Archive for July, 2013

After some e-mail shenanigans last week,
we’ve decided to set up a new account.

There is no need to open or respond to any mail that
comes to you from

Instead, please make a note of our new address:

You've got mail!

You’ve got mail!

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If you have a dog, you’ve probably heard of the dreaded Parvovirus, but don’t know much about it. Let me give you the run-down.

What is it?  “Parvo” is a highly contagious viral disease of dogs that attacks the intestines, heart, and white blood cells.

How is Parvovirus spread?  Parvo is spread through direct contact with other dogs and dog feces. However, other animals and people can carry the virus on themselves (through contact with feces) and transmit it to dogs.

What are the signs of Parvovirus? 

  • Bloody diarrhea, often with a distinctive foul odor
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Dehydration

Which dogs are most at risk?

  • Unvaccinated dogs
  • Puppies between weaning and 6 months old
  • Certain breeds, such as Rottweilers, Dobermans, English Springer Spaniels, pit bull terriers, and black Labrador retrievers
  • Dogs living in high-density housing, such as boarding or breeding kennels, animal shelters, and pet stores
  • Dogs that visit dog parks

What is the the treatment?  After a special fecal test is used to confirm a positive diagnosis of Parvo, the pet will be hospitalized in an isolation ward (to protect other patients from exposure.) Since viruses cannot be killed through the use of antibiotics, the pet will receive supportive therapy, aimed at reducing the incidents of vomiting and diarrhea, and replenishing fluids and nutrients.

In many cases, pups with Parvo also have parasites (such as Roundworms or Hookworms), which can worsen the pet’s condition. In those cases, treatment will include worming.

Antibiotics may also be given to prevent the onset of opportunistic bacterial infections.

What are the odds of survival?  Dogs diagnosed with Parvo have the best chance of survival with immediate and intensive care. Due to the life-threatening nature of the disease, it cannot be adequately treated in a home environment.

Dogs that survive the first 3 to 4 days of illness have a good chance of recovery.

Pups less than 4 months old are at highest risk for severe illness. Less common these days is sudden death due to inflammation of the heart (myocarditis.)

It is important to note that even with appropriate treatment, Parvovirus can cause death, especially in young dogs. No veterinarian can guarantee a positive outcome.

Dogs that recover from a bout of Parvo may have permanent damage to their intestines and possibly the heart.

How can I protect my dog from Parvovirus?  Make sure your pet receives its annual Parvo vaccine (often contained within the distemper-combo shot.)

Because not every pet will develop the proper immunity to disease after vaccination, be cautious about letting your dog around other pets. 

Do not let your dog sniff or come in contact with other dogs’ droppings, and always dispose of your pet’s waste.

Pay attention to bulletins warning about Parvo outbreaks in city dog parks.

If possible, keep dogs under 3 months of age away from other dogs altogether.

What if my dog has been infected already?  Assuming your pet is in treatment at a hospital or has unfortunately passed away, now is the time to disinfect the home environment. 

Parvovirus can live outside the host animal for many months. In fact, Dr. Miele typically recommends to refrain from bringing new animals into the house for a period of at least 6 months.

To disinfect the home, mix 1 part bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite) to 30 parts water and thoroughly clean the areas where the pet lived. Be aware that the bleach solution may alter or damage certain materials.

Discard food and water bowls, toys, collars and leashes. 

If the pet is deceased, arrange for cremation. Do not bury the pet in your yard.

Questions? Call 757-583-2619.

Resources for this article:

What you should know about Canine Parvovirus Infection, an AVMA publication.

The 5 Minute Veterinary Consult, Canine and Feline, Larry P. Tilley, DVM and Francis W. K. Smith, Jr., DVM

Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice, Stephen J. Birchard, DVM and Robert J. Sherding, DVM

This article was originally posted on August 8, 2012.

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Recipe by Michelle Dailey of German Village Veterinary Hospital, Columbus, OH.
Borrowed from Protector, a Merial publication.


Beggin’ Veggie Bones


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup dry milk powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsps. brown sugar
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes; dissolved in 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup carrots (optional)
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 300º Fahrenheit.
Mix all ingredients into a ball and roll out to about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut with bone-shaped cookie cutter, or into strips, or a cutter shape of your choice.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 30 minutes.

Doesn't your sweet pup deserve some home-made treats?

Doesn’t your sweet pup deserve some home-made treats?

This recipe is intended for pets that are not allergic to the ingredients listed.

Find other pet treats recipes here:

Blueberry Doggy Cheesecake

Dawgy Biscuits

Kitty Catfish Pie

…or search “recipes” for the complete list!

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Lil’ Pals Pet Photography will be bringing its RV studio to our neighbor, Robin’s Grooming Nest, on Friday, July 26th so reserve your sitting time now!

Portrait sessions take place inside the tricked-out RV, so don’t fear the heat (or a rainy day.) The sitting fee is only $10 and space is limited.

Lil Pals

To make your pet’s reservation, call Robin’s Grooming Nest today, at 757-583-2225 or Lil’ Pals at 540-903-3895.


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Let’s begin with a partial list of the things pet owners may be embarrassed to admit to their veterinarian:

  • how much “people” food their pet eats
  • how little exercise their pet receives
  • how rarely the pet’s ears are cleaned
  • how difficult the pet is to medicate


All of the items listed above can be cause for concern, but difficulty administering at-home medication can cut across all medical issues.

Compliance with doctors’ recommendations is a hot-button issue in veterinary (as well as human) healthcare. Some of the top reasons for lack of compliance in following a doctor’s instructions are:

  • the owner’s forgetfulness
  • worry of side effects
  • inability to understand instructions
  • inability to administer medicine due to physical limitations
  • inability to administer medicine due to scheduling conflicts
  • inability to administer medicine due to pet’s character
  • the pet’s refusal to accept medication due to size of tablet or objectionable flavor
  • the pet’s apparent improvement before the course of treatment has been completed

The list goes on. The real problem arises when an owner does not immediately reveal to the vet that they have been unable or unwilling to give the medication as instructed.  

What can happen? Well, two things, at least. 

1) The pet’s condition worsens, the vet is made aware of the dosing problems, and the patient possibly faces more strenuous treatment the second time around, since the disease condition has progressed.


2) The pet’s condition worsens, the vet is not made aware of the dosing problems and goes on a wild-goose chase to figure out why the pet is not responding to treatment. The vet may end up trying new drugs that the client is also unable to give. No one is helped.

Admitting you are unable to follow the doctor’s orders may be embarrassing to you, but watching your pet grow sicker without treatment is likely to be worse.

Our advice:

  • Make sure you understand all instructions given to you, including dosage amount, frequency of administration, what to do if you forget to give a dose, whether it’s okay to combine different drugs, and whether to give the medication with food or on an empty stomach.
  • Ask questions about anything you do not understand. If you get home and realize you have a question, call the vet ASAP.
  • Request easy-open (non-childproof) containers when needed.
  • Ask for a typed copy of instructions not already included on the pill container.
  • If you cannot give your pet its medication at all (especially if you fear being bitten), tell us! While this may limit our treatment choices, it will also save you time and expense. In most cases, once a drug has been dispensed, it is non-returnable. And medicine that sits in a cabinet, never to see the light of day (or the inside of your pet’s body) does no good at all.

Not every complication can be foreseen. Sometimes, the appropriate course of treatment is financially out of reach. Or perhaps your own health and life issues prevent you from doing all you would like to for your pets. It happens. In the meantime…

Let us know how we can better serve you when we dispense medications.

  • Do you need a large-print version of all instructions?
  • If a choice is available, would you prefer liquid or tablet medications?
  • Would you like a dosing demonstration?
  • Would you like a written timetable to coordinate administering multiple drugs?
  • Would smaller quantities help? It can be budget-friendly.
  • Would you like recommendations on flavorful pill concealers or other tricks* to improve the taste of medications?

It’s a team effort: the better we understand your lifestyle and capabilities, the better we can plan a treatment you can work with.

*Some pharmacies offer to compound drugs with a more palatable flavor. Though costlier, this may be the key to success for some pets.

We found this pet pilling demo on YouTube:  How to Give Your Pet a Pill.

What are your concerns about administering medications to your pets?

This article was originally posted on July 20, 2012.

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Recipe by Kimberly Harris of Animal Care and Medical Center, Libertyville, IL. Reprinted from Protector, a Merial publication.

Blueberry Doggy Cheesecake Recipe


  • 2 cups pureed blueberries
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
Puree blueberries and mix with cream cheese.
Add other ingredients and knead until dough is formed.
On floured surface, roll dough to 1/4″ thickness and cut into shapes using a cookie cutter of your choice.
Place the treats on a greased cookie sheet and bake 15-20 minutes.
Cool and refrigerate.



This recipe is intended for dogs that are not allergic to the ingredients listed.


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Images by Webweaver and Vintage Holiday Crafts.

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