Canine Influenza

Dental Health

MRSA and Your Pet

Post Operation

Pre Operation

Secondhand Smoke

Xylitol Toxicity 

Zoonotic Diseases








Secondhand Smoke and Cancer in Pets

April 2015 - The Virginia Veterinary Medical Association released the following information:


A recent study by the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine underscores the link between secondhand smoke and cancer in pets. According to the study, secondhand smoke can cause lung and nasal cancer in dogs, malignant lymphoma in cats and allergy and respiratory problems in both animals.

Cats are particularly susceptible to tobacco smokeóthe study found that repeated exposure to secondhand smoke doubled a catís chances of getting cancer, and living with a smoker for more than five years increased the risk fourfold. Lymphoma is one of the leading causes of feline death.

Though there are currently no statistics on how many pets die each year due to the effects of secondhand smoke, the CDC estimates that over 42 million adults in the United States regularly light upówhich means plenty of pets are at risk. And though research is still being done on the risks of electronic cigarettes, it is worth noting that nicotine is extremely toxic to animals. E-cigarette cartridges should be disposed of with utmost care in order to prevent animal ingestion.





























Canine Influenza


Please click on the link below to learn more about Canine Influenza.

Influenza information - AVMA





































Pre Operation Care


What to expect when your pet is having surgery or dental work


If your pet is coming to see us for a spay or neuter, dental procedure, growth removal, or any other procedure that requires anesthesia, please review the information below for our drop-off protocol and pre-operative instructions. We understand that you may be nervous about your petís procedure. Please rest assured that our doctors do everything possible to ensure each animalís safety and comfort.  Please also know that we are here to answer any and all questions that you may have, so please do not hesitate to ask.


After 10 PM the night before your petís procedure, he/she cannot have any food or treats.  Please allow free access to water at all times.


Please arrive at the clinic between 8 and 9 AM on the morning of the procedure. When you drop off your pet, our receptionist will ask you to sign consent forms and will also ask whether you would like us to perform pre-operative bloodwork and an EKG. These optional tests are recommended by the doctors for any animal undergoing anesthesia to ensure that he/she is a good candidate for anesthesia. If you opt to do these tests, they will be performed in the morning after you drop your pet off.


Since your furry friend is going to be anesthetised, now is an excellent time to have him/her microchipped. Microchipping is a safe and permanent identification system to protect your pet from getting lost if he/she were to slip out the door or in the case of a natural disaster.


Most procedures are performed between the hours of noon and 4 PM. After the procedure, the veterinarian will call you with an update on how your pet is doing and discuss his/her post-operative care and follow-up instructions. For most procedures (except for some dog spays and all cat declaws)your pet will be able to go home later that same evening, usually between 6:30 and 7:30 PM. At pick-up, our receptionist will go over any follow-up instructions and medications that your pet requires. If after taking your pet home you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call us.





Post Operation Care


Every procedure is unique, so please follow the specific instructions that were discussed when your pet was discharged. 

The following is a basic set of instructions for most surgeries:

1.  Sutures are usually removed 10 to 14 days following the procedure.  Please call to set up this appointment.

2.  Do not allow your pet to run or jump until the sutures have been removed.

3.  Make sure that the incision remains clean and dry.

4.  Mild redness and swelling may occur around the incision.  This is often normal, however we would like you to call us so that we can decide if we need to check the incision.

5.  Do not allow your pet to lick the incision.  Elizabethan collars can be purchased at your local pet store and they come in a variety of sizes and textures.

6.  Most importantly, call us immediately if you have any questions or concerns!











Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA, often pronounced "mer-sa") is a  bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics including methicillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. Because of its resistance, it is sometimes referred to as a superbug. MRSA has received a lot of media attention lately. In the past it was less common and typically only associated with infection of hospitalized people. Now infectionsare occurring more commonly. There are 2 patterns of MRSA infection in people:

1. People, particularly those with poor immune systems or those taking antibiotics, who pick it up from staff members at a hospital or healthcare facility. These patients can become critically ill (septicemia, pneumonia). Hospital staff members typically transfer MRSA from their hands to the patient if  adequate hygiene precautions are not taken.

2. People who have not been in hospital recently and feel well, but have skin abscesses or "boils", sometimes resembling a spider bite. This is called community-associated MRSA. Sources of infection are contact at schools, social and sporting events (especially contact with sweaty people or gymnasium/sporting equipment).

Staphylococcus dermatitis is common in dogs (but not common in cats), however this type of "Staph infection" is not usually due to MRSA. Dogs and cats have their own species called Staph. intermedius, which is not contagious to you. If you develop a MRSA infection it is highly likely that you acquired it from another person. Many of us "carry" Staph. aureus on our skin, in our nasal passages, throat and intestinal tract. If we carry the bacteria but do not have clinical signs of illness we are said to be colonized. Recently it has been found that pets can become colonized with MRSA after close contact with infected or colonized people. Less commonly, people can become colonized after close contact with pets (who have already acquired MRSA from another person, or rarely another pet). Colonized people can become sick if their immune system becomes compromised (e.g. a person taking chemotherapy) or if a cut or wound becomes infected. There are rare reports of dogs and cats developing skin abscesses and other types of infections (urinary tract, eye and ear infections) due to MRSA.  There are even fewer reports of pets acting as a source of reinfection to people because dogs and cats who become colonized with MRSA usually naturally eliminate the bacteria from their body with time (this is a bacteria that prefers people, not cats and dogs!).

Colonized people are not usually treated with antibiotics to clear MRSA unless they work in a healthcare setting. Likewise, colonized pets are not treated with antibiotics. Indiscriminant use of antibiotics could in fact be dangerous when MRSA is present, because this bacteria develops resistance to antibiotics quickly, particularly if the antibiotics are not used correctly (course stopped too early or too low of a dose used). Colonized people or pets should not be treated like "lepers". To prevent MRSA infections, frequent handwashing and good environmental cleanliness is advocated. The possible presence of MRSA (and of course many other types of bacteria) in a pet's mouth is another good reason to discourage hand/face licking by your pet. MRSA on skin surfaces/objects is destroyed by most disinfectants and antiseptics.

If you have any further concerns regarding MRSA and your pet, please contact us and make an appointment.  If you have any concerns regarding your own health and MRSA, please contact your physician.

















Zoonotic Diseases


Zoonotic diseases are diseases that can be transmitted to humans from animals.  Below is a very useful link to the Virginia Department of Health's website concerning zoonotic diseases.  Please note that this is for informational purposes only.  If you have any questions or concerns you should contact your family physician immediately.

Virginia Department of Health Zoonotic Disease Website





Xylitol Toxicity

Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is commonly found in a variety of human foods, in particular sugarless chewing gum and candies because of its antibacterial properties.  It is also present in some types of peanut butter, toothpastes, mouthwashes, baked goods and is sold as pure xylitol powder for baking.

Xylitol can be toxic to dogs.  Ingestion of large amounts can cause liver damage, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin/eyeballs/gums) and death.  Ingestion of smaller quantities can cause a drop in blood glucose (hypoglycemia) leading to weakness, tremors, seizures and loss of consciousness.  It is unknown if xylitol is toxic to cats.

Ingestion of 1 gram per kilogram bodyweight (1 g/kg) or more may cause liver damage, and doses of 0.1 g/kg or higher could cause hypoglycemia.  A single stick of sugar-free gum may contain up to 0.6 g of xylitol, so less than 1 stick of gum could be toxic to a 4.5 kg (10 lb) dog. One brand of breathmints called "Xylimax" contains even more xylitol - 1 gram xylitol/piece of candy.  Keep xylitol containing foodstuffs out of reach of your pets.

We sell an oral hygiene product called CET Aquadent.  This contains small amounts of xylitol because of its anti-bacterial properties.  If properly diluted, as per the directions on the bottle, it is non-toxic.  Correct dilution results in a solution containing 0.05 mg/ml, so a 4.5 kg (10 lb) dog would need to ingest 9 liters of water a day (probably physically impossible!) to ingest a toxic dose.  Since accidental ingestion of undiluted Aquadent could cause toxicity, you should keep this product, along with all pet (and human) medications out of reach of your pets.

If your pet ingests a poisonous substance, medication or food, or something of uncertain toxicity, it is best to immediately call the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.  They have the most up-to-date information on pet poisonings, toxic doses and treatments.  Your pet will be given a case number and advice will be given (for treatment at home/and or a veterinary clinic).  There is a fee for using this service (currently $60/case) but this information could save your pet's life. 


















Pets have teeth too!


February is National Pet Dental Health Month.


Visit the Veterinary Oral Health Council and AVMA's website, where you can find many great resources on how to care for your pet's teeth.