All posts by James

Heartworm Awareness Month

April is Heartworm Awareness Month. As you may know, heartworms are dangerous parasites that infest our canine pals’ hearts and lungs. These nasty parasites can be extremely dangerous. Left untreated, infestations are often fatal. A Norwalk, CA vet discusses heartworms below.

How Heartworms Spread

Heartworms are actually transmitted indirectly, through mosquitos. Since misquotes are unfortunately all over North America, that means gets can get heartworms anywhere, even in their own beds. The worms are microscopic larvae when they are transmitted. It takes them about six months to grow to their adult size once they are in their new host. At that point, they start causing serious problems.

Symptoms

In many cases, coughing is the first sign of heartworm infestations. Other red flags are lethargy, weight loss, reduced appetite, and lack of interest in play. Fido may get tired out quickly, and he may not want to walk very far. Severe infestations can also have more serious signs, such as fainting, seizures, and, unfortunately, even death.

Cats

Although heartworms are more prevalent in canids, such as dogs, foxes, and coyotes, they can and do infest cats as well. The difference is that they don’t thrive in cats’ bodies the way they do in dogs. Most worms in cats will die before they reach their adult size and start multiplying. However, they are still very dangerous for kitties. They can cause permanent damage to cats’ organs, and can even be fatal. Keep up with your cat’s parasite control!

Treatment

There are heartworm treatments available. However, they can be expensive. They can also be rough on Fido. Dogs often need to have their activity limited during treatment, to avoid putting too much strain on their hearts. Fido may even need to be kenneled, which won’t be very much fun for him. Severe cases may require surgery.

Prevention

As the old adage says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That definitely applies here! All you have to do to protect your furry pal from these disgusting parasites is keep up with their parasite control. It’s worth noting that the medicine that prevents infestations won’t kill live worms. If your furry friend hasn’t been on parasite control, they’ll need to be tested before starting. Ask your vet for more information.

Do you need to get your pet on heartworm prevention? Contact us, your Norwalk, CA vet clinic, today!

Respect Your Cat Day

There’s a special kitty holiday coming up: March 28th is Respect Your Cat Day! Of course, our feline buddies should be treated with respect, kindness, and dignity every day. But do you show a cat respect? Well, if you were to ask Fluffy, she would probably demand a giant kitty funhouse, complete with catwalks, catnip gardens, plenty of beds, and fishponds. However, you don’t have to go to extremes. A Norwalk, CA vet offers tips on how to respect your cat below.

Don’t Force Attention

Kitties can be very cuddly, but snuggles always have to happen on their terms. Never force attention on Fluffy! Let your cat decide when cuddle time stops and starts. (Of course, your furball may ignore you when you are just lounging around and then demand attention when you are busy, but that’s beside the point.)

Keep The Litterbox Clean

Cats are very clean, and they prefer their litterboxes to be kept clean as well. Scoop Fluffy’s box out daily, and change the litter every week or so.

Veterinary Care

Although Fluffy would probably choose naptime over coming to see us, she’ll be much healthier—and therefore more comfortable—with proper veterinary care. Keep up with your furry friend’s appointments, and stay up to date with her parasite control. Also, make an appointment right away if you notice any signs of sickness.

Kitty Comforts

Cats are fairly independent, but they aren’t completely autonomous. Fluffy will get bored and anxious if she is stuck in a dark, quiet house with nothing to do! Keep your furball happy, purring, and comfortable by providing her with small comforts like toys, beds, cat furniture, and window views. This doesn’t have to cost much money. Many kitties are just as happy with a cardboard box or paper grocery bag as they would be with a pet tent or tunnel.

Avoid Punishment

Kitties are notoriously frisky, and they do have a knack for mischief. At some point, your furball will do something that irks you. She may scratch your sofa, knock something off that table she isn’t supposed to be on, or fall asleep on your laptop. Never punish your feline friend for these mishaps. She’s just following her instincts! Instead, focus on rewarding Fluffy for being good.

Please contact us, your Norwalk, CA vet clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

What If Pets Had Thumbs?

There’s a pretty cute pet holiday around the corner. March 3rd is If Pets Had Thumbs Day. Those furry paws are pretty adorable, but if Fluffy and Fido suddenly grew thumbs, that would definitely be a game changer. In this article, a Downey, CA vet lists a few things our animal companions would do if that happened.

Open All The Canned Goods

It’s probably safe to say that one of the first things Fluffy and Fido would do is head for the cupboard and start taste-testing everything. We wouldn’t exactly be shocked if our feline friends also just removed the labels from a bunch of canned goods, just to be jerks.

Head Outdoors!

If a locked door could no longer contain your furry pal, they would probably immediately head out for some adventures. Fluffy would probably stay somewhat close to home. Fido, however, may head straight for the park or beach … after stopping to pick up some of his buddies.

Ransack Everything

Cats and dogs are both very curious. Your four-legged pal may very well go through every drawer, cupboard, box, and closet in your home, just to find out what’s in them. You’d probably come home to a bit of a mess that day!

Go For A Drive

This one is for the dogs: cats would be more likely to throw your car keys into a lake or pond. Fido is, of course, much more enthusiastic about car rides than his feline companions. Your canine buddy may very well try to head for the nearest pet store or drive-through … after grabbing your credit card.

Scratch Those Itches

Pets are adorable when they’re enjoying a good back or ear scratch. Your four-legged friend would immediately grab a back scratcher, fork, or anything else he could find and promptly go for that itchy spot.

Laser Pointer

It’s always cute watching pets chase that little red dot. Fluffy and Fido may also find it entertaining to aim the pointer at you … or perhaps at each other.

Shop

We know, this one would require Fluffy and Fido to read and write, or at least use a mouse. However, if that were to happen, you’d probably come home to find your door blocked with packages.

Please contact us, your Downey, CA vet clinic, if ever we can be of assistance. We’re dedicated to offering excellent care!

Signs That Your Dog Is In Pain

Dogs can be very expressive at times, and often manage to communicate with us quite well. For instance, Fido usually has no trouble getting his point across when he wants to play or is ready for a walk. However, your pet may not find it so easy to tell you when he isn’t feeling well. Read on as a Norwalk, CA vet lists some signs that your canine companion is in pain.

Reduced Appetite

Healthy dogs have healthy appetites. You should be immediately concerned if your pup isn’t interested in dinner.

Withdrawal

Our canine friends are pack animals by nature, and are happiest when surrounded by their friends, either two- or four-legged. If Fido suddenly loses interest in interacting with you and/or other household pets, he may not be feeling well.

Grumpiness

For most of us, being hurt or sick isn’t much of a mood booster. This also holds true for dogs. If your furry friend seems uncharacteristically cranky, he could be sick.

Lack of Interest In Play

Dogs are usually quite playful, which is one reason they’re such fun pets. However, if Fido isn’t feeling well, he may not have much interest in playing.

Licking/Biting

Fido may lick or bite at himself if something is hurting him. For example, pups with arthritis often nibble or lick at the bases of their tails.

Shying

If Fido is hurting, he may flinch away from you if you try to pet him, especially in a sore area. In some cases, dogs may even try to bite. (For this reason, it’s often recommended to muzzle injured dogs before transporting them to emergency clinics.)

Vocalization

Dogs that are in pain may howl, bark, whimper, or whine. Keep an eye—or ear—out for changes in Fido’s usual speaking habits.

Limping

Limping is a definite sign that something is wrong. This can of course be caused by injuries, but it can also be an early sign of arthritis. At first, your canine pal may only limp briefly, usually when he first gets up. As time passes, the limp will become worse.

Restlessness

Restlessness is another red flag to look for. Your pooch may also continuously get up or down, as he will have a hard time getting comfortable.

Please contact us, your Norwalk, CA vet clinic, for all of your pup’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

Understanding AKC Dog Groups

The puparazzi are getting pretty excited. The Westminster Kennel Show starts February 10th! It’s always fun to see these pampered pooches strutting their stuff! As you may know, dog shows typically divide their furry contestants into breed groups. A veterinarian goes over the AKC’s official groups below.

Sporting

The sporting group contains some very popular pups, such as the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, and the Cocker Spaniel. Typically, these pooches were bred to help hunters retrieve birds. As one might expect, many of these dogs love to swim. Many sporting breed dogs have thick coats, which helped them swim out to retrieve waterfowl from lakes and ponds. Some, such as the Labrador Retriever, even have webbed paws!

Hound Group

Elvis may not have thought much of Hound dogs, but we’re pretty fond of these loyal and curious pups ourselves. This group includes some of the world’s renowned trackers, such as the Bloodhound, as well as sighthounds, such as Greyhounds.

Terrier Group

Terriers were also bred to help with hunting, though they’re more suited to rooting out vermin than chasing game. As you may know, terriers love to dig! The Bull Terrier and Scottish Terrier are a few examples from the terrier group.

Working Group

Dogs in the working group traditionally performed a variety of jobs, from pulling sleds to guarding livestock and homes. The working dog group includes guard dogs, like the Rottweiler, as well as the Boxer.

Toy Group

The main thing toy breeds have in common is their small size. Many of these adorable little guys were bred as companion animals. As one may expect, toy breeds make very lovable lapdogs. The Chihuahua, Pug, Shih-Tzu, Pomeranian, and Yorkie all belong to this group.

Herding Group

The herding group includes popular pets like the German Shepherd and Border Collie. Many herding dogs are extremely intelligent, and love to please their owners. If your pet is a herding dog, you may notice Fido trying to herd your family!

Non-Sporting Group

This group is basically a catch-all for pups that don’t fit into any of the other categories. Aside from a love of treats and belly rubs, these pooches don’t necessarily have much in common. Many popular pets, including the Dalmatian and Poodle, fall into this category.

Please contact us, your vet clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

4 Ways That Great Nutrition Benefits Your Pet

Everyone knows that nutrition is important for any animal companion. When your pet receives the right combination of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and water on a daily basis, they stay healthy—it’s that simple. But what specifically does good nutrition do for our pets? How does it benefit them? Let’s take a closer look at some of the important benefits of nutrition for your pet.

Skin and Fur Health

Did you know that a pet with a smooth, shiny coat of fur is probably in good health? A pet’s coat is one of the best indicators of their nutrition! Fatty acids play a big role here, specifically omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. When a pet receives these nutrients in the right amounts through their food, the skin stays healthy and moisturized. Fatty acids also provide anti-inflammatory properties, which can help your pet be less itchy. That leads to a coat with a smooth, healthy sheen and minimal shedding.

Disease Prevention

Another reason that nutrition is so important for your animal friend is because it helps prevent dangerous diseases. Vitamins and minerals, in particular, are the nutrients that keep your pet from coming down with diseases like distemper, parvovirus, leukemia, and many more. Vitamins reduce damage to the body’s cells, while minerals keep cells functioning normally. It’s important that your pet’s food supplies him or her with the proper vitamins and minerals.

Keep in mind that vaccination is also essential for helping your pet to avoid disease. Talk to your veterinarian right away if your pet needs vaccines or booster shots.

Body Condition

Your pet’s general body condition is another thing that’s affected heavily by nutrition. If a pet doesn’t receive enough protein, they won’t be able to build or maintain strong, healthy muscles. Protein is also essential for repairing damaged cells, making new cells, and building hair, skin, and other body tissues. That’s why your pet’s food should always include a good protein source, like chicken or beef.

Digestive Health

None of the nutrients listed above would do any good if your pet’s body wasn’t able to digest and absorb them. That’s where carbohydrates come in—they provide fiber that helps with digestion and elimination. They’re essential for allowing your dog’s body to use the nutrients received through food and eliminate the waste that’s left behind.

To learn more about your pet’s nutrition, call your vet’s office. We’re here for you!

Pets and Guests

Are you planning to have company over the next few weeks? If so, don’t forget to consider your pet when getting everything ready! Not everyone is as familiar with and/or enamored by our furry pals as we are. Read on for some great tips from a Downey, CA vet on helping guests and pets co-exist peacefully.

Guest Room

We recommend asking guests to keep their guest room closed at all times. This will help avoid awkward incidents, like Fido chewing their shoes or Fluffy sleeping on their suitcase. It’s also safer for pets, especially if your guests leave potentially dangerous items out. Even something as innocuous as a medicine bottle left out on a nightstand can have disastrous consequences!

Ground Rules

Many of our furry patients see guests as extra hands for giving ear scritches, and extra laps to nap in. However, some dogs and cats are more uneasy with strangers. You may want to set a few simple rules for interacting with your pet. These will somewhat depend on your pet’s personality. Does your cat tend to morph from a purring, cuddly lovebug to a hissing ball of rage with no warning? Maybe it’s best for your visitors to leave Fluffy alone. Does Fido get possessive about his food and toys? Ask guests not to touch his things. It’s also a good idea to ask your visitors not to discipline your pet.

Allergies

Allergies are something to consider when having guests. If possible, choose a room with flooring instead of carpets for guests. You’ll also want to opt for non-allergenic bedding, and get blinds instead of drapes. We also recommend getting a good air purifier, and vacuuming and dusting regularly. Setting out tissues and OTC allergy meds is a thoughtful touch.

Food

Not all foods are safe for our animal companions. Ask guests not to feed your four-legged friend. This is especially important to remember if you’re having children over, as little kids could easily ‘share’ something dangerous with Fido or Fluffy.

Playtime

Pets are very emotional, and often get rather stressed out by major changes. Take time to play with your pet every day. A fun play session will burn off your furry friend’s nervous energy, leaving them calmer and better behaved.

Happy Holidays! Please contact us, your Downey, CA vet clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!

Holiday Gifts for Dogs

Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? Or are you just getting started? Your canine buddy definitely deserves a special present or two! Read on as a local Norwalk, CA vet lists some holiday gifts for dogs.

Toys

If your pooch could write Santa Claws his own wish list, we suspect that toys would be at the top of it. Actually, making sure Fido has plenty of appropriate toys is very important! You can opt for classic dog toys, like rope pulls or tennis balls. Or, try something more modern, like a mechanical ball launcher.

Beds

Fido is always adorable, but he manages to be extra cute when he’s snoozing in a comfy doggy bed. This would make a great gift for your four-legged friend! Senior dogs and large breeds may prefer orthopedic beds, while smaller dogs might like beds with raised sides.

Dinnerware

Did you know that raised dishes are more comfortable for dogs to eat from than bowls on the floor? Give your furry buddy’s dinnerware a ‘pupgrade’ and get him elevated bowls. Fido may also enjoy a pet fountain.

Spa Treatment

Many dogs find a good massage very soothing and relaxing. Book your canine pal a session with a pet masseuse! This is a great option for senior dogs.

Homemade Treats

Man’s Best Friend will definitely be thrilled with a package of his favorite store-bought treats. However, if you like cooking, you can also make Fido some snacks. This is a wonderful gift for Fido’s four-legged buddies, too! Just stick to recipes that use only dog-safe ingredients.

Training

Could Fido stand to work on his petiquette? Enroll him in doggy obedience classes. Of course, your furry pal won’t be particularly impressed by seeing his enrollment information on paper. Treats and toys will get that tail going!

Pupscription Boxes

Want to give your dog a gift that keeps on giving? Sign Fido up for a subscription box. You also get to watch your furry best friend’s adorable reaction whenever he realizes that he’s got mail.

Grooming Supplies

Fido may not love baths, but he’ll look—and smell—much better with proper grooming. Puppy shampoos, brushes, nail clippers, paw balm, doggy dental products, and pet wipes can all make great stocking stuffers!

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Ashton Animal Hospital, your Norwalk, CA veterinary clinic. Please feel free to contact us anytime!

Caring for a Toy Breed Dog

Do you have a pint-sized pup? Small dogs are adorable! Many toy breeds were initially bred as companion animals, so they tend to be very affectionate and cuddly. However, Fido does have some specific care needs. A vet discusses small dog care below.

General Health

Obesity is often a problem with toy breeds, simply because it’s so easy to overfeed them. They’re also prone to hypoglycemia, which is a dangerous drop in blood sugar. Ask your vet for more information. It’s also important to keep up with veterinary care. Those regular appointments are a great chance to get specific advice on Fido’s care!

Clothing

Little dogs get cold very quickly. In colder regions, snow is a serious hazard to them, as it can be over their heads so easily. Get Fido a winter jacket, and limit his outdoor time when it’s chilly.

Aging

Small breeds typically have longer lifespans than big dogs. They also age more slowly. Fido may not enter his golden years until age 10 or even older!

Gear

When shopping for your dog, always choose products that were specifically made for small dogs. Your pet could hurt himself on things made for bigger pooches! Also, toy breeds can easily get choked or jerked around when wearing collars. Get Fido a harness instead.

Injuries

Small dogs are very fragile. Fido could get hurt just by jumping out of your arms! Also, make sure not to step on the little guy. Be very careful when carrying your pup, and use a travel carrier if you take him out and about. If you have children, supervise pet playtime carefully. It’s very easy for a youngster to accidentally injure a tiny dog. We also recommend getting pet stairs, so your furry buddy doesn’t fall off the bed.

Outdoor Area

Do you have a yard for your dog to play in? That’s great! Be sure to use fencing that’s the right size. Otherwise, Fido could slip right through. Also, don’t leave your pet outdoors without supervision, especially after dark. Small dogs can make very tempting prey for many wild animals!

Petiquette

We love seeing pets get pampered! However, you shouldn’t coddle Fido too much. Teach your pooch basic commands, like Sit and Stay, and don’t let him nip at people or other dogs.

Do you have questions about toy breed care? Contact us, your vet clinic!

New Gadgets for Your Pet

We’re living in an age of technological marvels. It seems like almost every day there are new products and gadgets released. What about our furry friends? It seems that Fluffy and Fido both have fans in the technical sectors, as some really cool gadgets have been made just for them. A vet lists some of them below.

GPS Trackers

Man’s Best Friend loves exploring, and won’t hesitate to slip away for some doggy shenanigans. Some breeds, like huskies, are notorious for running off. Luckily, you can now get your pup a doggy GPS tracker. Some of these will alert you when your adventurous pet crosses a specific boundary, such as the edge of your yard.

Laser Pointers

Fluffy and Fido are both obsessed with chasing that little red dot. Now there are gadgets that allow you to play with your dog or cat remotely, by controlling a laser pointer with your smartphone. You can also speak to your pet through these gadgets. Some even allow you to dispense treats!

Microchip Feeders

Another way to spoil your furry buddy is with a microchip feeder. This feeder will only open when the pet wearing a specific collar tag comes into range. This is great for people with pets that steal each other’s food!

Interactive Toys

Dogs and cats love to jump and chase after things. There are now toys that move with your four-legged friend, making playtime both more fun and more challenging.

Laptop Scratching Pad

Does your kitty have a habit of walking across your keyboard? Give your pet her own ‘computer’ by getting her a laptop scratching pad.

Interactive Ball Launchers

You may have heard of mechanical ball launchers, which are definitely one of Fido’s favorite modern toys. The interactive ball launcher is a bit different in that it will shoot a mini-tennis ball from one of several holes. Your pup will never know which direction the ball will be launched in, which makes it extra fun for him.

Remote-Controlled Mouse

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Your feline friend may not be able to resist ‘hunting’ a robotic mouse. Of course, Fluffy is a bit old-fashioned, and will never outgrow her love for cardboard boxes or paper grocery bags.

Is your dog or cat due for an exam, vaccines, or parasite control? Please contact us, your vet clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs.