All posts by James

Pet Dental Health Month

February is officially Pet Dental Health Month! Of course, your pet’s oral health is important all year long. Dental problems are very painful for pets, and can severely impact their quality of life. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet discusses caring for your pet’s teeth.

Common Problems

Some of the statistics about pet dental issues are quite staggering. For example, as many as 80 percent of adult dogs have periodontal disease. Kitties aren’t far behind: roughly 70 percent of cats aged three or over are afflicted. Periodontal disease—or gum disease, as it is also called, is very dangerous, as the bacteria and plaque can travel through Fido’s bloodstream, contributing to some very dangerous health issues. Cats are also susceptible to tooth resorption and feline stomatitis, which are both very painful conditions. Dogs, on the other hand, sometimes crack or break their teeth on hard objects. Some pooches—especially smaller breeds—are also prone to overcrowding. Abscesses and misalignments are also not uncommon.

Home Care

The best thing you can do at home is brush your pet’s teeth. Be sure to only use products made for pets. Human toothbrushes and toothpastes are neither safe nor suitable for our furry companions. If your pet won’t tolerate having their choppers brushed, look into other options. Dental flakes, dental-formula treats and chews, and oral rinses can all help keep your pet’s teeth healthy. You’ll also want to make sure that your pet always has fresh water. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Warning Signs

Keep a close eye out for signs of dental troubles. Bad breath is a very common one. You may also notice visible swelling and/or tartar buildup, or see bloody smears on your furry pal’s toys or dishes. Dental issues can also cause your pet to change their eating habits. They may dribble food, chew on one side of their mouth, or start preferring softer foods. Other warning signs include crankiness, withdrawal, and a reduced interest in play.

Veterinary Care

We recommend having your pet’s teeth checked at least once a year. This should start around age one. In between visits, keep an eye out for the symptoms we’ve listed above. If you notice any of those red flags, contact your vet right away.

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

Fluffy’s Goals for 2020

Happy New Year! Are you making resolutions for 2020? If so, your feline buddy will no doubt monitor you closely as you strive to make your new goals. Kitties certainly do like to keep a close eye on their owners! In fact, if Fluffy could make resolutions of her own, she may very well vow to supervise you more carefully. What else do you think your pet would want to achieve? A Roanoke, VA vet lists some options in this article.

Sleep More

Sleeping, as you may know, is Fluffy’s favorite pastime. Some of our feline pals can spend as much as 20 hours a day snoozing! Your drowsy furball may try to improve her napping times this year. Or, she may just want to experiment with dozing off in new places or positions.

Catch That Red Dot

Kitties are always super cute when they’re feeling playful. Interactive play is great fun for Fluffy. If you are controlling that red dot or feather toy, your frisky pet won’t know what her prey is going to do next. Try to play with your cat every day.

Help Around The House

Fluffy is very grateful for the love, food, and care you offer her. Your thoughtful pet may try to reciprocate by giving you a helping paw. Don’t be surprised if your furry friend tries to ‘assist’ as you change the sheets, wrap gifts, or fold laundry!

Distribute Fur More Evenly

Our feline friends have beautiful coats, and they thoughtfully try to share them with us. Fluffy may want to spread her fur around a bit more evenly this year.

World Domination

You may have heard the quote about how cats have never forgotten the fact that the ancient Egyptians considered them divine. Kitties certainly do have a very smug, superior look at times. Have you ever wondered why there are so many cat memes and videos on the internet? Is Fluffy actually trying to take over the world? 2020 may be the year we find out!

Spend Time With The Humans

Kitties are very emotional little furballs, and are always happiest when they feel loved. Fluffy may want to squeeze in more cuddle and lap time this year.

All of us here at Old Dominion Veterinary Clinic, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, want to wish you and your pets a wonderful new year. Please contact us anytime!

Keep Your Pet Safe from Holiday Hazards

The holidays are in full swing! Make sure your pet stays safe this time of year, because there are several holiday hazards to be aware of. Learn more in this article from your Roanoke, VA veterinary professional.

Ornaments and Decorations

Pets sometimes see those shiny holiday decorations—ornaments, tinsel, candles, etc.—as fun toys. But they can cause harm if a pet were to play with them. Tinsel can actually wrap itself around a pet’s intestines when swallowed, causing serious problems, and tree ornaments could break into sharp pieces and cut your pet’s mouth. Monitor your pet closely to make sure they don’t play with ornaments and decorations.

Holiday Plants

There are plenty of holiday plants that can hurt your dog or cat. The danger of poinsettias is somewhat overblown, but they can cause mouth or stomach irritation if enough is swallowed. Holly and mistletoe are actually more dangerous—these common holiday plants both contain toxins that can cause serious symptoms in animals. Lilies, common this time of year in bouquets and floral arrangements, are also very dangerous for cats, in particular. Don’t let your pet get too close!

Toxic Foods

All sorts of foods on your holiday dinner table could cause harm if your pet gets their paws on them. The list includes onions, garlic, shallots, scallions, chives, leeks, chocolate, candy, grapes and raisins, buttery or rich foods, macadamia nuts, and salty snacks, among others. Keep your far away from the dinner table, and make sure to put harmful foods inside closed containers or cabinets where pets can’t gain access.

Alcohol

Alcohol is very dangerous for pets. It actually affects cats and dogs in the same way it affects us! The difference is that it only takes small amounts to result in alcohol poisoning. This rule goes for liquor, wine, beer, and champagne, as well as foods cooked with alcohol, like rum cakes. Don’t let your pet sip alcoholic beverages of any kind, and never give your pet alcohol purposely.

Stress and Anxiety

The holiday season’s hustle and bustle can put undue stress on pets, especially if you’re hosting a party or family gathering this season. Set up a “safe zone” of sorts for your pet, complete with a bed and a few favorite toys, in a quiet, low-key area.

Want to know more about keeping your pet safe this holiday season? Call your Roanoke, VA veterinarian for help.

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!