Three Questions To Ask Prior To Your Pet’s Surgery

For many people, pets are part of the family.  When our pets require medical procedures, it can be very worrisome.  There are a number of reasons why a pet might undergo surgery.  Regardless of the reason or procedure, prior to entrusting a veterinary surgeon with your furry friend it is important to be informed about what will occur.  Following are some questions you will want to ask prior to your pet receiving care.

What experience does the veterinarian and his or her staff have with the procedure?

Even if you are familiar with the vet that will be performing the surgery, ask questions specific to the procedure he or she will be performing on your pet.  Find out how many times they have performed the procedure and what their success rate has been.  Ask what kind of complications they personally have seen arise from the surgery.  It is also a good idea to find out the education level and experience level of the veterinary technicians that will be assisting.  In order to cut corners, some places will use inexperienced, unqualified assistants in place of qualified individuals. 

What kind of screening and testing will be done prior to the surgery?

In order to prepare for surgery and to make sure your pet is getting the care it needs, a veterinarian should do some type of screening ahead of time.  While your pet may seem perfectly healthy, there could be underlying conditions that might affect the success of the surgery.  Pre-screening also helps the vet determine appropriate anesthesia and medication for your pet during before, during and after the procedure.

Ask your vet if they will do any type of screening.  Find out what they are looking for and what the screening consists of.  It is likely that at the very least there will be some blood tests and a physical examination.  Find out when and if you will also get the results of this screening.

What type of anesthesia and medication will be used before, during and after surgery?

Anesthesia is used to keep your pet comfortable during surgery, but the amount and kind will depend on the pet and its individual characteristics and needs.  Aside from finding out what type will be used, find out how it will be monitored during the surgery to make sure your pet is comfortable and doesn’t have a negative reaction. 

Also inquire if your vet like one from Northwest Animal Hospital will be using pain medication before, during and after the surgery.  Not all veterinarians administer pain medication.  If your vet opts to not give a prescription pain medication, ask them what is safe for you to purchase and give to your pet. 

Three Serious Health Problems You Can Prevent By Grooming Your Cat

Many people, cat owners included, think that cats are like self-cleaning ovens: they do such a good job of grooming themselves that they don’t need any help from humans. While it’s true that cats do a great job of keeping themselves tidy, they can also use your help. Believe it or not, three serious health threats can be prevented simply by grooming your cat regularly.

Ingrown Nails

Generally, cats take care of their own claws by sharpening them on trees and other rough objects, including your furniture. However, if your cat doesn’t sharpen their claws enough, they may not effectively shed dead layers of their claws.

If these layers remain, the claw will continue to grow, eventually curving inwards and potentially puncturing your cat’s pads. This is painful, awkward, and can cause serious infections that may require hospitalization at a vet clinic to treat. Encouraging your cat to use scratching posts and trimming their claws regularly can prevent this problem.

Ear Problems

Cats’ ears, like humans’, are sometimes susceptible to infections and bacterial growth. Unfortunately, when a cat’s ears become irritated due to an infection, a build-up of dirt and wax, or even from ear mites, chances are your cat will react by scratching and kicking at their ears. This behavior can become obsessive, resulting in them hurting themselves by scratching too much. In addition to scratching, your cat may begin to obsessively shake their head in an attempt to calm the itch, which can actually cause ruptured ear drums if done enough.

While ear mites need to be treated by a vet, bacterial infections and wax or dirt buildups can be prevented simply by cleaning the inside of your cat’s ears as part of the grooming process.

Intestinal Blockages

The most dangerous thing a cat can experience that’s preventable simply through regular grooming is an intestinal blockage. Cats often consume their own fur during their personal grooming, but they can’t digest this hair. If they consume enough of it, they may throw up to get it out of their system. However, if they consume even more of it and can’t vomit it back up, that hair can clump together in the intestines, creating a blockage.

Intestinal blockages are extremely painful and, if left untreated, can kill your cat. While the intestines are blocked, your cat may be unable to eat, drink, or defecate, which can result in weight loss, anorexia, diarrhea and toxins building up in the blood.

Grooming a cat isn’t just about making her look perfect: it’s also a way to help her stay healthy and well. Simply having your cat groomed regularly can save time, pain, and money by preventing the need for expensive medical procedures. For more information, contact Rush Animal Care Clinic PC or a similar location.

Four New Owner Mistakes That Can Send Your Puppy To The Hospital

If you’ve never had a puppy until now, you’re probably realizing there is far more to dog ownership than you ever imagined. And with a puppy, there can be even more challenges. Here are four mistakes many new owners make that could actually land your pooch in the dog hospital, so be sure you’re not putting your new family member at risk.

Not Being Attentive to What They’re Chewing

Having a puppy is like having a toddler—you have to watch them every minute, because they’re constantly putting things in their mouths. One of the most common items chewed is dog bedding. Any kind of fabric can create a disaster in your dog’s tummy. It can ball up and create blockages that have to be removed surgically, and long strings can catch on one part of the intestine and pull it inward on itself (like a telescope, called intussusception) or cut off circulation.

If your dog has a tendency to chew on fabric, you need to remove it from the environment completely. Separate your dog at night from dangerous things by putting it in a crate, and if it chews the crate pad, remove it or replace it with one made of chew-proof (e.g., bullet-proof) fabric. Always offer appropriate chew toys to redirect your dog.

The yard is the other place where puppies can get into big trouble. In addition to eating poisonous plants, they can chew on sticks that can break off and lacerate the throat, esophagus, stomach, or intestines. Do a thorough check of your yard before you bring your pup to its new home, and never leave a new dog unattended in the yard. Watch for these signs that your puppy is having a gastrointestinal problem

  • vomiting (with or without blood)
  • refusal to eat
  • diarrhea (with or without blood)
  • straining to defecate
  • lethargy
  • pale or white gums (indicates internal bleeding)

Running with Your Puppy

If you like to run, you may be eager to have your puppy join you on your daily workouts. But taking a puppy jogging with you at too young an age can put it at risk for joint injury, like tendon and ligament tears, and degenerative joint disease (arthritis) later in life.

Ask your vet when your pup will be old enough to run with you, as different breeds mature at different speeds (from six months to four years!). Be sure you start gradually and work up to longer workouts at any age.

Tempting Bloat

Bloat is a condition where the stomach can swell and twist inside the body, cutting off all circulation, which can be fatal. When caught in time, it still necessitates a trip to the emergency vet and sometimes surgery.

Certain large-chested breeds are more prone to bloat than other dogs. There are three common (and avoidable) causes of bloat in dogs:

  • dog accidentally ingesting large quantities of food
  • dog drinking too much water after eating
  • dog playing too hard immediately after eating

Feeding People Food

Everyone wants to reward a puppy with a treat now and then, and food is actually a great motivator in dog training. But there are certain foods that should always be avoided, as they can be toxic:

  • chocolate
  • grapes and raisins
  • macadamia nuts
  • onions
  • garlic
  • avocados

Ask your vet about recommendations for healthy treats, and if you want to prepare your own dog food, be sure to get a vet-approved recipe.

Owning a puppy can be a blast—you just have to take extra steps to ensure your pet’s health. Just in case an accident or illness happens, in spite of all your care, be sure to have the phone number and directions to the nearest dog hospital (such as Canine Center) available at all times.