Austin’s population is exploding, and so is our pet population. As we approach Austin’s sixth year as the largest No-Kill City in the nation, we are thankful for everyone that works tirelessly to help our animal friends. We also realize that without support from the community, organizations like Austin Pets Alive and Austin Animal Center would be tasked with the impossible.
You’ve probably noticed that ZippiVet is a proud supporter of Austin Pets Alive, but did you know that in 2017 ZippiVet decided to help Austin Animal Center out by donating $5,000 worth of veterinary dental services per month? This means that a dog or cat that might never get adopted because of severe dental disease now has a chance at a happy, healthy, and pain-free life.
Our most recent patient success story is Sheena. Sheena’s owner passed away and Sheena was found on her owner’s lap. Terrified and heartbroken, she was taken to Austin Animal Center for her chance to find a forever family.
Sheena had quite the time making a positive impression on prospective parents due to her shy and apprehensive nature. An exceptional AAC Volunteer swooped in and decided to foster Sheena until a permanent home could be found. After working with Sheena to bolster her confidence around strangers, there was only one thing holding Sheena back: horrific dental disease.
AAC reached out to us and mentioned Sheena would be a good candidate for our donation program. We fell in love with her at first sight, and after an extensive dental procedure with multiple extractions, we’re happy to report that Sheena has made a complete recovery and found her forever home last week.
It’s a known fact that heartworm is, quite literally, heartbreaking. Luckily, this deadly disease is easily avoidable with proper preventative care. One little pill or topical a month can save your dog a whole lot of pain and solitary confinement and save you lots of money and heartbreak.
How do dogs get heartworm?
Like many other dangerous pet parasites, heartworm is carried by mosquitos. A single mosquito bite can infect your dog – which makes Austin’s hot, wet climate particularly dangerous for dogs.
What is heartworm?
As its name suggests, heartworm is a parasite that infects the internal organs of your pet. When a mosquito carrying heartworm bites a pet, miniscule larvae can be deposited into the bloodstream. After six months, these larvae mature into adult heartworms. Adult heartworms can grow up to 12 inches long and usually lodge themselves into your pet’s heart, lungs and blood vessels.
What animals can get heartworm?
Dogs, ferrets, wolves coyotes, foxes and occasionally cats.
Can my dog get heartworm from other dogs?
Technically no, however any animal infected with heartworm could potentially pass it along to a mosquito, which could infect other animals. Regardless of whether your pet is an indoor or outdoor pet, or lives in a warm region or a cold one, your pet has a chance of getting heartworm.
What are the symptoms of heartworm?
One of the worst parts of heartworm disease is the fact that there are little to no symptoms. Early heartworm can have no symptoms but as the disease progresses, mild symptoms such as a persistent cough, lethargy, decreased appetite, weight loss and a swollen belly from excess fluid can occur. If the disease involves multiple worms, cardiac blockage can occur resulting in caval syndrome: labored breathing, pale gums, bloody urine and cardiovascular collapse. Very few dogs survive caval syndrome even with surgery.
Because the symptoms can be difficult to detect it is crucial that you take your dog into your vet for heartworm detection regularly.
How can you treat heartworm?
The good news is that heartworm is treatable. The bad news is that it is expensive and can be very difficult for both you and the pup.
Typical heartworm treatment is as follows:
Diagnosis can be both costly and extensive. To determine whether your pup has heartworm and how bad the infection is, diagnosis usually requires several x-rays, blood work and several tests. Once the vet determines how severe the heartworm is they will be able to determine the proper treatment. Treatment usually involves several painful, arsenic based injections to treat the worms and larvae followed by an intensive one to three month period in which the dog may have very limited physical activity and even surgery.
How do you prevent heartworm?
Annual check ups and monthly preventive care are the best ways to avoid heartworm. Preventative care comes in both topical and pill form. However, if you miss a dose, you lower the effectiveness of prevention. Thus, we recommend regular parasite checks just in case.
When should my dog be tested for heartworm?
All dogs should be test annually during their routine checkup and maintain preventative care as prescribed by their vet.
To coincide with Austin’s rainy season, ZippiVet is offering free heartworm checks for Austin pet owners. Visit our offer page and schedule an appointment to make sure your dog is ready to enjoy an Austin summer!
Like you, your dogs can be plagued with dental issues. Dogs suffer from buildup of gingivitis, periodontal disease, and even painful tooth infections or rotting teeth. However, unlike humans, dogs don’t have the ability to speak up and let you know that their tooth is bothering them or how badly it hurts. It’s up to you, as the loving pet owner, to be aware of any dental issues that may be affecting your pup and provide preventative care so they can have a happy, healthy smile.
That’s why ZippiVet offers full comprehensive dental care for dogs—from routine dental checks, to cleanings to advanced treatment of any oral issues. Our professional staff is dedicated to healthy pups—so right now, we’re offering $50 off dental procedures! Stop in for a dental cleaning, check up, or for helpful tips on home canine dental care, as well as the essentials of preventative care.
Signs your pooch may need dental care:
- Bad breath: There’s a big difference between puppy breath and dirty, sewer breath. Excessively bad breath on your hound can be a sign of mouth disease and gingivitis.
- Swelling or tenderness in their mouth: If your dog is suddenly reluctant to eat hard food, seems to favor chewing on one side of their mouth, has visible swelling in the mouth or loose teeth, this can be a sign of tartar, gingivitis or a critical infection such as periodontal disease.
- Excessive drooling: While some breeds may be natural droolers, if your pooch is drooling much more than normal or if the drool has traces of blood it in it, this can be a sign of dental problems.
- Lumps and bumps: When you’re brushing your dog’s teeth or checking out their mouths make sure to check for lumps on the gums (which may be tumors) and hard bumps or cysts underneath the tongue.
- Behavioral changes: One of the biggest signs your dog may be sick or in need of dental care is changes in behavior. If they have suddenly lost interest in their favorite toys or games or suddenly seem sluggish and disoriented get them to the vet immediately.
The most important thing you can do to ensure your pup has a healthy smile is regular brushing and making a point to pay attention to their gum and teeth health. Dental issues can result in painful swelling or loose teeth, making it difficult to eat, or infections can enter the bloodstream through the mouth, causing long term damage to the kidney or liver. If your dog is exhibiting any of the signs of dental disease, come to ZippiVet today for a thorough check up with your $50 off coupon.