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Pet Tips

gentle leader

The Gentle Leader is a special facial harness that aids in training. This product works similar to a horse lead. Instead of the dog pulling and choking itself, The Gentle Leader guides the dog into the direction that you lead him. The Gentle Leader is an excellent training tool, and helps stubborn dogs learn to walk on a leash.

pet tips

The kidneys have several important functions: remove waste products from the body through the urine, adjust hydration by concentrating the urine, stimulate the bone marrow to produce red blood cells, and adjust the body's chemistry. Healthy kidneys produce concentrated urine with large amount of waste products. In chronic renal failure, the kidneys fail to concentrate urine requiring more urine to eliminate the waste products and stimulate the bone marrow.

With aging, there may be a gradual or �chronic� loss of normal kidney function. At least 70% of kidney function must be lost before illness occurs.

Chronic renal failure is most commonly seen in cats over 8 years old. There may be weight loss, poor grooming, and an increase in thirst and urination. At first, increased thirst and urine volume may be the only symptom. Later signs are loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, or constipation.

Chronic renal failure must be diagnosed by a veterinarian. The patient�s symptoms, physical examination findings, and labwork are required. There are specific changes in blood and urine to make this diagnosis.

Treatment for chronic renal failure includes administering fluids by injection, feeding a special diet for kidney disease, giving supplements of vitamins and iron, and occasionally giving hormone injections. With treatment, cats can have a good quality of life for months to years.

pet tips

The cornea is the transparent, shiny membrane creating the front of the eyeball. It is composed of three layers, the epithelium (outermost layer), stroma (middle layer), and Descemet�s membrane (innermost layer). If the epithelium is damaged it is called a corneal erosion or corneal abrasion. Deeper erosions through the entire epithelium and into the stroma are called corneal ulcers. If the erosion goes all the way through to the level of Descemet�s membrane, it is referred to as a descemetocele. In the most extreme cases where the Descemet�s membrane is ruptured, the liquid inside the eyeball can leak out, causing the eye to irreversibly collapse. There are several causes of corneal ulcers, the most common being trauma to the cornea. Another common cause is chemical burn, such as from irritating shampoo getting in the eye. Corneal ulcers can also be caused by bacterial infections, viral infections, and other diseases that originate in the eye or develop secondary to disease elsewhere in the body.

Common symptoms of a corneal ulcer include the patient rubbing the eye, squinting or keeping the eye shut, and discharge or fluid coming from the eye. A doctor will use a stain called fluorescein to diagnose the ulcer. The stain is placed on the cornea and the dye will adhere to the area of the ulcer, which can then be seen clearly with the use of ophthalmic lights.

pet tips

Diabetes mellitus occurs when an excessive amount of glucose (sugar) is circulating in the bloodstream. Hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) is caused by a deficiency of insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas.

The most common early clinical signs include increased thirst and urination and weight loss despite an increased appetite. Later signs include anorexia, lethargy, depression, and vomiting. Pets with diabetes are prone to urinary tract infections, since excess sugar accumulates in the bladder making it a great environment for bacterial growth. Cataracts can develop in dogs with diabetes since glucose is able to enter the lens.

Diabetes mellitus is diagnosed by patient history, physical exam findings, and labwork. Elevated glucose levels in the bloodstream and urine confirm the diagnosis of diabetes.

Diabetes mellitus is a manageable condition. Diabetics are placed on special diets low in carbohydrates and high in protein to encourage weight loss and started on insulin therapy. Initially, your pet will need to stay in the hospital for the day for serial blood glucose measurements to determine the appropriate amount of insulin to be administered. Most pets are maintained on once or twice daily insulin injections which are administered via a small needle. Once an appropriate level of insulin is determined, routine follow up exams and glucose measurements are required for monitoring. Clients need to develop daily records which include the type of insulin, amount of insulin administered, amount and time of food eaten, and current weight of pet. It is also recommended to monitor the amount of glucose present in the urine, usually collected at night or early in the morning. Glucose levels vary day to day, but trends are important to note for changes in insulin dosage.

If your pet receives too much insulin or fails to eat prior to insulin administration, the blood glucose level can become dangerously low creating a condition known as hypoglycemia. Clinical signs associated with hypoglycemia include weakness, ataxia, lethargy, shaking, and seizures. In cases of mild hypoglycemia, such as mild incoordination, give your pet a tablespoon of karo syrup, honey, or sugar solution. If more severe signs are noticed, such as ataxia, severe incoordination, or convulsions, it is important to seek immediate veterinary care.

pet tips

If you believe your pet has ingested something toxic or poisonous, call Giller Animal Hospital at our emergency line listed below.

You may also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-4ANIHELP - there is a fee for this service) for assistance. Gather as much of the original packaging as you can and bring it with you to the hospital - this can help your veterinarian determine exactly what compounds might have been ingested and how to best treat your pet.

The vaccines below are offered at Giller Animal Hospital. Please review the list of vaccines and their risk factors, and discuss with your veterinarian which vaccines are appropriate for your cat.

FVRCPP Vaccine: (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis [Herpes], Calici, Panleukopenia, Chlamydia Psittaci)
Risk Factor: Recommended for all cats.

Leukemia Vaccine
Risk Factor: Direct or indirect exposure to other cats; cats that spend time outdoors; indoor cats that have screen exposure; contact with other cats that are owned by roommates or in a foster program; owner of a cat that has contact with other cats.

FIP Vaccine (Feline Infectious Peritonitis)
Risk Factors: Direct exposure to other cats; similar risks to leukemia, but incidence is less common; suggested for catteries or extreme multi-cat households.

Rabies Vaccine
Recommended for all cats and required by law.

The vaccines below are offered at Giller Animal Hospital. Please review the list of vaccines and their risk factors, and discuss with your veterinarian which vaccines are appropriate for your dog.

Distemper-Hepatitis-Parainfluenza-Parvo Vaccine
Risk Factors: Recommended for all dogs.

Corona Vaccine
Risk Factors: Areas used by other dogs, such as dog parks or apartment grounds.

Bordetella Vaccine
Risk Factors: Kennels, grooming facilities, training classes, day care, apartment grounds, or dog parks.

Leptospirosis Vaccine
Risk Factors: Direct or indirect contact with urine or tissues from wildlife or farm animals. There is high risk for active dogs on farms, pastures, wooded areas, or exposure to wildlife in residential areas.

Lyme Vaccine
Risk Factors: Tick exposure, either when at home or when traveling to mountains or wooded areas.

Rabies Vaccine
Recommended for all dogs and required by law.

pet tips

1. Resist taking your pet to the fireworks displays. Most animals don't enjoy the holiday's noisy spectacles.

2. Don't leave your pet in the car. In addition to the danger posed by pet thieves, cars can quickly heat up to a deadly temperature in minutes, even when parked in the shade or with the windows opened.

3. Keep your companion animal in a safe place indoors. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you've removed any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed on. Leave a radio or TV on at normal volume to provide him or her with some companionship while you are attending the picnics and parades.

4. If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4 for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during firework displays. Some pets may need sedation or anti-anxiety medications.

5. Never leave pets outside and unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. Animals may panic, escape and get lost, or get injured by becoming entangled in their chain.

6. Make sure your pets are wearing identification and are micro-chipped so they can be returned to you, if they do get lost. Animals running at large should be taken to the local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of reuniting with their families.

7. If you plan to go away for the holiday weekend, visit the HSUS online at to find information about traveling with your pet or on choosing a professional pet sitter or boarding kennel.

pet tips

Cat heartworm disease can be just as deadly as canine heartworm disease. Heartworm disease occurs in 15% of cats, of which one-third are indoor cats.

1. Dogs vs. Cats: Heartworm is not just a canine disease. Heartworms affect cats differently than dogs, but the disease they caused is equally as deadly.

2. Indoor vs. Outdoor cats: Heartworm disease is mosquito-borne and evidence has shown indoor cats are just as susceptible to it as outdoor animals. In a North Carolina study, 28 percent of the cats diagnosed with heartworm were inside-only cats.

3. It's a Heart Disease: Heartworm disease is a misnomer; it mostly affects the lungs, not just the heart. The disease frequently is mistaken for asthma and other respiratory diseases.

4. Adult Heartworms vs. Larvae: New research shows that the heartworm larvae at all stages, not just adult worms, can cause serious health problems.

Diagnosis is difficult. Negative blood tests do not rule out the presence of heartworms. Chest radiographs and an echocardiogram are often needed to support the suspicion of heartworms.

Currently there is no treatment for feline heartworm disease.

Therefore, it is strongly recommended all cats receive year-round monthly heartworm prevention. Prevention is safe and easy.

Advantage Multi for Cats Topical Solution is applied to the cat's skin once a month for heartworm prevention. Advantage Multi also kills adult fleas and treats hookworms, roundworms, and ear mites.

For more information, visit and

pet tips

Hyperthyroidism is a relatively common disease in older cats. It occurs when benign tumors in the thyroid gland produce too much hormone and cannot be shut off by the body's normal control mechanisms. This overactive thyroid gland increases the body's metabolic rate and can cause weight loss, excessive thirst and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, increased vocalization, increased heart rate, poor coat quality and other signs. If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to heart failure, continued weight loss and death.

This condition can be diagnosed by physical examination and blood tests performed in our hospital. A thyroid, or T4, level should be a part of routine blood screening for all cats over the age of 7.

Fortunately for our feline friends, hyperthyroidism is a disease that can be managed, and in some cases, cured completely. Several treatment options are available - our veterinarians can help you choose the best treatment for your pet.

Most pets are successfully treated with an oral medication that blocks the production of excess thyroid hormone. This drug is available as tablets, liquid or a cream that is absorbed through the skin and must be given for the life of the pet. Many cats with hyperthyroidism also experience changes in their kidney function, so periodic blood tests are needed to evaluate thyroid hormone levels and kidney values for correct dosing.

Radioactive iodine, or I-131, is an alternative treatment for hyperthyroidism that destroys the thyroid tumors and leaves the normal parts of the thyroid gland unharmed. The procedure must be performed at a specialty hospital licensed to handle radioactive material and involves a single injection under the skin. The cat stays in the hospital for 7-10 days while the radiation levels decrease. Cats who have normal kidney function and meet the other treatment criteria tolerate the treatment very well. Many of these cats are cured with a single dose.

pet tips

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is not a disease but instead a group of clinical signs including bloody urine, straining to urinate, increased frequency of urination, urinating in unusual places, and urinary blockage (inability to urinate) which is a medical emergency.

There are several different potential causes of FLUTD, including bacterial infections, bladder stones, tumors, or anatomical abnormalities. However, many cats experience severe inflammation of the bladder and/or urethra without an identifiable cause, known as idiopathic FLUTD. FLUTD is diagnosed by patient history, physical exam findings, and the results of diagnostic tests, including bloodwork, urinalysis, bacterial culture of the urine, and radiographs and/or ultrasound of the bladder and urethra.

Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Idiopathic FLUTD responds to anti-inflammatories or pain-relieving drugs. Bacterial infections must be treated with antibiotics. Bladder stones must be surgically removed and patients need to be placed on special diets or additives to avoid recurrence. If the urethra becomes blocked, inhibiting urination, emergency treatment is required to remove the blockage.

FLUTD is more common in overweight and inactive cats and in cats with lower water consumption.

pet tips


There are Halloween Hazards stalking your pet. Protect them in the following ways:

-Please keep dogs and cats home and inside, away from noisy trick-or-treaters. If your pet is upset by loud noises or frequent visitors to your home, they may need a tranquilizer. Speak with your veterinarian about the best options for your pet.

-All pets should have proper identification in case they 'escape' when the door is open to hand out candy. Consider microchip identification - the sooner the better. (See our microchip article in Pet Care Tips)

-If you are having a party, confine your pet in a quiet room with a favorite toy.

-Black cats are especially vulnerable to cruel Halloween pranks. Keep them (and all cats) inside, out of harm's way.

-Resist sharing candy, especially chocolate, with your animal buddies. Chocolate is easily overdosed causing illness, and even death.

Please make the holiday a safe and happy one for everyone including your pets!

pet tips

The holidays are a joyous time of year, filled with fun for family and pets. However, this time of year can also present numerous hazards to our four-footed friends. Below is a list of the top 10 holiday hazards and some tips to get you and your pets safely into the New Year.

These shiny package and tree decorations are often irresistible to cats and puppies, who may chase, pounce or chew on them. However, these materials can easily block the intestinal tract if swallowed or cause serious gastrointestinal problems. A blockage is life threatening, and requires emergency surgery to treat. If you believe your pet may have eaten some ribbons or tinsel, call your veterinarian for assistance immediately.

The extra decorations at the holidays often require extra electrical cords around the house. Cats and dogs may chew on them, leading to severe shock, electrocution, burns in the mouth or respiratory distress. If you believe your pet may have gotten a shock or a burn from an electrical cord, call your veterinarian immediately.

All forms of chocolate can be dangerous for dogs and cats, but dark and unsweetened baking chocolates carry the highest doses of the toxic compound, theobromine. This compound is a stimulant, similar to caffeine, and while it is safe for humans, can cause vomiting, diarrhea or heart problems in pets. Do not offer your pet chocolate treats or leave candies out where pets can eat them. Inform your guests that pets should not eat chocolate. If you believe your pet may have eaten some chocolate, call your veterinarian for assistance.

Many types of plants commonly found at the holidays can be toxic to pets. Poinsettia can cause stomach upsets and is irritating to the mouth. Mistletoe can cause many different problems, including liver failure or death. Many types of lilies cause damage to the kidneys and may be fatal if ingested. Keep all flowers and plants out of reach of pets and call your veterinarian if ingestion occurs.

Xylitol is a sweetening compound used in sugar-free gums, candies and baked goods. It may also be found in some toothpastes and other personal hygiene items. Though safe for humans to eat, Xylitol is extremely toxic to pets. Ingesting only 1 or 2 pieces of gum can make a dog deathly ill. If you believe your pet has ingested anything containing Xylitol, contact your veterinarian immediately.

It has a sweet taste and is very attractive to animals that may find it leaking onto the ground. Antifreeze is VERY toxic to pets and can be fatal. Immediate treatment is necessary. If you believe your pet has ingested antifreeze, call your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.

The many house guests who come to visit during the holidays may come with medications of their own. ANY human medication, including antibiotics, heart medications, birth control pills, allergy medications, decongestants, cough suppressants and others can make your pets ill if ingested, especially in large quantities. Ask your guests to keep their medications securely out of harm's way and call your veterinarian immediately if you believe your pet may have ingested a human medication.

Pets like to be including in family activities, but having them in the kitchen can be a recipe for disaster. Pets underfoot are a hazard for those people working in the kitchen and can lead to trips and falls. Pets can also be burned by splatters or spills and may be injured if heavy or sharp objects are dropped. Keep pets out of the kitchen for everyone's safety.

Feeding table scraps, especially the rich, fatty foods common this time of year, can cause your pet a great deal of distress. In addition to vomiting and diarrhea, sudden diet changes may also lead to inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) - this condition can make your pet very ill, and often requires hospitalization. Leftover bones can cause damage to the teeth and intestinal tract, and sometimes require emergency surgery to remove. For safety's sake, stick to your pet's usual diet during the holidays, and remind guests not to feed your pet anything from the table.

While not specific to the holidays, ingestion of drugs like marijuana, cocaine or ecstasy is always a problem for pets. Depending on the substance, pets can experience vomiting, diarrhea, heart or breathing problems, hallucinations, coma and death. It is important to be honest with your veterinarian about what drugs your pet may have been exposed to so that they can treat your pet appropriately.

pet tips

Visit this website to watch a very informative video demonstrating how to brush your cat's teeth:

pet tips

Your Pet and Periodontal Disease

After your pet finishes a meal, tiny food particles combine with bacteria to form plaque. If not removed, plaque hardens into tartar and can ultimately lead to periodontal disease. Untreated periodontal disease is the single greatest cause of health problems in pets causing mouth pain and potentially leading to infections of any internal organ. More than 80% of all animals over three years of age have periodontal disease.

How You Can Help

Regular checkups with your pet's veterinarian and routine professional cleaning are essential to keep your pet's teeth free of tartar. Routine home dental care is also important in helping to keep your pet and its teeth healthy. Simply removing food debris and plaque from the teeth and gum line can greatly reduce the chance of tartar build-up, periodontal disease, and bad breath.

Home Dental Care

Simply removing food debris and plaque from the teeth and gum line can greatly reduce the chance of tartar build-up, periodontal disease, and bad breath. Routine daily brushing is one way to prevent plaque accumulation. Always use a veterinary toothpaste and soft toothbrush. The Enzadent Dual-Ended toothbrush is specifically designed to adapt to small and large tooth surfaces and can be used for any size dog or cat. Enzadent Enzymatic Toothpaste (Malt or Poultry Flavor) does not need to be rinsed and is safe to swallow.

To introduce your pet to brushing, start by introducing toothpaste. Offer a small amount of Enzadent toothpaste on a toothbrush or place a small amount on your pet's nose for them to lick off. Once your pet likes the toothpaste, start brushing. Gently lift your pet's upper lip on one side and brush the teeth and gums a few times. Gradually brush more as your pet accepts the process. The most important teeth to brush are the large upper back teeth as your pet's salivary glands open right over these teeth. Try to brush daily for 30 seconds on each side of the mouth.

Another excellent option is Enzadent Oral Care Chews. The Oral Care Chews combine enzymes found naturally in your pet's saliva with the abrading action that occurs when chewing to help remove food debris before it becomes a problem. Give one Oral Care Chew of appropriate size daily.

A third option for oral care is Enzadent Oral Rinse. While not as effective as brushing or chewing for plaque prevention, Enzadent Oral Rinse can be a useful part of an oral hygiene program. The unique formulation of Enzadent Oral Rinse is a palatable and highly effective antimicrobial, anti-plaque and anti-calculus rinse that aids in the prevention of tooth and gum disease. To use the Oral Rinse, shake the bottle, lift your pet's upper lip, point and squeeze gently to apply a stream of rinse along the gum line. Enzadent Oral Rinse disperses rapidly and completely covers the entire oral cavity. Enzadent Oral Rinse may be used alone or may be used on days when you are unable to brush or give your pet a chew.

pet tips

Several types of intestinal parasites can be found in dogs and cats. The most common types are hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms, coccidia, and giardia. Tapeworm segments are easily seen in the feces or around the rear end of the animal; they look like small, flat, white rice granules. Roundworms can also be seen with the naked eye. Roundworms are white to off-white small tubular structures and look similar to angel hair pasta. The other intestinal parasites are only seen under a microscope.


Tapeworms attache to the wall of the small intestine. Pets need to ingest an infected flea allowing the tapeworm to grow inside the intestines, causing digestive upsets and stunting of growth in puppies and kittens. Humans are rarely at risk by ingesting an infective flea; however humans are at risk, too.

All pets with fleas are at significant risk for tapeworm parasitism. Standard fecal tests often do not detect these worms because the segments are only shed intermittently. Owners should watch for small segments in the stool or near the anus.


Hookworms attach to the lining of the intestines and feed on blood, resulting in severe anemia. Infective larvae can be ingested orally, enter the host through the skin, be passed through the placenta from mother to fetus, or passed to puppies and kittens through the mother's milk. Signs of a hookworm infection include dark or bloody diarrhea, weakness, pale gums, weight loss, and death. Hookworms are zoonotic parasites and can be passed to humans by burrowing through the skin.


Roundworms are free-living in the bowel, feeding on the food that the host eats. They can cause serious digestive upsets and gas formation, leading to a characteristic "pot-bellied" appearance. If a growing puppy or kitten is infected with a large number of roundworms, they can experience stunted growth, which leads to developmental problems. Other signs include diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, and weight loss. Roundworms are transmitted from dog to dog, either from contact with infected feces or from mothers passing it to their young.


Coccidia live in the lining of the intestine and can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. The immature coccidia, called oocysts, are resistant to environmental conditions, meaning they can survive for some time if the feces is not picked up immediately, and can be transmitted to other animals that come in contact with the feces. The species of coccidia that infect dogs and cats is not contagious to humans.


Giardia can cause severe watery diarrhea. A dog becomes infected with Giardia when it ingests the parasite. Giardia may also be transmitted through drinking infected water. Giardia can also be transmitted to humans.

pet tips

Laser therapy is the use of specific wavelengths of light to create therapeutic effects. These effects include anti-inflammatory, anti-edema, and analgesic effects. The laser can be used for arthritis, chronic and acute pain, back injuries, disc disease, sprains/strains, inflammation, edema (swelling), and wounds.

Laser light delivers photons to the cells and tissues causing biologic changes and biochemical reactions. Laser therapy causes temporary vasodilation (increase in blood vessel volume), increases the output of specific enzymes and provides greater oxygen and energy loads to cells. The laser is absorbed by molecular enzymes that then start the production of ATP, the energy source for cells. This stimulates cellular growth and accelerates tissue repair. Laser therapy also decreases nerve sensitivity and promotes the production of endorphins from the brain, which decreases pain.

Laser therapy is a simple, pain-free procedure. The laser is placed in contact with the skin allowing the photon energy to penetrate where it can enhance the body's natural healing processes. Our hand piece delivers two wavelengths in a synchronized fashion, resulting in shorter treatment times. The laser light penetrates with a direct effect up to 5 cm. The therapeutic laser is applied for a specific period of time to deliver the proper amount of laser energy. The treatment time is determined by the doctor and depends on the patient's specific condition. Treatment times also vary based upon the size of the area and the predetermined depth of the therapy.

pet tips

Microchips are tiny encapsulated computer chips, about the size of a large grain of rice, which are programmed with unique identification codes. Microchips are a form of permanent identification, which cannot be lost or removed.

A microchip is injected under the skin, similar to a vaccination, between the pet's shoulder blades. Clients register their pets with 24PetWatch, which maintains a database of pet and guardian information.

When a pet is found, veterinary hospitals and shelters use a hand-held scanner to read the microchip information. Once the microchip is read, the 24PetWatch Recovery Center is contacted to identify the lost pet's guardian's information to reunite you with your pet.

pet tips

We offer many different monthly flea and tick control products here at Giller Animal Hospital. Please review the list below and discuss with your veterinarian which product is appropriate for your pet.

Advantage: Canine, Feline - Topical application
Kills fleas

Advantage Multi: Feline - Topical application
Kills fleas
Heartworm prevention and intestinal parasite control
Prescription required

Frontline Plus: Canine, Feline - Topical application
Kills fleas and ticks
Sterilizes fleas

Sentinel (with Interceptor): Canine - Oral administration
Kills and sterilizes fleas
Heartworm prevention and intestinal parasite control
Prescription required

Revolution: Feline - Topical application
Kills fleas
Heartworm prevention and intestinal parasite control
Prescription required

Comfortis: Canine - Oral administration
Kills fleas for one month
Prescription required

Vectra Feline - Topical application
Kills and sterilizes fleas

Vectra Canine - Topical application
Kills and sterilizes fleas
Kills ticks

pet tips

Otitis externa is an infection of the external ear canal that can be very painful and itchy. Dogs with large, floppy, or hairy ears are the most prone to ear infections, although all dogs and cats are susceptible. Symptoms include scratching at the ears, shaking the head, redness and inflammation, black or yellow discharge, and a bad odor. Bacteria, yeast, ear mites, foreign bodies, or a tumor in the ear canal can cause otitis externa. The doctor will use an otoscope to look inside the ear canal and use swabs to collect a sample of the discharge. The discharge is then looked at under the microscope to determine the cause of the ear infection. Treatments for otitis externa vary depending on the cause.

Otitis externa can be prevented by cleaning the ears on a regular basis. Ear cleaning is to be done by filling the ear canal with ear cleaning solution, squeezing the base of the ear to release the debris that is deep in the canal, and then using cotton balls to clean the fluid and debris out of the ear.

pet tips

Everyone has heard about the obesity epidemic in humans, but did you know that our pets are affected too? Recent surveys show that more than 40% of dogs and cats in the US can be classified as overweight or obese. Just like in humans, being overweight puts your pet at increased risk for a multitude of health problems. The list is long, and potentially life-threatening � increased incidence of arthritis and joint problems, diabetes, heart disease, breathing problems, urinary tract and reproductive problems, skin disease and decreased immune function are all complications of obesity.

While most people are aware that being overweight or obese is bad for their pet, what many are unaware of is how much difference a few pounds can make. Because most of our pets are much smaller than humans, what seems like just a couple of pounds can mean big trouble. For example, 5 pounds of excess body weight in a Beagle can be equivalent to 20 extra pounds for a human!

Before starting your pet on a diet, it is important to rule out any medical reasons for weight gain. In dogs, hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland produces an inadequate amount of hormone. This can lead to a sluggish metabolism and weight gain. A physical examination and blood test can determine if this condition exists.

Your veterinarian is the person best suited to help you formulate a successful weight loss plan for your pet. Numerous prescription diets are available to assist in safe weight loss. Ask your veterinarian if your pet is overweight or obese and what you can do to help get them back in shape.

pet tips


Comfortis is a canine flea control medication available in a beef-flavored, chewable tablet. It starts killing adult fleas in 30 minutes and is effective for 30 days. Comfortis is safe to use in puppies as young as 4 weeks old. With Comfortis, you do not have to worry about your dog getting wet and washing off the medication. Ask us today, if Comfortis is right for your pet.

Vectra for Cats and Dogs:

Vectra is a monthly topical flea control treatment for cats and dogs. It starts killing fleas within 4 hours and lasts 30 days. Vectra is the first product to kill all stages of the flea lifecycle. It is safe to use this product in kittens as young as 8 weeks of age. Call us for more information about Vectra and other flea control medications.

Vectra 3D for Dogs:

Vectra 3D is a new medication for the treatment and control of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. It starts killing fleas within 6 hours and lasts one month. Vectra 3D is the first flea control product to kill all stages of development. This product alsV repels and kills 4 species of ticks and 3 species of mosquitoes. Vectra 3D is still effective after bathing and swimming. Ask us today, if Vectra 3D is a good choice for your pet.

pet tips

Pyoderma is a skin infection caused by bacteria. The most common symptoms are papules or pustules on the skin, dry, crusty, or flaky areas, hair loss, and itching. Pyoderma can occur for several different reasons. The most common is secondary to allergic dermatitis because pyoderma develops in abrasions caused by the patient scratching. It can also occur if the skin is broken for other reasons, if the skin has been injured from constant exposure to moisture, if the skin's normal bacteria flora has been altered, if the immune system is compromised, or if normal blood flow to the skin is impaired.

Pyoderma is diagnosed by the doctor based on symptoms and medical history. Patients with a history of yeast or fungal skin infections, fleas or ticks, thyroid disease, or a hormonal imbalance may be at an increased risk. It is also hereditary and can be passed down from generation to generation. In most cases, pyoderma will resolve with oral antibiotics and topical medications. Bathing the patient with a medicated shampoo can also help. In patients with chronic pyoderma, more testing will need to be done to determine the underlying factor, such as allergies or endocrine diseases such as hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease.

pet tips

While cats have the good sense to nap during the hottest parts of the day, dogs often do not. Given the choice, they will go where you go and do what you do, even if they are overheating.

For this reason, exercise should be limited to the coolest part of the day. Older dogs, or dogs that have short noses or are obese, may not be able to tolerate much exercise even in the cooler hours. Always be alert for signs of heatstroke; frantic panting, slowing down, or staggering.

Remember that dogs are very inefficient at cooling themselves, and can overheat quickly. Let them take it easy in the summer heat.

If you think your dog has heatstroke, use a garden hose to thoroughly wet your dog and get him to a veterinarian right away.

Here are some tips to help keep your pet safe and comfortable during thunderstorms.

Keep pets indoors during storms. Create a safe haven. Many pets feel more comfortable in small spaces, like a bathroom, closet, or kennel.

Turn on the TV or radio to help drown out the thunder.

Project a calm attitude. Pets are very aware of their owner's mental state.
Consoling or excessive petting can be interpreted by your pet as a reward response to fearful behavior. Instead play with your pet or do an activity they enjoy during storms.

Don't punish your pet for their behavior during a storm. It may only increase their anxiety.

Make sure all pets are micro-chipped and wearing ID tags in case they get out during a storm.

Talk to your veterinarian about medication. Many pets need sedatives, tranquilizers, or anti-anxiety medications. Some medications can be given as needed, while others need to be given daily.

pet tips

In summertime, the living isn't always easy for our animal friends. Dogs and cats can suffer from the same problems that humans do, such as overheating, dehydration and even sunburn. By taking some simple precautions, you can celebrate the season and keep your pets happy and healthy.

~A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is a must; add to that a test for heartworm, if your dog isn't on a year-round preventative medication. Do parasites bug your animal companions? Ask your doctor to recommend a safe, effective flea and tick control program.

~Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle - hyperthermia can be fatal.
Even with the windows open a parked automobile can quickly become a furnace in no time. Parking in the shade offers little protection, as the sun shifts during the day.

~Always carry a gallon thermos filled with cold, fresh water when traveling with your pet.

~The right time for playtime is in the cool of the early morning or evening, but never after a meal or when the weather is humid.

~STREET SMARTS: When the temperature is very high, don't let your dog stand on hot asphalt. His or her body can heat up quickly and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum

~A day at the beach is a no-no, unless you can guarantee a shaded spot and plenty of fresh water for your companion. Salty dogs should be rinsed off after a dip in the ocean.

~Provide fresh water and plenty of shade for animals kept outdoors; a properly constructed doghouse serves best. Bring your dog or cat inside during the heat of the day to rest in a cool part of the house.

~Be especially sensitive to older and overweight animals in hot weather. Brachycephalic (or snub-nosed) dogs such as bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa apsos and shih tzus, as well as those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

~When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. And please be alert for coolant or other automotive fluid leaking from your vehicle. Animals are attracted to the sweet taste, and ingesting just a small amount can be fatal. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect that your animal has been poisoned.

~Good grooming can stave off summer skin problems, especially for dogs with heavy coats. Shaving the hair to a one-inch length helps prevent overheating. Never shave completely down to the skin, because it robs Rover of protection from the sun. Cats should be brushed often.

BONUS TIP: Please make sure that there are no open, unscreened windows or doors in your home through which animals can fall or jump out of.

pet tips

Arthritis is a crippling disease which affects millions of dogs. This painful condition may cause lameness and stiffness, but may also have less obvious symptoms. A sweet dog may bite, a dog who enjoys food may stop eating, or a playful pet may become depressed and lethargic.

There are several causes of arthritis, including aging, poor joint conformation as with hip dysplasia, and injury.

Why Should Arthritis be Treated?

Although pets cannot complain of pain, they surely feel it and suffer. Treatment of arthritis can result in a longer, healthier, and happier life for your pet. Improved joint mobility allows dogs to be more active and loss of pain improves attitude, appetite, and temperment.

How Can We Help?

We can provide a treatment that can actually stop joint disease and alleviate pain. Adequan is a state-of-the-art therapy which breaks the cycle of joint degeneration, inhibits destructive enzymes, and stimulates production of joint lubricants and new cartilage. This prescription medication is injected into the muscle by our veterinarians, and begins to work within hours.

Adequan has no side effects and is completely safe. It may be used in young animals with conformation defects such as hip dysplasia, injured animals, or geriatric patients. Adequan can actually prevent arthritis in animals diagnosed with hip dysplasia or other defects in joint conformation.

The protocol for treatment begins with a series of injections, given every 4 days (or alternatively twice a week) for a total of 8 treatments. Following this series, we recommend a booster of Adequan monthly.

pet tips

If your pet is on a restricted diet, such as Hill's Prescription Diet z/d, try this treat recipe at home.

Treat Recipe using Prescription Diet z/d Canned:
1. Shake out z/d contents intact.
2. Cut z/d into 1/2 inch thick circle slices.
3. Cut the circles into triangles, like a pie.
4. Bake on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, flipping them after 15 minutes. If you don't flip them, the top will be cooked and the bottom will not (all the moisture runs to the bottom).
5. Keep treat refrigerated.

The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, the ureters (tubes connecting the kidneys and bladder), the urinary bladder, and the urethra. A urinary tract infection (UTI) most commonly occurs in the bladder.

Pets with a UTI will usually urinate small amounts more often. The urine may contain blood and have a bad odor. Sometimes, the pet may drink more water.

A diagnosis is usually made after a physical exam and a urinalysis. Sometimes, x-rays (radiographs) or urine cultures are also needed.

Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics. Although the pet�s symptoms should resolve within the first few days of treatment, the entire course of antibiotics must be completed. Inadequate treatment can lead to infection recurrence and bacterial resistance.