Information for the Pet Owner
From Dr. Gwen McHenry
phone 740-374-7387

Dr.McHenry recommends the following sites for information on topics and diseases related to pets: Veterinary Partner
 
How to housebreak a puppy (by HSUS) 
 
Want to see drawings of dog or cat internal anatomy?  Check out this informative link:  anatomy for the pet owner

Worried about H1N1 Flu in pets? Follow this link to the AVMA site for pet owners with current information.


Find our answers to the following questions below:

When does my new puppy/kitten/ferret kit need to start shots? 
When should I get my pet neutered or spayed?
How long does a dog or cat pregnancy last?
What pain reliever that I have at home can I use for my pet?
What can I give my pet for vomiting?
What can I give my pet for diarrhea?
What can I give my pet for itching?
I think my pet is having an allergic reaction to its shots- what do I do?
Why does my dog have to get tested before starting or restarting heartworm prevention?
Why does my pet need blood testing before undergoing a surgery or a dental procedure?
How do I care for an orphaned kitten or puppy?
How do I get rid of fleas?
What can I do about my cat urinating in my house?
 
 
When does my new puppy/kitten/ferret kit need to start shots? 
Answer: Vaccines should be first given around 6 weeks old, and boosters given until the pet is 15-16 weeks old. 
 
When should I get my pet neutered or spayed?Answer: Most pets can be neutered or spayed as early as 4 months old.  To avoid development of undesirable behaviors, such as marking, get your pet altered by 8 - 12 months old.  Also, it has been proven that dogs are more likely to get breast cancer the more heat cycles they experience, so get them altered before any heat cycle!
 
How long is a dog or cat pregnant?
Answer: 60 to 65 days
 
What pain reliever that I have at home can I use for my pet?
Answer: Human pain relievers should only be used when directed by a veterinarian, as some are toxic to pets, and some that can be used require a smaller dose.  Call your veterinarian, or the veterinary emergency clinic before using any.
 
What can I give my pet for vomiting?
Answer: For starts, remove any food or treats and give clear fluids in limited amounts only for 12 hours.  For dogs only, you can try a dose of Pepto Bismol, 1 teaspoon per 10 lb body weight.  For cats, you can try a dose of hairball remedy/cat laxative.  If vomiting continues, see your veterinarian.
 
What can I give my pet for diarrhea?
Answer: For diarrhea, be sure pet is drinking plenty of fluids, as dehydration can quickly occur.  For adult dogs only, you can try a dose of Pepto Bismol, 1 teaspoon per 10 lb body weight.  For adult cats, you can try one dose of Immodium, 1/2 teaspoon.  If diarrhea continues, see your veterinarian.
 
What can I give my pet for itching?
Answer: For itching, first check to see if there is anything on the skin that needs removed, such as fleas, ticks, matted hair, or chemicals.  You can give most dogs, cats, and ferrets Benadryl by mouth.  The dose is 1 mg per pound body weight, so a 10 pound pet would get 10 milligrams.  Childrens liquid Benadryl usually contains 12.5 mg per teaspoon, and capsules are usually 25 mg.
 
I think my pet is having an allergic reaction to its shots- what do I do?
Answer: If your pet is having difficulty breathing or is losing consciousness, see a veterinarian right away.  If hives or face swelling is occuring, give Benadryl at a dose of 1 miligram per pound of body weight.  Most capsules are 25 miligram, and most liquids are 12.5 miligram per teaspoon.  Contact your veterinarian to make them aware of the reaction and for more advice. 
 
Why does my dog have to get tested before starting or restarting heartworm prevention?
Answer:  Your pet's safety and health is our first concern.  We test to ensure infection from heartworms has not occured due to missed doses or failure of protection.  Heartworm infections are asymptomatic for up to 8 months, so a dog can appear normal and still be infected.  A dog has a much better chance of surviving a heartworm infection if it is caught early rather than late.  Also, heartworm prevention is a prescription drug, and this means proper testing is required prior to prescribing it. 

Why does my pet need blood testing before undergoing a surgery or a dental procedure?Your pet will receive anesthesia for the procedure to be performed.  Anesthesia drugs must be removed by the body's functions after the procedure is done.  If your pet's liver, kidney, or blood system are not functioning adequately, it can have serious consequences.  Pre-anesthetic blood screening attempts to find any poor function that may affect anesthesia or recovery.  Not all inadequate function can be determined from outward appearance or physical exam.  Inadequate organ function can occur in pets of any age.

 How do I care for an orphaned kitten or puppy?
A kitten should be fed kitten milk replacement formula, while a puppy should be fed puppy milk replacement formula.  These can be found at big grocery stores, pet stores, veterinarian offices, and some feed stores.  You can use either a small bottle sold for this purpose (poke holes in the nipple end), or a small (3 - 6 cc) sized syringe.  Mix a powdered formula as the label directs, or use a ready to use liquid formula.  Refrigerate unused formula, and warm the portion being fed by setting the full bottle/syringe in a bowl of warm water.  Feed the kitten or puppy slowly as to not allow milk into the lungs.  See the proper amounts to feed below.   Stimulate defecation and urination after each feeding by gently wiping/rubbing the genital/anal area with a wet cotton ball.   Keep orphans warm the first few weeks of life, as they are unable to warm themselves sufficiently.   Feed a kitten 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) over 24 hours for the first week of life.  Divide this amount into 8 feedings every 3 hours.  Add an additional ounce per 24 hours for each additional week of age, and you can gradually reduce the frequency of feeding.  (example: 3 week old kitten gets 3 oz formula daily divided into 6 feedings -every 4 hours).  Weigh the kitten every 24 - 48 hours to make sure the kitten is growing.    Feed a puppy 2 ounces per pound of body weight over 24 hours (This is 4 ml per oz of body weight). In the first week of life, divide this into 8 feedings every 3 hours, and thereafter, you can gradually reduce the frequency of feedings.  Weigh the pup every 24 - 48 hours to make sure weight gain is occuring and to readjust the total amount of formula needed. 
 
How do I get rid of fleas?
You must control the flea eggs to get rid of a flea problem.  A flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day, and starts within hours of her first meal!  You must treat all pets inside and outside the house with a flea treatment that will last at least 1 month.  And since most eggs do not stay on the pet, but drop off into carpet, bedding, floors, dirt, etc... you must treat the home and yard with an environmental treatment.  This means a spray or bomb (that contains a growth regulator) in the home, and a spray or granules in the yard.  Sweep the carpets frequently, daily or at least weekly. Dose each pet with flea treatment, and stay on schedule.  Due to the life cycle of the flea, and the hardiness of the pupae stage, expect it to take about 2 - 3 months for full control.  If human family members are being bitten, consider using a DEET spray sold for human use.  Remember that wildlife, strays, and rodents can continue to bring fleas into your home and yard, so you must always use some preventative actions.  Fleas don't "g0 away" in the winter!
 
What can I do about my cat urinating in my house?
When a cat urinates outside of its litter box, it is sending you a message that something is wrong.  This could be a medical problem or a stress-caused behavioral issue.  You should have your pet examined by the vet, which may involve urine testing or looking at the urinary system.  This will help look for medical causes.  Research is continuing, but so far its been found that there is a link between stress and cat urinary problems.  It can be hard to believe our pets pampered lives are "stressful," but the stress can be from boredom, anxiety, sharing with other pets, and other things we do not perceive.  Cats can be very territorial about litter pans, so be sure to have one litter pan per cat plus one.  Be sure the pans are cleaned regularly and in a quiet private place away from doorways and appliances.  Use Feliway to reduce stress.  Check out the information at Dr. Buffington's site for reducing pet stress: http://indoorpet.osu.edu/index.cfm