Category Archives: Health Awareness

It’s Allergy Season! Feeling Itchy?

Although we’re all beyond ecstatic that the weather is finally getting warmer, a pesky side effect of Spring is that it’s allergy season, too! Are you or your pet feeling itchy and scratchy? One of the most common reasons for your pet to come into the vet clinic is because of allergies. Unfortunately, it can be a very frustrating situation for pet owners to be in. The purpose of this blog post is to open your eyes to the many different facets of pet allergies



What is an allergy?


It is a lifelong, incurable condition where the body reacts to an allergen in a negative way. Allergies are frequently known to cause secondary issues, such as skin and ear infections.



What causes allergies?


An allergy can form if your dog or cat has been exposed to a specific allergen at least twice. This sounds kind of confusing, I know, so let me try to explain this a bit better! Say your dog develops an allergy to dust. The first time he is exposed to it, his immune system will produce antibodies. Each exposure that occurs after this will cause a reaction to occur between the dust and the antibody. This reaction will release a large abundance of white blood cells and a chemical called histamine, which causes all of the symptoms we see in our pets a “allergic reactions”. As they try to get rid of these allergens, skin, digestive, and respiratory issues can appear. In essence, their immune system is registering the allergen as being a dangerous substance that it must get rid of. For example, you will likely see itching or swollen skin. Just like with humans, heredity can play a large part in your pet developing allergies. It has been statistically proven that some breeds are more likely than others to develop allergies, as well.



Canine breeds that are more likely to get allergies are:


  • Mastiff breeds (Bulldogs, Boxers, Pit Bulls)
  • Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apsos
  • Bichon Frise
  • Retrievers (Labradors, Goldens, Chesapeake Bay, Shar Pei, Spaniels, Springers, Brittanies, Labradoodles, and Goldendoodles)
  • Terriers (Especially Wheatons, Yorkshire, and Jack Russells)
  • German Shepherds


Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apsos

These breeds are so allergic to grasses, dust mites, molds, pollens, etc (allergy syndrome called “atopy”) that they actually have less than a 50% chance of allergy desensitization shots working. Other dog breeds have a 75% allergy cure or control rate with monthly allergy shots. You know your Shih Tzu or Lhasa has allergies if they lick their paws, or the paws are stained a reddish brown from stealth licking they sneak when you are not looking (like when you are sleeping.)

It's Allergy Season! Feeling Itchy?

Common Allergens:

  • Pollens
  • Mold spores
  • Dander
  • Dust
  • Fleas
  • Feathers
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Food: beef, chicken, corn, wheat
  • Perfumes
  • Cleaning products



Signs & Symptoms:

  • Skin: itchy, red, moist, scabbed
  • Scratching
  • Runny eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Licking (especially their paws)
  • Swollen, red skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Hair loss (from secondary yeast or bacterial skin infections)


It's Allergy Season! Feeling Itchy?

What happens if you leave allergies without treatment?

If left untreated, your pet will likely get progressively more irritated and will continue to lick, itch and scratch every area that is bothering them. This can lead to additional sores that could lead to secondary infections.

Types of Allergies

The first step is to treating allergies is to isolate and determine the allergen which is causing the reactions. There are four main categories of allergens that it could fall under: fleas, environment, contact, and food. Fleas and environment are the most probable causes of allergies in your dogs and cats.

Flea Allergies

One of the most common types of allergies are caused by fleas. However, it isn’t the actual fleas that trigger the allergy. It is actually the proteins found in the saliva of fleas that cause the allergic reaction! Even a single bite from a flea can cause your pet to itch for 5 days. This is just another reason why it is so important to use a flea preventative. Flea allergies are the most common form of allergies seen in dogs. You may not think that you see fleas on your pet, but they are likely there.

It's Allergy Season!

Flea Dirt

Contact Allergies

These are the reactions that occur when your pets skin gets in physical contact with a specific allergic material. Common materials can include flea collars, household cleaners, fertilizers, and insecticides.



Food Allergies

Food related allergies typically develop over time as your pets immune system develops. It is most commonly triggered by an animal protein, but also by carbohydrates, preservatives or dyes. If your pet has this type of allergy, they will likely need a specialized diet (see section below). The best way to determine if your pet has a food allergy is to do an elimination diet. This is when you would take away all potential allergens and introduce them one by one until they have another reaction. When the reaction occurs, you SHOULD know what the culprit allergen is. Unfortunately, you may need to try a few different diets before you find the plan that doesn’t cause an allergic reaction.

Environmental Allergies

Environmental allergens are those that are inhaled, such as pollens and molds found outside (especially in spring and summer). Your pet will likely be seen itching their feet, ears, groin, and underarms. In dogs, environmental allergies can even lead to hair loss in spots around the body from persistent scratching and chewing.



Canine Atopic Dermatitis (airborne allergies)

This is a genetic inflammatory skin disorder where your dog will become sensitive environmental allergens like pollen and mold. It can be season or all year round, depending on the allergen they are sensitive to and can occur within 1-3 years of exposure. An easy way to think about atopy is that your pet inhales an allergen, but instead of sneezing, they get itchy skin. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple and it isn’t even fully understood yet. The main thing to keep in mind is that these allergens come from the air and will only affect someone who is genetically programmed to be bothered by the allergen. Seasonal itchiness from atopy typically begins between the ages of 1 and 3 years. Food allergies, on the other hand, become apparent closer to 5-6 years of age.

Immunotherapy for Allergies

Immunotherapy for Allergies

Secondary Infections

These types of infections involve bacteria and/or yeast at sites on the body where your pet is commonly itchy. Since these microorganisms live on the skin naturally, when your pet scratches, they are irritating the skin and allowing the organisms to gain access to the inner tissue layers and reproduce. Secondary infections are typically recurrent issues.

Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to treat allergies unless we know exactly what is causing the reactions in your pet. Various things can be done to try to treat allergies. These range from immunotherapy to antihistamines to steroids to eliminating diets.



Treating Allergies


Treating allergies can vary drastically from pet to pet, so it is ESSENTIAL that you speak to your veterinarian as soon as you begin to see signs of allergies in your pets. There are many diseases and health issues that show similar symptoms as allergies, so it is important not to self-diagnose your pets!! Nonprescription treatments can be used to treat some allergies. This includes antihistamines, which have been known to alleviate 20% of allergies in pets. These are far less harmful than steroids, but will not work nearly as well.


Cats are SIGNIFICANTLY more responsive to antihistamines, but they must be medicated twice daily. However, make sure you talk to your vet before giving your pet any medication for proper dosing instructions. Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids can be given, but can take over a month before any sort of improvement is seen. They work by disrupting the production of inflammatory chemicals that are found in the skin. What’s great about these, is that they may postpone the need to use steroids. The not so great thing about them is that they can take a while before any improvement is seen. Another thing to keep in mind is that antihistamines and fatty acids work synergistically together. This means that they help each other out when used at the same time and end up working even better when compared to being used alone. Frequent baths using prescription shampoos can definitely help relieve itchiness. Make sure you let the shampoo sit for 3-5 minutes. Topical sprays and creams can also be given and typically contain either an antihistamine or steroid. However, make sure you speak to your vet about what should be given.

Omega 3 Supplements

Omega 3 Supplements


Prescription treatments are typically more effective at treating allergies. Steroids can be used to relieve signs of allergies, but they can have some negative long-term side-effects. However, they are typically the first line of defense for allergies. A dog with atopy will typically respond within a couple of days. Side effects of steroids include excessive thirst, hunger, and urination and potential suppression of the immune system. Cyclosporin typically relieves symptoms in nearly 75% pf pets. This is because it works by targeting the CAUSE of the disease; however, it should only be used for the stubborn pets that don’t respond to other treatments. In essence, this product modulates the immune response. A new “miracle” product, Oclacitinib, begins alleviating symptoms within 4 hours of dosing and lasts for 24 hours. As mentioned in other sections of this blog post, prescription diets can also be given to treat food allergies. Injections are other options that can be given to your pet, but it can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months before any results are observed. A safer route than injections is sublingual therapy. It has the same end result, but is overall safer for your pet.


Itching to Learn More?

Itching to Learn More?

Itching to know more about allergies?

Check out these helping links that I used to write this blog:

Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month: Part 2

Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month: Part 2

There is so much information on what is good for our fur-babies and what is not. Previously we touched on foods that can cause harm to our pets, however, it is not only foods that our pets can get into. There are so many plants, cleaning products, and household chemicals we have laying around our homes that can cause harm to our beloved pets.


Essential Oils

Essential oils are most toxic to cats. Cats do not possess the liver enzyme, glucuronly tranferase, which breaks down hydrocarbons and terpenoids, compounds that most essential oils are made up of. Essential Oil World comprised a great list of essential oils that are most toxic to cats. They include, lemon, lime, orange, bergamot, tangerine, pine, mandarin, spruce, grapefruit, fir, cinnamon, thyme, clove, savory and oregano.


Fabric Softener Sheets

Fabric softener sheets can be detrimental to your pets health. They coat fabrics with chemicals which help to disperse static cling. Some dryer sheets contain benzyl acetate, camphor or even chloroform. If you pet chews or ingest a dryer sheet, even a used one, it can cause serious issues ranging from skin irritation, systemic distress, or even kidney failure. Dryer sheets also do not biodegrade easily so if ingested these sheets can cause stomach or intestinal blockages.


Bar Soap and Face Wash

Most face washes and bar soaps contain detergents which, if your pet ingests it, can cause gastrointestinal irritation. Some soaps also contain essential oils which (also if ingested) can cause minor central nervous system issues. If any gastrointestinal issues are persistent it could lead to dehydration. If a large enough portion of a bar of soap is ingested it can cause an obstruction to the GI tract or stomach.


Breath Fresheners

Breath fresheners such as mouthwash which is extremely harmful to pets. There are certain breath strips and fresheners that contain menthol which can irritate the tissues in the mouth and/or the GI tract. Some breath fresheners also contain xylitol which, as discussed previously, can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar resulting in depression, loss of control, seizures and even liver failure.


Cigarettes and Nicotine Patches

Animals that are exposed to nicotine through second hand smoke, chewing on tobacco (cigar/cigarette butts), nicotine gum or patches are at a serious risk of nicotine poisoning. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, shaking, coughing, dehydration, seizures and coma. If you suspect your animal may have nicotine poisoning take them to the vet immediately.


Mosquito Repellent

There are certain mosquito repellents on the market which contain DEET. Dogs and cats are extremely sensitive to DEET and may even develop neurological problems, including tremors, seizures, and even death, if these products are used on them.


Antifreeze containing Ethylene Glycol

Ethylene Glycol is the main ingredient in most brands of antifreeze. It has a sweet flavor which can be enticing to animals looking for a tasty snack. Even a very small amount can cause major issues to animals. Antifreeze can cause kidney failure in a matter of days so knowing the signs and symptoms of antifreeze poisoning is essential. There ae two phases of antifreeze poisoning. At first, animals appear to be disoriented, lethargic and groggy. These symptoms become apparent 30 minutes to an hour after ingestion and can last for several hours. The second phase can last up to 3 days and can include vomiting, kidney failure, oral and gastric ulcers, coma, and death.


Insect & Rodent Baits

From the chemicals to the containers themselves, there are many aspects of insect and rodent baits that cause harm to dogs and cats. has a ton of helpful information on various chemicals and the types of reactions that can occur if your pet ingests them. Amitraz is used in some flea and tick collars (as well as some topical flea treatment) as insecticides. It typically causes little to no no damage when used properly but, if ingested, amitraz can cause lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and disorientation. Bring your pet in immediately if you feel they are experiencing any of these symptoms.



I’m sure everyone can name at least 1 plant that is toxic to animals. There are so many different types of toxic plants it is difficult to keep track. I found an extremely helpful site,, which discusses the 23 most common toxic plants and the signs to watch out for if your pet has ingested any of them. Most commonly you will notice vomiting and diarrhea first which can progress rapidly to more serious and life threatening issues.

From foods to chemicals to plants there is a lot out there that can cause massive harm to our furry family members. Staying educated is the easiest way to keep your pets happy and healthy. As always, if you have any questions about what your pet can and can’t eat (or if they have eaten something they shouldn’t have) please do not hesitate to call our office right away. For more information about different toxins you pet may encounter please visit some if the websites below:

March: Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month Part 1

It’s Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month!

We all try very hard to keep our pets healthy and happy. We feed them the right food, we take them to the vet and we give them all the love in the world. But did you know there are many things in and around your home that can be toxic to your furry loved ones? In honor of Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month, we will be doing a two part blog special highlighting the most common types of toxins our pets may encounter.




Chocolate or Coffee (or anything else containing caffeine)

Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month


The main ingredient in these products that make it toxic to pets is a substance called methylxanthines (found in cocoa seeds). Dogs are far more sensitive to this substance than humans. It is interesting to note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate due to the fact that there is a larger concentration of methylxanthines in darker chocolate.


Milk and Dairy Products

Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month


Lactase is an enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk. Pets do not possess a significant amount of this particular enzyme. In some dogs this can cause diarrhea, gas, and/or vomiting.


Onions, Garlic and Chives

Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month

As yummy as these veggies and herbs are to us, in our pets they can cause GI irritation which can eventually lead to damage to their red blood cells. Onions are toxic because they oxidize hemoglobin (and oxygen transporting protein) in red blood cells. Because of this, the lifespan of the red blood cells is reduced, which, in turn, causes anemia. It could take weeks or even months for the signs of anemia to show. Garlic causes the same issue. However, since garlic is used in smaller quantities than onions we see toxicity from onions more than from garlic. Cats are more susceptible, however, if dogs consume a large enough quantity of these particular vegetable and/or herbs it can cause problems with them as well.



Raw and Undercooked Meat and Eggs and Bones

Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month


We are all aware of the dangers that consuming raw and/or undercooked meat and eggs pose to humans. Well, the same issues (salmonella and E. coli) can pose very serious issues to our furry friends as well. In domestic pets, bones (especially chicken bones) can cause choking and may splinter and cause tremendous issues in their intestinal tract.



Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month

This product is used as a sweetener in a lot of products including toothpaste, baked goods, candy and gum. It causes insulin to be released very rapidly and causes hypoglycemia. This can cause vomiting, weakness, seizures, and sometimes liver failure. Symptoms usually show up very quickly, sometimes within ten to fifteen minutes.



For more information feel free to visit the ASPCA’s blog or Four Muddy Paws.



These articles have fantastic additional information about pet allergies:



If your pet has ingested any of these products please call us or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Number right away.


National Pet Dental Health Month

This month is National Pet Dental Health Month!!


To celebrate, Long Meadow Veterinary Clinic is offering 15% off of all dental procedures and care for National Pet Dental Health Month.


National Pet Dental Health Month


Does your dog or cat have terrible breath? This could be a major risk to their health and could be a side effect of damaged teeth or gums. Did you know that if your pet has dental issues, it could cause, or be caused by, other significant health issues? When your pet comes in for their semi-annual exams, their teeth should be checked for any signs of problems.


However, if any of the problems listed below seem to be occurring, it might be a good idea to bring them in for a quick check-up.


  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Retained baby teeth
  • Extra teeth
  • Abnormal drooling, chewing, or dropping the food from their mouth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Refusal to eat or reduced eating
  • They appear to have pain around or in their mouth
  • Bleeding or swelling in or around the mouth
  • Behavioral changes


National Pet Dental Health Month



Did you know that your pets can have a lot of the same dental issues that we can have?


  • Broken teeth
  • Periodontal disease
  • Teeth abscesses
  • Oral cysts or tumors
  • Teeth misalignment
  • Broken jaw



Check out this quiz to see how much you know about pet dental health!


National Pet Dental Health Month


Daily Tooth Brushing


A great way to ensure your pet’s dental health is a daily tooth brushing. Check out this video that goes into great detail about how to properly brush your pet’s teeth. Unfortunately, if brushing isn’t done every day, then it won’t be doing much for helping the overall health.


National Pet Dental Health Month

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Disease is the most common condition that occurs in both dogs and cats. The crazy thing about it is that it is completely preventable! As pets age, starting around 3 years old, evidence of this disease will become apparent and will get worse over time if nothing is done to prevent it. If this disease progresses, it can cause problems in other parts of the body including the kidney, liver, and heart.


So how does this disease start? Plain old tartar! With a simple dental procedure, we can safely and effectively remove all of the tartar above and below the gum line. During the dental procedure, radiographs (x-rays) will sometimes be completed to see if the roots of the teeth are affected and to determine the severity of the disease.


There are different stages of periodontal disease, on a scale of 0-4, with 0 being the best. I’ve linked a FANTASTIC website to see how each of the stages looks like. It has both regular photos and radiograph images. Try to determine where your pet sits on the scale!


National Pet Dental Health Month

National Pet Dental Health MonthNational Pet Dental Health Month

National Pet Dental Health MonthNational Pet Dental Health Month


Additional Readings:


I used some great articles to get information on the topic of dental health. For more information check out the links below:




Discaimer: All photos were found on the wonderful world of Pinterest

Nail Trimming at Home

Nail Trimming at Home


Nail trimming at home can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! Clipping your pets nails is a regular part of their grooming routine. If left uncut, irregular gait and breakage can occur and cause issues such as lameness and infection. However, trimming your dog or cats nails can be a terrifying process especially if you don’t know exactly where to cut the nail. This blog will give you some tips and general guidelines on how to cut your dog or cats nails at home with ease.×475.jpg

Getting started


You may want to try slowly introducing the clippers to your pet. Let them smell the clippers first and even clip only a few nails for the first couple of times. That way they can slowly get used to them and learn that is isn’t as scary as they think. After each paw is completely trimmed, you can give them a treat or a good pat on the belly to associate nail trimming with a positive outcome.




Another thing to try is just handle their feet, especially if they don’t like their feet to be touched. If you’re sitting down watching TV or playing with them on the floor, spend some addition time touching and holding the paws and paying special attention to each toe/nail. What this is doing is desensitizing them to having their paws touched, even if they are typically uncomfortable during nail trims.


Once your pet is used to this action, you can introduce the nail clippers by touching them to the nails. However, you will not cut the nails at this point, just associate the tool to the nail and reward with a treat. Once they are used to this, then you can begin by trimming the nails, a couple at a time and reinforce their good behavior with a treat. You want to make sure that you do not give them a treat when they act scared or fidget around. By doing so, you will be negatively reinforcing the bad behavior and they will continue act out in this behavior because they think they will receive more treats.



Associate with a Positive Outcome


One of the most common difficulties that pet owners face is the general handling of their pet. Normally, the dog/cat will be very hesitant to let you trim the nails and it may be difficult to hold them at the same time. So by associating the nail trims with something positive such as a special treat, receiving a new toy, or going for a walk, they may be more likely to hold still and not make as much of a fuss. Eventually they will realize that “Hey, these nail trims ain’t so bad!”

What Will You Need?


There are so many different types of clippers out there for cutting your pets nails, so how do you know which one will be right for you? Below is a picture of the different styles you can use. The most common types are scissor, plier and guillotine. The guillotine has a hole through which the nail will be placed, if this is the style of clipper you currently own, or would like to use, this article is very detailed in the process. As the name suggests, the scissor-type works like a pair of scissors and is most commonly used for cats, since their nails are so much smaller and easier to cut. Although preference differs, the most popular style here at LMVC is the plier style. We feel that you get better control and more precision than the guillotine, but it is truly whatever is more comfortable to you. Using a very small plier clipper is also suggested for cats.




Once you’re ready to actually clip the nails, you will need some sort of clotting powder, just in case you cut the nail too short and the quick begins to bleed. An example that you can use is Kwik Stop Styptic Powder.


Where and how to trim?


If you’re dog or cat has clear nails, you’re one of the lucky ones! You should be able to quickly decipher where the quick is located by its pink coloring. You’ll want to cut the nail no closer than 2mm from the point. With dark nails, less is normally more. It’s suggested that you take little slivers off at a time until you get it to the correct length. As you get closer to the quick, you will see a gray or pink oval form in the center of the nail. This is when you will stop cutting.


Don’t forget to cut the dewclaws! These are the nails found typically on the front legs, but are found slightly higher up on the inside of the leg. Since they don’t touch the floor as your pet walks, they are never ground down and are typically the longest out of all the nails.


Hold the toe firmly in your hand and, if using the plier or scissor-type clippers, hold the clippers at a right angle. You will want to quickly close the handles to cut the nail. If you cut the nail too short and cut the quickly, the nail will begin to quickly bleed.  Apply your Quick Stop or other clotting powder to the quick (where you have just cut the nail) with your finger and apply some pressure to help aid in stopping the bleeding. This article also gives some great detail about how to hold and clip the nails.


If nail trimming at home still doesn’t seem to be working after all of these tips and tricks, then bring them in to a vet clinic or groomer to get their nails trimmed! You can request that they show you how to trim the nails if it would be easier for you to see it in person before trying it yourself!

Happy HOWLoween: Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Harry Potter Houses

Harry Potter Houses

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year, especially in Texas. The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are changing color, and the best holidays are about to begin! First up on the holiday list is… HALLOWEEN! I love seeing all the cute kids in the neighborhood dressed up in their costumes, but even more so, I love seeing how people dress up their pets! For example, my dachshund mix will be a hot dog this year… Stereotypical, I know, but he looks so cute! Although this holiday is fun and exciting, there are some threats to your pets that you should be aware of. Below are some great tips to reduce the risk of harm to your fur babies this holiday.



  1. Costumes



The first Halloween pet safety tip deals with their outfits! If you are putting your dog or cat in a costume, make sure that it fits properly! I know this sounds strange, but if there is a strap that goes across their chest, it may restrict their breathing if it is too tight. Also, you want to make sure that they aren’t stressed out about having some out of the norm clothing on them. On top of this potential stress, make sure to supervise them just in case they decide to destroy the costume. Your dog or cat could either get tangled and injure themselves or consume parts of the costume.


2. Trick

TRICK or treat

TRICK or treat

Do you have a protective or shy pooch? If you’re taking them on a walk while kids are trick-or-treating, make sure to keep a watchful eye on them. Your pet may get spooked from the screaming kids or seeing dogs and humans alike in costumes that they are not used to seeing. One of my dogs that I rescued gets scared very easily. Just the other day, I had a towel in my hair after a shower and she wouldn’t come near me!

Are your dog’s your personal alarm system and doorbell? Mine are! So when the doorbell rings, and there are some strangers in costumes and masks at the door, your dogs could react by running away or acting defensively. So just use caution when opening your door when your pets are near.


3. Or Treat

Trick or TREAT

Trick or TREAT


One of the most obvious threats to your pets on Halloween is all of the chocolate and candy that’s up for the grabbing! There is a pretty decent chance that your dog may get their paws on some chocolate at one point or another. We should all know by now that chocolate (or the cocoa found in chocolate) is poisonous to both dogs and cats, but did you know that candy is also very dangerous? Most candy has a chemical known as Xylitol that is used to sweeten, when it is consumed by dogs and cats it can lower the blood sugar or even cause live failure. Also keep in mind that the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it will be for your pets. This is because it likely has a higher cocoa content than lighter chocolates (milk chocolate, white chocolate)Foils from candy wrappers and lollipop sticks are also dangerous if consumed because they can get stuck in the stomach or GI tract. If you don’t think you’ll be able to keep your pet away from these dangers, then you could potentially keep them in a separate part of your home. Another concern that you wouldn’t think of is raisins! These are one of the most poisonous foods to dogs and can cause kidney failure. If your dog has consumed any raisins, grapes, or currents, it is essential that you get in contact with your vet, the Pet Poison Helpline (   ), or get them to an emergency hospital.


4. Holiday Decorations




Fake spiders and their webs are exciting new toys for your cats to play with, but these decorations could obstruct the GI tract and seriously harm your pet. Use caution when decorating your house for ANY holiday! I know that my cat loves to play “soccer” with any loose object and it will forever be lost. Also bear in mind that carved pumpkins can cause a couple of hazards:

  1. Your pet could knock it over and a fire could start if there is a lit candle inside.
  2. They could decide to EAT the pumpkin and cause some upset stomach. This might shock some because we know that pureed pumpkin is commonly used to ease upset stomach. However, too much of a good thing isn’t great!


Beanie Baby

Beanie Baby


Would you like to read more helpful tips and tricks to keep your pets safe during the Halloween season? Check out these good reads:



We hope you have a safe and spooky HOWLoween this year!!




Scare Away the Pounds Contest

Did you know that the number one nutritional disease affecting our pets is obesity? Over 54% of pets in the US alone are obese, which can have very detrimental effects on their health and overall wellness. Join us this October to increase awareness of obesity in pets and help get pets back on track to a healthier body condition.  Keep reading for some helpful ideas to “Scare Away the Pounds.”


So how do you know if your dog or cat is overweight? This helpful link asks questions that describe the overall appearance and behavior of obese pets. The diagram below is a helpful tool used by many to decipher the general body size and wellness of a dog or cat.

Which one does your pet look like?

Which one does your pet look like?

There are a number of steps that can be taken to get your fur baby back in shape! One of the primary steps is to check that they are getting a balanced diet. Their food bags will show the ideal amount of food to give for their weight. To prevent giving them too much food, scoop the food with a measuring cup. You can even split the food into smaller servings to help with weight loss.


Aside from changing the diet, exercise is key to maintain a healthy lifestyle! Take you pooch to the park to play fetch or if there isn’t a park near to you, try to take your dog out for a walk at least once a day! To take a typical walk up a notch, try doing intervals of walking, jogging and running. Not only will your dog love the change of pace, but you’ll get a bit of a workout in as well! Cats may be a bit more difficult to get active, so you may need to try out a few different exercises.  Use a cat laser or small flashlight and let your little hunter chase it around the room. Some cats love to jump, so using a toy that dangles from a string will be a great way to get them soaring!


For more tips and tricks of weight loss for your pets, go to the Hills Pet Nutrition website.


Contest Announcement:

For the month of October, we will be having a Scare Away the Pounds contest! When you purchase a bag or a case of cans of the Hills Metabolic feline or canine food, your name will be placed into a drawing to win a free bag/case of food! In addition, if you bring in your pet wearing a Halloween costume, you will win a free bag of Hills Metabolic treats! If your dressed up pet is overweight, their name will also be placed in the drawing for the free bag of food!



Open House!

open house


The staff at Long Meadow Vet Clinic would like to invite you to our all age first annual Summer Open House! Please join us Saturday, May 30th from 10 am to 3 pm for Fun, Food, Gifts, and Giveaways! All pets are welcome. During our Open House we will having all sorts of fun and exciting activities such as:


♦ Tour of the Clinic


♦ Professional Pet Photos


pet photo


♦ Meet and Greet the Staff


♦ Teddy Bear Surgery


Dr. Teddy

Dr. Teddy


♦ CPR Demo

♦ Animal Care Q & A


♦ Wellness Care in a Nutshell


Dog Vaccination


♦ Dental Care in a Nutshell


♦ Coloring Tables


♦ Gifts and Giveaways


dog gifts





lil caesars



♦ And More!



See you there!



Gingival Hyperplasia, Too Much Gums?



Have you ever looked in your pet’s mouth? Whether it was to smell their breath, look at their teeth, or to remove something from inside their mouth? If you have, did you pay any attention to the gums or gum line? Dogs and cats can have gingival diseases similar to humans. Sometimes, these diseases can be overshadowed due to the severity of other dental diseases that may be present. In this blog, we will be focusing on a very common condition of the gums, gingival hyperplasia.  We will be going over the medical definition, which species/breeds are commonly affected, and signs or symptoms of the disease. We will also cover the causes, diagnosis, as well as both medical and surgical treatments for this disease.


Gingival hyperplasia is defined as an enlargement of the gingiva due to an increased number of cells that is non-inflammatory. It may also be termed as gingival overgrowth or hypertrophic gingivitis, and it is sometimes abbreviated as “GO.”  The enlargement may affect the entire mouth or be localized to one or several areas. The surface might be smooth, rough, or appear in grape-like clusters. This overgrowth might be so mild that it is not detectable, or so severe that it covers the entire tooth. This disease occurs in dogs and cats, but dogs are more commonly affected.  Dog breeds that is more likely to have overgrowth of the gingiva include: Great Danes, Doberman Pinschers, Collies, Dalmatians, Bulldogs, and most commonly, Boxers.  Siamese, Somali, and Maine Coon are all breeds of cats that are predisposed to this disease.


Example of a Doberman Pinscher

Example of a Doberman Pinscher


Example of a Border Collie.

Example of a Border Collie.


Example of a Somali.

Example of a Somali.


Example of a Maine Coon.

Example of a Maine Coon.


To owners that have pets with gingival hyperplasia, the gum may appear to be growing up over the crown of the tooth or it may look like your pet’s teeth are getting smaller as less of the tooth above the gum is visible when you look in the mouth. Other common signs may include thickening of the gums, increased height of the gum line, developing pseudopockets (deep pockets with in the gums), areas of inflammation on the gums, or growth/mass formation on the gum line. The inflammation that can be seen in many pets with this disease is often secondary to periodontitis, but is not responsible for the primary enlargement of the gingiva.  Bleeding upon brushing may also be evident. The overgrowth of the gingiva may also cause it to have a bright red or pink coloration, due to extra circulation. Sometimes the overgrowth can be so severe that the pet will start to chew on the tissue.  This is painful for the pet and could lead to infection or decreased appetite.


Gingival Hyperplasia in a Bulldog.

Gingival Hyperplasia in a Bulldog.


Gingival Hyperplasia in a Boxer.

Gingival Hyperplasia in a Boxer.


















There are several causes of gingival hyperplasia including: idiopathic, breed predisposition, or medications.  Idiopathic means that an underlying cause cannot be identified.  Unfortunately when the disease is caused by idiopathic reasons or breed predispositions it is very difficult to prevent reoccurrence even after treatment because the underlying cause cannot be changed.  Medications in the following three categories have also been shown to cause gingival hyperplasia: Immunosuppressants, Calcium-channel blockers, and anticonvulsants. Immunosuppressants are a class of drugs that are used to suppress or reduce the strength of the body’s immune systems. Drugs such as Cyclosporine, a common drug used for treatment of atopy/allergies in dogs and cats, are immunosuppressant’s.  High doses of steroids including Prednisone and Prednisolone are also an example of an immunosuppressant.   Another example from this category would be Clorambucil, which is most commonly used for chemotherapy to treat cancer. Calcium-channel blockers are medications that prevent calcium from entering cells of the heart and blood vessels. They are used in dogs for treatment of cardiac disease. Examples of this type of medicine would be Diltiazem, Amlodipine, and Verapamil.  Anticonvulsants are drugs used in the treatment of seizure disorders.  A few of these agents would be Potassium Bromide, Phenobarbital, and Levetiracetam (Keppra).


A complete set of Canine dental x-rays.

A complete set of Canine dental x-rays.



Diagnosing gingival hyperplasia is important because there are several other forms of gingival enlargement that you must differentiate. For example, productive tumors of bone and cysts may cause the same appearance. Tooth resorption disease is a condition commonly seen in cats that also causes expansion of the gingival bone, resulting in a similar appearance.  Gingival hyperplasia is by definition noninflammatory, but concurrent periodontal disease can cause inflammation to occur as a secondary process.  Dental x-rays are often needed in order to help rule out potentially serious underlying medical conditions.  A definitive diagnosis of gingival hyperplasia can be made only by biopsy and a microscopic examination.


There are two ways of treating gingival hyperplasia, medical and surgical. The simplest form of medical treatment is to stop any medications that are known to cause the disease. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases these medications are necessary to sustain a good quality of life in your pet, so it is less likely that your doctor would be able to simply discontinue one of these medications. Another form of medical treatment would be for your four legged friend to have an in depth dental cleaning with oral antibiotics. This will help eliminate the secondary periodontal disease which will reduce the gingival inflammation that causes swelling and enlargement, but it will not reduce the actual hyperplasia of the gingiva.  Surgical treatment is by gingivectomy – surgically removing the excess gum tissue. This procedure helps restore a more normal gingival shape, removes pseudopockets, helps control gingival infection, and promotes a healthier gum line for your pet. Gingivoplasty is a type of gum surgery used to reshape gum tissue around teeth, and to help them look more natural.  Traditional, electro, and laser surgery are types of techniques that can be used during these procedures.  These are relatively simple procedures, but can be very time consuming, and thus quite costly. Unfortunately, this condition usually recurs many months to years later, and a repeat procedure at that time is often necessary.




We do not want your pet to suffer with any oral/mouth disease that is uncomfortable and puts their overall health at risk. Do not wait! All pets should have a dental care plan, and it is never too late to start dental care. Come join us for Dental Awareness Month as we celebrate with 15% off the dental cleaning procedure. If you are unsure if a dental cleaning is necessary for your loved one, you can schedule a brief oral/dental consult for FREE during the month of February. If you would like to schedule a dental cleaning or consult, please give us a call, and we would be happy to assist you in doing so.


If you would like more information on gingival hyperplasia, you can visit these websites for continued reading:


Plants, Are They A Real Danger?


Dogs and cats are very inquisitive. Sniffing, smelling, and usually tasting almost anything in sight. For that reason, we commonly see pets ingest items that are not their food. Plants are among one of the top items a pet will chew on and/or swallow, but are they a real danger? Can plants cause any harm if ingested? Many may not be aware of the unknown dangers that come from ingesting some plants. Certain plants are very poisonous to pets, and can be deadly if left untreated. The purpose of this blog is to inform you of which plants are poisonous, the common symptoms associated with ingesting them, and to give you tips on how to keep your house danger free even with these plants present.

Smelling plants

There are several factors to take in account when determining the risk of toxicity to your pet. These factors include what plant was ingested, which part of the plant, how much of the plant, and whether your pet vomited some of the plant. Toxicity levels can range from mildly to extremely toxic depending on what plant your pet took interest in. The most toxic plants to pets would be, Castor Beans, Mistletoes, any type of Mushrooms, all Ivies, and Oleanders. Common types of other toxic plants would be Aloe Vera, Poinsettia, Azalea, Sago Palm, Dumbcane, Carnations, Tulip, Chrysanthemum, Daffodil, all types of Lilies, and Marijuana.  Not all parts of every plant are poisonous. Depending on the type of plant, the seeds, leaves, roots, petals, beans, bark, fruit, and stems may all have a different toxicity level. It has been demonstrated in some studies, that if a dog or cat vomits part or all of the plant within 30 minutes of ingestion, it can reduce the amount of toxic effects. We do not recommend trying to force your pet to vomit at home without consulting your veterinarian first.


Oleander plant

Example of an Oleander

Mistletoe Plant

Example of a Mistletoe

Sago Palm Plant

Example of a Sago Palm


Aloe Vera Plant

Example of an Aloe Vera plant


Chrysanthemum Plant

Example of a Chrysanthemum

Diagnosis of toxic plant ingestion is usually based on the information you provide your veterinarian. Sometimes a presumptive diagnosis is made based on your pet’s illness if the plants are present within the home even if you did not see your pet chewing on them. Symptoms of toxic plant ingestion can range from mild to severe and vary based on which plant is the culprit. Therefore, it is always good to identify which plant and which part of the plant your pet could have swallowed. If you are unsure of what kind of plant it is, you can take a picture or better yet bring in a sample of the plant to your veterinarian so they may help identify what it could be.


Symptoms of toxicity usually appear within 30 minutes to 48 hours after ingestion. Some symptoms can include excessive salvation, foaming at the mouth, caustic or burning effect in the mouth or throat, swollen mouth, trouble swallowing, oral sores, anorexia (not wanting to eat), excessive drinking, vomiting, diarrhea, hallucinating, lethargy, and skin allergies. More severe symptoms could be sweating/fever, drunken walk, heart arrhythmias, rapid or trouble breathing, painful abdomen, tremors, seizures, acute kidney and liver failure, bone marrow depression, and even death.


Daffodil Plant

Example of a Daffodil

Lily Plant

Example of a Lily

Tulip Plant

Example of a Tulip







If you think your four legged family member may have ingested a toxic plant or if your pet is acting sick and you have toxic plants in your home, please contact your veterinarian and seek medical help right away.  Prolonged time between plant ingestion and medical help could worsen symptoms and make treatment more challenging. If you can’t immediately reach a vet, you can call the ASPCA Pet Poison Hotline at (888) 426-4435.  They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A fee of $65 may be charged to your credit card. Identification of the plant is critical. Have the plant itself and if possible the container, package or label available when on the phone or in the veterinarian’s office or the poison helpline. When contacting the poison control center, please also have this information ready:


  • Your name, address, and phone number.
  • If calling the 800 number, your credit card number.
  • The species, breed, age, sex, weight, and number of animals involved.
  • The poison your animals have been exposed to, if known
  • Information concerning the poisoning (the amount of poison, the time since exposure, etc.).
  • The problems your animals are experiencing.



Safe guarding your house for your loved ones is possible. One of many ways of doing so would be to place a fence around your garden. If larger breed dogs are present, a higher fence may be necessary. Another way to protect your pets can be to put plants in hard to reach places, such as hanging from the ceiling, on the top of a shelf, or on a window ledge. Obedience training has also been known to work. Training puppies about what areas are ok and what areas are not ok to play in. Providing your pet with plenty of toys and safe items to chew on can help keep them from nibbling on plants. Outdoor supervision would be necessary if you have one of these plants present in your yard.  Of course the only guaranteed way to protect your pet is to eliminate these plants from your pet’s environment.


Here are a few links if you would like to read more on poisonous plants: