Disclaimer: The following FAQs and articles are offered purely as preliminary information. We encourage you to contact your veterinarian with your questions and concerns.
My pet has been vomiting. Do I need to worry?
Maybe. Some dogs and cats may vomit if they get into the garbage, eat some grass/leaves or are under some kind of stress (like a new roommate, change in environment or schedule). Or an obstruction, virus, parasite or other problem may be present. It is best to start with something called NPO therapy at home.
NPO (or nothing by mouth) involves withholding all food and water from your pet for 24 hours. You may need to hide the trashcan and close the bathroom door to achieve this. If your pet continues to vomit, then you should call us immediately! If the vomiting does not recur after 24 hours, try offering your pet a small amount of water. You can gradually increase the water offered every few hours provided that the vomiting does not resume. After 48 hours, you can begin to offer the regular food in the same way. Small amounts should be offered first, then gradually increased.
If any vomiting resumes during this period, or if you are unsure or worried, it is time to call us.
My pet has diarrhea. What should I do?
A change in diet or in the animal’s routine may cause diarrhea. You may want to hold the animal off food to give the stomach and intestines some time to normalize. A more gradual change in diet may be necessary. Mixing a small amount of the new food with the old may prevent this. Also, the addition of live-culture yogurt to the mixture may help.
Remember that diarrhea may indicate the presence of parasites or a virus. If the pet is a young, geriatric, or showing other unusual signs, it should be seen by Dr. Sheridan within 12 hours. If it is a rabbit, it is an emergency!
No matter what the cause, diarrhea is messy and can cause additional expenses, such as cleaning bills! Do not hesitate to set up an appointment so that we can help! We can even keep your pet until the diarrhea has resolved, just ask!
Why has my pet been itching?
The most common cause of itching is fleas. To eradicate fleas in South Carolina, you will need prescription products. Traditional over-the-counter products will not work for any duration, and they will wash off with the next bath or swim at Folly Beach! Please call us to set up an appointment to have a waterproof, stand-alone (no need to treat the house, yard or bathe the pet), prescription product applied to your pet.
If you are sure the problem is not fleas, you may have a pet with the second most common cause of itching, a food allergy. This may sound strange, but some foods may actually cause your pet to scratch incessantly. This condition is present in one dog out of five! Table scraps and pet treats are the most common culprits, but even regular pet foods may be the root of the problem. You could try restricting your pet from these items first and watch for an improvement. You might also try pediatric Benadryl at a rate of 1 mg per pound of pet, once to twice daily, for some temporary relief. Usually you will see an improvement with treatment within three weeks, but it may take up to ten weeks to see improvement in itching from a food allergy.
The third most common cause of itching is an inhalant allergy. Much like allergies in people, inhaled pollens, molds, and insect parts may cause problems in pets. Instead of sneezing when exposed to an allergy like humans do, our pets itch. We can arrange to have a skin test performed on your pet to discover the exact cause of the problem (CLICK HERE for more information about allergy tests). Dr. Sheridan can formulate a custom vaccine, and you can administer it in your home to help relieve the itching. Again, Benadryl at a rate of 1 mg per pound of pet, once to twice daily, may help.
If you want a more immediate solution to your pet’s itching, make an appointment with us, and we can answer all your questions and provide alternative treatment options.
P.S. If your pet really likes treats, but proves to have a food allergy, try cooked or raw carrots as a substitute. Fresh or frozen cantaloupe, green peas, or cooked potatoes are also well received by dogs.
Why is my dog limping?
Just as in people, dogs can injure ligaments and muscles with rough play. Sometimes, all that is needed is some rest. You can provide aspirin, if desired, at a rate of 5 mg per pound of body weight twice a day. To give a rough estimate, a fifty-pound dog could get ½ of an aspirin tablet twice a day. If any vomiting, diarrhea, or dark stools occur, stop the aspirin therapy and call us right away.
If the limping does not resolve in three days or if the animal will not put any weight on the limb, something more serious may have occurred. An appointment can be made for an exam, and possibly X-rays, to determine the degree of injury or the presence of some underlying joint problem, such as hip dysplasia.
My pet is strictly indoors. Do I need heartworm protection and other vaccines and immunizations?
Although your pet is at a lower risk than the outdoor pet, your pet is still vulnerable. It is true that indoor pets are less susceptible to contagious diseases, but there are still ways your indoor pet can get various preventable diseases.
In terms of heartworms, pets are susceptible inside the home as well as outside of it. This is especially true in South Carolina, and maybe even more so on James Island where mosquitoes are especially numerous.
Below are some of the ways your indoor pet can get various preventable diseases:
a) Your inside cat accidentally escapes at night and encounters a feline leukemia infected tomcat that thought your yard was his territory…
b) That cute kitten that you rescued has feline infectious peritonitis and spreads it to your other cats…
c) The bag of bird food you brought home infected with the polyoma virus…
d) The neighbor’s dog has “kennel cough” and sneezes through the screened porch while visiting your dog… Check with your veterinarian to make sure your pet has all its vaccinations and immunizations.
Can I give my cat acetaminophen, ibuprofen or Advil for its pain?
What are some signs that my pet may display that would indicate a veterinary visit is required?
There are many signs that animals may display that could require a visit to FRAH. It is not possible to offer a complete list of symptoms, but if you have a concern about your pet’s health that is not listed below, please call the FRAH and discuss them with a staff member without delay.
Some common signs that indicate a problem could be:
seizures or passing out
stumbling, wobbliness, falling to one side
exercise intolerance (won’t run as long or chase the ball as much)
respiratory difficulties–coughing or sneezing
not eating or dropping food after attempting to eat
foul odor from mouth
strong odor or unusual color to urine
drinking more water than usual or urinating a lot
unexplained weight loss
dull or unkempt coat
bald spots, itching excessively
trouble rising in morning
trouble walking on slick surfaces
not climbing stairs, jumping or playing as usual
eating ravenously but not gaining weight
diarrheas and vomiting that won’t stop
new lumps and bumps
staying in or around the litter box more than usual
hot spots or red areas on skin
scooting rear end
any non weight bearing lameness
limping that lasts more than 3 days
rectal temperatures above 102.5*
Can my dog be getting senile?
Older dogs can develop senility. This is referred to as cognitive dysfunction syndrome, and this disease may be treatable if properly diagnosed. To learn more about the topic, go to Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.
Every time it thunders my dog gets nervous. Is there something I can do?
This is a difficult disorder to treat. One treatment may be sedation, but sedation helps decrease the destructive drive of the dog while fearful, but may not reduce the fear. The best treatment is a behavioral modification approach. This approach can be complicated and lengthy. To learn more about it, go to http://www.ddfl.org/behavior/fear.htm.
My dog/cat is having puppies/kittens. Is this an emergency?
Dogs and cats have been having puppies and kittens for eons without man’s help. Often times the best thing to do is to give the mother some “alone time” in a darkened, quiet room. A little Karo syrup or pancake syrup from a spoon may give her enough energy to deliver all the young.
However, selective breeding (like creating a bigger head and smaller hips such as in the Bulldog, Chihuahua or the Persian cat or in toy breeds such as the Yorkie or Poodle) may lead to a problems that require a veterinarian. If it has been more than 2-3 hours after the beginning of active labor or 4-6 hours between puppies or kittens, call for emergency assistance.
I just brought home a new puppy/kitten, do you have any advice?
Yes we do. Visit the Your New Pet page for more information on owning a new puppy or kitten.
A hurricane is coming. What should I do regarding my pet?
Its always best to make arrangements to take your pets with you if you feel it is necessary to evacuate. Hurricanes are unpredictable and can create tornadoes and severe flooding, which can leave your pet vulnerable. When you evacuate, take a copy of your pets’ vaccine or medical record with you.
If flying, you will need a current health certificate (within ten days), sedation, a sturdy crate or kennel, and 2-3 weeks worth of any required medications to ensure your pet’s safety. Also, call ahead for hotels that will accept pets or make arrangements to stay with friends or family members who are pet-tolerant.
If you cannot evacuate your pet, try boarding it inland where flooding may not be as much of a concern. In an emergency with no other options, the FRAH kennel facility is built to be hurricane-resistant (click here to find out more about our kennels). To monitor the progress of current tropical disturbances click here.
I found a baby bird, now what?
The two most common times that you will find baby birds on the ground is after a recent storm or during the fledgling season. If it is a fledgling, it is almost ready to fly and it is part of the normal process to be fed on the ground a few days as it learns to fly. Place these young birds into a hedge or tangled shrubbery nearby, and the parents will respond to its calls and continue to feed it. Put up any housecats for a few days and ask the neighbors to cooperate.
It is imperative for the wild young bird to continue to receive the proper socialization from its parents and siblings. Otherwise the bird will not know how to interact with its wild colleagues and will not produce future generations of native birds. So, the young bird must be reunited with its mother as soon as possible.
If it is not a fledgling (most likely found after rough weather), try to locate the nest. Most bird nests will not be very high. They are usually 6-8 feet above the ground in a small tree or thick vines or shrubs. If you can replace the bird into the nest the parents will resume feeding it as soon as your presence is removed. They will not shun the bird as commonly thought (this is a wife’s tale). If no nest can be located, or if the entire nest is on the ground, punch some drainage holes in a small bucket or pail and line the pail with some shredded paper or soft leaf litter. Place the bird or the entire nest if available, into the pail and hang the pail under a shaded tree or fence line, 5-6 feet from the ground. Tangled vines are the best habitat, if they are nearby. The parents will respond to the calls of the baby bird and will resume feeding. You can check on the bird 8-12 hours later. If it is still vibrant, someone is feeding it. You are unlikely to see the parents feeding the young, because if you can see the baby bird’s location, the parents can see you, and they will stay away. You can, however, check on the baby or babies every 8-12 hours as needed to ensure that a parent is feeding them.
Resist the urge to hang around or check too often, as this will disturb the parents. If the bird is wet and has lost its ability to be insulated, you can temporarily place the bird in a small dark cardboard box on top of a heating pad on the low setting until it is dry. If it is obviously injured, or too weak to stand, it should be presented to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. The animal control department of your local police should have a current list of these volunteers. Although it may require a little more effort than calling a rehabilitator, you will be doing the most good for our native bird populations if you can reunite the baby birds with their distressed parents. And think of the fun you will have watching them mature in your yard!
What is the best way to get my cat to the vet? It seems to really stress her out.