Believe it or not, the holidays are right around the corner! Nothing can spoil a great holiday celebration like a trip to the emergency vet. Here are some tips to keep you and your furry friends rocking all season long. Continue…
Remember that old saying? At Westlake Animal Hospital, the idea of “an ounce of prevention” is the foundation of our practice philosophy. Routine checkups, screening tests and other preventative measures can help your pet avoid serious health problems and help you and your veterinarian to work as a team to manage your pet’s health. Continue…
Laparoscopic Spays: A Minimally Invasive Approach
The majority of pets in the United States are spayed or neutered. In fact, spay and neuter surgeries are the most commonly performed veterinary procedures. When a female animal is spayed, the goal is to prevent unwanted litters as well as certain behavioral and medical problems. Here at Westlake Animal Hospital, we are lucky to offer both traditional and minimally invasive (laproscopic) spay services. Continue…
Eating well and maintaining a healthy weight are essential parts of every health care plan. But what food is best? How can I regulate my pet’s weight? We will cover all of the basics you need to know to keep your four-legged friend fit and healthy.
Maintaining A Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is imperative for your pet to achieve its best health and longest life. In fact, the results of the landmark, 14-year long Purina Life Span Study documented an increased median life span of 1.8 years in lean dogs versus their moderately overweight counterparts.
To maintain a healthy weight, the first step is to ask your Westlake Animal Hospital veterinarian for a recommended number of calories to feed per day. 75-80% of weight loss comes from calorie reduction. Use a dry measuring cup to measure out a specific amount of food for each meal. Also, you will need to limit other sources of calories such as other pet’s food, human food, and treats. Then, check your pet’s weight every two weeks to monitor progress- you should see 1-2% weight loss per week.
Between floods, tornadoes, and massive thunderstorms, Austin residents are no strangers to natural disasters. With summer right around the corner, many of us are gearing up for the inclement weather that is sure to arrive.
Pet owners have an added worry when it comes to pets and natural disasters. Learn how to keep your pet safe and calm when bad weather strikes with expert tips from your friends at Westlake Animal Hospital.
Pets and Natural Disasters: Safety First!
Having a plan in place before disaster strikes will help you keep your cool and allow you to think clearly during a potential emergency. Take the following steps to help ensure your pet’s safety:
If you have visited us with your best four-legged friend, you probably have seen our AAHA accreditation mentioned either in the office or on our website. You may have also wondered what being an AAHA accredited vet means, or why it is important to you and your pet.
Because we want the best life possible for our pet patients (and their humans!), we want to take the time to explain what this designation means and how it enhances the level of care our patients receive.
What is AAHA?
AAHA stands for the American Animal Hospital Association. Founded in 1933, AAHA is professional organization that oversees and offers accreditation to veterinary hospitals that prove excellence on all levels of pet care.
Animal hospitals that seek this accreditation do so voluntarily, and must illustrate their professionalism, skill, expertise, and commitment to meeting the highest standard of care. Each clinic must pass a rigorous series of protocols, checklists, and criteria (900, in fact), some of which include:
- Patient handling and care
- Surgical abilities and anesthesia
- Facilities and diagnostic equipment
- Cleanliness and customer service
- Emergency services and critical care
- Management of contagious diseases
- Laboratory and pharmacy
- Medical records
- Continuing education
Because this is such an intensive process of review, only 12-15% of animal hospitals in North America receive this esteemed status.
February was American Heart Month, but just because it’s over doesn’t mean we should stop paying attention to heart health, both our own and our pets’. Pet heart disease is a sad reality for many pets, and understanding how to keep your pet’s heart healthy is a crucial component of responsible pet ownership.
Heart Disease in Pets
Heart attacks and strokes are more likely to affect humans, but pets tend to experience different types of heart problems, including:
February 14th is a day to express affection, but it also provides opportunities for curious pets to find trouble. To be sure, pet poisonings are far more likely around certain holidays, such as Christmas and Halloween. Valentine’s Day is also full of pet risks. However, with extra precautions in place, your pet can remain safe from harm.
Alert and Aware
In nature, predators are effectively deterred by bright colors and flashy patterns on a potential prey’s exterior. Unfortunately, pets don’t always get the message that a red, sparkly heart-shaped box (and its toxic chocolate contents) is off-limits.
Chocolate is the number one cause of poisoning in dogs, but other pets have also been known to eat it and become sick. Caffeine and theobromine naturally occur in chocolate, but cannot be properly metabolized by pets. As a result, serious, even life-threatening, symptoms can arise, such as increased blood pressure, tremors, and seizures.
Here at Westlake Animal Hospital, serving our wonderful community of patients and clients is our top priority. We do our best to continue this service to you in the form of our regular pet care blogs, which are designed to be both educational and entertaining.
As it turns out, you read some of our blogs more than others. Whether you found them informative, useful, fun, or touching, we think they deserve a closer look. So without further ado, we are pleased to present our top blogs of 2016!
Most people have heard of stem cells at some point, yet few lay people have a good understanding of what they are and how they are being utilized. Using stem cells to help heal the body may sound like it’s straight out of a science fiction movie, however, stem cells in veterinary medicine are actually being used more and more.
Learn how Westlake Animal Hospital is using this technology to better the lives of our pet patients.
Stem Cell Basics
Stem cells may sound a little high tech, but they really are nothing more than cells that naturally develop in the body. Stem cells are the immature cells that the rest of the tissues in the body are derived from.
What makes stem cells special is that they have not yet determined what type of cell they will become. Scientists have learned to exploit this trait by placing the immature cell in strategic areas, encouraging it to grow into a specific cell type that may be beneficial, such as tendon cells in an area where a tendon injury has occurred. The possibilities to utilize stem cells to create new or healthier tissue in the body are only limited by the imagination.