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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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Puppies (and potty training…)!

Puppies!!!! Everyone loves them and there is so much joy and excitement that comes with your new family member but there is also a lot of work and frustration that comes with training your new puppy, especially potty training. My name is Krystle and I am one of the small animal technicians here at All West Veterinary. I’ve been with the hospital almost 5 years so I have definitely seen the frustrations of many owners and I myself have had my share of frustrations with training my puppy, Waylon. Luckily working at All West gave me the knowledge of how to properly and quickly potty train her, and it worked! Within a week and a half the accidents inside the house were very few and far between and shortly after that they stopped completely. Today I want to share with you the tips to help make housebreaking your new puppy a little easier and quicker.

To start, the ideal age to train your puppy is 7 ½ to 8 ½ weeks old. The puppy is young enough at this age for you to teach him/her where to eliminate before they decide on their own personal favorite place. You still can train your new puppy even if it is older than 8 ½ weeks it just may take a little longer. The biggest key is patience! Take your new puppy outside 6-8 times a day for him/her to eliminate, the ideal times to take them out is after they wake up, after play sessions and 15-30 minutes after a meal. Remember, many puppies need 15-20 minutes to sniff and move around before they eliminate. Use key phrases like “go potty” or “do your business” every time you take your puppy outdoors. It is best to take them outside to an area with very minimal distractions. Once your puppy eliminates outdoors make sure you praise your puppy and repeatedly say “good boy/girl”, treats can also be very effective for this. Make sure your praise is outside immediately after the puppy eliminates, not after coming inside as this may make the puppy think it is being rewarded for coming inside. It is highly recommended not to use potty pads in the house as this only trains your puppy it is okay to go in the house. Take the possibility of a few accidents in the house and stick with directing your puppy outdoors to do his/her business.

When you are not home it is a great idea to keep your puppy confined to a crate small enough that they can’t eliminate on one side and get away from it. Most dogs won’t eliminate in a place they sleep, but keep in mind that your puppies’ bladder and bowel capacity is limited so they need to be let out approximately every 4 hours. Make sure to supervise your puppy when he/she is in the house and out of their crate so that if they do start to eliminate you are there to correct them and get them outside. If your puppy does have an accident in the house, don’t go get the puppy and rub his/her nose in it. This doesn’t do any good because the misbehavior has already happened. Instead, try and catch the puppy in the act. If you see the puppy getting ready to house soil, don’t swat it, instead stomp your foot, shake a can filled with pennies, or startle the puppy by yelling “outside!”. If your puppy does eliminate in the house you want to make sure to thoroughly clean the areas where the puppy has eliminated. If you do not clean these areas thoroughly your puppy may return to it and house soil again.

Feed your puppy at set times every day to create regular intervals at which your puppy will need to eliminate. If you are having troubles getting your puppy to let you know when they need to go outside you can train them to ring a bell on a door. To do this, suspend a small bell from your door knob low enough that your pup can use his/her nose or paw to ring it. Each time you take your puppy outside make them ring the bell with their nose or paw, you can use your hand to gently guide them how to do this. Praise your dog after they ring the bell and take them outside. Repeat this until your puppy is doing it on his/her own. You can also spread a little peanut butter on the bell and let your puppy outside when they ring the bell while licking it. Most puppies can take until they are 14 to 20 weeks old to be fully potty trained, be patient and consult with your veterinarian if you’re having difficulty potty training your puppy.

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