A Doggone Pain: Intervertebral Disc Disease in Dogs

intervertebral disc disease in dogsBack problems plague many of us, and our canine companions are not exempt. Sometimes a pinched nerve or a muscle spasm can be a literal pain in the neck, but other times things are more serious.

Intervertebral disc disease in dogs is a fairly common condition that requires timely evaluation and appropriate treatment to get your pet back on their feet. At Heart of Texas Veterinary Specialty Center, we are equipped to do just that.

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Pets and Plants: Keeping Your Furry Loved Ones Safe

pets and plantsWhether you’re an avid gardener or simply enjoy keeping a houseplant or two, there’s good reason to be concerned about pets and plants. According to recent statistics, 25% of the total pet poisoning cases each year are caused by ingestion of a toxic plant.

There are currently more than 700 plants identified that produce compounds that can be toxic to pets, with effects ranging from mild stomach upset to death. Greenery can be tempting to dogs, cats, and other pets, making it of vital importance to identify and remove any potentially toxic plants from your pet’s environment.

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Preventing Antifreeze Poisoning in Pets

antifreezeChemicals, many of them toxic, are a way of life in our modern world. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a home that doesn’t contain at least a few hazardous substances for use in the yard, garage, or indoors. Of the many chemicals that could attract a curious pet, antifreeze is arguably one of the most dangerous.

Dogs and cats tend to be exposed to this engine additive during summer and winter, when we flush out the engines in our cars. Antifreeze poisoning in pets is often fatal, making education and prevention critical to the safety of our furry companions.

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Think Twice Before Giving A Pet As A Gift

pet as a giftPets truly light up our lives with their cuteness, their antics, and their charm. It’s hard to imagine life without our furry best friends, and it’s understandable to want to spread that particular type of cheer during the holiday season. Besides, what could be more heartwarming than watching a loved one receive the gift of a new pet?

As it turns out, giving a pet as a gift may end up in heartbreak if the recipient isn’t prepared or doesn’t want a pet. Doing your homework in advance will help to prevent a sad situation, and may even help to create a happy new pet and pet owner.

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How to Win a Pet Costume Contest

pet costumeHalloween has always been fun, but it’s no longer a holiday just for kids. These days, everyone in the family seems to spend inordinate amounts of time and money finding or creating just the right costume. However, the individuals who upstage everyone else are, of course, the family pets! Sure, not all animals get into this (some would rather get out of a pet costume quickly), but when a pet costume fits well and feels comfortable, the fun multiplies.

Unleashed Creativity

You’ll likely see all manner of creativity in various pet costumes fashioned by dedicated and imaginative owners. Of course, the traditional costumes always have a place (like ghosts, mummies, spiders, etc.), but it’s not uncommon to see pets dressed as pop culture icons, trending foods, or other original ideas. Time to get crafty!

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Should You Worry About Canine Parvovirus?

parvovirusVaccines are modern marvels responsible for saving innumerable – human and animal – lives. Pet owners committed to the prevention of all sorts of various illnesses have many questions about immunity, severity, risk of exposure, and frequency of vaccinations. We’re always here to assist your dog with advanced care, diagnostics, and treatments, but prevention is the key. Of the infectious diseases, canine parvovirus can be effectively avoided.

Highly Contagious

Most commonly, canine parvovirus infects the digestive system and the immune system. In rare cases, however, the heart of a young puppy can be at risk of attack.

Dogs of all ages and breeds can contract the disease, which is shed in the vomit or stool of an infected dog (and who hasn’t seen a dog sniff or sample another dog’s poop?). Robust enough to survive in the environment for up to a year, canine parvovirus is difficult to eliminate.

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posted in:  Pet Safety

Protecting Your Pet from Springtime Pet Toxins

Although we are fortunate to enjoy mild winters here in Round Rock, spring nevertheless brings out the urge to spruce up our lawns and gardens. Many of us consider our yards an extension of our homes, and appreciate our time spent enjoying nature and great weather with our families and pets.

Because many common ornamental plants and lawn care products are pet toxins, caution must be used to ensure that your pet will stay safe as you exercise your green thumb this spring. Your team at Heart of Texas is happy to offer you our top tips for pet safe gardening and lawn care!

Pet Safe Landscaping

Your neighbor’s hyacinths and tulips look beautiful this time of year, but did you know that both plants are toxic to pets if ingested?

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posted in:  Pet Safety  |  Pet Toxins  |  Seasonal Pet Care

I Heart You: Show Love With Proactive Pet Safety

When you share your life with animals, every day is full of love and happiness. But when Valentine’s Day rears its flowery, chocolate-scented head, an otherwise firm grip on pet safety can easily fly out the window.

This big-hearted holiday is a wonderful opportunity to show your nearest and dearest how much you care, but it also ranks toward the top for pet poisoning risks. With our tried and true tips, your pet will (safely) enjoy the extra doses of snuggles and kisses galore!

Presenting: V-Day Disasters!

Unfortunately, the same items that make Valentine’s Day special for us have the potential to place your pet in danger. In fact, the Pet Poison Helpline and emergency clinics (like our own 24-hour facility) repeatedly prepare for one of the busiest days of the year. Not surprisingly, the most common patients turn out to be curious (or hungry) family dogs. Continue…

Preventing a Bittersweet Trick-or-Treat: The Best in Halloween Pet Safety

Dog in disguise for HalloweenIf you’re anything like us, you’ve been ready for Halloween for weeks now. Candy bowl full? Check! Pumpkins carved? Oh, yes! Costumes ready? You bet!

As a responsible pet owner, you’ll want to review some Halloween pet safety tips as well. Whether he or she embraces the chaos or you’re expecting a nervous bundle of fur, keeping your pet safe and comfortable is essential.

Being Out There

We had a great time sponsoring the Dogtoberfest this year. Planning on going to another event like Howl-O-Ween Pet Festival or Barktoberfest? Both promise lots of fun, but only if your pet is accustomed to crowds, loud noises, and other animals. If you don’t think this will go over well, just skip these events for now and work on training for future opportunities.  

Getting Into Character

If your pet will be donning a costume this Halloween, we recommend approaching this task with a healthy dose of caution. Proper Halloween pet safety includes the following tips: Continue…

Achoo! Canine Flu and How to Protect Your Pup

veterinarian dogsSince last year’s outbreak in Chicago, canine flu has been on the minds of many pet owners. With the potential to reach epidemic proportions throughout the Midwest, the Canine Influenza Virus/CIV has spread across the United States and is considered very contagious.

Because pups are so friendly, concerned guardians may wonder if it’s safe to take a dog to the park or to other areas with high concentrations of animals. More importantly, you may be asking how this newer strain of CIV threatens your fur friend in general?

Understanding Canine Flu

The original strain of Canine Influenza Virus/CIV H3N8 was first detected in 2004 among a group of greyhounds who were exposed to infected horses. Once thought to be an equine flu, the virus mutated and was able to spread to dogs. Continue…