How to Properly Muzzle your Pet

A muzzle is an important restraining device for any pet that may be ill or injured.  Muzzles are designed to protect people from bite injuries when an ill or injured animal must be transported or examined.

Many types of muzzles are available and they can usually be purchased at your local pet store.  For dogs, there are basket/cage muzzles, cloth or nylon muzzles and leather muzzles.  Sometimes, a hard-sided Elizabethan collar with proper restraint can have the same effect as muzzling.  For cats, nylon face muzzles are available.

Materials around the house can be used as muzzles for most dogs with a medium to longer snout (these are typically difficult to use for cats or dogs with very short noses like pugs).   A leash, rolled gauze, sock or even shirt sleeve can be wrapped once around the mouth and tied behind the ears if a commercial muzzle is not available.

Any muzzle placed on an animal should not limit their breathing in any way.  It may prevent them from open-mouth panting for short periods of time, but should not restrict breathing.  A muzzle that completely closes the mouth should not be placed on an animal with nasal discharge of any kinds as it may restrict breathing.  If an animal appears to have difficulty breathing, the muzzle should be immediately removed.

Muzzles should also be used with caution for any pet that may be sick enough to vomit.  If abdominal contractions, retching or other sounds of vomiting begin, the muzzle should be removed immediately because if the animal vomits, and the material (vomitus) cannot pass out of the mouth easily, it’s possible the animal may choke on the material or aspirate vomitus into the lungs.

Cats can be a little more difficult to muzzle. Commercial cat muzzles cover the face, with a small hole in front for them to breathe through and velcro connections in the back.  With a little creativity, one can create a muzzle for a cat at home.  A small plastic cup can be used as a muzzle.  Two holes must be made just under the top rim, small enough for some gauze or string to pass through and tie.  The cup is placed (widest portion first) over the cat’s face and the string tied behind the head.  This will allow the cat to see.

Regardless of the type, you should be able to remove a muzzle quickly and easily.  When used properly, muzzles can be helpful restraining devices for protecting people from an animal that is ill, aggressive or in pain.

How to Treat Canine Hot Spots

As summer months bring heat and extreme temperatures, it is important to be mindful of ailments that can affect our furry friends. Hot spots can be both painful and unpleasant for dogs; however, with quick and attentive at home care from owners, recovery is a few steps away. In order to provide the proper treatment owners must be mindful and attentive to their pet’s behavior as well as employ proper preventative measures to avoid occurrence and reoccurrence of hot spots. If hot spots do emerge, pet owners can employ a variety of at home treatments from vetdepot to ease pain and discomfort.

Hot spots are usually seen in long haired breeds of dogs as moisture that is trapped close to the skin creates bacteria akin to dermatitis as seen in their human counterparts. Observing one’s pet during the summer month for excessive itching and the emergence of red spots or sores is important to identifying canine hot spots. If your pet is scratching the same spot repeatedly, experiences pain to the touch, or has a spot that is red and irritated or releases pus, then hot spots are most likely the culprit.

If you have a long-haired dog, you might consider a short summer haircut. Regular brushing and baths can keep mats and tangles at bay, which are often the contributing cause of hot spots in long haired dogs. Allergies can also affect hot spots so be mindful of your pet’s exposure to certain outdoor plants.

If hot spots appear, proper care is necessary. First, clip all of the hair in the area surrounding the hot spot. Next, carefully wash the wound with a gentle antibacterial soap and let dry completely to avoid more exposure to moisture. Depending on the severity and quantity of hot spots, you may consider visiting your vet for some cortisone or a topical antibiotic for dogs. Medicated anti-itch powders can also provide comfort for your four legged friend.

It’s important to be mindful of the cause of your pet’s hot spots, whether it be a grooming issue or an allergic reaction. Knowing the cause can help prevent reoccurrence and make the rest of your summer itch free for your lovable pet!

Top Ten Reasons to Vaccinate your Pet

Vaccination has become a hot topic in human and veterinary medicine these days. Choosing which diseases to vaccinate against should be an informed decision owners make with the advice of their veterinarian. Your pet’s health, lifestyle and geographic region may affect which vaccinations are deemed necessary. However, there are many good reasons in favor of vaccinating your pet:

1.)   It’s the Law: It’s mandatory to have your pet vaccinated against rabies in every U.S. state. Even pets kept indoors can potentially be exposed if they get out unexpectedly or an uninvited animal gets in the house (i.e. bats).

2.)   Your Health: Several diseases can be transmitted from pets to humans such as Rabies and Leptospirosis. Vaccinating your pet helps reduce the risk of human infection and is especially necessary if there are young, elderly or immuno-compromised members in your household.

3.)   Boarding and Doggy Daycare: If you ever plan on boarding your dog or dropping them off at doggy daycare, they must have an updated Bordatella vaccination. This vaccine protects against kennel cough, which is highly contagious among dogs. Although kennel cough is usually mild, it can sometimes lead to severe pneumonia.

4.)   Risk of Lyme Disease: Lyme disease is an insidious disease spread by ticks. Lyme disease can cause low blood platelet count, joint disease and pain.

5.)   Risk of Leptospirosis: Bacterial organisms in wildlife cause Leptospirosis, which can lead to liver and kidney failure. This disease can be prevented with regular vaccination.

6.)   Risk of the Deadly Parvovirus: Parvovirus is a severe, life-threatening infection that causes bloody diarrhea and vomiting to the point of shock and even death. Parvo is extremely contagious and puppies are most at risk. This awful infection is almost 100% preventable with vaccination.

7.)   Risk of Distemper: Distemper can cause severe neurological, dermatologic and respiratory disease. Most Dogs that contract distemper are euthanized due to the progressive nature of the disease. Distemper can be prevented with vaccination.

8.)   Risk of Contracting Hepatitis:  This virus can cause severe liver disease and is nearly 100% preventable with appropriate vaccinations.

9.)   Risk of Rabies:  Contraction of this disease nearly always results in death due to euthanasia or neurological problems in animals and people.  This disease is preventable with vaccination.

10.)  Vaccinating can Save Money: Most veterinary vaccinations are relatively inexpensive. Vaccinations are definitely substantially less expensive than the cost of treatment for the diseases they protect against.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Many dangerous diseases seen in dogs and cats are completely preventable with the right vaccinations. Vaccinating gives pet owners peace of mind and helps pets lead safe and healthy lives.

 

 

The Deadly Danger of Parvovirus

Parvovirus is a very serious condition that most commonly occurs in young dogs or dogs that haven’t been fully vaccinated. Common clinical symptoms of parvovirus include vomiting, diarrhea (especially with blood), retching, lethargy, inappetence and fever. The virus affects the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, which leads to vomiting and diarrhea. Parvo also attacks the body’s white blood cells, which decreases the animal’s ability to fight infection. When a dog becomes ill with parvovirus, the diarrhea and vomiting can be so severe that the animal can quickly become dehydrated and go into a stake of shock. Parvo is extremely deadly if left untreated.

Treatment of parvo usually involves intravenous fluids, anti-vomiting medications and antibiotics. Affected animals are not able or willing to eat to maintain normal hydration. There is no specific cure for parvovirus, the veterinarian and owner will just need to help the dog through the crisis as the virus runs its course.

Parvovirus is ubiquitous in the environment, which means is can basically be found anywhere. Parvo is transmitted through fecal-oral contact, so a dog can become infected through sniffing or licking feces on the ground or direct contact with an affected dog. The virus is highly contagious, which means areas with high a concentration of dogs (dog parks, shelters, etc.) are especially dangerous. Rottweilers and Pill Bull breeds are may be more susceptible to the disease than others, but parvo can affect any breed.

You can basically eliminate your dog’s risk of acquiring the parvovirus by making sure they’re vaccinated. Your dog’s veterinarian will know how many vaccinations are necessary and how far apart. A dog that’s received plenty of its mother’s milk also has a lower risk of being affected because this boosts their immune system. Until a puppy has completed their vaccinations, owners may want to limit contact with other dogs. Most puppies complete their vaccinations at about 16 weeks of age.

Veterinarians can easily test for parvo using a “snap test” on a fecal sample. Older dogs that have been vaccinated are typically not affected by parvovirus, but some rare cases of extremely aggressive strains have been reported.

 

Is your Pooch One of the Ten Most Popular Dog Breeds?

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has released its ranking of dog breed popularity based on its registration statistics.  Here are top 10 dog breeds, according to the AKC:

1.            Labrador Retrievers

2.            German Shepherds

3.            Yorkshire Terriers

4.            Beagles

5.            Golden Retrievers

6.            Bulldogs

7.            Boxers

8.            Dachshunds

9.            Poodles

10.          Shih Tzus

No matter what the breed, save money on all of your lovable pup’s pet medications and pet supplies by shopping on www.vetdepot.com.