Wednesday, January 23, 2019 | Comments (0)


With the artic-like temperatures we’re experiencing lately, it is hard to think about warm weather and and ticks, but it is a constant issue here where we live!While Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease that we hear about, ticks can carry other diseases as well.Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne disease that we also see in this area.

It is transmitted through bites of the deer tick and western black-legged tick.Infection often causes lameness, joint pain, fever, lethargy, and not eating (inappetance).In addition to these clinical signs you may see at home, anaplasmosis also can cause cyclic thrombocytopenia (a condition in which there is a decrease in platelets, the cells that allow the body to form a clot).If affected enough, these dogs can develop bruising on their skin or bleeding from a wound (or their nose).

Fortunately, anaplasmosis can be tested for and treated fairly easily.There are two blood tests available for testing for infection with anaplasma; our in-house antibody test (4dx) and a PCR that we send to the lab.The in-house test is fast (gives results within 10 minutes), and accurate for a long-term infection.As some dogs begin showing clinical signs of infection prior to producing antibodies (which is what the 4dx measures), if we are suspicious of exposure to anaplasmosis but the 4dx test is negative, we also can send a blood sample to the lab for a PCR test to be run, which is much more sensitive and can pick up on their infection earlier in the disease process.

The treatment for canine anaplasmosis is the same as that for other closely related tick-borne infections such as Lyme disease: the antibiotic doxycycline. In the majority of cases, symptoms improve rapidly. Dogs frequently are noticeably better 24 to 48 hours after starting the antibiotics, and the prognosis for clinical recovery is excellent.

While we can diagnose and treat anaplasmosis, it is always much better to PREVENT infection!Good tick preventatives are the best way to ensure that your dog does not get exposed to any tick-borne disease.For puppies, we offer Nexgard, a once a month chewable preventative. For adult dogs, we offer Bravecto, a chewable that is given every three months to protect against fleas and ticks.Please give us a call if there is anything we can do to help you protect your pet against tick-borne disease!



Pet Safe Ice Melts

Monday, December 10, 2018 | Comments (0)


As was made famous by Game of Thrones, we safely can say “winter is coming.”This time of year, the threat of snow or freezing rain becomes (unfortunately) much more real and common.While we want to promote safety on our walkways and driveways, it is important to remember when choosing an ice-melt product to ensure the safety of our furry companions this time of year.

While there are many products that are labeled as “pet safe,” it is important to know the main ingredients of the product you are using around your home.Ice melts can cause an issue for your pets in one of two ways; it can cause irritation on their paws from their contact with it, or from when they ingest it.

Most dermal contact irritation tends to be mild for those products labeled “pet safe.”The main way to help limit this kind of irritation is to check in between the paw pads when your pet comes inside.Large chunks of ice/ice melt can get stuck in between the pads, and by “sitting” against the skin cause the most irritation.Removing the source of the irritation helps decrease the likelihood the skin will have an issue.

The major ingredients in most ice melts are either sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium salts, or urea based products.The majority of these, if ingested, will cause mild GI upset (diarrhea, possibly vomiting).Calcium based products tend to cause the most side effects, and ideally should be avoided around pets.Sodium chloride (salt) based products can be dangerous for pets due to the fact that some dogs like the taste of salt.Due to this, they actually will seek out the salt-based ice melt, and ingest larger quantities than other types, leading to more side effects.Large ingestions of any of these products, however, can have more significant side effects, depending on which ingredients they contain.If you are worried your pet has ingested a large amount of an ice-melt product, please give us a call to discuss what (if any) steps need to be taken.

This time of year, it is important to know what ingredients are the base for your pet-safe ice melt, and to monitor your pet’s activity around it.In doing so, we ensure our safety on the ice, and the safety of our pets around it!



Red Eye

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 | Comments (0)

A common problem noticed by pet owners is a “red eye.”Red or bloodshot eyes in dogs and cats can be due to a variety of reasons, including foreign material caught in the eye, an infection, an increase in eye pressure (glaucoma), or most commonly, an eye ulcer or scratch.Damage to the cornea of a pet is a common occurrence, as it can be caused by accidental self-trauma, contact with thorns or bushes outside, or play with another animal.

The most common test performed when a corneal scratch is suspected is an eye stain with fluorescein stain.This is a dye that is put in the eye, and when there is a defect on the cornea, the stain “sticks” in it and washes away in the rest of the eye.The stain will then show up under a fluorescent light, indicating where and how deep the damage is.

The mainstay of treatment for corneal damage is an antibiotic drop.Damaged corneas are at an increased risk for developing an infection (or may already have an infection at the time of diagnosis), so a topical antibiotic is needed to help treat or prevent this.

To help aid in the healing process, Remend Corneal Repair Gel also may be used in the treatment of corneal damage.This is a product that uses cross-linked, modified hyaluronic acid to help support the natural healing process of the cornea.As the antibiotic drop may sting slightly at administration, the added benefit of the repair gel is that it is soothing to the eye, making it less likely that the patient will attempt to rub at the eye, making the damage worse.

If you notice your pet has a red eye issue, please give us a call here at Mt. Carmel so it can be quickly and efficiently treated to ensure your pet gets back to normal!


Ear Infections

Tuesday, October 09, 2018 | Comments (0)

Ear infections are an issue that have to be some of the most irritating for both dogs and their owners!Ear infections tend to be painful and irritating to a dog’s ear, but their constant itching and scratching from the infection is the hallmark sign for owners who are kept up all night.Ear infections in dogs are relatively common, with a yeast infection being the most common type of infection.Yeast infections typically are caused by a type of fungus called Malassezia, which can be found normally in the ears and on the skin of a dog.When an ear becomes inflamed, it becomes a perfect environment for the yeast to begin to overpopulate, producing a dark, moist, greasy (and smelly!) discharge.The ear canal becomes inflamed, thickened, and red as a result.

Ear infections are a problem that does need to be rectified by a trip to the vet.While yeast is the most common type of ear infection, bacterial infections are also a possibility.An ear swab taken at the hospital and read under the microscope can determine if the infection is of yeast or bacterial origin, and an appropriate medication dispensed to treat the infection.

Ear infection medications come in a variety of types (drops, ointment, leave-in ointment, for example).The type of medication chosen is based off of what type of infection it is, if any medications have been used recently (that could lead to resistance), and what is the best choice is for each individual pet.Ear cleanings to remove the debris and source of infection also are an important part of treatment.

If you are concerned your pet may have an ear infection, please do not hesitate to give us a call.We want everyone in the house (human and animal alike) to be happy, healthy, and sleeping through the night with no shaking and scratching!


Rodenticide Toxicity

Monday, October 01, 2018 | Comments (0)

As the colder weather is (slowly!) approaching, more and more outside animals will attempt to join us inside to benefit from the warmth of our homes!It is not uncommon this time of year for exterminators to be seen regularly around the neighborhood, helping to prevent rodents from setting up shop in our basements.It is important to know what measures they are using to protect a basement, as many rodenticides also are toxic to our pets.

The two most common classes of rodenticides are warfarin or bromethalin based.Warfarin based rodenticides (such as TomCat) prevent the animal who ingested it from being able to clot their blood properly.After ingestion, a small bruise or bump can lead to internal bleeding which cannot be stopped without medical intervention.These animals require supplemental vitamin K for at least a month, and in severe cases, may require a plasma transfusion to stabilize the animal from  death.

Bromethalin is a newer and much more dangerous toxin.It affects the metabolism of the brain, effectively depriving it of oxygen.This can progress quickly to neurologic side effects or even death.Time is of the essence in these toxicities, as ideally patients are made to vomit to decrease as much absorption of the toxin as possible, and repeated doses of a substance called activated charcoal to prevent further absorption from the GI tract.

The majority of these products are colored (either green or aqua) to help identify them as poisons.If you are ever concerned that your pet may have ingested one (or an animal that may have eaten one!), please give us a call right away to discuss what necessary steps (if any) are needed!

Topical Flea/Tick Toxicity in Cats

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | Comments (0)

Toxicity in dogs and cats frequently can be due to ingestion of a toxin, but also can be due to absorption through the skin.Topical toxicity is of concern in cats especially, as there are dog products that cannot be applied to cats.The principle among these types of products are topical flea/tick preventatives that are labeled for dogs and accidentally applied to cats.

There are multiple topical flea/tick products for dogs that contain pyrethrin/permethrin, such as Vectra or K9 Advantix.These ingredients are toxic when applied to cats.Cats inappropriately given a pyrethrin can develop muscle tremors, seizures, weakness, a stumbling walk, fever, and even death if not treated.

If a cat is accidentally exposed to a pyrethrin, the first step is to remove the product from the skin if possible.Bathing or using a washcloth with Dawn dishsoap helps decrease the contact with the skin and prevent further reabsorption.If the reaction progresses past twitching, then these cats need to be treated in-hospital to stop muscle tremoring, seizures, and monitor heart/respiratory rate.With supportive care, these cats typically improve within 72 hours.

It is always important to remember to pay attention to what products you are using on your dogs that your cat can access, or to not accidentally use your dog product on your cat!If you are concerned that your cat may have been exposed to a topical toxin, please give us a call right away.With the invention of oral flea/tick prevention for dogs, it helps greatly decrease the risk of an accidental exposure.Give us a call to discuss Bravecto or Nexgard for your dog’s flea/tick prevention needs, and protect your cat for an accidental toxin exposure at the same time!                                                                                                        


Grape and Raisin Toxicity

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 | Comments (0)


March is pet poison prevention month, and it gets us here at Mt. Carmel thinking about all the various things our pets can get into that could be a problem for them!With dogs, food items tend to be the biggest inappropriate temptation that they can’t keep away from.Particularly for families with children in the house, grapes and raisins can prove to be a potentially serious issue for our canine companions.

Grapes and raisins are a tricky issue for ingestion, as we don’t know the “exact” amount that needs to be ingested that can be considered safe or not.Therefore, we have to treat any grape or raisin ingestion like a potential problem.Grape and raisin toxicity can prevent in a variety of ways, including vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and not wanting to eat.Without treatment for severe toxicity, ingestion also can lead to kidney failure and death.

With a known or possible ingestion, it is important to try to get your dog to vomit so as to not digest as many grapes/raisins as possible.Depending on the number ingested or how long it has been since they are eaten, dogs also may need a dose of activated charcoal, which helps prevent further absorption through the GI tract.For ingestions that occurred long enough before vomiting was initiated that all grapes or raisins were already digested, these dogs may need to stay in the hospital on IV fluids to help protect their kidneys from damage for 2-3 days.

If there is ever a possibility your dog may have eaten some, please give us a call right away for help!                                              


Signs of Dental Pain

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 | Comments (0)


Dental awareness months are back, and healthy teeth and gums are on the forefront of everyone’s minds! While the start of the new year is a popular time of year to think about dental disease, it is something that should be addressed year-round for our furry friends. Part of your pet’s annual physical wellness exam includes an oral evaluation by your veterinarian, but there are several things to look for throughout the year to indicate whether your pet’s teeth may be causing them an issue.

One of the hallmark signs of dental disease is halitosis, or bad breath. Odor in the mouth is a byproduct of the metabolic process of the bacteria in the mouth. When your pet has dental disease, there is more bacteria in the mouth, leading to an increase in smell.

Another sign of dental disease can be behavior changes. Animals with mouth discomfort sometimes will only chew on one side of the mouth, drop food when eating, stop grooming, or show discomfort when opening their mouth fully/yawning. Owners know their pets better than anyone else, so if any of these are seen, a veterinarian should take a peek in the mouth to see what may be going on.

Blood also can be indicative of dental disease in pets. Bleeding in the mouth typically is secondary to teeth issues, but can also be a sign of a tongue/lip ulcer or an oral mass. Blood droplets can be found in a food or water dish, on toys or in bedding. With substantial dental disease, blood can even come out when your pet sneezes!

Finally, one of the trickiest thing about dental disease is our pets may show no issues at all. Evolutionarily, it is a survival mechanism to continue to eat and not show signs of weakness or pain in the mouth. This means even if our pets are eating and drinking normally, there could be some serious issues going on!

An oral examination is part of a pet’s yearly physical check-up, but it is important to keep an eye out for dental issues year-round. Staying on top of dental health helps promote long-term health benefits, improving life for both you and your pet!



Tick prevention in Cats

Sunday, June 04, 2017 | Comments (0)

Tick diseases are very well known in the human world, and unfortunately are becoming an even more common threat in our daily lives. While we know that Lyme disease can infect people, it also can infect dogs. While we know the importance of preventing tick-borne disease in our canine friends, more and more research is indicating that we also should be doing our best to prevent ticks from attacking our feline friends as well!

There have been well over 800 species of ticks that have been identified worldwide; however, only a dozen are suspected to contribute to feline diseases. Fortunately for cats, they are highly resistant to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease and rarely show any clinical signs of infection. That being said, Lyme disease unfortunately is not the only disease that ticks carry. Ticks also carry (among others) hemobartonellosis, cytauxzoonosis, and tularemia.

Hemobartonellosis is caused by a bacterial parasite that invades a cat’s red blood cells and leads to a severe, life-threatening anemia. Clinical signs of anemia are pale gums, lethargy, inappetence and an increased respiratory rate. Cytauxzoonosis results from infection with a parasite that causes severe anemia, fever, lethargy, and breathing difficulties. Unfortunately, this disease is usually fatal. While tularemia is a relatively uncommon infection, it results in deadly fever, lymph node enlargement and abscess formation.

The more we learn about tick diseases in cats, the more important it becomes to keep our feline friends on a regular tick preventative to decrease their likelihood of coming into contact with a source of one of these diseases. Fortunately for the cat population, there have been multiple advances in the development of products to help keep them safe! Many owners are aware of Bravecto, the oral 3-month flea and tick preventative for dogs. They now make a topical 3-month flea and tick preventative for cats! Bravecto for cats is a one-spot topical application at the base of the skull that continues to work for 12 weeks to prevent infestation with fleas and ticks. Give us a call today to discuss your cat’s flea and tick needs!

International Turtle Day

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 | Comments (0)

As May 23rd is International Turtle Day, we thought it would be a good opportunity to do a blog about a different kind of four-legged pet! While not as common as dogs or cats, many people enjoy having tortoises as household pets, and they do have specific needs based on their unique structure and breeds.

Turtles and tortoises have specific dietary and environmental needs that need to be fulfilled by their owners. Without these, they tend to have health problems that can lead to diseases. Like other reptiles, tortoises need specific wavelengths of ultraviolet light. They need lights in the 290-320nm UV-B spectrum in order to properly utilize vitamin D and calcium. Even if ingesting appropriate amounts of calcium in their diet, they cannot convert calcium into healthy bone without UV-V light. Any tortoises kept indoors should have a light that include at least 5% UV-B in their spectrum.

Temperature regulation is another important aspect of their overall health. An ideal temperature for terrestrial turtles can range from 75-90*F. When arranging housing, either indoor or outdoor, there should be adequate space for an area of heat and an area of shade so that they can appropriately move around to regulate their own body temperature.

Clean water is necessary for land turtles for several reasons. Soaking in water stimulates most turtles and tortoises to urinate. There are many tortoises who won’t urinate until they have a water source to urinate in! However, as they tend to use their water soaks for elimination purposes, it is important to change the water out daily to ensure it is clean and not a source of infection.

Dietary control is an important factor when it comes to tortoise husbandry. It is important to know what species each tortoise is, to allow an appropriate diet to be determined. Omnivorous tortoises (red and yellow foot, for example) require both animal and plant materials for adequate nutrition. Leopard or Russian tortoises are grassland tortoises who enjoy grazing on dark leafy greens. Ensuring a diet based on each individual species is essential for their overall health.