What to Know About Heartworm

What is heartworm disease?

  Heartworm disease is caused by a specific type of worm that invades your dog and takes up residency between the heart and the lungs. It can block vessels going to the lungs and invade the heart, over time, causing heart disease.

  If your dog has heartworm, it may be found before your dog shows clinical signs by taking a heartworm test. If your dog starts to show signs, you might see: weight loss, coughing, labored breathing, lethargy, and more. Continue…

What is Heartworm and Should I give my Pet Heartworm Preventative?

If you’ve never heard of the heartworm before, you’re not alone. Many pet parents are unaware of this health risk to their dogs, and sometimes cats too! The heartworm is a parasite that enters your pet’s bloodstream via a mosquito bite. Once it reaches the heart, a heartworm can lodge inside and grow up to 12 inches long! The infection is often too far advanced to reverse when symptoms like coughing and exercise intolerance show up—in many cases it is fatal. Nevada used to have far less cases of heartworm infection than it does today, because of our arid climate—but many factors have contributed to the increasing frequency of heartworm infection here and in all 50 states. People travel with their pets and bring back infection, new pets move into the area, and La Niña has been bringing us wetter weather, which mosquitoes thrive in. Continue…

Getting Your Cats in see to see the Vet

If you are like most people who own cats, getting them in to the veterinarian tends to be stressful for both you and the kitty. Most cats maybe get checked out by their veterinarian every other year or less, and that is if the owner can catch them, get them in a carrier without getting bitten or scratched, and drive to the clinic without them howling and hissing in the car. However, most cats should have an annual exam. What if they are sick and need to come in sooner? For most people, going through this process is uncomfortable and we dread it. Never fear! There are ways to help facilitate and reduce the stress of this process.

  1. Try leaving the pet carrier out in the room where your cat spends most of her time. Try making it a comfortable place for your cat by putting a blanket or bed inside. Try feeding your cat next to, on, or in the carrier so that they get used to being around it. You can even try playing with your cat in and around the carrier.
  2. Play with your cat prior to bringing her into your veterinarian. Burning off some energy first helps reduce the stress of the car ride for both of you. It has been shown that petting and playing with your pet significantly reduces stress!
  3. A pheromone spray spritzed on a towel in the carrier the morning of the appointment can help calm your kitty down as well. You can even place a towel that smells like home or carries the scent of the pheromone spray over the carrier. Leaving this towel over the carrier when in the clinic can help minimize stress while in the waiting room.
  4. Examine your cat from head to tail every so often at home. This will get your cat used to being handled and touched, and will help your veterinarian when examining your cat. This will also keep you in tune with your cat and help you notice something before it becomes concerning.
  5. Make sure your carrier is big enough that your cat can stand up and move around. Having a carrier where the top comes off is really helpful for the cats that won’t willingly come out. This allows the veterinarian or technician to safely remove your cat in the exam room without having to pull on her.
  6. Most cats hate car rides, and most cats associate the car ride with going to the doctor, as this is the only time they travel. Try taking them on small, 5 minute car rides to get used to being in the car. You can even take your cat to the veterinary hospital when there is no appointment to get them used to the place without being examined.
  7. For the really anxious cats, there are medications and supplements (such as Zylkene, Composure, and others) to give the morning of your appointment to help them feel calm and less stressed. If your cat is one that will need these, call your veterinarian and discuss this prior to bringing your cat in.

Take the time to try some or all of these options. They can really help you get your cat to her appointment with the least amount of stress to both of you. We want your cat to be her happiest and healthiest!


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posted in:  Pet Health