What Is Hypercalcemia?

Hypercalcemia is a serious electrolyte abnormality caused by excessive exposure to or ingestion of vitamin D. Symptoms of vitamin D toxicosis, which can affect multiple organ functions, usually occur within 24 to 72 hours of ingestion and include anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, polyuria, polydipsia, depression and weakness. Initially, clinical signs may be vague and nonspecific.   Continue reading


Why Do Dogs Vomit?

A dog may vomit simply because he’s eaten something disagreeable or gobbled down too much food, too fast. But vomiting can also indicate something far more serious—your dog may have swallowed a toxic substance, or may be suffering from a condition that requires immediate medical attention. Vomiting can also be associated with gastrointestinal and systemic disorders that should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

What Might Cause A Sudden, or Acute, Episode of Vomiting?

  • Bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Diet-related causes (diet change, food intolerance, ingestion of garbage)
  • Foreign bodies (i.e. toys, bones, pieces of chewies) in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Acute kidney failure
  • Acute liver failure or gall bladder inflammation
  • Pancreatitis
  • Post-operative nausea
  • Ingestion of toxic substances
  • Viral infections
  • Certain medications or anesthetic agents
  • Bloat
  • Heatstroke
  • Car sickness
  • Infected uterus

Vomiting that occurs sporadically or irregularly over a longer period of time can be due to stomach or intestinal inflammation, severe constipation, cancer, kidney dysfunction, liver disease or systemic illness.

What Should I Do If My Dog Vomits Frequently?

An occasional, isolated bout of vomiting may not be of concern. However, frequent or chronic vomiting can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as colitis, intestinal obstruction or parvovirus. If your dog’s vomiting is not an isolated incident, please bring him to the vet right away for a complete examination and diagnostic testing.

What Other Symptoms Should I Watch For?

The causes of vomiting are so varied that sometimes obtaining a diagnosis can be difficult, so it’s important to give your veterinarian as much information as possible and indicate if other signs are also occurring. What to watch for:

  • Frequency of vomiting. If your dog vomits once and proceeds to eat regularly and have a normal bowel movement, the vomiting was most likely an isolated incident.
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
  • Blood in vomit
  • Weight loss
  • Change in appetite
  • Increase or decrease in thirst or urination

When Is It Time To See The Vet?

Please see your vet if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, if your dog vomits more than once during the course of a day, or if vomiting persists past one day.

How Will My Vet Determine What’s Causing the Vomiting?

Depending on your pet’s age, medical history, physical examination findings and your dog’s particular symptoms, your veterinarian may choose to perform various diagnostic tests (bloodwork, radiographs, ultrasound, fecal examination, endoscopy, biopsy or even exploratory surgery) in order to make a diagnosis.

What Are Some Treatment Options?

You can baby your dog as you would a sick child and give him homemade food such as boiled potatoes, rice and well-cooked, skinless chicken. In certain situations, your dog may require fluid therapy, antibiotics, a change in diet, antiemetics (drugs to help control vomiting) or other medication. It is best to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations regarding appropriate treatment.



Cushing’s Disease

Adrenal gland

Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) in dogs is a condition that results from thechronic overproduction of too muchglucocorticoid in the body. In the normal dog, the pituitary gland produces a hormone called ACTH, which stimulates the adrenal gland to produce the glucocorticoid hormones necessary for the function of many systems in the body. If something goes wrong in the pituitary gland or adrenal gland and too much glucocorticoid is produced, then Cushing’s disease develops. This is a very complicated disease with a wide range of symptoms and causes. This article will try to give a concise description of the disease, its symptoms, how it is diagnosed, and its treatment.Continue reading

Veterinary Dental Costs

Why is veterinary dental care costly? Plus tips for the pet
I am asked why the cost of veterinary dentistry is expensive. It is true that over the
past several years there has been a change in veterinary dental fees. This is a direct
result of the increase in technology that is available for the safe anesthesia and
treatment necessary to practice the highest quality veterinary dentistry. The good
news is with this new technology, we can provide much better quality oral care for our
pets and have them live healthier, happier lives.
All dental procedures should be performed under
general anesthesia. Safe anesthesia starts with
prescreening to determine the overall health of a
patient. This includes a comprehensive physical
examination, blood tests and sometimes other tests
such as chest x-rays, echocardiograms or
electrocardiograms. Anesthesia drugs, administration
and monitoring pets undergoing dental procedures have
become very sophisticated so that we can now
anesthetize higher risk and older patients with a higher
degree of safety. While a patient is under general anesthesia, several vital signs are
monitored to ensure the patient is tolerating the anesthesia well. Monitoring often
includes an electrocardiogram, blood oxygen, expired carbon dioxide and blood
pressure. The prescreening process and administration of anesthesia is quite similar to
the process used in human medicine.
Through the use of intra oral x-rays, technology has also
advanced to allow us to diagnose dental disease that was
previously undetectable. Many practices now use digital
radiography or a computerized x-ray image. This eliminates the
need for dental films and the slow process of developing x-rays
by hand. Now, a digital sensor is placed in the patient’s mouth
and the image shows up on a computer screen seconds
later. The amount of radiation necessary for digital images is only a fraction of what was used for film x-rays. Intra oral radiography is the single
most important tool for the diagnosis of dental disease.
Many veterinary dental practices are now using “high speed” drills for use in oral
surgery. This allows us to more easily treat teeth, extract teeth and perform many
oral surgeries. As a result of all the advances in veterinary dentistry, we have an
increased ability to treat the dental disease that is present with higher degrees of
sophistication. All of this adds to an increased cost of care, but the best news is that
we now have pets that seem to feel much younger, happier and more energetic after
being treated for dental disease.
With increased knowledge of dentistry, we are now capable if diagnosing and treating
a much wider variety of dental disease. These new therapies allow us to save teeth in
many instances and help to maintain mouths with a lesser degree of oral pain. Some
of the procedures that are commonly performed include endodontic therapy (root
canal therapy) for broken or dead teeth, advanced medical and surgical techniques for
treating periodontal disease, orthodonture for animals whose natural bite might be
causing oral pain, newer techniques for the treatment of jaw fractures and
the placement of crowns on working dogs with fractured teeth.
Part of every pet’s examination should include an oral
evaluation. In the awake patient, only a limited view of the
mouth is obtained, but often good enough to determine if an
anesthetic exam and dental cleaning should be
performed. The veterinarian is often looking for evidence of
halitosis (bad breath), calculus or tartar on the teeth,
gingivitis, periodontitis, broken teeth, loose teeth, decay of
the teeth, etc. Any of these changes warrants an anesthetic
evaluation and treatment.
Preventive dental care at home should include daily
brushing of the teeth. Brushing less than once a day has
been shown to have little positive benefits on the
prevention of dental disease. There are now diets and
chews approved by the Veterinary Oral Health
Council (VOHC). The VOHC seal of approval certifies that
a dental diet or product will decrease plaque and tartar
accumulation on teeth. Annual oral exams performed by
your veterinarian can help screen for dental disease and
annual prophies are recommended to minimize plaque and tartar build up. Keeping
the teeth clean is the best way to prevent periodontal disease and keep our pets
healthier and happier.

Top 5 Pet Toxins

From ASPCA.org  They recieved calls about toxins to pets and these were the top 5!

Dog laying next to open pill bottle


1. Prescription Human Medications

We handled 24,673 cases regarding human prescription medications—the top offender for the sixth year in a row—in 2013. The top three types of medications that animals were exposed to include: heart medications, antidepressants and pain medications. Many instances of exposure occurred when pet parents dropped their medication when preparing to take it, and before they knew it, Fido had gobbled the pill off the floor.

2. Insecticides

Insecticides are used in the yard, home and on our animals, and nearly 16% of all calls to our poison hotline in 2013 were related to insecticides. Always read the label before using any insecticide on your pet, in your home or in your yard.

3. Over-the-Counter Human Medications

Over-the-counter human products, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and herbal supplements, accounted for nearly 15% of calls to APCC in 2013. Many of these products are tasty to pets, and some can be life threatening if ingested.

4. Household Products

Our poison hotline fielded nearly 17,000 calls about general household products in 2013. Household toxins range from fire logs to cleaning products.

5. People Food

Human foods are often appealing to pets, especially dogs. In 2013, people foods clocked in as the fifth most common pet poison. Pets can get themselves into serious trouble by ingesting onions, garlic, grapes, raisins and the sugar substitute xylitol, among other common food items.

Pet Health Checklist

Pet Health Checklist

The information contained in this site is not intended to replace a physical examination by a licensed veterinarian. If you think your pet is ill, please contact a veterinarian right away.

This simple checklist will help us evaluate your pet’s health.

If your answer is ‘YES‘ to any of the questions below, please speak with your veterinarian or call us at (505) 275-3647 to arrange an appointment with one of our Veterninarians


Activity Level

  • is inactive and/or depressed
  • walks with stiffness, pain, or difficulty
  • limps


  • breathes with difficulty or has a cough

Ear, Nose & Throat

  • has discharge from the nose or eyes
  • has odor from the ears or excessive ear wax
  • has teeth with plaque or discoloration, reddened gums, or bad breath

Eating, Drinking & Elimination

  • has soft, bloody, or watery bowel movements
  • drinks more than normal amounts of water
  • urinates greater volumes or urinates more times per day than usual
  • eats less than normal
  • has been gaining excessive weight
  • has been losing excessive weight

Skin & Coat

  • has lumps (anywhere)
  • has fleas, ticks, or mites
  • has a dull or scaly coat
  • has sores on skin or oily skin
  • scratches excessively

Canine Osteoarthritis


What is it?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative condition affecting the

cartilage, bone, and surrounding soft tissues of a joint. In
people, it is commonly associated with “wear and tear” as we
age and can result in a painful or stiff joint. In dogs, OA is most
commonly associated with an injury such as a cranial cruciate
ligament rupture, or secondary to abnormal development such
as Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD). Normal cartilage is smooth and
wear resistant, allowing nearly frictionless movement. Once
damage occurs, the surface will become roughened and worn
down, leading to joint pain and inflammation. Surrounding
muscle often can become atrophied and thickened scar tissue
can form around the joint.

How is it Diagnosed?
The most common signs of OA include stiffness, limping, inability
to rise, reluctance to jump or climb stairs, favoring a limb, and
obvious pain. Diagnosis is typically confirmed with an X- ray,
however, in some cases additional tests such as bloodwork and
joint fluid analysis or joint tap may be required to determine the
underlying cause.


While arthritis cannot be cured, there are three main components
to medical management that aim to slow its progression and
relieve pain:

Dietary Changes and Weight Control
1) Weight Control
Studies have shown that overweight pets are more likely to
develop OA than pets that are an optimal Body Condition Score
(BCS). Additionally, overweight pets will show more symptoms
such as limping and pain than pets that are maintained at an
optimal BCS. In surgical patients, we see that overweight pets
have a slower recovery and more difficult time with healing
and rehabilitation. Achieving an optimal BCS (4.0/9) involves
feeding your pet the appropriate number of calories for its target
body weight. Many “lite” or “weight control” commercial diets
are available on the market, and healthy treats, such as baby
carrots, are a great alternative to high-calorie dog biscuits. We
will provide further information on body condition scores and
appropriate caloric intake calculations that are customized to
your pet’s needs. In some cases, we may recommend labwork
to evaluate the possibility of metabolic disease that may affect
weight or recommend consultation with a nutrition specialist.

2) Joint Specific Diets

Joint Specific Diets, such as Hill’s Science Diet J/D and Purina
Joint Mobility contain a specific balance and content of short
chain fatty acids (Omega-3/ Eicosapentaenoic Acid). Studies
have shown Omega-3 fatty acids to be preferentially incorporated
into the membranes of joint cells and result in less production of
inflammatory mediators associated with arthritis.
Activity Modification
Daily low impact exercise improves joint mobility, aids in weight
control, and strengthens the muscles that support joints. Similar
to people with OA, high impact activities will result in a “flare-
up” ofdiscomfort that may last for a few days. Consider a person
with OA of the knee; a high impact activity such as road running

or playing basketball will likely result in some soreness or
stiffness for a few days. Obviously, it is not practical to attempt
to eliminate this type of activity in our pets but an attempt should
be made to tip the balance of their activity toward the low impact
activities. Leash walking and swimming are excellent activities
for arthritic pets. As their body condition, muscle strength, and
range of motion improve they will develop less inflammation
with intense exercise and more high impact activities can be
added. Formal evaluation with a physical therapist can aid in
the improvement of function by increasing muscle strength and
joint range of motion.

Medications and Supplements
1) Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAIDS)
Medications specifically designed for safety and efficacy in dogs
can decrease inflammation associated with OA, thus relieving
pain and increasing mobility. These are generally safe for chronic
use and can be given on an “as needed” basis. As in people, the
most common side effects are very individual and most commonly
include gastrointestinal upset. Administration should be under
the supervision of your veterinarian and your pet should be
monitored for vomiting, diarrhea, or dark, tarry stool. Discontinue
use and contact your veterinarian immediately should these
occur. In animals with pre-existing liver or kidney disease, more
severe side effects may occur so labwork should be performed
prior to initiation of therapy and periodically while your pet is
being treated. Adverse cardiovascular effects that are seen with
some of these medications in people are typically associated with
pre-existing conditions, such as arterial plaque deposits, which
make this much less of a concern in our pets.

2) Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate Supplements
These supplements are referred to as Nutraceuticals or Chondro
(cartilage) – protective agents. These compounds are distributed
to all joints in the body after oral or injectable administration
and may have the ability to modify the disease process of OA by
decreasing inflammatory mediators, stimulating cartilage matrix
production, and improvement of joint fluid viscosity. In general,
the oral compounds are safe for daily use and may be given in
conjunction with common veterinary NSAIDS.
3) Other Medications
– Tramadol, Amantidine and Gabapentin
These medications are typically not used by themselves for
treatment of OA but may used in conjunction with an NSAID in
more severe cases. They are usually reserved as a second or
third line medication.
4) Steroids/ Steroid Injections
Commonly used in treatment of OA in people and horses. Steroids
may have an early beneficial response as an anti- inflammatory
agent but is ultimately responsible for further degrading joint
cartilage. Additionally, severe systemic side effects may occur
in dogs with prolonged exposure to steroids making their use in
the treatment of OA in small animals difficult to justify.
5) Other Tips
n Gentle massage and cold or warm compresses can decrease
swelling and soothe joint pain.
n Too little exercise, for example only on weekends,
can cause more harm than good.
n Always provide your pet with a warm, well-padded
place to rest.

Vaccinating Senior Pets

Maintaining your pet’s vaccinations is very important, as older pets have decreased resistance to disease. During your pet’s senior wellness exam, we will test the current level of antibody titers and recommend the most appropriate protocol for you and your pet. We can adjust your pet’s vaccine regimen to ensure your pet has an effective level of disease protection and eliminate stress in your senior pet’s immune response unnecessarily.

10 Table Foods Pets Shouldn’t Eat

When you see Fluffy giving you a sad little look while standing next to the dinner table, you might be tempted to slip your furry pal a little taste of your food. Or perhaps you’ve been in the midst of preparing a large holiday meal and let your pet tend to the floor scraps. Beats sweeping, right?

Sharing food with your pet may seem relatively harmless, but outside of encouraging bad begging behaviors and possibly even weight gain (thanks to the extra calories), you could actually be putting your pet’s overall health and life at risk. There are a number of foods and ingredients consumed by humans every day, like chocolate, milk and garlic that can trigger serious toxic reactions in pets. We’ll take a closer look at the ones that can be most harmful to your four-legged friends. We’ll examine the signs of ingestion, the side effects, and what you should do in case of emergency. Let’s start with one that seems very harmless: milk.

Continue reading