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Pet Obesity Awareness

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), an estimated 52.7% of US dogs and an estimated 57.9% of US cats are overweight or obese1. Many owners are unaware or in denial that their pet is carrying a few extra pounds that can be harmful to the quality and longevity of the pet’s life.
What are some diseases or conditions that obesity can lead to?
Cruciate Ligament Injury
Arthritis
Type II Diabetes
High Blood Pressure
Heart and Respiratory Disease
Cancer
Kidney Disease
So what can owners do to help prevent all of these conditions and keep their pet happy, healthy, and on the road to a long life? Talk with your vet at your pet’s next annual visit about the current diet and schedule that you are feeding. Prepare properly for the visit by providing the brand of food, exactly how much you are feeding (bring the scoop with you if you are unsure of the exact measurement), the times of day you are feeding, any treats/people food that is given, if there’s any access to other pet foods, and how much daily exercise that your pet receives. Your veterinarian will be able to calculate the appropriate amount of daily calories for your pet to be fed and get everyone on track for weight loss.
Just like with humans, it is important for our pets to live a healthy lifestyle as well. A great support system is always helpful to make sure that the diet plan is adhered to. Make sure that everyone in the home is on the same page to ensure that your pet is successful in your effort to shed the pounds.

Information derived from http://www.petobesityprevention.org/pet-obesity-fact-risks/

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Watch Out For Feral Cats This Winter

Feral Cat in Wheel WellThe days are getting shorter, the nights longer, and the weather colder.

Colder weather means animals looking for shelter to protect themselves from the chilly winds, snow, sleet, and rain. Outdoor animals, when lacking proper shelter, can utilize our vehicles to keep warm and safe. Before getting in your car, check all the tire wells and give the hood a tap to scare out any animals that have taken shelter. This will keep them safe from being burned, stuck, or drug away while driving.

You can continue to help stray and feral cats maintain their outdoor home happily and safely by providing a shelter for them. The recommended size is 2’ x 3’ and at least 18” high. This size is great to maintain heat and still allow multiple cats to huddle together for warmth. Other specifications for shelter and providing food can be found here.

So please remember to check your tire wells, and tap the hood of your car before starting up. It takes just a second and can save a life.
This information brought to you by
http://www.alleycat.org/winterweather

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Heartworms? Not my Pet!

It is a common misconception that indoor pets, especially cats, do not need to be placed on heartworm preventative. If you have ever swatted at or been bit by a mosquito in your home, then your pets are at risk of contracting the disease.

Here at VMC we recommend starting puppies and kittens on heartworm preventative starting at 8 weeks, and continuing the preventative every 30 days for the remainder of the pet’s life. Here are some simple ways of remembering to give it:

  • Mark it on your calendar: Some preventatives come with a sticker to place on the date that your pet is due for it.
  • Put a reminder in your phone on the day that your pet is due.
  • Write the date on the individual blister pack of the preventative – this will help in remembering that you gave it or still need to give it.

What products are available for heartworm preventative?
There are oral, topical, and injectable preventatives available. ProHeart6* is the injectable version that is administered in our office every 6 months. The oral preventatives available are Trifexis*, Heartgard, Sentinel, Iverhart, and Triheart. Topical products available are Revolution* and Advantage Multi.  *These products are available in our office.

Each product provides preventatives such as flea, tick, and intestinal parasites. A comparison chart is available here.

The American Heartworm Society (AHS) recommends testing every year to ensure that the heartworm preventative chosen is working. Though preventatives are highly effective, they are not 100% and pets can still become infected. Whenever a dose is missed or is late, the pet is vulnerable to contracting the disease. Pets can also leave themselves unprotected if they spit out the pill or rub off the product while owners aren’t looking. An annual examination and heartworm testing are necessary to renew the prescription and be able to purchase more preventative.

Heartworm disease is very prevalent in our area therefore it is recommended to keep your pet on heartworm preventative monthly even throughout the winter.  There is no treatment for cats so prevention is critical. The treatment for dogs is very expensive and uncomfortable and also requires very strict confinement during the course of the treatment.
Here is a chart on the lifecycle of the heartworm for the dog and the cat.

HWLifeCycle-VET

We are always here to answer any of your questions and ensure that your pet stays happy and healthy. Please do not hesitate to call us with any questions regarding your pet’s care.

For more information on heartworm disease, visit the American Heartworm Associations website at www.heartwormsociety.org

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