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One Flea, Two Fleas, A Million Fleas, Get Off Me!

One Flea, Two Fleas, A Million Fleas, Get Off Me!

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.flea

 

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.

 

Detection is our Best Selection! Wellness Monitoring is the Best Medicine!

Detection is our Best Selection! Wellness Monitoring is the Best Medicine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Give Your Pet a Safety Net with Pet Insurance!

Give Your Pet a Safety Net with Pet Insurance!

 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.

Allergy Season is Here!

Allergy Season is Here!

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?

  • Scratching
  • Ear inflammation
  • Stomach upsets
  • Red eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Paw chewing/licking
  • Hair loss

 

What could my pet be allergic to?

Some common allergens include, but are not limited to:

  • Pollen
  • Chicken
  • Grain
  • Fleas
  • Mold, dust, dander
  • Perfumes, dyes
  • Household cleaners
  • Smoke

 

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 Awareness Month is Here!

Heartworm Awareness Month is Here!

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”.

Let’s Talk About Lyme Disease…….

Let’s Talk About Lyme Disease…….

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
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.

Oral Health is Our Top Priority!

Oral Health is Our Top Priority!

Oral Health is our Top Priority!

Celebrate with South Town Animal Hospital by loving your pets teeth! At every exam our doctors view the condition of the pet’s mouth. More often than not, periodontal disease is present in pets over the age of 3; eight out of ten dogs, and seven out of ten cats show dental disease at this age. Periodontal disease results when residual food, bacteria and tartar collect in the spaces between the gum and teeth, causing infection that spreads to the bone. Often, pets come in with red inflamed gums or significant tartar. Tartar around molars can can be difficult to reach. Many times it is often identified only in an exam.

Our pets typically aren’t very good at telling us what hurts. They rely on their humans to find out and care for them. Pets can have many of the same dental problems as people, including broken teeth and roots, abscesses or infected teeth, cysts or tumors in the mouth, misalignment of the teeth and bite, broken (fractured) jaw, or palate defects such as cleft palate. Each of these can cause a significant amount of pain for your pet.

“Dog breath” really shouldn’t smell bad – if it does, your dog may have excess bacteria that is wreaking havoc inside of your dog’s mouth. This not only smells bad, but can cause other health issues including kidney, liver, or heart disease. It’s difficult to treat the diseases in the major organs without first treating the cause– which could be your pet’s teeth. The best route of action is prevention.

We often have clients coming in because their pet has become picky or isn’t eating. Some pets will even lose a significant amount of weight due to this. One major cause of reluctance to eat is periodontal disease. Loose teeth can come from gum recession from high calculus build up. Teeth can fall out, crack, or become infected, which can make it hard to chew or swallow.

Here at South Town Animal Hospital we recommend yearly dental cleaning. Having yearly dental cleaning can help prevent the higher costs of extreme dental work or extractions later on in life. It is much more cost-effective to prevent dental conditions than to treat them. A 2014 study by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. showed that the average cost per pet to prevent dental disease is just one-third of the average cost of treating dental disease. Preventative oral care for your pet now can help save you money later.

But why must my pet go under anesthesia for dental work? As humans, our dentists can tell us what they are doing, and you’ve asked them for their help. Our pets however, are not aware of what is happening and what is being done will help them. Having a pet anesthetized for dental work is imperative to keeping your pet calm and safe during the procedure. Pets with dental work are typically sent home the same day as the procedure.

3 things you can do for your pet’s teeth

  • Take your pet for a dental exam at least once a year
  • Talk to your veterinarian about an at-home regimen
  • Schedule regular veterinary dental cleanings for your pet
    Call us or email us for an appointment or if you have any questions.  South Town Animal Hospital is always here for your pets oral health care needs!
Healthy Pets, Happy Lives!

Healthy Pets, Happy Lives!

Healthy Pets, Happy Lives!

 

The new year brings a time for making better choices, this includes making the right choices for your pet. Change can be difficult, but it is often necessary because we all want what is best for our beloved Fydo and Scruffy!  The staff at South Town have put together some tips to start the new year off in a great direction!  

Eat a Healthier Diet!

Good nutrition makes you feel your best! Eating a proper diet provides all the right energy so that your furry friend can tackle things like fatigue and illness. Measuring your pet’s caloric intake is important! We can help you measure your pet’s exact daily caloric needs so that your pet is not eating too much or too little calories. Each different brand of food contains a different amount of calories.  It is important to evaluate what is in your pets food to distribute an appropriate portion. Contact us and our doctors will be happy to put together the correct calorie intake per your pets weight.  

Quality food is also just as important.  Make sure you read the label on the back of your pet food.  It is vital that your first few ingredients are protein based.  Chicken, beef, turkey, and other meats should be the first ingredients listed on the back of the bag.  Providing a balanced diet is vital to your pets health.

Get Moving!

Get outdoors! Go for a walk outside with your pooch! Dogs love to go for walks, play fetch, and socialize! People can take their feline friends outdoors too! Make sure that they are also on a leash or in an enclosed area for safety.

In addition, most cats also enjoy a good toy to throw around. For a fun activity, you can just sprinkle a little catnip on your cat’s favorite toys and watch them go wild! If you have a cat that is a real thrill seeker, try using a laser pointer. Caution to any toys that have strings and feathers.  Cats are often brought in to see the doctors for those types of toys from being ingested.

Your dog may also enjoy play dates with others at a dog park or daycare facility. If your cat is a social butterfly, many daycare facilities offer kitty playtime too. Be sure that your pet is up to date on vaccinations, such as rabies, distemper, and bordetella.  Other vaccines may be required per the facility of your choice.  Make sure to check in with your provider or here at South Town to ensure that your pet is ready to play!  

Another activity you can do with to get your pet moving is swimming! Have you heard about The Puddle, located right next door to South Town Animal Hospital?  The Puddle offers a clean, safe and relaxing environment that promotes a healthy lifestyle for your canine and feline friends. The Puddle offers swimming, massage therapy and top of the line food and nutrition products for your pets!  

Get that physical!

Keep Up On Preventive Health Care. Keep your pet protected against illness by getting annual exams, vaccinations, and important blood work! Depending on your pet’s lifestyle, certain vaccinations may be recommended to keep illnesses at bay. And, just like people see their doctor – for your pet, a thorough examination by a veterinarian, along with blood work, is crucial in catching medical problems at it’s soonest.  The doctor is medically trained in finding anything that is abnormal about your pets health or behavior.  Trust in us to catch and treat anything that may be harmful to your beloved pet!

Groom, Often. Nails, hair, teeth!

When you start to hear a “clickity clack” on the floor, it’s time for your pet to have a nail trim! Are you a cat owner? Most times, there are no clickity clacks, but if you look at your cat’s nails and if you see long, clear or white tips- it’s probably time for a nail trim! Keeping your pet’s nails short is always best! Longer nails make it harder for your pet to walk around. They also can make it more painful to walk around as they can bend more easily and offset your pet’s natural walk!

Groom often to keep your pet’s coat fresh and clean! Matts can easily appear especially under armpits and the neck area.  Bathing and get regular haircuts depending on your pets breed can be critical for healthy eyes and skin.

Update Your Pet’s Microchip Information!

Lastly something that is often forgotten is how important it is to keep contact information up to date. It is vital to update your pet’s microchip information when you get a new home address, phone number or email address. If your pet is lost, his microchip will be scanned, and the information in the microchip will be contacted. If you are not sure which microchip company to contact for updating your pet’s microchip information – no problem! At South Town Animal Hospital, we can scan your pet to find out!

In wrapping things up we want to make sure that your pet is happy and healthy.  Good nutrition, exercise, and coming in for regular exams is vital to a healthier year!  In addition keep your records as up to date as possible by making sure that your pets microchip registration is current.  

Please contact South Town Animal Hospital at (847)695-7387 or reception@southtownanimalhospital.com with any questions about making 2018 the healthiest year yet!

Happy Holidays 2017!

Happy Holidays 2017!

Seasons Greetings from South Town Animal Hospital!

This is the time of year where we truly count our blessings. We spend time with our families and surround ourselves with the ones we love, including our fur babies. Some pets are not so fortunate. That is why we are always thankful that there are organizations like Anderson Animal Shelter to take care of those pets in need. They give a warm bed and a bowl of food to any hungry pet that walks through their doors. That is why we want to support organizations like Anderson Animal Shelter in our community by making a monetary donation to assist in the needs of the shelter on behalf of our clients and their pets. We are blessed that Anderson Animal Shelter is here to help those in need. If you are interested in checking out all that Anderson Animal Shelter does for the community please stop by any of their three facilities or check out their website at http://www.andersonanimalshelter.org . The animals at Anderson Animal Shelter will thank you with warm kisses and belly rubs! Happy Holidays to all!