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Does Your Dog Have Fleas? How Fleas and Worms Work Hand in Hand

fleas, worms in your dog | Whitworth Animal Clinic

Did you know that fleas can lead to worms in your dog? Get help with fleas at Whitworth Animal Clinic.

Now that the weather is beginning to get warmer, pet owners are already contacting the staff at Whitworth Animal Clinic to talk about fleas. Fleas commonly come out in the early springtime, especially once the temperature at night stays steadily in the 40s and 50s. Though these pests can certainly be a bother to pets, as well as their owners, there is a greater concern associated with fleas that all owners should be aware of. Though you may not realize it, the presence of these teeny insects can lead to a worm infestation, which can be a dangerous,  even deadly condition.

How Does a Pesky Flea Lead to a Worm Infestation?

Most people will just see a flea invasion as a headache to be controlled, not considering that it can be dangerous condition. Most pet owners aren’t aware that these tiny pests can carry eggs from a number of other creatures including tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. When your dog swallows a flea, generally when they are itching and biting their skin, they inadvertently swallow the eggs. Over the following weeks, these eggs grow, hatch, and before you know it, your dog has a very serious problem that needs to be addressed quickly.

What are the Symptoms of These Intestinal Parasites?

Though each different type of parasites might have specific symptoms, if your dog is suffering from tapeworms, roundworms, or other common intestinal parasites, you might see some of the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stool
  • Weight loss
  • Dry hair
  • Vomiting

You also might be able to actually see the worms in your pet’s vomit or stool, though all types of parasites will not be visible. The only way to tell if your dogs has hookworms or whipworms, for instance, is by looking at the stool microscopically.

Get Your Flea Control from the Experts

Many pet owners, when they see the signs of a flea problem, will rush to the pet supply store and pick up some over the counter shampoo, powder, collar, or other device. Unfortunately, these treatments are not as effective as you might think. Instead, it is recommended that you contact our team at Whitworth Animal Clinic and let us take a look at your itchy pet. We will be able to evaluate the situation and suggest a treatment that will not only get rid of the fleas, but also can check for signs of worms. We can also recommend products to ensure that flea eggs are eradicated in your home, so re-infestation doesn’t occur. Contact us today for more information on flea or worm control.

Diets that Help Pet Obesity

Overweight Pet Nutrition Tips

pet obesity can be managed | Dr. Charles Whitworth | Huntsville, ALThough it seems like you’re doing your pet a favor when handing out treats on multiple occasions throughout the day, but doing so may actually increase your pet’s risk of developing conditions including obesity. This is especially true if your pet almost always chooses to chill on the couch rather than get a good walk outside.

As a responsible pet owner, you must ensure that your dog or cat maintains a well-balanced diet. Likewise, animal lovers should consider closely monitoring their pet’s dietary regimen to avoid the risk of pet obesity. Here are some tips and tricks to keeping your furry friend within the desirable weight range.

Knowing the age and breed of your pet are important aspects when knowing the ideal weight of your pet. Some dog breeds are genetically heavier than others. Age and gender also play a significant role as older male dogs or cats are naturally heavier than their younger counterpart. You cannot tell if your pet is within normal weight or obese without a benchmark to base it from.

Know the causes why your pet might be gaining those extra pounds. Most causes of pet obesity include overfeeding, overeating, and lack of exercise. Overfeeding may involve the owner giving their pet too much food to or leaving their pet with unlimited access to food. Either way, this will cause weight issues later on.

Neutering can also cause your pets to become obese. Studies show that dogs that have been neutered are twice as likely to become obese than those who have not undergone the procedure. This is mainly because neutered dogs become more passive, which causes them to gain weight over time.

When managing your pet’s diet, make sure you give them a good source of protein and other key nutrients they need to optimally perform. One popular brand is Purina OM pet food, which is trusted by both cat and dog owners. The Purina Overweight Management line is low in fat and caloric content. It contains high levels of protein and fiber, which promote good digestive function and helps your pet build a strong and lean body.

You can get Purina OM and other trusted pet products at Whitworth Animal Clinic, a leading pet care service provider with countless years of experience. Call Whitworth Animal Clinic today if you need help regarding your pet’s current diet and health.

What Causes Red Eye in Dogs?

Healthy Eyes in Dogs

red eye in dogs | Dr. Charles Whitworth | Huntsville, AL

It is important to remember that red eye in dogs can lead to blindness, don’t wait too long to visit the vet if you think your dog has this condition.

Red eye in dogs can be somewhat alarming, especially if you’re not quite sure what caused it. This can be visible in several places, including the cornea. Many pet owners notice this fastest when it occurs in the white part of the eye. A qualified animal hospital, such as Whitworth Animal Clinic, should always be contacted, as the causes of red eye are generally urgent.

It’s always good to remember whether there was a possible injury or other events that might explain why the red eye occurred. The vet will need this information, along with a detailed medical history, in order to make a more accurate diagnosis. You should expect a complete exam of your dog, as well as diagnostic procedures that are common for finding the cause of eye problems.

Blood and urine samples might be drawn to rule out common diseases that cause red eye in dogs. If there is any pus present in an eye that seems infected, a swab will be taken to determine whether an infection is present. Your dog’s eye pressure will be measured to check for the presence of glaucoma. Tear production may be measured, especially if a dog is otherwise showing symptoms of dry eye. Another common type of diagnostic procedure is fluorescein staining, used to diagnose corneal ulcers. Dogs who have symptoms consistent with tumors or a detached retina might undergo an ultrasound.

Whitworth Animal Clinic treats several diseases that cause eye problems in dogs. Conjunctivitis, one of the most typical eye problems in dogs, can be caused by infections or dry eye. This normally responds well to topical antibiotics. Glaucoma is a serious disease very common in some breeds that can result in blindness if untreated. It is caused by increased eye pressure, and veterinarians treat the disease with topical drugs that reduce the pressure. Corneal ulcers are quite common in dogs, typically caused by some sort of injury, and also respond well to antibiotic therapy.

One of the most important things for pet owners to remember is that any case of red eye has the potential to result in blindness if the underlying condition isn’t treated. The faster appropriate treatment is started, the sooner your dog will be on the way to a good recovery.

A Look at Feline Asthma

Get Help with Feline Asthma | Dr. Charles Whitworth | Madison, AL

If you think your cat has asthma, check for the following symptoms: rapid breathing, wheezing, gasping for breath and open mouth breathing.

Many folks are unaware that human beings are not the only species that are susceptible to asthma. In fact, feline asthma is a serious concern for many cat owners. Just like in humans, asthma in cats can be a very serious problem that can even become life-threatening in serious cases. Here is a look at everything cat owners need to know about this condition.

What Is Asthma?

Asthma is the term for chronic inflammation inside the lungs. Just as in humans, an asthma attack in a cat is when the lungs become constricted due to excessive inflammation. In addition, mucus is released into the airways. The combination of the clogging mucus and constricted airways makes it very difficult for cats to breathe when they suffer from an asthma attack.

Asthma Symptoms

If you have a cat that you suspect suffers from asthma, then check for these symptoms to see if you need to seek treatment at Whitworth Animal Clinic. Common symptoms of feline asthma include rapid breathing, wheezing, gasping for breath and open mouth breathing. Some cats will hack up a lot of mucus along with a cough. Cats who suffer from severe asthma will often show an extreme lack of energy. If they become weak enough from chronic asthma, severe asthma attacks could actually kill them.

Causes of Asthma

Although it is not always possible to pinpoint an exact cause for asthma, there are many possible culprits. Asthma is usually triggered by an allergic reaction to something in the environment. When a cat is exposed to allergens like cigarette smoke, dust, mold and pollen, they can cause allergic reactions in the lung that lead to asthma. Food allergies are also sometimes a cause.

Other health problems can also lead to asthma or a worsening of asthma symptoms. For example, heart disease and obesity can help increase the chances of feline asthma developing, and they can also lead to a greater chance of asthma attacks occurring in cats that already have the condition.

Treating Asthma

If you suspect your cat has asthma, then you should bring them into Whitworth Animal Clinic as soon as possible for treatment. There is no need for cats to suffer unnecessarily with this condition. There are medications that Dr. Whitworth can prescribe that will reduce the severity of the asthma and reduce the likelihood of an asthma attack occurring. Don’t let your cat suffer. Get help today for your cat’s asthma.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Chocolate

Dogs and Chocolate

What to do if your dog eats chocolate | Whitworth Animal Clinic

With Valentine’s Day coming up make sure to keep any chocolates out of your dog’s reach.

Dog owners know that dogs seem to be endlessly on the lookout for snacks and will eat just about anything they are given or can get their paws on. Unfortunately this includes chocolate, which is toxic to dogs. With Valentine’s Day coming up, it’s important to keep your dogs away from any chocolate you have in the house. If an accident should happen and your dog eats some, here are some things you should know.

A little chocolate will not bring instant death to a dog, so don’t panic if your dog eats a chocolate chip cookie or a few pieces of chocolate candy. It would take a large quantity of chocolate to cause real danger, but even small amounts can cause some symptoms to arise. The smaller the dog, the less chocolate it takes to cause serious problems.

Dark chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. Semi-sweet chocolate and baker’s chocolate are the biggest dangers, so be sure to take extra caution in keeping these types away from your dog. The chemical theobromine is the culprit, and it is found in higher amounts in dark, semi-sweet chocolate.

If your dog ingests baker’s chocolate this should be considered an emergency and you should call a veterinarian immediately. With other types of chocolate, especially in small amounts, don’t panic, but be on the lookout for symptoms of chocolate poisoning. Vomiting and diarrhea are common after ingestion of small amounts of chocolate, but more severe symptoms include agitation, rapid or abnormal heart rate, tremors, seizures and collapse.

Most dogs can survive chocolate poisoning with proper treatment, which can include activated charcoal to decontaminate and may include antacids, heart medications, IV fluids and catheterization. Dogs that are very young, very old or that have other health problems are at greater risk.

In general, you should keep your dog away from chocolate entirely, but if he or she manages to eat some anyway, don’t panic, but be aware of the symptoms, and keep your vet’s phone number handy at all times. You can visit the website of Whitworth Animal Clinic for more information on pet health.

How to Keep Your Pet’s Teeth Clean Between Checkups

Pet Dental Tips

Pet Dental Hygiene | Whitworth Animal Clinic | Huntsville, ALThe American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) emphasizes the importance of between-checkup home pet dental care for your pet’s comfort and safety. The truth is, having your pet’s teeth cleaned during vet checkups simply is not enough to ensure good oral hygiene. Only with regular, consistent mouth care can you keep plaque, tartar, and more serious health conditions like periodontal disease at bay. Follow these tips to safeguard your pet’s oral health.

Ask Your Vet About Oral Hygiene Between Checkups
You should follow the schedule your vet gives you for regular teeth cleaning appointments. Your vet can also give you specific guidance about home pet dental care. For best results, ask your vet to recommend a routine you can follow between appointments. They may even have specific products they want you to use based on your pet’s unique oral health needs.

How to Tell When Your Dental Health Routine is Not Enough
The ASPCA gives 10 specific guidelines to ensure your pet has good oral hygiene and dental health. The ASPCA recommends that you regularly smell your pet’s breath, examine his or her teeth and gums, follow a dentist-recommended oral health diet, know how to brush your pet’s teeth properly, and offer chew toys in between brushing.

Different Types of Products for Your Pet’s Oral Health
You can choose from many different types of products that can help your pet’s mouth, gums, and teeth stay strong and healthy between medical teeth cleanings. Some products are dental chews. Others can be added to the food or water. Still others are built into the food your pet eats. You can also supplement with a special toothpaste just for pets. According to veterinarians at Whitworth Animal Clinic, under no circumstances should you ever try to brush your pet’s teeth with human toothpaste.

A Brief Oral Health Product Overview
Knowing what pet dental products to choose when can be very helpful.

  • Pet toothpaste. Using a special pet toothpaste with a dental kit for pets is the best way to keep your pet’s teeth clean between vet visits.
  • Dental chews. Chewing not only reduces plaque and tartar buildup but also keeps stress levels manageable.
  • Powders, food, or liquids. Liquids can include oral rinses and powders can be dissolved into water or food, making this a very easy oral health regimen for skittish pets

You can contact Whitworth Animal Clinic to learn more about at-home dental health for pets and set up a checkup for your pet.

Pet Dental Health Month: Professional Cleanings

Teeth Cleaning for Pets

photo of vet looking at a dog's teethYou are probably aware of how important it is for you to have regular dental cleanings, but did you know your pet’s mouth needs similar care? Without regular oral care your pet could suffer from plaque and tartar build up that could lead to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can lead to tooth extractions or, in some cases, the infection of the bloodstream and major organs. At Whitworth Animal Clinic, we can assess what regular care is best for your pet, as well as assess if professional cleaning is needed. Professional pet dental care is one of our many areas of expertise, and the professional cleanings we provide will help keep your pet at his or her optimal health.

You and I understand the need to care for your pet’s teeth, but your pet does not. If a cleaning is necessary, we will ensure your pet’s safety and comfort with anesthesia. We will conduct the necessary blood work required to assess if the anesthesia is safe for your pet. During the cleaning, Dr. Whitworth and his staff will safely remove any plaque and tartar accumulations using dental scalers. Following the scaling, the teeth with be polished. This aids in removing any plaque left behind, as well as smoothing the tooth. The smoother the tooth, the less likely plaque and tartar will be able to stick to it. Once cleaned, Dr. Whitworth will inspect further for any more oral problems that need to be remedied. As a final step, a substance to prevent the buildup of plaque will be applied.

Whether or not a professional cleaning is necessary, the staff at Whitworth Animal Clinic can help you determine the best at-home oral hygiene routine for your pet. We will teach you how to identify problems through checking the mouth for malodorous breath and inspecting the gums. There are also other preventative steps you can take at home, such as brushing the teeth, adding remedies to the water, and using certain foods.

January is National Pet Dental Health Month, which makes it a great time to call our office and schedule an appointment for professional pet dental care. Your pet’s oral health is key to its good health, so please let us help you keep your loved one as healthy as can be.

Cold Weather Care for Your Pets

Pet Health in Winter

Cold Weather Care for Your Pets | Whitworth Animal Clinic | Huntsville, ALWhile winter weather is a sure signal of the approach of the holiday season and beautiful snow-covered neighborhoods, it is also a time for special consideration of your pets’ winter needs. Take extra care by following the seven simple tips below to keep your furry friends safe and happy this season.

1. Don’t leave your dog or cat in the car while running holiday errands. A cold vehicle mimics a refrigerator, keeping cold air in and causing dogs and cats to freeze even more quickly than they would outside in the elements.

2. To keep your dog more comfortable during outdoor winter walks, always make sure he is fully dry when going outside post-bath, and consider a coat or sweater for short-haired breeds. If you’re accustomed to shaving your long-haired dog down to the skin, refrain from doing this in the winter.

3. Always use a clean towel to wipe your dog’s coat when bringing him inside after a walk or other trip out into the elements. Road salt, antifreeze and other dangerous chemicals can stick to his coat, especially around his paws, legs and stomach, and you don’t want him to ingest them later while licking his coat.

4. Keep your cat indoors during cold weather, as dropping temperatures carry an increased risk of death or illness caused by exposure to the elements.

5. If you know of outdoor or stray cats in your neighborhood, take extra care when starting your car. In cold temperatures, cats like to sleep under the hood for warmth. Avoid harming a friendly stray by knocking on your vehicle’s hood a few times before starting the engine.

6. Keep your dog leashed during the winter, even if she can usually be trusted to stay near you or find her way home. Ice and snow can cause dogs to lose their scent, which is part of the reason that winter is the time of year when more dogs are lost than in any other season.

7. Keep a cozy, warm blanket or pet bed in your home that is set away from drafty areas. Dogs and cats aren’t able to retain as much body heat when snoozing directly on the floor, so providing an elevated and insulated alternative is imperative this time of year.

Heartworm Prevention in the Winter

Heartworm Prevention

Heartworm Prevention | Dr. Charles Whitworth | Madison, ALHeartworm disease is a very serious condition that affects dogs, cats, and other mammals. This sometimes-fatal condition is caused by parasitic worms inside of the arteries of the lungs and in the right side of the heart. Numerous species of roundworms can cause heartworm disease, including filarids. Vital organs in the animal’s body are harmed while the worms are traveling through the bloodstream. Heartworm disease mainly occurs when an animal comes in contact with an infected mosquito. This is primarily the reason why many people believe their beloved pets are safe during the cold winter months. The truth is that heartworm can affect animals all year round, which is why heartworm prevention is important.

When an animal has heartworm, they will usually display many symptoms that include coughing, vomiting, weight loss, and labored breathing. They also might be very listless and not move around a lot. In the very early stages of the disease, the animal may not experience any symptoms other than a slight cough. During this stage, it is very hard to detect because the animal will usually appear to be happy and healthy. The second stage of the disease is when the symptoms start to pop up and become noticeable. This is when pet owners start to really notice that something is wrong. Stage three and four is when the symptoms are more severe, such as coughing up blood. By stage four of the disease, there is a chance the animal will have long-term implications to their health. If a pet owner notices that their animal is acting differently, they should take them to the vet as soon as possible for an examination.

Heartworm is easily preventable, even in the winter or the summer months. Madison, Alabama residents can take their pets to Whitworth Animal Clinic to get their pet checked out. A veterinarian will prescribe pills that are effective at preventing heartworm disease. The pills are administered monthly, and should be given to the animal all year long. Many pet owners just give their pets the heartworm medication during the summer months, but the American Heartworm Society recommends that pet owners give the medicine to their pets every month.

Heartworm prevention is absolutely essential to making sure your pet does not get this sometimes-fatal disease. Heartworm is treatable in most cases with a series of injections into the muscle of the animal. It is much safer and easier for a pet owner to take the extra steps to prevent heartworm, even in the winter months.

Happy Thanksgiving! from Whitworth Animal Clinic

Whitworth Animal Clinic
Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Food for Your Dog to Avoid

10 Thanksgiving Foods that are Dangerous for Your Dog!

For most families, Thanksgiving means a mixture of food, fun, and football. But with all the feasting, dog owners need to be on the lookout for their clever friend sneaking a snack when everyone is passed out for the customary afternoon nap.

Although, giving your dog a slice of turkey or ham isn’t an problem, the following list of traditional Thanksgiving fare can be harmful for the furry member of your family and should be avoided:

  • Bones
  • Raw or undercooked turkey
  • Turkey Skin
  • Dough or Cake batter
  • Beer
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions and Garlic
  • Sage
  • Nutmeg
  • Chocolate

The best way to make sure your dog stays healthy this Thanksgiving is to make sure you keep them well fed with appropriate food. Besides, if you give them a few suitable treats, we bet they’ll be more than willing to help you with that afternoon nap you have planned.


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Pets need dental care too!

As early as age two, pets may already have tartar and plaque build-up on their teeth. Whitworth Animal Clinic offers veterinary dentistry.
106 Rainbow Drive, Madison, AL · 256.830.1503
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