Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

It's time to say good bye to 2014, and welcome 2015!  We want to wish you all a happy, and safe, New Year!

Keep in mind, New Year's parties can be a problem for your four-legged kids.

#1 - Loud music - With any party you may host, playing music loudly can be bothersome to your dogs.  Their hearing is much more sensitive than ours.  If you are going to be playing loud music, keep your dogs in a room that is away from all the festivities and the music will be muffled.

#2 - Party food - Many foods that we put out at parties can be harmful to our pets.  Ask your guests, politely, to not feed your pets from their plates.  Keep all alcohol out of the reach of your pets.  Many parties include desserts and candies.  While some people food can cause vomiting or diarrhea, others, like chocolate, grapes & raisins, can be toxic to pets.,   Keep all foods up on tables and counters where your pets are less likely to be able to get to them.

#3 - Fireworks - Celebrating the new year, usually brings out fireworks, and sometimes even guns, for marking the midnight hour.  The loud pops and bangs from gunfire and fireworks can startle your pets and make them want to run out a door, jump a fence, or hide under furniture.  Keep them in a room with a TV on at a lower volume to help distract them from the loud noises outside.

#4 - Open doors - Every time a guest enters, or even leaves, your house, the door will open.  Dogs and cats may see this as an opportunity to go outside.  Make sure that your microchip information is up to date.  If your pet is not microchipped, be sure to have their most recent Rabies and/or identification tags on their collars.

The Animal Hospital of Avon will be closed at noon on New Year's Eve, and all day New Year's Day.  We will re-open on Friday and return to normal business hours.
If you have an after hours emergency needs, please contact one of the following clinics:
Airport Animal Emergi-Center, 5235 W. Washington St, Indianapolis - Open after hours - (317) 248-0832
IndyVet Emergency & Specialty Hospital, 5425 Victory Dr, Indianapolis - Emergency Department is open 24/7 - (317) 782-4418
Circle City Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital, 9650 Mayflower Park Dr, Carmel - Emergency Department is open 24/7

Friday, June 27, 2014

Heartworm Infection in Cats

Do cats really get heartworms?
Though heartworm infections are more common in dogs, cats can get heartworms.  While dogs usually develop a large number of heartworms that can eventually cause heart failure if untreated, cats typically harbor very few adult worms.  However, when the cat's immune system starts attacking the heartworms, it can cause a deadly anaphylactic reaction that is difficult to treat.  Here, in the state of Indiana, heartworms are a big problem.

Heartworm Life Cycle
Mosquitoes become carriers of heartworm larvae when they feed on an infected animal.  When the infected mosquito bites a cat, the larvae enter the cat's system.  Cats are not a natural host of heartworm larvae and the life cycle is less likely to be completed.  Worms that do survive in the cat's system can cause an immune reaction that could create severe health problems.

There is a great computer animated video that has been put together by the American Heartworm Society that shows the life cycle of the heartworm, and how it effects cats.

Signs & Symptoms
Below is a list of some signs & symptoms that could be associated with feline heartworm infection:
  • Persistant cough
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Depression
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Blindness
  • Syncope/fainting
  • Tachycardia/fast heart rate
Health problems that can affect your cat, should they become infected with heartworms:
  • Damage to heart & lungs
  • Damage to pulmonary (lung) vessels
  • Obstruction of blood flow
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart & lung failure
  • Kidney & liver damage
  • Sudden death

It can be difficult to diagnose feline heartworm infections.  Radiographs (Xrays) and bloodwork will be done when a cat is symptomatic. Since cats are naturally stoic creatures, it may be hard to tell that your cat is sick until the disease has become a major problem.  If  you notice your cat displaying any signs of respiratory distress, such as coughing, panting, open-mouth breathing or wheezing, it's a good idea to take your cat to the veterinarian immediately.

This deadly disease is much easier to prevent than it is to treat.  There are currently no products approved for cats, in the US, for the treatment of adult heartworm infections, so prevention is key.  Even indoor cats can be bitten by an infected mosquito, as they can easily enter a home from an open door or window, and it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause infection.  We recommend that your cat be seen by a veterinarian yearly, and be kept on a regular monthly preventative, such as Advantage Multi or Revolution.  

Written by:  Erricka Jones & Dr. Aimee Hossler


Friday, June 13, 2014

Dr. Campbell says Good-bye. :(

Almost 13 years ago, while still in high school, I began my employment at Animal Hospital of Avon and Rockville Road Animal Hospital.  My first day on the job, a fresh-faced assistant with zero experience, I was only trusted to follow Dr. Richards around to erase the scuffs his shoes made on the newly waxed floor and clean out the freezer of a forgotten exploded Pepsi can…and I loved every minute of it.  I was so excited to be around cats and dogs on a daily basis and work with a group of people that were more than a team, they were a family.  Slowly my responsibilities progressed and the skills I developed with the experiences I had there became the basis of my application to Purdue’s School of Veterinary Medicine.  Throughout my time at Purdue, I would return on breaks and vacations to squeeze in as much time as I could at my second home.  As fate had it, when the time came to graduate from school, they were in need of a full-time veterinarian!  What better place to start out than in the comfort of your own home! 
As you all know, working at an animal clinic is one of high stress, emotion, excitement and sadness.  Adjusting to these ups and downs was difficult but bearable when surrounded by such a fantastic staff and clientele.  It is very rare to find a group of people like these who genuinely care for all of their clients and patients.   My time here has been extraordinary, but unfortunately life has taken me in a new direction.        
I’m saddened to announce officially that by the end of May I will be no longer a part of the fantastic teams of Rockville Road Animal Hospital and Animal Hospital of Avon.  I cannot thank my staff, colleagues, and bosses enough for all that you have done to support me and contribute deeply to the type of veterinarian I am today and strive to become.  We will forever be family.

With Love,

Rachael  (Dr. Campbell)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

April Showers Bring..........Storm Anxiety!

It's that time of year again.  Time to think about the weather and how it is effecting your fur babies.  Many dogs and cats, large and small, suffer from a condition known as Astraphobia or Storm Anxiety.  In fact, as many as 30% of dogs can be affected by this fear.  Many of their humans have no idea what to do to help them get through a bad spring storm.  Hopefully, we can help!

What are the signs of storm anxiety?
Even before a thunder storm starts, you may notice your pet pacing, panting, and/or hiding.  Our pets will know about the coming storm before we do.  They can feel changes in barometric pressure and sense low frequency rumbles that we may not hear or feel.  Changes in static electricity can also cause pets to become more anxious.  Wind, rain, thunder & lightening can all contribute to storm anxiety.
Pet's may hide under the bed, stay close to their humans, start trembling or shaking, or even want to hide in their kennel.  Once the storm has started, and you actually begin hearing rain and thunder, the signs of storm anxiety will often worsen, and your pet may act even more agitated.

What can I do to help my pet feel more at ease during a storm?
There are several things that can be done to ease anxiety.
1.  Start when they are young and get them used to loud noises.  Buy a CD that has storm sounds on it and play it at lower volumes at first, then increase the volume over time.  This is a technique that MAY work.  During a real storm, other factors, besides noise, can still cause anxiety in a pet that has been introduced to the noise gradually.
2.  Try to remove your pet from the situation by making them a safe place.  Put your fur baby's bed/crate in an interior room and cover it with a blanket.  Keep the room dark and quiet, or try play calming music.  If you are using their crate as a safe place, be sure to leave the door open so they can still come and go as they please.  Don't make them feel trapped with the door closed.
3.  During a storm, offer treats, cuddles and play time.  This may help your pet associate storms with good things and can sometimes serve as a distraction from the storm outside.
4.  Use calming scents or diffusers throughout areas that your pet frequents in your home.  Feliway and DAP diffusers are commercially available pheromone scents that have calming properties.  Also, lavender scent is calming to everyone in the home, two and four legged.
5.  Try using a Thundershirt.  Thundershirt looks like a vest, but works as an anti-anxiety pressure wrap on your pet.  It helps make them feel more secure in their environment.  It is the same idea as swaddling a baby.  The makers of the Thundershirt (Thunderworks) have several items available to assist in calming your dog and/or cat.  They have the vest/shirt, sweaters, coats, leashes, toys, Pheromone sprays, and they even have treats.  You can visit the Thunderworks website for more information.
6.  An Animal Behaviorist can work with you and your pet to help relieve anxieties.  They will teach you several exercises that you can do with your pet to help lessen their fears.  However, if you aren't willing, or able, to work with your pet, this may not be effective.  We recommend Jane Page with New Behavior, LLC.
7.  Be sure to stay calm yourself.  If you are nervous or anxious, your pet will sense this, which will only heighten their anxiety.
8.  If you are finding that nothing else is working, you may want to talk to one of our veterinarians about medication that can help relax your pet during a storm.  Medications do take some time to be effective, so remember that if you know a storm is coming, you will need to watch the weather to figure out a good time to give your pet his/her medication.  Also, some medications will only work for a short period of time, so your pet may need additional doses for storms lasting a long time.

Other Anxieties:

There are also other situations that can cause your pet to be anxious.  Fireworks, travel, separation from owner, and meeting new people and animals can all be causes of anxiety.  Many of these situations can be remedied with some of the techniques mentioned above.  You can discuss these fears, and additional tips on how to treat or prevent them, with one of our veterinarians when you come in for your next appointment.

Written by:  Erricka Jones & Dr. Aimee Hossler
USA Today:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A sad goodbye.....

Dear friends,

We at the Animal Hospital of Avon and Rockville Road Animal Hospital have some news to share with you. Dr. Patty Kovach has decided to take a break from the practice of veterinary medicine. She is going to take some time off to enjoy her family and reassess her goals and options. Her last day was Wednesday, February 12th.

We appreciate all the wonderful care she has given to our four-footed friends over the years. We know she will be missed and wish her much success and happiness in this new chapter of her life.

The doctors and staff of the Animal Hospital of Avon andRockville Road Animal Hospital

Friday, February 14, 2014

Technician Corner: Benefits To Caring For Your Pet's Teeth

Here are the facts on your pets dirty mouth:

*Over 85% of pets over age 4 have some form of dental disease.

*Dental disease has been directly linked to liver, kidney, and heart disease.

*Dental disease, including gingivitis (inflamed gums) and abscessed or fractured teeth, are painful for you pet. Your pet may not show pain until the problem is severe.

*When your pet has dental disease, one of the main side effects is Halitosis, which is better known as bad breath.

Ways to help prevent dental disease:

*Brushing daily.  Imagine going a day without brushing your teeth, YUCK!

*Yearly dental exams (Help maintain your pet's overall health.  Older pets & small breed dogs may need to be done more often.)

*Dental chews/Toys (we offer fingerbrushes for cats/dogs called C.E.T. & toothpaste)

*Dental sprays (we offer a brand of oral spray *Vedco).   The oral sprays that contain chlorhexidine are said to kill 99.9% of the bacteria in an animal's mouth. It is important to use these sprays after brushing your pet's teeth to insure all bacteria is killed (just like a mouth wash would after we brush our teeth).

*T/D treats are a prescription diet treat that help prevent tartar buildup

What to expect when your pet comes in for a dental:

*Temporary sedation from anesthesia

*Sore gums from ultrasonic scaling

*If your pet has extractions you may need to feed soft food for 1-5 days

*Your pet may get a mild cough or have a sore throat from the trachea tube that we use to provide the anesthetic throughout the procedure

*Expect a clean mouth with lots of fresh breath kisses when you arrive to pick them up at the end of the day

2005 Pfizer Inc. (Dental Brochure)

*Written by:  Technicians - Kelly Fehnel/Andrea Kessens/Jenni Rogers

Free eye exams for service animals!

The American college of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) will host it's 7th public service event providing free eye exams to Service Animals, May, 2014.  Approximately 220 ACVO board certified veterinary ophthalmologists will donate their services to provide complimentary screening eye examinations to Service Animals across America and Canada.  Best of all, the Service Animal's owner/agent will incur no cost for these services.  It is anticipated that through these efforts Service Animal health can be improved and potential disease averted for thousands of animals.

Please share this important information with all Service Animal owner/agents.

Qualification information and registration available at:

Registration is open April 1-30, 2014
Complimentary eye screenings take place in May 2014

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bordetella Vaccine - Not just for boarding!

Bordetella Bronchiseptica, or just plainly Bordetella, is a bacterium that is commonly associated with respiratory disease in dogs.  Many people believe that they only need to vaccinate for Bordetella if their dog is going to be staying at a kennel.  However, did you know that your dog can be exposed to the bacteria anywhere an infected dog has been?  This includes veterinary clinics, grooming facilities, pet stores, bark parks, and walking in your own neighborhood.

The Bordetella vaccine prevents against a respiratory infection known as Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis (aka Kennel Cough).  In most healthy, adult dogs, it is typically only a mild illness that presents with a raspy cough.  It can be more serious in puppies and older pets, also pets with underlying health issues.  In more severe cases, it may progress to pneumonia, which can be fatal.

The Animal Hospital of Avon/Rockville Road Animal Hospital require that your dog is vaccinated for Bordetella when coming in for any routine surgery, because your dog will be spending the day with us, and in some cases overnight.  Due to the number of sick pets we do see, there is always the possibility of airborne infectious bacteria and viruses in the environment.

How infection occurs - An infected dog sheds the infectious bacteria in respiratory secretions.  The bacteria then floats in the air and is inhaled by another dog, where it attaches to the ciliated cells in the throat.  The organisms then secrete substances that disable the immune cells normally responsible for consuming and destroying bacteria.  When enough of the host defenses are disabled, an infection is established and illness ensues.
The incubation period, the time from infection until symptoms will start to show up, is 2-14 days.  A dog will typically show symptoms for 1-2 weeks.  Infected dogs will continue to shed the Bordetella organism into the air for about 2-3 months after first being infected.

Treatment - In mild cases, an animal may improve without treatment after the disease runs it's course.  Often times, a veterinarian will prescribe a cough suppressant to lessen the severity of symptoms.  In more advanced cases, an antibiotic will also be given.  If there has been no improvement after one week, we recommend that the dog be brought back for further testing.

Preventative care - We highly recommend vaccinating all dogs for Bordetella.  Puppies get vaccinated on their 12 week visit, and get boostered every 6-12 months, depending on lifestyle.  Pets that are boarded at a kennel, or groomed, should have their Bordetella vaccine boostered every six months, due to higher exposure risk.  Boosters should be given at least 5 days prior to boarding or grooming in order to be most effective.

Contraindications/Precautions - There are some cases where vaccinating may not be in the pet's best interest.  For example, if a dog is currently ill or pregnant, or has vaccine reactions.  One of our veterinarians will be able to help you in your decision to vaccinate in these cases.

If you have any questions regarding Bordetella, you may contact our office at any time during our regular office hours.  You may also schedule an appointment with any of our veterinarians if you are suspicious of a cough your dog has developed.

Written by:  Erricka Jones with Dr. Aimee Hossler

Information collected from: &