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8614 Centreville Road, Manassas, VA 20110

Information

Laryngeal Paralysis

Laryngeal Paralysis, a common condition in middle- to old-age dogs, is usually seen in large breed dogs such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, and Pointers. In hot, humid weather or with strenuous exercise—the symptoms can snowball leading to respiratory distress and collapse.

The larynx, located at the back of the throat over the opening to the trachea (wind pipe), opens when the dog is breathing and closes when the dog is eating or drinking. With this condition the larynx remains closed leading to difficulty in breathing. In most cases this condition is idiopathic, meaning there is no underlying cause.

  • Early symptoms include noisy breathing, dry cough, and voice changes
  • Progressive symptoms include difficulty breathing during exercise, easily fatigued, and cough or gag when eating and drinking
  • Symptoms may progress for months or even years before becoming a problem
  • The surgery most commonly performed is called laryngeal tie back
  • The laryngeal tie back procedure carries the risk of aspiration pneumonia
  • A tracheostomy can be performed as a last resort

With the pet owner’s diligence after surgery, a good quality of life can be achieved.

The Dos and Don’ts for Traveling with Your Pet

Vacation time has arrived.  Many of us will bring the family pet(s) with us.  Here are some helpful tips for traveling with your pets.

  • Our pets like to be comfortable for the trip. They need the comforts of home to make sure the trip goes as smoothly as possible.  These include their blanket or bed, food and water bowls, and toys.
  • If your pet is not fond of traveling, there are medications your veterinarian can recommend or prescribe to make the experience a good one.
  • Safety in the car is important.  Pets can be injured in a moving vehicle. Whether we stop suddenly or an unfortunate accident occurs, we need to ensure that our pets are safe when they travel. If you are traveling with a small pet such as a dog or cat—a hard carrier or crate is the best option.  These can be seat belted in for security. Here are some crates for car travel: https://www.amazon.com/Plastic-Kennels-Rolling-Airline-Approved/dp/B01CIR8BXK/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1496194148&sr=1-1&keywords=dog+crate+for+travel or http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3307+12+24433&pcatid=24433.
  • If your pet is large enough to ride in the seat beside you, then a safety belt is recommended. These enable your pet to be belted into the car safely. Here are some ideas for pet safety belts: https://www.kurgo.com/dog-car-restraints/  https://www.amazon.com/Pawaboo-Safety-Harness-Adjustable-Suitable/dp/B01KNUM15S/ref=sr_1_5?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1496194452&sr=1-5&keywords=pet+seat+belt+harness.
  • If you are flying with your pet—keep in mind that flying can be stressful for them.  Be sure to have your pet examined by your veterinarian prior to flying to give them a clean bill of health. Also,  make sure that your pet is the appropriate weight and in the correct carrier/carry-on for the specific airline on which you are traveling.  We only recommend flying with your pet if it is absolutely necessary.

Water Fun for You and Your Dog

Water activities are part of summer. Whether it’s fun at the beach, swimming in the pool, or adventures on a boat—your dog can enjoy these with you.  Please follow these safety tips to ensure a wonderful summer for you and your dog.

  • Not Every Dog is a Good Swimmer and Not Every Dog Can Swim—just because your dog enjoys the water, does not mean he/she can swim well. If you are planning a fun day on the boat, make sure that everyone, including your dog, has a life vest on for safety. You can find pet life vests almost anywhere. Here are a few options:  https://www.chewy.com/b/outdoor-gear-1733?gclid=COTdwOTImNQCFRlWDQoddGsM4g&gclsrc=aw.ds and https://www.amazon.com/Outward-Hound-Ripstop-Jacket-Preserver/dp/B0081XIK4Q
  • Do Not Force Your Dog into the Water—water can be scary. Forcing your dog into the water can cause them to panic and drown. Fear can also set in and leave a permanent scar. The water can be fun, and making your dog comfortable with it is the best way to approach it. Use treats or their favorite toy as positive reinforcement around the water.
  • Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Water?  Yes.  While we love playing in the water with our dogs, we need to remember that they can experience too much water. While your dog is enjoying his/her swim and jumping in after a toy, each time they do this they are also taking water into their mouth.  Water intoxication can be scary and life threatening. Symptoms of water intoxication include:
    • Bloating
    • Lethargy
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Loss of Coordination
    • Urinary Incontinence
    • Difficulty Breathing
    • Seizures

If your dog experiences any of these symptoms you should take them to the vet immediately.

Summer is a time for water fun. Please remember to enjoy the water safely with your pets.

Summer Hazards for Our Four-Legged Friends

Summer brings some hazards for our beloved pets.

Ticks
Warm weather brings out the bugs. Ticks love our furry pets and unfortunately many of them carry serious diseases.

  • Lyme disease causes fever, lethargy, joint pain/swelling, loss of appetite, and, in extreme cases, kidney disease.
  • Ehrlichiosis causes fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, joint and muscle pain/swelling, enlarged spleen and lymph nodes, and abnormal bleeding.
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever causes fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, edema in limbs/face, depression, and joint and muscle pain/swelling.

You can get a safe tick preventative from your veterinarian.   Always check your pets for ticks—especially around their ears, paws, and abdomen.

Fleas
One tiny flea can lead to an infestation both on your pets and in your home. Fleas can cause anemia in our pets and leave them with nasty bites. With people, fleas can transmit diseases such as cat scratch fever (bartonella) and the bubonic plague. Your veterinarian can recommend a safe flea preventative for your pets. There are many options available including collars, topicals, and oral preventatives.

Mosquitos
Infected mosquitos can infect our pets with Heartworm Disease. The treatment for this in dogs is extremely painful for them and quite pricy. Unfortunately, for our feline family members no treatment is available.  Talk with your veterinarian about heartworm prevention.  In our area it is important to give it monthly year round since we can have such mild winters. Before starting a heartworm preventative, please visit your veterinarian for a heartworm test.

Heat Stroke
Make sure that your pets have areas to cool down and plenty of water to stay hydrated. It is very easy for our furry friends to overheat. Some signs of heat stroke include:

  • Excessive Panting
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Restlessness

Heat stroke can be fatal.  If your pet experiences any of these symptoms, please take them to a veterinary hospital immediately.

Poisonous Plants
Many plants and flowers are not safe for our pets to eat.  Here is a list of plants/flowers that you should keep away from your pet:
https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants

Allergies
Our pets can experience seasonal allergy symptoms just as we do.  Symptoms include:

  • Runny Eyes/Nose
  • Sneezing
  • Reverse Sneezing
  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Swelling of the Face

Your pet may also develop ear or skin infections. Your veterinarian can recommend some allergy relief medications that are safe for your pet to take.

Help your pet have a safe, healthy, comfortable summer!

Keeping Your Pet Cool During Hot Summer Days

Summer is here and with it comes the heat!  Our pets love playing outside and soaking up the sun.  Here are some tips to keep our four-legged friends cool.

Water is a necessity when our pets are outside.  Also, we can provide them with frozen snacks to keep them cool and hydrated including:

  • Frozen Banana Bites
  • Berries and Ice
  • Frozen Carrots
  • Chicken Pops (made with frozen baby food)

Here are some great recipes to try:  https://www.pinterest.com/explore/summer-dog-treats/.

You can purchase effective cooling items.  Puppy paws ice cream is a favorite. This is a yummy treat every pet can enjoy outside in the heat. In addition to cooling treats, these products can keep your pets cool:

  • Cooling Vest
  • Cooling Mat
  • Cooling Collar
  • Baby Pool/Sprinkler

Help your pet beat the heat this summer!

The Dangers of Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener found in food, candy, gum, and in some medications.  It has become popular due to its sweet taste and low glycemic index.  Xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hepatic necrosis (liver injury) in dogs.  Xylitol tricks a pet’s body into thinking it is receiving sugar which causes blood sugar production to decrease.  However, since there is no actual sugar in xylitol, the blood sugar can drop dangerously low and cause vomiting, weakness, depression, lethargy, seizures, coma, and even death.

 

Items containing xylitol include:

  • Sugar-free gum and candies
  • Weight loss products
  • Sugar-free peanut butter
  • Sugar-free pudding/gelatin
  • Mouthwash
  • Toothpaste
  • Prescription medications
  • Over the counter medications (especially those made for children)
  • Skin care products

 

The following treatment is recommended for ingestion of xylitol:

  • Induce vomiting
  • Hospitalization
  • Monitoring blood sugar levels
  • IV fluids
  • Liver protectant drugs
  • Dextrose supplementation
  • Blood work monitoring

If you suspect your dog has ingested Xylitol—it is critical to seek immediate veterinary care!

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Obesity in Cats

All of us have known at least one overweight cat in our lives. While many of us think it is cute or normal for an indoor cat to be a little pudgy; unfortunately, it presents many serious risks to their health. More than 50% of all American cats are overweight or obese. Sadly, overweight cats have a decreased life span of two and a half years. Cats were designed to hunt and forage for every meal and calorie they consume. Our fortunate and well-loved cats don’t have to work quite as hard for their survival as their predecessors did. They consume their meals happily and enjoy a life of leisure.

The risks of obesity in cats are very real. Overweight cats have a higher incidence of Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, respiratory problems, liver disease, urinary tract complications, arthritis, and orthopedic issues. Further complications occur when these conditions are combined in an overweight cat.

You can check your cat’s weight by petting them. When you pet your cat—you should be able to feel their ribs but you not be able to see them. When you stand above your cat you should see a tuck at the waistline. If you are uncertain, ask your veterinary staff to help you evaluate their weight.

You can help your cat live a long and healthy life by cutting calories and switching to a weight-loss diet. Make your cat work for their food a bit by hiding small amounts around the house, using puzzle cube feeders, or tossing kibble for them to chase. It is not always easy to get a cat to exercise but laser pointers are a fun way to try.

It is the goal of every pet parent to keep our furry kids happy and healthy. Early weight loss can keep them with you even longer.

Effective Treatments for Fleas

flea-63043Fleas are a nuisance that most pet owners have to deal with at some point. For most pets it is not a serious issue as long as owners stay on top of their flea treatment year around. If your pet is one of the unlikely few who has been diagnosed with flea allergy dermatitis—you will have to be more diligent about flea control than the average pet owner. Here are some tips for treating your pet and your home if you find fleas on your pets.

 

Treatment for Fleas for Pets

  • Bathe with Dawn dishwashing liquid or a flea shampoo. Be careful as this will strip all flea product from your pet so make sure to apply flea product one or two days after the bath.
  • Apply flea/tick topical spot-on treatment.
  • Use a flea-control collar. Some are effective for up to eight months.
  • Administer an oral product to kill live fleas. This can be obtained from your veterinarian.

 

Treatment for Fleas for the House

  • Sweep, mop, and vacuum all floors and furniture.
  • Use carpet sprays for fleas to get into tighter places, such as upholstery and carpets.
  • Fog your house. Be sure to use enough to cover every room.
  • Throw away the bag each time you vacuum.
  • Wash all bedding, sheets, rugs, and toys in hot water.

If you find fleas on your pet, alert your veterinarian as soon as possible so that the flea infestation does not get out of control.

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Pet Safety During the Holidays

With so much going on during the holidays, planning ahead for our pets may not occur. There are many hidden dangers associated with the holiday season.

  • Company coming in and out of the house may allow pets to leave through an open door
  • Decorations can easily be swallowed or cause an electric shock if chewed on
  • Extra treats that we enjoy can be very toxic to our pets

 

We recommend taking the following simple steps to protect your pets during the holidays.

When company is coming:

  • Watch the exits
  • Have a quiet room where your pets can go if there is too much commotion
  • Ask your guests not to feed your pets any treats
  • Be aware of the weather if you are going to leave your pet outside

Before leaving the house:

  • Unplug all decorations
  • Take out the trash
  • Do not leave food out on counters
  • If your pet cannot be trusted around decorations, crate them while you are gone

Have the following information easily accessible:

  • The nearest 24/7 Emergency Veterinary Hospital
  • Your veterinarian’s hours and contact information
  • ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 1.888.426.4435 (a fee may apply)

Happy Holidays!

Holiday Safety Tips for Your Cats

my-cat-at-christmas-tree-1-1406484Christmas decorations can be especially dangerous for cats.  Cats are naturally attracted to garland, tinsel, small ornaments, and ribbon.  They look like fun toys for our kitties.  Since cats are able to reach high places many more of these items are accessible to them.  Some cats ingest parts of these items which can require you and your pet to visit the emergency room during the holidays.  You might not realize that your cat is secretly eating tinsel from your Christmas tree while you are sleeping until it is too late.  You can take precautions by keeping small, edible decorations and garland, tinsel, and ribbon out of their reach.

If you notice your cat playing with a dangerous ornament or piece of ribbon, tinsel, or garland you should remove it right away.  If you think your cat has a loss in appetite, is lethargic, or you notice vomiting or diarrhea, it is important to call your veterinarian immediately for a check-up.

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