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April is a Good Month to Start Thinking about Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs

Pug2Lyme disease is a notorious tick-borne disease that all pet owners worry about—especially in Pennsylvania, where Lyme disease is fairly common. If your dog is an indoor-outdoor dog, or if you like to take your dog on long walks or hikes in wooded areas, it’s a good idea to learn all you can about protecting your dog from Lyme disease—and there’s no better time than April, which is Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs month!

Considered one of the more serious ailments in pets, Lyme disease is a is a clinical manifestation as a result of infection with Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria (it’s never transmitted dog-to-dog, or dog-to-person). Ticks get on pets, and the bite transmits Lyme bacteria to the host. Ticks must be attached to your pet for 24 hours for transmission, which is why combing your pets post-walk is a good idea if you live in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent.

Even if you find a tick on your dog and suspect it’s been attached for over two days, only a few dogs will contract Lyme disease as a result. Even so, the best way to ensure your pet is at low risk of developing Lyme disease is to be vigilant about prevention. Administering something that protects against fleas and ticks means that ticks will die before they are able to attach. It’s also a good idea to keep your dog on a leash when going for hikes, as this decreases your dog’s risk of exposure to ticks by keeping them away from tall, thick grass and wooded areas. There are also certain vaccinations that can help to prevent Lyme disease in your dog, so be sure to check with your Greater Philadelphia area veterinarian to see if a vaccination would be right for your dog.

There are a few types of ticks that carry bacteria. Most common is the deer tick, sometimes called the black-legged tick. Other culprits are the brown and American dog ticks, and the rocky mountain wood tick.

If you suspect your dog may have been exposed to ticks, it may be several months after infection before you see evidence. Look for a fever between 103-105 degrees, lethargy, a loss of appetite, swelling in the joints and lymph nodes, and lameness—especially your dog shifting from leg to leg.

If you suspect your dog has been exposed to Borrelia burgdorferi, contact your veterinarian. Lyme disease can be fatal in dogs. Your vet will use a blood test to see if your dog tests positive for Borrelia burgdorferi—though a positive result does not necessarily mean that your dog has actually contracted it. Healthy dogs fight off infections naturally. Still, it’s always best to be careful!

VRC is a veterinary hospital in Malvern, PA. If you’re worried about Lyme disease, or if your dog is exhibiting symptoms, contact your primary veterinarian to see if a visit to a specialist at VRC veterinary hospital is warranted.

The 9 Most Common and Serious Canine Diseases and Ailments

A large part of being a good dog owner means taking care of your pet’s health. That means making sure your dog’s food is healthful and nutritious, going for long walks every day, playing at the dog park, and of course giving your pup plenty of love and attention. It also means taking care of his or her health by scheduling regular visits to the vet for checkups, and monitoring them for signs of disease or ailments.

No one knows your dog better than you do. You know how he or she walks, sleeps, and eats. That means you are your pet’s first line of defense. It’s important to pay attention to your dog’s sleeping, eating, and exercise habits. Sudden changes may indicate a medical issue that ought to be checked out by VRC, your local veterinary specialist in Philadelphia. Here are ten of the most common dog health issues we see, and some of the early symptoms:

• Gum Disease: Just like you and your children, dogs can get gum disease. If you notice that your dog’s gums are bleeding, red, or swollen, or that they’re eating in a way that indicates gum tenderness, it’s time for a checkup.
• Flea- and Tick-Borne Diseases: Dogs go outside, which means they’re susceptible to painful bites from fleas and ticks. But fleas and ticks also carry disease. Dogs that have sudden fevers, or diarrhea, vomiting, and reduced appetite, may have caught something from a pest.
• Obesity: Overweight and overfat pets are at risk for many types of illnesses.
• Arthritis: Dogs may show signs of arthritis by exhibiting a change in gait, an aversion to going up stairs, or difficulty walking or standing, making sounds of pain when being picked up, or demonstrating a general reluctance to move.
• Diabetes: In dogs, the first signs of diabetes can include increased or frequent thirst, weight loss, increased urination or urge to urinate, and fatigue.
• Blindness: Cataracts aren’t just something that affect humans. If your dog seems disoriented, or can’t find their way around, it may be time for an eye exam.
• Kidney Disease: Kidney diseases in dogs may manifest as an urge to urinate more, having accidents in the house, and drinking more water.
• Heartworms: If your dog is reluctant to move, seems fatigued, and is plagued by a persistent cough, it’s time to call the vet.
• Cancer: Early signs of cancer include lumps or bumps on a dog’s body, sudden changes in weight, and tiredness.

If your pet is diagnosed with cancer, the experienced oncology team at VRC in Malvern, PA will stage your pet’s cancer and treat their disease. When you bring in your pet for oncology at VRC your dog will receive comprehensive diagnostics and care so that they receive the most effective medical care available. We take a multidisciplinary approach to treating your dog’s cancer, and will recommend a host of treatments that improve your pet’s quality of life while supporting the healing process.

The oncology department at VRC in Malvern, PA specializes in cancer care for your pet. We take your pet’s health seriously. If you see an early sign of disease, give us a call at (610) 647-2950.

What to do When your Cat or Dog is Vomiting

home_2If there’s one single universal fact of pet ownership, it’s that no pet owner ever wants to hear the sound of a dog or cat vomiting. And it’s not just because it’s a drag to clean the carpet—it’s because it’s not always easy for pet owners to tell if a dog or cat is simply expelling something undesirable, or is more seriously ill. Of course, cats and dogs will occasionally vomit to clear their stomach or esophagus of something like a hairball, shoelace, or other object or food item they have consumed on a whim, but constant vomiting might well be a sign of a more serious condition. And, of course, if vomiting is accompanied by other symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, blood in the stool, or fever, it’s time to call VRC, your local veterinary specialist in the Philadelphia area.


Cats, as cat owners know, will vomit for a variety of reasons. Hairballs are a common complaint, especially during the spring and winter shedding seasons. Cats will also vomit from consuming their meal too quickly, or playing too soon after eating, which (if it happens occasionally) is not necessarily cause for concern. But, vomiting may also be an indicator that your cat is seriously unwell. Vomiting is associated with gastrointestinal and whole-body complaints such as parasites, ingested toxins or chemicals, viral or bacterial infections, pancreatitis, failure of the kidney, liver, or gall bladder, and foreign bodies such as toys or a too-large hairball. If your cat is vomiting on a regular basis, and is not helped by a bland diet or withholding of fluids or food, it’s time to seek medical care.


Just about all dog owners will also be familiar with vomiting. Dogs love to follow their noses, which leads them to get into garbage and other stinky situations. If your dog vomits after getting into trash, animal waste, or yard clippings, it may not be time for an emergency vet visit, but if your dog cannot stop vomiting, seems listless or in pain, or has glazed eyes or is salivating more than normal, they may have gotten into something more dangerous than leaves or food remains. Also, keep a look out for shivering, swallowing, hiding, lip-smacking, and signs of dehydration including sunken eyes and tacky mouth and gums.


At the end of the day, however, it’s your call as a pet owner whether you think your dog or cat needs emergency medical attention. If your dog or cat is vomiting, you’re concerned about his or her health, and your primary veterinarian is not available, the best thing to do is call your local 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital. VRC Specialty Hospital in Malvern, PA is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which means we’re around even for those inevitable 3 AM sicknesses. We take your pet’s health seriously, and we know what a worry it can be when your companion isn’t feeling well.


VRC in Malvern, PA is a specialty veterinary health care clinic that provides emergency medicine and critical care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Give us a call at (610) 647-2950.

Emergency Medicine and Critical Care for Your Pet

Cats and dogs can get colds and tummy aches, just like we can. But the difference is, our pets can’t communicate with us. They can’t tell us they want a cup of tea or some aspirin, or a warm blanket to cuddle up with—we just have to watch them carefully and make sure they’re getting what they need when they seem a little under the weather.

But, also just like us, there’s a difference for your pets between being “a little under the weather” and being really sick. When a pet is seriously unwell, it’s best to schedule them an immediate appointment with an emergency vet.

Just like being a parent, being a pet-owner means being on-call sometimes. emergency Vet careKnowing a good 24-hour critical care veterinarian is a crucial part of pet ownership, for those late-night moments when something goes really wrong, like an injury or sudden illness.

Always seek out a 24-hour vet if your pet is experiencing difficulty breathing, exhibiting shallow breathing, or choking. VRC has an excellent Respiratory and Critical Care specialist center that can help at these times. Other essential reasons to consider an urgent care clinic for your pet is if they are struck by a car, projectile, or if they are cut or burned. These injuries, especially being struck or burned, can lead to shock—which is a very real threat. Signs of shock include cold extremities, shivering, an abnormal heart rate, pale membranes in the mouth or around the nose, and general weakness.

Other times an emergency vet is necessary: if your animal is experiencing difficulty urinating, or is producing no urine, if they will not eat on their own, or if they are having a seizure. Also, any pet that does not recover well from anesthesia, from an earlier surgery, or who is not recovering well post-op may need to see an emergency veterinary specialist in Philadelphia.

The best thing to keep in mind when you find yourself in need of critical care for pets is this: you are not a vet! If you have concerns or questions, don’t diagnose them yourself—or worse yet, consult the Internet in a time of panic. But that said, it’s always better not to put things off—you’ll sleep better, anyway—so just get on the phone and give the emergency vet clinic a call. They’ll give you the advice you need, when you need it.

A good emergency vet is there for you and for your pet, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 356 days a year. VRC in Malvern, PA, only 25 miles from Philadelphia, provides emergency medicine and critical care for pets, because we know that accidents, illnesses, and emergencies don’t take holidays.

VRC in Malvern, PA is a comprehensive, specialty veterinary healthcare clinic for pets in the Philadelphia area. If you are in need of critical care for your pet, give us a call at (610) 647-2950, 24/7, 365 days a year, for answers to your questions.