We offer wellness care from the youngest pets to geriatric stages. We vaccinate, titer animals for vaccine levels and offer counseling on general health. All of our examines are complete physical exams which allows us to assess all aspects of the animal and treat them accordingly. Instead of treating our patients like a number, we evaluate them on a whole and recommend treatment and life plans that fit their life (and yours) .
Our doctors are experienced in multi-modal pain management. This means that we have a wide variety of medication and non-medical treatments for most conditions. Instead of a “one size fits all” approach or short acting shots, we are able to provide comprehensive relief for many conditions.
What conditions can laser therapy treat?
Laser treats hot spots, wounds, increases surgical incision healing speed, ear inflammation, sinusitis, bladder inflammation, sprains and strains, trauma, arthritis, dermatitis, anal gland inflammation and many other things.
How does laser therapy work?
Laser therapy works, in short, by increasing cell healing time. It increases several substances that speed up healing, decreases painful nerve transmissions, helps eliminate neurotransmitters that increase pain while triggering neurotransmitters that soothe pain. Laser photons stimulate the cellular metabolism to increase the function of healthy cells while replacing unhealthy or dying cells. It also increases blood and lymph flow to the area which stimulates faster healing.
Can laser therapy be harmful?
Laser therapy is very safe. It can harm the eyes when the beam is directly shone into the eyes. For this reason everyone in the room needs safety goggles. Laser therapy can make somes types of cancer worse and shouldn’t be used in conjunction with some medication. For this reason, the treatment plan is always made by the veterinarian. You can never overdose the laser!
Does laser therapy take the place of acupuncture?
Laser therapy works differently than acupuncture and is not a replacement. Acupuncture is very effective at treating many conditions and helping to realign flow within the body. Laser therapy will be used for different conditions in general. There are some spots that are uncomfortable for pets to have needles in, and the laser can help stimulate these points in conjunction with a regular acupuncture session.
Does the laser beam ever burn the skin?|
There are no reported cases of laser burns. While it is likely possible that you could burn the skin, it won’t happen with a trained technician and the approved protocols. Laser also does not heat up any metal in the body, though it can heat up tattoos.
Are there any side effects?
Your pet may feel sleepy the day of the laser treatment. This is a result of the body working to heal the area treated. There are no other known side effects.
Dr. Anna is now writing weekly ‘Off the Leash’ columns for the Rutland Reader and RutlandReader.com. Read this week’s article or peruse the archives: http://www.rutlandreader.com/category/columns/pets/
Print it out, stick it on the inside of one of your cabinet doors for reference, and make sure you don’t feed your pets anything they shouldn’t eat. Direct link: toxiclist.pdf
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Food is probably one of the most confusing areas of pet care, both to vets and owners. The amount of food on the market is astounding, and even veterinary nutritionists are unable to keep up with them all.
There are a few things that we know, and I’ll share these with you. After that, cases need to be managed on an individual basis. For example, my lab was fed whatever bag of kibble fell off the delivery truck (literally, the ones that fell and were damaged). She lived to be 16 years old, never needed a dental, and never had a single skin problem. Other dogs need diets that are managed very closely, so there is no “one fits all” answer.
We know that cats are “obligate carnivores”. This means that their diet consists solely of meat. In nature, cats get their vegetables from whatever the mouse had eaten. This basically means that we want our cats to eat a diet that is as high in protein as possible. Additionally, they are better off fed multiple meals of canned food each day. This isn’t always practical in our lives, but 4 small meals of high protein canned food is ideal.
Dogs are a little bit harder. They are omnivores, so they eat meat and plants. Different dogs have different needs. One thing to look for is an AAFCO approval label on your food. This means that it has met the minimum standards required. It does NOT mean the food is ideal, but we do know that a food without this statement is unlikely acceptable. The other problem is that labels mean very little. When you see the phrases “all natural, human grade” etc, it means nothing. There are NO standards governing the meaning of those in pet food, so most companies just throw them on there to sell more.
The best place to start is to get a food that is on the higher end (ie- more expensive), has an AAFCO approval, and your dog likes. Try it out! It is always great to add veggies and fruits to your dog’s diet, either with meals or as treats. Home cooked diets are another option, but we recommend that you use a service to help you. There are websites that calculate diets based on ingredients you want to use. Many home cooked diets are deficient if not developed with a nutritionist, and we can direct you on that.
Finally, watch those calories! Anyone who knows me knows that I aim to keep all my patients at a healthy weight! Foods vary greatly in the amount of calories per cup, so if you switch foods be sure to look up the calorie content (which may require going online or calling the company). One cup of food can range from 200-500 cal/cup depending on the food. “Light” foods are usually lower calorie, but if we are struggling with weight, it can be more advantageous to do a prescription weight loss food. Feeding your dog less and less also cuts down on nutrients, and prescription diets have high amounts of vitamins, etc per calories.
Good luck and we are ALWAYS available to try and help guide you through the food maze!
By Anna Dunton-Gallagher
Fleas continue to be a huge problem, and are popping up on animals that have never had problems before. Other than being disgusting, fleas present many problems. Animals with flea bite allergies can develop severe itching to the point that they injure their skin and develop infections. This can happen from ONE flea bite, and may take several months to resolve. Also, each flea can lay up to 10,000 eggs (and the fleas that you SEE are a small portion of the population, sometimes you may not see any…..but they will be there). A little problem becomes a BIG problem very quickly. As the weather gets cooler, the fleas are more than happy to take up residence in your rugs, dog beds, beds and any other spot they can find inside. The first step to flea prevention is a monthly topical product. Though these work well, in some situations there may still be fleas that are resistant. If you still see fleas on your pet, its time to get more aggressive. There are pills which kill adult fleas that can be prescribed. The most important part, however, is eliminating fleas from your home. This requires a perimeter spray, washing all pet bedding in hot water with bleach, vacuuming daily (or more!); in severe cases, an exterminator may be required. If your pet is starting to itch frantically, to the point they are losing hair and injuring their skin; its time to see the vet so they can be made more comfortable and treat any infections that may be present.
The earlier you can catch a flea problem, the easier it is to get under control. Remember, the first flea you see had already laid 10,000 eggs….. and we don’t want to imagine the exponential number of fleas this leads to!
If I told you that I had a way you could save money and have your pet live longer, I’d gamble that you would be pretty excited for this secret. You would beg me to tell, perhaps even pay me money for this life altering tid-bit. Well, I’m going to tell you all for FREE, despite my student loans, simply because I care about the heath of your pets. So, get ready, here it is…. Keep them at a healthy weight!
Sure, it sounds simple. However, I would bet that if you looked at your Fido or Fluffy right now they might just have a little extra “love” on them. I grew up in a house with Labradors, and even now have a group of professional beggers on my hands. I know just how tough it is to look into those starving eyes (did we forget to feed her? Nope, she just ate so fast you forgot if you put the food in the bowl yet) and deny them that extra treat.
The problem is this: pet obesity is actually a very serious problem. Pets don’t care about their body image, they don’t care if they look good at the gym, they don’t even care if their heart is healthy! Animals depend on us to keep them at a healthy weight. Even our domestic pets are still hard wired from Mother Nature to eat eat eat! Their bodies encourage them to eat now, since you never know when your next meal will be. However, we DO know when their next meal will be, and that they WILL eat every day. Knowing this, it’s up to us to feed our pets appropriately and monitor treats.
Now, how do we go about this? The same way we ourselves monitor our weight. To start, Dr. Dunton can help you find a perfect food and the perfect amount to feed your pet. They also need very little extra food (i.e. a piece of that cookie, biscuits, or scraps of fat). If you establish that your pet is getting fed more than it should, slowly cut down the amount you feed them. There are foods that are very high in fiber to help them feel more “full”, or you can always add in healthy extras (carrots, peas, green beans).
Believe it or not, that’s the EASY part. However, animals also need exercise to stay in shape. Work towards a healthy exercise goal. Most dogs, once a routine of walking is established, are actually happier to get out and romp with their owners every day instead of eating that piece of food that is soon forgotten. Cats love chasing feathers on strings as you pull them, ping pong balls, or electric mice. And, I will level with you now since this article was inspired by me eating a plate of holiday cookies….it helps you too. Incorporating your pet into the ever-present resolution to get into better shape is inspiring. Now, when you are tired after work and you want to just sit on the sofa, you have your pup springing around and encouraging you to walk! My dog is so hooked on her daily walk that as soon as it gets near that time she “helpfully” starts bringing me my socks, and tries to push aside whatever else I may be doing.
Now that we spent all this time talking about diet and exercise, let’s talk about WHY. Extra weight can be very trying on pets’ bodies. An extra pound or two on a cat is like 20 on you. Extra weight stresses joints, tendons, and ligaments. Animals of an appropriate weight are less likely to get arthritis, joint problems, cruciate tears, and disc disease (to name a few). Extra weight doesn’t JUST affect the musculo-skeletal system though. Extra fat, by itself, increases inflammation. It makes it harder for the heart to do its job, harder for the lungs to work, as well as predisposing pets to diseases like diabetes, liver or kidney failure, AND cancer. If you can take away a BIG risk factor for these diseases, you will be left with a healthier pet. You can save money on vet visits, pain medication, and expensive treatments. The only thing that may cost you more in the long run is buying food for all of the extra years you just added to your pet’s life (and I surely won’t hear complaints about THAT).
Q: I don’t have time to see Dr. Dunton right now, how can I tell if my pet is too fat?
A: Ultimately, your vet and their scale are going to be the best thing to determine current vs ideal weight. It is also important to talk to your vet before you start making big diet changes. However, here are some guidelines to start with.
DOG: You should be able to: easily feel ribs by lightly running your fingers along them (NOT through fat). Feel the bones of their back by running your fingers along the spine. See a “waist” as you view your dog from the top. As you view your dog from the side, their abdomen should tuck up behind their ribs.
CAT: Waist visible behind ribs as viewed from above, no excess abdominal fat.
Uh oh? Think maybe your loved one is too fat? Plan a time for a wellness check up and diet evaluation whenever it is convenient. In the meantime: start exercising! Cut out treats that are not meals, or substitute those jerkys with carrots or pieces of low fat popcorn.
Q: I tried to diet my pet, but THOSE EYES! I am having a hard time sticking to the plan, what are my options?
A: I know how hard it can be to say no. However, remind yourself that it IS for the best. In the morning, after you feed your pet, scoop up their nightly meal and put it in a cup in the fridge. When those sad eyes just become TOO much, toss them a piece of kibble. If nighttime feeding comes and the cup is empty…we have a problem. There is a chance this is about you, not your pet. Use healthy food as treats: carrots, apple pieces, fresh peas, popcorn (if introducing a new food, make sure it doesn’t upset their stomach!). If your pet decides these aren’t suitable, they probably aren’t REALLY hungry. We would all like a delicious potato chip or piece of cake instead of fruit, but it is our job to stand strong for our pets health.
THE AUTHOR: Anna Dunton-Gallagher is Dr. Dunton’s daughter. She earned a degree at UCLA (BS, 2007) and is now at Ross Univ. School of Veterinary Medicine (DVM expected, 2011).
We all know that there are things which are big no-nos for our pets (chocolate, cooked chicken bones). However, you may be surprised to hear about some of the things which seem healthy to us but are actually harmful to your pet.
Many of the foods which hurt our pets are more of a concern for dogs. Cats have much pickier tastes, are less likely to go through the garbage, and are usually above scarfing down whatever they see on the floor. Most dogs on the other hand……….
Puppies and kittens are at even higher risk due to their inherent curiosity. Here are some things that you should not feed your pet. Though it is a good idea to supplement pets’ diets with fresh fruits and veggies, there are some which are dangerous.
• Kale, Broccoli, Onions and Cauliflower (and all other types of Brassicas) cause a type of blood disorder in our pets. It makes it hard for them to carry oxygen efficiently.
• Grapes and raisens have recently been found to damage DOG kidneys. Cats do not seem to have this problem, but again, a cat eating a stray grape is much less likely. Some dogs can eat one grape and become very ill, while for others it takes a cup, or a pound. What we do know is that ALL dogs are susceptible, just at different levels. Unfortunately, you do not know how sensitive your dog is until it is too late, so make sure they never have the chance to find out.
• Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is very harmful to our pets. It is a common additive in commercial gums. Gum is a very tempting thing for dogs to eat, especially with all of the delicious fruity flavors. Make sure that you keep all gum out of reach from your pet, and keep this in mind as you set your purse down within animal reach. All sugar substitutes (nutrasweet, splenda) are foreign to our pets bodies and should be kept out of reach.
• Chocolate is never good for a pet to eat. There are compounds called xanthines which can cause problems in many different organ systems. The higher quality and darker the chocolate is, the worse it is. Again, some pets are more sensitive than others. Always try to gauge how much your pet might have eaten and what type of chocolate it was when you call the vet.
• Any type of drug or medicine is likely bad for our pet. Presciption medicines are given for a reason, and when they are taken in larger quantities than intended, or by someone without a specific disease they can be very harmful. Again, if you can estimate how much your pet has eaten before calling the vet it helps Dr. Dunton determine how serious this is. Non prescription drugs are also bad for our pets. Tobacco of any kind can cause serious problems. If your pet has eaten some other type of non-prescription drug, it is VERY important that you tell your vet exactly what it was. Veterinarians are here to help your pet, not police you. The sooner they know what was ingested the better chance your pet has.
• While we have all seen the pictures of dogs drinking bottles of beer, alcohol is very harmful to animals. Their livers possess different enzymes than humans, and pets can undergo serious liver damage very quickly from ingesting alcohol of any form.
• Finally, don’t forget the basics. There are many substances which can harm out pets that we usually do not worry about. Dishwasher liquids, paints, and household cleaners should all be kept in safe places. Anti-freeze tastes very sweet to animals, and causes serious kidney damage and death. There are many plants which are toxic to animals. If you see your pet eating a plant and you aren’t sure if it is toxic, it’s ALWAYS better to ask early.
THE AUTHOR: Anna Dunton-Gallagher is Dr. Dunton’s daughter. She earned a degree at UCLA (BS, 2007) and is now at Ross Univ. School of Veterinary Medicine (DVM expected, 2011).