Patient Education

Travis County Animal Hospital would like to be your partner in health care. Feel free to ask your questions and share your concerns with us. We will work with you to develop a wellness program for the care and treatment you need.

We welcome you to our practice and look forward to caring for you.

Travis County Animal Hospital provides a full range of medical services including the following:


Arthritis in Dogs and Cats

Arthritis is as common in animals as it is in humans. Also known as degenerative joint disease, arthritis involves the loss of the cartilage that coats and protects the end of the bones in movable joints. When the uncoated nerve ends on the bones touch, the result is pain and inflammation. This most often occurs as a result of wear and tear, but the animal may have an underlying hereditary predisposition to the problem. ...


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Bad Breath in Dogs and Cats

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is even more common in pets than in humans. As in humans, halitosis may occur for a number of reasons in dogs, cats and other small mammals. In order to successfully treat the condition, the underlying cause must be addressed. Regular dental examinations should be part of the checkup of any animal with teeth. ...


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Breeding Cats

Because cats procreate quickly and easily, and because many cats become feral and reproduce in the wild, a tremendous number of cats end up being euthanized every year. Too many cat owners fail to neuter their pets even though they have no intention of breeding them. The result is a vast number of cats without homes, many of which become feral and continue breeding. In the interests of encouraging cat adoption, only responsible and knowledgeable cat owners should consider becoming cat breeders. ...


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Breeding Dogs

Pet owners breed dogs for many reasons. Some are excited at the prospect of observing, or having their children observe, the excitement of birth. Others want to profit financially or to replicate a beloved pet. Serious breeders are, on some level, concerned with improving the breed itself. This has been the primary reason for dog breeding through the generations: to strengthen the positive attributes and to diminish the negative traits of a particular breed. It is always wise to consult with a reputable breeder before attempting to breed dogs for the first time. ...


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Cancer Care in Dogs and Cats

Cancer is a serious illness in animals, more common in dogs than in cats. It is important that any malignancy be diagnosed as early as possible by a veterinarian and treated promptly, often with the assistance of a veterinary oncologist.

Causes of Cancer

There are differences between the causes of cancer in dogs and in cats. While the illness occurs much more frequently in dogs, when it occurs in cats it tends to be more aggressive. ...


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Canine Allergies

There are a number of substances that can cause allergies, or abnormal immune reactions, in dogs. The symptoms of such allergies can affect various parts of the body and may range from mild to severe. Some canine allergies are seasonal and some may occur year-round.

Types of Allergies

There are four basic types of allergies that dogs can experience. These may vary in symptoms and severity. ...


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Canine Cataracts

A cataract is an abnormal opacity of the lens of the eye. In dogs, as in humans, cataracts result in blurred vision. Small cataracts may not disturb the vision much, if at all, but as cataracts grow and thicken they become more problematic and may eventually lead to blindness. Although most cataracts cannot be prevented, there are available treatments. Cataracts are rarely found in cats. ...


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Canine Diabetes

Diabetes, medically known as diabetes mellitus, often occurs in dogs. It results from an insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas. Insulin aids in the digestion of glucose (sugar). Although any dog can become diabetic, some dogs inherit a predisposition to the disorder and some breeds are more susceptible. The disease is three times more common in female dogs than in males and typically develops in dogs between 6 and 9 years of age. ...


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Canine Epilepsy

Canine epilepsy is a seizural disorder, categorized as either acquired or idiopathic. Acquired epilepsy has a known cause, usually a head injury or a brain tumor. Idiopathic epilepsy, on the other hand, has no known cause, although it appears to be genetic. It is postulated that it may be the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain that interferes with the transmission of electrical impulses. Canine epilepsy causes the affected dog to have sudden spells of uncontrolled movements that may or may not result in a loss of consciousness. Left untreated, canine epilepsy results in increasingly frequent and more severe seizures. ...


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Canine Glaucoma

Canine glaucoma, like human glaucoma, is a serious disease that may result in blindness. Canine glaucoma is categorized as either primary or secondary. Primary glaucoma is a genetic disorder affecting certain breeds, most commonly beagles, cocker spaniels, basset hounds and Samoyeds. In contrast, secondary glaucoma is a complication of another eye disease or trauma, such as uveitis or lens displacement. ...


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Canine Hip Dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia occurs for a number of reasons, including both genetic and environmental factors. It is the most common cause of rear leg lameness in dogs. Most often, this condition occurs in large breeds of dogs, including Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, Bernese mountain dogs, Rottweilers, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, and German shepherds. Such breeds are more prone to congenital malformation of the hip joint. Small breeds may develop the condition as well, but this occurs less frequently. ...


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Canine Liver Disease

The liver is a vital organ, crucially involved in the process of digestion and the absorption of nutrients, and in filtering the blood to remove toxins. In addition, the liver manufactures proteins to assist in blood-clotting. It also and stores fat- soluble vitamins D and E. Because of the liver's importance, liver disease is significant and frequently life-threatening. ...


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Canine Vaccinations

Fortunately, there are many vaccines available to prevent serious illnesses in dogs. Vaccines contain antigens, substances which provoke an adaptive immune response but do not actually cause the disease. After being vaccinated, the dog 's immune system is prepared to fight off the disease upon exposure, either avoiding symptoms entirely or greatly reducing their severity. Not all dogs require exactly the same vaccinations, but there are some that the American Animal Hospital Association's Canine Task Force recommends for all dogs. These are known as Core vaccines. Other vaccinations are recommended for dogs at high risk for certain diseases. ...


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Declawing

Pet declawing, also known as onychectomy, is the surgical removal of the claws and part of the toes of a pet. Common for cats, this procedure involves removing all or part of the distal phalanx, or end bone, of a cat's toes. Declawing is a medical procedure in which a veterinarian amputates a part of each toe that includes the last bone and claw. The objective of this surgery is to prevent scratching which may cause injury to people and other animals, and damage to household items. ...


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Dental Care for Pets

Dental care for pets is one of the most commonly overlooked areas of pet health care. Dental disease is a common problem for pets, with the majority of pets over the age of five suffering from some form of dental disease. Dental disease does not just affect the mouth of a pet. Left untreated, it can also lead to more serious health problems, including heart, lung, and kidney disease. It is therefore very important for pet owners to make sure that their pets receive proper dental care. ...


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Feline Allergies

There are a number of substances that can cause allergies, or abnormal immune reactions, in cats. The symptoms of such allergies can affect various parts of the body and may range from mild to severe. Some feline allergies are seasonal and some may occur year-round.

Types of Feline Allergies

There are four basic types of allergies that cats can experience. These may vary in symptoms and severity. ...


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Feline Diabetes

Feline diabetes, medically known as diabetes mellitus, is a disorder in which either not enough insulin is produced by the pancreas, or the body cannot make use of the insulin properly. Because insulin helps in the metabolism of glucose, a major source of energy, diabetes is a serious condition. Feline diabetes appears to be increasing at a somewhat alarming rate. Both heredity and environment play roles in the development of diabetes which, while it can be successfully controlled with medication, is still a formidable disease that, left untreated, may be fatal. ...


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Feline Leukemia

Feline leukemia, a life-threatening disease, is caused by a virus known as FeLV. Approximately 85 percent of infected cats die of the illness within 3 years of diagnosis, making it the second most common cause of feline death, superseded only by traumatic injury. Because feline leukemia suppresses the immune system, serious secondary infections may develop in cats infected with the virus. Fortunately, exposure to FeLV does not mean a cat will die or even get sick. A good percentage of cats have strong enough immune systems to enable them to resist the virus on their own. Over the last few decades, cases of feline leukemia have declined considerably due to the develop of a vaccine for the disease, even though the vaccine is not 100 percent effective. ...


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Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) includes a number of conditions that affect the bladder and urethra in cats. These conditions often cause pain during urinating, difficulty in and increased frequency of urinating, and blood in the urine. Cats with FLUTD are also likely to urinate outside the litter box. ...


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Feline Thyroid Problems

The thyroid gland, consisting of two connected lobes located in the cat's lower neck, regulates metabolism through the production of a hormone known as thyroxine, or T4. When too little hormone is produced, the condition is known as hypothyroidism. When too much of the hormone is secreted, the disorder is called hyperthyroidism. Feline hyperthyroidism is considerably more common. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism in cats are diagnosed through tests to measure thyroxine levels in the blood. Both thyroid problems are controllable and neither is life-threatening with proper treatment. ...


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Feline Vaccinations

A vaccination is an administration of medication, normally given by injection, to stimulate an immune response to a particular disease. Feline vaccines prepare the body to fight the designated illnesses without making the animals sick. Once vaccinated, a cat exposed to the actual, potentially fatal, disease will either fight off the infection entirely or develop only a very mild case. Some vaccinations are administered in combination. ...


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Fleas

Fleas are the leading cause of skin problems in cats and dogs. They also infest a great many other animals, including rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice, ferrets, and many species of birds, although small mammals in captivity are not affected as frequently as dogs, outdoor cats and wild creatures. They grow and survive by feeding on animals' blood, and result in significant problems for the animals they bite by causing allergic reactions and spreading disease. ...


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Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease, which is transmitted through mosquito bites, is caused by a parasitic roundworm named Dirofilaria immitis. Dogs are the animal most susceptible to heartworm disease, but it also affects cats and ferrets, among other animals.The disease is called "heartworm" because, once the roundworms mature, they live in the heart, although they can also reside in the lungs and associated blood vessels. Once an animal is infected, it takes the parasites 6 months to develop into mature heartworms. ...


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Housebreaking a Puppy

Housebreaking a puppy requires time, consistency, and patience. On the plus side, puppies are eager to please and be praised; on the minus side, all puppies have accidents that will soil the home. The more time committed to training the puppy, the shorter the process will take. Establishing a routine is extremely important. Typically, it takes several weeks to housebreak a puppy, but once the dog is trained, with very few exceptions, the dog will abide by the house rules. ...


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Litter Box Training

Kittens are quite easy to house train since they are instinctively drawn to eliminate in dirt and other dry, loose material by the time they are about a month old. All that is necessary is for the owner to provide a clean litter box and to place the kitten into the box from time to time, after meals, after naps, after playtime. In the beginning, leaving a bit of feces or urine in the box will help the kitten make the appropriate connections and to use the box for the right purpose. ...


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