Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is an annual physical exam important?

A: It is important to have an annual exam to better detect issues before they can become problematic and affect the health of your pet. Most dogs come in regularly for vaccines and Heartworm or tick disease testing. Many people who have cats wrongly believe that they can go for years without being seen by a veterinarian; cats are much better at hiding their illnesses, and once the owner is aware that their cat is overtly ill, the disease process has been going on for some time. Again, the sooner a problem is found and dealt with, the better the health of your animal.

Q: Does me pet need a multi-vitamin?

A: Most adult animals do not require a multivitamin, so long as their diet provides all of the necessary nutrients. Animals that are either very young, much older or are ill always have different nutritional needs. Those that are on specific diets may also require additional supplementation.

Q: Can I give my pet a cold?

A: In general, most viral diseases are species specific. There are some animals, however, which can become ill due to contact with a sick owner. Ferrets, for example, can get influenza from an infected and contagious person.

Q: Can I get an ear/eye/skin infection from my pet?

A: While it is never a good idea to say never, most pets will not give their owners an illness. If, however, an individual is immune-compromised, it is possible that that individual can be affected. Some diseases, like Leptospirosis, are zoonotics, which are diseases known to affect both animals and humans.

Q: What foods should I avoid giving my pets?

A: Most mammals should avoid ingesting anything with chocolate, caffeine, raisins, grapes, onions, certain nuts and anything with the artificial sweetener Xylitol. Birds should not ingest avocados.

Q: What are the most common diseases seen?

A: Dental disease and obesity are the two most common disease noted on a daily basis. Ear infections and skin infections are also quite common.

Q: Why is dental health so important?

A: Dental disease can not only cause halitosis (bad breath) but gingivitis (gum disease) and periodontal disease, where the underlying bone is affected. Teeth should be brushed once to twice weekly to help prevent the tartar and bacterial buildup which occurs. If not cleaned appropriately, most animals will start to lose their teeth over time.

Q: Is it really important to have my pet spayed or neutered?

A: Unless you are going to breed your animal, it is always better to have them spayed or neutered. If done, there is no possibility of unwanted pregnancy. For males, it will help with prostate and testicular health as they age, as well as decreasing both the need to roam to find a mate and aggressive tendencies. Females will have a decreased risk of mammary tumors and pyometra (a severe uterine infection in which the uterus fills with bacteria), as well as stopping cancers of the ovaries and uterus. The procedures will not change your pet’s personality.

Q: My dog has been neutered; why does he still mount?

A: Mounting is a behavioral issue, not just a reproductive one. Animals who mount are exhibiting dominance over the one being mounted, and as such females will also mount, not just males.

Q: My dog has a tick disease – does it need to be treated?

A: All tick diseases are serious. Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis are ticks diseases which affect dogs, are are endemic in southern New Jersey. Some dogs may also have Ehrlichia canis or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Tick disease can affect the general demeanor of the animal, as it is a generalized infection. Many animals become inappetant and lethargic, as well as having a fever. As the disease progresses, the joints can become inflamed and painful. The diseases can also affect the kidneys, central nervous system, the heart, the gastrointestinal system, and even the bone marrow. All tick disease should be treated, as they can be life-threatening if allowed to progress.

Q: Can cats and dogs live a while with chronic kidney disease?

A: Some animals respond better than others to treatment, but remember that kidney disease cannot be cured, only controlled to a certain extent, and once the animal exhibits symptoms, treatment should be started. Treatment can include fluids, antibiotics, kidney supplements, a special diet, and in the case of cats, renal transplantation.

Q: Can dogs catch the influenza virus?

A: The Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) is a highly contagious viral disease caused by the H3N8 virus. It was first reported 5 years ago in racing Greyhounds, and has now spread throughout much of the contiguous United States. Signs of infection include: nasal inflammation and discharge; a cough; and lethargy. The disease can transition to pneumonia if not treated aggressively. There is a vaccine available to help decrease the severity of the disease should your dog come into contact with an infected animal.

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