Today is Take Your Cat to the Vet Day

Did you know that your cat should be in to see us once a year all their life, and sometimes twice a year when they’re over seven years of age? Today is National “Take Your Cat to the Vet” Day—if your cat is due for a visit, call and schedule one today. Regular visits can help your cat live longer, because we can identify and treat problems sooner.

Visit us online at today! 

Pets & Microchipping

Is your pet an adventure-seeker? Make sure they’re protected by having them microchipped, if they’re traveling with you, or even if they just like to wander. Microchipping ensures that your pet has a permanent form of identification linking them to you, in case you should be separated. Call us today at 210-684-2273 for more details about having your pet microchipped. Have you ever lost your pet before…and how did you go about recovering them?

Visit our website today! 

Canine Behavioral Changes

Has your older dog just not been acting like himself lately? Perhaps he’s not seeking as much attention as he used to and is interacting less with family members, or seems confused or disoriented. Some senior dogs may bark or howl excessively for no apparent reason, show an increase in aggressive behavior or separation anxiety, or become overly fearful or sensitive to noise. Older dogs that have been housetrained for years may start having “accidents” in the house. You may notice a change in your dog’s sleep patterns, with increased restlessness and pacing during the night. These behavioral changes can be as hard on family members as they are on the dog. However, most pet owners attribute them to normal aging and do not seek medical care. 
Any change in your older dog’s behavior should not be considered just a normal sign of aging and should be reported to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Many of the behavioral changes commonly seen in senior dogs are related to underlying medical conditions that can be treated, if not cured. For example, your dog’s decreased activity and mobility may be related to arthritis. An increase in aggressive behavior or vocalizing may be the result of painful dental disease. Inattentiveness or apparent confusion may be caused partly by vision or hearing loss. Many of these conditions and disease can be treated, resulting in a better quality of life for your dog
If underlying medical conditions such as infection or cancer have been ruled out as the cause of your dog’s behavioral changes, your veterinarian may diagnose cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS).
What is Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome?
CDS is not an uncommon condition in older dogs. According to a study by leading animal behaviorists, nearly one in five dogs over the age of seven shows signs of CDS. At 11 years of age, the number jumps to one in three. In a pet owner survey, nearly half of dogs ages 8 and older showed at least one sign associated with CDS. Researchers believe that CDS is caused by physical and chemical changes that affect the brain function in older dogs, similar to Alzheimer’s disease in people.
CDS is a syndrome, or collection of signs. One or more of the following signs must be present, and other medical conditions ruled out as the cause, to make a diagnosis of CDS:
·      Disorientation or confusion
·      Less interaction with family members
·      Changes in sleep patterns and activity, or
·      Loss of house training.
Can CDS Be Treated?
If your dog is diagnosed with CDS, your veterinarian can prescribe an effective medication that can help to control the clinical signs associated with this disorder. However, because CDS is a syndrome (a collection of signs), no two dogs will show exactly the same signs and response to treatment will vary. If your dog responds to the drug, daily treatment will be needed for the rest of the dog’s life.
Give Your Older Dog a New Lease on Life
Contact your veterinarian if you notice signs of CDS or anything unusual in your dog’s appearance or behavior. Don’t assume that your dog’s behavioral changes are an unavoidable sign of old age. With recent medical advances in treatment—and a little extra love and care—you and your veterinarian can help your senior dog return to being a happy, active member of your family.

Heartworm Disease and Treatment in Dogs

Heartworm disease in dogs in caused by a parasite called Dirofilaria immitis. The worms are spread from dog to dog by mosquitoes. Heartworms usually live in the dogs in two different life stages. Adult heartworms are approximately six inches long and live in the right side of the heart, the side of the heart that pumps the blood to the lungs to get oxygen. The adults produce microscopic babies called microfilaria that circulate in the bloodstream. At our hospital, the heartworm test checks for the adults and baby heartworms, as well as two other blood parasites. Since we have so many mosquitoes in the San Antonio area, heartworm disease is very common. Heartworm disease is totally preventable by giving prevention medication once a month. Dogs over six months of age need to be tested for heartworms before starting on the prevention. If left untreated, heartworm disease can cause sever lung damage and right sided heart failure that is often fatal. At Affordable Pet Care Northwest, we have a high success rate treating dogs with adult heartworms and use the safest protocol available. Our staff will provide an estimate for you before we begin treating your dog. Payments can be made as we complete each stage of the treatment.

Pre-Treatment Evaluation 
If your dog has tested positive for heartworms, we must first do an evaluation to see if your dog is a good candidate for treatment. The evaluation consists of an examination with one of our doctors. Blood is drawn for basic lab work to ensure your dog’s organs can safely tolerate the medication used to kill the heartworms. One of our doctors will call you in two to three days with the lab results. If your dog is having problems breathing or is coughing, we recommend taking x-rays of the chest to see if lung damage has already occured. We will prescribe an antibiotic called Doxycyline to kill bacteria called Wolbachia that lives inside of the adult heartworms. The antibiotic is given for 10 days. This weakens the heartworms and increases the effectiveness of the medicine we use to kill the adult heartworms. We will also dispense a special type of heartworm prevention that is given once a month. The prevention slowly kills the baby heartworms and also weakens the adult worms making the adult worms easier to kill. 

Stage One Treatment: 

After your dog has been on the heartworm prevention for two months, it is ready for stage one treatment. A single injection of a drug called Immiticide is given in the muscles of your dog’s back. This is usually done in an exam room as a pre-scheduled, outpatient visit. The injection causes muscle pain so medication will be sent home to make your dog more comfortable. This single injection kills approximately 50% of the adult heartworms. The worms die quickly, however they become very brittle and break up slowly over a four week period. As they break up, the blood flow will naturally take pieces of dead heartworms to the lungs where they are ultimately dissolved. It is VERY important to keep your dog as calm as possible for at least four weeks following this first injection. If your dog is allowed to jump and play during this time, the worms can break up too quickly and block blood flow to the lungs. This can be very serious, and medical attention will be needed right away. Please monitor your dog closely during this time and call our hospital immediately if you notice any coughing or other signs of illness such as: lethargy, not eating, vomiting, etc. Sometimes tranquilizers are dispensed for excitable dogs to keep them calm during this four week period. 

Stage Two Treatment: 

One month after the first injection, your dog is ready for the final part of the heartworm treatment called “Stage Two.” In this stage, you need to make an appointment to bring your dog in on two consecutive days or your dog can spend the night in the hospital. During this stage of treatment, two injections of Immiticide are given 24 hours apart. Again, the injections are given in the muscles of the back, so the pain medication will be dispensed to make the pet more comfortable. The combination of the two injections kill the remaining adult heartworms. As with Stage One Treatment, it is VERY important for your dog to remain as calm as possible for the four weeks after the injections. Please monitor your dog closely for coughing or any signs of illness and call the hospital immediately if they occur. Four weeks after receiving the injections, we want to see your dog for a complimentary examination. At this time, your dog has successfully completed the adult heartworm treatment. Even though this treatment protocol is 98% effective, we recommend re-testing for heartworms six months after the treatment is completed. By this time, most dogs should test negative. Of course, it is important to keep your dog on the heartworm prevention during every stage of heartworm treatment and for the duration of his/her life. It usually takes a total of four months to complete the treatment protocol from the time your dog is diagnosed. 

Heartworm disease in dogs is very common in our area and is totally preventable. If your dog has been diagnosed with adult heartworms, we believe we offer the safest and most effective treatment protocol available. Please speak to one of our hospital team members, if you have any questions about heartworm disease prevention, or treatment. As always, THANK YOU For the opportunity to care for your pets.