EAH Blog

Holiday Hazards!


The holiday season is time for friends and family.  Many holiday gatherings are not complete unless our four legged companions are counted as well.  With new people and places, the chance for your pet to be exposed to a toxic substance also increases.  This short guide is to help inform you of some common household hazards that your pet may be exposed to around the holiday season.

Food is abundant around the table when we gather for the holidays.  There are some important ingredients and foods that you should be aware of before setting the table for dinner.  Alcoholic beverages can be quite toxic to dogs and cats, especially small dog breeds like Chihuahuas.  Puppies and kittens are also common culprits because they are curious and fearless.  A few sips of wine can cause severe lethargy, a very upset stomach, and even death.  Tasty treats made with large amounts of sugar, fat, or salt can cause major stomach upset and even lead to pancreatitis (vomiting, diarrhea, and hospitalization at the veterinarian).  It is very important to make sure your guests know that it is NOT appropriate to feed your pet table scraps and random food!  Chocolate is readily available at the end of the year.  Chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, high body temperature, and even death.  Milk chocolate is generally mild and will only cause an upset stomach.  Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate is highly toxic and even a small amount can be fatal.

Decorating a Christmas tree is an annual tradition for many families.  It is important that you “pet proof” your tree to ensure that they are out of harms way.  The “fertilizer” that is mixed into the water that a Christmas tree drinks is not suitable for dogs and cats.  The tree stand should be designed in a way to prevent your pets from drinking the water.  These compounds can cause stomach irritation and toxicities if enough is consumed.  Electric cords that plug into the wall should be hidden.  Cats are particularly inquisitive and can easily be electrocuted with a quick sampling of the wire.  Ribbons and tinsel are pretty on a Christmas tree but can easily become caught in your pets (especially cats) intestinal tract and cause an obstruction.  The following plants can cause stomach irritation and nausea:  holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias.  Any flower arrangements with lilies should not be in your home because even a small amount ingested by a cat can cause kidney failure.  Poinsettia plants have been commonly viewed as highly toxic to dogs and cats.  Accidental ingestion of a few leaves generally will cause an upset stomach and some vomiting in dogs in cats.  If your dog or cat is guilty of sampling your plants, it may be a good idea to skip this festive addition for the season.

Finally, cold weather brings on the use of antifreeze.  Antifreeze is HIGHLY toxic to dogs and cats and can cause liver and/or kidney failure.  Less than a teaspoon is fatal to cats and only four teaspoons is needed to kill a ten pound dog.  Antifreeze has a sweet taste to dogs and cats, which is why ingestion is relatively common.

Take time to plan your holiday season with your friends, loved ones, AND your pets!

Dr. Jay E. Hreiz, Ebenezer Animal Hospital

Dogs – The most varied of any species on Earth


Dogs – The most varied of any species on Earth

Did you catch the National Geographic episode on Canine Eugenics recently? It was a fascinating look at the amazing variety of dog breeds. Did you know 80% of the breeds today, from Chihuahuas to Mastiffs, were molded and developed by humans since the 19th Century? Yet they are all one species, Canis familiaris. Dogs started as hunting companions to early humans about 15,000 years ago. The Saluki is one of the modern breeds that most resembles the early hunting dogs in northern Africa. It is blindingly fast and agile. So in the 1800’s, as man developed new architecture, new inventions, and new fashion styles, so too did he see the need for dogs with certain characteristics. With a fast reproductive rate and great variety in appearance, changes were easy to develop: rabbit hunters, small house pets, protection dogs, etc. Did you know that all breeds of dogs are 99.8% identical in their DNA code? All the different breeds come from variability in that last 0.2% of their DNA.

Today, we are still developing breeds that excel at very specific tasks. Examples in the broadcast were: A Labrador retriever that could do a broad jump of 10 yards (!), a jackal cross in Russia developed by Aeroflot to detect minute amounts of explosives in airports (they were shown to find an explosive component the size of a grain of sand in a carry on bag), the Dogo Argentino that can bring down wild boars that threaten crops in Texas, and the dogs that can sniff out cancer from patient’s urine samples better than medical tests.

Dogs – what an amazing creature!

Dr. Lorin Lawrence
Ebenezer Animal Hospital

When our pets wake up on the wrong side of the bed


Aches and pains – they are a part of life.  Almost every pet owner can relate to “waking up on the wrong side of the bed.”  A pulled muscle, aching joint, a bump on the leg, a pinched nerve…..these issues can ruin your day or make it much less enjoyable.  As we age, these problems generally become more frequent and, unfortunately, more significant when they happen.

It should come as no surprise that our four legged companions have very similar problems that they may face in their daily lives.  It’s important to look for specific signs that your dog or cat may exhibit.  You can use this information to determine whether or not it’s time to see us at Ebenezer Animal Hospital.

Signs of pain and discomfort in dogs and cats include:

  • Vocalization:  Whining, hissing, spitting, or moaning.  All of these signs indicate discomfort.
  • Tenderness when the affected limb or joint is palpated.  This may or may not involve visible aggression from your pet.
  • Lack of activity.  This includes wagging the tail and moving from room to room in the house.
  • Cats that purr less or purr more than normal may actually be in pain.
  • Decreased appetite and water consumption.
  • Reluctance to use the bathroom.
  • Dragging the front or hind limbs, knuckling of the limbs, or lack of response when the limb is touched.
  • Limping on one or multiple legs
  • Frequent posture changes and stretching of the front or back limbs.
  • Hiding under furniture or escaping to high places (cats).

With some dogs or cats, determining the source of pain or discomfort is easy.  Excessive play the day before may manifest itself as a visible limp.  Other signs, especially in cats, may be more difficult to spot.  If you suspect that your pet has been in pain or is uncomfortable for more than 24 hours, a visit to us is always recommended.  Using various techniques in our physical examination and other diagnostics such as x-ray, we can pinpoint the areas of discomfort and suggest relevant treatment.  Most of the time this will involve some sort of medication.  Based on your pet’s age and activity level, we can recommend an appropriate combination that will best serve your pet.

Drugs are not the answer to all sources of pain and discomfort in pets.  Many factors including specific diseases may limit our ability to use commonly prescribed medications for pain and discomfort.  Thankfully we have multiple therapies that we can recommend at our hospital that exert little to no stress on the internal organs in pets.  These include, but are not limited to, laser therapy, supplements, and diet change.  In the coming months we will be one of the only hospitals in the region who will offer acupuncture, a therapy that involves no drugs whatsoever.  Stay tuned!

If you have a pet that has ANY kind of pain that persists, please avoid common over the counter medications for humans.  These drugs can be HIGHLY toxic to your pet.  These medications include Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and Acetaminophen.  ALWAYS consult with us before using an over the counter medication!

Chronic pain is never fun whether you’re a human or their furry companion.  Call us today if you think your pet could benefit from some pain management!

July 15th is National Pet Fire Safety Day! Plan ahead to stay safe!


Having to worry about your family and pets during a house fire is a scary thought.  However, planning ahead can help ensure that EVERYONE in the home gets out safely.  Here are some tips to to help avoid potential fires in the home, and things you can do to make sure all your family members (furry or otherwise) make it out safely.  

  • Extinguish Open Flames – Pets are often curious, and want to investigate candles, fireplaces, or appliances. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
  • Pet Proof the Home – Take a walk around your home and look for areas where pets might start fires inadvertently, such as the stove knobs, loose wires and other potential hazards.  Cats are especially curious about cords or anything that looks like a string, so secure all cords as much as possible.
  • Secure Young Pets – Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home.
  • Keep Pets Near Entrances – When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
  • Practice Escape Routes with Pets – Keep collars and leashes at the ready in case you have to evacuate quickly with your pet or firefighters need to rescue your pet.
  • Since Pets Left Alone Can’t Escape a Burning Home – Use monitored smoke detectors which are connected to monitoring center personnel that call the fire department.
  • Affix a Pet Alert Window Cling – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. You can obtain a free window cling by going to the ASPCA website here.
  • Keep Your Information Updated – Firefighters are familiar with pet alert window clings so keep the number of pets listed on them updated. Knowing the accurate number of pets in the house aids rescuers in finding all of your pets.
  • Keep Identification On/In Your Pets – Pets can get lost in house fires, escaping from rescue personnel or out a burning door or window.  Having a pet running loose is a scary thing, but if they are wearing identification tags or are microchipped, they have a much better chance of being returned to you.  Ensure all information is kept up to date.
  • If your pet has been exposed to smoke – Have him/her examined by a veterinarian immediately!  Smoke inhalation is serious but can often be treated if you act quickly!  Toxic fumes can be deadly.

Having to worry about your furry family members is the last thing you want to do when your home is at risk.  Follow the steps above to give your pets the best chance possible!

Brooke Bickelhaupt
Community Outreach Coordinator, EAH

The road to a healthy smile at Ebenezer Animal Hospital


Did you know that 85% of dogs and cats will have some form of periodontal disease by the age of three? That’s a startling statistic! Yet dental disease is a very common finding at your pet’s yearly physical exam. A thorough oral exam can reveal dental tartar and plaque (also called calculus), inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), fractures and cracks in the tooth enamel, abscesses or infections of the tooth root, oral masses or tumors present along the teeth or tongue, and much more. More importantly, dental disease can increase your pet’s risk of developing more serious health problems, including heart disease and kidney disease.
When your pet has dental problems, you might notice the following common symptoms: lack of appetite, excessive bleeding from the gums when eating food or chewing on toys, sneezing excessively, bad breath (halitosis), and pawing at the face, which indicates discomfort or pain. Some breeds of dog, including Yorkshire terriers, Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, Miniature Poodles, Greyhounds, and Collies, are predisposed to dental disease.
At Ebenezer, we routinely recommend a dental prophylactic cleaning (abbreviated as a “prophy”) for your pet. By lifting the lip of your pet and evaluating the condition of the teeth and gums, we will give your pet’s teeth a score of one through four. Grade one dental disease primarily consists of small amounts of tartar and plaque with very little evidence of gingivitis. Bad breath may or may not be noticed. Grade four dental disease involves most of the teeth covered in calculus and tartar, bad breath (halitosis), moderate to severe gingivitis, and often involves abscessed or infected teeth. At Ebenezer Animal Hospital, we recommend that all pets with a grade TWO or higher dental disease receives a dental prophy. This is very similar to the routine dental care that you receive at your family dentist.

Dental procedures are performed under anesthesia and are treated like a surgery at our hospital. Your pet is admitted in the morning after being fasted the night before (water is fine). We then run pre-anesthetic blood work, which checks white and red blood cells and internal organ chemistry values such as kidney, liver, total protein, and electrolytes, to ensure that your pet is a good candidate for surgery. If we have recently seen your pet for a yearly wellness visit (which includes yearly blood work), we do not typically re-run this blood work.
Shortly after arriving at the hospital, we administer a light sedative to your pet to help them relax prior to the procedure. Then, the doctor administers anesthetic drugs that are carefully selected based on your pet’s body weight, species, age, and breed. An endotracheal tube is placed into your pet’s trachea (or wind pipe) to allow him or her to breathe gas anesthesia carried by oxygen. This keeps them asleep during the entire procedure. During this entire process, your pet is monitored by a highly trained veterinary technician and monitoring equipment that assesses your pet’s heart rate, blood oxygen level, blood pressure, and body temperature.
For pets above the age of eight, we insert an intravenous catheter. A catheter allows your older pet to receive intravenous fluids during the procedure, which maintains adequate hydration, increases blood flow to vital internal organs, helps maintain body temperature, and generally results in a faster and smoother recovery. While asleep, your pet lies on a comfortable heating pad and is covered with a blanket to keep them warm during the procedure. Your pet’s assigned technician cleans the teeth with a variety of tools similar to those you see at your own dentist. These include an ultrasonic scaling tool that uses high frequency pulses of water and ultrasound waves to break off pieces of tartar and plaque that are adhered to the tooth enamel. After the cleaning, a technician applies a polish to remove lingering stains on the enamel.
Following the cleaning, your pet’s doctor will personally inspect the work performed by the technician. As a result of this inspection, the doctor may recommend several additional procedures. These include:
• Extraction of unsalvageable teeth. Infected teeth, fractured teeth, or teeth with abscesses at the root are generally counterproductive to your pet’s oral health. Your veterinarian will surgically extract these teeth with several tools and techniques.
• Pain control is VERY important to our doctors! We typically use up to three forms of pain control during a tooth extraction to ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible when he or she wakes up. These include local anesthetics, anti-inflammatories, and powerful pain control drugs.
• Pain control continues after your pet goes home! We will always dispense pain control for several days following any extractions during your pet’s dental cleaning.
• Digital dental x-rays may be recommended to help us evaluate if there is disease below the gum line, which we cannot see with our naked eye. These images will be analyzed to assess whether an extraction is necessary.
• A dental sealant called Doxirobe may be applied to the gum line of a tooth that has localized infection and does not require surgical extraction.
• Post-operative antibiotics will be dispensed for your pet if your pet’s doctor performed a surgical extraction, if he or she has severe gum disease, or for other reasons deemed appropriate.
• We may administer localized laser therapy in the mouth to alleviate pain and/or swelling and speed up the healing process.
After the dental cleaning, we remove your pet from gas anesthesia and a technician sits with your pet until he or she wakes up on soft, comfortable bedding. We continue to monitor your pet’s vital signs throughout the morning and afternoon to make sure their recovery is smooth and uneventful. We will always call you shortly after your pet is awake, and your veterinarian will talk to you about the dental procedure and how your pet did under anesthesia when you come in the afternoon or evening to pick him or her up. Your veterinarian also will explain any special instructions about your pet’s after-care.

Dental care is important for your pet. Because of this, we have re-structured our pricing for this necessary service in order to better serve your needs. Dental prices have been reduced!

The results speak for themselves!  Look at the significant difference in appears before and after Dr. Stephens cleaned a patient's teeth.  If your dog or cat has dental tartar and calculus like this, it's time to get those teeth cleaned!

The results speak for themselves! Look at the significant difference in appearance before and after Dr. Stephens cleaned a patient’s teeth. If your dog or cat has dental tartar and calculus like this, it’s time to get those teeth cleaned!

afterPlease call our receptionists at your earliest convenience to set up a cleaning and help your pet achieve that healthy smile! 803-366-1950

Summertime skin disorders in dogs and cats!


Now that summer is upon us, our pets are spending more time outdoors. They are enjoying ball fetching and insect catching. All is well until the scratching and itching begins.

Early in my career in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the skin problem I saw most often was flea bite dermatitis and flea allergy. Most insecticides were not very effective. We sprayed, bathed, and dipped dogs and cats, surrounding ourselves and our pets in toxic chemicals. In fact, I had to resort to using a potent cattle insecticide (Spot-On) for the severely flea allergic animals.

Mange is not as common in the 2000’s as it used to be back in the end of the last century, but is still around. You will need a veterinarian’s help to determine which of the two types are present and how to treat it. Itching is intense with Scabies and less intense with Demodectic mange.

Because our warm climate, fleas can persist even into the winter months. One of the most common reasons your dog or cat may itch is due to the presence of fleas. Always do a thorough inspection of the coat to ensure your pet is free of these pesky insects. If your pet is scratching, and you can’t find fleas, it is likely to be an allergy. This is extremely common. There are many misconceptions and misleading advertising messages out there. Talking to neighbors, pet store personnel, and Dr Google will frequently lead to remedies that don’t help. Team up with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and management. You will be glad you did!

June 2014 Lorin D. Lawrence, DVM

Traveling with your four legged friend


Summer is right around the corner. Summer plans often include family vacations. Many families include our four legged friends. For those traveling with dogs and cats, it’s important to make sure that you take the necessary steps prior to travel and ensure that you have a comfortable vacation for both you and your pet!

Travelling by car is the most common method of travel for pets. Destinations that we also bring our dogs and cats to include the beach, the mountains, or the residence of family or friends. Before traveling with your pet, it’s important that you ask yourself the following questions:
-Do I have a vehicle that can accommodate my pet? A small car is perfect for a dog under 10 pounds or a cat. It may not be the best place for a 150 lb Great Dane! In addition, does the vehicle have enough room to accommodate my pet, luggage, and my pet’s crate or living arrangements?
-Does my pet experience motion sickness in the car when moving?
-Does my pet exhibit major signs of anxiety or stress when traveling in the car?
-Does my car have a temperate, cool environment for my pet?

Many of your questions can be answered far before your travel plans commence. To start, consider a test run with your dog or cat in the car. Take him or her along on a short trip across town or to a friend’s house nearby. Observe their behavior in the car while traveling. Dogs or cats with motion sickness will exhibit signs of nausea or discomfort. They will smack their lips, pant, drool, pace, and even vomit. For motion sickness, it’s important that you discuss these concerns with your doctor at Ebenezer Animal Hospital prior to departure. Most of the time we can recommend anti-nausea medication that can help reduce or even completely eliminate signs of motion sickness while travelling. Anxiety is also a common observation owners will make. Your pet may exhibit all of the signs of motion sickness in addition to vocalization, trembling, and frequent posture changing. These problems make the trip uncomfortable for both you and your pet. Again it is important to keep an open dialogue with us prior to your travel plans. Most of the time we can administer tranquilizers or anti-anxiety medications to calm your pet and make their trip enjoyable and stress free.

Most cars are kept at approximately 70 degrees while travelling. While this is comfortable for humans, it is often too warm for dogs and cats. This is especially true if your dog or cat is a darker color and he or she is in direct or indirect sunlight. When the sun is shining directly on your pet, their body temperature can increase anywhere from ten to twenty degrees Fahrenheit! Because of this, we recommend that you consider keeping the temperature cooler than you (the human) would prefer. For most cars, this is between 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit. As always, we NEVER recommend leaving your dog in a locked, unattended car for any length of time. Even a car at 70 degrees can easily reach over 100 degrees if the sun is directly shining.

Many of our pet parents also travel via air to various destinations throughout the year. Before booking your ticket for you or your furry companion, it is very important to make sure that you call the airline of your choice and ask the following questions:
-Can I fly my pet on your specific airline?
-What is the cost to fly my pet on the airline?
-If I can fly my pet, does he or she need to be in checked baggage, or can they fly alongside me in the main cabin?
-Does my pet require a health certificate prior to flying?
-If a health certificate is required, how far in advance can I have the health certificate made?
-If traveling internationally, do I require certification from my state that my pet is appropriate for international travel?
-Does the country I’m traveling to require any special vaccinations and/or documentation prior to arrival in the country?

These are just a few of the many questions you may need discuss with the airline prior to booking your ticket. Most small breeds of dogs and cats can accompany their owners in the main cabin. For larger breeds of dogs, they will often require special kennels that will travel via checked baggage.

Once your airfare is arranged and your pet is booked on the flight, please schedule your visit with Ebenezer Animal Hospital. We can produce all necessary health certificates available for domestic and international travel. Please plan ahead prior to arriving to our clinic with the following information readily available:
-The name and address of where the pet is originating from.
-The name and address of where the patient is traveling to.
-Any special acclimations or proof that is required from our clinic.

Every country in the world has a different set of guidelines when it comes to travel with your pet. We can help you obtain the necessary documents regardless of the country of destination. As mentioned earlier, the more information that you have available prior to your visit, the more smoothly your visit will be with us. As we discussed earlier, many pets will require some degree of sedation or anxiety relief during air travel. We have many medications available at Ebenezer Animal Hospital that we can cater to your pet’s individual needs. It is very important that you give the medication prescribed PRIOR to your travel plans. Many oral sedatives or anti-anxiety medications will be completely ineffective if given once the stressful event is introduced.

Pets enjoy travel too! Considering booking a pet friendly vacation this summer and make sure you keep Ebenezer Animal Hospital in the loop when it comes to your travel plans. Have a safe and happy summer!

Ready to hit the road!

Ready to hit the road!

Rocky vs the rope toy – and the advantages of pet insurance!


Rocky, the goofy 7 month old golden retriever puppy, came bounding in the front door of Ebenezer Animal Hospital today, announcing his presence for all to hear. He’s been coming to the hospital since he was adopted at 6 weeks of age by his parents who over the moon in love with him and want only the best for their new child. To ensure he received everything he needed throughout his first few months of life, his parents elected to purchase the puppy package at EAH during his first visit. Lucky for us he was at the clinic every 3 weeks for the first 4 months of his life, allowing us to watch him grow. He’s an adorable puppy.  Strong willed, but adorable!

We were surprised when the parents called earlier today to get an appointment for Rocky. He was neutered last month and we weren’t expecting to see him until his 1 year visit, but it seems he has had a couple of bouts of vomiting and wasn’t interested in his breakfast this morning. Based on his symptoms, we wanted him to be seen sooner rather than later, so we worked Rocky and his worried parents into the appointment schedule.

When he arrived, Rocky was still his silly self, wagging his tail and greeting everyone with a kiss.  During his exam it appeared that his abdomen was slightly painful so the doctor felt that radiographs should probably be the next step. After viewing the x-rays and speaking with the parents about home life, the cause of the vomiting was discovered.  A “missing” rope toy.

Rocky’s parents purchased a brand new rope toy last week but weren’t able to find the toy after returning from work one day. They assumed it was lost under the couch, or buried in the yard.  Unfortunately, Rocky had decided the toy looked like a tasty snack and now it is lodged in his intestines.

So why are we writing about Rocky? A few reasons. Rocky is a typical puppy: getting into trouble and chewing on everything.  Toys are key to keeping those curious teeth off the furniture but the type of toy you give your pet is an important decision.  While the rope toy Rocky ingested is certainly fun, it should only be given to your dog while supervised.  If a toy is needed to keep your pet entertained while you are away, look into appropriately sized “indestructible” toys like Nylabones or frozen Kongs.  They are much less likely to ingest them and can spend hours chewing without much destruction.

Another key issue with Rocky’s story is the cost involved with removing the toy.  Unfortunately, surgery is the only option at this point. Failure to remove it immediately will result in permanent damage to the intestines and the situation may turn fatal quickly.  His parents were obviously not counting on the cost involved with emergency surgery at such a young age, but thankfully made a decision five months ago that will help them today. Right after adoption they looked into pet insurance and elected to pay a monthly fee to protect Rocky in case of emergencies or illness.  They can now focus on Rocky’s care instead worrying about the finances involved.  After a copay, the insurance company will cover the rest of the surgery and care needed. With a few weeks of recovery, Rocky will go back to his fun loving ways (hopefully this time with appropriate toys).

Pet insurance can be a life saver.  It certainly seems like a burden to pay a monthly fee to insure your pet but most of us wouldn’t even consider not carrying insurance on ourselves.  While it’s depressing to think of the negative things that can happen to furry companions, it’s important that we are prepared for what may cross their paths.  Unfortunately, accidents and illness happen.  The dog darts out the door and gets hit by a car… the cat develops hypothyrioidism… an ACL is blown while running in the park… the doctor diagnoses cancer.

Obviously, we do what we can to protect our pets but even the best owners can’t shield them from everything. If you were Rocky’s parents would you be ready to handle the situation?  Prevention and preparedness are the keys to keeping your pet healthy and happy for years to come.  Rocky’s parents selected a policy that fit them best, which ultimately allowed Rocky to have surgery as recommended.  We are glad to report that Rocky is now doing well at home with his family… returning to the silly, happy puppy that we know and love.

You can find more information on pet insurance on our website,  You will also find a link to Trupanion Insurance, as well as a review of the different companies available.  We chose Trupanion to list on our site because of it’s high customer service rankings and plan offerings.  Trupanion covers most genetic conditions, offers a variety of deductible options, has no payout limits, and will not increase your premium because you file a claim.  They are one of many companies available to you.  Pet Insurance is one way to be prepared when emergencies arise and can ultimately help you say yes to a procedure that may otherwise be financially impossible.

April Splawn
Hospital Administrator/Owner
Ebenezer Animal Hospital

Preventative Care in Dogs & Cats: There is no substitution!

Ella is enjoying a lazy day.  The life of a Greyhound!

Ella is enjoying a lazy day. The life of a Greyhound!

Why does your pet need a yearly exam? This is a frequent question our clients ask. It’s a great question because it highlights an important discussion about your pet’s care and health.

A yearly examination is a way for your veterinarian to evaluate your pet’s health through a combination of a physical examination, various diagnostic tests, and a history provided by you at the time of the the appointment or over the phone when you are making the appointment. Let’s take a look at each of these areas one by one:

-Physical exam: This is the foundation of your visit. Your veterinarian has been trained to closely evaluate subtle changes and issues that your pet may be experiencing. During this exam, your veterinarian will assess important body systems which include the eyes, ears, teeth, gums, heart, lungs, skin, fur, and joints. They will palpate parts of the body to determine if masses are present, if organs are enlarged, the presence of fluid, and lymph node size assessment. This crucial part of a yearly examination cannot be understated.

-Diagnostic tests: The tests that we feel are an integral part of a yearly examination include an intestinal parasite evaluation and yearly bloodwork. Even if your pet takes a monthly preventative, intestinal parasites can still fly under the radar due to non-compliance (e.g., your pet may spit up his or her heartworm prevention), a large burden of parasites, or organisms that are not covered with prevention. Bloodwork helps your veterinarian evaluate internal organs like the liver and kidneys, white and red blood cells, and a few extra values such as the urine and thryroid hormone values in our senior pets above the age of 8. All dogs will also be tested for heartworm disease. Why check a dog for heartworm when he or she is already on prevention? Like we mentioned earlier, a dog may periodically look like they swallowed a pill only to be hiding it in a compartment in their mouth and spitting it up later. Other reasons include heartworm resistance (rare, but possible), a lapse in monthly administration (life happens!), and lack of response to certain drugs due to genetic components. It is important to note that many times perfectly normal looking dogs and cats can have abnormal bloodwork. Your veterinarian will report the results of these tests in a timely manner and formulate a diagnostic plan to address any problems he or she thinks may be compromising your pet’s health.

-History: The history of your pet’s health is a very important component of our yearly physical examination. When giving us a history, consider the following questions:
>Any changes in attitude? Behavior? Is your pet lethargic?
>Any increases or decreases in eating or drinking behavior?
>Any increases or decreases in eliminations?
>Have you had any lapses in parasite prevention administration?
>Does your pet stay inside or outside primarily? Or both?
>Have you seen any parasites in the stool or on the skin?
>Do you think your pet has lost weight?
These are just a few suggestions. Consider making a list of questions or observations you’ve made about your pet a month or two prior to your yearly examination. Your veterinarian can pick up on trends in the history to help determine if a problem is present and needs to be addressed.

At your pet’s yearly examination, we will formulate a plan with you to chart the next year for your pet and his or her care. In many of our senior pets, some of these decisions will be made in the coming days after the yearly bloodwork is reported back to the hospital. Rest assured, we are sensitive to the fact that not every plan is a perfect match for every pet. We will work with you to ensure that our recommendations are realistic and suited for you and your pet.

Our pet dogs and cats age much more quickly than we do. Because of this, it cannot be overstated that a yearly examination is the staple of a pet’s healthcare. Both dogs and cats (especially cats) tend to hide problems from their owners. By working with your veterinarian, we can provide your pet a great quality of life and give you peace of mind that you are providing exceptional care for your special family member!

EAH blog intro!


Hello!  In an effort to give our clients an inside look into our hospital, we have decided to start blogging!  Please check back frequently!