The 10 Canine Commandments




1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years, maybe longer.  Any separation from you will be painful to me.  Remember that before you buy or adopt me.

2.  Give me time to understand what you want from me.

3.  Place your trust in me.  It’s crucial to my well being.

4.  Don’t be angry with me for long, and don’t lock me up as punishment.  You have your work, your entertainment and your friends.  I only have you.

5.  Talk to me sometimes.  Even if I don’t understand your words, I understand your voice when it’s speaking to me.

6.  Be aware that however you treat me, I’ll never forget it.

7.  Remember before you hit me:  I have teeth that could easily crush the bones of your hand, but I choose not to bite you.

8.  Before you scold me fore being uncooperative, obstinate or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me.  Perhaps I’m not getting the right food, or I’ve been out in the sun to long, or my  heart is getting old and weak.

9.  Take care of me when I get old.  You too will grow old.

10.  Go with me on difficult journeys.  Never say: “I can’t bear to watch it” or “let it happen in my absence”.  Everything is easier if you are there.



Fun Pet Ideas, Part 1

Have you ever wanted to do something creative with your dog’s bowls?  Perhaps create a new play space for your kitty?  We scoured the boards of to bring you some of our favorite ideas!


1.  Now Fido can see what’s going on on the other side of the fence.  The Pet Peek      offers a new view for your four-legged friend.




2.  Do you or someone you know have an old console TV unit just laying around?  Why not turn it into a new bed for your small dog or cat?!




3.  With a couple old suitcases and a few legs, you can create a custom bunk bed for you feline friends


4.  Make use of that small wall and turn it into a doggie station, complete with treats, poop bags and toys!


5.  King or Queen, Prince or Princess, your pet deserves a bed that suits their personality.  But just because they are larger than life, the cost of a new bed for them doesn’t have to be.  Check out this creative idea for re-purposing an old table.









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


Animal Portraits

I don’t know about you, but having my pet’s picture taken is a wonderful thing.  I know I enjoy it more than them, and the results always leave me speechless.  We wanted to know:  Has your pet ever had a professional photo shoot?  Here are a few of our favorites from the boards of











Abbey McCune


Please help us in welcoming our newest staff member, Abbey McCune.  Abbey comes to us by way of Hudson, Ohio and is currently a senior at The Ohio State University majoring in Animal Science.  Abbey’s future goals include attending vet school and opening her own small-animal practice.

Abbey is the youngest in her family.  Her favorite food is ice cream (cookie’s & cream to be exact) and she hopes to someday enjoy a scoop on the beach in the Bahamas!

Abbey shares her home with her new kitten, Darla (shown above) and the ever-gangster turtle, Ja Rule.  Abbey enjoys traveling, having spent time in Chile and plans to head to Ireland this winter for a study-abroad program.

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]




TightRope CCL: A New Surgical Option for Cruciate Repair

What is cranial cruciate ligament disease?

The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is one of the main stabilizing structures of the knee (stifle) joint in the mail hindlimbs of dogs.  The CCL is a rope-like structure inside the joint that acts as a static (constant) stabilizer of the knee, preventing abnormal “slipping” of the two bones of the knee joint, the femur and tibia.  It’s main job is to hold the femur and tibia in proper alignment during all forms of activity.

Deficiency of the CCL is the most common orthopaedic problem in dogs and inevitably results in degenerative joint disease (arthritis) in the knee joint.  It is referred to as a disease because it is typically the result of a degenerative process in dogs, rather than from athletic injury or trauma.  Although it is often noticed after running, playing or jumping, the disease process has been present for weeks to months when symptoms occur.


What are the symptoms of CCL disease?

Some of the symptoms your pet may display are:

  • Limping
  • Holding the hindlimb up
  • Sitting with the leg stuck out to the side
  • Stiffness, especially after exercise
  • Not wanting to play or exercise
  • Pain when the joint is touched or moved
  • Swelling of the joint
  • Clicking sound when walking


How is CCL disease diagnosed?

We will review your dog’s medical history and perform a complete examination using tests of the integrity of the CCL, including the “crainal drawer” and “tibial thrust” tests.  X-rays will be performed to assess the amount of arthritis present and aid in determining treatment options.  Sedation or anesthesia may be necessary for making the definitive diagnosis, to avoid causing any pain to your pet.


What are my treatment options?

First, it is important to know that there is no cure for CCL disease in dogs.  The goals for all treatments are to relieve pain, improve function and slow down the arthritis.  With these realistic goals in mind, a number of treatment options can be very successful in accomplishing all of them.

Nonsurgical treatment entails rest and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication for 6-8 weeks.  Once the initial pain and inflammation have subsided, a strength-building exercise program and weight loss (if necessary) should be initiated.  Nonsurgical treatment of CCL disease can be successful at accomplishing our goals.  However, the success rate for accomplishing all of our treatment goals is not high and typically, only small dogs weighing less that 30 pounds may have good long-term results with this approach.

Surgical treatment options are numerous and no treatment has been proven to be superior to others for all types of dogs.  It is vital to remember that complete assessment of the joint with treatment of damaged tissues, such as the CCL and meniscus, as well as exceptional postoperative management and rehabilitation programs are as, or even more, important than the “CCL surgery” itself.  The decision should be based on the best available on safety and success, the surgeon’s experience with the techniques and individualized for each patient using the information from the exam and discussion with you  regarding your goals and concerns.


Most common CCL surgery techniques:

Tibeal Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) is one of the “bone-cutting” techniques and is designed to change the anatomy of the knee so that it no longer “slips” without having to try to replace the function of the CCL.  A semicircular cut is made at the top of the tibia with a curved sa so that the tibial joint surface is “leveled out” to prevent forward slipping of the joint.  A plate and screws are inserted to stabilize the cut bone during the healing.

TPLO Surgery


Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) is the other “bone-cutting” technique which is designed to change the knee anatomy, so that muscle forces are rebalanced to limit the tibia from “slipping” forward.  In this procedure, the bony attachment of the quadriceps muscles is cut, moved forward and held in place with a spacer, plate and screw during healing.

TTA Procedure


Lateral Suture Stabilization is the most common technique used to treat CCL disease in dogs.  It is one of the extracapsular techniques.  This means the function of the CCL, which is inside the joint, is replaced by placing a suture outside the joint.  The suture, most commonly a type of medical grade “fishing line”, is placed around the fabella and through the tibia providing a soft tissue-to-bone stabilizer of the joint during healing.  The suture acts as a temporary stabilizer as the dog makes new functional scar tissue around the knee for long-term joint stability.

Lateral Suture Repair


TightRope CCL was developed in 2005 to provide a minimally invasive and improved method for extracapsular stabilization of the CCL.  This technique does not require cutting of the bone like the TPLO or TTA procedures.  Instead, it uses small drill holes in the femur and tibia to pass a synthetic ligament-like biomaterial through a small incision to provide bone-to-bone stabilization during healing.  The biomaterial used for the TightRope CCL is called FiberTape.  This is a Kevlar-like material that is used extensively in human surgery for many orthopaedic applications.  This material has properties that make it stronger and less prone to failure than any other suture materials currently being used for CCL. 

TightRope CCL Repair


Are you concerned that your dog might be suffering from CCL disease?  Call our offices and schedule your appointment with us today.  Dr. Adam Parson performs the TightRope procedure at Northstar Animal Care on 5th Ave. on Mondays and Tuesdays by appointment only. 



       [Information taken from Arthrex Vet System Brochure] 

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!

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


Veterinarians hope to showcase the diversity of veterinary medicine through television show

Mar 1, 2012
By: Stephanie Fellenstein


NATIONAL REPORT — Veterinarians Ronald Lyman and Leilani Alvarez briefly traded their every-day duties for a couple days in a television studio. And if network execs like what they see, Lyman and Alvarez may soon be able to add ‘TV personality’ to their resumes.

It all began on a routine day with an almost 16-year-old English Cocker Spaniel.

Rick Dobbis and Mary Ann Koenig were at their home in Vero Beach, Fla. when their dog Dodger needed medical treatment.


“We were referred to Dr. Lyman’s hospital,” Dobbis recalls. “We met him and found him to be quite extraordinary. He was very smart, thorough and able to communicate to lay people pretty complicated stuff.”

Lyman, who opened his 24-hour emergency and critical care hospital—Animal Emergency & Referral Center—in 1984, used hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat Dodger.

“It improved the dog’s quality of life,” Lyman says, adding he treated Dodger for about a year.

Alvarez also used alternative practices, like acupuncture, while treating Dodger in New York, where Dobbis and Koenig had their other home.

Alvarez joined the Animal Medical Center in New York City in January and is trained as a certified canine rehabilitation therapist and is certified in veterinary Chinese herbal medicine.

“I am still very much a conventional practitioner,” Alvarez says. “I see many chronic cases that wouldn’t respond to traditional therapy. It was so common to hear, ‘isn’t there anything else to do for my pet?’ Now I can say ‘yes.’ This allows me to be a better veterinarian.”

About a year after Lyman started treating Dodger, Dobbis contacted him and Alvarez about an idea.

It turns out Dobbis was actually head of R-DOG (Rick Dobbis Organization; Global), an independent company involved in various entertainment-related projects. His resume includes a laundry list of experience with companies including Arista Records, RCA Records and Sony Music International.

“I didn’t know what they did for a living,” Lyman says. “They said ‘we’re TV producers, and we would like to develop and market a show about the human/animal bond and the sophisticated things you can do to try to give your animal better health care and better quality of life.'”

Dobbis says Lyman and Alvarez were a natural team.

“Ron is on the cutting edge with the hyperbaric chamber and Dr. Alvarez is a veterinarian also trained as a physical therapist, acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist,” Dobbis says. “I like them both. They are very interesting people and very different.”

Lyman says once the plans were in place, he and Alvarez were filmed in a New York City studio. They then came to Florida where they were filmed in front of a live studio audience at the Sunrise Theater in Fort Pierce last August.

“I have never done anything like this,” Lyman says. “It is quite different. The first one, when we were in the studio, I broke out in a cold sweat. The live audience was easier. I’m used to teaching so it was more like that.”

Alvarez says she also had never done anything professional on camera.

Before the live-audience show, the producers visited the family of a dog Lyman previously treated and then showed that interview on a large screen.

“The dog had heat stroke after ingesting large amounts of saltwater. It was young, a large breed with brain damage and was now blind,” Lyman says. “It had been treated by local vets and they didn’t think any more could be done. He was referred to our hospital and the hyperbaric chamber.

“It was a striking interview with the family, especially the wife,” Lyman adds. “The whole family was playing with the dog at the beach. It happened right in front of them. The wife says, ‘I’m being told I need to put my dog down, but my brother is getting married the next day. I couldn’t do it.'”

The dog regained neurological function and his sight, Lyman says. “He did wonderfully in the hyperbaric chamber.”

After the audience viewed the video, the dog ran across the stage and the whole family came out.


“It was one of those feel-good moments,” Lyman says. “The producers really want to emphasize the human/animal bond.”

Producers also spent a couple hours at a ranch where Alvarez did acupuncture on a horse. During the studio show she did acupuncture on a dog and physical rehabilitation on a cat with an amputated leg.

“Veterinary medicine has so many therapies available to us that we really want to promote hyperbaric oxygen therapy, physical rehabilitation and acupuncture,” Alvarez says. “We want to be at the forefront.”

The studio shots, the live-audience portion and the side trips were boiled down into a 3 1/2–minute promotional film.

“We met with a number of agencies and a couple potential production partners,” Dobbis says. “We’re just waiting to hear. This show is not just about pets, but about people and animals, and their related health issues. We share the planet. We are interdependent.”

In the meantime, Lyman still spends seven days a week at his hospital and Alvarez is busy in New York City.

Lyman and his wife, Kip, also are busy teaching others about hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

“Still, for me,” Lyman says, “the most fun is taking care of the patients


                                                    Taken from

To Whomever Gets My Dog

They told me the big black Lab’s name was Reggie, as I looked at him lying in his pen.  The shelter was clean, no-kill, and the people really friendly.I’d only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open.  Everyone waves when you pass them on the street.But something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new life …here, and I thought a dog couldn’t hurt.  Give me someone to talk to.  And I had just seen Reggie’s advertisement on the local news.  The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said the people who had come down to see him just didn’t look like “Lab people,” whatever that meant.  They must’ve thought I did.But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie and his things, which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes and a sealed letter from his previous owner.

See, Reggie and I didn’t really hit it off when we got home.  We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his new home).  Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too.  Maybe we were too much alike.

I saw the sealed envelope.  I had completely forgotten about that.  “Okay, Reggie,” I said out loud, “let’s see if your previous owner has any advice.”

____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ __________

To Whomever Gets My Dog:

Well, I can’t say that I’m happy you’re reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie’s new owner.  I’m not even happy writing it.  He knew something was different.

So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you.

First, he loves tennis balls.  The more the merrier.  Sometimes I think he’s part squirrel, the way he hoards them.  He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there.  Hasn’t done it yet.  Doesn’t matter where you throw them, he’ll bound after them, so be careful.  Don’t do it by any roads.

Next, commands.  Reggie knows the obvious ones —“sit,” “stay,” “come,” “heel.”

He knows hand signals, too:  He knows “ball” and “food” and “bone” and “treat” like nobody’s business.

Feeding schedule:  twice a day, regular store-bought stuff;  the shelter has the brand.

He’s up on his shots.  Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet.  Good luck getting him in the car.  I don’t know how he knows when it’s time to go to the vet, but he knows.

Finally, give him some time.  It’s only been Reggie and me for his whole life. He’s gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can.  He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn’t bark or complain.  He just loves to be around people, and me most especially.

And that’s why I need to share one more bit of info with you…His name’s not Reggie.  He’s a smart dog, he’ll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt.  But I just couldn’t bear to give them his real name.  But if someone is reading this … well it means that his new owner should know his real name.  His real name is “Tank.”  Because, that is what I drive.

I told the shelter that they couldn’t make “Reggie” available for adoption until they received word from my company commander.  You see, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could’ve left Tank with … and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq, that they make one phone call to the shelter … in the “event” … to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption.  Luckily, my CO is a dog-guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed.  He said he’d do it personally.  And if you’re reading this, then he made good on his word.

Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family.  And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family, too, and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me.

If I have to give up Tank to keep those terrible people from coming to the US, I am glad to have done so.  He is my example of service and of love.  I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.

All right, that’s enough.  I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter.  Maybe I’ll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.

Good luck with Tank.  Give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss goodnight – every night – from me.

Thank you,

Paul Mallory

___________ __________ __________ _________ __________ ________

I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope.  Sure, I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like me.  Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies.  Flags have been at half-mast all summer.

I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog.

“Hey, Tank,” I said quietly.

The dog’s head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes bright.

“C’mere boy.”

He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor.  He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn’t heard in months. “Tank,” I whispered.

His tail swished.

I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him.  I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face into his scruff and hugged him.

“It’s me now, Tank, just you and me.  Your old pal gave you to me.  Tank reached up and licked my cheek.

“So whatdaya say we play some ball?”  His ears perked again.

“Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball?”

Tank tore from my hands and disappeared into the next room.  And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.

If you can read this without getting a lump in your throat or a tear in your eye, you just ain’t right.

A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America’ for an amount of ‘up to and including their life.’

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

Judy L. Reid

Tips for Moving with your Pet

Moving can be stressful on people and their pets.  To help relieve anxiety, here are some tips from to help ensure your big move goes off without a hitch.

1. Keep pets safe and secure. With all the noise, open doors and potential chaos involved in a move, it’s important for clients to make sure their pet is safe, happy, and secure. Encourage clients to put their pet in a quiet and safe place. This quiet spot should be a place that the pet is familiar and comfortable with. Maybe it’s a travel crate placed in an out of the way place, or perhaps a bathroom. Be sure that the pet can’t escape during the move. If the pet is in a room, clients can place a sign on the door alerting others to not enter. Another option is to encourage clients to have their pet stay at a friend or relative’s house or a doggy day care on moving day.

2. Check on pets regularly. If clients will be keeping their pet at home on moving day, they need to check in on it regularly. It’s important to maintain the pet’s regular routine for feeding, walks, bathroom breaks, and cuddling.

3. Create familiar surroundings. One of the best ways clients can help their pet become comfortable in a new environment more quickly is to have their things in it before introducing the pet into the new place. Whether it be a favorite chair, dog bed, throw rug, toys, or all of the above, clients should surround their pet with familiar things. Clients should be prepared with all the necessary items their pet will need from day one in the new home.

4. Keep pets on leash. Pet parents need to be aware even dogs that are excellent under voice control can become distracted easily in a new neighborhood and surroundings. To prevent their pet from running off, clients should keep their dog on a leash or in a secure, fenced yard.

5. Keep a photo handy. In the unfortunate event that a client’s pet runs off, they should keep a recent photo of the pet on hand. In addition to the pet’s ID tag and microchip, a photo of the pet will help to ensure the pet’s safe return home.

Above all,  maintain a calm energy.  Pets pick up on our emotions, so deep breaths.  Moving is an adventure, a new beginning—encourage yourself to embrace it and enjoy it with your pet.

A Tribute to the Dog

A speech by Missouri Senator George Graham Vest?
Year: 1870

Gentlemen of the Jury

The best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy.  His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful.  Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name may become traitors to their faith.  The money that a man has, he may lose.  It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most.  A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action.  The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads.

The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.  A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness.  He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side.  He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that conm in an encounter with the roughness of the world.  He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince.  When all other friends desert, he remains.  When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies.  And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even in death.

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)