When most people think of mosquitoes, they imagine the itchy bumps left on their skin and the diseases they carry that can affect humans. Have you thought about whether mosquitoes can affect your pet? Can your dog get West Nile virus?
There are a few illnesses mosquitoes can carry that you should know about if you’re a dog or cat owner. Then you can help protect and care for your pet when you’re out and about during mosquito season!
1. West Nile Virus
One question we hear is: Can my dog or cat get West Nile virus?
While your pet can catch this disease from mosquitoes, it isn’t one owners generally need to worry about. A study conducted on pets and West Nile found that both dogs and cats are very resistant to the disease. Dogs that were infected had such low measurable quantities of the virus that it would be very unlikely they would transmit it to another mosquito if they were bitten again.
Very few pets die from West Nile virus infection. In a study from 1999, 5% to 11% of dogs had the virus, but none of their owners reported signs of their pets being sick.
When symptoms do (rarely) occur, they can include:
- Muscle weakness
- Neurological problems
If your pet is displaying these symptoms, your veterinarian will check for more likely causes first, as they’re rarely caused by West Nile virus.
Heartworm is one disease that all pet owners should be proactive about. It’s the most common disease transferred by mosquitoes to cats and dogs and can prove painful to your pet and expensive for you if you haven’t taken precautionary measures.
Heartworm Symptoms in Dogs
Symptoms of heartworm in dogs often don’t show up until seven months after an infected mosquito infects your animal. Once mature, the heartworms will begin to reproduce in your dog’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels. If not treated, heartworm can be fatal.
- Lack of energy
- Reluctance to exercise
- Weight loss
- Decreased appetite
- Abnormal lung sounds
The best way to prevent heartworm disease in dogs is to use heartworm medication regularly. Your vet can prescribe it to you.
Heartworm Symptoms in Cats
For most cats, heartworm does not reach the adult stage, but even immature worms can cause issues, such as heartworm-associated respiratory disease.
Prevention is a must, as tests may not discover the immature worms, and in cases of infection, many cat owners don’t realize until it is too late.
There is no heartworm medication for cats. If your cat displays these symptoms, take him to the veterinarian immediately:
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- Fluid in abdomen
- Coordination issues
3. Eastern Equine Encephalitis
Dog and cat owners generally don’t need to worry about eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), as they’re usually resistant to health effects. EEE most often affects horses. If your pet does display symptoms, he will most likely make a full recovery. In the worst-case scenario, he’ll need supportive treatment.
You should contact your vet if you notice these symptoms in your dog or cat:
- Neurological issues
How Do You Know If Your Pet Has Been Bitten by a Mosquito?
Dogs and cats often display the same signs as humans when they’re bitten by mosquitoes! Constant scratching and irritation are most common, along with the red welts people are used to. They may also rub their ears or noses to find relief.
How to Prevent Mosquito Bites
You can help prevent the spread of West Nile virus, heartworm, and EEE to your dog or cat by doing a few simple things:
- Use dog- and cat-friendly insect repellent – Never use insect repellent designed for humans on your pets; it can be toxic. If you do, contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Get rid of standing water in your yard, such as bird baths, untreated pools, and collected rain water.
- Don’t walk your dog during peak mosquito times: dawn and dusk.
- Use window screens, and replace or repair any tears.
- Administer preventative heartworm medication – It’s an inexpensive, monthly treatment. Always give your dog his heartworm medication on time and correctly. Missing a dose or administering it late can leave your pet open to infection.
- Have your dog tested for heartworm – This can be done annually by your vet to ensure your dog is not infected. While heartworm medicine is highly effective, it’s not 100%.
While you don’t have to worry too much about your dog or cat contracting West Nile virus or EEE from mosquitoes, preventative measures should still be taken to reduce the chances of contracting more severe illnesses, like heartworm. Medication and steps to remove mosquito habitats from your property go a long way in pet care, but if yours displays symptoms of West Nile virus, EEE, or heartworms, get him to a veterinarian quickly. Early detection is key to ensuring your pet stays in good health.
Whether your dog or cat is showing symptoms of one of these three infections, you would like to start your pet on preventative measures, or you need prescription refills, visit Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital in Katy, Texas. To book an appointment or bring your pet in for an emergency, give us a call at 281-693-7387.
If we asked you to name the most popular pet in the United States, you’d probably say “dog” or “cat.”
You’d be right, but you’d also be missing out on so many other animals that follow close behind! Learn about the most popular pets that American homeowners call part of their families.
Over 150 million freshwater and saltwater fish call our houses their homes, with 12% of families owning at least one. They’re the third-most-popular pet behind cats and dogs. Freshwater fish, which are easier to care for and generally less expensive, are more common than saltwater fish. Although there are over 142 million freshwater fish, there are under 10 million saltwater pets in the U.S.
If you head to a pet store, you may find the selection of fish overwhelming! Common choices include
- Neon tetras
The Neon Tetra is an excellent “beginner” fish, as it’s easy to maintain and generally happy in groups and smaller environments.
Guppies are another freshwater fish often kept as pets. Easy to care for, they’re beautiful but do require specific tanks and temperatures.
Betta care is different: You can only have one male per tank, and they may need more space than you realize.
Pet stores, breeders, and specialized aquatic stores are great ways to get started with fishkeeping. It’s important to understand:
- Exactly how much space your fish needs
- What it eats
- How it likes its tank arranged
- How many fish can be kept in a tank
If you’re not sure, speak with an aquatic-store employee or do extensive research to ensure you give your fish the best life possible.
- Cockatiels – Affectionate and full of personality
- African gray parrots – Well-known for their intelligence
- Parakeets (or budgies) – Easier to care for and not as expensive as cockatiels and African grays
Note: Cockatiels and African grays can be handfuls for inexperienced or unaware pet owners, so be sure you understand the commitment before bringing one home.
Just like fish, each type of bird requires specific cage sizes, toys, and food. Before welcoming a bird into your family, research the species that best fits your lifestyle and what you’re looking for in a pet.
Birds can be found in pet stores, but there are also several bird rescues you may want to look into first.
Smaller animals make up a huge chunk of pets in the United States, and this includes rabbits! These cuties have plenty of personality and love to be social. They do require regular attention and enrichment activities, but if you plan on letting yours out of its cage often, bunny-proofing your home is essential.
Although rabbits may be easier to care for than some animals, they are not low-maintenance. They live for 10 years and should be seen as a commitment, just like a dog or cat.
If you’re looking to add a bunny to your home, consider first looking into local animal rescues and shelters.
Another small animal that is a huge hit in American families is the hamster. Easy to care for and generally inexpensive, hamsters can make a perfect choice for families testing out the pet waters or not ready—or wanting—to make a much longer commitment.
Hamsters are a great choice for children, as they help teach them responsibility for a new family member. Hamsters do require enrichment to be happy, so don’t leave yours alone in a boring cage all day.
These animals can commonly be found in just about any pet store, but you may also want to check with local pet rescues. Before bringing the little guy home, make sure any children in the house understand the gentle, proper care this smaller animal will need.
While some people may become uncomfortable sharing a room with a reptile, about 4% of pet owners in the United States call these animals part of their family. With millions of pet reptiles across the country, a majority of owners are Millennials!
What are the most popular pet snakes?
- Corn snakes – Small and easy to handle; despite the scary “python” name, the ball python is the smallest of them all.
- Ball pythons – Small and easy to handle; your corn snake could live up to 23 years!
- Leopard gecko – Has a beautiful pattern but requires special care
- Bearded dragon – Need plenty of space but can be exceptionally friendly
Some reptiles can be found in pet stores, but you may want to do further research into your options. Consider visiting an exotic pet store if you’re looking to locate a specific species.
Note: Snakes can pose a health risk. Learn more!
These are only some of the most popular pets in the United States. Although dogs and cats are the clear winners, many homeowners also decide to bring birds, reptiles, fish, hamsters, and rabbits into their homes. Other popular choices include horses, turtles, ferrets, and guinea pigs. No matter which animal is your favorite, if you’re searching for a new pet to bring home, it’s important to do your research to ensure both you and your new family member are happy.
Whether you’re welcoming a dog or a corn snake, we’d love to meet them, and checkups on a regular basis are important! Getting it done as soon as possible can help ensure your new family member is getting the pet care it needs for a long and healthy life. Schedule its first appointment with us by calling 281-693-7387.
If you’re planning a flight in the near future, you may be considering bringing your dog along with you. There are two options for flying with your dog:
1. As a carry-on – Typically under a seat
2. In cargo – Below the seating area, where luggage is transported
Unfortunately, not all dogs are allowed onboard as carry-ons. If they’re too large, for example, they may not be able to fly or will have to go cargo. But you may wonder if that’s safe.
Here’s what you need to know about flying your dog in a plane’s cargo hold and what you can do to make your pet as comfortable as possible.
Only Some Companies Accept Dogs as Airline Cargo
Each commercial airline has a different pet policy, especially when it comes to dogs traveling in cargo. Some airlines don’t allow pets to fly in the cargo hold at all. It’s important to note the specific airline pet policies before booking your ticket if you’re considering bringing your pup along.
The three major commercial airlines that allow dog cargo travel are:
- American Airlines® – Allows pups to fly in cargo (if it’s not too hot) for a $200 fee, as long as you reserve their spot 48 hours ahead of time and have the proper documentation, like a health certificate
- Delta – Has a separate program called Delta Cargo, which may or may not put your dog on a different flight than yours
- United Airlines® – Partners with American Humane in a program called PetSafe, which offers temperature-controlled vehicles, stress-reducing measures (such as boarding your dog last), and onsite and offsite kennels
Frontier, JetBlue®, Southwest® Airlines, and Spirit® do not allow pets to fly cargo.
Watch Out for Other Airline Restrictions
If you book on an airline that allows cargo travel, make sure you pay extra attention to the rest of their requirements. Some flights only allow specific dog breeds or sizes, while others restrict the amount of time your pet can fly. Usually pets are only allowed on flights that are 12 hours or less. Most airlines will not let you bring your dog in cargo if you have a connecting flight or are flying internationally.
Don’t forget to let the airline know in advance that you are checking your dog. Many flights have a limited number of pets allowed onboard, so the sooner you notify the company, the better.
You may encounter country restrictions if you’re flying overseas. Australia, for instance, requires pets to spend time in quarantine when they arrive. And pets traveling to Hawaii can only do so with strict documentation and during specific times of the year. It’s important to look at both your airline’s and your destination’s policies regarding pets.
What Is Flying Cargo Like for Your Dog?
When your dog flies in the airline cargo hold, they have a slightly different experience from the luggage even though they’re located in the same area. Your pup’s kennel will be secured separately from the rest of checked baggage, and it will remain there for the duration of the flight.
Each airline handles cargo differently, but in many cases, the pilot and crew can monitor or change the temperature in the cargo hold to help your pet have a more comfortable flight.
What You Need for Your Dog to Fly Cargo
There isn’t much you need to gather for your dog to fly cargo, but every airline and destination is different, so read over the guidelines. Here is a quick list of the things you will probably need to have:
- An airline-approved kennel that fits size restrictions and is big enough for your dog to stand up and move around
- Documentation, including ID and vaccination records
- Food, water, and treats for before and after the flight
- A clip-on water bottle
- Collar and leash
- Food for the kennel (if allowed)
Help Your Dog Be Comfortable and Safe
There are several things you can do before your flight to ensure your dog is safe as can be while in the airline cargo hold. Work through this list to help your pup prepare:
- Get a checkup with your vet – Some airlines and destinations require this!
- Groom your dog, and don’t forget to trim his nails!
- Take his travel kennel out well before the trip, so he becomes accustomed to it.
- Give your dog food and water within four hours of check-in time, but not within four hours of the flight (required by the USDA).
- Ask your airline if you are allowed to put food and water in your pup’s kennel during the flight, or if they will provide some.
- If you are including a clip-on water bottle, ensure your dog knows how to use it before the flight.
- Do not give your pet sedatives – They can increase the chance of heart and breathing problems.
- Consider including a favorite toy or blanket in his kennel.
- Try to avoid flight connections – If your dog gets lost, it’s likely to be during that transition.
When Your Dog Shouldn’t Fly Cargo
Not all dogs were made for flying, especially for flying as checked baggage. Breeds with snub noses—bulldogs, pugs, and boxers—are usually banned from flights. These breeds find it difficult to breathe, and high altitudes can make it worse. Other types of dogs may be banned by specific airlines (like mastiffs, spaniels, and others), so double-check with your airline to ensure your dog meets their requirements.
Your dog probably also shouldn’t fly cargo if he is particularly anxious. Flying can be a lot even for humans, and being separated and flown cargo can be pretty scary to a pet that doesn’t know what’s going on.
Don’t check your dog if he’s very young or very old. Older dogs may have trouble dealing with the transport, while many younger dogs, especially 12 weeks or younger, may be barred from flying.
There Can Be Risks
There can be risks when flying your dog as cargo, so due diligence and research before selecting your flight are essential. Pets that fly can be more susceptible to:
- Heat stroke
- Respiratory problems
- Heart issues
A vet check-up before you fly is essential to seeing whether your furry family member is fit enough to travel as cargo.
Booking direct flights and taking a photo of your pet in case he gets lost may help you avoid more serious problems.
If your dog isn’t up for flying cargo, you can consider other alternatives like boarding him or leaving him with a trusted pet sitter. If you do plan on checking your dog as cargo, research is the most important step you can take to ensure both a safe flight for your pup and a stress-free flight for you.
Are you planning to travel with your dog? We highly recommend a check-up before he takes off! To book your pre-flight appointment, give Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital a call at 281-693-7387.
If you would love a lap cat, you’re definitely up the Ragdoll’s alley. This breed is known for its extremely laid-back temperament. All it wants to do is hang out with you! If you’re thinking about welcoming this wonderful cat into your home, here are some facts you should know about the Ragdoll cat.
History of the Ragdoll
The Ragdoll breed is one of the newest purebred cats, created in 1963 in California. The breeder was looking for a beauty of a feline with a gentle, loving personality. All Ragdolls today can trace their history back to a cat named Josephine, which had long, white hair and Siamese markings. Josephine can be credited with achieving quite a feat, as the Ragdoll is currently the fifth most popular cat breed!
After a few years of controversy and rumors about the breed, the Cat Fanciers Association started allowing Ragdolls in 1993. The first time the breed could compete was just 18 years ago, in 2000.
Basics of the Breed
The Ragdoll is no small adult cat. It represents stiff competition for some of the largest cat breeds in the world, the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat. Males can weigh up to 20 pounds when fully grown, with females reaching up to about 15 pounds. It will take your Ragdoll about four years to reach her full weight.
Ragdolls come in four different patterns:
and in six different colors, including:
The Ragdoll’s coat is extremely soft, plush, and silky. And although they can be known for their bright blue eyes, those lookers can also come in blue-green or gold varieties.
Why Ragdolls Make Great Pets
There’s no denying it: Ragdolls make amazing pets. Often called a “puppy cat,” this breed is well known for its gentle and affectionate personality. Laid-back, yours will love to shadow you around the house, enjoying nothing more than being by your side or in your lap.
Due to their friendly personality traits, Ragdolls tend to get along with dogs, children, and most other cats (though they definitely prefer humans and even dogs to other cats). They love to be picked up and held like babies. In fact, The name “Ragdoll” comes from their ability to go limp while in your arms or lap out of pure happiness. There’s no denying this trait is adorable!
Playtime also has benefits for the Ragdoll. Often playing with claws retracted, the cat can be trained to walk on a leash, play fetch, perform tricks, and follow commands. During playtime, yours will probably stick to the floor, rather than seeking out high points. It’s one breed of cat that won’t be climbing up curtains but is happier to lie by your feet. This behavior all stems from its desire to be close to you. Privacy is nowhere to be found with a Ragdoll.
Ragdolls are generally easy to care for. Although they need weekly grooming for their coat, it usually consists of a quick brush through to remove any tangles.
This breed is one-of-a-kind! Adaptable to just about any environment and friendly with strangers, pets, and children, the Ragdoll can be the perfect addition to any home. They’re patient and tolerant with children, happy to greet you after your long day at work, and glad to sleep behind your head at night. If you’re looking for a cat that will always be there for you, you’ve found it in the Ragdoll.
Fun Facts About Ragdolls
- Ragdolls tend not to meow a lot, which makes them perfect for apartments and condos.
- All Ragdoll kittens are white, but patterns start to appear after about 10 days. Their coat color doesn’t fully develop until they’re about two-and-a-half years old!
- This breed of cat often loves the water! And as a testament to their love for you, they may even want to join you in the shower.
- The current resident cat of the Algonquin Hotel in New York City is a Ragdoll named Matilda. The hotel has been caring for rescued cats since the 1930s.
The name “Ragdoll” really does sum up exactly what this cat is all about. They love to be in your presence, picked up, cuddled, and loved. Your attention is what they crave, and they’re more than happy to turn into a ragdoll in your arms. They’re also a great pet if you have children or other pets, as long as the kids know to be gentle with this gentle giant.
If you’re thinking about adopting a Ragdoll, first check out local shelters, Ragdoll rescues, and smaller cat rescues. You may get lucky and find the perfect one. If you decide to look for a Ragdoll breeder, research is essential. Check their credentials and references to ensure you’re adopting a healthy cat from a reputable breeder.
Are you thinking about welcoming a Ragdoll into the family? Congratulations! Don’t forget to schedule an appointment for the new member to ensure she’s healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations. Call us at 281-693-7387 to schedule your cat’s first appointment.
While the curiosity of cats can be endearing, sometimes it means they get into things they definitely shouldn’t. Some items around your house could be poisonous to your pet, so prevention is key. Fortunately, many symptoms of cat poisoning are very noticeable. Here’s what you need to know!
What Is Poisonous to a Cat?
There are many things in the average household that may be safe for humans but are poisonous to cats. Most cat owners know of the dangers of antifreeze, for example, but there are other items inside and outside to keep out of reach of your furry friend. A few of the most common poisons include:
- Insecticides, like dog flea medication and lawn and garden products
- Cleaners and chemicals, like toilet bowl cleaner and bleach (which can cause respiratory issues)
- Plants, like some types of ribbon plants, daffodils (which cause stomach problems or damage to the heart), and lily of the valley
- Human medications, like antidepressants and aspirin
- Some human food, like chocolate, onions and garlic (which can cause extensive damage to red blood cells), and candy
These are only a few examples of what can be dangerous for your cat. Before bringing a new item into your home, adding a plant to your garden if you have an outdoor cat, or giving your pet scraps from the table, always double-check if it’s safe for them. Animals, such as some types of snakes and black widows, can also be dangerous if your cat gets bitten.
Signs of Poisoning in Cats
Although movies may portray “poisoning” as something that happens instantly, in real life it’s usually an effect that displays symptoms before becoming fatal. Time is important, however! The sooner you notice the symptoms of poisoning in your cat, the more likely your pet will not suffer any lasting effects.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take your cat to the vet immediately:
- Not eating
- Off-colored gums
- Excessive thirst
- Hyper behavior
Cats are experts at hiding their symptoms—or even hiding themselves—from their owners, so keep a keen eye out for changes in your cat’s behavior.
What to Do If Your Cat Is Poisoned
If you notice anything strange or unusual in your cat’s behavior or health, or you witness him eat a poisonous item, it’s best to visit your vet or go to a veterinary ER hospital. Don’t wait for symptoms. Catching a problem early can help prevent it from becoming something bigger.
You may want to consider calling an Animal Poison Control hotline. Describing the item and/or symptoms to an expert can help you determine what to do if your pet was poisoned, even after normal veterinarian hours.
It’s a good idea to bring along a sample to the vet of whatever your furry friend ate, as it can help your vet create a treatment plan—unless your cat was bitten by a venomous animal. Don’t bring the animal in if it’s still alive. Attempting to catch it could put your health or life at risk. If the animal is dead, carefully bring it in with your cat, so your veterinarian can determine the correct antidote.
Put your veterinarian, emergency vet, and even perhaps Animal Poison Control in your contact list in case of an emergency. Keep your pet’s ID, medical records, and microchip info near the front door in case you have to make a quick trip to the vet due to poisoning or another problem.
What Happens When You Get to the Vet with a Poisoned Cat
Your veterinarian will create a treatment plan for your cat, depending on what he ate or came in contact with and the symptoms he is displaying. Your vet may induce vomiting, provide an antidote or other medications, or give your cat fluids. Never induce vomiting on your own nor try any at-home medications on your cat unless specifically advised to do so by a professional. Administering them incorrectly could do more harm.
Your cat’s doctor will most likely want you to come in for follow-up visits to monitor your cat’s progress and health. If, after treatment, the symptoms of poisoning return, bring your cat back to the vet immediately.
How to Prevent Poisoning in Your Cat
Many new parents baby-proof their homes when bringing home a newborn. The best way to prevent poisoning in your cat is to approach his safety the same way. Whether you already have a cat or are welcoming a new kitten, these steps can keep your cat curious, but out of harm’s way:
- Keep all known poisons out of reach or locked away.
- Keep medications in child-proof containers in closets or other safe locations.
- Research any human food before giving it to your cat (or don’t give it to him at all, especially if you don’t know all the ingredients).
- Clean up immediately after eating or cooking.
- Investigate all new plants that you bring into your home or plant in the garden.
- Do not use insecticides in the house.
- Refrain from using garden products if you have an outdoor or indoor-outdoor cat.
- Keep garbage out of reach.
- Carefully follow the instructions on pet medications to avoid overdosing or poisoning from incorrect skin contact.
If your cat is displaying the symptoms of poisoning, or you suspect he ate something poisonous or dangerous, time is of the essence. It’s vital that you get him to a vet or contact a professional as soon as possible. Fast treatment can reduce the chance of lasting effects on your pet’s health.
Do you suspect your cat may be poisoned? Is he displaying the symptoms of poisoning in cats? Visit us at 2519 Cinco Park Place in Katy, Texas, or give us a call at 281-693-7387 for advice or assistance. If we are closed, we’ll refer you to a nearby veterinary emergency center.
If you’ve just brought a cat into your family, congratulations! He’s yours to cuddle and play with. But part of kitten care is keeping him safe and healthy, and that means getting him the vaccines he needs to start life right. Your furry friend needs a range of vaccinations and boosters to give him the best chance at a healthy future.
Find out which shots are important for your cat’s health, why, and when you should schedule them.
Rabies is a serious disease, and the vaccine is one of the most important shots for your cat. It’s required by law in many cities and towns across the United States.
Rabies can affect a wide range of animals, including humans, and it’s a fatal disease.
Signs of rabies in cats include:
- Sudden change in behavior (usually aggressive)
- Inability to swallow
- Trouble breathing
- Change in voice
- Sudden death
There is no cure for rabies, so vaccination is essential.
When Your Kitten Should Get the Rabies Shot
Many veterinarians suggest getting the rabies shot at about 12 weeks, but you can schedule it at 8 weeks. Your cat should receive a rabies booster shot a year later and, at most, every three years after that.
After your cat receives his vaccination, keep the paperwork on hand for easy reference.
Feline Rhinotracheitis Vaccine
Feline rhinotracheitis, also known as the feline herpesvirus infection or feline herpes, is taken care of as part of the FVRCP combination vaccine. Herpes in cats is one of the main causes of upper respiratory infections and can also lead to conjunctivitis.
This virus appears 2 to 5 days after infection, lasts for up to 20 days, and can reactivate during stressful periods during your cat’s life. When symptoms are apparent, your cat can infect other cats.
The signs of feline herpes include:
- Ulcers on the eyes
- Eye discharge
- Nasal discharge
- Eating less
When Your Kitten Should Get the Feline Herpes Shot
Feline rhinotracheitis is particularly dangerous for kittens, but it’s unpleasant for adult cats as well and can put other felines at risk as well. The FVRCP vaccine is a three-part shot that can be administered at six weeks, though eight weeks is the recommended age. After the initial shot, your kitten will receive an additional shot every 3 to 4 weeks until he’s about 16 weeks old. He should get a booster at about one year.
Feline Calicivirus Vaccine
The ‘C’ in the FVRCP vaccine stands for feline calicivirus, also known as FVC. Another common cause of upper respiratory disease, this is an infection often found in shelters. Kittens are most likely to catch calicivirus, so vaccination is essential.
Common symptoms of this virus include:
- Mouth ulcers
- Red and watering eyes
- Lack of appetite
- Runny nose
The calicivirus is resilient, so it can spread easily. It can be very dangerous to cats and may result in pneumonia, so care is essential if your cat catches this virus.
When Your Kitten Should Get the FVC Shot
Kittens should follow the FVRCP schedule for this disease.
Feline Panleukopenia Vaccine
The third part of the FVRCP vaccine is for feline panleukopenia, which is also known as “feline distemper” or “feline parvo.” In prior years, this virus was extremely dangerous to cats and proved fatal to many. Today it is an uncommon disease, thanks largely to the vaccine.
FP acts by attacking cells in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, and intestines (or fetus in the case of a pregnant cat). More common (and deadly) to young cats, symptoms of panleukopenia include:
- Lack of energy
- Lack of appetite
- Low white blood cell counts
If your cat catches this virus, he’ll need intensive care.
When Your Kitten Should Get the Feline Parvo Shot
Kittens should follow the FVRCP schedule for this disease.
Feline Leukemia Vaccine
The feline leukemia (FeLV) vaccine is often recommended by veterinarians, but it’s not required. Indoor only cats are less likely to catch FeLV, but indoor-outdoor cats or outdoor cats can be highly susceptible. The virus is passed from cat to cat by bodily fluids, so grooming and fighting are common ways for cats to catch it.
The symptoms of feline leukemia virus include:
- Inflamed gums
- Lack of appetite and energy
- Weight loss
When Your Kitten Should Get the Feline Leukemia Shot
Although this vaccine is not considered a core shot, many vets highly recommend it. Most cats that catch FeLV pass away within three years. Your kitten should receive this vaccination around 8 to 12 weeks and receive a booster about a month later.
Other Kitten Vaccinations
There may be other vaccinations for your kitten that your veterinarian recommends—or are required by some boarding facilities—based on his environment and his health history.
Veterinarians generally only recommend the FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) vaccine for cats at high risk. Many cats can live with FIV for years with proper care, but critical signs of the disease include:
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
- Wounds that don’t heal
If your vet suggests this vaccination, your kitten will receive his first shot at about eight weeks old and then two booster shots in the next six weeks.
The chlamydophila felis shot is another vaccine that may be recommended by your vet if your new kitten lives in an area where the infection already exists. It can cause upper respiratory problems, as well as limping or a reduced appetite. The first shot can be received at nine weeks or older and requires a booster about a month later.
Bordetella is an extremely common bacteria found in kennels, so the vaccine is often required by boarding facilities. Kittens are most susceptible and will display severe symptoms, but any cat can catch this disease.
- Loss of appetite
- Breathing problems
- Swollen lymph nodes
Talk to your veterinarian about this vaccine and whether or not they believe it is for your cat. If your cat requires it, he’ll need a booster shot every year.
Your kitten’s core vaccinations are essential to his health and wellness. Young cats are especially susceptible to many viruses and bacterial infections, so it’s important to talk to your vet about vaccination schedules and recommendations.
We can help you create a shot and booster schedule to make sure your furry friend gets the preventive care he needs. We’d love to meet your new family member! To schedule his first checkup or a booster shot, give Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital a call at 281-693-7387.
Cats are known as curious for a reason! Sometimes get into things they’re not supposed to. While many of these items are harmless to your furry friend and/or pass through her digestive system without a problem, other items can cause intestinal blockages. But intestinal obstructions in cats aren’t only caused by foreign bodies. Sometimes they point to a larger health problem.
Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of an intestinal blockage in your cat, so you can be the best advocate for their health and safety and know exactly what to do if you suspect one.
What Causes Intestinal Blockages in Cats?
She Ate Something Odd
A common cause of intestinal blockages in cats is foreign bodies. Sometimes a cat eats something she absolutely shouldn’t—like tin foil. But other times, she might have swallowed part of her toy by accident.
Here are some things you’ll want to keep out of reach of your kitty:
- Paper clips
- Rubber bands
- Dental floss
- Tin foil
- Needles and thread
She Has a Medical Condition
Blockages aren’t only caused by foreign bodies. They could be the result of another medical problem including:
- Narrowing of the intestine or stomach
- Another issue that involves the digestive system, stomach, or intestines
What Are the Signs of an Intestinal Blockage?
In many cases, if your cat ate a foreign object, it will pass on its own, and you will never notice there was a problem. In other cases, whether the cause is a foreign body or another medical issue, the signs of an intestinal blockage are clear, but may also be evidence of another problem.
Here’s what you should look out for:
- Straining to go to the bathroom
- Not eating or not eating much
- Behavioral changes
- Doesn’t want to be picked up
- Abdominal swelling
- Abdominal pain
Sometimes the type of symptom your cat has will point to the severity of the issue. For example, constant vomiting can indicate a complete obstruction in the digestive track, while intermittent vomiting is a sign of a partial blockage. Diarrhea can happen when there is a partial block, but constipation points to a complete intestinal blockage.
When to Bring Your Cat to the Vet for an Intestinal Blockage
If you notice any of the above signs or symptoms, bring your cat to the vet as soon as possible. Delaying could cause more serious problems.
If you see your cat eat something she’s not supposed to or suspect that she did, take her to your veterinarian right away. In many cases, it can be easier to get the foreign body out if it’s still in her stomach.
You may notice the foreign body in your cat’s mouth or throat, or coming out of her rectum. Do not pull on it. Items such as string might be wrapped around your cat’s tongue or intestines. Removing it incorrectly could cause harm to your cat.
How Is a Cat’s Intestinal Blockage Treated?
The treatment for your cat’s intestinal blockage depends on the cause, but also the location. First, your veterinarian will do X-rays and ultrasounds, sometimes using dye to locate the item and determine what it is. Many vets also complete blood tests and collect urine samples to ensure no other organs are affected. These tests can help you rule out other causes of blockages, like infections.
A gastric endoscopy is another tool your veterinarian may use. A small camera is directed through your cat’s digestive track. If the cause is a small foreign body, tools used in a gastric endoscopy can even allow the vet to retrieve the item without invasive surgery.
The next step is determined by the discoveries made by the X-rays, ultrasound, and endoscopy. If the item is a foreign body and found in the stomach, your vet may induce vomiting. Never try this on your cat at home. Doing it incorrectly can harm her. If the foreign object is located elsewhere in your cat’s digestive tract, your vet may want to see if it passes on its own or may suggest surgery.
If the item or problem can’t be located, exploratory surgery may be recommended to determine the exact cause. With anesthesia, your vet can find the obstruction.
If your cat’s intestinal obstruction isn’t caused by a foreign body, your vet may suggest the following:
- Torsion – The vet will untwist the intestine and attach it to the side of the stomach to prevent the issue from reoccurring.
- Dead or deteriorating bowels – Your vet will remove the dead or deteriorating sections and reattach the intestines that are in good condition.
- Heartworms – Deworming medication is safe and simple.
For obstructions caused by cancer or other medical issues such as gastritis, your veterinarian will outline a specific treatment plan or other options available to you and your cat. The doctor may also have suggestions regarding diet after treatment.
How to Prevent Intestinal Blockages in Cats
Not all intestinal blockages in cats are preventable, as health issues such as cancer and torsion can happen at any time in a cat’s life. Other causes can be prevented!
Keep Objects Out of Reach
There are some items your cat will be very interested in, such as string. Put these items away out of reach when you are done using them.
Carefully Select Toys
Not all toys labeled as “cat toys” are safe for your furry friend. Ribbons and bells can easily detach and be swallowed. Carefully research toys and read reviews before purchasing them. Some objects may be safe for cats, such as dangling wands, but only under supervision. When not using these toys, keep them out of reach.
Keep Garbage Out of Reach
If your cat has a habit of getting into the garbage, try keeping it away from her, like in a closet or under lock to ensure she doesn’t go exploring for something she shouldn’t hve, even after you’ve thrown it away.
Keep a Clean Environment
Homes with roaches or mice put your cat’s health at risk. These animals’ waste products can provide a source for roundworm infection. Roundworm eggs can also be passed from cat to cat through their stool. Keeping a clean home and litterbox are essential to your pet’s health.
If you notice the signs of an intestinal blockage in your cat or pet, take her to your veterinarian immediately. Left untreated, it could lead to more health problems. Try to keep foreign items out of reach to reduce the chance of an intestinal obstruction, but also monitor your cats’ health and behavior for sudden changes.
Do you suspect your cat ate something she wasn’t supposed to? Is your cat having trouble going to the bathroom, or has she stopped eating? It’s time to visit your veterinarian. We offer a wide range of services to find the exact cause of the problem and have the expertise to recommend the proper treatment for your cat.
To schedule an appointment or to bring your cat in for an emergency visit, please call us at 281-693-7387, or visit us at 2519 Cinco Park Place in Katy, Texas.
Want to take a trip with your dog this year? If you’re planning on flying, you may be wondering how you can bring him along, without all the stress. It can be done! But preparation is key.
Here’s a quick outline on how to fly with a dog, so you and he have the best time possible!
1. Know Your Airline’s Rules and Regulations
Bringing your dog on vacation may seem like a dream come true, but it’s important to plan ahead and know what to expect before you get to the airport. Each airline has its own rules about flying with dogs, but, in general, you should know:
- Dogs are not always allowed on flights with connections.
- Pets are usually only permitted on flights of 12 hours and fewer.
- There are kennel-size restrictions, for both carry-on and cargo.
- Puppies should be at least eight weeks old, but some airlines request that dogs be older.
- Some breeds, such as bulldogs, are not allowed to fly.
- Certain destinations have restrictions and rules regarding pets.
Already know which airline you’ll be using? Carefully research what is and isn’t allowed on the flight. Here are links to some of the most well-known airlines’ pet policies:
If your airline is not one of the examples listed above, you can usually find pet policies by searching online for “Name of the Airline’s Pet Policies.” Certain companies, such as JetBlue, offer specialized programs to make flying with your dog easier.
Each airline has rules about how many total pets are allowed as carry-ons or in cargo, and how large your dog’s kennel can be. When booking your flight, mention your dog as early as possible to ensure he gets a spot on the plane. You’ll be asked to pay extra fees, and further information about your pup may be requested.
Never show up to the airport with your dog without booking his spot and carefully researching pet rules. You don’t want to begin your trip disappointed!
2. Bring This to Make Your Dog Comfortable
Flying with your dog can be a fun experience you won’t forget. Make those memories good ones by being properly prepared!
Here are a few items you should definitely bring along:
Documentation and Vaccination Records
Some airlines and even some destinations require you to bring documentation and vaccination records along with your pup. For example, JetBlue requires vaccination records, and American Airlines requires pet documentation in specific situations. It’s important to research both your flight and your destination to ensure you’re prepared in the paperwork department.
Regardless of requirements, it’s generally a good idea to bring these items with you, so you’re prepared for any medical emergency or situation that could arise.
Each airline has different requirements when it comes to kennel size, depending on whether you’re bringing your dog as a carry-on or checking him as cargo.
If your pup will be onboard with you, his kennel should fit under the seat in front of you. Bringing two pups along? That’s fine by some airlines, as long as they are the same species and fit in the same kennel.
While his kennel generally has to fit under a plane seat, size allowances vary from airline to airline, so make sure you know the exact rules for your flight. For example, Delta requires kennels to have proper ventilation, but sizes allowed vary from plane to plane. Spirit states that carriers must be 18” l x 14” w x 9” h, but for Frontier, kennels should be 24” l x 16” w x 10” h. Some airlines, like Delta and JetBlue offer kennels for you to buy that meet their restrictions.
The kennel you choose depends on how you’re flying with your pet (carry-on or cargo), your pet, and the airline. Research is essential to avoid problems, as airline requirements may change. You can find approved carriers through airlines’ websites or by searching online for “airline friendly kennels.”
Flying with your dog can be a stressful situation, but treats are almost always welcome! Give your pup treats throughout flight preparation (like packing), boarding, and during the flight to ensure he’s comfortable and knows his good behavior will earn him more.
Stick a favorite toy into your carry-on, and let your dog have it whenever possible. This is another great way to lower his stress because it’s familiar and comforting.
Food and Water
While you generally can’t feed your dog during your flight, you definitely want to have food on hand for afterward. Your pup will be hungry and thirsty, so it’s best to feed him as soon as you land.
If your dog is traveling as cargo, he should have water and food at least four hours before takeoff.
Baggies and Paper Towels or Wipes
It’s quite possible your pup will have an accident at some point during your travels. New situations and unfamiliar places like airports and planes can be confusing to a pup. When you have baggies and paper towels or wipes on hand, you can be a polite traveler and clean up the mess before one of your fellow passengers steps in it!
3. Reduce Your Dog’s Stress While Flying
Flying is stressful for many humans, so there’s no doubt it can be anxiety-inducing for our fur babies. There are steps you can take, both during and before the flight, to help him feel more comfortable.
Get Prepared Early
A few days before your flight, take your dog’s carrier out. He may already be anxious about the carrier, but having it out before your trip can help him get a bit more comfortable before travel day comes. Leave treats inside, so he associates it with yummy things.
Gather everything else that your dog will need, like his documentation, your tickets, his treats and food, etc.
Schedule a Checkup
Many airlines or destinations require that your dog has a checkup prior to take off, but it’s a good idea regardless of requirements! It can help ensure your dog is ready to fly comfortably, free of any potential health issues.
As you get ready for your flight, it’s smart to fit some exercise in. Walk your dog, throw ball, or do some agility. Your dog will be cooped up for a while, so it’s important he works out some of that pent-up energy for a more relaxing flight—for both of you.
Groom Your Dog
Grooming your dog, which includes trimming his nails, is recommended to ensure he stays cool and comfortable throughout the trip.
Fly Your Dog as Carry-On If Possible
Flying your dog as carry-on is recommended over checked baggage. Just being near you can reduce his stress. Give him treats regularly to reward him for good behavior and calm his nerves.
When Not to Fly with Your Dog
Not all dogs are cut out for airplane rides. If your pooch is particularly anxious, you may want to leave him at home with a friend or family member, or board him with a trusted facility.
It’s also recommended that certain breeds do not fly. Dogs with snubbed noses, for example, may have difficulty breathing in the cargo area or during stressful situations. Many airlines don’t allow these types of dogs to fly. If your dog has trouble breathing due to breed or health issues, it’s best not to take him on a plane.
Taking a trip with your dog can add a whole new, fun layer to the experience. But it does require preparation and research, so you can ensure your pup has just as much fun as you do!
Taking a trip with your dog in the near future? We recommend a checkup! You can schedule your appointment with us by calling 281-693-7387.
You have a new puppy! You’ve given him a name, puppy-proofed the house, and introduced him to your family.
Next step: Take him to the veterinarian for his puppy shots!
Not only will your vet make sure your dog is in good health, they’ll get him on a vaccination schedule, which is essential to your dog’s health, now and in the future. Many of the diseases against which vaccines protect are highly contagious and can be deadly.
Here are the shots your puppy needs, what they protect against, and when he should get them.
One of the most commonly known vaccine for dogs is the rabies vaccine. Required by law, it is essential to get this puppy shot and the tag and paperwork that goes along with it.
Rabies is a viral disease that can pass from animal to animal or from animal to human through a bite or through infected saliva getting into an open wound.
If your puppy doesn’t receive the rabies vaccination and contracts the disease, he could experience a failure of his central nervous system that results in:
An animal with rabies won’t display symptoms until two to eight weeks after being infected, and there is no cure for the disease.
When Your Puppy Should Get the Rabies Shot
Your puppy should get his first rabies shot around four to seven months old. At 12 to 16 months, he’ll need a booster shot. After that, your dog will require a rabies shot every one to three years.
Keep your pup’s up-to-date rabies vaccination paperwork in a safe place, and put his rabies tag on his collar. He’ll need proof of vaccination to play in dog parks and often to get his nails clipped.
Kennel Cough Vaccines
Aptly named, this illness can quickly spread among dogs in a kennel, boarding facility, or animal shelter if infected dogs are housed there. Kennel cough is very commonly caused by Bordetella or canine parainfluenza.
The Bordetella shot is not required, but highly recommended, especially if you’re heading to dog parks or training courses. If you plan on boarding your puppy during your vacations, this shot will most likely be required by the facility.
If your puppy contracts kennel cough, he will develop:
- A sharp, dry cough
- Gagging and retching
- Loss of appetite
Kennel cough tends to be mild, but, in more severe cases, it can be dangerous.
When Your Puppy Should Get the Kennel Cough Shot
Your puppy should get the Bordetella vaccine at 6 to 8 weeks, again between 12 and 16 months, and yearly after that.
There are two strains of the canine parainfluenza vaccine. The first shot will be given when your puppy is about 7 weeks old, with a follow-up for the other strain when he is 11 weeks. The second vaccine is part of the DHPP vaccine, also known as DA2P. This is a combination vaccination that also protects your pup against canine distemper, hepatitis, and parvovirus. He’ll get a follow-up DHPP shot at 14 to 16 weeks, 12 to 16 months, and every year or two following.
As with rabies, canine distemper has no cure, which makes this puppy shot extremely important. Unlike rabies, this disease can spread through the air as well as on contact.
The signs of distemper include:
- A high fever
Puppies and older dogs are at the most risk. Treatment tends to be supportive until distemper runs its course. Dogs with weaker immune systems may struggle to fight distemper, and symptoms may last for months even in healthy puppies. Distemper can be passed to other animals months after your pup is recovered.
When Your Puppy Should Get the Distemper Shot
Your puppy should receive his first shot between six weeks and eight weeks of age to be protected against distemper. After the initial shot, this vaccination is part of the DHPP vaccine. (See Kennel Cough Vaccines.)
Puppies are most prone to catching the parvovirus, also known as “parvo.”
Symptoms come on fast and include vomiting, fever, and bloody diarrhea by affecting the gastrointestinal system.
If you suspect your puppy has parvo, bring him to your veterinarian immediately. Early treatment is essential, as the illness can be fatal in under 48 hours.
When Your Puppy Should Get the Parvovirus Shot
The parvovirus vaccine is a part of DHPP, so it is included in your puppy’s core shots at 10 to 12 weeks. Follow-up vaccines should be given at ages 15 weeks, 12 to 16 months, and every 1 to 2 years following.
Also part of the DHPP vaccine is the hepatitis vaccine. There is no cure for hepatitis in dogs, but your pup can be treated until the illness passes. In more severe cases, hepatitis can be fatal or cause damage to the liver.
Canine hepatitis is also known as canine adenovirus. It begins as an upper respiratory infection and spreads to the liver, kidney, and other organs. Signs include bleeding disorders, swelling, abdominal pain, fever, and lethargy. In some cases, it could even cause the eyes to become inflamed.
When Your Puppy Should Get the Hepatitis Shot
Follow the DHPP schedule for these shots: 10 to 12 weeks, 14 to 16 weeks, and every year or two after that.
Other Dog Vaccinations
Some other diseases you should consider for good puppy health are leptospirosis, Lyme disease, and coronavirus, but these are generally considered optional vaccines.
If you decide to vaccinate your puppy for these three diseases, he should get them at 10 to 12 weeks, again at 14 to 16 weeks, another time at 12 to 16 months, and then have a booster shot every year or two after that.
Leptospirosis doesn’t always show symptoms, but it is caused by bacteria. If signs do appear, they can include:
- Kidney failure
Antibiotics are the best treatment if your puppy isn’t vaccinated.
Lyme disease is an illness humans are very familiar with, but while we get a rash, dogs do not. Symptoms in canines include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- A limp
Lyme disease can affect various parts of your pup’s body and lead to more serious problems if not treated. Antibiotics can help, although symptoms may show up again later.
Canine coronavirus (CCV) affects the intestines. It’s very contagious and may not always display symptoms. If your puppy does show signs, they may be:
- Explosive diarrhea
CCV isn’t necessarily dangerous, but if caught at the same time as parvo or other diseases, it can be fatal.
Are you bringing home a new puppy? Make an appointment for his puppy shots! We can help you create a custom puppy vaccination schedule for your new family member. Each puppy is different. While these are general guidelines to follow for puppy shots, it’s important to ask your veterinarian about your dog specifically. They may suggest one or two vaccines a little earlier than usual, or a little later.
These shots can help ensure your puppy’s health throughout his life and all his adventures. Reach us by calling 281-693-7387 to schedule your dog’s first vet appointment!
As your cat gets older, it’s important to keep an eye on him. Cats are masters of disguise, and a slight change in behavior could point to an underlying problem in an older cat.
You can give your cat his best life through the years if you know the signs of aging in cats and the problems that can arise from the simple passage of time.
All cats should get regular check-ups with their vet, but it’s extremely important for aging cats. Your veterinarian can help catch issues early, especially if your senior is good at hiding them. Feel free to call Cinco Ranch Veterinary at 281-693-7387 to schedule your cat’s next check-up.
Sign #1: Your Cat Is Having Trouble Eating
As your cat ages, his teeth are more prone to dental disease, which can make eating difficult. Signs of a dental issue include:
- Bad breath
- Loss of appetite
- Pawing at his face
- Losing teeth
How You Can Help Your Cat
Like other injuries and illnesses, cats can hide dental issues from their owners, so it’s important to regularly check your cat’s teeth or have it done by a vet, even when he’s young. It’s best to catch a dental problem before it progresses into something more serious that could require surgery or tooth removal. Brushing and specialized diets can also help prevent problems.
If your cat is already missing teeth or having other mouth issues, either from aging or dental disease, your vet may recommend a specific diet to make it easier for him to eat.
Sign #2: Your Cat Isn’t Coming When You Call
Cats, just like humans, are prone to changes in hearing. Becoming hard of hearing is an extremely common sign of aging in cats. Over time, your cat may experience damage to his ear or nerves, resulting in hearing loss.
Signs your senior may be going deaf include:
- Not coming when you call him
- Meowing louder than usual
- Being harder to wake up
- Getting startled when you approach him
How You Can Help Your Cat
If your cat is going deaf or just not hearing as well as he used to, try not to sneak up or startle him. If your cat is an outdoor cat, consider keeping him inside instead, as he won’t be able to hear cars and other dangers. To keep your cat safe should he wander off, give him a microchip.
Sign #3: Your Cat Is Running into Things
Deteriorating sight is also a sign of an aging cat. Haziness and cloudiness is common in older cats and, in most cases, doesn’t affect their ability to see, but other issues like cataracts and high blood pressure should be given extra attention.
Cataracts are not extremely common in cats, even in seniors, but can occur. Look out for whitish pupils. High blood pressure, just like in humans, can lead to blindness in your cat. Unlike cataracts, it’s extremely common in cats.
How You Can Help Your Cat
One of the first things you should do if you have a cat who is blind or losing his sight is avoid adding hazards to his environment. He’s probably already comfortable in your home, so don’t move things he’ll remember the placement of, like furniture. Cats rely more on their hearing and smell than their sight, so the loss of it doesn’t mean your cat can’t live a full life; however, you should never let a blind cat outside.
If you notice your cat is having trouble seeing in the dark, take him to a vet as soon as possible. This could be a sign of high blood pressure and may be able to be treated before it worsens.
Sign #4: Your Cat Isn’t as Energetic as Before
As any pet ages, they tend to lose energy. Your cat will sleep more and play less, and that’s completely normal. If your cat becomes lethargic, however, make an appointment with your vet.
How You Can Help Your Cat
The best thing you can do for any senior cat keep them out of stressful situations. This includes big changes, new pets, and new situations. When stressed, cats can lash out at other animals, cease using the litter box, or become more aggressive overall. Ask your vet about reducing stress.
Sign #5: Your Cat Isn’t Moving Like He Used to
Aging cats are extremely prone to arthritis. The smallest of physical changes could point to this problem, so if you notice your cat limping or grooming himself differently as he ages, take him to the vet for a check-up.
Other signs of trouble moving include no longer jumping on your bed and other furniture and simply not being able to climb into his litter box.
How You Can Help Your Cat
The symptoms of arthritis can absolutely be treated by a vet and will reduce pain and discomfort. Your veterinarian may recommend a different diet, weight loss, or medication.
Your cat may have difficulty reaching specific spots on his body when he grooms himself. Grooming your cat will prevent problems like matting.
Rearranging your home slightly will also help your feline friend. Make access to his water and food bowls, litter box(es), toys, and favorite places a little easier to reach. He’ll also appreciate a little help if they are looking to get into bed with you.
Other Signs of Aging in Cats
There are several other signs that your cat is aging that are not cause for alarm, like brittle claws and changes to his coat texture or color. If you’re concerned about a particular change, ask your vet!
Just like humans, cats change as they age. Unlike humans, cats are expert at hiding symptoms, discomfort, and pain. So you need to be the lookout! If you notice alterations in your aging cat’s behavior or physical appearance, keep an eye on them for other changes to prevent problems. If you suspect something is wrong, contact your vet.
One of the best things you can do for your aging cat is to get regular check-ups. This can help set your mind at ease and ensure your senior is getting the best care, nutrition, and attention possible as he gets older. If it’s time for your senior’s check-up or you suspect a problem, call us at 281-693-7387.