Ocean Avenue Veterinary Hospital provides a wide range of services, from routine vaccinations to advanced diagnostics and surgery. We know it’s never easy when your pet becomes ill, which is why we are always ready to provide top-quality service.
New Puppy & Kitten Exams
NEW KITTEN INFORMATION
FeLV and FIV are two viral diseases that can be transmitted to kittens from their mothers. As a result, every new kitten (or adult cat) should be tested for feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Both of these viruses are contagious and can be life threatening.
VACCINES are critical to the health of your new kitten.
FVRCP is a 3-way vaccine used to help protect for viral upper airway infections and gastrointestinal diseases. It is a series of between 2-4 vaccines.
FeLV also known as Feline Leukemia Virus vaccine. FeLV infection can attack the immune system and can be life threatening. FeLV is transmitted by infected cats through blood and saliva, so if your kitten will be strictly indoor, this vaccine may not be necessary.
RABIES is a vaccine given to kittens over 16 weeks of age in California to protect against the rabies virus. It is important and required by county law, due to human health concerns.
Typically pets will feel sleepy or sore the day they receive the vaccines. They may also run a low grade fever. We have taken great care to provide what we feel are the safest vaccines available for your pet, but there is a slight chance that vaccines can predispose cats to tumor development.
Fleas can be a nuisance and health risk to you and your pet. Once they infect your pet and home, they can be more difficult to get rid of so we recommend treatment even if you aren’t seeing fleas currently. We carry:
Revolution (>6 wks) topical insecticide which kills fleas, some ticks and
some internal parasites.
There are MANY intestinal parasites your kitten can carry. It is very important to bring in a fecal sample for us to evaluate with special testing under a microscope. Some parasites are transmissible to humans (zoonotic) so this is a critical step for the health of your pet and the protection of your family.
Kittens should be fed a commercially available and balanced kitten diet of moist or dry food from weaning until 1 yr of age. We do not currently recommend any of the “raw” or “grain free” diets for kittens. Ideally train your kitten to be meal fed rather than free feeding. This will help control problems with obesity that could develop later in life.
Although rare, kittens are more likely to be exposed to toxins than adult cats. Radiator fluid, lilies, garlic, onions, grapes and raisins can all be extremely toxic to cats. Please call if you think your cat has been exposed.
SPAY & NEUTER
We recommend your kitten be spayed or neutered at 5-6 months of age. Neutering your male kitten will help reduce the risk of spraying and marking behaviors. Sterilizing your pet is the most responsible choice you can make to prevent cat overpopulation.
INFORMATION ABOUT CORE PUPPY VACCINATIONS
Your puppy is not considered immune to these diseases until 7-10 days after the vaccine series is complete, so please do not take them to any public areas!
DHPPV / DAPPV VACCINATION
The parvovirus vaccine is given as a 4-in-1 vaccination standing for Distemper, Hepatitis (Adenovirus), Parainfluenza and Parvovirus. The first dose is administered as young as six weeks old and is then given in a 2 to 4-week interval until at least the age of 16 weeks old (totaling 3-4 times depending on when the 1st vaccine was given). A booster shot is given one year after the last interval dose, then again every three years.
WHAT IS CANINE DISTEMPER?
Canine distemper is an extremely contagious viral disease. This disease is closely related to the virus that causes measles, and spreads through the air, attacking the tonsils and lymph nodes. The virus replicates in the body and attacks the gastrointestinal, respiratory, urogenital and nervous systems. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for canine distemper; however, some dogs can recover fully after receiving treatment for symptoms and constant care.
After a dog has fully recovered, she will no longer carry or spread the disease. Symptoms can include; High fever, runny nose, eye discharge, red eyes, lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and paralysis. Some dogs also experience thickening or enlargement of their footpads.
WHAT IS ADENOVIRUS & HEPATITIS?
The canine adenovirus type 1 causes canine hepatitis. Dogs who suffer from this virus experience swelling and cell damage in the liver, which can result in hemorrhage and death. This virus can be contracted through feces and urine of infected dogs. Symptoms include pain in the abdomen, abdominal distension, lack of appetite, pale color, lethargy, fever and tonsillitis. Fluid swelling in the corneas often results in the appearance of the dog having blue eyes. Death within one to two days is common in more severe cases. However, if a dog survives the first few days, it can result in a full recovery and future immunity to the virus.
The canine adenovirus type 2 is a relative of the hepatitis virus and is one of the causes of kennel cough. Once your dog receives the vaccine for this virus, the severity of it is limited, so the chance of death is unlikely. Symptoms include the development of a hacking cough a week after exposure, inflammation in the airways, white foamy discharge after coughing, pink eye, inflamed nasal passages and nasal discharge.
WHAT IS PARAINFLUENZA?
Parainfluenza, or canine influenza is highly contagious. Symptoms include dry cough, fever, wheezing, difficulty breathing, runny nose, sneezing, pneumonia, reduced appetite, lethargy, eye inflammation, runny eyes and conjunctivitis. Most dogs recover on their own, but most vets like to treat them immediately using antibiotics and antiviral drugs since it is so contagious. A cough suppressant and additional fluids may also be given to your dog.
WHAT IS PARVOVIRUS?
Canine parvovirus (parvo) is extremely contagious and is contracted through the feces of an infected dog & can live in the environment for up to 3 days. Unfortunately, parvo often kills young puppies with poorly developed immune systems. Around 91% of untreated parvo cases result in death. The parvo vaccine is the only way to prevent a dog from contracting this virus. Parvo cannot be spread from dogs to humans. Dogs that have contracted parvo generally show symptoms within three to ten days. The most commonly seen symptoms of parvo include: secondary infections, dehydration, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, endotoxemia, shock and eventually death. If a dog has a confirmed case of parvo they can infect neighborhood dogs with their feces and through soil that has come in contact with their feces. Dogs can still shed the parvovirus in their feces once they have recovered from the virus. The vaccine can take up to two weeks to take effect and fully protect a dog from it.
The rabies vaccine is given at 16 weeks of age & is compulsory for all dogs living in San Francisco. Rabies is a viral disease that can be carried by many mammals. This is one of the few zoonotic diseases (diseases humans can catch from their dogs). Rabies is commonly transmitted through a bite from an infected mammal. Rabies causes acute encephalitis and eventually infects the entire nervous system causing death. Rabies can be stopped if it is treated before symptoms occur. Once symptoms appear it becomes a fatal disease. Rabies can take anywhere from two to 12 weeks to present itself; however, some cases can take much longer.
INFORMATION ABOUT NON-CORE PUPPY VACCINATIONS
WHAT IS BORDATELLA?
Bordatella (Kennel cough) is caused by bacteria and is spread through airborne contaminants. Bordatella is spread through exposure to infected dogs or the transfer of bacteria in food bowls, cages and water bowls. As bacteria multiply, it destroys the lining of the dog’s trachea, which results in a high pitched cough. Dogs may also gag and wretch as they cough. Symptoms include fever, sneezing, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and depression. When symptoms present, the dog should be given antibiotics and a cough suppressant. Untreated bordatella can lead to pneumonia and a secondary bacterial infection.
WHAT IS CANINE INFLUENZA?
Canine influenza is caused by the canine influenza virus (CIV). It is highly contagious and easily spread from infected dogs to other dogs by direct contact, nasal secretions (through barking, coughing or sneezing), contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes), and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. Canine influenza can occur year round & can present as lethargy, ocular or nasal discharge, fever, dehydration, inappetence, vomiting or diarrhea & can progress to pneumonia. CIV can be life threatening in immunocompromised patients, the very young & the very old..
WHAT IS LEPTOSPIROSIS?
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by the pathogen Leptospira. Leptospira, or Leptospirosis, can affect canines and humans and can result in death in some cases. Dogs become infected with Leptospires (an organism that thrives in water) by consuming urine contaminated water or contact with infected urine. Leptospires use a dog’s kidneys to breed and continue living out their life cycle. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, depression, loss of appetite, generalized pain and conjunctivitis. Later symptoms include: a drop in temperature, increased thirst, change in urine color, jaundice, frequent urination, dehydration, difficulty breathing, muscular tremors, vomiting and bloody feces. Antibiotics can help shorten the length of the disease and reduce potential organ damage if caught in early stages. In more severe cases, kidney filtration and blood transfusion may be necessary. About 10% of Leptospirosis cases result in death from secondary complications.
WHAT IS LYME DISEASE?
Lyme disease is spread through a tick bite. Symptoms don’t always appear for all dogs with Lyme disease although some will show swollen lymph nodes or lameness. If your dog does display symptoms of Lyme disease be sure to check her over for any ticks that may still be present. Untreated Lyme disease can cause extreme inflammation in your dog’s nervous system, heart and kidneys and potentially lead to death. Vets test for Lyme disease by taking blood samples and if a dog is positive for Lyme disease, early treatment with Doxycycline is prescribed. If a more advanced stage of Lyme disease is suspected antibiotic treatment will continue for longer and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed.
Side Effects And Risks Associated With Dog Vaccinations
The benefits of vaccinations far outweigh any risks. Adverse reactions to dog vaccines are rare. However, As with any medication or immunization protocol, vaccinations can cause some side effects. We do recommend that you have your puppy or dog vaccinated at a time when you can monitor them after the vaccination.
If your dog does experience any reaction to vaccinations, symptoms may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Facial or paw swelling and/or hives
- Pain or swelling around the injection site
- Collapse, difficulty breathing, and seizures (anaphylactic shock)
If your dog shows any of the above symptoms after receiving a vaccination, please call our office or an emergency veterinary clinic to discuss severity and possibly receive treatment.
Heartworms are parasites in which worms lodge in the heart and vessels of the lung and is spread by mosquitoes. We recommend starting preventative tablets at the age of 8 weeks and for the dog’s lifetime. Testing is recommended annually for the disease.
FLEAS & TICK PREVENTION
Fleas can be a nuisance and health hazard to you and your pet. Some of the products we carry are:
Nexgard: oral insecticide given once monthly, kills fleas and ticks within 12 hours.
Bravecto: oral insecticide given once every 3 months, kills fleas and ticks within 12 hours.
THE FECAL EXAM
There are MANY intestinal parasites your puppy can carry. Please bring in a fecal sample for us to evaluate it with special testing. Some parasites are transmissible to humans (zoonotic) so this is important for the health of your pet and the protection of your family.
From the time of weaning until 1 year of age, puppies should be fed a main brand of puppy food such as Royal Canin, Science Diet, Iams, Eukanuba, Nutro, Pedigree, or Purina. Ideally train your puppy to be meal-fed rather than always leaving food out. This will help control problems that could develop later in life.
For SMALL BREED PUPPIES, we recommend feeding frequent small meals until they are about 16 weeks old to prevent problems with low blood sugars.
For LARGE BREED PUPPIES such as Great Danes, Dobermans, Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, and Labradors, and many other large breed canines, feed a puppy food designated for large breeds. This special puppy food has fewer calories per cup than regular puppy food. It has been scientifically proven that these foods can significantly reduce the chances of some orthopedic illnesses.
SPAY & NEUTER
We recommend your puppy be spayed at age 6-8 months, or neutered around 1 year of age. Spaying your female puppy before her first heat will critically reduce the chances she will develop mammary cancer as an adult dog. Neutering your male puppy will reduce problems of prostatitis and testicular cancers seen in adult male dogs. There are multiple different studies currently underway evaluating timing of spay/neuter. Please talk with the veterinarian if you have any questions.
We recommend puppy-training courses for EVERY puppy and their owner. Normally, this is started after 12 weeks of age, once two sets of vaccines have already been given.
Pets today can live longer, healthier lives than ever before—in part because of vaccines that help protect them from deadly infectious diseases. Over the years, vaccines against dangerous diseases have saved millions of pets and virtually eliminated some fatal diseases that were once common.
Unfortunately, many infectious diseases still pose a significant threat to dogs and cats that are unvaccinated. Although vaccine programs have been highly successful and vaccines are considered routine today, we (as caregivers) and you (as pet parents) cannot afford to become complacent about keeping pets up to date on their vaccinations.
Many vaccines are available for use in dogs and cats, but not every pet needs every available vaccine. Some vaccines are considered core vaccines and should be administered to all pets, whereas other vaccines are optional and may be recommended for pets based on a variety of factors, such as their risk for exposure to disease. Vaccine recommendations can also change throughout a pet’s life, as travel habits and other variables change. We will consider all these factors as we determine which vaccines your pet should have.
We understand that your pet is unique and that no single vaccine program will be ideal for every pet in every situation. Our doctors and other staff members are well-educated about veterinary vaccines, and our goal is to give you the best advice for keeping your pet healthy. Let us develop a vaccination schedule and ongoing booster routine that accounts for your pet’s lifestyle, overall health, the risk for exposure to infectious disease, and other factors.
Vaccines help pets live longer, healthier lives. Protecting your pet is our primary goal, so developing an appropriate vaccine schedule for your pet is important to us. Call us today to set up an appointment to discuss your pet’s vaccination needs.
We all enjoy a relaxing mani-pedi from time to time, and your pet will too! Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed isn’t just for looks. There are health ramifications from not taking care of your companion’s nails!
For many pet owners, trimming a pet’s nails—dog or cat—can seem like a daunting task. And, if you haven’t regularly trimmed your pet’s nails since they were young, chances are you’ll have a difficult time doing it effectively now. Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed is important for a number of reasons. The staff at Ocean Avenue Animal Hospital is here to help!
Why cat’s nails should be trimmed regularly
- Prevent pain. Keeping a cat’s nails trimmed will help prevent painful broken claws, which can occur if one of the sharp, long tips becomes caught in the carpet or on the edge of the sofa while they’re “sharpening” their claws around your house.
- Prevent damage. Speaking of sharpening claws, it’s no secret that cats like to do it, and when they do, it’s often on furniture, rugs, curtains, or other household items we’d prefer not to be destroyed. Keeping the nails trimmed will reduce the damage your cat does around the house.
- Receive love comfortably. Many cats need to knead, and if your cat is kneading you, the longer the nails, the more painful it’s going to be for you. By keeping the sharp tips trimmed, this bonding activity can be something you both enjoy.
Why dog’s nails should be trimmed regularly
- Prevent pain. Underneath the hard outer shell of a dog’s nail is the living quick, which is full of nerves and blood. Regular nail trimming will cause the quick to become shorter and recede from the end of the nail, making it less likely to be cut during nail trims, which can cause pain and discomfort for your dog.
- Prevent injury. If a dog’s nails are too long, they can hit the ground, which, over extended periods of time, can cause deformed feet and injure tendons, affecting the foot and leg structure.
- Prevent anxiety. Dogs with nails in need of trimming will not have adequate traction on slippery floor surfaces—like hardwood, tile, and linoleum—which can lead to anxiety and fear, especially in dogs already prone to nervous and fearful behaviors.
If you have questions or want to get your pet’s nails trimmed, please be sure to contact us! We’re here to help your fur baby look and feel their absolute best!
Radiography is a valuable diagnostic tool in veterinary medicine. As we continually strive to offer the highest quality of medicine and diagnostic testing, we are pleased to offer radiology services as a means of providing excellent care to our patients.
A radiograph (sometimes called an X-ray) is a type of photograph that can look inside the body and reveal information that may not be discernible from the outside. Radiography can be used to evaluate almost any organ in the body, including the heart, lungs, and abdominal organs, as well as the bones.
Radiography is painless, safe, and completely noninvasive, and it uses only very low doses of radiation. Because the level of radiation exposure needed to perform radiography is very low, even pregnant females and very young pets can undergo radiography. Radiographs can be used to evaluate bones as well as the size, shape, and position of many of the body’s organs. The size of organs is important because some medical conditions—such as kidney, heart, or liver disease—can alter the size of these organs. The shape and position of organs can be altered or distorted by certain medical conditions, including intestinal blockage or cancer. Tumors, depending on their size and location, can also sometimes be detected using radiography. Radiography can also be used to diagnose bladder stones, broken bones, chronic arthritis, certain spinal cord diseases, and a variety of other conditions.
Radiographs are an important tool that can help us make a correct diagnosis for your pet. Our radiology service is staffed by caring, skilled professionals who will provide state-of-the-art care with compassion and expertise.
Although humans and animals are different in many ways, some advances in human medicine are also very useful for veterinary patients. One of these advances, diagnostic ultrasound, has proven to be a powerful tool in veterinary medicine. As a practice, one of our goals is to offer state-of-the-art medicine and diagnostic testing; so we are pleased to offer ultrasound services as a means of providing a higher level of quality care to our patients.
Ultrasonography is a type of diagnostic technique that uses ultrasound waves to produce an imaging study. This means that when we perform ultrasonography, we can see internal images of the patient’s body. Unlike some other imaging studies, like X-rays, ultrasonography does not use radiation. Instead, ultrasonography uses high-frequency sound (ultrasound) waves to create a picture of what is inside your pet’s body. Ultrasonography is a completely noninvasive, painless way to diagnose and evaluate many common diseases.
An ultrasound machine generates ultrasound waves. The machine is connected to a small probe that is held gently against your pet’s skin. The probe sends out painless ultrasound waves that bounce off of structures (for example, organs) in your pet’s body and return to a sensor inside the ultrasound machine. The ultrasound equipment collects these reflected “echoes” and uses them to generate images that are viewable on a screen. Ultrasound waves can generate excellent images of abdominal organs, including the liver, spleen, gallbladder, and kidneys. It is also useful for assessing fetal health and monitoring pregnancy in breeding animals, and it can help us diagnose and stage (determine the severity of) some forms of cancer.
Feeding a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight can increase life expectancy, quality of life, decrease risk of many diseases (such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease), and help manage chronic medical conditions. We include a nutritional assessment and a weight evaluation in every health evaluation for every pet. We will also evaluate trends in your pet’s weight, as weight gain or weight loss can be signs of an underlying disease or may indicate a need to change your feeding regimen.
We carry a full line of prescription diets for your convenience, including Hill’s, Royal Canin, and Iams brands. We also have a variety of treats, including weight control, dental care, and hypoallergenic options for both dogs and cats. Please call ahead to ensure we have the diet you wish to purchase. We are happy to place a special order for you!
Senior Pet Exams
Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, pets are living longer than ever before; however, with this increased lifespan comes an increase in the types of ailments that can afflict senior pets.
Scheduling regular veterinary examinations is one of the most important steps pet owners can take to keep their pets in tip-top shape. When dogs and cats enter their senior years, these health examinations are more important than ever.
At around age seven, your pet is entering his or her senior years and often begins to develop diseases common to humans, such as diabetes, heart disease, endocrine disease, and cancer. These diseases easily can go undetected because your pet may not show any visible symptoms. Therefore, preventive health care is critical. Routine examinations, blood testing, urine testing, radiographs, and electrocardiograph tests can help identify potential health risks before they become evident. Inform your veterinarian of any changes you notice in your pet, including changes in weight, appetite, energy, urination, behavior, skin and coat, and ability to get up and down. Routine veterinary care will allow your pet to have the best possible quality of life for years to come.
Have you noticed a change in behavior?
If your pet has become irritable or aggressive or if they are eating less or drinking more, they may have a medical condition that is common in elderly pets. A few common conditions related to age include kidney disease, arthritis, and pet dementia.
How often should a senior pet be seen?
With the increased risk of different health issues, our doctors recommend that senior pets have physical exams every six months. Blood work should continue to be checked once a year and regular teeth cleanings should continue. Your veterinarian will help you watch for changes in behavior and provide treatment plans to keep your elderly fur-baby as comfortable as possible.
What to watch for:
- Dental disease
- Changes in drinking habits
- Changes in urination habits
- Weight loss
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in mood
- Increased difficulty moving around
Pet dental care is a critical component of your pet’s wellness program. Ocean Avenue Veterinary Hospital offers state-of-the-art dental care for every type of pet, with a focus on long-term health and longevity.
Dental disease can be the origin of more complex, life-threatening issues such as heart, liver, and kidney disease in pets. Routine dental cleanings and a home dental care regime have the potential to add years of vigor to your pet’s life.
A dental exam and cleaning are performed under general anesthesia for a safe and thorough procedure. Whenever anesthesia is used, we take many steps to assure the safest possible procedure, including pre-anesthetic laboratory tests, IV fluid support, and blood pressure monitoring, as well as pulse and blood oxygen monitoring on all patients. Your pet’s teeth are cleaned of plaque and calculus, and the tooth enamel is polished, followed by a fluoride treatment to further protect the teeth and strengthen enamel.
Our digital dental X-ray system allows near-instant radiographic views of the non-visible areas of the teeth. This invaluable tool is critical for identifying hidden, often painful problems.
Our staff is trained in dental surgical procedures such as extractions of broken, loose, diseased, or painful teeth. If oral surgery is needed, careful attention is paid to managing pain using local anesthetic nerve blocks and other analgesic approaches. Often, medication is sent home after the procedure to help minimize any discomfort. Finally, a careful charting of any concerns or treatments of the teeth is made for future reference and follow-up.
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums in pets can be a simple and enjoyable process for both the animals and their owners. The professionals at Ocean Avenue Veterinary Hospital offer assistance and training to pet owners in establishing a home care regime that meets their needs. Good dental hygiene is an investment in your pet, paying off in your animal companion living a longer, healthier life free from pain.
At Ocean Avenue Veterinary Hospital, our goal is to keep your companions healthy and happy. Just as prevention is the best medicine for us, so it is for our pets. We believe in working with you to determine the individual needs of your pet. We recommend a program of essential care, including complete physical exams, diagnostic tests, dental care, proper nutrition, parasite prevention, and immunizations. As your pet ages, we recommend more frequent examinations for earlier detection of health problems that older pets may develop. We accept CareCredit and will provide necessary information for pet insurance carriers to help provide the best care for your pet.
Our goal is to have the healthiest pets in San Francisco. Educating our clients on nutrition and wellness care helps us put our best paw forward!
Heartworm & Parasite Prevention
All dogs should be on an effective heartworm preventive year-round. The administration is easier than ever with once-a-month tasty chews. Cats should be treated for heartworm, internal parasites, and external parasites on a regular basis. Up to 85% of animals that go outdoors will become heartworm positive if they are not on prevention. The heartworm medication recommended at Ocean Avenue Veterinary Hospital is also effective in preventing other parasites such as hookworms and roundworms, so each month you are protecting your pet against multiple parasitic infections. For more information, go to www.capcvet.org.
Flea & Tick Prevention
All dogs and cats should be on year-round external parasite control. Fleas and ticks can carry diseases that affect humans and animals. It is easier to prevent a flea infestation than to treat and clear the home environment.
Fleas can carry numerous different diseases. They will carry tapeworms, hemobartonella (a blood parasite), plague, and other diseases to your pet and into your home. We didn’t even mention the diseases ticks can carry. Ticks carry Lyme disease and viruses and can leave your pet anemic and tired. So how do we prevent them from coming into our nice warm house to feast upon us and our pets?
We prevent it, because an infestation means at least three months of treatment to break up the life cycle and treating for the secondary diseases that come with them. This can become expensive and tiresome, especially if you get this infestation every year as soon as spring arrives.
We recommend the treatment and prevention of fleas and ticks by the use of various products. Ocean Avenue Veterinary Hospital uses a variety of prevention products that have been proven to work and work quickly. They do double and sometimes triple duty, which means they do at least two to three things that we love and keep your pet healthy.
Puppies and kittens should be dewormed at least twice two to three weeks apart as a way to prevent the infestation of parasites such as roundworms.
We understand that surgery can be a source of anxiety for you and your family. That’s why it’s important to trust the people who will be taking care of your pet. Our experienced team of doctors and staff make it their number one priority to focus on pain management and patient safety, and we use the most current surgical practices to ensure your pet receives the best veterinary care. Our team will be working with you before, during, and after surgery to address any questions or concerns you may have about the surgical procedure, anesthesia, or postoperative care.
Soft Tissue Surgery
Soft tissue surgery is a large subject, as it comprises any surgery that is not orthopedic. Procedures can range from simple cyst removals to complex and involved operations.
Cysts and tumors can appear anywhere on or inside an animal’s body. They typically require removal. They may also be biopsied in order to first determine if the mass is either malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous).
Also known as exploratory laparotomy, belly surgery is performed for several reasons. They include the removal of diseased organs, removing bladder stones, taking biopsies, and removing foreign bodies. Yes, pets have been known to swallow a number of inedible items, including socks, locks, and rocks.
Our veterinarians perform a preventive operation known as a prophylactic gastropexy. Meant for dogs at risk for GDV or “stomach twisting,” the surgery attaches the stomach to the inside of the belly, keeping it from twisting and possibly taking the animal’s life.
Bladder & Urinary Surgery
The most common bladder surgery for dogs is the removal of bladder stones. For cats, it’s a procedure known as a perineal urethrostomy (PU). Male cats have a tendency to experience blockages in their urethra. When this happens several times, a PU is performed to widen the exit route.
Oftentimes, cats experience ear polyps, which are removed with various surgeries. Certain breeds of dogs, most often Cocker Spaniels, can have issues with ear infections. If the infection is bad enough, it may require a total ear canal ablation (TECA), or removal of the ear canal. As invasive as it sounds, the procedure yields terrific results, allowing pets to live free of ear infections and pain.
Dogs, mostly Labrador Retrievers, can have a condition that paralyzes their larynx, or voice box. While it is a stressful condition, the “tie-back” surgery widens the airway and is the difference between suffocating and breathing comfortably. In good hands, the complication rate is low.
An echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) is the only way to truly determine if your pet has heart disease. The ultrasound allows us to determine what type of disease is present and whether the pet would benefit from treatment.
What are the signs of heart disease?
Dogs will often have a dramatic decrease in their ability to exercise. Some dogs will begin to cough when excited. In severe cases, the dog may faint or appear to have a seizure. Cats rarely exhibit signs of heart disease until they are in heart failure. The most noticeable symptom is an increase in the breathing rate and effort.
Is there anything I can do at home?
Monitoring the sleeping respiratory rate is the single most important thing you can do as a pet owner. Sneak up on your pet while they are sleeping. Take out your watch and count how many breaths they take in a full minute. If they are consistently taking more than 30 breaths per minute while sleeping, and this is repeatable on several days, your pet should have a heart ultrasound performed, as they likely have heart disease.
Can heart disease be treated?
There are a variety of treatments for heart disease. Recent studies indicate that certain medications can actually extend your pet’s lifespan if they are started on medications before they exhibit symptoms and go into heart failure. The decision to begin heart medications is contingent upon the findings on the heart ultrasound.