What to Consider Before Giving a Pet as a Gift

Plan ahead if you plan to give a pet as a gift, and please adopt a pet if you do!

Tis the season of giving, and for many of us, a pet seems like a wonderful gift to bestow on a deserving family member. Unfortunately, many of these animals will be surrendered to shelters across the country in the weeks and months following the holidays. Certainly, it’s nice to picture a precious puppy or cuddly kitten popping out of a beautifully wrapped box on Christmas morning, but the team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital urges you to consider whether giving a pet as a gift is really a good idea.

Skip the Surprise

When it comes to giving a pet as a gift, perhaps the most important factor is the element of surprise. We all want to delight a loved one with the perfect present, but pet ownership should always be carefully thought out ahead of time. A surprise may be more fun in the short-term, but ultimately, everyone will be happier if a plan is in place prior to welcoming a new pet into the family.

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The Big Question: Pet Insurance

Pet insurance can help defray the cost of vet care

If your pet was critically injured and needed to be hospitalized tomorrow, would you be able to afford the bill?

We all want to do the very best we can for our pets, and we are fortunate that today, we have access to ever advancing veterinary medicine. From cancer treatment, to blood transfusions, to laser therapy and advanced surgical procedures, it’s now possible to treat almost all pet injuries and illnesses.

This advanced care comes with a cost, however. Standard pet care costs already average $1800 per year, making it easy to see how a pet accident, illness, or emergency can put a financial strain on many families.   

That’s where pet insurance comes in. Just as human health insurance is designed to bridge the gap between needed cost and care, pet insurance can offset the financial burden of unexpected injury or illness to our pets. The big question is – is pet insurance right for you? It’s an individual decision, but it’s important to weigh the costs and benefits for your own situation. Here, Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital shows you how.

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The Very Real Dangers of Foreign Bodies in Pets

Foreign Bodies in Pets should be considered a pet emergency

In so many ways, pets are like babies; they’re cute, lovable, funny, endearing…and they put everything in their mouths. Although exploring the world with their teeth and tongues is normal for most pets, problems can arise when inedible objects, also called foreign bodies, are ingested. That’s why the experts at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital want to discuss the dangers associated with foreign bodies in pets and how you can keep your companion safe and sound.  

The Trouble with Foreign Bodies in Pets

Whether your dog decided to raid the neighbor’s garbage or your cat got a little carried away playing with the piece of ribbon she found under the couch, ingesting a foreign object can have serious consequences.

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Making Cold Weather Pet Safety a Top Priority

Pet winter safety is important to all pets, big and small

Old Man Winter has arrived here in New Jersey, and we can expect a full season of inclement if not unpredictable weather. Just as you might have unearthed all of your winter gear, winterized your car, and battened down the hatches for impending wet weather, it’s equally important to consider cold weather pet safety.

Cold weather pet safety has a lot more to it than meets the eye. Check out some of our tips and tricks for keeping your pet healthy and oh-so-cozy during the harsh winter months.

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More Than a Mouthful: Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions

Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions are a serious threat to feline dental health

Cats are so amazing and capable of hiding when they are having trouble that they often get the short end of the stick when it comes to proactive care. One area that many of our feline patients need our help in is the department of dental care.

The staff at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital sees quite a bit of dental disease in all of our four-legged patients. In cats, not only is periodontal disease a big issue, but there is also another beast to contend with. Feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions, not so fondly also referred to as FORLs, affect a large number of our cat patients and are something all cat owners should understand.

Understanding Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions

The term feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions is quite the mouthful, and they can be for our cat patients as well. We don’t really understand at this time what causes some cats to be affected by this disease process, but over half of our cat patients over the age of six have them.

FORLs are essentially holes that form in the tooth as a result of the activity of the odontoblasts within the tooth itself. These holes typically form near the gum line and are analogous to the cavities that people suffer, however they have nothing to do with plaque buildup.

We do know that FORLs affect cats tremendously. These sinister little holes can be exquisitely painful. Exposure of the tooth’s pulp cavity can also result in infection. If the hole becomes extensive enough, the crown of the tooth can even break off, leaving roots under the gum line that may result in problems.

Not all cats let us know that they are suffering from FORLs. It is a good idea to make an appointment for us to examine your pet, though, if you notice that your cat is:

  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Reluctant to allow you to look at the teeth
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Hesitant to eat
  • Having bad breath

Fighting the Good Fight

Feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions can be frustrating for cat owners as well as veterinarians because we don’t really understand at this time how to prevent or stop them. What we can, do, however, is be proactive about looking for them and aggressive when we find them.

Routine oral examinations are an important part of wellness care for any pet, but especially cats. Frequent anesthetized oral evaluations and dental radiographs are important for us to find these painful lesions early. Many times in the early stages it is impossible to identify these without dental x-ray.

Diagnosis And Treatment

When we find FORLs, the exact type of lesion is identified in order to decide how to best proceed. Class I and II FORLs tend to be early in the course of the disease and may be treated with cleaning and/or enamel restoration techniques.

Class III lesions enter the pulp cavity, while Class IV lesions involve broken roots retained under the gum line. These types of FORLs typically require tooth extraction as they are quite painful. Many cats who suffer from FORL lesions will have all or most of the teeth affected at some point. Although most of these pets lose lots of teeth, they are perfectly functional (and much more comfortable) without them.

Working Together

Until science and veterinary medicine understand more about this disease process, it remains important for us to work as a team to be sure that our cats are happy and pain free. By bringing your pet in to see us for wellness visits and allowing routine oral examinations as recommended, you can do your part in battling FORLs.

Are Pet Facial Expressions a Real Thing?

Pet facial expressions are a good way to know what your pet is thinking

As a pet owner, you’re familiar with your pet’s unique personality traits. Through their body language and vocalizations, it’s easy to tell when they’re happy, annoyed, excited, angry, fearful, curious, etc. In fact, many of these communication styles can seem almost human-like.

The way a pet expresses themselves can be extremely nuanced, such as in the case of pet facial expressions. What do they mean, and how can they help us gain a better understanding of what our furry family members are trying to tell us?

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Good Eats: Pet Nutrition and Fad Diets for Pets

Pet nutrition does not always follow fad diets for pets

Obsessing over our diets is something Americans are good at, and this obsession is easily translated into the world of our pets and what they eat. Not only are there hundreds of different brands of pet food to choose from, but almost everywhere you turn someone is touting the latest dietary trend as the best way to feed your pet.

As stressful as it can be to figure out how to provide your pet with the nutrients they need to live long, healthy lives, the team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital can walk you through what every pet owner should know when it comes to proper pet nutrition.

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Getting a Grip on Halloween Pet Safety Measures

Halloween pet safety is a must for a pet-friendly HalloweenThere’s a lot to love about fall in general, but the highlight for many is, of course, Halloween. We’ve been enjoying the costumes and decorations on display for weeks now, but the remaining days before the big event should include the mindful prevention of injury to a family pet. They all mean well, but pets can find themselves in a deep cauldron of hot water without Halloween pet safety tactics firmly in place.

The Obvious Dangers

Most pet owners are very aware of the dangers of chocolate, raisins, and Xylitol-sweetened treats around Halloween. While reducing these threats continue to be an essential of Halloween pet safety, there are additional risks to remember that aren’t so obvious. Continue…

What You Should Know About Kidney Disease in Cats

Kidney disease in cats is a common senior pet health issue.In veterinary medicine there are some diseases and problems that rear their ugly heads more often than others. When it comes to the feline species, it seems that the kidney is the Achilles tendon of the cat. Many, if not most, cats will have trouble with the kidneys as they age.

At Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital we feel that it is important for our feline-loving pet parents to understand what kidney disease in cats looks like and how it can affect their feline friend. Continue…

Keep Calm: How to Make Vet Visits Less Stressful

Make vet visits less stressful!Maybe you’re the lucky human whose pets are as cool as a cucumber at the vet’s office. But for most of us, a trip to the veterinary hospital for our pet’s exam is definitely no walk in the park. Pets can be stressed, anxious, and fearful when traveling to the vet, as well as while in the office, and it’s hard to see our beloved pets in such a state.

But, because we know that regular visits for preventive care – even when your pet is seemingly healthy – is one of the best ways to give them a healthier and happier life, we want to make those visits easier for you and for your pets. So we decided to share some ideas on what we’re doing as well as what you can do as a pet owner to make vet visits less stressful. Continue…