Archive for November, 2014

We are thankful for all of our wonderful clients
and their furry family members.

Thanksgiving card

Please enjoy a warm and happy Thanksgiving Day.


Image courtesy of Vintage Holiday Crafts.

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  • Thursday, November 27
  • Wednesday, December 3
  • Wednesday, December 10

We will be OPEN on the Friday and Small Business Saturday following Thanksgiving.


Image courtesy of Christians Unite.

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Tote bag

Get a FREE tote bag* when you Shop Small at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic on Saturday, November 29th. This roomy bag is 12.5″ x 17″ — perfect for a trip to the convenience store, bookstore, or stocking up on heartworm preventatives and Christmas gifts at your local veterinary clinic!

American Express cardholders may receive up to three $10 statement credits** when they register an eligible AMEX card and use it for purchases on Nov. 29, 2014 at qualifying small businesses (like ours!)

Registration is limited and must be completed before you shop; click here for full details.

*Limit one bag per household. Offer good while supplies last.

**To receive the $10 statement credit, the Card Member must use his or her registered Card to spend $10 or more in a single, in-store transaction at a qualifying small business location on Saturday, November 29, 2014. For example, if your transaction is only for $5, you will not receive a credit. Multiple transactions of less than $10 will not qualify even if the combined total of those transactions is over $10. You may purchase multiple items that together equal $10 or more, but you must purchase them in a single transaction to receive the statement credit. Online transactions do not qualify.

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Every year, around Turkey Time (that’s Thanksgiving and Christmas), pets are rushed to the emergency room with a sudden onset of illness after sharing the family meal.

So what’s wrong with all those animals?

The answer: acute pancreatitis.

[How do you say that word? Try this: pan-cree-uh-tie-tis.]

The pancreas is a V-shaped abdominal organ that produces digestive enzymes and insulin. (Insulin regulates blood sugar. A lack, or insufficient quantity, of insulin results in diabetes.) 

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, in which the organ essentially digests itself via the enzymes it produces.

(More info below — keep scrolling!)

[Pets Best Insurance reveals bizarre
holiday-related pet insurance claims – click here!]

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

What causes acute pancreatitis?
Common causes are:

  • high-fat diets (long-term)
  • singular high-fat meal (like meat trimmings)
  • obesity
  • infection
  • blockage of the pancreatic duct
  • abdominal injury or surgery
  • hyperstimulation by certain drugs and venom

Because of the high fat content of many holiday feasts, pets that are fed from the table are at serious risk of becoming gravely ill. In some cases, pancreatitis will be fatal.

We recommend feeding your pet its own food prior to mealtime, to make it less likely to beg. If you or your guests are tempted to share food with Fluffy and Fang, we recommend moving your pets to a separate area of the house during mealtime and after-dinner cleanup.

Let your guests know that your pets are on a strict diet and cannot have table food. If you have to – blame the vet! We’re always happy to play wet blanket when it comes to giving pets unnecessary – and even harmful – treats.

Symptoms of pancreatitis
Watch for:

  • abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • weakness
  • depression
  • collapse from shock

How do you know if a pet is experiencing abdominal pain?
Look for these signs:

  • restlessness
  • panting
  • trembling
  • hunched-up posture
  • “praying” posture
  • resting on cool surfaces
  • vocal or physical response to touch (on the belly)

Which types of dogs or cats are most at risk of pancreatitis?
Normally, in this type of article, I list the age span, breeds, and gender of dog or cat most commonly affected by the disorder. I am not going to do that in this post for one specific reason: I do not wish to give any pet owner the impression that his or her pet is “safe” from pancreatitis and can join in the family meal. We just don’t recommend it for any pet.

Take Action
If you believe your cat or dog may have pancreatitis (even at a non-holiday time of year), take him to the nearest Veterinary Emergency Hospital. Immediate intervention in a critical care setting will give your pet the best chance at recovery.

Remember: some cases of pancreatitis can be deadly, so prevention and early intervention are key to your pet’s good health.

Resources for this article include:
Instructions for Veterinary Clients
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary
Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice
The 5 Minute Veterinary Consult
This article was originally posted on November 12, 2012.

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Dr. Karen Overall, MA, VMD, has written a series on proper puppy housetraining techniques.  Presented here are snippets from her comprehensive guide.

 Tips from the expert:

  • Take your puppy outside to its designated potty spot every one to two hours.¹
  • Let the puppy sniff and explore its environment.
  • Keep the pup on a short leash so it stays on task.
  • Reward the pup with praise, and perhaps a treat, when it relieves itself in the proper spot.
  • Immediately respond to your puppy’s cues that it has to “go.”  Forcing the puppy to wait could cause leaks, accidents, and regression in training.  Watch for whining, circling, and sudden interruption in play as signs² that the pup is ready to relieve itself. 

¹Also take the puppy out for bathroom breaks between 15 and 45 minutes after each meal or heavy treat.  Other bathroom break times should include after playtime and sleeptime, even if that means taking him out in the middle of the night.

²If these signs are ignored by the owner, the pup will learn to simply eliminate in the house, which some owners assume is willful and “bad” behavior.  In fact, this is behavior the owner has unwittingly trained into the pup.  As mentioned previously, punishment has no place in housetraining.

Est. 1973

This article was originally posted on November 22, 2011.

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Are you expecting to get a new puppy for the holidays? Next to properly socializing your pup with other dogs and people, the most important thing you’ll do for your pet is housetraining it.

circus dogs vintage image graphicsfairy008b

Before you get started, consider the following:

  • Eight is the magic number: puppies should begin housetraining at 8 weeks of age.
  • Most puppies are unable to control elimination before they’re 8 weeks old. Their brains need time to develop the proper wiring and muscular control necessary to make housetraining a success.
  • At 8.5 weeks, puppies can mentally connect the potty location with the act of urinating or defecating, so this is the time to choose a location, be it lawn or pavement.
  • Since puppies develop a preference for their potty spot, teaching it first to go on newspaper may make it more difficult to get the puppy to go potty outdoors later.
  • Choose a location in the yard that will not be used for gardening, composting, or playing. This is especially important if the pup is still carrying worms or if its status has not been checked. 
  • You’ll need to clean up fecal matter immediately after the pup goes, to protect your family from puppy worms.


Housetraining a pet takes time; accidents will happen. Patience and persistence are key elements of training.

Don’t punish! Punishing a puppy that has an accident in the house will cause it to associate punishment with the act of elimination. This means it will be fearful to “do its business” whether indoors or out. Skip the punishment and instead focus on positive reinforcement.

Leaks happen, especially when the pup has been “holding it” for a long time. Don’t punish for leaks, since the pup has no control over this.  Pick the pup up and calmly bring it to its potty spot. Remember to praise it afterwards for a job well-done.

And did you know…

Puppies produce a lot of urine in a short amount of time, and they have small bladders – so they can’t hold urine for very long. A Yorkie’s bladder may be the size of a large grape! At this young age, pups should be taken out every one or two hours to eliminate.

Sniffing is part of the process, so let your pup sniff and explore its environment.

Coming up next:  Housetraining Your Puppy – Part 2
Resource:  “Canine Housetraining,” by Karen Overall MA, VMD, PhD, Dipl. ACVB, CAAB, in DVM Newsmagazine, November 2011 edition.

This article was originally posted on Nov. 21, 2011.

Image found at The Graphics Fairy.


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One of the benefits of my annual membership to Norfolk Botanical Garden is the opportunity to experience the colors of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter in this lush, urban oasis less than two miles from our clinic.

I strolled through the woods last Sunday to observe the colors of the season. Though skies were hazy, I found some bright spots amid the grey.

Bee Me

Petal Power

Berry Nice to Meet You

Azaleas Abloom

Holly Days Are On The Way

A Forest Ablaze

Inspired? Go see for yourself the colors of Autumn,
blazing in the Garden. But hurry! Winter’s on the way!

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