New Oak Hill Animal Clinic online pharmacy and store

We are pleased to announce that we will have our own online pharmacy and store available for use in the next 6-8 weeks.   You will enjoy all the benefits of the mega stores such as Pet Meds, etc but with a MAJOR exception and benefit… all the medications will be fully backed by the manufacturer through our store.  This is something that does not occur with Pet Meds, etc.  There are numerous accounts of bogus medicines and placebos coming through these outlets.  None of the manufacturers of the medications will stand behind their products sold through these sites for this reason.  We have joined with Webster Pharmaceuticals and they have secured the backing of all manufacturers so that any products purchased by you through our store is fully back by the manufacturer.  This is a no brainer…………..same convenience, competitive pricing, same shipping and a major advantage, you have  the full manufacture backing of their product.  We will announce very soon when our store is open for your use.  We are very excited as this is the delivery system of the future for veterinary medicine.  Once again, Oak Hill Animal Clinic is setting the pace for excellence in veterinary care with a warm personal touch!  We want only the BEST for our clients and their pets.  We won’t settle for anything less and you shouldn’t either!

Spring has Sprung

A quick little note to welcome Spring. Winter has been long and everyone is excited about getting outside and enjoying the warm weather.

Some things to consider when it comes to your pet’s health with the coming warmer weather. Mosquitos will be here soon (I have even seen a couple already) so be sure to get your dog on heartworm prevention. We recommend every month giving heartworm prevention even through the winter but we realize some of you discontinue use due to the less likely chance of contracting the disease in the winter months – well now is the time to start back again if you did discontinue prevention in the winter months. We would also recommend a heart worm test to be sure your dog did not contract heartworm during the winter months. Also with the ground being wet and warmer weather coming intestinal parasites will be more prevelant as well – our heartworm prevention does help with several types of intestinal parasites so it is one more reason to be giving your pets monthly heartworm prevention.

Have a great Spring! The weather is going to be great.

Office Safety and Common Courtesy

When you bring your pet to the veterinary clinic, safety is a concern.  Many times I see cat owners carry in their pets in their arms, no collar or leash.  We have had 2 occasions where a cat, loose in the car, escaped from the car upon arrival at our clinic.  The cat never made it into the clinic.  In one instance the cat found its way home after 5 days.  Sadly, the other cat was never found.  Cats loose in a car are also a driving hazard. You never know when they may become excited thus distracting you and causing a traffic accident.  Please have your cats secure in a carrier.  This protects it in the car if there is an accident.  Secure the carrier with a seat belt so that it does not become an airborne object during a crash.  Having a carrier prevents escape from your auto.  Additonally I have had clients holding their cat on their lap or shoulder in the waiting area when a dog shows up for its appointment.  The cat, already on high alert, freaked out and bit the owner on the neck.  You must remember that your usually sweet, affectionate cat from home is now in a totally new environment and will not act the same as he/she does at home.  So, for everyones safety and peace of mind, ALWAYS have your cat in a carrier anytime he/she is transported outside the home.

For our dog owners,  always have your pet on a leash and collar, under control.  This does not include a 16 foot flexilead that allows your dog to explore the waiting area while you are answering questions at check in or check out.  You never know what will be coming through the door and your pet could be injured or injur another pet entering the area.  It is just common courtesy to not let your pet run all over the area.  Not every dog or person is comforatable with strange dogs running up to them.  Keep your dog on a short leash, by your side.  If you have a highly excitable dog, one prone to barking at other dogs or strangers then try to position your pet out of eyesight of other dogs.  Controlling the vision lines of dogs is the easiest way to prevent them from becoming excited and barking at other dogs, especially in a strange environment. 

We love your pets and want only the best for them.  This includes a safe and enjoyable visit to our facility.  So please keep these tips in mind to protect your pets and to make your fellow clients visit to our facility a safe so that everyone has a pleasant visit.

Beware of "Dog"

Submitted by Danny Misch

      Although it is very likely many people have never seen a coyote near their home before, or anywhere in real life for that matter, coyotes are actually lurking everywhere.  The point of this blog post is not to care anyone but is to inform the reader.  Coyotes, like many wild animals, are losing their lifelong homes due to development in once forested areas.  This forces the coyotes to find somewhere else to live, usually right in your own neighborhood.  There has been one confirmed death from a coyote attack to a person meaning coyotes will probably not target you but your household pets are a different story. 

     Coyotes are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals.  They will go after anything from small rodents to even deer.  This blog was brought to our attention after Dr. Walsh saw a rather large coyote (which can range in size form 20-50 pounds) running through the backyard of our clinic.  We have also received a few reports of coyote attacks to family pets, a big target for coyotes in Northwest Indiana!  When letting your dogs out at night, especially small dogs, stay with the dog and be sure you know your surroundings.   Coyotes do not only carry the threat of attacking your animals, but they can also carry rabies, heartworm, leptospirosis, intestinal parasites and mange to name a few (a good reason to be sure to protect against heartworm all year round!!!)  There are also several ideas floating around of ways to protect other outdoor pets such as cats.  Giving cats escape routes such as planks in trees for them to use as a safe place from the coyotes are great ways to provide safety.  Please remember to provide safety for your pets, especially at night!

Enjoy the Holidays–safely!

Once again the holiday season is here.  Every year we see cats and dogs that have been given some of the holiday food and we think we are sharing with our pets but actually we are putting them at risk of illness, some cases that are life threatening requiring hospitalization.  Vomiting and diarrhea are 2 common results of feeding your pets holiday food.  Another serious condition is pancreatitis, which is a very severe inflammation of the pancreas that, left untreated, can kill your pet.  Also be careful of giving your pets new treats they are not used to having.  A sudden diet change (or introduction of a new treat) can trigger the same problems as table food. 

Also remember that your pet’s sense of smell is about 10,000 times stronger than humans so they will seek out candy and food during this time of year.  Chocolate is poisonous to pets and a lot of candy has a high fat content which also increases the risk for pancreatitis.  Always make sure to keep candy and holiday foods in a secure place where your dog or cat will not get into it. On the counter or table is not good enough.  Store it in the fridge or the microwave, somewhere you are certain they can’t get to it. 

Holiday plants and decorations can also pose a hazard.  Poinsettia plants are toxic and tinsel and decorations can be swallowed and cause serious damage often requiring surgical intervention.  Pet toys and chews can pose a choke hazard as well.  Always supervise your pets play with their toys and when they become damaged discard them and purchase new ones. 

So, enjoy the holidays–with your pets–but use common sense and keep them safe!

Ticks are on the prowl again!

Just a reminder that ticks are still present and are becoming active again in the autumn months.  Just today a Labrador presented with a deer tick (this tick transmits Lyme’s disease) attached and the skin was inflamed.  Ticks are carriers of many diseases some of which are Lyme’s disease, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, and Ehrlichiosis.  This can make your dog very ill and in some cases cause death.  It is very important to continue your tick control program this time of year.  There are actually some ticks that live in your house year round and serve as a source of infection for your pets as well as your family so for best protection, use monthly tick control product all year long.

Halloween–Beware of "Spooky" Treats!!!

(submitted by Betsy Kubisz)

Just because you’re enjoying some spooky Halloween treats does not mean that it’s safe for your pets to do the same….notably candy and gum!  Candy, especially chocolate, and gum, especially sugar-free using xylatol, can be toxic (poisonous) to your pets.  You’re pets are attracted to the smell but do NOT let them eat it!  It is much better to celebrate the holiday with some pet-friendly treats.  Why not have a box of doggie biscuits handy or cat treats when answering your door?  No doggie biscuits?  Try some baby carrts – nice and orange for Halloween!  Many of your trick-or-treaters may bring along their 4 footed friends, so be ready.

 Don’t forget when your little ones come home with their bags of candy to put it out of the way (that is, if its’s not already gone) so that your pet does not help itself once all humans are in bed for the night.  Putting it out of the way is not leaving it on the table or counter.  Pets’ sense of smell is many times stronger than humans so make sure it is in a locked cabinet or in the refridgerator or microwave where you are certain your pet can not get to it.  Day after Halloween is a popular day for the veterinarians – lots of sick tummies!

If for some reason your pet DOES get into the treat bag, save the wrappers (whats left of them) and call your veterinarian right away to see what should be done.  Don’t wait an hour or 2 to decide.  Some of the ingredients in these treats can cause serious harm to your pet in a very short time.  Your veterinarian will be glad to advise you on the best method of treatment. 

Be safe and have a spooktacular Halloween!!!!

Leptospirosis–What you don't know could kill you!

Oak Hill Animal Clinic is committed to the highest standards of care for our clients and their pets.  Veterinary medicine isan ever changing science that requires us to reevaluate our policies and procedures on an ongoing basis in order to provide you and your pet with the best possible care.

Leptospirosis is the most common zoonotic disease in the world and can cause debilitating kidney, liver disease and even death.  A zoonotic disease is defined as a disease that can be spread from animals to people.  This disease is prevalent in the midwest states including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisocnsin.  Leptospirosis is easily spread from animal to animal via contaminated urine.   ANYWHERE an animal urinates can be a potential for Leptspirosis exposure. This disease can live for months in the soil or water and still cause infection.

Based on recommendations from several industry leading human and medical organizations (please see listed below), and in light of new research on this topic, Oak Hill Animal Clinic recommends Leptospirosis  vaccination for all dogs!  It is simple, inexpensive and it could just save your life!

American Animal Hospital Association;   JAVMA, vol 230, No.11, June 2007; Center for Disease Control and Prevention  www.cdc.gov/eid, vol12, No3, March 2006; Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine;

When to neuter or spay?

First of all let me say that I am the first to agree there are too many unwanted puppies and kittens in this world already.  Responsible pet ownership is of highest priority.  The standard recommendation for years has been to neuter/spay your pet at 6 months of age.  The reasoning behind this is that this is generally before the pet is capable of having  or producing young (although some  pets are fertile before 6 months).  This obviously would reduce the number of unplanned puppies and kittens.   Many humane societies, low cost spay neuter services are sterilizing pets as young as 8 to 12 weeks with out regard to health concerns this may pose later in that animals life.  Neutering pets as these very young ages  prevents the urinary tract (urethra primarily) from reaching full size and in many cases this can lead to urinary tract disease/blockage, especially in male cats.  Additionally, the hormones of puberty (estrogen/testosterone) play a vital role in signaling the growth plates of the long bones in the legs to close thus stopping the lengthening of these bones.  Recent research suggests that pets neutered prior to going through puberty experience longer growth in these bones without an increase in their density thus the bone is abnormally long.  What does this harm?  There is evidence that pets neutered  before puberty experience a higher rate of osteosarcoma , bone cancer, later in life.  In addition, there is also evidence that when pets go through puberty that this has an effect on their brain/behavior and helps them to mature mentally.  My current recommendation is to not neuter male toy breed dogs and cats  until after 7  months of age.  For medium breeds I would wait until at least  12 months of age, large breed 18 months and giant breeds at least 24 months.  For all female  pets there is the question do I let them have their first estrus (heat cycle) or not.  Obviously there is the need to strictly control your pet while she is in season so as to not let her get pregnant.  Estrus will last 3-4 weeks and the female pet must be strictly monitored and kept away from the males.  There is also the added mess that this presents and some people do not want to deal with this.  The advantages are the same for the female dogs/cats.  If you are willing and able to deal with a female pet in season then I recommend  letting them go through their first cycle and then spay them as soon as this is over.  For toy dogs and cats this is somewhere around 6 months of age.  Medium to large breed 7 to 12 months of age and giant breeds 9 to 18 months of age.  Always keep in mind that pets are  individuals and these time frames are only guidelines.   Responsible pet ownership is about reducing the number of unwanted puppies and kiteens as well as proper training, feeding, health care for your pet.  Look at the whole picture when it comes to your pets’ health needs.

Identify your pets!

It is so important to have your pets identified so that if they become lost they can be readily returned to you .  This week we had a Dachshund/Hound mix brought to our office.  The lady found it wandering the street.  She had checked at several houses in her neighborhood and had posted signs.  The dog has no tags or collar and we scanned it for a microchip and it had none as well.  I am sure this dog belongs to someone.  It appears well cared for and is very friendly.  Micro-chipping is relatively painless for the pet and can be performed when your pet is neutered/spayed while it is asleep so they don’t feel it.  This is a means of permanent identification so that lost pets can be quickly returned to their owners.  So, if your pets have not been micro-chipped, I encourage you to do so.  It might just save your pet from going to a shelter and perhaps being euthanized.