What to do About Chagas Disease in Dogs

An insect sits on a leaf

As responsible dog owners, we do everything we can to protect the health and wellbeing of our canine companions. Keeping our pets safe means understanding the threats to their longevity, whether it’s avoiding heat stroke, keeping up with their dental care, or making sure they take their medications each day.

Chagas disease, a major threat to the health of Texas dogs, is still relatively unknown among dog owners. We hope to change that by educating our readers about Chagas disease in dogs – what it looks like, and how to protect your pets.

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Do Pets Feel Guilt (and Other Complex Human Emotions)?

cat on table

Do Pets Feel Guilt (and Other Complex Human Emotions)?

A dog owner generally knows when their pup did something they knew was wrong. With tucked ears, droopy eyes, and a sad-looking scowl, their admission of naughtiness is written all over their face. But while the appearance of shame is super obvious to us, experts aren’t convinced that pets feel guilt the same ways that we do. That doesn’t mean, however, that pets don’t have their own versions of an emotional spectrum.

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Ear Mites and Other Things You May Find in Pet Ears

Cleaning your pet’s ears periodically is a part of good pet hygiene and is also a great way to be sure that you are picking up on problems as quickly as possible.

When performing this maintenance task, you may run across a few things you need to know more about. Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital wants you to know what to do with what you might find in pet ears. 

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Dispelling the Fear of Pet Anesthesia


Veterinary surgery has come a long way in recent years. Routine procedures, such as spays, neuters, or dental cleanings, are remarkably commonplace now, and advanced surgeries, necessitated by sudden illness or injury, can be complete life-savers. 

Regardless of a surgery’s complexity, keeping animals safe, still, and free of pain requires anesthesia. This understandably triggers stress and anxiety for pet owners. While pet anesthesia is very serious, our team takes every possible safety precaution.

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Training an Older Dog: Is it Possible?

An elderly man praises an adult chocolate lab in a beautiful outdoor park setting.

There are many great reasons to adopt an older dog. Perhaps not surprisingly, the absence of housetraining ranks pretty high. Sure, there might be accidents in the very beginning of your new relationship, but once you train them to go at certain times (and only in designated areas!) a new-to-you adult or senior dog will find their way. 

But this brings up other questions about their behavior. What if you adopt an adult dog that is set in their ways; can you retrain or re-socialize them? Of course! Training an older dog is absolutely possible, and maybe even easier than with a much younger animal.

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Tough Pill to Swallow? Pill Pockets (and Other Schemes) To Change the Game

If you’ve ever watched a vet or tech administer medication, it can look remarkably easy. That is, of course, until you try it at home. The animal in need of a pill seems to have found a new hiding spot, or catches a whiff of the “yucky stuff” and protests with clenched jaws. You might be able to fool them by mixing their medication in with their food or, better yet, a special treat, but their cleverness always prevails. Half-eaten dishes or discarded treats may reveal that they managed to eat around the pill. 

Fortunately, pill pockets and other trickery offer great solutions to getting a picky pet to take their medicine. 

Miss a Dose?

When animals miss doses of necessary medication designed to heal or safeguard health, progress can be upended, or they can be exposed to certain health complications. It’s important that they consistently receive the right dose at the correct time. 

Saving Time and Money

Ensuring that your pet receives their timely medication reduces the negative impact of missed doses on their overall health – and your wallet. Administering medication at home doesn’t have to be fraught with confusion, frustration, or unfortunate results. 

Pill Pockets

Animals are highly food-motivated. As long as you are able to successfully mask the look and smell of medicine, most pets will happily gobble up whatever you’re trying to give them. And if peanut butter gobs or chicken meat bundles aren’t their jam, look no further than the ingeniousness of modern-day pill pockets.

Disguised Dosages

Masking the scent of unsavory, bitter, or bland medication is as easy as inserting a pill into a pocket of tasty goodness. Greenies Pill Pockets are always a safe bet. Simply squeeze the treat around a pill and watch the magic go down! 

Other Cheats

Sure, some pets don’t think twice about eating garbage or feces, but try to give them a pill and they turn up their nose. 

  • Show them a pill in one hand. 
  • Let them sniff it. 
  • Cover up another pill in a squished up gob of grated cheddar or unsweetened peanut butter. 
  • Give them a choice to either eat the pill straight, or the delicious treat that happens to be medication in disguise. 

You can try grinding up the pills into a powder and sprinkling it on their food, but make sure to check with your veterinarian first. This method can have mixed results (and it’s crucial they get their full dose every time).

Watch and Learn

If pill pockets don’t work, and they aren’t taking the bait on any other treats, use a pill dispenser or gently use your own hands:

  • Place the pill between your thumb and forefinger.
  • Gently pull back on your pet’s head to straighten out their neck.
  • Open their mouth and carefully drop the pill at the back of the throat (where the back of the tongue meets the palate).
  • Sweetly rub the throat in a downwards motion to help the pill go down.

Please let your Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital team know if you need help with pill pockets or other methods for safe, successful medication administration. Some prescriptions can be given trans-dermally or in compounds from special pharmacies.
The relationship between you and your pet will stay strong when you give them great alternatives for taking medicine or supplements they need. Good luck!

This entry was posted in Pet Health & Wellness, Senior Pet Care, The Surgical Suite, You & Your Pet and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

The Amazing Canine Nose: Dog Nose Slits Explained

If you’ve ever marveled at your dog’s sense of smell, you’re not alone. The canine nose is definitely a doggy superpower. While it was originally developed to help them survive, a dog’s sense of smell has helped humans detect drugs, weapons, illegally transported plants and seeds, cadavers, missing people, cancer cells, and even low blood sugar. 

What’s behind the powers of the canine nose? Dog nose slits, the small openings on either side of your dog’s nostrils, are partially responsible for a dog’s amazing sense of smell. 

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5 Ways to Score A Pet-Friendly Rental

A recent search for a pet-friendly rental on Apartments.com yielded tons of results – and that’s just in (and around) San Antonio! That’s great news for a pet owner, especially because landlords and property management organizations are generally perceived as “anti-pet”.

With potential for significant damage, disruption and conflict, what can prospective renters do to win over landlords or management companies?

Let’s Stay Together

It can be challenging to find the right pet-friendly rental. In fact, it’s one of the most tragic reasons for re-homing or surrendering a beloved pet to the animal shelter.

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Food for Thought: A Look at Cat Grooming Practices

Cats sleep an average of 15 hours a day, but there are many that get upwards of 20 hours! When they aren’t dreaming of chasing mice, fighting rivals, or licking their chops for a taste of tuna, cats are highly alert and keenly aware of themselves. To that end, they spend up to half of their waking lives grooming themselves.

What is this fixation on grooming all about? More importantly, what can owners do to help their cats stay clean and encourage healthy grooming? Let’s take a look at cat grooming practices to get a better understanding of this important social instinct.

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Dog Leashes that are Safer than Retractable Ones

Of all the gear needed for responsible dog ownership, a good leash ranks pretty high. Of course, dog leashes vary in size, length, material, and the many ways they keep dogs and people safe.

For some, retractable leashes offer the perfect combination of freedom and flexibility. However, because they present serious injury risks, retractable leashes aren’t the best choice. So, what are the best dog leashes out there?

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