People sometimes feel surprised that their pets can develop many of the same health conditions they do, including allergies. If you suspect your pet could have allergies, be sure to contact Battletown Animal Hospital for testing and treatment options right away.

Three Most Common Types of Allergies in Dogs and Cats

Allergies in pets typically fall into one of the categories described below, but not always. Be sure to observe your pet’s symptoms regardless of the possible cause.

Allergic flea dermatitis: This condition develops in animals with a sensitivity to flea saliva. Intense scratching is the first indication your pet may have allergic flea dermatitis. The most common area for dogs and cats to develop allergic flea dermatitis is the base of their tail. If your pet has this condition, you will notice the skin looks inflamed, scabbed, and red. A simple way to know that you’re dealing with allergic flea dermatitis is to look for flea dirt or actual fleas on your pet’s fur.

Environmental allergies: Dust, mold, and pollen are common allergens in people and pets. You might notice these allergies only occur in your pet at certain times of the year. Pets with environmental allergies typically scratch in these areas of the body:

  • Ankles 
  • Around the eyes 
  • Between toes 
  • Groin 
  • Muzzle 
  • Underarms 
  • Wrists

Food allergies: Your pet may be allergic to certain ingredients in dog or cat food if you notice aggressive itching of the ears and paws. Food allergies can also cause gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea. Fortunately, several pet food manufacturing companies sell food specifically designed for dogs and cats with food allergies.

All types of allergies can be serious for pets because the excess scratching and biting can cause the skin to open and become infected. Bacterial and yeast infections require your pet to complete a round of antibiotics.

Animals, like people, are also at risk of anaphylactic shock when they have a severe allergic reaction. Bee stings and vaccine reactions are the leading causes of anaphylactic shock in pets.

Although a severe allergic reaction is rare, be sure to look for facial swelling and the presence of hives on your pet’s body.

Symptoms of Allergies in Pets

Here are some additional symptoms of allergies to look for in your pet besides the ones we have already mentioned:

  • Discharge from eyes and nose 
  • Frequent ear infections 
  • Sneezing 
  • Swelling of the ears, eyes, or lips 
  • Vomiting

Keep in mind any of the symptoms we listed could occur due to a condition other than allergies. This is the reason we recommend having a veterinarian look at your pet if any type of new symptoms develops. Please schedule an appointment with Battletown Animal Hospital today to discuss treatment options to help your pet feel more comfortable.

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Every new season brings its share of challenges for pet parents, and spring is no exception. After staying inside for much of the winter, you are probably anxious to get outside and enjoy nature. Bringing your dog along on a hike is the most natural thing in the world, and we encourage it. You just need to be diligent about protecting your dog from tick bites and Lyme disease this time of year.

Lyme Disease is on the Rise

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that cases of Lyme disease in humans and animals tripled between 1995 and 2016 with cases jumping from 12,000 to 36,000 annually. However, the CDC stated more recently that it believes the actual number of annual infections is closer to 300,000. Lyme disease often goes unreported, and it is easy to misdiagnose since its symptoms mimic several other diseases.

How Do Pets Acquire Lyme Disease?

Lyme borreliosis, the full medical term for Lyme disease, is a bacterial infection transmitted through tick bites. Ticks carry a bacterium called borrelia burgdorferi that release into the bloodstream of animals after a tick bite. The bacteria travels through the bloodstream quickly and causes a wide range of debilitating symptoms.

Ticks are especially prevalent in areas with tall grasses, woods, marshes, and thick bushes. They can easily latch onto dogs that walk by. Unfortunately, it takes just 24 to 48 hours for the first symptoms of Lyme disease to appear.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Pets

Dogs are the most common carriers of Lyme disease among household pets, but it can also affect cats. This is especially true of outdoor cats or cats who share their home with dogs. Pets can even get Lyme disease when ticks attach to the clothing or shoes of their human family members and crawl off to attach to the pet. Here are the symptoms to look for if you suspect your pet could have Lyme disease:

  • Fever 
  • Joint swelling 
  • Lack of energy 
  • Obvious signs of pain 
  • Stiffness

Untreated Lyme disease in pets can cause kidney failure, seizures and other neurological events, and heart issues.

How to Prevent Your Pet from Getting Lyme Disease

The simplest thing you can do is check your pet, yourself, and your children for ticks each day. If you find one, carefully remove it with a pair of fine tweezers or ask your veterinarian to do it. Be sure to keep your grass mowed to a height of no more than two inches and routinely trim all bushes. All pets that go outside should wear a flea and tick collar. You can also ask your veterinarian if a vaccine would be appropriate for your dog or cat.

Schedule an Appointment with Battletown Animal Clinic at the First Sign of Lyme Disease

A prompt diagnosis is essential in your pet’s battle with Lyme disease. While the usual treatment is a course of antibiotics, your pet may need other therapies such as intravenous fluid. Please contact Battletown Animal Clinic  today at 540-955-2171 to request an appointment.

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When is the best time of year to be a pet? Spring. The weather is perfect for walks, bird watching, and spending time in the backyard. It’s also a great time to be a pet owner. Walks no longer require layers, and the days are getting longer, so you can spend more time outdoors with your pet. While the Battletown team also loves Spring, we know that the season can come with some unique safety concerns for pets. To keep your pet safe, keep these tips in mind and spring into this season with confidence that your pet is protected.

1. Spring Pests Can Really Bug Your Pet

As you and your pet spend more time outside, keep in mind that parasites tend to awaken this time of year as well. These bugs not only cause your pet to itch and scratch, but can also lead to long-lasting negative health effects.

What are the most dangerous Spring parasites? Fleas, ticks, and heartworms.

How can these tiny bugs affect your pet’s health?

  • Heartworms can go undetected for weeks, even months. During this time, they lengthen and damage your pet’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Untreated, heartworm disease is fatal for dogs. There is no treatment for heartworm disease in cats.
  • Fleas not only cause severe mental distress for pets, but they can make your pet anemic. 
  • Ticks have a habit of hiding well in your pet’s fur. They can spread Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other diseases.

Luckily, pet parents can prevent their pets from becoming victims of these parasites with medication. Prevention is less expensive than treatment and allows your pet to avoid pain and discomfort.

2. Pets Can Be Affected by Spring Allergies, Too

With the beautiful trees and plants in bloom, pollen increases exponentially.  This in addition to the return of grass, spring cleaning, and spending more time outdoors can lead to pets struggling with seasonal allergies.

Symptoms of pet allergies:

  • Discharge of the nose or eyes
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Sneezing, coughing, trouble breathing
  • Paw licking or excessive grooming
  • Cracked or irritated skin

If your pet shows signs of allergies, we can help them.

In the meantime, change your A/C filters, wipe your pet down with a damp towel after outdoor excursions, and rinse their feet before they come inside.

3. Poisonous Plants That Pop Up in Spring

This time of year offers some of the most brilliant blooms. As your bulbs light up the yard, keep in mind that not all of them are safe for pets. Never let your pet consume any of the following or be left unattended nearby these toxic plants:

  • Lilies
  • Daffodils
  • Tulips
  • Azaleas
  • Rhododendrons
  • Hyacinths
  • Sago Palms

Additionally, if you’re bringing home an Easter bouquet, be sure to keep those Easter lilies out of paw’s reach.

4. Standing Water is a Longstanding Concern

As the weather warms, keeping your pets hydrated becomes extremely important. Unfortunately for many pets, puddles, ponds, and other sources of standing water are a tempting choice for a drink but could wind up getting them sick.

Standing water sources can be a source of blue-green algae and other microscopic lifeforms that can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, and even death.

Leptospirosis is one of the more common water-borne illnesses pets can suffer from. This bacteria is transmitted from saliva and urine and is highly contagious. If an infected animal drinks from the same source as your pet, they can transmit the disease.

Protect your pet by providing them with cool, fresh water. Don’t let your pet drink from puddles on walks. And ask us if your pet is a good candidate for the leptospirosis vaccine.

5. Keep Garden Tools and Chemicals Stored Safely

As you tidy up the yard and plant your spring veggies, be mindful of any chemicals and tools you may use. Rusty, sharp tools, herbicides, pesticides, and even abandoned holes can pose a threat to your pet’s wellbeing.

Fill any holes to prevent tripping hazards that could lead to sprains and strains.

Replace tools to your shed, garage, or another safe place for storage between uses.

Never leave pesticides or herbicides where your pet can access them. And, when using chemicals in the yard, avoid spraying where your pets walk. Remember, it’s always a good idea to use pet-friendly chemicals and rinse your pet’s feet after walks or yard time.

Spring is Here! Safely Enjoy This Season with Your Pet

We hope Spring brings you and your pet fun, joy, and new opportunities to bond. Begin this season with peace of mind by checking your pet’s pest prevention schedule and refills. If your pet is due for a refill of their flea, tick, or heartworm medication, give us a call or schedule an appointment.

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We wish pets never got themselves into trouble. Unfortunately, they often fall victim to their own curiosity and not knowing any better. Accidental pet poisoning is one of the most heartbreaking experiences for pet parents. In honor of Poison Prevention Month, we wanted to share the most often overlooked pet poisons. With a little bit of preparation and knowledge of these common household items that could get your pet sick, we hope you never have to feel the panic and heartbreak of having to rush your pet to the ER due to poison.

How Big of a Problem is Pet Poisoning?

We see several poisoning patients every month. Most of these cases could have been prevented. Additionally, the Animal Poison Control Center receives over 213,000 calls every year from pet parents.

In our eyes, one pet is too many when it comes to preventable poisoning.

Keep These Common Pet Poisons Out of Your Pet's Reach

1. Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications

37% of pet poisonings calls to the APCC are in response to pets consuming medicine not meant for them. Why so many calls? Pills are easy for pets to consume and they pack a potent punch of chemicals.

Always keep your medications and your pet’s prescriptions stored in a pet-proof container, high out of reach of pets. Only give your pet medications our team or another vet has approved.

If you suspect your pet has ingested a medication, give us a call ASAP. If we recommend you come in, bring the medication bottle with you.

2. Hand-Outs and Human Food

Pets have a knack for convincing their humans that they should eat what you eat. Unfortunately, many of the foods we enjoy can make your pet incredibly sick. From raisins to garlic, your meal could be toxic to your dog or cat. Talk to your little ones about what the rules are when it comes to giving pets food.

Additionally, some pets cannot help but try to get into the trash or pantry. To prevent this, use child-proof safeguards on your cabinet handles and store your waste bin in a cabinet you can close.

What human foods are most dangerous for pets?

  • Any products containing xylitol. This artificial sweetener can be labeled as “sugar alcohol") and is commonly found in dental-friendly gum, sugar-free candies, and some baked goods. It can also be in vitamin gummies.
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onion and garlic
  • Chocolate

3. Common House Plants Pose a Threat

Whether you have an indoor garden or you brought your plants in for winter, you want to be sure your cat or dog does not nibble on them. While many plants will simply cause your pet to have an upset stomach, others can be fatal. Always check to see if the new houseplant you’re bringing home is poisonous.

Which plants pose the most danger to pets?

  • Amaryllis
  • Lilies
  • Aloe
  • Tulips
  • Daffodils
  • Oleander
  • Hyacinth
  • Sago Palms
  • Philodendron

Want to green up your living space? These are some of the most popular pet-safe plants:

  • Christmas Cacti
  • African Violets
  • Spider PLants
  • Polka Dot PLants
  • Calathea
  • Orchids
  • Succulents

4. Household Cleaners and Chemicals

This time of year brings an increase of poisonings caused by gardening chemicals and household cleaners. While it may seem absurd to imagine a pet lapping up glass cleaner, it does happen. But more frequently, pets become sick by walking through poisons then licking their paws.

While you’re pet-proofing your pantry, do the same for your gardening supplies. Gardening fertilizers often contain fish meal and blood meal which smell delicious for pets, so keep these stored safely, as well.

5. Rat Poisons

Having rodents in your home can feel like a nightmare. Having your pet accidentally consume the bait you put out to trap them is even worse. Never place traps or poisons where you pet can come in contact with them. Better yet, choose pet-friendly methods to control rodents.

Have a Safe and Poison-Free Spring

The Battletown Animal Clinic team wishes you a great Spring filled with sunshine, fun, and good health. Keep your senior pet active and enjoying all Spring has to offer with cold laser therapy. If you want to schedule your pet’s cold laser therapy or your pet is due for their annual check-up please schedule an appointment now.

Photo Credit: Pexels.

One of the beautiful things about our pets is that we continue to find new reasons to love them, no matter their age. Even though our pets tend to slow down as they enter their golden years, they still have an immense amount of love to share. If you’ve had one of those moments where you realized your dog was getting a little gray around the muzzle or your cat has used several of their nine lives, you likely want to make some changes to your pet’s routine care to fit their changing needs. What does your senior pet wish they could tell you?

“As I Age, I Become More Vulnerable to Health Issues”

One of the most difficult realities of senior pets is that they are more prone to developing health problems. To make the matter even more serious, they’re also more fragile when it comes to these health issues. This is why you should increase your pet’s veterinary visits to at least twice per year.

Luckily, there are many ways we can work together to provide your pet with the best life despite their aging issues. Early diagnosis is key to preventing a minor problem from becoming a major concern. Catching problems early protects your pet’s quality of life and lifespan.

What are the most common issues you should watch for?

Cancer 

Cancer is the most common disease to take the lives of pets over the age of ten. About 50% of senior pets will develop cancer. 

Cancer is not a life sentence for many pets, though. Many forms of cancer can be treated. From surgery to immunotherapy, there are ways to prevent the spread and progression of cancer and stop it in its tracks.

Some forms of cancers can even be prevented. Having your pet spayed or neutered is the first step.

You can also vaccinate your cat and keep your pet’s weight under control.

Additionally, a healthy diet can make a world of difference.

Detecting Issues:

Watch for changes in your pet’s bathroom habits. If you notice any lumps and bumps, especially those around the mouth and jaw, bring your pet in to see us. Sores that do not heal also need immediate attention.

Dementia

Memory loss and dementia are not unique to people--our pets struggle with them, too. Watch for signs that your pet’s cognitive ability is in decline. You may notice a change in routine, your pet acting confused or lost, or vocalizing at odd times.

Arthritis and Joint Issues

Does your pet take a few extras moments to stretch when getting up? Older pets tend to suffer from joint deterioration and other mobility issues. If you notice your pet is a little stiff after a nap or slow to climb stairs, they may be in pain.

Joint supplements can help your pet rebuild cartilage and lubricate their joints. Most supplements also contain glucosamine and chondroitin which have anti-inflammatory properties to reduce joint pain.

We can also help manage chronic or acute pain.

“I still enjoy walks and playtime.”

Keeping your pet moving can prevent injuries from slips, falls, strains, sprains, and breaks. Staying active helps pets maintain their muscle tone and balance. Playtime also provides your pet with much-needed mental stimulation, which keeps them sharp, can slow dementia, and lessens anxiety and depression.

“My nutritional needs have changed.”

Older pets experience a slowing in metabolism. This means they need fewer calories, but still need a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Senior pets also benefit from diets tailored to their health needs. From urinary tract health to weight control, we can help you find the right diet for your beloved pet.

If you notice your pet is itchier or struggling with digestion, a change in diet may help. Make an appointment if you have questions about your pet’s nutritional needs.

“I Would Love New Comfort Items.”

Our pets do not ask for much. They may beg for treats here and there, but they don’t know how to ask for other items like a new bed or stairs to help get into bed. So, what would they ask for if they could?

  • A warm sweater or comfy coat for walks
  • An orthopedic pet bed
  • Joint support supplements
  • Stairs or a ramp to make getting to their favorite spots easier.
  • Rugs for slippery surfaces
  • A litter box with lower walls

Does Your Senior Pet Deserve the Best?

Of course they do! If you’re looking for the best, give your pet the gift of health at Battletown Animal Hospital. We have a special place in our hearts for senior pets. You can trust that your pet will receive all of our attention and the necessary tests to give you peace of mind and detect any hidden illnesses.

Don’t delay your pet’s appointment. There are too many fun activities awaiting your senior pet. We’re here all winter, so give us a call.

Photo Credit: Pexels.