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  • Ear Infections

    Ear Infections

    Ear infections are very common in dogs, although less so in cats. Two types are most often seen: otitis externa, infection of the external ear canal, and otitis media, infection of the middle ear. Although any dog or cat can get an ear infection, some breeds appear to be more prone than others. Dogs with pendulous ears, like Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds, or dogs with hairy inner ear flaps, like Miniature Poodles and Schnauzers, tend to have a higher occurrence of ear infections. In cats, the Persian breed seems to be more prone to such infections.

    Most ear infections are easily and successfully treated. But if left untreated, they could result in serious damage.

    Causes
    Bacteria or yeast are most often the culprits of otitis externa. Other causes include an accumulation of wax, thick or matted hair in the ear canal, debris, a foreign body, a tumor or impaired drainage of the ear. Sometimes, infections of the external ear canal are a secondary result of some other bodily infection or ear mite infestation.

    Otitis media usually results from the spread of infection from the external ear canal to the middle ear. Also, foreign bodies, debris, ulceration or improper ear cleaning can rupture the eardrum and allow infection to reach the middle ear.

    Symptoms
    Ear infections are very uncomfortable for your pet. Your dog or cat will show his discomfort by shaking his head or scratching at his ears. Often, the ears will become red and inflamed with an offensive odor and perhaps a black or yellowish discharge. If your pet tilts his head constantly, it could be a sign of a middle ear infection.

    Diagnosis and Treatment
    Because many different culprits can be the cause of your pet’s ear infection, it is important to have your cat or dog examined by a veterinarian, who can then determine the proper medication or treatment. Your veterinarian will also make sure the eardrum is intact, as some medications can result in hearing loss if administered to a pet with a ruptured eardrum.

    What is involved in an ear exam? Your veterinarian will use an otoscope-an instrument that provides light and magnification-to view the ear canal. He or she will determine whether or not the eardrum is intact and if any foreign material is present. If this is very painful to the pet, sedation or anesthesia may be necessary to complete the exam.

    Next, your veterinarian will take a sample of the material in the canal and examine it under a microscope. This is called cytology, and allows the doctor to determine the organism causing the infection. If more than one organism are culprits, multiple medications or a broad-spectrum medication is necessary.

    If your veterinarian finds a foreign body, a tick or a very heavy buildup of debris, sedation will likely be required to remove the irritant or to allow a thorough cleansing.

    A middle ear infection can be more difficult to clear up. Diagnosis and treatment may include lab tests, X-rays and even surgery. Four to six weeks may pass before the infection disappears, and often during this time you will be told to restrict the activity of your pet.

    For both types of infection, you should keep water from entering your pet’s ears. Follow-up visits to your veterinarian are very important to make sure treatment is working and the infection has disappeared.

    Remember, the longer infection is present, the harder it is to get rid of it. If an ear infection goes untreated, your pet will continue to be in pain. Your pet’s head shaking and scratching can cause further problems, such as broken blood vessels that require surgery to correct. Chronic infections can harm the eardrum and close the ear canal. Surgical reconstruction of the ear canal may then become necessary.

    Medicating
    Treatment prescribed by the doctor usually includes administering medication to and cleaning the ears daily for one to two weeks. Remember, your pet’s ears are painful, and Fluffy or Fido might not appreciate what you are about to do, so use caution. Ask your veterinarian for a demonstration on how to treat the ears properly.

    Prognosis
    Most often, with proper diagnosis and treatment, your pet’s ear infection will be cured. However, if ear infections are chronic or recurrent, an underlying problem, such as allergies or thyroid disease, may be the cause.

    Because cats are normally resistant to ear infections, other problems should be explored. Your cat may have an unusually shaped ear canal, or its immune system could be suppressed. Have your veterinarian test your cat for the feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), both of which affect the immune system. Also, diabetic cats tend to be prone to ear infections, so testing for diabetes may be indicated.

    Prevention
    Pet owners can help their pets avoid ear infections by practicing preventative care at home. This is especially important for those animals that have pendulous ears, have lots of hair in their ears, or have allergies or other medical problems that make them prone to ear infections. A weekly ear cleaning with a veterinarian-recommended ear cleansing solution can minimize or prevent infections. Such a cleaning provides other benefits, as well.

    Weekly ear cleanings give pet owner the ability to really see the ear on a routine basis, allowing him or her to notice any early warning signs of infection. This also gets the pet used to having its ears handled, making exams and medication administration easier when necessary.

    In addition to ear cleanings, pets with lots of hair on the inside ear flap should have those hairs plucked periodically by their groomer or veterinarian.

    Pet owners with animals that have chronic ear problems must realize that life-long preventative care and maintenance will be necessary to ensure their pet’s good health.

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Exotic Pet Care

  • Here at Animal Care Centers we see all animals great or small! We have certain Doctors who will see pocket pets, reptiles, and even our avian friends. If you have a small pet that needs medical attention please feel free to call us and we can help you set up an appointment.

Parasite Control

  • There is no subtle way to say this. To you, your pet is a family member. To a parasite, your pet is food. Parasites like fleas, ticks and heartworm-carrying mosquitos can carry numerous diseases that can seriously harm your pet. Here at Animal Care Center we offer a top of the line selection to help take care of these parasites and to keep you and your pet safe!

Nutrition Counseling and Premium Pet Diets

  • Here at Animal Care Center we recognize the importance that nutrition plays in the overall health and happiness of our pets. Nutritional evaluations and recommendations are included as a key component of our preventative health care protocols. We strive to be a valuable resource of nutritional information and advice for our clients. We believe that good nutrition is vital to your pet’s health. There are so many facets to nutrition so we understand how overwhelming it can be when you go pet food shopping. We are here to help you understand nutrition and what works best for your pet.

    Here are some nutritional topics that we can discuss with you during an appointment:

    • Understanding the basics of healthy nutrition and feeding practices
    • Reviewing life-stage nutritional recommendations for your pet
    • Determining the daily recommended caloric intake needs of your pet
    • Reading and understanding pet food labels

     

    If you have ever caught yourself walking up and down pet food aisles and not knowing what in the world is best suited for your pet’s diet, don’t fret you are not alone! We too have become frustrated by the vast number of pet foods, which are often misleading and confusing due to marketing schemes used to confuse owners. Also we are concerned about the number of pet food recalls that have occurred over the past several years. For this reason we are here to help you decide what diet works best for you and your pet. We can provide food lists that we can recommend to you or we also carry veterinarian prescription diets. Our prescription diets are specifically designed to help support the following aspects of our pets’ health:

    • Oral health/Dental Disease
    • Obesity
    • Diabetes
    • Kidney disease
    • Live disease
    • Feline Hyperthyroidism
    • Gastrointestinal disease
    • Urinary tract disease, including urinary stones
    • Joint Disease
    • Food allergies
    • Skin disease
    • Heart disease

Geriatric Care and Wellness Programs

  • We care for your pet that has been in your family’s life! As our pets age they have special health needs that may require more attention and care then younger pets. We do recommend twice-a-year wellness examinations. These are important in order to detect or treat medical problems that may arise. A baseline senior wellness exam should be performed so it can be used as a benchmark for measuring changes in your pet. This exam includes a complete physical exam, oral and rectal examination and recording of body weight and body condition. Our Dr. also examines your pet’s ears, eyes, and various internal organs. Some laboratory work may be done, including a complete blood count, urinalysis, fecal exam, and perhaps endocrine blood tests and other diagnostic tools used to detect health baselines or issues.

Travel Certificates and Health Certificates

  • Domestic and International Health Certificates (USDA accredited) – Traveling with your pet? No problem…We can help! There are a number of travel regulations and requirements that exist and vary according to different airlines and destinations. Always make sure you do the proper research before your appointment to determine what is necessary for your unique travel needs. And if there is something you are not sure of you can always give a call! We are always here to help!

Microchip/Pet Identification

  • Microchipping can save your pet’s life. 1 out of 3 pets become lost in their lifetime. According to the humane society, only about 15% of lost dogs and 2% of lost cats ever find their way back home. Almost 4 million pets are euthanized each year! This includes lost pets whose owners were not found in time. Microchips are an easy and inexpensive way to ensure your pet doesn’t become a statistic.

In-House Pharmacy

  • Our full In-House Pharmacy allows us to fill our patients’ prescriptions and quickly handle pet emergency needs.

Endocrinology (hormones)

  • Our doctors are dedicated to diagnosing and treating dogs and cats with a variety of endocrine (hormonal) diseases, such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease and Cushing’s disease. The endocrine system is an intricate arrangement of many hormones and control mechanisms. This complex system can fail in many places. Endocrine disorders are both multitudinous and often difficult to treat. However, our doctors here have seen numerous cases and have proper diagnostic tools to effectively diagnose and treat these disorders. If your dog or cat has an endocrine problem or you believe may have an issue please do not hesitate to call us.

Dermatology & Allergy Services

  • We provide complete medical care for skin conditions including serum allergy testing (QVC) and a full line of veterinary skin care products and diets. Companion animals can suffer from many of the same skin conditions that we do. Whether it be allergies, parasites, or a skin infection, our doctors are able to identify, diagnose and treat a wide variety of skin conditions.

Ophthalmology & Tonometry

  • This is the examination and treatment of conditions of the eye. (Tonometry defines the use of a specialized instrument to measure intraocular pressure which is vital in the detection of Glaucoma in our pets.) Animal Care Centers recognizes the importance of your pet’s eyesight and takes great measures to provide both care and client education.

Oncology

  • Getting a diagnosis of cancer for your beloved pet can be a very devastating and stressful time. We understand and are here to help both you and your pet. Our highly skilled and experienced doctors are trained to deliver compassionate care using treatment options to help improve the quality and duration of your pet’s life.

Cardiology

  • Animal Care Centers provides comprehensive treatments for conditions of the heart. Through the use of such diagnostic tools as an electrocardiogram (EKG), echocardiogram (scheduled with our participating mobile specialists) and blood pressure monitoring, we are able to accurately diagnose and successfully treat our patients. We also have an in-house pharmacy for cardiac medications.

Laser Therapy

  • We have class IV Laser Therapy which is used to help relieve chronic pain and accelerates your pets healing and rehabilitation time following surgery. Laser Therapy can also be effectively used for on-going treatment of other chronic joint and muscle pains. We have seen positive results in our senior patients and in those who are challenged by arthritis. Read more about Pet Laser Therapy

Pain Management

  • Before, during, and after is our belief here at Animal Care Centers! We believe advanced medical protocols for the relief of acute and chronic patient pain is vital in our field! Not only do we keep our patients pain free during routine or specialized surgery but we also strive to keep our non-surgical patients who have chronic pain as pain alleviated as possible!

Dental Care & Dental Digital Radiology

  • Here at Animal Care Centers we provide complete dental services for your pet which includes full cleaning, polishing and dental radiographs (x-rays). We also provide before and after pictures to each client.

Anesthesia (including Propofol and Isoflurane)

  • We provide complete anesthetic monitoring which includes pulsoximetry, capnometry, blood pressure, EKG, core body temperature, respiration monitors and ventilator. We also provide warm intravenous fluids during surgery.

Telemedicine

  • We can send certain diagnostic procedures via telephone or computer. This is a wonderful tool when needing vital tests done as soon as possible. This includes EKGs and Lab Work.

Ultrasonography

  • Performed in-hospital by a Board Certified Ultrasonographer. Ultrasound plays a dynamic role in determining treatment plans in special cases.

Digital Radiography

  • We have state-of-the-art Direct Digital Radiography allowing for quick and enhanced-image diagnostics.

Patient Care

  • We provide soft bedding, warm IV fluids and therapeutic warm blankets for surgical and medical patients. We also provide our patients with our undivided attention and tender care.

Critical Care and Emergency Services

  • We provide intensive advanced care and treatments for most critical need patients and emergencies. For extreme cases that require highly specialized treatments we can offer stabilizing care until transferred to a specialist. We also have in hospital oxygen cages that are vital in emergency situations.

Full In-House Lab

  • In our laboratory we can run blood work quickly for emergencies or as a routine measure. Blood work that we can run in house includes: complete blood count (CBC) with manual and LaserCyte hematology testing, chemistry profiles, electrolytes, urinalysis, fecal analysis, cytology, heartworm/erhlichia/anaplasma/lyme disease testing, feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus snap tests, and other in house diagnostic snap tests.