Friday, August 29, 2014

August Team Member of the Month- Stephanie!!!!

This month's Team Member of the Month is a firecracker!!! Stephanie has been a member of our team on-an-off for many years. After a move out-of-state to pursue an opportunity at another practice, Stephanie returned to the HAH in 2006. Since her return she has taken on many responsibilities and excelled with each. 

Stephanie is an excellent technician. She has specialized experience in surgery, x-ray and post operative care. What makes her team member this month is her attitude.

Her love for life and adventure has always been a part of her character but this vigor has been renewed in the workplace and her attitude toward teamwork has been example worthy.
"Stephanie has such a positive attitude and never sits still. During any down time she is sweeping and finding other duties to make herself productive."

"She is great with patients as well as their owners!"
We are grateful to have such a technically skilled member on our staff as well as someone that brings such a good attitude to the table.

 Thank you for all you contribute, Steph!!!
Stephanie is a member of the Gold Coast Roller Derby Team of South Florida
Stephanie is essential to our success of at the Stonewall Pride Events each June!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to School Separation Anxiety

With all the excitement of the kids going back to school, many families may not think about what it means to the dog or cat. What you may notice are changes in behavior, a sad dog or cat, who mopes around or sleeps a lot more. Or your dog may suddenly started chewing things he shouldn't, or your cat does a lot more meowing. And you may not even connect the unusual cat or dog behavior with back-to-school time. Dogs and cats love routine, it makes them feel secure. They like knowing that certain things happen at about the same time each day, and they know where they want to be when it happens. If the kids have been around all summer, playing outside with the dog, or giving kitty extra love and snuggles, and suddenly they’re gone all day, it's upsetting. For some pets, they just feel sad and confused, and others feel real separation anxiety and may act up. 

 Kids can help your pet through the back-to-school blues The first thing to note is that this is a family matter, and a good opportunity for the kids to take more responsibility for the care of their pets. Let your kids know that their dog or cat is going to miss them when they're gone all day, and discuss what they can do to help their pets through it. One of the best ways for a pet to get over the loss of one routine is to replace it with another. Your pet may be sad all day at first, but if he knows that at 3:45 your kids will be home from school and will actively play with him soon after each day, your pet has something new to look forward to. If your child has a set time to do homework or read, that's an excellent time for the dog or cat to curl up next to her and "help" with studying. Ask your kids to think of other ways to include their pets in their routines. 

More than just sad, it’s separation anxiety If your pet exhibits true separation anxiety, as in, he goes crazy when he sees your kids put on their backpacks to leave for school, or is destructive when everyone is gone, you'll have to do some gentle training to ease his stress. Your kids may feel sorry for their pet and do a long sad goodbye. This only reinforces your pet’s fears and builds up the anxiety. It’s better to make the goodbye upbeat and brief, or eliminate it completely. Depending on your pet, he may respond well to a goodbye petting, a little goodbye treat, or simply leaving with a cheerful "good boy!" as your kids go out the door. This should happen before your pet gets upset. If your pet is freaking out, absolutely do not reward with anything. If you can't get your pet to calm down if it’s a dog, a simple "sit!" command may help. Then reward with petting and telling him he's ok once he’s calm. If your pet gets upset just by the backpacks or car keys being picked up, pick those items up and walk around the house with them several times a day, but don't leave. Your pet will learn not to associate those items with the pending doom of your kids leaving.

When back-to-school means an empty house If everyone is gone all day, both parents included, your pets are going to be bored on top of being upset. It's important to leave them some interactive toys to help them pass the time. Eventually, they will get used to the new reality, and will likely sleep most of the day. You can balance the boredom by providing vigorous exercise each day when you or your kids are home. Remember, you and your kids may have had a very busy day, but your pet has done virtually nothing, unless there is evidence to the contrary, as in a shredded or chewed up sofa. Providing your dog or cat active, vigorous play each day will help them burn up their pent up energy. Take your dog for a run or go outside and throw a ball or flying disk. For your cat, run around the house with a little toy on the end of a string. You may also want to consider getting your pet a little buddy to keep him company when no one is home. Even an aloof adult cat is likely to accept a kitten into her life, and the kitten will entice the older cat to play. And dogs, being true social animals, nearly always accept another dog to play with. Remember, your pets can get nervous, upset, anxious or lonely just like people, only they don't have the benefit of knowing that you’ll be back when you leave. It's up to you and your kids to make your pets feel secure in ways they understand. 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Cali Riding a Roomba!!

August Patient of the Month- Cali!!!!!

This "cupcake" became her favorite toy.

Responsible breeders often live in the shadows of the dark stories of large-scale commercial dog breeding operations (puppy mills) where profit is given a greater priority then the well-being of the animal.

Cali in O2 chamber.
Our August patient of the month begins her story as a victim of one of these puppy mills. Cali, a white and tan English Bulldog had a very rough start. Her forever family found her at a local pet store known for their Teacup puppies. They fell quickly in love. On her adoption day, 11 week old Cali was energetic and sweet but had noticeable yellow discharge coming from her nose. Cali had been seen by a veterinarian to receive her initial vaccinations and approval for purchase through the puppy store. So, trusting that they were receiving a healthy puppy, they welcomed Cali into their home. However, in a few days, her symptoms had worsened and they knew they had been mislead.

Cali’s owners took her to their regular Veterinarian where bloodwork and radiographs (x-rays) were performed.  The x-rays showed severe pulmonary infiltrate in an alveolar lung pattern in the right middle and left caudal lung lobes. In short, Cali had severe bacterial pneumonia that required aggressive medical management and oxygen therapy.

For the nearly three weeks, Cali was a resident of the HAH. She received powerful antibiotics, oxygen (O2) therapy, nebulization and intensive nursing care. Because of her age, close monitoring of her liver and kidney values was imperative to ensure they could successfully process the strong antibiotics she was prescribed. For two weeks, she set up shop in one of our oxygen chambers where she received 24 hour oxygen therapy and watched the world through a Plexiglas window. Dr. Patterson monitored her constantly, adjusting her medications and treatments. She took x-rays and ran bloodwork to monitor Cali’s progress and waited for Cali to respond.  This battle was hard to win. Cali did not respond quickly to therapy. Alternative solutions had to be considered.

By now, Cali had spent more of her life with our HAH staff than with the family that adopted her. We loved her and along with her family she had a team committed to seeing her through this. It would take time and patience. After almost three weeks of care, Dr. Patterson cleared Cali to go home.

After one month of treatment for bacterial pneumonia, Cali is home and doing well. Her x-rays showed permanent changes in her lungs due to the pneumonia but her quality of life is great! To see her now you may not know she had such a rough start. However, the lack of initial care she received in the 10 weeks prior to finding her forever family was disastrous. It was in that time and due to a lack of consideration for the health of pets that Cali developed this condition that threatened her life. Thankfully, her forever family stood by her. We are pleased to have been a part of Cali’s care and to recognize her as our August Patient of the Month!

Watch this silly video and see how truly well Cali is now!!! Watch now!!!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Water Intoxication in Dogs: Too Much of a Good Thing

Water Intoxication in Dogs: Too Much of a Good Thing

by Dr. Karen Becker

Responsible dog owners understand the importance of making sure their canine companion always has fresh, clean water to drink. But what a surprising number of pet owners don't realize is that it's actually possible for a dog to ingest too much water.
Water intoxication, which results in life-threatening hyponatremia (excessively low sodium levels), is a relatively rare but frequently fatal condition in dogs.  At highest risk are dogs that enjoying playing in the water for long stretches. But believe it or not, even a lawn sprinkler or hose can pose a hazard for pets that love to snap at or "catch" spraying water.

What Happens When a Dog Ingests Too Much Water?

Hyponatremia occurs when more water enters the body than it can process. The presence of so much water dilutes bodily fluids, creating a potentially dangerous shift in electrolyte balance. The excess water depletes sodium levels in extracellular fluid (fluid outside of cells). Sodium maintains blood pressure and nerve and muscle function.

When the sodium concentration in extracellular fluid drops, the cells start filling with water as the body attempts to balance the sodium levels inside the cells with falling levels outside the cells. This inflow of water causes the cells -- including those in the brain -- to swell. The central nervous system can also be affected. 

Symptoms of water intoxication include staggering/loss of coordination, lethargy, nausea, bloating, vomiting, dilated pupils, glazed eyes, light gum color, and excessive salivation. In severe cases, there can also be difficulty breathing, collapse, loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, and death.

Dogs Most at Risk for Water Intoxication

Any dog can develop hyponatremia, however, the condition is most commonly seen in dogs who will stay in the lake, pond or pool all day if you let them; pets that lap or bite at the water continuously while playing in it; and dogs that swallow water unintentionally as they dive for a ball or other toy.
The condition has also been reported in dogs that over-hydrate during or after exercise, as well as those that enjoy playing with water from a garden hose or sprinklers.

Water intoxication can affect any size or breed of dog, but smaller dogs probably show symptoms more quickly because it takes less time for an excessive amount of water to build up in their bodies.
Water intoxication progresses quickly and can be life threatening, so if your pet has been playing in water and begins to exhibit any of the symptoms listed above, it's crucial that you seek immediate veterinary care to save your dog's life.

Treatment of hyponatremia in dogs typically includes IV delivery of electrolytes, diuretics, and drugs to reduce brain swelling. With aggressive veterinary care, some dogs are able to recover from water intoxication, but sadly, many are not.

Preventing Water Intoxication in Your Dog

If your dog loves the water, make sure you're there to supervise his activity. If your pet is repetitively retrieving a ball or other toy from the water, insist on frequent rest breaks. Be especially vigilant on days when the water is rough.

Observe how your dog interacts with the water. If her mouth is open a lot -- even if she's holding a ball or stick in it -- understand that she's likely ingesting a fair amount of water. The same can be true of dogs that dive to the bottom of a pool to retrieve items.

Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of water intoxication and monitor your dog's appearance and behavior when she's playing in water.

After a period of hard play or exercise, use caution when your dog rehydrates. If he immediately laps up the contents of his water bowl, rest him for a bit before you refill his bowl. If your dog is very active, it's a good idea to have water with you when he exercises so that you can give him frequent short water breaks to keep him hydrated.

If your dog enjoys interacting with water from the hose or sprinkler, you should monitor that activity as well. Water from a hose or sprinkler is under pressure, and you'd be surprised how much a dog can ingest in a short amount of time.

A Word About Salt Water Toxicity

Excessive intake of salt water can result in hypernatremia, or salt poisoning, which is the opposite of hyponatremia. Initial signs of hypernatremia include vomiting and diarrhea, but the condition can quickly progress to neurologic symptoms like loss of coordination, seizures, progressive depression, and severe brain swelling.

Hypernatremia, like hyponatremia, is potentially life threatening, and immediate veterinary care is needed. 

If you take your dog to the beach, bring along fresh drinking water and offer it to him at frequent intervals so he won't be tempted to drink ocean water.

Posted: 08/06/2014 11:13 am EDT Updated: 08/06/2014 11:59 am EDT

Dr. Karen Becker is a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian. You can visit her site at:

Her goal is to help you create wellness in order to prevent illness in the lives of your pets. This proactive approach seeks to save you and your pet from unnecessary stress and suffering by identifying and removing health obstacles even before disease occurs. Unfortunately, most veterinarians in the United States are trained to be reactive. They wait for symptoms to occur, and often treat those symptoms without addressing the root cause.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Safety tips for the Sunshine State!!!

Summer is almost over in the rest of the country but these tips can help our Floridian pets all year long!!

“In the summer, we see more skin and ear infections and an increase in injuries overall,” says Sandra Sawchuk, DVM, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Protect your pet in our warm South Florida climate:

Use Sunscreen
Shield delicate skin. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in dogs and second most common in cats. Even though fur provides some protection from the sun, you should apply a pet sunblock every 3 to 4 hours to the least hair-covered spots: bellies on dogs (especially ones who like to lie on their backs) and ears and around eyes on cats, which are also areas where malignant tumors are likely to show up. Ask your Veterinarian first for the product they trust.

Keep coats long. While it may seem logical to cut your pet’s coat short, resist the urge. “If hair—even long hair—is brushed and not matted, it provides better circulation and helps her regulate her body temperature,” says Rene Carlson, DVM, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 

Soothe burns safely. If your pet does get burned, a thin layer of pure aloe vera can soothe the irritated area. Check  with your Veterinarian first for the product they trust.
Play It Cool

Walk with caution. Don’t walk your dog during the day’s highest heat and humidity, which is usually between 1 and 4 PM. This is especially important for dogs with short snouts, such as bulldogs, who can’t pant as efficiently in humid weather due to their narrowed nostrils and windpipes.
Never leave her in the car. Even if windows are cracked, the interior temp can rise by 19°F in as little as 7 minutes. On a hot day, this can be deadly.

Look out for heat exhaustion.
If your dog shows signs of heat stress—heavy panting, dry or bright red gums, thick drool, vomiting, diarrhea, or wobbly legs—don’t place her in ice cold water, which can put her into shock. Instead, move her to a cool place, drape a damp towel over her body, re-wetting the cloth frequently, and get her to the vet as soon as you possibly can. A dog’s normal temperature is between 100° and 103°F, so once she hits 104°F, she’s in dangerous territory (106°F or higher can be fatal).

Keep it cool indoors. Turn on the AC in your home, especially if you’ll be out of the house for several hours. If it’s too warm for you, it’s too warm for your pet.

Be Water-Wise

Use a life jacket. Have your dog wear a life vest in a bright color in any body of water to help her stay afloat and ensure that she can be seen by swimmers and boaters. Let her get used to wearing it in your yard first.
Be on the lookout in lakes. If your dog steps in a sinkhole, which may cause her to panic, you need to help her swim to where she can touch ground again. Avoid lakes and ponds with blue-green algae, signified by scummy water and a foul odor. Algae can produce a toxin that may cause severe sickness or seizures quickly if your pet ingests the water, by either drinking from the lake or licking tainted fur.

Take Pool Precautions 

Act life a lifeguard.
Never leave your dog unsupervised near an uncovered pool.
Create an exit strategy. Teach her how to get out of the pool by using the stairs with her 5 to 10 times in a row. This will help her learn where the stairs are, whether she’s swimming or accidentally falls in and needs to climb out. In the deep end, consider putting in a pool ramp, such as the Gamma Skamper Ramp ($60 to $80;, to reduce any risk of drowning.
Avoid swimmer’s ear. Use drops of a canine ear-drying solution to fight potential swimmer’s ear.

Keep Pets Bug-Free

Send parasites packing.
Hookworms and heartworms are more prevalent during the summer and can gain access to your pet through the pads of his feet. Ask your vet for a prescription for Heartgard Plus or Interceptor Flavor Tabs, which will help keep parasites at bay.

Opt for pet-friendly insect repellents.
Check with your veterinarian first to find safe repellents for your pet.

Avoid using charcoal briquettes. Dogs seem to love to lap up or steal from the grill, and charcoal briquettes can easily get stuck in the stomach, causing vomiting and requiring surgery.

Don’t share. Barbecue scraps and fatty leftovers can give your pup pancreatitis, causing severe abdominal pain or death. Corn on the cob and peach pits are also a huge no-no because they can lodge in a dog’s intestines.

Guard Your Garden 

Skip the azaleas.
These common backyard shrubs can be toxic for dogs and cats if ingested, resulting in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, heart arrhythmias, or an abnormal heart rate.

Limit the lilies. A day lily or Asiatic, Easter, or Stargazer lily and their pollen can cause acute kidney failure in cats. Ingestion of as little as two to three leaves can be fatal, so remove these plants from your yard if you let your cat out.

Check Your Garage

Lock up plant food. Rose and garden plant food containing insecticides can contain potentially fatal compounds. If your dog tries to eat a bag of it (or soil that’s been treated with it), he could suffer diarrhea, profuse vomiting, shock, seizures, and even death.

Keep away the fireworks. A threat to curious dogs that might try to eat them, fireworks are made with chemicals like potassium nitrate, and parts (like a fuse) that could get stuck in the stomach, they can cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, seizures, and shallow breathing. Keep yours out of reach, and clear your yard of debris after you set off your display.
By Justine Lee, DVM, and Izzi Bendall

Planes, Trains and Automobile Travels With Your Pup!!!

If your are traveling with your pup, here are some helpful tips to make the ride smoother. Whether you are boarding a plane, a train or an automobile these tips can help?

See your vet. If you are traveling across state lines or out of the country, you’ll need a health certificate dated within 10 to 30 days of travel.

Research emergency vets. Find several veterinarians at your destination or along your route.


Keep your dog in the back. Driving with her in the front is unsafe—and illegal in some places.

Coordinate rest stops. Each time you pull over for a bathroom or water break, be sure to extend the same courtesy to your dog.

Consider your pet’s comfort. If it’s hot, park in the shade and leave water out and the AC running—cars can warm up rapidly in hot temperatures, resulting in fatal heatstroke. Likewise, in extremely cold temps, keep the heater turned up to prevent your pooch from freezing.

In a minivan, SUV, or station wagon: A crate is a smart choice, says Christie Hyde, automotive/driver safety spokesperson for AAA National. Even a divider between the backseat and trunk/cargo area isn’t enough to protect your pet in a crash. Make sure the crate is large enough for her to stand, sit, lie down, and turn around—but not so large that she can pace. Place the crate in the back, facing forward (to prevent car sickness). Pick a hard crate for safety and un-clip her leash to prevent dangerous tangling. 

In a sedan or sporty two-door model: A crate might not fit in the backseat. A seat-belt harness, available at pet stores for about $20, will keep her secure. Look for one with a broad front, lots of padding, sturdy metal hardware, and wide straps that are made of a seat-belt like material.


Locally Amtrak currently doesn't accept pets unless they are assistance dogs. The HSUS supports the Pets on Trains Act (H.R. 2066/S. 1710) before Congress that will allow Amtrak to permit passengers to bring their beloved pets on certain trains. Some smaller U.S. railroad companies may permit animals on board. Many trains in European countries allow pets.

Generally, it's the passengers' responsibility to feed and exercise their pets at station stops.Therefore exercising similar precautions as in driving are appropriate. Smaller animals may even find their carrier the most comfortable space while making their commute.

Investigate airline regulations. Each carrier has its own set of policies—make sure you know the requirements weeks in advance so that you have adequate time to prepare.
Carry on your small breed. Some airlines will allow you to take little dogs or cats on board in a soft-sided carrier. The fee is usually $100 each way, and your pet must stay in the carrier under the seat at all times.

Fly direct if possible. And choose early morning or late-evening flights in the summer to avoid peak heat hours.

Feed your pet 3 to 4 hours before the flight and make sure he relieves himself. Some owners freeze water in a dish that attaches inside the crate so their pet can lick it when thirsty.

Content imput from:
By Justine Lee, DVM, with additional writing by Martha Barnette and Melanie Mannarino