Top 3 Dog Heartworm Questions, Answered

A dog outside that is susceptible to a mosquito bite.Veterinarian Dr. Marc, writes for pet insurance provider, Pets Best Insurance.

1) What are heartworms and how do dogs get them?

Heartworm dog disease, or dirofilariasis, is a potentially serious disease seen primarily in dogs throughout the United States (and other areas). Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquito, meaning that dogs that spend even a short amount of time outside are susceptible to the disease.

Transmission occurs when a mosquito bites an infected host that is shedding microfilariae (immature heartworms). The microfilariae develop within the mosquito until the mosquito bites a new host and the larvae are transmitted. This is clinically important because without the mosquito, heartworm disease cannot be contracted. Once inside the new host, the heartworm larvae migrate and develop until reaching their ultimate destination in the pulmonary arteries. Once in the pulmonary arteries, the adult heartworms will start producing microfilariae and the life cycle starts over.

2) What are the signs and symptoms of heartworm disease?

Due to the systemic nature of having heart problems, many different symptoms are possible with heartworm disease. However, heartworm positive dogs are generally classified into one of 4 categories of symptom severity.

In class 1 animals, they generally have no clinical symptoms with the exception of a possible mild cough.Read More…

Cat Health: Are Hyperthyroidism and Chronic Kidney Disease Connected?

A senior cat suffering from hyperthyroidism and kidney disease.

Dr. Jane Matheys, a veterinarian, guest blogs for pet insurance provider, Pets Best.

On the Pets Best Insurance Facebook page, Bonnie asked a question about cat health. She asks, “Are hyperthyroidism and chronic kidney disease linked in a causative manner, or are they just associated as many older cats develop both?”

Geriatric cats are prone to both hyperthyroidism and chronic kidney disease, so it’s not surprising that these conditions frequently coexist. The prevalence of concurrent kidney disease in cats with hyperthyroidism is estimated to be about 30-35%1, 2.

For a long time it has been unknown whether a true cause and effect relationship existed between the two, or if they are simply common in the geriatric feline independently. Recent research is slowly helping to make this less of a mystery, and it’s now known that thyroid function can definitely influence kidney function.Read More…

Dog Hemorrhoids – Is There Such a Thing?

Dr. Marc, is a veterinarian and guest blogger for the highly rated dog insurance provider, Pets Best Insurance.

Hi. My name is Dr. Marc and I’m filming for Pets Best, answering some dog health Facebook questions for you guys at Broadway Veterinary Hospital in Boise, Idaho. This question comes from Sherry. Sherry has a 13 year old Sheltie. She says he has a quarter-sized hemorrhoid next to his anus. She first noticed this a couple of months ago. She kept an eye on it, and it hasn’t changed in size, and it doesn’t seem to bother him. Her question is, “Should I be concerned or not?”

My concern for you, Sherry, is that this has the potential to be something besides a hemorrhoid. Read More…

Why Pet Insurance? The $2,000 Pistachio

Tulah ate a pistachio that caused an intestinal blockage requiring surgical removal.

Dr. Marc is a dog dad of two, and a veterinarian guest blogger for dog insurance provider, Pets Best.

As a veterinarian, it is important to be able to relate with your clientele and patients not just on a professional level, but on a personal level as well. In part, this is why I’ve decided to write a blog about a medical case that involved my own dog, Tulah.

What happened and how did it start?

For the Christmas holiday in 2012, we had my wife’s family visit from another state and spend 5 days with us. As is traditional for our family, we had lots of snacks and good food for the season. On the second day during their visit, my little Pomeranian (Tulah) vomited. For her, this is very uncharacteristic. Furthermore, it was not just a little bit of spew, but several cups all over our couch. She seemed to be acting normal and eating ok so we were hopeful that the problem wasn’t serious. Over the course of the next 24 hours, she became lethargic and continued vomiting to the point that she couldn’t hold any food down at all.

Off to the vet clinic with her dad…

Knowing that Tulah had some serious ailment, I took her into my veterinary clinic. After running a blood panel, completing x-rays, and even performing a barium study (an x-ray dye study to watch how her intestines are moving), Read More…

2 Ways Vets Measure Your Dog and Cat’s Health

Dr. Fiona, DVM, is a guest blogger  for the highly rated pet insurance provider, Pets Best Insurance.

Hi. I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell; I’m a veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. Today, I’m answering some questions from the Pets Best Insurance Facebook page. This question comes from Donald, who asks: How do you assess the health of my pet?

This is a great question. I think it really allows me to explain what your veterinarian is doing when you have those annual exams, and why are they important.

There’s basically two big ways that we can assess the health of a pet:

-One is with a physical exam, and

-Another is with regular blood work

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On a physical exam, specifically the things I’m looking for is your pet’s body condition. Is it overweight? Is it too thin? I’m looking for lumps, bumps, and masses. I look for oral health; it’s a huge issue in pets. Dental disease can be a source of infection, so we want to make sure your pet’s mouth looks really good.Read More…

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