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EAH Blog

AAHA Accreditation and why it matters!

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Why AAHA accreditation matters

Pet owners choose the American Animal Hospital Association.

We have recently gone through the lengthy process to become AAHA accredited, and are so excited to share this news with you! But why is AAHA accreditation important? What does it really mean for you and your pets?

The American Animal Hospital Association is the only organization to accredit companion animal veterinary hospitals in the US and Canada. Nearly 60 percent of pet owners believe their veterinary hospital is accredited when it is not. In actuality, only 12-15% of veterinary hospitals in the United States and Canada are accredited by AAHA. Unlike human hospitals, not all animal hospitals are required to be accredited. 

What does accreditation mean? It means Ebenezer Animal Hospital holds itself to a higher standard, and that your pet is receiving care at a hospital that has passed the highest standards in veterinary care. AAHA sends consultants to AAHA-accredited veterinary hospitals every three years to evaluate hospitals on their adherence to the AAHA Standards of Accreditation. AAHA consultants evaluate hospitals on approximately 900 different standards of veterinary care.

Accreditation by AAHA is the only way to know a veterinary practice is operating at the highest standards of excellence in animal care. Pet owners gain peace of mind when they choose an accredited practice, because they know their AAHA-accredited hospital has passed the highest standards of veterinary care.

Holiday Travel Tips!

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Holiday Travel Tips

Sponsored by Vetoquinol USA

Holiday travel can be tough. From weather delays and security lines to hours of traffic on the interstate, getting to your family is a battle. If you’re one of the lucky ones who’s four-legged friend makes the trek with you, here are some tips to make traveling with your pet easier.

Before traveling:
• Make sure your pet is up to date on any vaccines and current on flea and tick medicine.
• Visit with your veterinarian and ask about calming supplements, like Zylkene®, to help your pet cope with the stress of travel.

Traveling by plane:
• Flying is best for cats and small dogs that can fit under the seat in front of you. Larger dogs must be stowed in the cargo hold during the flight – this can be frightening for your pet and it come with risks.
• Each airline will have their own pet requirements – research these before booking your flight. If possible, book a direct flight.
• Visit your veterinarian and obtain a health certificate date within 10 days of your trip.

Traveling by car:
• While you might love cruising down the open road, some pets may experience car sickness. Talk to your veterinarian about solutions to car sickness.
• First time driving with your pet? Get your pet acclimated to the car with smaller trips in the weeks leading up to your big drive.
• Small dogs and cats should be kept in a carrier in the back seat. If your pet doesn’t like traveling via carrier, make sure they are secured in the back seat with a seatbelt harness.
• Pack a bag for your pet! Make sure to bring food, water, a favorite toy, poop bags, a blanket or pillow and any medication. On road trip day, give your pet a small meal 3-4 hours before departure.
• Stop frequently for exercise and potty breaks.
• Don’t leave your pet alone in a closed car.

There are a lot of new and unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells when you travel. If your pet does not cope well with changes to their environment, it may be best to leave them at a boarding facility or with a pet sitter.

Reducing stress during your pet’s visit to the veterinarian!

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Despite our best efforts, a trip to the veterinarian can be a stressful event in your pet’s life.  There are foreign smells, people, and sounds abound.  Certain pets are indifferent about most events in life.  A trip to the veterinarian is just another chance to interact with people and is not stressful at all.  A portion of our patients, however, have major stress during their visit that can not only endanger the patient (your pet), but can also endanger you (the owner) and us (the hospital).

Stressful visits have their root in anxiety.  Pets who are anxious will react in a manner that is unpredictable.  Our staff has been trained to recognize these signs.  They can be as obvious as vocalization (violent barking or hissing) to very subtle signs such as ear position.  As your pet’s health care provider, it is our goal to make your pet less anxious, and therefore less stressed, during their visit.  We utilize techniques such as relaxing pheromones (odors released by animals when they are calm), towels for your smaller pets to rest on, and treats to establish trust and reward.

We encourage you to take the first step if you suspect your pet may have a stressful visit to the veterinarian.  A week before his or her appointment, request a prescription from us that will provide anxiety reduction and thus make the appointment smooth and uneventful.  Anti-anxiety medications are generally very safe and when used appropriately have little to no impact on your pet’s internal organ function.  We suggest giving these medications at least 2 hours prior to the visit.  The reason for this window is because that once a pet suspects a stressful event may be coming, the effect of the medication is reduced.  We will generally have a range of doses to use since every dog and cat metabolizes a medication differently.

Even with our best efforts, there are certain pets that cannot be relaxed at the veterinarian.  For those pets, we do have the option to sedate your pet with gas anesthesia or chemical sedation given through the veins or muscle.  These medications can be rapidly reversed and your pet will be back to normal by the night of the visit or the following morning.

Take time to think about whether your pet may benefit from stress reduction at his or her next visit.  If you think this would be helpful, give us a call!

 

“I looked online and Dr. Google said…..”

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We hear it a LOT… “I was worried about my pet and looked online…”

We know there’s a lot of information out there, and unfortunately a lot of it is not good information, written by non-veterinarians and people who are not qualified to give advice.

  • “Should I take medical advice from someone other than my veterinarian?” We don’t recommend it. Only people who know your pet medically should be making medical recommendations.
  • “What about my breeder? They’ve been working with this breed for 20 years.” Unless they are also a licensed veterinarian, breeding requires no degree or other training. They may or may not have good information, so be sure to come to our veterinarians with your questions.
  • “The person at the pet store said…” While people employed by pet stores are often very nice and personable, they are trained to sell certain products that may or may not be applicable to your pet. Before accepting recommendations make sure to consult a trained medical professional.

Thankfully, our doctors and staff are there for you and your pets. There are also some very trustworthy sources of information out there aside from our doctors and trained staff. Here’s what we recommend:

  • www.veterinarypartner.com This site has great information on many topics, written and reviewed by veterinarians. The information on this site is written simply and clearly, so it can be a good jumping off point for information.
  • www.ebenezeranimalhospital.com/pet-health-info/pet-health/ On our very own website, we have a huge number of Pet Health articles that can provide great information about lots of health issues with dogs, cats, reptiles, rabbits, birds, and small mammals. From allergies in cats to zoonotic diseases, it’s all there.

As always, please call or visit if you have specific questions about your pet’s care. We are here for you.

 

Brooke, LVT

Ebenezer Animal Hospital

The Brody Experience

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The Brody Experience
Dr. Jay Hreiz
Ebenezer Animal Hospital

A 6 week old puppy named Brody has won over the hearts of Americans and people around the world. Brody’s journey from an abandoned, abused puppy to the home of a loving, caring family is one that helps remind us that humanity often finds a way to help those the most in need.

On Sunday, February 21st, our receptionist Beth was up front for our normal business hours of 5 to 6 p.m. for discharge and intake of boarding patients. In an instant, several police cars filled our parking lot to Beth’s surprise. They alerted Beth that a puppy that was stabbed multiple times was on its way to the hospital. Because we are typically only open on Sundays during our hour-long window for boarding drop off and pick up, doctors and technicians are generally not present. It just so happens that on this day two of our technicians, Ben and Tiffany, were at the hospital addressing a medical emergency with their own dog Folly. The doctor on call that weekend was yours truly (Dr. Hreiz) and Beth called to alert me of the situation rapidly developing. Brody, at that time nameless, arrived at the clinic while Ben and Tiffany did an initial assessment of him. They quickly realized that the majority of wounds that Brody suffered were BB gunshot wounds, not stab wounds as originally thought (later we would determine that Brody was indeed cut with a knife in one area of his body).

I conferred with Beth, Ben, and Tiffany over the phone about Brody’s condition and also discussed the game plan going forward. I was in Charlotte at the time (a 35 minute drive from Rock Hill) and decided to come down to the clinic to assess Brody in person. Ben and Tiffany shaved all of the areas on Brody’s small frame that were clotted with blood from the bullet holes and cleaned the wounds. When I arrived, I was shocked at how calm and relaxed Brody was. For a dog shot eighteen times, he was very docile and whining due to a mixture of pain and the fact that he was a young puppy! X-rays we took showed multiple BB wounds all over Brody’s body. This included two equally spaced holes on top of his skull along with BBs very close to Brody’s spine. We felt many BBs through the skin but several were buried deeper in muscle or further down in the body. Two thoughts immediately crossed my mind – why isn’t Brody in shock or at least more unstable than he was presenting and how could a puppy survive such a horrific act and not have some degree of debilitation? In retrospect, I think it may have been the will of this impressive little guy and sheer luck when his assailants attacked him.

Ben, Tiffany, and I started stabilizing Brody. We gave him fluids therapy to re-hydrate and replace the fluids lost from bleeding. We gave him injections of pain medicine to ease his pain. Finally, we started him on oral pain control and antibiotics to prevent infection that could develop from the BBs inside of him. His physical exam was relatively normal – quiet lungs, no evidence of bleeding in the belly, and no damage to the joints or ligaments of a growing puppy. Brody was also full of intestinal parasites that we began treating.

The next morning we arrived to the hospital to find a whining, hungry, and feisty puppy. In less than 8 hours Brody was already beginning to show us that he was a fighter and not willing to let the heinous act done to him be his undoing. Around this time the rest of the local community began to learn about Brody and his incredible story. Those local individuals shared his story with friends, and those friends shared his story with their friends, and suddenly thousands upon thousands of people began to learn about the amazing story of Brody. By the end of Monday, after the local news stations came by to interview us about the little guy, many of the wounds that Brody sustained were already beginning to heal.

Over the next 72 hours, Brody became a national celebrity. The hashtag #justice4brody was created and the world knew what a remarkable story he was telling. Our hospital, which typically fields between 30-50 calls a day, was now answering up to 500 phone calls from people all across the country that wanted to reach out and help.

Brody is now well on his way to recovery. The BBs inside of him will stay there for the time being. Because of his very young age and the fact that none of the BBs are in a dangerous location, surgery should be postponed until absolutely necessary. Many of these BBs will likely not cause any long term side effects. We will re-evaluate him when he’s older and a more ideal candidate for surgery. This should be around 6 months of age.

His story will have a happy ending. One of our receptionist Carla and her family applied for and successfully had their application accepted through the local rescue group Project Safe Pet, and they will be able to give Brody his forever loving home. Carla’s daughter had just lost her long time beloved canine companion and within seconds of meeting Brody the connection was evident. We are so proud of our staff, our clients, the Rock Hill police department, and the entire country for their outpouring of love and support for sweet little Brody. His story is truly one of humanity at its worst……and at its best.

The Perils of Parvovirus

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Of all diseases your dog can contract, parvovirus (usually shortened to “parvo”) is perhaps one of the most serious and life-threatening conditions that can afflict unprotected puppies.

Parvovirus is a common infectious disease that mainly affects puppies (it is very rare, but not impossible, for an adult to have parvo).  A puppy becomes infected from eating something contaminated with the virus particle.  This can happen from infected soil, feces, or objects that have pieces of the virus on it.  It is a hardy virus and can withstand freezing temperatures and survive many household disinfectants.

Once infected, it takes about a week for the signs to occur.  The classic signs in a puppy include excessive vomiting and profuse, often bloody, diarrhea.  The virus directly attacks the gastrointestinal tract and immune system.  Puppies with this disease will become very sick very quickly due to dehydration, blood loss, and a severely depressed immune system.

It cannot be stressed enough that parvovirus is a serious disease and veterinary attention is absolutely necessary.  Treating parvovirus at home is almost always unsuccessful.  We run a quick test on your puppy’s stool sample to determine whether or not he or she has parvo.  We then begin treatment, which includes intravenous fluids, anti-vomiting medication, and intravenous antibiotics to prevent infection while the immune system is compromised.  Even with all of these treatments, many puppies will not survive parvovirus.  Puppies can spend up to a week in the hospital being treated for parvo.

Parvovirus is expensive to treat but very easy to prevent since we have effective vaccines against it.  Beginning at 6 weeks of age, all puppies (regardless of lifestyle, breed, or size), should begin vaccination for DA2PP which stands for distemper virus, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus.  This vaccine should be boostered every 2-4 weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks old to provide adequate protection against parvovirus.  A licensed veterinarian should always administer vaccines.  One of the most common problems we encounter are puppies that were vaccinated for parvo from a breeder or pet store only to present at our hospital with a positive diagnosis.  These vaccines are often mislabeled, stored inappropriately, or given incorrectly which renders them useless.

Even with vaccination, you should protect your puppy from any area where a puppy previously infected with parvovirus may have visited.  After recovering from the infection, a seemingly healthy puppy can continue shedding the virus in their stool for up to 3 weeks!  Before making any major decisions about your puppy’s life, always talk to us first about beginning arguably the most important series of vaccines in their lives!

A note from EAH regarding the Canine Influenza outbreak in the midwest

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To our valued clients:
The doctors at Ebenezer Animal Hospital have been in regular communication regarding the Canine Influenza Outbreak that has afflicted thousands of dogs in the Midwest. Please note that the strain of influenza that has infected these dogs is not the same strain that the current influenza vaccine is based upon. We still strongly recommend that any dogs who visit a boarding facility, doggy daycare, pet stores, grooming facilities, or dog parks receive vaccination against Bordetella or kennel cough, but the currently available canine flu vaccine will not protect your dog against the current outbreak. Should the situation in the Midwest worsen or the strain of influenza change, we will quickly re-assess the situation and inform you immediately of our decision. In the mean time, please take a moment and familiarize yourself with Canine Influenza via this useful FAQ from the American Veterinary Medical Association. – https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/FAQs/Pages/Control-of-Canine-Influenza-in-Dogs.aspx
Warmest regards,
Dr. Hreiz

Allergies in Dogs

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As the colder temperatures of winter exit, spring will soon be upon us. Symphonies of bird songs will echo throughout backyards, flowers will emerge from a winter slumber, and trees will begin to bloom. Along with this awakening, millions of human residents in the Southeast will begin experiencing classic signs of allergies: watering eyes, congested sinuses, and runny noses. Allergies are a very common problem people experience in this area of the United States and may not become a problem until individuals are well into adulthood.

It should come as no surprise that dogs experience allergies as well. These allergies may be seasonal (related to a predictable time each year) or generalized (year-round). While humans evidence allergies primarily by upper respiratory symptoms, dogs almost always show signs of allergies by problems with their ears or skin. This can involve reddened regions or rashes, hair loss, minor to severe itching, licking of the paws, bumps along the body, and offensive odors from the skin, ears, or feet.

Allergies in dogs in this area of the country can be classified into three basic categories: atopic dermatitis, flea allergies, and food allergies. A brief discussion of each is offered below:

-Atopic dermatitis: Also called “atopy,” this is the most common reason why a dog has allergies. Atopy arises in dogs for the same reason it evidences in humans: it is evidence of an inappropriate immune reaction to something that is common in the environment. Common culprits include grass, pollen, dust, trees, dander, molds, fungus, and many more. The problem can be seasonal (think about pollen in the winter versus the summer) or year-round (e.g., dust or dander).

-Flea allergy dermatitis: This is the next most common cause of allergies in dogs. In general, dogs are highly allergic to flea bites. In fact, a single flea bite can cause weeks to months of allergy signs in a dog! Dogs with flea bite dermatitis will itch intensely and many times damage their skin and ears in the process.

-Food allergy: This is the least common allergy in dogs and usually the most over-diagnosed by owners. If present, dogs are usually allergic to the protein component in the food. This includes staples such as beef, pork, and chicken. Unlike the two previous causes of allergies discussed, dogs with food allergies may also have chronic loose stool or diarrhea.

Aside from routine yearly wellness visits, allergies are the number one reason we see dogs at Ebenezer Animal Hospital. We use the history you provide along with your dog’s signs to determine if an allergy is present and the best course of treatment. This may involve simple solutions such as flea control (an absolute must for dogs in the Southeast!) to more complex treatments such as antibiotics, ear medications, anti-inflammatory medication, topical shampoos, and even allergy vaccines.

Looking for a head start on allergy season? Here are a few at-home suggestions to bolster your canine companion’s allergy fighting arsenal:

-Use flea control ALL YEAR LONG. Fleas almost always cause an allergic reaction in dogs and are easily preventable with safe medication found at EAH.

-The addition of fish oil, which is rich in Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, to your dog’s diet can help reduce inflammation and promote hair and skin health.

-Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or Ceterizine (Zyrtec), can help reduce (but generally not cure) allergy signs.

-Feed a high quality dog food that lists a protein source (poultry, beef, fish, etc.) as one of the first ingredients. Cheap dog foods are generally made of poor quality protein, preservatives, and fillers that can contribute to allergies.

-If your dog chews his or her feet excessively after going outside, consider wiping their feet off as soon as they enter the house.

-Use a moisturizing shampoo and allow the suds to sit on the skin a minimum of five minutes before rinsing. Ingredients such as aloe and oatmeal can be soothing for allergic skin.

Finally, it is important to remember that any dog exhibiting allergy signs for more than a few days should be seen by your veterinarian. Left unattended, allergies can lead to significant discomfort in your pet and may take much longer to treat the longer the signs persist. Allergy season is right around the corner and it’s important to take the first steps to make that season a bearable one!

Dr. Jay Hreiz
Owner/Veterinarian
Ebenezer Animal Hospital

Heartworm prevention: A year round commitment in the southeast

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Heartworm prevention: a year round commitment in the southeast

During the cooler months of winter, the last thing on your mind as a pet owner is heartworm disease. We all know that our dogs rarely come in contact with mosquitoes in the winter. These pesky insects are the reason why our canine companions contract heartworm disease. Reality tells us a different story. At EAH, we diagnose heartworm disease year round. In fact, we diagnose just as many cases in the winter and the months following winter compared with any month during the summer or fall. Why is this? To answer the question, it helps to understand a little bit about heartworms and their life cycle. I promise that I will keep this biology lesson brief!

A mosquito becomes infected with microfilariae (baby heartworms) when it feeds on blood from an infected dog. These baby heartworms mature in the mosquito until they have the ability to infect as well. This mosquito eventually comes in contact with an uninfected dog and feeds from him or her. During the feeding process, the ineffective baby heartworms enter the bloodstream of their new host and migrate through your pet’s tissue (gross!) until they reach the bloodstream and migrate to the pulmonary artery right next to the heart. This process takes approximately 3 to 4 months.

Once 3 to 4 months passes, heartworms have matured into adults and our monthly preventative medications have no effect on them. They will continue to mature, feed, produce offspring, and serve as a reservoir for mosquitoes to become infected and transmit heartworms to new dogs. Once heartworms have matured into adults, the only option to effectively kill them is a costly series of injections that require exercise restriction for up to three months, antibiotics, and possible side effects from the drugs used to cure heartworm. Left untreated, these heartworms can overwhelm your dogs cardiovascular system and even lead to congestive heart failure. A single adult heartworm can live up to SEVEN years in your dog!

In the fall, many owners stop administering heartworm prevention because the cooler temperatures generally translate into a dramatic decrease of mosquitoes outside. As you recall, it takes about 3 to 4 months for heartworms to mature into adults. This short window of time conveniently mirrors our cold months in the southeast. With this bit of knowledge, it is easy to picture the scenario in which your dog can develop heartworm over the winter. He or she is infected during a warm fall day in October or November. Because it’s colder, prevention is not given until February or March. At this point, the heartworms are now adults, and not only is the monthly prevention ineffective, some prevention can even be harmful to your dog.

It is because of this unique quirk in the heartworm lifecycle, coupled with our weather in the southeast, that we recommend year round heartworm prevention in all dogs, all sizes, whether indoors or outdoors. Heartworm prevention is relatively inexpensive and carries very few side effects. Heartworm treatment is expensive and carries several side effects.

We have several options available at EAH for heartworm prevention. These include monthly preventatives that protect against heartworms, intestinal parasites, and fleas. In addition, we also offer our patients a convenient injectable form of heartworm prevention called Proheart 6. With a single injection, your dog receives six full months of heartworm prevention. This takes the guesswork out of remembering each month to give a pill and prevents missed doses if your dog spits the pill out or vomits up the preventative at a later time. We will even call or e-mail you in six months when the next injection is due.

When it comes to heartworm prevention in the southeast, we cannot stress enough that an ounce of prevention is worth its weight in gold! Here’s to a heartworm free 2015!

Dr. Jay E. Hreiz, Ebenezer Animal Hospital

Peanut the three-legged dog!

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After EAH participated in the 2014 Rock Hill Christmasville Parade, some questions and concerns arose about our inclusion of a three legged (“tripod”) dog in the parade. We wanted to shed some light on the situation on why we think it was important for “Peanut” to be included – just like all the other dogs!

My name is Dr. Ryn Marlowe, and I am the proud parent of the tripod in question – Peanut! Peanut was 2 years old when he escaped from a fenced backyard during playtime and was hit by a car. After that incident, he spent four months in a critical care referral center and was lucky to be released! The loss of his leg did not diminish his spirit. Since losing his back leg he has adjusted wonderfully and is now a happy, healthy 10 year old dog. Only having three legs has not slowed Peanut down at all. Through regular exercise and careful diet, Peanut has stayed strong, trim and mentally stimulated. He begs every day to go on his 2 mile walk. If he does not go on a walk he paces the house and whines. He frequently has more energy than his four legged doggie friends. In fact, during the parade he was so happy and excited that he pulled me until I had trouble staying back with the float. He may only have one back leg, but it sure is powerful!

Typically, a three-legged animal, as well as their humans, soon forget the missing limb altogether. They can run, jump, play, swim, climb stairs as well as anyone – sometimes better. It is extremely important to keep their muscles strong and joints lubricated with frequent exercise. Tripod dogs, especially those who lost limbs at young ages, are usually able to jog and walk with owners. Those that cannot due to other injuries or muscle atrophy are perfect candidates for underwater treadmills to keep their muscles and joints healthy. It is important to keep the remaining opposite leg as healthy as possible by checking the paw pads daily and keeping the limb as strong as possible. Three-legged dogs can compensate for their altered gait well; however, this can lead to extra strain on other limbs and the back. Therefore, alternative therapies like nutritional support, joint supplements, acupuncture, laser therapy, chiropractics and massage can keep them balanced and primed for a long pain free life. It is even more important to exercise a tripod dog than a four legged dog. Peanut is happy he gets to join in on fun activities and with dogs and people, and he is more than willing to show how he is just as fast and strong as his four legged friends!

Although I knew going into the parade that the route was only just over a mile, I also knew that if Peanut tired, we could put in him the float with the other older dogs. However, that never had to happen, as Peanut was ready to go and happy to be included the whole walk! Having one less leg doesn’t make him any less of a happy dog and eager to be included in activities such as the parade, no more than humans with disabilities should be excluded.  After the parade, Peanut went about his evening just like any other day.  He went to sleep and woke up without any evidence of pain, discomfort, or stress to his musculoskeletal system.

I am always glad to answer questions – so please let me know! Thank you to all who see Peanut as the survivor he is!

Ryn Marlowe, DVM