Common Veterinary Mistakes You’re Making

Fox Chapel Pet Owners Beware: Common Veterinary Mistakes You’re Making

Hi there, Fox Chapel pet parents – Dr. Richard Linkenheimer here! As a seasoned veterinarian specializing in cat and dog health, I’ve encountered numerous common veterinary mistakes in Fox Chapel. Our four-legged friends are not just pets but family.

Here is a list of the common mistakes pet owners make:

  • Not bringing them in for regular check ups
  • Not getting regular vaccinations
  • Ignoring dental health
  • Not sticking to a regular healthy diet
  • Not paying attention to a change in pets’ moods
  • Trying DIY remedies for pet’s ailments

Regular Check-Ups are a Must in Fox Chapel

One of the most frequent mistakes pet owners make is they aren’t bringing their pets in often enough for check ups. I can’t stress enough how important regular check-ups are for your dogs and cats. Health issues often start small, regular check ups help us spot issues quickly, and treat them before they become a larger problem. These visits are also a fantastic time for us to chat about your pet’s diet, behavior, and any quirky habits they might have developed. Ultimately, it’s all about keeping those tails wagging and purrs rumbling for as long as possible! So, let’s team up and make sure your four-legged family members are living their happiest, healthiest lives.

The Tale of Max the Sneaky Kitty

Remember, pets in Fox Chapel, like Max, can hide discomfort. To his family, Max seemed his regular happy self. Cats are especially notorious for hiding their pain. But because we saw Max faithfully every year, our veterinarians could see he was starting to show signs of arthritis, like reacting to how we touched his joints. Regular check-ups are crucial to catch issues like arthritis early. Max is now on supplements and a grain free diet, which is managing his arthritis wonderfully! So don’t make these common veterinary mistakes in Fox Chapel!

Tip: Puppies and kittens in Fox Chapel need several visits their first year, adults typically once a year, and seniors twice a year.

Demystifying Vaccinations Shots in Fox Chapel

As a veterinarian deeply committed to the health and well-being of dogs and cats, I want to highlight the crucial role of regular vaccinations. Vaccinations protect your pets from various illnesses, that can be serious or even life-threatening. Vaccinating not only safeguards their health, but also ensures the safety of other pets they interact with.

Many people believe they only need their pet to get vaccinations when they get sick, but by the time your dog or cat is sick, it’s too late. Vaccinations help your pets avoid many illnesses like rabies, distemper, parvovirus, canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, Bordetella and parainfluenza for dogs, and rabies, feline distemper, feline herpesvirus, calcivirus and feline leukemia for cats. Preventing illness is always better cheaper than curing illness.

The Curious Case of Luna the Puppy

Luna’s owners brought her in for her puppy vaccinations but didn’t return for booster shots. When they took her to doggie daycare, they were told Luna couldn’t come until she finished her vaccinations. That same week, there was a Bordetella outbreak at that doggie daycare, and Luna would have become very ill if she was there without vaccinations! It’s a common veterinary mistake in Fox Chapel to overlook these essential shots. Luna’s family was glad they found this out before their beloved furry family member got sick, but many aren’t as lucky.

Tip: Puppies and kittens need vaccinations at 6-8 weeks, then 10-12 weeks, and again at 16-18 weeks to be fully protected. Then they need a vaccination at 12 months, and then booster shots every 1-2 years. It’s also important to note that dogs are required to have rabies shots by law in Pennsylvania.

Don’t Ignore Pet Dental Health in Fox Chapel – Pearly Whites Matter Too

Dental health is part of your pet’s overall well-being, like any other body part. Just like in humans, poor dental hygiene in pets can lead to plaque buildup, painful tooth decay, and gum disease. These issues can cause serious discomfort for your pet and can even lead to more significant health problems, like infections that can spread to the heart, liver, or kidneys. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings, along with good at-home care like brushing your pet’s teeth and using dental chews, can help prevent these problems. Plus, maintaining good dental health can also prevent bad breath, making those snuggles even sweeter!

Bella’s Bad Breath Adventure

Bella the border collie was a healthy five-year-old dog. Her family would bring her in every year for a check up. One appointment, they brought up her coughing often and reported she was getting uncharacteristically tired after her daily walk. We noticed Bella’s teeth and gums were in rough shape. The family admitted that her breath was getting worse, but thought it was “just a dog thing”.

After tests, we found out the cause of Bella’s fatigue and coughing was canine heart disease, caused by her poor dental hygiene. We caught it early, and treated Bella successfully. Ignoring dental health, like Bella’s case, is a common veterinary mistake in Fox Chapel. Regular dental care is vital for Fox Chapel pets. And if you’re noticing your pet’s breath is getting worse, bring them in for a check up.

Tip: Introduce a toothbrush to your pet’s mouth during play. Once they tolerate that reasonably well, put a bit of pet friendly toothpaste onto the brush and get into the habit of brushing your pet’s teeth every day.

Fox Chapel Pet Diets – Feeding Your Pet Right in Fox Chapel

I’ve seen firsthand how a proper diet can make a world of difference in a pet’s life in my years at River Valley Veterinary Hospital. Nutrition is the foundation of good health. For our canine and feline friends, the right diet helps maintain a healthy weight, supports a robust immune system, and contributes to a shiny coat and bright eyes. Each pet is unique, and their dietary needs can vary based on factors like age, breed, activity level, and any specific health issues.

For instance, puppies and kittens require diets rich in proteins and fats to support growth, while senior pets need lower-calorie diets to maintain a healthy weight. Special diets may also be necessary for pets with conditions like allergies or kidney disease. Occasional treats are fine but stick mainly to nutritionally balanced pet food, to set them up for a healthy, and happy life!

Oliver’s Gourmet Experiment

Oliver the tabby cat from Fox Chapel had an “anything goes” diet, a common veterinary mistake in Fox Chapel. His family filled his bowl to the brim anytime it was close to being empty. They also loved to give him the liquid from opened cans of tuna every day. He was very good at begging for snacks, like the skin from fried chicken. He also got the kids to give him bits of cheese and ham off their sandwiches.

During his next checkup, we realized Oliver not only had gained too much weight and was starting to act lethargic. We educated the family on the proper amount to feed Oliver and helped them find the best food for his size and age. We also sent them home with kitty treats that will be healthy for him. He was back to his regular energetic self in no time!

Tip: If you want to give your cat or dog fun human food snacks, there are many foods that are delicious AND safe for them to eat such as: carrots, peas, cucumbers, steamed broccoli, lean cooked meats and cooked fish, cooked eggs, blueberries, watermelon and apples.

Behavioral Changes in Fox Chapel Pets – Understanding Your Pet’s Moods

Pay close attention to any changes in your pet’s mood or behavior. These changes can often be the first sign of a health issue. For example, if your usually playful dog becomes lethargic or your normally affectionate cat starts hiding, it could indicate anything from pain or discomfort to more serious health concerns. Changes in mood can also stem from emotional stress or anxiety, which can impact physical well-being. Remember, our pets can’t tell us when something’s wrong, so these behavioral cues are their way of letting us know they might need help. Always consult with us if you notice any unusual behavior, to ensure your beloved pets stay healthy and content.

Whiskers’ Secret Struggle

A family brought in their older cat, Whiskers to our Fox Chapel office. He had lost some weight, but it wasn’t a concern until we asked about his behavior. They mentioned he was eating and drinking more, despite the weight loss. They thought it was just part of the aging process, but we explained those were signs of diabetes. We ran tests, that showed that Whiskers was diabetic, so we were able to prescribe the right medication and change his food in a timely manner.

Tip: Pet owners in Fox Chapel can keep a behavior log, which makes it easier to see any behavior progression and bring it up at your pet’s next check up.

Avoid DIY Treatments in Fox Chapel – The Internet Isn’t Always Right

Sometimes, people are well intentioned, trying to fix their pet’s health issue themselves. But DIY remedies don’t always work, and sometimes make the situation worse. If your cat or dog has a problem, even a seemingly minor issue, it’s always best to bring them to trusted professionals, and get the right help, right away.

Charlie’s Close Call

One case that stands out is of a lovely golden retriever named Charlie, whose owners tried to treat a minor skin irritation with a homemade concoction they found online. While their intentions were pure, the mixture aggravated the irritation, leading to a more severe skin infection. It’s crucial to understand that what works for humans or even other dogs might not be suitable for your pet. Dogs have different skin pH levels and can react unpredictably to certain substances.

Additionally, online remedies don’t consider your dog’s unique medical history. So, my advice is always to consult with us before trying any home remedies. We understand the temptation to fix things quickly at home, but we can provide safe, effective treatments tailored to your dog’s specific needs. Charlie’s situation is an example of a common veterinary mistake in Fox Chapel: using online remedies without consulting a local vet.

Tip: Fox Chapel pet owners should consult their vet before trying new treatments.

Together, We Make Fox Chapel a Great Place for Pets!

Caring for our pets in Fox Chapel is a journey. Avoid these common veterinary mistakes in Fox Chapel and keep your pets thriving! We look forward to seeing you and your wonderful pets – contact River Valley Veterinary Hospital anytime to make an appointment!