Archive for January, 2016

If you have ever considered giving Tylenol or its generic equivalent (acetaminophen) to a sick or injured pet, take our advice:  Don’t do it.

Dogs and cats are not little people in fur coats.  Their physiology is significantly different from ours, such that our medicine cabinet staples can be poisonous to them.

Tylenol (also known as acetaminophen) is deadly to dogs and catsEven one tablet is too much for a cat.  Acetaminophen causes severe liver damage, as well as damage to oxygen-carrying red blood cells.

Signs of Tylenol poisoning include:

  • vomiting
  • breathing difficulty
  • lethargy
  • weakness
  • drooling
  • brown-colored gums

The second stage of poisoning includes:

  • swelling of the face, lips and legs
  • loss of coordination
  • convulsions 
  • coma  

If a pet survives stage 2, it will go into stage 3 and exhibit jaundice due to liver failure; belly pain and an altered mental state.

Tylenol poisoning must always be treated as an emergency. 
Take your pet directly to the 24-hour emergency hospital (Blue Pearl Veterinary Emergency Hospital at 364 South Independence Blvd. in Virginia Beach.)  Pets that recover may need to be on medications and specialized diets to compensate for reduced liver function, for life.

In short, there is no acceptable case in which to give Tylenol or acetaminophen to your pet!


Helpful Phone Numbers

Blue Pearl Veterinary Emergency Hospital…….…………757-499-5463

Pet Poison Helpline ($49 fee)…………………1-855-764-7661


ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center ($65 fee)…………1-888-426-4435


This post originally appeared on January 4, 2011.

Read Full Post »

Nationwide Releases Most Popular Pet Names of 2015

Bella and Max Reign Supreme; Millennial Pets Reveal New Trends

Brea, Calif.  -For the first time this decade, “Bella” and “Max” were the most popular pet names in America for both dogs and cats, according to Nationwide the nation’s first and largest pet insurer, , the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance. This year also featured a shift in popularity for pet birds with owners choosing the name “Charlie” more than any other. To determine the most popular pet names of 2015, Nationwide searched through its database of more than 550,000 insured pets. Following are the top 10 most common monikers for dogs, cats and birds:

Dogs Cats Birds
1. Bella 1. Bella 1. Charlie
2. Max 2. Max 2. Kiwi
3. Bailey 3. Oliver 3. Baby
4. Lucy 4. Chloe 4. Coco
5. Charlie 5. Lucy 5. Mango
6. Molly 6. Lily 6. Buddy
7. Daisy 7. Charlie 7. Sammy
8. Buddy 8. Sophie 8. Sunny
9. Maggy 9. Tiger 9. Ruby
10. Sophie 10. Shadow 10. Cosmo

Although the top 10 dog and cat names remained similar to last year, there was an emergence of new trends when comparing the names of pets born in 2015 with pets born a decade ago. In dogs, the name “Cooper” is more than three times more common among millennial puppies, and the name “Sadie” doubled in popularity. The canine moniker with the biggest decrease in popularity was “Buddy,” which dropped nearly 20 spots among newborn puppies. For cats, the name “Bella” was only the fifth most common name among kittens. The name “Leo” showed the largest growth and is nearly ten times more common among millennial kittens.

“’Bella’ has been the most popular name since the release of the Twilight franchise 10 years ago, but that title may be coming to an end,” said Curtis Steinhoff, Director of Pet Insurance Communications for Nationwide. “Our data shows that the next generation of pet owners is using different methods and references to determine their favorite moniker for their furry family members. The most popular pet names may begin to shift over the next few years.”

Despite these monikers being the most popular, many pet lovers choose less conventional names for their companions such as “Baron Von Furry Pants” and “Leonardo DiCATprio.” To view some of the more creative monikers selected for Nationwide’s Top 10 Most Unusual Pet Names of 2015, visit

About Nationwide Pet Insurance

With more than 550,000 insured pets, pet insurance from Nationwide, formerly known as Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), is the first and largest pet health insurance provider in the United States. Since 1982, Nationwide has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers. 

Insurance plans are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A rated company (2013); National Casualty Company (all other states), Madison, WI, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2014). Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and Nationwide Is On Your Side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. ©2015 Nationwide. Pet owners can find Nationwide pet insurance on Facebook or follow on  Twitter. For more information about Nationwide pet insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

Read Full Post »

Feeding time at the zoo

  Is it time for a change?

There are a number of good reasons you might change the food your pet is eating, including:

  • Pet enters a new stage of life, such as going from puppy/kitten to adult to senior
  • Pet develops a food allergy
  • Pet requires a prescription diet to manage health issues, such as obesity or liver disease
  • Pet refuses to eat its regular food
  • Pet could benefit from a higher-quality food than the one it currently eats

Before changing your pet’s diet, consult with your veterinarian.
In the case of prescription diets, your pet may need to be
on a strictly measured amount, rather than free-choice feeding.

The key to making the switch is to gradually introduce the new food, in order to reduce the possibility of digestive upset. 

This is the trick to introduce a new food to your pet:

Days 1 and 2: Feed 3 parts old food and 1 part new food*

Days 3 and 4: Feed 2 parts old food and 2 parts new food (i.e. half and half)

Days 5 and 6: Feed 1 part old food and 3 parts new food

Day 7: Feed only the new food

*Be sure to calculate how much of each food to give, so that you are not overfeeding.

If your pet experiences loose stools during the transition, your veterinarian may recommend adding probiotics to the diet.

Est. 1973

Read Full Post »

Epworth United Methodist does!

Well-behaved leashed dogs and pets in carriers are welcome
to attend religious services at Epworth United Methodist Church
on the first Sunday of each month, at 5 PM.
The pet-friendly service is held at their Southgate Chapel.

Epworth United Methodist Church 
124 W. Freemason St.
Norfolk, VA

Note that this month, the service will take place on the last Sunday – January 31st.


Click to enlarge

Read Full Post »

Rodent ulcer 1

Rodent ulcer in a 16-year-old cat, pre-treatment. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

If your cat shows up with a fat lip and she hasn’t been in a fistfight lately, she may have a rodent ulcer. Rodent ulcers (like the one shown above) typically appear on the upper lip, usually as a small swelling. Over time, and with frequent licking, the area can enlarge and ulcerate.

Rodent ulcer 2

Rodent ulcer, 13 days after beginning treatment. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Rodent ulcers, also known as eosinophilic ulcers, are the result of eosinophils gone wild. An eosinophil is a type of white blood cell that releases biochemicals in response to an allergy or the presence of parasites. Sometimes, the biochemicals released by the “eos” attack the cat’s own tissue instead of an invading foreign body. The target area of the eos’ action becomes inflamed and sore.

Rodent ulcer 3

Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Rodent ulcers can be difficult to resolve. Anti-inflammatory medications may be called for. Recently, some veterinarians have begun using allergy medication with limited success. The patient in these photos was treated with a combination of medications, including an allergy drug, with immediate results. The patient’s ulcer reduced in size and the lip swelling decreased.

Rodent ulcer 4

Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Stubborn cases of rodent ulcer may require biopsy (to rule out cancer) and further study, including parasite treatments and food trials.  

If you notice a sore or swollen area on your cat’s lips or tongue, have your veterinarian check it out. Early treatment may help prevent permanent disfigurement.

Tip: remove plastic food and water bowls and plastic toys, as they can be irritants to cats sensitive to plastics.

This post originally appeared on January 24, 2013.

Read Full Post »

Last week, I wrote about the various signs that a cat needs a veterinary check-up for more than an annual wellness visit.

The problem for some cat owners is that the cat may be resistant to getting into the carrier at home and out of the carrier at the doctor’s office. Here are some ways you can make veterinary visits easier on you and your cat:

  • Use a top-loading carrier (like the one pictured), which is easy to get most cats in and out of.Cat carrier
  • Let the cat play and nap in the carrier at home. You can make it more inviting by adding a blanket or a few treats. Do not close the cat inside the carrier right away, or it may not wish to get back in. Work up to closing the lid or the door, then locking them for a few seconds. Gradually extend the time your cat spends in the carrier with the doors locked.
  • Reduce your cat’s stress in the car by using the carrier and taking shorter rides to places other than the veterinary clinic. (Note: do not leave your pet alone in the car, especially during hot or cold weather.)
  • Spray Feliway (a synthetic calming pheromone) inside the carrier and on a towel. Then drape the towel over the carrier in the car (if the car is not too hot) and at the doctor’s office.
  • Avoid feeding your cat for several hours before riding in the car. (Cats travel better on an empty stomach.)
  • Bring your cat’s favorite treats and toys with you to the veterinary clinic.
  • Practice regular care routines at home, like grooming, nail trimming, and teeth brushing.
  • Pretend to do regular veterinary procedures with your cat, like touching the cat’s face, ears, feet, and tail. [Note: if the cat is feral and not vaccinated for Rabies, this is not advised.]
  • Give your cat and the veterinary healthcare team a chance to interact in a less stressful situation by taking your cat to the clinic for a weight check, rather than only for exams and procedures.

Whether your cat is due or overdue for its annual checkup — or if you’ve noticed signs of illness —  Contact Us or call 757-583-2619 to schedule an appointment today.

These tips are borrowed from the brochure, “Have We Seen Your Cat Lately?,” available at our office.

Read Full Post »

Cats are among the most popular pets in the U.S. — so why do veterinarians see so few of them in the office? Maybe it’s because cats are stoic, often independent creatures — it can be easy to forget they face their own health challenges, just like dogs.

Cats should be kept up-to-date on Rabies vaccinations (it’s the law), and Feline Distemper combos and Leukemia, depending on lifestyle. Since cats age faster than humans, a lot can happen in a year, which is why we recommend an annual check-up.

Make a New Year’s resolution to bring your cat
to the veterinarian for a check-up,
especially if her last visit was over 12 months ago.

But other than an annual wellness visit, when should you take your cat to the vet? Here are some potential poor health signs to watch for:

  • Inappropriate elimination behavior / failure to use litterbox
  • Changes in interaction with family members or other housepets
  • Changes in activity level
  • Changes / increase in sleeping
  • Changes in food and water consumption (may increase or decrease)
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Changes in grooming (may increase or decrease grooming)
  • Changes in vocalization
  • Bad breath

For details on each symptom listed above, stop in at our clinic and pick up the brochure, Have We Seen Your Cat Lately?

Coming up next week: How to make vet visits easier for you and your cat.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »