Therapeutic Laser by Dr. Jamie Stoll

Our most recent purchase here at the clinic is a therapeutic laser.  This is a valuable holistic tool to relieve pain and inflammation.

During a laser therapy session, which only lasts from 2 to 10 minutes, we direct the laser light into inflamed tissue.  The cells responsible for healing turn that light into energy and use it for repair.  Thus, laser therapy is used to increase the speed, quality, and strength of tissue repair, resolve inflammation, and provide pain relief.

The best part about laser therapy is that there are no side effects.  It is non-invasive and painless.  We use it for all sorts of acute and chronic conditions such as arthritis, ear infections, gingivitis, routine surgical incisions, wounds…the list really could go on and on.  With as little as 1 to 5 treatments, a pet can be feeling better and out there enjoying life again!

Urinary Problems in Animals

A fairly common reason for an animal to be brought out to the clinic is that it is having “accidents” in the house.  There are several reasons that your pet may be having accidents, the most common being an infection in their bladder.  Typically both dogs and cats with an infection will have to urinate frequently and often strain to urinate.  Cats will make several trips to the litter box and spend extra time there trying to urinate.  Owners may see blood in the urine.  Other conditions causing these types of symptoms are crystals in the urine, uroliths or stones and in cats especially it can happen from stress, immune system dysfunction, or a growth in the bladder.  A urine sample can help us differentiate these conditions.  If stones are suspected we will want to take x-rays.

Pets will sometimes start having accidents the house if they start drinking large quantities of water, resulting in having to urinate more frequently.  Conditions that cause pets to drink more water include diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, or hormonal conditions like Cushings disease and uterine infections. Though we still often want to check a urine sample for a pet that is urinating more and drinking more – these conditions are often diagnosed by a blood work up.

Sometimes we get reports of dogs leaking urine in their sleep. Most often this occurs in middle age or older female dogs.  The most common cause is relaxation of the urinary tract sphincter muscles.  There is medication available to treat this issue.

Behavior can be the underlying cause of some “accidents” that are actually done on purpose.  Cats especially can act out by urinating where they are not supposed to and this can sometimes be very difficult to treat.  A thorough history is the best starting place.  The smallest thing can trigger the misbehavior.

Don’t hesitate to call with any questions!  We are here to help your pets stay healthy.   712.336.3709

Keeping Up with the Times!

So what equipment does Dickinson County Animal Clinic PC have?

Our most recent purchase has been an updated surgical laser.  Eight years ago we were the first clinic in the area to have a surgical laser!  After eight years of use, we upgraded our surgical laser that has more features and twice the power.  Did you know that laser surgery cuts with less bleeding and less post operative pain.  Small growths on your pets can literally be vaporized.  With some surgeries, such as nose and throat surgeries, using the laser is much more precise and easier.

Another piece of equipment that the clinic is proud to have is our digital x-ray unit.  Image quality is great!  We actually went to digital x-rays before our local hospital.  Going digital means that the image can be seen in a matter of seconds rather than several minutes of processing film.  This allows us to reposition the patient or change the settings and immediately retake an image.  Digital images can be enlarged and enhanced to make them easier to see.  Images can be saved to CD’s so the client can view them at home and show the rest of their family should they choose.  Digital images are easily sent by e-mail also.  If the images are sent to a specialist, we often hear back from them within a couple of hours.

Over the last two years we have also upgraded our blood-work machines.  Quick results are important in diagnosing many illnesses.  A binocular magnifier was added last summer to aid in fine surgical procedures such as in the eye area.

The medial technology is constantly changing and here at the clinic we do our very best to stay current so that we can provide our patients with the best care possible.  We feel that we are among the best in the area!

National Pet Dental Health Month February 2014

Here at Dickinson County Animal Clinic PC, dental disease is one of the most common problems we see in veterinary medicine.

Many people do not realize how the teeth affect the rest of the body.  Animals with periodontal disease – which is an infection around the teeth – have bacteria entering their system.  This can cause infections in other areas of the body.  For dogs, especially the smaller breeds, this is often on the heart valves which leads to heart valve degeneration, causing heart murmurs and eventually congestive heart failure.

Cats more frequently have the bacteria settle in the kidneys, leading to kidney failure.

Brushing your pets teeth can help prevent dental disease.  We carry supplies to help with home brushing.  For dogs supplying chew toys or chew treats can also help.  Our staff can give advice on chew items for your dog.

If tartar is already present it will need to be professionally removed.  When cleaning teeth here at Dickinson County Animal Clinic we use anesthesia to insure that we do everything possible to clean the teeth thoroughly.  Once your pet is sedated the cleaning proceeds much like it would at your dentist.  We use an ultrasonic scaler and hand instruments to remove tartar and plaque.  Once the tartar and plaque are removed we then polish the teeth.  Problem teeth are identified and treated appropriately.  Infected teeth often need to be extracted and antibiotics will be sent home to be administered by the pet owner.

During the month of February we will be offer $20 off dental scaling and polishing.  Dental kits will be available to the first 25 clients scheduled to have their teeth cleaned during the month of February.

Any questions do not hesitate to call our clinic  712.336.3709.

Arthritis in Our Pets

Now that  summer is over and cooler weather is here, our elderly pets, move slower,  have a hard time getting up and moving around.  Arthritis is a common problem with our older pets and some discussion is needed as to how we need to take care of them.

We have several medicines that help with arthritis pain in dogs.  One main catagory of these drugs are the NSAIDS or Non Steroidal Anti-Inflamatory Drugs.  NSAIDS that humans often take include ibuprofen and aspirin.  Caution should be used before giving an over the counter human medication to your dog.  Please consult your veterinarian prior to using any human over the counter drugs.  The possible side effects in dogs are much higher with human NSAID’s.  We have prescription NSAIDS that are safe and effective at managing your dogs arthritis pain.  Most commonly prescribed are Rimadyl and Meloxicam.

Cats are very sensitive to NSAID drugs and fatal reactions can happen if you give a dose of  aspirin, ibuprofen, tylenol or most of the dog prescription drugs.  The most prescribed and labeled NSAID for cats, Meloxicam, must be used with caution.

Another option for managing arthritis pain are the Nutritional supplements.  Chondroiten and Glucosamine are glycoprotiens that lubricate the joints and reduce inflammation.  We recommend a soft chewable flavored tablet – Synovi G4 for dogs and for cats we recommend a gel.  Remember that these products will take more time to work than NSAIDs.

Also helpful for arthritis is regular moderate exercise and keeping your four legged friends at a healthy weight.  If you think that your older pet is starting to show symptoms of arthritis, do not hesitate to contact us!

Summer time problems for pets.

Do you like to take your pet with you on those weekly or daily errands?  We all know not to leave your pet in your car, but this is a serious issue that needs repeating.  Even with windows open slightly a vehicle can become a death trap within a few short minutes.  So many times we are thinking, I will only be a minute but then you run into someone and spend some time talking, not realizing how much time has actually gone by before the conversation ends.  Even when you park in the shade, please remember that as the sun moves, so too does the shade!

Around the lakes area a common summer emergency is the fishhook that gets caught usually in the foot or the mouth.  Dogs will be attracted to and eat many baits/lures.  Cats will try to play with lures or flies and get caught.  A fish hook in the paw or mouth will often mean an emergency visit to the veterinarian and require sedation to remove the hook.  A swallowed bait with a fishhook requires abdominal surgery.  Please be careful with your fishing gear!

One of the most common summertime problems is Gastric Indiscretion – that’s medical talk for eating foods that our pets should not be eating.  With all the picnics and parties, we see lots of cases of dogs with vomiting and diarrhea due to  eating foods they are not used to eating.  Sometimes the dogs will help themselves if left unattended and other times they are fed by well meaning people.  Also with warmer temperatures food goes bad very quickly and we see lots of cases of food poisoning from bacteria over growth in the food.  Often people forget to take into account the size of the dog when giving it “treats”.  Feeding a 20 pound dog a brat is like me eating 10 brats – there will be some unpleasant consequences!

These are just a few of the issues that can arise during the hot summer months.  We hope that everyone – residents and visitors alike have a great summer with their pets.






Disgusting Ticks

Spring is here and along with the spring flowers and migrating birds we see the less welcome return of ticks.  Ticks are arachnids, small 8 legged bugs related to spiders.  They attach themselves to birds, animals and people to suck a blood meal.  They really are a disgusting blood sucking parasite.

Not only are they disgusting, they carry several diseases.  Including Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis.  Ticks and tick borne diseases are on the increase.  Lyme disease is being reported from a wider range every year.  Yellow Star ticks are rapidly spreading north and we will probably see them here in northwest Iowa in a few short years.

We have several products to control ticks including Frontline Plus and Vectra3D.  These products are applied topically once a month.  These products will typically kill the ticks before they bite, greatly reducing the risk of tick borne disease.

For Lyme disease we have a vaccine for dogs that is a very effective preventative.

Tick borne diseases are often difficult to diagnose.  There is a heartworm test that will also test for  3 tick borne diseases:  Lyme, Ehrilichiosis and Ananplasmosis.  This test will detect the presence of these diseases even if the dog isn’t presenting with symptoms.

Please protect your pets from these disgusting parasites!

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

Dental disease is not just bad dog/cat breath.  Infected teeth will lead to tooth loss in our pets.  Chronic infections can lead indirectly to heart valvular disease and kidney infections which in turn, ultimately lead to heart or kidney failure.  With cats we sometime see an inflammatory condition of the gums and teeth that erodes into the teeth and seems to be very painful.

Providing dry dog food that encourages chewing and keeping tarter off teeth will help in the prevention of dental disease.  Hill’s Prescription Science Diet T/D is a food designed to prevent tarter

For dogs chew toys, raw-hides and various dental chewing sticks also help remove tarter.  One of our best sellers is the Veggie Dent chew sticks.

Brushing your pet’s teeth will also help prevent tarter build-up.  We carry dental supplies to help with this task.

When tarter gets to a certain point, home care will no longer help.  That is when we can preform a dental on your pet at the clinic.  Your pet is sedated with a safe anesthetic and then scale and polish the teeth with a machine similar to the one used at your dentist’s office.

During the Month of February we are offering $20 off every dental scale and polish to celebrate National Pet Dental Health Month!

As Always we will be happy to answer any questions that you have regarding your pet’s dental health.


Antibiotic Choices in Animals

Antibiotics kill bacteria; we generally use them in veterinary medicine to treat bacterial diseases and infections, much like in human medicine.
In fact many of the antibiotics we use are exactly the same as you would get from a human pharmacist. Not all antibiotics are safe to use in all animals. For instance Amoxicillin can cause severe intestinal distress in rabbits.
Different antibiotics work in different ways, affecting different bacteria. Some antibiotics are broader spectrum than others, meaning they kill a wide range of bacteria, others have a narrower spectrum, but may kill types of bacteria that broader spectrum of antibiotics do not kill. Some antibiotics work better at reaching certain parts of the body, like cephalosporin antibiotics concentrate in the urine and are a good choice for urinary infections. Some antibiotics are better at reaching the skin surface and others are better penetrating the nervous system.
Often clients tell me that they want a stronger antibiotic. There are no strong and weak antibiotics. An abscess with anaerobic bacteria will respond well to penicillin, but not to a newer, more expensive antibiotic like Zenoquin.
The advantage of some newer antibiotics is they can be dosed less frequently. Three times daily can be quite a chore for many people and with the newer antibiotics, once daily dosing is much easier on the pet and owner. Orbax has a liquid formulation that is flavored so many animals accept it and the drug is microencapsulated, so there is no medicine taste.
Topping the list in convenience is Convenia – available as an injection that gives therapeutic antibiotic blood levels for two weeks with one injection. This has been absolutely wonderful for cats, I give them the injection here and the owners have no medicine to give at home!
Choosing the appropriate antibiotic is just one thing that is taught in Veterinary School, basic but none the less important. Attempting to use appropriate antibiotic therapy is just part of our out-treatment plan here at Dickinson County Animal Clinic, PC.

Thyroid Problems in Pets

It is interesting to me that dogs only get low or hypo thyroid and cats get high or hyper thyroid. The thyroid gland produces a hormone that influences metabolism in the body.

In dogs with hypothyroidism, the dogs tend to become less active and experience weight gain. Their hair coat may become dull, often coarser and more straw-like over time. Eventually the hair thins. Sometimes these changes are thought to be normal signs of aging by the owner. A simple blood screening test can be run at the clinic and results are available in about fifteen minutes. If hypothyroidism is diagnosed we can then put the dog on medications to supplement its thyroid hormone.

Cats often exhibit weight loss, in spite of a healthy appetite. In some cases they are noticeably more active. As the disease progresses they have vomiting and/or diarrhea. The same simple blood test we use to check for hypothyroidism in dogs will also check cats for hyperthyroidism.

With cats there are several treatment options. There is a drug that can control thyroid levels. The drug can be given as a pill or more conveniently can be compounded into a transdermal gel. The transdermal gel is simply applied to the skin on the surface of the ear. Another treatment option that is more permanent is Radio Iodine treatment; however this involves referral to a specialty clinic. The newest treatment for cats is a specially formulated food that the clinic now carries.

If you suspect your pet has a thyroid issue, give us a call. We will be glad to answer any questions.