18 Mar Commonly Asked Questions About Pet Illnesses
It’s normal to worry about your pet’s health! In fact, it’s common that our patients reference Google before coming into a vet clinic. But in order to get accurate results and answers on your pet’s illness, we recommend stopping by PetWellClinic so that we can give your pet a thorough physical exam and walk you through the next steps for any recommended treatments.
However, we understand the desire to get answers right away. So to best serve you and your furry-friends, we put together a list of frequently asked questions about pet illness.
What is Parvovirus?
Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that affects dogs of all ages. It is a significant threat to unvaccinated dogs or puppies that are younger than four months. The virus attacks your dog’s gastrointestinal system and does the most damage to the stomach and small intestines.
Thankfully, the signs of parvovirus are clear, so that you can act quickly to get your pet treatment.
If your dog is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, take him to the emergency veterinarian right away:
- Bloating of the abdomen
- Vomiting and diarrhea (possibly containing blood)
- Abnormally high or low body temperature
How do dogs get parvo?
Parvovirus is highly contagious and can be spread through multiple avenues, such as:
- Your dog comes in contact with an infected dog
- Petting an infected dog and then petting your dog
The virus is also resistant to a lot of detergents and disinfectants, so it’s very important that you follow best practices by disinfecting your home and washing your hands after petting a dog.
How can I prevent it?
PetWellClinic offers a full package of vaccinations for your puppy and adult dogs. This package includes the vaccine that protects against parvovirus! We highly recommend giving this vaccine annually to protect your dog from any potential exposure.
Good hygiene is another important preventative measure to keep your dog healthy. Keep your dog away from fecal matter and disinfect your house before and after having other dogs over.
What are the treatment options?
Unfortunately, parvo has no cure. Due to advancements in veterinary medicine, however, there are options to treat their symptoms and to offer immune support while your dog fights off the virus and any secondary or bacterial infections.
These treatment options include:
- Antibiotic medication
- Intravenous fluids
- Nutritional support
If your dog is being treated for parvovirus, they must be kept at a full-service vet clinic to be monitored 24/7. According to PetMD, the highest risk of death in a dog occurs 24-72 hours after symptoms appear, so it’s crucial that you take your dog to the nearest emergency vet at the first signs of parvovirus.
Does My Cat Have Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is the most common hormone-related feline disease. It happens when your cat’s thyroid produces too much of the hormone thyroxine, sending your cat’s metabolism into overdrive.
As a result of your cat producing too much thyroxine, their energy needs and activity levels increase, leading to symptoms such as:
- Weight loss
- Increased appetite
- Increased thirst and urination
- Restlessness or anxiety
- Excessive grooming
If your kitty is exhibiting any of these symptoms, bring them to your local PetWellClinic so that we can run blood and thyroid tests to check for hyperthyroidism.
Treatment & Prevention
There are many successful treatment options if your cat is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism!
- Oral or topical medications
- Radioactive iodine
Our veterinarian will be able to walk you through the best treatment option for you and your kitty.
Hyperthyroidism usually affects cats that are 7 years or older, so it’s important to get your cat routinely screened. However, this is becoming more common in younger cats, so the best thing you can do is have your cat tested if you’re concerned that they are showing signs of hyperthyroidism.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease contracted by dogs, and it attacks the nervous and lymphatic system. Infected ticks carry a spiral-shaped bacterium known as Borrelia burgdorferi and are commonly found in the woods and tall grass.
Ticks are more common in warm weather but remain active in winter. If you live in an area with mild winters, the chance of ticks staying active is especially high.
If your dog spends any time outside, it’s important to be aware of how lyme disease can affect your pup. Thankfully, the symptoms appear shortly after your dog has been bitten by an infected tick.
It’s important to take your pet to the vet immediately if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Swollen joints (usually accompanied by a limp)
- Pale gums
- Sudden weight loss
- Loss of appetite
Treatment and Prevention
Our veterinarians will be able to confirm if your dog has lyme disease through blood tests. If results come back positive, we will prescribe an antibiotic treatment and assess how much and how long your dog needs to be on antibiotics.
If you find out that your pet has been living with undiagnosed lyme disease, there’s a chance they could suffer from extensive damage to their body, especially their nervous system. If this is the case, don’t worry! We will be able to discuss further treatment and ways to manage any chronic conditions caused by lyme disease.
The most effective way to prevent lyme disease is through flea and tick preventative products. PetWellClinic offers tablets that your pup will love and keep them protected from lyme disease. There are also vaccine options to prevent lyme disease!
However, it’s important that you work directly with your vet and discuss if this is a good option for your pet. The answer will be unique to your pet depending on where you live, their lifestyle, and their medical history.
In addition, avoiding common areas where ticks are found and checking for ticks in your dog’s fur is another way to prevent lyme disease.
What is Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is zoonotic, which means it can be passed between humans and their pets. The Leptospira bacteria is found worldwide in soil and water, but areas with a warmer climate and higher annual rainfall are more susceptible.
The infection occurs when a dog’s mucous membrane or open wound on their skin comes into contact with the bacteria. Dogs become infected through direct contact with contaminated urine, drinking out of rivers, lakes, and streams, or a bite from an infected animal.
Some dogs may show no symptoms, while others may develop serious illness resulting in organ failure and death. Even if your dogs show no symptoms, they can still be a carrier.
Symptoms of leptospirosis to be aware of:
- Loss of appetite
- Increased thirst and urination
- Jaundice around the lining of their mouth and eyes
- Nose bleeds
Treatment and Prevention
If brought in early enough, Leptospirosis can be treated with antibiotics. Otherwise, hospitalization and intravenous fluids may be necessary.
The best way to prevent and protect your dog against leptospirosis is with a vaccine. We offer this vaccine in each of our affordable dog’s wellness packages. Please note that the vaccine is effective for one year and it’s important to keep your pup up to date.
Is Grain-Free Food Actually Better For My Pet?
Over the last few years, grain free diets for dogs have grown in popularity. This caused many pet parents to switch their pet’s diet to grain-free. However, what’s best for one dog isn’t best for all, and grain-free diets are complicated.
While a correlation between grainless diets and canine health issues has been found, the variety of dog food recipes and their ingredients are so great that it’s difficult to make a sweeping generalization.
The issue at the center of the grain-free diet debate is canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a type of heart disease found in dogs.The FDA has been careful to avoid saying that grain-free diets cause canine DCM directly because there are so many factors that play a role in the health of your dog. Other factors such as genetics and underlying health conditions are just as important as what they eat!
Some dog breeds are more predisposed to DCM than others, such as:
- Irish Wolfhounds
- Saint Bernards
- Great Danes
- Doberman Pinschers
- American and English Cocker Spaniels
However, if you notice your dog exhibiting the following symptoms, bring them to the vet for an x-ray:
- Weight loss
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Increased breath rate
- Struggling to breathe
Cats can also develop non-hereditary DCM, although not from a grain-free diet. Felines can have food allergies, but they’re usually related to protein such as chicken and fish rather than grains. Just like dogs, talk to your vet before putting your cat on a new diet.
To make sure your pet is receiving the diet they deserve, talk to one of our veterinarians. We stay at the forefront of the latest news and developments involving pet health, and popular trends aren’t always what we recommend. Every dog is unique, especially when it comes to their nutritional needs.
Two of the most effective ways to keep your pet healthy is through preventative medicine and up-to-date knowledge. It’s also important to have your pet physically examined regularly, especially if you notice any unusual behavior. With PetWellClinic’s extended hours and walk-in business model, you never have to wait to have your pet seen. You and your pet come first, which is why we will always treat you with the care that you both deserve.
PetWellClinic is dedicated to being here for pet owners. Our hours of operation extend into the evenings and weekends, and our clinic environment is built with your pet’s comfort in mind. Find your local PetWellClinic today and bring your pet in for their first appointment!
PetWellClinic provides convenient, affordable veterinary care for pet owners. PetWellClinic has locations and services built with convenience in mind. Stop by with your pet any time! No appointment necessary.