Latest Posts

Gecko and Turtle Health

August 14, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 4:27 pm

Pet Talk

By dr. Norette L. Underwood


Gecko and Turtle Health


Gecko Hunger Strike


A friend of mine had a fat-tailed gecko.  He used to eat a few live crickets every few days, but lately he will not touch his food. He just lets the crickets die in his aquarium.

A gecko not wanting to eat is frequently a sign of an underlying health issue.  You should make an appointment to see your vet to rule out infections or other medical issues.  Your gecko’s environment may be off.  It is important that proper heating, lighting and humidity are correct.  The ideal home is a tank with a warm side heated to 90 degrees and cooler side in the high 70’s.  It is also important to keep the tank clean. Remove uneaten crickets or other insects after 30 minutes. If left in the tank, they can pick up parasites from your pet’s poop and make your gecko sick if he does eventually eat them.


Turtles and Sunlight:


A client asked me if there was a correlation between the amount of sunlight and her turtle’s appetite.  Yes there is.  When the lighting or environmental temperature range is not correct for a species it can have trouble digesting food and not want to eat.  All indoor turtles should have access to full-spectrum (UVA-UVB) lighting during the day. The light source should be 8-12 inches from your turtle and not shine through glass or plastic.  Some reptiles do fast seasonally, but loss of appetite can also be a sign of illness.  If your turtle doesn’t eat for more than a few days, have it checked out by your veterinarian.


If you have questions about geckos and turtles contact dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at

Doggie Home Dental Care 101

August 7, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 7:43 pm

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

Doggie Home Dental Care 101


Your dog’s teeth are made up of the same components as all other mammal teeth, including yours. Without regular brushing and periodic professional cleanings, a soft, sticky film of bacteria called plaque builds up on your teeth. Eventually, plaque accumulates and hardens into calculus, allowing millions of bacteria to move into your gums and the structures that hold the teeth in place.


Many people think dogs don’t need dental care because they come from wolves, and wild animals like wolves don’t have their teeth brushed or scaled. While that’s true, keep in mind that not only is a wolf’s diet different from what our pets eat, but the shape of a dog’s mouth, the size of its teeth, and the way they all fit together are also different. The size and shape of dogs’ mouths vary depending on their breed. The teeth of many canine breeds are crowded compared with wolves’ teeth because dogs have a smaller jaw and a more rounded face. What’s more, our dogs live longer than their wild ancestors, who don’t often live long enough to experience severe dental disease. The fact is that up to 85% of pets have periodontal disease by the time they reach age 3. And, as in people, this results in bad breath, painful chewing, and tooth loss. We know home dental care is a commitment, but it’s not as hard or time-consuming as you might think. Just follow these simple guidelines and see what you can achieve.

READY, SET, BRUSH! It’s best to start a dental care routine with clean teeth, such as when adult teeth first come in or after a professional dental cleaning. If you can already see tartar at your dog’s gum line, realize that brushing may impede the tartar’s destructive process but won’t remove the tartar itself.

Ideally, dogs’ teeth should be brushed every day, but any brushing is better than none. The process should not be a struggle for you or your pet, so take it slow, offer lots of praise, and have fun while improving your dog’s health.

Preparing:  The best brush to use is one with soft bristles that you can hold at an angle that’s comfortable for both you and your pet.  You can opt to start with a finger toothbrush, which is a piece of textured rubber that you place over your finger to massage your dog’s teeth and gums. Finger brushes allow you to reach the spaces between teeth where bacteria and tartar thrive, particularly in small dogs. You’ll also need to use a toothpaste that’s made just for dogs. Human toothpaste is not meant to be swallowed and  may contain artificial sweeteners that can be harmful to dogs. Canine toothpaste comes in flavors they like, such as chicken and beef.

Brushing:   Put some dog toothpaste on the brush, and let your dog lick it off. Once he looks forward to getting the toothpaste, lift the lips with your fingers and brush the teeth that you can reach easily in the front of the mouth. Don’t worry if you only get a few teeth the first week or so. Once your dog is used to the idea of having his teeth brushed, begin to work the toothbrush like you would your own—over both sides of all the teeth. Realize this may takes weeks to achieve and you may never get your dog to stop trying to chew the brush. Just relax, and do the best you can.

NEVER attempt home care if you think your dog may bite you. Discontinue if your dog growls, snaps, or begins to panic. Call or visit us, and we’ll help find a better way for you to keep your dog’s mouth as healthy as possible.

If you have questions about dental care contact dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at

Bee Stings Can Be Deadly

July 31, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 2:42 pm

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


Bee Stings Can Be Deadly!


An angry bee, wasp or hornet can be a danger to your pet.  Rambunctious pets often chase, snap at flying insects, or dig up nests.  The result can be a sting on the nose, paw, or inside the mouth.


These stings can cause localized pain, swelling and mild redness to the site of the sting. Depending on the location of the sting and how many times your pet is stung, the effect can be mild, serious life threatening and even death.




When your pet is stung, he will likely yelp, or begin whining. You may see them pawing at the stung area or trying to rub their head on the grass to relieve the pain.  They may start to drool. Within ten minutes, healthy pink gums can turn white or gray.


Sometimes, even if the site of the sting is not on the dog’s face, you pet can suffer dangerous swelling on the neck. This could lead to constriction of the airway, which can be life threating. Some dogs may have a delayed reaction several hours after the sting.


All stings should be treated as a potential emergency.  Have your veterinarians phone number handy. Always keep Benadryl on hand for any type of allergic reaction for your pet.


What Action to Take:


If you see your pet get stung by a bee, stay calm, and keep your dog still to slow the spread of the venom. If you know the area of the sting try to remove the stinger right away. Scrape the stinger away with a credit card. Do not use tweezers.  When you go to squeeze the stinger you may release more venom into your pet.


Immediately apply a cold wet washcloth to reduce pain and swelling.  Then call your veterinarian.


Help prevent insect stings by keeping wasp nests and flying insects under control.


If you have questions about venomous insect stings contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at

How do you cope with summer heat and your pet?

July 27, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 7:20 pm

Pet talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

How do you cope with summer heat and your pet?

Summer temperatures might be great for tan lines and boating trips, but the excessive heat and increased outdoor activities could spell disaster for your pets.

The most common heat related problem for pets is heat stroke.  Also known as heat stress or hyperpyrexia, heat stroke is a real emergency for dogs.  Even on moderately warm days, an excited dog might show a body temperature increase of 2-5 degrees Fahrenheit.  Since dogs don’t sweat like we do, they are unable to dissipate the excess heat and heat stroke may soon follow.

Any outdoor pet can overheat on a warm summer day, but short -faced breeds, such as Pugs and Bulldogs, are at a higher risk.  In addition, every year thousands of pets succumb to heat stroke because they were left in cars while their owners ran “just a few” errands. On a 70-degree day, temperatures inside a car can soar to over 110 degrees in less than one hour!

Some owners try to help their pets by shaving the dog’s long coat. A well-groomed and clean hair coat can actually insulate the dog from the heat and help keep them cooler.

Veterinarians will recommend shaving specific areas in longhaired breeds.  For example, shaving around the anus and groin can help keep the area clean and free from infections.

In some cases, shaving the hair coat could expose a lightly pigmented dog to potential sunburn.  Boxers, Pit Bulls and Dalmatians are just a few examples of dogs that are at risk.  In these cases, chronic exposure to hot sunny days damages the skin and causes tender, red scaly lesions.


It is possible to enjoy the summer with your pets by taking just a few precautions.  Always be aware of the weather forecast.

Don’t leave your pet unattended outside or plan heavy exercise on hot, humid days.  If your pet is left outdoors, he must have access to adequate shade and fresh cool water.

When it’s time to run errands, leave your pet at home.  Even a few minutes in a hot car is enough to increase your pet’s body temperature dramatically. If the pavement or sidewalk is too hot for you to walk on, it is too hot for your pet’s paws to walk on.

If you find your pet disoriented, panting excessively and the tongue really wide and large or dog collapsed in the yard, move him immediately to a cooler environment.  Use cool wet towels on his backside; paw pads, armpits and groin to help bring his temperature down.  Fans are often helpful too.  DO NOT USE ICE!  Then, get him to your veterinarian immediately so that they can assess his status and begin life saving treatments.


If you have questions please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of the Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile service at

The origin of the purr….

July 17, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 2:05 pm

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

The Origin of the Purr

The purring of cats has long been one of the most interesting and controversial sounds in the animal kingdom.

Several theories for the origin of the purr have been offered.  At first, the larynx was considered the source. However, results of early experiments virtually dispelled this theory.  When air was allowed to bypass the larynx in some cats, they could still purr.

Next, the sound was attributed to vascular sources.  Researchers observed that cats most often purred while being petted and that they also tended to arch the back during that time.  The theory went something like this: the arching of the back bent the aorta, the blood eddied at the sharp bend, resulting in turbulence that was heard as a purr.  Investigators went so far as to induce local anesthesia at the site of an abdominal incision so they could manually palpate the aorta.

Not until recently has the mechanism for purring been found.  Results of electromyographic studies of laryngeal muscles revealed regular stereotyped patterns associated with purring.  As certain of these muscles contract, the glottis closes partially, causing a buildup of pressure caudal to or within the glottis.  The turbulence of the air passing through the narrowed opening produces the purr.  This explanation holds for purring that occurs when the cat is in positions other than the arched-back.

Meaning of the purr

Not all purring is associated with an audible sound. Cats often purr in the presence of their kittens or people.  Despite the fact we can never truly know why cats purr, it is fund to speculate on the reasons.  Some have said that a purr is somewhat comparable to our smile.  The behavior occurs most commonly when cats seen to be happy, content or relaxed.

The most unusual occasion for purring is one most often seen by veterinarians.  The chronically ill cat may purr during the late stages of illness right before death.

The conclusion is that the purr originates at the source of most vocalizations, the larynx. It probably communicates a feeling of contentment.  It is interesting that is has taken scientists this long to figure out what most of us always thought it meant.

If you have questions contact Dr. Underwood of the Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile at

Ear Inflammation and Infection

July 10, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 8:01 pm

Pet Talk
By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

Ear Inflammation and Infection:
Otitis Externa is the fancy medical term for inflammation or infection of your pet’s outer ear canal. Here are some things some folks believe about recurring ear problems….and the facts:

You might think… that all ear infections are same, so I can use the same medication I used last time my pet had an ear infection.
FACT: Ear Infections can be caused by a variety of bacteria and yeast. Is important that your veterinarian examine each ear infection. It is important to determine if this is the same infection that was not resolved or a new infection.

You might think… If I pluck the hairs out of my dog’s ears, my dog will never get an ear infection.
FACT: the hairs should be left alone unless they are causing a problem.

You might think…My dog has an ear infection, because he caught it from another animal.
FACT: Ear infections often occur secondary to inflammation in the ear, which may be a symptom of an underlying condition such as allergies. When the environment of the ear is altered, bacteria or yeast can cause an infection.

You might think…My dog scratches, licks, or chews because he is bored, grooming himself or imitating the family cat.
FACT: Scratching, licking, and chewing are signs of an itchy, allergic dog. Allergies are one of the most common underlying conditions of ear infections. So schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if you see your pet doing these.

You might think…My dog’s ears will be cured so he will never get another infection.
FACT: This may be true if the infection is not due to an underlying problem. But if allergies were the culprit, the ears will be managed along with allergies over your pet’s lifetime.

If you have ear questions with your dog you may contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile at

Ticks, Natures Vampires!

July 5, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 5:47 pm

Ticks, Natures Vampires!

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

Dogs and cats are very susceptible to tick bites and tick-borne diseases. Vaccines are not available for all the tick-borne diseases that dogs can get, and they don’t keep the dogs from bringing ticks into your home. For these reasons, it’s important to use a tick preventive product on your dog.

Tick bites on dogs or cats may be hard to detect. Signs of tick-borne disease may not appear for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bite, so watch your pet closely for changes in behavior or appetite if you suspect that a tick has bitten your pet.

To reduce the chances that a tick will transmit disease to you or your pets:

  • Check your pets for ticks daily, especially after they spend time outdoors.
  • If you find a tick on your pet remove it right away.
  • Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about tick-borne diseases in your area.
  • Reduce tick habitat in your yard. They love dense vegetation.
  • Talk with your veterinarian about using tick preventives on your pet.

Note: Cats are extremely sensitive to a variety of chemicals. Do not apply any insect acaricides or repellents to your cats without first consulting your veterinarian!

Kill Ticks on Dogs

A pesticide product that kills ticks is known as an acaricide. Acaricides that can be used on dogs include dusts, impregnated collars, sprays, topical treatments, or oral pills.  Some acaricides kill the tick on contact. Others may be absorbed into the bloodstream of a dog and kill ticks that attach and feed. Some collars actually repel the ticks from attaching.


  • Helps to reduce the number of ticks in the environment
  • Prevents tick-borne disease


  • Tick bites can cause a painful wound and may become infected.
  • When bitten, a dog or cat may become infected with a number of diseases. This depends on the type of tick, which diseases it is carrying (if any), and how quickly a product kills the feeding tick.

This summer may be a tick fest.  So proper tick control is essential.  Keep weeds cut and yards mowed.  If you have questions about tick diseases and tick control contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at

Don’t Let Fireworks frighten Your Pets This Fourth of July!

June 26, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 10:37 pm

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette Underwood

Don’t Let Fireworks frighten Your Pets This Fourth of July!

Fireworks are enjoyed year-round by people but can be a source of fear for many animals.

It doesn’t have to be that way though, so don’t ignore the problem. Seek advice from your veterinarian about behavior or drug therapy to make this a not so frightening experience for your pet.

Keeping cats and dogs secure

  • Make sure your dog or cat always has somewhere to hide if he or she wants to and has access to this place at all times. For example this could be under some furniture or in a crate or in a closet.
  • Be sure and walk your dogs during daylight hours and keep cats and dogs indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off.
  • At nightfall close windows and curtains and put on music to mask and muffle the sound of fireworks.
  • If your pet shows any signs of fear try to ignore their behavior. Leave them alone unless they are likely to harm themselves.
  • Never punish or fuss over your pet when it’s scared, as this will only make things worse in the long run.
  • Make sure your cat or dog is always kept in a safe and secure environment and can’t escape if there’s a sudden noise. Have your pet micro chipped in case they do escape. 
Just for dogs – before the firework season starts 
Planning ahead can help your dog cope with the firework season. 
Talk to your vet about pheromone diffusers. These disperse calming chemicals into the room and may be a good option for your dog; in some cases your vet may even prescribe medication. If either of these options is used they should be used in conjunction with behavioral therapy.

Before the firework season starts provide your dog with a doggy safe haven, this should be a quiet area so choose one of the quietist rooms in your home. It should be a place where the animal feels it is in control, so don’t interfere with it when it’s in that area. Train your dog to associate the area with positive experiences e.g. by leaving toys there but not imposing yourself at any time. Use a variety of toys and swap them regularly, putting them away when not in use so that your dog doesn’t become bored with them. With time your dog can learn that this place is safe and enjoyable. So when fireworks happen it may choose to go here because it knows that when it is here, no harm will come to it and so it’s more able to cope. It is important that your dog has access to its doggy safe haven at all times even when you’re not at home.

Just for dogs – when the fireworks start

  • Close any windows and black out the ‘doggy play area’ to remove any extra problems caused by flashing lights.
  • Each evening before the fireworks begin, move your dog to the play area and provide toys and other things that they enjoy. Make sure that there are things for you to do too so that your dog isn’t left alone.
  • Ignore the firework noises yourself. Try doing something with your pet to distract them. Play with a toy to see if your dog wants to join in, but don’t force them to play.
  • If you know a dog that isn’t scared by noises and which gets on well with your dog, then keeping the two together during the evenings may help your dog to realize that there’s no need to be afraid. 
Sounds Scary – for dogs 
In the long term your dog needs to learn to be less afraid of loud noises. With proper treatment this is possible so that the next firework season will be less stressful for you and your dog. 
We recommend slowly introducing your dog to the sounds they do not like.


Just for cats

  • Make sure your cat has somewhere to hide if it wants to. For example this may be under some furniture or in a quiet corner.
  • Don’t try and tempt your cat out, as this will cause it to become more stressed. 
Don’t forget small animals
    • If your pets live outside, partly cover cages, pens and aviaries with blankets so that one area is well soundproofed. Make sure that your pet is still able to look out.
    • Provide lots of extra bedding so your pet has something to burrow in.
    • If you have questions about fireworks and your pet. Contact dr. Norette Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Moble Service at Happy 4th of July.
Acknowledgement for part of this information is made to Prof Daniel Mills.

Is Talking Baby Talk Beneficial for your Puppy?

June 19, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 7:59 pm


Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


Is Talking Baby Talk Beneficial for your Puppy?



I thought this was a very interesting debate. I found this article and wanted to share with my pet talk readers. This article was authored by Cari Romm on


There are of course exceptions to every rule, but most of the time, when faced with a baby, adults will find themselves slipping into a slower, higher-pitched, more repetition-prone version of their normal speech patterns: Hiiii there! Hiiii. Who’s the cutest baby? Is it you? Say what you want about how baby talk makes adults sound silly, it really does serve a purpose: Research has shown that it helps infants absorb words more easily than when you speak to them in a normal tone.


And according to a new study in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a similar dynamic may be at play with puppies — the other group that causes us to lapse into that same cutesy voice. In the first part of the experiment, volunteers viewed images of puppies and adult dogs and recorded a piece of prewritten dialogue as though they were speaking directly to the dogs in the photos: “Hi! Hello cutie! Who’s a good boy? Come here! Good boy! Yes! Come here sweetie pie! What a good boy!” (For a control, the study authors also had them say the same few lines in their normal voices.) In the second part, the researchers played the recordings back to dogs — some borrowed from shelters and some belonging to humans who volunteered their pets — and observed how they reacted to the sound of the human voice.

The takeaways here are twofold: First, when the researchers ran an acoustical analysis on their voice recordings, they discovered that the participants altered their pitch depending on the age of the dog in question. In general, people spoke more slowly and at a higher pitch when addressing a dog than when they were speaking in their regular tone of voice, but the difference was especially pronounced when they were talking to puppies. Which, incidentally, works out well for the puppies: While older dogs were equally responsive to high-pitched and normal recordings, younger ones seemed particularly engaged when they were listening to people baby-talk in their direction.

The study authors didn’t have a firm conclusion as to why that was the case, but they speculated that, as with humans, talking high and slow “may be efficient to promote word learning, an ability well demonstrated in dogs” — which, they argued, is the same reason why we do it in the first place: Our minds lump dogs together with babies as “nonverbal companions,” entities that only kinda sorta maybe understand what we’re saying.

If you have questions about your pet please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at




Laundry Detergent Pods Cause Harm in Pets Too

June 12, 2017 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 7:47 pm

Laundry Detergent Pods Cause Harm in Pets Too

Most soaps and detergents contain chemicals called ionic and anionic surfactants. Regular laundry detergent is not as highly concentrated as a pod. When your pet ingests regular detergent it is more dilute and they can quickly get rid of the taste by licking and drooling. Laundry pods are very highly concentrated and cause much more irritation to your pet’s mouth. They cannot rid the taste easily so they may paw at their mouth excessively and drool profusely.We all love laundry pods because of their ease of use.  Pets love them too. Dogs think they are brightly colored chew toys and cats like to bat them around like a hockey puck.


However, laundry pods present a new danger.  It was first noticed that young children were developing serious respiratory issues after biting into the highly concentrated, pre-packaged laundry detergent pods (some that look like candy and come in brightly colored packages).

Not surprisingly, Pet Poison Helpline has noticed some severe clinical signs in dogs and cats exposed to these pods as well. Of the cases reported to the Pet Poison Helpline over the past 2 years, 72.19% of pets developed clinical signs. In order of prevalence, 84.4% of symptomatic cases experienced vomiting, 21.48% experienced cough, 17% experienced lethargy, and 13.3% experienced dyspnea, wheezing, or other respiratory irritation.

The reason for the increased severity between pets exposed to laundry pods and pets simply licking product off the floor or off their fur is thought to be due to the way the product is formulated in the pod. When a pet bites into a pod, the product is both highly concentrated and under pressure from the bite. Therefore, when the pod is punctured, the detergents are forcefully expelled and may be easily aspirated or swallowed, often in large amounts. Theoretically, ingestion of multiple packets may run a risk for a foreign body obstruction and erosive lesions from prolonged contact in the gut.

When these exposures occur, it is important to dilute the exposed site as much as possible—rinse the mouth, skin, or eyes until the slick, “soapy” feel is gone. If your pet exhibits persistent vomiting or respiratory signs your veterinarian should immediately evaluate them. There is no antidote for laundry pod exposure. Your attending veterinarian should treat clinical signs with symptomatic and supportive care.


Please keep your laundry pods out of reach of children and pets.


If you have questions regarding laundry pod toxicity please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at