Pet Health

Preventing Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

posted March 9th, 2013 by
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You’ve just adopted an adorable new puppy, but you’re concerned because it’s the same breed of dog you’ve had in the past and when your last dog turned two years of age, he was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, or malformed hip sockets. You spent years caring for a dog that had a painful condition in his rear legs.

Then, you talk to a friend who just had her young puppy in to see Dr Dennis Henson at Hammond Animal Hospital. Dr Henson performed a special radiographic technique called the PennHIP method. This procedure measures the laxity of the ligaments that hold the femoral head in the hip socket. Your friend’s puppy did have loose ligaments and her puppy is now scheduled to have a procedure called a juvenile pubic symphysiodesis (JPS) surgery. This surgery can actually prevent hip dysplasia in dogs.

There is an area of cartilage called the pubic symphysis that serves as a seam connecting the right side of the pelvis to the left side. As a dog matures, this cartilage converts to bone and the two halves of the pelvis fuse permanently. Through JPS, the pubic symphysis is surgically fused at an early age resulting in rotation of the developing hip sockets into a more normal alignment.

The PennHip radiography must be performed between 16 and 18 weeks so this preventative procedure can be performed before the age of 20 weeks in puppies showing a certain degree of laxity in their hip sockets. For more information, contact Hammond Animal Hospital to see how one x-ray can lead to greater peace-of-mind for you and quality of life for your new pet.

Dental Dangers

posted January 14th, 2013 by
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by Kiley Roberson

Is your pet’s smile making him sick? The truth is that more than 85% of pets over age 3 suffer from some sort of dental disease. Tartar buildup on your pet’s teeth means bacteria, and bacteria leads to infections. Many pets develop heart disease or kidney disease as a result of harboring harmful bacteria in their mouths over time.

Veterinarians, like Dr. Heather Owen at Animal Acupuncture, are constantly reminding clients to provide annual dental exams and cleanings for their pets followed by care at home. “Smaller pets may need to have their teeth cleaned every six months,” Owen explains. “Larger pets need a cleaning every year. I tell people to flip their lip; if there is tartar, they need to be cleaned.”

Still, pet owners are reluctant to follow these recommendations. Some don’t like the idea of using anesthesia to put their pets to sleep during dental procedures because they think it’s dangerous. That’s why many groomers have started offering Anesthesia-Free Pet Dentistry (AFPD).

Marketing brochures show calm dogs sitting on the laps of “pet dental hygienists” who gently scrape tartar off the pets’ teeth. For anyone who has a senior pet or anyone who has lost a pet under anesthesia, this idea might seem to be right on target. But, Owen says, don’t be fooled.

“Don’t do it,” Owen warns. “You can pay a groomer to brush your pet’s teeth and check for bacteria if you want, but they are not educated in veterinary dentistry nor are they trained. This is a money making trend in the industry, and that is it.”

Veterinarians use ultrasonic scalers and sharp dental instruments for cleanings. This is one reason a general anesthetic is needed. Beyond keeping the patient from moving, heavy sedation or general anesthesia allows a more thorough procedure of the entire mouth and hard to see areas. Sedation also helps keep the pets from inhaling the bacteria as it is scraped from their teeth, which could make them very sick.

Dr. Owen says that Anesthesia-Free Pet Dentistry is not only dangerous, it’s a scam on pet owners. “The biggest danger is causing your pet harm,” Owen says. “Without sedations, we cannot take oral X-rays which are imperative in helping to assess the health of your pet’s teeth.

“We cannot protect their airway, allowing them to inhale massive amounts of bacteria. We could hurt them with the scaler if they unexpectedly move on us, and we cannot extract painful or infected teeth. In essence, it is a waste of your time and money.”

In a veterinary office, dental cleanings are followed by a polishing step that helps remove the microscopic divots from the tooth enamel and creates a smooth healthy surface. Many veterinarians also apply a barrier sealant that helps repel plaque-causing bacteria and has been shown to reduce plaque and tartar accumulation. Neither of these can be done sedation free.

In fact, without anesthesia, only the visible portions of the teeth can be cleaned. Areas under the gum line and the insides of the teeth will still have tartar and bacteria. In time, the teeth will deteriorate and become painful.

Under a safe anesthetic, veterinarians are able to probe all areas of the mouth and use tools to remove plaque and bacteria from under the gum line. This actually stops the disease process. Veterinarians also use X-rays to help find potential problem areas, and you won’t find X-ray equipment at an anesthesia-free dental facility.

If you are concerned about the cost of dentals, use the February dental discount month to help your money go further. Brush your pet’s teeth daily at home. Listen to your veterinarian’s recommendations. They are trained in this area!

The anesthesia used is safe, and the risks are minimal—more so if you have your pet’s teeth cleaned more often (less time under). Be certain to have your veterinarian listen to his or her heart and perform blood work prior to sedating/anesthetizing your pet. Ask your vet to take dental X-rays to examine along with you!

If you know your pet needs a proper dental cleaning, but the thought of general anesthesia frightens you, talk with your veterinarian. “The anesthesia used is very safe, and the risks are minimal,” Owen says. “It’s even better if you have your pet’s teeth cleaned more often, because they are actually under for a shorter amount of time.”

While no anesthetic protocol is 100 percent safe, anesthetic complications are extremely rare. Ask your veterinarian to show you the monitoring equipment and explain how a well-trained staff makes anesthesia as safe as possible.

You can also reduce the need for dental cleanings by using dental home care products designed to remove plaque buildup in between the veterinary visits. The gold standard is to brush your pet’s teeth daily. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and special toothpaste designed for pets. You should never use human toothpaste. If you’re worried your pet might have teeth troubles, here are some signs to look for:

• Bad breath

• Excessive drooling

• Inflamed gums

• Tumors in the gums

• Cysts under the tongue

• Loose teeth

These are signs that your pet may have a problem in his mouth or gastrointestinal system and should be checked by a veterinarian.
Taking good care of your pet’s pearly whites is important to his or her overall health. While anesthesia-free dentistry might sound like a good idea, the truth is the benefits are strictly cosmetic, and risks are dangerous. Keep your pet safe with regular dental cleanings at the vet’s office; that sparkling smile will thank you.


For Pet’s Sake, Toss the Cigarettes!

posted September 16th, 2012 by
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by Anna Holton-Dean

We have known of the dangers of cigarette smoking for years, including the detrimental effects it has on non-smokers through secondhand smoke. An estimated 26,000 to 70,000 non-smokers die annually from secondhand smoke.

It only makes sense then that secondhand smoke would also affect pets that live with smokers, and research proves it to be a significant health risk. Dr. Carolynn MacAllister, director of Veterinary Continuing Education and Extension at Oklahoma State University, wrote a paper on the topic and says, more specifically, secondhand smoke is associated with oral cancer and lymphoma in cats, lung and nasal cancer in dogs, as well as lung cancer in birds.

A Tufts College of Veterinary Medicine study showed cats particularly to be at an increased risk due to their grooming habits. Oral mouth cancer— squamous cell carcinoma—was higher for cats that live with smokers. In fact, cats who lived with a smoker for five years or longer had an even higher incidence of this oral cancer. A major contributing factor to this is a cat’s grooming habits, MacAllister writes.

“Cats constantly lick themselves while grooming,” she says, “therefore, they lick up the cancer-causing chemicals or carcinogens that accumulate on their fur from their environment. This grooming behavior exposes the mucous membrane of the oral cavity to the cancer-causing carcinogens.”

Another type of cancer found in cats living with smokers is malignant lymphoma. They were found to be twice as likely to have this cancer compared to cats living with non-smokers, and it kills three out of four cats within 12 months of developing it, according to MacAllister’s paper.

Of course, cats aren’t the only pets susceptible. Canines have an increased incidence of cancer in the nose and sinus area with a slight association to lung cancer. MacAllister cites a Colorado State University study which found a higher incidence of nasal tumors in dogs living in homes with secondhand smoke compared to those that live in non-smoking homes. Interestingly, the nasal tumor rate was even higher among long-nosed breeds, and shorteror medium-nosed breeds had a higher incidence of lung cancer.

MacAllister explains “the higher incidence of nasal tumors for long-nosed breeds probably occurs because these types of breeds have a greater surface area in their noses to be exposed to the carcinogens and for the carcinogens to accumulate. Since the carcinogens tend to build up on the mucous membranes of the long-nosed dogs not as much will reach the lungs. Unfortunately, the dogs affected with nasal cancer typically will not live longer than a year.”

She goes on to explain the same for shorter-nosed breeds. As the Colorado State study reported, “there was a slightly higher incidence of lung cancer among the short/medium nosed dogs. This increase probably occurred because their shorter nasal passages were not as effective at accumulating the inhaled secondhand smoke carcinogens; therefore, more of the carcinogens were reaching the lungs.”

A third type of pet affected by secondhand smoke is birds. Birds have hypersensitive respiratory systems to air pollutants, which can bring serious consequences, including pneumonia, lung cancer, and even eye, skin, heart and fertility problems.

The Perfect Combination of Compassion and Expertise

posted September 16th, 2012 by
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A cute little Chihuahua arrived at an area animal shelter with what appeared to be a very infected eye. Volunteers put out a plea for a veterinarian to examine the little dog, known as Baby, and the doctors at Hammond Animal Hospital were happy to take a look. Examination revealed that Baby actually suffered from microphthalmia, a congenital disorder resulting in a small eye that is recessed in the socket and often blind. To add to the tiny dog’s troubles, the veterinarians also noticed that Baby had an unusual gait and further diagnosed bilaterally luxated patellas– a condition in which the patellas, or kneecaps, in the dog’s hind legs dislocate or move out of their normal location. Baby needed surgery to not only remove her blind eye, but also to repair both knees.

None of this is good news for a homeless dog that is living in limbo in a small shelter with limited resources. But there was good news for Baby. Thanks to the expertise and generosity of Dr. Dennis Henson and Dr. Lauren Johnson, along with an outpouring of support from concerned animal lovers, the tough little Chihuahua received the surgeries she needed followed by excellent support during her recovery and rehabilitation. Baby quickly became a hospital favorite. In fact, so much so that she and Dr. Johnson, who oversaw her recovery, quickly became inseparable. So instead of returning to the shelter to await adoption, Baby was adopted by one of her favorite docs and can be found making the rounds with Dr. Johnson on a regular basis.

Whether it’s a beloved family pet or a homeless animal in need, the veterinarians and staff at Hammond Animal Hospital deliver the perfect combination of compassionate care and expertise to each case. The result? Many happy tales…and tails!

Ruth Steinberger to address World Health Organization

posted September 3rd, 2012 by
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WHO Dog Population Mgmt2

Ruth Steinberger, Spay FIRST! founder and contributing writer for TulsaPets Magazine, will speak this month at the OIE’s First International Conference on Dog Population Management in York, England.  (The OIE is the animal branch of the World Health Organization.)

Ruth will speak about her work on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where she helped start a spay/neuter program there in 2002 to help decrease the number of stray dogs on the reservation.  Life has much improved for the dogs there, thanks to the good work by Ruth and the others!   Ruth will speak on Friday 7 September about her work that has become a road map for creating measureable outcomes from a high volume spay/neuter program.

The presentation will be available at a link on next week.

Royal Canin introduces New SPAYED/NEUTERED™ Feline Formulas

posted August 29th, 2012 by
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Royal Canin2

ST. CHARLES, Mo., August 29, 2012 – It’s no secret – spaying and neutering improves the quality of life for both cats and their owners – providing America’s 76 million pet cats with longer lives, preventing unwanted litters and creating a friendlier disposition. However, most owners don’t know that the procedure can also lead to hormonal and behavioral changes that can cause cats to become overweight, due to decreased energy needs and an increase in appetite. Fortunately, Royal Canin, a leader in science-based nutrition for pets, is introducing its new SPAYED/NEUTERED™ line of feline formulas that includes balanced nutrition and appetite control to help manage these changes – providing a new way to feed cats in the U.S.


To celebrate the product introduction, Royal Canin is launching a national campaign called You Share, We Give, which benefits the American Humane Association. The program, found on, encourages cat owners to “share” information about spaying and neutering, in exchange for free SPAYED/NEUTERED food samples. Beginning today, each time a fan “shares” the Royal Canin infographic, the company will provide the owner with a free sample of the SPAYED/NEUTERED canned formula (up to 25,000 cans), and also is donating $25,000 to the American Humane Association in support of feline health research.


“We are proud to team up with Royal Canin in this effort to share valuable knowledge with cat owners that can help improve their pet’s quality of life,” says Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of the American Humane Association. “We share a common goal for the better health of all pets, and we’re proud to accept this donation to help fund future feline health research.”


To further educate pet owners about the lesser-known effects of spaying and neutering and the solutions provided by the new SPAYED/NEUTERED foods, Royal Canin is teaming up with nationally-known pet behaviorist, radio host and syndicated columnist Steve Dale to launch the You Share, We Give campaign.


“Many owners may notice that their cat seems lazy, has an insatiable appetite or begs for food. What they don’t understand is that decreased energy and increased appetite are a major side effect of spaying and neutering,” says Dale, host of Steve Dale’s Pet World radio show. “This new food from Royal Canin is the simple solution to help spayed and neutered cats maintain weight and therefore promote better health throughout their lives.”

Independent research has shown that spaying and neutering can, in many cases, cause up to a 30 percent decrease in energy1 among cats, and up to a 20 percent increase in appetite2 as early as the week following surgery. This means that spayed or neutered cats are about 3.5 times more likely to be overweight3 than other cats, putting them at increased risk for obesity. In addition, obese cats are more likely to develop additional health problems, such as diabetes, arthritis and non-allergic skin conditions.

Royal Canin is available in the Tulsa Metro at:

Southern Agriculture

Akins Natural Foods




“Since the vast majority of America’s pet cats – 88 percent, in fact – are spayed or neutered, there is a great need for a diet that addresses the decreased energy and increased appetite that result from the procedure,” says Dr. Brent Mayabb, veterinarian and manager of education and development at Royal Canin. “We are proud to introduce the most comprehensive health nutrition solution that can help control appetite and support a cat’s decreased energy needs, which is now available at your local pet specialty store.”


All of the new SPAYED/NEUTERED formulas contain controlled fat levels to maintain weight and added antioxidants promote health through every life stage. The line features four dry formulas for cats and kittens, as well as a canned formula that can be used as a meal or as a complement to the dry kibble. The SPAYED/NEUTERED formulas include:

    • Royal Canin® KITTEN SPAYED/NEUTERED formula promotes growth, while supporting healthy weight , natural defenses and digestive health for spayed and neutered kittens between the ages of 6 – 12 months
    • Royal Canin® SPAYED/NEUTERED Appetite Control contains a unique blend of fibers to help cats between the ages of 1 – 7 years  feel fuller longer, in response to their decreased energy and increased appetite
    • Royal Canin® SPAYED/NEUTERED Appetite Control 7+ formula promotes appetite control, increased vitality and weight maintenance for spayed and neutered between the ages of 7 – 12 years
  • Royal Canin® SPAYED/NEUTERED 12+ formula promotes weight  maintenance and healthy aging and joint support while helping to support kidney health for spayed and neutered cats 12 years and older
  • Royal Canin® SPAYED/NEUTERED Canned Formula can be fed as a meal, or as a complement to dry kibble, the formula features an ideal balance of vitamins and minerals and a moderate energy level to help spayed or neutered cats over 1 year maintain a healthy weight.


Royal Canin’s SPAYED/NEUTERED formulas are available now at pet specialty stores such as PetSmart and PETCO, as well as independent pet stores nationwide. For more information on the You Share, We Give program, visit


About Royal Canin USA
Royal Canin USA is a forerunner of nutritional and technological advancement in dog and cat food. With more than 40 years of experience in the animal health and nutrition industry, the company prides itself on putting knowledge and respect for the animal first. Royal Canin collaborates with nutritionists, breeders and veterinarians from around the world on impartial and relevant research to ensure dogs and cats receive the best nutrition. For more information, find Royal Canin at or visit



About American Humane Association

Since 1877, the historic American Humane Association has been at the forefront of every major advancement in protecting children, pets and farm animals from cruelty and abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding human-animal interaction and its role in society. As the nation’s voice for the protection of children and animals, American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at today.