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Halloween Photo Contest

Calling All Halloween Lovers! Send us a photo of your pet in a costume and you could win a $50 gift card to our hospital!

Like our Facebook page and send us a message with your pet’s photo by Thursday, October 22nd. On Friday the 23rd we will post all of the photos in an album and then voting will begin. Vote for your favorite photo(s) by “liking” them. The photo with the most “likes” will be our winner and will be announced on October 31st!

We encourage you to share your picture, or the album, with your friends and family to increase your chances of winning.

Good luck and may the best costume win!

AHDC - amanda cassata - sadieSadie – 2014 Costume Winner

International Cat Day/Spoil Your Dog Day



Today is International Cat Day. Do you know what that means?! A whole day just to appreciate how wonderful us cats are! Best day ever!!! I could deal with a little less “appreciation” from my AHDC family though. And even though I think cats should be appreciated the other 364 days a year also, I’ll share this “lovely” attention with my canine friends. Get ready pups, Spoil Your Dog Day is 48 hours away (August 10th). Steer clear of the people food, though, moms and dads or you will be making a visit to my vet parents for puppy indigestion.

IMG_3019 Dr. Balmer giving me lots of kisses!

Inside Parasites

Think your indoor pet is safe from parasites? Think Again! jcAs many of you know, I am one that prefers the comfort of the indoors. However, that doesn’t mean I’m lax on my parasite prevention and awareness. There are many indoor sources of both external and internal parasites and I want to make sure all my friends are aware of these risks so they can protect their pets as well. Insects: We animals love stalking and hunting those creepy crawlies, but that provides its own set of risks. Did you know that cockroaches can be infected and pass both roundworms and hookworms?! Flies also carry and spread roundworms when we catch the delicious pests. There has even been some early evidence the stink bugs may carry giardia. Like we needed another reason to hate these guys! Mice: Outdoor cats have long known this fact, but the same hold true for us indoor hunters. Eating mice puts animals at risk for tapeworm and roundworm infections as well as they can carry fleas and ticks. Mosquitos: These bloodsuckers carry their own unique risk to my animal friends. Mosquitos carry a very dangerous parasite called heartworm disease which can be fatal, especially in cats. More than 25% of cats diagnosed with heartworm disease, were considered indoor only by their people parents! We’re not safe anywhere! Potting Soil: Did you know that 15% of commercial potting soil is contaminated with roundworm eggs?! Gross! Carriers: Like it or not, you are also a source of parasites for us. Not directly of course, but fleas and ticks can hitch a ride on your clothes. Fleas and ticks prefer our warmer body temperatures; so given a choice, they will leave you and attack us instead. And don’t forget, you can track dirt in from your shoes. 20% of the soil around here is contaminated with roundworm and hookworm eggs. These eggs are microscopic so you would never even know they were there. And lastly, if you have other pets that do go outside, they bring things inside to us also such as fleas and intestinal parasites. To add insult to injury, some pests even carry other pests. Fleas are a main source of one type or tapeworm. When we ingest them trying to get them off of us, we can become infected with tapeworms. Now that’s just plain rude! For more info on these parasites, visit

JC and Flea/Tick Season

HELP! I’ve been attacked by giant mutant fleas and ticks! They are taking over the hospital! APRIL FOOLS!

But even though we don’t have to worry about mutant pests (Yet!), even regular sized fleas and ticks can be a real pain for us animals. Don’t forget to protect your pets by treating them monthly for fleas and ticks. My friends at AHDC want to make it even easier for you as the weather is getting warmer by giving you sweet deals of up to $50 in savings on select preventative products.


Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

Halloween is a holiday that humans and animals can enjoy together. There are many exciting aspects of Halloween but that doesn’t mean there are no risks. See below and read how to have fun while keeping your animal friends safe. CANDY – Don’t feed your pets Halloween candy! Chocolate in all forms, especially dark or baking chocolate, can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is found in most sugar-free candy and it is also toxic to animals. Also be sure to throw away all wrappers as they present a choking hazard. CANDLES – Make sure to keep any lit candles or jack-o-lanterns out of reach from pets. They are attracted to the bright light and can either burn themselves or cause a fire. CHIP YOUR PET – Make sure your pet is properly identified with a microchip and collar and tag. They can easily escape through an open door when you greet trick-or-treaters or while trick-or-treating. Only 22% of lost dogs and less than 2% of lost cats that are not microchipped are ever returned to their owners. COSTUMES – Make sure any costume you put on your pet fits properly and is comfortable. Also make sure that it doesn’t have any pieces that can be chewed off and doesn’t affect your pet’s seeing, hearing, breathing, or moving. You should also avoid any costumes with metal pieces. Some metals (like zinc) are dangerous if ingested. If your pet does not want to wear a costume, you should not force it. Never leave your pet unattended while he or she is wearing a costume. DECORATIONS – Make sure to keep all wires and electrical cords out of reach of pets. If they chew on them, they could suffer from cuts, burns, or receive a shock. Also keep pumpkins and decorative corn out of reach. While these are considered relatively nontoxic, they can produce stomach upset if ingested. GLOW STICKS – Although the liquid in glow sticks and glow jewelry has not been known to be toxic, it causes pain and irritation in the mouth and will make your pets salivate excessively and act strangely. KEEP YOUR PET INSIDE – There have been reports of pranks being played on pets that are outside. You should bring any outdoor cats inside a few days prior and a few days after Halloween as well. If you bring your pet trick-or-treating with you, make sure you keep them on a leash with a firm grip. Animals can be spooked by all the people and costumes they may see. While inside, put them in a safe space where they are comfortable. The constant motion of trick-or-treaters at the door can be stressful and upsetting to pets. We hope you have a wonderful and safe Halloween full of devilish dogs, cool cats, boo bunnies, and more!

Hot Spots

A “hot spot” (also known as pyotraumatic or moist dermatitis) is a skin condition that occurs when an animal constantly bites, licks, or scratches an area of itchy skin. The skin becomes inflamed and infected and often appears as a moist, oozing, reddened area that is painful and very itchy. If there is hair at the area, the hair will hold in moisture and irritate the skin more. The condition worsens if the animal continues to bother the area and it is common to notice a small affected area in the morning and a larger one in the evening. Because the lesions are warm to the touch, they are called hot spots. Hot spots are treatable but it is important to also identity the underlying cause to ensure the prevention of future hot spots. A visit to your veterinarian may be required depending on the severity of the lesion. Any hair in or around the lesion will be trimmed and removed so the area can be thoroughly cleaned and topical medications can be applied. Your veterinarian will prescribe oral antibiotics for about three to four weeks to treat the infection and may also prescribed corticosteroids (such as prednisone) to help with the itching and pain from the inflammation. One of the ways you can prevent hot spots is by removing exposure to allergens. Animals can have environmental allergies, such as grass, trees, or dust mites, or they can also be allergic to food. Avoiding fleas, mites, insect bites, and skin wounds in general will also help prevent your pet from developing hot spots. You can use an Elizabethan collar, or “e-collar,” to keep your pet from agitating the spot further.

Halloween Pet Costume Contest

Submit a photo of your pet in a Halloween costume and you could win a $50 gift card!!

Halloween is almost here and that means it’s time to get festive. Like our Facebook Page and submit a photo of your pet in his or her best costume through private message on Facebook. We will be accepting submissions now through October 23rd and voting will start on October 24th. We will be posting all photos in an album where you can vote for your favorite(s). The person whose photo gets the most “likes” will receive a $50 gift card! We ask that you only send one photo per pet. Once the photos are posted and voting is open, make sure to share your photo or the album with all your friends and family to increase your chances of winning!

We hope you participate and good luck!


Pet Obesity

Did you know that obesity is not just an epidemic in humans but also in pets? According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), over 57% of dogs and 52% of cats are obese and these numbers are on the rise. Much like humans, obesity in pets can lead to diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, joint problems, and ultimately a shortened life expectancy. Based on a survey created by APOP, a surprising 93% of dog owners and 88% of cat owners thought their pet was in the normal weight range. This disparity is known as the “fat gap” and is thought to be one of the primary factors in the growing rate of pet obesity. To tell if your pet is a healthy weight, use this scoring system. Your pet should rank at about a 3 if he or she is a healthy weight. To keep your pet at a healthy weight, take care in providing him or her with a healthy diet and ensuring the proper amount of exercise. Pet foods have become more calorically dense and people are feeding their pets more. If your pet is already overweight or obese, talk to your veterinarian about the best course of action. Your vet will probably recommend a controlled diet and specific type of food. It can be hard to know what the proper caloric intake and weight should be for your pet so APOP has provided a few useful tables to help. This information does not replace the advice of your veterinarian and should only be used as a starting point. Pet Caloric Needs – Ideal Weight Ranges –