Process of Elimination: Scary Symptoms Could Be Caused By Foreign Body Obstruction 

What do sewing needles, socks, cell phone chargers, earphones, floss, fish hooks, and rocks all have in common? Oddly enough, these seemingly disparate objects have all been responsible for causing major problems in pets curious enough to swallow them! 

Symptoms of foreign body obstruction can range from incredibly subtle to downright scary, but when you know what to look for your pet can quickly get the help they desperately need.

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Hypoallergenic Dogs: Too Good To Be True? 

If you’re a pet lover who has allergies, we understand the sneezing, watery eyes, and coughing that might accompany being in the presence of dogs. You may have heard about “hypoallergenic dogs” that don’t cause allergic symptoms. But it’s not quite that simple. 

Keep reading as Animal Family Veterinary Care explores the hype around hypoallergenic dogs.

Is the Science Real?

The allergic response in humans is due to a protein found in dog (and cat) dander and saliva. Dander is attached to pet hair, so the more a pet sheds, the more dander can be found in the home, and the worse an allergy might be. 

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Pee-yew! 6 Reasons Behind Stinky Pets 

Let’s face it, our pets don’t smell like roses. No matter how many baths we give our pets, they still seem to have that doggy or kitty smell because of the natural oils in their skin (along with the scents they get into outside). But if a pet is smelling particularly gross, there may be some health issues to blame. 

There are a few common causes of stinky pets, and your friends at Animal Family Veterinary Care want to help shed light on your pet’s health (and how they smell, too).

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This Is Why Your Cat Has Greasy Fur

The look and feel of a healthy cat’s fur coat is a thing of beauty. It should be soft, shiny, and smooth. After all, they work hard to get the best results, spending up to half of their waking life self-grooming. But if your cat has greasy fur, it could signal underlying problems that should be addressed right away.

Importance of Cat Grooming

Cats self-groom to keep themselves clean but the practice also maintains a healthy body temperature and supports good circulation. With their rough tongues and top-notch flexibility, cats keep their entire coats extremely tidy by evenly distributing the skin’s natural oils. Not only does grooming keep the coat free of mats, parasites, and allergens, but provides an outlet when they are stressed out or anxious.

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Pets and Pee Pads: A Conundrum

Pet pee pads may not be the most glamorous thing to have around the house, but they can be indispensable when it comes to housetraining a puppy or a newly adopted adult dog. Although they can be helpful in many circumstances, care and planning should be used to avoid pet pee pads from becoming a crutch and thwarting long-term housetraining.

Animal Family Veterinary Care Center explores the pros and cons of using pet pee pads. 

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Adopt a Senior Pet: Lifelong Friends

An aging black and white dog smiles in the sunshine

Senior pets end up in animal shelters for many reasons, usually having to do with some unexpected life change. But whether due to military deployment, divorce, death of an owner, or a move, millions of senior pets wait at shelters for their forever homes.

Sure, puppies and kittens are cute, but adopting a senior pet has its own advantages. Senior pets are usually house trained, calmer than their younger counterparts, and have plenty of love to give. Since November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, we could think of no better time to highlight these sweet seniors! 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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