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Geriatric Screening

Multiple medical conditions can develop in pets as they age. Periodic testing is the key to early detection and management. This is especially important since many of these conditions can not be cured but can be successfully managed if discovered early. Diagnostics can include but are not limited to bloodwork, urine testing and radiography. Ask your veterinarian and technician for more information about geriatric screening.

Vaccinations for Dogs & Cats

Vaccinations are the mainstay of disease prevention in dogs and cats and are a safe and highly effective means of disease control. Vaccinations have prevented many pets from needless deaths due to parvovirus, distemper and panleukopenia. Our facility is in compliance with the American Animal Hospital Association guidelines for vaccination of dogs and cats. We will be happy to assist you in a safe protocol for your pet.

Spontaneous Weight Loss or Gain

When pets lose or gain weight without our assistance it is usually a sign of medical problems. It is important to address these medical issues so that they can be corrected. Let us help you solve your pet's weight issues.

Common Toxins

There are many toxins in the home environment. Common examples include cleaners, insecticides, pesticides, plants, and even some foods. Any potential exposure should be investigated immediately through Poison control with the help of your veterinary care provider.

To contact Animal Poison Control Center phone 888-426-4435. All calls made to that phone # will require a credit card number.

For a list of toxic plants for dogs, please click here .

For a list of toxins for cats please click here .

* Please note that these webpages are not endorsed or maintained by RiverChase Animal Hospital.

Fleas

Fleas are a common pest for both dogs and cats. Fleas, like ticks can be vectors (transporters) of diseases. Even indoor cats who never set foot outside can acquire and suffer with fleas. Controlling a flea infestation involves a multifaceted approach addressing both the pet and the environment. Please let us help you with any flea issues you and your pets have.

Ticks

Ticks are also a common insect pest, especially here in the North Texas area. In addition to blood loss ticks can be vectors for disease that affect humans, such as Lymes disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. As with Fleas, tick control may require a multifaceted approach. Please ask us for assistance with any questions you may have.

Foods

Dogs and Cats should be fed diets that are specifically balanced to their individual needs. Feeding commercial foods to pets should fulfill all the pets necessary daily requirements for health. It is possible, with assistance, to provide home cooked meals that are designed to meet all the same needs. However, it is important that dogs and cats are fed diets that are completely cooked. Feeding raw or improperly cooked meals runs the risk of food contamination and or food borne illness such as salmonellosis, listeriosis, and pathogenic E. Coli. Please ask for assistance.

Feline Housesoiling

Feline housesoiling can be divided into two main categories: Medical Versus Behavioral

The distinction between a medical problem versus a behavioral one is extremely important, since it determines the types of treatments that may be needed to help the pet. Medical problems that can lead to urinating outside of the box include but are not limited to bladder stones, interstitial cystitis (bladder inflammation), or urinary tract infection. Diabetes and renal failure can also increase the amount of urine a cat produces and lead to accidents outside of the box. Arthritis can make it difficult for an older cat to climb into a litterbox to urinate or defecate.

Housesoiling is the number one behavior problem in cats. It includes territorial marking and litterbox aversion. It is necessary to know if the cat is both urinating and defecating outside of the box and where it occurs. Watching for possible stressors will help you to provide an environment that encourages good litterbox habits. Many people would think that the charmed life of a house cat could not possibly have any stress, but cats are very sensitive to changes in the environment. Stressors can include feral cats outside of the windows, other pets or children in the household, moving to a new house, moving furniture, an owner being away on vacation, or lack of mental stimulation.

We think of litterbox aversion as a problem the cat is having, however, it often stems from the behavior of owners or other pets in the household. The following are tips that can help prevent or alleviate litterbox aversion:

  1. Rule of Thumb = 1 litterbox per each cat + 1 extra box. Sometimes even two litterboxes can seem like a lot in a small apartment but it is better than urine on the carpet.
  2. Litterboxes should be scooped at least 1-2 times daily. This also makes it easier to have multiple boxes outside of just the laundry room. You should never smell a litterbox. Remember that if you can smell it with your poor human senses, the smell is absolutely overpowering your cat.
  3. Try different types of litters. Certain cats are very sensitive to smell, so even fragranced litters can annoy some cats and prevent them from using the box. Cats may prefer certain textures of litter. Scoopable litter is a favorite with many cats, but it is worth trying others if your cat is having a litterbox problem. You can try providing a litter cafeteria where they have multiple boxes and types of litter from which to choose their favorite.
  4. Try different types of litterboxes. Many cats do not like covered litterboxes or boxes requiring them to walk through tunnels to get to it. These cats may have initially decided to use this type of box, and then found it too cumbersome so they will stop. Arthritis can make it painful for older cats to climb in and out of boxes with tall sides. Offering a lower cut out for them to step through or low sides all around such as a plastic under the bed sweater box can make it easier for them to maintain good litterbox habits.

These suggestions may not completely solve the problem for all cats with bad elimination habits, but these steps are usually needed to achieve a positive outcome

Spaying & Neutering

Spaying and neutering pets is the main defense we have against pet over-population. Over 10 million animals are euthanized in shelters every year due to over population. There are also medical reasons that make the decision to spay or neuter even more important for your pet.

Females that are spayed before their first heat cycle significantly reduce their chances of developing mammary cancer later in life. That is the reason for recommending spaying while they are 4-6 months of age.

Males are also neutered between 4-6 months of age. This helps to prevent typical male behavior traits such as territorial marking, and many older dogs that are intact develop a condition called Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy. BPH can cause problems with urination or become a source of infection. Neutering also eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer since it removes the testicles.

Heartworm Testing

Testing for heartworms in pets is extremely important, even if your dog has been on monthly heartworm prevention. The reason behind this recommendation is that pets can vomit the oral medications without the owner being aware of it, and topical medications applied to the skin can be rubbed off before they are completely absorbed.

Many companies will also pay for your heartworm treatment, if you have records of purchasing yearly supplies of heartworm prevention and have records of negative heartworm tests prior to the patient developing heartworms.

Heartworm Prevention

Heartworm disease is a life-threatening infection transmitted by mosquitoes to dogs and cats. Although they are called heartworms they really like to live in the arteries of the lungs and will only enter the heart when the lungs become full of worms.

The Bad News: Heartworm disease is extremely common in Texas

The Good News: A preventive medication taken once monthly will prevent heartworm infection! All dogs should be on a monthly preventive even if they are 'indoor dogs,' since mosquitoes can get inside the house and bite your pet. If your pet develops heartworms, there is a method to treat it, but the treatment involves keeping the patient extremely quiet with no running or jumping for 2 months in order to prevent death during the treatment process.