Pet Care Information

Senior Dog Care

How do I know when my dog is a ‘Senior’?

In general, a dog is considered a ‘senior’ at age 7 and beyond.  Several other factors can influence this though such as:  breed, size, body weight, nutrition, environment and overall health

What are some signs that my dog is aging?

Some are easy to spot such as greying of the muzzle and slower activity.  Others are more gradual and can be a sign of age-related disease.  A list of some conditions and behavioral changes are included to help you know what to lookout for and when it may be helpful to call your vet for some additional care for your pet:

Behavioral changes:

  • Greatly reduced activity
  • Less enthusiastic greetings and less interaction with family members
  • Sleeping more during the day and restless at night
  • Confusion, disorientation, and/or anxiety
  • Greater frequency of urination or loss of house-training behavior

Physical changes:

  • Limping or increased stiffness when walking
  • Vision and hearing loss 
  • Dental problems and periodontal disease
  • Digestive problems - difficulty swallowing, gagging, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Large weight gain or loss
  • Rapid changes in skin, fur, and muscle tone

Some of these symptoms can be caused by certain diseases.  It is important to work with your vet to find an appropriate treatment or improve your pets' quality of life.

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Senior Cat Care

How do I know when my cat is a ‘Senior’?

In general, a cat is considered a ‘senior’ at age 8 and beyond. What are some signs that my cat is aging?

You may notice your cat being less active as one sign, other signs are more subtle.  A list of some conditions and behavioral changes are included to help you know what to lookout for and when it may be helpful to call your vet for some additional care for your pet:

Behavioral changes:

  • Greatly reduced activity and sleeping more 
  • Less enthusiastic greetings and less interaction with family members
  • Hiding more
  • Changes in eating or drinking habits
  • Urinating or defecating outside of the litter box

Physical changes:

  • Limping or increased stiffness when walking
  • Vision and hearing loss
  • Dental problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Large weight gain or loss
  • Rapid changes in skin, fur, muscle tone
  • More soaked litter box (increased urination)

Some of these symptoms can be caused by certain diseases.  It is important to work with your vet to find an appropriate treatment or improve your pets' quality of life.

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Diabetes

Diabetes in pets is a manageable and treatable condition.  Many diabetic animals can be successfully maintained on insulin and sometimes to a lesser extent with dietary adjustments.  Please talk with your vet for diagnosis and treatment options.

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Dental Care

Why is Dental Care Important?

Just like with people, your pets can suffer from many of the same complications if they do not have proper dental care.  With the right kind of care, we can detect dental disease that affects not only the mouth, but can lead to more serious health problems impacting the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.

Oral Examinations:  veterinarians evaluate puppies and kittens for problems related to baby teeth, missing teeth, extra teeth, swelling, and oral development.  As pets get older, your vet will examine your pet for developmental anomalies, accumulation of plaque and tartar, periodontal disease, and oral tumors.  Your vet can perform this basic exam, while your pet is awake.  Sometimes, it may be necessary for short-lasting anesthetic to get a more thorough exam for pets that are more difficult to handle.

At KKM Veterinary Clinic, we recommend prevention to avoid repeat dental cleanings.  Training your animal when younger to accept teeth brushing is the best way to keep their mouths healthy.  There are other products available which can improve dental health.  Dental treats, chews, toys, as well as food and water additives are all ways to help maintain your dogs teeth and improve their breath.

We do not recommend yearly dental cleanings due to repeat anesthetic risks, especialy when dealing with pre-existing disease or geriatric patients.  

Your vet should evaluate if you pet is healthy enough to undergo general anesthesia.

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Flea Control

Fleas are more than an annoyance, they can cause severe allergic reactions making your pet miserable, and can be a vector for tapeworms. You would notice the allergies as itching, hair loss and broken skin.  Flea control products can do a fantastic job of preventing and eliminating fleas on your pet, BEFORE it becomes a problem inside your house.  Fortunately, several treatment options exist.

Flea control products that we currently carry are:

  • Advantage - topical product that prevents fleas (dogs and cats)
  • Advantix - topical product that prevents fleas and ticks (dogs only)
  • Trifexis - oral product that prevents heartworm, intestinal worms, and fleas (dogs only)
  • Frontline - topical product that prevents fleas and ticks (we only carry for cats)
  • NexGard - for dogs only - oral product that prevents fleas and ticks

We, also, carry a variety of other options (area sprays, collars, etc).  We recommend that you work with your vet on the product and option that will best suit your needs.

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Spay and Neuter

One of the most important things that you can do for your pet’s health is to spay or neuter them.  Benefits include:

  • Reduction of unwanted puppies or kittens
  • Reduction or elimination of some behavioral issues (when done at 6 months):

-Aggression and dominance

-Roaming

-Urine marking

  • Reduction of certain health risks:

-Certain types of cancers

-Excessive bleeding when pet is in heat

-Eliminates ovarian cysts

-Eliminates pyometra – a potentially fatal infection of the uterus

Unless you plan to show or breed your pet, we strongly suggest neutering or spaying your pet to help their health.

 

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Vaccines

Before any vaccines are administered, your veterinarian will always perform an exam.  The purpose of the exam is to help insure the pet is health enough to receive the vaccine.   The vaccine, itself, does not protect the pet; instead, it is the pet’s response to the vaccine that will provide them immunity to the disease. 

Dogs:

-Required Vaccinations:

1)  DHPP –or DHLPP

Distemper - a highly contagious and sometimes fatal disease that is seen in dogs worldwide. The disease involves the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, brain and spinal cord.

Hepatitis - Infectious canine hepatitis is an acute liver infection in dogs caused by Canine Adenovirus type-1 (CAV-1)

Parvovirus – A highly contagious and often fatal disease affecting puppies, unvaccinated and immunosuppressed dogs affecting the digestive system and heart.

Parainfluenza – A respiratory virus causing a dry or hacking cough that may worsen with activity; also causes a fever, difficulty breathing, depression, and even pneumonia.

Lepto - A spiral bacteria that infects dogs, other animals and humans...is now able to be included with the DHPP vaccine - and becomes DHLPP.

Timeline:
-1st dose at 6-8 weeks of age (2 months)

-2nd dose at 10-12 weeks of age (3 months) Lepto would be included in this vaccine

*Limit exposure to other dogs and public places until at least 2 weeks after the 2nd vaccine dose to minimize risk for parvovirus.

-3rd dose at 14-16 weeks of age (4 months) Lepto would be included in this vaccine

-The DHPP vaccine is boostered annually thereafter, Lepto vaccine is included annually, as well.

2)  Rabies – A fatal virus that destroys the brain and nervous system.  Dog rabies is contagious to humans and other mammals.  Ohio law requires all dogs remain current on rabies vaccinations.

-1st dose is given at 6 months (can legally give at 15-16 weeks)

-Rabies is boostered in 1 year, then repeated every three years thereafter.

-Optional Vaccines:

1)  Bordetella – “Kennel Cough” – a highly contagious tracheobronchitis, causing a dry hacking cough, and sometimes nasal discharge which spreads quickly in recirculating air facilities.  This is why groomers, boarders, and dog trainers often require this vaccine.

2)  Leptospirosis – A spiral bacteria that infects dogs, other animals and humans.  Hunting and sporting dogs, dogs that live near wooded areas, and dogs that live on or near farms are at an increased risk of acquiring these bacteria.  Contact with water contaminated by rodent and wildlife urine increases you dogs risk for leptospirosis.  Symptoms can include fever, muscle soreness and liver and kidney failure.

***We are now including Lepto with our DHPP vaccines, unless a client decides against it.  If your dog has never been vaccinated for Lepto, you will require a Lepto booster vaccine 2-3 weeks after the first one is given.  Also, for puppy series the Lepto will be included in the last 2 DHPP (now DHLPP) vaccines of the series.

3)  Lymes –A spirochete bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) transmitted by deer ticks after 18 hours of feeding.  It causes joint inflammation, lameness, loss of appetite and kidney damage.

 

Cats:

-Required Vaccines:

1)     CVR – (Rhinotracheitis-calici-panleukopenia)

-Rhinotracheitis (herpesvirus) - upper respiratory or pulmonary infection which can lead to fatal pneumonia in kittens.

-Calicivirus – A respiratory virus causing fever, conjunctivitis, nasal discharge, sneezing, and ulceration of the mouth (stomatitis). Pneumonia may develop and may have a mortality rate up to 2/3 of all infected cats.

-Panleukopenia (parvovirus) – causes immunosuppression by lowering white cells, red cells, and platelets, leading to bloody diarrhea, severe dehydration, lethargy, malnutrition, fever and often death.

-1st dose at 6-8 weeks (2 months)

-2nd dose at 10-12 weeks (3 months)

-3rd dose at 16 weeks (4 months)

*For cats with outdoor exposure add:

2)  FELV – a retrovirus that causes immunosuppression and is transmitted by saliva and nasal secretions can lead to a lethal lymphocyte cancer (leukemia).

-1st dose at 10-12 weeks

-2nd dose at 14-16 weeks

3Rabies

-1st dose at 6 months, can be given as early as 4 months if the cat needs to be outside sooner.

-Boostered in 1 year, then in three year intervals.

-Optional Vaccine:

1)  FIV – Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

-Given as a series of three vaccines in 4 week intervals. 

-FIV is boostered annually thereafter. 

*This vaccine is less effective than most, and cats that have received the vaccine will test positive when given the FIV test.  We recommend microchipping your cat if it receives this vaccine, so if found and tested, won’t be accidentally euthanized.

 

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Vomiting and diarrhea

Both of these symptoms are common problems in veterinary medicine; they can be caused by many different underlying illnesses or issues.

Some common causes are:

  • Internal parasites
  • Abrupt changes in diet
  • Indiscriminant eating: table scraps, toys, plants, household chemical, etc.
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Viruses
  • Organ failure

With so many possible causes, your veterinarian may need to run additional diagnostics such as a fecal floation, bloodwork, and or x-rays.  The more information and background that you can provide about the onset of the symptoms the better help you can provide your vet.  It is very important that you call your vet when you notice these types of symptoms as early diagnosis and treatment can help your pet recover faster.

You can feed your pet a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice, plain yogurt and cottage cheese if mild diarrhea or nausea is exhibited.  If your pet is vomiting, please withhhold food and water and please schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

 

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New Puppy and Kitten Information

Congratulations on your new puppy or kitten!  We’re sure you have lots of questions, here’s some information to help you get started!

PUPPY

Parasite Control

Deworm at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks, or 3, 6, and 9 weeks with a pyrantel-based dewormer or fenbendazole (Panacur).  All new puppy patients should have a fecal flotation test run to check for intestinal parasites.  At 4 months of age, we highly recommend starting and maintaining your pet year-round on a heartworm preventative.

Vaccinations

Vaccinate at 8, 12, 16 weeks with DHPP, Rabies vaccine at 6 months.  Optional vaccinations for Bordetella (kennel cough) at 12 and/or 16 weeks to facilitate puppy classes.

Socialization and Behavior

Critical socialization period is between 9 and 16 weeks.  This is the window that makes the biggest difference in how they relate to people and other animals.  We highly recommend taking your puppy to one of several local facilities that offer puppy socialization and obedience courses.  We also recommend regularly cleaning, massaging and handling your puppy’s paws to facilitate future nail trims.  If your dog is too scared or too aggressive toward people or animals, it can be difficult to bring it in for routine exams, vaccines, or provide needed hospitalization.

Dental Health

Dental health is important to your dog.  By starting the habit of brushing its teeth regularly at an early age, you minimize dental disease and related health problems later on in life and the need for dental cleaning under anesthesia.  Please use fluoride-free toothpaste made for dogs.

Spay/Neuter vs. Breeding

We recommend spaying or neutering your puppy at 6 months of age if you do not plan on breeding. Benefits of fixing your pet are:

1)     Prevent unwanted puppies

2)     Minimization of aggressive and unwanted hormonally driven behaviors when done at 6 months

3)     Decreased desire to seek other animals for breeding, prevents a lot of hit by car injuries during wanderlust.

4)     Prevention of pyometras, a potentially deadly infection of the uterus.

5)     Prevention of hormonally-influenced cancers of the testicles, prostate, mammary glands and skin.

If you do plan on breeding, please fix your animal as soon as possible after their reproductive life span to avoid unwanted pregnancies and to minimize future health problems.  We also recommend that if you do plan on breeding your pet, that you only breed animals with exceptional temperament and genetics. 

KITTEN

Parasite Control

Deworm at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks, or 3, 6, and 9 weeks with a pyrantel-based dewormer or fenbendazole (Panacur).  All new kitten patients should have a fecal flotation test run to check for intestinal parasites. 

Vaccinations

Vaccinate at 8, 12 and 16 weeks with CVR; if outdoor exposure, FELV at 12 and 16 weeks, Rabies vaccine at 6 months. 

Spay/Neuter vs. Breeding

We recommend spaying or neutering your kitten at 6 months of age if you do not plan on breeding. Benefits of fixing your pet are:

1)     Prevent unwanted kittens

2)     Minimization of aggressive and unwanted hormonally driven behaviors when done at 6 months

3)     Prevention of pyometras, a potentially deadly infection of the uterus.

5)     Prevention of hormonally-influenced cancers of the testicles, prostate, mammary glands and skin.

If you do plan on breeding, please fix your animal as soon as possible after their reproductive life span to avoid unwanted pregnancies and to minimize future health problems.  We also recommend that if you do plan on breeding your pet, that you only breed animals with exceptional temperament and genetics. 

 

Heartworm Prevention

 

Canine Heartworm:

We carry two different heartworm products for dogs:

1)     Heartgard® – an Ivermectin - based preventative.  This once a month oral product will protect your dog from heartworm disease.  It also kills some intestinal worms such as round worms and hook worms.  For more information, click http://www.heartgard.com/Pages/index.aspx

 

2)     Trifexis® – a Milbemycin (Interceptor®) - based preventative with Spinosad (Comfortis®) a newer stronger flea preventative.  For more information, click   http://www.trifexis.com

 

At our clinic, we start dogs on heartworm prevention at 3 months of age.  At this age, we do not require a negative heartworm test before starting.  We strongly recommend year-round heartworm prevention, regardless of how much time they spend outside.  Mosquitos can be even be found in the winter indoors.  If you do choose to suspend heartworm prevention during the winter, a negative heartworm test is required to safely restart heartworm preventatives.

We do require annual heartworm testing, per AVMA strong recommendations.

Mosquitos carry heartworm larvae that transfer into your dog during a bite.  Over the next 6-7 months the larvae develop into adults that reproduce and damage the heart, and pulmonary vessels.  We can treat heartworm disease, but the injections are very expensive and can be dangerous.  Prevention is best.  Mosquitos can even be found in the winter, indoors.

Coughing is one of the most common signs of advanced heartworm disease.  Many dogs with be positive for heartworms and not cough, so don’t assume a non-coughing dog is negative.  For more information on heartworm disease, click http://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/heartworm.html

 

Feline Heartworm:

Cats are different when it comes to heartworms.  They can be infected, but are not the natural hosts.  The worms can develop into adults, but they do not produce a persistent microfilaremia (developing larvae in the bloodstream).  They can, however get sick with smaller worm burdens, often causing a cough or asthma-like symptoms; some can have more severe allergic reactions.  Heartworm disease cannot be directly treated in cats, like in dogs.

Revolution® is one of the few heartworm and other parasitic preventatives available for cats.  Currently we do not carry this product, but will be happy to script it out.  For more information, click https://www.revolution4cats.com/default.aspx

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Clinic Hours:

Mon - Friday:  8am -1:00pm and 2:30 pm - 6:00pm

Saturday:; 8am - 1:00pm

Clinic Phone:
(513) 423-2331

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