Category Archives: Did you know?

Tidbits of information that you may now have known about.

Valentine’s Day Dangers for Your Pets

With Valentine’s Day drawing near, there will be temptations all around  – for both humans and our pets!   Below are a few of the common Valentine’s Day toxins.

1.  Roses

Although roses don’t often cause serious poisoning beyond gastrointestinal upset, there’s risk for trauma to the mouth and paws from the thorns. Additionally, if a large enough portion of the rose head or stem is ingested, a bowel obstruction may result.


2.  Lilies

Lilies are frequently sold in fresh boquets; the most common bouquet lilies include the Stargazer lily, Tiger lily, and other Asiatic lilies.  These lilies are extremely toxic to cats and can cause acute kidney failure.  The ingestion of just one to two leaves or petals is enough to cause sudden kidney failure.


3.  Chocolate and Cocoa

Probably the most classic Valentine’s Day treat, chocolate can be toxic to pets. Chocolate and cocoa contain Theobromine, a chemical similar to caffeine that is highly toxic to dogs and cats.  When it comes to chocolate,  the darker or more concentrated the chocolate, the more Theobromine it contains.  Therefore, the most dangerous chocolates are baker’s chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, and gourmet dark chocolates.  Don’t forget about milk chocolate:  it can also be toxic if large enough amounts are ingested   Due to the large amount of fat in chocolate, some pets may develop pancreatitis after eating chocolate or baked goods containing chocolate.


4.  Gift Wrapping Ribbons and Accessories.

We want the gift we give our special someone to look spectacular.  We adorn the package with curly ribbons, a tag or a bow for that extra special touch.  After the gift has been opened, be sure to dispose of any and all wrappings properly.  Kitty may like playing with these items when you are done with them, but unsupervised play can lead to a trip to the veterinarian!   An item such as curling ribbon can cause a foreign body in the stomach or intestine, which may require surgical intervention.


These are just a few of the many known toxins to pets.  Other items include raisins, Xylitol (artificial sweetener found in gum), Macadamia nuts, espresso beans, grapes, and avocados.  To keep your home safe for your pets, keep medications out of reach, remove lilies from your home and place things like chocolate and gum inside a cabinet rather than in a candy dish.  Prevention is key!

Holiday Toxins

The holidays are stressful enough without having to worry about a potentially poisoned pet. Below is a list of holiday-related decorations, plants and food items that the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline recommend keeping away from pets.



* Holiday Ornaments: When decorating for the season, consider your pets. Holiday decorations such as bubble lights may contain poisonous chemicals. If your pet chews on them the liquid inside could be dangerous to their health. Methylene chloride, the chemical in bubble lights, can result in depression, aspiration pneumonia and irritation to the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract.


* Tinsel: If you own a cat, forgo the tinsel. What looks like a shiny toy to your cat can prove deadly if ingested. Tinsel does not pose a poisoning risk but can cause severe damage to a cat’s intestinal tract if swallowed. Ultimately, cats run the risk of severe injury to, or rupture of their intestines and treatment involves expensive abdominal surgery.


* Plants: Though they have a bad rap, poinsettia plants are only mildly toxic. Far more worrisome are holiday bouquets containing lilies, holly or mistletoe.

“Lilies, including tiger, Asiatic, stargazer, Easter and day lilies, are the most dangerous plants for cats,” said Dr. Ahna Brutlag, assistant direct of Pet Poison Helpline. “The ingestion of one to two leaves or flower petals is enough to cause sudden kidney failure in cats.”

  • Other yuletide pants such as holly berries and mistletoe can also be toxic to pets and can cause gastrointestinal upset and even heart arrhythmias if ingested.


* Alcohol: Because alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, it affects pets quickly. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure. Additionally, foods such as desserts containing alcohol and unbaked dough that contains yeast should be kept away from pets as they may result in alcohol toxicity, vomiting, disorientation and stomach bloat.


* Holiday Foods: With the holiday season comes a delightful variety of baked goods, chocolate confections and other rich, fattening foods. However, it is not wise (and in some cases is quite dangerous) to share these treats with your pets. Keep your pet on his or her regular diet over the holidays and do not let family and friends sneak in treats. Foods that can present problems include:

  • Foods containing grapes, raisins and currents (such as fruit cakes) can result in kidney failure in dogs.
  • Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, a chemical highly toxic to dogs and cats. Ingestion in small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea but large amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias.
  • Many sugarless gums and candies contain xylitol, a sweetener which is toxic to dogs. It causes a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and liver failure.
  • Leftover, fatty meat scraps can produce severe inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) leading to abdominal pain, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.


* Imported Snow Globes: Recently, imported snow globes were found to contain antifreeze (ethylene glycol). As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze when ingested by a cat or a tablespoon or two for a dog (depending on their size), can be fatal. Signs of early poisoning include acting drunk or uncoordinated, excessive thirst, and lethargy. While signs may seem to improve after eight to twelve hours, internal damage is actually worsening, and crystals develop in the kidneys resulting in acute kidney failure. Immediate treatment with an antidote is vital.


* Liquid Potpourri: Filling your house with the smell of nutmeg or pine for the holidays may seem inviting, but if you’re partial to heating your scented oils in a simmer pot, know that they can cause serious harm to your cat; even a few licks can result in severe chemical burns in the mouth, fever, difficulty breathing, and tremors. Dogs are not as sensitive, but it is still better to be safe than sorry, so scent your home with a non-toxic candle kept safely out of kitty’s reach.

When it comes to the holidays, the best thing a pet owner can do is get educated on common household toxins and pet-proof your home accordingly



Things You Didn’t Know Could Harm Your Pet

We all know that chocolate is toxic to dogs.  But were you aware of the host of other items that can be harmful to your pet?  Take a minute to read the following list – you just might be surprised at the dangers lurking in your home.  According to the ASPCA, of the 167,000 poisoning cases handled by the Animal Poison Control Center, the Number 1 culprit was human medications!!

Fabric Softener
Drain Cleaners
Paint Thinner
Gum (particularly gum containing Xylitol, an artificial sweetener)
Macadamia Nuts
Tea Leaves
Raw Yeast Dough
Spoiled Foods
Fatty Foods
Calla Lily
Easter Lily
Morning Glory
Peace Lily
Take a few preventative steps to prevent your pet from coming into contact with toxic items: remove toxic plants from arrangements/yard area, keep all chemicals out of reach and locked away, empty the trashcan frequently and keep the trash can behind a cupboard.  Small steps such as these can keep your pet safe and healthy.

If you are concerned that your pet may have ingested something toxic, please call Animal Poison Control at 1-800-548-2423.

Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs

Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs


How many times have you been eating that chocolate chip cookie when you look over and see those sad puppy dog eyes staring at you?   You remember hearing that chocolate is toxic to dogs.   But what makes chocolate toxic to dogs and why is it that some dogs ingest it and don’t get sick?   Here are some facts to clear up some of the confusion surrounding chocolate toxicity in dogs.


Toxic doses of theobromine are reported to be as low as 20 mg/kg, where agitation, hyperactivity and gastrointestinal signs (such as drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea – all which may smell like chocolate) can be seen.  At doses > 40 mg/kg, cardiac signs can be seen, and include a racing heart rate, high blood pressure, or even heart arrhythmias.  At doses > 60 mg/kg, neurologic signs can be seen, and include tremors, twitching, and even seizures.  Fatalities have been seen at around 200 mg/kg (approximately 100 mg/lb), or when complications occur.


The amount of toxic theobromine varies with the type of chocolate.  The darker and the more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to your pets. Cooking or baking chocolate and high quality dark chocolate contains between 130-450 mg of theobromine per ounce of the product, while common milk chocolate only contains about 44-58 mg/ounce. White chocolate barely poses any threat of chocolate poisoning, with only 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce of chocolate (that said, dogs can still get sick from all that fat and sugar, resulting in pancreatitis!).  This means that for a medium size dog, weighing 50 pounds it would take only 1 ounce of baker’s chocolate or 8 ounces of milk chocolate to potentially show signs of poisoning.


Considering that the average chocolate bar contains 2-3 oz of milk chocolate, it would take 2-3 candy bars to produce toxicity in a 10 lb dog.  However, a single ounce of baking chocolate could produce severe toxicity in the same size dog.


So, how does chocolate make dogs sick?  Theobromine causes the release of
certain substances, norepinephrine and epinephrine, that cause an increase in the dog’s heart rate and can cause arrhythmias.   Other signs seen with chocolate toxicity can include increased urination, vomiting, diarrhea or hyperactivity within the first few hours.   This can lead to hyperthermia, muscle tremors, seizures, coma and even death.


What should be done if a dog does ingest a toxic amount of chocolate?  If it has
been less than 2 hours, the dog should be made to vomit.   Unfortunately, chocolate tends to form a ball in the stomach and may be difficult to remove. Supportive care should be provided for any other signs the dog is exhibiting.
Though it may not be harmful to the dog in small quantities, it is safer to avoid
giving chocolate to dogs in general.   As with everything else, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Disaster Preparepdness


With recent storms and power outages, disaster preparedness has made front page news.  Many of us have the intention of making plans for our homes and loved ones, but we didn’t.  There is no time like the present to set up your plan and gather supplies.

* Proper Identification:  in the event of a natural disaster, or even a house fire, a collar showing clear, up-to-date ID is crucial.  It is strongly encouraged that all pets have a microchip implanted as means of permanent identification, ensuring that the information corresponding to the microchip is updated as well.  Keep a copy of your pet’s current medical record/vaccine history in a safe place, along with a current photo.

*Supplies: a well stocked bin of pet supplies is essential!  Stock enough food and drinking water for no less than 3 days, but it doesn’t hurt to have more on hand.  Also include a copy of your pet’s medical records/vaccination history (in a water safe bag), along with a photo, leash and collar, litter, medication, litter trays, etc.

*Carriers and Crates:  a carrier or crate can temporarily house pets at vet clinics or even hotels that would not normally take pets.  Cat carriers should be large enough to hold a cat and their littler box.

Get more information on disaster preparedness at

[courtesy: Fetch]

Amy Liss & Amy’s PAWsitive Dog Training

For those of you who attend our canine social hour, you are familiar with Amy Liss, owner of Amy’s PAWsitive Dog Training, LLC. We wanted to give you a little more information regarding Amy and her training.

Amy is a graduate of the American Behavior College where she earned her certification as an ABC Certified Dog Trainer. Animal Behavior College (ABC) is approved Blythe Bureau for Private Post secondary and Vocational Education and is an internationally recognized school. Her year-long commitment to this program has provided her with a formal education in canine obedience training and understanding behavior and its motives. Her certification, education, and experience provide her with the skills required to effectively and humanely train your dog while keeping alive the spark that makes your dog so special to you. Amy is also certified in Pet First Aid and in training shelter dogs. She currently serves the following locations: Bexley, Columbus, Dublin, Grandview, Hilliard, Worthington, and Upper Arlington.


Why training your dog is important

“Dogs often behave like small children”.  You’ve probably heard this comment from fellow dog owners.  Puppies, like children, can be sweet, innocent, and playful.  They’re not born with the knowledge of what is proper behavior.

Amy can help you learn better, more effective ways to communicate with your pet.  Her methods are positive and very effective.

Amy LOVES dogs: all dogs, big and small, puppy and adult, purebred and mixed.  As an ABC Certified Dog Trainer, she has the knowledge and skill to help you enhance the relationship with your canine friend.  The key to this relationship is an understanding of your dog’s behavior combined with consistent, effective training regardless of age.  While the best training period is during the puppy months, older dogs are extremely responsive.  She believes whomever said “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” just didn’t know how.

Amy’s training programs will teach your dog to accept you as a benevolent leader.  The end result will be that your dog will learn to listen to your cues while you eliminate or curtail unacceptable behavior challenges.  This will be accomplished while keeping your dog’s tail wagging!


Program Descriptions

  • Private, In-Home Training:  A 6-week basic or advanced obedience training class including behavior modification.
  • Group Classes:  Socialize your puppy/dog, learn leadership, and basic commands.
  • Individual Sessions:  Specializing in specific behavior modification issues such as aggression, anxiety, jumping, barking, etc.
  • Pet Sitting Services:  Keep your pet in the comfort of his/her home and on the same schedule while you are away.


Amy’s Training Goals

As an ABC Certified Dog Trainer, Amy is trained to assit you in achieving some or all of the following goals with your pet:

  1. Prevention of behavior problems.  Amy can help you teach your dog proper housebreaking methods, as well as how to curtail chewing and prevent unruly behvaior in your home.
  2. Learning to Listen.  Amy’s program will teach you how to communicate effectively and humanely with your pet.  Teaching your dog basic cues is of critical importance, particularly when it’s done in a humane, positive fashion.
  3. Solving behavior problems.  While an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, many clients’ dogs already have existing behavior challenges.  Amy will assist with reasonable, effective solutions to common behavior problems.  Learn how to deal with nipping, jumping, chewing, digging, barking, housebreaking, unruly behavior, boundary training and more without having to resort to the use of intimidation to establish control.
  4. Listening around distractions.  Once your dog’s foundation of understanding has been taught, it becomes critical for your pet to learn to listen around distractions, such as other dogs, people, small animals, and cars.  Proper control around these distractions could save the life of your dog. 


If you would like more information, check out Amy’s contact information below:

Phone:  (614) 499-1902







Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

What is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease?

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) describes a collection of conditions that can affect the bladder and urethra of cats. This syndrome can have many possible causes, but cats generally exhibit similar, recognizable signs. Cats with FLUTD usually show signs of difficulty and pain when urinating, increased frequency of urination, and blood in the urine. Affected cats tend to lick their genital area excessively, and sometimes they will urinate outside the litter box, often preferring cool, smooth surfaces like a tile floor or a bathtub.

While the condition can be seen in cats of any age, it is most frequently seen in middle-aged, over-weight cats that get little exercise, use an indoor litter box, have restricted access outside, and eat a dry diet. Environmental factors, such as interactions with owners, multi-cat households, and changes in routine may also increase the risk that a cat will develop FLUTD.


How is FLUTD diagnosed?

Although cats with lower urinary tract disease behave in similar ways, the potential causes are multiple. Urinary tract infections, urinary stones, urethral plugs, cancer, and other disorders can affect the lower urinary tract of the cat. Because FLUTD can have many causes, it can be difficult to diagnose. Based on your cat’s signs, your veterinarian will likely perform an initial physical examination and run a urinalysis. If the cause of the cat’s signs has not been identified with a urinalysis, other testing may be recommended, including bloodwork, x-rays, and urine culture.


What are the most common causes of FLUTD?

Feline Idiopathic Cystitis
Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC)-also called interstitial cystitis-is the most common diagnosis in cats with lower urinary tract signs. FIC is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that the term FIC is used if all diagnostics fail to confirm the presence of another disease such as urinary stones. Cats suffering from FIC make frequent attempts to urinate, probably as a result of bladder discomfort, and often are found to have blood in their urine. Signs of lower urinary tract disease in cats with non-obstructive FIC often resolve spontaneously within a couple of weeks regardless of treatment. So most treatments attempt to prevent subsequent recurrence of signs.

Veterinarians have noted many similarities between FIC and a bladder disorder affecting humans called interstitial cystitis. Studies are ongoing to determine whether the human and the feline disorder are truly the same, and whether therapies helpful for humans will be of benefit to cats as well. In humans, a psychologically stressful event often precedes the onset of lower urinary tract discomfort due to interstitial cystitis, and stress also seems to be an important factor in the development of FIC in cats. Possible sources of stress in a cat’s life may include environmental changes, changes in food schedule, and changes in the number of animals in the household. Environmental enrichment and modification can reduce stress and decrease the severity and frequency of FIC episodes. To reduce environmental stress, cats should be provided a safe, clean area in which to urinate, as well as opportunities to express natural predatory behavior. These opportunities may include climbing posts and toys that can be chased and caught.

Because changes in food can also result in recurrence of FIC in some cats, the cat’s diet should remain consistent in both content and schedule. Many pet food manufacturers market diets formulated for “urinary health.” While these “special diets” may reduce the likelihood that cats with FIC will develop a urethral obstruction, there is no evidence that they have reduced the incidence of idiopathic feline lower urinary tract disease itself.

Urolithiasis (Urinary Stones)
Another possible cause of FLUTD is urinary stones-or uroliths-which are rock-hard collections of minerals that form in the urinary tract of cats. Cats with urinary stones will exhibit many of the common signs of FLUTD. X-rays or ultrasound are usually needed to make a diagnosis of urinary stones. The treatment of a cat with urinary stones depends on the mineral composition of the stones; however, surgical removal of stones is often required. The two most common stone types in cats are struvite and calcium oxalate.

For cats with struvite stones, a special stone-dissolving diet may be prescribed to eliminate the stones. If the diet fails to dissolve the stone, then surgical removal may be necessary. Struvite stones are becoming less common in cats, as most commercial feline diets are now formulated to reduce the likelihood of struvite formation by limiting the amount of dietary magnesium and by promoting the production of urine that is more acidic. Unfortunately, the percentage of stones composed of calcium oxalate has increased. The role-if any-that diet plays in the formation of calcium oxalate stones is actively being studied.

Unlike struvite stones, calcium oxalate stones cannot be dissolved with special diets, and more aggressive treatment is needed. Your veterinarian may be able to induce the stones to pass by flushing the bladder with sterile fluids. If they fail to pass, or if they recur, then surgery may be needed. Called a cystotomy, the surgery to remove bladder stones involves making an incision through the belly. The bladder is lifted into view, opened, and stones are removed.

Cats that have formed a stone are at increased risk for recurrence, and your veterinarian may recommend medication or dietary changes to help prevent recurrence.


Urethral Obstruction
The most serious problem associated with urinary function is urethral obstruction. Urethral obstruction-when the cat’s urethra becomes partly or totally blocked-is a potentially life-threatening condition and one of the most serious results of FLUTD. Urinary stones are only one of the causes of urethral obstructions. Another common cause is urethral plugs. Urethral plugs consist of a soft, compressible material that contains variable quantities of minerals, cells, and mucus-like protein.

Male and neutered male cats are at greater risk for obstruction than females, because their urethra is longer and narrower. Urethral obstruction is a true medical emergency, and any cat suspected of suffering from this condition must receive immediate veterinary attention. When the urethra is completely blocked, the kidneys are no longer able to remove toxins from the blood and maintain a proper balance of fluids and electrolytes in the body. If the obstruction is not relieved, the cat will eventually lose consciousness and die. Death most frequently occurs as a result of electrolyte imbalances, which ultimately cause heart failure. The time from complete obstruction until death may be less than twenty-four to forty-eight hours, so immediate treatment is essential.

A cat experiencing a urethral obstruction behaves similarly to any other cat with FLUTD: straining to urinate, frequently attempting to urinate, and producing little, if any, urine. However, as time passes, an obstructed cat typically becomes much more distressed-often crying out in pain.

Treatment of urethral obstruction usually involves catheterization, which is the passage of a narrow tube up the urethra, but other procedures are sometimes necessary. Unless the cat is comatose, catheterization usually requires sedation or anesthesia. After the obstruction has been relieved, treatment varies depending upon the condition of the cat. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance are treated with intravenous fluid therapy. Antibiotics may be given to combat bacteria, and drugs that help restore bladder function are sometimes required. Hospitalization may range from a few days to several weeks, depending on the severity and duration of the obstruction.

For cats who continue to experience urethral obstruction despite proper medical management, a surgical procedure called a perineal urethrostomy may be suggested. The surgery involves removing much of the penis and the narrow portion of the urethra, leaving a wider opening for the remaining portion. Side effects of surgery can include bleeding for up to ten days after surgery, narrowing at the surgical site, urinary incontinence, and a greater incidence of other kinds of bladder diseases. For these reasons, perineal urethrostomy is usually considered to be a last resort.

What can I do at home to prevent future occurrences?

A few unfortunate cats who have suffered from lower urinary tract disease will experience frequent recurrences of bladder inflammation, re-obstruction, or formation of uroliths. Fortunately, most others rarely experience the problem again or will have only occasional recurrences. Home care of cats who have suffered from lower urinary tract disease is determined by the cause, and varies depending on the cat’s condition and history. Some steps can be taken, however, to help reduce the frequency of attacks and both the severity and duration of signs when the problem occurs:

Steps to Reduce Occurences and Signs of Lower Urinary Tract Disease

  1. Feed small meals on a frequent basis.
  2. For cats with a history of struvite formation, owners should feed diets that promote the formation of urine that is acidic. Most commercial diets meet this criteria. Avoid supplementing such diets with additional urinary acidifiers, because over-acidification can cause metabolic acidosis, impaired kidney function, and mineral imbalance.
  3. Provide clean, fresh water at all times.
  4. Provide an adequate number of litter boxes (usually one more than the number of cats in the household).
  5. Keep litter boxes in quiet, safe areas of the house.
  6. Keep litter boxes clean.
  7. Minimize major changes in routine.

Signs of Lower Urinary Tract Disease

  1. Straining to urinate.
  2. Frequent and/or prolonged attempts to urinate.
  3. Crying out while urinating.
  4. Excessive licking of the genital area.
  5. Urinating outside the litter box.
  6. Blood in the urine.

***Cats with a urethral obstruction will show the above signs but will pass little or no urine and will become increasingly distressed. A urethral obstruction is an absolute emergency, requiring immediate veterinary treatment.***


Comparative Cost Analysis: DENTALS

Dental disease is the #1 most-diagnosed problem, with nearly 70% of dogs and cats having some form of dental disease by two years of age.

So why isn’t more done about dental disease in our pets?  Are we as owners unaware of this problem?  Does cost turn us off to having a dental procedure performed on our pet?


We see dental disease, in various stages, everyday in our practices.  The dog pictured above is suffering from severe dental disease and will go through an  intense dental procedure in order to remove the plaque and tartar build-up, in addition to a few extractions of diseased teeth.

How can this be avoided?  

Regular brushing at home is a great place to start! We carry a pet-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste kit at both clinics.  Dental items can also be purchased from your local pet store.  In addition to brushing, incorporating a mouth rinse, water additive, or dental chew is another great method of promoting good dental health.

I didn’t know my pet had bad teeth, and now he needs a dental cleaning!  What sort of costs should I expect?

Depending on the severity of the dental disease diagnosed by our doctors, dental cleaning can range from a routine cleaning up to a severe dental with several extractions.  Let’s break it down a little bit more:




 Cleaning & Polishing

$50 – $120


Blood Work

Not Generally Offered


IV Catheter & Fluids

Not Generally Offered


Extraction/Oral Surgery

$290.00 per tooth

$120.00 per 30 min.


$455.00 per 30 min.

$60.00 per 30 min.

Doctor’s Fee



(These prices reflect a local average offered by various dentists in the Greater Columbus Area. )

Why is a dental for my pet so expensive?

The initial sticker shock of a dental procedure for your pet can be a bit overwhelming at first.  But, if you take a minute to break down the cost, you will see that it’s really not as expensive as you might think.

Think about the last time you went to the dentist for more than a cleaning.  If your dentist were to charge for an extraction in the same method we do, here is the potential cost you could be looking at:  $891!  (And that’s just including the doctor’s fee, anesthesia and extraction!)   We take an extra few steps to ensure your pet’s safety, by checking blood levels prior to anesthesia, placing an IV catheter and running fluids to maintain blood pressure.

What if you needed a crown or a root canal?  Speaking from experience, those can run you about $2,400!  So a full dental cleaning for your dog, under general anesthesia, with several extractions is just a fraction of the cost for the repair of one human tooth!

The biggest difference between human dental procedures and those performed by a veterinarian:  HUMANS HAVE INSURANCE TO HELP DEFRAY COST! (Most humans, that is!)

Your dog could look this good after a dental cleaning.

Call us today to schedule an appointment to see if YOUR pet needs a dental cleaning.  Prevention is key!


Gastric Dilatation/Volvus Syndrome In Dogs


Gastric dilatation is a condition that can develop in many different breeds of dogs. The condition is commonly associated with large meals and causes the stomach to dilate because of food and gas and may get to a point where neither may be expelled. As the stomach begins to dilate and expand, the pressure in the stomach begins to increase. The increased pressure and size of the stomach may have several severe consequences, including preventing adequate blood return to the heart from the abdomen, loss of blood flow to the lining of the stomach, and rupture of the stomach wall. As the stomach expands, it may also put pressure on the diaphragm preventing the lungs from adequately expanding, which leads to decreased ability to maintain normal breathing (ventilation).


A lateral radiograph of a dog with a gastric volvulus. Note the stomach is markedly distended with gas (which shows up as black on the radiograph) and the stomach is occupying nearly the entire abdomen.


The entire body suffers from the poor ventilation leading to death of cells in many tissues. Additionally, the stomach can become dilated enough to rotate in the abdomen, a condition called volvulus. The rotation can occasionally lead to blockage to the blood supply to the spleen and the stomach wall requiring surgical removal of the dead tissues. Most of these patients are in shock due to the effects on the entire body. The treatment of this condition involves stabilization of the patient, decompression of the stomach and surgery to return the stomach to the normal position permanently (gastropexy) and evaluate abdominal organs for damage and treat them appropriately as determined at the time of surgery.


Another image of a dog with GDV/Bloat






Several studies have been published that have evaluated risk factors and causes for gastric dilatation and volvulus in dogs. This syndrome is not completely understood; however, we know that there is an association in dogs that have a deep chest (increased thoracic height to width ratio), dogs that are fed a single large meal once daily, older dogs and dogs that are related to other dogs that have had the condition. Additionally, it has been suggested that elevated feeding, dogs that have previously had a spleen removed, large or giant breed dogs, and stress may result in an increased incidence of this condition. A 2006 study also determined that dogs fed dry dog foods that list oils (e.g. sunflower oil, animal fat) among the first four label ingredients predispose a high risk dog to GDV.



Incidence and Prevalence

Several studies have been published that have evaluated risk factors and causes for gastric dilatation and volvulus in dogs. This syndrome is not completely understood; however, we know that there is an association in dogs that have a deep chest (increased thoracic height to width ratio), dogs that are fed a single large meal once daily, older dogs and dogs that are related to other dogs that have had the condition. Additionally, it has been suggested that elevated feeding, dogs that have previously had a spleen removed, large or giant breed dogs, and stress may result in an increased incidence of this condition. A 2006 study also determined that dogs fed dry dog foods that list oils (e.g. sunflower oil, animal fat) among the first four label ingredients predispose a high risk dog to GDV.


Signs and Symptoms

Initial signs are often associated with abdominal pain. These can include but are not limited to:

  • an anxious look or looking at the abdomen
  • standing and stretching
  • drooling
  • distending abdomen
  • retching without producing anything

As the disease progresses, the animal may begin to pant, have abdominal distension, or be weak and collapse and be recumbent. On physical examination, patients often have elevated heart and respiratory rates, have poor pulse quality, and have poor capillary refill times. Abdominal distension is commonly noted.



Treatment Options

Stabilization of the patient is paramount and often begins with intravenous fluids and oxygen therapy. Gastric decompression often follows, which includes the passing of a tube down the esophagus into to stomach to release the air and fluid accumulation and can be frequently followed with lavage (flushing of water) into and out of the stomach to remove remaining food particles. In certain cases this is not possible and a needle or catheter may be placed into the stomach from outside the body to release air and aid in the passing of the tube. The time for general anesthesia and surgical stabilization will be determined by the stability of your pet and at the discretion of the surgeon. Surgery involves full exploration of the abdomen and de-rotation of the stomach. Additionally, the viability of the stomach wall, the spleen, and all other organs will be determined. Removal of part of the stomach wall (partial gastrectomy) or the spleen (splenectomy) is occasionally performed. Once the stomach is returned to the normal position in the abdomen, it should be fixed to the body wall (gastropexy).


A gastropexy. Note that the stomach has been sutured to the abdominal wall in order to prevent it from expanding and twisting again.


Courtesy:  ACVS


Heat Stroke

Every year, thousands of dogs suffer from heat stroke, which is defined as the elevation of body temperature above normal levels due to the production of excessive heat, exposure to excessive ambient temperatures or failure of the body properly to lose heat. Heat stroke is not the same as “having a fever.” Heat stroke, also called non-pyrogenic (non-fever-based) hyperthermia, occurs when the animal’s heat-dissipating mechanisms cannot accommodate excessive heat. In many cases, owners are not aware that their dogs are developing this condition until it is too late to reverse the damage. Immediate emergency medical treatment is necessary to prevent organ damage, and death. Early recognition of the common signs of heat stroke is critical to saving the dog’s life.


Symptoms of Heat Stroke

The initial symptoms of heat stroke in dogs are characterized by unanticipated restlessness. They include physical signs such as excessive or fluctuating panting, which may start, stop and then start again. Other physical signs are excessive drooling (hypersalivation), foaming at the mouth, dry tacky gums and labored or difficult breathing (dyspnea). Among common behavioral changes are agitation, whining, barking and other signs of anxiety. As the dog’s core body temperature becomes dangerously elevated (called hyperthermia), the initial signs normally progress to include vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, lack of muscular coordination (ataxia), very red gums and uncontrolled tremors. In the end stages of heat stroke, a dog will become listless, dull, weak and recumbent. It may try to move to cool places but be unable to rise, will have increased difficulty breathing and ultimately will have seizures, collapse, lapse into a coma and die.

Very young and older dogs are at higher risk of heat stroke. Brachycephalic breeds, obese animals and long haired and dark-colored dogs are also predisposed. Dogs with hyperthyroidism, cardiopulmonary disease or thick hair coats are also at increased risk of developing heat stroke. If you notice these signs in your dog, take your dog to a veterinary clinic immediately.


What dogs are at risk?

Dogs can be in danger from experiencing a heat stroke if they are acclimating to hot weather, confined in a hot space, or if they have worked or played too much without cooling down periods. Sadly this condition is commonly seen in dogs, especially in dogs that live in hot and humid climates. Dogs are able to pant to help control inner temperatures, but dogs are unable to sweat. In the case of a heat stroke, panting is not enough to cool the body down.

A heat stroke in dogs can develop into a potentially deadly situation in as little as 20 minutes. In this type of instance the dog is normally in a closed atmosphere, such as a car, where the temperature steadily climbs. In some instances a heat stroke can take hours to develop into a deadly situation. These cases usually involve dogs that are playing outdoors in the heat or dogs that are older or overweight and trying to acclimate to higher temperatures than they are used to.

To protect your dog from a heat stroke, take the time to learn the signs and symptoms of heat stroke in dogs. Always ensure that your dog has access to water and shade in hot temperatures, and never leave your dog in a hot car even if it is only for “a few minutes”.

This dog is receiving treatment for heat stroke. (Courtesy:

Treating Heat Stroke

Heat stroke in dogs can quickly turn deadly if not treated immediately and aggressively. Successful treatment requires intensive emergency care at a veterinary clinic. The therapeutic goals are to lower the dog’s core body temperature to a normal range and to identify and resolve the underlying cause of the condition. This may be as simple as removing the dog from the source of excessive environmental heat, but this is not always easy to do. Most affected dogs will require inpatient hospitalization and intensive care for at least several days, until their temperature and clinical signs are stabilized. Again, early recognition is the key to treatment success.



Feline Bartonella “The Cat Scratch Disease Bacteria”

Healthy cats can carry six members of the Bartonella bacteria family in their blood, which are transmitted between cats by fleas and ticks.  The bacteria can be spread to people via cat scratches, bites, contact with fur, and probably rarely by infected fleas and ticks. 


Prevalence of Infection

The prevalence of Bartonella-infected cats varies in different geographic areas and depends on the average temperature and rainfall (humidity).  About 20% of healthy cats in the U.S. are infected carriers.  The highest infection rates occur in hot, humid climates, where conditions are favorable for fleas and ticks.  Most untreated infected cats remain infected for years or for life.


 Risk Factors for Infection

Risk factors that make cats more likely to have flea infestation and thus become infected with Bartonella are:

  • originating as a stray
  • coming from a shelter or human group
  • living in a multi-cat household
  • going outdoors often
  • living in a hot and humid area


Cat Bartonella Diseases

Cat Bartonella possess hair-like structures found on the bacteria’s surface w hich allow the bacteria to stick to, and penetrate, red blood cells and the cells that make up the walls of the capillaries.  This ability leads to the wide and varied tissue specificity observed in cats, dogs, and people.  Bartonella induce inflammatory reactions in may tissues throughout the infected animal’s body.  These tissue are:

  • oral and respiratory mucosa
  • ocular tissue
  • the gastro-intestinal tissues
  • the skin
  • organs (liver, spleen and lymph nodes) 

In fact, since capillaries are found in all tissue, all tissues are susceptible to the inflammatory effects of Bartonella.  Inflammatory reactions often occur concurrently in multiple sites, such as the oral and respiratory tissues, ocular and oral tissues, or in other combinations.  Although numerous microorganisms can cause inflammatory diseases, it appears that Bartonella are the cause of about 40-50% of the following conditions in pet cats:

Oral Diseases:  Gingivitis, Stomatitis, Oral Ulcers


Respiratory Diseases:  Upper Respiratory Disease, Rhinitis, Sinusitis


Ocular Diseases:  Conjunctivitis, Uveitis, Chorioretinitis, Corneal Ulcers, Keratis


Intestinal Diseases: Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Diarrhea (chronic), Vomiting (chronic)

Other Diseases:  Enlarged Lymph Nodes, Fever of Unknown Origin, Skin Diseases, Heart Disease


Bartonella Therapy

Antibiotic therapy of healthy infected cats and cats with Bartonella-induced diseases is effective for most cats.  Owners should be careful while treating their cats to avoid being scratched or bitten. 


Human Bartonella Disease

Bartonella, transmitted from cats, can cause 22  human diseases and cat scratch disease is only the “tip of the Bartonella disease iceberg.”  The other Bartonella diseases are:

  • Bacillary Angiomatosis & Peliosis
  • Febrile Bacteremia
  • Heart Diseases (endocarditis & vegetative  valvular disease)
  • Eye Diseases (Uveitis, Neuroretinitis, Disciform Keratitis)
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Lymphadenopathy


Cat Scratch Disease

Cat scratch disease is the best known Bartonella disease.  More than 22,000 cases occur each year, of which more than 2,000 people require hospitalization.  The disease usually begins a few weeks after transmission of Bartonella from cats with a red papule at the site of a scratch or bit.  Lymph nodes that drain the injury site become inflamed, enlarged, painful, and may develop an abscess, which my rupture and drain.  Severe cases may progress to organ involvement, neurological complications, and rarely to coma. 


Testing for Bartonella is available at both clinics through National Veterinary Laboratory in New Jersey.  If you have any questions or concerns about your cat, please call Northstar Animal Care at (614) 488-4121 or Upper Arlington Veterinary Hospital at (614) 481-8014.


[information taken from "Cats & Bartonella" phamphlet]




The Risks of Leaving Pets in the Car




You’ve probably heard news reports of dogs suffocating inside cars on warm days. Here are suggestions for educating people about leaving pets in cars, and what to do if you see a pet in distress.

The dangers:

It takes only minutes for a pet left in a vehicle on a warm day to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation. Most people don’t realize how hot it can get in a parked car on a balmy day. However, on a 78 degree day, temperatures in a car parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees — and hit a scorching 160 degrees if parked in the sun!

Even when the outside air temperature is in the 60s, temperatures inside some vehicles can reach the danger zone on bright, sunny days. So many experts recommend not to leave pets or children in parked cars even for short periods if the temperature is in the 60s or higher.

Rolling down a window or parking in the shade doesn’t guarantee protection either, since temperatures can still climb into the danger zone. And if the window is rolled down sufficiently, the pet can escape. Plus if a passer-by claims he or she was bitten through the car window, the pet owner will be liable.

What about leaving the dog in the car with the air-conditioning running? Many people do this, but tragedy can strike — and it has. For example, in 2003, a police dog in Texas died after the air-conditioning in the patrol car shut down and began blowing hot air. The air system’s compressor kicked off because the engine got too hot. Many cars, including modern models with computerized functions, are prone to the same problem. In August 2004, a North Carolina couple lost two of their beloved dogs, and nearly lost their third dogs, as result of a similar failure. They had left bowls of water and ice in the car, and the air-conditioning on, during their shopping trip of less than 30 minutes.

Animals are not able to sweat like humans do. Dogs cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paws. If they have only overheated air to breathe, animals can collapse, suffer brain damage and possibly die of heatstroke. Just 15 minutes can be enough for an animal’s body temperature to climb from a normal 102.5 to deadly levels that will damage the nervous and cardiovascular systems, often leaving the animal comatose, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.


  • Leave your dog at home on warm days.
  • On trips with your pet, bring plenty of fresh drinking water and bowl.
  • Don’t let dogs ride loose in pick-up truck beds. The hot metal can burn a dog’s paws, the sun and flying debris can hurt the dog, the dog can accidentally be thrown out of the truck if the brakes are suddenly applied, and the dog can jump out if scared or upon seeing something interesting to chase. Instead, use a crate to create a safer space for the dog if you can’t fit the dog inside the truck cab.
  • Take the dog into the shade, an air conditioned area, or to the vet if you see signs of heat exhaustion, which include restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, dark tongue, rapid pulse, fever, vomiting, glazed eyes, dizziness, or lack of coordination. To lower body temperature gradually, give the animal water to drink, place a cold towel or ice pack on the head, neck and chest, and/or immerse the dog in cool (not cold) water. Call your veterinarian.
  • Get free brochures (see below) to use to educate pet owners.

If you see a pet in a vehicle on a hot day, take immediate action:

  • Note the car make, model, color and tag number, then go to the nearest stores and ask the managers to page the owner.
  • Call the police, which usually can respond much faster than can animal control departments. The police have the capability to enter the vehicle and rescue the pet.


Educating others:

For copies of “Hot Car” flyers, and for educational posters to give to store managers to post in their windows to remind people that “Leaving Your Pet in a Parked Car Can be a Deadly Mistake”: contact the Humane Society of the United States at 202-452-1100 or

To easily download brief leaflets on topics that include pets in hot car and chaining dogs:

To order a Hot Dog car sunshade that bears an educational reminder, call PETA at 1-800-483-4366


More resources:

Car Safety and Travel:

First Aid:

Summer Pet Safety Guide:

CPR and Mouth-to-Snout Resuscitation:
Print these life-saving brochures to have on hand!

Poison Emergency 24-Hour Hotlines:
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
1-888-4-ANI-HELP or 1-888-426-4435
National Animal Poison Control Center

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!

Feline Leukemia

Feline leukemia is one of the most important causes of illness and death among cats.  It causes cancer in about 20% of infected cats and also contributes to other infectious diseases (such as anemia) by suppressing the immune system and bone marrow production.  A major source of spreading the disease is persistently infected cats that appear to be healthy.


When is your cat at risk?

All it takes to spread feline leukemia is contact with the bodily fluid of an infected animal.  Any of these situations could put your cat or kitten at risk:

  • Social grooming
  • Common litter boxes
  • Shared food and water bowls
  • Bite wounds from playing or fighting
  • Time outdoors
  • Contact with other cats
  • Newly adopted

        The virus is especially dangerous to young cats.  Kittens can contract the disease  from their mothers while nursing or still in the womb. 


Feline Leukemia:

  • is found in every region of the United States.
  • is highly contagious.
  • is transmitted from cat to cat.
  • can be fatal.
  • has few outward signs, and no “sure” signs.
  • is associated with illness and death of more cats than any other disease.
  • can weaken a cat’s immune system. 


When should I test my cat for Feline leukemia?

Since your last visit to a veterinary clinic, has your cat:

  • Had a bite wounds?
  • Been outside for even a brief period of time?
  • Been exposed to any other cat whose status is unknown?

        If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your cat should be tested. 


Why should I test my cat?

Without testing, there is no way to know whether your cat is infected.  Without diagnosis, your cat cannot be treated properly.  The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends that all at-risk cats, sick cats and kittens should be tested. 


Are you unsure if your cat has been tested for Feline Leukemia?  Give us a call to confirm.  If your cat hasn’t been tested, we would be happy to arrange an appointment to have your cat tested. 

(Information from Idexx and Merial)

Fleas, Ticks and Your Pet

Fleas, Ticks and Your Pet

Fleas are probably the most common ectoparasite (external parasite) of dogs and cats worldwide.  In addition to just being a nuisance, flease are responsible for flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) in dogs and cats, which is estimated to account for over 50 percent of all the dermatological cases reported to veterinarians.

Ticks are also ectoparasites.  Ticks are important vectors of a number of diseases, including Lyme disease.  Ticks are second only to mosquitoes as vectors of human disease, both infectious and toxic.  Control and prevention of ticks is extremely important in reducing the risk of disease associated with ticks.

Year-Round Prevention

Parasites can infect your pet any time of year.  While external parasites, such as fleas and ticks, may be less of a problem during certain times of the year, depending on where you live, internal parasites can be present year round.  This is why it is important to keep your pet on prevention year-round.


Common questions about fleas/ticks

Why should I control parasites for my pet year-round?

Due to the large number of internal and external parasites and the hig risk of pet infection, controlling parasites year-round is the most reliable way to ensure the highest level of health for your pet and well-being of your family.  Year-round prevention is the most effective way to control can and dog parasites and the diseases they can carry.  People think their pets are safe during colder months, but pets are susceptible to flea and tick infections at all times of the year.  And regardless of the weather, many of these pests can even survive in your home – in carpeting, on furniture and in the cracks of hardwood floors.

Do fleas on my pet present a health risk to my family?

Yes.  Fleas can carry and transmit several potential illnesses of importance to humans, including typhus and plagues, and can transmit “cat scratch disease” (infection with Bartonella) among cats who can then spread the disease to humans.  Additionally, fleas serve as an intermediate host for tapeworms, which can infect your pet and occasionally humans.

What human-health problems are associated with ticks?

Ticks transmit a large number of diseases in North America.  These diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, relapsing fever, ehrlichiosis, tularemia and tick paralysis.  It is important for the health of your pet, as well as the safety of your family, to include ticks in your pet’s year-round parasite control program.  Parasites are also known to cause blindness in children.

What if my cat never goes outside?

Indoor cats have less chance of acquiring fleas and ticks, but they should be regularly checked.  Other pets and family members can be hosts for fleas and ticks (on pant cuffs or socks) and bring them home to your indoor cat.  To prevent any chance of infestation, it is best to keep your cat on monthly preventive year-round.

Tips to Protect Your Family and Your Pet

  • Wash your hands well after contact with an animal.
  • Do not allow children to put dirt in their mouths.
  • Pick up dog and cat was from your yard daily, especially in areas where both children and animals play.
  • Cover home sandboxes to protect them from fecal contamination.
  • Have your pet tested regularly (at least once a year) for parasites and administer year-round preventive medications to control internal parasites that present a rick to your pet and your family.



What is leptospirosis?

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.
  • Lepto has been diagnosed in all types of dogs.  All breed and sizes of dogs are at risk.
  • Common lepto carriers include raccoons, skunks, opossums, squirrels, rats and other dogs.  Livestock can also carry the disease.
  • Lepto bacteria can survive for long periods in water.
  • The number of canine leptospirosis cases has risen dramatically in recent years.  Today, lepto is the #1 cause of acute kidney failure in dogs.
  • Early recognition of leptospirosis is important for a full recovery.


How is my dog exposed?

Lepto bacteria are shed in urine.  Dogs become infected when they come into contact with 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?

Because lepto carriers reside in many locations, dogs living in urban, suburban and rural areas can be at risk.

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


Take Steps to Protect

 Every dog that ventures outdoors is at risk for lepto.  Take steps now to protect your pet.

  • Remove food, garbage and nesting material from your yard  to minimize wildlife activity.
  • Discourage your dog from drinking standing water.
  • Most importantly, ask us about protection with the Lepto vaccine.


(Courtesy Fort Dodge LeptoVax Pamphlet)



The rabies virus represents a serious risk to people and their pets – with hundreds of cases in pets each year in the United States alone.  All it takes to contract this deadly disease is exposure to an infected animal through a scratch, cut or bite.

Fortunately, there’s something you can do.  A simple vaccination is the best way to help protect your pet against rabies.  Even if you keep your pet indoors, it should still be vaccinated — and it’s require by law!


What is rabies?

Rabies is an acute viral infection that can affect all warm-blooded animals – including dogs and cats.  The disease is almost always caused by the bite of an infected animal that has rabies virus in its saliva.  Younger animals are usually more susceptible to rabies infection.  And it’s always fatal once clinic signs appears.

What if my pet has possible been exposed?

If your pet has been bitten by or exposed to a wild or potentially rabid animal, speak with us immediately and report it to local animal control authorities.  Even if your pet has a current vaccine, you should still contact us.

Signs and Prevention

Once the rabies virus enters the body, it travels along the nerves to the brain.  It can take a matter of days, weeks or months for your pet to show signs of the rabies virus.

Infected animals often show anxiety, aggression, restlessness and erratic behavior.  They also may develop weakness, poor coordination or tremors.  Wild rabid animals commonly lose their fear of humans. Species that are normally nocturnal may be seen wandering about during the day.

Dogs, cats or ferrets that have never been vaccinated and are exposed to a rabid animal may need to be euthanized or placed in strict isolation for six months. 

Vaccinate to Protect Your Pet

We are committed to helping you make the best choices for your pet’s health.  To give your pet the protection it needs, we recommend vaccination with the IMRAB rabies vaccine. 

What Else Can You Do?

  • Don’t leave garbage or pet food outdoors.
  • Observe all wild or stray animals.
  • If you see a wild animal acting strangely, report it to your local animal control authorities. 


(Information courtesy of Merial)

Infectious Tracheobronchitis

More popularly known as Kennel Cough, Infectious Tracheobronchitis is a highly contagious disease that is spread through airborne droplets.  Infectious Tracheobronchitis spreads freely at boarding facilities, grooming facilities, dog parks – basically any social situation that you may find a dog in.

Like whooping cough in humans, kennel cough is an inflammation of the upper airways.  It is typically a mild disease, but still has the ability to advance into life-threatening pneumonia in puppies.

The signs of Infectious Tracheobronchitis

  • The main clinical sign = a hoarse cough
  • Cough can begin three to ten days after exposure
  • Bouts of severe coughing
  • Loud, high-pitched “honking”
  • Dogs may cough up phlegm, which looks like vomiting
  • Depression, lethargy, and loss of appetite
  • Discharge from the nose or eyes

In order to diagnose kennel cough, we will ask you about recent exposure to infected or susceptible dogs and consider the clinical signs that we are seeing.   The doctor will also palpate the trachea to initiate coughing.  Once diagnosed, most dogs will be prescribed medication to lessen the cough.  It is recommended that infectious dogs be isolated until ALL signs have disappeared to prevent the spreading of the disease.  To avoid most cases of kennel cough, we recommend an annual vaccination that works quickly to immunize dogs, and is proven safe and effective.   Prevention is key!


It’s Time for Ticks!

It’s warm outside.  The sun is shining.  The birds are chirping.

The grass is growing.  The dogs are playing.


Adult Tick.


The tick’s purpose in life is to propagate its species.  And in order to do so, it must eat.  The tick meets its daily nutritional requirement by feasting on the blood of its host.   The adult female tick needs a large 3-day blood meal before she can reproduce and lay her eggs – 2,000 or more!!  Ick!
A tick after its dinner.

Today, we saw two dogs that had been outdoors for extended periods of time over the past few days.  One was enjoying life at the lake and came home with a few souvenirs that she didn’t purchase – 12 ticks!  We removed the ticks and sent her home with topical tick medication to help prevent this problem in the future.   Do you have your pet’s prevention ready to go?

It may only be March, but thanks to the mild winter and unseasonably warm temperatures we have been experiencing lately, it’s time to start your dog and cat on prevention if you haven’t already done so!  We have seen fleas and ticks on our patients all winter, so we can only imagine how bad the upcoming season is going to be.
And don’t think that just because your cat is indoor-only will prevent him or her from becoming infested with fleas.  Fleas LOVE to travel and they will take a ride on anything that comes and goes – INCLUDING YOU!  If you go outdoors, your cat is at risk for contracting fleas!   Show your cat some love and treat them monthly for heartworms, fleas and intestinal parasites.
We have a wide range of products to help you stay on track to prevent fleas, ticks, heartworms and intestinal parasites.  Give us a call or stop by during clinic hours to stock up!