All posts by James

Adorable But Sneaky Ways Your Cat Manipulates You

Did you know that June 24th is Cat World Domination Day? Of course, if you were to ask Fluffy, she may very well insist that every day should be Cat World Domination Day. Actually, many of our feline patients already have their humans wrapped around their paws! Read on as a Roanoke, VA vet lists some ninja-level kitty manipulation tactics.

The Meow

One of the most adorable things about cats is the way they vocalize. Fluffy’s chirps, squeaks, and meows are super cute, and have a way of keeping us smiling. As it turns out, our feline pals may have started meowing specifically so they could boss us around. They don’t meow at each other, at least once they’re fully grown. They usually only ‘talk’ when they want to give their humans orders.

Indecision

Although we recommend that cats live indoors, we do understand that our feline friends do enjoy going outside. And then back inside. And then outside again. Actually, Fluffy seems to really enjoy making her humans get up to open a door for her, even if she has no intention of actually going through said door.

Finicky Felines

Does your kitty sometimes cry to demand her dinner right meow, only to turn that cute little nose up at what you put in her bowl? To be fair, Fluffy does have a reason for being finicky. In the wild, cats always eat their prey fresh, and instinctively avoid anything that smells even slightly off. That said, there certainly are some spoiled furballs out there!

Adorable and Comfortable

Cats spend a rather ridiculous amount of sleeping. They also have a special way of looking almost impossibly cute during their naps. You may feel bad about moving your furry little friend when she’s clearly both extremely comfortable and, for some reason, completely exhausted. This is also why many kitties are able to take over the ‘lion’s share’ of their humans’ beds at night!

Computer Skills

Have you ever noticed that the internet seems to have a rather disproportionate amount of cat memes and videos? Are we slowly being brainwashed by these cuddly little furballs? Is this why Fluffy likes to sleep and walk on our computers and keyboards? We have our suspicions …

Please contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, for your feline overlord’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

Barbeque Hazards for Dogs

With summer here, we’re quickly moving into prime grilling season. Barbeques are one of our favorite summer activities, and we suspect that many of our canine patients share our opinions. However, Fido can get into quite a bit of mischief at barbeques, so you’ll want to take some steps to keep him safe. A Roanoke, VA vet discusses barbeque safety for dogs in this article.

Food

Many of our favorite foods are toxic to our canine buddies. Never let Fido have anything that contains garlic, onions, scallions, or chives; chocolate; alcohol; caffeine; grapes, currants, or raisins; mushrooms; or nuts. Meat on the bone is also a no-no, are raw meat, fish, and dough and anything containing xylitol.

Fire

Fires and pets are not a good combination. Keep your furry pal safely away from the grill. You don’t want Fido wrapping his leash around it, or snapping up a sizzling-hot burger that fell to the ground.

Chemicals

Lighter fluid, torch oil, citronella, bug spray, and other chemicals are all unsafe for pets. Keep these things well out of paws’ reach!

Open Gates

Keep an eye on your doors and gates, especially as people are coming and going. You don’t want Fido slipping out!

Heat

Summer can be tough on our canine pals. Make sure Fido has shade and water at all times. If you see him panting, bring him to a cool indoor spot and give him some water.

Parasites

Summer is a prime time for fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other bugs. Make sure your furry friend is current on his vaccines and parasite control products.

Trash

Dogs are very opportunistic, and will seize any chance they can to score extra food. Fido definitely is not above going through the trash in hopes of snagging himself some leftovers! This can be dangerous, as the garbage may contain things like bones, skewers, tin foil, toothpicks, and other hazards. Clear the tables and put away leftovers as soon as everyone has finished eating. Use garbage cans with tight lids.

Being Underfoot

Man’s Best Friend likes to stick pretty close to his human pals. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to Fido getting stepped on, or getting his tail caught in doors. Keep a close eye on your pup!

Please do not hesitate to contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, if ever we can be of assistance. We’re here to help!

Signs of Dental Issues In Dogs

Did you know that dental problems are one of the most common health issues we see in our canine patients? These issues can be very painful, and, if left unchecked, can become quite dangerous. Just like people, Fido needs good oral care. It’s also important to keep an eye out for warning signs. Here, a Roanoke, VA vet discusses signs of doggy dental issues.

Bad Breath

Fido has many charms, but minty-fresh breath is not one of them. That said, your dog shouldn’t wilt plants with his breath. If your puppy’s affectionate doggy smooches leave you gagging, dental issues may be to blame.

Swelling

Visible swelling is a definite red flag. This should be treated as a medical emergency, as oral infections can spread quickly. In some cases, they can even be fatal.

Tartar Buildup

Does your furry best friend have unsightly yellow or brown buildup on his teeth? If so, he could probably use a good cleaning. Tartar buildup often goes hand-in-hand with gum disease, which affects a whopping 80 percent of adult dogs. This is actually a very serious problem. The bacteria from gum disease can spread to Fido’s vital organs, and can contribute to major issues, like heart disease.

Bleeding Gums

Bloody gums are another warning sign. You may also see traces of blood on your pup’s dishes or toys.

Grumpiness

Toothaches generally don’t do much for anyone’s moods. Dogs are no exception here. If your pooch seems uncharacteristically cranky, he may have dental problems.

Shyness

If Fido shies away when you try to touch his face, there could be a problem with his mouth or teeth.

Reduced Interest In Play

Just like people, dogs often don’t feel very playful when they are sick or injured. If Fido has suddenly lost interest in his toys, he may be having trouble with his teeth.

Changes In Appetite

Dental problems can make it hard for Fido to chew. He may take longer eating, dribble food out of his mouth, chew on one side of his mouth, and/or start preferring softer foods.

Tips

Most of the symptoms listed above can actually be indicative of several different medical issues, including some very serious ones. Don’t take chances! Call your vet immediately if you notice any of these red flags!

Please reach out to us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, anytime. We are here to help!

Grooming a Longhaired Cat

Do you have a super fluffy feline? Kitties are all cute, but longhaired ones can be extra adorable. They also require a bit of extra work. That’s a lot of fur for a kitty to care for! Read on as a Roanoke, VA vet discusses grooming longhaired cats.

Supplies

You may need a few different supplies for your pet. Wire slicker brushes remove dead fur and prevent tangles, while undercoat rakes are good for kitties with double coats. You may also want a de-shedding tool, as well as a softer brush for Fluffy’s head and paws. Mat combs, as the name suggests, are helpful for removing tangles. Flea combs can also come in handy.

Bathing

You don’t necessarily have to bathe Fluffy. However, you can if you want to. It also isn’t a bad idea to get your feline friend used to the idea of being bathed. This will make your life much easier if she ever gets something spilled on her fur. Use warm-not hot water, and an unscented shampoo made specifically for cats. To avoid getting suds in your kitty’s eyes, ears, or mouth, use a pitcher or teapot for rinsing.

Brushing

Most longhaired kitties need to be brushed regularly. This serves several purposes. For one thing, they often get knots and tangles, particularly under their arms and legs, which need to be removed. This will also help prevent hairballs. Hairballs happen when cats ingest fur while grooming themselves. If you grab that dead hair before Fluffy swallows it, you’ll be doing both yourself and your pet a favor. This is also a good way to monitor your feline pal’s health, as you may notice bumps, cuts, or other issues earlier than you would otherwise. Last but not least, your furball will feel loved and safe and, hopefully, a bit pampered.

Trims

Kitties sometimes get dirt, litter, or fecal matter stuck to their bottoms. You may want to trim some of the fur around your furry pal’s behind. Just be sure to only use blunt-end scissors.

Face

Certain longhaired breeds, such as Persians, are brachycephalic. These kitties have adorable pushed-in faces. However, they are also prone to tear stains. Clean Fluffy’s face gently, using a damp clean cloth or cotton ball.

Do you have questions about grooming your pet? Please feel free to contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic! We’re here to help!

Springtime Hazards for Cats and Dogs

Your pet is probably looking forward to the warmer weather of spring just as much as you are. Now that it’s officially here, it’s important to keep in mind some seasonal pet hazards! Below, your Roanoke, VA vet tells you about common springtime dangers for cats and dogs and how to keep your companion safe.

Parasites

Spring is prime-time for outdoor pests like fleas, ticks, and parasitic worms to start wreaking havoc on our pets’ health. If your pet isn’t protected with preventative medications, they’ll be at risk of a dangerous infestation or infection! Make sure your pet wears a flea-and-tick preventative and is taking a heartworm medication; these measures keep most pets pest-free throughout the season. Talk to your vet right away if your pet needs these preventatives.

Cleaning Supplies

Doing a little spring cleaning this time of year? Remember to keep your pet elsewhere. A variety of cleaning products can harm pets; everything from household disinfectants and toilet-bowl cleaner to carpet shampoo and air fresheners poses a threat. It’s safest to move your pet to another room if you’re using something that gives off strong chemicals. Also, be sure to store cleaning products safely inside a locket supply closet where pets can’t reach.

Toxic Plant Life

Did you know that there are hundreds of potentially harmful plants and flowers out there for pets? Some of the most common include dieffenbachia, rhododendron (also called azalea), philodendron, amaryllis, lilies, tulips, daffodils, ivy, chrysanthemums, elephant ear, oleander, the sago palm, and various types of aloe plants. Check your home, garden, and landscaping to make sure you haven’t planted something harmful for your pet.

Allergies

Humans aren’t the only ones who can suffer from springtime allergies. Pets, too, might be sniffling and sneezing more than usual this time of year! In addition to tree pollen, pets can experience allergies to dirt, dust, mold, and a variety of other substances. If you think your pet might be suffering from springtime allergies, contact your vet’s office for help.

Escape

You’re probably looking forward to opening a few windows around the house to let in the comfortable breezes of spring. Just make sure your pet can’t escape—outfit all windows with sturdy mesh screens, and identify your pet properly with a microchip, ID tags, or both to be safe.

For more tips on keeping your pet safe this spring, call your Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic.

Getting Your Pet Back to a Healthy Weight

Take a glance at your pet—are they looking a bit pudgy? Nearly half of all domesticated cats and dogs are overweight! If your pet could stand to shed a few pounds, use these tips from a Roanoke, VA veterinarian to return them to a healthy weight:

See the Vet

First, set up an appointment to have your pet examined at the vet’s office. You don’t want to start adjusting your pet’s portion size or changing their diet without consulting the professionals first! Your veterinarian can tell you whether or not your pet is, in fact, obese. Then, you’ll work together to create a tailored weight-loss plan.

Adjust Portion Size

Many times, all it takes for a pet to start losing weight is some control over their portion size. A huge number of pets become obese simply from over-eating! Never free-feed your pet, which means leaving food out at all times for your pet to munch on as they wish; instead, ask your veterinarian about a portion measurement that suits your pet’s needs. Give your pet that amount of food at mealtimes, and remove any uneaten kibble after about 20 minutes.

Feed a Great Diet

Is your pet’s food itself up to par? If your companion is receiving a budget food that contains a lot of empty calories, they’re probably packing on the pounds. It’s time to upgrade your pet’s diet to a premium food that suits their age, size, and breed. This way, they’ll receive all of the essential nutrients for good health without consuming too many calories and becoming overweight.

Exercise Regularly

Of course, no weight-loss plan comes without exercise. You’ll have to get your pet moving on a regular basis in order to help them burn off that excess body fat and return to a healthy weight. Go on brisk walks through your neighborhood, or romp around inside with a favorite toy. However you do it, make sure your pet gets several minutes of physical activity per day, several times a day.

Tips on Treats

Don’t give your pet a lot of fatty table scraps, and don’t overdo it when it comes to pet treats. Use treats as rewards for good behavior, or as training tools—giving your pet treats for no real reason isn’t healthy.

Does your pet need a veterinary exam? We’re here to help. Contact your Roanoke, VA animal hospital to schedule an appointment.

Caring For A Dog With Allergies

If you’ve ever had allergies, or know someone who has, you know they aren’t much fun. Our canine companions can also develop allergies. In fact, Fido can become allergic to a wide variety of things. These allergies can develop at any point in a dog’s life, and often come on unexpectedly. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet offers tips on caring for a pooch with allergies.

Veterinary Care

First things first: if you know or suspect that your canine buddy has allergies, take him to the vet for some testing. Once your vet has pinpointed what Fido is reacting to, he or she will be able to offer specific treatment options. This may consist of medication, a special diet, and/or home care instructions.

Pollen Counts

You may want to download an app for tracking pollen counts, or monitor levels online. When pollen counts are high, limit your furry pal’s outdoor time.

Products

Whenever you bathe Fido, or wash his clothes, toys, or bedding, use hypoallergenic, unscented soaps and shampoos. If you take your furry buddy to the groomer’s, make sure they know not to use scented products on him. We also recommend washing your pet’s things every week or so. Use the hot cycle and then tumble dry. This will help sanitize Fido’s things.

Paws For Thought

When you bring your canine pal in from outside, wipe his paws and belly down with a damp cloth. This will remove dust and pollen from his feet and coat. This can actually be quite helpful. For instance, if Fido runs through a lawn filled with weeds he is allergic to, he may become further irritated if he licks his paws afterwards.

Cleaning

Vacuuming frequently will help reduce the amount of allergens in your home. It will also help keep your place smelling better! You don’t have to do your whole house every day. Just quickly go over high-traffic areas and your furry friend’s favorite lounging spots daily. Follow up with more thorough cleanings every week.

Air Quality

It may be a good idea to invest in a quality air purifier. This will help remove dust and dander from the air. Remember to change the filters regularly!

Do you know or suspect that your canine friend has allergies? Contact us, your local Roanoke, VA vet clinic, today! We are dedicated to offering great veterinary care!

What You Need to Know About Your Cat and Dairy

Cats and milk seem to go together like two peas in a pod. You might be surprised to learn that the two don’t actually mix very well! Learn more here from your Roanoke, VA veterinarian.

Why is Milk Bad for Cats?

It turns out that most adult cats are actually lactose-intolerant, just like many humans are. This means that they don’t possess enough of the enzyme lactase in their digestive systems to properly digest lactose, the main enzyme found in milk. While a small bit of milk might not do your cat any real harm, too much isn’t a good idea. It’s likely that a cat will experience an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea if they drink too much milk!

Don’t Kittens Require Milk?

You might be wondering about kittens, who do indeed require their mother’s milk—or a synthetic substitute if the mother’s milk isn’t available—in the early stages of life. During this time, milk is necessary for proper growth, but it won’t remain so as a cat grows older. Typically, a cat starts producing less and less lactase as they age, becoming entirely lactose-intolerant by the time they’re a full-grown adult.

If you’re raising a kitten, they may need to be bottle-fed with the mother’s milk or a commercial milk substitute. Ask your veterinarian for help, and also be sure to ask about transitioning your kitten from milk to wet food.

Is Any Dairy Safe for My Cat?

Other dairy foods like cheese and yogurt don’t contain as much lactose as pure milk does, so they might be a bit safer for your cat to eat. Keep in mind, though, that no dairy is a nutritional necessity for your cat and that too much of any foreign food can cause problems. If you insist on having your cat try cheese, yogurt, or other forms of dairy, keep the portion size extremely small.

A better idea for your cat is a “cat milk,” a relatively new product that can be found in many pet supply shops. It’s a special milk made just for cats that has had all lactose removed, meaning that it’s completely safe for your feline friend.

What Does My Cat Need to Drink?

Your cat only needs one liquid to drink: fresh water. Provide a full dish at all times!

To learn more about your cat’s nutritional needs, call your Roanoke, VA vet clinic today.

5 Dental Health Tips for Dogs

February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Did you know that dental care is one of the most important aspects of your canine companion’s overall health? It’s up to you to keep your dog’s pearly whites in good shape! Learn how below from a Roanoke, VA veterinarian.

Check the Teeth

One of the best ways to maintain your dog’s oral health is to check on the teeth and gums regularly. Sit down with Fido once a week or so, and gently draw back the lips to reveal the teeth and gums. Look for redness, swelling and/or inflammation, cracked or misaligned teeth, bleeding, excessive brown-colored plaque build-up, and anything else that looks unusual. Let your vet know if you find something concerning.

Chew Toys

Provide your dog with plenty of fun chew toys; not only does this entrain your pooch for hours on end, it promotes great dental health! Chew toys give your dog’s teeth and gums a solid workout, and the action of chewing itself helps to scrape away much of the loose plaque on your dog’s outer tooth surfaces.

Brushing Sessions

There’s no better way to keep your dog’s teeth and gums in peak condition in the comfort of your own home than by brushing the teeth on a regular basis. Pick up a canine-formulated toothpaste and a pet toothbrush at your local pet supply store. Before starting to brush, simply massage your dog’s teeth and gums with your finger to acclimate him to the sensation. Now, introduce the paste so he can get used to the smell and taste. With a little patience, you’ll be able to brush the entire mouth, effectively keeping the teeth clean and the breath fresh.

Quality Diet and Fresh Water

You might not have considered your dog’s diet as a great benefit to dental health, but it is just that. When your pooch receives all of the necessary nutrients through his food, the teeth and gums stay healthy! A steady supply of fresh water is also important; it helps to flush out the mouth, removing food particles and other grime, and ultimately keeps your dog’s entire mouth healthy.

Veterinary Cleanings

Of course, there’s no substitute for professional dental cleanings by your local veterinarian. This procedure is the ultimate way to keep your dog’s teeth and gums in tip-top shape!

Is your dog due for a dental cleaning? Call your Roanoke, VA animal hospital.

7 Reasons to Brush Your Cat

Cats have many wonderful qualities, but one of the best things about them is the fact that they are so clean. Fluffy will carefully groom herself every day. However, your furry little diva will still benefit from being brushed. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet lists some great reasons to brush your feline pal regularly in this article.

Hairball Prevention

One benefit of brushing Fluffy regularly is that you’ll be capturing that fur with a brush before she can swallow it. (We all know what happens when cats swallow too much fur. Suffice it to say, this is not the best part of having a kitty.)

Circulation

Grooming is also good for your feline pal’s circulation. While it isn’t absolutely necessary to brush Fluffy for this reason, it certainly isn’t going to hurt.

Kitty Comfort

Some of our feline friends—such as senior cats, obese kitties, and pets with chronic pain—have a hard time reaching their whole bodies to groom themselves, and may need a helping hand. Brushing Fluffy will help her stay more comfortable, since, as one can imagine, dirty hair feels matted and itchy.

Insulation

Did you know that your four-legged pal’s fur has insulating qualities that not only help her stay warm in winter, but keep her cool in summer? Dead fur and dander interfere with the insulating abilities of your cat’s fur coat. Therefore, brushing Fluffy will help keep her comfortable temperature-wise.

Health Checks

While brushing should never replace veterinary appointments, it does give you a good chance to check your kitty for signs of injury or illness, such as lumps, bumps, cuts, or lesions. Call your vet right away if you notice anything unusual.

Less Fur Everywhere

This one’s a definite bonus! The more of Fluffy’s fur you can capture with a brush, the less you’ll find stuck to your sofas, chairs, carpets, and clothing. (Tip: use a squeegee, rubber dish glove, or a damp sponge to remove dead fur from upholstered surfaces.)

Purr Activation

Last but not least, brushing your cat is a great way for you to spend some quality time with her and keep that little motor going. Kitties are always happiest when they feel loved and safe and purrhaps just a little bit pampered.

Please reach out to us, your local Roanoke, VA vet clinic, anytime. We are always happy to help!