Friday, May 27, 2016
Many dog owners have heard of heartworm disease but
may not fully understand how the disease develops. Some owners may
even question if an annual test for heartworm disease is necessary.
Dr. Sonya Wesselowski, clinical assistant professor of cardiology
at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine &
Biomedical Sciences, said testing for heartworm disease and
administering regular monthly heartworm medication is crucial.
“All dogs should be tested for heartworm disease every year at
their annual wellness visit,” Wesselowski said. “Additionally,
patients that have not previously been on heartworm prevention or
those that have had a lapse in their heartworm prevention should be
tested immediately, then again in six months, and annually
To help dog owners understand why preventing heartworm disease
is so important, Wesselowski explained how the disease develops.
“Heartworm disease is caused by a long, thin worm known as
Many of us consider pets a member of the family, but this does
not always mean treating our pets like humans. For example, there
are many habits humans choose to indulge in that can harm
pets—including smoking, drinking, and a lack of regular exercise.
Unlike people, animals are unable to make the conscious decision to
participate in these habits. Although pets may be considered a
furry family member, it is important to remember our pets’ special
needs and how human behavior can impact their health.
In the past, the consequences of smoking were not given much
thought by those who smoked. However, doctors and researchers began
identifying a strong association with smoking and certain cancers
in humans, causing a wave of concern in recent generations. Despite
the concern of smoking negatively impacting human health, smoking
is still a common habit. In addition to harming humans, secondhand
smoke can contribute to the development of many diseas...
Some dogs are born blind while
others develop blindness over time from age and disease. No matter
the situation, blind dogs are just as loveable and playful as dogs
with excellent eyesight. Dr. Lucien Vallone, clinical assistant
professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine &
Biomedical Sciences, cleared up some confusion about caring for
“Blind dogs are certainly adoptable,” Vallone said. “In fact,
most blind dogs’ owners actually report that their dog’s quality of
life is excellent. In addition, many owners find that blind dogs
become more attached to either the owner or other pets within the
household, which is often viewed positively. After adapting to a
new environment, which can take several months, most blind dogs
lead lives that are almost identical to sighted dogs.”
If you are considering adopting a blind dog or are currently
caring for a dog whose eyesight is deteriorating, it is important
Thursday, May 05, 2016
The awful smell caused by a skunk spray is no joke. Every dog
owner knows to keep their dog away from skunks at all costs—but
sometimes Fido has other plans. With warmer weather approaching,
skunks are becoming more active at dawn and dusk. Are you prepared
for a potential skunk spray?
Skunks are omnivores, meaning they eat both vegetation and meat,
and they are a part of the weasel family. They are more active in
the warmer months, specifically in early morning and dusk and are
generally non-aggressive animals. Although skunks typically prefer
flight over fight, they are capable of spraying a substance
degraded from their urine when they feel threatened. This
foul-smelling spray can reach up to 16 feet.
If you find your dog sprayed by a skunk, it is important to act
fast. The longer the spray sits on your dog’s coat, the worse the
odor becomes and the harder it is to wash out. First, situate your
smelly pooch outside to prevent any of th...
Friday, April 29, 2016
Many people are fascinated with non-domestic animals—whether
exotic or native species—and think these animals would make great
pets. However, non-domestic animals, including certain species of
snakes and tortoises, do not make great additions to households
despite being included in the pet trade. In fact, it may cause more
harm than good to bring a non-domestic animal home. Dr. Alice
Blue-McLendon, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, provided
some insight on having non-domesticated animals as pets.
“There are a number of species of non-domestic animals that are
available for purchase in the pet trade, but a lot of times people
don't consider the long-term consequences of housing these animals
or if they are qualified to care for the animal,” Blue-McLendon
said. “Therefore, a lot of non-domesticated animals should not be
sold to the general public.”
One example of a no...
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Most of us know oral hygiene can play a critical role in a
person’s overall health; but did you know the same applies for your
furry friends? Humans schedule regular dental cleanings to keep
their gums and teeth healthy, but dental health in dogs and cats
may be overlooked by pet owners.
Dr. J.R. “Bert” Dodd, clinical professor at the Texas A&M
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained
some common dental hygiene issues in dogs and cats. “Poor oral
hygiene in dogs and cats can lead to excess tartar, swellings in
the mouth, and severe wear of the teeth (or broken teeth), from
chewing on inappropriate objects,” he said. “In addition,
periodontal—or gum—disease can arise from neglected oral health. If
preventative dental health is not practiced and periodontal
therapy—which includes the scaling, root planning, curettage, and
extraction of teeth—is ignored, your pet may become more
susceptible to other health compli...
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Many pet owners are becoming more conscious of the quality of
food they are feeding their pets, but it is often difficult to
determine what constitutes a healthy and nutritious meal. A dog or
cat’s nutritional requirements vary based on age and health, which
may leave some pet owners questioning how to provide the right kind
of food. Dr. Sarah Griffin, lecturer at the Texas A&M College
of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, provided some
“The ingredient list on pet food does not provide information on
the quality of the ingredients or the nutritional adequacy of the
overall diet,” she explained. “However, the ingredients are listed
on the label in descending order of weight. Ingredients with higher
water content are listed higher on the list. Because water is
included in the weight of the ingredients, ingredients with higher
water content will be higher on the list than similar amounts of
dry ingredients, even though...
Thursday, April 07, 2016
Recognizing irregular behavior is one of the most common methods
pet owners use to determine if their cat may be sick or in pain.
One behavior that should be closely regulated is urinary behavior.
Keeping track of urination habits helps prevent conditions such as
feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), an umbrella term that
refers to disorders affecting the bladder and urethra of cats.
FLUTD includes many disorders, including urinary tract
infections, bladder stones, and feline interstitial cystitis (FIC),
a complicated disorder that causes cats to show signs of bladder
inflammation though they do not have a bladder infection. The cause
of FIC is not completely understood, but signs of FIC are often
precipitated by stressful events. Risk factors for FIC in cats
include being overweight, being an indoor-only cat, and
Dr. Johanna Heseltine, clinical assistant professor at the Texas
A&M College of Veterinary Medi...
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Being familiar with the signs of common skin irritations and
diseases in your feline companion is important for your cat’s
health. Certain skin problems could be sign of a more complicated
underlying issue, such as physical pain, discomfort, or
According to Dr. Alison Diesel, clinical assistant professor at
the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical
Sciences, the most common skin conditions that appear in cats
include ringworm, fleas and flea allergy dermatitis, ear mites, and
bacterial skin infections. In addition, cats can have allergic
reactions to ingredients in their food, such as fish, chicken, and
milk, or to things in the environment such as various pollens and
dust. Both food and environmental allergies can manifest with
itching and/or hair loss from over-grooming. Cats can also develop
nodules on the skin of their abdomen from mycobacterial infections,
which are caused by organisms commonly found ...
Friday, March 25, 2016
According to the American Heart Association, there have been
reported associations between pet ownership and cardiovascular
health in the last decade. Owning pets—specifically dogs—may help
reduce the risk of heart disease in pet owners in a number of
In addition to companionship, dogs can encourage laughter,
physical activity, and other benefits effective in decreasing
stress levels. Dr. Sarah Griffin, lecturer at the Texas A&M
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences explained
why owning dogs may be related to decreased stress levels. “The
American Heart Association has said that owning pets can have a
positive effect on how people react to stress,” she said. “Chronic
stress has not been shown to directly increase risk factors
associated with heart disease, but it can lead to unhealthy
lifestyle choices that are associated with high blood pressure and
increased risk for heart disease.”
High blood pressure, ano...
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Call (979) 845-3541
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College Station, TX 77845
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