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Brown Recluse Spider Bites and Your Pet!

March 28, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 9:11 pm

Pet Talk


Brown Recluse Spider Bites and Your Pet!

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood


With the arrival of spring means the coming out of spiders, especially the brown recluse.  They have been holed up somewhere warm for the winter and are ready to get out and be active.


One bite from a brown recluse spider will probably mean several weeks of pampering for your pet while she heals. Although the wound may appear nasty, your pet will usually recover fully, though you may want to take a trip to the veterinarian to be sure.


A brown recluse spider is a half-inch to 2 inches long. They are usually identified by a distinctive fiddle-shaped mark on their back. Although usually residing in the midwestern United States, the brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa) often travels with people as they move, hiding in boxes or other dark, secluded areas.


While not aggressive, these spiders will bite if they feel threatened. The bite itself does not cause much pain, and your pet may not even know she was bitten. After a while, a reddened area develops, with fever and nausea. The underlying tissue may die, and bleeding may occur. With or without treatment, the wound may take weeks to heal. Sometimes the pet may have an autoimmune reaction to the venom and serious systemic signs may appear.


The best way to prevent a bite is to limit your pet’s access to places where spiders may reside. This means checking dark areas, like dark basement corners or rarely used closets, for evidence that spiders are also residing in your home.


The diagnosis is based on the appearance of the skin wound and whether the brown recluse spider is present. Although the wound may heal on its own, it’s better to be safe and have your pet checked out by a veterinarian. This may prevent further tissue damage and infection.


Home and Veterinary Care


At home, clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide, chlorhexidine or povidone iodine. Do not use a tourniquet; because the venom stays in the area of bite, a tourniquet is not necessary. The tourniquet may cause circulation damage.


If you see your pet acting lethargic, begin vomiting or the wound becomes larger, it is strongly recommended that you bring your pet to the veterinarian. Treatment may be necessary to reduce these symptoms.


Your veterinarian will treat the bite wound and may give your pet antibiotics to prevent infection. Surgery may be necessary to remove the skin around the affected area, if other treatments do not heal the wound. Generally, pets recover fully from these spider bites after several weeks.


If you have questions regarding spider bites, please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Best Friends Vet Mobile Service and Trumann Animal Clinic at

Lily Ingestion Toxicity in Cats

March 20, 2016 | Filed under: Health Article, Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 8:46 pm

Pet talk
By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

Lily Ingestion Toxicity in Cat
With Easter almost here people want to send Easter Lilies as Gifts. Below are some important facts about lily toxicity:

1. Spring signifies renewal. New green growth and blooming flowers mark a new beginning. Many people will celebrate during this time by adorning their households with flowers and plants. However, cat owners need to beware that some of the most common plants are highly toxic to their beloved feline companions.

2. Easter lilies and other species of the genus Lilium (Tiger lily, rubrum lily, Japanese show lily, and Asiatic hybrid lily), are highly toxic to cats leading to kidney damage. All parts of the plant are considered toxic, and intoxication can occur with ingestion of less than one leaf. To date, the toxic component has not been determined.

3. Within the first two to six hours of lily ingestion, a cat may manifest intestinal upset including vomiting, loss of appetite, and depression.

4. Signs may temporarily subside only to return within twelve to eighteen hours as kidney damage ensues.

5. Treatment consists of rapid decontamination (inducing vomiting to remove plant material and administration of activated charcoal), and intravenous fluid.

6. Postponing treatment for more than eighteen hours can result in renal failure, and death; therefore, prompt and aggressive veterinary care is paramount. With prompt treatment, full recovery is possible. However, if treatment is delayed, varying degrees of permanent kidney damage will occur. If the cat is not treated at all, death usually occurs in three to seven days.

7. Cats can be extremely inquisitive, and may graze on plants in and around a house. Therefore, cat owners are encouraged to avoid placing lilies where cats reside, whether indoor or outdoor.

8. During Easter celebration and for that matter year around, substituting Easter lilies and other kidney toxic plants with plants such as Easter Orchids, Easter Lily Cactus, Easter Daisy or violets is recommended.

Internet Resources
Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). Easter lilies can be deadly for your cat!!!.
(Note: These website contains pictures of various lily species.)

Rabbits and Chicks as Easter Gifts

March 19, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 8:44 pm

Pet Talk
By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

Rabbits and Chicks As Easter Gifts
With Easter approaching here are some top tips about giving rabbits and chicks as Easter Gifts.
1. Say no to live rabbit and chicks as Easter gifts

2. Around Easter, many pet stores stock up on hot items including live chicks and rabbits. Theses animals are often given to young children as presents.

3. Often many folks think rabbits are low maintenance pets that only require a small cage and pets.

4. Truth is, they have dietary requirements that include a balanced diet of pellets, fresh lettuce and other vegetables, and grass hays. They also require daily exercise and space enough to perform 3 consecutive hops in a cage.

5. Young children tend to be rougher and not understand that rabbits can easily break their backs when handled. Plus rabbits have long toenails that leave deep scratches especially if handled improperly.

6. Chicks can carry salmonella and E. coli that may cause serious diarrhea and possible death to young children.

7. Chicks grow into chickens. Roosters when they hit sexual maturity, have the potential to become aggressive.

8. Rabbits are the third most relinquished pets to animal shelters, which are usually equipped to handle only a few rabbits and rodents at a time.

9. After Easter many shelters, are overwhelmed by the number of relinquished rabbits and have to euthanize several.

10. Rabbits are also often released to the wild to fend for themselves and those that do not starve to death, become easy prey for predators in the wild.

11. For more details check out the Make Mine Chocolate Campaign by the HSUS and the American House Rabbit Society.

12. For more information visit Also contact dr. Norette L. Underwood of the Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile at if you have questions about pets as Easter gifts.

Laundry Pods and Your Pet

March 18, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 8:44 pm


Laundry Detergent Pods Cause Harm in Pets Too

We all love laundry pods because of their ease of use. Pets love them too. Dogs think they are chew toys and cats like to bat them around like a hockey puck.
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.
However, a new danger seems to be presenting. 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 they should be evaluated by a veterinarian immediately. There is no antidote for laundry pod exposure and any clinical signs should be treated with symptomatic and supportive care by your attending veterinarian.

If you have questions about your pet contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at or 870-483-6275.

The Wonderful World of Ferrets

March 17, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 8:41 pm

Pet Talk
By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

The Wonderful World of Ferrets! Tips you Should Know.
Just like dogs or cats, ferrets need regular visits to the veterinarian for vaccinations and wellness care. It is recommended ferrets have regular rabies and canine distemper vaccination. Ideally ferrets should receive only monovalent, or single agent, vaccines that are specifically licensed and labeled for use in ferrets.
Ferret owners should check with their local veterinarian for vaccine recommendation.
Ferrets as pets also have specific diet requirements, and a variety of commercial diets are available. Like cats, ferrets are carnivores, but they need to be fed differently. So feed them diets specifically designed for ferrets. A warning: Feeding your ferret a cat food can have health consequences. So talk to your veterinarian about nutrition recommendations for your ferret.

Ferrets are mischievous. They love to play and run and find things around your home that they shouldn’t. They’re also prone to eating things they shouldn’t. So make sure you ferret-proof your new ferret’s habitat. For example, you want to keep a sharp eye out for wires the ferret might chew or small toys, especially plastic and rubber that could be swallowed

Just like you, your ferret can benefit from an exercise routine. Regular play improves muscle tone, flexibility, digestion, and cardiovascular fitness. And an active lifestyle helps prevent obesity, which can lead to numerous health problems in pets.
Ferrets also need mental calisthenics to occupy their inquisitive minds, but if your friend starts to snooze, don’t assume she’s bored. Ferrets take long naps between short bursts of exercise. Follow these tips to give your pet a mental and physical workout:
Ferrets enjoy walks outside, but be warned: Some crafty critters can slip out of their harnesses and escape. If you want to take your wiggly pet on a stroll, purchase a high- quality harness and leash you can adjust for a snug fit.
Supervised play periods
Ferrets prefer to run and jump freely without leashes or restraints. Letting your ferret frolic around the house is great exercise—just remember to supervise her. Your ferret will chew or shred anything she can’t climb in, under, or over, so ferret-proof your home before you give your pet free rein.
If your ferret’s cage is small, she needs several hours of playtime outside of it every day. Ferrets love to play with people, pets, and other ferrets.
Multilevel cages
A large multilevel cage provides room for sleeping and exercise. Many of these cages offer tunnels and platforms
for running, burrowing, and jumping. If your ferret can’t run free during playtime, these cages are a good option.
Ferrets love to play with toys, but these pets are notorious for chewing and swallowing objects they shouldn’t—especially rubber, the most common foreign substance found in ferrets. So avoid toys with small or loose parts, and keep rubber out of reach.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on toys—there are plenty of playthings around your house. Knotted socks, fabric baby or cat toys, or knotted-rope dog toys can provide hours of fun. Your ferret also will love burrowing through plastic or cardboard tubes and rustling through paper bag caves. If your ferret loves to climb, you can cut holes in a plastic milk jug for a challenge or buy a large plastic ball with holes for climbing in and out of.
Use your ferret’s exercise session to connect with your furry friend—and remember, at the same time you’re safeguarding her health. She’ll not only release pent-up energy, she’ll look and feel great!
If you have questions regarding ferret care please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at or 870-483-6275

Essential Oils Can Be Very Harmful To Your Pet

March 16, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 8:40 pm

Pet Talk
Beware: Essential Oils can be very Harmful to Your Pets!
By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

I found this wonderful article by Natural News on essential oils and your pet. As Aromatherapy is becoming more widely accepted in the mainstream, more people are using essential oils on their own, at home. Unfortunately, as some people are finding out, this is not always having a positive affect on the animals in their lives.

There have been many reports of animals harmed, even dying, from essential oils. Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia, has received a bad rap lately, most likely stemming from the fact that it is so widely available. Well meaning owners have used this oil to treat dermatological afflictions such as bites and scratches, only to end up at the veterinarian’s office with an animal exhibiting signs of toxicity, such as ataxia, in-coordination, weakness, tremors, vomiting or depression.

Misinformation is an enormous problem in this area as well. As an increasing amount of people turn to a more natural approach at life, companies are jumping to cash in. Thousands of products include essential oils in their ingredients; pet products are no different. The average person, unaware of the dangers, can easily think these products would be completely safe when in fact they are not.

Pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides), for instance, is widely used as flea control. This oil is a known abortifacient in humans, and considered a toxin to the liver and the kidneys. Not exactly a strong selling point, although it is very good at keeping fleas at bay!

Many products for cats also contain essential oils. Unfortunately for the cats, many cat owners are unaware that by using these products, they can slowly cause toxins to build up in the feline’s system, causing a slow onset of organ failure. A cat’s liver cannot process toxins as a human’s or even a dog’s can, and the chemical constituents of the oils, such as terpenes, phenols, and ketones, are no exception. The effects of these can be immediate in showing up, or can take years.

Birds are well known for being sensitive to scents and particles in the air, and essential oils are no different. Gillian Willis, a toxicologist in Vancouver, has seen many cases of avian poisoning, including a well-meaning cockatiel owner who, upon seeing an abrasion on her bird’s foot, applied a drop of Tea Tree oil. The bird became depressed and even with veterinary intervention, died within 24 hours of respiratory failure. Even diffusing oils around a bird can produce dire consequences.

Not All Is Lost

While this may all seem daunting to an animal lover who also enjoys the benefits of aromatics, all is certainly not lost. A little knowledge can go a long way while incorporating essential oils in and around your animals.

Choosing Essential Oils:

Purity can be an issue when it comes to essential oils (EO’s). For example, it takes approximately one hundred pounds of plant material to produce one pound of Lavender Lavandula angustifolia. Due to the expense, many essential oils are diluted in other substances. These can range from carrier oils, such as Jojoba, to synthetic fragrance, even chemicals. When you are choosing essential oils to use therapeutically for yourself and your pets, you want only the purest available. To determine this, there are a few key things to look for:

* EO’s should not be oily or leave a greasy residue.

* Packaging should include the common name (Lavender), the Latin binomial (Lavandula angustifolia), the country of origin, the method of distillation, the part of the plant used, lot number, amount of oil in bottle, contact information of the company, how the plant was grown, and the words “100% pure essential oil” or the ingredients, if in a carrier or blend.

* Price usually dictates quality.

* Not all bottles of the same size yet of different oils should be priced the same. In other words, if they carry 50 different types of oils, yet every 5ml bottle is $7.40, there is something wrong, and you can guarantee these oils have been adulterated in some way.

Using Quality Oils in Homes With Pets:

Once you have your essential oils and are satisfied with the quality, the task then becomes using them correctly. While they can be very therapeutic and helpful, they can also do harm. Remember, just because a product is natural, does not mean it is safe.

There are some essential oils that should never be used for animals: Anise, Clove Leaf/Bud, Garlic, Horseradish, Juniper, Thyme, Wintergreen, or Yarrow, to name a few.

Some that can be used include: Cedarwood Atlas, Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Lavender, Myrrh, Ravensare, Rose, and Valerian (note that these lists are not exhaustive and further research from the pet owner should be done).

For dogs, essential oils can be used in a variety of ways, from bathing to calming the nerves through diffusion. Some points to remember:

* Dogs cannot tell you what is or is not working. As such, you must closely watch their reactions. Excessive scratching, sniffing, nervousness or whining are all signs to watch for.

* Always dilute the oils. A common acceptable dilution is 25% of the adult human formula.

* Giving essential oils internally is not generally recommended.

* Do not use any oils on medium-large breed puppies under 8 weeks, and small or toy breeds under 10 weeks. Hydrosols are a much better choice.

* Gradually introduce the oils.

* What is good for a large dog is not good for a small dog. Size matters, and less is definitely more when working with oils, for animals or humans.

* Sick, frail, older, or pregnant dogs have special considerations, just as in humans. Do not administer the same dose to them as you would to a healthy animal of the same size.

* Never use oils near the eyes, mouth, nose, or genital area.

Felines are especially sensitive, as previously mentioned. Even dispersing oils in the air or using them as cleaning agents around the house can be detrimental. Make sure that the cat has a way to go into another room, with fresh air to ‘escape’. Oils should never be used topically because of their liver’s inability to process them. Hydrosols, also known as hydrolats or floral water, are a much safer option with many of the same benefits. For smaller animals, such as hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits, hydrosols are also the best option, at a 50% dilution of what is used for felines.

Birds should never be exposed to oils, whether topically or in the air due to their extreme sensitivity. Hydrosols can be used, but in very minute amounts, much like in homeopathic remedies.

Fish cannot tolerate oils or floral waters. The oils, not being water-soluble, would end up sticking to the fish, causing a host of problems, up to and many times, including death. Hydrosols each have their own pH levels, and have the possibility of wreaking havoc on the pH levels within the tank, also causing harm to the fish.

An animal lover’s best bet, for the sake of their pet, would be to educate themselves even further. One must be cautioned about searching the net, however, as misinformation is everywhere. Be sure to check the credentials of the writer before following the advice of any site. There are a few good books on the subject, one of my favorites, and the reference for this article, is Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell.

Remember, with a little love and research, aromatherapy can be highly beneficial to humans and animals alike!

Learn more:

Welcome to our blog!

| Filed under: Events, Health Article, News, Pet of the Month, Promotions — Trumann Admin @ 4:16 pm

Welcome to our new blog! Check back shortly for new posts.

Trumann Animal Clinic is a full service animal hospital providing medical, surgical, dental, and acupuncture services. Norette Underwood is experienced in all types of conditions and treatments. Beyond first rate pet care, we make our clinic comfortable, and a very calm environment so your pet can relax in the waiting room and look forward to meeting his or her own Trumann veterinarian.

At Trumann Animal Clinic, we treat your pets like the valued family members they are.