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SPECIAL:  Check out this warning regarding the dangers of cocoa mulch.





Nobody likes an uninvited guest. If you are like most pet owners, you like to spend time playing with your pets both indoors and out. Do not leave them at risk for an unwelcome visit from pesky parasites like fleas and ticks. These puny pests are not just annoying, they can cause real health problems for your pets. Luckily, you don't have to cancel your play plans. With some simple steps, you can protect your furry friends from these annoying parasites and help them stay safe and cool all summer. Here are some ways to do it:

BE PREPARED The length and severity of flea and tick season vary across the country. Fleas thrive in temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity levels at approximately 80%. It has been shown, however, that they can survive indoors during the winter even in cold climates. For this reason, many veterinarians recommend year-round preventive measures to protect pets. So, at Northside Animal Hospital you can consult with one of our Doctors or one of our other staff members to find out which flea and/or tick product will meet the individual needs of your pet. The products we can provide here at our hospital are safer and more effective than the products that are available in stores. Plus they are extremely convenient to use even for the busiest owner. But, make sure that you read and carefully follow instructions from your veterinarian for how and when to use the product. This is the best way to guarantee that it will effectively protect your pet.

DO NOT USE A PRODUCT MADE FOR DOGS ON CATS If this happens, contact Northside Animal Hospital immediately! Some flea preventives that are formulated for dogs contain an ingredient that is toxic to cats. Products labeled for dogs can cause severe reactions in cats that will require immediate veterinary care. The product label will clearly indicate which species it has been approved for. Be sure to use products only as intended.

DO REGULAR FLEA & TICK CHECKS If you and your pet have been in an area that might have ticks, do a tick check as soon as possible once you are indoors. The best way to prevent the transmission of disease is early tick removal. A tick has to bite your pet and be attached for approximately 24 hours in order to transmit a disease. If you live in an area that has a heavy tick population or you frequently take your pet to a high risk area, you should regularly apply a product that is effective against ticks. When checking your pet for ticks, make sure to check his ears, armpits and stomach. Also, regular grooming is a great way to not only check your pet for parasites, but to also spend quality time with your pet. It helps you keep an eye out for any external parasites that may be hiding under your pets haircoat. Also, keeping a well-maintained house will help reduce the risk of parasite infestation. Mow your lawn regularly so that you do not create a high grass area for ticks. Fleas tend to like warm, moist, shady areas with organic debris. Raking leaves, brush, and clippings from your yard will give fleas fewer places to hide and breed.

KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN If you know that your pet has had a recent tick bite, it is always a good idea to pass this information on to your veterinarian. Not every tick bite transmits a disease to your pet, but you do want to monitor behavior for any signs of lethargy, soreness, or a change in appetite. One of the important things we do during routine checkups is to examine for any signs of parasite problems to determine if a preventive product is needed, and/or to help ensure that the product you are already using is working effectively. You should, however, contact our office if you have any questions or concerns about that product or about parasites.









Understanding Pet Wellness   If you are like most pet owners, you consider your pets health to be just as important as your own. You also know that taking good care of these special members of your family requires more than just an annual examination and vaccines. Because pets age faster than humans do, potential illnesses, many the same ones that afflict people (like heart disease and kidney disease), can sneak up on our pets before we are ready to expect them. The average dog or cat reaches middle age at approximately 4 years old and is considered geriatric by age 7. And, unlike the rest of our family, our pets cannot tell us about the symptoms they are experiencing that may be the indications of oncoming illness. We often have to look past the surface to fully understand their health. Taking good care of our pets is as much about preventing illness as it is about treating it. Imagine having only been to the doctor four times by the time you are 40 years old, and you will begin to understand the importance of pet wellness.

What is a Wellness Exam? You are one of the most important sources of information regarding the health of your pet. Because you are with your pet every day, you are the first to notice when his routine changes. Your visit to our hospital for a wellness exam will first include a consultation, during which you can report anything new or unusual. Next, we will conduct a physical exam, where we will check your pets major systems including heart, lungs, skin and teeth for potential problems. We will discuss your options for preventive care, which can include parasite control, routine dental cleanings and nutrition. Finally, we will screen for hidden issues with a wellness profile, test blood, stool and urine that will let us know if there are any problems that have yet to show symptoms.


Why Wellness Screening Works   A wellness exam when your pet is young gives us a health baseline to measure any changes against for the rest of his life. By age two, most pets have already reached adulthood. Pets, on average, age up to seven times faster than humans do. At age four, many are entering middle age. And by age seven, many pets, particularly larger breed dogs are entering their senior years. This is why we recommend a wellness exam every six months for senior pets. Because pets age so rapidly, major health changes can occur in as little as three months. The risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, heart disease and other serious conditions all increase with age. But many are easily treatable or manageable if they are caught early enough. And because today our pets are living longer than ever, chances are many can experience a potentially serious illness during their lifetime. Twice a year wellness exams can help us to diagnose, treat or even prevent problems before they become life threatening. They are also a great opportunity to discuss any issues or concerns with us. These simple preventive measures can considerably increase the quality of life of your pet, and the amount of time you get to spend together.


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