Obesity and Your Pet

Malnutrition. Webster’s dictionary defines it as “faulty or imperfect nutrition.” It is also defined as a lack of healthy foods in the diet or an excessive intake of unhealthy foods leading to physical harm. In 2003 The National Academies’ National Research Council declared that one of every four dogs and cats in the Western world is overweight.

“But my dog likes his treats.”
“What’s the big deal? She’s happy.”

These are just a few of the many excuses I’ve heard from my clients trying to explain away their pet’s obesity.

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Holiday Hazards

The holidays can pose special risks to our four legged friends and keeping them safe with everything else that’s going on can pose some special problems. Even if you don’t have a pet you may be visiting someone who does and you don’t want to inadvertently injure their animals. Some common holiday foods, decorations and plants can seriously hurt and sometimes even kill pets. Continue reading

Common Misconceptions in Veterinary Medicine

One of the things I like about being a veterinarian is getting to hear some of the misconceptions people have concerning their animals. In this information age it’s amazing the amount of misinformation that is still out there. The internet may be wonderful and revolutionary, but please remember that anyone can post anything they want and just because it’s on the internet DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE! Continue reading

Hypothyroidism or Why can’t my dog lose weight?

Hypothyroidism is defined as the disease state in humans and animals caused by insufficient production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. It is very common in dogs but never happens in cats. For whatever reason dogs get hypo and cats get hyperthyroid but never the other way around. It is believed to be due to an autoimmune disease but it has not been proven. Golden retrievers and Doberman Pinschers tend to have this problem very commonly but I see it also very commonly in Labradors, Rottweilers and most other large breed dog. It does occur in small breeds but it is not as common. Most dogs tend to get this disease during middle age around 7-8 yrs old but they can be younger. Continue reading

Larva Migrans: Things that Make You Say “Ick!”

Zoonosis is a disease that is transmitted from other vertebrate animals to humans directly or through a secondary source such as ticks. Many serious diseases fall into this category such as anthrax, tuberculosis, Ebola and plague. In past articles I have discussed several diseases seen in Vermont such as rabies, Lyme disease and leptospirosis. In this article I will discuss a lesser known but still very important zoonotic disease called larva migrans. Continue reading

What are Vaccines and Which does my Dog need?

Vaccines are made up of either live or killed pathogens (bacteria and viruses) that cause an immune reaction in the body. Then, during a natural infection, the immune system remembers seeing this pathogen and can kill it easier. This is what we call immunity.

Dogs get exposed to numerous pathogens on a daily basis, some of which the animal has natural immunity for and some that are so virulent that they need vaccines to induce immunity so the pathogen does not kill them. Continue reading