Most of us consider our pets part of the family and give them healthy food, exercise, toys, and — of course — lots of love. (Admit it, you let Fluffy sleep on the bed, right?) Part of being a great pet parent is ensuring your dog or cat gets quality health care so she can enjoy many healthy years by your side.
5 Pet Health Care Basics:
Regular veterinary check ups
Preventative medications (as needed)
Prompt medical attention in case of illness or injury
Quality, accurately dosed medication dispensed for animals (as needed)
Learn more about veterinarian recommended guidelines at AVMA.org:
Your veterinarian is always the first – and best – health care resource
for your pet.
And when your veterinarian gives you a prescription to fill or you need a special supplement for your pet, we’re here to help. Our licensed pharmacists and pharmacy technicians work with you and your veterinarian to dispense the right medication for your pet quickly, conveniently — and always at a fair price.
VetRxDirect is part of the professional team
keeping your pet healthy.
Prescriptions – People are required see a doctor before they can get a prescription. The same goes for pets. You need to see a veterinarian who can diagnose your pet and then write the correct prescription for her. If you’d like us to fill it, your veterinarian can fax us the prescription directly and we’ll dispense the medication to you. We keep any refills on file for your convenience.
Nutritional supplements – We proudly stock many nutritional supplements and some of the newest nutraceuticals on the market. While most don’t require a prescription, we highly recommend checking with your veterinarian before you give your dog or cat anything new.
Special products – We also stock many specialty and hard-to-find products and medications most veterinarians don’t carry because of cost or space constraints. If your pet needs a special product from VetRxDirect, check with your veterinarian first, and then place your order with us. And we’re always happy to answer your questions about medications or how to use special medical equipment.
You, your veterinarian, and VetRxDirect — we’re the best, most professional team for keeping your pet healthy!
Have you ever thought about what your dog worries about, and what might make them stressed and anxious? Besides thunderstorms and fireworks, there are many things that can trigger fear and anxiety in dogs, resulting in challenging behavior issues. Separation anxiety is a common problem, as is travel anxiety, anxiety due to pain (such as from chronic arthritis) and fear of other animals and people. An often-overlooked cause of anxiety in dogs is stress/anxiety of the owner(s): your dog “reads” you, and just plain knows when you are having a bad day or struggling with life’s challenges. They worry and share in your stress, even though they don’t understand it.
It is normal for dogs to react quickly and briefly to these triggers, but it is not normal for them to have a prolonged response. Prolonged responses to these triggers cause chronic stress, which in turn disrupts the dog’s wellness and its relationship to its environment, including people and other animals.
Common canine behaviors that arise due to fear and anxiety:
Attempts to escape (digging, clawing at doors and windows and flooring under closed doors, chewing door and window frames, throwing weight on windows/French doors and breaking them)
Treatment of canine anxiety and phobias can be very complicated, and is not a quick-fix. Recognizing that your dog has anxiety/stress issues is the first step. Seeking medical care is also important, including support with prescription anxiolytic agents such as benzodiazepam drugs (lorazepam, diazepam, and alprazolam). These drugs help stimulate appetite too, which may or may not be helpful. Other drugs that affect mood include generic Prozac (fluoxetine). Many general practitioner veterinarians are comfortable prescribing fluoxetine and similar drugs, but often it is necessary for your pet to see a veterinarian specializing in behavior for your dog to receive optimal drug therapy.
Courtesy of www.dacvb.org
Desensitizing your pet to the stimuli that trigger inappropriate behavior can be successful, but this must be done under the guidance of a knowledgeable canine behavior specialist.
Canine anxiety can also be alleviated by alternative therapies, such as pheromone therapy. A specific calming supplement, Serenin Vet™, is designed to help reduce anxiety in dogs. It is a unique blend of 11 natural and complementary ingredients which down-regulate the many triggers that overstimulate the canine brain.
Three of the 11 ingredients in Serenin Vet are:
Passion Flower: Contains flavonoids with relaxing and anti-anxiety effects, and improves sleep and restlessness and aids in tranquility.
St. John’s Wort: Helps alleviate mild anxiety and fears in dogs. It has both analgesic and relaxant effects.
Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng): Is an adaptogen that helps the body adapt to stress by reducing loss of stress-reducing hormones. It enhances immune function and reduces cortisol levels and inflammatory response.
Other ingredients in Serenin Vet™include Imuno-2865 (supports a healthy immune system), Vitamins B6 and B12, L-Tyrosine, and Inositol. Serenin Vet™ is manufactured by Animal Necessity and maintains the same high quality standards expected of their vision supplement Ocu-GLO Rx™.
How difficult is it for us to master an illogical fear, or to break a bad habit that we have? Very! Likewise, it is illogical to expect your dog to quickly overcome a deep-seated fear or anxiety. Patience, understanding, and medical and behavioral support are all needed, to help you help your dog. And remember to take care of your own well-being, because that is what your dog needs too, above all else, to make them happy.
Beautiful, graceful and slightly enigmatic, it is no easy task identifying what particular kinds of discomfort our beloved felines are experiencing. There are actually several different definitions and possible signs and symptoms of constipation in cats including the following:
Infrequent as well as often partial bowel movements.
Dry, hardened stools.
Straining when passing a bowel movement.
Vomiting during and/or after having gone to the bathroom.
Change in the frequency of a cat’s bowel movements.
Liquid stool, coming from above, leaks past impacted stool (i.e. dried stool stuck within the intestines) giving the appearance that the cat actually has diarrhea instead.
When your furry companion has bowel movements outside of its litter box, it can be a signal of constipation.
Seeing blood and/or mucus in your pet’s droppings.
Any noticeable changes in the color and/or appearance of a cat’s stool.
It is important to note that when your pet is straining to urinate, it can sometimes be confused with straining to pass a stool. If a cat is unable to urinate, it is considered to be a medical emergency. The cat should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Not only is constipation extremely uncomfortable for cats, it is also very unhealthy and dangerous for them. Constipation may be a symptom of a more serious underlying disease and/or illness. It can either be temporary (i.e. acute) or ongoing (i.e. chronic). Several causes of constipation in cats include:
Consuming a diet low in fiber.
Presence of hairballs within the intestines.
Abscessed and/or blocked anal sacs.
Enlargement of the prostate gland in male cats.
Tangled hair on the feline’s buttocks (a problem that is easily remedied with our cat grooming products).
Ingestion of various foreign objects including things like cloth, string and/or bones, etc.
Medication side effects.
Presence of a tumor and/or some other type of intestinal obstruction.
Lactulose for cats acts as an osmotic laxative. A thick, sweet liquid, it is a type of indigestible sugar. By-products of gut bacteria aid in the regulation of colon pH. The latter is what influences the amount of water retained within the stool. This particular laxative also influences the bowel pH. It has a slightly acidic effect which causes water retention and therefore increases the stool volume.
Requiring a prescription from your vet, the goal of Lactulose is a normal, soft stool rather than flushing out your cat. Hence, it should be used as a preventative treatment. If your cat actually has impacted stool, this type of laxative is not appropriate until the impaction is dealt with.
Heartworm disease, a parasitic infection spread by mosquitoes, can affect any dog. They might be young, old, male, female, indoor, outdoor, a city and/or country pet, but no pooch is immune. A common disease, it is naturally more prevalent in areas with a large mosquito population.
Heartworms have an extremely long life cycle. Living within a dog’s heart and/or surrounding vessels, they actually grow anywhere from four inches to a foot long, reaching maturity twelve months post infection. These parasites can survive for as long as five to seven years. Offspring of adult heartworms also circulate within the infected animal’s blood. Quite often, a dog infected with heartworms will be asymptomatic in early stages of the disease.
Stressing a dog’s heart by restricting its blood flow as well as damaging other internal organs, heartworms are considered the most dangerous type of parasites that dogs can contract. A dog’s heart can become enlarged and weakened, leading to congestive heart failure which can be fatal.
Other common, less serious, parasitic infections dogs often contract include hookworms, tapeworms and roundworms.
Signs and Symptoms of heartworm disease in dogs include:
Dog has problems breathing.
Dog develops a cough.
Dog tires more quickly than usual.
Dog is listless.
Dog appears to be losing weight.
Dog has a distended abdomen.
Dog has a rough coat.
**Note**: Prompt detection and treatment avoid needless suffering for your dog.
If your dog has developed any of the above heartworm disease symptoms, here are steps that should be taken for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment:
Blood Testing: Blood serum tests can determine the presence of heartworms in your dog’s bloodstream.
Radiology and/or Ultrasound: In cases of more advanced stages of heartworm, x-rays and/or ultrasound are utilized to detect this parasitic infection.
Medical Evaluation: Your dog’s veterinarian will perform a thorough medical examination to ascertain the progress of the disease.
Follow-up Medication Visits: A series of follow-up visits will be needed in order for the doctor to administer several injections of strong anti-parasitic medication.
Monitoring: Close monitoring of the animal is required, after the initial treatment, including hospitalization for a few days to keep the dog quiet.
Surgery: In very severe cases, surgery may be required. This is very dangerous for the dog as well as expensive for the you.
Confinement: Dead heartworms can cause strokes. Hence, the dog will need to be kept confined to a small room (or large crate) and not allowed to exercise for a few months after treatment is complete.
While you may find the above steps alarming, the good news is that the majority of dogs with heartworm disease can be successfully cured. This is typically accomplished with medications capable of killing both the adult parasites and their offspring.
However, there is no better cure than a proactive heartworm preventative! Heartworm prevention is considerably safer for your dog as well as much less expensive for you!
When given regularly and properly, heartworm preventative medications are very effective. They can successfully keep your beloved pet from contracting serious heartworm disease as well as control other types of parasitic infections (i.e. hookworm, roundworm, etc depending on medication).
It is essential your pet be kept on a monthly heartworm preventative regiment. Your dog still needs to be checked periodically to make sure the prescribed medication is providing adequate protection.
One very effective heartworm product is Tri-Heart Plus(ivermectin/pyrantel). This combination medication is available in three different dosages of flavoured chewable tablets, depending on the size of your dog. Click here to read about additional pet meds for heartworm prevention or browse through VetRxDirect’s full selection of related treatments.
So do your part to keep your pup healthy and happy year-round by keeping heartworms at bay!
One of the most unpleasant words in the English language, diarrhea is from a Greek word that means “to flow through.” We might snicker and sing funny songs about it, but diarrhea is no laughing matter, as it may be symptom of a serious disorder. When it occurs in our pets, watery, runny stool usually indicates gastrointestinal distress. As execrable as it may be, it is important to deal with the matter as quickly as possible. With that in mind, we will discuss the signs, causes, and treatment options for loose stool.
But before we continue, it is important to note that this is only an introduction to a common problem that strikes most pets at one time or another. For a proper, medical diagnosis, you should always consult a licensed veterinarian. And never, ever attempt to treat your pet for any medical problem without speaking to his/her doctor first.
Symptoms of Diarrhea in Pets
The classic sign that your dog or cat has loose stool is they need to go to the bathroom every few hours. They might stand by the door waiting to be let out with an urgent, worried look on their faces. Older and younger animals are also more likely to have indoor accidents when they have a particularly nasty bout of diarrhea.
Another common symptom of diarrhea is straining, which happens because the pet feels like it has to go to the bathroom even after it has gone several times. It is for this reason that many pet owners mistake diarrhea for constipation. As far as what comes out, the stool may be runny or watery, leading to explosive bouts of elimination.
Other symptoms that may indicate diarrhea in pets include:
Loss of appetite
Lack of energy
Causes of Diarrhea in Dog and Cats
There are numerous reasons why your dog or cat may come down with a case of runny stool. Some of them are minor, others are quite serious.
More often than not, your pet gets diarrhea from a dietary indiscretion, which is a medical term that means he ate something that didn’t agree with him. This food, or substance, upsets his stomach or GI tract, impeding the normal formation of stool. In most cases, the problem is the result of a sudden change in diet. Perhaps you switched from one dog food to another without examining the listed ingredients first. If they are dissimilar, any new ingredient could result in diarrhea.
Another common cause of runny stool are food allergies. Yes, pets and their owners can suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the main side effect of which is diarrhea. Your dog or cat may also itch and scratch incessantly if they have food allergies.
The most serious causes of diarrhea are pancreatitis and infection. Pancreatitis is when the pancreas becomes inflamed, which precipitates a whole host of negative symptoms. An infection, on the other hand, can be either viral or bacterial and may range from mild to life threatening.
Treatment for Diarrhea in Pets
If your pet seems healthy after an episode of diarrhea and exhibits none of the other signs we have discussed, it is safe to monitor him on your own for a few days. During this time period, you will want to alter his diet, since food is the most likely culprit. What to feed him?
Remember that loose stool is often caused by irritation in the GI tract that is caused by either food allergies or something that didn’t agree with your pet. It is for this reason that we recommend feeding your dog or cat a bland diet low in fat. You may also wish to space the meals a little farther apart to ensure that the new diet is not exacerbating his condition.
Many veterinarians recommend a mild diet of ground beef and rice for pets with loose stool. Just make sure that the beef is very lean, preferably 93 percent lean, since fat can irritate a sensitive GI tract. Another suggestion some experts endorse is to mix ground turkey, which is very lean, with mashed pumpkin, which is very mild.
Fortiflora for Cats and Flortiflora for Dogs
If the problem clears up on its own, it is safe to assume that your animal has intestinal issues that make him sensitive to certain foods. One effective way to treat this problem is to give him a safe and natural probiotic formula that helps promote a strong immune system and healthy intestinal function.
Fortiflora is a popular nutritional supplement for dogs and cats that does just that. Sold in powdered form, it contains a special strain of probiotics, which are live active cultures that help balance out an imbalanced GI tract, leading to fewer episodes of irritation and diarrhea. Thankfully, it is fairly easy to administer and inexpensive. Like any supplement, always consult your pet’s veterinarian before using it and always follow the dosing directions to the letter.
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Arthritis is one of the most common diseases on the planet, as there are over 100 different forms of it in nearly all vertebrates. (Even the dinosaurs had it!) Although more prevalent in the elderly, animals of any age can suffer from this degenerative disorder that attacks the joints. This includes our pets. A significant number of cats and dogs are afflicted with arthritis. Because they are generally larger, dogs are more likely to be diagnosed than cats.
What is osteoarthritis?
The most common form of the condition, osteoarthritis strikes one in five dogs during their lifetime. While older pouches are disproportionately affected, it is not at all uncommon for a younger dog to develop the disorder if he has a preexisting condition. This includes joint trauma, patella luxation, ruptured ligaments, hip dysplasia, and other issues that affect the joints and can precipitate degenerative arthritis.
Because they are heavier, large-breed dogs are more likely to be diagnosed with osteoarthritis than small dogs. Overweight and obese dogs of any size are also at an elevated risk of the disease, since the extra weight puts added stress and strain on their joints.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in Pets
Like other degenerative diseases, osteoarthritis tends to get worse with age. Dogs with the disorder suffer varying degrees of joint pain, stiffness, and lameness that is generally more severe during the early morning hours or after arising from a nap. Cold and damp weather can also exacerbate the symptoms, making it painful for your pet to perambulate. As a result, dogs with the disease may experience behavioral changes such as increased irritability and anger. Depression is another symptom animals immobilized by arthritis may suffer from.
Causes of Osteoarthritis in Pets
The primary cause of osteoarthritis is unknown. But as we mentioned, we do know that secondary causes like trauma and birth defects can expedite joint degeneration in dogs of any age. Obesity can also exacerbate preexisting conditions, causing further complications.
Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis in Pets
The only surefire way to diagnose the disorder is with x-rays. Your dog’s doctor will then examine the areas around the joint for bone spurs where the ligaments attach to the bone. In most cases of advanced osteoarthritis, narrowing joint space and greater bone density around the joint are apparent on x-rays.
Treatment of Osteoarthritis in Pets
There is no known cure for osteoarthritis, which is why treatment is limited to pain management. The goal is to alleviate the most uncomfortable and aggressive symptoms of the disorder, thereby improving your dog’s quality of life. A combination of physical therapy, weight control, and certain corticosteroids and analgesics can work wonders for most pets. Not only should they relieve pain, but these treatments may also improve limb function. There is even evidence that some medications can help repair joint cartilage and prevent further injury.
Another treatment method that some dog owners swear by is acupuncture. Just as it does in human subjects, the therapy may help relieve joint stiffness and pain, at least temporarily. So if you pet doesn’t mind being poked and pressed, acupuncture is an option.
As for physical therapy, studies have shown that moderate exercise is beneficial. Regular activity helps arthritic dogs maintain muscle mass and improve joint flexibility. Extreme exercise, however, can be harmful. Running, jumping, and standing on their hind legs are activities that can easily exacerbate osteoarthritis. It is for this reason that dogs with lameness or mobility issues should only ever be exercised on a leash.
Management of Osteoarthritis in Pets
If your furry friend is overweight or obese, he really must lose weight. Being heavy further complicates any treatment plan for osteoarthritis. Not only does it intensify the symptoms, it makes it less likely that your animal will be up for exercise. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a diet plan for your dog. Take it slow and make sure your pet is getting enough to eat. But don’t let him snack in between meals and stop feeding him from the table! Keep in mind that being overweight can lead to other diseases for your pooch, including diabetes.
Painful arthritis flare-ups can often be managed with anti-inflammatory drugs. You can also use cold and heat therapy to reduce joint swelling and pain. A heating pad on a cold days should do the trick and help reduce stiffness. There are also a number of effective supplements that are sold over the counter.
Phycox Joint Support for Dogs
A safe and natural nutritional supplement, Phycox promotes bone health and joint mobility in dogs. Available in three formulations—small bites, granules, and soft chewables—the supplement contains phycocyanin, a natural anti-inflammatory, as well as healthy antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids. Although it a non-prescription medication, you should consult your dog’s doctor before administering Phycox. Also be sure to select the right dosage size based on your pet’s weight. To read about other options, check out our post How to Control Arthritis Pain in Dogs.