Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

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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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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You see this dog?

Yes, that’s the one. 

Where do you suppose he’s going?

And why does he look so happy?

Maybe it’s because…

…he lives in a vineyard in Sicily.

And this is his view down the steps:

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, with your favorite furry companion by your side, where would you be?

All photos by Jennifer Miele.

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     Recipe by Stephanie Grann of New Paltz Animal Hospital, New Paltz, NY.  Reprinted from Protector, a Merial publication.


Dawgy Biscuits


  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

     Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit and grease two cookie sheets.

     Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Knead the dough on a lightly-floured surface.  Depending on the oil in your peanut butter, you might have to add a teaspoon of olive oil if you find the mixture is a little too crumbly.  Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness, then cut the dough in desired shapes and place on your cookie sheets.

     Place the cookie sheets in preheated oven for about 25 minutes until biscuits are lightly golden brown.  Cool biscuits completely before serving them.

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

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     Weather experts warn that the extreme high temperatures and humidity we’ve been experiencing will continue over the weekend.

     You may have noticed that stepping outside is like opening the door to a blast furnace.  And according to the weather report at WVEC Channel 13, Friday’s temperature will feel like 110° Fahrenheit.  Now imagine living outdoors wearing a fur coat all day – that’s what it’s like for our pets.

     Please keep pets indoors and provide fans or air conditioning during these days of extreme heat and humidity.  Provide cool water, as well.  Pets should not be exercised outdoors and bathroom break time should be limited, if possible. 

     Remember, pug-nosed dogs such as Pekingese, Lhasa Apsos, Chinese Pugs, and Boston Terriers (to name a few) have greater difficulty cooling the air they breathe in, due to a shortened snout.  For this reason, they are very susceptible to heat stroke.

     To learn more about the signs of heat stroke or heat stress in pets, see our blog post here.

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Few dogs are always perfect, but aggressiveness or destructive activity, especially on a regular basis, should be addressed with a professional trainer or animal behaviorist.

     A leading cause of pet abandonment is poor behavior. 

  • Negative behavior may be due to medical causes such as pain or organic dysfunction. 
  • Or the cause may be a traumatic event the pet has suffered, such as abuse, house burglary, dog fight, etc. 
  • Some dogs are not properly socialized during early puppyhood; this, combined with a lack of proper obedience training, can cause it to act aggressively in adulthood. 
  • A dog’s breed should also be considered, as many working-breed dogs require a job or some sort of activity to keep them occupied (see next bullet point.) 
  • All dogs require human companionship, to feel they are a part of the “pack.”  Left to its own devices, a dog that is bored or ignored can become destructive.

Medical causes of poor behavior should be ruled out first.  The pet owner may wish to then contact a professional trainer or implement an at-home behavior modification program.  Some veterinary companies have introduced medications that are meant to be used as training aids for dogs that suffer separation anxiety.  Two of the most commonly used drugs are Clomicalm and Reconcile.  Both drugs come with training instructions which should be followed on a consistent basis by each member of the family.  Neither drug is meant to control aggression in dogs.

     Owners who are considering euthanizing an aggressive or destructive pet may first try placing the pet in a boarding kennel or other temporary home for two to four weeks.*  The owner should then gauge his feelings during the pet’s absence.  Does the owner feel relieved the pet is gone?  Does he or she long for the pet’s return?  Does the dog’s absence inspire the owner to continue searching for a solution?  Or is the household better off without the pet?  The answers to these questions can help determine whether the pet should be returned to its household or placed with a new family. 

     *The act of kenneling the dog is not meant to modify its behavior.  Rather, the purpose of kenneling is to allow the owner to experience and examine his or her feelings about living without the pet.

     In the case of aggressive dogs, care should always be taken so that no one in the former home or foster home is injured.  Owners are urged to contact a professional trainer who has a record of success and humane methods of working with aggressive pets.   

     Finally, how does your pet compare to the following list of behavior standards?  Is there room for improvement?

  1. Friendly toward people, including well-behaved children.
  2. Friendly toward other friendly dogs.
  3. Does not become anxious if left alone for a reasonable period.
  4. Eliminates appropriately.
  5. Readily gives up control of food, toys, and other objects to owner.
  6. Relaxed during normal handling and touching.
  7. Calms down quickly after being startled or getting excited.
  8. Not overly fearful of normal events.
  9. Barks when appropriate, but not excessively.
  10. Plays well with people, without becoming too rough.
  11. Plays well with other dogs.
  12. Plays with its own toys and doesn’t damage owner’s possessions often.
  13. Affectionate without being needy.
  14. Adapts to change with minimal problems.
  15. Usually responds to owner’s requests and commands, such as sit, stay, come.

(From JAVMA 2004; 255(4): 506-513 and Veterinary Forum, June 2008, P. 28)

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     Recently, a client mentioned to me that she had seen on TV a suggestion that storm-spooked dogs may be reacting to the static charge in the air.  Because the average dog has more body hair than the average human, dogs tend to be more sensitive to static electricity.

      The suggestion was made to wipe the nervous dog with a damp cloth, all over its body.  The dampness would reduce or eliminate the charged particles in the fur, leading to a more relaxed pooch.

     My client, Mrs. B., tried the damp washcloth method with her historically nervous dog on Friday, as a lightning storm approached.  Mrs. B. reported that, after the treatment, her dog became at ease and rode out the storm well.

     If you have any experience with this particular storm-stress treatment, we’d love to hear about it.  We do caution, however, that dogs who are sensitive to the noise and flashes of light that accompany a storm, may not receive any benefit from the washcloth treatment.  ~~  Jen

     For more information on helping anxious pets through a storm, check out our blog entry from July 30, 2010:

     Thundershirt is another product available for storm-phobic dogs.  Let us know what works for you and your pet.

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     Ginny had overslept; her sisters almost left without her that morning.  She ran to the kitchen and gobbled down her breakfast, then waited patiently for one of the older girls to brush her hair.  She had soft golden locks like Chloe and Emma, but her hair was much shorter and didn’t require ribbons and bows.  Soon, the girls were out the door with Ginny following behind.  They ordered her back inside, but she loved to see her friends from around the neighborhood on mornings like this.

     Some of the children were already gathered in front of the Joneses’ house.  Ginny knew most of them.  There was Tommy, leaping off the curb on his skateboard to impress Mariah, who was ignoring him and looking at a book.  Retha and Hailey were turning cartwheels on the Joneses’ soft green grass, which was a good thing when Hailey lost her balance and fell.  Chris and Joey were playing Army men, crawling behind bushes and talking on imaginary radios.

     Louis was kicking a red and white ball by himself, so Ginny decided he’d be the perfect playmate.  Louis knelt and hugged her, then gently rolled the ball down the sidewalk and Ginny ran after it.  The ball was too big for her to carry, so she pushed it instead.  Chloe and Emma saw what fun she was having and joined her.  Ginny loved her sisters’ attention and secretly hoped they’d been jealous to see her playing with Louis.

     When the big yellow bus arrived, the children gathered their books and backpacks and climbed inside.  Ginny stared after them, anxious for the day she’d be old enough to get on the bus, too, and go wherever they were going.  For now, she obeyed Chloe’s order to go home. 

     Momma greeted Ginny at the door and scratched her behind the ears.  She followed Momma into the kitchen where she was rewarded with a cookie.  Then Momma sat at the table to sew and Ginny curled up next to her feet.  The sewing machine hummed to life and Ginny thumped her tail on the floor, content to nap until her sisters returned home.

Original story posted on my fiction blog here.

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UPDATE:  This dog has been reunited with its owner.(Photo removed)     Large neutered male dog, thick coat, black with white and grey markings, weight 64 lbs, found in Bayview area of Norfolk on May 30th around 2-3 PM.  

     If you recognize this dog, please call us at (757) 583-2619 so that it can be reunited with its family.  The owner should be prepared to provide proof of ownership, such as veterinary records.


     (Note:  This dog is not at our clinic at this time.)

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