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Danger in Dog Days of Summer

posted July 15th, 2013 by
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Summer in Oklahoma means fun in the sun, but for man’s best friend, that fun can easily take a nasty turn for the worst. Dogs love to be with their owners, but owners beware — taking your dog out and about in hot summer temperatures can be a deadly choice.

According to Dr. Lauren Johnson of Hammond Animal Hospital, heat stroke in pets requires immediate emergency treatment. Because dogs are only able to sweat to a very minor degree through the pads of their feet, they do not tolerate high temperatures as well as humans do. Dogs resort to panting to exchange warm air for cool air, but when outside air temperatures are close to or exceed a dog’s normal body temperature, cooling by panting is not an efficient process.

So what are some of the common situations that can set the stage for heat stroke in dogs? Dr. Johnson lists the following:

• Being left in a car in hot weather. Even if outside temperatures are in the 70s, the temperatures inside the car can soar to dangerous levels within minutes, even with windows open.

• Exercising strenuously in hot, humid weather. Remember, your dog does not sweat anywhere except from the pads of his feet.

• Being a brachycephalic breed (short or “smashed” nose) especially Bulldogs, Pugs, or Pekingese, because they can’t dissipate heat effectively.

• Suffering from a heart or lung disease that interferes with efficient breathing.• Being confined on concrete or asphalt surfaces.

• Being confined without access to cool shelter, shade and/or fresh water in hot weather.

Symptoms of heat stroke begin with a dog panting heavily and having difficulty breathing. The dog’s tongue and mucous membranes will appear bright red. You may see very thick saliva and vomiting. With heat stroke, a dog’s body temperature will quickly rise to levels ranging from 104° to 110°F and the dog may be unsteady and disoriented. As shock sets in, the lips and mucous membrane turn gray and the dog may collapse, have seizures, or fall into a comatose state. Death can quickly follow.

Dr. Johnson says that emergency treatment is crucial. Immediate measures must be taken to cool the dog. “Move the dog out of the heat, preferably into an air-conditioned building,” said Dr. Johnson. “Cool the dog by spraying him with a garden hose or immersing him in a tub of cool water for a couple of minutes, but not ice water.” She also suggests that cool packs applied to the dog’s groin area may also be helpful, as well as wiping his paws off with cool water.

If possible, you should immediately monitor the dog’s rectal temperature, continuing the cooling process until the dog’s temperature falls below 103°F. After initial cooling, transport the dog to a veterinarian for further emergency treatment and support. According to Dr. Johnson the dog is not out of the woods once the initial heat episode sub-sides. Consequences of hyperthermia can manifest hours or even days later and include kidney failure, spontaneous bleeding, irregular heartbeat, and seizures.

Dr. Johnson is quick to advise that prevention is obvious-ly the best medicine. During hot temperatures, it is best to let your pet stay at home. Exercise your pet in the early morning or later in the evening when temperatures drop, and always make sure your pet has easy access to fresh water. If your pet starts panting heavily or falling behind in a walk, it’s time to head indoors.

A Diagnosis No Dog Owner Wants to Hear

posted July 15th, 2012 by
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by Nancy Gallimore Werhane

A torn anterior or cranial cruciate ligament – the diagnosis no dog owner wants to hear. That is especially true when your dog is not only your best buddy, but also your valued service dog.


But that is the diagnosis David Skaggs, a Vietnam veteran, heard when he took his service dog Toby, a handsome yellow Labrador retriever, to the vet because of a limp. Dr. Dennis Henson, with Hammond Animal Hospital, found that Toby had not only torn his ACL, but also had a malformed knee joint that probably contributed to the injury.


For Toby’s long-term wellbeing and to allow him to continue in his vital role as David’s service dog, he would have to undergo surgery to repair the knee. Traditionally, injuries of this nature have been remedied using a procedure in which the damaged ligament is removed and a large, strong suture replaces it to tighten the joint and provide stability until the dog’s own healed tissue is able to hold the knee in place. However, in larger dogs, fifty pounds or heavier, this procedure may not provide enough stability while the tissue heals. In these cases an advanced procedure called Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) is proving to be the answer. With this surgery, the tibia is cut and rotated in such a way that the natural weight bearing of the dog actually stabilizes the knee joint.


Though this is a complex surgery that requires a specialist, many experts now believe that TPLO is the best method for repairing a cruciate ligament rupture regardless of the size of the dog. Dr. Henson performed the special procedure on Toby’s knee in January of 2012. Today, Toby has made a full recovery and is back to doing all of the things he enjoys–chasing tennis balls and serving as David’s constant companion and aide.


“Toby is able to turn lights on and off, retrieve the phone, pick up things I’ve dropped and even open doors for me,” said David of his canine counterpart. “My first service dog, Martin, had to retire because of hip problems and, at just seven years, I wasn’t ready for Toby to have to retire too.”


Thanks to Dr. Henson and the staff at Hammond Animal Hospital, retirement is the last thing on Toby’s agenda. David summed up his gratitude in one simple statement, “I can’t imagine my life without Toby by my side.”

Laser Therapy Alternative

posted May 15th, 2012 by
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Safe, Effective Pain Management for your Pets

Lasers are becoming a popular alternative to the use of traditional pain relief medications in companion animals. Par-ticularly helpful in man-aging chronic arthritis, veterinarians are also us-ing laser therapy to pro-vide relief for ligament and muscle strains as well as in the treatment of skin wounds and lick granulomas. This tech-nology is also effective in speeding the healing process when used after surgical procedures.

According to Dr. Den-nis Henson of Hammond Animal Hospital, laser treatments offer a safe, more natural method of relieving pain and stimu-lating recovery in pets while avoiding the po-tential side effects of traditional medications. A laser directs a ray of infra-red light energy into the injured or inflamed area of a pet’s body. This energy then reduces inflammation and in-creases blood flow to the treatment area to encourage healing while also causing the re-lease of endorphins-the body’s natural pain killer. It can also provide an overall boost to the pet’s immune system.

Laser therapy is non-invasive, relaxing and won’t cause your pet any problems. The laser used in this type of applica-tion will not burn your pet’s skin or cause irrita-tion. A regular course of treatment, to be deter-mined by your veterinar-ian, can provide your pet long lasting, positive ef-fects.

To learn more about the applications of laser therapy in veterinary medicine and how your pet might benefit, contact Dr. Dennis Henson or Dr. Lauren Johnson at Hammond Animal Hospital.

Hammond Animal Hospital

Promising our best, so you can share their best.

Drs. Dennis Henson & Lauren Johnson

2301 E 71st St

Tulsa, OK  74136