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Pet Health

Why Young Puppies are at Risk for Heart Disease

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When you think of heart disease, you probably picture a middle-aged man– not a frisky little puppy.  The reality is that heart disease, including congestive heart failure, is not only found in humans but can strike other animals as well.  Though you might associate congestive heart failure with being overweight and sedentary–and that is not necessarily wrong–congestive heart failure can occur in dogs that look outwardly healthy, and it can even be found in puppies.  Heart disease in dogs is a serious matter, and just like in humans, it cannot always be cured. However, with proper treatment heart disease in dogs can be managed, allowing your dog to live for many more years in relatively good health.   What is Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs? Congestive heart failure in dogs is a condition caused by other forms of heart disease.  When the heart starts to fail, it no longer properly…

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Pet Heart Murmurs: Are They a Sign of a More Serious Problem?

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A veterinary checkup is a lot like a human checkup. A doctor examines the patient for overall health and wellness, making sure that all of the major systems are in working order.  As with human physicals, most of the time things are just fine. But, sometimes the examination reveals hidden symptoms, even in patients who seem perfectly healthy. One such symptom is a heart murmur, which can present itself in both healthy and unhealthy animals.  As a caring owner, just how concerned should you be if your pet is diagnosed with a heart murmur? What is a Heart Murmur? A heart murmur is an irregular heartbeat. When your veterinarian listens for a heart murmur with a stethoscope, they will typically hear an irregular whooshing sound in between your pet’s regular heartbeat.  That sound is caused by turbulent blood flow in the animal’s heart, and may or may not be cause…

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5 Benefits of Getting Your Pet Tested for Diabetes

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Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects more than 370 million humans worldwide, resulting in debilitating complications like nerve damage and blindness. What many people don’t realize is that dogs and other pets can also develop diabetes, which can significantly affect their quality of life. Fortunately, there are some telltale symptoms to watch out for and steps you can take to diagnose and treat diabetes in your pet. For example, there are certain dog behavior changes that may signal diabetes, like increased thirst and frequent urinary accidents. If you’ve noticed any unexpected pet behavior changes, seek veterinary attention as soon as possible to test for diabetes. What is Diabetes? Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the body is unable to produce enough insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas. Insulin’s job is to help glucose enter cells so it can be used for energy, but when the body doesn’t…

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How to Recognize the Signs of High Blood Pressure in Pets

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Watching your pet play, eat, and move around makes you feel good about your loved one’s well-being. However, when your pet is under the weather, you want to reach out and help in any way you can. Not knowing just how under the weather your pet is can lead to much uncertainty. For your peace of mind, contact your veterinarian today. One of the tell-tale signs of poor health is high blood pressure. Just as a doctor checks your blood pressure, a veterinarian keeps an eye on your pet’s blood pressure for normal rates, especially if your pet has other serious health conditions. What Causes High Blood Pressure in Your Pet? If your pet suffers from chronic kidney disease, it is likely your pet also has high blood pressure, or hypertension. This is because the kidneys are responsible for controlling blood pressure and can no longer do their job when…

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Is Your Pet at Risk for a Seasonal Urinary Tract Infection?

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During the winter months, the weather can make it difficult for people to stay active and energized. When the wind howls and your windows are frosted with ice and snow, the idea of going out does not always seem appealing. It is natural to want to curl up with a blanket and read a good book or binge-watch a T.V. series. Your dogs and cats like to curl up with you, too. However, this decreased activity level can put them at risk for a seasonal urinary tract infection. Why Are Your Pets at Risk? Decreased activity and lower temperatures yield less water consumption and, subsequently, fewer bathroom trips. If your pet suffers from arthritis and/or has weakened immune defenses due to age, depression, or past medical conditions like cancer, then your pet is a strong candidate for a urinary tract infection. Generally, urinary tract problems in cats are less common…

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Pet Eye Ulcers: What Causes Them and How to Treat Them

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Pet eye ulcers are a common eye injury in both cats and dogs. These ulcers are more specifically referred to as corneal ulcers, since they are found in the cornea of the eye. There are four layers of the cornea. The impactfulness of the ulcer depends on how many of these layers are affected by it. Superficial ulcers only affect the outermost layer on the cornea, and these usually heal within a week. Deeper ulcers involve more layers of the cornea, and can result in perforation of the cornea, loss of vision, and serious scarring. Melting ulcers and refractory ulcers are two other kinds of corneal ulcers that can affect your pet. Melting ulcers are a very serious condition that progress very rapidly. Refractory ulcers are superficial ulcers that do not heal as expected, and they also tend to keep coming back. Unfortunately, corneal ulcers cause great discomfort and irritation…

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golden retriever

Do Purebred Dogs Really Have More Health Issues?

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Like many things in society today, pets are often purchased because their specific breed is the current trend.  Maybe the breed won first place in the latest dog show.  Or, a favorite celebrity has a pet that is unique.  Whatever the reasons, people can’t seem to resist owning one of those furry little critters.  Often, these popular animals are expensive purebreds.  Few people know the history of how animal breeding began and why they should do some research before investing in one of these pets.  For instance, they don’t know that most purebred dogs today are at risk of developing a variety of inherited diseases. Some develop physical deformities that make life difficult for the pet and the owner.  Why does it happen and what can a pet owner do to protect themselves and their pet?  Let’s take a look at some of the facts about purebreds, specifically dogs, and…

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sick dog

Understanding Chemotherapy Options for Pets with Cancer

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The word “cancer” is likely to trigger a slew of unpleasant reactions, deepening in unpleasantness as the term comes closer to describing your loved one’s current health diagnosis. Whether your loved one is a person or a pet, the options for treating cancer can seem overwhelming, especially when the other scary “c” word, “chemotherapy,” is thrown into the mix. First, it is important to understand your pet’s precise diagnosis, e.g., tumor size/location and its likelihood to spread, which your veterinarian can obtain through a physical exam, blood work, and imaging. Then, you can start to explore all the treatment options, including surgery, chemotherapy, or both. If chemotherapy becomes a viable option, hopefully the information below offers you a brief overview of what this means for your loved one. Chemotherapy and Pets With humans, the goal is to suffer through chemotherapy for a positive end result: a cancer-free life. When chemotherapy…

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hungry dog

Guide to Bladder Health in Pets

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Whether you are a dog lover, a cat lover, or an equal-animal opportunist, you want to make sure your pet is in good urinary health. Just as you might experience bladder and urinary discomfort and call your doctor immediately, you want to do the same with your pet. The key is recognizing the signs of a bladder problem and, even more important, helping your pet bypass bladder problems with preventative steps. Bladder Conditions and Symptoms A discussion about common bladder problems in pets usually starts with a urinary tract infection. If untreated, a blockage in the urethra can occur, resulting in the rupturing of the bladder or fatal kidney fatal. In cats, especially middle-aged, indoor, and/or overweight cats, FLUTD, or Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, is the most common urinary tract problem. The cause is often from multiple sources and could include crystals, debris, or stones in the urethra or…

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Declawing Your Cat: Could it Lead to Arthritis?

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If you have ever owned a cat, then you know that declawing is often a part of the domesticating process, at least in the United States, even though it is not medically imperative. It is common to assume that to declaw your cat means a natural, non-harmful choice. However, research suggests that your cat could suffer long-term health effects from declawing. What does declawing a cat mean? Declawing a cat involves serious surgery. Consider your human toenail. The thought of fully removing it probably makes you wince. However, in the process of removing your toenail, no bone would be extracted. Cat claws are different; bone and claw are actually closely connected. As a result, declawing includes the amputation of the entire first joints of your cat’s “toes.” With this approach, regrowth is very unlikely. So, the surgery is more similar to an amputation of your human fingers to the knuckle…

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