Take Your Cat To The Vet Day

August 22nd is National Take Your Cat To The Vet Day! Here are the top 5 reasons routine vet visits are a vital part for your cat to live a long, healthy life. Cats age more rapidly than humans 
A cat reaches approximate human age of 15 during its first year, and then 24 at age 2. Each year thereafter, they age approximately four “cat years” for every calendar year. So an 8-year-old cat would be 48 in cat years. Veterinary care is crucial because a lot can happen in those four “cat years,” which is why yearly visits are so important. Cats are masters at hiding illness
 Cat’s natural behaviors make them excellent at hiding how they feel when they are sick or in pain. Your cat could be developing a health condition long before you notice anything is wrong. Veterinarians are trained to spot changes or abnormalities that could be overlooked and detect many problems before they advance or become to difficult to treat. Over 50% of cats are overweight or obese
 Your veterinarian will check your cat’s weight at every visit and provide nutritional and enrichment recommendations to help keep your cat at an ideal weight. Just a few extra pounds can put your cat at risk for diabetes; heart, respiratory and kidney disease; and more. Preventative care is better than reactive care
 Information discussed, along with a thorough physical examination, provides you and your veterinarian with a plan to help your cat remain healthy. Regular exams can help avoid medical emergencies since veterinarians can often detect conditions or diseases that may affect your cat’s health...

Immunization Awareness

Proper and timely immunizations are extremely important to the well-being of your pet. Vaccines, given at the proper time, will help strengthen your pet’s immune system to fight off deadly diseases. So what exactly are vaccines and why should my pet get them? Vaccines help prepare the body’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which look like the disease-causing organism to the immune system but don’t actually cause disease. When the vaccine is introduced to the body, the immune system is mildly stimulated. If your dog or cat is ever exposed to the real disease, his immune system is now prepared to recognize and fight it off entirely or reduce the severity of the illness. Essential Vaccinations for Your Dog Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus (DHPP): Commonly called the “distemper shot,” this combination vaccine actually protects against all four diseases. Rabies: Rabies virus is fatal and all mammals, including humans, are susceptible to infection. Rabies vaccinations for dogs are required by law in most states. Other Vaccines for Dogs Your veterinarian may also recommend other vaccines for your dog depending on where you live and your dog’s lifestyle: Leptospirosis: Often included as part of the distemper combination vaccine (making it a DHLPP), this bacterial infection is most prevalent in moist climates where there are areas of standing or slow-moving water. This disease can also be spread from animals to humans. Bordetella (commonly called “kennel cough”): The bordetella virus causes an extremely contagious upper respiratory infection. Your veterinarian may recommend this vaccine before your dog goes to a dog park, groomer, boarding kennel, doggie...

The Importance of Regular Teeth Cleaning

Most dog and cat owners never take a good look inside their pet’s mouth. That’s unfortunate because many pets show signs of gum disease by the time they are four years old and it’s because they weren’t given proper mouth care. Exam your dog’s mouth regularly to prevent future periodontal diseases and keep his smile dazzling with a mouthful of pearly whites. What to look for when checking your pet’s mouth: Malodorous (bad) breath – Normal dog breath doesn’t smell like lavender and rose petals but if his breath is extremely offensive and is accompanied by loss of appetite, vomiting, excessive drinking or urinating, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet. Healthy gums – Don’t forget to check their gums! Healthy gums should be pink, not red or white, and should show no signs of swelling. Signs of Oral Disease – Some additional symptoms of more serious periodontal disease include excessive drooling, loose teeth, broken or fractured teeth, discolored teeth, and cysts under the tongue. So what should you do to keep your pet’s teeth healthy? In addition to your regular home checkups, follow these steps: 1. Start with your veterinarian and get a dental exam for your pet This is the first step in a successful dental program for your pet. Your veterinarian will give a thorough examination of your pet’s mouth: teeth, gums and oral cavity and make a recommendation if a professional cleaning is necessary. 2. Ask your veterinarian for a tooth care demonstration after the dental cleaning Starting a home dental program while your pet is young is the best bet for...

AAHA ACCREDITED HOSPITAL DAY

Today is the first annual AAHA-Accredited Hospital Day and South Bay Veterinary Hospital is honored to be able to participate in the celebrations! The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has designated this day as an opportunity to educate pet owners about what accreditation means for their pets and to thank accredited hospitals for holding themselves to a higher standard. AAHA-Accredited Hospital Day will be held each year to celebrate champions for excellent veterinary care. The mission of AAHA-Accredited Hospital Day is to highlight the exceptional care provided by AAHA-accredited hospitals and to educate pet owners about the value of accreditation. Only 12–15 percent of veterinary hospitals in the United States and Canada are AAHA-accredited and we are so fortunate to be in that top percentage of hospitals that can say they hold such an accreditation. AAHA-accredited veterinary hospitals are home to leading pet health care teams. AAHA has been recognizing veterinary hospitals for their commitment to maintaining high standards of care for more than 80 years. To be eligible for AAHA accreditation, hospitals must pass a 900-point evaluation that assesses safety protocols, equipment, veterinary knowledge, and other fundamental areas of pet health care. To learn more about AAHA-Accredited Hospital Day, please visit them on the web at...

The Importance of Microchipping Your Pet

Losing your pet can be a traumatic and even tragic event. Conscientious pet guardians protect their pets with collars and ID tags. Unfortunately, collars and ID tags are not foolproof and dogs and cats can still get lost. Collars can break or fall-off, leaving your beloved pet among the countless, unidentified lost strays at animal shelters.  This can easily be avoided if pet owners took the time to get their pets microchipped. What are microchips? Microchips are implantable computer chips that encode a unique identification number to help reunite you with your lost pet. They are no bigger than a grain of rice and they are placed under your pet’s skin with a needle and syringe, not much differently than a routine vaccinations. Unlike collars and ID tags, they can never break or fall-off. They work by receiving a radio signal from a scanner and transmitting the encoded chip identification number back to the scanner. With the chip identification number in hand, the vital contact information is only a phone call away. Studies support the importance of microchipping Dogs and cats with microchips are more likely to be returned to their owners than pets without. According to the Science Daily, the study reported that cats with microchips were 20 times more likely to be returned home than cats without, while dogs with microchips were 2.5 times more likely to be returned home than those without one. The undeniable fact remains that microchips have reunited hundreds of pets with their guardians. Of course, in order for a microchip to work, you will need to register the microchip and keep your...

Dog Bite Prevention

70 million nice dogs… And any one of them can bite. With an estimated population of 70 million dogs living in U.S. households, millions of people – most of them children – are bitten by dogs every year. The majority of these bites, if not all, are preventable. Dog Bite Facts: Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs. Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention. Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children. Children are, by far, the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured. Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs. Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims. There are many things you can do to avoid dog bites, ranging from properly training and socializing your pet to educating your children on how – or if – they should approach a dog. Teaching Children How to Prevent Dog Bites When you’re teaching children about dog bite prevention and how to be safe around dogs, keep it simple. Discuss animals, how we relate to them, and the role of animals in your family, not just how to avoid being bitten. If you have younger children, always supervise them around dogs and be mindful of how the child interacts with the dog so they learn to be gentle from the beginning. Some easy tips that you can use to help kids understand the importance of respecting dogs and...

Disaster Preparedness for Pets

Emergencies come in many forms, and they may require anything from a brief absence from your home to permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your pets safe, so the best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared. Here are simple steps you can follow now to make sure you’re ready before the next disaster strikes: Step 1: Get a Rescue Alert Sticker This easy-to-use sticker will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers (we recommend placing it on or near your front door), and that it includes the types and number of pets in your home as well as the name and number of your veterinarian. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers. To get a free emergency pet alert sticker for your home, please fill out our online order form and allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Your local pet supply store may also sell similar stickers. Step 2: Arrange a Safe Haven Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards. Note that not all shelters accept pets, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time: Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities. Ask your local animal shelter if...

National Poison Prevention Week

March 20-26 is National Poison Prevention Week. This week serves as a reminder to all pet owners to watch for both natural and processed pet toxins, especially as we prepare for spring cleaning and as plants start to poke their way through the snow. Below is a list of the most common poison threats to your pets.  These toxins are listed by their commonality, so watch especially for those highest on the lists. Keep this list handy to help keep your pet healthy year round. Top Ten Cat Toxins Lilies: All plants in the lily family, if ingested, can cause kidney failure in cats. These plants are common, so be especially careful what types of plants you have accessible in your home. Household cleaners: Watch especially for concentrated products like toilet or drain cleaners, which can cause chemical burns. Flea and tick prevention products for dogs: Certain pyrethroid based products can cause tremors and seizures in cats and are potentially deadly if ingested. Antidepressants: According to Pet Age, cats seem strangely drawn to these medications. Keep them tightly sealed and out of reach, as they can have damaging neurological and cardiac effects on cats. NSAIDs: Drugs like Ibuprofen found in Advil, Motrin, Aleve, etc are even more dangerous to cats than they are to dogs. Even those meant for pets should be used with caution. Prescription ADD/ADHD medication: Can cause tremors, seizures or other cardiac problems that could be fatal to cats. Over the counter cough, cold & allergy medicine: Those containing acetaminophen (like Tylenol) are particularly dangerous can do damage to red blood cells and cause liver failure....

8 Steps to Keeping Your Pet Healthy: Proper Nutrition

Pet Care Series: 8 Steps to Keep Your Pet Healthy At South Bay Veterinary Hospital, it is our mission to be the most reliable, responsible and respected providers of veterinary services to pets and their owners. It is through continuous education of our staff that we are able to better provide the care your pet needs to live a long and active life. In our pet healthcare series, we will take a look at the eight steps you should take to ensure your pet remains in prime health. This week, we will take a look at the first step: Proper Nutrition. What does proper nutrition do for your pet? The proper balance of nutrients is essential when feeding your pet. Animals (and humans) need a certain combination of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water every day in order to function properly. However, your pet’s nutrition needs are not the same as ours, but many of us are clueless about what exactly they are. Consider these facts: Small, low-activity dogs need only about 185 to 370 calories daily, while a large pooch between 67 to 88 pounds may need between 1,000 to 2,000 calories, depending on activity level and gender. Yet many of our dogs get far more food than they need. More than one-third of U.S. dogs over 1 year old are overweight. A healthy 10-pound kitty needs just 220 to 350 calories a day — about the number in a few ounces of cheese. No wonder the weight stats are about as bad for cats as dogs. At least one-quarter of U.S. felines are considered overweight or...

Halloween isn’t for scaredy cats – or dogs!

Attention, animal lovers, it’s almost the spookiest night of the year and were suggest taking the necessary precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying “trick or treat!”. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for furry family members. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or animal poison control at (855) 764-7661. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them. Keep electric lights and cords from decorations out of the reach of your pets. If they chew on them, they could suffer from cuts or burns, or worse, life-threatening electrical shock. Be extra careful when putting candles in carved pumpkins. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). But, for most pets, wearing anything but their “birthday suit” causes them undue stress so do everyone a favor and leave the dressing up to us humans. But… If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or...
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