Q. My male cat has started spraying in the house. What can I do?
A. Male cats will mark their territory by spraying. This is a hormone driven behavior. Having the cat neutered will generally stop this behavior because the cat no longer will produce hormones. However, if this behavior is allowed to go on for an extended period of time it can become a habit and neutering will not prevent it.

Q. Should my dog be on heartworm preventative year round?
A. It depends on the area of the country that you live in. Mosquitos spread heartworm disease. The southern region of the country is a very high-risk area for heartworms. With the frequent warming spells that can occur in the winter, you should keep your dog on heartworm prevention all year long. Heartworm disease is inexpensive to prevent, but very expensive to treat and the treatment itself is not without risk.

Q. My new 6 week old puppy has had his vaccinations. Is he protected now?
A. Yes and no. Each vaccination booster only provides protection for a limited period of time. The immunity wears off. It is extremely important to complete the puppy series. He should have a follow up booster at 9 weeks and at 12 weeks. At 12 weeks the puppy will also get his rabies vaccine and then he will be protected for approximately 1 year. Annual boosters are required thereafter.

Q. Should my puppy be tested for heartworms?
A. From the time a dog becomes infected with heartworms, it takes 6 months before the disease would show up on an antigen test. So if your puppy is younger than 6 months a test would not show a positive result even if your puppy has heartworms. Starting a puppy younger than 6 months old on heartworm preventative would kill any larval stages if present, before they reach the heart.

Q. How old does my female cat need to be before she is spayed?
A. The general accepted age is 6 months. It would be rare for your cat to go into heat before 6 months of age. However, if necessary a kitten or a puppy can actually be spayed or neutered as early as 10 weeks with no problem though, this is not actively promoted by most veterinarians.

Q. What is Parvo?
A. Canine Parvovirus is a very serious, highly contagious intestinal virus that generally attacks puppies and younger dogs though it is easily preventable with proper vaccinations. It is transmitted by viral particles through the nose or the mouth, though it can be picked up from the ground. Lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea, often with blood, are common symptoms. Parvo is generally fatal without treatment. There is no cure for Parvo. However, it can often be successfully treated with intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Hospitalization is required.

Q. I've noticed small, white segmented worms in my dog's stool. What are these?
A. Your dog has tapeworms. Tapeworms are a parasite that lives in your dog's intestines. Fleas that are ingested by your dog spread these worms. Though a common worm, over time will rob your pet of important nutrition so its important to have your dog treated. Treatment is simple with either an injection or tablet form. Flea control is important to prevent your pet from reinfestation.

Q. My dog has very bad breath. What can I do?
A. It is not normal for a dog to continually have bad breath. This is generally a sign of gingivitis or infection of the gums. Just like humans, plaque can build up and cause odor, redness and infection. Left untreated it can lead to severe periodontal disease, tooth or bone loss, even infection of the sinus cavity, heart and brain in extreme cases. Your veterinarian can provide a dental cleaning and possibly prescribe antibiotics for your dog.

Q. Can I catch mange from my dog?
A. There is two types of mange in dogs. Demodectic or Sarcoptic. Demodectic is not transmitted to humans though Sacroptic can be. Both types of mage exhibit patchy hair loss and redness. Both types can be treated with a series of medicated dips or injections.

Q. How long does a female dog or cat stay pregnant?
A. The gestation period for a female dog or cat is about 62 to 63 days.

Q. What is the normal body temperature of a dog or cat?
A. A dog or cat's temperature can vary, but is usually about 101.5 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q. My kittens teeth are falling out. Is this normal?
A. Kittens and puppies have "baby teeth" just like people. It is normal for them to lose these first teeth at about 3 to 4 months to make room for their adult teeth.

Q. Why does my dog always chew at his feet?
A. This is almost always a sign of an allergy.

Q. What is feline leukemia and can my cat get it?
A. Feline leukemia or FeLV is actually a misleading name for an entire group of diseases, which may include leukemia (a blood cancer) or tumors. But more often, related diseases develop before the cancer does. FeLV is highly contagious and is passed from cat to cat by licking, biting, and sneezing. FeLV is a very serious disease that is generally, but not always fatal. It is generally preventable with proper vaccinations. It is the number one killer in cats and outdoor cats are at substantially higher risk.

Q. How often does my dog or cat need to be vaccinated?
A. Yearly vaccinations are recommended to maintain a proper level of protective immunity in your pet.

Q. What is canine distemper?
A.Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease among dogs. It is almost always fatal. Although it is more common in puppies than adult dogs, all dogs are susceptible. It is strongly recommended to vaccinate your dog yearly since distemper is such an extremely dangerous disease.

Q. How old should my puppy to have his tail docked?
A. This can vary from clinic to clinic. But generally 3-4 days old is ideal. If they get much older than this anesthesia is required which can significantly increase the cost.

Q. My pets have lots of fleas though I dip them regularly. What can I do?
A. Regardless of what the bottle may say, dips generally don't have much of a residual effect. They are very effective at killing the fleas that are on you pet now, but not much else. There are new, fantastic products available now for flea and tick control that are long lasting, easy to use and very effective.

Q. Can I give my pet vaccinations myself?
A. You can, though it is not recommended. First, rabies not given by a veterinarian is not legally recognized by any agency in the state of Arkansas. But secondly, if the expense of taking your pet to a veterinarian just once a year is too costly for you, perhaps you should reconsider having a pet at all, if you can't afford to care for it properly.

Q. What causes my dog to scoot his rear on the ground?
A. This is a common problem that is generally caused by either intestinal parasites such as tapeworms or his anal glands are impacted and need to be expressed or drained. Or he just has an itch.

Q. My male cat seems to be straining to urinate. Is this a real problem?
A. Absolutely! This should be treated as an emergency situation. He will probably need to catheterized to allow him to urinate. Left untreated, the build up of waste products due to blocked urinary tract, with the associated electrolyte imbalance, can quickly kill your cat. A special diet then possibly can prevent this condition.

Q. What can I do to help my dog lose weight?
A. Approximately 1 in 3 dogs are overweight or obese. This can be a dangerous situation for your dog. Even a couple of pounds over is quite a bit for a dog or cat. First, no table scraps at all. But you can't restrict your dog's intake either because it will always be hungry or whine for food. There are now prescription diets available from your veterinarian that are very high in fiber and low in fat that are extremely effective for weight loss. Exercise is also an important pert in weight loss program. Excess pounds can take a real toll on their heart, circulation, joints, respiratory system and just their general quality of life. In this respect, your pet's health is totally in you hands. Commitment on your part is very important for successful weight loss.

Q. What is involved in a spay procedure?
A. It is basically the same procedure for a dog or cat. It is a ovariohysterectomy in which the ovaries and uterus are removed. The procedure is equivalent to a complete hysterectomy for a woman. It is considered major surgery.

Q. Is it dangerous for a dog or cat to go under anesthesia?
A. There is always an element of risk involved in any surgical procedure. It is strongly recommended that your pet have a pre-anesthesia blood screen before surgery. This will check liver and kidney function, white blood cell count and can also reveal other types of existing infection of conditions that should be treated first, before surgery. This pre-surgical blood work greatly reduces the risk of surgical complications.

Q. Should I let my pet have one litter before I have her spayed?
A. No. By not letting your pet even go into heat before she is spayed greatly reduces the chance that she will develop mammary tumors later in life.

Q. When can I first breed my female dog?
A. For a planned breeding, it is recommended that you wait until the second or third heat cycle.

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