Signs and Symptoms Your Pet Has Been Bitten by a Snake

Up to 150,000 dogs and cats are bitten by snakes each year in the United States. Since Florida is home to almost 50 native snake species, including six venomous ones, Florida pet owners should be very careful when their pets are outside. Dogs should be kept on a lead or in a fenced area, away from high grass, woodpiles, and rocks. Cats should be kept indoors.

Despite providing the most diligent care, your pet may still experience a snake bite. If you notice the following signs and symptoms, take your pet to a veterinarian immediately: Read more

The Advantages of CT Scans for Pets

A computerized tomography scan, or CT scan, takes multiple x-rays of a certain part of the body at many different angles to create cross-section images. Those images are combined to create 3-D models of that part of the body.

CT scans are common procedures with humans, but do they help pets as well? Yes! CT scans are used as diagnostic tools for all sorts of conditions in pets, from nasal disease to cancer. The advantages of using computerized tomography versus x-rays only include: Read more

How Often Should I Give My Pet Heartworm Medication?

Pet Heartworm floridaHeartworms. It’s a word that strikes fear in almost all dog, cat, and ferret owners, and for a good reason. Not only will heartworms leave your dear pet sick, lethargic, and isolated if they are infected, it also requires extensive special accommodations for the infected pet and treatments can be costly.

Climate affects heartworm transmission by mosquitoes.

Florida pet owners need to be even more diligent than most about heartworm protection because of our hot, humid climate, which is perfect for mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes transmit heartworms from carrier animals like coyotes and foxes to your pet right in your own backyard. There have even been cases of human infection reported!

So all you need to do is stop all mosquitoes from entering your yard, right? Don’t we all wish!! While it would be nice to just spray a pesticide and not worry about mosquitoes anymore, that isn’t quite realistic. Even the best mosquito control methods aren’t going to stop all mosquitoes from coming into your space, and just one mosquito is all it takes to infect your pet.

So what can I do to keep my pet safe?

Thank goodness there’s a way to prevent heartworms in pets susceptible to infection – monthly preventative medication. Several brands of heartworm preventative are sold in the US and are widely available, but they all require a prescription from a licensed veterinarian. Some heartworm medications take on the extra job of fighting intestinal parasites or fleas too! Dogs, cats, and ferrets should be tested for heartworms before beginning a preventative and at least annually after that. It requires only a small amount of blood, and the test is usually done quite fast in a lab.

Even so, every year, pet owners try to skip a few of those heartworm pills because they just forget, they want to save some cash, or they’re worried that the medication will have unwanted side effects. Big mistake! The American Heartworm Society says that missing just one dose or even giving it late can leave your pet unprotected.

That’s taking a big risk.

Untreated heartworms can live inside your pet for a long time and wreak havoc on their heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Small pets such as small dogs, cats, and ferrets may not show any sign of infection until it is too late. That’s why regular heartworm testing and a monthly preventative are so important.

So how often should I give my pet heartworm medication? The answer is every single month, on time, for optimal protection.

If you’re still worried that you’ll forget or fearful of side effects, so here are some tips to overcome the obstacles and fears of giving heartworm preventative monthly:

  • Set a monthly reminder in your phone’s calendar app to give the medicine and a yearly reminder to get your pet tested.
  • Look for coupons or discounts to pet supply stores online, and through organizations, you may already be involved in like AAA, AARP, or even your workplace or school.
  • Look up the research and reviews on the type of heartworm medication prescribed for your pet…You’ll find lots of info showing that it is very safe and side effects are minimal.
  • Make sure you’re always purchasing your pet’s medications through a reputable brick-and-mortar or online pet pharmacy. Affordable Pet Hospital has a physical location in Tampa and an online pet pharmacy at for your convenience.

Giving your dog, cat, or ferret monthly heartworm preventative is a quick and easy way to keep them in the best possible health. Contact Affordable Pet Hospital’s Tampa office at (813) 991-9898 or visit us online at for information on heartworm preventatives we have available and to schedule an appointment for heartworm testing today!

Can Pets Have Allergies?

You’re not the only one suffering from allergies this summer! Your pet may be experiencing uncomfortable seasonal allergy symptoms as well. 

Your pet needs appropriate medical care to prevent and minimize the discomfort that develops due to seasonal allergies. Here’s what you should know to keep your furry friend comfortable during allergy season and beyond.

Signs Your Pet Has Allergies 

Pets experience allergies a bit differently than humans. Rather than the respiratory tract symptoms that people experience, dogs and cats are prone to skin irritation and inflammation called allergic dermatitis. 

You may notice your pet struggling with very itchy skin and the following symptoms: 

  • Scratching excessively
  • Biting and chewing certain spots
  • Rubbing against vertical or horizontal surfaces to stop itching 

Unfortunately, this itch and scratch cycle causes your pet’s skin to become even more inflamed and tender to the touch. Your pet will eventually experience hair loss, scabbing, and open sores on the skin if his allergies are not treated. 

How to Treat Your Pet’s Seasonal Allergies

There are many steps you can take at home to fight your pet’s allergies. First, give your pet weekly baths with a grain-free shampoo. This helps to wash away allergens on the coat and skin. Baths are best for dogs who spend time playing outside every day. 

It’s important not to over-bathe your dog and cause dry skin, so try supplementing full baths with foot soaks. Soak your dog’s paws each time he returns inside. This will reduce the amount of allergens being tracked into your house and spread through the indoor environment. 

Other at-home preventative steps include carefully vacuuming and cleaning the places in your home where your pet spends the most time, using an anti-inflammatory diet that is low in grain content, and adding omega-3 fatty acids into your pet’s diet to decrease inflammation. 

Of course, taking your pet to his vet is another essential step to fighting seasonal allergies. Your experienced and compassionate vet at Affordable Pet Hospital in Tampa, Florida. will help you identify which supplements, enzymes, diet choices, and other changes will help your pet enjoy the most relief possible. Call Affordable Pet Hospital today at (813) 991-9898 to make an appointment.

The Dangers of Rat Poison to Dogs and Cats

Rats are some of the worst and most unwanted rodents, especially within your home. If you discover that rats are scuttling around your property, you may need to use rat poison to eliminate the infestation. 

Rat poison, also known as a rodenticide, is a chemical product formulated to kill rodents like rats. The chemicals used in rat poison are effective against rats, but unfortunately, they are also highly toxic to dogs and cats.

Even worse, rat poison often carries an attractive flavor in order to trap rats. As a result, it’s common for pets to accidentally ingest rat poison and become very sick. Make sure you understand the risks of rat poison and how to help your dog or cat recover if he becomes poisoned. Read more

Why It’s Important To Have an Emergency Vet Lined Up

When it comes to health and safety, our pets are just like us. Even if they’re generally healthy, dogs and cats are still vulnerable to unexpected illnesses and accidents. 

So how should you react when your dog gets a hold of a bag of chocolate, or your cat suffers a broken leg? An emergency vet is the best specialist to handle these frightening emergencies. 

What Is an Emergency Vet, Exactly?

An emergency veterinarian is a trained specialist who provides medical care to animals, usually when there’s no time for planning beforehand.  Read more

How To Do a Social Distancing Vet Visit

The coronavirus pandemic has made common errands more difficult, including your pet’s regular visit to the vet. Fortunately, it is possible to enjoy a socially distanced vet visit and get your pup or cat the care she needs. 

Ask About Curbside Care

Just like clothing retailers and grocery stores, veterinarians have adapted to the times by offering curbside services during the pandemic. You may be able to drive up to the clinic at the time of your appointment and wait for a staff member to examine your pet from the comfort of your vehicle.  Read more

Common Minor Pet Health Issues That Can Be Addressed During Telemedicine

Telemedicine has been a standing practice amongst general medical providers, but most people don’t think about using the service for their pets. Some health conditions can be diagnosed and treated with discussion and observation of symptoms without an exam, just as telemedicine for humans. Often, the routine visits you make to your vet can be handled over the phone or by video chat. Here are a few of the most common health issues that can be addressed during veterinary telemedicine appointments.

Chronic health management

If your pet requires ongoing treatment for a medical condition, it may be possible to handle follow ups and prescription refills without a physical examination. The vet will ask you a series of questions to determine effectiveness of current treatment and may make additional recommendations. Read more

The Future of Telemedicine in Veterinary Practices

Let’s face it. There has long been a need for telemedicine in veterinary practices. There are a lot of pet owners out there who are unable to get out easily or at all, and telemedicine when possible can be a huge blessing for such home-bound people. Unfortunately, it took the pandemic to make it clear that telemedicine definitely has its place in veterinary medicine, just as it does in other types of medicine being offered to patients across the country.

But will these telemedicine trends stick around? Probably, but some things are going to have to be ironed out first. Read more

Behavioral Changes that Point to Physical Health Issues

Did you know that your pet is talking to you all the time? You may not always be able to understand them, but your pet knows what they need, and they will try to tell you as their caregiver. If you write off their behavior as quirkiness, you might be putting off an important health issue. Here are some behavioral changes that will tell you that you need to take your pet to the vet.

Changes in eating habits

Is your pet suddenly refusing to eat? Pets do get bored with their food, and sometimes they will refuse to eat because they miss one of their humans or other emotional distress. But often your pet’s refusal to eat their food has more to do with their stomach and potential digestive problems. You should get your pet checked out any time their appetite changes. Read more