Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

Yes, Happy New Year! It's a time for fresh beginnings and a reset to our lives. Have you thought about what you might want to do differently for your pets? While our furry friends tend to not make resolutions all on their own, it may be a good time to think about what is best for them. Here is a quick list of 5 things to think about for the new year that we think are important. 

1. Annual Exam: Have your dogs and cats been in to see our Vets in the last year? While many pets seem healthy, there are sometimes underlying diseases that are going on that we do not know about just by looking at them. Perhaps your pet has gained some holiday weight or has weight loss. Have they had bad breath recently? Are they drinking more water or urinating more frequently. Do you notice if your pet is panting more or seems painful? These are all reasons, and more to have your pet checked out at least annually, but sooner if they are not doing well. 

2. Check your pets breath and teeth routinely: Have you been avoiding kisses from your dog because his breath just smells horribly? Has your cat not been wanting to eat their food lately. It is hard to remember in the chaos of today to look at our pets teeth to make sure that nothing is wrong, but it is important to their health too. Dental Disease is one of the leading causes of health problems in our pets (can lead to heart problems as well as other issues) and easily preventable. It may not work in your schedule to brush teeth every day, but do remember that if we did not brush our teeth for years, we would have dental disease as well. 

3. Take your dog for more walks and monitor weight: We all can forget that it is great for a dog's mental and physical well being to go for walks. It also helps them with weight control and obesity. This is also very true for young dogs. A favorite saying is "A tired dog is a happy dog." A puppy going for a walk can help with potty training as well. It is also just as important to monitor your pet for weight loss. Weight loss that happens very quickly can be a sign of disease as well. 

4. Know your pets poop : Yes, you read that right, but we just wanted to see if you were still reading. If you notice that your pet seems to have an upset stomach and has either diarrhea or vomiting, it may be due to foods that they are eating. Avoid foods that cause these problems and know that some dogs and cats also can have stress diarrhea. 

5. Monitor for signs of pain : Would you know if your pet was in pain? For dogs, signs of pain can include, but are not limited to limping, vocalization, panting, hiding, loss of appetite, change in behavior, and change in normal body postures. For cats, these may include, but are not limited to change in litterbox habits, lack of appetite, open mouth breathing, irritability, hiding, licking unusal body areas, increased vocalization, clingy behavior, or appearance of the third eyelids. 

The overall message that we would love you to take away from this is that your pets rely on you and us to make sure that they remain happy and healthy. We can notice the trends in your pets, however you see them on a day to day basis and know them better than anyone else. We look forward to seeing you in the new year and hopefully it will be just for a wellness visit or just to pop in to say hello. Have a wonderful new year. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

We would love for you to meet our newest Veterinarian here at Hazel Dell Animal Hospital. Her name is Pamela Cross (pictured here with her daughter Scarlett) and she is a wonderful addition to our team. Welcome Dr. Cross!!
Dr. Cross was born and raised in Ellicott City, Maryland. Growing up, she spent a lot of time with both horses and dogs. It was in third grade that she decided that she wanted to become a veterinarian. After obtaining her Small Animal Science degree from Delaware Valley College in 2003, she attended the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine for her veterinary degree. It was there, on the first day of class that she met her soon to be husband, Randy. After graduating in 2007, Dr. Cross spent 4 years working as an associate veterinarian at a 5 doctor small animal hospital in New Jersey. In 2011, she and her husband (also a Veterinarian) moved to Carmel. She spent 4 years working as an associate veterinarian for VCA before deciding to join the family at Hazel Dell in the Fall of 2015.
Dr. Cross lives in Carmel with her husband Randy and their two young daughters Scarlett and Hazel. They have two dogs: Odie, a Jack Russell Terrier, and Nermal, a Beagle mix. In her spare time she enjoys walking, cooking, traveling, and riding her horse (Wizzard). Dr. Cross has always valued the human-animal bond and the significance it can bring to people's lives. She is very excited to be a part of our Animal Hospital and looks forward to meeting you and your furry family members.



It is with heavy hearts that we had to say goodbye to one of our patients to a disease called Leptospirosis. This potentially deadly zoonotic disease (meaning that it can be transmitted to people) poses a risk to our canine patients regardless of breed right here in our own back yards. Our patient who passed away lived about 2 minutes from our hospital in a neighboring community. Leptospirosis has always been recommended as part of the annual vaccines for your dog and we will continue to recommend it in the future. Leptospirosis is spread through the urine of wildlife and lives well in wet environments including puddles, streams, etc. 

Your pet can sniff or lick a wet area and get exposed to it, then as they shed Leptospirosis through their urine, humans can pick it up as well. We get more flu like symptoms, while your dogs can suffer from sudden liver/kidney failure or in worst cases, death. Our Leptospirosis vaccines has a 92-94% efficacy. Please read this information fact sheet (2 short pages) to learn more about Leptospirosis and call us with any questions that you might have or if you are unsure if you pets have been vaccinated against it. We are very sad to see our patient leave us this way and we hope to help prevent this in the future. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

For more very helpful information, please read this Frequently Asked Questions Handout on Leptospirosis and remember to contact us if you have any concerns. 317-846-8710

Fleas oh Fleas oh Fleas!

Fleas oh Fleas oh Fleas

Have you been noticing your pets scratching themselves lately? So have we here at Hazel Dell. There has been an increase in fleas that have been hanging out on our patients. We can certainly treat them while they are here (and we do!), though we want to make sure that you are keeping up with your Heartworm, Flea and Tick, and Intestinal Parasite Prevention. While some states have the luxury of really hot or really cold seasons, Indiana is considered mild in comparison. We recommend keeping your pets on preventatives all year long. The reason behind all year long prevention is that fleas have 4 stages in the life cycle of a flea: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Depending on the environmental temperature and humidity levels, the toal lide cycle will take anywhere from a couple of weeks to many months.

If your pet is not on a flea and tick preventative and you have noticed fleas, it is recommended to start and continue preventatives for 3-6 months to take care of the life cycle. Options for Flea Preventatives that are provided here at Hazel Dell include Trifexis and Sentinel, which are both oral preventatives along with Parastar for dogs, Revolution for dogs and cats, and EasySpot for Cats. Each one has benefits that uniquely help take care of fleas. Please call us to see which one is right for your pet. 317-846-8710.

Take a look at Flea Handout to learn a lot more about fleas or this video of the  Flea Life Cycle and know your enemy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Scopes, Scopes, and more Scopes

Microscopes, Otoscopes, Ophthalmoscopes, and Stethoscopes
What They Are and Why We Use Them

Scopes, scopes, scopes, galore. We have many uses for several different types of scopes here at Hazel Dell Animal Hospital. A basic definition of a scope is a device that is used for looking or scanning. They are all used to assist our Veterinarians and our staff. If you happen to see a few of these around the hospital, you will now understand more of what they are being used for. Feel free to ask us questions about any of them.

      Microscopes are probably the easiest to identify here in the hospital and we use these to look at stool, urine, blood, or other various samples. Ear Cytology, for example could tell you if your pet has yeast, bacteria, or ear wax in their ears. These findings can help tell Dr. McDaniel or Dr. Bassett whether or not it is necessary to treat your pet’s ears.  Examining a fecal sample for intestinal parasites is a very helpful tool as there are some parasites that humans can pick up and others that can make your pets very sick. Many times we can know if there is a problem before you leave the hospital so that medications can be given same day. Looking at skin cytology to check for fungal, bacterial, or yeast infections help to identify skin problems and help to get your pets feeling better faster. Urine samples are brought in usually when a pet has a possible urinary tract infection and it is also looked at under the microscope.

       An Otoscope is a tool that is used to look inside the ears. As a part of an exam, your pet’s ears will be looked at to be sure there is no infection.  Looking down to the eardrum can also help determine if there is any defect inside the ear that would be difficult to determine by looking without a scope. It is also a safer way to look down the ears as the ear cone is not abrasive.  After the exam, ear cytology can be helpful in determining if medications are needed.  If you are not sure if your pet has an ear infection, please call and stop by and we can help make sure your pet is healthy.

       Another big part of a veterinary exam here at Hazel Dell Animal Hospital is an eye exam.  Dr. McDaniel and Dr. Bassett will look at each of the eyes to check for changes or defects. An Ophthalmoscope is what allows them to look more in-depth at your pet’s eyes.  At home, if you see redness, discharge, or squinting, it may be time to call us.  Changes in the retina, ulcers, and nuclear sclerosis are just some of the few items that our veterinarians would notice and be able to help with. The Ophthalmoscope is just one of the tools that would be used to help diagnose a problem. If you see them in the exam room, you will now know what instrument the doctors are using to allow for the best care for your dog or cat. 

A Stethoscope is an invaluable tool that evaluates the heart, lungs, and also gastrointestinal sounds.  Our doctors and our nurses will use a stethoscope to listen for abnormalities and to see what is normal for your pet. We are looking for heart murmurs and heart defects as well as harsh sounds in the lungs. Many horse vets listen for changes in normal sounds in the gastrointestinal tract. We also will keep our stethoscopes close by during surgical/anesthetic procedures to ensure that your pet continues to have normal heart and lung sounds.  This is an invaluable tool that can help with diagnosis and lead to proper treatment and your pet feeling his or her best.

We use many tools here within the hospital in order to help your pets stay healthy. Our patients do not talk to us so sometimes we need these diagnostic tools to aid in the diagnosis for treatment. If you ever have a question about any of them, please let us know and we are happy to explain them to you. 



Monday, December 22, 2014

Is TRIFEXIS safe for your pets?

      As veterinarians, veterinary nurses, and veterinary hospital staff members we have dedicated our entire careers to helping keep pets healthy and care for them when they become ill.  We do not prescribe medications, supplements, diets, or other interventions that we believe will cause harm to our patients.  The assertion by the recent Indianapolis Star article that we in the animal health services community are somehow driven by greed or willful ignorance to prescribe “dangerous” medications is baseless and patently offensive.

     Losing a pet to illness or injury is understandably traumatic and difficult, especially when death or severe illness is unexpected and ultimately unexplained, and we sympathize with anyone who has had to go through such an experience.   The recent Indianapolis Star articles are classic cases of sensationalism, inaccuracy, incompleteness, and the spinning of sad situations into predetermined conclusions with littleto no basis in actual fact.

    We recommend heartworm preventative medications (Heartgard, Sentinel, Trifexis, etc.) to prevent  heartworm disease, a serious parasitic disease of the lungs, large arteries in the lungs,  and in some cases the heart  itself.  This illness is life-threatening in advanced cases.  Likewise, the treatment for advanced stages of this disease comes with a significant risk of complications and death. . . yet untreated, the illness itself frequently leads to death.   Thus it makes much more sense to prevent it, with preventative medications that are statistically much lower risk.

    Virtually all medications and supplements, or for that matter anything else we put in or on our bodies or our pets’ bodies, come with certain risks.  In most cases those risks are very low, yet even placebos (sugar pills) “cause” adverse events when they’re used in studies.  In virtually all cases, medications and therapies prescribed for a specific problem and/or to prevent a specific problem are dramatically lower risk than leaving the  problem untreated . . .thus the justification for most patients.
    Our job is to help our clients make informed decisions regarding how to best care for their pets.  We takethis job very, very seriously.  We respect varied opinions and try to stick to facts, our personal experience, and our knowledge of ongoing discussions and advancements within the pet healthcare arena.  We also consider the pet as an individual in making recommendations, their current health statusand history, any adverse reactions to medications in their past, and their risk of acquiring the illness (in the case of prevention).

    We have had some patients who experienced stomach upset and even fewer patients who were lethargic after taking Trifexis, in which case that pet was generally changed to a different heartworm/fleapreventative medication.   We carry other routine heartworm preventatives, each with unique strengths and weaknesses. Anyone who is truly uncomfortable giving their pet Trifexis  or for any other reason wishes to give something other than Trifexis for heartworm/flea prevention should consider alternatives (Sentinel, Heartgard), remembering that there is not “perfect” medication or medication that can’t causeadverse events in certain individuals.

    Developing, producing, and profiting from medications does not make drug companies evil.  The production of medications is almost always a response to a need  from the public to prevent or treat a serious medical problem that leads to suffering or worse.   Likewise, we as veterinarians consider far more than just what drug manufacturers tell us when deciding whether or not to prescribe a medication,primarily whether or not we believe that medication to be generally safe and effective and our perception of potential risks of prescribing the medication to our patients.  We develop our opinions from our objective assessment of all the information we can gather, most of which comes from sources not connected with drug manufacturers.  We also carefully consider our personal experience and the experience of other veterinarians and experts.

Hazel Dell Animal Hospital ~ Clark Bassett, DVM and Gregory McDaniel, DVM and Staff