Dahl Mobile Veterinary Services FAQs
Is there a big difference in price compared to a vet clinic?
It really isn’t expensive to have a mobile veterinarian come to your house, compared to the traditional veterinary clinic. If you were to compare prices, you would see that they are about the same.
The benefit to you is that you don’t need to drive anywhere (saving you time and gas), your pet is not messing up your vehicle (sometimes they are nervous and have accidents), so it really is quite convenient to you. The benefit to your pet is that it isn’t stressed by the car ride or sitting in the waiting room, and potentially picking up diseases from sick pets.
What is heartworm?
Dogs, and some wild canids (coyotes, foxes, wolves), are hosts for heartworm. The life cycle of heartworm is 7 to 9 months long. Every dog is at risk.
Heartworms are carried by mosquitos and are transmitted when the mosquito feeds. The heartworm develops in the mosquito for 10 to 14 days, when the environmental temperatures and humidity are just right. Now the infective larva will enter the dogs’ skin and then travel into the muscle. This stage takes about 12 days. For the next 50 to 70 days they travel through the blood stream, travelling to the heart and lungs and developing into their final stage. The adult heartworms are several inches long. They are now able to reproduce and send offspring into the bloodstream, which the next mosquito will pick up.
Dogs will have microfilariae (baby heartworm) in their bloodstream as early as 6 months after infection.
Veterinarians prescribe medications to kill microfilariae injected by mosquitoes into a dog, so they do not develop into adult heartworms. All dogs from ages of 8 weeks and older should be on a preventative. All dogs need to be tested yearly for heartworm disease prior to starting these medications.
A veterinarian takes a blood sample from your dog and tests it for antigens present of the female heartworms. If your dog is negative, it will be started on a preventative. If your dog is positive, further tests are necessary before treatment is started.
If a dog has a lot of adult heartworm living in the blood vessels of the lungs and heart, it will have clinical signs of heart disease – coughing, shortness of breath, difficulty with exercise, eventual death.
Why are vaccines important?
Vaccines protect your pet against diseases, keeping your pet healthier. Some of these diseases are zoonotic, meaning that people can contract them from animals. One such example is rabies.
Vaccines produce immunity against particular diseases. By vaccinating animals against diseases, we are decreasing the prevalence (number of cases) of that particular disease. This then will make it difficult for a disease to spread because there are so few susceptible animals left to infect.
Occassionally there are individual animals which may have a reaction to the vaccine. Minor vaccine reactions can include being tired, having a fever or being sore at the injection site. There may be some vomiting or diarrhea. Sometimes there is facial swelling. Very infrequently does an animal have more life threatening reactions. Discuss your concerns with your veterinarian, but protecting your pet against serious diseases is very important.
Why is my dog/cat itchy?
The odd scratch is quite normal, we all do it. But, when you notice your pet scratching, licking, chewing themselves a lot, it is time for a trip to the vet!
Environmental allergies, food allergies, skin infections, fleas, sarcoptic mites, and ear mites are some of the more common things that cause our pets to scratch. What can be done to help? Many things, but first you need to know that treating itchiness can be a long process. It may be simple if fleas are found and your pet receives some medication and it stops the itch. But what if your pet has allergies? These can be difficult to sort out sometimes. There are a few reasons for the itch and each one needs to be treated differently. For example, there may be a skin infection which was caused by the constant licking/chewing, and this was caused by ragweed allergies. So your pet would need antibiotics, maybe special medicated shampoos, pills to reduce itchiness immediately and then a medication to be used longterm to try and prevent the itch from returning.
How do I get rid of fleas?
Fleas are annoying little pests. They sneak into your house and suddenly you have a population explosion! Did you know that you can only see 5% of the problem (that is the adults), the rest is in your environment—eggs, larvae and pupae. The most effective products to kill fleas and clean up your environment, may be purchased at a veterinary hospital. These products are also safe to use.
There are topicals (go on your pets’ skin) and oral (eaten by your pet) products. The topicals will kill the adult fleas when they come into contact with this medication. The oral medications kill the adult fleas after they have taken a blood meal from your pet. It is important that all pets in the house are placed on one of these medications, all at the same time and that you allow your pets full access to your house so they will kill the fleas, which could be anywhere. It is also important to retreat your pets once every 4 weeks for 4 consecutive months to kill all fleas in your environment.
What is the difference between flea products?
Medications prescribed and sold to you from your veterinarian are specific for your pet. Your vet has your pets medical history and knows what is safe to use. Your veterinarian is only using medications that have undergone rigorous testing by pharmaceutical companies, are backed by lots of research, are guaranteed, and have support to help if needed.
What is the difference between veterinary medical diets and other pet foods?
We offer foods specifically meant for your pet and its particular disease, such as diet foods, foods for urinary problems, foods for animals with kidney disease etc. We also can offer maintenance foods from puppy and kitten to senior diets.
Why is my dog/cat limping?
Animals do injure themselves (just like us) and can pull muscles and ligaments( soft tissue injury), and they also will develop arthritis as they age. Since our pets are good at hiding pain, it may be difficult for us to recognize the signs. Limping is one sign that we see quite often.
First, have them examined by your veterinarian so they can diagnose the problem. It could be a soft tissue injury, a dislocation, a bone fracture, arthritis, bone cancer. X-rays may need to be done, and often these are performed under sedation. Depending on the reason why your pet is limping, treatment could involve cage rest, pain medication, joint supplements, splinting/casting, surgery.
Cats and scratching
You might think your cat is scratching your nice furniture just to be mean. But no, it is a normal and natural behaviour. You can save your furniture and let your cat still do what it wants. But first, why do they scratch things?
Cats scratch to stretch out, to extend and pull back their nails, it helps in removing the outer part of the nail, and they leave a mark behind. There are glands on the foot bottom of their feet that leave a scent behind, and the scratch marks also let other cats know that they are there.
Since you don’t find it necessary for your cat to mark your furniture, it is important then to give your cat a scratching post. Offer several scratching posts of different materials (carpeted to cardboard), either lying on ground and vertically hung, long enough for cat to fully stretch out, beside current scratching areas and sleeping areas. Make the scratching area a play centre—sprinkle cat nip on them, dangle toys around. Encourage your cat to scratch on the posts, reward it with praise and perhaps a tasty morsel of food.
Feliway spray is also helpful if sprayed on the areas you DO NOT want your cat to scratch. This is a synthetic version of a pheromone cats produce when they are calm and by spraying it on the inappropriately scratched areas, you are telling the cat there is no need to mark your territory.
Why is my cat not using the litterbox?
A commonly seen problem with cat patients is urinary issues. Your cat is trying to tell you that he/she is not feeling well when they are urinating outside of the litterbox. There is a difference between urinating and spraying. If you find a wet puddle on the ground (horizontal surface), it is urine. If you find dampness on a wall (vertical surface), it is spraying.
Three reasons why cats urinate outside the litterbox:
1) Crystals have formed in their urine and it hurts to go.
2) Stress. Something is causing anxiety.
3) Bladder infection.
Spraying is due to stress, and marking territory. Both males and females, intact and neutered, can spray.
Besides you just finding puddles of urine all over, you may have noticed other things. Maybe your cat has been making frequent trips to the litterbox, maybe you have heard him/her cry when trying to go or standing in the position to go for long periods of time, sometimes just a few drops of urine are found.
Sometimes a urinary problem becomes an emergency because the cat is unable to urinate any longer due to crystals forming a plug in the urethra (tube that exits from the bladder to the outside). If you find your cat crying, lying around and not moving much, vomiting and the belly is painful to the touch—take your cat immediately to a veterinarian.
Each problem is treatable. Your veterinarian will need to do a urinalysis to look for crystals, bacteria, red and white blood cells. Your veterinarian may prescribe a special veterinary diet, behaviour drugs or antibiotics. The sooner your cat is correctly diagnosed, the sooner the problem and the better chance the problem will be resolved.