Can Pets Get Altitude Sickness?

At our altitude of 5,280 feet above sea level, most Denver residents and visitors don’t experience the debilitating effects of altitude sickness – that is, until they head to the mountains. The nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath that accompany altitude sickness affect approximately 20% of individuals above 8,000 feet, and can really put a damper on a day of skiing, hiking, or sightseeing.

Pets are also susceptible to an increase in altitude, which can include many of the same symptoms experienced by humans. If allowed to advance, altitude sickness in pets can lead to a potentially deadly buildup of fluid in the lungs and brain, especially, if the pet is engaging in any physical activity. 

Enjoying the wonderful outdoor opportunities that our Colorado mountains have to offer with your pets is one of the beauties of living in this area, but safety must be the first priority. For low altitude pet owners, knowing the signs of altitude sickness in pets, and when to seek help, is an important part of keeping them safe while in the mountains.

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Splish Splash: Where Should Your Dog Swim?

For dogs that love the water, going for a swim on a hot day is a real treat and one of the best parts of summer! However, finding a safe place for your pooch to splash around in is another issue entirely. Should your dog swim in a chlorinated pool? What about a local lake or river? Is it safer to just fill up a kiddie pool in the backyard?   

At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we want pets to get plenty of exercise and bonding time with their owners. With careful observation, appropriate safety measures, and a little common sense, you might find swimming to be an enjoyable activity for you and your furry pal!

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Dog Parks: Are They Right For Your Dog?

It sounds like a great idea – take your dog to a large, fenced-in area where it can run free with other canine friends. You get to skip the daily walk, check your email, maybe chat with other dog owners, then leave with an exhausted-but-happy dog. What could be better?

Dog parks can be big on the convenience factor for us humans, but being in close proximity to lots of other dogs can also present some problems for your dog. Before taking your pup to the park, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons, so we at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center have some important points for you to consider.

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Ride, Ride, Ride, Hitchin’ a Ride: The Case for Flea and Tick Prevention

Spring is a notoriously fickle time in Colorado. One day, we’re enjoying temperatures in the 60s, and the next day we’re hit with a snow storm! This variation between cold and warm weather can make it easy to ignore your pet’s parasite prevention. Unfortunately, a little spring snow isn’t enough to keep fleas and ticks at bay for long. Although they may seem inactive during a cold spell, it only takes a few 50 to 60 degree days for parasites to become active again.

While fleas and ticks can be found anywhere outdoors, they are most likely picked up by a pet after they’ve dropped off of another animal onto the ground, grass or a shrub. Even if a pet doesn’t go outdoors, it can still be exposed to these parasites when they’ve hitched a ride indoors on someone’s clothing. Unfortunately, they’re usually not noticed until they’ve bitten your pet and started to cause itching, skin rash and hair loss problems. Or, as with a tick, you’ve discovered a little round bump on your pet that wasn’t there a few days before.        

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Heartworm Disease: A Growing Threat in Colorado

If you’re a longtime Denver area resident, you’ve surely noticed how much the metro area has grown over the past 10 years. And, our population growth continues to extend outward beyond the city and surrounding suburban areas.

While Colorado’s popularity as a great place to live is mostly a good thing, it also affects us in ways that we may not think of, such as how it affects our pets. With more and more people and pets moving here, the number of heartworm disease cases seen by local veterinarians has increased every year.

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March Madness: Safeguarding Against Outdoor Pet Toxins

Although it may not be obvious just yet, Colorado’s flora and fauna will soon begin waking up after a long winter’s sleep. Homeowners everywhere are also preparing for the warmer days when there will be grass to mow, compost to turn, and landscaping to prune.

As we settle in for another season of tinkering around in our garage and backyard, it’s important to keep your pet’s safety in mind. Many of the chemicals we commonly use for outdoor maintenance can injure or even kill a pet. Although you may not expect your pet to get into trouble in your garage or yard, pets can be known to eat just about anything, so protecting them from outdoor pet toxins is essential.

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Cozy Toes: The Principles of Winter Paw Protection

Winter Paw Care is important

Our pets rely on their paws to transport them everywhere they need to go and in all types of weather, and it is easy to assume that their paws can withstand whatever Mother Nature throws at them. Unfortunately, cracked pads, frostbite, chemical burns, and more present numerous hazards to the well-being of our pet’s paws, especially, this time of year. With this in mind, the team at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center would like to walk you through the basics of winter paw protection for your furry loved one!

Adorable Anatomy

Paw pads are some of the cutest parts of any pet, but they also serve many important functions. Pads provide cushioning and shock absorption by protecting the ligaments, tendons, and bones from the impact of walking and running. They also provide insulation from hot and cold surfaces, as well as traction when a pet traverses across varying types of terrain. As if that’s not enough, paw pads also protect our pets against bacteria, parasites, and other nasty contaminants present on any surface or terrain they come in contact with.  

Over time or as a pet matures, the surface of the pads will become more tolerant to heat, cold, and rough surfaces. That doesn’t mean, however, that they don’t need some additional protection and care during the winter months, especially, when exposed to extreme cold, ice, and chemical de-icers.

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Leaps and Bounds: Dog Running Safety 101

Dog running safety is key to safe pet exerciseFitness buffs, competitive racers, and those of us just looking to stay in shape know that running is one of the best ways to achieve our cardiorespiratory fitness goals. Running continues to be one of the most popular sports worldwide (currently practiced by over 65 million Americans), and shows no signs of slowing down.

For dog owners with energetic canines, bringing Fido along on your daily run can make good sense and be quite enjoyable. Regular exercise helps dogs stay fit, and can reduce anxiety and undesirable behaviors. However, keeping your dog out of harm’s way is extremely important when undertaking any exercise program together, so it’s a good idea to think about running safely with your dog before you lace up your shoes and grab the leash (and those baggies!). Continue…

The Ins and Outs of Heartworm Prevention

Mosquito abatement is critical to heartworm preventionMost pet owners are familiar with or have heard about heartworm disease. Heartworms are mosquito-borne, blood-dwelling parasites that make their home in the pulmonary artery, a major blood vessel between the heart and lungs, wreaking havoc on the cardiovascular systems of dogs and cats.

Thankfully, we have many safe, effective options available for our pets that can almost eliminate the chance of infection when properly administered. You probably give your dog or cat a heartworm preventive as recommended by our veterinarians at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center. Since heartworm preventives are commonly misunderstood, we’re going to zero in on the heartworm preventives we use, what they do, and why administering them correctly matters for them to work properly in preventing heartworm disease. Continue…

Ticks and Pets: The Ugly Truth About Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

rocky mountain spotted feverTick populations are on the rise across the United States, and our beautiful state is no exception. Of the 30 plus species of ticks that make their home in Colorado, there are several that have the potential to make your pet, and you, very sick. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is one of many diseases that can be transmitted to both people and pets via the bite of an infected tick, and is of particular concern in our region.

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