The Benefits of Spaying and Neutering

Spaying and neutering your pet can be a controversial subject, but it shouldn’t be! The evidence is clear… spaying or neutering your pet has many benefits and should be a first step for owners of a new pet.

When should I spay/neuter my dog or cat?


You should wait at least 6-12 months to spay or neuter your small or medium-sized puppy. For larger canine breeds or breeds prone to orthopedic issues, we suggest waiting until they are at least 9-18 months.


It is standard practice to spay or neuter kittens at around 5-6 months old.

Behavioral Benefits

There are several behavioral benefits to spaying or neutering your pet as early as possible, including:

  • Females do not experience estrus (do not go into “heat”) or exhibit any associated behaviors
  • Males are less likely to roam
  • Less territorial behaviors like spraying, humping, howling, or aggression

Medical Benefits

Along with the behavioral benefits, your pet will also enjoy the following medical benefits after being spayed or neutered:

  • Longer life
  • Reduced risk of uterine infections (pyometra) in females if spayed before the first estrus
  • Reduced risk of breast tumors in females if spayed before the first estrus
  • Reduced risk of testicular cancer and prostate issues in males
  • Lower chance of contracting feline AIDS or feline leukemia (due to lowered aggression, resulting in less biting and fighting)

Community Benefits

When you have your pet spayed or neutered before they are able to reproduce, you aren’t just doing what’s best for their health and quality of life; you are also doing your local animal shelter, pet rescue organizations, and feral dog and cat populations a huge favor by reducing the number of unwanted and homeless pets in the community. Not only do these unlucky pets cause havoc by getting into trash, spreading diseases, and reproducing uncontrollably, they can also cause automobile accidents, fight with pets and other wildlife, and attack and frighten children and vulnerable people. The sad reality is that many of these feral animals are euthanized, when a combination of spay/neuter programs for feral populations, along with responsible pet ownership, could solve the problem and save so many lives.


Spay and Neuter Services in Tampa


If you’ve brought home a new puppy or kitten and want to give it the best start in life possible, check out our Puppy and Kitten Wellness Plans quality veterinary care during their first year. Our Puppy Gold and Kitten Gold plans include spay and neuter services, so you’ll be 100% covered when the time comes for surgery! Our wellness plans allow you to make monthly payments instead of having to come up with the entire amount for care at once, making responsible pet ownership easier and more affordable than ever. Call us at (813) 991-9898 or request an appointment online today!

What Are the Benefits of CBD for Pets?

With the rise in media and social popularity of CBD for many ailments in humans, you may wonder if it could have any benefits for your pets as well. Just like all cannabis-based research, studies about CBD for medical purposes are still in its infancy. This is even more true for research into its benefits for animals.

However, early studies have yielded exciting results, and here at Affordable Pet Hospital in Tampa, we’re confident that future research will only confirm that CBD is a safe and versatile substance that can treat a variety of debilitating conditions!

What is CBD?

CBD is the non-psychoactive component in the cannabis plant. Contrary to some misinformation circulating out there, CBD does not give users the “high” feeling many associate with cannabis. Instead, that psychoactive effect is only brought on by THC, the other main component of the cannabis plant.

Is CBD approved for medical use in pets by the FDA?

There is only one medication containing CBD that is currently approved by the Food & Drug Administration, Epidiolex®. This medication is approved to treat seizures in humans. As of this writing, there are no FDA-approved CBD medications for pets.

However, there are many products available for sale in the U.S. for both humans and pets that legally contain CBD.

Is CBD safe for my pet?

Since there are no FDA-approved products containing CBD for pets, extreme diligence should be taken to ensure the quality of any CBD products you give to your pets. There are many high-quality products out there, but unfortunately, there are many low-quality and scam products as well. This is why many are calling for more regulation over the CBD market for both humans and animals.

Take the time to investigate the manufacturer and source of the CBD product you intend to purchase for your pet. Ensure that you are only purchasing products from reputable manufacturers and retailers with transparent business practices and sourcing information. Read customer reviews and look into as much information as you can online about the product and company. As long as you do this, the products you purchase for you and your pet should be useful and beneficial.

What are the benefits of CBD for my pet?

CBD’s beneficial effects on both humans and animals are linked to the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS helps maintain equilibrium in other body systems. When any system in our bodies becomes unbalanced, the disease will almost surely follow.

Studies and anecdotal evidence have shown that CBD affects our pets in much the same way as it does humans. High-quality CBD products, given at therapeutic doses, have been shown to effectively treat:

  • Pain

Pain, especially that caused by inflammation and degenerative conditions like arthritis, has been greatly relieved in pets that are taking therapeutic doses of high-quality CBD products. This is believed to be caused by CBD’s interaction with nerves and receptors involved in pain sensations.

  • Anxiety

CBD is also believed to activate the same receptors that are turned on by serotonin, a chemical produced by the body that induces feelings of calm and happiness. Because of this, CBD has a calming effect that can be very beneficial for pets suffering from anxiety disorders.

  • Seizures

We mentioned before that the only FDA-approved CBD medication for humans is for the treatment of seizures, and pets are no different. Significant reductions in seizure activity have been seen in pets taking high-quality CBD products. CBD is thought to reduce the overactive firing of neurons in the brain, along with reducing the number of electrolytes in the system that contribute to seizure activity.

CBD Pet Product Advice in Tampa Bay

Are you considering giving your pet CBD to help with their pain, anxiety, or seizures? Do you have questions about what or how much to give? Contact the veterinary professionals at Affordable Pet Hospital in Tampa at (813) 991-9898 or via email at! We can answer all of your CBD-related pet questions, along with providing a comprehensive evaluation of your pet’s health and current needs. For caring, compassionate, and competent care in Tampa Bay, Affordable Pet Hospital has you covered.

Keep These Holiday Hazards From Affecting Your Pets

It’s that time of year again! The weather cools down and the outdoor decorating heats up as we approach Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. With all the celebration and conversation, it’s easy to overlook common hazards to your pets around the holidays. Protect your furry loved ones this holiday season by keeping an eye on these top holiday hazards:


We love all the company that comes around during the holidays, but well-meaning guests might not always do the right things concerning your pets. The constant in and out of friends and family members can be very stressful for your pets, especially cats and timid dogs. Make sure your pets have their own dedicated space away from all the holiday hustle. If you notice your pet showing signs of extreme anxiety, such as hiding all day, tremors, or unusual whining, consult a vet for possible treatments. You may even want to consider boarding your pet until everything calms down.

Another threat posed by holiday guests is accidentally letting a dog or cat outside. Many pets live inside exclusively and don’t know how to behave or defend themselves outdoors. Other pets may be inclined to run off and find themselves lost with no idea how to return home. Make sure even indoor pets wear proper identification and preferably are microchipped, during the holiday season. Fencing in outside areas is a great way to give your dog time outdoors without fear of losing them. 


There are literally endless possible threats when it comes to all the decorations that come in and out of a typical household during the holiday season. Christmas trees, lights, ornaments, garland, tinsel, and more all combine to present a smorgasbord of dangerous objects for your pets, especially young and inexperienced ones. If you have a pet that loves to chew and eat decorations, avoid placing garland, tinsel, and ornaments at the bottom of your Christmas tree. You may even want to consider a small tree placed on top of a table to be out of the dog’s reach altogether.

Lights and wires are also tempting chew toys for both dogs and cats, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Not only is the pet risking a painful shock, but fires can start from damaged wiring. Cord organizers and covers can be great ways to enjoy the holiday twinkle and keep curious chewers away.

Cats present a unique problem for Christmas celebrators. Their instinct to climb your Christmas tree might get the best of them, so get ahead of the problem by securing your tree firmly in a tree stand large and stable enough to handle it. A large tree teetering in a small, flimsy tree stand might land your Christmas tree and all its decor on the living room floor. There is also a risk of fire caused by falling trees.

Food & drinks

You’ll want to continue avoiding all the usual culprits of gastrointestinal issues in pets, such as chocolate, grapes, cherry pits, avocados, apricot pits, apple seeds, coffee, Xylitol, and garlic. But, the increased consumption of alcohol and baked goods during the holidays bears mentioning that both alcohol and unbaked doughs are also dangerous for pets to consume.


Many flowers and plants popular during the holidays should be off-limits to pets, including:

    • Poinsettias (not as toxic as people think, but they still cause mild irritation)
    • Azaleas
    • Chrysanthemums
    • Juniper
    • Ivy
    • Holly
    • Mistletoe
    • Lilies
    • Amaryllis
    • Evergreens, like pine

Outdoor deicing chemicals

Antifreeze and other deicing chemicals are very dangerous, yet alluring to pets since they often taste sweet. Keep these types of chemicals completely away from areas where pets have access. If you think your pet has ingested one of these chemicals, take them to an emergency vet immediately.


Children aren’t the only ones that love opening holiday gifts.. .dogs and cats are notorious for spoiling holiday surprises by getting into the gifts under the tree. Gifts that contain food items are especially tempting, so think about storing these gifts somewhere out of reach until you give them out. Gifts that include batteries also pose a problem for nosy pets, especially button batteries. If you think your pet has swallowed a battery, contact a vet immediately.


We love dressing our dogs and cats up for the holidays (although they may not enjoy it so much), so it’s important to make sure that their clothes are safe too. Avoid outfits with items or accessories that can be chewed off and swallowed. So, no Christmas sweaters with sequins or jewels please! Also, make sure your pet can move freely in their clothes as tight clothing can cut off circulation and cause serious problems.

Our pets are just as much a part of the celebrations as our human friends and families, so be sure to protect them from all the risks and hazards that come with the holiday cheer. If you’re located in the Tampa Bay area and your pet gets into some holiday trouble this year, or they just need a pre-holiday makeover, call Affordable Pet Hospital in Tampa at (813) 991-9898.

Benefits of CBD for Pets

Research has proven that CBD is a safe and effective treatment option for a variety of debilitating conditions in humans, but what about for our pets too? Can they enjoy the same pain and inflammation relieving benefits from using products that contain CBD that we can?

While existing research is promising, much more research on CBD use in pets is needed. Since marijuana and hemp, the plants that CBD is derived from, have been illegal federally for so long (and still are to a degree), researchers have had a hard time getting approval to study CBD until just recently. Were it not for individual states legalizing and authorizing studies of marijuana, hemp, and its components, we would likely still be in the dark today about their life-changing benefits.

Even though there isn’t tons of formal research out there, anecdotal evidence is clear: CBD has significant benefits for pets similar to those shown in humans. Pet owners report improvements in:

  • Pain levels, especially neuropathic pain
  • Seizure activity
  • Inflammation
  • Sleep
  • Appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety

This has huge implications for pets experiencing crippling diseases such as:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Bone tumors
  • Eye disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Seizures
  • Joint pain
  • Diabetes/neuropathy
  • Anxiety

More research and experimentation will likely show that CBD is a safe and effective treatment for dozens of conditions, improving pet quality of life well beyond what is currently possible.

If your pet is struggling with a condition that you feel would be alleviated with CBD, contact us at (813) 991-9898 or online to schedule an evaluation. Our licensed, experienced vets will review your pet’s health history and current condition before deciding if CBD is the best treatment option. We can answer all of your questions about CBD and its benefits for your pet so you are completely comfortable with the treatment plan, after which we will follow up regularly to make sure everything is going smoothly. Don’t let your pet live with pain or stress any longer. Try CBD for your pet and see just why thousands of other pet owners choose this safe and effective treatment every day!

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