Part of being a leader in the Georgetown Vet Community is continuing education for owners.

Below you'll find info and various short videos on topics ranging from general upkeep to avoiding seasonal diseases, and treating animal bites.

Arthritis and Your Pet

Arthritis is a condition in which an animal's joints become inflamed, often accompanied by pain, heat, and swelling in the joints, and it usually results in increasing stiffness and immobility. It doesn't have to mean a poor quality of life for your pet, however.

In this video Dr. AJ Clemmons discusses muscular skeletal issues facing dogs and cats as they age including symptoms and treatment options.


Heartworm is an insidious disease that has spread to virtually all parts of the US and many parts of Canada since the early 1970s. It is spread only by mosquitoes; thus, areas heavily populated by these insects tend to have a greater incidence of heartworm disease.

Heartworm can strike both dogs and cats, although it is much more commonly seen in dogs. As its name implies, heartworm lives in the blood of a dog's or cat's heart and adjacent blood vessels. The adult heartworms living in the heart produce offspring, called microfilariae, which circulate in the infected animal's blood.

When a mosquito "bites" an infected pet, it sucks out blood containing the microfilariae. After about two weeks in the mosquito, the microfilariae become infective larvae. This step is necessary for the transmission of heartworm. When the mosquito bites another pet, the infective larvae are transmitted.

Canine Heartworms

Veterinary research has resulted in medications and procedures that have improved the treatment of canine heartworm disease. Prompt detection and early treatment are vital to a successful cure.

Highly effective diagnostic testing and preventive medications have been developed in recent years. It is necessary to have a heartworm test prior to using a preventive. Severe or fatal reactions may occur if preventives are given to dogs with heartworm disease, or may create diagnostic confusion at a later date.

A small amount of blood is all that's necessary for a preliminary heartworm screening test that is very accurate in detecting the presence of heartworm. In many regions, this may be the only test needed before starting a preventive program. If the dog shows heartworm symptoms or has visited a known heartworm problem area, additional tests are recommended before a preventive or treatment program is started.

Common blood screening tests can verify the presence of heartworms. Radiographs or X-ray films and other sophisticated laboratory tests are used to detect heartworm disease.

Canine Heartworm Disease Symptoms Include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Tires easily
  • Listlessness
  • Weight loss
  • Rough hair coat

In many cases, there are advanced symptoms. Some dogs do not appear to have symptoms in the early stages. Others do. If not detected and controlled with proper treatment, heartworm can lead to congestive heart failure and death.

As a safeguard, many veterinarians recommend annual or biannual screening tests even for dogs that are on heartworm preventives. In known heartworm areas, or if dogs are traveling into these areas, veterinarians usually prescribe preventive medications. This medication prevents the larvae from developing into adult heartworms. Prescribed medications must be given as directed.

The American Heartworm Society and the Companion Animal Parasite Council recommend that all pets receive year-round heartworm protection so that pets are protected every month. It is critical that doses not be skipped or intervals between doses be extended because this results in an unprotected time during which animals may be exposed to heartworm larvae.

Today, the majority of dogs with heartworm disease survive. Most are cured by medications. Some require surgery. Prompt detection prevents needless suffering.

Feline Heartworm

Although heartworm is seen less frequently in cats, the disease poses a much greater danger. The outcome is often fatal.

There currently are no drugs approved for fighting heartworm in cats. Cats can be treated with canine medications, but this can lead to dangerous side effects, including lung failure and death. Another approach to battle the disease is by treating the symptoms, with hopes of the cat outliving the worms (heartworms live within a cat for about two years). However, this approach can result in sudden death as the worms exit through the pulmonary arteries to the lungs.

There are no consistent clinical signs of heartworm in cats. Common clues include coughing and rapid breathing. Other signs include weight loss and vomiting. However, all of these signs are also common in other diseases. Diagnosis is difficult for veterinarians and may include outside laboratory tests, radiographs, and ultrasound studies.

The good news is that there are heartworm prevention drugs available for cats. If you live in a heartworm infested area, or plan on visiting a heartworm area with your cat, your veterinarian can prescribe a preventive medication. These drugs are given once monthly and are very effective in cats and kittens.

Why Spay and Neuter?

Dr. Jensen Young discusses the reasons to spay and neuter our pets. Not only is it better for the health of the animal, but Williamson County has an overpopulation of animals in its shelters, and are working with limited resources to deal with the exploding pet population. Responsible pet ownership starts with the spaying and neutering of our beloved pets.

AAHA Accredited

Zoot Pet Hospital and Luxury Boarding proudly announces it has achieved the highest level of veterinary excellence following a thorough evaluation by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Zoot Pet Hospital and Luxury Boarding earned AAHA accreditation after a rigorous review of the hospital's practice protocols, medical equipment, facility and client service. "Receiving this accreditation is very important to us," said Jensen Young, DVM who spearheaded the effort at Zoot Pet Hospital and Luxury Boarding. "Only about 15 percent of veterinary hospitals in the country achieve this recognition. It aligns with and supports Zoot Pet Hospital and Luxury Boarding's passion to provide the most excellent care and service to pets and their owners."

Unlike human hospitals, not all animal hospitals are required to be accredited.

Accredited hospitals are the only hospitals that choose to be evaluated on approximately 900 quality standards that go above and beyond basic state regulations, ranging from patient care and pain management to staff training and advanced diagnostic services. AAHA-accredited hospitals are recognized among the finest in the industry, and are consistently at the forefront of advanced veterinary medicine. AAHA standards are continuously reviewed and updated to keep accredited practices on the cutting edge of veterinary excellence.


Zoot Pet Hospital and Luxury Boarding is situated on four private acres in the Texas Hill Country. We are conveniently located 3.5 miles west of I-35 in Georgetown. The Zoot Pet Hospital and Luxury Boarding boarding experience is unique. We have a low dog to people ratio at our facility and are cage-free featuring all-suite boarding. Veterinarians are on site six days per week. We have a completely separate building for our smaller guests with their own play meadows. Our big dogs run around in our huge natural grass areas in back and rest peacefully in their own private suite that includes a covered outdoor patio connected by a doggie door. Dogs are taken out four times per day for 20 minute play sessions. Food is included in the price but you may bring your own at no additional cost. We also bathe all dogs that stay for two nights or more before they go home. We encourage you to tour our facility and see for yourself. We do not hide anything and we are proud of both our facility and people.

Rattlesnake Vaccines

A rattlesnake bite is a veterinary emergency. It results in serious injury or even death to thousands of dogs each year. Rattlesnake venom is a complex mixture of toxins that spreads through a dog's body following the bite. Red Rock Rattlesnake Vaccine was developed specifically to help defend dogs from the dangerous effects of rattlesnake venom. Rattlesnakes are found in a variety of habitats. They are most active in warmer seasons from spring to autumn especially here in central Texas. Like people, dogs may stumble upon a snake by accident, and curiosity or a protective instinct can place your dog at risk.

Damage Caused by a Rattlesnake Bite Can Be Serious

When injected into an unprotected dog, the toxins in snake venom are very painful and can have serious consequences. Even if your dog survives the immediate effects of a rattlesnake bite, he can be permanently injured by the venom.

Treatment of a Snake Bite Is Expensive

Treatment may include antivenom injections that can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Use of antivenom is associated with an increased risk of adverse effects which can complicate a dog's recovery. Other costs of snakebite treatment may include hospitalization, intravenous fluids, other medicines, and even surgery. Vaccination can reduce the impact of snakebite, reduce or eliminate the need for antivenom, and decrease other treatment costs.

How Much Does It Cost?

The Red Rock Rattlesnake Vaccine consists of an initial vaccination cost of $30 plus an exam fee. The follow up booster costs $25 and is required 4 weeks later. It is recommended that future rattlesnake vaccinations be included in your dog's annual vaccination schedule.

Rattlesnake vaccines can be given while your dog is boarding also. To schedule this vaccination, please contact us.

What Is Lepto?

Leptospirosis or "Lepto" is a deadly bacterial disease spread by wildlife and domestic animals. Lepto is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be passed from animals to people. Common lepto carriers include raccoons, skunks, opossums, squirrels, rats and other dogs. Livestock can also carry the disease. Moreover, lepto bacteria can survive for long periods of time in water. The number of leptospirosis cases has risen dramatically in recent years and Zoot Pet Hospital and Luxury Boarding has seen a surprising number of cases in our first year of operation.

How Is My Dog Exposed?

  • Lepto bacteria are shed in urine. Dogs become infected when they come in contact with fresh urine from infected animals.
  • Infection occurs when dogs wade through or drink from contaminated water sources.
  • The bacteria can enter through a cut in the skin or mucous membranes, such as the eye, nose or mouth.

Is Your Dog at Risk?

  • Does your dog go outside?
  • Does your dog drink from or wade in standing water?
  • Is your dog exposed to areas where wildlife has been?
  • Do you take your dogs to dog parks?
  • Do you live in a newly developed area or near farmland or woods?

Take Steps to Protect

  • Remove food, garbage, and nesting materials from your yard to minimize wildlife activity.
  • Discourage your dog from drinking from standing water

Lepto Vaccine Is Available at Zoot Pet Hospital and Luxury Boarding

  • Vaccination is the low-cost means to protect your dog from a disease that can be very costly to treat.
  • Nearly 100 million doses of Fort Dodge lepto vaccines have been administered since 1986.
  • For more information, visit

If you have additional questions about lepto vaccines available at Zoot Pet Hospital and Luxury Boarding, please contact us.

Senior Pet Awareness

Is your dog over 40? The rule of thumb for "dog years" has always been 7 years per human year but varies on the dog's breed and weight. Cats on the other had typically fall into the senior category starting at 9 years of age. Zoot Pet Hospital and Luxury Boarding utilizes state-of-the-art digital radiology and its in-house laboratory to allow for quick diagnosis and treatment of all our patients.

Why Should You Have Your Senior Pet Examined?

  • Early detection of diseases such as kidney failure, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes and cancer
  • Arthritis evaluation and determining medications to make your pet more comfortable.
  • Recommendations for better quality of life
  • Extending the life of your pet

Senior Pet Profile

  • Comprehensive blood work
  • Chest radiographs
  • ECG
  • Urinalysis
  • Early renal destruction test (ERD)

Remember, dogs and cats don't ask for much. Just more time spent withtheir best friend! If you have questions about senior pet care, please contact us.