A Pet Owner’s Guide to Canine Influenza

Canine influenza, or dog flu, can be a serious risk to dog health.Nobody wants to get the flu, but the threat looms over us all once the cool weather returns. Luckily, humans have everything from herbal teas to vitamin supplements to vaccines to help us decrease our chances of getting the flu. However, when it comes to canine influenza (also known as “dog flu”), things aren’t quite so simple.

The virus, which made its appearance in the U.S. in 2005, can spread quickly with little or no warning. More than 2,600 dogs have been diagnosed with canine influenza in 2018; because many pets remain asymptomatic, the number of actual cases is surely much higher. At Highway Veterinary Hospital, we want to make sure every owner knows how to protect their dog from this troubling virus.

Canine Influenza

Canine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the type A influenza virus. Common symptoms include:

  • Mild coughing
  • Discharge from the eyes and nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever

Veterinarians usually diagnose dog flu once the owner observes the above symptoms. Sometimes, the disease is diagnosed after multiple dogs experience a sudden onset of symptoms after being together in the same area.

Dog Flu: Not Just for Dogs Anymore?

Influenza viruses receive great attention by both human and animal health care professionals due to their ability to spread rapidly and chances of animal-to-human transmission.

  • All influenza A viruses originate in wild birds and waterfowl; some can be transmitted to other types of animals.
  • A change in a horse influenza virus caused the first canine influenza outbreak in North America in the early 2000’s.
  • Cases of dog-to-human transmission of influenza have been reported.
  • Cats are susceptible to many avian and human influenza viruses.

Protect Your Pet

The number one way to protect your pet is to have them vaccinated. At Highway Veterinary Hospital, we currently use the bivalent vaccine, which protects against both strains of canine influenza found in North America. We’ve incorporated it into our puppy series and consider it a core vaccine.

You can also reduce your pet’s risk of infection by carefully monitoring situations where your dog is in close contact with other animals (e.g., dog parks, doggie daycares, boarding facilities). Don’t allow your dog to play with another dog who appears sick. If your dog begins displaying symptoms, please call us right away, and quarantine your pet inside your home until your appointment.

Please don’t hesitate to contact our team with additional questions about canine influenza.  

Home Delivery: Our Online Pet Pharmacy

Get your pet medications via home delivery!In the age of the internet, home delivery is nothing new. Jeff Bezos has led the charge in saving us all time and energy by making almost anything – even groceries – available for online purchase and home delivery. The modern world has put everything at our fingertips, but when it comes to pet medications, this can be risky and even deadly.

Highway Veterinary Hospital recognizes the value of your time, and we also want pets to stay safe. That’s why we’ve launched our own online store that’s both convenient and provides you with a trusted, reputable online pet pharmacy.

The Online Pet Pharmacy Problem

Online pet pharmacies have been around for many years. In a nutshell, you order your pet’s medications, products, and food from home. The company you order with contacts us for approval. Your products are then delivered when you need them – straight to your door. Continue…

Caring for Your New Kitten

Caring for your new kitten will set them up to be a healthy catTheir roly-poly Buddha bellies, their tiny paws, their small meows… Is there anything more adorable than a new kitten? For those of us who adore our feline friends, caring for a new kitten is undoubtedly delightful. However, taking excellent care of a new pet also involves a lot of work. Fortunately, the team at Highway Veterinary Hospital is here to help!

New Kitten Supplies

Before you bring home your new kitten, you’ll need to address all of their safety and comfort needs. Items you should pick up include:

  • Food and water bowls (not too high or deep, metal bowls are best to prevent bacteria build-up)
  • Litter and litter box that’s easy to enter and exit
  • Kitten-formulated food (never adult food)
  • Treats (in limited quantities so as not to upset their stomach)
  • Microchip or breakaway collar and ID tags
  • Nest-type beds
  • Toys suitable for a new kitten

Nutrition is Paramount

It’s important to remember that your kitten will need the right nutrition as they grow and develop. We suggest kitten-formulated diets from quality reputable brands, such as Royal Canin, Hill’s Science Diet, Purina Pro Plan, and Eukanuba. Feed kitten food until approximately one year of age.

To encourage optimal development, you should feed your new kitten in the appropriate quantities three times daily or free choice, dependent on your kitten’s appetite. A small amount of wet food can also encourage hydration and appetite. Treats are okay to give in moderation.

New Kitten Exam and Vaccinations

After bringing your new kitten home, make an appointment to see us within a few days. Young animals are highly susceptible to a number of illnesses; and making sure your pet has the proper screenings, deworming, and vaccinations is crucial.

Our kitten preventive care exams include:

  • Thorough physical assessment
  • Deworming and parasite control
  • Microchipping for permanent identification
  • Blood screening
  • Age-appropriate vaccines
  • Kitten care education, including grooming and dental care
  • Nutritional consult
  • Spaying or neutering estimates

Litter Box Training Basics

When you start your kitten off with some basic “potty” skills, litter box training isn’t as hard as you might think. Consider the following pointers:

  • Find a permanent, quiet place for the litter box (and the right size box for a kitten).
  • Scoop daily.
  • Make sure the box is far enough away from their bed and food/water bowls, but not so far that it’s challenging for your kitten to find.
  • Make sure you have more than one litter box per cat.
  • Place your kitten in the litter box so they get used to where they should eliminate (especially after meals and naps).

Other Tips for Kitten Care

We highly recommend giving your kitten lots of affection and handling (which shouldn’t be hard at all!). Once your kitten is fully vaccinated, exposing your new friend to other playmates is a great way to encourage a more social, confident kitty. Just remember, supervision and slow introductions are a must.

Need more tips about caring for a new kitten? Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to meeting your new companion soon! Congratulations on becoming a new pet parent!

Senior Pet Preventive Care: Supporting Your Pet in Their Golden Years

Senior Pet Care is part of caring for an aging petWouldn’t it be wonderful if we could turn back the clock on our aging pets so we could have more time with them? Unfortunately, until that time machine is invented, we’re at the mercy of nature when it comes to our senior pets. Whether your pet seems as youthful as ever or is beginning to show signs of their age, making senior pet preventive care a top priority will keep them comfortable, happy, and an active participant in the family throughout their golden years.

Managing Senior Pet Preventive Care

Most pets are considered senior around 7-9 years of age (this varies by breed and size). Because pets age much more rapidly than humans, we recommend that senior pets receive a preventive care exam at least twice per year. We will also perform an annual blood screening for earliest disease detection benefits. Frequent preventive care checks and diagnostic screenings can help us monitor for the diseases and health conditions that occur more often in older pets, such as high blood pressure, cancer, arthritis, and heart disease.

Your pet’s preventive care visits are the perfect time to discuss changing nutritional needs, pain management strategies, and to let us know about any changes in behavior, habits, or appearance. Vaccinations, parasite prevention, and dental health continue to be important parts of your pet’s wellness plan as they age.

Nutrition and Weight Management

As your pet ages, their metabolism naturally changes. Older pets may benefit from reduced caloric intake, extra protein and fiber, and additional vitamins and minerals. Your veterinarian will work with you to come up with the right nutrition plan for your pet.

Obesity is a problem for pets of all ages, but senior pets are at greater risk of weight gain than their younger peers. Besides providing them with proper nutrition and portion control, daily age-appropriate exercise is a must when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, supporting good muscle tone, and reducing the pain associated with arthritis.

A Spotlight on Comfort

A little TLC goes a long way when it comes to keeping an older pet comfortable. Consider the following minor lifestyle modifications that can help an aging pet’s life run more smoothly:

  • A soft, supportive bed raised off the floor
  • Elevated food and water bowls
  • Easy-access litter boxes
  • Pet ramps and stairs
  • Non-slip mats in high traffic areas

It’s important to keep in mind that older pets are more sensitive to the effects of humidity and temperature changes. Always monitor your pet while outdoors, and keep them indoors during very warm or cold days.

Sweet Super Seniors

We adore our super senior patients here at Highway Veterinary Hospital, and we want to help them live long and happy lives! Please let us know if you have any questions or if there’s anything we can do to support you as you navigate life with an older pet.

Caring for Our Community, Caring for Animals: The Big Red Doghouse Foundation

big red doghouse foundationAs a pet parent, we know that you feel strongly about the well-being of all animals. After all, our special furry family members bring so much joy, wonder, and fulfillment to our lives; it’s natural to want to do everything we can to keep them happy, healthy and as safe as possible.

That’s where the Big Red Doghouse Foundation comes into play. Highway Veterinary Hospital is pleased to announce our very first nonprofit endeavor that aims to help foundations that are focused on very important work: providing much needed services to those pets who need it most!

Keep reading to learn more!

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A Part of Your Lives: Our Client Rewards Program

Client Rewards ProgramFor years, we’ve loved being a part of our clients’ lives and seeing their pets grow from puppy and kittenhood to their golden years. We cherish taking care of them and getting to know you. We also feel honored to share in your fun, your laughter, and, yes, sometimes even your tears when it comes to your pets.

It is with that sense of gratitude toward our clients and friends that we decided to begin our Client Rewards Program. What is this new program, you ask? We are so excited to share the highlights with you.

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Protect and Serve: All About K9 Officer Dogs

K9Dogs have protected human societies for well over 10,000 years. The first record of dogs defending humans in battle was around 600 B.C., and dogs continued to serve and protect humans all over the world, from the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, to a variety of Far East cultures.

The natural progression of our dependence on dogs led to the first organized police dog program in Ghent, Belgium in 1899. Since then, K9 officer dogs have been an important part of police and military programs throughout the world.

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Cuteness Overload: New Puppy Care 101

Bringing home a new puppy may well be one of life’s great pleasures. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pet owner, you are no doubt aware of the large amount of work that goes into new puppy care. Your pet needs so much more than food and water to grow into a happy and thriving adult dog.

Your health care team at Highway Veterinary Hospital is committed to providing you with the tools you need every step of the way.

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Plaque and Tartar: Two Formidable Foes vs. Regular Pet Dental Care

pet dental careAs a general rule, people brush and floss their teeth about twice a day (or least we’re supposed to). In fact, the act of caring for our teeth and gums is so essential to daily living that we can’t even fathom going a day without it. Animals may not have the same expectations for good-smelling breath and dazzling smiles, but nonetheless, they still benefit from oral health. If you’ve been wondering about pet dental care but weren’t sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. With February being National Pet Dental Health Month, we wanted to give you a good head start on your pet’s dental health for the new year!

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Tidings Of Comfort And Joy: How To Help Homeless Pets

help homeless petsDuring the holiday season, it’s natural to turn our thoughts toward the needs of those less fortunate. As pet owners and animal lovers, it can be difficult to think of the plight of so many pets who languish in shelters all over the country.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to help homeless pets in your community and beyond, and the benefits are well worth the effort!

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