Ticks love our dogs. As a concerned dog dad or mom, you don’t want these tiny arachnids making a meal of your pet, as these disgusting, creepy, and dangerous bugs can carry diseases. One of the most common tick-borne illnesses that affect dogs is Lyme disease. While you’re probably familiar with this painful condition, there are some details you may not have heard. What do you need to know about Lyme disease?

1. Ticks Aren’t Just Found in the Woods

While many people rightfully assume that ticks live in heavily wooded areas, ticks tend to go where their hosts take them and where they’ll find new victims. Since ticks can’t fly or jump, they will wait on leaves or grass for a potential host to brush past them and then attach themselves to skin, fur, or clothing.

Where are some areas people report finding ticks?

  • Trails and nearby sidewalks
  • Bushes and shrubs
  • Tall grass
  • In and around trees
  • Backyard play structures
  • Around standing water and streams

2. Bacteria Cause Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is the result of bacteria spread by a tick feeding on its host. While there are two forms of bacteria that cause Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi is the one found in Virginia. These bacteria look like microscopic spiraled worms.

The other form of bacteria that spreads Lyme disease has yet to be discovered in our area. We hope that it stays this way!

3. Not All Regions of the U.S. Are Equally Affected

Cases of Lyme disease can be found all over the U.S. but are highly concentrated on the East Coast, and in 2018 our Commonwealth had the second-most reported cases in the South Atlantic region. If you’re planning your spring break or summer vacation, other eastern coastal states, the Midwest and northern California are also areas with elevated rates of Lyme disease.

4. Dogs Often Hide the Symptoms of Lyme Disease

It’s frightening to think that your dog can be silently suffering and harboring a disease that can cause long-term pain and discomfort. Unfortunately, this is often the case, as many dogs don’t show any symptoms of Lyme disease for months. Some even go more than a year without showing any signs.

What are some symptoms of Lyme disease?

  • Sore and swollen joints
  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Limping and lameness
  • Reluctance to play

5. Lyme Disease Affects the Whole Body

When the bacteria that cause Lyme disease are transmitted by a tick bite they circulate through the bloodstream. While joint stiffness and pain is often an early sign of infection, the ability for the bacteria to move throughout the body means that the heart, kidney, and other internal organs can also be affected, causing significant and long-term damage, even after treatment.

6. People Can Get Lyme Disease Too

While you cannot catch Lyme disease directly from your dog, you can be infected by a tick with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. If a tick were to feed on an infected animal and then bite you or a family member, you are at risk of contracting Lyme disease.

7. Lyme Disease is Easy to Prevent

We can treat Lyme disease but treatment is most effective when paired with early detection. Because of the nature of the condition, this is rarely the case. Instead, Lyme disease often gets ample opportunity to permanently damage your dog’s health.

How do we diagnosis Lyme disease? We use blood tests to detect the antibodies the dog’s body produces to combat the bacteria associated with Lyme disease. Because it is bacteria-based, we often prescribe antibiotics for treatment.

We always recommend prevention as a first step. When you can prevent your dog from contracting Lyme disease, you save your dog the agony of joint paint and save yourself the worry and cost of treatment.

Prevention can be as simple as applying a topical ointment, adding a new collar, or giving your dog a tasty chew. These solutions kill ticks before they are able to transfer Borrelia burgdorferi to your dog’s body, as it can take up to 24-36 hours for a feeding tick to infect its host.

Don’t Risk Your Pet’s Health

Ready to protect your pup? Make an appointment today and we’ll work together to find the right preventative medicine for your dog. When you don’t give Lyme disease a chance to harm your pet, you’re protecting them, your wallet, and your family. We’re ready to help keep your dog free of Lyme disease so give us a call today.

 

 

 

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Your pet’s health and wellbeing are two of your top priorities as their human guardian. Many pet parents read and re-read their pet food’s ingredient list, add child-proof locks to their cabinets to keep curious companion animals out of trouble, and use an ID tag to keep their pets safe if they happen to run away. But they may overlook the importance of where they fill and how they store their pet’s prescriptions. Choosing your pet’s pharmacy is an essential step in keeping your pet safe and healthy.

Why Should You Choose Us to Fill Your Pet’s Prescriptions?

1. Your pet’s prescription is more than just a transaction

A prescription is more than a piece of paper or electronic consent. When we provide your pet with an Rx, we carefully consider your pet’s health, medical history, and needs. We know your pet better than a big-box pharmacy, which means we can address any questions or concerns you may have with a holistic view of their care.

We are here to help you and your pet. You can always call to ask if something is normal or not, if your pet’s medication is safe to use with OTC supplements, etc. We can also suggest other products that aid your pet’s recovery or improve their day-to-day life.

2. Trust in quality and safety

With the rise in online pharmacy marketplaces, we’ve also seen a rise in mishandling and counterfeit medications.

Many prescriptions need to be kept in a temperature-controlled environment and stored away from direct sunlight. When ordering your pet’s prescription online from another source, you may be risking that the medication isn’t shipped properly or has expired. We never cut corners when it comes to your pet’s safety.

When you order from our online pharmacy or come into our clinic, you can trust that your pet’s medication has been safely stored and handled correctly.

3. Save time and money

We’re just around the corner from many of our patients so stopping by to pick up your pet’s prescription is easy, saving time and shipping costs.

Our online ordering system is just as convenient to use. You can find all the products and prescriptions you need to keep your pet healthy and they can be shipped directly to your home, often for free.

Need the same medications every month? EasyDoseIt! is a subscription service that ships single doses of your pet’s medication directly to your door. Never forget an important preventative again.

The Pharmacy You Choose for Your Pet Matters

Whether it’s time to refill your pet’s prescription or you’re looking to have their medications shipped to your home, we recommend ordering directly from our store. As your veterinary clinic, we care about your pet, and choosing a local business supports our community.

Our in-clinic pharmacy and online pharmacy will save you time, money, and the stress of uncertainty when it comes to your pet’s prescription drugs. If you have any questions or need to make an appointment, just give us a call - we’re here for you and your pet.

 

 

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Pull out that granny sweater--it’s winter and your elderly dog is great to tell you how many miles (both ways) she used to walk uphill to get to the dog park. Just kidding! But your senior dog really may need a sweater. As our dogs and cats age, the cold winter weather and icy outdoor conditions affect them more than it once did.

We won’t keep you on ice any longer! Learn more about how the cold affects your older pet and what you can do to help.

How Does Age Relate to Cold Weather?

Your pet ages a lot like a person, just quicker. As your pet enters her senior years, her joints weaken, scar tissue and minor issues can ache, and her bones weaken. And of course, we all slow down a little as we age.

If your pet has arthritis, the cold weather can make her extra stiff and cause her joint-related pain.

And while older pets feel the cold more, they’re also more susceptible to injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces. They also get the sniffles easier as well.

What Can You Do to Help Your Older Pet Cope with the Cold?

1. Provide Your Dog or Cat with a Comfy, Warm Bed

Cup-style beds are perfect for senior kitties. Keep a few fluffy blankets around as well.

For senior pups, find a thick bed with memory foam. Why memory foam? It insulates your dog from the cold ground and cradles her hips and joints for extra support.

2. Avoid Ice Patches on Your Walks

Older dogs still enjoy and benefit from walks. Daily exercise will help your dog maintain strong muscle tone and support her joints. Daily exercise can also help her stay trim to take the burden off her joints.

You don’t want her to slip and sprain her ankle or suffer another injury, though.

3. Bring Your Senior Pet by for a Check-Up

Senior dogs and cats should receive exams about twice per year. If you haven’t brought your pet by before winter, bring her in.

We can help with

  • Managing any chronic cold-related pain
  • Assess your pet’s mobility
  • Determine if a supplement can help your senior pet get around a bit easier
  • Find the right diet to support her health as she ages

4. Improve Your Pet’s Mobility

When the air’s dry, your pet’s paw-pads don’t cling to the floor quite as well. This can cause extra slipping and sliding inside and outside. A lack of traction puts extra strain on your pet’s joints. To make it easier for your pet to get around this winter you can.

  • Invest in pet stairs or ramps to help her get up and down
  • Put extra rugs down on slippery floors
  • Lift your pet up and down rather than encouraging her to jump onto your lap

5. Sweaters, Boots, and Blankets

Some pets adore their sweaters while others cannot stand them. If your senior pet loves her hipster-chic sweater, let her wear it.

If your bot will wear boots when you walk her, then lace her up. Most dogs can’t stand them, but boots can keep her from slipping and keep her feet toasty warm. Be sure to take them off when you get home, though. Otherwise, they might turn into chew toys.

Senior pets can never have enough snuggly blankets to curl up in. If you have extra throw blankets put them in her favorite spots. Or go by a secondhand store and pick some up.

Bundle Up with Your Best Buddy!

Enjoy the snow and cold with your pet this winter while keeping in mind that they get cold more easily than they once did. Break the ice and pick up a sweater for your senior dog, find a fluffy blanket that’s perfect for your cat, and make an appointment with us so we can help you find the right plan of action to keep your pet happy all winter long.

 

 

 

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How often do you look at your pet’s teeth? Checking those doggie or kitty bicuspids probably isn’t part of your daily routine, but it should be. Would you check more often if we told you your pet’s mouth is the window to her health? It’s true. Your pet’s teeth play a vital role in keeping your pet healthy and vibrant.

How important is your pet’s dental health? We hope these dental details will convince you it’s time to check those pet’s teeth and make an appointment for her dental exam.

1. More Pets Suffer from Dental Health Issues Than Many People Realize

Many pet parents aren’t aware that their dog or cat has a dental problem.

2. Pet Dental Disease Is Treatable and Preventable

Gingivitis

Regular cleanings, brushing, and dental toys can help prevent gingivitis. If gingivitis isn’t addressed, it develops into periodontitis, which cannot be reversed.

Periodontitis

When gingivitis isn’t treated, it affects the tissue around your pet’s teeth and the gums, eventually softening the bone and connective tissue that holds the tooth in place. Periodontitis also increases the number of bacteria that enter your pet’s system and results in inflammation and broken and lost teeth.

Tooth Resorption

Tooth resorption occurs when your pet’s tooth becomes weak from the inside out. Between 30 and 70% of cats experience this problem which results in pain, inability to chew food, irritability, and tooth loss.

3. Dental Disease Affects More Than Just Your Pet’s Teeth

Caring for your pet’s oral health does more than just keep their smile glowing, it prevents some serious and painful health conditions. When your cat or dog’s teeth become rotten, it can cause:

Pathologic Jaw Fracture

Periodontitis and gingivitis weaken the teeth and support structure that holds them in place. Your pet’s body will send white blood cells to the inflamed area which weaken the tooth socket and jaw bone. This can eventually lead to a jaw fracture.

Kidney and Liver Disease

When your pet’s gums become inflamed, more bacteria enter her system and wind up in her bloodstream. This bacteria then wreaks havoc on her liver and kidneys and can result in liver and kidney disease.

Heart Disease

Oral inflammation has also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and heart failure.

Pain, Trouble Eating, and Loss in Quality of Life

Chronic oral pain can cause your pet intense pain, stress, and make eating a difficult chore. Over time, your pet can experience weight loss and a nutritional deficiency that can cause liver, kidney, and heart disease.

4. The Most Pet Parents Don’t Recognize the Warning Signs

When you begin avoiding those kitty and puppy kisses, it’s likely time for a dental exam and cleaning for your pet. Many of the signs of oral health issues may seem commonplace, benign, or ubiquitous.

Look for these signs of serious dental disease:

  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Discoloration
  • Reddened gums

5. You Can Help Prevent Your Pet’s Dental Disease and Discomfort

The most impactful thing you can do to help prevent your pet from becoming part of these disheartening dental stats is bring her in for regular dental exams and cleanings.

You can also brush your pet’s teeth using a pet-friendly toothpaste. Spoiler: starting early in your pet’s life helps her get used to the routine & never use toothpaste made for people.

Feed your pet a high-quality diet. 

Chew toys and dental hygiene treats help.

We Want to Wish You Years of Smiles with Your Pet

Don’t delay your pet’s dental exam. Keeping those teeth clean and her mouth healthy can extend your pet’s life by years and have a significant impact on her quality of life. Give us a call to make an appointment for your pet’s dental health check.

Image credit: Adri

 

It seems you can’t go more than 15 minutes without hearing about CBD oil, and this trend isn’t going away anytime soon. If you’ve wondered what all the buzz is about, we have the answers to your questions from “will it get my pet high” to “is CBD an effective pain management solution for my pet?”

1. Is CBD Oil Safe for Pets?

CBD oil is marketed mostly for cats and dogs, but you can find CBD oil for horses and other creatures like pigs. And in most cases, CBD is safe for these animals. Pet parents must keep in mind that CBD oil is still pretty new and the levels of the active ingredient are not clearly regulated. So, we suggest using CBD with caution. 

If you decide that CBD oil might be right for your pet, we can help you navigate which brand to buy and how to read the labels. There are so many products online that all want to convince you to buy them, it can get tricky to see how they differ.

Cats, being the finicky creatures that they are, sometimes react by becoming withdrawn. If you’re using CBD to treat anxiety, see us first. Increased stress and anxiety could be a symptom of a different underlying problem.

What Risks Are Associated with Pets and CBD Oil?

Dosage is key when it comes to CBD. Pets can overdose. They can also suffer from THC toxicity if their CBD oil contains too much THC. Most safe CBD oils will contain less than .3% THC which is not enough to affect a pet.

2. What is CBD Oil?

First, CBD does not contain any ingredients that will get your pet ‘high.’ Which is to say there are no psychoactive effects on your pet. CBD is cannabidiol, which comes from hemp or cannabis. CBD retains the medical properties of the hemp plant without THC, which is the element associated with a ‘high.’

CBD does ignite the area of your pet’s brain associated with balance and pain. Because CBD is still pretty new, we still have a lot to learn about how it works.


3. What Health Conditions Can CBD Oil Treat in Pets?

Many pet parents have seen positive results when their pets use CBD for anxiety, stress, joint pain, inflammation, and seizures. Others have noticed improved skin and coat condition and appetite.

This makes CBD an option for dogs and some cats that experience nausea, pain, panic disorders, and nervousness. Senior pets with cancer or mobility issues can also benefit from CBD. And many handicapped pets thrive on CBD.


4. How Does CBD Oil Work?

Cannabinoids attach to select receptors in your pets’ brain. These receptors connect to, and regulate, your pets’ mood, emotions, pain, coordination, and appetite. There are also cannabinoid receptors in the part of your pets’ brain that regulates her immune system which relates to her pain and inflammation. These receptors exist because your pet’s body naturally produces cannabinoids, taking CBD increases the number of cannabinoids in your pets’ system.  CBD also engages and opens cannabinoid receivers, so your pet can benefit from their natural cannabinoids.


5. How Do Pets Take CBD Oil?

There are oils and treats that contain CBD. Both are administered orally to your pet.  A reputable manufacturer will include instructions and dosage amounts with their products.

 

Thinking About CBD Oil for Your Pet?

The symptoms CBD oil is used to treat are often side effects of other issues, so we may be able to diagnose the source of your pet’s pain, nervousness, or lack of appetite. You don’t have to make this decision without our guidance. If you have questions about whether or not CBD oil is right for your pet, give us a call to make an appointment.

Image credit: Lena Gadanski