for ticks.

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Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic worm that lives in the heart and pulmonary vessels of dogs and cats and can cause heart failure. It can only be carried and transmitted by mosquitoes. Heartworms can live up to 7 years, grow up to 12 inches long, and dog can be infected with up to 250 worms!

Heartworm Disease in Cats

Cats are less likely to develop Heartworm disease, however it is difficult to diagnose and there is no treatment. Cats typically are infected with a low worm burden, however it can cause severe reactions or instant death.

Heartworm Prevention

Heartworm disease is preventable. It is recommended that all dogs and cats get year round, monthly prevention. It is a prescription medication that is only available through your veterinarian. Heartworm prevention is safe, easy and inexpensive. Missing just one month of Heartworm prevention can put your pet at risk for Heartworm disease.

Heartworm and Tick Disease Testing

It is recommended to test dogs for Heartworms every year. It is a fast and easy blood test, and can also include screening for tick diseases. All dogs should be tested for Heartworms prior to starting prevention.

Tick Diseases

Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichiosis that can cause lethargy, joint pain, or fever for your pet. Protect your dogs and cats from ticks with a monthly topical like Frontline Plus. Frontline is the only safe tick product for cats. Dog products and over the counter tick products can cause severe reactions in cats. Your dog is just one tick away from Lyme disease.

Intestinal Parasites

Heartworm prevention will also protect your pet from intestinal parasites. Pets and people can get infected with intestinal parasites such as Hookworms and Roundworms from infected soil. The environment can be infected for years, so always pick up stool and don’t walk barefoot or let children play in areas where pets defecate.

Fecal Testing and Deworming

Intestinal parasites can be transmitted between people, dogs, and cats. Always follow veterinary recommendations for deworming and parasite prevention. Intestinal worms can only be diagnosed with a microscopic examination of your pet’s feces and should be performed at least yearly. All puppies and kittens should always be dewormed for parasites, they can become infected with worms from the mother during pregnancy or while nursing. If not treated, intestinal parasites can cause weight loss, diarrhea, anemia, and even death.

Things you may not know about purchasing your pet’s medications online

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1. Most veterinary medications are restricted, under federal law, for sale only by veterinarians. That means online pharmacies and retail stores acquire them by unofficial distribution channels that are not authorized by the manufacturer.

2. It is illegal and fraudulent for an online pharmacy to sell a prescription medication without approval from your veterinarian. This includes all heartworm preventions, NSAIDS (including Deramaxx), and Comfortis.

3. There is over a 50% chance that medications purchased from illegal sites are counterfeit, which can be dangerous to your pet’s health.

4. The FDA found that discounted drugs sold online may be mishandled, tampered with, defaced, repackaged, or expired.

5. The manufacturers of flea and heartworm preventions will guarantee the safety and efficacy of their products. They will cover treatment for heartworm disease, intestinal parasites, or adverse side effects with proper administration. Purchasing online voids all guarantees

6. They do not have the best prices! Your veterinarian works directly with product manufacturers to ensure you receive money saving promotional offers you can’t get online, including free doses, mail-in rebates, and free shipping.

7. At Countryside, you can return or exchange any flea or heartworm product. Your satisfaction and your pet’s health are very important to us.

8. Call an educated Pet Vet staff member with any questions or concerns.

Spaying and Neutering

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Spays and neuters are performed under general anesthesia. A spay, also known as an ovariohysterectomy, removes the reproductive organs (uterus and ovaries) from a female animal. A neuter is the removal of the testicles from a male animal. Prior to a surgical procedure, your pet will receive a physical examination and consultation with the veterinarian. Anesthetic protocols are carefully considered for every pet and every effort will be taken to keep your pet safe and comfortable. Your pet’s heart rate, temperature, blood oxygen level, and EKG will be carefully monitored throughout the surgery and recovery. Pain management is a priority for every spay and neuter.

Pets that are spayed and neutered before reaching sexual maturity can reduce behaviors such as roaming, marking, and aggression. It is recommended that every dog and cat get spayed before the first heat cycle to reduce the chance of mammary cancer.

Spaying will also eliminate the risk of uterine infections. A pyometra is a severe bacterial infection in a dog or cat’s uterus. It can be life-threatening and immediate surgery must be performed.

Neutering a male can reduce prostate enlargement and eliminate testicular cancer. Prostate disease is common in older and intact male dogs. An enlarged prostate can affect a dog’s ability to urinate and defecate. Bacterial infections of the prostate must be treated with a long coarse of heavy antibiotics and neutering. Prostate cancer has very few treatment options and a very poor prognosis.

Dental Care and Your Pet

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Proper dental care is important for your pet’s overall health. Daily tooth brushing is the best way to prevent the accumulation plaque and tartar. Plaque reducing treats, food, and water additives are also available. Your pet’s dental care is in your hands! It is estimated that 80% of pets over 3 years of age display signs of dental disease. A large population of dog and cat owners do not realize their pets have periodontal disease.

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums and, with proper dental care, is the only reversible form of dental disease. Periodontal disease causes permanent damage to the teeth, including ligament attachment, root exposure and gum recession. Plaque formation causes bad breath and is the first stage. Advanced stages can result in discomfort for your pet and tooth extraction is often the only treatment. The excessive odor causing bacterial formation that occurs with dental disease can affect all your pet’s organ systems by circulating in the bloodstream. Toy breeds are more prone to periodontal disease because they have shorter tooth roots and bacteria destroys a greater percentage of the tooth.

Dental cleaning and polishing is not just for appearance! You can discuss the best options for your pets dental care with your veterinarian or staff member.

What can be included in a dental cleaning at Pet Vet?

-Every patient gets a full physical health evaluation and consultation to determine the best treatment protocol for your pet and address any questions or concerns

-Pre-anesthetic blood testing is done to evaluate a pet’s overall health and assists in determining anesthetic protocols.

-An IV catheter will be placed and IV fluids will be administered during the procedure and recovery.

-We carefully monitor heart rate, blood oxygen level, and temperature for your pet’s safety.

-The administration of pain management and antibiotic injections aids in your pet’s comfort.

-The procedure includes scaling, cleaning, polishing, and extractions. This is essential for cleaning bacteria from under the gumline, a place often missed by brushing and non-anesthetic dentals.

-Post dental laser therapy is available.