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Fourth of July Safety Tips

As we approach the 4th of July holiday, keep in mind there are some things you can do to help ensure that your pet stays happy and healthy.  Although it is tempting to bring pups along for all the family fun, sometimes the safest thing to do is leave them at home in a secure and familiar environment.  In addition to the anxiety that pets may experience with all the loud fire work noises, this time of year carries a higher risk for other problems in dogs too – such as ingesting potentially dangerous foods and suffering heat stroke.  So brush up on these tips from the AKC so that you can keep your pets safe.

You can find the full article at:


As we prepare for barbeques and fireworks this Fourth of July, The American Kennel Club, a not-for-profit organization which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world, offers tips on how to keep your pets safe and calm during this Independence Day.

  • It is safer to keep your pets at home during Fourth of July celebrations instead of bringing him to your neighbor’s party. Keep your pets in the house, rather than in your yard. He will be a lot happier indoors, and not tempted to leap over a fence to find you.
  • Dogs can be startled by the loud noise of fireworks. Once the festivities begin, keep your pet in a safe room where he can feel comfortable. If he is crate trained put him in his crate covered with a blanket to make him feel secure.
  • Block outside sights and sounds by lowering the blinds and turning on the television. Play soothing music in the background to counteract the cacophony during the “rockets’ red glare.
  • If your pet seems overly anxious, spend some time with your pet, speaking soothingly to help them to relax.
  • Avoid scraps from the grill. While tempting to our pets, any sudden change to your pets’ diet can cause stomach upset. In addition, some certain foods like onions, avocado, grapes and raisins can be toxic .
  • Human products can be dangerous to animals . Avoid spraying your pet with insect repellent and only use special sunscreen that is intended for animal use. Keep your pets away from matches and lighter fluid. They can be extremely irritating to the stomach, lungs and central nervous system, if ingested.
  • Should your dog get scared, escape and run away, help find him with microchip identification. Collars and tags can fall off so make sure you have permanent ID with a microchip. Keep contact information current with your recovery service provider. For more information and to enroll your pet in a 24 hour recovery service visit .
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Heat Stroke and Laryngeal Paralysis in Dogs

This is a really great blog post that we are sharing from an emergency veterinarian in New Jersey.  It is important to understand the signs of heat stroke, so you can prevent it before you find yourself in a scary situation with your four legged friend.  You might be surprised that heat stroke can occur even if it does not seem that hot out to you.  Because dogs cannot dissipate heat the same way people can, dogs with compromised airways (such as brachycephalics and those affected by laryngeal paralysis) can overheat just from exercise or being too worked up.  If you are noticing some of these symptoms in your own dog, give us a call and we can discuss the best way to care for them.


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Niko! June Patient of the Month!

Meet Niko, our June patient of the month! Back in April, Niko’s Mom and Dad noticed him yelp while he was chewing on a toy, he also seemed lethargic. The next day he could not pick up a tennis ball and was having trouble eating, but he could still drink okay.

They brought him to All West Veterinary Hospital and saw Dr. Shari Bearrow. She recognized that his symptoms were consistent with a disorder called masticatory muscle myositis (MMM). Masticatory refers to chewing, so this means that the muscles involved in chewing were affected. Myositis means inflammation of the muscle. So Niko’s muscles that control chewing were inflamed and painful.

The cause of this disorder is not well understood. It is an immune-mediated condition, meaning the body in a way attacks itself. In this case, the body is attacking a specific muscle fiber found in the muscles involved in chewing. Dr. Bearrow recommended a test to confirm the diagnosis, and sure enough this was Niko’s problem.

Some dogs with MMM develop symptoms so severe that they cannot even open their mouths. Many will have significant muscle atrophy over their cheeks and foreheads, and sometimes the muscles are actually destroyed and replaced with fibrous tissue. It is important to make a quick diagnosis so treatment can be started before muscle damage becomes too advanced.

The main treatment goal for MMM is to stop the inflammatory cycle. This was accomplished by putting Niko on a steroid as soon as MMM was suspected, and over the last month and a half his dose has been gradually decreased. The other component of his treatment is acupuncture, which he receives weekly.   The goal is to be able to wean him off of steroids sooner than if he was just being treated with the medication alone.

At Niko’s acupuncture appointments, he lays down on a doggy bed and gets a massage while several needles are placed at specific points on his face, head and neck to help relax muscles, improve blood flow and relieve any pain he may be having.

Niko’s treatment could last a couple of more months, but he is doing very well and we are so happy to see him improving.

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Transitioning to Spring and Summer Pasture

It is important to be strategic whenever you make a change in your horse’s diet, but especially when you are moving him onto spring pasture.  In the last month, we have seen a lot more cases of colic after horses have been moved to grass quickly.  Too much pasture time in the spring, especially an abrupt change puts your horse at risk not only for colic, but also laminitis.  Read the article below to find out what you need to know to decrease the risk for your horse.


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Equine Nutrition – What You Need to Know!

Ever wonder if your horse is getting all the nutrients it needs?  Ever wonder if he is getting too much of a good thing?  This article does a great job explaining what matters most in a horse’s diet, and how following a few simple principles can improve his health, and help to avoid costly veterinary visits for things like colic!  The most important take home message – Keep it Simple!


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Canines Sniffing out Cancer

We just came across this really interesting article that talks about how dogs can use their noses to detect tumors in humans.  It is truly amazing how skilled our pets are.  We have known for years about all the health benefits owning a dog can have, but this is just one more piece of proof that there is no limit to the talents of man’s best friend.

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Acupuncture at AWVH

Acupuncture is a new service offered at AWVH that is an adjunctive therapy for treating many ailments experienced by animal species.  Dr. Jeneé Daws has completed over 160 hours of continuing education and is certified to perform acupuncture on large animal, small animal and exotic species.  The course she took focused on integrating scientific medicine into the practice of acupuncture.

Acupuncture has a wide variety of indications.  Its main goals are to improve pain control and speed healing.  Acupuncture is helpful in many animals with muscle pain, orthopedic pain, neurologic conditions and gastrointestinal disease.  It can even be used during general anesthesia to decrease the amount of inhalant anesthetic used. An abbreviated list of some conditions that acupuncture may help to improve:

  • Arthritis
  • Nerve injury or paralysis
  • Back and neck pain
  • Wound healing
  • Incontinence/urinary disorders
  • Eye conditions
  • Weakness
  • Soft tissue injury
  • Muscle spasms and pain
  • Kidney disease
  • Gastrointestinal disease such as constipation and diarrhea
  • Cancer pain
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Reproductive disorders

This horse is receiving acupuncture and electroacupuncture to help speed nerve healing following facial nerve paralysis.  You can see that the left side of his face is droopy – his ear, his lip and his muzzle show that he does not have the ability to move the left side of his face.  Acupuncture will stimulate his nerve to begin working sooner and restore the movement in his face faster than if we just let it heal with time.

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Veterinary Myths and Misunderstandings

Our latest blog post comes from our smiling face at reception, Lindsey. She writes about some common myths, mistakes and misunderstandings in veterinary medicine and what you can do to avoid these pitfalls!

Top 5 Common Myths and Misunderstanings in Veterinary Medicine
by Lindsey

During the past 3+ years I have worked at All West Vet, I have seen, heard and learned a lot. I realized that there are common mistakes that we all make when owning a beloved pet. The oversights are often due to our love for our pets, and so I have tried to compile the top 5 universal myths and mistakes we often make so we can all learn and laugh.

‘He’s not fat, he’s big boned!’
Unfortunately, more than half of the pets in American households are overweight or even obese! Because the majority of dogs and cats are packing on extra pounds these days, our minds are fooled into thinking this is normal. This can be difficult to see when you look at your pet every day, that’s why you should count on your veterinary team to help you determine a healthy weight for your pet. Your veterinarian can assess your pet with an objective tool such as the Healthy Weight Protocol to give you an accurate idea of what your pet’s weight should be, as well as a specific diet plan to get you to that healthy goal.

‘I only go to the vet when my pet is sick.’
Animals are tremendous masters of disguise; they don’t want to inconvenience us by letting us know they feel poorly. In some species, especially exotics, not showing illness is actually a defense mechanism. Sometimes, by the time owners notice signs of illness, a pet has been sick for quite some time. Annual preventative care exams allow you to catch diseases like arthritis and renal disease much earlier in the process, saving you money and your pet pain and stress.

‘The pet store employee told me to change pet food.’
Choosing a pet food can be confusing. Meanwhile, the person at the pet food store, even with the best intentions, doesn’t know your pet’s medical history the way your vet does. If your veterinarian recommends a specific diet for your pet, there’s usually an excellent reason. Diet plays a key role in your pet’s health, so make sure to include their number one health advocate in that decision.

‘Don’t be scared; give him a cookie!’
When a pet is exhibiting a fearful behavior, such as growling or snapping, it can be tempting to try and calm them down with attention. But rewarding a fearful pet with hugs, food and consolation can actually worsen the behavior by reinforcing it. If this behavior worsens over time, a pet might actually wind up in a shelter, and aggressive pets have lower chances of being adopted. If your pet shows any signs of fear or aggression, talk to a certified trainer, or your veterinary behaviorist ASAP!

‘My dog doesn’t need a leash, he’s trained!’
It’s important to be a good dog ambassador by obeying local dog ordinances about leashes and cleaning up after your pup. When you visit your vet, keeping your pet on leash is best no matter how nice your dog may be. You never know how other dogs will be, especially ones that are not feeling well. If you live in an area where leashes are required by law, you should obey that law without fail. Many people – and even dogs – are frightened of other dogs, and they can be very distressed by being approached by any canine, even a very friendly one. There are designated areas where dogs can run off leash, so if your dog is feeling the call of the wild, find a dog park and let loose!

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Grain Free Pet Food

Read the article below to learn more about what a grain free diet is and whether or not it is the best option for your pet.

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Pet Boarding at AWVH

It is almost summer and I am sure you are starting to feel the warmer weather and longer hours slipping into the days. Summer months let us take advantage of no school and no jacket; often we celebrate with family trips, sporting tournaments or weekend getaways! At All West Veterinary Hospital we hope you are able to do all of those things and more this summer. Keep pet boarding at AWVH in mind while you are away!

All West Vet offers a fun and safe boarding facility for dogs, cats and most exotic animals. Boarding is an excellent option for pets while you are away because your pet will stay in a place where they are welcome and loved. Sometimes hotels and camp grounds are not properly equipped for animals to come along. Pets also receive more attention and supervision at the kennel than when they are left at home alone with a friendly neighbor letting them out and feeding. Pets are monitored by the kennel and veterinary technician staff at All West for any health problems that need to be addressed.

We require all animals that board with us to be up to date on parasite prevention and current on vaccinations. If your animal is not up to date the staff at All West would be happy to set you up for a pre-boarding appointment. During the appointment feel free to ask the kennel staff to show you around. We are proud of our boarding establishment and would love to share it with you before you decide to board your animal.

While boarding your dog here you have an array of activities to choose from:
-Individual walks for 30 minutes as frequently you would like
-Group play for 30 minutes with other dog-friendly dogs under direct supervision from one of our well trained kennel technicians
-Individual play for dogs who would prefer fetch over walks, but don’t care for other dogs as much

We can’t wait to see you and your pet here this summer. We hope this answered many questions you may have about boarding. If not please feel free to call us to schedule an appointment in advance or voice any concerns. We would love to hear from you!

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