Chastain Veterinary Medical Group
Welcome to Chastain Veterinary Medical Group! For 20 years now we've been providing advanced veterinary care mixed with old-fashioned compassion for pets in the North Dallas area of Texas.

Subtle Signs of a Sick Cat

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Cats are notorious for hiding the symptoms of a sickness for as long as they can, so it’s important to tune into the subtle signs that your pet could be ill. If you suspect your cat is could be sick, take him or her to the veterinarian for an exam. Often, catching illnesses in their early stages makes them easier to treat and increases the chance of a full recovery. If you notice these signs in your cat, consider making an appointment at the animal hospital.

Weight Changes
Different conditions can affect your cat’s weight in different ways. In some cases, he or she may lose weight, while in other cases, weight gain may occur. Although appetite changes can also occur with an illness, weight changes aren’t always linked to changes in eating habits. A cat with hyperthyroidism, for instance, may experience weight loss while eating the same amount of food as normal or even when eating more. Your veterinarian should evaluate any noticeable weight changes.

Behavior Changes
When cats are not feeling well, they often change their behaviors. For example, if your cat is typically an independent kitty, he or she may begin to cling to you more and more. Alternatively, an overly affectionate cat may now demand his or her alone time. You may also notice that your cat changes his or her sleeping habits and may either give up on grooming or may groom obsessively.

Looking back on things, when one of our cats became seriously ill a few years ago, one of the earliest signs was simply that he began sleeping near the warm computer vents all the time.

Increased Vocalization
If your cat is in pain, he or she may begin to meow and whine more often than normal. Howling during the night is a particularly common behavior in cats who are ill. This behavior can also be a sign of stress that results from a change in your cat’s environment.

Chastain Veterinary Medical Group is certified by the American Animal Hospital Association and provides preventative healthcare exams for your pets, as well as urgent care when your pet is sick. If you’re concerned that your cat could be ill, make an appointment at our pet hospital in McKinney today by calling (972) 529-5033. You can also contact Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at (972) 239-1309.

Build a Better First-Aid Kit for Small Pets

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First-aid kits aren’t just for the two-legged members of your family. Pets need their own kits, so you have everything on hand that you will need if your pet becomes injured. For serious injuries or illnesses, your pet should visit the emergency veterinarian right away, but the tools in your first-aid kit will help you take care of minor issues at home or provide some initial care so that you can safely get your pet to the animal hospital.

For your small animals, like dogs and cats, your pet-friendly first-aid kit should include cloth and paper towels, 2-3 slip leashes, cotton swabs, cotton balls, and bandaging materials. You should also have lubricant, such as petroleum jelly, nail clippers, tweezers, and medications, including eye wash solution, probiotic gels, antibiotic ointments, and wound disinfectants. Keep your veterinarian’s number and the number for the poison control center in the kit as well.

When your pet has a medical emergency, Chastain Veterinary Medical Group is available to help with emergency vet care in both Dallas and McKinney. Find out how to get urgent vet care for your pet by calling Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas at (972) 239-1309, or by calling Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033.

Could My Puppy Have Hip Dysplasia?

When you bring home a new puppy, the last thing you are likely to be thinking about is joint health. However, hip dysplasia is a common occurrence and can affect dogs as young as five months old, so every puppy parent needs to know the signs. Could hip dysplasia be impacting your pup? Here is what you need to know.

What is hip dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is a condition that occurs when the hip joints don’t form properly. Because the joints are improperly formed, the hind legs aren’t stable, and they can wobble around in the joint sockets. As a result, abnormal, painful wear and tear can occur. Although the cause is unknown, there appears to be a genetic component. Weight gain caused by high calorie diets and overly enthusiastic exercise before the joints are fully formed can also apparently contribute to dysplasia. Early treatment can improve the symptoms and reduce the risk of further joint damage.

What are the symptoms?

Puppies who have hip dysplasia may limp or appear unsteady when they walk. They may move their hind legs together when they run, instead of moving each leg independently. You may notice that your puppy’s hips swivel when you walk behind him or her or that you hear a clicking sound when he or she moves. As the condition progresses, your active puppy may become more lethargic or may have more difficulty going up and down stairs or finding a comfortable position when lying down.

How can we know for sure?

If hip dysplasia is suspected – at any age – your veterinarian will recommend x-rays of the dog’s hips and rear legs. This usually provides the answer.

Some veterinarians (including those at the Chastain Veterinary Medical Group) have been trained & certified in a special x-ray technique called PennHIP. PennHIP is accurate and reliable in puppies as young as four (4) months of age. The x-rays are read by specialists and the report provides an objective, mathematical estimate of the risk of the puppy developing hip dysplasia later in life. With this information, prevention and treatment protocols can be developed by the PennHIP-trained veterinarian.

What treatments are available?

There is no cure for hip dysplasia, but there are several treatments to reduce your puppy’s discomfort and control the progression of the disease. Anti-inflammatory medications and cold laser treatments can reduce the pain. Some dogs benefit from surgery. Managing your puppy’s weight will also help. Typically, your vet will perform period X-rays of the hip joint to track the progression of the dysplasia.

Chastain Veterinary Medical Group offers a comprehensive range of diagnostic and surgical services, including PennHIP x-rays, at our pet hospitals in Dallas and McKinney. Set up an exam with a veterinarian for your puppy by calling (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas, or by calling (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

How Should I Clean My Dog's Ears?

Keeping your dog’s ears clean is one of the things you can do to ensure he or she stays as healthy as possible. Always consult with your veterinarian before you use any cleaning products in your dog’s ears or if you notice a discharge, odor, or inflammation.

Watch this video to learn how to clean your dog’s ears. If your dog’s ears are healthy, wiping them out with cotton gauze can help keep them that way. If your veterinarian has recommended that you use an ear cleaner, follow his or her instructions about applying the cleaner and how often to do it.

How else can you protect your pup’s health? See a veterinarian in Dallas or McKinney at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group for preventative care, including pet dental cleanings, and any time your pet shows symptoms that concern you. Appointments are available by calling Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at (972) 239-1309 or by calling Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033.

Tips for Training Your Pet Ferret

ferret care dallasAs your veterinarian will tell you, training a pet ferret is not only possible but also necessary. Ferrets are intelligent and inquisitive, and training them will make both them and their owners happier. Just as with other animals, training a ferret requires patience and persistence, but if you stick with it, your ferret will be following your instructions in no time. Succeed with your training efforts with these tips.

Focus on Biting First
Ferrets are notorious for having a few bad biting habits, so it’s important to deal with nipping behaviors during training first. Once you train your ferret that nipping is not acceptable, it will be easier to focus on other activities. To convince your ferret to stop nipping, consider using a time out cage. This cage should be different than the one that your ferret goes to for sleep. If your ferret nips, simply put him or her in the cage for up to five minutes, before bringing him or her back out. Don’t exceed five minutes of punishment, or your ferret may forget what happened. Never spank, spray with water, or tap on the nose to punish your ferret for biting. Doing so is likely to make him or her bite harder.

Use Treats
Ferrets respond to positive reinforcement, so using treats to convince your ferret to follow your training efforts is helpful. For instance, if you want to teach your ferret to shake hands, start by putting a treat about an inch from your hand when you are sitting in front of your ferret. When he or she steps on your hand to try to reach the treat, shake his or her paw and reward your pet with the treat.

Feed Your Ferret Before Training
Your ferret will be much more likely to go along with your training efforts if he or she is not hungry. Try to work on training right after your ferret eats. You will keep his or her attention for longer and are less likely to experience biting and bad behavior.

Ferrets also need regular veterinarian care to ensure they stay healthy enough to keep learning. Chastain Veterinary Medical Group provides exotic animal care at both of our veterinary hospitals in Dallas and McKinney for ferrets, snakes, and other less common animals. Make an appointment today by calling (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas or by calling (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in the McKinney/Frisco area.

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Hours of Operation:

  • 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM Sunday
  • 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM Monday
  • 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM Tuesday
  • 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM Wednesday
  • 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM Thursday
  • 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM Friday
  • 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM Saturday