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Has My Cat Been Poisoned? How to Tell & What to Do Next

While the curiosity of cats can be endearing, sometimes it means they get into things they definitely shouldn’t. Some items around your house could be poisonous to your pet, so prevention is key. Fortunately, many symptoms of cat poisoning are very noticeable. Here’s what you need to know!

What Is Poisonous to a Cat?

There are many things in the average household that may be safe for humans but are poisonous to cats. Most cat owners know of the dangers of antifreeze, for example, but there are other items inside and outside to keep out of reach of your furry friend. A few of the most common poisons include:

  • Insecticides, like dog flea medication and lawn and garden products
  • Cleaners and chemicals, like toilet bowl cleaner and bleach (which can cause respiratory issues)
  • Plants, like some types of ribbon plants, daffodils (which cause stomach problems or damage to the heart), and lily of the valley
  • Human medications, like antidepressants and aspirin
  • Some human food, like chocolate, onions and garlic (which can cause extensive damage to red blood cells), and candy

These are only a few examples of what can be dangerous for your cat. Before bringing a new item into your home, adding a plant to your garden if you have an outdoor cat, or giving your pet scraps from the table, always double-check if it’s safe for them. Animals, such as some types of snakes and black widows, can also be dangerous if your cat gets bitten.

symptoms of cat poisoning

Signs of Poisoning in Cats

Although movies may portray “poisoning” as something that happens instantly, in real life it’s usually an effect that displays symptoms before becoming fatal. Time is important, however! The sooner you notice the symptoms of poisoning in your cat, the more likely your pet will not suffer any lasting effects.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take your cat to the vet immediately:

  • Diarrhea
  • Not eating
  • Drooling
  • Off-colored gums
  • Excessive thirst
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Hyper behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Weakness

Cats are experts at hiding their symptoms—or even hiding themselves—from their owners, so keep a keen eye out for changes in your cat’s behavior.

What to Do If Your Cat Is Poisoned

If you notice anything strange or unusual in your cat’s behavior or health, or you witness him eat a poisonous item, it’s best to visit your vet or go to a veterinary ER hospital. Don’t wait for symptoms. Catching a problem early can help prevent it from becoming something bigger.

You may want to consider calling an Animal Poison Control hotline. Describing the item and/or symptoms to an expert can help you determine what to do if your pet was poisoned, even after normal veterinarian hours.

It’s a good idea to bring along a sample to the vet of whatever your furry friend ate, as it can help your vet create a treatment plan—unless your cat was bitten by a venomous animal. Don’t bring the animal in if it’s still alive. Attempting to catch it could put your health or life at risk. If the animal is dead, carefully bring it in with your cat, so your veterinarian can determine the correct antidote.

Put your veterinarian, emergency vet, and even perhaps Animal Poison Control in your contact list in case of an emergency. Keep your pet’s ID, medical records, and microchip info near the front door in case you have to make a quick trip to the vet due to poisoning or another problem.

What Happens When You Get to the Vet with a Poisoned Cat

Your veterinarian will create a treatment plan for your cat, depending on what he ate or came in contact with and the symptoms he is displaying. Your vet may induce vomiting, provide an antidote or other medications, or give your cat fluids. Never induce vomiting on your own nor try any at-home medications on your cat unless specifically advised to do so by a professional. Administering them incorrectly could do more harm.

Your cat’s doctor will most likely want you to come in for follow-up visits to monitor your cat’s progress and health. If, after treatment, the symptoms of poisoning return, bring your cat back to the vet immediately.

How to Prevent Poisoning in Your Cat

Many new parents baby-proof their homes when bringing home a newborn. The best way to prevent poisoning in your cat is to approach his safety the same way. Whether you already have a cat or are welcoming a new kitten, these steps can keep your cat curious, but out of harm’s way:

  • Keep all known poisons out of reach or locked away.
  • Keep medications in child-proof containers in closets or other safe locations.
  • Research any human food before giving it to your cat (or don’t give it to him at all, especially if you don’t know all the ingredients).
  • Clean up immediately after eating or cooking.
  • Investigate all new plants that you bring into your home or plant in the garden.
  • Do not use insecticides in the house.
  • Refrain from using garden products if you have an outdoor or indoor-outdoor cat.
  • Keep garbage out of reach.
  • Carefully follow the instructions on pet medications to avoid overdosing or poisoning from incorrect skin contact.

If your cat is displaying the symptoms of poisoning, or you suspect he ate something poisonous or dangerous, time is of the essence. It’s vital that you get him to a vet or contact a professional as soon as possible. Fast treatment can reduce the chance of lasting effects on your pet’s health.

Do you suspect your cat may be poisoned? Is he displaying the symptoms of poisoning in cats? Visit us at 2519 Cinco Park Place in Katy, Texas, or give us a call at 281-693-7387 for advice or assistance. If we are closed, we’ll refer you to a nearby veterinary emergency center.

The Shots Your Kitten Needs to Start Life Right!

If you’ve just brought a cat into your family, congratulations! He’s yours to cuddle and play with. But part of kitten care is keeping him safe and healthy, and that means getting him the vaccines he needs to start life right. Your furry friend needs a range of vaccinations and boosters to give him the best chance at a healthy future.

Find out which shots are important for your cat’s health, why, and when you should schedule them.

Rabies Vaccine

Rabies is a serious disease, and the vaccine is one of the most important shots for your cat. It’s required by law in many cities and towns across the United States.

Rabies can affect a wide range of animals, including humans, and it’s a fatal disease.

Signs of rabies in cats include:

  • Sudden change in behavior (usually aggressive)
  • Inability to swallow
  • Lethargy
  • Trouble breathing
  • Change in voice
  • Sudden death

There is no cure for rabies, so vaccination is essential.

When Your Kitten Should Get the Rabies Shot

Many veterinarians suggest getting the rabies shot at about 12 weeks, but you can schedule it at 8 weeks. Your cat should receive a rabies booster shot a year later and, at most, every three years after that.

After your cat receives his vaccination, keep the paperwork on hand for easy reference.

what shots do kittens need

Feline Rhinotracheitis Vaccine

Feline rhinotracheitis, also known as the feline herpesvirus infection or feline herpes, is taken care of as part of the FVRCP combination vaccine. Herpes in cats is one of the main causes of upper respiratory infections and can also lead to conjunctivitis.

This virus appears 2 to 5 days after infection, lasts for up to 20 days, and can reactivate during stressful periods during your cat’s life. When symptoms are apparent, your cat can infect other cats.

The signs of feline herpes include:

  • Ulcers on the eyes
  • Squinting
  • Eye discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Eating less
  • Lethargy

When Your Kitten Should Get the Feline Herpes Shot

Feline rhinotracheitis is particularly dangerous for kittens, but it’s unpleasant for adult cats as well and can put other felines at risk as well. The FVRCP vaccine is a three-part shot that can be administered at six weeks, though eight weeks is the recommended age. After the initial shot, your kitten will receive an additional shot every 3 to 4 weeks until he’s about 16 weeks old. He should get a booster at about one year.

Feline Calicivirus Vaccine

The ‘C’ in the FVRCP vaccine stands for feline calicivirus, also known as FVC. Another common cause of upper respiratory disease, this is an infection often found in shelters. Kittens are most likely to catch calicivirus, so vaccination is essential.

Common symptoms of this virus include:

  • Mouth ulcers
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Sneezing
  • Red and watering eyes
  • Lack of appetite
  • Runny nose
  • Arthritis
  • Fever

The calicivirus is resilient, so it can spread easily. It can be very dangerous to cats and may result in pneumonia, so care is essential if your cat catches this virus.

When Your Kitten Should Get the FVC Shot

Kittens should follow the FVRCP schedule for this disease.

Feline Panleukopenia Vaccine

The third part of the FVRCP vaccine is for feline panleukopenia, which is also known as “feline distemper” or “feline parvo.” In prior years, this virus was extremely dangerous to cats and proved fatal to many. Today it is an uncommon disease, thanks largely to the vaccine.

FP acts by attacking cells in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, and intestines (or fetus in the case of a pregnant cat). More common (and deadly) to young cats, symptoms of panleukopenia include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Low white blood cell counts

If your cat catches this virus, he’ll need intensive care.

When Your Kitten Should Get the Feline Parvo Shot

Kittens should follow the FVRCP schedule for this disease.

Feline Leukemia Vaccine

The feline leukemia (FeLV) vaccine is often recommended by veterinarians, but it’s not required. Indoor only cats are less likely to catch FeLV, but indoor-outdoor cats or outdoor cats can be highly susceptible. The virus is passed from cat to cat by bodily fluids, so grooming and fighting are common ways for cats to catch it.

The symptoms of feline leukemia virus include:

  • Fever
  • Inflamed gums
  • Lack of appetite and energy
  • Infections
  • Weight loss

When Your Kitten Should Get the Feline Leukemia Shot

Although this vaccine is not considered a core shot, many vets highly recommend it. Most cats that catch FeLV pass away within three years. Your kitten should receive this vaccination around 8 to 12 weeks and receive a booster about a month later.

Other Kitten Vaccinations

what shots do kittens need

There may be other vaccinations for your kitten that your veterinarian recommends—or are required by some boarding facilities—based on his environment and his health history.

Veterinarians generally only recommend the FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) vaccine for cats at high risk. Many cats can live with FIV for years with proper care, but critical signs of the disease include:

  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Inflammation

If your vet suggests this vaccination, your kitten will receive his first shot at about eight weeks old and then two booster shots in the next six weeks.

The chlamydophila felis shot is another vaccine that may be recommended by your vet if your new kitten lives in an area where the infection already exists. It can cause upper respiratory problems, as well as limping or a reduced appetite. The first shot can be received at nine weeks or older and requires a booster about a month later.

Bordetella is an extremely common bacteria found in kennels, so the vaccine is often required by boarding facilities. Kittens are most susceptible and will display severe symptoms, but any cat can catch this disease.

Signs include:

  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Breathing problems
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Talk to your veterinarian about this vaccine and whether or not they believe it is for your cat. If your cat requires it, he’ll need a booster shot every year.

Your kitten’s core vaccinations are essential to his health and wellness. Young cats are especially susceptible to many viruses and bacterial infections, so it’s important to talk to your vet about vaccination schedules and recommendations.

We can help you create a shot and booster schedule to make sure your furry friend gets the preventive care he needs. We’d love to meet your new family member! To schedule his first checkup or a booster shot, give Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital a call at 281-693-7387.

How to Know Whether Your Cat Has an Intestinal Blockage and What To Do About It

Cats are known as curious for a reason! Sometimes get into things they’re not supposed to. While many of these items are harmless to your furry friend and/or pass through her digestive system without a problem, other items can cause intestinal blockages. But intestinal obstructions in cats aren’t only caused by foreign bodies. Sometimes they point to a larger health problem.

Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of an intestinal blockage in your cat, so you can be the best advocate for their health and safety and know exactly what to do if you suspect one.

What Causes Intestinal Blockages in Cats?

She Ate Something Odd

A common cause of intestinal blockages in cats is foreign bodies. Sometimes a cat eats something she absolutely shouldn’t—like tin foil. But other times, she might have swallowed part of her toy by accident.

Here are some things you’ll want to keep out of reach of your kitty:

  • String
  • Paper clips
  • Yarn
  • Tinsel
  • Rubber bands
  • Feathers
  • Dental floss
  • Ribbon
  • Plastic
  • Tin foil
  • Fabric
  • Needles and thread

Did your cat eat string?

She Has a Medical Condition

Blockages aren’t only caused by foreign bodies. They could be the result of another medical problem including:

  • Tumors
  • Roundworms
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Torsion
  • Narrowing of the intestine or stomach
  • Hernias
  • Another issue that involves the digestive system, stomach, or intestines

What Are the Signs of an Intestinal Blockage?

In many cases, if your cat ate a foreign object, it will pass on its own, and you will never notice there was a problem. In other cases, whether the cause is a foreign body or another medical issue, the signs of an intestinal blockage are clear, but may also be evidence of another problem.

Here’s what you should look out for:

  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Straining to go to the bathroom
  • Diarrhea
  • Not eating or not eating much
  • Lethargy
  • Behavioral changes
  • Doesn’t want to be picked up
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Abdominal pain

Sometimes the type of symptom your cat has will point to the severity of the issue. For example, constant vomiting can indicate a complete obstruction in the digestive track, while intermittent vomiting is a sign of a partial blockage. Diarrhea can happen when there is a partial block, but constipation points to a complete intestinal blockage.

When to Bring Your Cat to the Vet for an Intestinal Blockage

If you notice any of the above signs or symptoms, bring your cat to the vet as soon as possible. Delaying could cause more serious problems.

If you see your cat eat something she’s not supposed to or suspect that she did, take her to your veterinarian right away. In many cases, it can be easier to get the foreign body out if it’s still in her stomach.

You may notice the foreign body in your cat’s mouth or throat, or coming out of her rectum. Do not pull on it. Items such as string might be wrapped around your cat’s tongue or intestines. Removing it incorrectly could cause harm to your cat.

How Is a Cat’s Intestinal Blockage Treated?

The treatment for your cat’s intestinal blockage depends on the cause, but also the location. First, your veterinarian will do X-rays and ultrasounds, sometimes using dye to locate the item and determine what it is. Many vets also complete blood tests and collect urine samples to ensure no other organs are affected. These tests can help you rule out other causes of blockages, like infections.

A gastric endoscopy is another tool your veterinarian may use. A small camera is directed through your cat’s digestive track. If the cause is a small foreign body, tools used in a gastric endoscopy can even allow the vet to retrieve the item without invasive surgery.

The next step is determined by the discoveries made by the X-rays, ultrasound, and endoscopy. If the item is a foreign body and found in the stomach, your vet may induce vomiting. Never try this on your cat at home. Doing it incorrectly can harm her. If the foreign object is located elsewhere in your cat’s digestive tract, your vet may want to see if it passes on its own or may suggest surgery.

If the item or problem can’t be located, exploratory surgery may be recommended to determine the exact cause. With anesthesia, your vet can find the obstruction.

If your cat’s intestinal obstruction isn’t caused by a foreign body, your vet may suggest the following:

  • Torsion – The vet will untwist the intestine and attach it to the side of the stomach to prevent the issue from reoccurring.
  • Dead or deteriorating bowels – Your vet will remove the dead or deteriorating sections and reattach the intestines that are in good condition.
  • Heartworms – Deworming medication is safe and simple.

For obstructions caused by cancer or other medical issues such as gastritis, your veterinarian will outline a specific treatment plan or other options available to you and your cat. The doctor may also have suggestions regarding diet after treatment.

cat intestinal blockage

How to Prevent Intestinal Blockages in Cats

Not all intestinal blockages in cats are preventable, as health issues such as cancer and torsion can happen at any time in a cat’s life. Other causes can be prevented!

Keep Objects Out of Reach

There are some items your cat will be very interested in, such as string. Put these items away out of reach when you are done using them.

Carefully Select Toys

Not all toys labeled as “cat toys” are safe for your furry friend. Ribbons and bells can easily detach and be swallowed. Carefully research toys and read reviews before purchasing them. Some objects may be safe for cats, such as dangling wands, but only under supervision. When not using these toys, keep them out of reach.

Keep Garbage Out of Reach

If your cat has a habit of getting into the garbage, try keeping it away from her, like in a closet or under lock to ensure she doesn’t go exploring for something she shouldn’t hve, even after you’ve thrown it away.

Keep a Clean Environment

Homes with roaches or mice put your cat’s health at risk. These animals’ waste products can provide a source for roundworm infection. Roundworm eggs can also be passed from cat to cat through their stool. Keeping a clean home and litterbox are essential to your pet’s health.

If you notice the signs of an intestinal blockage in your cat or pet, take her to your veterinarian immediately. Left untreated, it could lead to more health problems. Try to keep foreign items out of reach to reduce the chance of an intestinal obstruction, but also monitor your cats’ health and behavior for sudden changes.

Do you suspect your cat ate something she wasn’t supposed to? Is your cat having trouble going to the bathroom, or has she stopped eating? It’s time to visit your veterinarian. We offer a wide range of services to find the exact cause of the problem and have the expertise to recommend the proper treatment for your cat.

To schedule an appointment or to bring your cat in for an emergency visit, please call us at 281-693-7387, or visit us at 2519 Cinco Park Place in Katy, Texas.

Tips for Flying with Your Dog Stress-Free + a Packing List

Want to take a trip with your dog this year? If you’re planning on flying, you may be wondering how you can bring him along, without all the stress. It can be done! But preparation is key.

Here’s a quick outline on how to fly with a dog, so you and he have the best time possible!

1. Know Your Airline’s Rules and Regulations

Bringing your dog on vacation may seem like a dream come true, but it’s important to plan ahead and know what to expect before you get to the airport. Each airline has its own rules about flying with dogs, but, in general, you should know:

  • Dogs are not always allowed on flights with connections.
  • Pets are usually only permitted on flights of 12 hours and fewer.
  • There are kennel-size restrictions, for both carry-on and cargo.
  • Puppies should be at least eight weeks old, but some airlines request that dogs be older.
  • Some breeds, such as bulldogs, are not allowed to fly.
  • Certain destinations have restrictions and rules regarding pets.

Already know which airline you’ll be using? Carefully research what is and isn’t allowed on the flight. Here are links to some of the most well-known airlines’ pet policies:

If your airline is not one of the examples listed above, you can usually find pet policies by searching online for “Name of the Airline’s Pet Policies.” Certain companies, such as JetBlue, offer specialized programs to make flying with your dog easier.

Each airline has rules about how many total pets are allowed as carry-ons or in cargo, and how large your dog’s kennel can be. When booking your flight, mention your dog as early as possible to ensure he gets a spot on the plane. You’ll be asked to pay extra fees, and further information about your pup may be requested.

Never show up to the airport with your dog without booking his spot and carefully researching pet rules. You don’t want to begin your trip disappointed!

What’s the pet policy of the airline you’re using?

2. Bring This to Make Your Dog Comfortable

Flying with your dog can be a fun experience you won’t forget. Make those memories good ones by being properly prepared!

Here are a few items you should definitely bring along:

Documentation and Vaccination Records

Some airlines and even some destinations require you to bring documentation and vaccination records along with your pup. For example, JetBlue requires vaccination records, and American Airlines requires pet documentation in specific situations. It’s important to research both your flight and your destination to ensure you’re prepared in the paperwork department.

Regardless of requirements, it’s generally a good idea to bring these items with you, so you’re prepared for any medical emergency or situation that could arise.

Kennel

Each airline has different requirements when it comes to kennel size, depending on whether you’re bringing your dog as a carry-on or checking him as cargo.

If your pup will be onboard with you, his kennel should fit under the seat in front of you. Bringing two pups along? That’s fine by some airlines, as long as they are the same species and fit in the same kennel.

While his kennel generally has to fit under a plane seat, size allowances vary from airline to airline, so make sure you know the exact rules for your flight. For example, Delta requires kennels to have proper ventilation, but sizes allowed vary from plane to plane. Spirit states that carriers must be 18” l x 14” w x 9” h, but for Frontier, kennels should be 24” l x 16” w x 10” h. Some airlines, like Delta and JetBlue offer kennels for you to buy that meet their restrictions.

Airlines may also have restrictions regarding weight. For example, your kennel on Spirit Airlines must be under 40 pounds, but American Airlines requests under 20 pounds.

The kennel you choose depends on how you’re flying with your pet (carry-on or cargo), your pet, and the airline. Research is essential to avoid problems, as airline requirements may change. You can find approved carriers through airlines’ websites or by searching online for “airline friendly kennels.”

Treats

Flying with your dog can be a stressful situation, but treats are almost always welcome! Give your pup treats throughout flight preparation (like packing), boarding, and during the flight to ensure he’s comfortable and knows his good behavior will earn him more.

Toys

Stick a favorite toy into your carry-on, and let your dog have it whenever possible. This is another great way to lower his stress because it’s familiar and comforting.

Food and Water

While you generally can’t feed your dog during your flight, you definitely want to have food on hand for afterward. Your pup will be hungry and thirsty, so it’s best to feed him as soon as you land.

If your dog is traveling as cargo, he should have water and food at least four hours before takeoff.

Baggies and Paper Towels or Wipes

It’s quite possible your pup will have an accident at some point during your travels. New situations and unfamiliar places like airports and planes can be confusing to a pup. When you have baggies and paper towels or wipes on hand, you can be a polite traveler and clean up the mess before one of your fellow passengers steps in it!

how to fly with a dog

3. Reduce Your Dog’s Stress While Flying

Flying is stressful for many humans, so there’s no doubt it can be anxiety-inducing for our fur babies. There are steps you can take, both during and before the flight, to help him feel more comfortable.

Get Prepared Early

A few days before your flight, take your dog’s carrier out. He may already be anxious about the carrier, but having it out before your trip can help him get a bit more comfortable before travel day comes. Leave treats inside, so he associates it with yummy things.

Gather everything else that your dog will need, like his documentation, your tickets, his treats and food, etc.

Schedule a Checkup

Many airlines or destinations require that your dog has a checkup prior to take off, but it’s a good idea regardless of requirements! It can help ensure your dog is ready to fly comfortably, free of any potential health issues.

Exercise

As you get ready for your flight, it’s smart to fit some exercise in. Walk your dog, throw ball, or do some agility. Your dog will be cooped up for a while, so it’s important he works out some of that pent-up energy for a more relaxing flight—for both of you.

Groom Your Dog

Grooming your dog, which includes trimming his nails, is recommended to ensure he stays cool and comfortable throughout the trip.

Fly Your Dog as Carry-On If Possible

Flying your dog as carry-on is recommended over checked baggage. Just being near you can reduce his stress. Give him treats regularly to reward him for good behavior and calm his nerves.

When Not to Fly with Your Dog

Not all dogs are cut out for airplane rides. If your pooch is particularly anxious, you may want to leave him at home with a friend or family member, or board him with a trusted facility.

It’s also recommended that certain breeds do not fly. Dogs with snubbed noses, for example, may have difficulty breathing in the cargo area or during stressful situations. Many airlines don’t allow these types of dogs to fly. If your dog has trouble breathing due to breed or health issues, it’s best not to take him on a plane.

Taking a trip with your dog can add a whole new, fun layer to the experience. But it does require preparation and research, so you can ensure your pup has just as much fun as you do!

Taking a trip with your dog in the near future? We recommend a checkup! You can schedule your appointment with us by calling 281-693-7387.

What Shots Does Your Puppy Need and Why?

You have a new puppy! You’ve given him a name, puppy-proofed the house, and introduced him to your family.

Next step: Take him to the veterinarian for his puppy shots!

Not only will your vet make sure your dog is in good health, they’ll get him on a vaccination schedule, which is essential to your dog’s health, now and in the future. Many of the diseases against which vaccines protect are highly contagious and can be deadly.

Here are the shots your puppy needs, what they protect against, and when he should get them.

Rabies Vaccine

One of the most commonly known vaccine for dogs is the rabies vaccine. Required by law, it is essential to get this puppy shot and the tag and paperwork that goes along with it.

Rabies is a viral disease that can pass from animal to animal or from animal to human through a bite or through infected saliva getting into an open wound.

If your puppy doesn’t receive the rabies vaccination and contracts the disease, he could experience a failure of his central nervous system that results in:

  • Hallucinations
  • Drooling
  • Restlessness
  • Aggression
  • Paralysis
  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Weakness

An animal with rabies won’t display symptoms until two to eight weeks after being infected, and there is no cure for the disease.

When Your Puppy Should Get the Rabies Shot

Your puppy should get his first rabies shot around four to seven months old. At 12 to 16 months, he’ll need a booster shot. After that, your dog will require a rabies shot every one to three years.

Keep your pup’s up-to-date rabies vaccination paperwork in a safe place, and put his rabies tag on his collar. He’ll need proof of vaccination to play in dog parks and often to get his nails clipped.

Kennel Cough Vaccines

Aptly named, this illness can quickly spread among dogs in a kennel, boarding facility, or animal shelter if infected dogs are housed there. Kennel cough is very commonly caused by Bordetella or canine parainfluenza.

The Bordetella shot is not required, but highly recommended, especially if you’re heading to dog parks or training courses. If you plan on boarding your puppy during your vacations, this shot will most likely be required by the facility.

If your puppy contracts kennel cough, he will develop:

  • A sharp, dry cough
  • Gagging and retching
  • Loss of appetite

Kennel cough tends to be mild, but, in more severe cases, it can be dangerous.

When Your Puppy Should Get the Kennel Cough Shot

Your puppy should get the Bordetella vaccine at 6 to 8 weeks, again between 12 and 16 months, and yearly after that.

There are two strains of the canine parainfluenza vaccine. The first shot will be given when your puppy is about 7 weeks old, with a follow-up for the other strain when he is 11 weeks. The second vaccine is part of the DHPP vaccine, also known as DA2P. This is a combination vaccination that also protects your pup against canine distemper, hepatitis, and parvovirus. He’ll get a follow-up DHPP shot at 14 to 16 weeks, 12 to 16 months, and every year or two following.

Distemper Vaccine

As with rabies, canine distemper has no cure, which makes this puppy shot extremely important. Unlike rabies, this disease can spread through the air as well as on contact.

The signs of distemper include:

  • A high fever
  • Discharge
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

Puppies and older dogs are at the most risk. Treatment tends to be supportive until distemper runs its course. Dogs with weaker immune systems may struggle to fight distemper, and symptoms may last for months even in healthy puppies. Distemper can be passed to other animals months after your pup is recovered.

When Your Puppy Should Get the Distemper Shot

Your puppy should receive his first shot between six weeks and eight weeks of age to be protected against distemper. After the initial shot, this vaccination is part of the DHPP vaccine. (See Kennel Cough Vaccines.)

puppy shots

Parvovirus Vaccine

Puppies are most prone to catching the parvovirus, also known as “parvo.”

Symptoms come on fast and include vomiting, fever, and bloody diarrhea by affecting the gastrointestinal system.

If you suspect your puppy has parvo, bring him to your veterinarian immediately. Early treatment is essential, as the illness can be fatal in under 48 hours.

When Your Puppy Should Get the Parvovirus Shot

The parvovirus vaccine is a part of DHPP, so it is included in your puppy’s core shots at 10 to 12 weeks. Follow-up vaccines should be given at ages 15 weeks, 12 to 16 months, and every 1 to 2 years following.

Hepatitis Vaccine

Also part of the DHPP vaccine is the hepatitis vaccine. There is no cure for hepatitis in dogs, but your pup can be treated until the illness passes. In more severe cases, hepatitis can be fatal or cause damage to the liver.

Canine hepatitis is also known as canine adenovirus. It begins as an upper respiratory infection and spreads to the liver, kidney, and other organs. Signs include bleeding disorders, swelling, abdominal pain, fever, and lethargy. In some cases, it could even cause the eyes to become inflamed.

When Your Puppy Should Get the Hepatitis Shot

Follow the DHPP schedule for these shots: 10 to 12 weeks, 14 to 16 weeks, and every year or two after that.

Other Dog Vaccinations

Some other diseases you should consider for good puppy health are leptospirosis, Lyme disease, and coronavirus, but these are generally considered optional vaccines.

If you decide to vaccinate your puppy for these three diseases, he should get them at 10 to 12 weeks, again at 14 to 16 weeks, another time at 12 to 16 months, and then have a booster shot every year or two after that.

Leptospirosis doesn’t always show symptoms, but it is caused by bacteria. If signs do appear, they can include:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Kidney failure

Antibiotics are the best treatment if your puppy isn’t vaccinated.

Lyme disease is an illness humans are very familiar with, but while we get a rash, dogs do not. Symptoms in canines include:

  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • A limp

Lyme disease can affect various parts of your pup’s body and lead to more serious problems if not treated. Antibiotics can help, although symptoms may show up again later.

Canine coronavirus (CCV) affects the intestines. It’s very contagious and may not always display symptoms. If your puppy does show signs, they may be:

  • Vomiting
  • Explosive diarrhea
  • Depression

CCV isn’t necessarily dangerous, but if caught at the same time as parvo or other diseases, it can be fatal.

Are you bringing home a new puppy? Make an appointment for his puppy shots! We can help you create a custom puppy vaccination schedule for your new family member. Each puppy is different. While these are general guidelines to follow for puppy shots, it’s important to ask your veterinarian about your dog specifically. They may suggest one or two vaccines a little earlier than usual, or a little later.

These shots can help ensure your puppy’s health throughout his life and all his adventures. Reach us by calling 281-693-7387 to schedule your dog’s first vet appointment!

My Cat is Getting Old: What Do I Need to Know?

As your cat gets older, it’s important to keep an eye on him. Cats are masters of disguise, and a slight change in behavior could point to an underlying problem in an older cat.

You can give your cat his best life through the years if you know the signs of aging in cats and the problems that can arise from the simple passage of time.

All cats should get regular check-ups with their vet, but it’s extremely important for aging cats. Your veterinarian can help catch issues early, especially if your senior is good at hiding them. Feel free to call Cinco Ranch Veterinary at 281-693-7387 to schedule your cat’s next check-up.

Sign #1: Your Cat Is Having Trouble Eating

As your cat ages, his teeth are more prone to dental disease, which can make eating difficult. Signs of a dental issue include:

How You Can Help Your Cat

Like other injuries and illnesses, cats can hide dental issues from their owners, so it’s important to regularly check your cat’s teeth or have it done by a vet, even when he’s young. It’s best to catch a dental problem before it progresses into something more serious that could require surgery or tooth removal. Brushing and specialized diets can also help prevent problems.

If your cat is already missing teeth or having other mouth issues, either from aging or dental disease, your vet may recommend a specific diet to make it easier for him to eat.

Not sure how to brush your cat’s teeth?

Sign #2: Your Cat Isn’t Coming When You Call

Cats, just like humans, are prone to changes in hearing. Becoming hard of hearing is an extremely common sign of aging in cats. Over time, your cat may experience damage to his ear or nerves, resulting in hearing loss.

Signs your senior may be going deaf include:

How You Can Help Your Cat

If your cat is going deaf or just not hearing as well as he used to, try not to sneak up or startle him. If your cat is an outdoor cat, consider keeping him inside instead, as he won’t be able to hear cars and other dangers. To keep your cat safe should he wander off, give him a microchip.

Sign #3: Your Cat Is Running into Things

Deteriorating sight is also a sign of an aging cat. Haziness and cloudiness is common in older cats and, in most cases, doesn’t affect their ability to see, but other issues like cataracts and high blood pressure should be given extra attention.

Cataracts are not extremely common in cats, even in seniors, but can occur. Look out for whitish pupils. High blood pressure, just like in humans, can lead to blindness in your cat. Unlike cataracts, it’s extremely common in cats.

How You Can Help Your Cat

One of the first things you should do if you have a cat who is blind or losing his sight is avoid adding hazards to his environment. He’s probably already comfortable in your home, so don’t move things he’ll remember the placement of, like furniture. Cats rely more on their hearing and smell than their sight, so the loss of it doesn’t mean your cat can’t live a full life; however, you should never let a blind cat outside.

If you notice your cat is having trouble seeing in the dark, take him to a vet as soon as possible. This could be a sign of high blood pressure and may be able to be treated before it worsens.

Sign #4: Your Cat Isn’t as Energetic as Before

As any pet ages, they tend to lose energy. Your cat will sleep more and play less, and that’s completely normal. If your cat becomes lethargic, however, make an appointment with your vet.

How You Can Help Your Cat

The best thing you can do for any senior cat keep them out of stressful situations. This includes big changes, new pets, and new situations. When stressed, cats can lash out at other animals, cease using the litter box, or become more aggressive overall. Ask your vet about reducing stress.

signs of aging in cats

Sign #5: Your Cat Isn’t Moving Like He Used to

Aging cats are extremely prone to arthritis. The smallest of physical changes could point to this problem, so if you notice your cat limping or grooming himself differently as he ages, take him to the vet for a check-up.

Other signs of trouble moving include no longer jumping on your bed and other furniture and simply not being able to climb into his litter box.

How You Can Help Your Cat

The symptoms of arthritis can absolutely be treated by a vet and will reduce pain and discomfort. Your veterinarian may recommend a different diet, weight loss, or medication.

Your cat may have difficulty reaching specific spots on his body when he grooms himself. Grooming your cat will prevent problems like matting.

Rearranging your home slightly will also help your feline friend. Make access to his water and food bowls, litter box(es), toys, and favorite places a little easier to reach. He’ll also appreciate a little help if they are looking to get into bed with you.

Other Signs of Aging in Cats

There are several other signs that your cat is aging that are not cause for alarm, like brittle claws and changes to his coat texture or color. If you’re concerned about a particular change, ask your vet!

Just like humans, cats change as they age. Unlike humans, cats are expert at hiding symptoms, discomfort, and pain. So you need to be the lookout! If you notice alterations in your aging cat’s behavior or physical appearance, keep an eye on them for other changes to prevent problems. If you suspect something is wrong, contact your vet.

One of the best things you can do for your aging cat is to get regular check-ups. This can help set your mind at ease and ensure your senior is getting the best care, nutrition, and attention possible as he gets older. If it’s time for your senior’s check-up or you suspect a problem, call us at 281-693-7387.

The Signs of Dog Poisoning and How to Help

There’s no doubt dogs try to get into everything and anything, which can make the thought of your dog being poisoned a realer one than you’d like it to be. If you have a curious pup, there are signs and symptoms of dog poisoning you can look out for. Here’s what you need to know!

If you suspect your dog has been poisoned, seek emergency animal care immediately. If you have questions about your pet’s health or see potential signs and symptoms of poisoning in your dog, don’t hesitate to call Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital at 281-693-7387.

What Is Poisonous to a Dog?

Quite a few items around the house can be poisonous to a dog, if ingested. The most well-known food item is chocolate, but there are other things you should keep out of reach of your pooch, including:

  • Human medications
  • Household products and chemicals, such as antifreeze
  • Herbal products (like fish oil and others)
  • Insecticides and rodenticides
  • Various human foods (grapes, avocados, raisins, etc.)
  • Plants (tulips, daffodils, azaleas, and others)
  • Products for your lawn

This list isn’t exhaustive, so be sure to put anything that isn’t specifically made for her out of reach. If you do give your dog human food on occasion, always double-check that neither it nor any of its ingredients are poisonous. Carefully research chemicals, plants, and other items before using them in your home or yard.

Some animals are also poisonous to dogs, as well as humans and other pets. Keep an eye out for brown recluse spiders, coral snakes, and other venomous animals.

Signs of Poisoning in Dogs

If you suspect your dog got into a chemical, food, medication, or other dangerous substance, there are signs you can look out for. Common symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Neurologic symptoms, like seizures

If you notice any of these symptoms, seek veterinary assistance immediately.

A poisoned dog that doesn’t get care will likely develop more serious issues. Antifreeze and Easter lily, for instance, can lead to kidney failure. Certain medications can cause liver damage. Garlic and onion can result in bleeding and bruising. Attacks from venomous animals or consumption of poisonous plants can cause neurological problems, such as seizures and other symptoms. Suspected dog poisoning should never go untreated.

sign of poisoning in dogs

What to Do If Your Dog Is Poisoned

If you notice any of the above signs of poisoning in your dog, or you saw her eat a poisonous item, you can call Animal Poison Control for assistance at 888-426-4435, but it’s important to get her to a veterinarian immediately. Never give her medication at home or attempt to induce vomiting without being instructed to do so. In some cases, if your pet’s fur or skin came into contact with the poison, you will be able to bathe her to remove the toxin. Ask your veterinarian for advice.

Try to gather the poisonous substance and a sample of vomit, if your dog threw up, to show the vet. This can help them diagnose and treat your pet. Be careful handling other items that are poisonous to dogs, as they might be dangerous for you as well. If your dog was attacked by a venomous animal, only bring the animal in if it is already dead, and handle it with gloves and care to prevent the transmission of illness. This can help the emergency vet identify the exact species and determine treatment. Never try to catch a venomous animal.

Prevent Poisoning

There are several steps you can take to prevent your dog from being poisoned or reduce the risk. And you can always be ready if an accident happens! Take these steps to protect your dog’s health:

  • Lock up all chemicals.
  • Keep medication in child-proof containers out of reach.
  • Err on the side of caution, and do not feed your dog human food.
  • If you do feed your dog human food, double-check that it is not dangerous for them.
  • Keep hydrogen peroxide at home just in case your veterinarian advises you to induce vomiting. Never attempt this without your veterinarian saying it’s okay.
  • Research all plants before bringing them into your home or planting them in your yard.
  • Refrain from using insecticides and similar products in your home.
  • Keep dog shampoo and dish soap on hand in case of skin or fur contact.
  • Keep your dog’s medical records, microchip information, and ID in the same place to grab in case of an emergency.
  • Clean up immediately after cooking, including any possible dropped food.
  • Add your veterinarian, local emergency vet, and Animal Poison Control to your phone’s contacts.
  • Lock up the garbage.
  • Always follow the directions on medications for fleas and ticks, and others, to ensure proper use.

Prevention is key to your dog’s safety! But if an accident does happen, know the signs of dog poisoning, and take the necessary steps to help your pet. If you see your dog eat a poisonous item, don’t wait: Go to the vet. Try to remain calm, so you can help your pup as best as possible.

If you believe your dog has been poisoned or suspect she got into something dangerous, call us at 281-693-7387, or visit us at 2519 Cinco Park Place in Katy, Texas.

Your Dog Ate Something She Shouldn’t Have: Now What?

Dogs get into a lot of things they’re not supposed to, and those often go right into their mouths before you know it. Sometimes those items pass right through your pup. Other times, a swallowed object can cause serious issues. Here’s what you need to know when your dog eats a foreign object and how to get her to pass it.

Foreign Objects Dogs Shouldn’t Eat

Dogs will try to eat just about anything, and most food is okay for them. (Check out our list of safe snacks here!) But there are others items they seem to go for more often and definitely shouldn’t consume. Here’s a list of the most common ones:

  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • Toilet paper
  • Tennis balls
  • Dog, cat, or children’s toys
  • Sticks
  • Garbage
  • Rocks
  • Chicken bones
  • Food wrappers
  • Tissues
  • Paper

If you have a dog, you now this list is by no means exhaustive! The amount of things a curious canine can get into can be endless, so take precautions to keep such items out of reach, and choose toys that are safe for your pup.

How to Tell If Your Dog Ate a Foreign Object

If you didn’t witness your dog eat a foreign object, two things can happen:

1. You notice it when she passes it on her own – Items that move through the digestive track on their own tend to be out in 10 to 24 hours, but some can take months to pass. Certain objects can make it to the colon but then have difficulty coming out.

2. OR, she starts to show signs of having eaten something she shouldn’t have.

There are plenty of signs that your dog ate something foreign and it’s causing an obstruction in her stomach or intestines. Vomiting is extremely common, but so is:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Not eating
  • Lethargy
  • Constipation
  • Behavioral changes

Your dog might guard her stomach due to tenderness or pain.

If your dog is passing the item and you can see it sticking out of her anus, do not pull on the item. It could cause damage to her intestines or colon.

What to Do If Your Dog Ate a Foreign Object

If you saw your dog eat something she wasn’t supposed to or you suspect she did, don’t hesitate: Take her to the veterinarian right away. The sooner you get there, the better chance your vet can remove the item before it causes more issues or before surgery becomes necessary. If it is after your veterinarian’s regular hours, call an emergency veterinarian. Describe the situation, and ask for advice. They may ask you to come in.

When you arrive, your vet will take X-rays and blood work to see exactly where the item is and if your dog’s health has been negatively affected by the foreign body.

The next step depends on where the item is in your dog’s digestive system. In some cases where the foreign body is still in the stomach, the vet may induce vomiting or remove it through an endoscopy. Never try these at home; leave them to a professional who can care for your pet before, during, and after the procedure.

If the item has passed the stomach and is in the intestines, your dog may require surgery.

If the foreign object reaches the colon but still hasn’t passed, your veterinarian may suggest fluid therapy, laxatives, or an enema.

how to get a dog to pass an object

How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Foreign Objects

It can be tough to keep your dog out of everything or to keep your eye on her at all times, but there are simple steps you can take to prevent an emergency. Prevention is the best way to help your dog stay safe!

Monitor Her Toys

Be careful about what you present to your pup as a toy. Don’t give her things she can swallow easily, and keep her play style in mind. For instance, if your pup likes stuffed animals but tends to rip out and eat the stuffing or eyes, it may be time to stop buying those types of toys. Find safe objects that she won’t destroy or eat, and monitor her as she plays.

Check reviews before you purchase a new item.

Dog-Proof Your House

Dog-proofing is similar to baby-proofing and just means finding ways to keep your dog out of things she shouldn’t be in. It could include locking access to cabinets, keeping the garbage in a closet or other location, placing smaller items out of reach of her mouth, and never leaving objects on the floor. Put away shoes, socks, children’s toys, and tempting items.

If you saw your dog swallow something she shouldn’t have, you suspect she did, or she’s experiencing the symptoms of an obstruction, don’t wait to see if she will pass the foreign body on her own. Take her to a veterinary hospital as soon as possible to avoid complications.

You can reach Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital at 281-693-7387, or visit us at 2519 Cinco Park Place in Katy, Texas. We provide emergency care whenever our clinic is open. If we are closed when you call, we’ll refer you to a quality veterinary emergency center that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Learn more about our hospital services here.

Breed Spotlight: Pit Bulls

While pit bulls sometimes get a bad rap, just like any dog, they can be great companions with the right owners and training. Many people only know these dogs by the name “pit bull,” but a “pit bull” actually isn’t a breed! It’s a generalized term used to describe several formal breeds that fall under that category.

Get in-the-know on all things “pit bull!”

What Is a Pit Bull?

There are actually four different formal breeds that fall under the pit bull category. Sometimes these are referred to as “bully breeds:”

  • American pit bull terrier
  • American Staffordshire terrier
  • American bull terrier
  • Staffordshire bull terrier
  • American bulldog (occasionally)

It’s heavily debated which formal breeds can be considered pit bulls, and, often, dogs labeled “pit bulls” tend to be mixed breeds.

Each of these breeds is recognized differently by the AKC (American Kennel Club) and the UKC (United Kennel Club). They definitely do get a bad rap for their history, but with proper obedience training and discipline, they can be loyal and affectionate dogs. However, it is important to note, that these breeds are not for everyone.

pit bull facts

The Basics on the Breed

Each of the different breeds of pit bull have different characteristics, so it’s unwise to generalize the behaviors and temperaments—and even appearances—of “pit bulls.”

The American pit bull terrier has a shiny, stiff, and short coat that comes in a range of colors between red and black. They have a medium, solid body (weighing 30 to 85 pounds) with a short tail, small ears, and a broad head. This breed tends to have a very athletic look and lives between 12 and 16 years.

The American Staffordshire terrier also comes in a variety of colors with a short coat, but their fur is smooth. Too much white in their coloring can actually be considered a fault in the breed. The American Staffordshire terrier’s body type is very similar to the body of the American pit bull terrier, but is smaller, weighing between 40 and 60 pounds. They also have a shorter lifespan of 10 to 15 years.

The Staffodshire Bull Terrier has a similar coat to the others with a strong jaw, broad head, and small tail. It is smaller than the other two breeds of pit bull, reaching a maximum weight of about 38 pounds. Their lifespan tends to be between 12 and 14 years.

Why Pit Bulls Make Great Pets

Pit bulls are strong, athletic, and determined, and these characteristics can make them difficult for some owners. If you understand what your breed of pit bull needs, they can make wonderful companions. They can be sensitive, loving, playful, and gentle, even if their appearance and reputation says “tough guy!” They’re responsive to training, and it’s recommended that you bring them to training classes as early as possible. It’s important to be responsible with this breed.

With the proper training and socialization, pit bulls can be extremely friendly with family, kids, and even strangers. Despite their reputation, they don’t always make the best guard dogs! Even though they’re very intelligent, these breeds tend to be a bit shy if not properly socialized.

Pit bulls can also be enthusiastic and eager to please, so they’re fairly easy to train for work.

pit bull facts

Fun Facts About Pit Bulls!

Each breed that falls under the general category of “pit bull” is full of surprises! Here are just some of them:

  • Many dogs that aren’t “pit bulls” get mistaken for them, including the Presa Canario and the boxer.
  • Sergeant Stubby, a pit bull predecessor, is the most decorated dog, having served in World War I.
  • It can be difficult to claim standards for pit bulls due to mixed breeds.
  • Pit bulls are in several movies, including: Petey (played by Pal), the dog with the black eye, in “The Little Rascals” and Chance (played by Sure Grip Rattler in Homeward Bound).
  • Several “spokesmen” dogs, like Blueberry, are working to dispel the myths surrounding pit bull breeds and raise awareness.
  • The Animal Planet show “Pit Bulls and Parolees” works to educate viewers about the breeds through rescue stories.

Pit bulls can make wonderful pets; the key is being a responsible owner. Their behavior depends on your ability to train and handle them. Before adopting any of these wonderful breeds or mixed breeds, do your research:

  • Talk to your local shelter(s) about the dog’s past life, temperament, and training.
  • If you’re adopting from a breeder, read our post about how to find a breeder who is as responsible as you are.
  • Confirm that your town, homeowner’s association, or apartment complex allows a pit bull to live with you. Breed discrimination of pit bulls is fairly common.

If you’re bringing home a pit bull, we’d love to meet them! It’s important they have their first check-up within a week of coming home. You can schedule your appointment by calling us at 281-693-7387.

The Story of Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital

Last month was a big deal here at Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital! On June 19 we happily celebrated 20 years of serving the pets and humans of Katy, Texas. Our practice has grown quite a bit since its opening day on June 19, 1998. Join us as we look back at where we came from and forward to many years to come!

our story

Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital got its start in a strip mall on Cinco Ranch Boulevard in Katy, which was the fastest-growing city in the country at the time! Back then, the staff was small, just Dr. Hibler; his wife, Mary Beth; and one other employee.

How did the dream for a local animal hospital get its start? Dr. Steven Hibler, who’s a Houston native, says the idea of becoming a veterinarian came from his father, a farmer who had wished to be a vet himself.

Dr. Hibler attended Texas A&M, where he earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) in 1984. He then worked for 12 years in emergency and critical care of animals. It was rewarding work but left little time for his family. That’s when he realized, “Emergency/critical care is the type of practice for a young person…you get too old to stay up all night!” It was time to open his own practice.

In 1998, the doors of Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital opened…with zero clients. The small team worked hard accomplishing everything that needed doing at the hospital. They walked dogs, mopped the floor, took out the trash, and more.

Since that time, the practice grew quickly! We’ve seen dozens of great and memorable animals pass through our doors, and plenty of funny stories to go along with them. In fact, Mary Beth will soon be publishing a book full of these tales—or should we say “tails?”

Besides the thousands of dogs and cats we’ve treated, we’ve also seen our fair share of unusual cases over our 20 years. We treated an exotic dancer’s snake, and we stitched up an emu! At one point, potbelly pigs were a very popular pet in Houston, so one could be found snuffling about the clinic at any given time.

Today, Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital is still a small group, and we’ve worked hard to maintain our “family feel.” Dr. Cara Longshore joined the team in 2005, and Dr. Tanya Brown joined in 2007. We also employ about a dozen other friendly staff, including vet techs and receptionists. Together over the past 20 years, we’ve had good times and bad. The team lost a member to cancer, and many of the hospital’s employees and patients were affected by Hurricane Harvey. But we stick together, and every day brings new challenges and new fun.

Working at a veterinary hospital is one of the most rewarding experiences someone could have. Dr. Hibler enjoys the independence of owning his own practice, the team feeling that has grown up over the years, and, of course, the pets.

Spoken like a true animal person, Dr. Hibler says, “The hardest thing about running a veterinary hospital? People. Pets are fine.”

Click through to see our adventures through the years!