International Chihuahua Appreciation DayMay 14, 2017
By Gertie Lombardo
Hey there! Happy International Chihuahua Appreciation Day! Allow me to introduce myself: My name Is Gertie and my mom works at the front desk at Ardmore Animal Hospital. Perhaps you remember seeing me. Sometimes my brother Chimi and I get to come to work with my mom!
So, here’s the scoop: I am a Chihuahua. We are the smallest breed in the dog world and we were bred specifically for companionship. I am really good at being my mom’s companion. I follow her everywhere she goes like it’s my job. Whether it’s on the couch or lying in bed at night, you can usually find me right next to her. I absolutely MUST be touching her or I can’t sleep. Chihuahuas are a very loyal and form strong bonds with our family but we tend to single out one specific person and really attach ourselves to them. Did you know that our loyalty runs so deep that sometimes if our owner passes away, we could die of a broken heart!
Chihuahuas are from the Mexican State of Chihuahua. We are thought to be the descendants of the ancient Techichi dog. Because we are “desert dogs”, we tend to not like rain and cold weather. Winter is hard for my brother and me because we don’t like to go outside to do our “business”. Our mom and dad sometimes come home to “accidents” in the house. Chihuahuas are notorious for being hard to house train, but we have the largest brain in relation to our body than any other breed, so I don’t think that’s true… we just know that we don’t like going out when the weather is less than ideal!
Some fun facts about Chihuahuas include the following: We live to be 14-18 years old, so be prepared for a long term relationship if you adopt one. We are a generally healthy breed but we can be prone to heart conditions and luxating patellas; this condition is where the knee cap dislocates itself from its normal position. I actually had surgery to correct my knee. It was painful and I had a long recovery, but I am now in tip top shape and I can run with the best of them. Which reminds me; Chihuahuas don’t need much exercise so we make great apartment pets! Chimi and I rarely go for walks because our little legs get tired real fast.
Chihuahuas have a quirky and eccentric personality. Some of us are pretty social and others tend to be less than thrilled with the prospect of communicating with anyone. This is actually genetic- the temperament of a Chihuahua is largely based on the temperament of the dog’s parents and grandparents. Personally, I am not fond of other dogs right off the bat, but after I growl a few times at them and they seem cool with it, then I’m cool with them. My best friend is my older brother Chimi. He’s part Chihuahua and part terrier of some sort. We keep each other company, we snuggle, and we love getting into trouble together!
Thank you for letting me tell you a little about my breed. We are often misunderstood, but once you get to know a Chihuahua, you will find us to be one of the most devoted and funny little breeds you’ll ever meet.
Canine Influenza: H3N8 and H3N2 StrainsApril 26, 2017
By Erika Lombardo
You know how important it is for you and your family to get their annual influenza vaccines. Did you know that your dog could potentially be at risk of contracting certain strains of Influenza? In the United States, there are currently two strains of the virus. The H3N8 strain was first reported in Greyhounds in 2003 and has been reported in 41 states. This virus is of equine origin and can be very difficult to diagnose. The other strain is the H3N2 strain. This virus was recently found in the States and has avian origins. The H3N2 virus has already spread to 30 states.
You can determine if your dog is at risk for contracting Canine Influenza by asking the following:
- Does your dog go to daycare?
- Does your dog board at a kennel or pet hotel?
- Does your dog attend training classes with other dogs?
- Does your dog play at dog parks?
- Does your dog participate in dog-friendly events?
- Does your dog go to the groomer?
- Does your dog greet other dogs on their walks?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, your dog is at a higher risk for canine influenza and other respiratory diseases. These viruses spread through direct contact, coughing and sneezing, and contaminated hands, clothing, or other surfaces.
Clinical signs of influenza include the following: coughing and retching, sneezing, nasal and/or ocular discharge, decreased appetite, and lethargy. If you notice these signs in your dog, call your Veterinarian for an appointment. At this time, the virus does not pose a risk in humans, however, the CDC is closely monitoring the situation.
If you feel your dog is currently at risk for Canine Influenza call your Veterinarian to schedule the vaccine. At Ardmore Animal Hospital, we have the combo flu vaccine that protects your dog from both strains.
Heartworm DiseaseApril 7, 2017
By Karen Sabatini
If you knew that giving your dog a tasty, chewy, inexpensive treat every 30 days could prevent a devastating and deadly disease—wouldn’t you give it to him? If that same tasty, chewy treat could kill intestinal parasites—wouldn’t you give it to him? Well you can! One simple test every year followed by monthly heartworm preventive could save your dog’s life.
Heartworm Disease is caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis. The worms enter the dog’s body through a bite from an infected mosquito. Inside the dog the worms mature into adults. Their entire life cycle is lived inside the dog. They mate inside and produce offspring. The worms life primarily in the heart, lungs and blood vessels of a heartworm infected dog.
Most heartworm disease in the United States is seen in the southern states along the Gulf coast. The insurgence of dogs being rescued from kill shelters in the south is helping spread the disease in cooler climates of the northern states. When a mosquito bites a heartworm infected dog the mosquito becomes infected with the heartworm offspring called microfilaria. Inside the mosquito the microfilaria become infective larvae. When that mosquito bites another dog, that dog then becomes infected with heartworm and the cycle begins again.
Heartworm disease is not contagious from one dog to the next. It can only be contracted from an infected mosquito. Adult heartworms look like strands of spaghetti which live inside the dog, which, if left untreated will cause death.
In the early stages of heartworm disease most dogs will not show symptoms. The longer the dog is infected with heartworm, the more severe the symptoms will be. A sedentary dog may not show any symptoms for quite some time while a more active dog will show exhibit signs such as coughing, fatigue and exercise intolerance.
The treatment for heartworm disease is not only painful and toxic, but it is also expensive. A lifetime supply of heart worm preventatives (pictured to the right) would still cost you less money than it would to treat your dog for heartworm. Immiticide, one of the drugs used to treat heartworm, is an arsenic containing drug which is given via a deep muscle injection into the back muscles. Treatment requires multiple visits and hospitalizations, blood work, x-rays and a series of injections.
The best treatment for heartworm is prevention. There are chewable and non chewable medications and also topical medication applied to the skin. Many of the medications contain products that also prevent and treat roundworms, whipworms, hookworms and tapeworms.
A blood test is used to test a dog for heartworms. The earliest that heartworm can be detected in a dog’s bloodstream is about 5 months after it has been bitten by an infected mosquito. It is strongly recommended that a dog which tests negative for heartworm be immediately started on a monthly heartworm preventive given year round for the rest of the dog’s life.
Please test your dogs annually and invest in a lifetime of health and happiness for your precious companion by purchasing and remembering to give her monthly heartworm medication. As always, we are always happy to help you decide which product to choose and discuss heartworm disease with you at any time.
*Click on the images for a larger view
K9 Veterans DayMarch 13, 2017
K9 Veterans Day— March 13, 2017
By Erika Lombardo and Dr. Aliya McCullough
“The capability they bring to the fight cannot be replicated by man or machine. By all measures of performance, their yield outperforms any asset we have in our inventory.” –General David Petreaus
Dogs are called “man’s best friend” for many good reasons. They love us unconditionally, they are quick to forgive, and we beam with pride when they show off their tricks. Dogs are incredible animals and many dogs have done extraordinary things in their short lives. On this day, we recognize some of the most notable of these canines: Military Working Dogs (MWDs).
Many troops have come to rely on MWDs to help keep them safe and assist them in their jobs. These dogs are specially trained to detect explosives, seek out illegal drugs, look for missing troops, and target enemies. Not only are they active on the front lines, but behind the scenes they can also serve as therapy dogs and service dogs. Their visual, auditory, and olfactory senses are superhuman. Did you know that dogs have 10-20 times the scent receptors in their nose and the area of their brain devoted to smell is very large? MWDs can detect intruders from 200 meters with little or no wind or up to 1000 meters away in windy conditions!
There have been some famous canine war heroes in our history. A German Shepherd mix named Chips was one of the first dogs trained and sent overseas. He was responsible for many enemy surrenders and he was awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross, and the Purple Heart. Another very decorated war hero was Sergeant Stubby. The only dog to achieve the rank of Sergeant, Sgt. Stubby was found as a stray on the campus of Yale in 1917 and then smuggled into France during WWI by his adoptive owner. He went on to save his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks and even captured a German spy by his pants! Gunner, a Kelpie, was known for his remarkable hearing. He was able to warn of troops of an encroaching Japanese aircraft 20 minutes before it could be seen on radars. Air raid sirens were sounded when Gunner gave the warning, he was that reliable!
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, there are around 2700 active duty MWDs in our country’s armed forces. These MWDs are deployed all over the world with a large number of them stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Originally, there were over 30 breeds trained to be MWDs but recently that list of breeds has been narrowed down to 7: German Shepherds, Dobermans, Belgian Sheepdogs, Huskies, Farm Collies, Eskimo dogs, and Malamutes. Only 50% of dogs who start training actually pass and go on to serve. Their typical span of service is around 8 years. Prior to the year 2000, dogs who finished their service were considered “military surplus equipment” and it was thought that they could not properly adjust to civilian life. In these instances, the dogs were abandoned or euthanized. In the year 2000, President Clinton passed a law called “Robby’s Law”, this allows MWD handlers and their families to adopt the dog after completing its military service.
Military Working dogs, when trained, are worth tens of thousands of dollars, but when it comes to the security, peace of mind, and companionship they provide to their fellow soldier, they are priceless. Today, we remember all those exceptional canines who have selflessly served our country.
“The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.” –George Graham Vest
The Importance of Bi-Yearly Exams for the Aging FelineJanuary 10, 2017
By Dr. James Bianco
Felines are considered senior citizens as they approach the age of nine or ten. It is at this time that we begin to see the changes in them that are directly related to the aging process. It is important to note that a cat ages approximately 5 years for every 1 year of human life. For example: a 19 year old feline is considered to be between 92-95 years of age.
The changes that you might begin to see as your cat ages are weight loss, increased drinking, a loss of muscle definition along with a decrease in appetite. These may be related to the normal aging process, but are much more likely a result of an underlying change in organ function or serious disease.
Bi-annual examinations are essential in identifying unfavorable trends in health such as blood sugar (glucose) levels, which can be an indication of the onset diabetes. We also find older cats with weight loss suffering from decreased kidney function or an over-active thyroid condition called hyperthyroidism. Unfortunately, these problems are all too common but can be successfully treated if caught early.
The veterinarian’s examination can be important in identifying abnormal growths on the skin along with abnormalities in normal abdominal organ structure. Many times an early diagnosis and surgical intervention can mean the difference between life or death.
Blood tests are also essential as our cats age. We use them to identify the early onset of kidney dysfunction which many times can be treated with a diet change and fluid administration. With proper treatment, most cats diagnosed with renal disease go on to live normal lives. We have patients that have lived beyond 20 years of age with kidney disease but were identified and treated accordingly.
Hyperthyroidism which is usually seen in cats that are losing weight slowly over time can be treated with medication, surgery, or iodine isotope therapy which is curative. Diabetes in cats is sometimes a transient disease that can be corrected with diet alone. We can also treat this disease successfully with insulin.
Cats are tough customers that do not show early signs of disease like dogs or humans. They are survivors that, through evolution, have adapted themselves not to show weakness in a hostile environment. Exposing weakness or disease in the wild can be dangerous as other predators take advantage. We have treated numerous cats in advanced states of disease that appeared to be normal to owners. Identification of problems was diagnosed because of physical examinations and diagnostic procedures such as blood testing and x-rays.
In conclusion, cats can live a long life. Life span is directly related to their genetic make-up, nutrition, and proper medical care. Yearly examinations are the most important thing that you can do to ensure that your beloved feline may live a long a healthy life.
Traveling with Your PetDecember 29, 2016
For every pet owner, traveling with your pet will be necessary at some point. Some pets love to travel but for others, it can be a stressful and anxiety filled experience. You may have just experienced these travel woes over the holiday season. Whether it be a trip to the vet, the groomer, or to go on a vacation, traveling with your pet requires certain precautions to ensure your pet is happy and stays safe.
The most important part of traveling with your pet is to make sure that they are secured and safe. Driving with your pet on your lap or letting your cat roam free in your car is very dangerous for many reasons. Even if you are driving at a very slow speed, you pet could be thrown from their seat if you need to hit the brakes suddenly. In addition, during an accident, airbags can deploy and severely injure your pet if they are on your lap. If it’s possible, crating your pet is the safest way to travel. They are properly contained and many pets actually enjoy the “den-like” feel- especially if you cover the crate with a blanket or sheet. In some instances, crates are not an option. In these cases, pet seat belt harnesses would be a suitable alternative. These products can be found at any pet store or online pet retailer. Pets should also not be allowed to stick their head out the window, while this may feel good to them, it puts them at risk of eye or head injuries from road debris or obstacles that stick out in the road like branches or poles.
If your pet gets sick from anxiety or motion sickness when traveling, it is recommended that you have a seat cover or towels to cover your car so that if your pet vomits, it won’t be as much of a distraction to you worrying about the mess. Veterinarians can also prescribe or recommend certain medications that can help alleviate carsickness in your pet. Additionally, it is recommended to have a pet safety kit ready to help deal with situations like this or if you get stuck somewhere. Your safety kit should include the following: a first aid kit (including any meds your pet may need), treats and toys, food, water, travel bowls, spare leash and collar, and a warm blanket.
To help you pet feel more comfortable traveling, try taking them on trips that don’t involve going to stressful places like the vet. If they only travel to go to these places, they associate car rides with unpleasant situations. Keep special treats on hand that are only for car rides and try to exercise your pet prior to travel to help calm them down. In addition, there are a few non-medication options for travel anxiety. For felines, you could try Feliway Spray or wipes and for Canines, Adaptil collars might be helpful. These products both contain pheromones which can be very calming for some pets. Thundershirts are also available for both dogs and cats.
Pictures with Santa!November 23, 2016
A donation is welcome and will be used for a patient who is less fortunate and unable to afford veterinary care.
Halloween Photo ContestOctober 17, 2016
Send us a photo of your pet in a costume and you could win a $50 gift card to our hospital!
Like our Facebook page and send us a direct message on Facebook with your pet’s photo by Sunday, October 23rd.
On Monday the 24th we will post all of the photos in an album and then voting will begin! Vote for your favorite photo(s) by “liking” them or using your favorite reaction. The photo with the most “likes”/”reactions” will be our winner and will be announced on October 31st!
We encourage you to share your picture, or the album, with your friends and family to increase your chances of winning.
Good luck and may the best costume win!
2015 Halloween Contest Winner – Buster
Pet ObesityMarch 9, 2016
Did you know that obesity is not just an epidemic in humans but also in pets? According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), over 57% of dogs and 52% of cats are obese and these numbers are on the rise. Much like humans, obesity in pets can lead to diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, joint problems, and ultimately a shortened life expectancy. Based on a survey created by APOP, a surprising 93% of dog owners and 88% of cat owners thought their pet was in the normal weight range. This disparity is known as the “fat gap” and is thought to be one of the primary factors in the growing rate of pet obesity. To tell if your pet is a healthy weight, use this scoring system. Your pet should rank at about a 3 if he or she is a healthy weight. To keep your pet at a healthy weight, take care in providing him or her with a healthy diet and ensuring the proper amount of exercise. Pet foods have become more calorically dense and people are feeding their pets more. If your pet is already overweight or obese, talk to your veterinarian about the best course of action. Your vet will probably recommend a controlled diet and specific type of food. It can be hard to know what the proper caloric intake and weight should be for your pet so APOP has provided a few useful tables to help. This information does not replace the advice of your veterinarian and should only be used as a starting point. Pet Caloric Needs – http://www.petobesityprevention.org/pet-caloric-needs/ Ideal Weight Ranges – http://www.petobesityprevention.org/ideal-weight-ranges/
Foods to Avoid Giving Your DogJanuary 18, 2016
September is National Food Safety Month. Like cats and humans, certain foods can be toxic to dogs. While cats and dogs share many food toxicities, here is dog-specific and alphabetic list of the foods you should avoid giving your dog. Alcohol: Dogs are far more sensitive to alcohol than humans are. Just a little bit can cause vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, coordination problems, difficulty breathing, coma, and even death. Hops in particular, which is found in beer, has been found to poison dogs. Dogs affected by hops can have damage and failure to multiple organ systems due to an uncontrollably high body temperature. Avocado: Persin, the toxic element in Avocado, can cause mild upset stomach. Persin can be found in the leaves, seed, bark, and inside the fruit. Avocado is sometimes included in pet food but does not pose a threat to dogs. Chocolate: Unlike cats, dogs will eat chocolate on their own. The rule with chocolate is usually, “the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is.” White chocolate contains very few methylxanthines, the toxic component of chocolate, while dark baker’s chocolate has very high levels of methylxanthines. Depending on the type and quantity of the chocolate consumed, the reaction your dog may have can range from vomiting, increased thirst, abdominal discomfort, and restlessness to severe agitation, muscle tremors, irregular heart rhythm, high body temperature, seizures, and death. Coffee/Caffeine: Caffeine in large enough quantities can be fatal for a dog and there is no antidote. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, and bleeding. Corncobs: Corncobs are not digestible and often cause obstructions in the intestines. Fat Trimmings and Bones: Don’t feed your dog table scraps. Fat, when cooked or uncooked, can cause pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas). Bones should not be given to dogs either, as they can choke on it or the bone may splinter and cause an obstruction or internal lacerations. Grapes and Raisins: Although it is not known what makes grapes and raisins toxic, they have been associated with kidney failure in dogs. Some dogs eat them without any effects while others can develop vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, and kidney failure. Kidney failure means your dog’s ability to product urine decreases so they are unable to filter toxins out of their system. Macadamia nuts: Although the chance that macadamia nuts are deathly to dogs is low, the symptoms they do feel can be very uncomfortable. Symptoms can include muscle tremors, paralysis of the back legs, vomiting, and more. Milk/Dairy Products: Because dogs are devoid of the lactase needed to breakdown milk, milk and milk-based products can cause diarrhea and an upset stomach. Mushrooms: Some types of mushrooms contain toxins that can affect multiple systems in the body that result in nervous system abnormalities, seizures, shock, or death. Onions, Garlic, and Chives: All members, and close members of the onion family (including shallots, garlic, scallions, etc.), can cause damage to a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. Like chocolate, the stronger it is, the more toxic it is. Garlic has been found to be more toxic to dogs than onions. Even dehydrated forms of garlic and onion are a threat to your dog’s health. Affected dogs may exhibit symptoms up to five days later and can include weakness, reluctance to move, and orange-tinted to dark red urine. Dogs that have ingested garlic or onion should be examined by a veterinarian immediately. Persimmons, Peaches, and Plums: The seeds or pits from these fruits are the main concern. Persimmons seeds can cause inflammation of the small intestines or intestinal obstruction. Intestinal obstruction is also a concern for peach and plum pits. Peach and plum pits also contain cyanide which is poisonous to both dogs and humans. Humans just know not to eat them. Raw eggs, meat, and fish: Raw eggs, meat, and fish can contain bacteria like salmonella that can lead to food poisoning. Raw eggs also interfere with the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin) and can lead to skin, hair, and coat issues. Certain fish can cause “fish disease” which can be fatal within the first two weeks. The first signs are vomiting, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Thoroughly cooking meat and fish will kill the parasites and protect your dog. Salt: Giving your dog salty foods is not a good idea. Eating too much salt can cause excessive thirst and urination which leads to sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of excessive salt consumption can include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, elevated body temperature, seizures, and even death. Sugary foods: Sugary foods, such as candy and gum, are usually sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol is known for increasing insulin production which causes blood sugar levels to drop. It can also cause disorientation and seizures as fast as 30 minutes after ingestion or as delayed as several hours. Xylitol can also lead to liver failure in just a few days. Even if the sugary food doesn’t contain xylitol it can still lead to obesity, dental problems, and diabetes. Yeast dough: Yeast dough can expand and produce gas in the digestive system. This can lead to pain and a possible rupture of the stomach or intestines. Additionally, when the yeast causes the dough to rise, it produces alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning. Dogs with extreme poisoning cases can go into a coma or have seizures. Non-food items: Foreign objects such as toys, small items of clothing, and medicine are perhaps a greater risk to dogs than food. One case is medical marijuana. It comes in many forms that a pet can easily eat and can cause vomiting, changes in heart rate, and depress the nervous system. If you suspect your dog ate any of these foods, first try to determine what and how much he or she ate. You should then call us or your veterinarian to see if medical attention is needed. If a veterinarian is not available, call either Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680. Do you have a cat? Most foods that are toxic for dogs are also toxic for cats. Check out this blog post for a cat-specific list of toxic foods. If you’re unsure about a certain food for either your cat or your dog and it’s not on this list, call your veterinarian. Your pet’s health is worth the call!