Nov 6, 2018


Leptospirosis Amenaza Las Mascotas Del Àrea


Desde los empleados de Hamilton Veterinario “Nosotros queremos los padres que tienen mascotas que esten conscientes de Leptospirosis y considerer vacunar los mascotas que están en riesgo para ayudar a prevenir la propagación de la enfermedad. Cada paciente debe ser avaluado por su veterinario.


Usted y su mascota están en riesgo de Leptospirosis:


  • Leptospirosis es una enfermedad zoonótica, significando que tu también puedes contraer esta infección de tu mascota.
  • Si tienes una mascota que tiene Leptospirosis, por favor contacte su proveedor de servicios mèdica y informarles. Esto es especialmente cierto si esta embarazada, si planea quedar embarazada o esta inmunosuprimido por cualquier motivo.
  • Es más comúnmente propagada a través del contacto con orina infectada y ya sea sus membranos mucosas (labios, boca, nariz, ojos) o una herida abierta.
  • La bacteria Leptospira se ha encontrado en aguas sentadas, incluidos neumáticos viejos o juguetes que se han dejado afuera.
  • Esta bacteria es endémica en todo el mundo en ratones y ratas salvaje y generalmente son la fuente de la infección.
  • Esta es una enfermedad curable, pero necesita antibióticos a largo plazo y otros cuidados de apoyo y sin esto puedo ser fatal, tanto para usted como para sus mascotas.
  • Hay una vacuna para Leptospirosis. Póngase en contacto con el veterinario de su familia para ver si lo recomiendan para su mascota.


Signos y síntomas de Leptospirosis


  • Malestar general
  • Bebiendo y orinando en exceso
  • Fiebre creciente/menguante
  • Vómitos o pèrdida del apetito
  • Icterus (coloración amarillenta de las enciás, la piel y lo blanco de los ojos)
  • Sangrando excesivo o moretones
  • Insuficiencia renal y/o hepática


Si tiene alguna duda o pregunda, estaremos encantados de atenderle llamándonos al 609-888-3400.

Nov 5, 2018

Posted by Dr. Megan Emma:

Leptospirosis: What You Need to Know to Protect Yourself

and Your Pets



Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can infect both people and animals. Humans can contract the disease from their pets through contact with infected urine. The bacteria is typically spread when infected animals urinate into lakes and streams, but can also be found in areas of standing water in your own backyard. This disease was not found often in our area in the past, but recently there have been suspected and confirmed cases in dogs in the tri-state area including Mercer County.


There are several risk factors to your pets contracting Leptospirosis. These include:

  • swimming in lakes or streams
  • drinking from puddles or other sources of standing water
  • hiking and/or camping in the woods
  • living in an area with abundant wildlife


The clinical signs of a dog with Leptospirosis infection are generally vague, but can include:

  • lethargy
  • increased water intake and urination
  • decreased appetite
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • kidney and/or liver failure


Fortunately, there is a Leptospirosis vaccine available for at-risk dogs. Please contact us at 609-888-3400 if you are interested in the vaccine and your veterinarian can help determine if it is appropriate for your pet.

Nov 1, 2018

Leptospirosis Spike Threatens Area Pets:


From the Hamilton Veterinary Staff “We want pet parents to be aware of Leptospirosis, and to consider vaccinating their at-risk pets to help prevent spread of the disease. Each individual patient should be assessed by their family veterinarian.

You and your pet are both at risk for Leptospirosis:


  • Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, meaning that you can also contract this infection from your pet.
  • If you have a pet that has Leptospirosis, please contact your health care provider and inform them. This is especially true if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are immunosuppressed for any reason.
  • It is most commonly spread through contact with infected urine and either your mucus membranes (lips, mouth, nose, eyes) or an open wound. 
  • Leptospira bacteria has been found in sitting water including old tires or toys left outside.
  • This bacteria is endemic world-wide in wild mice and rats and they are usually the source of the infection.
  • This is a curable disease, but necessitates long term antibiotics and other supportive care, and without this, it can be fatal to both you and your pets.
  • There is a vaccine for Leptospirosis. Contact your family veterinarian to see if they recommend it for your pet.

Signs and symptoms of Leptospirosis:


  • General malaise
  • Excessive drinking and urinating
  • Waxing/waning fever
  • Vomiting or loss of appetite
  • Icterus (yellowing of the gums, skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Excessive bleeding or bruising
  • Kidney and/or liver failure


If you have any concerns or questions we will be happy to assist you by calling us at 609-888-3400. 

Jan 2016

7 Hilariously Bad Ways to Collect a Poop Sample

Your dog’s annual exam is a very important one. Your veterinarian will want to check for anything likely to cause your dog problems in the future. So when your veterinarian asks you to bring a poop sample, it’s not because the practice is starting a collection, it’s because your veterinarian needs to check it. A poop sample allows your veterinarian to better understand what is happening inside of your dog. It may reveal intestinal parasites like roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia and giardia. Some, if not all the parasites shed ova or eggs once every 2-3 weeks. This is why it is essential to check more than one sample over an extended period. There is a new test that can be done to check for intestinal parasites by looking a specific protein that the intestinal worms release. The sample is sent out and examined and if no parasites are seen the this antigen test is done.

So how do you collect a poop sample the right way? Here are some tips:

  • Fresh is best when it comes to poop
  • Collect the freshest poop sample and bring it to your veterinarian the same day
  • You can seal the sample in a ziploc® bag (use two bags so that you do not contaminate anything else).
  • Dropping off sample as soon as you collect is best.

Nov 2015

Preventing obesity in pets.

 Obesity is one of the most common preventable health problems in pets. It's estimated that 40 percent of all dogs and cats in America are overweight. Dr. C. A. Tony Buffington, professor of clinical nutrition in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at The Ohio State University, gives easy to understand advice to pet owners on how to keep pets trim and healthy.

July 2015

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Hill's® Prescription Diet® j/d® Testimonial -- Chandler the Dog

Kristen noticed her dog Chandler had no motivation to get up or play with the kids. Now she says Chandler is back in action and "acting like a pup" thanks to Hill's® Prescription Diet® j/d® dog food. Watch the video and see this beautiful dog's transformation for yourself. Learn more at

May 2015

                                    How to Remove a Tick Safely form Your Dog

There are many ideas about how to remove a tick from your pet, but the truth is some of these may do more harm then good. Please watch this video for the proper method and precautions.

Dec, 2013

Dog Care: Tips to Keep Your Best Friend Healthy

As your dog grows from puppyhood to old age, he'll pass through stages. There are six life stages, according to the American Animal Hospital Association. Your dog will need different types of care as he goes through these stages.

Here's what to expect:

Puppy to Dog: Your Pet's Life Stages

Puppies and How to Take Care of Them

Life Stage No. 1: Puppy. Your dog is a puppy from the time it's a newborn until it's able to reproduce.

This happens at different ages, depending on the breed of your dog. Small breeds tend to reach sexual maturity earlier than larger breeds.

Weaning. Puppies slowly switch from their mother's milk to eating other foods when they're 3 or 4 weeks old. They should be fully switched over from milk to food by the time they're 7 or 8 weeks old.

Feeding. The number of feedings per day changes as your puppy gets older:

  • 2 to 3 months old: 4 times a day
  • 3 to 6 months old: 3 times a day
  • 6 months old to 1 year old: 2 times a day

After age 1, feed your dog once or twice a day.

House-training. You can introduce the idea of house-training as soon as your puppy is weaned. He's still developing, though, so don't expect him to learn quickly. By the time he's 4 to 6 months old, he can usually go without having accidents.

Spaying and neutering. You may want to have your puppy spayed (removing females' ovaries and uterus) or neutered (removing males' testicles). These operations keep dogs from reproducing and having more puppies. They are usually done when your puppy is around 6 months old.

Spaying and neutering while they are puppies rather than as adults can help prevent problems like breast cancer and testicular disease when they get older.

Vaccines. Dogs need several rounds of vaccinations or shots during their first year. Talk to your veterinarian about when to get them.

Adult Dogs and Their Care

In these three stages your dog is in the prime of his life.

Life Stage No. 2: Junior. Now your dog is kind of like a teenager. Although he can reproduce, he's still growing, so he's not quite an adult yet.

Life Stage No. 3: Adult. Your dog is officially an "adult" once he has finished growing. He looks and behaves like a grown dog.

Life Stage No. 4: Mature. Your dog has hit middle age! He's about halfway through his life expectancy.  Breeds that are smaller -- as measured by weight, not height -- tend to live longer than bigger dogs.

While they're usually easier to care for than puppies, grown dogs still need your help with a few things so they can live their best:

Exercise. No matter his life stage, be sure your dog gets plenty of exercise. It will help keep him happy and at a healthy weight.

Vaccines and visits to the vet. Take your dog to the vet every year for a checkup and vaccines to protect him against disease.

Older Dogs and How to Take Care of Them

Life Stage No. 5: Senior. Your dog enters this stage once he's reached the last quarter of his life expectancy. A dog's lifespan varies according to size and breed.

Life Stage No. 6: Geriatric. Your dog has reached his life expectancy and is still going! Dogs stay in this final stage for the rest of their lives.

As he gets older, your dog may slow down and need a little more TLC.

Food. Older dogs may not need as much food as they did when they were younger. Ask your vet whether you should switch to food made for senior dogs and how much to feed him.

Checkups. You may need to begin taking your older dog to the vet for checkups every 6 months. That's because later in life, dogs are more likely to develop arthritis and other diseases. Routine blood tests can help detect problems early, such as kidney disease. Early diagnosis and therapy can help prolong his life.

Your dog may develop bad breath and dental problems as he gets older. Talk to your vet about how to care for your dog's teeth.

Temperature. Older dogs still need exercise. But they often can't handle extreme temperatures as well. So protect your senior dog from overheating.

Home. Later in life, dogs may have poorer vision and more trouble walking and thinking clearly. "Age-proof" your house to protect your dog by keeping the floor clear of electric cords and other objects.

This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff and is brought to you by Purina®.

Dec 2013

9 Dog Myths and Facts

By Kara Mayer Robinson

Reviewed By Amy Flowers, DVM

Think you've got your pup all figured out? Not so fast, if you believe any of these nine common myths about dogs.

Myth No. 1: A warm, dry nose signals a fever.

The temperature and moistness of your dog's nose has nothing to do with his health, says Suzanne Hunter, DVM. She is a veterinarian at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston.

The only way to know if he has a fever is to take his temperature (usually with a rectal thermometer). It should be 100-102.5 degrees.

A better way to tell if your dog is sick is if he's not as hungry or active as usual.

Other signs of illness:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Urinating more or less often than normal
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Discharge from eyes, ears, or nose

Myth No. 2: A dog's mouth is clean and sterile.

Not even close. Just think about where that mouth has been.

Most dogs "are willing to lick their own and other dogs' nether regions, steal cat feces from the litter box for a late night treat, and eat anything they can find on the ground," says veterinarian Julaine Hunter, DVM. She owns LazyPaw Animal Hospital in Frisco, Texas.

Myth No. 3: Raw meat is the best diet for dogs.

This may sound good in theory. But the reality is it's an unbalanced diet that can also be dangerous.

A raw-meat diet can leave dogs short on calcium and other nutrients, says Tina Wismer, DVM. She is medical director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, Ill.

Raw meat is also risky because it can carry harmful bacteria, disease, and parasites.

Myth No. 4: Dogs can't digest grains.

"Contrary to popular belief, dogs' digestive systems are quite robust," says Hunter.

Corn, rice, and beets aren't just filler. They enhance a dog's diet with essential nutrients and protein when pre-cooked, which is typically the case with premium dog foods.

"Dogs are omnivores and grains are a healthy part of their diet," Wismer says.

Myth No. 5: You should feed your dog according to the label instructions.

The label is just a starting point.

"An extremely active dog or one with a high metabolism may require more. A less active dog would need less food to avoid becoming overweight," says Mary Jo Wagner, attending veterinarian at Argosy University in Eagan, Minn.

Ask your vet what's right for your dog.

Myth No. 6: An excited dog is happy to see you.

"It's very easy to come home to a dog that is jumping, running around, or spinning in circles, and interpret that as the dog being glad you're home. But that's not what's really happening," says Cesar Millan, dog behaviorist and star of the TV series Dog Whisperer.

It's a sign that your dog has more energy than he can handle in that moment.

Millan's advice: Ignore him when he's overexcited, then reward him with attention when he calms down.

Myth No. 7: A dog urinates on the rug because he's mad at you.

It's not about anger.

"Often there is an underlying medical problem, like urinary stones or an infection," says Roy Kraemer, DVM. He is a veterinarian and surgeon at the Grand Pet Care Veterinary Hospital in Santa Ana, Calif.

It could also be stress, anxiety, or a territorial issue. Whatever you do, don't respond with anger. That only makes things worse.

Myth No. 8: Female dogs should have one litter before being spayed.

If you're worried your dog will feel empty if she never becomes a mother, don't. That's a human emotion, Kraemer says. It's healthier for your pet not to wait before being spayed.

"Female dogs' chances of developing breast cancer and life-threatening uterine infections are greatly reduced by spaying prior to their first heat cycle," Hunter says.

Myth No. 9: Dog parks are totally safe and healthy.

Dog parks can be great fun, but there can be some risks. Parasites like fleas, ticks, and worms, and viruses like parvo and protozoa, can lurk in contaminated water and dog stool.

If your dog gets in a fight, that can also mean wounds and injuries. But, Kraemer says, most problems can be avoided by using common sense and paying attention to what's going on around you.

This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff and is brought to you by Purina®.

Aug, 2013

Dog Park Behavior and Etiquette Tips

 Dog parks are becoming more popular all across the United States. They range in size and design but all share the same purpose: to provide a place where dogs can run freely off-leash and socialize with other dogs. Although they’re not for everyone, dog parks can benefit both people and their pets. Read on to find out if a trip to the dog park is right for you and your dog as well as what to do before you visit and once you’re there.

To Go or Not to Go


Many behavior problems in dogs are caused by a lack of physical and mental activity. Dogs were born to lead active lives. They’ve worked alongside people for thousands of years, hunting game, herding and protecting livestock, and controlling vermin. Dogs’ wild relatives lead busy lives, too. Their days are full of hunting, scavenging, avoiding predators and complex social interaction. Most pet dogs, on the other hand, spend the majority of their time alone at home, napping on couches and eating food from bowls-no hunting or scavenging required. Many become bored, lonely and overweight. They have excess energy and no way to expend it, so it’s not surprising that they often come up with activities on their own, like unstuffing couches, raiding trash cans and gnawing on shoes.

To keep your dog happy, healthy and out of trouble, you’ll need to find ways to exercise her brain and body. If she enjoys the company of her own kind, visits to your local dog park can greatly enrich her life. Benefits of going to the dog park include:

  • Physical and mental exercise for dogs Your dog can zoom around off-leash to her heart’s content, investigate new smells, wrestle with her dog buddies and fetch toys until she happily collapses. Many dogs are so mentally and physically exhausted by a trip to the dog park that they snooze for hours afterwards.
  • Opportunities to maintain social skills Dogs are like us, highly social animals, and many enjoy spending time with their own species. At the dog park, your dog gets practice reading a variety of other dogs’ body language and using her own communication skills, and she gets used to meeting unfamiliar dogs on a frequent basis. These valuable experiences can help guard against the development of fear and aggression problems around other dogs.
  • Fun for pet parents Dogs aren’t the only ones who enjoy dog parks. People do, too. They can exercise their dogs without much effort, socialize with other dog lovers, bond and play with their dogs, practice their off-leash training skills, and enjoy the entertaining antics of frolicking dogs.

Dog Park Downsides

Despite the many benefits dog parks provide, it’s important to be aware of the risks before you decide to become a dog-park devotee:

  • Health risks Healthy, vaccinated dogs are at low risk of becoming ill as a result of visiting the dog park. There are health risks any time your dog interacts with other dogs, just as there are for us when we interact with other people. Talk to your veterinarian about the risks and whether she recommends vaccinating for Bordatella (“kennel cough”) if you become a regular park user. Fleas are everywhere-including on squirrels, rabbits and raccoons-so the key to flea control is providing adequate protection on your pet. Your dog could get injured in a fight or during overly rambunctious play. It’s highly unlikely, but small dogs could even be killed at a dog park because larger dogs sometimes perceive smaller dogs as prey.
  • Dog problems For some dogs, especially those who are naturally shy or easily overwhelmed, a visit to the dog park can be stressful. If your dog has unpleasant experiences with other dogs-if they bully or fight with her, intimidate her or just play too roughly-she might decide she doesn’t like them at all! She could start growling, barking, snarling, snapping and lunging to drive other dogs away, and even biting if they approach.
  • People problems Everyone has a different perspective, and some people have strong opinions about dog behavior. Pet parents don’t always agree about what’s normal dog behavior, what’s acceptable during play, what kind of behavior is truly aggressive, which dog behaviors are obnoxious, whether or not one dog is bullying another or who’s at fault in an altercation. People might argue about how to respond when problems between dogs arise. Since there’s rarely an authority figure to appeal to at a dog park, disagreements can get heated and result in human behavior problems!

Is the Dog Park Right for You and Your Dog?

Many people feel that the benefits of dog parks outweigh their risks. Others decide that they’re not comfortable going to dog parks. To make the best decision for you and your dog, consider the pros and cons above, read the guidelines below, and visit local dog parks without your dog just to watch and learn more.

Who Benefits Most?

  • Well-socialized dogs Dog parks are best for dogs who love interacting with other dogs. They’re not for dogs who simply tolerate other dogs, dogs who only get along with certain types of dogs or dogs who routinely fight with other dogs.
  • Young dogs Although adult dogs can have fun at dog parks, young dogs (under the age of two) benefit most. They can burn some of their youthful energy and gain valuable social experience with other dogs and people. Younger dogs are also more likely to enjoy multiple playmates than older dogs, who often get more picky about their friends as they mature.
  • Healthy dogs To be well protected at the dog park, your dog should be fully vaccinated and have a goodimmune system. Since dogs do a lot of wrestling and running at the park, your dog should also be physically sound and free of chronic injuries or pain. Ask your veterinarian about your dog’s health-readiness for going to dog parks.
  • Altered dogs To avoid unwanted sexual behavior at the dog park, it’s best to spay or neuter your dog before visiting the dog park.

Who’s Not an Ideal Candidate?

  • Unvaccinated puppies It’s essential for young puppies to meet and interact with a variety of different dogs during their socialization period, from about 3 to 16 weeks of age. (For more information, please see our article, Socializing Your Puppy.) However, before they’ve been fully vaccinated, puppies are extremely vulnerable to potentially deadly contagious diseases, such as parvovirus. Because so many dogs frequent a dog park, the chances of exposure to dangerous pathogens are higher there. Until your puppy has had all her shots, don’t take her to the dog park. Instead, you can arrange play dates at the homes of friends and family who have healthy dogs and puppies. You can also enroll your puppy in a puppy class that includes off-leash playtime in a safe, hygienic area.
  • Females in heat and unneutered males To avoid unwanted pregnancies, don’t take an unspayed female dog to the park when she’s in heat. Avoid taking an unneutered male to the dog park as well. In addition to siring accidental puppies, intact males can experience social problems. An unneutered dog’s high testosterone level can make him the target of harassment or aggression from other male dogs.
  • Undersocialized, fearful, anxious or aggressive dogs Many people mistakenly believe that dogs who fear or dislike other dogs just need more socialization. However, if your dog is fearful or nervous around other dogs, exposing her to the hectic environment of a dog park will only worsen her problems. Similarly, if your dog is aggressive toward other dogs, visits to a dog park might exacerbate her behavior and put other people’s pets at risk or ruin their enjoyment of the park. If you’d like to change the way your dog behaves around other dogs, please see our article, Finding Professional Help, to locate a qualified expert who can assist you.
  • Bullies Some dogs, because of their personalities or learning experiences, just don’t play well with others. Dogs who bully can traumatize their weaker or more timid playmates or provoke fights. If bullies are allowed to practice their behavior at the dog park, their behavior often worsens over time-and bad experiences with bullies can cause aggression problems in other dogs.
  • Dog dorks Some dogs don’t bully other dogs on purpose, but they lack more refined social skills and just aren’t capable of playing politely. Despite their good intentions, they seem socially clueless. They’re usually high-energy dogs who enjoy play with lively wrestling, hard mouthing and crashing into other dogs like canine bumper cars. When their playmates dislike the rough treatment and try to communicate their desire to quit playing, these dogs don’t seem to understand. They can also hurt or upset people at the dog park if they jump up and mouth on hands, arms or legs. Because rough players can easily spoil the fun for other dogs and their people, they’re not good candidates for dog parks either.

Before You Go

Choosing a Park

There are all kinds of dog parks. Some are situated in open areas, some include walking trails through the woods, and some are located at beaches or near lakes. Some are enclosed by fences and others aren’t. Some parks are formal-recognized by a city or county, with rules created and enforced by a board or committee. Others are just areas where people gather informally to let their dogs play.

Ideal Dog Park Features

Though they vary in design and terrain, the best dog parks should have a few ideal features:

  • Enough space for normal interaction The area should be big enough for dogs to run around and space themselves out. If there’s not enough square footage available, a park can easily get crowded. Crowding can lead to tension among dogs and, as a result, fights can erupt.
  • Secure fencing and gates Even if your dog reliably comes when called, it’s safest to take her to a securely enclosed area to play off leash. Before you let your dog run free at a dog park, make sure that fencing is sturdy and free of holes. It’s also best if the park enclosure incorporates double gates or an interior “holding pen” at the entrance, so people and their dogs can enter and exit without accidentally letting other dogs slip out of the park.
  • Clean-up stations A dog park should have trash cans and bags available for people to clean up after their dogs.
  • Water and shelter Especially in warmer climates, exercising dogs should have access to both drinking water and shade.
  • A separate area for small dogs Small dogs need exercise and play time too, but they can sometimes get injured or frightened by larger dogs. Many dog parks designate separate areas for smaller or younger dogs so that they can play safely.

Preview the Park and Prepare

Go Alone and Observe

It’s important to visit the dog park a few times without your dog, just to check it out in advance.

  • Note the park features. Are you comfortable with them? Do they meet your needs? Also read any posted rules and make sure you agree with them. Can you bring treats and toys with you? Does your dog need a special license? Do you need to pay a fee to use the dog park?
  • Go to the park at different times, on different days. Note the best days and times of day to visit. If the park’s always packed on weekend mornings or weekdays after work, for example, you can take your dog at off-peak hours instead.
  • Observe the park-goers. Are people actively supervising their dogs or are they letting them run amok while they chat and sip lattés? Does anyone in particular seem to have trouble effectively controlling his or her dog? Are there specific dogs who consistently play too roughly or fight with other dogs? If you identify people or dogs who seem to cause problems, you can avoid visiting the park when they’re around.

Prepare in Advance

  • Think about what you’ll need to bring. Find some comfortable clothes and shoes to wear. Put together a dog-park kit that includes essentials, like a leash, water for you and your dog, bags for clean-up, toys and treats.
  • Teaching your dog a few key skills helps keep her safe and contributes to a more enjoyable dog-park experience for all park users. One essential skill is a reliable recall. Please see our article, Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called. Sit, down, stay, drop it, leave it and settle are also very useful. For general information about dog training, please see Training Your Dog. Don’t hesitate to contact a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) for group or private classes in dog training. Please see our article,Finding Professional Help, to locate a CPDT in your area.
  • It will help to train yourself, too. Learning about canine body language and communication will help you interpret what’s going on during play and prevent conflict before it escalates to a fight. Please see our article, Canine Body Language, for illustrations and information about how dogs communicate.

When You Get There

General Guidelines

Keep the following recommendations in mind to minimize your risks and maximize your fun:

  • Before you enter the park, check out the crowd for a few minutes. Do the dogs seem to be romping happily? If so, let the fun begin! If, on the other hand, you notice canine troublemakers bullying or fighting with other dogs-or if you simply feel uneasy about letting your dog play with a particular group of dogs-plan to come back at a later time.
  • When a new dog arrives at a dog park, the other dogs often rush over to investigate. This sudden flood of attention can overwhelm newcomers. To avoid a canine mob scene, linger outside the park for a few minutes and let other dogs notice your dog’s presence outside the park’s enclosure. When their excitement about her arrival dissipates, you can enter the park together. After your dog has played a while and become part of the group inside the park, don’t let her become a mob member. Instead, call her to you when you notice newcomers arriving.
  • Keep your attention on your dog and her playmates so that you’re aware of what she’s doing at all times. If you see signs that play’s not going well, you can step in to stop interaction before things get out of hand. (Please see Interpreting Dog Play and Interaction, below, to learn about these signs.)
  • Avoid canine clumping. When a pair or group of dogs plays nonstop for more than a few minutes, playmates can get overexcited and tension can arise. Instead of standing in one spot during your entire visit, move to a new area of the park every few minutes. Encourage your dog to follow you when you walk to a new spot. Praise and reward her for keeping track of where you are and for coming when you call.
  • If at any point you think your dog might not be having fun, take her home. If she’s interacting with another dog, don’t hesitate to ask that dog’s pet parent to help you end the play session. It’s better to call it quits early so your dog still has a good experience overall. You don’t want her to decide that she doesn’t enjoy playing with other dogs anymore.

Interpreting Dog Play and Interaction

While you’re at the dog park with your dog, it’s important to closely monitor interaction between playmates. But interpretation can be difficult sometimes. What do dogs look like when they’re friendly with each other? How about when they don’t feel so friendly? What constitutes polite play between dogs? How can you tell when playmates aren’t getting along, and how do you know when it’s time to intervene? The information below should help you interpret and evaluate dog play. For illustrations and more information about how dogs communicate, please see our article, Canine Body Language.

When You Get There continued...

What Good Play Looks Like

When dogs play, they often play-bow, paw at each other and bounce around like puppies. Their bodies look relaxed, rather than stiff, and they might make “play faces”-they hold their mouths open and look like they’re smiling. During play, the dogs might growl playfully and open their mouths wide, exposing their teeth and pretending to be ferocious. They might switch roles so that one dog’s sometimes on top when wrestling and sometimes on her back, sometimes chasing and sometimes being chased, sometimes pouncing and sometimes getting pounced on. The dogs might also frequently switch games, alternating between stalking and chasing each other, wrestling and rolling around on the ground, mouthing on each other, playing with toys, and taking breaks to drink water or sniff around. As the dogs run and wrestle, you might notice them pausing or freezing frequently for just a second or two before launching back into the game. These little pauses and breaks in play help ensure that play doesn’t get out of hand.

Signs of Trouble

If possible, watch for warning signs and step in before a fight happens. Your first clue that things aren’t going well during play might be the absence of all the signs of polite play described above. Instead of those signs, you might notice the dogs’ bodies becoming stiffer and more tense. Their movements might seem faster and less bouncy. Play might become louder and build in intensity, without any breaks or pauses. If you see any of these signs, it’s time to separate the playmates. You should also interrupt play if you see a dog who’s pursuing and playing too roughly with a playmate who’s trying to get away, or who’s repeatedly knocking down or standing over another dog. Intervene immediately if a number of dogs start to chase a single dog-especially if that dog is small.

Damage Control: If There’s a Fight

Sometimes, despite your best efforts to monitor playtime, dogs get into fights. These scuffles often look and sound ferocious. The dogs might growl fiercely, snarl at each other, bark, snap and show their teeth. However, most dog fights don’t result in injury to either dog. They’re usually the equivalent of getting into a brief, heated argument with a friend or family member. Even so, if a fight lasts more than a few seconds, the dogs’ pet parents should separate them. Doing this can be dangerous. If you grab a dog who’s in the middle of fighting with another dog, she might startle and reflexively whip around to bite you. To reduce the likelihood of injury to all parties, follow these guidelines:

  • Prevent fights from happening in the first place by actively watching dogs during play. If you think things are starting to look a little tense, end play for a while by calling your dog to come to you. (Please see our article, Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called.)
  • Have a plan and don’t panic. Remember that most dog fights are noisy but harmless. If you stay calm, you’ll be able to separate two fighting dogs more safely and efficiently.
  • Before you try physically separating two fighting dogs, make lots of noise. Clap and yell. Consider carrying a mini-air horn or two metal pie pans to bang together. A sudden loud sound will often interrupt a fight.
  • If there’s a hose handy, you can try spraying the dogs with water.
  • If you’ve tried briefly (3 seconds or so) making noise but the dogs are still fighting, you and the other dog’s pet parent should approach the dogs together. Separate them at the same time. Both of you should take hold of your dogs’ back legs at the very top just under the hips, right where the legs connect to the body. (Avoid grabbing the dogs lower on their legs, like by their knees, ankles or paws. Doing so could cause them serious injury.) Like you’d lift a wheelbarrow, lift your dog’s back end under his hips so that his back legs come off of the ground, and move backwards away from the other dog. As soon as you can, turn your dog away from the other dog.
  • DO NOT grab your dog by the collar. It seems like the natural thing to do, but it might startle your dog and cause her to turn and bite you. This kind of bite is like a reflex that’s done without thinking. Many pet parents get bitten this way-even when their dogs haven’t shown any signs of aggression in the past.
  • After a fight stops, put both dogs on leashes and end the play session. Avoid giving the dogs another chance to fight. If the dog park is large enough, you can walk your dog to another area, far away from the dog she squabbled with. After she’s calmed down and relaxed again, try letting her off leash again to play with other dogs. If the park’s not that big, just call it quits for the day.
  • Article Link:

WebMD Veterinary Reference from ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist

The ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist specializes in the resolution and management of pet behavior problems only. Please do not submit questions about medical problems here. Only licensed veterinarians can diagnose medical conditions. If you think that your pet is sick, injured or experiencing any kind of physical distress, please contact his veterinarian immediately. A delay in seeking proper veterinary care may worsen your pet's condition and put his life at risk. If you are concerned about the cost of veterinary care, please read our resources on finding financial help.

© 2009 ASPCA. All Rights Reserved.

July, 2013

Lone star tick continues to expand territory to the north, east.

The lone star tick, once thought to primarily occupy the southern portion of the country, is gradually expanding its territory to the northern and eastern states. Populations of this aggressive tick, known to carry pathogens causing ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and cytauxzoonosis, are now being identified as far north as New York and Maine.

Most commonly found in southeastern and south-central states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas, the lone star tick now can be found throughout the northeast and north-central region in places like Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

“The lone star tick is a very aggressive tick, and it actively seeks out people and pets to feed on,” says Michael J. Yabsley, MS, PhD, associate professor at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Veterinary Medicine at The University of Georgia. “It’s one of the most common ticks that people find on themselves and their dogs, so everyone should take precautions—especially in the new areas of invasion.”

For the latest recommendations on preventives and more information about ticks and tick-borne diseases, visit

April, 2013

How to brush your pets teeth!

Dental month is February, but in our hospital dental month is every month. Dental Disease can start as early as 2 years of age and progress rapidly. Some breeds are predisposed more than others. Some examples are dog and cat that have short or pushed in noses, wide and uneven jaw are Pugs, Bull dogs, other prone are Poodles, Chihuahua to name a few. Cat breed would be any one that has what is called a pushed in face. Also the type of foods will increase the risk of dental disease, such as table scraps, canned pet diets. To help in the type of food would be a dental diet that scrapes the teeth when bit into by the pet or just firm or dry diets. Bad breath is the first signs of dental disease for the pet owner to notice. The smell starts later in the processes. Bacteria are already setting up an infection under the gum line where it starts to damage the tissue that protects the teeth and bone of your pet mouth. To help prevent this from happening we are offering a free technician dental exam. The technician will examine your pet’s teeth and gums, show you how to brush your pets teeth and give you some recommendations on how to keep your pets teeth and gums healthy. We also have a dental care kit for sale to help in preventing dental disease. If there is moderate to severe dental disease, one of our staff veterinarians will examine your pet at no charge, give the pet owner their recommendations and provide an estimate for the pet’s dental care. To schedule an appointment give us a call at 609-888-3400 or e-mail us at [email protected]

Jan, 2013

Tips for bring home a baby!


By Steve Dale, CABC

Lots of families expecting their first baby already consider their pet their baby. In fact, for more than 20 percent of families having a first baby, the dog or cat came first, according to the American Pet Products Association. Many obstetricians and pediatricians offer concerns—mostly unfounded—about pets being in a home with a newborn or an expectant mom. There are still doctors who tell pregnant women that the cat’s got to go for presumed fear of toxoplasmosis. Luckily, veterinarians can set others straight, based on science. One reality is that if pets don’t respond properly to the baby, there may be no second chance for the pet. It might land in shelter. The good news is that clients can avoid most issues between pets and newborns. You can help prepare families by either offering their own "bringing home baby to a pet" classes, or participating in programs offered at local colleges or hospitals. Creating or participating in a class about babies and pets will involve your veterinary practice in the community and even introduce you to new clients. This can result in a small revenue stream, and most of all, save pets’ lives. Here are some tips: Click here.


Planning a Safe Holiday for Your Dog

When it comes to the holidays, there are so many things to be careful of - not gaining 10 lbs. on cookies, not getting yourself into debt just to buy some presents - and of course keeping your pets healthy, happy and safe. Here are some helpful tips from your friends at Hill's Pet Nutrition on how you can do just that.

Provide solitude. Keep your dog's favorite place free from the holiday hubbub so he can relax.

Reduce stress. Keep your dog's exercise schedule as normal as possible to prevent anxiety and misbehavior.

Keep poisonous and dangerous plants away. Plants like mistletoe and poinsettia are poisonous, and ingested pine needles can cause digestive tract blockage. Keep your pet away from these plants and you just might save yourself a trip to the emergency vet.

Decorate safely. There are a variety of decorations that can cause problems for your dog. Ribbons and tinsel are frequently implicated in veterinary emergency rooms. Light cords, when chewed or frayed, can cause severe burns or electrocution. Prevent these disasters by keeping decorations out of reach or locked in an inaccessible room.

Make holiday trips safe and prepare for them well in advance. Take special precautions when traveling with your pet no matter how you choose to travel. Several days before departing, consult with your veterinarian about how to properly prepare for a trip.

Table scraps aren't pet snacks. Many holiday foods are loaded with fat and sodium and can cause stomach upset. Chicken bones can easily get stuck in the digestive tract and other foods like chocolate or onions can be poisonous. In short, people food is meant for people, not pets.

Because chocolate can cause illness and even death in dogs, it should be avoided completely. Chocolate contains theobromine, a potent cardiovascular and central nervous system stimulant that is eliminated very slowly in dogs.

Give your pet a tasty holiday treat without sacrificing precise nutrition. Available in many healthy varieties, Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Dog Treats are the perfect way to share some holiday cheer with your special dog.

If your dog suffers from occasional stomach upset, try the advanced digestive nutrition of Science Diet® Sensitive Stomach adult dog food or an all-natural product like Hill's® Ideal Balance™ dog food.

Puppy Socialization

We all appreciate the joy and companionship that a well behaved dog brings to our lives. What we don't always appreciate is that there are many different factors that can determine whether a puppy grows into that wonderful lifelong companion.

Join Dr. Christopher Pachel as he explains the ins and outs of puppy socialization.

Lipomas in Dogs:

Lipomas are benign (noncancerous), freely movable, relatively slow-growing, fat-filled tumors that are quite common in dogs, especially older ones. They are soft, easily manipulated, and located just under your dog’s skin. While they can develop anywhere, they are most commonly found on your dog’s undercarriage, in the chest or abdomen. These tumors, while ugly, generally do not pose any health threat to your furry friend. They are the most common type of benign tumor in older dogs—almost every senior dog has at least one.

The exact cause of these nonthreatening but ugly lumps is unknown; they are part of the natural aging process for many dogs.

Lumps and bumps are the most common signs of a lipoma. They are usually round or oval in shape, form under the skin, and are freely movable and well-defined.

Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your dog and may recommend diagnostic tests to confirm that the lump is a lipoma. These tests may include:

  • Needle aspiration
  • Microscopic evaluation of cells
  • Biopsy of the tissue

While lipomas don’t usually pose any serious health threat, removal is sometimes recommended if they limit your dog’s mobility appreciably, or they grow too large, making your dog scratch or bite at them.

If your veterinarian recommends surgery, he or she will most likely perform presurgical blood tests to ensure your pet is healthy and can handle the anesthesia and surgical procedure. These tests may include:

  • Chemistry tests to evaluate kidney, liver, and pancreatic function, as well as sugar levels
  • Antibody tests to identify if your pet has been exposed to tick-related or other infectious disease
  • A complete blood count to rule out blood-related conditions
  • Electrolyte tests to ensure your pet isn’t dehydrated or suffering from an electrolyte imbalance
  • Urine tests to screen for urinary tract infection and other disease, and to evaluate the ability of the kidneys to concentrate urine
  • A thyroid test to determine if the thyroid gland is producing too little thyroid hormone
  • An ECG to screen for an abnormal heart rhythm that may indicate underlying heart disease

If your veterinarian recommends leaving the lipoma alone, it will be important to monitor it for any changes. In some cases, a lipoma can grow too large and become uncomfortable. If you spot any abnormal lump or bump on your pooch, you should contact your veterinarian.

While lipomas are not life-threatening, other causes of bumps can have more serious side effects.

There is nothing you can do to prevent your pet from getting lipomas; they are a natural part of the aging process for many dogs. If you have questions, please contact your veterinarian—your key resource for information about the health and well-being of your best friend.

How to Enhance Your Pet's Environment: By Dr Joel D. Ray DVM

Our pets sometimes exhibit "normal" behaviors that we find objectionable. For example, cats may scratch furniture or eat plants because there is nothing else to scratch or eat. In these cases, providing a scratching post/mat

or cat grass/nip may do the trick. However, not all behavior issues are straightforward and easily resolved. Many

behavioral problems, such as canine separation anxiety (that may manifest as destructive behavior when owners are

away), can be complex and require comprehensive treatment plans, including medication. Any behavioral issue

should be thoroughly discussed with and diagnosed by your veterinarian—especially aggressive behavior—before

implementing the following suggestions. Click on title to open link.

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