1. Does my dog really need a heartworm preventative?
Absolutely! In the San Antonio, TX region, heartworm is a big concern. Heartworms, or Dirofilaria immitis, are spread in their larval stages and passed through mosquitos who have bitten infected dogs. According to a study published in 2012 by the American Heartworm Society, canine heartworm disease has been identified in all 50 States. The mosquito population in the southern states makes heartworm preventatives even more important in our region.
2. Does my dog need heartworm preventative even when he/she stays in the house all the time?
Heartworms are a serious concern in the San Antonio area, so it is entirely impossible for even an indoor-only dog to be exposed to mosquitoes. Your dog will use the bathroom outside, take walks, or even take the occasional car trip, spending approximately 24 hours a day outside every single month. This is a huge risk, so it’s essential that all dogs receive regular, monthly heartworm preventatives and yearly heartworm tests.
3. Does my pet need flea prevention? What options do I have?
Fleas, or Ctenocephalides felis, are parasites that are especially threatening in the southern region. Flea preventatives used to be limited to powders, shampoos, and topical medications. Now we also offer oral medications that can be taken monthly to both treat and prevent flea infestations. We also recommend a regular home exterminator to keep your home free of pests. Our team can provide more information as needed.
4. How often should my dog be bathed?
The answer may vary depending on the dog and their activities outside. As a general rule, your dog should be bathed anytime he or she looks or smells like they need it. We recommend a bath approximately every week or every few weeks, using an oatmeal based dog shampoo. Never use human products on your dog because they can upset the pH balance of your dog’s skin. We also recommend avoiding medicated shampoos except when directed by a veterinarian.
5. How important are annual blood tests for my pet?
Annual blood tests are an extremely important part of your pet’s annual health care checks. They ensure that you are kept up-to-date on your pet’s internal or “metabolic” status. These tests help us watch for signs of disease that a better treated early. We especially recommend blood tests for pets over the age of 7.
6. How can I tell if my pet is sick or not feeling well?
If you suspect that your pet is under the weather, the best option is bringing them in for a veterinary visit. You may observe some signs of illness, including changes in behavior, appetite, attitude, or play schedule. The biggest and most reliable indicator is a decrease in appetite. When a dog or cat stops eating, there is generally a health-related reason.
7. Is it possible for a cat to get heartworms?
Cats can get heartworms, and since they are not the natural host of the heartworm, it is much more dangerous for them to acquire. There is no treatment for heartworms in cats and most cases are fatal. Heartworm is a threat to indoor cats as well as outdoor cats so it is important to use a preventative measure against heartworms for all felines.
8. What should I do about my pet’s bad breath?
Usually bad breath is caused by dental disease, one of the most common conditions in dogs and cats. Untreated dental disease can lead to a lot more serious health problems, including infections of the gums and mouth, as well as diseases of the internal organs, such as the kidneys, liver, and heart. We recommend a complete dental check and most likely a thorough, professional dental cleaning performed by our veterinary staff. This process can help us to determine the extent of the damage and plan a course of action for returning your pet to dental health.
9. Should I be concerned about my senior pet drinking a lot of water?
In a word, yes. Excessive water consumption and excessive urination are cause for concern in any animal, but especially for older pets. These are often the early signs of health conditions like diabetes and kidney disease. Please contact us immediately if you notice these behaviors in your pet so that we can diagnose and treat promptly.
10. Why does my pet need an annual physical?
We recommend that all pets have annual physical examinations, and twice yearly check-ups if they are older or have known health conditions. These check-ups enable us to perform diagnostics on your pet, helping us to better understand their condition and health care needs. Because our pets age so much faster than we do, it’s important for their health care providers to be fully informed about their condition and needs.