Pet parents take on caring for their animals just as much as people care for their human children, but unlike kids, animals can’t verbally communicate to tell alert someone if something is wrong. Until a pet translator is invented, pet parent’s will have to rely on body language their pet provides to understand what’s going on.Though every vet may not be like Dr. Doolittle, most have the skills and techniques to help us determine what’s going on in our pet’s health. At VetSet, our animal care clinic in Carroll Gardens provides a myriad of diagnostics, vaccinations, acupuncture, and dental services for your pet to ensure optimal health and wellness. Join us in today’s post about the signs that your dog may give when trying to tell you something.Listen and Look For Signs From Your PetBody language is the form of communication that we’re able to somewhat use to understand our pets and no one knows your dog better than you, so pay attention to the little things they may be telling you.Below are some signs you may recognize that your pet is trying to tell you something.Changes in BehaviorIf your pet is normally spunky in the morning and loves walks or waking up to fetch the newspaper with you and then suddenly is lethargic and unwilling to get up, this behavioral change could indicate something is wrong. Other indicators may be irritability or aggressiveness towards other pets and family members. Digestive IssuesIf your pet begins to have symptoms of diarrhea, loss of appetite, constipation, or vomiting, these are clear signs that something is up. Also, keep an eye on what their poop is saying such as bloody stool or abnormal colors — this could indicate issues in their abdomen. Dog bloat which is potentially life-threatening and can come with signs such as excessive drooling, dry heaves, restlessness, and a bloated belly. Respiratory ConcernsIf your dog is coughing, sneezing, or has abnormal discharge from their nose, this could indicate a respiratory issue or infection. If their breathing is labored or they’re wheezing, this sign should be taken very seriously. Also pay close attention if you have dogs with short snouts like pugs or bulldogs, as they’re more susceptible. PainAll dogs experience pain and discomfort at some point, but chronic pain and symptoms associated with it can indicate more serious problems. Signs to look for are stiffness when walking, a reluctance to jump or even walk, swelling in the bones and joints, becoming aggressive when a specific area is touched. Changes in Elimination HabitsTrained dogs should have no problem going outside to go to the bathroom, but it’s when they begin urinating and defecating indoors where it could be a sign that there is an illness. When they’re constantly having to go outside this could be related to their kidneys, and if they have trouble passing stool this is could also be cause for concern. Coat and Skin AppearanceIf your dog’s coat is normally full and vibrant and it has recently retreated to being dull and patchy, this is one of the first signs something could be going on. And, if your dog also has red, irritated skin, or lumps check in with the vet so they can examine your dog and monitor them for any changes. There are many signs that express something may be wrong whether they’re telling you through their behavior or in bodily changes. We have yet to explore the signs beyond digestive issues and pain, so stay tuned for part two!
If you think your dog is trying to tell you something or you see physical changes in them, schedule an examination with us today!
You may be familiar with Chinese medicine and how it benefits people, but are you aware that pet acupuncture exists? Integrative veterinary medicine is guided very much in the same ways that complementary medicine or alternative medicine functions for humans, and pet acupuncture is a healing therapy used with great success.At VetSet, our veterinarian clinic in Carroll Gardens offers pet acupuncture as a part of our veterinarian services to keep your pets healthy, happy, and thriving! Join us in today’s post as we explore the benefits of acupuncture for your pets!
Is There a Difference Between Pet Acupuncture and Acupuncture For People?
Distilled, acupuncture is the insertion of tiny, hair-thin needles to a specific point in the body to cultivate a healing response, and each acupuncture point has an associated healing function when stimulated. Acupuncture has been clinically studied in both humans and animals, and the research is advantageous, with both groups benefiting from this medical modality. The medical aspect of acupuncture when considering both humans and animals is the same; it’s the anatomy that is what changes!
Is acupuncture safe for my pet?
Acupuncture is an extremely safe form of medical treatment when performed by a trained vet. The animals feel virtually no pain with the needle insertion, and they typically become calm and sleepy following the treatment. How do I know the vet is properly trained to perform pet acupuncture?There are two very important criteria to look for when selecting a vet for acupuncture, including:
The vet acupuncturist should also be a licensed veterinarian.
The vet should have training in the practice of pet acupuncture.
Why go the route of acupuncture for my pet?Veterinary acupuncture is great for animals much, in the same way, it’s healing to humans; try pet acupuncture to improve your pet’s overall health and wellness, including:
Pain management - Acupuncture can stimulate the body’s own pain-relieving properties and support healthy inflammation management in animals.
Muscle relaxation - If you have a senior pet, acupuncture can help relax tired and tight muscles at a specific site or other distal locations, creating both localized and general pain relief in animals.
Supports circulation - Get blood flowing and tissue oxygenation with pet acupuncture. As things open and begin to move, it also assists in removing toxins and metabolic waste.
There are no side effects - Just as in western medicine, with prescription medications causing adverse side effects in people, so too do medications for pets. To steer clear of adverse side effects and protect your pet’s vital organs, acupuncture is an amazing alternative.
Acupuncture is complementary - Because acupuncture doesn’t interact with any medications or supplements your pet may be taking, it can be implemented as another form of treatment to address other health concerns your pet may have.
A pet gets so many benefits from acupuncture, but it’s commonly used as a modality that fills in the gaps between traditional vet medicine, and can be the difference between getting surgery and not having to go that route! What does pet acupuncture treat?Pet acupuncture can be great for many health issues, including:
Musculoskeletal concerns - Common issues it can treat include arthritis, nerve issues, and intervertebral disk disease.
Respiratory issues - This includes feline asthma.
Gastrointestinal concerns - This includes diarrhea and vomiting.
Skin issues - This includes anything allergy related, granulomas, and dermatitis.
Pet acupuncture helps bridge the gap between illness and health, and it is safe and effective and treats a myriad of health issues in animals. Before embarking on this healing journey with your pet, always ensure your vet is trained and certified in this specialty.
For more information on pet acupuncture or to schedule a service, connect with us today!
Just like humans, pets need medical imaging, too. Pet radiology is a diagnostic tool used to assess health issues in animals when the vet needs more information from symptoms such as vomiting, coughing, or limping, and is available in x-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs, and CT scans. Medical imaging for pets is generally non-invasive and painless for pets. It’s hard to see your pet in pain from an injury or symptom that just won’t pass. At VetSet, we offer comprehensive care at our animal clinic including medical imaging for pets. This type of diagnostic tool can be stressful for both you and your pet, so learn more about pet radiology in today’s post.
About Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging
Medical imagery for pets is beneficial to their health and wellness because it can identify a concern not immediately apparent and provide clear, concise insight to the “whats and whys” of your pet’s symptoms. Pet medical imaging also gives timely diagnoses so your pet can receive better care, faster.
Is veterinary medical imaging necessary for my pet?
Your vet will always begin with an examination before they even decide on medical imaging, and may determine radiology is needed to collect additional information for a diagnosis and treatment plan. Vets will generally implement x-rays first, however other imaging such as an ultrasound may be needed for a better look in a specific area of the body. The goal of medical imaging is to get the final diagnosis, if possible. The vet wants to reach a conclusion and start treating your pet just as much as you. However, depending on your pet’s case, they may need multiple tests before the final diagnosis. For example, if an MRI reveals a mass, your pet may need a follow up for a biopsy to conclude if it’s malignant or benign. Is there ever sedation or anesthesia involved?Sedation or anesthesia all depends on the medical imaging being used and their overall comfort level. In most cases with pet radiology, nothing is needed because in the procedure in itself is painless, but if your pet is in pain from a possible broken leg there are options to make your pet more comfortable. If your pet requires an MRI or CT scan, anesthesia is almost always used because your pet needs to remain absolutely still to get the images — any movement can mess up the image and render unclear and hard to read results. What The Medical Diagnostics Are Used ForPet medical imaging is used for health issues to help a vet get a better picture of what’s going on and thus, a better, quicker timeline for treatment.X-rays - These are the most common form of radiology used by vets and are used to help diagnose the following:
X-rays aren’t always the right option for certain diseases and conditions, so your vet may prefer other medical imaging based on your pet's symptoms. The radiation your pet is exposed to is minor, but talk with your vet if you have concerns. Ultrasound - An ultrasound is also one of the most common types of medical imaging used on pets. An ultrasound is a high-frequency sound beam that is projected to a specific area on your pet’s body. These diagnostics are better for detecting abdominal issues and can be used complementary to x-rays for a more acute look in a distinct area. CT Scans and MRIs - A CT scan is a type of x-ray that provides different slices of your pet’s body, and are great for determining issues in the joints, head, and chest. MRIs, unlike x-rays, implement radio waves and a magnetic field to creates images and are effective in finding changes in tissues and are better for detecting strokes, brain conditions, herniated discs, and spinal cord concerns. There are times when a vet examination is inconclusive and vets need to gather more information to give you and your pet the correct diagnosis and treatment. Medical imaging and pet radiology does just this — it gives insight to the internal structures that can’t be seen, or sometimes felt, with just an examination. If you think your pet needs a closer look, work with us at VetSet in Carroll Gardens.
We provide thorough pet services, including radiology. Schedule with us today!
In this last and final post about preparing your dog for the great outdoors, we’ll continue the conversation about hiking essentials and discuss potential trail hazards.Do you want the best for your dog’s health but lead a busy life with jam-packed days? At VetSet, we’ve set out to help remedy this! We’re an animal clinic here to care for your pet and offer the utmost convenience with our mobile vet clinic that can meet you at your place! Help prepare your dog for the trails and schedule a wellness checkup before your next adventure!
More Essentials Your Dog Will Need For The Trail
Doggy lamp - Just like hikers have a headlamp to use after the sun goes down, it’s important for a dog to have light to alert other hikers and for your ability to keep tabs on them.
Dog coat - If you have a breed that is sensitive to temperature swings and low temperatures, it’s in good practice to carry a dog coat in case the temperatures drop.
Cool collar - If you’re hiking in extremely warm temperatures some dogs have a hard time regulating their temperatures, so a cooling collar will offer some relief. You can just soak the collar and wrap it around them or make a makeshift frozen one and weave the material into their already existing collar.
Learn About Trail Hazards Not only can the heat be an issue, but the area may have animals and other creatures to be wary of, in addition to poisonous plant life. It’s important to educate yourself on these dangers and have a plan on what to do if you encounter a poisonous snake or skunk. Your furry friend is just as vulnerable to dangers on the trail as any human, but what makes it even more dangerous for them, is they can’t recognize a threat nor communicate with you to tell you if anything is wrong. Be alert and aware of the following:
Animals - If you run into wildlife such as porcupines or skunks, the best defense is creating a barrier with your leash or pack. Ticks are also a huge concern even when symptoms don’t manifest in dogs compared to humans, but it’s important to do a tick check after your excursion.
Overestimating your dog - There is a fine line between overestimating your dog's abilities and pushing them too far, and pushing them just enough. Monitor your dog’s heart rate and panting and watch to see if it normalizes during rest periods. If they have a hard time calming, you may want to consider shortening your hike or time more breaks. Limping and laying down are other signs that your dog is having a hard time coping with the hiking conditions.
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion - The most common signs of heat stroke in dogs is excessive panting, collapsing, convulsions, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you suspect heat stroke, promptly move your dog to a shaded area and pour water on them to help them cool down, in addition to giving them water to drink. Let your dog rest, and when they’re able, head back out and call your vet clinic when you get back into town.
Safety in the water - Before you hike, test your dog's water skills. Can they swim, and for how long? If your dog has any issues with swimming and you’re going to a spot with a large body of water, pack a doggy life vest and a towel to dry them off afterward. Even if your dog is an amazing swimmer, letting them roam near a rushing river in whitewater territory is an easy way for your dog to get swept away.
Plants - It’s always wise to educate yourself of the dangerous plants in your area, but a general rule is to stop the chewing before your dog has a chance to swallow it. Common plants such as poison oak, sumac, ivy, and nettles will all cause issues for both you and your dog. Burrs and thorns can be nuances on the trail, but foxtails are ones to watch for. They are barbed seed pods that can become embedded in fur, between toes, ears, eyes, the nasal cavity, and genitals. If you notice your dog has excessive head shaking, sneezing, or eye discharge there is a good chance your dog has foxtails. While it’s uncomfortable for your dog, it’s important to turn around because they can be fatal and work their way towards organs.
Pathogens in the water - Dogs are vulnerable to water pathogens just as humans, so it’s imperative to keep your dog from questionable water sources, or if in the backcountry, treat your water for you and your dog.
While most dogs are ready and able to conquer peaks and take a dip in a cool and refreshing lake, sometimes as owners we assume they’ll be fine and subject them to dangerous situations unintentionally. With a little preparation in trail training, packing, and knowing the trail hazards you can protect your dog, all while having an amazing hiking experience. Keeping you dog safe on the trail is done by packing trail essentials and learning about trail hazards, but at VetSet, it’s our job to ensure their safety before you head out and explore the great outdoors.
Make an appointment with us today for your dog’s wellness! Too busy? That’s perfect, we have a mobile vet clinic that can come to you!
In the first part of this series, we looked at breeds that may not be ideal for a hike in the great outdoors couple of tips to follow before you embark on your trail training, and why it’s important to schedule a visit to your local animal care clinic to ensure the health and safety of your dog.VetSet is a premiere veterinary clinic that provides convenience to all in our state-of-the-art mobile vet clinic! Our vet mobile comes to you so we can discuss and perform vet services to keep your pooch healthy and happy! Follow along in this second part post that covers doggy gear and the essentials you will need for your next adventure.
The Importance of Trail Etiquette
Why trail etiquette and obedience matters on the trail - When you’re on the trail you are in control of your dog, and although they seem well behaved at home or at the dog park, it can be a different story when they're out in the great wide open. Make sure your dog listens to you and is able to follow your command when other dogs, horses, and people are on the trail. One of the biggest laws of the land is to leave no trace, and this includes your dog too! Always pack poop bags and pack filled ones out with you. It’s in poor taste to leave them out for someone else to pick up, and they also begin to smell the longer they bake in the sun.
Don’t Forget The Vet!
The trail awaits, but always check in with your vet to ensure your pooch is ready and healthy enough to crush the trails.When you’re at the vet clinic ask the following questions: Is my dog physically able and ready for the trek? Some vets recommend that you wait a certain amount of time before setting out on a long hike because their bones may not be fully developed. Usually dogs reach this at a year, but it all depends on other factors such as their size and breed. Will my dog need any preventative medications or vaccinations? City life is good to a dog because they don’t have to worry about much, but once you get beyond civilization and they take a drink of contaminated water, they can easily contract giardia or leptospirosis. Be sure to ask you vet about any prevention tips!Is my dog’s immune system hardy enough? Depending on your dog’s age, they may still be developing their immune system so it’s important to not only give them time to develop immunities but keep to their vaccination schedule before exposing them to the trails. Get the gear Just as you likely wear a backpack or hydration pack, your dog needs supplies too! Find a pack that fits well, distributes the weight evenly, and isn’t too heavy for your dog. If your dog has never worn a pack, before your hike put it on and let them wear it around to help get them acquainted. One of the best features to look for on a pack is a top handle, if you have any close encounters with them falling off a ledge or into the water, you can quickly reach down and grab ahold. Do you know how to fit a pack for you dog?Fitting your dog’s pack is a pretty easy endeavor, simply measure the around the widest part of your dog’s rib cage and find a pack that fits the measurements. Then adjust all the straps so they fit snug around your dog, but with enough room so your dog can still breathe. Too loose of pack will fall or cause paining chafing. Pack a doggy first-aid kit!The outdoors can be dangerous and you can’t carry your vet in your dog’s pack, so prepare a doggy first-aid kit. Consult with your vet on the best things to pack, but it’s common to pack an old sock as a paw bandage. Some owners will also pack an electrolyte supplement in case their dog gets diarrhea on the trail. Again, talk with you vet about the best first aid options for your dog. Plan the essentials wisely Food and water are crucial to a successful trip. It’s important to pack enough water and food so your dog can rehydrate and refuel as needed. Common items include:
Water bowl - There are many packable options of water containers that can be carried by you or in your dog’s pack, including collapsible bowls that quickly open and close for a quick water break. If you’re going to be on the trail all day you can use the rule of thumb that larger dogs drink about half an ounce to one ounce of water per pound per day, and smaller dogs drink about one and half ounces per pound per day. Always monitor their nose, if it’s dry, your dog may be under hydrated.
Dog booties - Get with your vet and talk about the advantages and disadvantages of dog booties. If you’re training with your dog properly their paws will toughen up over time so booties usually aren’t needed, but if you’re hiking extremely sharp, thorny, or snowy trails, booties maybe a good option.
There are many doggy essentials to pack for beyond a water bowl and dog booties! Stay tuned for the third and final part about adventuring with you furry friend!At VetSet, we want your hiking experience to been one full of awesome memories made with your pooch!
Make sure they’re healthy and ready to hike and schedule a mobile vet appointment with us today!