FREQENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. I just brought a new puppy home. What kind of care and vaccines does he need?

2. I just brought a new kitten home. What kind of care and vaccines does she need?


3. When should I spay or neuter my pet?


4. What are heartworms, heartworm disease and can it be prevented?


5. How do I know if my pet has intestinal worms, where did they come from and can I get them?


6. My dog just turned 7 years old. Does he need any special care?

7. My dog (or cat) was just diagnosed with a thyroid problem? What does this mean?

8. My dog has trouble standing after he has been lying down. What could this mean?

9. How can I get rid of my pet's fleas?


10. My cat has been diagnosed with diabetes. What does this mean?


11. What are some of the symptoms of cancer and how can I tell if my pet has it?


12. My dog constantly chews on his feet. What can this mean?


13. My puppy has been vomiting and has diarrhea. What can this mean?

 

1. I just brought a new puppy home. What kind of care and vaccines does he need?

Congratulations on your new puppy! He now depends on you for everything --- food, water, exercise, training, good health, and above all, lots of love and attention.

It is important that your new puppy receive a good physical exam to be sure he is healthy. Occasionally, congenital or developmental problems can occur. Conditions frequently detected involve the eyes, jaws, legs, hernias, and testicles. Congenital heart defects can also be detected at this first visit.

Because a puppy's immune system is still developing, he is very susceptible to some very serious diseases. This is why it is so important that he receive a series of vaccinations given at about 3-4 week intervals ideally starting at 6 weeks of age. If he received just 1 vaccination at 7 weeks, his immune system is not developed enough to keep him protected. Some of the early symptoms of Parvovirus are vomiting and diarrhea. This is a life-threatening disease. Distemper is another serious threat to puppies and dogs. Runny eyes and nose is often observed.

Following is a schedule GVH recommends to help your puppy be as safe as possible from these diseases. Intestinal worms are also a real problem in almost all puppies. We will discuss those in greater detail later. During your visits, our staff will advise you on feeding and housebreaking, heartworms and training your new little friend!!

FIRST VISIT (between 6-8 weeks)

New Pet Exam and consultation

First DA2PP (Distemper/ Parvo combo) vaccination

Stool sample exam (for intestinal worms)

Deworming

Heartworm prevention program

Flea & tick prevention program 

 

SECOND VISIT (9-11 weeks)

Progress exam

Second DA2PP vaccination

Bordetella vaccination

Second deworming

 

THIRD VISIT (12-14 weeks)

Progress exam

Third DA2PP vaccination

Stool sample re-check 

 

FOURTH VISIT (15-17 weeks)

Final puppy wellness examination

Fourth DA2PP vaccination - 1 year

Rabies vaccination - 1 year

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2. I just brought a new kitten home. What kind of care and vaccines does she need?

Congratulations on your new kitten!  Cats are wonderful pets and will keep you entertained for years to come with plenty of love and good care.

It is important that your new kitten receive a good physical exam to be sure she is healthy. Occasionally, congenital and developmental problems can occur. Conditions frequently detected involve the eyes, jaws, legs, hernias and testicles in males. Congenital heart defects can also be detected at this first visit.

A kitten's immune system is still developing and is very susceptible to very serious diseases. This is why it is so important that she receive a series of vaccinations given at about 3 week intervals. If she just received one vaccination at 6 or 7 weeks, her immune system is not strong enough to keep her protected.

Following is a schedule that GVH recommends to help your kitten be as safe as possible from diseases such as Feline Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper), Feline Rhinotracheitis, Calici virus and Feline Leukemia.

 

FIRST VISIT (6-9 weeks)

New Pet Exam and Consultation

First FVRCP vaccination (Feline Distemper/Respiratory complex)

Stool Sample exam

Deworming

Heartworm prevention program

Flea & tick prevention program 

 

SECOND VISIT (10-13 weeks)

Progress exam

FIV & FeLV Test

First Feline Leukemia vaccination (if appropriate)

Second FVRCP vaccination

Second deworming

 

THIRD VISIT (14-17 weeks)

Final Kitten Wellness Examination

Third FVRCP vaccination - 1 year

Second Feline Leukemia vaccination - year

Rabies vaccination - 1 year

Stool exam

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3. When should I spay or neuter my pet?

All of us at GVH encourage you to have your pet spayed or neutered. This procedure can greatly reduce the risks of many types of health problems, such as breast or testicular cancer. It may also prevent unwanted urine marking, aggression or other behavior issues. But, most of all, spaying and neutering can prevent unwanted puppies and kittens that often end up as strays or in shelters!

If you have a female pet, she should be spayed before her first "heat" cycle, generally about 4-6 months of age.  Males should be neutered at about 6 months of age.  Please keep in mind that all pets are individuals and recommendations are made on a case-by-case basis.

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4. What are heartworms and heartworm disease and can it be prevented?

All of us at GVH consider heartworm prevention a top priority for our dog and cat owners. We will review your pet's records at each visit and will answer any questions you may have regarding this easily prevented disease.

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease of dogs and cats. Long white worms, which can reach a length of 6-10 inches, live in the right side of the heart. An animal with a severe infection can have hundreds of them in his system. These worms can cause extensive damage to organs such as the lungs, kidneys and liver and prevent the heart from functioning normally. It is very important to remember that a great deal of damage can occur before any outward sign of the disease is noticed. Signs of heartworm disease in dogs that owners are most likely to notice are coughing, shortness of breath, sluggishness and decreased stamina. When the disease reaches this stage, damage to vital organs is so severe that treatment is more risky, and the possibility of complete recovery is much lower.

Heartworm infection is transmitted by mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites an infected dog, it takes up blood which may contain young worms called "microfilaria." Then, when the mosquito bites another dog or cat, these young worms are passed on to the second animal.

Heartworm infection in dogs can be detected by a simple blood test performed here at the hospital. In the case of a "positive" test, further testing is necessary to determine the severity of the disease. Chest x-rays and/or ultrasound imaging may also give some indication of the amount of damage caused by the infection.

Here at Greensboro Veterinary Hospital we follow the American Heartworm Society guidelines for treating heartworm disease.  Treatment starts with a thorough medical examination to determine your dog's health status. The treatment is not without risks but most dogs can be successfully treated if detected early. After laboratory and x-rays are performed to determine the stage of disease, the appropriate treatment plan will be determined.  Generally speaking, your dog will be kept here in the hospital and carefully monitored for 24 hours while he receives his first injection.  Supportive medications may also be given as necessary on a case-by-case basis. Following the initial treatment, complete rest is necessary to prevent lung damage from the dead and decomposing worms.  Excitement and exercise should be avoided for at least 4 weeks.  Your dog will then return to the hospital and stay for another 48 hours while he receives two more injections.  Another month of crate rest is necessary while he is recovering.  Your dog will return at regular intervals for progress exams and follow up testing.  

Unfortunately, heartworm disease in cats is more difficult to detect and, as of now, there is no treatment. And, like dogs, symptoms vary and can mimic many other diseases. The threat is real, however, whether yours is an indoor or outdoor cat.

Prevention is certainly the answer! It is safe, nearly 100% effective and very economical. For dog owners, a chewable monthly tablet is available to prevent this serious disease. We will send you reminders when it is time to purchase the monthly product or to bring your dog back in. Revolution for Cats is the monthly topical product we recommend. It is packaged in 6 monthly doses and prevents heartworms, fleas, hookworms, round worms and ear mites.

We require a blood test for all dogs over 4 months old prior to beginning preventative to be sure they do not have heartworm disease and annually after that.

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5. How do I know if my pet has intestinal worms, where did they come from and can I get them?

Intestinal worms actually live and reproduce in the intestines of your cat or dog. Many puppies and kittens are born with these parasites. Roundworms can be acquired from the mother while the puppy or kitten is nursing or by eating infected animals such as rodents or snakes. Symptoms can include vomiting and diarrhea. Hookworms may develop while the puppy is in the uterus, while nursing, through skin penetration, or later in life as dogs swallow hookworm larva, often found in the yard. Symptoms include anemia, weight loss, weakness and a dull hair coat. Whipworms develop when a dog swallows whipworm eggs passed from an infected dog. Symptoms include diarrhea, anemia or dehydration. Tapeworms are transmitted by fleas. Often a microscopic exam of the stool does not detect these worms. They are often seen around the tail area and may resemble grains of rice.

Both hookworms and roundworms can be transmitted to people. The Center for Disease Control has recently issued warnings of an increased incidence of hook and roundworm infections in children, and strongly recommends annual pet deworming.

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6. My dog just turned 7 years old. Does he need any special care?

Dogs and cats age approximately seven years to every human year and large breeds can age even faster. This means diseases can progress up to seven times faster in pets. So, it is very important that we examine your senior pet (seven years and older) more often, about every six months. We also recommend annual lab testing (blood and urine) to monitor your pet’s internal organs.  With more frequent, thorough check-ups we can diagnose and treat problems earlier. Often we are able to slow a disease process down, prevent pain and discomfort, and help avoid expensive treatments in the months ahead.

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7. My dog (or cat) was just diagnosed with a thyroid problem? What does this mean?

Thyroxin is a hormone produced by the two thyroid glands, located in the neck that all dogs and cats have. Thyroxin regulates your pet's basic metabolic rate, as it does for us. Thyroxin influences many bodily functions such as skin health, reproduction, activity level and body weight. Blood tests can determine if your pet has a thyroid problem. Dogs usually have decreased thyroid production called hypothyroidism. Symptoms can include obesity, dry hair coat, cold intolerance, and lethargy. Cats usually have increased thyroid production called hyperthyroidism. Symptoms can include weight loss, increased appetite, nervousness, or weakness. Both conditions can usually be resolved or managed successfully.

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8. My dog has trouble standing after he has been lying down. What could this mean?

Difficulty rising from a resting position can have several causes. An early sign of arthritis and Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) is difficulty getting up after laying down to rest. Dogs with DJD or arthritis also frequently have trouble climbing stairs, getting in or out of cars, and jumping. Unfortunately, this condition can begin in the early years, but is more prevalent as the dog ages. Hip Dysplasia can cause similar signs and can present from birth. Your pet should have a good physical examination and, possibly, radiographs, to diagnose this condition. The good news is that there are many more options for pain control than in the past. There are even joint health products available.

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9. How can I get rid of my pet's fleas?

Today, fleas are easily prevented and controlled, both in the environment and on your pet. Sentinel, an oral monthly heartworm preventative medication, will also prevent flea eggs from hatching, preventing flea infestation of your pet's premises. It does not kill adult fleas, however.  Comfortis, is a once monthly tablet that will effectively kill fleas in just a few hours.  Trifexis, also a once monthly tablet, kills fleas, prevents heartworms, and controls hookworms, roundworms and whipworms. A topical product, Activyl, applied monthly will kill adult fleas and ticks very effectively.  Bravecto, a chewable oral tablet, will prevent fleas and ticks for 90 days.  

If your home is infested with fleas, we have an effective hand-held aerosol spray that you can apply to your rugs and furniture. Please buy your products from a veterinary hospital, as often the products found in retail stores are inferior and may cause problems.

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10. My cat has been diagnosed with diabetes. What does this mean?
Diabetes mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, and is necessary for body tissues to utilize blood sugar. Without insulin, sugar remains in the blood and eventually passes into the urine. This causes increased urine production and thirst. Hunger increases because the body cannot use the sugar in the blood. As the disease progresses, chemicals called ketones accumulate, resulting in vomiting and dehydration. Eventually, coma and even death occur in untreated animals. Diabetes is not a curable disease, but with proper insulin administration and/or diet, the disease can be managed and controlled. Treatment involves the careful monitoring of the blood and urine sugar to determine your pet's insulin requirements. A diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates must be fed. Blood glucose levels can now be successfully monitored at home. Ask us.

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11. What are some of the symptoms of cancer and how can I tell if my pet has it?

Cancer is found more often now in our animal friends, thanks partially to better diagnostics and also as pet owners are more aware of, and educated about their pet's health.  Sometimes, cancer is apparent if a suspicious lump or bump is noticed and determined to be cancer by laboratory analysis.  However, it is harder to detect when the problem cannot be readily "seen."   We, as pet owners, should always be aware of how our pet is feeling and generally doing.

Sudden weight loss, lethargy, changes in bowel or bladder habits should all be monitored. Diagnostic laboratory blood testing can often reveal changes in organs or glands that indicate cancer. Radiographs, CT scans, MRIs, and Ultrasound are tools available today to help detect cancer. Some dog breeds are pre-disposed to cancer, such as the Golden Retriever, the Boxer and the Doberman. We offer diagnostic ultrasound of the chest and abdomen of healthy pets as a screening procedure for abnormalities including cancer. This is similar to your mammograms or prostate exams.

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12. My dog constantly chews on his feet. What can this mean?

Foot or paw chewing may have several causes. A good examination and thorough history are important in determining the cause. Chewing could result from a local irritation due to chemicals (lime, fertilizer, etc.), foreign bodies (splinters), insect stings or bites or allergies. It may result from bacterial or fungal infections. Foot chewing along with chronic ear problems and itchy butts can often indicate food allergies and/or contact allergies to fescue grass.

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13. My puppy has been vomiting and has diarrhea. What can this mean?

Vomiting and diarrhea can range from a simple intolerance to something eaten to a life-threatening disease, such as Parvovirus. Intestinal parasites could be the cause.  A thorough physical exam, a good history and diagnostic tests are important in determining the cause and necessary treatment. But please remember that vomiting and diarrhea are not normal for puppies and if it occurs for more than 24 hours you should always consult a veterinarian. Young puppies that have been properly vaccinated should also be tested for parvovirus, if indicated.

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