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When Vomiting Isn't Actually Vomiting


Vomiting: One of the most common reasons pets visit their veterinarian

Lots of cats and dogs vomit, right? In fact, so many do it that vomiting is one of the most common reasons why people bring their pets to the vet. But did you know that “vomiting” isn’t always vomiting? It’s true, that isn’t a typo.

“Vomiting” isn’t always vomiting — sometimes it’s actually regurgitation (or, as it’s more affectionately known, “regurge”) — and knowing the difference can be quite important.

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, Vomiting, Regurgitation

Is Your Pet Too Bony? You Don't Know? – Try This Backbone Test


Take a second and try this right now
 
– Run your hand down your pet's back. Start up by the base of their neck and gently run your fingertips down the length of their spine, towards their tail. I know it’s a strange request, but bear with me. You’ll see why it’s important shortly.

How easily can you feel your pet's backbone? 

If those bones (they’re called the vertebral bodies and processes) are very prominent and easy to feel, then your pet may have decreased muscle mass and one of a host of the underlying conditions that can lead to such muscle loss.

 

Some of the conditions and problems that can result in decreased muscle mass in cats and dogs include:

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, Ideal pet weight, Dog Tips, Cat Tips, Pet Diet

Why Hydrogen Peroxide Is NOT For Cleaning Pet Wounds


Many people wonder how long it will take their cat or dog's wound to heal, or what they can do to help it heal faster. While there isn't a "one-size-fits-all" answer for either of those two questions, there's definitely something that you should avoid using on your pet's wounds if you don't want to slow down the healing process. Though you wouldn't be the first to make such an honest mistake.

Unfortunately, vets see a lot of wounds (cat bite abscesses, dog bite wounds, skin cuts and lacerations, abrasions, etc.) where well-intentioned pet owners have inadvertently and sadly slowed their pet's wound healing with the at-home, first-aid care they’ve tried before bringing their pet in.

How have they done this? By using something you likely have in your medicine cabinet, and something that many people often reach for as a first line of defense when cleaning and treating a wound on their cat or dog (or even on themselves).

I’m talking about good ol' Hydrogen Peroxide.

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Safety, Dog Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, Pet First Aid

Shampoo For Your Pet – Which Kind Should You NOT Use?

 

Fido & Fluffy Need A Bath – Pick The Right Shampoo

When it comes to bathing your pets, it can be tempting to reach for whatever shampoo you might already have in your shower, or grab the dishwashing soap from your kitchen. While this may be ok every now and again, the regular use of human shampoos (even the “tear free” ones for babies) and dishwashing soaps can actually lead to worse skin problems for your pets.

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, pet safety, Dog, Giving a cat a bath, Grooming, Pet Shampoo, Giving a dog a bath, Cat, Skin problems

Dog in a Hot Car – Would You Break the Window? Read this First!


Should you break a window to save a dog in a hot car?

You might've seen or read in the news recently the story of Michael Hammons, the Desert Storm veteran who was charged with criminal trespassing after breaking a car window to save a dog locked in a hot car. The story has prompted lots of comments, with most expressing their support for Mr. Hammonds and many declaring that they would've done the same in his situation.

Update: Fortunately the charges were dropped.

But as Mr. Hammons' story highlights, when it comes to pets locked in hot cars, sometimes doing the right thing can land you in hot water. So how, as a pet-loving society, can we protect, save, and advocate for pets while avoiding the prospect of criminal charges ourselves?

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Topics: Cat Health, Emergencies, Dog Health, pet safety tips, Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke, Blog

Measuring Pet Food – When A Cup Is Not A Cup


We all drink from some sort of cup everyday, but just because we call it cup, does not make it a true measurement of volume. Why is this important? Because when it
comes to your pet’s weight and their overall health, the myriad of empty containers people frequently use to scoop their pet's kibble aren't the “cups” we veterinarians (and the back of the pet food bags) are talking about. 

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, Dogs, Cats, Dog Tips, Dog Food, Cat Tips, Cat food, Pet Obesity

The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 7 - Lights & Electrical Cords)


DAY 7: Light Strands & Electrical Cords

Though strands of Christmas lights can really add a beautiful holiday glow to your tree or house decorations, its important to also appreciate that they can cause a curious pet quite a shock and some pretty significant resulting health problems, too. And if chewed on, these tree adornments can even lead to a house fire.

Be aware

Pets that chew on electric cords ,can sustain burns on their tongues and elsewhere in their mouth. These pets may also develop a buildup of fluid within their lungs, as a result of the electrical shock. This fluid buildup within the lungs, that results from a cause other than heart failure, is known as non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema, it can lead to breathing problems, and it can be fatal, too.

The oral cavity burns these pets suffer from can result in significant pain and can cause them to go off their food. This scorched tissue is also at risk of becoming infected. If your pet chews through an electric cord and their burns are bad enough that they won't take food, they will need to be hospitalized for care and they may need to have a temporary feeding tube placed. These tubes can be lifesaving interventions, but they can be fairly costly too - with hospitalization for tube placement and the necessary nursing care often costing in the range of $1,000-3,000 (depending on the severity of their injuries and how well and quickly they respond to treatment).

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Safety, Dog Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, holiday pet safety tips, Christmas pet hazards, Hiding, Electrical shock, Electrical Cords, Burns, Excessive drooling, Scorched tissue

The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 4 - Batteries)


DAY 4: Batteries

Christmas and batteries just seem to go hand-in-hand, don't they? Among other things, they're in (or necessary for) many toys, digital cameras, watches, remote controls, and even those (annoying?) singing greeting cards. Heck, Santa even sometimes gives packs of batteries as stocking stuffers! Unfortunately though, batteries can pose a very significant danger to dogs – a danger that is likely more serious than you even know. Especially if they swallow certain types of batteries!

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Safety, Dog Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, Vomiting, Pet safety and houseguests, Pet emergency, Batteries, Lithium Battery

The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 2 - Fruitcake)


DAY 2: Fruitcake

Ah, the Christmas fruitcake! Whether you use it as a doorstop or an actual dessert, be careful around your pets with this staple of Christmas festivities. If the alcohol in these dense cakes doesn't cause a problem for your 'furkids,' the raisins, currants, and yeast they often contain likely will.

Raisins and currants

Most fruitcake recipes call for dried fruits, and this typically includes raisins and/or currants, which can be highly toxic to your dog's kidneys. Not all dogs are affected by the toxin, and we don't yet know what the exact toxin is. However, in those dogs that are affected, the result can be devastating, permanent, expensive, and potentially fatal acute renal (kidney) failure.

The costs associated with treatment for acute kidney failure can vary widely and will mostly depend on how quickly they receive appropriate medical care and how well they respond to it. When it comes to treatment for acute kidney failure, from any cause, not all medical facilities and their capabilities are the same. Given the need for round the clock IV fluid diuresis, intensive monitoring, and the benefits of advanced treatment modalities (such as dialysis or renal replacement therapy), cases of acute kidney failure can truly only be effectively treated in facilities that are staffed around the clock and typically in hospitals staffed by doctors and technicians with advanced training. *Note that this is not the same type of kidney failure that develops slowly in cats and dogs as they age, that type of failure is called chronic kidney failure and it can often be effectively managed in your regular veterinarian's office.

Alcohol

Similar to the effects it can have in people, alcohol can cause several problems in your dogs and cats. And unlike the uncle that everyone is embarrassed by at the holidays, it doesn't take much alcohol for your pets to get into trouble. While you won't typically need to worry about your intoxicated dog or cat getting behind the wheel of a car (unless their name is "Toonces" - check out this classic SNL video if that name doesn't ring a bell), you still have to worry about the results of their alcohol ingestion none the less.

Alcohol can lead to both metabolic and neurologic problems in your pets that can result in vomiting, breathing problems, coma, and death. Given the high 'proof' of many Christmas fruitcakes, you'd be wise to take the steps necessary to keep them well out of your pet's reach. And keep the wine glasses and cocktails off the low-lying tables too while you're at it.

Uncooked yeast

Some fruitcake recipes call for yeast to be used in the dough, making the uncooked dough a potential danger to your curious or mischievous pet. As I covered in this Thanksgiving Pet Safety article, uncooked yeast can cause a very dangerous buildup of alcohol and gas within your pet's stomach resulting in their death or a very stressful trip to the veterinarian.

Be aware

Whether you call it 'fruitcake,' 'stollen,' 'panettone,' or 'birnenbrot,' these laden-with-fruit cakes can pose a variety of dangers to any pet that might venture to try them. From kidney failure to a gas distended stomach leading to cardiovascular collapse and shock, the potential hazard (and cost) is high.

What to do if your pet eats fruitcake

If your pet does get into the holiday fruitcake, cooked or uncooked, contact a veterinarian or pet-specific poison control hotline immediately for advice. Especially in the case of raisin and currant or raw yeast ingestion, time is of the essence! If your pet is staggering, attempting to vomit without success, or has collapsed, bring them for immediate veterinary evaluation. Do not attempt to induce vomiting without first speaking with a vet.

Always remember...

  • Put uncooked bread dough in the microwave or conventional oven to rise, rather than leaving them out on a countertop or table.
  • Don't leave a fruitcake under the tree... wrapping paper is no match for a dog's nose and teeth.
  • Keep your pets well away from the dessert table. Better yet, give your pets their own 'safe room' to stay in while the family enjoys Christmas dinner.
  • Be careful where you put your dessert plate down.
  • Make sure that all of your guests are aware of the dangers associated with this and all the other common pet hazards associated with the holidays.
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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Safety, Dog Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, Kidney Failure, Are Currants Safe for Dogs, Raisin Toxicity, holiday safety, holiday pet safety tips, pet poison control, Vomiting, Christmas pet hazards, Pet safety and houseguests, Pet Hazard, Alcohol toxicity, Fruitcake

Recognizing and Helping Overweight and Obese Dogs


What do you think about your pet's weight? Be honest. Do you think that they're an appropriate weight? Do you think they're too thin? Too heavy?

Would it surprise you to learn that nearly 56% of the dogs, and nearly 60% of the cats in America are overweight or obese? This is according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, and based upon the results of their 2017 National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Study. What is perhaps even sadder, and will make the problem that much more difficult to combat, is that many owners were mistaken about their own pet’s weight.

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, Cat Diet, Dog DIet, Heat Stroke, Food, Exercise, Urethral Obstruction, How much should my cat eat, How much should my dog eat, Calories, Hepatic Lipidosis, Pancreatitis, Ideal pet weight, Obesity, Diabetes, Diabetic

Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.