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Protect Your Pet From Poisons

What’s lurking in your house that could make your pet sick? Turns out, lots of things.

National Animal Poison Prevention Week is March 17—23, and we want you to be aware of substances that should stay out of paw’s reach! 

  • Human medications. Keep them in sealed containers and locked away as pets might see loose pills and think they’re treats.
  • Plants. Dogs and cats like to chew on plants, but some can make your pet very ill. The most common toxic plants are azaleas, lilies, daffodils and tulips.
  • Chocolate and Xylitol. Candies and treats that contain chocolate and xylitol (a sweetener often found in peanut butter and chewing gum) are extremely toxic to pets. Chocolate can cause upset stomachs, heart arrhythmia, and seizures. Xylitol can bring on hypoglycemia, seizures, liver failure and even death if large amounts are consumed. 
  • Rat poisons and snail bait. Even if the box says “pet safe”, these products contain substances that can be as deadly to your pet as they are to the critters you want to eliminate. Avoid having them in your home and choose non-toxic options for pest control. 

If you believe your pet has been poisoned or ingested something that could be toxic, contact us as soon as possible by calling (703) 956-1522. The ASPCA’S Poison Control Website and Helpline is another great resource for immediate assistance. Be safe!

Parasites Gone Wild

Spring Flea and Tick Prevention

Know who else loves to be on the move when it’s warmer? Fleas and ticks! Problem is, their favorite vacation spot is your pet…and you if they get close enough.

These pests are more than just annoying: fleas can transmit tapeworm and cause anemia, while ticks are well-known carriers of many diseases, including Lyme—check out our recent blog post for a complete (and frightening!) list of the many tick-borne diseases found in our area.

Even more frightening? Once these parasites are on your furry friend, it’s a short trip aboard the “pet express” to your home and family.

That’s why keeping your animal companions on year-round flea and tick preventive is so important. We carry a variety of products to stop these parasites, and our vets can recommend which one is best for your pet and your budget.

If you have questions about parasite prevention or want to get your pet in for a consultation, call us at (703) 956-1522.

Yes, Virginia—We Have Tick-Borne Diseases!

It’s not uncommon for a pet to be infected with a dangerous tick-transmitted disease. These parasites attach themselves to animals before feeding on blood, which ultimately spreads the disease directly into the pet’s system. Except for the Gulf Coast tick, all these diseases—and the tick varieties that carry them—are found in Virginia:

  • Canine ehrlichiosis – Brown dog tick
  • Canine babesiosis – Brown dog tick, American dog tick
  • Canine Anaplasmosis – Deer tick
  • Canine Bartonellosis – Brown dog tick,
  • Canine Hepatozoonosis – Brown dog tick, Gulf Coast tick
  • Lyme disease – Deer tick
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever – American dog tick, lone star tick, wood tick

Early diagnosis and treatment are the key to combating tick-borne disease. There are many broad-spectrum antibiotics that are available, especially during the early stages of infection; however, since antibiotics don’t discriminate against “good” and “bad” bacteria, antibiotic treatment destroys beneficial bacteria as well as disease-causing organisms. Probiotics may be recommended to avoid gastrointestinal problems.

As always, the best treatment is prevention. In addition to preventives mentioned in the previous article, you should also check your dog for ticks daily, and watch for ticks in your home—they may need to be removed by a professional exterminator, as they can easily transmit some of these diseases to people if they get a chance to bite.

At AMC of the Cascades, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. If you have questions about tick-borne diseases, please contact us at (703) 956-1522.

Frozen Felines & Pup-cicles: Winter Safety Tips

Looks like this winter isn’t going to pull any punches—so here are a few suggestions for keeping your animal companions healthy and happy during the icy months to come.

  • Keep up with grooming. While you don’t want to shave long-haired dogs, you do want to keep the coat and paws trimmed to minimize clinging ice balls, de-icing chemicals, and salt crystals. Don’t bathe too often, however; baths remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin.
  • Dry off after being outside. Remove ice, moisture, salt, and chemicals from your pet with a towel after every walk or outdoor excursion. Pay special attention to paws and between toes. Try protecting your pet’s paws and pads with a thin coating petroleum jelly before heading out.
  • Beware antifreeze. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  • More food and plenty of water. Pets burn extra energy trying to stay warm, so feeding your pet a bit more in winter can provide supplemental calories. Hydration is also extremely important in the cold months, and pets need several unfrozen sources of water.
  • Don’t leave pets in cars! Just as vehicles can quickly become ovens in summer, they can also become refrigerators in very cold weather, and pets could freeze to death inside.

If you have any further questions or need assistance preparing your pet for winter, give us a call at (703) 956-1522.

Dental Promo

At Animal Medical Center of Cascades, we take pet dental health very seriously. Did you know that by age three, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some evidence of periodontal disease? This ailment can cause mouth pain and tooth loss and make eating difficult. At advanced stages, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause heart, liver and kidney complications.

Because we are very conscious of how dental health affects a pet’s well-being, we are proudly offering 10% off your pet’s dental cleaning procedure* in February!

This special will run all through February, but please note—our spaces fill up quickly. If you’d like to make an appointment, we highly suggest you do it immediately. You can call us at 703-956-1522 or book online.

We look forward to taking care of your pets’ teeth!

*Discount does not apply to anesthesia, medications or any needed bloodwork