All posts by James

Why is Spaying and Neutering So Important?

Did you know that your pet might be able to spayed or neutered at as young as eight weeks of age? It’s a critical procedure for your pet, but do you know why? Learn more about the many benefits of spaying and neutering as your Roanoke, VA veterinarian elaborates below.

It Eliminates Health Risks

First of all, spaying and neutering is a great thing for your pet’s health. It virtually eliminates the risk of genital cancers, and also makes other cancer types like prostate and breast cancer far less likely to occur. Even other reproductive- and urinary-system problems, such as urinary tract infections, aren’t as likely to happen in pets who have had the procedure performed. All in all, it’s one of the best things you’ll ever do for your pet’s health.

It Improves Behavior

Pets who have had the spay or neuter procedure done tend to behave far better than those who haven’t. Without those pesky hormones coursing through their system, a spayed or neutered pet isn’t as likely to exhibit bad behaviors like urine spraying and house soiling, loud vocalization, aggression toward owners or other pets, chewing, scratching, or digging, and more. The procedure certainly won’t make your animal friend a perfectly behaved pet, but it goes a long way toward keeping your companion mild-mannered and under control.

There’s a Lower Risk of Escape

When intact pets reach the age of sexual maturity, they’ll start to feel an insatiable desire to seek a mate. It’s particularly a problem for dogs, who have been known to escape by whatever means necessary—even chewing through entire doors or digging under fencing in your yard. It’s just not worth the risk of dealing with a lost pet! Having your companion spayed or neutered early on in life means that they won’t feel the desire to escape when mating season arrives.

There’s a Broader Benefit

Spaying or neutering your pet has another much bigger benefit: the greater good. Millions of pets go homeless or must be euthanized every year, simply because of overpopulation. Don’t let your pet to contribute to the problem by breeding in an unrestricted way—you’re not only saving yourself a litter of unexpected puppies or kittens, you’re benefiting the homeless pet population.

Does your pet need spayed or neutered? Contact your Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic right away to set up an office visit. We’re always here to help!

6 Ways To Keep Your Cat’s Coat Healthy

One of the many things we love about cats is the fact that they are so clean. Fluffy is very dedicated to her beauty routine, and will groom herself every day. However, there are also things you can do to keep her fur healthy. A Roanoke, VA vet lists some key ones below.

Brushing

Fluffy is pretty good about taking care of her coat, but she will still benefit from being brushed regularly. Brushing will remove dead hair and dander from her coat. This will reduce the amount that she swallows, which in turn means less hairballs. It’s also a great way to spend time with your pet!

Good Food

Proper nutrition will go a long way towards keeping your kitty’s coat soft and shiny. If Fluffy isn’t getting enough nourishment, her fur will soon show the effects, and will start to look dry and dull. Supplements may also help. Omega 3 and 6 oils, for instance, contain essential fatty acids that help keep your pet’s fur healthy. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Parasite Control

Fleas can wreak havoc on your cat’s fur. Kitties often over-groom themselves trying to find relief, which will leave their coats looking a bit unkempt. Plus, fleas will make your beloved pet miserably itchy. They can also spread dangerous diseases and/or transmit other parasites. Keep up with Fluffy’s parasite control!

Avoid Overbathing

You don’t have to bathe your furball, though you can if you want to, assuming your vet gives the green light. Use warm—not hot—water and shampoos made specifically for cats. Also, don’t overbathe Fluffy. This can strip the oils from her fur, which will dry out her coat and make her look, well, a bit frizzy.

Keep Kitty Happy

Cats are very emotional. If Fluffy feels stressed, lonely, or scared, she may stop cleaning herself. Or, she may go the other way and over-groom herself, which can result in hair loss and bald patches. Keep your kitty purring by making sure she always has a clean litterbox, fresh water, good food, toys, and, of course, comfy beds.

Veterinary Care

If you notice any skin or coat problems, such as flaking, redness, or thinning fur, contact your vet immediately. The sooner an issue is treated, the better!

Please feel free to contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, anytime. We’re happy to help!

Adopting a Senior Dog

November is Adopt A Senior Pet Month. Older dogs often have a very hard time finding forever homes, and typically spend a lot more time in shelters than their younger counterparts. This is very sad, because they make absolutely wonderful pets. Here, a local Roanoke, VA vet discusses adopting an older dog.

Benefits

There are some great reasons to consider adopting an older dog. For one thing, they’re much calmer than younger pups. That means they don’t need as much exercise or playtime, and are much less destructive. They’re also usually already trained, which means you can skip the housebreaking stage. Plus, you won’t have to wonder how big Fido will get, or what he’ll look like in a few years. What you see is what you get! Last but not least, dogs in their senior years are often very sweet and affectionate. These adorable pooches really just want someone to love them, care for them, and scratch their backs.

Finding Fido

There are far too many older dogs in shelters, desperately hoping someone will love them enough to take them home. Many of these sweet pups have been abandoned by their owners, often after a lifetime of loyalty. In other cases, they may have ended up in shelters due to unfortunate circumstances. Giving a senior pet a second chance at happiness is a wonderful act of kindness, and a great way to meet your furry BFF!

Getting Settled

Before you bring your canine buddy home, you’ll need to go shopping. A comfy doggy bed is a definite must. You may want to get some pet ramps, to help Fido get around. We recommend elevated doggy dishes, which are easier for pooches to eat from than bowls on the floor. Your list should also include food, toys, treats, grooming supplies, waste baggies, a travel crate or carrier, a leash, and a collar or harness.

Love and Tail Wags

Fido may need some time to get used to his new home. Don’t rush things: just focus on offering your furry friend great care. Treats, walks, playtime, and belly rubs will all help your canine companion feel loved and safe. With lots of TLC, patience, and love, you’ll have that cute tail going before you know it!

Do you need to get your senior dog an exam? Please reach out to us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, anytime!

Keeping Your Pet Safe This Halloween

In just a few short weeks, Halloween and trick-or-treat night will be upon us. It’s a fun time for the whole family, including your pet. However, there are several hazards to be aware of so that you can keep your furry friend safe! Your Roanoke, VA veterinarian tells you more below.

Chocolate

Remember that chocolate of all types—very common around Halloween and trick-or-treat night, in particular—is toxic for animals. It contains theobromine and caffeine, chemicals that can harm our pets in very small amounts. Don’t let Halloween turn into a real nightmare thanks to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and worse. Restrict your pet’s access to any and all chocolates!

Candy

Many candies, gums, and even certain baked goods are sweetened with a sugar substitute called xylitol. It’s okay for humans, but it’s very toxic for our animal friends. Make sure your pet stays away from your kids’ trick-or-treat bags, as well as your own bowl of candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters, so that they can’t ingest anything harmful.

Decorations

Common autumn decorations like pumpkins, gourds, and fall corn aren’t necessarily toxic for pets. They can harm your pet nonetheless, though—a pet who eats too much of any foreign substance can get sick, and these items present a choking hazard. Keep a close eye on your pet to make sure they don’t try to chow down on your seasonal decorations.

Costumes

It’s definitely adorable to dress your pet up in their very own Halloween costume. Just make sure your pet is okay with it. Many pets don’t take kindly to wearing clothing, and may become very stressed out if forced to wear a costume. You’ll also want to check Fido or Fluffy’s costume thoroughly to make sure it doesn’t contain small buttons, zippers, or other bits of plastic or metal that could be chewed off, swallowed, or choked on.

Anxiety and Escape

With the constant ringing of the doorbell by hopeful trick-or-treaters, some pets can get very anxious and overly excited. Since the front door will probably be opening frequently, it’s tempting for some pets to dart out into the night! You don’t want to have to search for your lost pet on trick-or-treat night—secure them in another room if necessary, and make sure your pet is properly identified with a microchip, ID tags, or both.

Contact your Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic for more tips.

Understanding Your Feline Friend’s Hairball Production

Do you own a cat? If so, hairballs are a part of life for you and your feline friend. They’re certainly not pleasant to look at, and it doesn’t seem very pleasant for Fluffy when she coughs one up, but are they dangerous? Learn more here from a Roanoke, VA vet.

Why Do Hairballs Occur?

Your cat grooms herself often, as you know. When she does, tiny barbs lining the tongue pick up much of the loose hair from your cat’s coat. She swallows that hair, and most of it gets moved through the digestive tract normally and is ultimately expelled in the feces. Some of the swallowed hair, however, remains in the gut, clumping together over time to form a hairball. That gets regurgitated eventually, likely accompanied by a small bit of stomach fluid.

Do Hairballs Hurt My Cat in Any Way?

No, the occasional hairball doesn’t hurt your cat. It’s a natural part of life! There’s absolutely nothing to worry about if you see your cat cough up a hairball every now and then.

If your cat coughs up hairballs frequently, something could be causing her to shed more than normal. You’ll want to have your pet checked out at the vet’s office to be safe. Additionally, if your cat is gagging and retching but not producing anything, rush her to the vet’s office—your pet could be choking, or the hairball itself could be lodged in the esophageal tract.

Last but not least: vomiting and coughing up hairballs is not the same thing. If your cat is vomiting frequently, it’s time to see the vet.

How Can I Help My Cat Experience Fewer Hairballs?

You’ll be happy to learn that there are a few simple steps you can take to have your cat cough up fewer hairballs. That’s more pleasant for her, and it leaves less of a mess for you! First, brush your cat regularly; this removes a lot of the loose hair from Fluffy’s coat, preventing her from swallowing it in the first place. Secondly, make sure that your cat is receiving a high quality diet that contains all of the proper nutrients. When your cat’s nutrition is in tip-top shape, her coat of fur stays healthy with minimal shedding.

Does your cat need a veterinary exam? Schedule your four-legged friend’s next appointment right here at your Roanoke, VA animal hospital. We’re here for you!

5 Things That Are Good For Your Dog’s Teeth

Did you know that dental issues are one of the most overlooked aspects of dog care? Some of the most loving and attentive pet owners overlook their pups’ oral health. Fido can develop some very painful dental issues, so it’s very important for you to take care of his teeth. In this article, a Roanoke, VA vet lists some things that are good for your furry friend’s choppers.

Brushing

Fido’s toothbrush is your first and most effective weapon against doggy dental woes. Of course, you’ll need to get your pooch used to the idea. Start by just gently rubbing his teeth and gums. Then, slowly incorporate doggy toothpaste and, finally, a pet toothbrush. You don’t have to do your furry pal’s entire mouth every day. Just do one segment at a time, and keep rotating.

Fresh Water

Fresh water is crucial for many reasons, but it’s also extremely important for Fido’s oral health. Make sure your canine friend always has fresh, clean water. You may want to get Fido a pet fountain or an automated waterer.

Chew Toys

Chew toys help keep Fido’s bones and jaws strong. They stimulate the flow of saliva, which will help rinse food particles away. There are a few caveats here, however. First, be sure to get toys that are the right size for your furry buddy. Also, replace your pup’s toys when they start looking grimy.

Checkups!

Home care is important, but don’t forget about Fido’s dental exams. Most dogs should have their teeth checked at least once a year, starting at age one. If your canine pal is overdue for an exam, take a few minutes to schedule one today. You’ll also want to make an appointment if you notice any signs of dental trouble, such as bleeding gums, bad breath, swelling, and/or tartar buildup.

Doggy Dental Products

There are now quite a few products made with Fido’s oral health in mind. You can get your pooch kibble, treats, and/or chews that are specifically made to fight plaque and tartar. (Tip: try putting some pet toothpaste on a chew toy.) Dental flakes are another option. Oral rinses can also be very helpful in keeping your pup’s mouth healthy. Ask your vet for specific information.

Do you know or suspect that your pet has dental issues? Contact us, your local Roanoke, VA vet clinic, today!

Tips For Bathing Your Cat

One of the best things about our feline friends is the fact that they are so clean. Your furball will groom herself every day. Although you don’t have to bathe Fluffy, you can if you want to. However, there are some things to keep in mind if you do decide to bathe your kitty. A Roanoke, VA vet outlines some of them in this article.

Consult Your Vet

Before you decide to bathe your cat, check with your vet. In most cases, it should be fine. However, it’s always best to be sure.

Prep Work

Give your feline pal a good brushing before you bathe her. This will remove dead fur and dander from her coat. If you can, clip her claws as well.

Prepare The Bathroom

We recommend putting a rubber mat down in your tub or sink to protect it from scratches. You’ll also want to have some soft towels ready. It’s not a bad idea to have a pitcher on hand for rinsing, either.

Armor Up

Even if Fluffy doesn’t mean to scratch you, she may dig in at some point. Those little claws are sharp! Full-body armor is optional, but if you do decide to go that route, this is the time to don it. Otherwise, you’ll want to put on thick jeans and a long sleeved shirt.

Bath Time

You’re ready to go! Fill the tub or sink with a few inches of warm—not hot—water. The water shouldn’t be any deeper than your kitty’s chest. Gently put Fluffy into the tub, and then lather her up. Only use shampoos made specifically for cats. Rinse with a pitcher or a sprayer on low. Don’t get suds in your cat’s eyes, ears, nose, or mouth. In fact, you may want to just use a facecloth to clean your pet’s head.

Drying

When Fluffy is clean, gently pat her dry with a towel. If she doesn’t mind being blow-dried, you can use a blow dryer on a low setting. Don’t force her to submit to this if she doesn’t like it, though. When your cat has had enough, just let her go. She’ll immediately start grooming herself to fix her coat. A special toy or treat will get that motor going again.

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

Everything You Need to Know About Pet Microchips

Is your pet properly identified? For many years, ID tags on the collar worked well—and they still do. Now, though, another type of pet identification is extremely helpful for your pet: the microchip.

Learn more about microchips in this article from a Roanoke, VA veterinarian.

What is a Microchip, and How Does it Work?

A microchip is a tiny computer chip. A unique identification number is implanted electronically on this chip, and that number corresponds to the chip manufacturer’s database where your pet’s name and contact information is stored. The chip itself is implanted under your pet’s skin, and specialized scanning devices at veterinary offices and shelters can read the chip’s number when a lost pet is relinquished to these facilities. That allows the professionals to quickly find out exactly who the lost pet belongs to!

Why Should I Get My Pet Microchipped?

The benefits of microchips are numerous. For one, they’re secure—there’s no need to worry about your pet removing it, either accidentally or on purpose. The chip remains secure under your pet’s skin, so even if he escapes unexpectedly without a collar on, you don’t have to worry.

Another benefit of the microchip is that it’s cost-effective for pet owners. You only have to purchase it once, and then your pet can continue to wear it for their entire lifetime. Even if you change addresses or get a new phone number, all you’ll have to do is contact the chip manufacturer to have your contact information updated. Your pet keeps the same chip the whole time!

What’s the Implant Procedure Like? Is There Any Risk?

The microchip itself is housed in a small glass capsule. This capsule is inserted under your pet’s skin using a specialized hypodermic needle-like device, and it only takes a few minutes. All your pet feels is a momentary pinch, just like a regular vaccination.

The microchipping procedure is virtually risk-free. Some pets develop minor swelling or irritation around the injection site, but it usually subsides on its own after only a day or two. If your pet has recently been microchipped and you think they’re reacting poorly, let your veterinarian know.

How Do I Get Started?

Do you want to know more about pet microchips? Ready to have your pet outfitted with a chip for a lifetime of quality identification? Contact your Roanoke, VA vet clinic to set up an appointment.

Hot Weather Care Tips for Your Dog

The dog days of summer are upon us! Remember: your dog is wearing a fur coat that he can’t take off, so it’s up to you to make sure Fido stays safe and cool as summer rolls on. Here are a few tips for doing just that from a Roanoke, VA veterinarian:

Keep Fido Indoors

The first rule of thumb to follow is a simple one: don’t leave your dog outdoors for long periods of time when it’s hot. Dogs are susceptible to dehydration and heatstroke when they remain in the high temperatures and hot sun for long stretches, and this can cause serious health trouble. Try exercising your pooch outside during the cooler morning or evening hours, and let him come indoors and relax in the air conditioning through the middle part of the day.

Provide Fresh Water

It’s important to provide your dog with fresh water to drink all year round, but it’s especially essential in the deep summer months. Your pooch needs plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated and keep the body temperature regulated. Keep Fido’s bowl filled at all times, and consider adding a few ice cubes on extremely hot days for that extra chill.

Keep Up With Preventatives

Summer is prime-time for pests, so it’s important that you keep up with your dog’s preventative medications this time of year. Worms like heartworm, roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, and even tapeworms present a threat during the summer, and into the autumn months. Plus, fleas and ticks are waiting to latch on to your dog and start causing problems. Ask your veterinarian about a worm preventative and a flea-and-tick control medicine for your dog if he isn’t already set up with these medications.

Watch the Asphalt

When you take your dog for walks outdoors, pay special attention to asphalt surfaces like driveways and parking lots. These surfaces can heat up quickly when the summer sun beats down on them all day, and they retain heat. It’s possible for your dog’s sensitive paw pads to get burned if he lingers on asphalt surfaces for too long!

Car Travel Tips

Never leave your dog in a car parked in the sun on a hot summer’s day. The temperature inside can skyrocket to well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes! It’s best to keep Fido at home.

For more summer safety tips, contact your Roanoke, VA vet clinic.

7 Ways To Keep Your Cat Happy and Healthy

Cats are very cute and lovable pets, and they have many charming qualities that have helped them earn places in our homes and hearts, as well as on our laps. One great thing about these cuddly little furballs is the fact that they are quite easy to care for. However, they aren’t completely independent. Fluffy needs good TLC in order to thrive. Here, a Roanoke, VA vet discusses keeping kitties happy, healthy, and purring.

Good Food

Proper nutrition will go a long way towards keeping your cute pet in good health. Offer Fluffy the best pet food you can afford. Treats are fine, but don’t go overboard. If your feline pal becomes obese, she could develop some very serious health issues!

Clean Litterbox

While cleaning litterboxes isn’t the best part of having a kitty, it is necessary. We recommend scooping daily, and changing the litter every week or so.

Beds

You may have noticed that cats are rather tired. Apparently, looking cute and doing nothing is really exhausting! Offer your sleepy furball plenty of comfy napping spots. Store-bought beds are great, but Fluffy probably won’t turn her nose up at a soft pillow or blanket in a box.

Playtime!

Cats are hunters by nature, so they are more or less wired to pounce and jump on things. Take time to play with Fluffy every day! Also, make sure she has plenty of things she can play with by herself when you’re out.

Stimulation

You may not think boredom is much of a problem for kitties. However, cats can get irritable, lonely, and unhappy with nothing to do, especially when they are home alone. Fluffy will appreciate having lots of nooks and crannies to explore. Pet furniture is great, but boxes, paper bags, and newspaper tunnels will also work. Kitties also like looking out windows, so offer your furry little voyeur a comfy spot with a good view.

Veterinary Care

It’s probably safe to say that Fluffy would rather take a nap than come visit us, but don’t be swayed. Proper veterinary care is crucial for your cat’s health! Follow your vet’s recommended appointment schedule.

Love

Love is the magic ingredient in any pet care routine. Pay lots of attention to Fluffy, and make sure she feels loved!

Please contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, anytime. We offer great veterinary care!