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Over two years ago when I moved to Texas from Massachusetts, I knew that many things would be different. I readily acclimated to the tacos, BBQ, and lake life, but what continues to amaze me is the number of ways that Texas tries to hurt us! Between the snakes, scorpions, stifling hot summers, and I-35, it's a wonder that any of us are still standing!

With our warm climate, Texas is a hotbed (literally) for many infectious diseases. Now one of the saddest things I've seen since being a veterinarian in Central Texas is the huge number of dogs infected with heartworms. It's so important that every pet owner in the country (and especially in the Southern states) is aware of heartworm disease and its seriousness. This is a preventable disease!

Despite the fact that we have easily obtainable, relatively affordable, and effective medications to prevent the development of heartworms in dogs and cats, heartworm disease continues to be on the rise in this country. Below is the predicted incidence of heartworm disease for 2017, from...

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Yes! Dogs can become infected with the influenza virus! This has been a hot topic in the Austin area within the past couple of months, so you may have already heard about these infections on the news or in your community. Here we’ll discuss basic information about the influenza virus, signs of disease, and what you can do to protect your dog.

Talk nerdy to me: what is the canine influenza virus?

The canine influenza virus is a Type A influenza virus. Influenza viruses are known to be super sneaky, able to rapidly mutate into new strains. There are currently two strains of the canine influenza virus that have been identified in the United States (H3N8 and H3N2). The H3N8 strain originated in horses but then jumped to canines, causing an outbreak in racing Greyhounds in 2004. The H3N2 strain was first identified in dogs in Asia, and possibly originated from birds. This strain led to an outbreak of respiratory illness in dogs within the Chicago area in 2015, and most recently in 2017, this strain has been identified in the southern United States...

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Fear Free Veterinary Care Now Available for Austin Pets

Can you imagine your dog or cat absolutely LOVING their vet visit?

You won't need to imagine if you call Dr. Jenna with Vet Around Town in Austin TX. That’s because she is part of a new initiative sweeping veterinary medicine designed to ease the stress, fear, and anxiety so many pets experience during vet visits.

Known as Fear Free, the training and certification program helps veterinarians modify their procedures, handling, and facilities to help pets feel safe and comfortable while receiving the medical care they need.

Dr. Jenna recognized the need for low-stress vet visits when she designed her house call veterinary practice. She was thrilled to hear about the Fear Free program to learn even more methods for helping pets develop positive associations with their veterinarian.

Founded by veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker, the Fear Free training program was developed by board-certified veterinary behaviorists, veterinary technician behavior specialists, board-certified veterinary...

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Four days ago I received a panicked call from Murphy's mom. He was suddenly unable to walk that morning and she wasn't sure what had happened! Murphy is a 7 year old mixed breed dog who has otherwise been healthy his whole life. There was no chance for any recent trauma or toxicity.

I arrived to their home that day to perform a full physical exam. This showed that he had neurologic deficits in all four limbs, which were most notable on the right forelimb. "Deficits" occur when there is a block in signal from the body to the brain. When our limbs move, the nerves signal to the brain letting us know where to go and how to move the limbs. In Murphy's case, he was knuckling over on his paws and criss-crossing his limbs as a result of this impaired signaling from the limbs to the brain. Because of this incoordination, he could not walk at all.

Based on his physical exam, his problem could be localized to the cervical (neck) portion of the spinal cord. The most common conditions that we can see damaging the spinal cord and resulting in these neurologic deficits are:...

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Skin Allergies in Pets

Clearly, I can't get enough of my Golden Retriever patients. They are always so happy and sweet, and there's just something about them that cheers up my entire day! If you've ever met a Golden Retriever you must understand what I'm talking about.

A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to meet 9 year old Finnegan, who was having a VERY common issue this time of year - itchy skin. Poor Finnegan was bothered by an itch on his leg so badly that within just a day he had licked and chewed it into a very red, raw "hot spot". At the same time, we found that Finnegan had ear infections in both ears! Unfortunately, Finnegan was no stranger to these problems; they seem to happen around the same time every year.

Right at home, we were able to clip and clean the "hot spot". We prescribed antibiotics and topical medications for the skin and ears, and most importantly fit him with an e-collar to prevent him from continuing to chew at his skin (doesn't he make such a beautiful flower!?) Finnegan's mom reports that he is already well on the road to recovery! Now we're planning to...

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Bailey is a 15 year old Golden Retriever, who in typical Golden fashion, always greets us with a happy smile and tail wag. He enjoys life with an amazing family including two small kids and another on the way! Bailey is such a lover that he was the perfect choice for our February pet of the month!

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A few weeks back while I was working in the ER, a 6 year old neutered male German Shepherd dog was rushed into the hospital after collapsing at home. Sadly, this dog arrived DOA (deceased on arrival). Our team immediately performed CPR but were ultimately unable to resuscitate him. On initial evaluation, we were able to quickly diagnose a condition called gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV, aka "bloat").

Upon further questioning of the owners, I learned that this handsome boy had been showing many classic signs of GDV over the previous 8 hours that day. When I discussed my diagnosis, they had never heard of it before and asked, "isn't there some treatment or surgery that can be done?" It was so difficult to tell them that yes, there IS a life-saving treatment for this condition, however at this point it was far too late. Had they brought him to me only a couple hours sooner, he likely could have been saved.

In this new series of blog posts, we'll discuss common veterinary illnesses that are ESSENTIAL for pet owners to be aware of. Since we're all...

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Vet Around Town | Austin TX | Housecall Vet

With 2016 running for the door, many of us are looking forward to celebrating New Year’s Eve and welcoming a fresh start for 2017. Whether you’re staying in for the night or going out on the town, it’s important to be prepared with a plan to help your pet enjoy the celebration as much as you will! Let’s talk about a few main points to help us all get through to the New Year without too much regret.

1. Safety First: Sometimes it’s hard to feel fabulous amidst a pack of people dressed in glitter! If your pet is more of an introvert than life of the party, be sure to provide a safe spot where she can retreat to if the festivities become overwhelming. A separate room or a crate with plenty of treats and puzzle toys can provide a great distraction and keep her feeling safe. We love using Kong toys filled with peanut butter and treats!

2. Fireworks Fun: One year, I thought it would be such a sweet idea to take my dog to the fireworks display in Philadelphia – a “mother & son” holiday outing! We bundled up and walked twenty blocks to...

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Vet Around Town - Intro!

Hello, Austin! I'm so excited to be your vet and made this video so that you could "meet" me right away! Stay tuned for cuteness overload at the end!