Despite the very best preventive care, animals can become sick. When this happens, it is stressful for you and your pet, especially because you can't simply ask your companion what's wrong. You need a skilled veterinarian whom you can trust to accurately diagnose and effectively treat your pet.
While the focus of our medical practice at Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital is your pet's wellness, an important part of our services is the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of diseases that can affect your pet's internal organs and body systems. Our experienced veterinarians, supported by advanced diagnostic technology, can identify and effectively treat a range of complex internal medical diseases.
As part of our commitment to provide you with access to the best veterinary care, we have also invested in the latest advanced diagnostic technology. After performing a thorough examination, diagnostic tests are sometimes necessary to identify the underlying cause of your pet's illness. It is our policy to review any recommended tests with you before they are performed, as well as discuss all the available treatment options and costs.
Allergies and Skin Problems in Dogs and Cats
Allergies are common in dogs of all breeds and backgrounds, typically due to fleas. They can also result, however, from the ingestion of food or an inhaled irritant like dust or pollen. Most allergies appear after the pet is six months of age, with the majority of affected dogs over age two. The most common symptom associated with allergies is itching of the skin, either localized or generalized. Other symptoms include respiratory distress (coughing, sneezing, and wheezing) or digestive problems causing vomiting, flatulence, or diarrhea.
Flea allergy is the most common allergy in cats. A normal cat experiences only minor skin irritation at the site of the bite. The flea-allergic cat, on the other hand, has a severe, itch-producing reaction when the flea's saliva is deposited in the skin. Just one bite causes such intense itching that the cat may severely scratch or chew itself, leading to hair loss and open sores or scabs on the skin. The area most commonly involved is over the rump or base of the tail.
It is important to be able to identify the first signs and symptoms of allergies and dermatological conditions. These include:
- Scratching, licking, chewing or biting the skin, feet, and ears.
- Red, raised, scaly areas on the skin
- Bumps, crusts or pus-filled vesicles on the skin
- Increased skin pigmentation
- Thickened skin
- Loss of hair
- Salivary staining (brown color)
- Head shaking
At Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital we can test for allergies in your pets, then determine the most effective method of treatment - our hospital features a fully stocked in-house pharmacy and carries medicated shampoos - and explain how you can prevent future problems. If left untreated, allergic reactions and skin conditions can become serious medical concerns.
Glaucoma is a common condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eye increases, resulting in damage to the optic nerve, followed by loss of vision and blindness. There are two types of glaucoma. Primary, or chronic, glaucoma is hereditary or develops as your pet ages. Secondary, or acute, glaucoma develops as the result of an injury or illness. Because secondary glaucoma can progress rapidly, it is considered an emergency situation.
Symptoms of glaucoma to look for include:
- Redness in the eye
- Tearing or discharge
- Eye sensitivity to light
- Cloudy-looking eye
- Bulging eyeball
The experienced veterinarians at Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital may recommend your pet receive a glaucoma exam as part of his or her regular wellness care. The exam is not only an effective screening measure for chronic and acute glaucoma - it can also help set a baseline measurement of your pet's normal intraocular pressure (IOP). Establishing an IOP baseline is important because the normal measurement can vary between species, breeds, and even individual pets.
This is a noninvasive, simple procedure that should not cause your pet any pain or discomfort. We apply a mild anesthetic eye-drop to ensure your pet is comfortable during the exam.
Your Pet's Nutrition
Proper nutrition and a balanced diet, along with fresh, clean water, is an essential ingredient for your pet's overall good health. As your pet's caregiver, nutrition is the most significant health variable you control.
Feeding your pet the highest-quality food you can afford is one of the best ways you can contribute to his or her health and vitality. Although the differences between premium and budget varieties may not be apparent on their nutrition labels, they are in the quality of the ingredients. Both may contain the same amount of protein but be different when it comes to digestibility and nutritional value. Making the best nutritional choices for your dog or cat not only effects general health, but will improve the quality and length of your pet's life.
To support your efforts, the doctors at Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital perform a thorough body condition evaluation during every physical examination and give recommendations based on what we see. We can also provide you with important information on proper serving size, nutrient needs, and feeding strategies for your individual pet. We will also help you navigate pet food claims so you can make the most informed choices.
Some pets have serious nutritional challenges or chronic conditions that benefit from a special diet. When that is the case, we may recommend feeding a special prescription diet. Making this change can have a significant positive impact on your pet's overall health and well-being.
Prescription diets benefit medical conditions such as liver disease, bladder and kidney disease, digestive problems, renal failure, food allergies, diabetes, and more. Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital carries Science Diet and Royal Canin prescription diets.
For more information, call us today at (651) 451-4404.