Here at National Spay Alliance Foundation we are asked questions every day about pets. We decided to post a few those questions with their answers.
My pet is throwing up/has diarrhea. What's going on?Answer: Vomiting and diarrhea are the most common signs of gastrointestinal upset. There are many possible causes for these conditions. Loosely translated, the term gastroenteritis means an upset or inflamed stomach and intestines. As in people, gastroenteritis in pets can be caused by a multitude of underlying problems ranging from minor to serious and life threatening. Probably 90% of the sudden onset diarrhea cases are caused by eating something that has upset the gastrointestinal system. It could be as simple as eating a food or treat that your dog is not accustomed to and this triggered an intolerance or irritation to the GI tract. If the diarrhea continues more than a day or so it could be an in balance of bad bacteria to good bacteria. Veterinary prescribed medication is usually needed to stop the cycle. Sudden onset diarrhea and vomiting may also be from a virus. The most notorious virus is Parvovirus. This virus is very contagious, especially to young dogs. Left untreated this virus can cause very painful death. Parasites of the intestinal tract do cause diarrhea, but most commonly, the diarrheas are not sudden onset. They seem to develop slowly and progress and worsen if treatment is not pursued. These include Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Coccidia, and Giardia. These can managed through a monthly dose of heartworm medication for your dog.
How old does my pet have to be to be spayed or neutered?Answer: Here is what the ASPCA recommends: By spaying or neutering your pet, you’ll help control the pet homelessness crisis, which results in millions of healthy dogs and cats being euthanized in the United States each year simply because there aren’t enough homes to go around. There are also medical and behavioral benefits to spaying (female pets) and neutering (male pets) your animals.
Here are some of the medical benefits:
Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life. Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases. Neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer and some prostate problems. And behavioral benefits:
Your spayed female pet won't go into heat. While cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they'll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house! Your male dog will be less likely to roam away from home. An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate, including finding creative ways escape from the house. Once he's free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other male animals. Your neutered male may be better behaved. Unneutered dogs and cats are more likely to mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Your dog might be less likely to mount other dogs, people and inanimate objects after he’s neutered. Some aggression problems may be avoided by early neutering. Spaying/neutering your pets is also highly cost-effective. The cost of your pet's spay/neuter surgery is far less than the cost of having and caring for a litter.
When can I start vaccinating my dog?Answer: Vaccines are only effective once a puppy has been weaned. Your vet will advise you on the immunizations that are best for your pet, which depend on many factors including where you live and how many other pets are in your home. Most states require that all dogs be vaccinated against rabies. Puppies receive most of their vaccinations every two to four weeks until they are at least 16 weeks old. Some vaccinations are given as a combination, such as the DHLPP, which helps protect against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvo. Vaccines can be started as young as 6 weeks old. The Rabies vaccine can be given as early as 12 weeks old.
These are probably the most commonly asked questions we field every day. Please feel free to contact us if you have more questions or would like to schedule and appointment. Remember you can walk in for vaccines and heartworm testing. www.nationalspayalliancefoundation.org.