Pumpkin spice, ghouls, costumes and candy. Are a few things that October is known for. Pets can make our holidays more fun, but one must be careful of the dangers to them during Halloween season. One of the biggest threats is poisoning from candy. High amounts of sugar can cause severe gastric upset and diarrhea. Wrappers can cause obstructions in the intestines and possibly emergency surgery. Chocolate covered raisins are a double danger. Raisins and chocolate are both highly toxic to pets, and mixing them can cause double trouble. Another source for toxicity is the artificial sweetener xylitol. This is frequently found in sugar free gum. Xylitol can cause vomiting, difficulty walking, weakness, and lethargy. More severe side effects of xylitol poisoning can include collapse and seizures.
Keeping candy away from your pets is the best option – place high on shelves or away in a drawer where your pet cannot get to it is a safe way to prevent poisoning. If you believe your pet has ingested candy or other toxins, contact South Town Animal Hospital immediately. If you are unable to get to a veterinarian, or are unsure if what your pet ate is even toxic, the Pet Poison Helpline is always available. You can call (800)-213-6680 for a service fee of $59 per phone call and advice from an expert including follow – up consultations.
Other worries with the Halloween season are risks of your pet ingesting something they think is a toy. With decorations around, there are many things that your pet can play with and accidently ingest. Beware of the fake spider web material as that is not only a risk for birds and other critters outside getting caught in, but it’s something your pet may want to eat. This material can get lodged and cause a blockage in the intestines which is very dangerous. Keep decorations away from animals and if you believe your pet ingested something they shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian immediately. An obstruction can be very dangerous to your pet and action will need to be taken as soon as possible to avoid a possibly fatal situation.
We want you to enjoy the spooky season with your pet and for everyone to remain safe. Taking precautions to avoid harmful situations is the best route to have a Happy Halloween.
Since our pets are not able to tell us when they are uncomfortable or in pain, knowing how to recognize the signs of discomfort in our furry companions is one of the many responsibilities we have as pet owners. Another important responsibility we have to our pets is knowing our options in aiding their pain relief.
Recognizing pain or discomfort in your pet is the key. Keep in mind that, they can sometimes be good at hiding or masking their pain. Some of the indicators of discomfort are changes in behavior, bodily functions and your pet’s breathing. If breathing becomes rapid, panting, or short this can be an indicator of pain issues. Also, a more general sign may be a change in your pets general demeanor including a lack of desire to socialize. With any of these changes there can be irregular patterns occurring in activity level, eating, drinking or bathroom use which may be signs that your pet is in pain.
Cats are more likely to hide when in pain and will seek out spaces they don’t normally use, such as under beds or in closets. In dogs, you may see their ears or tail back or down. Both cats and dogs can become unusually irritable and may want to play less. These can all be signs that your pet is in discomfort and needs visit to the veterinarian.
Bringing any information you think that may have contributed to your pet’s discomfort to the appointment can be helpful. There are an infinite number of reasons your pet may be uncomfortable and this information may help the doctor better identify what may be causing the pain. Anything from normal aging to a bee sting or a sprained paw could be the cause of discomfort.
Diagnosing may include lab work and/or digital radiography. After which options for pain management can be provided. There are a variety of routes to explore in managing pain, and it will differ if it is short-term acute pain or chronic pain. Treatment options fall under the following: medications, supplements, laser therapy, other therapies and possibly surgery.
At South Town Animal Hospital, the Veterinarian can prescribe medications and/or supplements. South Town carries Standard Process which are “.. supplements made with whole food and other ingredients to provide the body with nutrients that are found in nature but aren’t always found in the average pet diet. These formulas supply vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, and phytonutrients in forms as close as possible to how nature intended – providing whole food nutrient solutions that support the body’s amazing ability to heal itself.”
In addition, South Town provides laser therapy which promotes healing in the body and is performed by trained veterinary professionals over a period of multiple short sessions. Laser therapy speeds up cellular healing to help with numerous conditions such as wounds, allergies, sprains, strains and fractures, post-surgical healing and pain relief, ear infections, geriatric care, and arthritis.
Other therapies include water therapy and physical therapy. ‘The Puddle Pet Aqua Fitness and Nutrition’ facility is conveniently located next to South Town Animal Hospital. At The Puddle, certified swim instructors aid your pet in supervised swims in an indoor heated pool. The warm water helps promote circulation and relaxes tired muscles. Swim therapy aids in pre- and post- surgical management support, relieves pressure on the joints, strengthens and retrains muscles, exercises the cardiovascular system, aids in weight loss, increases range of motion, and improves confidence, relieves anxiety, and reduces stress.
If your pet requires more physical stimulation than swimming can provide, there are certified pet physical therapists. Using a variety of different methods, physical therapy can help with pre- or post- operative support, as well as a number of other conditions. Speak with your Veterinarian if you think this is what your pet needs. They can provide you with a referral to a specialist.
Surgery may be an option, but surgical pain management is typically done as a last resort in the veterinary field. Usually surgical pain relief will be done after supplements or prescription drugs or other therapies aren’t quite managing the pain and more is needed in aiding your pet.
Overall, there are many routes to pain relief for your pet. Seeking advice and/or treatment from your Veterinarian will help guide you to the best options for your pets health and comfort level.
Even the Cat in the Hat needs Flea Protection!
One flea, two fleas, a million fleas, GET OFF ME! Fleas are a critter that nobody wants to have. Understanding how the flea life cycle works is important to protecting your pet. Luckily, you can prevent your pet from getting fleas in the first place.
The Flea Life Cycle
Adult fleas will lay eggs while on top of an animal host. The eggs will typically fall off of the host and get burrowed into carpet fibers or furniture upholstery. Depending on temperature, the eggs can hatch within 2-12 days. The larvae lack legs and will crawl around the carpet eating debris. The larvae will spin a cocoon and turn into the pupal stage. They will remain in that stage for 5-14 days. Once ready, an adult flea will hatch out of the cocoon and search for a host – such as a dog or cat.
Break the Cycle
Knowing that fleas can survive in the carpet or upholstery can give anyone the creepy-crawlies. Breaking the cycle can help protect your pet (and you!) from flea bites. Vacuuming the carpet, upholstery, and pet beds is important to removing many of the eggs and larvae. Aside from vacuuming the home, providing your pet with a flea preventative is a good way to stop the cycle. Flea preventative products kill adult fleas and larvae in the immediate surroundings of the pet, and if any adult fleas hop on the pet they will die before being able to lay more eggs.
Products We Trust
At South Town Animal Hospital, there are 3 ‘flea & tick’ prevention products we recommend to our clients. They each have their individual qualities that owners pick to best fit their pet and their lifestyle. Two of these products, Frontline and Nexgard, are both dosed monthly but applied differently. If your pet willingly takes treats, Nexgard is a yummy beef flavored chewable. Frontline is a liquid topical application that is put in between the shoulder blades. This is a good option for the picky eater who doesn’t like treats or is allergic to beef. If you prefer to give things minimally, the third product is Bravecto. It is a chewable tablet except given once every 3 months.
At South Town Animal Hospital, we monitor your pet’s health annually through regular lab work. This basically includes blood work and testing of a fecal sample. Early detection is our goal since most animals typically do not show signs of illness. It is best to catch any potential issues early with healthy prevention.
For all dogs is usually a heartworm test. It is important to test for heartworm yearly. If a pet is positive it can be dangerous to give preventative medication. At South Town Animal Hospital, we provide a discount to your annual blood test when you purchase a year of heartworm prevention from us.For cats viral testing for FIV and Feline Leukemia is important. These tests are especially recommended for outdoor cats.
As pets age, we practice the “senior at seven” rule, which means once a pet reaches seven years of age they are considered a senior. More in-depth monitoring panels will be suggested to help provide an ‘overall’ picture of your pet’s health and are recommended yearly or semi annually. These panels check values such as liver, kidney, pancreas, calcium levels, muscle enzymes, thyroid, glucose, platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells. Bloodwork can help indicate or detect infections, anemia, organ disorders, and immune system health issues. In addition, blood work can be required to monitor the effects that certain prescription drugs may have on your pets vital organs.
As important as blood work is, there is another type of testing that can be crucial to your pet’s well being which is checking a fecal sample for parasites your pet may have picked up. Having internal parasites can cause your pet to feel unwell and have symptoms such as bloating and diarrhea. Since parasites can be transmissible to humans as well – it is all that more important to check.
Considering pets are unable to physically tell us what is happening, finding clues and getting a closer look with further diagnostics is critical to diagnosis and the longevity of our pets lives. At South Town Animal Hospital we are big proponents of preventative care versus reactive care. This helps aid our mission of healthy pets longer lives.
With the exciting development of pet healthcare and scientific discoveries in the veterinary field, the cost of care is increasing. It is becoming more and more vital to invest in a safety net for your pet. Pet insurance is one avenue that can provide a little security in your back pocket when a situation may arise. There are many options available for pet insurance to help decrease the burden of costs for pet owners.
While many options are great, it can also become very overwhelming when trying to choose a carrier, or even determine whether or not purchasing a pet insurance plan is best for you. Some of the major factors that are considered by insurance carriers is the pet’s breed, age, or your zip code.
Your first step is to have a clear idea of what sort of plan you want. You may only want a plan that covers regular preventative care such as exams and vaccines. Or you may want a plan that can cover all major medical issues, such as emergency surgery to diagnostic testing. In addition, knowing how reimbursements and deductibles work is an important step in purchasing insurance.
Once you know what sort of coverage you’re looking for, you can pick a plan that works for you. With all the different options for insurance – you can go to www.petinsurancereview.com . This website allows you to put in some basic information such as pet breed, age, etc, and will compare quotes from different carriers. Each carrier typically has multiple options such as exclusive packages or à la carte options where you can pick and choose your specific coverage. Be mindful of deductibles and choose honestly what you believe you will be able to pay out of pocket on any day – as emergencies happen, and you want to be able to make important decisions for your pet without cost being a limiting factor.
It is best to enroll your pet when they are young and healthy, as many insurance companies do not cover pre-existing conditions and it may not be cost-effective to get health insurance for a senior pet. This is why you can get quotes before deciding whether or not to purchase a plan.
If you are having trouble picking a package because you don’t know what your pet may be at risk for, make an appointment with your veterinarian and they can help you determine what your pet may or may not be susceptible to, and that may help you with your decision.
Spring is upon us and with it comes allergy season. Humans aren’t the only ones who get allergies. Our pets can too. As our environment has changed and foods are processed, luckily allergies can be managed a few different ways. We can walk you through how to manage your pet allergies and how to choose the right treatment for your and your pet.
What are the signs of allergies?
- Ear inflammation
- Stomach upsets
- Red eyes
- Paw chewing/licking
- Hair loss
What could my pet be allergic to?
Some common allergens include, but are not limited to:
- Mold, dust, dander
- Perfumes, dyes
- Household cleaners
What should I do if I think my dog is allergic to something?
The first step is to consult your veterinarian for treatment. They will help you determine if it’s an allergy or another condition such as fleas, mites, or some type of infection. Determining if it is an allergy helps to know whether or not medication or a lifestyle change is needed. There is a possibility it can be something as simple as a examining your pets diet. Managing the itch can be a case by case scenario. When you bring your pet in for an exam diagnostics may be needed. Treatment options can range from antihistamines, injections, prescription medication and/or specialty food.
What should I do if I think my cat is allergic to something?
Cats too can develop allergies just like dogs and people. Our feline friends metabolize medications different than dogs, but there are treatment options which range anywhere from non allergen food to antihistamines and/or medications. Our veterinarians are here for you to discuss safe treatments. Cats can also develop symptoms such as gum disease and bladder infections that can be linked to allergies.
Treatment options –
South Town Animal Hospital provides multiple allergy treatment options:
Cytopoint is an allergy treatment in the form of an injection. It typically offers 4-8 weeks of relief from allergy symptoms, and offers a chance for the skin to heal from any sores developed due to allergies.
Apoquel is an allergy treatment in the form of a oral tablet. It can relieve itching within 4 hours and effectively controls itching within 24 hours. The oral tablet is taken daily to control allergy symptoms.
Standard Process has a supplement that boosts the immune system. This all natural product is an oral tablet given daily to aid the immune system and the body’s normal detoxification mechanisms.
Atarax (Hydroxyzine) is an antihistamine used to treat allergy symptoms such as skin issues. It is an oral tablet that helps relieve skin lesions.
These are just a few options that we have to treat allergy issues. There are other treatment options depending on the diagnosis. Allergies can be a frustrating condition. At times managing the itching and medicals conditions can be difficult. Let South Town Animal Hospital help ease your pets discomfort so you and your family can get a good night sleep.
Heartworm disease: It’s something many dog owners have heard about but are not always sure exactly what it is. Heartworm disease is caused by foot-long parasitic worms that are spread through the bite of a mosquito. When fully grown these large adult worms live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of dogs causing potentially fatal blockages.
Mosquitos deposit the larvae into dogs when they take a blood meal. It takes 6 months for the larvae to mature into an adult. The adult worms produce “baby worms” called microfilaria which are picked up by mosquitos and the life cycle continues. Heartworms can live from 5 to 7 years in your pet!
Since there are virtually no early signs or symptoms of heartworm disease, testing yearly is vital. Symptoms are not present until the heartworms increase in size and numbers and create blockages in the heart or lungs. Some symptoms include coughing, reluctance to exercise, fatigue, decreased appetite and weight loss. Unfortunately, sudden death may be the only symptom.
Year-round prevention and annual screening is very important in protecting your pet from infection. Initial testing is vital before starting heartworm prevention.This is due to the fact that the medication can cause a mass die off of the microfilaria which in return can cause shock and potentially death for your pet. For this reason, heartworm preventative must be prescribed by a veterinarian after testing.
Heartworm disease is becoming more prevalent in Illinois. In some clinics in the Chicago area, there has been reported an average of 51 to 99 cases per clinic in 2016.
If your pet tests positive for heartworm disease, your veterinarian will order a follow up test to confirm the diagnosis. It is important to keep a heartworm-positive dog on very low activity to help decrease damage to the heart and lungs. There is treatment for heartworm disease but it is complicated and takes several months. The treatment is an arsenic type of medication and is costly. Monthly prevention is much more cost effective and an easier way to keep your pets heart healthy.
Overall, it is best to screen yearly for heartworm disease and to give heartworm preventative products such as Heartgard and Sentinel. Our knowledgeable staff is here to provide you with further information or answer any questions that you have on heartworm disease or prevention. We are here to keep hearts healthy for “Healthy Pets, Longer Lives”.
Lyme Disease: Is Your Pet (or You) at Risk?
What is it?
Most people have probably heard of lyme disease, but many don’t know where it comes from or how it can affect your pet, or humans. Lyme disease (Lyme borreliosis) is an illness that affects both humans and animals. This is known as a zoonotic disease. It is spread through ticks that carry the causative agent, the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Borrelia burgdorferi is transferred by a tick bite. The species of ticks that can carry the bacterium is the American Dog Tick, the Black-legged Tick a.k.a Deer Tick , and the Lone Star Tick. The American Dog Tick and the A. americanum are most active April-late August, and I. scapularis is most active October – May. This means that ticks that can spread lyme disease are active all year-round!
Symptoms in pets don’t typically appear for several months after infection, and not all dogs infected show clinical signs of the disease. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, fever, joint swelling, lack of appetite, and decreased activity. Lameness may also occur.
Symptoms in humans are much the same, but with additional chronic nerve and joint pain, as well as heart and neurological problems. Humans also develop what is known as a “bulls-eye” rash at the bite location that resembles a target.
Lyme disease cannot be passed from one pet to another, or to humans, except through tick bite. However, if one member of the household is exposed, it is wise to have those who were with the exposed patient tested as well, as they could have been exposed at the same time.
Treatment For Your Pet
It is advised to consult your veterinarian regarding what treatment is the best route for your pet. Every case is different, and every dog’s immune system varies. Some pets may have an active infection but show no symptoms, while others are symptomatic. Antibiotics are often used for treatment if your veterinarian deems necessary.
Prevention is Best
The best way to treat lyme disease is preventing it in the first place. Year-round flea and tick prevention is available in numerous forms so it is easy to choose which is best for your pet. There is also a yearly vaccine available. The best idea is to use both monthly prevention and the yearly vaccine as preventatives. Awareness of ticks is good prevention as well. Because ticks are usually in grasses or shrubberies, it is best to keep a maintained lawn and clear any shrubbery next to homes. It is best tocheck for ticks after going outdoors, even if your or your pet were only outside for a short period of time.