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The Riverchase Animal Hospital Vets


Meet the Doctors: Dr. Alan Robinson, Dr. Matthew Morrison & Dr. Kelly Dees Atkinson.

Don't let Fluffy turn into a Fatty

Holiday season is upon us — a busy time of year for festivities, family and of course, lots of eating! Did you know that if a ten-pound cat ate just one ounce of cheddar cheese from your hors d’oeuvres, it would be the same as if a person ate three and a half hamburgers or four chocolate bars? Gaining those “holiday pounds” is not just a problem for humans, but also for our four-legged friends.

Research shows that pets are more likely to gain unwanted pounds during this holiday period than any other time of year. What pet can resist a potato chip, onion dip or chocolate? (Wait, you know better than to feed them that!) Obesity is the leading medical problem in pets. When a pet is too chubby, not only may they have little energy to walk or play, but also studies have shown that pets who are overweight may have a shortened life span.

How can you tell if your pet is at the right weight? It can be hard to know because for many pets, they don’t get a big round belly. Instead, the extra fat is well hidden inside your pet’s body, tucked between their vital organs. So let us check! Our veterinary practice team has a trained eye to best assess your pet’s weight. Bring your pet in for their yearly exam and we’ll take a look at their body condition and nutritional needs.

If we determine your pet needs to lose a few pounds, don’t worry. We’ll come up with a plan that will keep you and your pet sailing through the holiday season. Call us today to schedule your pet’s yearly checkup. Happy holidays and remember, pack your suitcase. Pack a trunk. It’s even fine to pack a sleigh. But don’t let your pet pack on the pounds!

Raise the Woof!

Posted By Dr. Kelley Dees Atkinson | 05:05PM

Top 5 ways to make life with a puppy easier
(It will still be crazy but hopefully a little easier)

This was inspired by the newest addition to my house, Bonnie. A 6 month old lab mix puppy full of sugar and spice. LOTS of extra spice! Just like kids puppies are full of energy and not much impulse control. Especially if you had an older well behaved dog prior to the puppy it is easy to forget the chaos that comes with a young dog. Here are some things that may help make life easier when you introduce a puppy into your home.

  1. Read some books beforehand. It's much more frustrating to read a book on training while a puppy is occupying your attention and leaving you sleep deprived. Even more so if you have multiple family members that you have to “train” how to train. For example in my house my husband had never had a dog prior to Bonnie. Ever. He's always been an exclusive cat person. So in addition to helping my kids interact with the dog, there was a whole lot of husband training so that we were all communicating to the puppy in the same way and giving the same messages. One book that is helpful is Sophia Yin's The Perfect Puppy in 7 Days. It provides a good overview with pictures and I think especially for people who have not had a puppy in awhile it provides a good base from which to work with puppy training.
  2. Crate Training – Just Do It. Even if you know you want to snuggle your dog to sleep every night having a safe comfortable place that your puppy can rest and be calm is a really good thing. Dogs don't have to sleep there every night but being able to rest peacefully while contained is a good skill. Puppies when unattended get into trouble sometimes expensive trouble if they chew on your carpet and it gets stuck in their intestines and has to be surgically removed. Some dogs become more trustworthy with age and can be left out while others will cave at the slightest hint of turkey in the trashcan or candy on the counter. If they ever need confinement due to surgery for a ruptured cruciate or a back injury or you have to evacuate due to weather and have to take your dog to a hotel having them used to the crate can be a life saver.
  3. Give up the Bowl. Daily food rations can be used as training rewards to encourage behaviors such as sitting quietly beside you. Any other food can be offered in a food toy such as a Bob A Lot, Buster Cube, or Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble. The more time you can extend out the meal time the better as it provides more mental stimulation and keeps them occupied.
  4. Socialization and Puppy Class - Some experts have recommended puppies meet and have positive experiences with 100 people and 100 dogs by 16 weeks of age. This is an extremely tall order for some dogs and people, but the closer you can get to this number the more socialized your dog will be in life. This is a key developmental time for puppies and what happens during this time does shape them for the long run. Puppy socialization classes can really help to increase this contact in a supervised setting. Dog parks while providing dog and human interaction can also be overwhelming as you don't know the vaccine status of other dogs or if those dogs are aggressive to puppies. Puppy manners classes are also a great way to start creating a dog you will want to have around your family and other people. Training is really key to preventing many problems before they start.
  5. Consider an Adult Dog – Puppies, like little kids, are cute but exhausting and suck patience like furry emotional vampires. Adult dogs will still require some of these same efforts but they do tend to have more impulse control, may not be as interested in chewing on every object like a teething puppy, and might even be house-trained (if you are lucky). The biggest challenge with an adult dog is you will not have access to the developmental stages when socialization is key so you have no control over what experiences good or bad they may have had during that time. It may be a trade-off worth considering if you are not up for all the puppy excitement.

Whether you choose young or old remember training and time can do wonders to integrate your new family member into your household.

Raise the Woof!

Posted By Dr. Kelley Dees Atkinson | 06:48AM

Dental Work and the Senior Patient

Clients frequently ask me about the safety of anesthetic procedures for older animals. I understand the concern and I certainly don't want to call an owner and tell them something bad has happened. It's stressful to consider the possibility of an anesthetic complication on a beloved companion and we have the same thoughts whether it's a human family member or an animal family member. While anesthesia is a serious business that should be approached with great care and take into account the individual patient, it is also important to not allow the fear to stop us from performing necessary procedures that can be life changing for our pets. Dental exams under anesthesia and dental radiographs allow us to find and extract infected teeth. Animals that appeared to be slowing down due to age are suddenly much more active, brighter and dare I say happier when the pain of the bad tooth is gone. Unless a tooth has abscessed up towards the skin and is showing itself as a swelling on the muzzle many infected teeth need radiographs (x-rays) to diagnose. At the very least you need a cooperative patient that will allow you to probe and examine the teeth which means you need anesthesia. Recently, two senior patients had infected teeth extracted and the change in their quality of life was so dramatic it inspired this post.

Katy the Dachshund will turn 17 this month.

Katy the Dachshund

She has had routine dental cleanings and extractions in the past. Recently though, she started slowing down more, whining and taking longer to eat which is unusual because Katy loves to eat. The decision was made to pursue a dental exam and x-rays under anesthesia. We found 5 infected teeth that were removed and within days after the procedure Katy, was acting more like herself and eating better. She is still a little old lady dachshund who sleeps a lot but when she is awake she has a better quality of life thanks to dental intervention.

Bubba the Labrador will turn 12 this month.

Bubba the Labrador

He presented to us with a swelling on his muzzle just below his eye. This is a classic spot for a tooth root abscess of the upper 4th Premolar tooth in dogs. I have to back up a little though to describe for you the difference in Bubba before and after. The entire time I've known Bubba he has always been full of exuberance and joy. I wish I woke up in the morning with the energy that Bubba demonstrates in an exam room. Over the past several months when I would see Bubba he was still excited but not as vibrant. He looked slower and didn't bounce quite as much. After removing the bad tooth though, he is back to his goofy high intensity self. The tooth while not showing outward signs of disease had likely been bothering him for quite a while causing his decline.

Both Bubba's and Katy's owners had to look at the risk and reward of anesthetic procedures to try and give their pets a better quality of life. This is what it all really boils down to in the end, quality of life and risk assessment. This is something your veterinarian can help to sort out for each individual pet. The answers and decisions aren't always easy but it is important to not let our initial fears stop us from helping our pets live healthier and happier lives.

Raise the Woof!

Posted By Dr. Kelley Dees Atkinson | 07:04AM

Paws for a Cause

It’s an exciting time at Riverchase Animal Hospital as we are in full planning mode for the Fourth of July Parade Float! Two years ago our float honoring military working dogs won best decorated float in the Coppell Fourth of July Parade. This year we are partnering with The Puppy Rescue Mission, a group that helps soldiers bring back dogs and cats that they have befriended and rescued while on tour in Afghanistan. These animals bring joy, love, and a reminder of home to the soldiers living in a war torn environment. Without the help of the Puppy Rescue Mission these animals would be left behind when the soldiers return home since they cannot travel back with the military. When the pets arrive in the States they go to live with the soldier or the soldier’s family until he or she returns. In some rarer instances these pets may also be placed with a new adoptive family. You can check out their website at The Puppy Rescue Mission for more information and stories written by the soldiers who love these animals. We were introduced to this group after Dr. Robinson and I had the opportunity to examine three of these dogs for health certificates after they arrived in Dallas.

At this point you may be asking yourself “That all sounds good but how can I help soldiers and animals?” Well, I’m glad you asked!

  1. Step 1: Come by Riverchase Animal Hospital for a visit with your pet
  2. Step 2: Donate $5.00 to the Puppy Rescue Mission donation box at our hospital to enter your pet’s picture in our parade float competition
  3. Step 3: Have your pet’s picture taken with one of our patriotic hats
  4. Step 4: Sit back, relax, and wait to see if your pet’s picture is chosen to be enlarged and displayed on our float Step 5: Come out and cheer us on at the Coppell Fourth of July Parade

See? Easy peasy! Besides who doesn’t love helping brave soldiers, rescuing animals and dressing pets in costume? It’s really a no brainer and we are hoping you guys can make our job of choosing pet pictures very difficult! So bring those pets by, bust out the treat bags and let’s get some cute pictures people! Go Team Riverchase and Puppy Rescue Mission!

Have a Purrfect Day!

Posted By Dr. Kelley Dees Atkinson | 03:17PM

Let the eating season begin!

In honor of the opening day of the Annual “Eating Season”, otherwise known as Halloween or possibly the worst time of year to be losing baby weight, I wanted to take a few minutes to remind everyone to keep the treats out of reach of our furry friends. This is the time of year when we see a dramatic increase in dietary indiscretion and pancreatitis cases. Now if someone pinned me down and made me choose a favorite type of vomit I would have to admit it’s either chocolate or mint gum since they both make vomit smell way better but I’m willing to sacrifice my favorites for healthy pets. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate or baking chocolate, can have dire consequences for dogs including seizures and even death in high enough doses. Sugar-free gum containing Xylitol can also lead to problems with glucose regulation. Cats are less likely to steal your kid’s candy but they can be frightened by the trick or treaters. I’m sad that I even have to mention this next part but cats, especially black cats, are at risk for mutilation and torture by some horrific awful people on Halloween. Obviously, those are rare incidents but you don’t want it to be your pet. It’s just best to make sure all cats are inside and safely locked in a bedroom or bathroom so they don’t run out when the doorbell rings.

Thanksgiving brings turkey scraps and potatoes festooned in marshmallowy goodness but eating treats that are high in fat can cause dogs to have problems ranging from mild diarrhea to roaring pancreatitis that requires IV fluids and hospitalization. Even if you are aware of the risks make sure house guests are informed to not feed treats, too. Well meaning friends are the reason for more than one dog with an upset tummy. Also, do not trust your sweet innocent looking pets face when they try to convince you they will not jump on the counter or table to get the Turkey. This goes for cats, too! Mine are known offenders for stealing food!

Christmas time has both extra yummy (aka fatty) foods and candy so those same rules apply but watch out for cats and ribbon. No one wants a linear foreign body after kitty eats the bow off of a package or Christmas tinsel. Keep the poinsettias away from the cats and all should be well!

So without further ado watch out for you pets and let the EATING SEASON BEGIN!!!!!!

Have a Purrfect Day!

Posted By Dr. Kelley Dees Atkinson | 07:45AM

Parasites! The one thing Texas can always grow!

This year has been hot, dry and great fun for bugs. Whether its fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, or intestinal parasites, veterinary medicine is seeing an increase in all parasitic and parasitic related diseases. Our clinic is fielding more calls regarding fleas than at anytime in the past ten years. I heard a comedian say that we have four seasons in Texas, “three summers and one Christmas”! That suits all the bugs just fine. More clients have purchased flea and tick control products this year so far than during any calender year in our history. Remember these little parasites can bring all sorts of diseases with them. Ticks alone can spread Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, Lymes disease, and Ehrlichiosis. Fleas can spread Babesia (a parasite that causes anemia).

Life would be simple if the parasites were only picking on the exterior of our four legged friends. Roundworms, Hookworms , Whipworms, Coccidia, and Giardia are just a few of the commonly found internal parasites that are on the march! All these parasites are causing more frequent problems, more frequent visits to the Veterinarian and subsequently more cost to clients. What are we to do?

Well, using regular flea and tick control is important. Anytime its over 70°F you will have flea problems. Same with ticks. There are many products to choose from but regular use is critical to a pets protection. As always using them correctly is vital for the effectiveness and safety of the products.

What about those pesky internal parasites though? Well most heartworm preventives will help with some, but not all, internal parasites. Of course every dog should be on heartworm prevention for the prevention of heartworm disease. These products are cheap, incredibly safe, and easy to use. It’s a shame that on average a clinic will have a success rate of less than 50% of clients purchasing and giving the product. Many of these pets not only have heartworm problems but intestinal worm parasites as well. Whats the saying , “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Time and again we have clients spending hundreds of dollars on treatment when they could have prevented the problem for pennies on the dollar.

So if heartworm prevention will address some intestinal parasites what should you, as pet owners, do about the rest? Regular fecal sample testing is the only way to address the risk of these other critters getting out of control This is especially important for dogs that frequent boarding facilities, sporting events (agility) , and dog parks. If your pet has access to other animals , then your pet is at risk. Our clinic recommends fecal testing at least twice yearly and more often if your pet has issues.

Many of these parasite don’t like to just pick on our pets. Roundworms, Hookworms, and Giardia, among others can also infect man. That’s correct! Children are especially susceptible to parasitic disease brought into their environments by pets. So keeping our pets free of these parasites will help keep our human family healthier too.

Raise the Woof!

Posted By Dr. Matthew Morrison | 07:53AM

Top Ten Similarities Between My Cats And My Toddler

10. If you are getting into something you shouldn’t be and someone tells you “No” then just hurry and finish what you are doing and run before they can catch you.

This works especially well when your “owner/parent” has their hands full and cannot immediately intercept you. I’m still not completely convinced that one of our cats didn’t just teach this to our toddler instead of it being an individually developed trait.

9. “I do not want to wear clothes!”

Sure some dogs like clothes and some of the little tiny dogs with short hair actually need them in the winter but no self respecting cat really likes wearing clothes. I will admit to dressing my cats up. Apologies being sent up right now to kitty heaven to Barnaby for all the doll dresses and bonnets I subjected him to as a child. Even as recently as a few Christmases ago I did make my cats wear reindeer antlers for a Christmas picture. They definitely did not enjoy it but they tolerated it and those were some super cute pics! Now I’m convinced that no self respecting toddler wants clothes on either. At the first opportunity they will strip down to their diaper and run amok like Mogli in the jungle. I consider it a bonus day if we at least keep the diaper on which leads me to number 8.

8. “What do you mean I shouldn’t pee on the floor?”

If you have not had the joy of a cat suffering from inappropriate urination consider yourself lucky! It is the number one reason for owner surrendered cats in the nation. There are many reasons for I.U. In cats. Some like my Persian Michael, prefer an absolutely super clean box with his special Cat Attract litter (I wish I had invented that stuff it is soooo awesome and makes me happy like only an appropriately peed in litter box can!) Another cause can be due to territorial marking in response to an outdoor cat that comes and like a total punk harasses your cats through the window. Yep, dealt with this one, too, in one of my other cats. Can anyone say “Yay for tile floors!!!” Fortunately, after some environmental modifications around the house to ward off the other cat and some tuna flavored Prozac for my cat harmony has once again been restored.

The toddler on the other hand doesn’t have a particular reason for peeing on the floor other than diapers often get stripped off when the other clothes come off and when you strip off all your clothes the next logical step is to hop on your tricycle and ride mad circles around the house being chased by your gravidly pregnant mother. Of course when you’re driving a trike and nature calls you just go with the flow. Did I mention I’m glad I bought a house with tile floors? I’m also thankful for enzymatic cleaners and the fact that the potty is now a fun thing since giving tuna flavored Prozac to your toddler is frowned upon. Yay potties!

7. It’s always better if you make them think it’s their idea

This goes for carriers, car seats, brushing, getting dressed, or pretty much anything else. I also hear this works with husbands but don’t say I said that!

6. Thwarting your attempts at medical treatment

Cat perspective at the vet: “Why would you drive us here? Don’t you realize these people have needles? I will now have to claw and bite everyone who tries to touch me regardless of whether it is for my own good while howling unearthly screams. I will also try to cling to you as if my life depends on it.

Toddler perspective at pediatrician: “Why would you drive us here? Don’t you realize these people have needles? I will now have to claw and bite everyone who tries to touch me regardless of whether it is for my own good while howling unearthly screams. I will also try to cling to you as if my life depends on it.

5. They both like to “help”

As in, oh look you have a project all laid out! You must want me to help you by lying across it, scattering your papers, stealing your pens, typing on the keyboard for you or climbing in and out of your lap as I help provide moral support.

4. “Self-cleaning” (sort of)

Everyone with a cat has seen them bathe themselves and many toddlers are fine in the tub with a few toys. However, should you suggest to either a cat or a toddler that we involve actual shampoo or more scrubbing Katy bar the door because you are about to witness a scenario similar to the medical treatment one but they are no longer clinging to you! Ear plugs and leather gloves may be required.

3. Finicky Eaters

Cat Perspective: Yes, I am aware that I enthusiastically ate the first trial can of Mr. Fluffy’s Holistic, Organic, All-Natural, Human Grade, Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, complete with Life Source Bits super food you bought for me. But now that you bought an entire case of it I have made the decision to only eat Wally World’s Special Kitty dry food or I will starve myself to death!

*This is why you can return prescription food to us for a refund or exchange if your cat decides it’s vile. It should also be noted that canned food is actually preferable to dry and there are ways to gently wean them onto canned food if they refuse it

Toddler Perspective: I now only want to eat yogurt, cheddar bunnies, and peanut butter toast for the next 2 weeks straight.

*At least it was Greek Yogurt, more protein right?!?

2. Precipitous increase in the amount of vomit in your home

The current theory in vet med is that any vomiting from a cat indicates a certain level of gastrointestinal dysfunction so that even hairballs should not be considered a normal part of cat life. This being said many cats suffer from this condition and my household has not been spared to finding the occasional vomit pile in the morning. While it might be gross when you step on it with your barefoot and then proceed to do the one foot hopping dance all the way to the bathroom you can at least rest assured that you are probably not going to catch something from your cat that will in turn make you vomit. This is of course assuming you didn’t vomit from the sheer nastiness of stepping in wet cat puke. Toddlers on the other hand vomit and have the power to make you vomit too if you catch whatever they picked up from licking some grocery cart. Before having children I naively assumed when people said you get sick more with kids they were talking only about snotty noses and coughing but this is a LIE! They pick up all sorts of nasty things and then share it with you. Icky, Icky, Icky! And “Icky” from me is saying a lot considering what I do for a living!

1. Life would be pretty boring without them

Sure they are stubborn, independent, crazy little creatures and maybe I have a masochistic streak to enjoy cats and toddlers as much as I do but I can’t imagine my life without them. They also bring joy, humor, and love to our family. Maybe the real takeaway message is just to hire a good cleaning service and enjoy the ride!

Have a Purrfect Day!

Posted By Dr. Kelley Dees Atkinson | 08:00AM

Pet Insurance: Is it the Correct Choice for me?

Insuring your pet is still a new phenomenon in veterinary medicine. Many of our clients don’t know that medical insurance is available for their pets. More and more companies are getting into this market and consumers really have few avenues to research what insurance policy may be right for them and unbiased advice is hard to find. Veterinary medicine has advanced quite dramatically in the last 20 years. We have gone from hoping clients try heartworm prevention to offering MRI for laser disk surgery for back pain, chemotherapy, radiation cancer treatment, and the list goes on. Unfortunately the cost of these procedures has progressed along with our ability to treat difficult, technically demanding problems. In spite of the fact that veterinary medical pricing is a bargain in comparison to human medical costs, eventually we will come to a cost crossroads in veterinary medicine. We can either decrease the level of care we give our patients to decrease cost to our clients, or we can find ways to offset the cost of veterinary care to our clients so that they can afford to give their four legged loved ones the care they deserve. I believe insuring our pets will be the most rational choice.

Insurance is by definition “an offset of potential future risk.” When we insure our car or home, we are hoping to offset catastrophic financial risk that we cant afford to incur. Pet insurance is no different. Many people, both within and outside of veterinary medicine, are concerned that adopting insurance will cause an upward spiral of medical costs as human medicine has seen. That is not a risk with the present structure of pet insurance. Pet insurance reimburses the policy holder directly and not veterinary clinics. Since the financial relationship is not with the veterinary hospital, veterinarians are not bound by any contractual relationship to the insurer. Therefore no overhead costs will be incurred by the hospital and then transferred back to the client via fee increases. This is really property-casualty insurance for your pet. Another benefit of this structure is that the insurance company will not dictate treatment options for your pet.

Contrary to human health insurance, pet insurance is far less complicated. Companies have made it simple to qualify pets for insurance and most policies are easy to understand and read through. I would recommend looking at policies that help provide coverage for the normal expenses pet owners absorb every year. Does this policy have an affordable rider that helps me pay for vaccines, bloodwork, dentistry, heartworm prevention, etc? Some companies will also allow these charges to count toward the deductibles of many plans.

Read the policies carefully and be careful! Not every company is reputable.

Veterinary medicine has come a long way in the past 20 years. We have more capabilities than ever before. The biggest issue veterinary medicine faces in the next 20 years will be finding legitimate means for our clients to be better afford this state of the art care. I believe some kind of insurance for pets will be the best way to afford the care our pets deserve.

Check out this comparison website for more information www.petinsurancecomparison.org

Raise the Woof!

Posted By Dr. Matthew Morrison | 12:06PM

Some dangers, tips (and Help!) about your pet’s dental health

Infectious disease is a common issue with our dogs and cats. Most of our clients are well aware of the advantages of vaccination for infectious problems like parvovirus and distemper(dogs), and feline leukemia (cats). What most clients don’t realize is that the most common infectious disease that our dogs and cats suffer from is periodontal (dental) disease.

Periodontal disease starts early in a pets life and continues throughout his or her lifetime. Foul breath, gum disease, and tooth loss are just some of the problems encountered by pets because of periodontal disease. Bacteria, usually a species of Porphyrimonus, will attack the gum and then gain access to the periodontal ligament that attaches the tooth to the jaw bone. They start to eat that attachment and cause bone loss.

They can eat so much bone that fractures (breaks) of the jaw can occur.

It would be bad enough if the issues were just confined to the mouths of these patients. Many of these pets also have conditions that can be worsened by periodontal disease. These bacteria gain access to the circulatory system of these patients and cause problems at distant sites. Sites like the heart valves (valvular insufficiency) and heart lining (endocardititis) kidneys, and liver can be negatively impacted by this bacterial disease. So when periodontal disease is addressed we are really helping prevent or address systemic disease as well as localized disease in the mouth.

Riverchase Animal Hospital runs dentistry specials every February and September to help our clients better address their pets periodontal needs for less cost. We are filling up fast for February so if your pet needs some care please give us a call and take advantage of our special pricing.

If you are uncertain if your pets needs a dental cleaning please call to set up a free dental exam to assess your pet's level of need.

Raise the Woof!

Posted By Dr. Matthew Morrison | 4:43 PM

Ask the Doctor — Holiday Edition

With the holidays come fun, merriment and many times an emergency room visit for our family pets. Below are some but, not all of the most common holiday hazards your pet may contact through the holiday (ie eating) season.

  1. Chocolate. Chocolate contains a substance, theobromine, which can be toxic to pets. Baking chocolate has the highest amount of theobromine (390 mg/ounce), followed by semisweet chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate (44 mg/ounce of theobromine) and chocolate-flavored treats. Pets with chocolate toxicity can have vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, very fast heartbeats with abnormal rhythms and may die. Mild clinical signs occur when the pet has eaten 9 mg of theobromine per pound of body weight (90 mg for a 10-pound dog, or about 1/4 ounce of baking chocolate or roughly 2 ounce of semisweet chocolate). Severe signs occur when the pet eats 18 mg of theobromine (180 mg for a 10-pound dog, or 1/2 ounce of baking chocolate or about four ounces of semisweet chocolate), Smith says. It may take up to four days for the theobromine to clear the pet's body.
  2. Raisins and Grapes. These contain an as-yet-identified toxin that can cause acute kidney failure in susceptible pets. Although not all dogs and cats who eat raisins and grapes develop life-threatening kidney failure, amounts as little as 0.22 ounces of raisins per pound of the pet's body weight or 1.4 ounces of grapes per pound of body weight can cause toxicity, Smith says. For a 10-pound dog, that would be just over two ounces of raisins or 14 ounces of grapes. Kidney failure in these pets is manytimes irreversable.
  3. Mistletoe, holly, Christmas rose and lilies. Mistletoe can be very toxic and even fatal if ingested by pets. Holly is considered moderately toxic, with vomiting and diarrhea most often seen in a pet who has ingested a small amount. When a large amount is ingested, holly can be fatal, Smith says. The Christmas rose is moderately toxic, with vomiting and diarrhea most often seen. Smith adds that lilies are potentially fatal to cats, as they can cause acute kidney failure. “Any lilly — Stargazer, Asian, Easter, Tiger and some day lilies can be fatal to cats. In fact, even the pollen from lilies can be hazardous to cats and kittens,” he adds.

    While many pet owners think that poinsettias are poisonous to cats and dogs, Smith says that this favorite holiday plant most often only causes stomach and intestinal irritation, with vomiting and diarrhea.
  4. Tinsel, ribbon and string. Cats in particular are attracted to the shiny tinsel, ribbons and string that adorn holiday trees and packages. However, these can be deadly if swallowed. Smith explains that these objects often become wrapped around the cat's tongue and are swallowed. When they enter the intestines, they can cause the intestines to perforate, often with deadly results for the cat. Cats with these foreign bodies can have several signs: They may vomit, not eat, try unsuccessfully to defecate and become very lethargic. Smith cautions that cat owners who see their cats trying to defecate a piece of tinsel or string not pull on it, as serious consequences can develop.
  5. Toy parts. Dogs in particular are prone to picking up and eating small toy parts that are left strewn around the house, Smith says. These parts often are too large to be defecated and can cause life-threatening intestinal obstructions. “It’s not uncommon for us to see one or two dogs each holiday season who have eaten part of a child’s toy and must undergo surgery to remove it,” he adds.

Make the holidays fun but safe for all your family members. No one should celebrate at the emergency vets office!

Raise the Woof!

Posted By Dr. Matthew Morrison | 5:00 PM

What is Heartworm Disease?

Many clients have asked me “why do I vaccinate my dog or cat every year with everything when I dont do that to myself or my kids?”

Until the American Animal Hospital Association came out with Veterinary-driven guidelines for vaccination in 2006, all we had were manufacturers recommendations for re-vaccination. These recommendations were for yearly vaccination for all diseases (rabies as the only exception). Now we have studies that show longer duration of protection for distemper parvovirus and hepatitis virus. At R.A.H., we have implemented the guidelines of the prestigious panel of veterinary disease experts and can now start to decrease vaccination without compromising the protection of our four-legged loved ones. Here at R.A.H. we strive to make medical recommendations for your pet with the most recent unbiased veterinary medical research.

Raise the Woof!

Posted By Dr. Matthew Morrison | 12:00 PM