McQueen Blog

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Facts to Know About Heartworm Disease

Posted: 2019-04-04 18:34 Permanent Link
Facts to Know About Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that can affect dogs and cats.

It’s caused by parasitic worms that can live in the heart, lungs and related blood vessels, and it’s spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. However, the disease is generally preventable and there are measures you can take to help protect your pet from these dangerous parasites.

Signs of Infection
So, how do you know when your dog or cat has heartworms?
Many pets don’t show signs of heartworm infection, which is one reason why heartworm testing is so important. However, depending on the number of worms and the duration and severity of the infection, your pet may exhibit signs of illness.

Dogs with heartworms may have a cough, become lethargic or exercise-intolerant (tiring easily or having difficulty exercising) or have difficulty breathing. They can also develop cardiac problems and retain fluid in their lungs and abdomen due to heart failure. Infected cats may vomit, cough or have difficulty breathing. Cats may also suffer from weight loss or lethargy. Tragically, some cats die suddenly without any previous signs of illness. It’s important to talk to us if your pet is exhibiting any of these signs.

Heartworm Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention
It’s important to have your pet examined on a regular basis, particularly since pets with heartworm disease sometimes don’t have any signs of illness. There are no approved treatments for heartworms in cats, but medications can sometimes help improve breathing difficulties and other disease complications. In dogs, heartworm disease is treatable, but if the heart has been severely damaged, some of the damage may not be reversible. Early diagnosis of heartworms makes early intervention possible — and early intervention can mean pets have a greater chance of surviving a heartworm infection.
We highly recommend to bring in your pet for an annual test and prevention medication.

The good news about heartworm disease is that there are a variety of preventive options (oral and topical products for dogs and cats and an injectable product for dogs) that are safe and effective. Many are given monthly.

Heartworms are preventable if you take your pet to the Vet regularly and follow their recommendations.
Make prevention a priority and your furry friend will thank you.

This blog was written by McQueen Animal Hospital, an animal clinic (vet hospital/vet clinic) in Brampton committed to providing only the highest level of veterinary care to our beloved pets.

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Posted: 2019-03-14 09:41 Permanent Link

When temperatures rise, pets tend to spend more time outside, either relaxing in the sunshine, taking long walks or playing. While the fresh air and exercise are great for them (and you!), it’s important to be aware of some outdoor risks — specifically, bugs and parasites that can bite your pet and make him sick. But don’t worry, taking a few precautions before you head outside can help keep these pests away.

The Troublesome Tick

Ticks are attracted to motion, warm temperatures and the carbon dioxide that your pet exhales. Ticks cannot jump or fly, so they climb onto objects like fences or vegetation. They wait there for a human or animal to walk by so they can cling onto an unwitting host and hitch a ride. Ticks can carry different diseases, depending on the area of the country in which you live. Ask us which ticks are prevalent in our area so you can be on the lookout.

Once ticks find a host, they take a bite — though your pet probably won’t even feel it. The bite can transfer pathogens to a pet, which can lead to disease, or the bite site can become infected. If this happens, your veterinarian will often treat the infection with oral antibiotics. Topical antibiotics aren’t enough, as the infection could have already spread through your pet’s body, making it much harder to treat.

Keeping Ticks at Bay

One of the best ways to deal with ticks is to avoid them in the first place. Don’t take walks in the woods during prime season. Keep the grass, trees and bushes in your yard trimmed, and clear away any brush where ticks might like to hide.

Speak to us about which of the available preventive products are best suited to your geographic area and the age of your pet. These products help kill ticks, but be sure you check with us before using them. Some products should only be used on adult dogs or cats. The new generation of preventive products is highly effective at tackling ticks, but only use them as directed, and talk to us before combining products. Insecticide sprays intended for use on clothing and/or humans should never be used on pets.

Most importantly, never use any product labeled for a dog on a cat. Products labeled for dogs may contain pyrethrins orpermethrins, which can be extremely toxic to cats. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best preventive products for your particular pets.

Removing Ticks

After your pet spends time outdoors, check him carefully for ticks, especially in hard-to-reach places (ticks like to hide in warm areas, so be sure to check folds of skin, under the arms, in the ears, between the toes, etc.). Keep in mind that ticks can be very tiny — some are as small as the head of a pin. If you find a tick on your dog or cat, first of all, don’t panic. Try to remove the tick as soon as possible. Cats can often remove ticks during grooming, but not if the tick is in an inaccessible place, like behind the ear. For safe removal, avoid touching the tick with bare fingers. Use tweezers to take hold of the tick, and pull slowly and steadily. If you can’t remove the tick’s mouthparts fromyour pet’s skin, don’t worry. Once the body has been removed, the tick can no longer transmit pathogens, and the area should heal on its own. Just tossing the tick down the sink or toilet may allow it to survive and crawl out, so first put the tick in rubbing alcohol to kill it. If you have a hard time removing the tick, or are unsure how to do it properly, contact us.

By taking a few simple precautions and checking with your veterinarian, you can help keep your pet tick-free all summer long!

Facts About Ticks

• Lyme disease may be the most well-known disease that can result from pathogens transmitted by ticks, but it isn’t the only one.

• Ticks affect many different mammals, birds and reptiles because they can transmit pathogens from prior hosts.

• If a tick bites an animal with a particular disease, that pathogen can sometimes be transmitted when the tick bites another animal.

• With your veterinarian, discuss possible tick-related diseases in your geographic location and the steps you need to take to prevent tick infestations on your pet.

A little prevention can go a long way!

This blog was written by McQueen Animal Hospital, an animal clinic (vet hospital/vet clinic) in Brampton committed to providing only the highest level of veterinary care to our beloved pets.

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Can I Stop My Cat From Scratching My Sofa?

Posted: 2019-03-08 14:42 Permanent Link
Can I Stop My Cat From Scratching My Sofa?

Cats scratch furniture for a number of reasons. Scratching is a good form of exercise for them. They get to stretch out their bodies and extend and retract their nails. When they scratch, the movements help remove the outer nail sheaths. Cats also scratch to leave visual and olfactory (scent) markers. Their interdigital glands, which are located between the pads of their paws, leave odors behind so that other cats know that the “marker” cat has been in the area. When cats scratch objects, they also leave small gouges, which are visual signals to other cats that there is a cat in the area.

Since cats often scratch to shed their outer nail sheaths, regular nail trims might help reduce the scratching. But there could be something more serious going on: Retreating beneath the sofa could indicate that your cat isn’t feeling well, either physically or emotionally. A cat who is fearful, anxious or stressed may take shelter under a couch or bed to escape an upsetting situation — for example, a new baby or new pet in the home. And cats will often mask pain or illness, so your cat may be hiding, because he’s sick or injured.

In either case, the first step in dealing with the behavior is to schedule a visit to the veterinarian to determine if your cat is suffering from an undiagnosed medical condition, is in some type of physical discomfort, or if he’s anxious or stressed about something in his environment. Your vet may also refer you to a veterinary behaviorist for extra help as needed.

What to Do?
Once your cat has a clean bill of health, you can start to address the behavior. The goal is to redirect your cat’s scratching away from the furniture to something more cat friendly, like a designated scratching post.

1. Place a scratching post right next to the furniture the cat is currently scratching.

2. Deter the cat from scratching furniture by placing double-sided sticky tape on it. Many cats find the stickiness of the tape unpleasant.

3. Praise and offer food rewards whenever your cat scratches her scratching post. You can use clicker training to capture the cat as she is engaging in appropriate scratching behavior to teach her to scratch on the preferred objects.

4. Offer a variety of scratching substrates; don’t offer just one carpeted scratching post. For example, also offer one of the inexpensive cardboard scratching posts or one made from sisal rope. I often recommend an untreated wooden log, which is what many cats scratch in the wild. However, you need to make sure this “au naturel” scratching post is secure, so it can’t tip over and injure your cat.

5. As the cat starts to scratch the new scratching post, you can slowly move the post to a more desirable location.

Create resting and play spaces that cater to your cat’s preferences, including spaces where he can sleep, hide and survey his surroundings. Burrow beds, tunnels, cat trees — especially those with covered areas and den spaces — allow your cat to watch the action in your home — or escape from it, if needed. Tunnels and boxes also provide spaces to play or just chill. Your cat’s crate or carrier can also serve as a quiet resting place when he wants to be alone.

And remember, if you’ve tried all these recommendations and your cat is still “redecorating” the furniture, seek professional help from your veterinarian.

This blog was written by McQueen Animal Hospital, an animal clinic (vet hospital/vet clinic) in Brampton committed to providing only the highest level of veterinary care to our beloved pets.

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