Blog - Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in College Station, Texas Blog - Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in College Station, Texas

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Pet Transportation Safety

The holiday season has ended, meaning most families are returning from their travels. For some people, pets are a part of the celebration and are included in travel plans. While some pets are easy travel companions, others are better left at home in the care of a trusted friend or neighbor. Even if visiting your veterinarian is the most you travel with your pet, every owner should understand pet transportation safety. When making travel decisions, it is important to consider your pet’s behavior, health, and daily needs. For example, if your destination will not allow you to spend time with Fido and include his daily exercise, then it is best he stay at home. As a general rule, most cats are more comfortable in their home environment and should probably stay home during family trips. Taking your pet to the veterinarian for a quick check up will also help you decide if your pet is healthy enough for travel, especially if your pet will be travel...

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Preventing Obesity in Pets

Like humans, pets can become obese and develop excess body fat, which can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes or degenerative joint disease. In order to provide your furry best friend with the highest quality of life and increase their life span, be sure to follow these simple steps to prevent your pet from becoming obese. Weight gain in pets is often a result of overfeeding and lack of exercise. To keep your pet at a healthy weight, be sure to provide a healthy balance between food intake and physical activity. For example, give your dog or cat two to three meals a day instead of providing food at all times, and make sure to include at least one daily walk or some playtime. Maintaining a healthy weight for dogs and cats also depends on the type of food they eat on a daily basis. Owners should choose an appropriate pet food according to the animal’s age, weight, and activity level. Generally, younger dogs and cats need to co...

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Parvovirus in Puppies

Vaccinations can prevent many illnesses in puppies, but viruses such as canine parvovirus are still a threat to dogs with developing immune systems. Young puppies often have immunity against the virus because they get antibodies from the colostrum in their mother’s milk, but these antibodies are not always as effective as a vaccine. Dr. Johanna Heseltine, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained the characteristics of parvovirus. “Canine parvovirus, or ‘parvo,’ is a highly contagious virus that affects dogs and often causes severe diarrhea and vomiting in puppies,” she said. “Parvovirus lives for months in the environment, so many puppies can be exposed while their immune system is still vulnerable. Once dogs are fully vaccinated, they seldom become infected. Even if a puppy has received some vaccines, they are still at risk for infection because the antibodies the...

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Preventing Diabetes in Cats

Diabetes mellitus (also called sugar diabetes) is becoming more common in our society. Genetics and lifestyle play an important role in humans; however numerous processes can contribute to the development of this disease. In addition to the rise of human diabetes cases, veterinarians are also seeing an increase in the prevalence of diabetes in cats. Diabetes mellitus is characterized by an absolute lack or relative deficiency of insulin. The two most common forms of diabetes in people are Type 1 and Type 2, and most diabetic cats have a form that mimics human Type 2 diabetes. During digestion, nutrients from the cat’s diet are broken down into smaller components—like glucose—that the body can use as energy. Insulin, a hormone responsible for the regulation of glucose in the bloodstream, is produced by the pancreas. Glucose can only enter the cells to be used as energy in the presence of insulin. If there isn’t enough insulin, the body begin...

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What to Do if You Find a Stray Dog

Pets are considered a part of the family for many pet owners. The unique personalities and characteristics our pets possess are irreplaceable, and it can be heart-breaking to lose their company. Stray dogs are a growing problem in the United States, and a majority of these strays are forced to wander the dangerous streets or begin a new life in an animal shelter. Learning how to properly bring a stray dog to safety is vital for your safety, as well as the stray’s safety. When trying to care for a stray, safety is always first. It is easy to become swept up in emotions when you see a stray dog hurt or in a dangerous situation—like running in traffic. Even if you have good intentions, it is important to consider all options before taking action to keep the situation from becoming even more hazardous. There are numerous ways to encounter a stray dog, but the most common scenarios are on foot or in vehicular traffic. Remaining calm is the ke...

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Halloween Pet Safety

Though many people get a thrill from the frightening masks and costumes on Halloween night, our pets are less likely to appreciate the spooky tradition. To ensure your pet’s safety this holiday weekend, follow these simple guidelines. Collecting candy is one of the most well-known traditions of Halloween. We might appreciate the array of tastes in our assortment of candy, but is it safe to offer Fido a few bites? Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained how candy can be harmful for pets. “For individual ingredients, chocolate is the biggest offender,” she said. “Dark chocolate is the most dangerous candy, followed by milk chocolate and white chocolate. Chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhea, a rapid heart rate, tremors, seizures, and death. Other ingredients in candy can also be of concern, such as certain nuts and raisins.” Eckman added that m...

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Ringworm in Pets

Although the name often misleads pet owners into thinking a worm has invaded their pet’s bodies, ringworm is actually a fungus that can affect the hair, skin and nails. Common in cats, this fungus can lead to circular patterns of hair loss and red, scabby bumps. Before you introduce another pet into your home, knowing the facts about ringworm and how to prevent the skin condition from spreading is crucial. Dermatophytes, fungi that feeds on protein in the skin, hair, and claws, is the agent of ringworm. Infections are transmitted by contact with infected hairs from another infected pet in the environment, or through bedding, grooming tools, and even fleas. The fungus can be passed between animals and humans, but young and elderly people are more susceptible to developing the infection. Those with weak immune systems are also more prone to ringworm. Dr. Adam Patterson, clinical assistant professor and chief of dermatology at the Texas A&am...

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Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Hip dysplasia, a condition that results from poor joint and bone health, can significantly alter your dog's quality of life. Though larger breeds like Labrador retrievers, Mastiffs and German Shepherds are especially prone to hip dysplasia, dogs of all ages and breeds can develop the painful condition. Genetics often takes the blame, but there are many causes of hip dysplasia in dogs. Dr. Jacqueline Davidson, clinical professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explains how the condition can develop in dogs of all ages and breeds. "Hip dysplasia is considered to be multifactorial, meaning there are many factors that determine whether an individual will be affected," she said. "Genetics is one factor, but it is not simple. Breeding dogs that are free of hip dysplasia will reduce the risk of puppies with hip dysplasia; however, it is possible for a puppy to develop the condition even if the parents ...

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Breeding Guidelines

Pets have a way of touching our hearts and becoming a part of the family. It’s only natural to wish that our pets could be with us forever, but this is unfortunately not the case. Sometimes owners become so close to their pet that they believe breeding them is the closest thing to duplicating the pet they already own. In their mind, breeding a pet with ideal personality and character traits will produce the perfect new puppy or kitten. No matter the inspiration behind breeding your pet, there are many important factors to consider first. When some people think about breeding their pets, the first thing they think about is how adorable the offspring will be. Many people also assume raising puppies or kittens is a fun experience. Though this is true, there is a lot of time, work, and cost involved in producing healthy offspring for potential owners. Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Bi...

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Colic in Horses

Although horses have historically been known as working livestock, today they are often referred to as companion animals. More and more people are seeking to own pet horses, making large animal veterinary medicine even more important. With a growing horse industry, first-time horse owners should be aware and educated about one of the most common illnesses horses are susceptible to: colic. “Colic in the horse refers to a pain originating from within the abdominal cavity. Most often, colic is associated with the gastrointestinal tract; however, it can also arise from other intra-abdominal organs like the kidney, liver, and uterus,” said Dr. Noah Cohen, professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Horses that experience colic will show varying degrees of pain with varying clinical signs. These can include turning to stare at the flank region, pawing at the ground, restlessness (such as getting up an...

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