What to Expect When a Pet Goes Blind

A close-up of a blind brindle dog

Blindness is not uncommon in cats and especially in dogs. Blindness can occur rapidly, as with an injury, or over time when a pet develops macular degeneration. Since, like us, sight is a necessity for navigating the world, when a pet goes blind it can be frightening and can create several situations that will need to be changed in order for them to cope.

The team at Animal Family Veterinary Care wants to explain why some pets go blind, what you can do about it, and how to help a blind pet thrive despite their obstacles.

Continue…

5 Common Pet Health Issues and How to Cope with Them

A dog sniffs a flower

Quicked nail (cut too short)        

Are you afraid to cut your pet’s nails for fear of getting too close to the quick (the sensitive part of the nail containing the nerve and blood vessel)? Cutting into the quick does cause bleeding and pain, which no one wants to do.  However, if the worst happens, there are ways to deal with it at home.  Remember this is for close cuts only.  If your pet breaks or tears a nail, chances are that will need to addressed by your veterinarian

No commercial “Quick Stop”?  No problem.  Just use flour & water paste. This is easy, readily available and will generally stop the bleeding. It helps to keep Rover quiet for a little while afterward. As an added benefit, it’s completely non-toxic.

Continue…

Overweight Pet? The Sneaky Reasons Your Pet Isn’t Losing Weight

For pets and people alike, it’s easier to keep the weight off than to lose it. An overweight pet with even a few extra pounds can experience disastrous consequences to their long term health and wellness. However, weight-loss diets can be very difficult to maintain – especially once behavioral patterns are established to overeat, sneak treats, and munch on snacks throughout the day.  

The Heart of the Matter

The perils of pet obesity are becoming more commonly understood. Despite warnings of developing associated diseases (such as osetoarthritis, diabetes, cancer) and early mortality, a shockingly high number of pets are considered overweight or obese, especially seniors.

The Breakdown

Weight gain occurs when an individual consumes too many calories with insufficient opportunities to burn them off. Many pets live fairly sedentary lives and eat energy-dense food. Lots of naps combined with even a normal amount of food plus regular treats can be so much more damaging than you think.

An overweight pet simply needs less food and more exercise, right? It’s not always as easy as that.

The Measuring Cup

Overfeeding is the most obvious reason for added weight, but certain medical conditions like Cushing’s syndrome or hypothyroidism can affect a pet’s metabolism. Before you make changes to  your pet’s diet, we recommend ruling out what could be going on beneath the surface. 

Additionally, a wellness exam is helpful in discerning whether your pet is up for rigorous exercise from now on.

Trying to Lose Weight

There could be many other explanations behind why an overweight pet isn’t losing weight, or isn’t losing it fast enough. 

The ideal place to start is with an understanding of the Body Condition Score (BCS). Taking into account your pet’s species, breed, age and lifestyle we can determine their weight and exercise plan, all in order for them to achieve the optimal score on the BCS. 

A Greater Challenge

Once you know how much your pet should ideally weigh, you can determine their daily intake of food, snacks, treats, supplements, and people food. Take a long look at the ingredients lists on food labels, and call us with any questions

An overweight pet might benefit from shaving about 25-40% of their previous calorie count, but because they depend on critical vitamins and nutrients, cutting calories from their meals isn’t necessarily a healthy alternative. Instead, reduce the amount of extra calories they receive from snacks and treats. 

The Rx Solution

Prescription diets can help to ensure an overweight pet gets all the nutrition they need, without extra calories. We are happy to discuss viable options for your pet’s weight and lifestyle. 

While dieting, we recommend weighing your pet every 2-4 weeks and noting any changes on the BCS. It’s reasonable to aim for losing 1-2% of body weight every week. That being said, it can take over a month for pet owners to see any changes. Please let us know if no changes to weight have occurred after 4-6 weeks. 

Still Struggling

While restricting unnecessary calories is the foundation for weight loss, the process can be supported by increased exercise. Preserving muscle mass and increasing metabolism are just two benefits of exercising to lose weight.

Other options may involve:

  • Food puzzles
  • Slow feeders
  • Fresh veggies and fruits (to help your pet feel full during meals)
  • Ensuring that all family or household members are adhering to the dietary restrictions (and always use the same exact measuring cup!)
  • Camp Canine can keep your pup distracted from a rumbling tummy and will engage them in calorie-burning activities 

Dedication to an Overweight Pet

A few extra pounds put on over the course of many months can really sneak up on pet owners. Surely, preventing extra weight gain is the best option, but with daily discipline and dedication, an overweight pet can definitely achieve their optimal weight.

As always, if we can assist you with questions, please let us know at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center.

Leptospirosis, Lyme Disease, and Protecting Your Pet

After a record-breaking wet and wild spring across Iowa, it seems as if we are on-track to see two dangerous pet illnesses become the rising stars of summer: Lyme disease and Leptospirosis.

But these are not the kind of stars your dog wants to dance with. Both Lyme and Lepto can pose a serious, if not fatal, risk to your pet’s health. Luckily, there are preventive measures you can take to protect your four-legged friend from contracting these illnesses.

What do you know about Lyme disease and Leptospirosis? Read on to find out more about what these diseases are and how you can protect your pet this season and in the years to come.

Continue…

Understanding Fatal Canine Bloat

Every dog owner wants to ensure their best friend enjoys the longest, healthiest life possible. There are many ways to accomplish this, such as through disease prevention, balanced nutrition, and daily exercise.

However, even the most proactive and engaged owner can’t always prevent accidental injury or illness. For example, canine bloat, a life-threatening pet emergency, is a risk to all dogs.

Continue…

Spring into Preventatives

Spring is here and along with the increasing warmth comes discomfort in the form of fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks. It doesn’t matter whether you live in town or out in the country these creepy crawlers summer plans include feasting on your pet. No wonder flea, tick, and heartworm prevention are a hot topic among pet owners and of course all of us here at Animal Family.

Unfortunately, parasites can bring more than just discomfort. They can cause serious illness in your pet as well as health risks for your family. These illnesses can include:

Continue…

Leaving Your Dog Home Alone: How Long Is Too Long?

We don’t call dogs our best friends for nothing. They enjoy our company and are hardwired to protect us, work for us, and be our companions. In a perfect world we’d spend all day with our dogs, but for most of us this just isn’t a possibility.

Leaving your dog home alone doesn’t mean you’re a bad pet owner. Fortunately there are some great ways to enrich your dog’s life (and keep your house intact) while you’re away from home.

Continue…

The Scary Truth About Xylitol Toxicity? It Can Happen Anytime, Anywhere

Preventing a dangerous pet poisoning episode is an obvious concern for pet owners. But one of the most harmful substances a pet can cross paths with isn’t in the garage or garden shed.

Traditional pet toxins, such as antifreeze or rodent bait are easily identifiable and well-known, however Xylitol poses a threat every bit as real, but is stealthily hidden behind multi-colored packages of gum, candy, or peanut butter.

Continue…

Should You Cuddle with Your Pet? The Answer May Surprise You

Whether they’re logical, reasonable, or purely indulgent, the reasons people choose to sleep with their pets vary considerably. Approximately 60% of American households own a pet, and roughly half of them are allowed to sleep alongside their people. In fact, many owners insist on co-sleeping. Pets and people naturally enjoy – and benefit from – close contact. But are there reasons why you shouldn’t cuddle with your pet?

Continue…

Animal Family Veterinary Care Center’s Top Pet Care Blogs of 2018

pet health

The new year is the perfect time to take stock of our blessings and reflect on our accomplishments. At this time of year, we can’t help but feel grateful for all our patients and clients, and think back with fondness to all the Davenport pets that we’ve helped.

We’re also thinking about how to make an even better year to come for ourselves, our families, and our pets. With that in mind, we’re taking a look back at our monthly pet care blogs to learn which posts you found most entertaining and educational, and we’ve compiled them for you here. Enjoy!

Continue…