Benefits of a Routine Pet Urinalysis


Not every health condition can be detected with an annual physical exam. Sometimes advanced diagnostics and lab work, including urinalyses, are necessary. Clearwater Animal Hospital in Windsor has dedicated the month of November to urinary wellness, so we recommend that all pets have a routine urinalysis as part of their overall wellness. And for the month of November, we’re offering a discount on all routine urinalyses for healthy pets.


Why Does My Pet Need a Routine Urinalysis?


We regularly advocate “healthy pet bloodwork,” but a “healthy pet urinalysis” is equally important because it allows us to diagnose and treat health issues sooner. Both cats and dogs of all ages and genders can develop urinary problems, but male pets are usually more at risk. Although your pet may not be showing any signs of illness, we like to check their urine routinely to detect potential underlying diseases that can be easily treated with a simple diet change or the addition of a nutritional supplement. It’s also important to keep in mind that preventing an illness is much less expensive than treating it. These illnesses can range from kidney disease to diabetes, urinary crystals, and bladder stones.


What Conditions Can a Routine Urinalysis Detect?


During a routine urinalysis, we examine the colour of the urine to confirm there are no signs of blood. The concentration, or specific gravity, is also evaluated to ensure the kidneys are concentrating the urine enough. This is one tool we use to determine kidney failure. We also check the turbidity (cloudiness) of the urine, which sometimes indicates an infection. We use a dipstick similar to those used in swimming pools to check the pH of the urine, ensuring it is not too acidic or too alkaline. Urine that’s too acidic or alkaline can be the perfect breeding ground for urinary crystals and bladder stones. These dipsticks also check for the presence of protein, glucose, ketones, and blood, to name a few substances.


A urine sample may look perfectly normal to the naked eye, but once examined under a microscope, it can tell us a completely different story. Crystals are the most common urinary issue seen in adult male cats and dogs. These tiny, sharp, snowflake-looking crystals wreak havoc on the bladder, causing a lot of discomfort during urination. They can also eventually lead to a urinary blockage, which is an emergency situation that is usually very expensive to treat.


In addition to detecting urinary crystals, a urine test can also give us the early warning signs for the potential of bladder stones, which is another common urinary tract problem. If caught early on, bladder stones may be dissolved with food (given the type of stone). Routine urine testing will alert the doctor if a bladder stone is possible. If suspected, the stones can be treated sooner, which can eliminate the need for surgery.


Give us a call to book an appointment for your pet’s routine urinalysis, or book through our PetPartner App. We are offering urinalyses for both cats and dogs at a discounted price to detect any urinary issue, so book your pet’s test today. And hurry! This offer ends November 30.


The Benefits of Pet Boarding at Clearwater Animal Hospital

When you’re looking for a great place for your pet to stay while you’re away, look no further than Clearwater Animal Hospital. We provide exceptional boarding services for pets, offering a number of amenities for them such as individual care, 3 walks per day (weather permitting), and so much more!


Our veterinary team is always concerned about the safety of our boarders, making sure that in this season of high heat, no pets are left outdoors unattended or are taking walks that are longer than they can enjoy comfortably. We encourage all pet owners to take the same precautions at home to avoid heatstroke!

Pet Boarding Specials

When your pet schedules a long-term stay at Clearwater Animal Hospital, perhaps when you take a long family vacation, we offer them their 10th day free after 9 consecutive boarding days! We can also provide baths to our boarding guests partway through or at the end of their stay to ensure that they are fresh and clean.

Boarding Requirements

For the safety of your pet, as well as our other pet guests, we require that all pets be up-to-date on their vaccines. We require boosters, the bordetella vaccine, and the rabies vaccine in order to board pets at our facility.

Set Up Your Stay

If you’re interested in scheduling your pet’s visit with our team, please contact us today. We are always filling up quickly in the summer months, which are peak travel seasons, so be sure to give plenty of advance notice of your trip!

Clearwater Animal Hospital Offers Laser Therapy

SM_FB_AD_ClearwaterHave you heard of laser therapy? The veterinary team at Clearwater Animal Hospital utilizes this incredible state of the art therapy option to help with a variety of health conditions that our pet may experience. Laser therapy has been shown to reduce pain, minimize swelling, and decrease healing time, making it an ideal option for pet’s suffering from chronic painful conditions.

How Does Laser Therapy Work

Laser therapy, which has been in use for many years in human medicine, is a recent, exciting addition to the veterinary world. Laser therapy uses a beam of cold laser light to penetrate the injured tissue, stimulating the cells in the area to promote healing. We often use laser therapy in the following applications:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Inflammation
  • Post-surgical care
  • Trauma treatment
  • Wound treatment
  • …and more

If you are wondering whether your pet may be a candidate for laser therapy treatments, our veterinary team would love to talk with you about your options. We invite you to explore our laser therapy section on our veterinary services page to learn more, or contact us to schedule your pet’s laser therapy consultation with a member of our veterinary team.

Easter Dangers for Pets

As you’re putting up your Easter decorations or getting your Easter baskets ready, be sure to keep the following items away from your pet’s reach:


Easter Lily (and related Lily plants): The Easter Lily is a common finding this time of year. This plant, and related plants in the lily family, are highly toxic to cats if ingested. Another spring flower often used in cut flower arrangements and daffodils are also toxic to cats.

Easter grass: Cats love anything that moves. This stuff moves easily in the breeze, makes interesting sounds, and, for some cats, it is simply irresistible and must be eaten.

Chocolate: This is more of a dog hazard, as many dogs have a sweet tooth, a great nose, and the determination to find chocolate — hidden or not. The toxic components in chocolate are theobromine and caffeine, and the level of toxicity is based on the type and quantity of chocolate consumed.

Xylitol: It is important to note that xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in many candies, chewing gums and baked goods, is potentially very toxic to dogs and ferrets.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested any of the items mentioned, please contact  us immediately.


Protect Your Pet During Winter and Cold Weather

Dog on a winter walk

Keep pets indoors and warm 

The best prescription for winter’s woes is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family. The happiest dogs are those who are taken out frequently for walks and exercise but kept inside the rest of the time.


Don’t leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops. 

During walks, short-haired dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater. No matter what the temperature is, windchill can threaten a pet’s life. Pets are sensitive to severe cold and are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage.


Take precautions if your pet spends a lot of time outside

A dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors. If for some reason your dog is outdoors much of the day, he or she must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.


Help neighborhood outdoor cats 

If there are outdoor cats, either owned pets or community cats (ferals, who are scared of people, and strays, who are lost or abandoned pets) in your area, remember that they need protection from the elements as well as food and water. It’s easy to give them a hand.


Give your pets plenty of food and water 

Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.

First walk in the snow

Be careful with cats, wildlife and cars 

Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.


Protect paws from salt 

The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates his/her mouth.


Avoid antifreeze poisoning 

Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up spills and keep antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach. Coolants and antifreeze made with propylene glycol are less toxic to pets, wildlife and family.


Speak out if you see a pet left in the cold 

If you encounter a pet left in the cold, document what you see: the date, time, exact location and type of animal, plus as many details as possible. Video and photographic documentation (even a cell phone photo) will help bolster your case. Then contact your local animal control agency or county sheriff’s office and present your evidence. Take detailed notes regarding whom you speak with and when. Respectfully follow up in a few days if the situation has not been remedied.





Aging Dogs


How Do I Know When My Dog Is a “Senior”?

Most dogs enter their golden years between seven and 10 years of age, with large/giant breeds becoming seniors earlier than small breeds. Many breeds experience a graying of their coat as they age, particularly around the muzzle—but there are other, more subtle signs that your dog is aging.

Her hearing may not be as sharp as it once was, her fur may be thinner, and she may take a little longer to get up and out of bed in the mornings. It is also perfectly normal for an older dog to sleep more than he used to and to tire more quickly when playing. In healthy dogs, these changes occur slowly, over time, at a gradual pace that you probably won’t even notice.

How Often Should My Older Dog See the Vet?

It is important that dogs have an annual checkup or “wellness” visit with their vet. This is even more important as they age, so talk to your vet about whether such visits should become more frequent. ASPCA experts recommend that healthy senior dogs see the vet every six months. Make sure the exams are thorough—vets should listen to your dog’s heart and lungs, take their temperature and examine your dog’s skin, fur, ears, eyes, mouth, teeth and internal organs. They may also order routine screening tests for early detection of problems.

What Health Issues Are Common in Older Dogs?

There are many health issues more common to aging dogs, including:

  • kidney and liver disease
  • more frequent intestinal problems
  • prostate disease and testicular cancer
  • breast cancer and infected uterus
  • diabetes
  • arthritis and degenerative joint disease
  • cognitive problems

What Lifestyle Changes Will Help My Older Dog?

Dogs, especially older ones, tend to love routine. But for the sake of her health, your vet may recommend the following changes:

Aging animals undergo metabolic and body composition changes. Some of these are unavoidable, but others can be managed with diet. Dog foods formulated for seniors should be lower in fat, but not lower in protein (ask your vet for a recommendation).

Since smaller dogs live longer and don’t experience age-related changes as early as bigger dogs, size is used to determine when it’s time to feed your canine a senior diet: Small breeds/dogs weighing less than 20 pounds—7 years of age
Medium breeds/dogs weighing 21 to 50 pounds—7 years of age
Large breeds/dogs weighing 51 to 90 pounds—6 years of age
Giant breeds/dogs weighing 91 pounds or more—5 years of age

More frequent feedings are easier on a dog’s digestive system than one or two large meals a day.

Some vets feel that aging dogs benefit from the addition of dietary supplements, also known as “nutriceuticals.” Common nutriceuticals added to senior food formulas include glucosamine, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene and extra vitamin C and vitamin E. Speak with your vet about whether your dog needs additional supplements for specific health issues.

What Can I Do to Make My Senior Dog More Comfortable?

– Older dogs are unable to regulate body temperature as effectively as young dogs, and should be kept warm, dry and indoors when not outside for exercise. Likewise, senior dogs are extra sensitive to heat and humidity. Please take precautions to protect them from conditions that could cause heatstroke.
– An arthritic pet may appreciate ramps in the home, extra blankets and an orthopedic bed.
– If your dog is losing his sight or hearing, remove obstacles and reduce his anxiety by keeping floors free of clutter.
– Regular tooth brushing (with special dog toothpaste, please) will help cut down on excessive plaque that can lead to a host of problems, but many senior dogs will require professional cleanings under general anesthesia.

What Symptoms Should I Be Concerned About in My Older Dog?

If you notice any unusual symptoms, please don’t wait for your regularly scheduled checkup to see your vet. Call right away. Symptoms to watch out for and promptly report include incontinence, lumps, constipation or diarrhea, shortness of breath, coughing, weakness, unusual discharges, changes in weight, appetite, urination or water intake, stiffness or limping, increased vocalization and uncharacteristic aggression or significant behavior change.



Clearwater Animal Hospital Custom Wellness Plans

Our Wellness Plans cover all of your pet’s preventative care, including their first year’s medical needs, including full vaccines, bloodwork, heartworm testing, nail trims and unlimited exams, all for an affordable monthly payment.

We offer plans that are custom depending on the type of pet you have, cat or dog, your pet’s age and if surgery is needed for your pet, such as spay, neuter or dental..

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We also have wellness plans for kittens and puppies. We know that a kitten’s and puppy’s first year at the vet can be costly, so we decided to offer a wellness plan for them as well. Spaying and neutering at 6 months is also included, another expense you won’t have to worry about! Contact us today for more information about our custom wellness plans!

Car Sickness In Pets

Does your dog throw up in the car when you go for rides? He may be experiencing typical motion sickness, just like some people do. Motion sickness usually begins very shortly after starting the car ride. The dog will begin to drool and then vomit. It’s not serious, but certainly not something that we like to clean up! To solve the problem, first try acclimating the dog to car rides. Do this by simply putting him in the car for a few minutes each day without going anywhere. Then try just going down the driveway and back, and the next day going around the block. Gradually build up the distance and time the dog rides in the car.


Sometimes this will help to decrease the dog’s anxiety over riding in the car and may help to decrease vomiting. If that doesn’t work, there are some over-the-counter medications you can try. The medication will need to be given about an hour before the car ride. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation as to what drug to try and the dosage for your pet.


(Never give any medications to your pet without your veterinarian’s advice!) These drugs are safe, with drowsiness usually the only major side effect. But since your dog isn’t driving the car, that shouldn’t be a problem! If over-the-counter drugs don’t work, your veterinarian may be able to suggest another method for curing the car sickness.