Countryside Veterinary Hospital Newsletter

Newsletter The veterinarians and staff at the Countryside Veterinary Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Happy 2017! New Year, New Pet Resolutions

A new year is upon us. With it comes the opportunity to start anew and set some goals for better, healthier and more productive living. As a pet owner, the new year also marks a fresh opportunity to include your pet's well-being in your plans.

Here are five New Year's resolutions to consider:

1. Resolve to engage in more physical activity and exercise with your pet – It may still be cold outside, but even increasing your daily walk by a few minutes will be beneficial to you and your four-legged friend. Play can also happen indoors. Ward off obesity and behavior issues before they become a problem. Games of fetch, play-wrestling or tug-of-war all are ways to keep your pup active and engaged.

2. Resolve to feed your pet a healthier diet – You may think feeding your pet human food is a way to show your love, but much of it can be fatty and unhealthy for your dog or cat. Just as you may be resolving to watch your own waistline, your canine or feline companion requires a diet that is formulated to provide all of the nutrients he or she requires. Do some research and invest in a high-quality kibble, canned food or raw diet plan – and be careful, as supplementing that with unhealthy human scraps is a leading contributor to weight gain.

3. Resolve to provide your pet with regular veterinary care – As pets age much faster than humans, a lot can happen with their health over the course of a year. Preventive pet health care is the best thing you can do to ensure your furry friend lives a long, happy and healthy life. Between visits to your veterinarian, take measures to continue care at home. This includes giving regular baths, grooming and brushing his or her teeth.

4. Resolve to curb bad behaviors – Being lovingly mauled by your pooch when you arrive home was cute for a while, but maybe the bruises are getting a little out of hand. This year, step up your training game and make it part of your pet's regular routine. Reward good behavior and stop passively encouraging the bad.

5. Resolve to be the best pet parent you can be – Odds are you probably already pamper your pet quite a bit. In 2017, look for more ways to be an outstanding owner. Maybe this means finally getting around to microchipping your pet, investing in pet health insurance or starting a savings fund, or introducing an adopted pet brother or sister into your home. You can also endeavor to do things that benefit you and your pet, such as getting him or her a stylish new bed that complements your décor or organizing that overflowing toy bin.

Bad Canine Behaviors Explained

Do you adore your dog but just wish he’d come when called? Or not tug on his leash quite so hard? Or maybe Spot is an angel around you, but a devil when confronted with his other furry friends? Well, you’re not alone. Many dogs have similar behavioral issues, many of which can be explained—and better yet—even overcome.

Curbing Behavioral Patterns In Dogs

• Not Coming When Called- Although one of the most important, “come” is ironically one of the least practiced commands we use with our dogs. So, the first trick is to simply use it more. Say “come” every time you feed your dog, and use rewards and treats each time he successfully comes to you. Playing a sort of hide and seek game with your dog – and the accompanying biscuits and doggy toys – can also help do the trick. Start slow and build distance over time.

• Yanking on the Leash- Does it feel like you’re more often being walked by your dog than the other way around? Just remember, the more you pull, the more they pull. Though this isn’t always the case, know that your dog is an expert in body language. When you tense up, so will he, releasing the fight or flight behavior. So, walk the streets with confidence, don’t get too defensive and steer away from any big distractions. Soon, your dog will learn to trust you and your walks together, and you’ll become the one in charge.

• Bad Around Other Animals- Pay attention to cues you’re getting from your animals and help them avoid sticky situations. Cats typically like having multiple escape routes at hand, while dogs may not need as many options, but still need the space they deserve. It’s also a good idea to use a leash when going over to a guest’s house in order to survey the situation. And of course, the more your dog interacts with other dogs – say at a dog park – the more calm he’ll become over time.

They’re never too old, and it’s never too late. With the proper training, your animal can learn wrong from right. But just like everything else, it requires time and patience. Don’t give up. Your pet is worth the struggle. And don’t worry, you too will get your reward.

How Old is Your Cat Really?

How old is your cat in "people years"? Some suggest a guideline of one "cat year" equal to four "people years," but it really doesn't work out that neatly. You can see the problem from the beginning: A 1-year-old cat is nearly mature, but you can't say the same thing about a human 4-year-old.

A better way to figure it is to count the first year of a cat's life as comparable to the time a human reaches the early stages of adulthood — the age of 15 or so. Like a human adolescent, a 1-year-old cat looks fairly grown up and is capable of becoming a parent, but is lacking in emotional maturity.

The second year of a cat's life is equivalent of full adulthood in humans — a 2-year-old cat is roughly equivalent to a person in the mid-20s. After that, the "one equals four" rule works pretty well. A 6-year-old cat is nicely middle-aged for example.

Confused? Remember, what's most important when it comes to keeping those years adding up: working to prevent accidents by keeping your pets contained, as well as ensuring good health through proper nutrition, exercise and preventive veterinary care.

Keeping Your Dog Healthy

Maintaining your dog in top physical shape and optimum health is the goal of every responsible dog owner. It is also your veterinarian's goal, and together, you can ensure that your pet stays healthy for years to come. Crucial to maintaining your dog's good health is the routine physical examination that your veterinarian performs on your pet.

Check-ups are important because they provide an opportunity to prevent diseases or even avoid them altogether. Unfortunately, many pet owners tend to underestimate the value of these visits because their pets appear to be healthy. However, this may be deceiving, since many diseases are often not evident in the early stages.

What Happens During A Wellness Examination?

Before the physical examination begins, your veterinarian asks you questions concerning your dog's state of health. This is very important for determining whether or not there are problem areas that need to be addressed. After obtaining a history, your veterinarian performs a physical examination on your dog. Starting at the head, your veterinarian examines the eyes, ears, face, and mouth. Examining the teeth is especially important since up to 85% of all dogs and cats over four years of age have some degree of periodontal disease! Early detection of periodontal disease is important, not only for effective treatment but also future prevention.

Health & Behavioral Risks to Consider

• Heartworm- Heartworm disease is a serious threat that causes cardiovascular weakness and lung incapacity. Caused by Dirofilaria immitis, these worms plug up blood vessels, which places an increased workload on the heart, along with restricted blood flow to the lungs, kidneys, and liver. This can eventually lead to multiple organ failure, including heart failure and death. Visible signs of the disease often do not appear before the infection has caused significant and irreversible internal damage. As part of an annual physical examination, your veterinarian can perform a simple test to detect heartworm disease and prescribe an easy-to-use preventive.

• Obesity- Your veterinarian can also determine whether or not your dog has an obesity problem. Obesity affects almost one out of every three pets, making it the most common nutritional disease among dogs and cats. Through visual assessment and palpation, your veterinarian can advise on whether or not your dog could benefit from a weight-reduction program.

• Diet- Diet is one of the most important considerations in health maintenance. Its importance lies not only in optimizing a pet's health, but also in the prevention and management of many diseases. Nutritional counseling is an essential part of the veterinarian's checkup and many owners use the opportunity to gain valuable advice on what to feed their pets.

• Obedience- Training is important for your pet's health because behavioral problems account for more deaths in dogs than any known disease. In fact, a well-trained and obedient dog is more likely to live to a ripe old age than a poorly trained one. Obedience-trained dogs are less likely to be involved in car accidents and dogfights, tend to be happier, and are less likely to have behavioral problems. The checkup provides an opportunity to discuss training techniques and behavior concerns with your veterinarian.