Canton Vet explains – Heartworm and Pets

As a veterinarian in Ga., I know as many as 80% of unprotected dogs can become infected with heartworms.

Georgia has some of the highest rates of infection.

Pets acquire heartworms through mosquitoes that inject heartworm larvae into the bloodstream during their bite. Some areas have severe heartworm problems while other areas have virtually none. Even indoor dogs and cats are susceptible to heartworms as the mosquito is very aggressive and often gets into our homes.

The Heartworm is a large worm, up to 14 inches long, that lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an infected animal. Dogs and other canines such as coyotes, are the natural hosts  but cats can become infected as well.

Heartworm infection can lead to heart failure or sudden death.  Coughing and exercise intolerance are a few signs of this disease but these often take years to develop while heart disease slowly, quietly worsens. Other pets die very suddenly with no prior evidence of any problems.

One thing your vet knows, is this disease is nearly completely avoidable with a monthly heartworm preventative. Unfortunately, veterinarians still treat lots of dogs for heartworms and the numbers are actually rising.

Cats are very different  indeed. Once infected with heartworms, cats typically have signs of lung disease rather than the heart though sudden death and heart disease is seen occasionally.

In fact, it is thought that many of these cats are incorrectly diagnosed with feline asthma. Georgia vets realize the number of heartworm infected cats is larger than those affected by feline leukemia. So, a monthly preventative is just as important for cats!

Testing for heartworms is needed each year, even if pets are on preventative.  This is because if pets become accidentally infected, the preventatives can actually be harmful. It is important to talk with your veterinarian and get the medication your pet needs to prevent heartworm and treat if necessary.

Contact your vet in Canton to test and treat your pet for heartworm.

What is the best leash to use with my dog?

 The Vets at this Canton animal hospital recommend:

The Gentle Leader to guide your pet on walks.



A harness “harnesses” a dogs power, allowing them to throw their weight into the leash and drag the owner along.

Standard collars and choke chains put to much force on the throat and cause trauma to both the throat and neck.

Our Canton vets recommend The Gentle Leader because it uses gentle steady pressure on the nose to lower the head and provide good control. It also gives a gradual indication that the pet needs to slow down rather than the sudden jolt they get with collars and harnesses.

These can be purchased at most pet stores or online and come with a dvd to explain their use.

X-rays for Teeth? – Vet Marietta Ga Acworth Vets

The reasons the vets take x-rays at Cherokee Animal Hospital.

Why Dental X-rays?

As a vet, I perform a dental X-ray on a patient to be able to determine the health of a tooth.

It’s like the Iceberg scenario, most of the disease happens under the surface and that is the root of the tooth.

The only way to evaluate that root is through X-rays. They help us decided whether or not that tooth is healthy and at 100% for your pet. That is why we vets do X-rays on teeth.

The Best Cat Food for your Feline Friend – from your Veterinarian

Veterinarian recommendations for cat food.

Feed your cat canned ‘Fancy Feast’! 

YES, we as veterinarians, used to say dry food was better for their teeth.  Turns out, it doesn’t help the teeth at all and cats need lots of water, more than they can drink on their own.  This is one reason (the other being stress) that we have so many urinary problems in cats!

Other benefits of canned ‘Fancy Feast’ include… fewer calories compared to a similar volume of dry food, less highly processed, more protein and fewer carbohydrates.  This is NOT true for every canned cat food.  ‘Fancy Feast’ in particular meets this criteria.

So how do you help your dog lose weight?

A true weight loss plan is often in order for your pet, but here are a few pointers from Dr. Bryant, a vet at the Cherokee Animal Hospital.

Start with these steps:vet tips on healthy weight

Eliminate all people food – A one ounce piece of cheese is the equivalent of 2 ½ cheeseburgers for  a small dog

If the current volume fed is appropriate (call us, we’re happy to advise) then decrease the current volume by about 10-20 % and replace the volume with plain canned green beans.  So the dog thinks they are getting the same overall amount.

Get on the exercise.  A walk every day!  Be sure this walk satisfies two different criteria; The first 10 minutes is just for sniffing and exploring.  Save the exercise portion for the end so no one gets frustrated.  Be sure to walk when it is cool.  Your dog should always be in front or beside you.  If they start to lag; stop, rest, and water.  Dogs overheat much faster than people!

If none of these decrease weight (give it 4-6 months) then a true diet change might be in order.

For more help and tips on pet care please visit other blog posts or our YouTube channel.

Vaccines and Pets – Dr. Chris Bryant of Cherokee Animal Hospital in Canton, Georgia

Questions about Pet Care answered from Veterinarians of Cherokee Animal Hospital in Canton, GA.

– Vaccines and Pets

Dr. Chris Bryant of Cherokee Animal Hospital talks about preventative medicine for animals:

Let’s start with puppies and kittens, they should have their first visit with a veterinarian by the time they’re six weeks of age. They should start their vaccines at six weeks of age and they should get vaccines every three weeks until they reach the 15 to 16 week age point.

Then one thing that a lot of people don’t think of is they get these new puppies and kittens and they’re so cute and they want everybody to see them so they take them to Pet Smart to get the supplies that they need or they take them to the dog parks and just because they’ve had a vaccine does not mean their body has responded to the vaccine so we really want those guys to stay at home until they’ve finished their puppy and kitten vaccines.

We want them socialized so by all means family friends, family pets, family kids socialize and the 8 to 12 weeks is the greatest socialization period they’ll ever get but do it with animals that you know are healthy and vaccinated.

Watch the video here:

Canton Vets ~ Vaccines for dogs and cats.


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A lost Dog was Never Found.

A veterinarian explains why Micro Chips are really important.

If an animal gets lost and their collar falls off, you’ve lost all your ability to identify them.

It is also really important to register your name with the company that has the micro-chip information. So, unfortunately, Here at Cherokee Animal Hospital, we have a very common situation where an animal’s been chipped but the owners never registered their name to that chip.

Recently we had a chocolate Spaniel found and dropped off by the Marshall. We scanned the micro chip and the number was from Nebraska originally but there was no owners information. This information is needed in order to reunite them with their pet. So the pet was never reunited with her family.

The Micro Chip it takes five minutes or less, to implant and there’s no pain for your pet.  A Micro Chip is not very expensive. When the procedure is complete, don’t forget to register your information with the company for the Micro Chip to be effective at reuniting you with your pet if they should be lost.

Contact your vet for a micro chip insert today.

When is the best time to Spay and Neuter my Pet? Veterinarians Canton Georgia

Pet Care from the Veterinarians of Cherokee Animal Hospital in Canton Georgia

Vet spay and neuter in GeorgiaThe most common pet surgeries veterinarians do in animals are spays and neuters.  That’s the one that most owners are familiar with.

They are certainly the most necessary surgeries for a lot of different reasons.  One, it decreases the animal’s desire to roam, you know, to run away and get themselves into trouble.

And then, of course, it helps decrease the pet population, we’re all aware there’s just not enough homes for all the animals that are out there.

But there’s other health benefits as well. For the females;  We can drastically decrease the risk of breast cancer if we spay them before their first heat cycle.  We can decrease their chances of that disease by upwards of 95 percent.

If veterinarians spay them before their second heat, then we still decrease their chances by 80 percent or so.  Once we are passed that second heat, then we’ve lost our ability to really affect breast cancer.  So it’s important to have those, you know, spayed early.

Males, the biggest health reason is that we decrease the risk of prostate infections later in life and then there’s big behavior changes that we can address in the males by having them neutered early on.

Ask a veterinarian in Canton, about spaying and neutering.