Nelson Animal Hospital

Latest News


How to Fully Prepare for Your Pet's Appointment

If you think back to the past few doctor appointments you have had, whether with a general practitioner, a dermatologist, an orthopedist, or an internist, they all tend to have a similar structure. Upon entering the exam room, you are asked several questions in order to determine your symptoms and their duration as well as to rule out possible causes. Then, the doctor performs a physical exam to help decide what diagnostic tests would be most pertinent to the case. Each of these three components (the history, the exam, and the diagnostics) are equally important in establishing a diagnosis so that a treatment plan can be initiated resulting in a resolution of the problem.

A veterinary exam has the same structure but with some significant differences. While the history and physical exam are no less important for us, we can’t ask our patients when they had their last bowel movement or if it hurts when pressure is applied to a certain area. That is why I often say a veterinary exam is very similar to that of a neonatal pediatrician. We both must rely on our patient’s caregivers to supply us with a full and accurate history so our exam can address the problem(s) and we can eliminate unnecessary diagnostics (ie. save you money).

So in order to be fully prepared to provide us with a thorough history, we ask that you heed the following suggestions. And if for some reason you are not able to be present for the exam, make sure you are able to be reached easily or you send someone who knows your pet as well as you do.

  1. Pay attention to any changes in your pet’s behavior and make note of their duration, frequency, and severity. Has there been any coughing, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea? Any decrease in appetite or increase in thirst or urination? Is their energy age appropriate?
  2. If your pet is on any medications or supplements, know the name, dosage, and frequency of administration. Some medications can have serious and sometimes deadly consequences when mixed.
  3. If you have travelled to other states or countries with your pet, even if it was years ago, please let us know. While fungal diseases and certain parasites are not very prevalent in Colorado, they are rampant in other areas and can remain dormant for long periods of time before becoming symptomatic.
  4. If you are bringing your pet in due to ocular or nasal discharge, please don’t clean it off before the appointment. The color, consistency, and amount of these substances can be very helpful to a veterinarian.
  5. If you are bringing your dog in for urinary or fecal issues and you don’t have a fresh (less than 3 hours old for urine, 6 hours for feces), refrigerated sample for us, please don’t let them go right before the appointment. That will make it much easier for us to collect a sample while you are here. Also, a fecal sample that is frozen, hardened, or that has been on the ground for more than a few minutes is not able to be analyzed.
  6. If you are scheduling a vaccine appointment but also have other concerns (lumps, limping, diarrhea, etc.) please mention them when you are making the appointment . This will ensure that enough time is scheduled to address these issues.



Introducing our New Class IV Therapy Laser!

While lasers were once just a product for science fiction novels and military defense systems, they have become a part of everyday life whether you notice them or not. From the low power lasers in printers, CD players, and bar code scanners to the more powerful cutting lasers used in industrial manufacturing and surgery, lasers are being used all around us. That is why we are so excited to integrate our new Companion Class IV Therapy Laser into our practice.

The first question we are inevitably asked by our clients is a simple one: How does it work? The answer is very complicated but can be simplified with a short explanation of what lasers are. The word laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. When the photons of laser light are directed into living tissue, they are absorbed into the cells and cause specific responses. They block nerve impulses, accelerate tissue repair, increase circulation, and reduce swelling.

These “photo-bio-modulations” are why therapy lasers can be used to treat so many ailments. By blocking nerve impulses and reducing swelling, the laser alleviates the pain associated with arthritis, hip dysplasia, pancreatitis, cystitis, fractures, acute musculoskeletal injuries, and urinary tract infections. The acceleration of tissue repair helps heal all sorts of wounds including burns, bites, cuts, abscesses, scrapes, and fractures. And all four responses help speed the healing after surgery. Basically, if your pet is in pain, has inflammation, or has a wound, they would benefit from laser therapy.

While the number of treatments required will vary depending on the severity or your pet's ailment, most treatments last less than 5 minutes and do not require anesthesia or sedation. In fact, the warmth generated by the laser can be very soothing and most pets become more relaxed as the treatment proceeds. And while it won't cure chronic conditions such as arthritis, it can decrease the amounts of medications required to keep your pet comfortable.

So if you think your pet could benefit from laser therapy or if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.



Cooler Weather Tips

As the summer season wanes and we know that winter is around the corner, it is always good to remind pet owners of some of the possible hazards that could be of concern. 
Late August through October is the time to watch for fly strike on dogs.  The flies are attracted to areas where there may be a wound or fecal contamination.  On some dogs, the flies are attracted to the ear tips where they feast on blood from the superficial vessels. These cause wounds can become infected, which then attracts more flies.  It only takes a few days for flies to lay eggs that can then continue their larval cycle (maggots) which leads to more problems.
Fall is also the season for increased mushrooms to be present in our yards.  Fortunately, most mushrooms do not cause more than gastrointestinal upset which is usually either self-limiting or responds well to simple treatments.  However, there are mushrooms that can be quite toxic and rarely even cause a fatal reaction.  The best preventative is to monitor your yard and clean them from the grass as they appear.  If you know your dog has ingested mushrooms, please call the hospital.
It is not as common as in the past for car owners to drain their antifreeze into the streets, but it still happens.  Ethylene glycol (antifreeze) in its natural form is a sweet tasting fluid that dogs or cats will drink.  The ethylene glycol in itself is a safe product, but in the body it is converted in the liver to a very toxic and almost universally fatal product unless treatment is started shortly after ingestion.  Unfortunately, it takes a very small amount of antifreeze to be fatal to a cat and only slightly more to be fatal to a dog.  Treatment can be very rewarding, but it’s expensive and needs to be started within a few hours (usually less than 3-4 hours.)
If your dog or cat needs to be groomed because of mats, the fall is an excellent time for them to be shaved.  There will be plenty of hair regrowth before the cooler days, and will allow your pet to be much more comfortable through the winter and spring. 



Canine Influenza Vaccine

You possibly have read in the newspaper or heard over the airwaves about the canine influenza virus (dog flu). Hopefully, this information about canine influenza will be helpful. Much of the information you have probably heard or read originates directly or indirectly from the manufacturer of the influenza vaccine.

The canine influenza virus, H3N8, does exist and is a "cousin" to the human influenza virus. It is important to note, however, that at this stage, there is no reported interspecies crossover of the different viruses, although potential cross infection is being investigated. The canine influenza virus was first discovered in Florida in racing Greyhound kennels. In the Greyhound dog, the virus seems to have more serious consequences than in the general canine population.

At this point, the virus seems to mostly be worrisome for young puppies that are coming out of puppy mills or other crowded, high stress situations. There is also some potential of adverse health concerns in debilitated, geriatric dogs that are put in similar stressful situations.

The bottom line is that the typical "house dog" has very limited potential exposure and, if infected, appears to have mild symptoms.

The canine flu vaccine is available. For several reasons it is not currently widely administered. The duration of immunity of the vaccine has not been well established, i.e. may protect for one month or may protect for one year. No national veterinary organizations currently are recommending the influenza vaccine as a "core" vaccine, but as a adjunct for special situations..

We are seeing that some kennels and puppy classes are now starting to require the vaccine. Therefore, we do have the vaccine available at Nelson Animal Hospital, and would be happy to discuss any concerns or questions you would have as to whether your canine pet should be vaccinated.

We feel the vaccine is safe to administer and we have seen no adverse effects in the limited number of pets we have vaccinated, but, as stated earlier, we feel it should only be used in certain situations, if at all.