Eat This, Not That: Thanksgiving Pet Safety

Cat at Thanksgiving dinner looking at a Turkey

There’s nothing like an amazing meal, especially at Thanksgiving. Pies and baked goods, stuffing and mashed potatoes, and did we say turkey and gravy? It’s enough to make anyone salivate, including the family dog or cat. 

Unfortunately, with every Thanksgiving meal comes a number of tempting dishes that are toxic to pets. The team at Highway Veterinary Hospital wants to ensure your holiday is pet emergency-free by raising awareness about the Thanksgiving foods that are bad for pets.

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Giving Props to Pet Poop

Dog pooping

Your pet’s feces may not be the most glamorous thing to talk about, they deserve a lot more credit than you might think. Besides being a vehicle for eliminating waste from the body, pet poop holds a lot of information that can help you as well as our doctors at Highway Veterinary Hospital

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The Heart of the Matter: Understanding Heart Disease in Dogs

If your dog is the most big-hearted pet you know, you’re not alone. Our dogs are the heartbeat of the entire family and provide unconditional love and loyalty. But did you know that heart disease in dogs is diagnosed more than you might think. In fact, it is estimated that up to 10% of all dogs who are over 7 years of age have some form of a heart condition. 

Heart disease accounts for a big portion of senior pet problems, although some conditions can also appear in younger dogs, too. It’s important to understand this disease that affects millions of dogs each year and the team at Highway Veterinary Hospital is here to tell you more. 

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Should You Be Worried About Your Dog’s Reverse Sneeze?

A dog, mid-sneeze, standing in a forrest of falling leaves

If you have never heard or witnessed a reverse sneeze, you may want to consider yourself pretty lucky. 

This canine phenomenon that sounds much worse than it really is, the reverse sneeze can be startling, to say the least. However, most pet owners don’t know that this bizarre phenomenon even exists until they’re woken in the middle of the night by this unique noise.

The Research

A quick YouTube search for a reverse sneeze may be educational for those that have never heard of it before. Owners of dogs with this condition understandably mistake the sound for choking or respiratory distress. Snorting, honking, snuffling, and even gagging noises can be highly distressing. Most of the time, a reverse sneeze is completely normal.

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Help! My Dog Pees When Excited!

A black and white Boston Terrier standing next to a puddle of piddle looks a little frenzied

There are few things more joyful than a dog that’s happy to see you. But a whipping tail, floppy tongue, and dancing paws may conceal an embarrassing truth. If your dog pees when excited, you’re not alone. This issue is actually quite common among younger dogs, those that are newly adopted, or ones that simply need a bit more training. 

In other words, this behavior, while certainly inconvenient, can definitely be handled with patience, understanding, and support.

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Fact or Fiction: A Close-Up On Dental Cavities in Dogs?

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.

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Happening Right Now: The 10 Most Common Signs of Pet Dental Disease

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.

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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!