We do the most we can to love and keep our pets healthy. Buying the right foods, scheduling regular vet visits and, most importantly, giving them as much attention as possible all help to keep them living long and happy. Unfortunately, keeping your pet indoors or safely in cages doesn’t always mean that they’ll be safe from contracting an illness. At Valley Animal Hospital, we try to do what we can to keep your furry loved ones in great shape.
Birds: Pacheco’s Disease
Pet birds can be extremely interactive and rewarding companions and tend to have a very long lifespan. In fact, some parrot species may even outlive you! Pet birds require daily interaction and can become entertaining and affectionate members of the family for many years. Since pet birds reside in cages most of the time, how is it possible for them to contract an illness or disease?
Pacheco’s Disease is a virus that is transmitted through direct contact with other infected birds and fecal contamination of food or water. Pacheco’s Disease is highly infectious and, unfortunately, some birds that contract the disease will show no symptoms at all while others may die suddenly. Many birds who contract Pacheco’s Disease either already have it when they are purchased, or they are added to aviaries where they come into contact with birds who are infected, which is why quarantining all new birds is especially important.
Lethargy, weakness, depression, lesions in the mouth and cloaca, regurgitation, prolapsed cloaca, diarrhea, bright yellow droppings and bloody droppings can all be symptoms of Pacheco’s Disease. If you notice any of these symptoms or if you have any other questions or concerns about your avian family member, the doctors at Valley Animal Hospital are ready to help.
Cats: Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)
Our beloved pet cats tend to be independent. As cat owners, there’s no doubt that we try to prevent our feline friends from contracting a disease as best we can. Oftentimes, though, they may come into contact with an illness that requires immediate attention.
An upper respiratory infection, URI, is an illness that can be caused by several different pathogens. URIs can easily be transmitted by sneezing, grooming and sharing food and water with other infected cats. Common symptoms to watch out for are sneezing, coughing, eye and/or nose discharge, difficulty breathing, fever, diarrhea and lack of appetite.
While an upper respiratory infection can happen at any age, very young cats, immunosuppressed cats and older cats are especially affected. If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, then reach out to our vets at Valley Animal Hospital as soon as possible.
Dogs and Cats: Heartworms
If you’re a pet owner, chances are you’ve purchased heartworm medication at one time or another. Heartworms are very common in both dogs and cats – even those living indoors. Heartworm disease is easy to prevent, but can be easy to contract as well. Unfortunately, all it takes is one mosquito carrying the infective heartworm larvae to cause infection. The larvae will migrate from the bite wound through the animal’s body until it reaches the heart and blood vessels of the lungs. The entire migration process can take up to six months.
Several common symptoms of advanced heartworm disease in dogs include coughing, weight loss, a bloated belly, lack of energy, exercise intolerance and heart failure. Symptoms of heartworm disease in cats include coughing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, decreased appetite, weight loss and heart failure.
Heartworm disease can be fatal if left untreated. A heartworm can grow up to 12 inches long and may reproduce, causing the illness to worsen. Preventative measures include annual heartworm testing and the simple administration of heartworm medication once a month, every month, for your pet’s entire life.
At Valley Animal Hospital, we offer a variety of convenient topical preventatives as well as tasty oral preventatives for both dogs and cats. We now also offer an injectable heartworm preventative for healthy dogs that provides six months of convenient protection against heartworms.
Caring for Your Furry Loved Ones
Finding out that your furry loved one has come down with an illness can be nerve-racking and scary. Fortunately, we will do whatever we can to provide the best care for your four-legged friend here at Valley Animal Hospital. Call us at 956.787.2709 or visit us today!