Our Winter Pet Safety Tactics Keep Paws Warm

Dog paws with human hands on top.

It’s that time of the year again: sweater weather! There is so much to enjoy about winter in Knoxville, but not everyone loves the shorter days or chilly mornings. Pets might not necessarily know what’s going on with the weather, but they are certainly affected by it. The good news is that there aren’t too many extremes to worry about. However, winter pet safety is a concern that benefits from a proactive approach. 

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Supporting the Needs of an Overweight Pet

Chubby dog.

Just as it is with our ever-expanding waistlines, extra pounds on a pet don’t appear overnight. Successive weeks or months of a few extra treats a day, or a little less exercise, create the perfect storm for weight gain. The fact is, pet obesity is on the rise. Knowing what’s at stake for an overweight pet can help turn the tide and with a proactive, consistent approach, pet owners can have a direct impact on a pet’s overall health and longevity. 

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Have You Heard Of Hyperthyroidism in Cats?

Hypothyroidism in cats.

Cat owners are typically looped into the common potential health issues facing modern felines. In addition to heartworm disease, diabetes, feline leukemia virus (FelV), and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), hyperthyroidism in cats is increasingly prevalent. Characterized by weight loss, increased appetite/thirst, and vomiting or diarrhea, this condition must be promptly addressed. The good news is that once hyperthyroidism in cats is properly managed, a high quality of life is attainable.

Anatomy Details

Located within the neck, the thyroid gland produces a hormone that regulates metabolism. When too much hormone is produced, metabolism increases which explains why cats lose weight despite a voracious appetite. While this symptom is a red flag, many owners don’t automatically realize that it’s tied to something serious. 

Cats between the ages of 10-13 are commonly diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Blood tests and other diagnostics can help diagnose hyperthyroidism in cats, and rule out a series of other common conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, and cancer (all share similar clinical symptoms). We may also need to perform an electrocardiogram, chest x-ray, ultrasound, and blood pressure to gain a better understanding of a cat’s condition. 

Since a vast majority of cases are linked to a benign tumor on one or both lobes of the thyroid gland, it is critical to move quickly toward effective treatment. Prognosis is usually very good if caught early. 

Next Steps

Depending on the severity, hyperthyroidism in cats may be properly managed with medical treatment, close monitoring, and prescription diet. Medication taken twice a day for life can decrease the production of thyroid hormone. 

Injections of radioactive iodine can also decrease thyroid hormone levels in a shorter amount of time, but require a hospital stay. This is often the fastest and safest method to lower thyroid hormone levels. 

Surgical removal of the thyroid gland may be necessary in extreme cases. However, the elimination of the thyroid gland may result in serious health complications.

Every Step of the Way

Your team at Volunteer Veterinary Hospital understands that hyperthyroidism in cats can be very challenging to face. Due to its effect on feline blood pressure, heart health, eye health, neurologic functions, and the kidneys, this condition must be closely observed. If we’re able to catch the disease early on, hyperthyroidism in cats can be effectively treated. 

Hyperthyroidism in Cats

Your cat’s annual wellness exam creates the opportunity to catch health problems before they get out of hand. Early detection can lead to a better prognosis, affecting your cat’s overall health and lifespan. 

Remember, if you see any changes to your cat’s eating/drinking behavior, vomiting and/or diarrhea, poor coat quality, and weight loss, please don’t hesitate to call us at (865) 609‑0311. 

Summer In Scruffy City: Pet Friendly Knoxville

A man and his dog on a restaurant patio.

We’re number one in southern hospitality–a fact not lost on the pets we know and love. In fact, we probably go a little over the top when our four-legged friends are concerned. Pet friendly Knoxville is the place to beat when it comes to activities to share together, and we’ve got the low-down on how and where to start and end any summer day in town.

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Top 5 Places to Go with Your Pet in Knoxville

We are pet friendly

At Volunteer Veterinary Hospital, we love our hometown for so very many reasons. One of our favorites, though, is all of the pet-friendly spots in and around the city. If you are looking for something to do with your pet in Knoxville, here are some of our top suggestions:

Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria

One of Knoxville’s favorite spots for pizza and beers, Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria has a dog-friendly patio. Bring Fido on your next dining excursion to enjoy the tasty menu selections and hard-to-beat atmosphere. The taproom is open until 10 PM on weeknights and until midnight on weekends.

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Taking Care of a Blind Dog

A woman holds her blind dog.

Animals are truly amazing at adapting to vision changes. Dogs can learn to interpret their surroundings despite impairment simply because the eyes are not their primary sensory organ. That doesn’t mean that a blind or visually impaired dog doesn’t need a little help from their human companion, though. In fact, taking care of a blind dog comes with its own specific set of safety and comfort requirements. We can assure you that each and every one of them is well worth the time and effort. 

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The Proper Place: When to Pay Attention to Your Dog’s Penis

Dog dancing with his owner.

You know your male dog has one, but it’s easier or more comfortable to ignore it. That is, until your dog’s penis appears to be…stuck. Many dogs will go through their lives without needing any attention to their nether parts. But it’s just as common for dogs to get into a predicament known as paraphimosis, and it can become a real pet emergency. 

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What Foods are Safe (and Unsafe) for My Pet During the Holidays?

Dog eating safe holiday treat

The holidays are just around the corner! If you’re anything like us, one of the things you’re looking forward to the most are all those festive holiday treats. Your dog(s) would love for you to know that holiday treats aren’t just for humans. 

Of course, when it comes to festive treats, keeping your dog healthy and safe is our top consideration. Nobody wants to be making a surprise trip to the vet because your dog swallowed a rawhide splinter. 

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Pancreatitis in Pets: Signs and Symptoms

cat on thanksgiving table.

Thanksgiving day is almost here. We loosen our belts and prepare to feast with all our favorite dishes on the table. While catching up with family and friends, it can be easy to forget your pets are nearby hoping for some scraps. There are a lot of Thanksgiving foods that can mean health problems for your pets, however.

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Your Green Thumbs Doesn’t Mean No Paws: Tips for Pet-Safe Gardening

Dog in garden.

The love of plants and the love of animals often go hand-in-hand. Many plants, however, are toxic to pets and the avid gardener must always have this in the back of their mind. Volunteer Veterinary Hospital knows, though, that plants and pets can coexist harmoniously. Read on to learn how to be sure that your gardening is pet-safe gardening. 

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