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Frequently Asked Pet Questions in Naples

Q: My dog/ cat…had surgery 2 days ago and he/she still hasn’t had a bowel movement – What should I do?

A: As long as your pet isn’t making frequent attempts to defecate (excessive squatting) then we don’t tend to be overly concerned.  Don’t forget that your pet skipped their breakfast on the morning of the surgery and then they most likely didn’t eat a normal portion when you fed them dinner that night. If you don’t eat you don’t poop. The pain medications can also slow things down a bit too. Continue to keep an eye on your pet and it they are acting ok then you needn’t worry.

Q: Why has an Elizabethan collar (e-collar) been recommended for my pet and do I need to take it off when they are eating or to sleep?Frequently Asked Pet Questions in NaplesA: It is important that we protect the wounded area from excessive licking. Many pets do a lot of their licking in the middle of the night when you don’t know about it. Keep the e-collar on at all times. They are able to eat, sleep and drink with it on. It is important that we allow the area to heal quickly so your pet can return to its normal routine as soon as possible.

Q:  Why is my dog scooting and licking his rear end so much?

A: The two most common reasons we see dogs ‘scooting’ is because their anal glands are bothering them or they have an itchy anus as a result of tapeworm infestation. If you see your dog doing this frequently it is time for a visit to the vet.

Q: I am using flea prevention. Why does my pet still have fleas?

Fleas are a year round concern in SW Florida.  Flea control failure can happen if; 1) flea products are not used on a regular and consistent basis   2) not all animals in the home are treated for fleas, and 3) topical products are applied improperly.   Topical products are designed to be absorbed into the oil glands of your dog or cat – the use of soap based shampoos will remove the product.   Swimming may dilute the product causing the loss of effectiveness before the full 4 weeks have passed, allowing a break in flea protection.   When live fleas are noted on your pet, your environment is also infested.   It will take at least 3 months or longer of treatment of all pets in the home and environment to get the infestation resolved.   Contact us so we can provide further guidance specific to your circumstances.

Q: I give my dog its heartworm prevention every month? Why is it recommended that I still have a heartworm test performed? Why do you want to examine my dog’s feces?

An annual heartworm and fecal test are highly recommended for the following reasons:
1) our heartworm test also tests for the more common tick borne diseases in the area.  Early identification of these diseases allows us to initiate treatment if warranted, and is an alert for other family members living in the same home.  If your pet has been exposed to ticks, there is a good chance you or one of your family members may have also been exposed to ticks from the environment.
The de-wormer in monthly heartworm prevention doesn’t protect against all intestinal parasites.   Evaluating fecal samples helps us identify any other intestinal parasites and allows for prompt treatment. Hookworm and roundworm infestation is fairly common in Florida and we can catch these from our pets!

Q: Why should my dog have wellness blood work performed when I did it last year?

A: Annual blood work is important as our pets age.  Organ failure is a frequent cause of reduced quality of life in our pets, renal and liver disorders are especially common.  Early identification of these disease processes, even before we see clinical signs, allows us to take proactive steps to slow, and sometimes reverse the process.   Often, simple steps like a diet change or the addition of over the counter supplements like SAMe are inexpensive and can extend the quality of our pets’ lives during their senior years.   Don’t forget that your 10 year old dog is the equivalent of a 70 year old human.

Q: Why is my dog overweight?

A: Weight control is a growing concern in our pet population.   It has been estimated that at least 60% of our dogs and cats are overweight.   Animals that have been sterilized require a lower amount of daily calories since they are not expending energy seeking a mate, supporting a pregnancy or nursing a litter. As animals age, weight gain is easier and weight loss becomes more difficult.   Often, we compound the problem by feeding table food in addition to a dog or cat’s regular diet.   It has been reported that a 20# dog eating a 1 ounce cube of cheese has the same caloric effect as an adult human eating 1 and 1/2 hamburgers.   None of us would stay slim, let alone lose weight, if we ate an extra hamburger in addition to our regular daily diet!

Q: Do prescription weight loss foods really work?

A:  Over the counter weight loss diets are designed for mild weight loss.  When a substantial weight loss of greater than 10% is required, a prescription diet with a feeding plan designed specifically for your pet is required.   This custom plan takes into account the following: body condition score, the rate of weight loss required, the use of dry and/or canned rations, the feeding of treats and scheduling regular weight evaluations so your pet will lose weight in a realistic period of time. Additionally, all of our prescription diets have a 100% palatability guarantee – if they won’t eat it return the food and we will give you your money back!

Q: Why does my pet keep scratching and itching?

A: Skin allergies can be very frustrating for you and your pet.   Scratching day and night, along with the foul odor of infected ears and skin can make life with an animal with allergies a painful and difficult process.
Allergies can take the form of food allergies, topical or contact allergies and seasonal allergies.  Food allergies occur all year long.  Typically, food allergies are related to the protein component of the diet.  Changing pet food brands will not help if the same protein is in the new diet.

Topical or contact allergies can occur from plants, molds, fungus or insects, especially fleas.  Seasonal allergies only occur during certain times of the year.  Many animals have multiple types of allergy.  Many allergies can be kept under control by using special foods with unique proteins, weekly ear cleaning to prevent wax buildup, and the use of specialized shampoos to remove topical allergens.  Allergy flair ups can be expected when the perfect storm of contact, food and seasonal allergies intersect.  If you live with an allergic dog or cat, allergy flair ups are a fact of life.  An animal will never be ‘allergy free’ but they can be comfortable as long as environmental controls are established and stringently followed.