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September 15, 2018 0

 

According to the LA Times, a relatively new breed of mosquitoes has taken over Southern California. This invasive breed is called Aedes Aegyptai and there have been multiple reports of its migration to Orange County. Unlike other mosquitoes, they bite during the day and mostly on the lower leg and ankle region. While mosquitoes can be itchy and annoying for us, they may be a life-threatening problem for our pets. The bloodthirsty pests are known to and infect dogs and cats with microfilaria, or heartworm larvae.

What is heartworm?

Heartworm is a deadly disease that causes long-lasting damage to an animal’s internal organs. Once the worms have matured, usually within 3-4 months, they can grow up to 12 inches long and survive for many years. They can infect and cause major damage to vital organs such as the heart, lungs, liver, and kidney. Dogs are more commonly affected by heartworm disease than cats, but it’s still possible for cats to get heartworm, too.

Symptoms of heartworm include loss of breath, lethargy, and a persistent cough. At first, however, there may be no symptoms of heartworm at all. That’s why it’s important to get your pets seen by a veterinarian regularly.

How do I prevent heartworm?

Once your pet is old enough, start getting them tested regularly. If you’re able to catch the infection early on, you can destroy the larvae and prevent heartworm disease.

Your cat or dog veterinarian can help keep these parasites at bay by administering a shot of Moxidectin every six months. It is a neurotoxin that shocks and kills the heartworm larvae before it can reach the internal organs. Another way to prevent heartworm is feeding your pet chewables that also kill off the larvae. While these medications can prevent heartworm, they are still toxins. Ask your veterinarian about how to use them correctly, so you don’t compromise your pet’s immune system.

Since heartworm is carried through mosquitoes, it’s more commonly spread during the hot season and warm climates. By keeping your home clean and mosquito-free, you can also reduce the risk of heartworm infection for your dog or cat. For example, if you have a pool, drain it to keep mosquitoes from breeding close by.

Can heartworm be treated?

Heartworm treatment exists, but it can be costly and dangerous to administer. It is a form of arsenic that is injected into the animal to kill off the worms, but it can also hurt your pet. Prevention is the key to keeping your dog or cat happy and healthy.

Getting bit by mosquitoes is no fun, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy the last of the summer sun! As long as you are taking preventative measures to ward off icky heartworm, you can still go outside with your furry companion. If you have questions about heartworm or animal care, Dr. Lopez is a veterinarian in Anaheim who can help you. Make an appointment today!

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July 24, 2018 0

Pets are a lot of work. From having to keep them clean to cleaning after their messes, dogs and cats can become a huge commitment, but you may also find your life very disorganized after getting a pet. Many American households may find themselves with a variety of animals, from dogs to reptiles. Cleaning after them and keeping an organized structure may become difficult when you don’t know the ins and out of living with mini pigs, birds, cats, reptiles, and such.

Don’t fear, maintaining your pets is not as hard as you think. Here is a list of tips that help when trying to live an organized life when your household has cats and dogs.

To stay organized with multiple pets, it’s best to separate and organize all pet belongings. It starts with veterinary organizing appointments to bedding designation; pet living must be kept organized to help the owner and pet’s happiness.

Organization for Cats and Dogs:

Medication and Record Organization:

We, humans, keep files of paperwork of our health records, taxes, and other necessary paperwork, so why don’t we have a place for our pet records? Pet records include adoption records, traveling paperwork, veterinary visit history, microchip records and any other documentation needed to keep your pet safe and healthy. Keeping separate folders that contain information for each pet will help in case of any unexpected event.

Many pets require medication given to them daily. Organizing the medicine will make it easier to administer medication and lower the risk of feeding the wrong medication. Making it a part of your everyday routine will make it easier to remember to give it to your pet

Pet Supplies and Toys Organization:

It starts with just one squeaky ball, but suddenly, toys and pet supplies multiply, and soon, you are tripping over chew toys and stepping into your dog’s water tray. It is important to remember to maintain pet belongings just as organized as you maintain yours.

  1. Separate Feeding Location: If there is ever tension between your pets when they eat next to each other, it might be a good idea to provide a separate feeding location to avoid food hostility. This will allow peaceful eating because all pets have different styles of how they eat their food. It is also recommended to pick an appropriate location to store your pet’s food bins.
  2. Storing and Separating Pet Toys: Our pets are very territorial, so providing separate toys for each pet will decrease the possibilities of disagreements between pets. We don’t know how many toys we own, but having a selected place where all of them end up at the end of the day will make cleaning less stressful. This also lowers the chances of losing your cat’s favorite feather toy!
  3. Litter Box: Provide a litter box for each cat. Cats will appreciate you for their clean litter box. If you want to go the extra mile, train your cat how to use the toilet!
  4. Multiple Beds: It all starts with a success ful slumber. Providing Multiple Beds around the house will allow each pet to have their space that will enable them to nap and rest. When there is a lot of sharing that needs to be done between the pets, it is helpful to give each pet something that is just theirs. Providing multiple beds will also make the sofa less tempting for your pets.

 

 

Additional Organization Tips:

 

 

Protecting Furniture

There is that one thing that we all hate as dog owners: dog shedding. Some shed excessively, leaving hair everywhere. One way to maintain it is by placing fleece blankets and throws around your home. This gives your living room a trendy look that also hides the hair. If you are allergic to pet hair, you can control your pet allergies with an air purifier. 

Achieving Control

Depending on the canine you own, at times you may find yourself trying to accomplish a task, but your three pets running around the house can make it very difficult. Having baby gates will provide a space for the dog and allow you to cook or clean without complications.

Lastly, more pets mean more fun times, love, and attention! Not just more messes. Make sure you, as an owner, are prepared to provide the quality of care each pet desires.

Difficulties may arise when a household fosters several pets, but the memories and love are unmeasurable. Organize and maintain for your pets as you would for your belongings, and this will help keep an organized life while owning several pets. Organize your next pet appointment with Dr. Lopez, an experienced veterinarian in Orange County, to make sure your pets are healthy and happy! 

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July 16, 2018 0

Does This Human Make Me Look Fat?

Approximately 2 out of 3 American pets are considered overweight or obese. According to a 2017 study from the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, 56% of cats and 60% of dogs are overweight due to poor diet and lack of exercise. Despite the recent push toward healthy, balanced eating for humans, there has been significantly less information about how to improve the diet and lifestyle of some of our most beloved family members, our pets. Without nutritious food and exercise, animals can easily develop costly and even life-threatening health problems such as diabetes, kidney dysfunction, respiratory disorders, or worse.

How to Know Your Pet is Overweight

The first step to solving pet obesity is identifying pet obesity. Your dog’s pot-belly might be kind of adorable, but could it also be a sign of poor health. Sometimes, it can be difficult to differentiate between a little puppy fat and a serious underlying problem. Here are a few symptoms of pet obesity you can keep an eye out for:

 

  • No palpable rib cage                 
  • Lethargy
  • Shortness of breath
  • Overeating
  • Weight gain
  • Waddling

Like humans, all animal body types are different, so make sure to do your research on the healthy size for your pet’s breed. Some dogs are naturally lean and others are perfectly healthy couch potatoes. If you’re still not sure, you can always take your pet to a veterinarian for a professional evaluation.

What to Feed Your Pet

Unfortunately, there are few regulations on pet food to ensure animals are receiving the nutrients and vitamins they need. A lot of products in the market are low-quality and unhealthy for animals. Many owners are unaware that their cat or dog’s favorite food is the animal equivalent of eating junk food with little nutritional content. Check the ingredients before you purchase any pet food.

Avoid the following:

  • BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), and ethoxyquin are artificial preservatives commonly used in items like chips, cereal, gum, fast food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. While these preservatives can be harmless in small doses, experts recommend limiting the consumption of them because they might have low doses of potentially toxic content. It’s better to stay on the safe side and opt for a brand with minimal or no synthetic preservatives, especially if you’re feeding your pet the same thing every day.
  • Simple carbohydrates such as white flours, corn flour, and corn syrup can be unhealthy for humans and animals alike when consumed in excess. They cause a quick spike in blood sugar and don’t fill the stomach for long, which may lead to overeating. For animals like dogs and cats, who are primarily carnivores, it’s unhealthy to be eating more filler carbs than healthy protein. When these animals have too much sugar, it can have harmful effects in the long run.
  • Meat, meat-product, rendered fat, or meat byproduct are seemingly harmless, but these names typically indicate low-grade processed meat. These vague terms could mean anything from expired meat and sick animals to unwanted parts such as hooves, organs, or intestines.

Ingredients to look for:

  • Easily identifiable sources of protein such as lamb, chicken, beef, and fish are optimal for cats and dogs who need a protein-based diet. These should be the first few ingredients listed in the food. A meat source followed by the word “meal” is also a sign of quality protein.
  • Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats can be healthy for dogs and cats. The complex carbs in whole grains are a soluble fiber that keeps your pet full and help with digestion. They can be really healthy in moderation.
  • Vegetables such as carrots, green beans, and broccoli provide nutritious vitamins and minerals that can boost the immune system. While they’re not necessary, they have many health benefits and add flavor to pet food.

To improve your pet’s diet, take a second to read the ingredients label on pet food and treats the next time you go shopping. You can also get some fresh ingredients to cook for your dogs and/or cats! It’s not 

 

as expensive and time-consuming as it seems and it can definitely benefit your pet to have some variety in their diet. Lastly, stop feeding your animals table scraps! The extra calories  add up and more often than not, human food isn’t healthy for dogs and cats.

 

How to Feed Your Pet

 

How you feed your pet is almost as important as what you feed your pet. Portion control is really important to regulating diet. Overeating can result in digestive problems, choking, or bloating. When dogs or cats eat t

 

oo fast, they ingest large amounts of air, resulting in discomfort and even vomiting. In the worst case scenario, they may develop Gastric Dilation Volvulus, which is when air expands in the stomach and ruptures.

Luckily, there are many ways to avoid this problem. If your pet eats dry food, you can scatter food on the floor, so your pet has to eat each piece separately. This method is only viable, however, on clean hardwood floor or concrete. You don’t want your pet ingesting any harmful chemicals, dirt, or other objects.

There are also plenty of slow feeder bowls that are designed with obstructions in the bowl your dog will have to eat around, slowing them down. For cats, puzzle balls are a great option for both mental stimulation and controlled eating. The food is placed in a ball with food inside that the cat must move around for the food to fall out of the holes. A simple way to slow down your pet’s eating is to feed them more meals in smaller quantities throughout the day.

How to Exercise Your Pet

The exercise required to maintain a healthy lifestyle depends on your dog or cat’s breed and age. Ask your local veterinarian to assess just how much is appropriate for your pet. For obese animals, so much exercise all at once can be laborious, so owners may have to slowly incorporate more and more exercise into their pets’ daily routines with time.

Typically, 30 minutes to two hours a day is a good amount of exercise for dogs. Take your dog for a walk, play a game of fetch, or go swim! It’ll be good for both you and your pup to head outside for some fresh air and outdoor activity. If you’re located around Anaheim like us, we have a list of fun things to do for you and your dog to do right here in Orange County.

Unlike dogs, cats have extremely high metabolisms that allow them to lounge about without too much consequence. Nevertheless, you should still consult your veterinarian about a fitness plan for your cat, especially if they’ve been getting a little pudgier than usual. For most cats, aim for around 15 minutes of exercise. Get some toys like yarn, a laser light, a wand, or a ball. Kittens can actually be trained to go on walks similar to dogs, but that does require proper training and equipment. Cats like to climb, so getting a cat tree could encourage your cat to exercise more.

Pet obesity is no joke! It can lead to tons of expensive, painful health issues later down the road such as liver disease or osteoarthritis. Just because your little buddy is somewhat fluffier than normal, that doesn’t necessarily make you a bad owner. Now that you know, there are numerous ways to prevent and treat obesity for pets, so they can live the long, healthy lives they deserve. If you’re worried about your pet, it’s never too late to ask your veterinarian for a checkup, pet food recommendations, and an exercise plan. If you have more questions about pet obesity, Dr. Lopez is an experienced veterinarian in Orange County who can answer your questions and help your furry friend.

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May 3, 2018 0

Itching to adopt a pet? Literally?

Despite the wishes of their physicians, an estimated 10% of pet owners who are allergic to their beloved animals still keep them, yet they continue to lead healthy and happy lives. By understanding why they are allergic to certain animals and choosing the right hypoallergenic pet, tons of people are able to control their symptoms and enjoy the companionship of a lifetime. In the battle against pet allergies, here’s how you can own yours – let’s break it down.

Round 1: The Source of Allergies

Many animals produce a type of protein that is found in animal urine, saliva, and dander. Some people have immune systems who can’t handle these foreign substances which is what triggers allergies. Symptoms may include symptoms like teary eyes, itching, swollen membranes and more. Contrary to what many believe, people aren’t allergic to pet hair – they’re allergic to the allergens that are present in pet hair. Allergic reactions can be caused when the allergens become airborne as well, so it’s possible to be susceptible to an allergy attack without even touching the culprit.

Don’t forget, animals can be allergic to things, too! Many dogs and cats experience allergies between each other and some are even allergic to humans. If your pet suffers from allergies, visit a local veterinarian to figure out the best course of action.

Round 2: How to Deal with Symptoms

Pet allergies are annoying; there’s no doubt about it. But taking certain steps can improve quality of living and minimize allergic reactions. Here’s how pet owners deal with dander from their pets:

  • Regular grooming: It’s important to bathe and brush your pet regularly to remove dirt and dander that’s building up. Pets should get their fur trimmed quite often as well to reduce shedding.
  • Air purifiers: Investing in an air purifier will get rid of the allergens floating in the air that cause allergies. Not only do air purifiers get rid of dander, they filter out dust, pollen, smoke, and most other pollutants as well.
  • Allergy medication: Pharmacies offer over-the-counter drugs such as Claritin and Zyrtec that contain antihistamines. These chemicals reduce the natural histamines in the body that cause runny noses, teary eyes, and swelling.
  • Immunotherapy: Some doctors may recommend getting allergy shots. How this works is the doctor will inject the patient with a tiny amount of the substance that they are allergic to, which should stimulate the production of “blocking” antibodies that reduce allergy symptoms. Gradually, the doses will increase and then stabilize. This option isn’t for everyone, so make sure to double check with a doctor.
  • Hygiene: Stay extra clean to avoid getting any dander in the sinus cavities, eyes, or mouth. Some good practices include washing your hands after every encounter with your pet, doing laundry every week including pillows and sheets, and vacuuming regularly. This will eliminate pet hair or mucus around the house that may be causing symptoms. Here’s some more in-depth information about how you can keep your home clean when you have pets.
  • Pet-only areas: Lastly, it may be a good idea to designate a specific area for pets to avoid getting allergens all over the house. Keep them outside or invest in a pet gate, so they’re not shedding all over the house.

Round 3: What Hypoallergenic Pets to Adopt

If your pet allergies are extremely serious, many pets are still available out there. According to Babble, experts have determined some animals produce less allergens or no allergens at all, making them better choices for people who are hyper-sensitive to these substances. There are tons of options out there including certain breeds of dogs, cats, fish, reptiles, birds, and more. Here’s a list of hypoallergenic pets that may be compatible with your allergies.

  • Dogs: Often, allergens are spread when dogs shed their fur around the house. By choosing a dog that sheds less and requires more grooming, it is possible to reduce the amount of fur being circulated around your home. No dog is completely hypoallergenic, but for those who are only mildly allergic, consider the following breeds:
    • Tibetan Terrier
    • Shih Tzu
    • Portuguese Water Dog
    • Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
    • Poodle
    • West Highland White Terrier
    • Bichon Frise
    • Havanese
    • Chinese Cresteds
    • Basenji
  • Cats: The cause of many people’s pet allergies is the protein Fel d 1 found in cat hair. Like dogs, all cats produce this protein, so none are completely hypoallergenic. However, choosing a cat with less fur and shedding can reduce the amount of protein being circulated in the air. Some breeds have less fur or finer fur which can help reduce allergic reactions. According to Catster, here are a few popular ones:
    • Russian Blue
    • Bengal
    • Devon Rex
    • Sphynx
    • Javanese cats.
  • Small mammals: Gerbils, guinea pigs, mice, and rabbits are all awesome pets because they have short fur and they shed less than dogs and cats. Since they are usually left them outside (in the case of guinea pigs and rabbits) or in a cage, the chance that allergens will spread is much lower. There are even hairless rodents and hamster available for people with extreme allergies.
  • Reptiles: Don’t be fooled by their cold-blooded nature, these creatures can be just as friendly and fun as other typical house pets. Even better, they shed no fur or dander, making them the perfect pets for people with pet allergies. There are a variety of different types of reptiles offered at pet stores such as:
    • Iguanas
    • Lizards
    • Turtles
    • Snakes
    • Bearded dragons
    • Geckos

  • Amphibians: Like reptiles, amphibians don’t have fur or dander. Besides being gloriously slimy, many of them are excellent, low maintenance pets for first-time pet owners. Popular amphibians are frogs, salamanders, axolotls, newts, and toads.
  • Pigs: Pigs can make great pets if you have the space and resources to provide for a bigger pet. They have hair instead of fur, so they have may be a better choice for those with pet allergies. It’s important to remember that most pigs do grow to be over 100 pounds large, so make sure that you can provide the space they need. It’s critical to do your research on mini pigs and how to properly care for them!
  • Insects, bugs, spiders, and more: These unorthodox pets produce no dander and they are very unique pets. Tons of people own spiders, ant farms, snails, and even cockroaches. Just be careful not to let them loose in the house!
  • Hermit crabs: These curious, little invertebrates are completely hypoallergenic. Hermit crabs vary in size, color, and change shells as they grow larger. However, they aren’t as low maintenance as people may believe. Hermit crabs can live over 30 years, but they need lots of space, shells, proper humidity, companions, sand, toys, and a special diet. Here’s more information about hermit crab care for beginners.
  • Fish: Fish come with different sizes, shapes, colors, and personalities. These hypoallergenic pets are a classic.

Pet allergies can definitely be in-fur-iating, but they’re no reason to eliminate the possibility of having pets altogether. There are tons of solutions available to treat them and lots of hypoallergenic pets to adopt. If you’re interested, check out your local pet shelter because there are always animals in need of loving homes. For anyone who’s already a proud pet parent, Brookhurst Animal is a veterinary clinic located in Anaheim, CA, and we are just a call away if your pet needs medical attention.

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May 16, 2017 0

Our pets bring happiness and joy into our lives every day. We all know of the perks that come with owning a pet, including the emotional support and physical health benefits they provide us. But unfortunately, some of us just can’t enjoy spending time with furry friends without facing a stuffy nose, itchy eyes, or rashes.

If you’re allergic to animals, know that you aren’t alone. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 3 in 10 people have allergies to dogs and cats.  A common misconception is that pet hair is the main cause of allergic reactions, which is untrue. Allergies are triggered by dander (dead skin cells), saliva, and pet urine. Some of the annoying reactions you might get include mild irritations such as sneezing, a runny nose, itchy eyes, or skin rashes.

So what can you do if you are allergic to furry animals?

We know – it’s tough being an animal lover who is allergic to animals. If you have only mild allergic reactions to animals, and they are not life-threatening, there are a few things that you can do to ease your symptoms.

1. Keep Your House Clean

The first thing you can do to alleviate your allergy symptoms is to keep your home clean. Wipe down surfaces, wash your clothing, and vacuum or mop the floors regularly. These can collect dust, pet hair, and other particles that might be causing your allergies.

2. Use Air Filters (HEPA)

Invest in a High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter, or HEPA air cleaner, for your home. These can improve the air quality in your rooms by removing allergenic particles, relieving you of your allergy symptoms.

3. Have an Animal-Free Zone

Ideally, this zone would be your bedroom. Keeping your furry friends out of your bedroom will let you sleep peacefully, without the threat of allergic reactions. You’ll also want to create animal-friendly zones in your house as well, where your pet can roam around and play to his heart’s content.

4. Remove Carpets & Rugs

Rugs and carpets can often trap the allergenic particles that cause your symptoms. While vacuuming seems effective, it can stir up the allergens that got stuck to the carpeting and worsen your allergies. You may find it more convenient in the long run to simply remove the carpets and rugs, and replace them with hardwood floors or tiles instead. These are easier to clean, and they do not trap dust and pet hair like carpets do.

5. Over-the-counter Medication

If you have mild allergies, you are probably already familiar with antihistamines. This over-the-counter medication can relieve mild symptoms, allowing you to play with your pets without worrying about allergic reactions.

6. Allergy Shots

If you have more severe allergies and plan to have furry pets for a long time, you may want to consider allergy shots. While it takes a while for allergy shots to fully take effect, it is the most effective way to get rid of your allergies in the long run.

7. Adopt A Fur-less Animal

Lastly, if you are an animal lover looking to open up your home to a new pet, consider adopting an animal without fur. Some of your options are fish, turtles, bearded dragons, geckos, and more fur-less and featherless animals.

If you have any questions about your pet, contact our Anaheim veterinarian, Dr. Lopez, at Brookhurst Animal Medical Center. Our team is always here to help!

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