Appointments, Work-Ins, Walk-Ins, Oh My!

Dr. Peterson doing an examination for a wellness appointmentWhat in the world do all these appointments mean?

In the world of veterinary medicine, it is very simple, these are all appointment types.  At Hill Country Animal Hospital we operate with an appointment schedule.  This means that our clients call to schedule appointments to have their pets seen by the doctors.  These are called Continue…

May Is Microchip Awareness Month

What is a pet microchip?

May is Microchip Awareness Month and we want to help you become aware of the importance of microchips.  A pet microchip is a small, electronic device encased in a protective shell.

microchip scan A microchip is the size of a grain of rice and is implanted under the skin of pets to provide a means of identification once the pet is scanned.  A microchip is the gold standard for reuniting lost pets with owners but only if the chip is registered!  Otherwise a microchip cannot be traced back to an owner.

What happens when an owner fails to register their pet’s chip?

When breeders, veterinary clinics or shelters purchase chips they become linked to that facility.  This provides a record where the chip was purchased and often implanted.  This is the only link that exists until the owner registers the chip.  Since so many chips never get registered, this link is vital. Our hospital maintains a record of the microchips that we implant.  If a pet comes to us with records of an existing microchip we include that information in the pet’s medical record.  We do all of this in an effort to help reunite your pet with you in the event it is ever lost.

Just because we maintain our database does not mean that all shelters, breeders or low cost clinics do though.  You cannot depend on this system to reunite you with your pet.  This road leads to a dead end more times than not.  This is why we want you to register your pet’s microchip and we will even reward you for doing so.  But we will discuss that later…

How does a microchip work?

The microchip contains a unique 15 digit number that belongs only to your pet once implanted.  Once scanned, your pet’s unique microchip number pops up on the chip reader’s screen.  The veterinary clinic or shelter will then call the company that maintains that chip’s database to collect information to contact you.  If you request privacy, the chip company will try to contact you

Reunited by a microchip

This was a successful reunion because Petey had a registered microchip

instead.  Successful reunions happen when owners register the chip and keep it up to date.  Chips are implanted easily and quickly and can be done in a nurse appointment.

The microchip is not a GPS and it will not tell you the location of your pet.  It does not contain information about your pet either.  It simply serves as a means of identification.

If my pet is chipped should he or she still wear a tag?

If your pet is microchipped it should still wear a collar with identification tags.  Even though microchips are popular, many people still do not get pets checked for a chip when they find a stray animal.  Therefore it is still imperative to identify your pet with tags.

Are all microchips the same?

All microchips work in basically the same way.  The area where you see the biggest differences is that some companies charge you to register the chip. At Hill Country Animal Hospital we use ResQ microchips that are registered through Pet Link.  Pet Link does not charge for registration and their website makes it very easy to get your pets registered.  Don’t forget to change your address with the microchip company when you move!  You can register chip that we implanted here.  Our chips are also ISO (International Standards Organization) compliant.  This means that the chip can be recognized in a foreign country.  ISO compliance is important if you travel or move outside of the US.

We scan more stray pets who either do not have chips at all or they have chips that are not registered.  When that happens it is very difficult if not impossible to trace the owners.

Here’s your reward!

For the month of May, if you have your pet chipped you can earn 2 Loyalty Rewards stamps through our app.  If you come in with your pet and we scan your pet’s chip to make sure it is registered in our system, you can earn one stamp.  To have your chip checked, you don’t need an appointment but if you would like to have a chip implanted, or if you have any questions give us a call at 210-695-4455.

What Is Your Heartworm Awareness Level?

April is National Heartworm Awareness Month 

Hill Country Animal Hospital wants to increase your heartworm awareness level and  make sure you understand how important keeping your pet on heartworm prevention really is.

Protect even your baby pets from heartworm disease

How Are Heartworms Transmitted?

Heartworms are transmitted to your dog or cat via mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes become infected by biting a dog or cat that has heartworm disease and then can spread heartworms to subsequent dogs or cats that they bite.  Dogs are a natural host for heartworms and that is why most of the emphasis is on prevention and treatment in dogs.  Cats can be a host but they are an atypical host.

Once the animal has been infected, heartworms grow to about a foot long and live in the heart and lungs of the infected animal.  In the dog Continue…

Prevent Pet Poison Accidents

Protect your pets from poisonsPoison is a strong word but it is kind of a big deal!

This week is National Pet Poison Prevention week and we want you to know that poison can be anything from a toxic chemical to an accidental ingestion of something in a toxic amount. When pets eat things they shouldn’t we often refer their owners to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control hotline.  This hotline is staffed with veterinary professionals who have access to much more reference information that a typical veterinary hospital.  Veterinary toxicologists Continue…

What Do You Know About Parvovirus?

ParvovirusWhy are we talking about parvovirus right now?  The answer is because parvovirus has been making the rounds in San Antonio for the last month or so in much higher numbers than we usually see.  We don’t really want to test your knowledge of parvovirus but we do want to make sure that you are well educated about it so you can protect your dogs.  It is all about what you know about parvovirus.

What Exactly is Canine Parvovirus?

Canine Parvovirus, often just called parvo, is a highly contagious viral disease that can be fatal.  This virus attacks the intestinal tract of dogs and puppies causing vomiting and diarrhea.  Dogs stop eating and become at high risk for dehydration making hospitalization necessary. Continue…

Rattlesnakes Are Still Rattling Around

Rattlesnake season is not over yet!

Helotes and San Antonio have been seeing days and days of steady rain and this is bringing out rattlesnakes.  When it rains, snakes seek higher ground and this increases our chances of encountering them.  This rain may be contributing to the high number of dogs being bitten by rattlesnakes recently.  Regardless of the reason we want to remind you that rattlesnake season is not over quite yet.

Be vigilant about inspecting your yard especially if you have seen or heard of snakes in your neighborhood.  We are frequently asked if snake repellent works and the answer is we don’t really know.  Many of our clients use it and have not seen snakes in their yard.  Would they have seen them otherwise?  Who knows, but it can’t hurt to try as long as you aren’t putting yourself or your dog at risk with the repellent. Continue…

Does Your Pet Have Anxiety on July 4th?

What is Noise Aversion or Noise Anxiety?

Have you ever wondered if your pet suffers from anxiety that is related to noise like fireworks, thunderstorms or even just loud noises?  This is called noise aversion and it is a real problem for many pets.

4th of July puppy and kitten no anxiety

Since Fourth of July is fast approaching, this is a wonderful time to talk about noise aversion and the anxiety that our furry friends experience.  For many people Fourth of July means fun in the sun, cookouts and fireworks.  For the rest of us it means hunkering down with our dogs, inside, dreading nightfall and the noise of fireworks going off in our neighborhoods.  If you have a dog that has noise aversion or anxiety, you fit right into the second group of people.  Unfortunately, this can be a miserable time for your pet and you.  Many pets suffer with this type of anxiety during thunderstorms or when loud noises are present. Continue…

Canine Influenza Comes to Texas

Is all the hype about Canine influenza virus just that, hype?  Unfortunately it is not.  Canine influenza virus or CIV, is the real deal and it is here in Texas.  We are hoping that we aren’t facing the same kind of outbreak that the Midwest faced in 2015 but so far, we do have 5 confirmed cases in various counties.  There have been two confirmed cases in Houston (Harris County), and we were just made aware of 3 more cases in the following counties:  Fort Bend, Hood and Travis.  As you know, Travis County is close to home so we really want to make sure that we get the word out to our clients.  

Hill Country Animal Hospital has the combined vaccine that protects dogs from both strains of CIV with one injection.  If your dog has never been vaccinated for either strain, your dog will require an initial vaccine and a booster 3-4 weeks later.  If your dog has been fully vaccinated for either strain of CIV to include an initial vaccine and the booster, your dog will only need a booster of this new, combination vaccine.  If you aren’t sure about your dog’s risk factors or vaccine status, call us at 210-695-4455.   Continue…