Before Your Visit
This is a common canine myth. If your dog has a dry nose, it merely means your dog has a dry nose! A dry nose is not correlated to a dog’s health. If you notice swelling, your dog having difficultly breathing, or if your dog has a runny nose for more than a couple of days, then you should have your dog checked out by one of our veterinarians.
Unfortunately, our pets are not able to complain or tell us when they are not feeling well. In general, if you notice your pet is not acting normal or looks to be in pain, it may be beneficial to visit our office. Signs of illness vary immensely amongst individual pets, and most pets are quite good at hiding their discomfort. When it comes to our four-legged family members the saying, “better safe than sorry” definitely applies! Any changes in your pets eating and drinking habits, activity level, behavior, appearance, etc. should be investigated further to rule out any underlying issues.
My cat hates his carrier and car rides, how can I make transporting my cat to the vet more convenient?
For a majority of cats, the mere sight of their carrier can trigger stress. Luckily, your cat can learn to associate their carrier with positive experiences. Begin by leaving the carrier out where it is accessible to your cat. Leave the door open or if possible, take the top off so it mimics a box (which all cats love!). Place a blanket, toys, treats, or cat nip inside to help encourage your cat to explore the carrier. There are products available, such as Feliway (sold at our office), that can help reduce the amount of stress involved in transporting your cat to the vet. The carrier itself can also make a difference. For instance, some cats are resistant to top loading or soft carriers. In order to keep your cat healthy, annual examinations are strongly recommended.
The pocket pet sector includes guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, ferrets, rabbits, rats, and hedgehogs (don’t take the pocket pet name too literally with the hedgehogs…ouch!).
Westgate Animal Clinic Services
Vaccines are crucial in preventing many illnesses that your pet is susceptible to. Vaccines work in tandem with your pet’s immune system to fight the intrusion of disease-causing invaders. Each vaccine contains a unique antigen that mimics the appearance of the actual disease-causing invader. After the vaccine is administered, the immune system is immediately alerted and it manufactures memory cells that grant your pet an immunological memory. The vaccine itself does not actually cause the disease, but merely introduces a small strain which enable the immune system to build an army of defenders ready to be deployed if you pet were to actually come into contact with the specific disease. Today there are many vaccines that target specific diseases and illnesses. The veterinarians at the Westgate Animal Clinic can assist you in establishing an effective vaccination regime for your pet. Immunizations may cause mild symptoms including soreness at the injection site, fever, or an allergic reaction. To seek information regarding Nebraska’s laws governing the rabies vaccine please click here.
Pets are experts at hiding illnesses. Most owners are not aware of their pets compromised health until their pet is quite ill. Bloodwork can serve as a vital reference point for a veterinarian. Like people, the “normal blood levels” can vary from pet to pet. Obtaining bloodwork when your pet is healthy can establish what your pet’s “normal levels” are and serve as a reference if your pet is ill in the future. Having bloodwork to reference can help guide the veterinarian to narrow their diagnosis and better treat your pet. There are countless mediations, supplements, and prescription diets that can be prescribed once we determine the reason for your pets deviation from their normal bloodwork.
Spaying and neutering helps reduce pet overpopulation in shelters, rescues, and left on the streets. There are also several health benefits associated with fixing your pet. Altering your pet can eliminate certain cancers and diseases. Both spaying and neutering can help reduce many behaviors including roaming, marking, and aggression. If you have further questions about altering your pet, please call and talk to one of our friendly team members.
Maintaining Your Pet’s Health
Pet obesity presents the same health risks in pets as it does people. It is estimated that over 50% of the pet population is obese. Overweight pets are at a higher risk of several diseases including but not limited to diabetes, arthritis, and fatty liver. Whether your pet is overweight due to overindulgence, lifestyle, or a medical condition, we can help! Our veterinarians are more than willing to exam your pet’s health and devise a unique health plan geared toward helping your pet slim down.
If you observe you pet scooting or dragging their bottom along the floor, it may be an indicator that your pet’s anal glands are inflamed. Dogs and cats have anal glands that are positioned right outside of their rectum on either side of the anus. The glands are responsible for secreting a smelly, oily substance thought to be a territorial marker. The anal glands are a natural part of your pet’s anatomy, and therefore should function properly without intervention. Typically, the passage of a normal bowel movement is sufficient in depositing the contents of the anal sacs. If your pet exhibits allergies that result in the inflammation of the sacs, experiences loose stool or diarrhea, or was granted some unfortunate genetics, they may have lost their ability to express their glands naturally. If the problem is left untreated, there is the potential of an infection developing. An infection arises due to the blockage of the ducts caused by the inflammation of local tissue. Pets scoot their bottoms while attempting to empty the glands on their own. Some pets will also result to licking or biting at their bottoms. If you observe these symptoms, we suggest you bring in your pet in to have them examined by one of our veterinarians.
Exercise is considered any activity that causes your dog to breathe heavily and increases their heart rate. There a few variables that need to be considered when discussing an exercise regime for a dog. First and foremost, each dog has their own unique exercise requirements. To determine the appropriate length and exercise method for your dog, you will need to do a little investigating. Observe your dog and their habits. What time of day gets your dog breathing the heaviest? Does your dog prefer to go for a run or a swim? Exercise should ultimately be an enjoyable time for your dog. It is a fabulous way for them to stay physically fit and healthy, but can also help eliminate behaviorally issues, such as separation anxiety. Schedule a wellness exam today to have one of our vets examine your dog and ensure they are healthy enough to begin exercising. Next, gradually work your dog into an exercise routine. Do not be surprised if they are a bit sore the next day. Just as humans are sore after a hard workout at the gym, our pets experience muscle soreness too!
Heartworms are among one of the most dangerous parasites to pets. Fortunately, heartworms are nearly 100% preventable. The heartworm parasite is transferred to your pet from a mosquito. Heartworm larva is deposited onto your pet while the mosquito is feeding. Once the heartworms mature, they migrate to your pet’s heart and large blood vessels of the lungs. Once in the heart, the heartworms can alter your pet’s circulation of blood. The early stages of the disease show minimal symptoms, but if left untreated the progression of the disease can be fatal. The most common means for diagnosing heartworms is through bloodwork analysis. Other diagnostic methods include blood tests of the kidney and liver function, x-rays of the chest cavity, and an ultrasound (sonogram) of the heart. All pets are susceptible to contracting heartworms, but dogs are infected at a much higher rate than cats. The Westgate Animal Clinic offers multiple heartworm prevention methods for both dogs and cats.