Tag Archives: vet clinic Roanoke VA

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!

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!

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!

Beware of Autumn Pet Dangers

Autumn has officially arrived. Like the other seasons, fall time brings with it a few pet hazards to be aware of! Learn more below from a vet in Roanoke, VA.

Pesticide Products

It’s not uncommon for insects, small rodents, roaches, and other pests to begin invading our homes in the autumn, seeking warmth and shelter from the cooling weather outside. You may set up pesticides, rodenticides, and similar products around your home to ward off these pesky critters. Remember: pesticides are poisons, made specifically to kill the creatures who come in contact with them! Place pesticides with extreme caution, and always use pet-safe products or non-toxic options.

Wild Animals

Wild animals like raccoons and opossums can be more active in the fall, and they may harm an unsuspecting pet who disturbs them. Snakes are another wild-animal hazard in the fall; since they’re preparing for hibernation and are extra grumpy, they may bite a pet who comes across them! Supervise your pet closely while outdoors, and keep them away from tall grasses and heavy shrubbery.

Autumn Plants

Several plants and flowers that flourish in the fall—chrysanthemums, Autumn Crocus, certain lilies, and more—can prove toxic to pets! Additionally, common fall decorations like gourds, pumpkins, and autumn corn can harm a pet. These plants aren’t toxic, per say, but they can cause choking or upset stomach if a pet manages to ingest too much. Always keep a close eye on your pet to make sure they don’t try to chow down on any autumnal plants.

Wild Mushrooms

Autumn is peak season for mushrooms. While the vast majority of wild mushrooms aren’t toxic, a small number are—it’s just not worth the risk for your beloved companion. Plus, even mushrooms that aren’t toxic may be sprayed with weed-killing chemicals or lawn fertilizers, which you don’t want your pet to ingest. When your pet is outdoors, keep them away from any and all mushrooms!

Chilly Weather

Of course, with autumn comes cooler weather. Don’t leave your pet outdoors for long periods of time, where they may get cold. (This is especially true at night, when temperatures can drop to near freezing later in the season!) Your pet will be safest and happiest indoors with you and your family.

These aren’t the only fall-time hazards out there for our four-legged friends. Call your Roanoke, VA veterinarian today to learn about more great safety tips!

Summertime Pet Hazards

The dog days of summer are nearly upon us. Will your animal friend be ready to face the hottest months of the year? Below, brush up on a few essential hot-weather pet care tips presented by your Roanoke, VA veterinary professional.

Heat and Humidity

Just like you, a pet won’t fare well if left out in heat and humidity for extended periods of time. Heatstroke and dehydration are serious issues—never allow your pet to remain outdoors during the summertime for hours on end, and make sure they have a large dish of cool, fresh water to drink from at all times. Check the water dish regularly to see if it needs refilled or refreshed.

Sunburn

Did you know that pets can get sunburnt, just like humans? It’s especially likely to happen on areas that are thinly covered by fur, like the tip of the nose or the edges of the ears. Your best bet to avoiding sunburn on your pet is to keep them out of direct sunlight for long periods. You can also try using a canine- or feline-formulated sunblock if your pet will have to stay outside for a longer period of time. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation.

Outdoor Pests

Summer is prime-time for outdoor pests to latch on to your four-legged friend and start causing problems. Fleas, ticks, heartworm, roundworm… make sure your pet is protected against these critters! Have your dog or cat wear a flea-and-tick preventative and take a quality heartworm medication. This way, any dangerous pests should be kept at bay.

Hot Asphalt

Do your best to avoid asphalt surfaces like driveways and parking lots when walking your pet. These surfaces can heat up drastically when the hot sun burns down on them all day. A pet who lingers on hot asphalt can experience painful burns and blisters! If possible, choose to walk your pet on cooler grass or dirt surfaces instead.

Toxic Plant Life

It’s likely your pet will spend more time outdoors during the warmer months. Remember that many plants and flowers aren’t safe for pets. Toxic varieties include rhododendron (also called azalea), philodendron, ivy, dieffenbachia, oleander, lilies, tulips, various aloe plants, certain rubber plants, the sago palm, and many more. To be safe, restrict your pet from munching on any plant life.

Want more tips for keeping your pet safe this summer? Call your Roanoke, VA vet clinic today!

Valentine’s Day Hazards for Pets

Valentine’s Day is just a few short weeks away. If you’re going to be celebrating with that special someone and you own a pet, it’s important to be aware of a few holiday hazards! Learn more below from your Troutville, VA veterinarian.

Chocolate

Chocolate abounds during the Valentine’s Day season. Chocolate of all types is a big no-no for pets, as it contains substances like theobromine and caffeine that don’t agree with our animal companions. If too much chocolate is ingested, a pet may display symptoms like lethargy, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and worse—take your pet to the emergency room immediately if they’ve ingested chocolate of any sort.

Candy

Candies, as well as certain gums and toothpastes, are often sweetened with xylitol, an artificial sugar that is toxic to animals. Avoid symptoms like weakness, vomiting and diarrhea, and seizures; keep the holiday candy to yourself, and store it in closed containers or cabinets where your pet can’t reach.

Candles

Lighting candles to set that romantic mood? Make sure they’re placed in areas where pets won’t have access. For one, a pet might swipe a tail or paw through an open flame, potentially causing burns. It’s also possible for a startled pet to knock over a candle, potentially starting a fire.

Human Food

All sorts of common human foods aren’t safe for pets to eat. If you’re cooking a meal for two this Valentine’s Day, make sure your pet isn’t waiting nearby to gobble up any errant morsels. Onions, garlic, chives, leeks, scallions, shallots, avocado, grapes and raisins, certain nuts, caffeinated foods and beverages… the list goes on and on! Keep your pet in another room while cooking, and don’t overdo it with table scraps.

Alcohol

If your romantic celebrations will include alcoholic beverages, it’s important for you to keep your dog or cat’s safety in mind. Alcohol affects pets just like it affects us—the difference is that pets will experience poisoning after only a small amount is ingested. Keep a close eye on adult beverages to make sure that your pet doesn’t have a chance to imbibe.

Plant Life

Lilies are particularly common this time of year. Did you know that they’ve very toxic to our feline friends, and might harm dogs as well? Check all bouquets and remove lilies if necessary.

Want more tips on keeping your pet safe this Valentine’s Day? Call your Troutville, VA vet clinic.