Monthly Archives: May 2012

Dental Disease


A dog with severe dental disease.


Most pets with painful dental conditions do not show clinical signs that are obvious to the owner, but this does not mean that they are not feeling pain. They cannot tell you about the pain. In the wild, animals tend to hide signs of illness or weakness – dogs and cats posses this instinct.

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show some signs of gum disease by age three. In spite of this important statistic, oral hygiene is one of the most overlooked areas of medical care for animals. As we increase our knowledge of animal health we realize that proper dental care does not just make your pet’s breath smell better; it is mandatory for your pet’s long term quality of life.

A dental x-ray of a dog’s mouth. Look how long those roots are!

Symptoms of dental disease can range from subtle to extreme. One of the most common symptoms is bad breath (halitosis). Sometimes a pet with dental disease will cry in pain when you touch it anywhere near its muzzle.  Another symptom is a partial or complete inability to eat (anorexia).  A pet that has this problem may eagerly go to the food bowl, and either just look at the food or drop the food out of its mouth after only a few bites. Other pets might drool from one or both sides of the mouth.  Unfortunately, many pets do not show any symptoms until the problem is well entrenched and we have a difficult time correcting the problem.


The  4 stages of periodontal disease. 

  • The first stage occurs when bacteria cause an invisible film of plaque to form on the teeth.  The bacteria react with minerals and other debris that accumulate in the oral cavity, eventually causing tartar.
  • Gingivitis appears prior to tartar formation. It is seen as the reddened gum along this canine tooth.  Since the gingiva are the first line of defense for the tooth against bacteria, any gingivitis is considered significant. This pet should be treated now before the problem progresses to more advanced periodontal disease.

    Stage 1 Dental Disease


  • A tooth that starts with the tartar of the above teeth will rapidly progress to this more advanced state, which is Stage II periodontal disease. The underlying gum is more inflamed and is pulled further away from the tooth. 
  • As the periodontal disease progresses tartar buildup also continues. The underlying gum is pulled further away from the tooth, and Stage III periodontal disease is present. The pocket of bacteria under the gumline in this tooth is significantly weakening the periodontal ligament and weakening the bone of the jaw.
Stage 3 Dental Disease


  • Here is another dog with a similar problem. The tartar is so thick that it is literally holding the teeth in place!  Notice how far up the inflamed gums are.  In Stage IV periodontal disease the tartar can be so extensive that it is the only thing holding the teeth in the socket in some cases.
Stage 4 Dental Disease
Due to the severe dental disease, this cat will undergo a procedure to remove all the teeth that remain.


  • Stage III periodontal disease eventually progresses to Stage IV periodontal disease.  This tooth shows advanced periodontal disease as evidenced by the ulcerated gums (blue arrow), pus along the gum line, and severe tartar.  When this happens your pet will experience pain and will become internally ill from the bacteria spreading to internal organs via the bloodstream. Pet’s with this problem are in jeopardy of internal organ failure.
Stage 4 Dental Disease



The heart is one of the main internal organs affected in advanced dental disease, because bacteria from the mouth infection can readily deposit on the heart valves (especially the mitral valve).  In addition to heart (cardiac) problems, dental disease can affect the kidneys  and the liver.  These are both vital organs, and require a pet free from dental problems if they are to function properly.

Proper care of your pet’s teeth at home is vital!  Daily brushing is recommended, but brushing a time or two a week still has amazing benefits.  There are also toys, treats and other items that can help aid in the prevention of dental disease.  Think your pet needs a dental cleaning?  Call our office to schedule your dog’s appointment today!

Dog Food Recall





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 5, 2012 – Diamond Pet Foods today announced that it is expanding a voluntary recall to include batches of nine brands of dry pet food formulas manufactured between December 9, 2011 and April 7, 2012 due to potential Salmonella contamination.

In April 2012, Diamond Pet Foods initiated three voluntary recalls of Diamond manufactured dry dog food. Although none of the additional products being recalled have tested positive for Salmonella, the company is pulling them from store shelves as a precaution. Diamond Pet Foods is coordinating efforts with federal and state health and regulatory agencies and decided to independently expand the recall to ensure the safety and well-being of customers and their pets.

The company stated: “We have taken corrective actions at our Gaston, S.C., facility and voluntarily expanded the recall out of concern for our customers and their pets.”

Brands included in the recall include:

  • Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul
  • Country Value
  • Diamond
  • Diamond Naturals
  • Premium Edge
  • Professional
  • 4Health
  • Taste of the Wild

To determine if their pet food is recalled, consumers should check the production codes on the back of bags that have a number “2” or a “3” in the 9th position AND an “X” in the 10th or 11th position. The best-before dates for the recalled brands listed above are December 9, 2012 through April 7, 2013.

The following graphic illustrates how to read the production code and best-before date:

Production Code FDE0204R2XTS (2X is highlighted) Best Before 3 - March - 2013

The recall affects only products distributed in the following U.S. states and Canada. Further distribution through other pet food channels may have occurred.

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Canada

The Kirkland Signature products included in the recall include:

  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Adult Dog Lamb, Rice & Vegetable Formula (Best Before December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013)
  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Adult Dog Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Formula (Best Before December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013)
  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Mature Dog Chicken, Rice & Egg Formula (Best Before December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013)
  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Dog Formulated with Chicken & Vegetables (Best Before December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013)
  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Maintenance Cat Chicken & Rice Formula (Best Before December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013)
  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Cat Formula (December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013)
  • Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Salmon Meal & Sweet Potato Formula for Dogs (December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013)

To determine if their pet food is recalled, consumers should check the production codes on the back of bags must have both a number “3” in the 9th position AND an “X” in the 11th position. The best-before dates for the recalled brands listed are December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013.

The following illustrates how to read the production code and best-before date:

Production Code FDE0204R3TXS (3TXS is highlighted) Best Before 3 - January - 2013

The recall affects only products distributed in the following U.S. states, Puerto Rico and Canada.

  • Alabama
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Canada
  • Puerto Rico

Diamond Pet Foods apologizes for any issues this may cause consumers and their pets. Pet owners who are unsure if the product they purchased is included in the recall, or who would like replacement product or a refund, may contact Diamond Pet Foods via a toll free call at 1-866-918-8756, Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST. Consumers may also go to a special website, disclaimer icon, for more information. The company is working with distributors and retailers to ensure all affected product is removed from shelves.

Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Individuals handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. People who believe they may have been exposed to Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who are more likely to be affected by Salmonella include infants, children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS and people receiving treatment for cancer. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have received a limited number of reports of salmonellosis, the illness caused by Salmonella. We are working with the CDC, but due to patient confidentiality, we cannot comment further.


[Information from]

Myths vs. Facts: The truth about ticks




Myths vs. Facts:  The truth about ticks

Make sure parasites have no place on your pets.

Disease-carrying ticks pose health risks to dogs and people, no matter where you live.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that ticks in every U.S. state carry diseases, and the number of tick-borne diseases is increasing.  But do you know the myths and facts about ticks?  Here, debunks some of the most commonly believed myths about ticks so you can protect your pets.




Myth #1: The best way to remove a tick is with a lit match, fingernail polish, or petroleum jelly.

Fact: None of these methods cause the tick to “back out”, and all of them may actually result in the tick depositing more disease-carrying saliva into the wound, increasing the risk of infection.  The best way to remove a tick is to grasp it as close to the skin as possible with tweezers and pull the tick’s body out with a steady motion.  Wear rubber gloves, and clean the skin with soap and water after removal.  Dispose of the tick by placing it in alcohol.


Myth #2:  Lyme disease is the only illness that ticks can transmit to dogs and humans.

Fact:  Lyme is the most widely known and common tick disease, but there are many others that ticks carry and can transmit to dog and people.  These include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis (sometimes known as “dog fever”), ehrlilchiosis, and some emerging diseases with potentially devastating effects.


Myth #3If I find a tick on myself or someone in my family, Lyme and other tick diseases can be ruled out immediately with a blood test.

Fact:  According to the CDC, laboratory results for tick-borne illness in people are often negative on the first sample and require a second test two or three weeks later to confirm infection.  Children are more susceptible to infection due to their immature immune systems.  Signs of Lyme are flu-like symptoms such as fever and malaise with or without a bull’s-eye rash, but many people (and dogs) with tick-borne illness don’t experience any symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease. 


Myth #4:  Ticks aren’t a problem in the winter when it’s too cold for them to live outside.

Fact:  In most areas of the country, high season for ticks runs from April to November.  Experts recomment year-round preventives, however, as infection can occur at any time of the year.  In the winter, for example, some tick species move indoors and are close in contact with pets and people, while others make a type of antifreeze to survive during the winter months.


Myth #5:  Ticks live in trees, so as long as I don’t live near or visit a wooded area, I don’t have to worry about them.

Fact:  Ticks live on the ground no matter the locale, be it an urban park or a rural area.  They typically crawl up from grass blades onto a hose and migrate upward, which is why they are often found on the scalp. 


Myth #6Ticks are insects.

Fact:  Ticks are actually a species of parasite called arachnids that belong to the same family as mites. 

Since signs of tick-borne disease are difficult to recognize in both pets and people, simple preventive measures and understanding as much as possible about these creepy crawlers are the best way to keep everyone safe.



(Information courtesy