Fairview Veterinary Hospital Reflects on the Top 5 Pet Care Blogs of 2018

Urgent Care

The bedrock of any successful business is, of course, the people. Without the friendly, caring, and compassionate folks that keep us going strong each day, our medical expertise and years of experience wouldn’t have as much impact.

Indeed, our team strives each day to help animals in our ever-growing community. We are rewarded tenfold for our efforts with enthusiastic tail wags, face licks, purrs, and head bumps. To the pet owners of Erie, Pennsylvania, we thank you for allowing us the privilege of caring for your companion.

We also want to thank you for reading our pet care blogs. Each month, we discuss topics and address common questions facing many pet owners. From dispelling myths to raising awareness, our pet care blogs are meant to help and inform readers.


What to Think About Before Giving a Pet to Someone You Love

Giving a pet as a gift is not the best strategy, consider adopting later in the year, instead

Giving a pet as a holiday gift can be a sweet gesture, but this type of generosity can create unforeseen challenges. For instance, unless the gift giver plans on daily involvement and long-term pet care, it’s a lot to ask for someone to instantly take on the demands of pet ownership – even if they’ve dropped hints that they’d love one for the holidays.

There are great alternatives to this common (but not always successful) practice, and we’re here to support the causes of adoption, fostering and donating during the most wonderful time of the year.


Canine Parvovirus: Deadly But Preventable

Canine Parvovirus is a serious threat to dog healthAt Fairview Veterinary Hospital, few things make us more sad than a sick puppy…the only exception being a sick puppy who we could have protected from getting sick in the first place. Canine parvovirus is nothing to take lightly, but dog owners who take the time to learn a little bit about it can do a lot to protect their pet.

Understanding Canine Parvovirus

Parvovirus is a type of virus that can infect many different species. Human parvovirus commonly results in Fifth disease, feline parvovirus results in panleukopenia, and canine parvovirus results in a serious gastrointestinal infection commonly just called parvo.

Thankfully human parvovirus does not make dogs sick, and vice versa. This doesn’t mean that parvo is something to ignore.

Dogs who are infected with canine parvovirus become very sick due to the virus’s effect on the body. The virus causes: Continue…

Planning Ahead for Fall Pet Safety

Practicing fall pet safety is a great keep your pet safe.Changing leaves, crisp breezes, and pumpkin-spiced everything are just a few of the reasons we love fall. Pets also enjoy the cooler temps and interesting smells in the air this time of year. But beware! Seasonal dangers can put them at risk. Fortunately, with our fall pet safety tips, you can keep their tails wagging and avoid an unwanted scare.

Halloween Hazards

The best way to enjoy Halloween with your pet is to make sure they stay safe! Continue…

Benefits of Microchipping Your Pet

Microchipping your pet helps a lost pet become a found pet! Even with the most diligent of owners, pet escapes can and do happen. All it takes is a gardener accidentally leaving the back gate open, or the front door being opened just enough for your pet to scoot through.

Statistics show that one in three pets will become lost at some point during their lifetime. And without identification, 90% will not return home. Those are some scary statistics! Microchipping your pet is not only easy, safe, and inexpensive, it also affords lost pets their best chance of being reunited with their owner.

How Does A Microchip Work?

A microchip is a rice-sized device that is implanted under your pet’s skin during their annual wellness exam. The microchip stores a unique ID number that can be used to retrieve your contact information if your pet is ever lost.

Once the microchip is placed, it is registered with the national pet recovery database with your contact information. If your pet is lost, any veterinary hospital, shelter, or rescue organization can scan your pet for the microchip, pull up the ID code, and call the microchip company, who then contacts you with your pet’s location.

Microchips work with radio frequency, so there are no moving parts or batteries. The radio frequency is only activated when a microchip scanner is waved over your pet’s body. Continue…

The Critical Reality – and Importance – of Pet Parasite Prevention

Pet parasite prevention is key to pet health and pet wellness.Parasites. The word alone gives most people the creeps. No one wants to play host to a blood-sucking bug, but most animals in the wild aren’t able to defend themselves against parasites. Whether internal or external, we can all agree that parasite prevention is important for the pets we know and love. Without a proactive, diligent approach, serious health problems may be the outcome of this costly gamble.

Cause and Effect

Parasites are awful in that they thrive at their host’s expense and are responsible for spreading harmful diseases. Luckily, with consistent monitoring and the right dose of medication, serious health problems are kept at bay, protecting both pets and their owners. What’s more, parasite prevention is less costly than treating illnesses spread by fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Continue…

Hospital-Quality Spays and Neuters

Q: Why do we  Spay~Neuter pets?  When is the best time to do the surgery?  

A: • Pets Spayed~Neutered before 6 months of age are typically better behaved and less likely to run away.

• Pets Spayed~Neutered before 6 months of age cannot add to pet over-population.

• Pets Spayed~Neutered before 6 months of age have dramatically lower risk of reproductive cancers.

    • Pets that are Spayed~Neutered cannot develop ovarian cancer (girls) or testicular cancer (boys)
    • Girl pets that are spayed before their first heat cycle have a 95% reduced risk of breast cancer
    • Boy pets that are neutered before 6 months of age have nearly zero risk of prostate cancer
    • Pets that are Spayed~Neutered have dramatically lowered risk of reproductive infection.
      • The risk of uterine infection (pyometra) is eliminated in girl pets that have their uterus removed
      • The risk of prostate infection is nearly eliminated in boy pets that are neutered
      • Girl pets that are Spayed will not go through repeated heat cycles which can be messy (dogs) and behaviorally distruptive (cats)

• Boy pets that are Neutered are less likely to exhibit humping (dogs) and urine spraying (cats)

• For Giant Breed Dogs Dr. Scott will discuss the Pros/Cons of sterilization at 12-14 months of age 

Q: Why is our Low Cost Spay~Neuter Safer than a Shelter?

A:  We believe in Safety First ~ Always!  We typically perform only 2 to 3 surgeries per day. Each of our patients has their own steam sterilized instrument pack. We have Hospital Grade Biosecurity. Your pet has a dedicated recovery assistant. And your pet is cared for by Dr. Scott and our experienced pet care team that you already know and trust!  

Unlike Shelters,  we do not perform assembly line surgery…we do not use cold liquid cleaned instruments… your pet is not alone during recovery…we do not have volunteers assisting in surgery or recovery.  In three words: Safety First ~ Always!

Q: When is my pet’s Spay~Neuter the lowest cost possible?

A:  The most affordable time to have your pet Spayed~Neutered is when they are under 6 months of age.        

Q: Why does Spay~Neuter surgery increase in cost after 6 months of age?

A:  After 6 months of age a pet goes through puberty and has anatomic changes that increase surgical complexity. Plus risk factors of infectious disease and illness occur after 6 months of age. Thus, for your pet’s safety, we perform additional age-appropriate tests before your pet’s surgery.  Save money by having your pet Spayed~Neutered before 6 months of age!

Much Ado About Canine Flu

Dog with mask

One of the more exciting, yet challenging, aspects of veterinary medicine is that nothing stays the same. Things are always changing, whether it be the introduction of a promising pharmaceutical to the market, the publication of a study that sends us in a new direction, or the emergence of a previously unknown disease.

While canine influenza isn’t exactly new, it has recently come into focus as a significant disease process in our pets. In fact, canine flu is quite the buzzword in many dog-loving circles. So, what do you need to know?

Fairview Veterinary Hospital is here to tell you everything you need to know, in order to take care of your pets, and canine flu is no exception.

The Facts About Canine Flu

In the human world, we have had quite a flu season this winter. When it comes to the flu, there are many virus strains and they tend to be species-specific. This means that your dog won’t catch the flu from you and vice versa. Unfortunately, though, canine flu is still something to worry about.

We are aware of two strains of canine influenza in the United States. The first, H3N8, made its rounds through greyhound racing kennels in Florida in 2004. Significant outbreaks occurred within kennel situations, but the risk was still relatively low until 2015, when the H3N2 strain of canine flu made a major impact in many parts of the country.

Since 2015, the canine flu has continued to be an issue for many dogs. Canine influenza causes a respiratory infection that is spread through nasal secretions of infected dogs. The symptoms often resemble those of kennel cough, including:

  • Fever

  • Coughing

  • Runny nose

  • Runny eyes

  • Decreased appetite

Thankfully, most healthy dogs are able to clear the infection, but there have been fatalities associated with the disease. The very young, very old, and otherwise immunocompromised are at high risk of serious complications.

Protecting Your Pet

While the increasing incidence of canine flu can be scary, it doesn’t mean that your pup can’t go about their daily activities. It does mean that you should take some extra precautions, especially if you have a social pet.

Social pets are those who frequent areas that other pets have stayed in. These include dogs who board, get groomed, go to doggy daycare, or spend time at dog parks. All of these places are potential hotbeds of infection.

If your pet is at high risk of exposure, be sure to:

Ask about vaccination – There is now a vaccine available that protects against both strains of canine influenza. When first receiving the vaccine, it requires a follow up booster in 3-4 weeks and then is administered annually. Please call us to ask if think your pet is a good candidate for this vaccine.

Keep it clean – Good hygiene and sanitation is very important. Don’t allow your pet to share toys or bowls with unfamiliar dogs. Be sure to change clothes and wash your hands before interacting with your pet if you have been around other pets, since infected particles can survive on objects.

Assess the risk – If your pet is very young, geriatric, or has a condition that interferes with normal immune function, you may want to reassess if social activities are worth the risk. Perhaps a pet sitter would be a good alternative to boarding.

Of course, it is also important to have your pet examined right away if you feel they are sick. Although we cannot cure the flu, we can make sure that your pet isn’t showing signs of complications, such as dehydration or pneumonia, that can have serious consequences. Allowing us to step in early can help to avoid a pet emergency.

By taking some extra precautions and vaccinating your pet, you have nothing to fear. We are here to help you keep your pet healthy, and intend to do so to the best of our ability.

Keep Smiling! Pet Dental Wellness

Dog with toothbrush

Dog sits with toothbrush in bathroom sink – Jack Russell Terrier

Does your pet have a great smile? Most of us think so! Even with that wonderful smile, our pets can have dental problems that we can’t see, but sometimes we can smell them. Bad breath is a common sign that there is a problem brewing in your pet’s mouth.

Pet dental wellness is an important component of your pet’s overall preventive care program. Working together, Fairview Veterinary Hospital can tailor an at-home dental care program, coupled with annual professional cleanings, that will keep your pet healthy and feeling their best.

Periodontal Disease Basics

What’s all the fuss about? Well, simply put, it has been reported that 85% of all pets have some form of dental disease by the time they are 4 years old. Periodontal disease can cause bad breath, bleeding and infected gums, and tooth loss. It can even increase the likelihood of diseases of the heart, kidneys, and liver. Luckily, dental disease, although common, is preventable.

Periodontal disease begins when plaque forms on the teeth and causes inflammation of the gums, both above and below the gum line. Eventually, plaque hardens into tartar and bacteria can cause infection and affect the tooth structures, such as the root and the bone beneath.

Pet Dental Wellness

Pet dental wellness begins with a dental exam at your pet’s wellness visit. We’ll look into your pet’s mouth and grade their teeth, which gives a measurable score to the level of dental disease, if seen. We’ll show you what your pet’s teeth and gums look like and what concerns us.

Next, a professional dental cleaning may be recommended. Using the safest anesthesia possible, we will evaluate the entire mouth and all the structures, including teeth and gums. Each tooth will be examined and x-rays will be taken of any problem areas. You’ll be contacted with any significant findings that require treatment, such as tooth extraction, which is normally reserved for very diseased or broken teeth that are beyond repair.

Next, your pet’s teeth will be cleaned, both above and below the gum line. It’s crucial to clean below the gum line, since much of the plaque and bacteria collect there. Your pet’s teeth will then be polished to help prevent further plaque from collecting.

Your Part in Pet Dental Wellness

After your pet’s dental cleaning, it’s your turn at home! We can help you implement a tooth brushing routine that works to prevent dental problems in the future. It’s really not as hard to do as it sounds!

We may also recommend a dental diet, dental chews, or a water additive to further enhance your pet’s dental wellness plan at home. Each pet is an individual, so these recommendations will depend largely on your pet’s dental health, as well as their overall health, and what can be most beneficial to them.

Have more questions about pet dental wellness, at-home care, or a professional cleaning? Call us to schedule an appointment. We’re looking forward to helping you enjoy your pet’s great smile and to also ensure true dental wellness for a lifetime!

Tipping the Scales: Protecting Overweight Pets From Obesity

Overweight cat

With the holidays behind us (how did that happen so fast?), many people are looking ahead to 2018. Maybe we want to eat better, exercise more, or just become more fit overall. As we think about our own health, why not take your pet’s weight and health into account, as well? There’s no better time than the beginning of a new year to take stock.

Is My Pet Overweight?

Did you know that over 50% of pets in the U.S. are classified as overweight or obese? This is true for both dogs and cats. We might think it’s no big deal, and some of us might even think our pudgy friends are cuddlier that way. In reality, however, overweight pets are at a greater risk for health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer. On the other hand, pets who reach and maintain a healthy weight reduce their risk of illness and injury, lead longer lives, and have better overall health.

So, how do you know if you have an overweight pet? Your veterinarian can assess your pet’s weight and overall health and make recommendations regarding weight, diet, and exercise. More than a simple number on a scale, a healthy weight is about body composition, breed, age, and general health. In our office, we can teach you how to determine your pet’s body condition by observing their shape and feeling certain parts of their body, which is a great tool in determining if your pet is at a healthy weight.

I Have an Overweight Pet – Now What?

Not to worry. First, this is not a reflection on you or your ability to care for your pet! A weight loss recommendation is just your veterinarian’s commitment to your pet’s good health. At Fairview Veterinary Hospital, we’ve put together a few ideas to keep your pet on the path to a healthy weight:

All in the family — Make a commitment as a family to your pet’s weight loss. A weight loss program won’t work if one or more family members are sneaking food to your pet! Those sad begging eyes can be tough to resist (we know!), but try to keep focused on your pet’s overall health to dissuade people from giving extra treats and meals.

The best quality diet —  Talk to us about your pet’s individual needs. We can help you choose a quality diet that meets your pet’s nutritional needs.

Measuring every meal — What you don’t measure, you can’t manage! We can determine exactly how much to feed your pet and provide you with a measuring cup to make sure your pet stays on track.

Regular exercise — Try a new activity with your pet! Swimming, hiking, or a fast game of laser pointer tag can be great exercise, both physically and mentally. Exercising together can also be a great way to bond with your pet.

Treating them well — Most of us love sharing treats with our pets as a way to express our love. However, all those extra calories can quickly derail weight loss efforts for your pet. Instead, try unseasoned fresh or cooked veggies and fruits like carrots, green beans, or apples.

Checking progress — Once a goal is set for your pet’s weight loss, it’s important to monitor and record your pet’s progress. Like any weight loss program, there will be wins and missteps. Together, we can ensure your pet stays on track and can help you make any necessary adjustments along the way.

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is an effective way to give your pet a healthier, longer life. Having some fun along the way is an added bonus! If you’d like to share any ideas for healthy pet weight loss or if you’d like additional help, please give us a call.