Archive for September, 2015

A Rabies vaccination is a lifesaver for your pet — and it’s the law. Life is unpredictable — add wild or stray animals into the mix, and it can become downright chaotic at times.  You can’t control what happens to your pet all the time, but you can work toward better outcomes. Keeping your dog and cat up-to-date on Rabies boosters is just one way to protect your pets from an unexpected, aggressive animal encounter.

It looks cute - but this raccoon could be harboring a deadly virus. Photo by Gaby Muller.

It looks cute – but this raccoon could be harboring a deadly virus.
Photo by Gaby Muller.

Rabies is a fatal viral disease. It is transmitted through saliva (i.e. through biting) and travels through the nerves to the brain. Keep in mind that a pet cannot be tested for Rabies while alive. The test is conducted on the brain tissue of a deceased animal, only. For this reason, once a pet is bitten by an animal suspected of carrying Rabies, the pet is either quarantined and monitored closely for signs of disease (if its vaccine is current) or euthanized and tested for the virus (if the vaccine is lapsed or was never given.) In other words, if your pet is kept current on its vaccination, it is more likely to be spared from automatic euthanasia.

Rabies is considered a zoonotic health risk, since it can be transmitted from animals to humans. The laws requiring Rabies vaccination for dogs and cats are meant to benefit humans, as well. Even if you consider your pet to be 100% indoors-only, it still must receive the vaccination, under the law. Presumably, your pet leaves the house at least once a year to visit the veterinarian. An animal encounter can occur in your yard or at the doctor’s office. Or your pet may unexpectedly escape from the house and tangle with another animal. Or perhaps a member of your household will bring a new pet home, without knowing its vaccine or disease-exposure history.

Check your pet’s Rabies vaccine status now. Notice when it is due — or if it is overdue, call your veterinarian to schedule a booster. Don’t wait: you never know when trouble is hiding just around the corner.

Rabies cases reported this year in:
Virginia Beach………otter, raccoon, raccoon

Photo of raccoon by Gaby Müller, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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We’re in for nasty weather this weekend — bad enough that many Neptune Festival events have been cancelled

So this is an apt time for us to remind you about storm and disaster planning. As a pet owner, you have an extra set of responsibilities, which require extra thought and preparation.

Here’s a guide to get you started:

1. If evacuating, determine whether you can safely and reasonably bring pets with you.
If yes – be certain the intended storm shelter, hotel, or other destination will accept pets.
If no – find out which local animal shelters and boarding kennels will accept pets during the storm.

2. Gather all paperwork showing that your pet is up-to-date on its vaccinations, whether your pet stays home or heads for higher ground.
If the vaccines are expired, now is a good time to renew them.

3. Stock up on your pet’s medications. In the case of evacuation, you may need two weeks’ to one month’s worth of medications on hand.

4. Transfer your pet’s food to a sturdy, water-proof container, to prevent spoilage.

5. When buying gallon water jugs for the family, figure in each pet as one more family member and purchase water accordingly.

6. Gather collars or harnesses, tags, leashes or pet carriers for easy access during evacuation.

7. Animals with storm anxiety may need extra care; those that tend to run or hide may be more safely kept in a roomy pet crate during the storm.

8. A permanent microchip ID, such as HomeAgain, is the best bet for reuniting pets and families that may become separated during the storm.

9. Pick up your copy of “Saving the Whole Family”available at our office for $2. The booklet has tips for owners of dogs, cats, reptiles, horses, and other pets. You’ll also find complete guides to building first-aid kits and evacuation kits. Get yours today!

Saving the Whole Family

Pick up a booklet today, for just $2. Available at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.


This post appeared on August 22, 2012.

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Many owners of aging pets want to know whether their pet might be suffering from arthritis, a degenerative joint disease that is treatable in its early stages.

Take note of whether your pet does any of the following*:

  • Tire easily
  • Lag behind during walks
  • Limp or appear stiff after exercise
  • Act reluctant to climb stairs or jump up
  • Exhibit difficulty rising from a resting position
  • Prefer lying to sitting or standing
  • Exhibit difficulty bending to reach its food and water dishes
  • Collapse or exhibit shaky legs
  • Break housetraining
  • Suddenly stop using the litterbox (cats)

Now consider:

  • Have you noticed changes in your pet’s behavior?
  • Has your pet been injured in the past?
  • Has your pet been diagnosed with elbow or hip dysplasia?

Answering “yes” to any of these questions should prompt a visit to your veterinarian to have your pet evaluated for arthritis.

Treatment may consist of targeted pain medication, cartilage-boosting nutritional supplements or joint health diets, and physical therapy.

The sooner treatment is begun, the sooner a pet’s pain can be managed. Arthritis becomes more severe if left untreated — and more difficult to treat in the later stages. For instance, once cartilage has completely eroded from a joint, it will not return.

If you suspect your pet is having pain or difficulty moving due to arthritis, Contact Us to schedule an examination and consultation today.

*Keep in mind that some symptoms of arthritis mimic those of other diseases. This list is not comprehensive and is not meant to diagnose your pet.

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If it has teeth, it can bite.

If it has teeth, it can bite.

Every year, thousands of people seek emergency medical treatment for dog bites. How can you avoid being one of them? Follow these tips from State Farm Insurance and the American Veterinary Medical Association:

“Be cautious around strange dogs and treat your own pet with respect. Because children are the most frequent victims of dog bites, parents and caregivers should:

  • NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  • Be on the lookout for potentially dangerous situations.
  • Start teaching young children — including toddlers — to be careful around pets.
     “Children must be taught NOT to approach strange dogs. Children should be taught to ask permission from a dog’s owner before petting the dog.”
     “Other tips that may prevent or stop a dog attack:
  • Don’t run past a dog. Dogs naturally love to chase and catch things. Don’t give them a reason to become excited or aggressive.
  • Never disturb a dog that’s caring for puppies, sleeping or eating.
  • If a dog approaches to sniff you — stay still. In most cases, the dog will go away when it determines you are not a threat.
  • If you’re threatened by a dog, remain calm. Don’t scream. If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly. Avoid eye contact. Try to stay still until the dog leaves, or back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. Don’t turn and run.
  • If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck. Protect your face.”
     These tips and more are available in a brochure at our office.
This article originally appeared on our blog on June 21, 2011.

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The Seresto 8-month Flea and Tick collars continue to impress our clients with its ease of use and effectiveness against ectoparasites. In response, we are keeping a steady supply of the collars on hand.

Good news! We have also begun carrying the Seresto collars for cats. 

Seresto cat

The Seresto $15 rebate is coming to an end in two weeks,
on September 30th.
Be sure to stop in and grab a collar for your pet today!

Seresto rebate

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Thanks to an abundance of education and dental products, many pet owners are aware of the importance of oral health care in dogs and cats. Indeed, many owners agree to pet dental cleanings, which are performed under general anesthesia and provide the highest level of dental care for a pet.

(What can you do for your pet’s dental health at home?
The answer is here.)

Traditionally, routine dental cleanings have been performed at the primary veterinarian’s office, with great success and no ill effects. However, veterinary care standards are changing, and that could affect the level of care your pet receives.

For instance, the standard of care for dentistry is now moving towards intra-oral, or full mouth, radiographs (X-rays), to more accurately determine the health of tooth roots and jaw bones. A pet’s mouth can appear clean and healthy, while at the same time exhibiting bone loss on X-ray. This becomes especially important in the case of tooth extractions.

A pet can suffer a broken jaw during a tooth extraction if the veterinarian is unaware of the shape or location of the tooth root or of bone loss leading to increased fragility of the jawbone. These risks should be expressed to the owner in advance of tooth extractions. The risk can be more accurately predicted, and perhaps minimized, through the use of dental X-rays.

Naturally, when a service is added, the overall fees increase. A dental X-ray + teeth cleaning and extractions will cost more than just a cleaning and extractions. However, the benefit of avoiding broken jaw bones is more than worth the extra cost incurred for X-rays.

In some recent experiences of pet owners across the U.S., broken jawbones that occurred during tooth extractions cost the owners $4,400 in one case; $3,000 in another case; and $10,000 in a third case. In each case, dental X-rays were not performed, and could have been useful in predicting complications.

(Need tips on brushing your pet’s teeth?
We have them here.)

Dr. Miele refers dental cases to a local veterinary dentist who includes full-mouth X-rays as part of his standard level of care. This allows the veterinary dentist to know ahead of time if there are underlying issues that need to be addressed. For instance, did you know that a veterinary dentist will perform root canals in order to save a pet’s teeth, rather than pulling them?

(What happens when a tooth root becomes infected?
Find the answer here.)

Veterinary dental care has become more sophisticated over the years, allowing your pet to receive the highest level of care available. And since oral health is related to overall health in pets, it is one area not to be overlooked. We trust your pet’s health to our local veterinary dental specialist, because we believe that your pet will receive a high standard of care before, during, and after its dental procedures.

Est. 1973

Information from this article borrowed from AVMA/PLIT Professional Liabilty Newsletter, Vol. 34, No. 3


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Coming soon…

Hang in there!

New blog posts are coming soon.

P1110231 (2) P1110231 (3)

P1110231 P1110231 (4)

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