FAQs

Q?

— When is the best time to spay/neuter my puppy?

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A.  It is generally considered safe for puppies as young as eight weeks to be spayed (female) or neutered (male).  Since neutering eliminates the instinctual need for urine marking in males and pregnancy in females, it is advisable to spay or neuter a puppy before they reach sexual maturity at six months of age.  Female dogs & cats will experience their first heat cycle after 6 months of age, and the risks of developing malignant breast cancer (at an older age) and a life-threatening uterine infection (called pyometra) increase after the first heat cycle.

Q?

— Why does my dog get ear infections and what can I do about it?

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A.  Canine ear infections are typically due to bacterial or yeast infections.  Ear mites, growing hair, trapped water, and a tumor or foreign body in the ear canal can lead to an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria.  Infections can also develop as a result of allergies, hypothyroidism, or an excessive amount of ear wax.  A dog with an ear infection will typically scratch their ear and shake their head, and an owner can observe redness and bad odor.  Ear infections can be treated by professional deep cleaning of the ear canal and the application of a topical or oral medication.

Q?

— What are the most common cat diseases?

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A.  Cats are particularly prone to upper respiratory infections ("URI") that invade a cat's nose, throat and sinuses.  Feline calcivirus and feline herpes are the most contagious forms of URI's. In multi-cat homes, URI's are typically passed by shared food or water dishes, grooming, or sneezing.  Another common feline problem is cystitis (bladder inflammation) and sometimes urinary tract obstruction (especially in male cats).  There are many factors (e.g. diet, insufficient water intake, environmental stress, infection) that can contribute to lower urinary tract disease.  In older cats, kidney insufficiency or failure and hyperthyroidism can commonly develop.  Inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatitis can be seen in cats of any age and sometimes can contribute to development of intestinal cancer.

Q?

— What is heartworm disease and how can you prevent it?

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A.  Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect both dogs and cats.  It is caused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and occasionally the right side of the heart.  Dogs and cats of any age are suspectible to the disease. Heartworm disease is easily preventable but once the animal has the disease it is difficult, if not impossible to cure, and respiratory/ cardiac damage can be permanent.

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