Adopting a new pet is a wonderful and exciting time and an important life decision that holds the potential for years of love and joy (with a little hard work thrown in there too, of course). Because we know that responsible pet adoption is important to our readers, we’ve made sure to outline the various ways that you can ensure you are making the best choices for yourself and for your new four-legged family member.
Whether you already have your ideal pet in mind, or want to take a look at the available options, it pays to do your research ahead of time. You will need to consider what type/breed of pet you are interested in, and the long-term costs and care involved. For example, purebreds and some larger breeds tend to cost more in veterinary care over their lives due to the propensity for genetic illness and injury as compared to mixed breed and smaller pets.
Unfortunately, our pet’s life spans are much shorter than the average human lifespan. Sadly, this means that you will likely see the day that you have to say goodbye to your faithful companion. This is the unpleasant side of pet ownership, but an important one. Your pet relies on you to advocate for him or her, and end of life pet care is no different. Thankfully Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center is here to help guide you through this difficult season.
Assessing Quality of Life
Animals are amazing in so many ways. Perhaps one of the most admirable qualities they have is their lack of self pity. Most pets will endure things that people would never be able to without any sign of complaint. This does not, however, mean that they should.
You care for your canine companion in many different ways. You feed him or her, provide social interaction, and make sure he or she has a safe, warm, dry place to sleep. You give each other unconditional love (like those Sunday morning snuggle sessions!) and you provide your best friend with consistent veterinary care.
Taking care of your pup’s body is integral to a long, healthy, and happy life. There are so many things to consider when it comes to your pet’s health, but cardiovascular health is up at the top of the list of importance. Bone up on dog heart health so you can help your pet’s ticker keep the beat.
You don’t have to be a cat owner to realize that cats are a mysterious, elusive species with a unique skill set. It’s hard to be in a room with a cat and not watch the subtle movements of the tail, the careful whisker washing, or the delightful “slow blinks” (which indicate contentment).
Cat communication, both between cats and with other species, is elaborate and deeply nuanced. By understanding how cats communicate, we not only gain a deeper appreciation for our feline friends, but also strengthen the bond we share with them.
Visual communication is an important part of how cats communicate with each other, and with their human families. By paying attention to the position of your cat’s ears, tail, head, eyes, and body can tell you a lot about what your cat is trying to convey.
Although lasers may seem like science fiction, they’re actually medical grade devices that are used for everything from complex surgeries to vision correction procedures. Over the past few decades, veterinary medicine has also embraced this incredible technology with successful results.
K-lasers, or therapeutic lasers, are used primarily to benefit pets with chronic conditions that can cause pain and inflammation. Pet laser therapy can also be used as an adjunct to traditional treatments for injuries.
Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center is pleased to offer this incredible service to our pet patients, and we encourage owners to learn more about the advantages of pet laser therapy.
It’s an unfortunate fact, but pets who are allowed to go outside on their own have a higher chance of accidental injury, illness, or loss. We do our part to ensure that cats who wander away from home or dogs kept on leash are protected against certain hazards. However, they aren’t the only ones who deserve preventive care. A strictly indoor pet can still stumble upon health risks – but not if we can help it!
It’s a common falsehood that pets kept indoors don’t require a proactive approach to disease prevention. After all, they aren’t exposed to potential carriers for disease, right? Wrong. Disease can be transmitted to an indoor pet in a variety of ways, and we’re here to make sure the cycle stops at the front door.
Vaccinations for Indoor Pets
Texas law mandates that all cats and dogs be vaccinated against rabies by the time the animal is four months old. One year later, a booster should be given. There are one year and three year vaccines available. Sometimes, it makes sense to have the one year vaccination because it coincides with your pet’s annual routine wellness exam.
Did you know that pets can get urinary tract infections? Whether it is having accidents in the house, going out frequently, or the presence of blood in the urine, pet urinary tract infections are no fun for anyone involved. Unfortunately, they are a common problem seen in our patients that animal lovers everywhere should know about.
The Science Behind Pet Urinary Tract Infections
Your pet’s urinary tract is comprised of the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra. Urine is manufactured in the kidneys, then emptied into the bladder via the ureters. Urine is then voided through the urethra.
Normally the urinary tract is a sterile environment, meaning that there are no bacteria present. Sometimes, though, bacteria from the outside can make their way into the urinary tract. This can be due to something disrupting the function of the urinary tract and its natural defenses. Common culprits include:
When your pet is sick, you want answers and you want them fast. At Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center, we understand this. That is why we offer a variety of diagnostics to our clients. One of the most commonly used diagnostic tool we have is ultrasound. We can use this technology to look at many things, but perhaps its most frequent use is to obtain abdominal ultrasounds in pets.
Understanding the Technology
Ultrasound is an imaging technology that utilizes high frequency sound waves in order to create a live image of your pet’s internal organs. Even though sound waves are used to create this image, there is no audible noise. These waves simply bounce off of structures within your pet, creating a real-time image on our screen.
Most pets need no (or light) sedation in order to have an ultrasound performed. Typically, we do shave the area being examined in order to obtain the best possible image. Once the area is prepared, an ultrasound probe is applied using gentle pressure in order to visualize the area of interest.
As recently as a generation ago, dental care for pets would have sounded absurd. The thought of buying pet-specific toothpaste and brushing Fluffy or Fido’s teeth on a regular basis would have seemed absolutely ridiculous.
Nowadays, we understand better than ever the importance of good dental care for pets. Dental disease (something most pets show signs of by age 3) can wreak havoc on a dog or cat’s health if left unattended. Good home dental care and a pet dental exam every year are necessary in order to keep your pet’s mouth, and overall health, in tiptop shape.
The Pet Dental Exam
Your pet’s dental examination will begin the way most other visits do, with a thorough medical history. Your veterinarian will then look at and feel your pet’s head and neck, checking for areas of swelling, lumps, pain, or any other abnormalities. An oral exam will then be performed to check for bad breath (one of the signs of dental disease in pets) and to assess the condition of the gums and teeth.
While it may seem obvious to most pet owners, it’s still interesting to ponder why humans are drawn to other animals – so much so that we open our homes and hearts to them much like we do our own children.
While we may have anecdotal and sometimes sentimental reasons for why we love pets, is there any science behind our fascination with our furry companions?
Domestication of Animals
The domestication of animals began 17,000-20,000 years ago (some research suggests even longer). Prior to this, man was fascinated with other species. Whether we feared them or made them the subject of prehistoric cave art, animals have shaped us just as we have shaped them.
Even in the wild, interspecies communication exists (that basic awareness of the presence of other animals) and is critical to the survival of both predator and prey. So it’s no surprise that as we’ve domesticated dogs, cats, horses, and other animals that our brains also began to notice and respond to living beings. This is called biophilia – our ability to recognize and respond to life over inanimate objects.