What Is Canine Influenza Virus?


There are many causes of kennel cough, both bacterial and viral. Canine influenza virus (CIV) is one of the viral causes of kennel cough. This highly contagious respiratory disease has affected thousands of dogs in the United States. Because CIV is a relatively new virus, most dogs have not been exposed to it before. Dogs of any age, breed, and vaccine status are susceptible to this infection.

How Could My Dog Catch Canine Influenza Virus?
CIV is easily transmitted between dogs through a combination of aerosols, droplets, and direct contact with respiratory secretions. The virus does not survive for a long time in the environment, so dogs usually get CIV when they are in close proximity to other infectious dogs.

Which Dogs Are Prone to Canine Influenza Virus? 
Any dog who interacts with large numbers of dogs is at increased risk for exposure. Pet owners should consult their veterinarian for information about the canine influenza vaccine.

What Are the General Signs of Canine Influenza Virus? 
While most dogs will show typical signs of kennel cough, but a small percentage of dogs will develop a more severe illness. Signs of canine influenza virus include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Variable fever
  • Clear nasal discharge that progresses to thick, yellowish-green mucus
  • Rapid/difficult breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

Can Dogs Die From Canine Influenza Virus?
If CIV is quickly diagnosed and treated, the fatality rate is quite low. Deaths are usually caused by secondary complications, such as pneumonia. It is important that dogs with CIV receive proper veterinary care.

How Is Canine Influenza Virus Diagnosed?
Veterinarians will typically conduct a thorough physical examination and run a series of tests to diagnose the illness.

How Is Canine Influenza Treated?
Because CIV is a virus similar to the flu in humans, there is no specific antiviral medication available. However, supportive care and appropriate treatment of secondary infections are important. Your veterinarian may advise the following to soothe your dog while the condition runs its course:

  • Good nutrition and supplements to raise immunity
  • A warm, quiet, and comfortable spot to rest
  • Medications to treat secondary bacterial infections
  • Intravenous fluids to maintain hydration
  • Workup and treatment for pneumonia

Be advised, while most dogs will fight the infection within 10 to 30 days, secondary infections require antibiotics and, in the case of pneumonia, sometimes even hospitalization.

What Should I Do if I Think My Dog Has Canine Influenza Virus? 
If you think your dog has canine influenza virus, immediately isolate him or her from all other dogs and call your veterinarian.

Can I Catch Canine Influenza From My Dog?
So far there has been no evidence to indicate that dogs can transmit CIV to humans.

How Can I Help Prevent My Dog From Spreading the Disease? 
Any dog infected with CIV should be kept isolated from other dogs for 10 to 14 days from the onset of signs. Dogs are most infectious before signs are apparent, and can continue shedding the virus for approximately 10 days. This means that by the time signs of the illness are seen, other dogs may have already been exposed.

Source: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/canine-influenza-viruscanine-flu

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Easter Pet Poisons


The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline receive hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies.

“Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.”

In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures.

“There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag. “If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.”

Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately.

There are several other types of lilies that are toxic to cats as well. They are of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species and commonly referred to as Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies. Popular in many gardens and yards, they can also result in severe acute kidney failure. These lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets, so it is imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling.

Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Other Dangers to Pets at Easter Time

Pet Poison Helpline also receives calls concerning pets that have ingested Easter grass and chocolate.

Usually green or yellow in color, Easter grass is the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. When your cat or dog ingests something “stringy” like Easter grass, it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.

Lastly, during the week of Easter, calls to Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increase by nearly 200 percent. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The chemical toxicity is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death. Other sources include chewable chocolate flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

Spring is in the air and Easter is a wonderful holiday. Remember that your pets will be curious about new items you bring into your household like Easter lilies, Easter grass and chocolate. Keep them a safe distance away from your pets’ reach and enjoy the holiday and the season.


SOURCE: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/seasons/easter/

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Traveling by Car With Your Pet


Traveling with a pet usually involves more than putting the animal in a car and driving off, especially if you will be driving long distances or be away for a long time. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) offers these tips to help you prepare for a car trip with your pet and make it go a little smoother.

If your pet is not accustomed to the car, take it for a few short rides before the trip. This can help keep your pet from becoming nervous or agitated, and may lessen the effects of motion sickness. If, after a number of practice trips, your pet continues to cry excessively or becomes sick, consult your veterinarian.

Buckling up is an important safety precaution for your pet. Many states now require that pets be restrained while in a moving vehicle, and restraints have several advantages. They help protect pets in case of a collision, and they keep pets from running loose and distracting the driver. They also keep pets from escaping the car through an open window or door. Cats and smaller dogs are often most comfortable in pet carriers, which can be purchased in various sizes at most pet stores.

Carriers give many animals a sense of security and familiar surroundings, and can be secured to the car seat with a seat belt or a specially designed carrier restraint. There are also pet restraints available that can be used without carriers, including harnesses, seat belt attachments, pet car seats, vehicle barriers, and truck/pickup restraint systems. No matter what kind of restraint you use, be sure that it does not permit your pet’s head to extend outside the car window. If pets ride with their heads outside the car, particles of dirt can penetrate the eyes, ears, and nose, causing injury or infections. Excessive amounts of cold air taken into lungs can also cause illness.

While packing for your trip, remember to throw in a few of your pet’s favorite toys, food and water bowls, a leash, and food. You should also carry a first aid kit for your pet, and know basic pet first aid. If your pet is on medication, be sure to have plenty for the trip — and then some. Dr. Walt Ingwersen, AAHA veterinarian in Whitby, Ontario, points out that veterinarians cannot write a prescription without a prior doctor/patient relationship. This means that in order to get any drugs, your pet will need to be examined first by a new doctor. This may be inconvenient if you need medication right away. Also, if your pet is on a special therapeutic diet, bring along an extra supply in case you can’t find the food in a strange area.

Stick to your regular feeding routine while traveling, and give your pet its main meal at the end of the day or when you’ve reached your destination. It will be more convenient to feed dry food if your pet is used to it. Dispose of unused canned food unless it can be refrigerated. Take along a plastic jug of cold water to avoid possible stomach upset the first day, as new areas can have minerals or bacteria in their water supply that pets need time to adjust to. Give your pet small portions of both food and water and plan to stop every two hours for exercise.

Remember that your veterinarian is a good source of information about what your pet will need when traveling. Consider having your pet examined before you leave as well, to check for any developing problems. If an emergency occurs while you are on the road, you can call the American Animal Hospital Association at 800/883-6301 or visit our hospital locator for the names and phone numbers of AAHA veterinarians near you. Have your current veterinarian’s phone number handy in case of an emergency. Also, be sure to travel with a copy of your pet’s medical records, especially if the animal has a difficult medical history.

Some pets travel better while tranquilized. Tranquilizers can lessen agitation and motion sickness in pets traveling by car. Discuss this with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may suggest giving your pet a tranquilizer three to four weeks before your trip to check the dosage and adjust it if necessary.

Find hotels, motels, and campsites that accept animals and book them ahead of time. “Vacationing with Your Pet” by Eileen Barish is a directory of pet-friendly lodging throughout the United States and Canada. Copies can be ordered by calling (800) 496-2665.

Learn more about the area you will be visiting. Your veterinarian can tell you if there are any diseases like heartworm or Lyme disease and vaccinations or medications your pet may require. A health examination following your trip should be considered to determine if any internal parasites (roundworms, hookworms, heartworms) or external parasites (ticks, fleas) were picked up in contaminated exercise or wooded areas. Also, be aware of any unique laws. Some places have restrictions on exotic animals (ferrets are not allowed in some cities), and there are restrictive breed laws in others, such as no pit bulls allowed. Your pet could be affected by these laws, so call ahead to the city or travel information bureau for more information.

To avoid losing your pet during a trip, make sure your pet is wearing an i.d. tag. To be doubly protected, consider having your pet tattooed or having a microchip implanted. “The more methods of identification, the better chance that the owner will be found,” says Dr. Ingwersen. Microchip databases are specific to the United States and Canada, so register your pet in both countries if you will be driving from one to the other. Dr. Ingwersen also suggests owners register the name and phone number of a relative who can identify the pet in case the owner can’t be reached while traveling.

It’s important to carry health and rabies vaccine certificates, particularly if you will be crossing the border into Canada, the US, or Mexico. All three countries allow dogs and cats to enter if they meet stringent entry requirements. Depending on the country, exotic pets may be allowed to enter, though they may need further documentation. Call the Agriculture Department or embassy of the country or state to which you are traveling for information on the vaccinations, documentation, fees, or quarantine that may be required to bring your pet into the country.

Most importantly, try to plan ahead for unusual or emergency situations. What you don’t need in the middle of a trip is one more thing to worry about. “People get into a panic if they don’t have enough medication for their pet, no appropriate documentation for travel to other countries, or money to pay for border fees,” says Dr. Ingwersen. “Be prepared by bringing a copy of your pet’s medical records, proper documentation and medication and knowing the laws going into the new city or country.” Preparation is the most effective way to help ensure a smooth, enjoyable trip for you and your pet.

Originally published by Healthy Pet.

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February is National Pet Dental Health Month

Bulldog sitting down and brushing his teeth with a blue toothbrush that has toothpaste bubbles

Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

What is veterinary dentistry, and who should perform it?

Veterinary dentistry includes the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of your pets’ teeth and all other aspects of oral health care. These procedures should be performed by a veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist. Subject to state or provincial regulation, veterinary technicians are allowed to perform certain dental procedures under the supervision of a veterinarian.

The process begins with an oral exam of your pet’s mouth by a veterinarian. Radiographs (x-rays) may be needed to evaluate the health of the jaw and the tooth roots below the gumline. Because most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where you can’t see it, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation are performed under anesthesia. Dental cleaning includes scaling (to remove dental plaque and tartar) and polishing, similar to the process used on your own teeth during your regular dental cleanings.

Oral health in dogs and cats

Your pet’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

Have your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:

  • bad breath
  • broken or loose teeth
  • extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
  • reduced appetite or refusal to eat
  • pain in or around the mouth
  • bleeding from the mouth
  • swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth

Some pets become irritable when they have dental problems, and any changes in your pet’s behavior should prompt a visit to your veterinarian. Always be careful when evaluating your pet’s mouth, because a painful animal may bite.

Causes of pet dental problems

Although cavities are less common in pets than in people, they can have many of the same dental problems that people can develop:

  • broken teeth and roots
  • periodontal disease
  • abscesses or infected teeth
  • cysts or tumors in the mouth
  • malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
  • broken (fractured) jaw
  • palate defects (such as cleft palate)

Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.

It starts with plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gumline can often easily be seen and removed, but plaque and tartar below the gumline is damaging and sets the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the tooth to the jaw bone. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe).

The treatment of periodontal disease involves a thorough dental cleaning and x-rays may be needed to determine the severity of the disease. Your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist will make recommendations based on your pet’s overall health and the health of your pet’s teeth, and provide you with options to consider.

Why does dentistry require anesthesia?

When you go to the dentist, you know that what’s being done is meant to help you and keep your mouth healthy. Your dentist uses techniques to minimize pain and discomfort and can ask you how you are feeling, so you accept the procedures and do your best to keep still. Your pet does not understand the benefit of dental procedures, and he or she reacts by moving, trying to escape, or even biting.

Anesthesia makes it possible to perform the dental procedures with less stress and pain for your pet. In addition, anesthesia allows for a better cleaning because your pet is not moving around and risking injury from the dental equipment. If radiographs (x-rays) are needed, your pet needs to be very still in order to get good images, and this is unlikely without heavy sedation or anesthesia.

Although anesthesia will always have risks, it’s safer now than ever and continues to improve so that the risks are very low and are far outweighed by the benefits. Most pets can go home the same day of the procedure, although they might seem a little groggy for the rest of the day.

What can I do at home for my pet’s oral health?

Prevention of the most common oral disease in pets consists of frequent removal of the dental plaque and tartar that forms on teeth that are not kept clean. Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings, and may reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian. Daily brushing is best, but it’s not always possible and brushing several times a week can be effective. Most dogs accept brushing, but cats can be a bit more resistant – patience and training are important.

There are many pet products marketed with claims that they improve dental health, but not all of them are effective. Talk with your veterinarian about any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you’re considering for your pet, or ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.

SOURCE: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Pet-Dental-Care.aspx

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The Best Way to Exercise Your Pet in Winter

The Best Way to Exercise Your Pet in Winter

During the winter months, it’s hard to get the kind of exercise and physical activity that we all need, and the same is true for our pets! When we’re all housebound because of cold weather, it’s important to remember that our dogs are missing out on their walks and playtimes.

The Little River Veterinary Clinic team knows that your pet’s physical activity is such an important part of your pet’s ongoing health. We recommend that your best friend be exercised as much as possible in the winter months when exercise may be difficult to achieve! Here are our best exercising tips for the season!

Indoor Exercise for Dogs

When your pet is housebound with you, it is possible to exercise inside, although it may not be as rigorous as a nice walk or run outside. Some fun indoor play activities can include:

  • Fetch – you can throw your pet’s door across the room and encourage them to retrieve it. You’ll have to play a lot more rounds than if the pet were running all the way across a yard or field!
  • Tug-of-war – use a knotted up sock or a toy designed for tug-of-war games and play with your pet. Dogs like a “fight” game to keep them interested. Just make sure to let them win once in a while so they don’t lose interest!
  • Wrestling – wrestling with your pet can be done in a few different ways and it doesn’t have to be a wild game that is unsafe indoors.
  • Catch – it is possible to play catch indoors, though you may have to use a softer ball or a toy instead of a tennis ball, for safety reasons.

No matter how you decide to play with your pet, make sure that your game lasts for at least 15 minutes and that your pet gets tired out. This is the best way to ensure that exercise was achieved! We recommend playing a game like this 3-5 times per week when you can’t get outside for your usual walks.

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Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Holiday Pet Safety Tips

The holiday season should be a joyous time of year for you and your pet, but it can be a dangerous time if you’re not aware of the potential hazards it can bring for your four-legged friend. From decorations to toxic foods, there are a number of things to keep in mind as you plan your holiday parties. Little River Veterinary Clinic in Fairfax, VA, has created the following three holiday safety tips to keep your pet safe and smiling this holiday season.

Christmas Decorations

They make our trees and homes look beautiful, but certain decorations can be unsafe for pets, especially the curious pets. Topping the list of dangerous decorations are tinsel and ribbons. Cats are especially known to be drawn to these stringy items and to paw at and chew on them. But if ingested, tinsel and ribbons can cause intestinal blockage that can only be corrected with surgery. Other dangerous decorations include electric lights, poinsettias, and garland, so keep these items out of your pet’s reach and high on your tree to keep your dog or cat safe.

Toxic Table Food

We know you probably want to share some of your Christmas dinner with your pet, but that may not be such a good idea. There are many foods that are either toxic or otherwise dangerous for pets, including chocolate, macadamia nuts, raisins, onions, garlic, and fatty foods. Eating these foods can leave your pet feeling very sick—especially in large amounts—and lead to an emergency trip to the vet, so avoid feeding your pet any of these foods. Consider having some extra pet treats on hand so your dog or cat can enjoy their own Christmas dinner/dessert without getting sick.

Party Guests

If you’ll be keeping your pet out during your holiday parties, make sure your guests know your house rules. Do you let your pet on the couches? Do you feed your pet healthy table food (apples, carrots, white cooked meat, etc.) scraps? These are questions your guests should know the answers to. It’s important to also keep an eye on your pet as much as possible around your guests, especially if there are children around. We know the last thing you want is for a guest or your pet to be accidentally injured.

Please give us a call at 703-273-5110 if you have any questions about these holiday pet safety tips or if you’d like to make an appointment. We hope you and your pets have a wonderful safe holiday and a joy-filled new year!




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Pet Diabetes Awareness Month


November is Pet Diabetes Awareness Month, and although this disease has no cure, it CAN be prevented. Similar to human diabetes, pet diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin that affects the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood. We at Little River Veterinary Clinic in Fairfax want to do all we can to educate you as a pet owner on this disease, including the risk factors, common signs, and how to care for a diabetic dog or cat. Even if your pet already has diabetes, they can still live a happy, healthy life if it’s well-regulated.

What Are the Risk Factors for Pet Diabetes?

Dogs and cats of all breeds can be diagnosed with diabetes, regardless of age or gender, but there are certain factors that can increase a pet’s chances of developing it. Age is one factor; older pets tend to be more at risk for diabetes than younger ones. Weight is another contributing factor; pets that are obese are more likely to develop the disease than those of a healthy weight. Other risk factors include genetics, reproductive status (neutered cats and unspayed dogs are more at risk), and even just breed.

Below is a list of a few canine breeds that have a greater risk of developing diabetes:

  • Cocker spaniels
  • Dachshunds
  • Dobermann pinschers
  • German shepherds
  • Golden retrievers
  • Labrador retrievers
  • Pomeranians
  • Terriers
  • Toy poodles

What Are the Common Symptoms of Pet Diabetes?

When it comes to the signs associates with diabetes, they are almost completely identical for both dogs and cats. They include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Thinning fur
  • Excessive urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Cloudy eyes (dogs)
  • Lack of grooming (cats)

If your pet is exhibiting any of these signs, we can conduct a wellness exam, urinalysis, and blood test to determine if your pet has diabetes.

How Should I Care for a Diabetic Pet?

If the results of your pet’s blood and urine test indicate a positive diagnosis for diabetes, don’t worry. Although there’s no cure for this disease, pet diabetes can be managed with insulin, diet alterations, and exercise. We’ll be happy to speak with you about our recommendations for your pet and answer any questions you have, so you can feel confident in caring for them from home.

Schedule an appointment at Little River Veterinary Clinic to have your pet tested for diabetes if you think they’re at risk. Diabetes is NOT a death sentence. With proper management, your pet can still live a happy, healthy life, so give us a call today at 703-273-5110 with your questions or to schedule a test.

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Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween Pet Safety Tips in Fairfax, Virginia

Halloween may be a fun season, but it can also be scary for our furry friends! There are a number of dangers that can affect them at this time of the year. We recommend that all pet owners keep an eye on their pets at Halloween and ensure that they are protected. Some common Halloween concerns are detailed below:

Hazards to Pets in Fairfax During the Halloween Season

  • Halloween is characterized by delicious treats and lots of candy, but it’s important to remember that candy is toxic for our pets to eat! Chocolate and sugar free candy is especially dangerous for them. If your pet gets a hold of Halloween candy, be sure to contact the Little River Veterinary Clinic team right away so we can determine whether emergency medical treatment is necessary.
  • If you’re dressing your pet up in a Halloween costume, make sure they are always supervised while dressed up. Clothing is not natural for animals so they may become stressed or even struggle to remove it. Keep an eye on your pet all the time they’re dressed up and use your best judgement. If they look uncomfortable, they should have the costume removed.
  • Jack-o-lanterns are very popular Halloween decorations, but they are also dangerous ones! Lit candles can pose hazards to our pets…if they’re tipped over the hot wax could cause severe burn injuries. We recommend using battery operated candles in your jack-o-lanterns.

If you have questions about your pet’s safety this season, please contact our team for assistance. We’re committed to helping each pet lead a long, healthy, and happy life!


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The Importance of Senior Pet Care

Senior Pet Wellness in Fairfax, Virginia

How old is your pet? As you’ve probably heard, dogs and cats age about 7 times faster than people do, so they need more attention to their health as they enter their golden years. Senior pets are typically more prone to certain conditions than younger pets are. This includes arthritis and other joint problems, obesity, gum disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. It’s also important to keep in mind that senior pets—especially cats—are masters at hiding symptoms of illness, so although your senior pet may APPEAR healthy, they might not be.

At Little River Veterinary Clinic in Fairfax, our goal is to help pets of all ages live long, happy, healthy lives. We want your four-legged friend to be around for a very long time, just like you do, and the best way to make that happen is with annual wellness exams. But if your pet is 7 or older, we recommend senior wellness exams every SIx months and annual senior blood wellness panels.

About the Senior Pet Exam

Every pet exam at our clinic consists of a standard comprehensive evaluation. This includes an assessment of the skin and coat, mouth, legs and abdomen, teeth, and ears. However, for senior pets, we begin with a senior wellness blood panel. This panel checks electrolytes and provides information about the pet’s liver, kidneys, and pancreas as well as blood sugar, hydration, and other bodily functions. We may also recommend X-rays or another diagnostic service. The results of these exams and tests allow us to either ensure that your senior pet is healthy or provide treatment recommendations if they aren’t. The sooner we detect an illness or other condition, the sooner we can treat it.

During your senior pet’s exam, we can also discuss our recommendations for any changes that should be made, whether they’re related to parasite prevention, weight, or environment. If you’ve noticed any changes in your senior pet’s behavior or appearance, we encourage you to bring it to our attention during this visit.

Is Your Senior Pet Due for a Visit?

If your pet is 7 years of age and is due for a checkup, schedule a visit at Little River Veterinary Clinic. Our veterinarians can perform a comprehensive examination and determine what senior care services are recommended and help you care for your senior pet from home. Give us a call today at (703) 273-5110 to schedule your companion’s exam!


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5 Beach Safety Tips for Your Dog


The sun is shining, the salty breeze is blowing, and the sand is sparkling. As you enjoy your trips to the beach with your dog this summer, consider the following tips from Little River Veterinary Clinic in Fairfax, VA. We want you and your dog to have fun at the beach, but we want you to be safe, too. These tips will help you do both.

  1. Check the Temperature: On hot, sunny days, the sand can get pretty hot in a short amount of time, especially in the early afternoon hours. Hot sand can irritate or even burn your dog’s paw pads, so either bring a couple pairs of dog booties to the beach with you, or simply limit your visits to when it’s a little cooler out.
  1. Don’t Let Your Dog Drink the Water: Both salt and fresh water beaches can cause dogs to become sick if large amounts are ingested, so keep an eye on your dog if they decide to go for a swim to chase that Frisbee. Bring plenty of water from home to keep your dog hydrated, and don’t forget the bowl!


  1. Follow the Beach’s Pet Policy: Many pet-friendly beaches require that dogs be on a leash at all times. This is for the safety of all beach goers, four-legged and two-legged. Keep in mind that some beaches allow dogs only during certain hours or in certain areas. And as with all public places that allow pets, make sure to properly clean and pick up after your dog.


  1. Beware of Water Dangers: If you’re not 100% sure how your well your dog can swim in a lake or ocean, you might want to consider having them wear a life vest to start. Some other potential water risks are blue-green algae, jellyfish, and oyster shells. Blue-green algae is toxic to both pets and people if ingested and can result in diarrhea and vomiting, among other symptoms. Jellyfish and oyster shells can also pose a threat, so keep an eye out for these dangers while you and your dog are in the water.


  1. Don’t Forget the Sunscreen: Certain breeds with light-colored noses or thin coats are at a greater risk of sunburn, so either have your dog wear a thin T-shirt to protect their skin, or apply a fragrance-free pet sunscreen. Make sure to cover the nose, ear tips, and belly, as these are the areas that most likely to get burned.


If you would like more information on ways to keep your dog safe at the beach this summer, let us know! Our team will be happy to help.

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