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This section contains information on some of the most common medical problems and issues of dogs and cats. It is designed to assist pet owners in better understanding their pets’ health problems and issues.

  • Cats can get Heartworms Too
    We don’t hear a lot about heartworm disease in cats, but it is certainly something we should be concerned about. Mosquitoes transmit the microscopic heartworm larvae to cats. If a cat is not taking a preventive medication to stop the heartworms in their tracks, an adult infection can develop. Unfortunately, [...]   Read More »

  • Dental Care for Your Cat
    February is Pet Dental Health Month so get ready to celebrate! The majority of pets older than 2 years of age has dental disease. It is important to get involved with the care of your cat’s mouth to prevent a minor problem from becoming a major disaster. Dogs and cats [...]   Read More »

  • Dental Health
    Next time you visit your vet, take the opportunity to get your pet’s teeth checked. Although dogs do not typically develop cavitiies like we do, they can develop plaque and tartar that if left untreated, can lead to more severe problems. Cats do develop cavities and defects in the surface [...]   Read More »

  • Dental Health For Your Pet
    Puppies and kittens are born with deciduous, or baby, teeth. These teeth tend to be very sharp and also somewhat fragile. They begin falling out at about 12 weeks of age, starting with the small front teeth called incisors. Many people do not notice when their pets lose their baby [...]   Read More »

  • Diabetes - In Pets?
    November has been declared Pet Diabetes Month by Intervet, an animal health company. Intervet recently announced that less than 50% of pet owners surveyed were aware of the fact that pets can get diabetes. Diabetes is a life-threatening disease if it is not diagnosed and managed properly. In a 2003 [...]   Read More »

  • Exercising Your Cat
    Exercising your cat is very important, especially if your cat lives indoors. Just like people, cats also benefit from exercising. It can help release nervous or aggressive energy, prevent them from destroying your house and help prevent obesity. For the most part cats love to just lay around and relax [...]   Read More »

  • Fat cats are not healthy cats
    I’m sure you saw pictures of “Princess Chunky”, the 44 pound stray cat (male, despite the name) that made headline news after he was left at a shelter in New Jersey. Even if your cat is not even close to the size of this mammoth cat, a few extra pounds [...]   Read More »

  • Fatty Liver syndrome in cats
    Fatty liver syndrome (Hepatic Lipidosis) is a common and severe liver disease in cats that occurs when cats stop eating food, forcing the liver to convert body fat into usable energy.  If the cat does not eat for too long this fat builds up in the cells of the liver [...]   Read More »

  • Giving Pets as Gifts
    Giving a pet as a gift is fine, as long as proper preparations are made before the gift giving occasion. Buying a puppy or kitten for your own child is one thing, but never give a living creature to someone else’s child unless you’ve discussed it with the adult who [...]   Read More »

  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
    Trichobezoars (the medical term for hairballs) form in the cats’ stomach after hair is ingested during the grooming process.  The majority of the hair ingested passes through the digestive tract and becomes a component of cat stool.  However, some residual hair remains and accumulates in the stomach.  When the mass [...]   Read More »

  • Halloween Hazards
    It’s getting close to Fright Fest. This year I thought it might be fun to dress up my dog Sophie in a costume. This was an excellent idea as I found a perfectly adorable prisoner’s outfit that says Bad Dog across the back. Since her nickname is Bad Black (she [...]   Read More »

  • Heartworm Awareness
    A mosquito bites an infected dog or cat and ingests heartworm larvae, the larvae then develop in the mosquito.  The mosquito then bites a dog or cat, and injects the larvae into the animal, which develops further and travels to the heart, where it lives and grows and breeds.  Heartworm [...]   Read More »

  • High Blood Pressure
    Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease in humans. Some studies have shown that petting a cat or dog can lower high blood pressure because of the calming effects of the human-animal interaction. Did you know that cats can suffer from hypertension, just like people? Unlike people, cats [...]   Read More »

  • Homeless Pets
    According to a 2004 study by the National Coalition for the Homeless, between 5 and 10 percent of homeless people living outdoors have pets. These homeless individuals often will not enter shelters because they would have to abandon their pets and there are few programs that help feed and care [...]   Read More »

  • Household Hazards
    Just like for a toddler, your home can be full of hazards for your pets. This is especially true if you have a new puppy or kitten, but even adult pets can get injured or ill in your home.   Flavored medications: Beware of flavored medications. While this may make [...]   Read More »

  • How do I manage my cat's claws if I do not have her declawed?
    Because the declawing procedure is actually an amputation, some cat parents are choosing to skip this part of the kitten phase.  Cats have nails (claws) that grow very quickly into a sharp point.  These are very easy to trim.  Start when your kitten comes home with frequent nail trims. You [...]   Read More »

  • Hyperthyroidism - Another potential cause?
    The incidence of hyperthyroidism in cats has steadily been on the rise. Cats with an overactive thyroid will lose weight while eating much more than normal, be irritable (read mean), and often will grow thick nails. The disease can be diagnosed based on the results of blood tests and can [...]   Read More »

  • Inappropriate Urination
    There are many causes for a cat to urinate outside the litter box. The most common are behavioral, urinary tract disease (infection, stones, kidney disease, neoplasia, etc.) or endocrine disease (diabetes, etc.). We always recommend consulting your veterinarian to identify what is going on. They will most likely suggest a [...]   Read More »

  • Itchy Ears
    It is important to pay close attention if your cat or kitten starts scratching at his ears. An occasional scratch is not of any particular concern, but if the scratching continues or is incessant, there is likely a problem that needs to be addressed. In young kittens, ear mites are [...]   Read More »

  • Keep Your Pets Safe in the Summer Heat
    This summer is bringing record heat to many parts of the US. It is easy for us to realize when we are too hot, but sometimes it can be difficult to tell if our pets are too hot. Remember that your pets do not sweat and they are wearing a [...]   Read More »

  • Kidney Failure
    With the recently announced recall on many different pet foods, there is information about kidney failure circulating in the media. It is important to understand kidney function and health because kidney disease is quite common in aging pets. Acute kidney failure (or sudden kidney failure) in a previously healthy animal [...]   Read More »

  • Maximize your cat's health through play
    Indoor cats benefit from regular exercise just like people do. Many indoor cats are overweight, which can lead to myriad health problems. Unfortunately, it can be a bit of a challenge to work exercise into the equation since cats are not quite as easy to hook a leash onto and [...]   Read More »

  • Microchipping Your Cat
    Even indoor cats can sometimes slip out an open door. Because they can be so difficult to find and catch if they do escape, it is important to microchip your cats. Microchips are tiny, about the size of a grain of rice and can be inserted under the skin during [...]   Read More »

  • National Disaster Preparedness Month
    Pets are part of the family and we want to make sure we are prepared for their evacuation and care during an unexpected disaster.  Visit and for information and tips on topics such as making a disaster kit and devising a plan for before, during and after a disaster.   Read More »

  • National Pet Wellness Month
    National Pet Wellness Month is just around the corner – what are you going to do to celebrate? Why not take your special kitty into the veterinarian for a thorough checkup? Did you know that when your pet has a checkup, many of the things that your veterinarian does are [...]   Read More »

  • Otto, Feline "Biggest Loser"
    Have you heard about “Otto”, the rescued cat that weighed 35 pounds? According to veterinarians, this is equivalent to a 500 pound person. Otto has lost 6 pounds, to reach 29 pounds. He is still very overweight, but is on his way to becoming fit and healthier. The 6 pounds that [...]   Read More »

  • Pancreatitis - What Most Vets Will Treat on the Friday after Thanksgiving
    When I was a practicing veterinarian, there were certain things that I knew would always be true. Cats brought from the local junkyard would always try and escape, the full moon would bring all sorts of unusual emergencies to the hospital (think dogs on marijuana), and that we could never [...]   Read More »

  • Pet Dental Health Month
    February is National Pet Dental Health Month! Celebrate this year’s “Pets Need Dental Care, Too” campaign by taking your pets for a dental checkup. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by the time they reach 3 years [...]   Read More »

  • Protect Your Pets and Your Family with Rabies Vaccinations
    Most people have heard of rabies and many of us who saw the Stephen King movie, “Cujo”, hope never to have firsthand experience with this fatal viral disease. As dramatic as that horror movie was, rabies is not very often that obvious. Recently in Canada, seven individuals began receiving the [...]   Read More »

  • Purring Cats
    A cat’s purr is a truly amazing sound. What’s most amazing to me is how incredibly loud my little cat can purr when she receives wanted attention. What’s scientifically amazing is the fact that cats can purr when they are breathing in and out. Cats meow only when they are [...]   Read More »

  • Should You Shave Your Pet Cat?
    I recently had a friend of mine ask if she could have her pet cat shaved. Her cat is an indoor cat, long haired and is suffering a bit from benign neglect because of the addition of twin boys to the family. The regular brushing that was once occurring has [...]   Read More »

  • Spay Day USA
    February 27, 2007 has been declared Spay Day USA 2007 by the Humane Society of the United States. This campaign, which began in 1995, claims that it has resulted in more than one million spays and neuters. Have your pet spayed or neutered to help decrease the unwanted pet population [...]   Read More »

  • Take Care with Flea and Tick Control
    Did you know that 44,000 potential toxicities associated with the use of topical parasite prevention products were reported to the EPA last year alone? There are many over-the-counter flea and tick medications that are available, but are they safe? In an article from the EPA’s website, updated June 23, 2009, [...]   Read More »

  • The Dangers of Summer Months
    Dogs and cats do not sweat like humans do to cool off, they pant to cool the air they breathe. When walking or running with your dog, check the temperature of the pavement.  They do not wear shoes to protect their feet like we do and very hot pavement can [...]   Read More »

  • The Dental Exam
    The dental exam is a very important part of your pet’s annual check-up.  Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any changes in eating behavior, drooling, odor, pawing at the mouth, dropping food or reluctance to eat.  Your veterinarian will perform a dental exam by looking at the head and [...]   Read More »

  • The Do's and Don'ts of Pet First Aid
    You would not want to further complicate your pet’s condition or do anything to interfere with tests or treatments recommended by your veterinarian.  The following is a list of Do’s and Don’ts in regard to providing your pet with safe and effective first aid. DO: Do find out which emergency [...]   Read More »

  • The Housing Crisis Affects Pets Too
    Record numbers of foreclosures have left many homeowners struggling to find a place to live for themselves and their pets. If you are in this situation, please do not abandon your pets. Pets are not able to fend for themselves and will become ill or even die without care. The [...]   Read More »

  • The Three Lines of Pet Identification
    Nearly 1 out of every 3 pets will get lost at some point during their lifetime without proper identification and 90% of lost pets never return home.  Pet identification dramatically increases the chances that your lost pet will be returned home. In veterinary practice, we often are asked the question, [...]   Read More »

  • This Will Not Go Away - Our Pets are FAT!
    Mirroring the obesity epidemic among the human population of the US is an obesity epidemic in our pets. This problem is not going away, despite the warnings in the press and in the vet clinic of the serious medical conditions that go hand in hand with obesity in pets. Overweight [...]   Read More »

  • Top 10 Conditions for Dogs and Cats
    Below are the top 10 claims for dogs and cats as submitted by customers of VPI. The following data is based on claims submitted by VPI policyholders: Top 10 Canine Claims Top 10 Feline Claims 1. Ear infections 1. Lower urinary tract diseases 2. Skin allergies 2. Stomach upsets/gastritis 3. [...]   Read More »

  • Topical Treatment for Hyperthyroidism
    Cats can be notoriously difficult to treat with oral medications. They are quite adept at spitting pills back out and slobbering and foaming when liquid medications are administered. With a chronic medical condition like hyperthyroidism, which affects the mood of normally happy cats making them very cranky, oral medications may [...]   Read More »

  • Traveling With Your Pet
    The holidays are a busy time for travel and it is becoming more common for people to travel with their pets.  There are many things to consider when making your plans so that travel is safe and relatively stress free.  First, consider the accommodations where you and your pet will [...]   Read More »

  • Vaccinate Your Cats Against Rabies
    While most dog owners are quite punctual when it comes to updating vaccinations, us cat owners are not quite so prompt. World Rabies Day was September 28, 2008 and its mission is to raise awareness of the impact of human and animal rabies, how easy it is to prevent it [...]   Read More »

  • Valentine's Kitten
    Think your sweetie might like a kitten for Valentine’s day? Have you been out checking the shelters so that you can adopt one that truly needs a home? Well, you probably found that kittens are a bit scarce this time of year. Wonder why? Cats are seasonal breeders. This means [...]   Read More »

  • Vomiting Cats
    Many cats vomit occasionally, sometimes it’s a hairball, sometimes a bug that they have caught and swallowed. However, regular vomiting is not good for your cat. Vomiting brings the acid from the stomach up into the esophagus and out through the mouth. This acid can be damaging to the esophagus. [...]   Read More »

  • VPI's Top Ten Reasons Cats Went to the Vet in 2007
    Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) is the oldest provider of veterinary pet insurance in the United States. Each year VPI analyzes its claims to compile a list of the top ten reasons that cats were taken to the veterinarian. Not surprisingly, urinary tract infections hold the number one spot on the [...]   Read More »

  • What in the World is a Zoonosis?
    It’s important! A zoonosis is a disease that can be transmitted from an animal to a human. One well known example is rabies. Rabies kills animals and people. There is no cure. You can prevent your pets from becoming infected with a rabies vaccine, administered by your veterinarian. Simple. Rabies [...]   Read More »

  • What to look for when choosing a kennel for your pet
    With the holidays approaching, many pet owners are faced with leaving their pets in the care of others while they travel. For some, a pet sitter visiting the home is the best option to avoid disrupting routines. For others, the decision to board their pet is the best fit and [...]   Read More »

  • Where are your dry foods made?
    We have three manufacturing facilities, all located in the United States. They are located in California, Missouri and South Carolina.   Read More »

  • World Pet Memorial Day
    Memorial Day is a chance for us to honor our military heroes who have passed.  With so many dogs serving in the military, there exist tributes such as the War Dog Memorial in New Jersey for our canine soldiers who have served and died in the line of duty.  For pet owners [...]   Read More »

  • World Rabies Day
    Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals that is transmitted by the bite of an infected animal. Most cases of rabies occur in wild animals such as bats, foxes, raccoons and skunks. However, without responsible vaccination, our pets and humans can become infected as well. Around the world, more [...]   Read More »

This section features current events in the veterinary world and information about pet care that is timely – such as holiday hazards around the holidays or dental care during the month of February. If you would like to see a particular topic, please use our contact form and choose ‘General Feedback, Other’.

Thanks for reading!
Veterinary Technical Services Department

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