Pet Cancer Awareness Month: What You Should Know About Early Detection at Wesson Animal Clinic

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Pet Cancer Awareness Month: What You Should Know About Early Detection at Wesson Animal Clinic

Did you know that approximately 33% of dogs and 20% of cats will develop cancer in their lifetimes? November is pet cancer awareness month. At Wesson Animal Clinic, we like to use the opportunity to help raise awareness about cancer in pets and the importance of early detection.
While veterinary medicine has come a long way, in terms of treating cancer in pets, early detection is still key to fighting cancer, slowing the progression of disease, and effectively managing a pet’s symptoms. As is the case in humans, the earlier cancer is diagnosed and treatment is begun, the greater the chances of recovery.

Be Aware of Cancer Risk Factors

Some pets are more likely to develop cancer than others. For example, not being spayed or neutered, obesity, elderly age, gender, breed, diet, environmental factors, and feline leukemia can all increase a pet’s risk of developing cancer.
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Know the Signs of Cancer in Pets

Signs and symptoms of cancer in pets include:
If you notice any of the above-listed symptoms or any other changes to your pet’s behavior, appearance, appetite, or energy level, we recommend scheduling a veterinary examination as soon as possible.

Ask About Early Detection Pet Cancer Screening

While symptoms of cancer can prompt a thorough physical examination, they, in many cases, do not appear until a disease is fairly advanced. As a result, relying solely on the appearance of symptoms can result in a late diagnosis and less effective treatment outcomes.
Advanced cancer screening techniques are now available for dogs that allow us to use a simple blood test or aspiration to look for some of the earliest signs of cancer in pets, and we recommend this screening for pets that belong to high-risk groups. These tests cannot yet diagnose cancer or determine the type of cancer present in a pet, but they can detect early signs of cancer that inform a veterinarian as to whether or not further diagnostic testing is necessary.
In addition to these new cancer screening tests, there are a variety of traditional diagnostic tests that can be used to screen pets for potential signs of cancer such as diagnostic imaging and routine blood work.
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Pet Cancer Screening at Wesson Animal Clinic

To learn more about cancer screening or to schedule an appointment for your dog or cat, we welcome you to contact Wesson Animal Clinic today.

The Facts on Canine Influenza: Dog Flu Symptoms and Prevention

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The Facts on Canine Influenza: Dog Flu Symptoms and Prevention

You’ve likely heard of canine influenza or dog flu in the news or during one of your dog’s veterinary appointments. Canine influenza is a respiratory virus that’s extremely contagious to dogs. Once infected, dogs might begin experiencing symptoms right away or after a couple of weeks. They can remain ill and contagious for up to a month, and many dogs experience serious complications and even death as a result of the dog flu.

How Do Dogs Get Canine Influenza?

The virus can live on some surfaces (like food bowls, toys, and the ground) for up to 48 hours, and it stays alive on hands, clothing, and shoes for up to 24 hours, meaning dogs don’t even have to come into contact with a sick dog to get infected. If your dog is around other dogs, they can catch the flu in a single interaction like a nose-to-nose sniff, a lick, or breathing droplets in the air after a sneeze.

Canine Influenza Symptoms and Treatment

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The symptoms of canine influenza include:
These symptoms can vary from dog to dog. While some dogs will develop several symptoms, others might not have any at all. Symptoms or no symptoms, all dogs with canine influenza are contagious.
The symptoms of canine influenza are similar to those associated with other canine respiratory diseases. To rule out other potential problems, reach a definitive diagnosis, and determine what’s causing a dog’s symptoms, laboratory testing will be necessary.
Other than supportive care, there is no treatment available for canine influenza. The virus simply must run its course.

Protect Your Dog from Influenza: Schedule a Preventative Care Appointment at Wesson Animal Clinic

You can try to protect your dog from contracting canine influenza by avoiding areas where other dogs frequent. The only guaranteed form of protection, however, is with a vaccination.
Our veterinarians will be happy to discuss the canine influenza vaccine with you at your pet’s next preventative care appointment or wellness exam. The canine influenza vaccine isn’t automatically given to every dog along with their regular schedule of core vaccines. However, we might recommend it for your dog, depending on his or her lifestyle, potential exposure risk, and condition.
Canine influenza can spread and be contracted fairly easily, and the only sure way to protect your dog from contracting the flu is with low-risk, highly effective vaccination. To schedule your pet’s next checkup or a vaccination appointment, we welcome you to contact our veterinary clinic in Mobile today.

The Surprising Mental Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

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The Surprising Mental Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

They’re fuzzy and snuggly. They’ll listen to you complain about all your problems. They’re happy to see you in the morning and when you come home. Our pets love us unconditionally (well, cats might have a few conditions), and they make us feel good inside. It’s no secret that having pets improves the quality of our lives, but pet ownership has actually been scientifically shown to improve our mental health, too.

How Being a Pet Owner Improves Your Mental Health

In a survey cited by the ADAA, 74% of respondents reported experiencing improved mental health after adopting a pet. It’s really no surprise that pet owners report feeling less stressed, anxious, and depressed because playing with a dog or cat releases endorphins like serotonin and dopamine – the chemicals directly responsible for calm and happy feelings.
Oxytocin, another happy neurochemical, creates feelings of satisfaction and helps develop bonds in human relationships. It turns out, oxytocin also helps develop canine-human relationships. When humans and dogs gaze into each other’s eyes, both species release oxytocin.
In addition, people who own pets – especially dog owners – tend to live more active lifestyles than people who are enduring life without a pet. Walking Fido three times a day not only releases more endorphins through exercise but staying active also improves your general physical health, helping you feel better from your body to your brain. Having pets around also reduces physiological responses associated with stress like high blood pressure and elevated heart rate.
The feel-good benefits of pet ownership aren’t just limited to furry friends; fishy friends also impart relaxing health benefits. Simply watching a finned friend (or a whole school of friends) swim around an aquarium will lower your pulse and reduce muscle tension.
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Return the Favor with Exceptional Veterinary Care in Mobile

Having a pet can clearly do wonders for your state of being, but having a sick pet is another story. When our pets fall ill, it takes a toll on our mental health. That’s why, at Wesson Animal Clinic, we put an emphasis on wellness and preventative veterinary care for cats and dogs – to keep them happy and healthy for life while also giving you peace of mind!
Healthy adult dogs and cats should visit the veterinarian at least once per year for a checkup, physical examination, parasite control, and vaccine boosters. Senior pets, kittens, puppies, and pets with chronic medical conditions should visit more frequently. To schedule an appointment for peace of mind, your pet’s next wellness exam, contact Wesson Animal Clinic today.

How to Protect Your Pets from the Heat This Summer

How to Protect Your Pets from the Heat This Summer

Summer’s a fun season to be a pet owner because there are so many opportunities for enjoying the outdoors together. While you play, these tips will keep your pets safe from the heat.

Top 7 Summer Safety Tips for Pets

1. Assess the Temperature

Remember that temperature isn’t the only factor affecting the heat your pet experiences; humidity plays a big part, too. Check the forecast before going out with your pets or leaving them unattended outdoors.

2. Avoid Sunburn

Some pets have thick coats that are actually designed to keep them cool. Before trimming your dog’s fur, ask our veterinarian what an appropriate length of cut is for your pet (usually no shorter than about 2-inches) or whether your dog’s coat should be trimmed at all. Dogs with double coats do best with regular brushings to encourage the natural shedding process instead of haircuts.

3. Never Leave a Pet in the Car

The temperature inside a car – even with the windows down – will become dangerously hot in minutes. If your pet can’t come inside, leave them home with the A.C. on.

4. Provide Shade and Water

To regulate body temperature, pets need plenty of water to keep them hydrated and a cool, shady spot to rest.
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5. Exercise Safely

Limit exercise on hot days and during the hottest times of the day. Pets will overheat easily when the sun is directly overhead. It’s best to go out for walks in the early morning or late evening. Also, be mindful of the hot pavement, as it can easily burn your pet’s tender paws.

6. Enjoy a Cool Treat

Ice cubes in a water bowl or frozen banana and peanut butter pops are a tasty way to cool down.

7. Recognize the Signs of Heatstroke

Heatstroke can lead to organ damage and even death if left unaddressed. Heavy panting, loss of balance, confusion, glazed eyes, excessive drooling, extreme thirst, vomiting, and diarrhea are all signs of heatstroke.

Be Prepared to Act Fast with Emergency Pet Care

If your pet begins showing signs of heatstroke, take action to cool them down right away. Move them to a shady location, put their paws in cool water, and encourage them to drink. It usually is not a good idea to douse an overheated animal with ice-cold water, as this can cause shock.
No pet owner expects an emergency, but they do happen. Keep the phone number for Wesson Animal Clinic’s emergency service available at all times and contact us immediately if your pet has symptoms of heatstroke.
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What’s Itching? The Top 3 Allergens Bugging Our Pets

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What's Itching? The Top 3 Allergens Bugging Our Pets

Whether they love furry friends or not, many humans are allergic to cats and dogs. But did you know that our pets can also suffer from similar allergies? Although cats and dogs might not suffer from allergies to themselves or to humans, there are many types of allergens that can lead to uncomfortable symptoms.

The 3 Most Common Types of Allergies for Cats and Dogs

There are numerous different allergens that can affect dogs and cats, and the most common fall into the following three categories of allergens:

1. Environmental Allergies

Environmental allergies are caused by allergens found in your pet’s environment. These can include things like pollen, dust, and mold, in addition to irritants such as cigarette smoke, household cleaners, and perfumes. Environmental allergies will often ebb and flow with the changing seasons.

2. Food Allergies

Cats and dogs can also develop allergies to certain ingredients in their food. These might include specific types of protein or ingredients like dairy, eggs, soy, corn, or wheat. If you suspect your pet has a food allergy, it will be helpful for our veterinarian to know all the ingredients your pet has been exposed to through his or her diet.

3. Flea Allergies

Cats and dogs can also develop allergies to certain ingredients in their food. These might include specific types of protein or ingredients like dairy, eggs, soy, corn, or wheat. If you suspect your pet has a food allergy, it will be helpful for our veterinarian to know all the ingredients your pet has been exposed to through his or her diet.
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Allergy Symptoms in Dogs and Cats

In humans, allergies usually cause watery eyes and sneezing. While some pets do develop respiratory symptoms, the most common allergy symptoms in pets include:
If you notice any changes in your pet’s behavior or appearance, this could indicate allergies or illness, and you should schedule a veterinary appointment right away.

How to Solve Your Pet's Allergy Problem

There are several different ways to treat pets for allergies including lifestyle adjustments, elimination diets, parasite preventatives, medicated baths, medications, and even allergy shots. The best way to treat a pet for allergies is to eliminate the allergen from the pet’s environment. But in order to solve any pet’s allergy problem, we first need to figure out what’s bothering your pet.
If you notice any symptoms of allergies in your dog or cat, we welcome you to schedule an appointment at Wesson Animal Clinic. We’ll work with you to get to the bottom of your pet’s allergy problem and determine the best allergy treatment plan for your pet.
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6 Creative Ways to Stay Active with Your Pet During the Pandemic

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6 Creative Ways to Stay Active with Your Pet During the Pandemic

Studies have shown that pet owners – especially those with dogs – are up to four times more active than their petless counterparts. While you work from home and practice social distancing, fight the urge to give into couch-potato-dom because staying active is important for physical and mental wellbeing. Thankfully, there are plenty of fun and creative ways for both you and your pets to stay busy, physically fit, and mentally upbeat during the pandemic.

How to Stay Active with Your Pet While Social Distancing

1. Backyard Barking

If you have a private outdoor space, use it! You’ll be safe and your pet will enjoy the fresh air. Be sure to go out during the cooler mornings or evenings.
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2. Find a Wide-Open Public Space

If you don’t have your own yard, avoid crowded outdoor spaces like dog parks. If you do visit a public space, go during off-hours and be sure to practice social distancing.

3. Play Inside

You can be active with your pet indoors, too. Play fetch in a hallway, get a rope toy for tug-o-war, or stash toys for hide-and-seek.
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4. Create an Agility Course

Videos of cats (expertly) and dogs (not so expertly) maneuvering through homemade obstacle courses are sweeping social media. Set up plastic cups, bottles, pillows, boxes, or stacked blocks and encourage your pet through with treats. Don’t forget to catch it on video to share with your friends.

5. Practice Tricks

Research training techniques and then get up from the sofa to work with your dog or cat. You can practice old tricks or teach them something new. Either way, you’ll both have fun while you interact and bond.
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6. Keep Their Minds Busy

Videos of cats (expertly) and If you need pets to be quiet during a conference call, we recommend giving them puzzles to solve. This will keep their minds busy and their snouts occupied while you work. Treat puzzles are great for entertaining both cats and dogs. Just make sure you find time to help your pet burn off the extra snacks with some active play.
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We're Here for You and Our Pet Patients During the Pandemic

Our Mobile, AL veterinary clinic is open and operating safely during the pandemic. While we’re closely monitoring the situation in our community, veterinarians at Wesson Animal Clinic are committed to providing ongoing care to our pet patients. We’re practicing social distancing and increased safety measures for the health of our clients, staff, and community. To learn more or schedule an appointment for your pet, we welcome you to contact us today.

Novel Coronavirus and Your Pets: What You Need to Know

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Novel Coronavirus and Your Pets: What You Need to Know

While novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) responsible for the disease COVID-19, continues to affect the world, many pet owners are social distancing, sheltering in place, or quarantined while wondering whether the virus can have any effect on their pets.

Are Cats and Dogs at Risk of Contracting or Transmitting Novel Coronavirus?

Neither a clear nor definitive answer exists to this question. Currently, there is no evidence that cats or dogs are able to contract or transmit SARS-CoV2. However, much more research is needed to understand if/how this virus affects domestic animals.

Feline Coronavirus and Canine Coronavirus Are Not the Same as Novel Coronavirus

Certain strains of coronavirus can be contracted and transmitted by dogs (CCoV), cats (FCoV), and other domestic animals. These strains of coronavirus, however, are different from SARS-CoV2 and are not transmissible to humans.
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How to Protect Your Pets and Family During the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic

Since it remains unclear whether the novel coronavirus will have any impact on pets, the AVMA recommends that pet owners take precautions to keep their pets and families safe.
During this time, you should practice social distancing with your pets in order to prevent them from being exposed to the virus via interaction with humans or pets from separate households. It’s important to keep in mind that while we don’t know for sure whether pets can transmit SARS-CoV2, they can still act as surface carriers. If pets are exposed, you could be exposed by petting your dog or cat and then touching your face.
Numerous zoonotic diseases exist, so it’s always smart to wash your hands before and after interacting with any animals.

Wesson Animal Clinic's Novel Coronavirus Response

At Wesson Animal Clinic, we’re taking extra precautions to keep our clients, patients, and staff safe, while continuing to provide exceptional veterinary care during this unprecedented time. We’re still open during regular business hours, but are providing curbside service to our patients and clients.
When you arrive for your appointment, we’ll send a representative out to collect your pet, and we ask that you remain inside your vehicle. To minimize human contact and exposure, we’re also encouraging clients to pay via credit or debit card over the phone. If you or another member of your household is feeling sick, we request that you reschedule your pet’s appointment, if it’s not an urgent situation.
For more information about scheduling and rescheduling appointments or picking up your pet’s medication and other supplies at this time, we welcome you to contact our office. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.
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