Useful Tips for Keeping Your Dogs Safe at the Dog Park

Dog Park pic
Dog Park
Image: thebark.com

A member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince is a board-certified veterinarian and medical partner at the Elmhurst Animal Center in western Chicago. Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince leverages 25 years of experience to provide care to a wide range of companion animals, including dogs.

Dogs need to stay active in order to live happy, healthy lives, and one way that many dog owners choose to exercise their pets is through regular visits to the dog park. While dog parks can be an excellent opportunity for energetic play and socialization, owners should take steps ahead of time to best protect a pet’s health in this community setting.

Firstly, all dogs who enter a dog park should be up to date on vaccinations. The high volume of animals who visit dog parks make it easy for certain diseases to spread, such as dog flu and kennel cough. A dog that is current on vaccines is less likely to catch the more common illnesses transmitted in this setting.

To further prevent the spread of illness, owners should also bring a bowl from home to provide a dog with its own water to drink, as sharing water with sick dogs can also cause a pet to become sick. Additionally, owners should also consider using preventative tick and flea medication before bringing a pet to a dog park, as other canines may bring these parasites into the setting.

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Adipose Tumors in Pets

Adipose Tumors pic
Adipose Tumors
Image: petmd.com

Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince brings over 25 years of experience to his role as a veterinarian at several animal care clinics in Illinois, including as a partner with Elmhurst Animal Care Center. To stay up-to-date with the latest in veterinary science, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince attends continuing education classes in excess of 100 hours every year. He takes a special interest in veterinary oncology.

Adipose, or lipoma, tumors grow in the fat tissue of many pets. Most common in older dogs, especially Labrador retrievers, lipomas are twice as likely to appear in female than male dogs. Cats get this type of tumor rarely, but any obese pet is at a higher risk.

Most adipose tumors are benign and tend to grow slowly enough that they don’t necessarily cause other problems. Benign adipose tumors can sometimes grow large enough to cause pain or problems with other tissues in the body, and can usually be surgically removed successfully. Rarely, this type of tumor will metastasize to other parts of the pet’s body. Liposarcomas are malignant adipose tumors that may be surgically removed, but can recur in the same place later.

Pets with suspected adipose tumors will need a biopsy to discover whether the tumor is malignant or benign and to decide on the best course of treatment for the individual pet.

Diplomates with the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners

 

Household Hazards for Small Pets

Small Pets pic
Small Pets
Image: petmd.com

Veterinarian Joel Todd Leroy Prince practices at the Elmhurst Animal Care Center in Illinois. A board certified veterinarian, Joel Todd Leroy Prince is particularly knowledgable about the care and treatment of small animals.

Health hazards around the home are one of the greatest health concerns for curious small pets such as hamsters and rats. Heavy metals and toxins found in common household items are of particular concern. Electric cords, a commonly chewed upon item, contain zinc. This can lead to zinc poisoning, which may be fatal.

Lead poisoning is another key concern, especially in older homes. Paint, drywall, linoleum, and other construction materials can contain lead. Small mammals routinely find ways to access and chew these materials, especially when permitted to explore unsupervised.

Some types of commonly sold pet bedding can be dangerous for small pets as well. Cedar and pine beddings are known to cause health problems in most types of small animals, and are to be avoided.

First Response Actions for Cat Seizures

Cat Seizures pic
Cat Seizures
Image: vetstreet.com

Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince serves as a veterinarian at several locations in and around Naperville, Illinois. With a strong background that includes board certification in small animal practice, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince focuses much of his practice on neurological disorders in dogs and cats.

As with humans and other animals, seizures in cats occur as a result of abnormal electromagnetic brain activity. Such events often manifest with unusual behavior, such as pacing or yowling, which is followed by the seizure itself, in which the cat collapses, stiffens, and enters convulsions that feature unusual movements.

When the cat wakes, it may continue to display postictal symptoms such as temporary paralysis and behavior changes. If a cat shows signs of an impending or an occurring seizure, the owner’s responsibility is to keep the cat safe until the seizure is over.

Staying as calm as possible, the owner should remove any potentially dangerous objects from the cat’s vicinity. If this is not possible, such when the cat near stairs, the owner may try to move the cat to a safe location.

Experts also recommend moving a seizing cat if the animal is on a table, bed, or other raised surface. If the seizure is in progress, the owner should be aware of the potential for uncontrolled scratching or biting.

Owners should then watch the cat to make sure that it stays safe throughout the seizure. If the seizure continues for more than three minutes or is immediately followed by another seizure, experts recommend that the owner call a veterinarian. When the seizure does stop, disorientation may cause the cat to act out, so the owner must continue to observe the cat to make sure it does not injure itself or others.

Easing a Cat’s Anxiety at the Veterinarian’s Office

Elmhurst Animal Care Center pic
Elmhurst Animal Care Center
Image: elmhurstanimalcarecenter.com

At Elmhurst Animal Care Center, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince and his team maintain a cat-friendly environment. Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince and his fellow veterinarians uphold a commitment to reducing the anxiety that cats often feel during veterinarian visits.

For many cats and their owners, a visit to the veterinarian is synonymous with stress. Part of cats’ fear stems from the negative associations that they develop with key parts of the visit, such as the carrier and the car ride. Owners often find that if they incorporate these experiences more into the cat’s everyday life, the cat becomes less likely to associate them with a stressful vet visit and thus less likely to find them anxiety provoking.

Once the cat actually arrives at the vet, the key to reduced stress comes via an understanding of what the animal finds comforting. Cats generally feel safest when they can hide from perceived threats, so a towel over the cat’s carrier can often help. This also ensures that the cat cannot see other pets in the waiting room.

Waiting rooms can also be stressful because they are filled with loud noises and unpleasant smells. Cats’ heightened sense of smell means that they can become highly anxious if faced with such common veterinary office smells as blood, disinfectants, and deodorizers. Similarly, because cats are particularly perceptive, they can pick up on the stress of other pets or humans in the waiting room.

Cat-friendly practices often strive to eliminate these types of stimuli. If such an office is not available, the owner may wish to advocate for his or her cat’s needs by asking to wait in the hallway or car. Another strategy is the use of feline facial pheromone (FFP), which many practices spray in cat care areas and which is available commercially.

Symptoms of Feline Idiopathic Epilepsy

Feline Idiopathic Epilepsy pic
Feline Idiopathic Epilepsy
Image: elmhurstanimalcarecenter.com

As a board-certified small animal veterinarian at Elmhurst Animal Care Center, and at other practices in and around Naperville, Illinois, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince treats a wide variety of canine and feline illnesses. Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince pursues a particular interest in epilepsy and other neurological conditions.

Seizures in cats often present as a sign of idiopathic epilepsy, a congenital condition with no identifiable cause. The disease causes the neurons in the brain to fire abnormally and excessively, which in turn prompts abnormal behaviors, sensations, and muscle contractions. During such an event, the cat may fall to the floor, stiffen, or paddle its limbs. Many cats lose control of their bladder and bowels as well.

A seizure often occurs following an aura, also known as a focal onset, during which time the cat may become agitated. Some cats in this stage seek comfort from their human companions, while others attempt to hide themselves. After the seizure that follows, the cat is likely to appear confused and disoriented.

Owners of cats with idiopathic epilepsy may be able to control these symptoms through the use of anticonvulsant medications. It is unlikely that a cat with the condition will ever be symptom-free, but veterinarians and owners can work toward minimizing serious side effects.