Care Topics for Pet Parents in Topeka, KS
We are here to educate our clients and help them be their pet’s best advocate.
Happy Healthy Pets
There is a lot to know about taking excellent care of a pet! One of our goals at Stone House Animal Hospital is to educate our pet parents so that they can be their beloved pet’s best advocate.
Did you know that proper pain management means your dog won’t have to wear a cone? Or that pre-anesthetic blood tests are essential to making anesthesia safer for your pet?
The topics listed below are excellent resources for high-quality pet care.
Is your pet in pain?
To protect themselves from predators, animals naturally hide their pain. Subtle changes in behavior may be the only clues that your pet is suffering.
Signs of discomfort include:
- Abnormal chewing, bad breath, or face rubbing
- Excessive head shaking
- Sudden weight change
- Lack of grooming
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in posture
- Lagging on walks
- Difficulty getting up
- Lethargy or restlessness
- Excessive licking, especially at joints
- Reluctance to be touched
If you notice these or other changes in your pet, have your pet assessed by your veterinarian.
There are many safe treatment options for managing your pet’s pain. Traditionally, steroids have been used to decrease pain caused by inflammation, but they generally aren’t used for prolonged periods because of possible side effects.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often used following surgery and to treat orthopedic-related pain with fewer side effects. Nutritional supplements and complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, may also help, depending on the pain your pet is experiencing. Never try to treat your pet yourself. Some painkillers, including acetaminophen (found in Tylenol), or combinations of medications, can be toxic to pets in very small doses. Do not give your pet any medication without consulting your veterinarian.
The danger of cheap surgery
“Cheaper” surgeries = potentially expensive complications.
We acknowledge that our surgical procedures are not the “cheapest” in town – but for a good reason! Often, correcting the complication is more expensive than having it done correctly the first time. We have seen the devastating effects of cheaper surgeries and the heartache felt by owners.
Every surgery in this hospital receives the following:
- Pre-surgical blood tests to reduce the risk associated with anesthesia
- Proper suture usage. We refuse to use poor-quality sutures just because you can’t see them.
- Respiratory monitor
- ECG heart monitor
- Pulse/ox monitor to verify the amount of oxygen in the blood
- Pain management which starts during the surgery and continues for 2-5 days at home
- We will never ask you to take your pet home “sleepy” from the anesthesia -they stay at no charge
- 24-hour monitoring of your hospitalized pet
We understand that proper medical care for your pet can be expensive, but the financial and emotional cost of non-optimum care can be so much more devastating for you and your pet!
Heartworms are transmitted through mosquitos. If a mosquito bites an infected dog, they transfer that microfilaria (baby heartworms) when they bite another dog. The baby heartworms then migrate in the blood to the heart. The worms multiply and grow – soon causing symptoms, making your pet uncomfortable and damaging the heart.
(Heartworms cannot survive in humans!)
Due to the reduced amount of blood the heart can move, your dog may develop a cough. All symptoms will be worse with increased temperatures and increased activity.
A small amount of blood will be drawn and tested to determine if heartworms are present. The test takes about 15 minutes. It is recommended bi-annually, even if your pet is on prevention year-round. The most critical reason goes beyond state compliance – the sooner we treat a positive pet, the less irreversible damage will have occurred to the heart.
Heartworm treatment requires a couple of nights of hospitalization, during which the patient receives pain medications and injections to eliminate the worms.
Prevention is generally in the form of a chewable treat and should be given year-round. Prevention can not be sold unless your pet has a current heartworm test. Prevention is not a 100% guarantee against the worms, and the sooner we catch the presence of heartworms, the better chance your pet will continue to live a long, happy life after treatment.
Pet Food and Treats
Proper nutrition is so essential for a happy, healthy pet. Though we all enjoy the occasional junk food, we know to be healthy, you have to eat nutritious food. Your pet is the same.
Pet’s digestive systems are not like ours – here are some of the key differences:
- If we eat the same thing day after day, we get bored. Not so for pets. Switching foods can lead to stomach upset, loose stools, and vomiting. Slowly switching is the best option if you need to change your pet’s food. Mix a small amount of the new food into your pet’s regular food and gradually increase the amount of fresh food over 5-7 days. This should help your pet’s digestive system handle the change without problems.
- We know what foods we can eat and what foods our systems can’t handle. Your pet may eat human food and be fine, but the next time it’s eaten, it may cause pancreatitis. This is an inflammation of the pancreas, which is incredibly painful and generally requires hospitalization. The best option is to avoid feeding human foods to your pets. (Yes, we know it’s hard to resist those puppy dog eyes!)
- There is no one food we can eat that will provide all the nutrients we need to be healthy. Quality pet foods offer this for our four-legged family members. Remember, just like healthy human food is typically more expensive than junk food, your pet’s food is the same! Cheap pet food is primarily fillers and will not be able to provide your pet with the nutrition that they need.
A healthy diet can help your pet maintain a proper weight, have healthy skin and hair, and increase overall health. Eating healthy pays off for everyone!