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This past month we had numerous wellness exams and vaccine appointments scheduled. It made me think about how much we actually discuss vaccines with our clients. I am sure the majority of us understand the importance of vaccinating our furry family members, but I thought it would be good to refresh our knowledge on this very important topic.

 When we vaccinate our pets we prevent many illnesses, we avoid costly treatments for diseases that can be prevented, we avoid spread of certain diseases that can be transmitted from pet to pet and even pet to humans!

 The pets that are over a year old may require only annual vaccines, but many of you may wonder why puppies and kittens require a series of vaccines. Well, to keep it simple, their immune system is not mature enough to fight any possible infection. They rely almost exclusively on maternal antibodies acquired through their mom’s milk. The maternal antibodies may interfere with a puppy’s or kitten’s vaccine response, so vaccination is recommended around the time the maternal antibodies are no longer active (around 8 weeks of age), with 1-2 boosters 3-4 weeks apart.

In many instances, the first dose of a vaccine serves to prime the animal’s immune system against the virus or bacteria while subsequent doses help further stimulate the immune system to produce the important antibodies needed for long-term protection.

 Remember that incomplete series of vaccinations may lead to incomplete protection, resulting in vulnerable puppies and kittens!

 Well, now that we’re all pros on vaccination schedule, give us a call to book your pet for a wellness check and vaccine appointment!

-by Dr. Alysson Macedo

Healthy, Not So Healthy

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As we learn more about sugar alternatives for human consumption and attempt a better and healthier life style for ourselves, we may be imposing some unknown risks to our furry friends.

One of these days we were discussing healthy baking options for our Friday treats at the clinic (thanks to our amazing RVT Ronda!) and we came across a very interesting topic: did you know that xylitol – a sugar substitute – is extremely toxic to dogs?

Here is how: Insulin controls our blood sugar. In people, xylitol does not stimulate the release of insulin, but in dogs it does. So, when dogs eat anything that contains xylitol, it stimulates a potent release of insulin that may result in a rapid and profound decrease in blood sugar. This can happen as soon as 10 minutes after xylitol ingestion, and if left untreated, the hypoglycemia can be life-threatening. The most common symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs include vomiting, decreased activity, weakness, incoordination, collapse and seizures.

Xylitol can be found in a variety of products such as gums, mouth wash and toothpaste, baked goods, sugar-free peanut butter, medications, and body products. Important hint: xylitol can be “hidden” as sugar alcohol, so please read the product labels very carefully!

I hope this helps you keep your healthy habits without any risks to your furry friends!

If your dog eats something and you’re unsure of its toxicity, please give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to help!

Stay healthy everyone!


-by Dr. Alysson Macedo

What does a dental procedure include?

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Obviously, we cannot expect our pet patients to sit through a dental procedure voluntarily, still and with the mouth open. Therefore, a dental procedure must be done under general anesthetic. This allows us to assess the mouth properly, and perform dental x-rays, cleaning, and any necessary treatment without the problem of asking the pet to hold still.

So, what happens when we have a pet here for a dental cleaning/procedure? Once at the clinic, we perform a preanesthetic examination, to assess vital signs. Often, blood tests have been performed a few days before, determining health of the liver and kidneys, as these are the organs in the body which metabolize the anesthetic agents and eliminate them.

Once this baseline is established, the pet will receive an injection of a sedative (also called pre-medication). Once sedated, an intravenous line will be placed, to support blood pressure under anesthetic, and to provide easy access to administer the induction agents (to induce the anesthetic sleep). A veterinary technician will be always with the pet then to monitor vital signs, to keep the procedure as safe as possible.

The pet will be intubated with an endotracheal tube, and connected to the anesthetic machine, which will deliver the inhalant anesthetic mixed with oxygen. This will keep our pet sleeping and unaware during the procedure.

From this point on the procedure is like our own visits to the dentist. Dental x-rays will be taken, to be able to judge the teeth – are they healthy? Are there any signs of underlying issues? Then the veterinarian will assess the teeth by probing and evaluating the x-rays. Then cleaning of the teeth will be started, and usually the veterinarian will contact the pet parent to discuss need for treatment, or to report on the status of the procedure.

Once the teeth are cleaned, any teeth which are significantly affected by dental disease can be extracted. In specialty dental clinics advanced treatments of teeth can be done, like root canal treatment or capping of teeth. A local anesthetic will be placed before extracting teeth. Teeth affected by dental disease are extracted, the extraction sites cleaned (debrided) and then the site will be closed with sutures. This can take as much time as the extraction, or more.

After the procedure is completed, we prepare to discontinue the anesthetic. The animal will be extubated when ready, and then placed in a warm recovery bed. Monitoring will continue until the animal is recovered. Fluid therapy will be discontinued once it is safe to do so.

We like to keep our patients in hospital long enough to allow for complete recovery; however, sometimes our patients are still a bit “under the weather” when going home. We will take every precaution to educate our pet parents as thoroughly as possible on how to take care of their pets immediately following a procedure, and what to do if concerns arise. Usually, a follow-up appointment will be arranged to check on the mouth 2 weeks after a procedure. This is especially important if multiple extractions have been performed.

Now our pet does have a healthy mouth again, and most likely feels good about it! Take care everyone!


-By Dr. Susanne Krägeloh