Archive for October, 2011

Do you know how important vaccines are to you and to your pet?

October 29, 2011
Image by Markles55 via Flickr

Protect yourself and your pet. If you are overdue for any vaccines – see your veterinarian.  It is equally, if not more, critical that all puppies and kittens be fully immunized.

There are some deadly diseases that are fully preventable. Do you know what vaccines your pet needs?

Vaccinations have saved the lives of millions of dogs. Before the days of vaccines and effective protocols for administering vaccines, pets routinely died from diseases and illnesses such as distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and complications of upper respiratory infections. Current vaccination programs protect our pets (and their human companions) from such threats. Newer vaccines, including those administered through the nostrils, have been developed to protect against a variety of infections.

Call us today at the Animal Hospital of Polaris and find out more about what we recommend for the vaccine protocol for your pet.  We will gladly explain our reasons for administering various vaccines so you can feel educated and worry free.

Dr. Nikki Eaton


More from Dr. Eaton at


Silent but deadly … Hemangiosarcoma

October 28, 2011
Hemangiosarcoma of the skin of a seven year ol...
Image via Wikipedia

This is a relatively common cancer that can occur. We see a fair number of sick dogs come into the Animal Hospital of Polaris with this condition, most of the time with the owner completely unsuspecting of the seriousness of this disease.

It is frustrating because often the first sign that dogs have this problem is when they collapse – and by then, the condition is already life threatening.

Hemangiosarcoma is a malignant cancer of the cells that form blood vessels. Because these tumors start in blood vessels, they are frequently filled with blood. Consequently, when a blood-filled tumor ruptures, it can cause problems with internal or external bleeding.

It comes on fast. Often the first sign of a problem is a dog that was fine – never appearing sick – and then suddenly the dog just collapses.

Hemangiosarcoma is considered to be a very aggressive tumor and it can spread rapidly to other organs. It occurs in middle-aged to older dogs 9 to 11 years of age, and German shepherds appear to be predisposed to developing this cancer.

The most common primary location of this cancer in dogs is the spleen.

Signs of this disease are usually the result of the tumor rupturing, which causes bleeding. This may occur without any warning, and the symptoms will depend upon where the tumor is located. When a tumor in the spleen or liver ruptures, the signs are usually due to bleeding into the abdomen. This causes anemia, weakness and, if the bleeding is severe, collapse. The dog’s gums may appear to be pale or white.

In relatively few animals the diagnosis is made before the tumor ruptures. It is frustrating and heart wrenching. Many dogs do not survive and the progression of the disease is rapid.

If your dog collapses, take a look at his gums. Are they pale? Does he seem weak? If you suspect any of these symptoms, call us immediately at (614)888-4050. Surgery can be done to help identify these tumors.

We love our furry feline friends…

October 26, 2011

We even like to say that we cater to our cat lovers.  Recently, we’ve made some operational changes to make our clients and their cats more comfortable while at the Animal Hospital of Polaris.  We’ve now dedicated a quiet, isolated waiting area just for our feline friends and also utilize certain exam rooms just for cats…all in an effort to decrease the anxiety for both the pet and for the owner.  We know that when you worry less, your pet can sense that!

In addition, did you know…??

1. That we have a special boarding area as part of our extended stay resort that is allocated just for caring for cats who are staying at the clinic while their owners are away!

2.  Even in our clinical treatment facility, we have a specialized boarding area for cats that separates them from our canine clients, further reducing anxiety and stress on your pet!

3.  Our facility offers a large selection of specialty and prescription cat food and cat treats.  In addition, we even have a unique selection of cat toys to engage your pet!

4.  That our grooming department offers pampering for your pet, including the ever popular “lion cut” for those cats cool enough to sport such a look!

Call us today at (614)888-4050 to schedule a time to tour our facility, schedule your cat’s next wellness exam or pamper your pet in our spa!

Don’t let your pet wait in the car …

October 25, 2011
Dog Driver : Project365 : Photo 95
Image by grahamcase via Flickr

Severe temperatures can be extremely hard on your pet.  Whether it is hot weather or cold weather, when temperatures spike, it can be very dangerous.

We want to bring to your attention something very important – car safety. This is something you need to keep in mind not only in summer, but all year round.  This is mostly for our dog owners as most of our feline friends prefer not to ride in the car!

Many of our dogs love to ride in the car. It’s tempting to pop into a store or run an errand for “just a minute” while your dog waits in the car. Every summer there are cases of pets overheating, some fatally, during these brief periods of being left alone in the car. In warm weather, the temperature inside a car can rise to deadly levels in just minutes, even with a window cracked. Because dogs cannot eliminate heat through sweating as efficiently as humans can, they can be overcome by heat exhaustion very rapidly.

Cold weather can also be very tough on dogs.  Some breeds seem to weather colder temperatures better than others.  Older dogs, sick dogs, dogs with arthritis and many smaller breeds can be badly affected by cold temperatures.  Temperatures inside the car can often feel even colder than when you are out moving around, so you should be careful about leaving your dog alone in a parked car, even in cold weather.

There are two great measures to keep in mind:  (1.) if you wouldn’t want to remain in the car (hot or cold) for the duration you leave your pet in the vehicle, then leave your canine companion at home and (2.) purchase a small thermometer that you can affix to the inside of your car window… if the temperature rises or falls to drastically, offer to take your pooch for a ride another day.

Although we encourage you to take your pet with you as often as possible, we also want you to be aware that extreme heat or cold, for your dog can have a significant impact on their health and safety.

Be safe…

Dr. Nikki Eaton

Intestinal Parasites in Cats…

October 23, 2011
Ancylostoma caninum, a type of hookworm, attac...
Image via Wikipedia

Cats can harbor a variety of intestinal parasites, some of which are important to human health as well.  Some of the more common parasites that you might be familiar with include:

Roundworms and Hookworms

Even if your cat has been wormed, a mother cat can transmit roundworms and hookworms to her kittens. Although these worms occasionally cause diarrhea or other symptoms of illness, most infected kittens appear normal. Because the worms cannot always be detected in the laboratory and since they can be harmful to children’s health, we take preventive measures to protect your pet and your family.


If you see a worm or something you aren’t sure about, put it in a baggie along with a piece of moist paper towel and bring it to our clinic.

Little short white worms (1/2 inch long or less) are probably tapeworm segments. When the segments dry they look like grains of brown rice and may stick to your cat’s hair. If you see anything like this, let us know and we will dispense tapeworm medicine to use at home. We don’t really worry much about tapeworms but we do know that the common tapeworm is almost never a problem for people. If you see segments under your cat’s tail or in the litter box, contact your veterinarian. Prescription tapeworm drugs are extremely effective and cause no discomfort. The tapeworms are digested and disappear. Non-prescription tapeworm medications are very unpleasant for the cat and don’t work well.


Coccidia is a microscopic parasite that attacks the lining of the intestine.  Most cases go undetected, but coccidiosis is a common cause of diarrhea in kittens. Any pet with persistent diarrhea should have a fecal test performed to check for coccidia and other parasites.

There are a few parasites that aren’t eliminated by the usual worming medication. If your kitten has diarrhea, don’t delay… contact us immediately. Please also be prepared to bring a fecal sample. We will test it for worm eggs, Giardia and protozoan parasites such as coccidia. Bring in a small sample, about the size of a marble, still reasonably soft and not more than a day old. If it is real soft, scrape up what you can. We know that this isn’t a pleasant chore and it is acceptable to have some kitty litter in the sample…the most important factor being to gather a sample and bring it with your veterinary appointment.

Our veterinarians prefer to take preventive measures so clients are not faced with the worry and expense of treating their feline friends for parasites.  Call us today at 614-888-4050 to schedule an examination for your pet!  The preventive measures you take today will save you worry and money tomorrow!

An all too common pet injury … a torn nail

October 21, 2011
Shar-Pei. Galicia
Image via Wikipedia

If you happen to notice that there is blood on your dog’s paw and he is limping and licking his paw…he may have torn a nail.  Toenail problems, specifically torn or broken nails, are common in dogs but rarely life-threatening. Nevertheless, they are quite painful for your pet.

Nails often get snagged on fabric or carpet fibers, and in an attempt to dislodge the attached material, your dog might pull away, tearing the nail in the process. You might not even notice until you see blood or your dog begins to limp or cry. If left untreated, a torn nail can bleed intermittently and become infected, not to mention the pain and irritation for your dog.

Some torn nails can be treated at home if your pet will allow it, but veterinary care can reduce the potential for infection and provide easy removal of the torn nail. Depending on the extent of the tear, removal of the nail at the level of tear is usually sufficient. This is most easily done with nail trimmers. After removal of the broken part, your veterinarian may apply a temporary bandage to stop bleeding. He may also prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection.

If you find your pet suffering from a torn nail, don’t take any chances…give us a call immediately.  Chances are…we are open and available to quickly and easily help your pet.  Also, by keeping your pet’s nails trimmed, you’ll reduce the risk of a tear or break… give us a call today @ 614-888-4050 and make an appointment to stop in for a quick nail trim.

Dental health in cats is more important than you realize!

October 18, 2011
Cat with broken teeth.
Image via Wikipedia

Even if the only things your cat hunts these days are salmon-flavored kibbles and toys, he still needs clean, sharp teeth and healthy gums. Damage to the tongue, teeth, palate and gums can lead to many health risks for felines, but these can be prevented with routine veterinary examinations, regular tooth brushings at home and an annual professional cleaning at our clinic!

1. The Breath Test

Go on, take a sniff. It doesn’t have to be a long one—cat breath may not smell like roses, but it shouldn’t be offensive either. If your kitty’s mouth has an abnormally strong odor, he may have digestive problems or a gum condition such as gingivitis, and should be examined by a vet.

2. Lip Service

With your cat facing you, gently push back his lips and take a look. The gums should be firm and pink, not white or red, and should show no signs of swelling. The teeth should be clean and free of any brownish tartar, and none should be loose or broken.

3. A Closer Look 

Watch for any of the following signs that could indicate problems in your cat’s mouth:

• Dark red line along the gums
• Red and swollen gums
• Ulcers on gums or tongue
• Loose teeth
• Pus
• Difficulty chewing food
• Excessive drooling
• Excessive pawing at the mouth area

4. Dangerous Swelling 

At any sign of gum inflammation, you should take your cat in for a veterinary exam. If left untreated, gum disease can develop, possibly leading to tooth loss or inability to eat. Inflammation may also point to an internal problem like kidney disease or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.

5. The Lowdown on Tooth Decay 

Bacteria and plaque-forming foods can cause a buildup on a cat’s teeth. This can harden into tartar, possibly causing gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss. The solution? Regular teeth cleanings at home and an annual professional cleaning at our clinic.

6. Your Cat’s Tooth-Brushing Kit 

All you’ll need to brush your cat’s teeth are cotton swabs and a small toothbrush and tube of toothpaste formulated for felines. You can also use salt and water. Ask us to suggest the brushing supplies that we trust and recommend, and be sure never to use toothpaste designed for people—the ingredients can be unhealthy for your cat.

7. Brightening the Pearly Whites 

Brush your cat’s teeth at home by following these simple steps:

• First get your cat used to the idea of having his teeth brushed. Start by gently massaging his gums with your fingers or touching a cotton swab to them.
• After a few sessions, put a little bit of cat-formulated toothpaste on his lips to get him used to the taste.
• Next, introduce a toothbrush designed especially for cats—it will be smaller than human toothbrushes and have softer bristles. Toothbrushes that you can wear over your finger are also available and allow you to give a nice massage to your cat’s gums.
• Finally, apply the toothpaste to his teeth for a gentle brushing.
• A veterinary exam beforehand may be helpful to find out if your cat’s gums are inflamed. Many cats have mild gingivitis and brushing too hard can hurt their gums.
• Also, take the time to schedule the annual professional cleaning for your favorite furry feline!

8. Chew on This 

Chew toys can satisfy your cat’s natural desire to chomp, while making his teeth strong. Gnawing on a chew toy can also help floss your cat’s teeth, massage his gums and scrape away soft tartar.

9. Diet for Healthy Teeth

If your cat has dental troubles, ask us to recommend a food that keeps feline teeth healthy and helps to remove plaque buildup.

10. Know Your Mouth Disorders 

If your cat suffers from any of the symptoms mentioned below, please call us immediately:

Gingivitis: This inflammation of the gums is mainly seen in older cats. It may start as a dark red line bordering on the teeth. If left untreated, gums may become sore and ulceration may occur. May be a sign of disease or other infection.

Periodontitis: If gingivitis invades the tooth socket, the tooth may become loose and an abscess may form.

Stomatitis: This inflammation of the mouth lining may result from a foreign body in the mouth, a viral disease or dental problems. The cat will have difficulty eating and the inside of the mouth will appear red.

Rodent Ulcer: A slowly enlarging sore or swelling on the upper lip.

Salivary Cyst: If salivary glands or ducts that carry saliva to the mouth become blocked, a cyst may form under the tongue.

Mouth Ulcers: Ulcers on a cat’s tongue and gums are sometimes caused by feline respiratory or kidney disease.

Call us today at 614-888-4050 to schedule an examination and professional teeth cleaning for your pet!  The preventive measures you take today will save you worry and money tomorrow!

Halloween Pet Costume Contest!

October 17, 2011

WIN A PET GIFT BASKET WORTH $150!!!  Post a photo of your pet in their Halloween costume to our Facebook wall by October 25th to enter the costume contest.  Voting will take place Oct. 26th-30th, and the winner will be announced on Halloween!  Photos must be of your pet, please.  Have fun!!! 🙂

AHOP Facebook Page


Canine Respiratory Infections are on the rise right here in Central Ohio…

October 15, 2011

We are asked almost every week why we require certain vaccines (while other clinics may not).  Our answer is that we take great care and caution to protect your pet, whether being seen for veterinary care, boarding at the pet resort, or getting pampered in the spa.  Not only are we exceptionally concerned with the health and welfare of your pet but also our staff, other pets and even your family.

What is the H3N8 virus (Canine Respiratory Virus)?  This virus is highly contagious and easily spread in environments where dogs are housed together in communal spaces:  kennels, pet stores, dog parks, grooming facilities and doggie daycares.  This virus is not seasonal but sporadic and although the virus was discovered almost 5 years ago, there has been a recent surge in the number of canine respiratory cases here in Central Ohio.

Dogs who are suffering from this virus will experience a persistent cough, nasal discharge, fever, vomiting and in some instances, it leads to pneumonia.  The virus is spread through direct contact, coughing, sneezing and exposure to contaminated surfaces. Interestingly, all research to date shows that 100% of dogs exposed to the virus become infected.   Unfortunately, there is a rather significant mortality rate with this virus as well, assessed between 5-8%.

Dogs with symptoms of respiratory infections are contagious to other dogs. Sick pets should avoid dog parks, doggy day cares and other areas where large groups of dogs congregate.

Call us today at (614) 888-4050 to schedule an appointment for your favorite furry friend if you suspect they may have a respiratory infection or for a wellness exam (with vaccines that help prevent these types of illnesses)! The cost to vaccinate your dog is $40.00 (this is a series of two (2) injections, 2-3 weeks apart) if your pet has had an annual exam within the past 12 months @ the Animal Hospital of Polaris.

Is your dog just limping along?

October 14, 2011

Your dog may be experiencing mobility issues and Animal Hospital of Polaris is enrolling dogs in a clinical trial to evaluate a supplemental diet to help dogs with limited mobility.

If your dog has trouble moving around, is 7 years of age or older, and weighs between 51 and 80 pounds, he/she may qualify for FREE examinations and FREE food for up to 5 months!

And you could receive $200!

If you find your dog limping or experiencing discomfort with ambulation, call the Animal Hospital of Polaris at 614-888-4050… your pet may qualify for this innovative study!