Year-Round Heartworm Prevention: Is it Really Necessary?

In our neck of the woods, we’re no stranger to bugs, but mosquitoes have a particularly bad reputation because they carry a disease that can be life-threatening to our pets.

Heartworm disease can affect cats as well as dogs and is prevalent in all 50 states and Canada. The disease results from foot-long worms that live in the pulmonary arteries and heart, causing significant organ damage and eventual death.

According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, around 250,000 dogs become infected with heartworm each year. Fortunately, heartworm prevention is safe, effective, and widely available. Keep reading to learn more about this dangerous disease and tips for year-round heartworm prevention.

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All About Veterinary Ultrasound

When it comes to diagnosing and treating our patients, knowledge is power. If that knowledge can be gained quickly and non-invasively, even better.

We have many diagnostic tools at hand, but one of the most valuable is veterinary ultrasound. Learn how the doctors at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center are using it to provide better care for our pet patients.

A Veterinary Ultrasound Primer

Many people are familiar with ultrasound technology, but they may not truly understand how it works. While most diagnostic imaging techniques create a picture of a pet’s insides, they are not all created equal.

Unlike an x-ray, which utilizes radiation waves, ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture on a screen. While we can’t hear the sound, these waves are powerful and work similarly to a bat’s sonar abilities.

The sound waves are created using a handheld external probe, delivering them into the tissues. The tissues then reflect them back to the probe at different speeds depending on their makeup, creating the picture we see.

During an ultrasound  we can visualize the structure and movement of many internal organs in real-time and in great detail. Often the area of interest is clipped to allow us to get a good picture. Some animals may need light sedation to help them keep still. In general, though, ultrasound is:

  • Safe
  • Painless
  • Fast
  • Side-effect free

This makes it a great tool in many situations to gain more information about the pets that we are treating.

The Uses of Ultrasound in Veterinary Medicine

With ultrasound technology readily available at both our facility, as well as the Conroe facility, we are finding the possibilities and uses endless.  Some of the more common ways we are using our ultrasound include:

  • Obtaining sterile urine specimens (cystocentesis)
  • Obtaining fluid samples from the chest (thoracocentesis) or abdomen (abdominocentesis)
  • Evaluating the digestive tract for abnormal motility
  • Evaluating changes on lab work such as increased liver or kidney values
  • Determining pregnancy
  • Investigating heart murmurs or other cardiac abnormalities – this can be done at our Conroe facility
  • Evaluating the internal organs – this would be done by a board-certified radiologist at our Conroe facility
  • Screening for internal tumors or masses – results would be interpreted by the radiologist at Conroe
  • Diagnosing urinary stones
  • Staging cancer – our Conroe facility would have the radiologist interpret images
  • Obtaining non-invasive biopsies – our Conroe facility would interpret images

Veterinary ultrasound technology opens up a world of possibilities for the patients at our facilities. Although we often need to utilize several diagnostic tools to help the pets we see, ultrasound is indispensable. We use it daily to do a better job for the animals in our care, obtaining more efficient and accurate diagnoses.

We are so proud to be able to offer incredible diagnostic tools to our patients, and it’s one more way we can show just how dedicated we are to your four-legged family. Call us today with any questions, we are happy to help.

Chew On This: Periodontal Disease in Pets

periodontal disease pets

Even though our pets don’t need to model their smiles for the camera, their teeth do matter. What starts as bad breath can quickly progress to periodontal disease, the single most commonly diagnosed condition in pets. So common, in fact, that by the time pets are 4 years of age, over 85% of them have some form of the disease.

Periodontal disease not only causes bad breath, but also causes bleeding gums, bacterial infections in the mouth, and loose or broken teeth. If left untreated, an eventual systemic disease of the liver, kidneys, and heart may occur. 

The good news is that periodontal disease in pets is also preventable. Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center shows you how, here.

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Good Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet: Our Recommendations

Spay or Neuter Your Pet!

When it comes to caring for pets, Bob Barker said it best –  “Have your pets spayed or neutered.” While the choice isn’t always black and white, at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center, our recommendations echo that of Bob for the vast majority of our patients.

Read on to learn about all the reasons why we recommend to spay or neuter your pet.

The Choice to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Having a pet “fixed” is a big decision. A spay or neuter surgery involves removing the reproductive organs (the uterus and ovaries in a female and testicles in a male). By doing so, we eliminate a pet’s ability to reproduce and remove the reproductive hormones from circulation.

The veterinarians at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center feel that for most pets, spaying or neutering is the best choice. There are many compelling reasons to spay or neuter your pet.

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The Ins and Outs of Pet Boarding

Pet Boarding facilities in willis tx

With 70% of pet owners surveyed considering their pets to be family members, there’s no doubt most of us want to share as much of our lives with our pets as possible. But, during the holidays, there are times when boarding your pet just makes sense. Most pets don’t relish a crowd, so days of parties, gatherings, or even travel out of town are reasons you might consider pet boarding.

There are things to consider beforehand, however. Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center shares the ins and outs of pet boarding best practices, here.

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Ouch! When Your Pet Is in Pain

Pet pain can be easily managed with the help of veterinary care

Our pets are like family. We share our lives with them and want them to feel their best. But if our pet is in pain, how would we know? After all, they experience pain like we do, but they don’t have the language to convey to us how they feel.

Luckily, you can learn to recognize the subtle signs of pain in your pet. This knowledge can allow you to take action to help them feel better, sooner. And that’s something we would all want for our beloved family members!

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Halloween Candy and Pets: Sweet Treat No No’s

Halloween candy and pets can lead to a pet emergency.

Halloween is nearly here, and some of us couldn’t be more excited (ahem!). The pumpkin carving, spooky decorations, and pet costume contests are things we look forward to all year.

However, there is one hazard of Halloween that we need to be mindful of with our pets. And that is the problem of Halloween candy. Although tricks and treats are fun for us, the sweet treats that accompany the holiday are a potential problem for our pets and can even cause a veterinary emergency.

Here’s what to look for to avoid any problems with Halloween candy and pets, from your friends at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center.

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Acting Up? It Could Be Pet Separation Anxiety

Pet separation anxiety can lead to unwanted pet behaviors. Autumn is an exciting time for everyone. For many, there’s so much going on – especially with the school year beginning – that whatever was gained in the relaxation department quickly falls to the wayside. However, increased family stress isn’t the only thing a household pet must contend with, come October. In fact, marked decreases in quality play time, attention, and affection from their humans also takes its toll. The result? Pet separation anxiety.

Family Feast, then Famine…

Many family pets truly relish the summertime fun they have with the kids – who are around more and attending to their summer shenanigans – and the grownups, alike. And then, after a summer full of peanut butter kisses, frozen treats, and lots of pet-friendly outdoor fun, everyone goes back to school and suddenly the days seem rather long and dull.

Loneliness, fear, and boredom can cause a great deal of stress and pet separation anxiety, which will impact your sweet pet’s overall health and wellness. Continue…

Ah-Choo! Getting a Handle on Allergies in Pets

Allergies in pets can cause dogs to scratch a lot.If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you know the signs: itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, perhaps a cough, or even a few hives. Unfortunately, allergies aren’t limited to humans. Allergies in pets can be every bit as uncomfortable for them as they are for us. In fact, this is one of the most common reasons pet owners bring their pets in to see us.

Types of Allergies in Pets

Allergies in pets are the result of an overreaction of the immune system to foreign particles (allergens) that enter the body. The types of allergens that produce a response varies widely from pet to pet, but can generally be grouped into four main categories: Continue…

Laser Therapy for Pets: Pain Relief, Healing, and More

Cold laser therapy for pets is great for pet pain management and healingAt Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center, we are always searching for new and better ways to care for our beloved patients, especially where pain and healing are concerned. In the not-too-distant past, we relied almost exclusively on postoperative medications for pain management following surgeries and injuries, and for many persistent health conditions, but laser therapy for pets is changing that.

The most recent class of lasers was approved by the FDA for use on humans and pets in 2005, and has provided a way for veterinarians to offer a non-invasive, pain-free alternative or accompaniment to traditional pain management and healing methods. Continue…