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Things You Should Know Before Taking Your Dog To The Park

July 25, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 1:42 pm

by Norette L. Underwood


Dog parks are a great place for dogs because it encourages dogs and their owners to go out into the great outdoors and get some exercise, enjoy the sunshine and breathe fresh air. Plus it strengthens the human animal bond.

With all the benefits come some unhidden dangers. Many dogs get injured in dog parks. Many dogs that visit the dog park are not well trained nor well behaved.

Here are a few simple rules that will help keep you and Fido safe:

1. Try to know your dog’s furry playmates temperament. If you know how they act towards other dogs it can save your dog from getting into a fight and being injured.

2. Know the dog park’s layout. Make sure to see if there are any areas where your dog could come in contact with other dogs and possible get into a fight. Make sure that your dog is always in your line of sight. I highly recommend they be kept on a leash. This way if danger approaches you can control your dog and possibly get him away from the other dog or dogs.

3. Be alert and keep watch. This is one of the most important safety measures in visiting a dog park. Be aware of your surroundings and other pets. Watch what your dog is doing and with whom. Be ready to get your dog to safety. Watch small dogs playing with big dogs. If you see an owner who is not paying attention to their pet, it could be a recipe for disaster. Never take your dog to the park and just wander off. It is your responsibility to protect him and keep him safe.

4. Be ready to protect both you and your dog. Carry a can of pepper spray. Cold water, a big stick or a purse can keep a dog away from its victim and save a life. Be ready for things to go wrong, and be ready to act.

4. Be current on all Vaccinations. Make sure that your dog is current on all vaccinations and on parasite control. Fleas, ticks, and infectious diseases may be present.

Be sure and enjoy yourself with your dog at the dog park. Be safe and be prepared. If you have questions about taking your dog to the dog park contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Best Friends Vet Mobile Service and Trumann Animal Clinic at

Fire Safety And Your Pets

July 18, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 6:28 pm

Pet Talk
Fire Safety and Your Pets!
By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

With all this hot dry weather it is prime fire season. Have you thought about a fire safety plan for you and your pets? Is your home animal proofed to help prevent a fire? Have you updated your 911 information on that lists your pets and other good info in case of a fire or other emergency?

We shudder to think about it. But according to the National Fire Protection Association, each year more than 1,000 house fires are accidentally started by pets. I suggest you take a minute to pet proof your home against potential fire hazards—it could mean the difference between life and death for your four-legged friends.
Secure wires and cords. Cats are especially interested in playing with anything that looks like string. Keep electrical wires and power cords secured and out of your pet’s reach.
Blow it out. Don’t leave lit candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock the candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders placed on a stable surface. Want to be really safe? Consider using only flameless candles.
Cover it up. Pets are naturally curious and will investigate almost anything that has a scent. This includes your oven. Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house. Believe it or not, exploring stove tops is the number one way your pet can accidently start a fire.
Go crazy with the detectors. There is no such thing as too many smoke detectors. In fact, you should have at least one on each floor of your home. Out a lot? Consider using monitored smoke detectors. These systems send an immediate alert to a call center letting them know smoke has been detected.
Stick ‘em up. In the event of an emergency, our pet rescue sticker alerts rescue personnel that animals are inside your home. Write down the number of pets inside and attach the sticker to a front window or door.
Fire Plan. You should develop a plan of what to do with your pets in a fire. I try to have carriers easily available for my cats. Leasheds for my dogs. Where will you place them to keep them safe. Think about what you would do if pets are in the yard and a grass fire is approaching.

I hope this will help you have a plan incase of a fire. If you have questions about preparedness please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of the Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at

Summertime Shaving

July 11, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 7:59 pm

Pet Talk
By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

1. Each year, veterinarians, pet groomers and pet lovers have debates about the pros and cons of shaving a thick coated or long-haired dog during the warm summer months.

2. From our human perspectives, higher temperatures mean less and lighter clothing. Unfortunately, this is probably not true for the majority of our pets.

3. We know that we cool ourselves by sweating and as more skin is exposed, the sweat evaporates more efficiently, cooling our bodies.

4. Dogs, however, don’t sweat like we do. Their main cooling comes from panting. As the moisture evaporates off of the tongue of the panting dog, the blood is cooled and this cooled blood is circulated to keep the pet comfortable.

5. A well-groomed, clean hair coat will actually insulate the dog from the heat and help to keep them cooler. This is done by the movement of tiny muscles, (pilo erector muscles) in the hair follicles. In warm weather the muscles keep the hair flat against the skin. In the winter the muscles raise the hair off the animals skin. This traps air close to the body and acts like a down jacket by keeping a warm layer of air next to the skin.

6. Another concern about shaving any dog is the potential for sunburn in lightly pigmented breeds.

7. However, many of the protective functions of a full coat can be lost if the coat is not keep clean and matt free. Debris such as grass awns, leaves, cockleburs etc that can cause mats and significant skin problems should be kept out of your pets fur.

8. In some cases due to age or lack of mobility, your veterinarian may recommend shaving certain areas especially around the rear end in long- haired breeds to facilitate keeping the area clean and free from maggots.

9. Questions about shaving your dog should be directed to your veterinarian and staff. They are best equipped with the knowledge of how shaving may affect your pet.

If you have questions about your pet and proper care of their haircoat contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile service at

Cardiomyopathy In Cats

July 5, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 4:04 pm


Cardiomyopathy In Cats
This week I wanted to provide information on feline heart disease. Our clinic cat Richard was diagnosed this week. Several of the employees noticed that he was not going to visit clients in the exam room nor jumping on the top shelf. He was mostly just lying around. So I did a complete physical exam and noted his heart was just slightly muffled. His pupils were dilated, when they should have been small. High blood pressure can cause pupil dilation in cats. Chest x-rays were done and his heart looked large with big vessels. We sent the X-rays to Dr. LeeAnn Pack, a board certified veterinary radiologist who comes to our clinic, for evaluation. She said his heart was enlarged and recommend an ultrasound. She is coming to our clinic this week to evaluate Richard. I also had another cat of Siamese breeding present for open mouth breathing. An exam and chest x-rays were performed. He has a large heart just like Richard. Diagnosing 2 cases in one week is alarming to me. I wanted to make my cat owners aware of this disease.
The feline heart, like the human heart, is a hollow, muscular organ located in the center of the chest. Both the right and left sides of the organ have an upper chamber (atrium), which collects circulating blood, and a lower chamber (ventricle), which pumps blood from the heart.
Cardiomyopathy, which literally means “disease of the heart muscle,” is brought about by a structural abnormality in the tissue enclosing one or more of these chambers. In general, says Marc Kraus, DVM, a senior lecturer in cardiology at Cornell University’s College of veterinary medicine, the heart muscle either grows too thick to function properly or it stretches and becomes too thin. In either case, the abnormality sets the organ’s blood-collecting and blood-pumping mechanics awry, a dysfunction that often leads to congestive heart failure with respiratory distress, paralysis-causing blood clots, and, in some cases, sudden death.
Most feline cardiomyopathies are primary diseases—those whose origins are either genetic or unknown. Some, however, are secondary diseases—those whose causes are specifically identifiable, such as hyperthyroidism or high blood pressure.
Three types of the disorder account for nearly all cardiomyopathies. The most common type by far is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Developing with no feasible explanation other than the strong likelihood of hereditary influence, this condition—which occurs most often in male cats—is characterized by a thickening of the muscle tissue associated with the left ventricle. This thickening results in poor heart function and, sometimes, obstruction of blood flow from the heart. It also causes the upper heart chambers to become enlarged. The consequence of these combined factors is a condition in which the heart fails to relax fully and fills with circulating blood. This can result in increased fluid pressure in the lungs and shortness of breath. In addition, blood clots may develop in the left atrium. If a clot breaks up, small pieces of it may circulate and eventually lodge in an artery leading to the legs. This may cause the sudden onset of lameness or paralysis, often accompanied by severe pain.
The second most common type, Dr. Kraus points out, is restrictive cardiomyopathy. This condition is caused by the excessive buildup of scar tissue on the inner lining and muscle of the ventricle, which prevents the organ from relaxing completely, filling adequately, and emptying with each heartbeat.
The third type—dilated cardiomyopathy—is relatively rare, says Dr. Kraus. The condition is chiefly characterized by a poorly contracting dilated left ventricle. The heart walls are thin and flaccid, which results in a decreased forward flow of blood from the heart and, consequently, heart failure. The condition is rare these days, notes Dr. Kraus, due to the fact that cat food manufacturers have, for the past three decades or so, been routinely adding an important amino acid called taurine to their products. Prior to that, a lack of taurine in cat food had been closely linked to the incidence of dilated cardiomyopathy.
Male and female cats of any age—even kittens—are susceptible to one form or another of cardiomyopathy, says Dr. Kraus, although most patients are middle-aged males. And among all feline breeds, he adds, Maine Coons, Siamese, Oriental Shorthair, and Ragdolls seem to be at elevated risk. The most common clinical signs include rapid and or open mouth breathing, lethargy, and diminished appetite. Sometimes just a change in activity level may be a sign. If the condition progresses and the heart’s blood-collecting and blood-pumping mechanisms continue to fail, congestive heart failure ensues, which can lead to severe respiratory distress, paralysis-causing blood clots, and eventual death. Owners should know that a cat that is struggling to take in air or has trouble moving its rear legs may be experiencing advanced cardiomyopathy and must receive veterinary help immediately.
The initial objective in diagnosing cardiomyopathy is to exclude other heart conditions that could have similar signs. In most cases, radiographs will be taken. Sometimes an electrocardiogram will be required. The definitive diagnosis, however, will be obtained via an echocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart), which Dr. Kraus refers to as “the gold standard” for diagnosing this condition. Treatment with certain medications may be initiated. For example, beta-blockers may help the heart muscle relax by slowing the patient’s heart rate, thereby decreasing its need for oxygen. With appropriate care, a cat diagnosed with cardiomyopathy may survive for several years. “But once heart failure occurs,” says Dr. Kraus, “a cat may be able to stay alive for up to a year or so. But some will succumb before that.”
Much of this information came from the Cornell Feline Health Center. If you have questions about heart disease and your cat please contact Dr Norette L. Underwood of Best Friends Vet Mobile service and Trumann Animal Clinic at