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"Pet Talk"

The Pet Clinic Blog


Real doctors bringing you pet information you can trust!

Welcome to our blog!


Here, our doctors discuss important information about pet care, current-event pet topics, facts and myths regarding pet care, and more! Feel free to join in the discussions, and  check back often for more posts!

By thepetclin3276607, Jul 30 2015 08:57PM

We have recently heard about the addition of xylitol to certain brands of peanut butter, and we, here at The Pet Clinic, wanted to give you the inside scoop on this potentially toxic ingredient! dvm360 Magazine published a great article on these recent findings (click here to read the full article). Here's a summary of the information from their article and why you should be concerned as a pet owner!

Xylitol, a popular natural sweetener found in many foods (sugar-free gum, toothpaste, desserts, baked goods, etc.) and known to be toxic to dogs and cats, is now also found in several specialty peanut and nut butter brands. Nuts ‘n More, Krush Nutrition and P-28 Foods all make peanut butter and nut-based spreads containing the ingredient.

Xylitol has been used in many food products for years, but its presence in certain peanut and other nut butters recently is cause for concern for pet owners. Many pet owners use peanut butter as a treat, or even as a tasty, convenient way to administer their pets' medications. But, what once was considered a safe treat (used in moderation) could be toxic or potentially deadly when containing this ingredient. Pet owners will now need to be especially vigilant about checking ingredient labels before offering any product to their pets.

Xylitol toxicity in pets can lead to severe low blood sugar and sudden liver failure within 72 hours of ingestion. Some pets may exhibit no symptoms until severe liver damage has already occurred. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, seizure, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and mucus membranes), bruising, hemorrhage, and more. (Click here for more information on the effects of xylitol ingestion in dogs, courtesy of ASPCA Animal Poison Control center). Chances of recovery vary depending on the individual animal, amount ingested, and response to supportive care treatment. Chances of recovery are poor if significant liver damage has already occurred when treatment begins.

According to a recent article published by dvm360 Magazine (see full article here), so far, mainstream peanut butter brands have not started using xylitol - only the three specialty brands include it in their formulations. Because toxicity is based on the amount ingested, it’s helpful to know the concentration of xylitol found in these products. But as of July 15, 2015, only one (P-28 Foods) had released its concentration information to Pet Poison Helpline. According to their reports, a 10 pound dog need only ingest 0.8 ounces of that particular brand of peanut butter to receive a potentially toxic amount.

So, how can you be sure the penaut butter in your own pantry is xylitol-free and safe for your pets? Check labels carefully. The most obvious thing to look for is the word 'xylitol' itself, but other terms may be used that indicate its presence in the product. It is a common misconception that xylitol is an artificial sweetener, but it is actually a natural sweetener, usually found in small amounts in fruits and vegetables. As a result, product labels that read, 'sweetened naturally,' 'natural sweetener,' 'no artificial sweeteners,' etc. may contain xylitol. If you see these terms, look more closely at the ingredients to see if xylitol is listed. Since xylitol is classified as a 'sugar alcohol,' this is another phrase that should alert you to look more closely at the ingredients. However, not all food labels list which sugar alcohol is used. “When in doubt, if you want to feed a product to your dog that lists ‘sugar alcohol’ as an ingredient, but doesn’t list which one, don’t use it,” Dr. Ahna Brutlag (DVM, MS, DABT, DABVT, associate director of veterinary services for Pet Poison Helpline and SafetyCall International) advises. Because xylitol and other sugar alcohols are not technically sugar, they may also be found in products labeled 'sugar free' or 'no sugar added.'


James, Katie. DVM360 Magazine. "Xylitol now found in certain peanut and nut butters." July 2015.

Dunayer, D. "New findings on the effect of xylitol ingestion in dogs." Veterinary Medicine. December 2006.

By thepetclin3276607, Mar 23 2015 10:31PM

We hear it a lot: "I don't give Fluffy her [insert your favorite heartworm prevention brand] in the winter since there aren't any mosquitoes.'

As veterinarians in the South, our hearts sink when we hear about pets that are not on heartworm preventative, or those that are not on heartworm preventative continuously throughout the year. That's because we know how prevalent the disease is in our region, and we know how deadly it can be once a pet becomes infected. We also know that there are a lot of misconceptions out there about heartworm disease and heartworm prevention, and the internet is one of the most notorious sources of misinformation out there. So, let's take a few minutes and discuss heartworm prevention and some myths and misconceptions about heartworm disease - And remember, not everything you read on the internet is true! But, this is. Believe this one.

First, it is a common misconception that dogs are the only pets at risk for heartworm disease. Unfortunately, that's not true. Cats are just as likely as dogs to become infected with heartworms, even if they are indoor-only pets.


Have you ever seen a mosquito in your house? I saw at least 3 in my garage and 2 in my kitchen just last night. I got out the fly swatter and took care of them right away, but is it reasonable to assume that before I spotted them, maybe they had a chance to land on my cat or dog and have a little late-night snack? Maybe. Is it reasonable to think that there were probably more that somehow made it in through the doorway or garage while they were open that I didn't even see? Of course. We don't think about a couple mosquitoes inside the house as being much of a threat, but we should. In fact, 25% of heartworm positive cats are reported to be indoor-only. That's 1 in every 4 cats! How many cats do you have in your house? How many mosquitoes?

The second most common misconception we hear is that cats and dogs do not need heartworm prevention during winter months. The assumption is that it's too cold for mosquitoes and they are less active or die off. However, there are several species of mosquitoes in the U.S., and they are active at different times of the day and year. Just because you can't see the mosquitoes doesn't mean they are all gone. Another good reason to stay on heartworm prevention year-round is because many areas have mild winters, and mosquitoes don't go through a significant non-active season in those areas. Or if you travel with your pet, you may be putting them at risk in regions that have a higher prevalence than your home region if he or she doesn't stay on prevention all year. Probably the most important reason for staying on heartworm prevention all year is the way heartworm preventive medications work - which brings me to my next point.

Another common misconception is that heartworm preventive medications should be given once a month. That's not exactly true. Heartworm prevention must be given EVERY 30 DAYS. That sounds like we're 'splitting hairs,' but it really is an important distinction. If I give heartworm prevention on the 1st of this month, and the 25th of next month, that's still once a month. But, it would be far more than 30 days between doses, which means my pet would have not been protected for most of the month. These medications work by killing early heartworm stages that your pet has picked up the PREVIOUS month, not the month ahead. This is why we don't recommend stopping heartworm prevention in the winter months - if you stop giving it in the early fall or winter, the parasites might remain and cause infection.

Thankfully, more education about heartworm disease in recent years has almost weeded out the misconception that heartworms are treated with liquid dewormer, similar to intestinal worms (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, etc.). Since we do occasionally come across a client with this question, though, we thought it worth mentioning. Heartworms are very different from intestinal parasites/worms. Heartworms are spread by a mosquito bite, not through fecal contamination. Heartworms live inside the blood vessels of the lungs and heart, not in the intestines. Heartworms are extremely difficult to treat, unlike intestinal parasites that are treated with a simple liquid medication given by mouth in most cases. In fact, there is NO TREATMENT for cats that become infected with heartworms, and sadly, many cats with heartworm disease will die suddenly. The treatment in dogs includes a series of expensive, painful injections into the muscle over a course of several months. The injection itself can have dangerous side effects including anaphylactic shock and fatal blood clots, which is why treatment requires hospitalization and close monitoring by a veterinarian. Dogs must be strictly confined to reduce exercise until 2-4 weeks after the final injection since extra work on the heart and lungs can be fatal when infected with heartworms.

So, how can you do your part to make sure your pets are protected? Give all yours cats, dogs, and even ferrets their heartworm prevention every 30 days FOR LIFE. Have them tested for heartworms at least once per year (sooner if you think you may have missed one or more doses or were late giving one or more doses). Regular testing is important because heartworm preventive medication can be dangerous to give to a heartworm-positive pet.

Many products are available to make it convenient for you to administer heartworm preventive in a way that you prefer, from topical products that go on the skin, to chewable tablets or even flavored chewy treats. Many products combine flea prevention and heartworm prevention to make it even more convenient. There are a lot of options out there! Which one is best suited for your pets and you?

Have something to add? Have a question about heartworms or heartworm prevention? Join the discussion! Post your comments below. We'd love to hear from you!

By thepetclin3276607, Aug 5 2014 03:34PM

What’s the best way to prevent bone, muscle

and joint disease in your pet?

A yearly checkup! And better yet, twice a year checkups!

Make an appointment for your pet today!

Musculoskeletal disease (disease that affects your pet’s bones, muscles and joints) can

affect pets of all ages. They can have aches and pains just like we do. But, because of

their survival instincts, they try to hide it. And in the early stages of this disease, it’s

hard to spot because your pet may look and act absolutely fine “on the outside.”

But what your pet looks like “in the inside” may be very different. Arthritis, toxins,

hormonal abnormalities, infections, blood and blood vessel disorders or inappropriate

nutrition can all affect the way your pet walks, plays and moves.

So what’s the best way to prevent or slow down bone, muscle and joint disease in your

pet? Supplements? Exercise? Massage?


The best way to prevent disease is to schedule regular checkups with us. During

your pet’s checkup, we can talk about all the things you can do to stop the

development of or slow the progression of bone, muscle and joint disease. And we’ll

examine every part of your pet “inside and out,” including:

• An orthopedic exam

• An assessment of body and muscle condition

• A review of your pet’s vaccinations

• A blood test if we think something “inside” your pet needs to be looked at

Make an appointment for your pet’s checkup today. We’ll make sure all of your

pet’s bones, muscles and joints are in good working order. We are committed to your

pet’s well-being for their whole life. Call us today!

By guest, Jul 24 2014 05:42PM

All puppies and kittens are born blind, deaf and toothless.

Touch is the first sense that a puppy/kitten develops.

A female dog carries her babies for approximately 63 days, which is just about the same gestation for cats.

One female dog and her female offspring can produce 4,372 puppies in 7 years!

Litter size can vary from one to 17 or more!!!

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