While cavities in dogs aren’t as common as they are in people, they do exist in about 5% of canine patients. Also known as dental caries, canine cavities occur when oral bacteria ferments carbohydrates on the tooth surface. While there are some other factors that are part of this tooth-decaying process, the fact is this diagnosis can be prevented.
All Things Considered
Part of the reason why you might not be aware of cavities in dogs is that there are some unique criteria involved. First, there must be a spot on a tooth for food to accumulate. Second, a dog must have eaten fermentable carbohydrates. Lastly, the presence of high salivary pH is necessary to trigger the fermentation process.Continue…
It’s easy to forget about your pet’s teeth and gums until an unfortunate odor starts emanating from their mouth. Of course, doggie or kitty breath is nothing new, but by the time this tell-tale funk is obvious, damage to the teeth and gums has already begun. In other words, pet dental disease isn’t one of those conditions where you should just “wait and see” if something develops. The following common signs of poor dental health are all a call to action.
Before We Get Started…
Oral bacteria combined with food particles create a film on the teeth called plaque. When it hardens, tarter will form. Plaque is fairly easy to brush off, but tartar removal is more serious. When plaque is ignored, tartar creeps between the gums and teeth where bacteria can flourish, causing bad breath.
Here in Maryland, both people and their pets are used to harsh winters. That doesn’t mean that your pet’s paws need to suffer, however. Highway Veterinary Hospital has your back when it comes to protecting pet paws this season. Read on to learn what you can do.
Winter Woes for Furry Feet
The winter weather can wreak havoc on delicate pet paws. When allowing your pet to enjoy the northeastern weather, it is important to be on the lookout for some common problems.
Cold weather catastrophes for furry feet can include:
As our winter season hits, we’re thinking about all things safety. A pet first aid kit is a great tool for making sure your pets can stay safe and get the help they need should an emergency happen. And in the wintertime, this kit should include a few extras.
You can purchase pet first aid kits online, however, building your own kit, or adding to a pre-made one may be your best bet for making sure you have everything customized for your pet’s lifestyle and needs. So, what to include? Here are our tips for a winter pet first aid kit.Continue…
Whether it’s our health or beloved family and friends, Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how fortunate we are in many different ways. For pet lovers, recognizing and appreciating the numerous ways animals impact our lives is what Thanksgiving is all about. Taking that sense of gratitude a step further, the team at Highway Veterinary Hospital wants to explore ways to give back this holiday season. We hope you’ll join us!
Pets remind us that we’re lucky to have a place to call home. They keep our favorite chairs warm while we’re away and love us without condition. All of the support and companionship they provide unites pet lovers and informs our interactions with other people each and every day.Continue…
Halloween is right around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited. There’s the pumpkin carving, the pet halloween costumes (and contests!) and the main event – trick or treating the evening away. Some of us even like to bring our (very social) pets along.
But, of course, one hazard that Halloween poses for pets is that of Halloween candy. Most of us know that chocolate can be toxic to dogs, but what else do we need to be aware of when it comes to fright night, candy, and our pets? Highway Veterinary Hospital is ready to explore this topic and provide you some tips to keep your pets safe. Continue…
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 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
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.
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…
Their 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!
Wouldn’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.