VCA Animal Hospitals

Did you bring home the runt of the litter?

Published: Oct 05, 2012

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The runt of the litter is often believed to be prone to health problems, but that's not always the case. Besides being smaller than the other pups in the litter, runts do not always survive, due to poor health.

According to the Times Herald, the runt is usually the animal who develops in the center of the mother's uterus. He gets the least amount of nourishment compared to the other pups in the litter and is more likely to have a lower birth weight.

The newspaper reports that experts say if a runt survives to six or eight-weeks-old, he is likely to make it to adulthood and grow close to full size.

While it is true that some runts have health problems, pet health experts say choosing a runt for your family pet can prove to be a great decision. Many people gravitate toward these smaller dogs simply because they're cute. But veterinarians say it's a good idea to have any dog - especially a runt - checked out by a doctor before bringing him home to ensure there are no underlying medical problems that could affect his survival, like a heart problem.

Like other dogs, runts should be given their vaccinations according to the schedule your vet recommends.

The good news is that helping a runt thrive really won't take any additional effort from you. Usually, he needs exactly what any other puppy needs - vitamins, food and exercise.

And even though a runt may start out small, experts say pet owners should not try to help him "catch up" by giving him more food. According to Yahoo!, overfeeding a puppy could result in joint and digestive problems.


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.