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Veterinary Clinic

Pet Owner Education | Illnesses & Diseases

Spotting Pet Discomfort


Here are some helpful signs to let you know when your pet is uncomfortable:


  • Abnormal Posture

    • Hunched Up or Praying Position / Sitting or Lying in an Abnormal Position / Not Resting Normally but Restless and Moving Frequently / Head Hung Low

  • Abnormal Walking or Movement

    • Stiff or slow to rise / Limping or Partial Weight Bearing / Unable or Unwilling to Get up / Thrashing / RestlessnessTrembling / Shaking / No Movement While Awake

  • Change in Appetite

    • Lack of Appetite / Difficulty Eating or Chewing / Chewing on One Side of the Mouth / Drooling

  • Changes in Vocalization

    • Crying or Whining Excesesively / Quiet When his or her Usual Behavior is to Speak

  • More General Changes In Behavior

    • Hiding / Becoming Very Clingy / Lethargy or Depression /Aggressive Growling / Biting / Ears Back / Not Sleeping / Not Urinating or Defecating normally

Toad Toxities


Bufo Toads are so common to this area that is important to know what signs to look for and how to treat in the event of toxic exposure.


Signs can include anything from excessive drooling to cardiac arrythmias and seizures.  A toad exposure can be life threatening and should always be taken seriously.  It is recommended to take your pet into the emergency room if there is an encounter.  


It is also important to act immediately and take certain steps at home if and when possible.  Many people wrongly believe that they should encourage their pet to drink milk or even oil when they encounter a toad.  This will not help and can potentially cause your pet harm.  The best treatment is to carefully rinse the mouth to the side with lukewarm to cool water, or wipe the gums with the water using a rag.  Be careful not to allow the water to be inhaled as this can result in pnuemonia.  Never try to hold your pet's tongue in the event of a seizure.  They cannot swallow their tongues like people can.  If you have someone traveling with you, someone can apply gentle pressure on closed eyelids while the other person drives to the emergency room. 

Heart Worms


Heartworms in dogs are easy to prevent, but difficult and costly to cure. Pets only contract heatworms through the bite of an infected mosquito. There’s no other way dogs get heartworms. And there’s no way to tell if a mosquito is infected. That’s why prevention is so important.


It takes about seven months, once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. They then lodge in the heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels and begin reproducing. Adult worms can grow up to 12 inches in length, can live 5-7 years, and a dog can have as many as 250 worms in its system.


Initially, there are no symptoms. But as more and more worms crowd the heart and lungs, most dogs will develop a cough. As it progresses, they won’t be able to exercise as much as before; they’ll become winded easier. With severe heartworm disease, we can hear abnormal lung sounds, dogs can pass out from the loss of blood to the brain, and they can retain fluids. Eventually, most dogs will die if the worms are not treated.


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Leptospirosis is a disease that can affect humans and animals, including your pets. All mammals can potentially become infected with Leptospirosis. While for many years occurrence among pets was rare, the disease has been diagnosed more frequently in the past few years. See below for information on how to protect yourself and your pets from leptospirosis and what to do if your pet becomes infected.


How can pets become infected?

The bacteria that cause Leptorpisosis are spread through the urine of infected animals, which can get into water or soil and can survive there for weeks to months.


What are the signs of Leptospirosis in pets?

The clinical signs of leptospirosis vary and are nonspecific. Sometimes pets do not have any symptoms.


What should I do if my pet has the disease?

If your pet has been confirmed by your veterinarian as having leptospirosis, the appropriate action to take will depend on the nature of contact with your pet. Normal daily activities with your pet will not put you at high risk for leptospirosis infection.


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Rodentcide Toxicity


There are 2 main types of Rodenticide posion that most people identify by their physical appearance.  Bromethalin, which causes neurologic symptoms, is usually in the form of blue-green pellets.  Anticoagulants, which affect the ability for the blood to clot properly, are usually in th form of green blocks.  The two have completely different requirements for treatment.



Bromethalin ingestion can lead to an increased pressure of cerebrospinal fluid, which is the liquid within the membrane of the skull that the brain is bathed in, and cerebral edema is the accumulation of excess water in the brain. Motor function, muscle tremors, dull mentation, and seizures can occur with exposure to this product.  Sadly, this type of mouse and rat poison does not have an antidote, and just like the onset of action (length of time that it takes for symptoms to be seen) can be delayed, this poison can potentially have long-lasting effects. Medical management includes trying to remove as much from the body before absorption occurs, binding toxins before they are absorbed, flushing the body with IV fluids to help dilute and remove toxins that have been absorbed, and using specific drugs to decrease brain swelling and manage tremors.


Anticoagulants are the most common and well known type of mouse and rat poisons. They are designed to prevent the blood from clotting which results in internal bleeding. They are very similar in action to the blood thinner medications that people take such as Warfarin or Coumadin.  In general, it can take anywhere from 2-5 days before signs of poisoning are visible.  Signs of internal bleeding include weakness or lethargy, paleness of gums, exercise intolerance, coughing and difficulty breathing due to bleeding into the lungs. 


Occasionally signs may also include vomiting and/or diarrhea (sometimes with blood), nose bleeds, bruising, blood in the urine, swollen and painful joints, bleeding from the gums, reduced appetite. The good news is that this type of rodenticide does have an antidote called Vitamin K1 which can be given by injection and orally.  

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