26900 75th Street, Salem, WI 53168
262-859-2560 262-859-2560

The Greatest Gifts

12/12/2017

Your pet is a loved and valuable member of your family, so it only makes sense that you want to buy him a special holiday gift. If you decide on a toy, we at Bristol Vet Service would like to remind you of the following important safety considerations:

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Silver Muzzles and Golden Years

11/13/2017

A baby’s first birthday is a bittersweet milestone for parents because it’s hard to believe how much their son or daughter changed in just a year. When compared with the lifespan of our pets, it’s important to note that our pets age more quickly than we do. Although our pets reach their “golden years” at varying times based on breed, size and species, at Bristol Vet Service  we recommend bi-annual preventive care exams starting when your pet reaches his senior years. Because of pet’s accelerated aging, new health concerns can appear in very subtle ways, and early detection is the key to keeping your pet as healthy as possible.

Most Common Health Conditions of Older Pets

Dogs and cats experience many of the same age-related health conditions that people do. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the most prevalent ones include:

Cancer: Cancer is the number one killer of both dogs and cats over age 10, with mast cell tumors most common in dogs and leukemia in cats. Some signs that your older pet could have cancer include slow-healing wounds, behavior changes, weight loss, fatigue, and lack of appetite.

Kidney disease: Healthy kidneys are essential for proper waste elimination. When the kidneys become diseased, your pet’s urine and feces remain trapped inside her body. This can cause significant pain, vomiting, weight loss, incontinence, and greater thirst.

Diabetes: Pets are becoming just as inactive and obese as people are. In fact, more than half of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese. This increases the risk of diabetes, but a pet doesn’t have to weigh too much to develop the disease. Some signs to look for include increased thirst, increased urination, irritability, fatigue, weight loss, and vision disturbances.

Arthritis: Your pet can develop arthritis when cartilage, which acts as a cushioning between bones, starts to wear down. This results in the bones rubbing together and causing pain. You may notice that your dog or cat uses some limbs at the exclusion of others, walks with a stiff gait, seems reluctant to jump, or vocalizes loudly when you pick him up.

Senility: Mild cognitive impairment is so common in the senior years that approximately half of all dogs and cats show some signs of it. You may notice a change in personality or a regression in previously learned skills. It’s important to remain patient and not punish your pet for something she can’t control.

Maximize Your Pet’s Health in the Senior Years

Unlike people who can voice their discomfort, animals have a natural tendency to hide when they feel sick or in pain. Regular preventive care is essential because it allows us to detect health issues you could easily miss. Between appointments, you can improve your pet’s quality of life with joint medication, supplements, toys to keep cognition sharp, and many other supplies from our online store. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 262-859-2560 with questions about senior pet care or to schedule an appointment.

 

Image Credit:
Credit: jirousova/ iStock / Getty Images Plus
 

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Halloween Can Be a Scary Holiday for Pets

10/18/2017

As much as you and your children might enjoy Halloween, this particular holiday
can be a stressful one for pets. They don’t understand why you have decorations
and carved pumpkins with candles in them around the house and naturally feel
curious enough to investigate. Your dog or cat may end up swallowing something
inedible or even starting a fire by knocking over a candle. These are just two of
several Halloween safety concerns to keep in mind. Bristol Vet Service wants to
provide the following safety tips to help keep your pets safe and happy during the
month of October.


Don’t Share Your Candy
If anyone breaks out the treats before Halloween, instruct them not to share with
the family pet regardless of how much he stares at them with sad eyes.
Chocolate is especially problematic for pets because it can cause diarrhea,
vomiting, and other symptoms associated with gastric distress. The artificial
sweetener Xylitol may cause similar problems. If you really want to give your pet
a treat, order something especially created for pets from our online store .


Pets Should Remain Indoors
The doorbell ringing and seeing groups of excited children at the door can be too
much for your pet to handle. He may try to slip out the door or even become
aggressive. To avoid these issues, plan to keep your dog or cat in an area of the
house where you can close the door, and reduce noise and anxiety causing
stimuli. Be sure to provide his food, bedding, and toys while he stays in the room
and check in frequently to make sure he’s okay. You can even buy food puzzles
(which lengthen time your pet engages with his food) or toys from our online
store to help pass the time.


Another reason pets should stay inside is that October 31 tends to bring out
people who like to play pranks or are deliberately cruel to animals. Due to
unfounded superstitions about them, this is especially true of black cats. The
problem is so widespread that many animal shelters will not allow people to
adopt a black cat on or near Halloween.


How to Choose a Safe Costume
Some stores sell such adorable Halloween costumes for pets that it can be hard
to resist buying one. If you choose to dress up your dog or cat, be sure you’re
always nearby to supervise. Ensure he has no breathing obstructions and can
see clearly. Very importantly, watch him carefully for signs of irritation, discomfort
or fear which may indicate that he is probably not enjoying being dressed up for
the event. Also remember that your pet might chew on the costume and end up
swallowing a piece of it. A close eye on your pet’s environment is definitely a
“must” for Halloween.


Should you experience an emergency with your pet, call us at 262-859-2560. If it
is after hours, you’ll be directed for the appropriate number to call. Happy
Halloween from the staff of Bristol Vet Service!


Image credit: JasonOndreicka / Stock / Getty Images Plus

 

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Preventive Care Helps Your Senior Pet Age Well

9/18/2017
You may have heard that one year in a dog or cat’s life is equivalent to seven years for a human. That isn’t quite accurate. According to the American Veterinary Association, the aging formula for companion animals goes more like this:
  • Fifteen human years by the end of the first year
  • An additional nine human years for the second year
  • An additional five human years for each year thereafter
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Kids Headed Back to School? Watch Your Pet for Signs of Separation Anxiety

8/1/2017
It’s August, and that means millions of kids go back to school either this month or by early September. After a long summer together that was probably more unstructured than the school year, both your kids and pets might not be ready for the change. While your children can express their anxious feelings, your pets can’t do the same. Don’t feel surprised if your dog or cat expresses longing for his young friends in a variety of ways. The most common signs of separation anxiety include:
  • Destructive chewing
  • Howling by dogs and loud vocalizations for cats
  • Lack of appetite
  • Pacing
  • Soiling in the house
  • Trying to escape the yard to run after your children
Cats may also groom themselves excessively to the point of causing bald spots. While dogs tend to become more aggressive when feeling anxious, cats may hide and show more fearful behavior.
 
Distract Your Pet When Your Children Leave
Distraction is a useful tool in helping to keep your pet’s mind off her friend who has gone to school. For dogs, try filling a Kong with peanut butter or another favorite treat that she must work to uncover. A catnip-filled mouse will help distract your cat from what’s taking place at the front door. If other people are home, someone should interact with the pet while your children leave to catch the bus. If everyone leaves the house at the same time, be sure that your dog or cat gets plenty of attention from at least one person.
 
Provide a Stimulating Environment When Your Pet is Home Alone
Be sure to rotate your pet’s toys frequently if he must be alone for long periods. The toys will be a novelty and help him feel less lonely. Dogs love any chew toy and need a comfortable place to sleep for naps. Your cat should have scratching posts, one or more perches to look out the window, hiding places, and toys as well. Leaving soft music on in the background while your family is away can help to calm anxiety also.
 
Both dogs and cats have a strong sense of smell and associate different aromas with their human family. It can be a comfort to your pet to leave something out that your children wear or use often as it will contain their unique human scent.
 
Make Sure Your Pet Gets Plenty of Attention
Your pet will adjust to the back-to-school change more quickly if everyone in the family gives her several minutes of undivided attention when they are home. This reassures her that she’s still an important part of the family and that no one has forgotten about her. Be sure to include your pet in family activities whenever possible.
 
Schedule an Appointment with Us if Your Pet’s Anxiety Persists
Some pets have a more difficult time with schedule changes than others. If you have tried these tips and your dog or cat remains highly anxious, request an appointment at Bristol Veterinary Service. Our veterinarians can provide you with additional ideas, such as full or part-time doggy daycare for dogs. In severe cases, a veterinarian can prescribe anti-anxiety medication that you can get from our online store.
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July is Preventive Care Exam Awareness Month

7/10/2017
If you only visit Bristol Veterinary Service when your pet is injured or sick, you’re missing the opportunity to get a complete picture of her health. The preventive care exam allows our veterinarians to detect potential health issues and begin monitoring or treating them right away.  By committing to preventive care, you could extend it by months or years. It’s well worth the investment when you consider how much love and joy your pet brings into your life.
 
Our Recommended Schedule for Preventive Care Exams
If your pet is normally healthy and between the ages of 12 months and seven years, an annual exam is usually sufficient. Pets enter middle-age around age seven and their senior years around age 10, so we recommend bi-annual check-ups for pets in this age group. This is when we most often start seeing issues such arthritis, diabetes, and kidney disease. Your puppy or kitten under one year will need to come in several times before his first birthday for routine vaccinations and monitoring.
 
Required vaccines for dogs include canine adenovirus, canine parvovirus, distemper, and rabies. The first shot offers protection for both hepatitis and respiratory disease. Essential vaccines for cats include feline calicivirus, feline panleukopenia, rabies, and rhinotracheitis. Our veterinarians will also discuss several optional vaccines you may want to consider for your pet depending on her species, age, lifestyle, and general health. Unless you plan to breed your dog or cat, we recommend sterilization as soon as possible. We can complete the spay or neuter procedure as early as six months.
 
A Typical Preventive Care Exam
If your pet needs a new vaccine or booster, we will provide it at this appointment. This is also a great time to talk to our staff about any behavioral concerns, parasite prevention, exercise, and diet. We will check your pet for parasites and let you know if we discover any. Our comprehensive preventive care exam also consists of the following:
  • Intestinal or stomach problems, which might show up as abnormal stools, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Unusual urinary discharge or mammary gland issues in females
  • Nasal issues, which might include labored breathing, allergies, asthma, coughing, or sneezing
  • Coat and skin for problems with anal sacs, hair loss, pigment changes, or excessive shedding
  • Teeth and gums for oral health diseases
  • Legs and feet for problems such as torn nails, weakness, limping, or joint pain
  • Eyes and ears for signs of normal vision and hearing as well as absence of unusual discharge
  • We will check your pet's weight at each visit to establish a baseline and let you know if we have any concerns about being overweight or underweight
Our staff will complete further diagnostic testing if we notice any potential issues during your pet’s exam. This may include a blood or urine test, x-ray, stool sample, or whatever is necessary to diagnose the health condition. We will contact you with the results as soon as possible and discuss a treatment plan at that time as well. If your pet needs medication or other follow-up treatment, you may be able to order what you need from our online store. 
 
If it’s been more than a year since your adult pet’s last preventive care exam or six months since your senior pet had an exam, please contact us at 262-859-2560 to schedule an appointment. We will let you know our preferred schedule for puppies and kittens the first time you bring your new pet to see us. 
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Preventing and Treating Hot Spots on Your Dog or Cat

6/15/2017
Acute moist dermatitis, more commonly known as hot spots, occurs due to a bacterial infection on your pet’s skin. Your dog or cat will naturally bite, chew, lick or scratch his skin in response to an irritant. Unfortunately for your pet, this tends to increase rather than decrease his discomfort. Anal gland disease, allergies to fleas or food ingredients, mange, tick bites, and inadequate grooming are the primary causes of hot spots in companion animals.
 
Hot, humid weather can cause excess skin moisture that in turn causes hot spots to develop. It’s especially important to check your pet’s skin for evidence of hot spots now that the weather is consistently warm.

How to Recognize Hot Spots
If your dog or cat has developed hot spots, she will exhibit at least a few of these symptoms
  • Lesion that appears red or raised
  • Unexplained swelling
  • Constant licking or chewing a certain spot of her skin
  • A red or brown color around the hot spot
  • Unpleasant smell coming from the affected area
  • Pus and oozing
  • Displaying obvious signs of discomfort or pain
Preventing and Treating Hot Spots
Keeping your pet’s skin healthy is the easiest way to prevent him from developing hot spots. We recommend using year-round flea and tick protection in addition to grooming his coat regularly. Matted fur traps moisture and can attract fleas, ticks, and other parasites. Occasionally, a pet may have a behavioral issue that causes the biting, scratching, and licking that leads to hot spots. If that’s the case with your pet, speak to our veterinarians to help determine what could be causing the unwanted behavior. They are happy to recommend a specific product to prevent parasites as well.
 
Treatment at Bristol Veterinary Servicetypically consists of cutting the fur around the hot spot and cleaning it with a mild anesthetic. A prescription for cortisone cream to control itching may be appropriate as well. We encourage you to contact us right away if your pet displays any of the potential signs of hot spots described above. Our telephone number is 262-859-2560.
 
Keep Your Pet’s Skin Healthy with Help from Our Online Store
When you sign up for a MyVetStoreOnline account, you can order flea and tick control products, a Colorsplash e-collar to prevent your pet's access to the hot spot, Yuck No Chew spray, and several other products to keep your pet’s skin healthy, dry, and free of hot spots.
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Safety Tips for a Fun Summer with Your Pet

5/2/2017
Your pet is part of the family and you naturally care about her safety. You also want to include her in family activities whenever possible over the carefree days of summer. By keeping the following safety tips in mind, your entire family can have a summer to remember.
 
Swimming Doesn’t Come Naturally to All Dogs
Dog owners can become too relaxed keeping an eye on their dog near water because they assume all dogs possess an innate ability to swim. This simply isn’t true, particularly for dog breeds with small hindquarters and large chests. When bringing your dog to a pool or beach this summer, make sure you’re in the water with him and remain no more than an arm’s length away. If you decide to go boating with your dog, he should have a life jacket just like everyone else in the boat.
 
Parasite Control During the Summer
Internal and external parasites can be a problem all year long, but they’re especially prevalent in the summer. Fleas can survive long periods without a living host and may burrow in your carpet or furniture until one becomes available. Be sure to vacuum your carpet regularly, wash your pet’s bedding in hot water, and give your pet frequent baths during the summer to minimize fleas.
 
Ticks are more than just a nuisance because they can transmit serious or deadly diseases. Since they’re attracted to warm areas on your pet’s body such as the skin folds, they can be difficult to see. Be sure to check your pet’s body from head to tail every night, whether she goes outside or not. Ticks can easily get into the house through another pet or on someone’s clothing.
 
Intestinal worms such as heartworm, roundworm, and hookworm can cause serious illness or death in severe cases. Vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, breathing difficulty, and general lethargy are just some of the indications that your pet could have an intestinal worm.
 
You can find the parasite control products you need in our online store. Our veterinarians would also be happy to recommend a product based on your pet’s lifestyle factors.
 
Gardening and Lawn Care
If possible, keep your pet indoors when you’re mowing the grass, applying chemicals, or working in the garden. Chocolate mulch is popular among gardeners, but can be toxic to pets if ingested. Insecticides, snail bait, and slug bait are among the top 10 accidental poisonings for domestic pets. If you set rodent traps outdoors, make sure your pet can’t get at them. Some of these chemicals can cause seizures, tremors, and death. You may want to consider an organic alternative for your lawn and garden products.
 
No People Food at Picnics
There’s no shortage of opportunity to cook outside in the summer. Your dog or cat would like nothing better than to find scraps of meat on the ground or even grab whatever is cooking on the grill. Food meant for people can be toxic and a choking hazard while your pet could burn himself on a hot grill. Having a pet underfoot is probably not a good idea at these events. If your pet is present, make sure that all guests know he is not to receive any scraps.
 
In the event of an emergency this summer, please contact our clinic at 262-859-2560. Our answering service picks up after hours and will notify a veterinarian.
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April is Heartworm Awareness Month

4/4/2017

Dogs and cats get heartworm disease when an infected mosquito bites them. The heartworm then gets inside of their body and can reproduce, which only worsens your pet’s symptoms. The illness is much more prevalent in dogs, but cat owners also need to know about the symptoms so they can prevent and treat it if necessary. Puppies can start on preventive heartworm medication at eight weeks old without any type of testing. At six months of age, a puppy needs to test negative for heartworm infection before a veterinarian can prescribe preventive medication.

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It's Flea and Tick Season

3/2/2017
After a long winter, it’s finally time for spring in Wisconsin. While most people gladly welcome the warmer weather, pet parents need to increase their flea and tick prevention efforts. These parasites become much more prevalent as the temperature rises. It’s also important to recognize the symptoms of flea and tick infestation so you can promptly treat it.

Fleas 101
Fleas are wingless insects with a lifespan ranging from 14 days to one year. Although tiny in size and not always visible to the human eyes, fleas can jump as high as two feet. They can’t survive and reproduce without a living host. The following symptoms are common indications of fleas or ticks in dogs and cats:
  • Droppings that resemble grains of sand or tiny white eggs on the fur
  • Excessive biting, licking, or scratching
  • Fur loss
  • Gums appear pale
  • Tapeworm
  • Scabs and hot spots
  • Allergies
Besides attaching to your pet’s fur, fleas can enter your home on the clothes, shoes, or body of people. Once inside, they seek bedding, carpet, and furniture because these places are warm enough to allow them to burrow. After successfully finding an animal host, fleas continually reproduce throughout their short lifespan. These parasites can consume up to 15 times their weight in blood, which puts your pet at risk for anemia. Some dogs and cats also develop dermatitis due to an allergy to flea saliva.
 
What You Need to Know About Ticks
You’re most likely to spot these blood-sucking parasites on your pet’s head, neck, ears, and feet. Ticks live in tall brush and grass, making it easy to jump onto your pet’s body. Unfortunately, indoors pets aren’t immune from ticks since they can get into the house from another pet or a person.
 
Dogs and cats typically don’t show obvious signs of a tick bite. To make matters worse, you often can’t see them until they have become engorged with your pet’s blood. In the meantime, they can transmit diseases such as tick paralysis, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. If your pet goes outside, we recommend running your hands the entire length of his body every night. Be sure to check the underside for ticks as well.
 
Preventing Fleas and Ticks
You can reduce the flea and tick population in your yard by mowing the lawn frequently and picking up rake clippings and other yard waste. Using a flea comb and doing a tick check daily is the best way to ensure that these parasites don’t have a chance to do serious damage. We also recommend washing your pet’s bedding and toys in hot water weekly.
 
Our veterinarians are happy to recommend the most effective flea and tick prevention products based on your pet’s species and lifestyle. Keep in mind that we also offer a range of flea and tick products in our online store. 
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It's National Pet Dental Health Month

2/1/2017
The American Veterinary Medical Association declared February as National Pet Dental Health Month several years ago to underscore the importance of oral healthcare. Did you know that up to 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats develop periodontal disease by the time they are three years old? This is alarming because untreated periodontal disease can cause infection by spreading to other areas of the body. It can also cause your pet to lose teeth, making it more difficult for him to chew food and get the nutrition he needs to remain healthy.
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Have You Registered for a MyVetStoreOnline Account Yet?

1/1/2017
Between work, family responsibilities, and caring for your home, you have precious little time to add another errand to the list. However, you can’t very well let your cat run out of specialty food or your dog go without needed medication. When you shop with MyVetStoreOnline through Bristol Veterinary Service, you don’t have to take time out of your already busy schedule to get your pet the things he or she needs. You can set up an account in less than a minute and then order from one or several of the following product categories: 
  • Cat Food 
  • Dog Food 
  • Horses 
  • Small Mammals 
  • Flea and Tick 
  • Heartworm 
  • Medications 
  • Easy Dose It! (Single doses of medication) 
  • Supplements 
  • Dental 
  • Eye and Ear 
  • Joint 
  • Skin and Coat 
  • Supplies 
  • Gifts 

How to Register for Your MyVetStoreOnline Account and Place an Order
To sign up for an account, click here to go the registration page. Once there, you just need to enter your name, email and mailing addresses, and your telephone number. You can also record your pet’s name and species for future reference. That’s all there is to the registration process.

You can start shopping for pet products immediately by navigating to the All Products tab. This brings you the list of the 15 top-level categories listed above. When you click on the product category, you will see several sub-categories that make it even easier to find the specific items you need. Just click on the name of the item you’re interested in to see more details about it. For example, the listing for Royal Canin Cat Food gives a description, feeding instructions, and ingredients.

You can add items to your cart as you go and then click the Check Out tab when you’re ready to finalize your order. The system displays shipping costs and any applicable sales tax before requesting your payment information.

After You Place Your Order
Before MyVetStoreOnline can ship your order, it must go to one of our veterinarians for approval. This is to ensure your pet’s safety. He/she will contact you with any questions or concerns about the products you ordered for your pet if necessary. It then takes three to five business days after his/her approval for MyVetStoreOnline to ship your order. All orders over $38 ship free via UPS. You also have the option of requesting Next Day Air on most orders. Refrigerated items ship by Next Day Air automatically. 
 
Bristol Veterinary Service is happy to offer this online shopping option as a convenience to our valued clients. 
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Give Your Pet a Safe Gift This Holiday Season

12/1/2016

Your pet is a part of your family and you naturally want to include her in the holiday festivities, including giving her a new toy as a gift. At Bristol Veterinary Service, we urge you to consider the following factors when choosing a present for your pet:

• Your pet’s size is a big consideration when it comes to giving him chewable toys. A small rubber ball may be fine for a poodle, but a large breed dog might choke on it.
• Stitches, plastic eyes, ribbons, and ties attached to toys can quickly become a choking hazard if your dog or cat is able to get the item loose. Be sure to remove these items before giving your pet the toy to ensure her safety.
• Your pet should understand the difference between his toys and items that belong to other people in the household.  One way to teach him what is safe to play with is to give him plenty of positive reinforcement when he reaches for his own toy. Pet-proof your home as much as possible so he doesn’t have access to children’s toys, TV remotes, office supplies, and other things that could hurt him if ingested. Be sure to take away items that aren’t his immediately if he does get into them.
• If you choose to give a stuffed toy, make certain that you know what is inside of it. Stuffing material and beads could both present a choking hazard if your pet rips the toy apart. It’s best to supervise your pet with any new toy until you know how she will interact with it.

Shop at Our Online Store to Guarantee Toy Safety
Bristol Veterinary Service makes it easy for you to complete your holiday shopping for your pet by ordering your gifts from My Vet Store Online. Our Internet store offers several categories of products, including treats and toys. At this busy time of year, it’s one less trip you have to make to a crowded pet store or mall. 

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Knowing the Signs of Pet Cancer Could Save a Life

11/25/2016

Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs and cats, particularly when the animal is over age 10. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 50 percent of senior dogs and 33 percent of senior cats die of some type of cancer. No matter what the age of the pet, a cancer diagnosis often comes as a complete shock to his owner. That is because dogs and cats are good at hiding their symptoms and don't have the ability to verbalize that something is wrong. 
 
As a concerned pet owner, it's up to you to know the signs of cancer so you can seek immediate treatment if your pet displays any of them. While having some of these symptoms doesn't necessarily mean your pet has a tumor, it's always best to have them checked out at Bristol Veterinary Service.
 
• Abnormal swelling on any part of the body
• Labored breathing
• Difficulty eliminating as usual
• Loss of appetite and/or weight loss
• Inability to chew or swallow food
• Unusual body odors
• Non-healing sores
• Bleeding from any bodily opening
• Walking with a stiff gait
• Not as active as usual and tires easily
 
While dogs get cancer more often, the disease tends to be more aggressive in cats. Early diagnosis and treatment affords your pet the best chance at sending the cancer into remission. 
 
The Top Five Locations for Cancer in Pets
Skin, mammary gland, head and neck, lymphoma, and testicular cancer are the top five types diagnosed in dogs and cats. With mammary gland cancer, 85 percent of tumors are diagnosed as malignant. However, getting your pet spayed before age one greatly reduces the chances of her developing it. The same is true of testicular cancer, which is common in dogs but rare in cats. 

Preventive Care Catches Tumors Early
Your pet doesn't always display symptoms when she has developed cancer. This is one reason that regular veterinary check-ups are so important. We encourage you to visit Bristol Veterinary Service at least once per year for a wellness exam in addition to scheduling an immediate appointment if you notice any of the above symptoms.

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Come See Us When Your Pet is Well

10/3/2016

October is National Pet Wellness Month. This purpose of this awareness campaign is to help pet owners understand the importance of preventive care. Visiting Bristol Veterinary Service once a year when your pet is not sick or injured gives our veterinarians the opportunity to check for unknown health issues, follow-up on previous treatment plans, and monitor her weight, growth, and behavior. We recommend bi-annual preventive care exams for senior pets due to their changing health needs. If you have a puppy or kitten, our veterinarians will discuss the preferred vaccine and exam schedule at her first appointment.

How You Can Promote Wellness at Home
Here are several things you can do to promote health and longevity in your pet in addition to regular veterinary care:

• Feed him nutritious food specific to his species and avoid sharing food meant for humans. Train him not to beg for food and don't give in when he gives you sad eyes. Treats are fine as long as you give them in moderation. Manage your pet's weight by making sure that he gets daily exercise and feeding him a set amount at certain times during the day. 
• Care for her oral health needs by brushing her teeth regularly and scheduling a dental cleaning and exam as part of her annual check-up.
• Spay or neuter your pet by six months of age. Not only does this prevent unwanted litters of puppies or kittens, altering a pet helps to decrease uterine and prostate cancer as well as aggressive mating behavior.

We Look Forward to Your Visit
The entire staff of Bristol Veterinary Service looks forward to seeing you and your pet at her next wellness exam. Together, we can ensure that your pet remains your faithful companion for years to come. 
 

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Come See Us When Your Pet is Well

10/1/2016

October is National Pet Wellness Month. This purpose of this awareness campaign is to help pet owners understand the importance of preventive care. Visiting Bristol Veterinary Service once a year when your pet is not sick or injured gives our veterinarians the opportunity to check for unknown health issues, follow-up on previous treatment plans, and monitor her weight, growth, and behavior. We recommend bi-annual preventive care exams for senior pets due to their changing health needs. If you have a puppy or kitten, our veterinarians will discuss the preferred vaccine and exam schedule at her first appointment.

How You Can Promote Wellness at Home
Here are several things you can do to promote health and longevity in your pet in addition to regular veterinary care:

• Feed him nutritious food specific to his species and avoid sharing food meant for humans. Train him not to beg for food and don't give in when he gives you sad eyes. Treats are fine as long as you give them in moderation. Manage your pet's weight by making sure that he gets daily exercise and feeding him a set amount at certain times during the day. 
• Care for her oral health needs by brushing her teeth regularly and scheduling a dental cleaning and exam as part of her annual check-up.
• Spay or neuter your pet by six months of age. Not only does this prevent unwanted litters of puppies or kittens, altering a pet helps to decrease uterine and prostate cancer as well as aggressive mating behavior.

We Look Forward to Your Visit
The entire staff of Bristol Veterinary Service looks forward to seeing you and your pet at her next wellness exam. Together, we can ensure that your pet remains your faithful companion for years to come. 
 

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It's Happy Healthy Cat Month

9/8/2016

Although your cat probably thinks it should be every month, September is officially Happy Cat Month. The love and care you provide your cat makes a big difference in his longevity and overall well-being. Cats are wonderful companions who really ask for so little in exchange for the purrs, snuggles, and unconditional love. In honor of this special month, here are some things you can do to give your cat the happy life he deserves:

• Provide several places to sleep and hide throughout your home. Cats need a place to retreat when they feel fearful in addition to wanting privacy from time to time.
• Get your cat microchipped and provide her with a collar and identification tag. This greatly increases the chances of a happy reunion should she ever become separated from you.
• Feed your cat nutritious food, limit treats, and make him work for his food sometimes. Place it inside of a toy or in different places around the house to satisfy his natural hunting instinct. This also gives him much-needed exercise.
• Make sure your cat has plenty of toys and spend a few minutes each day playing with her. Cats are just as entertained batting at a piece of string as they are with an expensive toy from the pet store. Playing with your cat encourages exercise, mental stimulation, and the human-feline bond.
• Place scratching posts in a few different areas of your home to give your cat the chance to sharpen his claws as well as release the natural need to scratch. This saves your furniture too.

Regular Veterinary Care is the Most Important of All
A 2013 study by the American Association of Feline Practitioners indicates that more than half of all cats don't see the veterinarian regularly. Although more than 80 percent visit the vet during their first year of life, cat owners seem to only bring them in when they are sick or injured after that. At Bristol Veterinary Service, we encourage all cat owners to schedule a preventive care exam at least once a year. This is important for early diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of feline diseases as well as to track your cat's growth. Our veterinarians looks forward to seeing you and your cat soon.
 

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An Immunized Pet is a Healthy Pet

8/2/2016

It's August, which means that National Immunization Month is here. Just like people, animals need vaccines to protect them from the devastating effects of several contagious diseases. Keeping up with your pet's regularly scheduled vaccines is one of the most important things you can do to ensure her long-term good health. This is true even if she mostly stays inside. Many serious animal illnesses are spread through airborne contact, which means your pet could pick up a virus through an open window. Germs can also spread quickly among unvaccinated pets in places such as grooming salons, boarding kennels, and dog parks.

Essential and Optional Vaccines for Cats and Dogs
The feline distemper shot, also called the FVRCP, protects cats against the serious and highly contagious diseases of Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia. The canine distemper shot, also called the DHPP, protects your dog from Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus. Most states also enforce mandatory rabies vaccinations for both cats and dogs.

For cats, our veterinarians may recommend a vaccine for Bordetella, Chlamydia, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), and Feline Leukemia based on your cat's lifestyle, breed, and other factors. For dogs, our doctors may advise you to get a vaccine for Bordetella, Canine Influenza, Canine Virus, Leptospirosis, or Lyme Disease. Our veterinarians always take your feedback into consideration when making these recommendations.

Kittens and puppies should start their FVRCP or DHPP series between six and eight weeks of age. This involves getting the original dose followed by several boosters to ensure strong immunity. If your adult cat or dog is behind on his shots, we can get him caught up at Bristol Veterinary Service. We are happy to discuss your pet's vaccination schedule at his next well visit exam, by phone, or through electronic messaging.
 

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Still Don't Have a Microchip for Your Pet?

6/2/2016

It only takes a few seconds for your pet to be lost forever, like when you're busy with other things and she slips out the front door to take off after a squirrel. The experience is so common that the American Humane Society estimates one in three pets will get lost at some point in her lifetime. That's over 10 million pets every year who can't find their way home. In many cases, it's because the pet didn't have proper identification. Even a collar with current contact information on it can catch on a fence or come off by the pet's own force.

What is a Pet Microchip?
Even though June is National Microchip Month, people often have misconceptions about what a microchip is and what it can do. A microchip is about the same size as a grain of rice. When a veterinarian or someone from your local Animal Control scans your pet, the information contained on the microchip appears on a computer screen. This typically includes the pet's name, your name, and your current contact information. This makes it possible to contact you to let you know that your pet has been located.

A microchip is not the same thing as a Global Positioning System (GPS). That means you can't rely on it to let you know where your pet is if he gets away from you. It's also essential to register your microchip and keep your contact information updated. There is nothing sadder than discovering a pet has a microchip and then not being able to reach the owner due to it containing invalid details.

Schedule Your Pet's Microchip Appointment Today
The procedure to get a microchip is fast, inexpensive, and painless at Bristol Veterinary Service. Our veterinarian inserts the tiny device in a flap of skin under your dog or cat's shoulder blade. It's over in seconds and your pet won't feel any more discomfort than she does with a typical shot. Although a microchip isn't an absolute guarantee you will be reunited with your lost pet, it increases the odds dramatically. It's the least you can do for your best friend.
 

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Celebrate Responsible Animal Guardian Month

5/24/2016

To help foster a more respectful attitude towards animals and encourage people to honor their responsibilities towards them, In Defense of Animals (IDA) has declared May to be Responsible Animal Guardian Month. Having a respectful attitude towards our pets starts with not referring to ourselves as their owners. This word makes a pet our property while the word guardian means that we are responsible for their well-being for a lifetime.

Goals of the Guardian Campaign
IDA hopes to accomplish two major things during the month of May. First, the organization wants to encourage responsible and loving behavior from people who are already pet guardians. This means committing to caring for the pet's physical and social needs in addition to forming a deep bond with the animal. The following are just some of the ways you can be a responsible pet guardian:

• Invest time in training your pet and apply rules consistently
• Use positive reinforcement rather than punishment
• Ensure that your pet gets plenty of opportunities for socialization
• Make exercise part of his daily routine
• Feed her nutritious food and limit treats
• Spend one-on-one time with him each day
• Schedule regular wellness exams at Bristol Veterinary Clinic and bring her in if she displays new or worsening symptoms

IDA also uses this awareness campaign to discourage people from purchasing an animal from a pet store or breeder. The campaign's motto of "Adopt, Don't Shop" urges potential pet parents to consider saving a life by adopting from an animal shelter instead.

Has Your Pet Had a Wellness Exam Recently?
One of the mistakes that pet guardians often make is assuming that the animal doesn't need to visit a veterinarian unless he is sick or injured. Just like physical exams for people, annual wellness exams for pets help to identify and treat issues before they become more problematic.

Please schedule an appointment with Bristol Veterinary Service if your pet hasn't had a preventive exam in more than a year. Senior pets should be seen bi-annually while puppies and kittens under a year need regular exams and vaccinations. One of our doctors will let you know his or her preferred schedule when you bring your pet in for his first appointment.

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Down Horse

3/25/2016

Any horse that is recumbent and cannot rise unassisted is an emergency. If it is safe, the horse can be repositioned to assist with rising. Horses can go down for many reasons, some of which are very serious. A few examples of these potentially serious causes include the following:

•Colic

•Laminitis

•Foot abscess

•Broken leg

•Neurologic abnormalities

•A slip and fall

In addition, time is of the essence when it comes to recovery so having these horses seen early on is important. Like a horse with colic, a down horse can thrash so it is important to keep yourself safe and remove hazards from around your horse as well to keep him/her safe too.

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Neurologic Abnormalities

3/25/2016

Neurologic problems encompass a large variety of presentations that can involve the brain, spinal cord, and/or peripheral nerves. Below are a few examples of neurologic difficulties.

•Difficulty with balance

•Dragging a toe

•Having a “weird” gait

•Leaning on a wall or other objects

•Holding the head and neck in an abnormal position

•Walking aimlessly as if the horse is “drunk”

•Walking in circles

•Displaying seizure-like activity

•Acting “dumb”

•Inability to stand up straight

 

These horses should receive immediate veterinary care. Like colicky horses and down horses, these patients can also be dangerous and may not be aware that they are going to injure you.

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Respiratory Distress

3/25/2016

A horse that is having difficulties breathing is an emergency. Horses can only breathe through their nostrils; they cannot breathe through their mouth. A horse that is pre-occupied with breathing should be seen by a veterinarian. There are many causes for a high respiratory rate and/or an increased effort to breathe. Some of these causes include the following:

•Heaves

•High fever

•Nasal discharge

•Facial or throat swelling

•Colic

If you have concerns about any breathing difficulties and/or the respiratory rate is above normal, you should consult your veterinarian. While not all incidences will warrant an emergency veterinary visit, it is important to monitor your horse’s respiratory system and act accordingly if needed.

How to take a respiratory rate:

•Normal respiratory rate for an adult horse: 16-32 breaths per minute.

•Count the number of times the nostrils flare over a 60 second period to obtain the number of breaths per minute.

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Eye Emergencies

3/25/2016

Any eye that is squinting, swollen, red, cloudy, gooey, teary, and/or just “looks weird” should receive veterinary treatment immediately. Eye problems that are simple and “not a big deal” and problems that are serious and vision threatening can present themselves in a similar manner making it difficult for an owner to tell the difference. Do not put any ointment or drops in the eye while you are waiting for the vet to arrive as this can interfere with the exam or any testing, if warranted.

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Lacerations

3/25/2016

A laceration is a wound involving the skin and potentially the structures underneath it. Some lacerations can be very serious and should be addressed by a veterinarian right away. Some lacerations require stitches while others are treated as an open wound and allowed to drain. Please seek advice from a veterinarian to help direct you on the best way to have your horse’s wound treated. Some of examples of wounds that need to be seen on emergency include the following:

•Any wound that is over or near a joint, tendon, and/or ligament

•Wounds on the face and especially on or near the eyes

•Wounds that are large (over 1 inch long) and/or deep (deeper than 1 inch deep)

• A wound that has excessive swelling, bleeding, and/or discharge in the injured area

•Severe lameness associated with the wound and/or injury

A few notes about wounds and bleeding:

•Wounds that need stitches should be repaired within 6-8 hours of the injury. If not, they will likely need to be managed as an open wound.

•Bleeding wounds usually look worse than they are. Average clotting time in the horse is approximately 15 minutes. Keep in mind that his is much longer than in the human.

•Profuse bleeding or bleeding that has a rhythmic “pulse” should be bandaged immediately to apply direct pressure. If blood soaks through the bandage, apply another bandage over your initial bandage until the veterinarian arrives. Don’t remove your first bandage.

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Foaling Difficulties

3/25/2016

There is a lot to take into consideration with a mare in labor. With all of the below mentioned considerations, please remember to keep yourself safe as a mare in labor or a mare with a new foal can be aggressive. It is also important to monitor your mare from a safe distance. If assistance is needed, you can easily and quickly help the mare, however, most horses do not like nearby observers when giving birth. After the foal is born, it is also important to let the new mom and baby get acquainted. Unless medical intervention is needed, intervening with the mare and foal too soon can be detrimental.

•Dystocia (pronounced dis-tow-sha) is the word used to describe when a mare has trouble giving birth. A normal delivery should have both of the foal’s front feet and nose seen first, followed by the body and then the hind limbs. While the entire process can take a few hours, the active phase of labor should take 20 minutes or less. If the foal is malpositioned, the birthing time is protracted, or you don’t observe forward progress in the foaling within the first 15-20 minutes of initiation of labor contractions, you need to call the veterinarian immediately.

•If the umbilical cord is still attached to the mare and foal, do not cut it. In most instances, the umbilical cord will break naturally on its own shortly after the birthing process. If you think the cord needs to be cut, contact your veterinarian before doing so.

•A normal foal should stand within 30 minutes after birth, begin nursing within 30-60 minutes of birth, and pass manure (aka: meconium) within 1-2 hours of birth. Any prolonged deviation from these time frames, straining to urinate or defecate, urination from the umbilical stalk, inability to stand, not nursing, a poor or absent suckle reflex, a mare that will not allow the foal to nurse, etc. warrants veterinary attention.

•The mare should pass the placenta within 1-2 hours after labor. If the placenta is retained beyond 3 hours, you should contact your veterinarian. Never pull a passing placenta. Tying up the placenta to a level above the hocks can prevent it from being inadvertently torn.

•Depending on your experience and any potential risk factors that you might have with the mare and/or foal, you may have other questions or concerns that can arise during the foaling process. If you have any hesitation to the progress of the foaling, please call your veterinarian for advice.

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Fever

3/25/2016

A normal, temperature for an adult horse is 98.0 – 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. High-grade fevers and low-grade fevers are managed differently. A temperature over 105 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a high grade fever and needs immediate medical attention. A low grade fever may not warrant an emergency visit but should at least elicit a medical phone consult. It is important to note your horse’s attitude and demeanor, appetite, drinking, manure output, and urine output. Also, are there other horses on the property that are having problems with a fever? If so, do you know the diagnosis or suspected diagnosis? The answers to these questions can be helpful information that can help your veterinarian assist you.

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Lameness

3/25/2016

Lameness is a word used to describe a limping horse. Keep in mind that most lameness problems do not need to be seen on an emergency basis. Limping can be mild to the point that it is barely detectable to severe and/or non-weight bearing. Horses that have a severe lameness should receive immediate veterinary attention. A few examples of serious lameness problems that should be seen immediately include the following:

•Laminitis

•Foot abscess

•Deep wound over a joint or tendon

•Broken bone

A few notes about laminitis:

•There are many causes of laminitis including but not limited to hormone imbalances, over-eating, colitis, diarrhea and retained placenta.

•These horses can be “limping lame” or can be “unwilling to move”. In both of cases, the horse should be seen.

If you are unsure if you horse needs immediate veterinary attention, you may consult with the emergency veterinarian to help you decide on when to have the horse seen. While waiting for the return phone call from the vet, keep your horse quiet and after direction from your veterinarian, you may be able to move him or her to a stall or you might need to keep the horse where you found him/her until the vet arrives.

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Choke

3/25/2016

In horses, choke is the word used to describe when food gets lodged in the esophagus. The windpipe, or trachea, is not blocked; these horses can still breathe. Many times, these horses will continue to try eating and/or drinking. A horse with choke can show signs of the following:

•Distress and pain

•Outstretched head and neck

•Frothy green discharge from the nose and/or mouth

•Signs of colic (mentioned above)

•Coughing (may also have excessive salivation with the cough)

This is an emergency condition. If left untreated, the horse can develop severe, life threatening complications. It is important to remove all accessible food and water and do not administer any oral medications while waiting for the vet to arrive.

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Colic

5/15/2013

Colic is a word used to describe abdominal pain. There are many different causes of colic and the types of colic behaviors can range from mild to severe. Any horse with colic should be seen by a veterinarian right away. A few examples of colic behaviors include the following:

• Rolling

•Pawing

•Flehman Reaction (curling of upper lip)

•Flank watching (frequent turning of head and neck to look at the abdomen)

•Profuse sweating

•Standing with hind limbs stretched out

•Laying down for long periods of time

•Decreased or absent manure output and/or urine output

•Decreased or absent appetite and/or drinking

•Restlessness

•Kicking at abdomen

Severity of the signs and behavior changes that your horse is showing does not necessarily correlate to the severity of the problem. Please keep in mind that some horses can be violent when they experience pain and can hurt you on accident. It is important to always keep yourself safe and remove any objects from the area to keep your horse safe as well.

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