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How Often Should Cats See the Vet?

Cats need to visit the vet at least once per year, but ideally they should be seen every six months.

February is National Cat Health Month, so we’re going to look at some of the reasons why you need to make an appointment for your kitty ASAP!

 

  • Teeth cleaning & dental care (it’s also Pet Dental Health Month!)
  • Spaying & Neutering – cats are prolific breeders, so it’s a must
  • Changes in a cat’s health can happen quickly, so preventive care is important
  • Sick cats often show no signs of being ill – they hide symptoms and pain well
  • Early diagnosis of health problems equals early intervention/better outcome
  • Regular vaccinations are vital to protecting your pet from diseases

Don’t wait for veterinary visits – make regular head to toe exams for your cat part of your routine. While you might not know what to look for, you’re far more likely to pick up on any changes in your pet’s health, and as a bonus it helps your pet get used to being handled.

So when is the last time your cat got a health check up? If the answer isn’t within the last six months, then it’s time to give us a call.

Pet Dental Health Month Is Almost Here

People brush their teeth because it helps keep their breath fresh, and because it’s important for maintaining their health. These things are true for animals too, but too many pet parents neglect their pet’s dental health simply because they don’t realize its importance.

National Pet Owners survey found that only 14% of dogs and 9% of cats receive dental care at the veterinarian’s office. Early treatment, regular dental examinations and cleanings, and a home care regimen are key to maintaining your pet’s health and longevity. Don’t make that mistake. Periodontal disease is one the most prevalent diseases in companion animals today. In fact, four out of five dogs over the age of three have some sort of periodontal disease.

Numerous studies show a link between gum disease and serious health issues like heart disease. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, bacteria can enter your pet’s bloodstream from their teeth and mouth, leading to potential infections of your pet’s heart, lung, kidneys, liver, and nervous system. Prevention is the best approach, so regular brushing, dental exams and cleanings are vital.Plaque and tartar build-up on teeth is a sign of trouble, so make dental chews, teeth brushing and regular check-ups part of your routine. Cats need regular dental care as well.

The American Animal Hospital Association guidelines recommend regular examinations and dental cleanings for all adult dogs and cats annually, starting at one year for cats and small-breed dogs, and at two years of age for larger-breed dogs.

So its clear: an annual dental examination is the best way to identify issues before they have a serious impact on your pet’s health. Your veterinarian will observe your pet’s face, their gums, cheeks, palate, and bite patterns to isolate dental health concerns and recommend cleaning and/or treatment. Regular dental cleanings can also make a huge difference to your pet’s overall health. Your vet can help you establish a home-care routine. Make that commitment.

This coming Pet Dental Health Month AZ Pet Vet is offering $50 towards vital dental treatments. Make the appointment today. Click here to find your nearest AZ Pet Vet location.

National Walk Your Dog Month

National Walk Your Dog Month is your New Year’s Resolution with a twist! If you’re like most people, your annual list of resolutions included goals like ‘lose weight’ and ‘get healthy’. If you’re really like most people, that resolution is fading fast, so it’s time to act.

Pet parents can take a step towards achieving these goals simply by grabbing the dog leash and asking, “Wanna go for a walk?”

OMG! OMG! WALK! GO! GO! NOW! 

The sheer joy and unleashed excitement of your pet’s reaction will have you smiling and laughing while their tails are wagging.

The entire ritual of preparing for, and then going on the walk will not only boost your mood, but also help release your body cortisol and endorphins associated with positive health benefits like:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increased endurance
  • Reduced pain & stress
  • Strengthened immune system

All this begins before you even get outdoors!  Happily, Arizona’s winter weather is usually pleasantly warm and sunny, so enjoy the time you have in cooler months – get out and explore.

Once you, Max, and Bella (Rover’s top pet names for 2017) are outside, take the time to really connect with the world around you. Dogs love to follow their noses, so try to allow them some leeway without losing control. During your journey, they’ll want to sniff out who’s been around recently, and leave a little dog graffiti here and there (don’t forget your poop bags). 

Regular exercise helps burn off excess energy that can lead to undesirable behaviors like chewing, scratching or digging. A bonus is there should be a lot less whining or barking for attention. But make no mistake, they will keep you on track by reminding you when it’s time to for your walk. Dogs thrive under regular routines, and so can you.

Best of all? You’ll both lose weight and get healthier.

Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer is the number one disease-related killer of pets. As with humans, it’s important catch it early and there’s a better chance it can be treated or cured.

Many of our hospitals within the AZ Pet Vet family of hospitals provide a full range of treatment for pets with cancer.

We understand that a cancer diagnosis is devastating and stressful for pet owners, and the idea of your beloved pet undergoing chemotherapy treatments can be difficult to contemplate.

Depending on the type of cancer and prognosis, your veterinarian will work with you closely to provide treatment options, help you understand what to expect, and the best and worst case scenarios.

Here are 10 warning signs to watch for in your dog or cat:

  • Lumps or bumps that persist or continue to grow – these should be biopsied.
  • Sores that don’t heal – these can be a sign of infection, skin disease or cancer.
  • Weight loss – sudden weight loss along with any other signs from this list are of concern.
  • Loss of appetite – pets don’t stop eating without reason. Get them checked.
  • Bleeding or discharge from any body opening such as blood, pus, vomiting, diarrhea. Watch for abdominal bloating or distention as it can indicate a build up of fluids.
  • Offensive odor – cancers of the mouth, nose or anal glands can cause nasty odors.
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing – this can indicate any number of health problems, so best to see the vet right away.
  • Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina – while these symptoms are associated with many health conditions, most people do not realize they can also indicate cancer.
  • Persistent lameness or stiffness – this is usually due to arthritis or joint and muscle disease, but it can also be a sign of cancer.
  • Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating. These symptoms, whether experienced alone or in groups, indicate that something is wrong. Make an appointment to see the vet, stat!

Regular full body checks and careful observation of your pets at home are important for identifying changes in a pet’s overall health, as well as annual or more frequent wellness exams by a veterinary professional. If your dog or cat is showing ANY of the signs listed above, it’s best to see your veterinarian for a full check-up. Make the call today.

 

Is My Pet Too Fat?

is my pet too fatOK, let’s be honest. If you’re asking the question ‘Is my pet too fat,’ the answer is probably YES.

Obesity is a HUGE problem in our country and it’s not just exclusive to people. In the U.S., it’s estimated that 57 percent of cats and 52 percent of dogs are overweight or clinically obese.

While a chubby pug or a fat cat may be adorably cute, the health consequences can be devastating for them and for you. Excess weight not only affects their quality of life, it can also make a BIG impact on your veterinary bills.

October 11th is Pet Obesity Awareness Day, so it’s a great time to learn the common causes of obesity in pets, and act before excess weight negatively impacts your pet’s health, and your heart and wallet.

So What’s Causing Pets to Get Fat?

Pet owners. When you’re busy, it’s easy to slip treats to a pet that wants your attention, or because they look so cute, sweet, sad…we all have our weak spots. If your pet learns you’ll reward them for a particular behavior, they’ll work it.

Yes, this means overfeeding is one of the main culprits – but it’s not just treat-based. Many people simply fill their pet’s bowl with food without thinking about the calories. Always use a measuring cup and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for weight, age and activity levels.

Lack of exercise is another issue – make sure your dog gets walks regularly (it’s good for you both) and that both cats and dogs get plenty of play time and activities to keep them moving. Even cats can be trained to walk on a leash – why not give it a try?

It’s our job as pet parents to take care of our furry friends. Obesity in pets is not always due too many treats and too little exercise. Just as in humans, underlying health issues like diabetes, thyroid or adrenal disorders can also cause weight gain in animals. If your pet is gaining weight, or already overweight or obese, it’s time to schedule a visit to the vet!

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s pet weight translator:

• A Yorkie weighting 12 pounds is the same as an average female weighing 218 pounds!
• A cat weighing 14 pounds is equivalent to a 237 pound man!
• A 90 pound female Labrador retriever is equal to a 186 pound 5’ 4” female or 217 pound 5’ 9” male!
• A fluffy feline weighing 15 pounds (DSH) is equal to a 218 pound 5’ 4” female or 254 pound 5’ 9” male!

Check out your pet’s weight equivalent by breed, age and gender here to see if they are at a healthy weight or need to lose weight:

http://www.petobesityprevention.org/pet-weight-translator/

Bottom line: Obesity can take years off of your pet’s life – and it’s up to you to do something. Check out the guidelines in the link above, and schedule regular health check-ups.