What to Expect When Your Dog is Expecting

You think your dog is pregnant, but you’re not 100% sure. What do you do? Have no fear, we are here to help!

How can you tell if she’s pregnant? Here are some signs and symptoms that she’s expecting:

1. Decreased activity- She may want to sleep more than usual and not play as much.

2. Appetite changes- At the beginning of her pregnancy, she may not want to eat much, she may even vomit occasionally (doggie morning sickness). Towards the end of her pregnancy, she may want to eat a lot. She may also get picky with her diet as her hormones change.

3. Unusual behavior- Some dogs may want to be with their owner more often, even becoming clingy. But some dogs may want to be left alone and become irritable when they get attention. Again, every dog is different and it’s because of changing hormones.

4. Enlarged or discolored nipples- If she is pregnant, you will notice that her usually flat areolas will become more rounded. You may also notice a change in color to her nipples, they become pinker, as blood flow increases to the area. Closer to delivery, she may even start leaking milk.

5. Weight gain and enlarged abdomen- If your dog starts gaining weight for an unexplained reason, she may be expecting. This happens later in the pregnancy as the puppies grow, so if you are seeing this, it is probably a good idea to schedule a veterinary appointment to have her examined.

6. Nesting behaviors- An expecting mother may start to shred bedding and other materials to create a nest. This is where she is planning on delivering puppies. If she is in this phase of her pregnancy, it’s best to keep her away from small children as she may be irritable.

Kubiak (6)
Here’s mom in her whelping box. 

Dogs are usually pregnant for approximately 63 days and they have trimesters, just like humans. Their trimesters are about 21 days long, though. If you think she may be pregnant, it’s a good idea to have her examined by a veterinarian 2-3 weeks after she was bred. At this appointment, the doctor will answer any questions you may have and can tell you, in more detail what food to feed, behaviors she may exhibit, and what to expect on her due date. At about 45 days, your veterinarian may want you to bring her in for an x-ray. This will check on the bone structure of the puppies and the vet can count how many puppies she’s having.

When it’s time for your dog to whelp (give birth), it’s best to watch from the sidelines and let nature take it’s course. Your dog’s mama mode will kick in and she will know just what to do. It’s best to not interfere, unless an emergency arises. Signs of an emergency could include abdominal contractions greater than 30 minutes with no birth or greater than 3 hours between puppies.

If you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s pregnancy, we are happy to help. Call to schedule an appointment at (603) 437-1010.

**The mom, Jada, in the pictures above had 10 puppies (6 girls and 4 boys), successfully.  They were born 12-31-2018, New Year’s Eve babies!  All of the puppies came in for their 8 week check ups with Dr. Kulhanek in February and have gone on to new homes. Thank you to Meagan K. for the pictures!!

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The Positive Impact of a Therapy Dog

Hi, this is Traci, a Client Care Rep here at Crossroads. I’m also in charge of our social media and our website. I wanted to take a minute to share a special dog with you. My daughter attends Highland Goffe’s Falls (HGF) Elementary School in Manchester, NH and they have the privilege of having a therapy dog at their school! “Why would they need a therapy dog?” you might ask…well, one major benefit is helping kids read. Some children have trouble or anxiety reading out loud in front of their peers. That’s where Remington comes in! He is the ears they need to listen to them as they learn to read. No judgment, no pressure, just a sweet Golden Retriever to lay down and listen.

Remington 2

I recently interviewed his handler, Gail Dubois, to find out just how much Remington helps the students at HGF.

What is a typical day like for Remington?

Remington’s day starts around 5:00 am when he wakes up with his family. They drop him off at my house around 6:30 am. He stays with me until we leave for school around 7:30. When we get to school his day is started. We stop in to the office to visit first and then make our way around to visit staff. Although Remington has a schedule, we always try to find time for special requests that we might receive. He is scheduled in 20, 30 and 45 minute increments depending on the group and activity. While some kids may read to him, others may take him for a walk, play with him on the field or playground. We might spend some quiet time with someone brushing him or make a trip through a classroom or two to say hello and check on friends. We definitely are stretched thin but always show up to the 4 Autism classrooms at the same time every week as we have become part of their Friday routine.”

Remington 3
Remington and his cousin, who is also being trained as a therapy dog.

Did he need special certification and/or training? Did you?
“Remington’s certification is through Therapy Dogs International and requires a significant amount of training with testing at every level. As his handler, I am part of his certified team. My daughter, Hannah, who is his owner, is also certified as a handler. We trained him together, each taking him to classes and through testing.”

How old is Remington?

“He is 4 and a half years old and has been certified for 2 and a half years.”

What do you think is his favorite part of what he does at HGF?
“Remington loves every minute he is at school and definitely enjoys his fair share of snacks while we are there. He is excited to get to school in the morning and is capable of adapting to the needs of the students he is with. A full day is exhausting for him (and me as well) so he is equally happy at the end of the day to retreat to someplace quiet!”

How do the students react to him?
“Remington and I won a Life Changer of the Year Award this past year (2018) for his work in school. He has been a positive influence on students who work with him and some of the transformations have been incredible.”

~You can find out more about the Life Changer of the Year Award, and see the beautifully written nomination from the school principal here: http://app.lifechangeroftheyear.com/nomination_detail.cfm?NominationID=313

Remington 4
This is the day Remington and Mrs. Dubois were recognized at HGF for the Life Changer Award. 

I have seen Remington and Mrs. Dubois walking around outside during morning drop off. While waiting for the car line to start moving, children will pop out of the car windows just to wave to him. One can easily see he is a proud member of the HGF family.

Studies have proven that having an animal around can significantly change a person’s day. Having a pet with you at work helps to relieve mental, emotional and physical stress of your workday. Dogs are being trained to help people with PTSD. And let’s not forget service dogs that help their owners with disabilities. Unless you are allergic to animals, pets are good for your health! Having an interaction with pets during the day can help reduce high blood pressure, cholesterol and anxiety. Petting an animal releases “feel good” hormones in humans including oxytocin and serotonin.

Now you may be thinking “Wow! It makes sense to have a therapy dog at an elementary school!” And wouldn’t it be great if more schools had therapy dogs?

Why are you muzzling my dog?

Putting a muzzle on a dog can create some controversy. We are here to tell you that muzzles are not a bad thing, they do not make your dog a “bad dog” for needing one. They can be used for multiple reasons, and not just to prevent biting. They are a safety measure that ensures people and dogs stay safe. There are different kinds of muzzles. We are going to explain the different kinds and why we use them.

Let’s start with a basket muzzle. This particular muzzle is a good one to use if you have a dog that notoriously eats non-food items. It does not fit snugly on a dog’s snout, so they are able to open their mouth, just not enough to ingest anything. We have clients that understand that their dog is fearful at the vet and they come in with a muzzle already on! One particular dog comes in wearing his basket muzzle because he had an incident at home and his owners are taking every precaution to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Also, our hospital manager had her dog wear a basket muzzle around her house while introducing a new cat. She did not want the dog to hurt the cat while they were getting to know each other. The dog didn’t mind at all, and was even able to drink from his water bowl while wearing the basket muzzle.

 

Basket muzzles can also be used in training for behavior modification. A trainer can use this muzzle and slip treats in it as rewards. This is not a quick fix for bad behavior, and owners should work with a professional trainer to get advice and tips to modify any unwanted behavior.

The most common muzzle we use in hospital is a nylon muzzle. It goes over the dog’s snout, leaving the nostrils open, they’re able to open their mouth slightly and it clips in the back of the head. If a dog gives us a warning growl during their exam, that will usually warrant a muzzle. We have to keep in mind that a dog is an animal, and animals can bite when they experience fear or anxiety. By muzzling them, we are preventing a possible bite from happening. One reason being: once a dog bites a person and breaks skin, there is a rabies quarantine period (10 days for dogs up to date on their rabies vaccine, 60 days if they are not up to date), followed by a 10-day post-bite visit to the vet. No one wants to have to bring their fearful dog back to the vet so soon!

We also have a muzzle for brachiocephalic dogs, or dogs with “smushed” faces, such as pugs, French bulldogs and Boston terriers. This muzzle fits their face without covering their nose out. It fits their small, round heads well. The picture below is not the best, but that’s because we didn’t have a great model for it.

Again, we muzzle for protection, not because the doctors and techs are afraid of your dog. We’re not shaming your dog or trying to make you feel bad. Seeing a person get bit by a pet is not only sad for both the person that received the bite but also for the dog. Most bites happen due to fear. We work very hard to try to keep stress at a minimum for these pets. We will do whatever it takes to make a dog comfortable. We don’t ever want our clients to feel sad or angry when a muzzle is needed. Unfortunately, we have seen dogs bite their owners while here because they are so fearful. If you are here for an appointment, and your dog requires a muzzle, remember: it’s not a bad thing. And ask questions. We are happy to discuss why it’s necessary.

Training and Socialization

Hello everyone. Charlotte Grove here, coming to talk to you about training and socialization. I am going to be a year old in May, and for the past few months, I have been going to training classes with my mom (Dr. Grove). She brings me to work every day and, to be perfectly honest with you, I can be bratty sometimes. But, since I started training, I have been a lot better and I even get rewarded more! I used to bark for treats, beg for food, bark at people coming into the doctor’s office, steal things off the floor. I never got what I wanted though. No one listened to me. Now that I have learned some patience, and some commands, I get more treats! Who knew being good would get me what I wanted???

Charlotte training (2)

So let’s talk training. We puppies, we have no idea how to behave with humans. Since birth, we’ve only been in close proximity to our siblings and our mom. I’m sure there were humans around, but we only remember the dogs. Then, at 8 weeks old, we are taken from everything we are used to and go live with humans. Some of them have other pets, some of them have little humans, some are alone. Imagine someone speaking to you in a language you don’t understand and expecting you to do what they said. It’s a whole new world for us and we need to learn how to behave. Some pet owners have time in their days to spend training their new 4-legged friend. Some don’t and that’s okay! There are many qualified dog trainers in your area that can help you. Trainers will help you by teaching you and your dog some commands-sit, stay, lay down, leave it, etc. They can also help you teach your dog how to act properly on a leash. All things you will use in the future. Some can even help you teach your dog some tricks, which helps us bond- roll over, speak, paw, etc. No matter how you train your pooch, just make sure you do. It’ll help prevent some issues in the future-pulling on a leash, nipping when taking a toy away, food aggression, and then some.

I have been getting some socialization in since I was adopted. Mom brings me to work and I get to play with other staff dogs. I can play a little rough, though, so I have to be supervised. But the more I play, the better I get. I even have sleep overs now! I spent a night at my friend Jayda’s house and I have spent a few nights with my friend Lambeau. I love sleepovers! And, because of my socialization, I am not afraid of other dogs. And I am not territorial either.

Charlotte and Lambeau
Charlotte and Lambeau

So you see, training and socialization are good things. It doesn’t mean your dog is bad. It just means your dog needs a little help adjusting to their new environment. We know our new humans love us and want what’s best for us. And we aim to please!

Talk to your veterinarian or a technician if you have any questions or concerns about training. I was also told to remind you that if you want to bring your puppy into Crossroads for a “happy visit” it is encouraged. No appointment needed! Just bring your puppy in to socialize with staff and other dogs in the waiting room (as long as they aren’t sick). Show them that going to the vet is not always about being examined. The staff may even be able to give your dog a treat or two!

Thanks for reading and happy training!!!

Love, Charlotte

Essential Oils and Your Pets

Recently, there have been a lot of articles floating around the internet about essential oils and whether or not they are safe to use on pets. The truth is, there is no solid yes or no answer to this question.

Are some more harmful than others? It depends on what they are mixed with and/or how they are diluted.

Are they problematic if they are diffused in a diffuser? Again, they can be, it depends on the scent and your pet’s health. Keep reading, we will get into that.

Some Facts

Some people like to use a more all-natural product for flea and tick prevention. Here are the common essential oils recommended on the internet for flea and tick prevention and why they can cause issues for pets:

D-Limonene

– Minimal to moderate efficacy to control fleas.

– It needs to be diluted properly.

– If not diluted properly, can cause: dermatitis, oral irritation, lethargy, vomiting, salivation, ataxia (the loss of full control of bodily movements) and muscle tremors.

– It can penetrate skin and cause decrease in blood pressure leading to hypothermia.

Melaleuca (tea tree oil)

– Can provide antibacterial and antifungal properties, but at high concentrations that are often toxic to animals.

– No efficacy for fleas has been established.

– Ataxia, weakness, tremors, depression in pets.

Pennyroyal Oil

– Google states effective against fleas and ticks, however it’s not proven.

– Contains volatile compound called pulegone which is highly toxic, particularly to the liver.

– Applied directly to an animal can cause depression, vomiting, liver failure, diarrhea, nose bleeds, seizures and death.

-NEVER TO BE USED ON ANIMALS.

 

The truth of it is, dogs and cats can experience adverse effects of essential oils even if used at the proper label instructions. Leading experts in the veterinary field, like Dr. Richard Gerhold, DVM, MS, PhD, confirm that there is no support for the use of essential oils as parasite control. Fleas and ticks are more than just a nuisance; they can transmit debilitating, even deadly, diseases. Some of these diseases can be transmitted to people as well.

Many essential oils and liquid potpourri products, including oil of cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree (melaleuca), wintergreen, and ylang ylang, are poisonous to pets. Both ingestion and skin exposure can be toxic. And not just dogs and cats, either. They can cause issues with rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters as well.

– So, should you get rid of all essential oils in the house?

Not necessarily. Just be sure to use caution with them. Use them in a secure room, where pets are not going to be exposed to them. Keep the oils out of reach of animals and secure the diffuser so it can’t get knocked over. Pet-proofing is important.

  • If you have a pet with respiratory issues, such as asthma, it’s best not to use them at all.
  • If you have a bird, do not use them at all! Birds have sensitive respiratory tracts and oils may cause serious problems.
  • Dogs and cats have a more developed sense of smell. So even the smells can cause them discomfort.

If you are using essential oils directly on your pets, please discontinue and give us a call. If it’s alternative medicine you are looking for, our Dr. Hertel can help guide you in the right direction. He is familiar with other all-natural products that are pet friendly. And anytime you see articles floating around on social media that you are questioning, just call us, (603) 437-1010. We are happy to help.

Heartworm Disease in Pets

Have you ever wondered why we recommend preventives for heartworm for dogs and cats? It’s not a very popular disease here in the northeast, but with more and more dogs being adopted from the south, where it’s prevalent, we are seeing instances of it more often. This disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. All a mosquito has to do is feed off of an animal that is positive, such as wolves, coyotes, foxes or pets that are positive, and then feed on a pet that is not treated with heartworm prevention. This is why yearly heartworm tests are recommended and why monthly preventatives are recommended by your veterinarian. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends it also.

Roxy

When should I test my dog?

*Let’s say you adopt a cute 8 month old puppy from down south. You bring him home, fall in love and make him a member of your family. You get him established at your veterinarian’s office, your doctor recommends a heartworm test and he tests negative for heartworm disease. Great! Now your doctor says “I want to test him again in 6 month,” Why? you may ask. Answer: It takes at least 6 months for a dog to test positive after being infected.

*Or, you have an adult dog, not on prevention, but you want to start. Your veterinarian will want to test her before putting her on heartworm prevention, then test again in 6 months. Reason being the heartworms need to be at least 7 months old before the infection can be diagnosed. Another test will be needed at 12 months and, as long as she is on prevention all year, she’ll only need to be tested annually.

What are the signs and symptoms of heartworm in dogs?

In the early stages of the disease, dogs may not show any clinical signs at all. The longer the infection goes undetected, the more likely symptoms will occur. Here’s a snippet from www.heartwormsociety.org:

AHS_Logo_TM_highres

Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen. Dogs with large numbers of heartworms can develop sudden blockages of blood flow within the heart leading to a life-threatening form of cardiovascular collapse. This is called caval syndrome, and is marked by a sudden onset of labored breathing, pale gums, and dark bloody or coffee-colored urine. Without prompt surgical removal of the heartworm blockage, few dogs survive.

What are the signs and symptoms of heartworm in cats?

Ham and Joey

First of all, let’s mention that cats are an atypical host for heartworms. Most heartworms in cats do not survive to adulthood, however even immature worms can cause damage in cats. Unfortunately, the treatment used to rid the infection in dogs is not safe for cats. However, cats can be helped with monthly preventatives and good veterinary care.

Signs of heartworm in cats may be subtle or severe. Symptoms may include:

*coughing

*asthma-like attacks

*occasional vomiting

*lack of appetite

*weight loss.

In more severe cases, an affected cat could have difficulty walking, have some fainting or seizures, or suffer from fluid in the abdomen. In some cases the first sign could be sudden collapse or sudden death.

How do you treat a dog that is heartworm positive?

First we need to confirm a diagnosis. After testing positive on the heartworm test, an additional blood test is needed. Treatment is expensive and complex, so we need to be sure the original test was not a false positive.

Dogs must be otherwise healthy in order to start treatment. Exercise has to be very limited! Over exertion can increase the amount of damage done to heart and lungs by the heartworms.

Mya in a kennel
Strict cage rest is sad

Treatment is done over the course of 90 days, with additional blood tests after that. If your dog tests positive, your doctor will go over the schedule that is to take place. The days of treatment require hospitalization for monitoring, to be sure there’s no side effects of the medication. The injection can be painful, so your dog may be given pain medication as well.

Here is a breakdown of cost to treat a heartworm positive dog (injections are based on weight) versus treating monthly with a preventative:

For a 24lb dog, the total estimated treatment would cost approximately $1500 which is equivalent to:

22 years of protection with Heartgard Plus chew tabs given once a month

20 years of protection with ProHeart6 injections every 6 months

6 years of protection with Revolution topical treatment given once a month

For a 49lb dog, the total estimated treatment would cost approximately $1800 which is equivalent to:

20 years of protection with Heartgard Plus chew tabs given once a month

19 years of protection with ProHeart6 injections every 6 months

7 years of protection with Revolution topical treatment given once a month

For a 75lb dog, the total estimated treatment would cost approximately $1950 which is equivalent to:

18 years of protection with Heartgard Plus chew tabs given once a month

15 years of protection with ProHeart6 injections every 6 months

8 years of protection with Revolution topical treatment given once a month

It is not fun to watch dogs go through the treatment of heartworm disease. It’s so much easier (and much more cost effective) to treat with prevention on a monthly basis.

More information can be found at https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/heartworm-basics or on our website at www.crossroadsanimal-hospital.com

As always, we are here for you if you have any questions or concerns about heartworm in your pet.

What to do if your pet has a seizure

Has your pet ever had a seizure? It’s a scary thing to witness. Your four-legged baby has no control over their body; whether they’re having muscle twitching, stiffness, or losing their bowels, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. The best thing you can do for your pet is to remain calm. Try to take notice of what is happening (muscle twitching, body stiffening, foaming at the mouth, losing bladder or bowel control, eye movement) and try to time how long the seizure lasts. Unless your pet is at risk for injury, don’t move him/her. If their head is banging on the floor, you can carefully slide a towel underneath, but be very careful around the head, especially the mouth. They can bite unexpectedly and for no reason. However, if a seizure lasts more than 3-5 minutes, this is considered an emergency and you should take your pet to either an emergency clinic or your regular veterinarian. Just try to keep the environment as calm as possible.

Joey

Once the seizure is over, it’s important to know that your pet may be “out of it” for a few hours. It takes a lot out of them to have a seizure, it’s mentally and physically exhausting. Some pets actually get a burst of energy and will run around for a few minutes after a seizure. And some seizures are so minor (staring off at nothing or attempting to bite at something in the air, for example), you may not even know what it is.

Regardless of the severity, or frequency, you should definitely call your vet after a seizure has happened. There are blood tests that can be done to see if your pet has epilepsy, which is defined as a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Some pets need medication to control seizures. Your veterinarian will work closely with you to help monitor the severity, frequency, and characteristics.

Chowder

We want to share this information with you so if you witness a seizure, you can know what to expect. Just remain calm and call your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

The Crossroads Animal Hospital Staff