Adopting a new pet is an exciting experience. But for one family, the joy of having a new addition was clouded by a serious illness lurking in their new dog’s bloodstream.
Loki Smith, a 2-year-old Border Collie, arrived at Eastown Veterinary Clinic on Oct. 23, 2017. He had been adopted from an animal rescue just days prior by Rick Guerra and Abigail Smith.
“We already have two female cats, so I was pushing for a medium size, athletic male dog as the searching guidelines,” Rick says. “When we met him, he was very sweet and pictures did not do his good looks justice.”
While Loki seemed outwardly healthy, Abigail noticed that Loki wasn’t quite as active as she expected him to be. “The first day we brought him home, he was lethargic for his breed,” she remembers. “So I had concerns.”
At Loki’s first appointment at Eastown, Dr. Lynn Happel performed a thorough physical exam. She found him to be underweight but there were no other obvious health problems. As is routine at Eastown Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Happel recommended blood testing for Loki, including a heartworm test.
Behind every smile is a story. Lola Medina’s perfectly imperfect smile tells a story of observant owners, proactive veterinarians and one determined little dog.
Lola, an 8-year-old Corgi, developed a strange lump on the right side of her jaw in October of 2017. Her owners were concerned, and brought her to her veterinarian for an exam.
Upon examining Lola’s mouth, her veterinarian found a mass on her lower jawline. It didn’t seem painful at that time, but her veterinarian was concerned about the possibility the mass could be cancerous.
Eastown Veterinary Clinic owner and veterinarian Dr. Lynn Happel is known for her veterinary dental expertise. Lola’s veterinarian recommended that she be taken to see Dr. Happel for an evaluation.
We’ve all had that moment, when an adorable dog or cat gives us what we think are sweet kisses, only to find out their breath smells just shy of a garbage dump. What many people don’t realize is that stinky breath can be caused by dental disease, a serious disease that can be not only treated but prevented. Dental disease can lead to pain and difficulty eating, and can even affect pets’ internal organs.
Dental disease in dogs and cats is far more common than most people realize. It is estimated by the American Veterinary Medical Association that up to 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some level of dental disease by age three.
Rocky Herbert, a 13-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, arrived at Eastown Veterinary Clinic in October of 2017 with a severe case of dental disease that needed serious attention.
Rocky’s owners, Tim and Joan Herbert, noticed swelling of Rocky’s face in October, and made an appointment to have him examined by his veterinarian in Fruitport.
The holidays are a time for family, food, and festivities. While everyone wants to make sure their pet enjoys all that the season has to offer, it is important to remember that not all human food is safe for our pets.
Delicious holiday cookies can present a risk for dogs and cats. Cookies containing raisins, macadamia nuts or chocolate can be toxic if ingested by dogs or cats. Raisins can cause kidney failure, while chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea and in severe cases, seizures and heart irregularities. Macadamia nuts can cause vomiting, diarrhea and a dangerous increase in body temperature.
Sugar-free cookies may contain Xylitol, a sugar -substitute. Xylitol is toxic to dogs and cats and can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar requiring emergency medical treatment.
While baking cookies, be sure your pets don’t have access to the raw dough. Yeast dough can expand in animals’ stomachs, causing a dangerous gas build-up. In severe cases, the expansion can cause rupture of the stomach or intestines.
However, There is good news for all of those cookie-craving pets out there: Bakeries specializing in treats made just for cats and dogs are springing up all over Michigan. So, find your local pet-food bakery and stuff your pet’s stocking with treats by the dozen … fed in moderation, of course!
As a licensed veterinary technician, I discuss vaccines and their importance with Eastown’s clients every day. My goals are to educate owners in the community and to help protect pets from infectious diseases. It is hard to watch any beloved pets become ill, but it can become even more difficult when the disease could have been prevented.
One of the most difficult infectious diseases to observe and treat is parvovirus. Most patients that get parvovirus are puppies. Not only is it sad to see a puppy that sick, but it’s also very scary since their immune systems are so fragile. Parvo is a dangerous, contagious virus that attacks rapidly dividing cells in the small intestine. Pets with parvo experience sudden lethargy, vomiting, anorexia and/or diarrhea.
We treat parvo mainly through supportive care. Once a pet is diagnosed with parvo, we perform numerous diagnostics to determine the severity of the pet’s condition and to come up with the best treatment plan. We always recommend pets with parvo to be hospitalized in our isolation ward, which allows us to keep the virus from spreading through our clinic. In treatment, we work to keep the patient hydrated with intravenous fluids, to prevent and treat any secondary infections, to control pain, to provide nutrition and to prevent nausea and stomach upset.
The prognosis of parvo is fairly good so long as it is diagnosed and treated aggressively and early in the disease process. However, I personally have seen a lot of parvo cases not end well. This is what empowers me to educate and spread the word on the importance of vaccines.
All puppies should be vaccinated for parvo every three to four weeks until they are 16 weeks old. Gradually, as the pet ages, we can extend this vaccine out so they are vaccinated for parvo every three years. Adult dogs can get parvo if they have not been vaccinated or if they go beyond the recommended revaccination dates.
We recommend all puppies to have limited exposure to unvaccinated animals until they have finished their vaccine series. They should avoid dog parks, pet stores and even walks around the neighborhood. This is especially important because dogs can shed parvo without showing symptoms, and it can survive outside a pet for over seven months! We understand how much you want to show off your adorable new puppy to the world, but it is truly best to keep them at home and safe with you while they are in this fragile stage.