Animal Pain Awareness Month: Recognizing and Managing Chronic Pain in Cats & Dogs

September is Animal Pain Awareness Month, and Signature Veterinary Services is using the opportunity to help families with pets be more aware of the subtle signs of pain in cats and dogs.
In the wild, sick or injured pets are more vulnerable to predators than healthy animals. As a result, our pets instinctively mask signs of pain, illness, and injury. This instinct can make it difficult to know when your pet might be in pain.

5 Signs of Pain in Dogs and Cats

Often the only indication that something is wrong with a pet is a subtle change in their appearance, personality, behaviors, routine, appetite, or energy level. If you notice any of the following signs, symptoms, or unexplained changes in your pet, we encourage you to schedule a checkup right away.

1. Excessive Vocalization

When in pain, you might notice your dog or cat whimpering, yowling, howling, growling, or hissing more than normal. Pay attention to your pet’s normal vocalization so that you’ll be able to recognize unusual sounds.

2. Excessive Grooming

Your cat might focus its grooming on one particular spot more than the rest of its body. Your dog might persistently lick, chew, or bite at a particular spot. This can indicate a spot where your pet is experiencing pain.

3. Panting or Purring More Than Normal

If your dog seems to pant – even when at rest – and your cat is purring more than normal, they could be in pain. Dogs often pant and cats purr in an attempt to soothe themselves.

4. Limping or Limb Favoring

If your pet is injured or suffering from a musculoskeletal problem like arthritis, they might limp or favor a limb. You might also notice changes to their posture. Pets might also seem reluctant to play or lose mobility.

5. Isolation and Antisocial Behavior

Not wanting to be touched or hiding away from the family can also indicate pain.

Pet Pain Management With Our Mobile Veterinarian

If your pet seems to be in pain, we invite you to schedule a checkup right away. Pets don’t experience pain for no reason; pain is a symptom of illness or injury.
Our veterinarian can examine your pet to determine the underlying cause of the pain and provide you with a variety of treatment options designed to address the cause of symptoms and manage the pain.
To learn more or to schedule a pain management appointment for your pet, please contact Signature Veterinary Services today.

Top 5 Reasons Why We Immunize Our Pets

With all the vaccine controversy in the news, many pet parents are wondering whether we should vaccinate our pets and if pet vaccines are actually safe. The answers to these questions are a resounding yes and yes!
Pet vaccines are some of the safest veterinary treatments available, they’re highly effective, and there are several reasons why you should continue vaccinating your pets according to the preventative care schedule recommended by your veterinarian.

Top 5 Reasons Why We Immunize Our Pets

1. It's the Law

Local laws require that pets be vaccinated against certain diseases such as rabies and distemper. Neglecting to vaccinate your pets against these diseases is against the law.

2. It Prevents Suffering and Saves Pet Lives

Vaccinating pets prevents them from contracting a variety of dangerous infectious diseases, many of which have no effective treatments.
When unvaccinated pets fall ill, veterinarians often can only provide supportive care (fluid administration and pain medications). As a result, pets are at high risk of suffering significantly, incurring permanent health damage, or even dying.

3. It Protects People

Many diseases that vaccines prevent pets from contracting are classified as zoonotic, which means they can be transmitted from pets to people. Vaccinating your pets not only safeguards your pets’ health, but also the health of your human friends, family, and neighbors.

4. It's Good for the Community

Vaccinating pets reduces the prevalence of contagious diseases throughout the community. When pets are responsibly vaccinated, there is a much lower transmission rate between wild animals, pets, and people. This improves the safety of the community overall.

5. It's Safe, Effective, and Inexpensive

It’s easy to argue that vaccines are the safest and most effective preventative care available. They work well, they’re inexpensive, and the risk of adverse reactions is incredibly small.
Plus, the cost of vaccinating your pets will always be less expensive than the cost of treating a pet that has contracted a contagious disease.

Mobile Wellness and Preventative Care for Pets

If your pet is due for vaccinations, booster shots, and a general wellness checkup, but you find it difficult to get into a veterinary clinic with your pet, then we strongly encourage you to consider establishing care with Signature Veterinary Services.
Our mobile veterinary clinic brings all the veterinary care your pet needs to stay healthy right to your doorstep. So, you can protect your pet from dangerous diseases without the stress of visiting the animal hospital.
To learn more or schedule an appointment, we welcome you to contact us today.

How to Prepare for Flea and Tick Season

Thanks to our warm weather, fleas and ticks can be active year-round in Southern California. However, we are moving into the time of the year when they are most active. So, it’s important to prepare your home, yard, and pet to help keep your pets and you safe from parasites like fleas and ticks and the diseases they carry.

6 Tips to Prepare for Flea and Tick Season

1. Use a Preventative

The best way to protect your pets from parasites is with preventative medication. These come in several forms including oral tablets, topical ointments, and collars. It’s best to speak with a veterinarian before selecting a product for your pet because we can advise you on which products will be effective for your pet and safe for the other pets and small children in your household.

2. Do Not Mix and Match Parasite Preventatives

Parasite preventatives should not be shared among different pets in your household. Preventatives for dogs are formulated differently from those intended for cats, and dog parasite preventatives can actually be very dangerous for cats. Additionally, different sized pets will need different doses and formulations.

3. Clean Up Your Yard

Fleas and ticks thrive in grassy, brushy, and woody areas. Keep your yard free from debris and ensure all your shrubbery and grass is well trimmed to reduce parasite populations in your pet’s immediate environment. Additionally, fleas and ticks tend to concentrate around bird feeders and birdbaths. If you have these features in your yard, place them out of the way of the areas where your pet plays.

4. Clean Outdoor Pet Places

In addition to keeping your yard clean, be sure to thoroughly clean any outdoor kennels or pet houses, as these are usually highly susceptible to housing fleas and ticks.

5. Be Mindful of Where You Play and Walk

When you take your pet out for a walk, avoid areas that are brushy, have tall grass, or are heavily wooded. These are prime locations for pets to pick up fleas and ticks. Instead, pick a well-groomed walking path or stick to the sidewalk during the coolest parts of the day.

6. Even Indoor Pets Are at Risk

We can bring fleas and ticks inside on our own clothing or pets can pick them up when they go outside to the bathroom.

Schedule a Parasite Prevention Appointment With Our Mobile Team

If you want to ensure your pet is adequately protected from fleas and ticks this season, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with Signature Veterinary Services in San Diego. We’ll come your home in San Diego, Orange, or Riverside Counties and can recommend a preventative product for your pet that will be effective and safe for the entire household.