• 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.

  • 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.

  • What Should I Do if My Dog Has Heatstroke?

    Heatstroke is a medical crisis in dogs and requires emergency veterinarian care. If you suspect your dog has heatstroke, see the veterinarian right away to avoid life-threatening complications.

    Watch this video to learn what steps to take in the case of heatstroke. You can tell if your pup has heatstroke by taking his or her temperature using a rectal thermometer. If it is over 105 degrees F, he or she needs emergency vet care. If it is lower than 105, you can attempt to treat your dog at home using cool baths, until his or her temp comes down to 103 degrees F.

    Even if your dog doesn’t have full on heatstroke and you successfully provide home treatment, he or she should still be checked out by your veterinarian or one of the veterinarians here at the Chastain Veterinary Medical Group to ensure that there are no complications. Make an appointment at our Dallas animal Hospital by calling (972) 239-1309. To make an appointment at our McKinney office, call (972)-529-5033.

  • 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.

  • What Happens If My Cat Ingests a Foreign Object?

    Cats love to explore, but unfortunately, sometimes that exploration can lead to dangerous situations, such as ingesting a foreign object. Although foreign objects sometimes pass through cats’ intestinal tracts unfettered, in other cases, cats require emergency veterinary care to prevent or solve an obstruction. If you think that your cat has ingested a foreign object, here is a look at what you can expect.

    Onset of Symptoms
    In some cases, you may be aware that your cat has eaten a foreign object, so you seek care at a veterinary clinic before symptoms start. In other cases, the cat’s symptoms could be your first clue. Your cat may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. He or she may be reluctant to eat or drink normally and may become aggressive when you try to handle him or her because of abdominal sensitivity. Although other conditions can cause these symptoms, it is important to see the veterinarian when they occur for an accurate diagnosis.

    Your veterinarian will perform a full exam to determine what is causing your cat’s symptoms. Abdominal tenderness may suggest that your cat has an obstruction, so your veterinarian may order X-rays, typically using contrast material, to pinpoint the location of the obstruction. Blood work may also be necessary to rule out other conditions.

    Your veterinarian will determine if your cat needs surgery to find and remove the foreign object or if it can pass through his or her intestinal tract safely. If your vet decides that your cat can pass the object, he or she may recommend that your cat remain at the veterinary clinic for observation until the item is out of your cat’s system. Monitoring is important, since an obstruction can stop blood flow to one or more of your cat’s organs.

    Don’t delay seeking emergency veterinary treatment in Dallas or McKinney if you think your cat has ingested a foreign object. Help is available from Chastain Veterinary Medical Group for all of your pet’s medical needs. Contact Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at (972) 529-5033 or contact Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas at (972) 239-1309.