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April 27, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 3:32 pm

Pet Talk
Heartworms, Spread by Natures Vampires, MOSQUITOES.
How, what, when, and where can I protet my Pet?
Q: How do dogs get heartworms?
A: Only by the bite of an infected mosquito. There’s no other way dogs get heartworms. And there’s no way to tell if a mosquito is infected. That’s why prevention is so important.
Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states. And the bite of just one mosquito infected with the heartworm larvae will give your dog heartworm disease.

Heartworm disease has not only spread throughout the United States, but it’s also now found in areas where veterinarians used to say “Oh, we don’t have heartworm disease.” Areas like Oregon, California, Arizona, and desert areas — where irrigation and building are allowing mosquitoes to survive. And if you have mosquitoes and you have animals, you’re going to have heartworms. It’s just that simple.
It takes about seven months, once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. They then lodge in the heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels and begin reproducing. Adult worms can grow up to 12 inches in length, can live 5-7 years, and a dog can have as many as 250 worms in its system.

Q: Can people get heartworms from their dogs?
A: It can only be passed on by mosquitoes. It’s a specific parasite that only affects dogs and cats and ferrets and other mammals. In rare cases, heartworms have infected people, but it does not complete its life cycle. The heartworm will migrate to the lung and cause a round lesion that looks like a tumor. But these are very rare cases.

Q: If one of my dogs has heartworms, can he give it to my other dogs?
A: No. Again, the only way heartworms are transmitted is through the bite of an infected mosquito. And even if an uninfected mosquito bit your infected dog, and then bit your uninfected dog the same night, he wouldn’t transmit the parasite from one dog to the other. That’s because when a mosquito bites an infected animal, the heartworm needs to undergo an incubation period of 2 weeks in the mosquito before the mosquito can infect other animals.

Q: How can I prevent my dogs from getting heartworms?

A: For less than the cost of going to Starbucks for a weekly coffee, you can prevent heartworm disease in your dog. There are monthly pills, monthly topicals that you put on the skin, and there’s also a six-month injectable product. The damage that’s done to the dog and the cost of the treatment is way more than the cost to prevent heartworm disease. A year’s supply of heartworm preventative will cost about $35 to $80, depending on a dog’s weight.

Q: What are the symptoms of heartworm infestations in dogs?
A: Initially, there are no symptoms. But as more and more worms crowd the heart and lungs, most dogs will develop a cough. As it progresses, they won’t be able to exercise as much as before; they’ll become winded easier. With severe heartworm disease, we can hear abnormal lung sounds, dogs can pass out from the loss of blood to the brain, and they can retain fluids. Eventually, most dogs will die if the worms are not treated.

Q: Once my dog has heartworms, what’s the treatment? How much will it cost?
A: The drug that you treat with is called Immiticide. It’s an injectable, arsenic-based product. The dog is given two or three injections that will kill the adult heartworms in the blood vessels of the heart.
The safest way to treat heartworms includes an extensive pre-treatment workup, including X-rays, blood work, and all the tests needed to establish how serious the infection is. Then the dog is given the injections. With all the prep work, it can run up to $1,000. Treatment costs vary between veterinary clinics.

The best prevention is to test and protect your pet by putting on heartworm prevention all year long for the entire length of the pet’s life.

If you have questions about heartworm please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile at or on facebook at Trumann Animal Clinic.

Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?

April 26, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 3:31 pm

Pet Talk
By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?
With Spring comes grass. My dog is eating grass, why?
This is a question I get asked almost every day. The best answer I have every found dates back to their canine ancestors. When dogs were in the wild, not only did they eat the meat from the animals they captured for food but also the stomach contents. Many of these animals were herbivores and had all kinds of grass and plant material in their stomachs. In the wild coyotes and foxes eat wild berries, fruit and other vegetation.

Other theories on why dogs may eat grass:

Stomach Issues.
When dogs eat grass, especially if they gulp it down, it tickles the back of the throat and the stomach lining. This can trigger vomiting. Over the years dogs may have realized if their tummy is a little rumbly that eating grass may cause them to vomit. One study showed that only 25% of dogs vomited after ingesting grass.

Some dogs just like the taste and feel of grass. These dogs usually nibble and eat in small quantities. They just like to chew it up.

Dietary Imbalance.
Some dogs may eat grass for fiber in their diet or to supply missing nutrients from their current diet. If your dog eats large quantities of grass you need to examine what food you are feeding your furry friend. Your pet could be missing key nutrients and vitamins. You may need to change their diet to a higher quality food, especially one with more fiber. One client had a beagle that vomited daily for 7 years and ate grass. After switching to a high quality diet with increased fiber the dog stopped. If your pet continues to eat lots of grass you need to consult your veterinarian to make sure there is no underlying problem.

Fido may just be bored and find eating the grass something to do.

Sniffing a Dogs Scent.
Dogs love to smell. This is one way they find out information about other animals that have been in the area. If some animal has urinated on grass they may nibble on it to wet that scent and make it more readily identifiable.

If dogs could talk we might truly know why they love grass, but since they can’t we just assume. If your pet likes to eat grass then I recommend giving them some cooked vegetables with their food. Some dogs will eat raw veggies, but most like them cooked. My favorite vegetable to use is canned green beans. They can easily be put in your pets’ food.

If you have questions about grass eating and your dog please contact Dr. Underwood of Best Friends Vet Mobile and Trumann Animal Clinic at or 870-483-6275.

Garlic For Flea Control?

April 25, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 3:31 pm

Pet Talk
By dr. Norette L Underwood

Is giving garlic to dogs and cats a natural way to get rid of fleas? Is it safe? Does it work?

A. There’s no scientific evidence that garlic (or brewer’s yeast, for that matter) will control fleas on pets. Sources state that the dog ingests the garlic and it imparts a bad taste to the dog’s blood when the flea is taking a blood meal. Another theory is the dog smells bad so fleas will not bite. There is no research giving credibility to these statements. The best advice when it comes to flea control is to ask your veterinarian. Your veterinarian is your expert for flea and tick control on your pet. They can recommend one of the new flea control products that are safe when used as directed on healthy pets. And they’re very effective. You can get a topical, an oral pill, or spray. Your veterinarian can help you with information on how to rid your pets’s environment from fleas. This is important because 95% of the flea life cycle takes place in the environment. Not on your pet. Adult fleas make up only 5% of the flea lifecycle.

It’s also important to note that garlic can be toxic to pets. Check out the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s list of foods to avoid feeding pets. Here is their website address

If you’re determined to control fleas “naturally,” your best bet is to wash your pet’s bedding and vacuum pet areas frequently to remove eggs and developing fleas. Use a flea comb to catch adult pests on your pet. Just flick adult fleas into a bowl of warm, soapy water and pour the drowned pests down the drain when you’re done. (These strategies are good ones even if you’re using a veterinary-recommended product.) This approach is labor-intensive. You probably will have to do it every day whether you see fleas on your pet or not. It is still very difficult to remove all the fleas, eggs and larvae from the area if the environment is infested with fleas.

The bottom line: I suggest a product recommended by your veterinarian for safe, effective flea control. “Natural” and “organic” pet health solutions found on the Internet do not work, a waste of time and money, yet — worse — can be unsafe.

If you have questions about proper flea control for your pet and environment please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at or call 870-483-6275 to set up a flea consult.

Do All Dogs Think and Reason Alike?

April 6, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 6:07 pm

Pet Talk

Do All Dogs Think and Reason Alike?
By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

How many times have you wondered what your dog really thought? But then again only humans are the only beings that can understand communicative intentions, which allow us to convey meaning with gestures such as pointing. Dr. Brian Hare, director of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, thought his dog could do this. He arranged a series of cups upside down with treats and would point to the cup to retrieve and the dog went to the correct cup. This started the formation of It is an online company, which offers users a series of tests to assess their dogs’ thinking abilities in various areas, ranging from empathy to memorization.

I thought this was great! You could play games with your dog and evaluate their intelligence. Scientists now believe that individual dogs and other animals—have been shaped by evolution to have a variety of different types of intelligence. There can be enormous variation between different dogs as individuals. This necessarily doesn’t mean one dog is smarter than the other, but individual dogs have different types of skills and strategies to reply on. Research has shown that breed doesn’t seem to be as much of a factor in a dog’s problem solving ability.

We have always been under the impression that Dogs are only driven by
their natural instinct to hunt food. They actually have an incredible cognitive flexibility. For example dogs can” fast map” or spontaneously learn labels for objects in a manner that previously had been observed only in human children.

A dog’s genes will always interact with their environment to shape their behavior. Learning your dog’s mind will let you know who they are and show your admiration for your dog. I recommend you go to and take the assessment for your dog and start learning who they are!

I have included some of the activity games to get into your dog’s head from the Dognition site.

Our first game is on communication.
Memory vs. Pointing
For this game you need your dog, a partner and a timer.
– Have your partner hold our dog 6 feet away from you.
– Call your dog’s name and show it that you have 2 treats.
– Place the treats on the ground, at the same time on either side of your body at arm’s length.
– Stand up and point to one of the treats.
– Have your partner let go of your dog as you give a release command and then hold still until the dog chooses a treat.
– No matter which treat your dog chooses, let it have both treats.

If your dog chose the treat you pointed at:
Your dog pays special attention to your communicative cues or gestures. By relying on your information to determine which treat to choose you dog is acing in a collaborative manner something very few other animals excel.

Second game is on being cunning:
Research shows that some dogs are aware they are being watched, while other dogs are not. Among the dogs who know they are being watched, some chose to use this information to their advantage while other do not.

Trustworthy vs. Wily.

For this game, your will need your dog, a partner and a timer.

– Stand 6 feet away from your partner, who has your dog and a timer.
– Place a treat 4 feet away from your dog.
– Say your dog’s name, then “no” twice, clearly and emphatically, while placing a treat in front of you at arm’s length. If your dog knows a specific command, such as “leave it” use that instead.
– Have your partner release your dog gently, while simultaneously starting the timer. Do not use a verbal command to release the dog.
– Cover your eyes with your hands, using care to peek and see if your dog eats the treat. Remain Silent.
– Have your partner stop the timer as soon as your dog eats the treat. If the dog has not eaten the treat in 90 seconds give it the treat.

More trustworthy dogs will not use your social information to take direction from you

A Wily dog will wait until you cannot see it before it takes the treat.

Have fun with your dog and hopefully the Dognition site will increase your human animal bond with your wonderful furry friend.

If you have questions about Pet Care on any of your pets please contact Dr. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile at or call 870-483-6275.