Lyme Disease…A growing concern for our canine companions

Over the past several years there has been much information in the media regarding Lyme disease.  For the most part, much of that information didn’t pertain to all of us in Central New York.  That has changed. 

Lyme disease is rapidly emerging as a major threat to dogs in our area and is now considered endemic in Onondaga County.

What does this mean for your dog?  Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by deer ticks.  It often goes unnoticed, but can lead to symptoms that include lameness, joint pain, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite.  In severe cases, it can cause inflammation in the kidneys, which can be fatal.  More than 14,000 cases have been diagnosed in New York State in the past seven years with the majority occurring in the last three years.  State biologist reported that their annual sampling of ticks at Green Lake State Park in 2008 yielded an astounding 63.5% that were harboring the Lyme disease organism.

In response to this, we feel the time has come to recommend that our canine patients be vaccinated against Lyme disease.  We have chosen a safe, effective vaccine that needs to be given initially, then boostered three weeks later, and then updated annually thereafter.

However, vaccinating against Lyme disease is not enough.  Preventive measures to reduce the chances of a tick bite are also very important.  Ticks not only carry Lyme disease, but also, many other blood-borne conditions such as Anaplasmosis and Ehrilichia. Often these diseases mimic each other and are difficult to differentiate; consequently, a diligent protocol of vaccination and tick prevention is the best option available to our pets at this time.

For more information about this growing concern, to set up an appointment to vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease or to discuss our recommendations for preventive products, please call our office at 315-677-3838 

Take a look at some of these obvious, and not so obvious, signs that your pet needs to be seen by your Veterinarian.

Warning Signs Your Pet Should be Seen by a Veterinarian

There are many obvious signs that our pets display that indicate that a visit to their veterinarian is in order.  These obvious signs are easy to spot, because many of them are similar to symptoms that we, as people, display when we aren’t feeling well such as:


  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea
  • Change in appetite, either a decrease or increase
  • Change in normal activity level: feeling lethargic, hyperactive or restless
  • Limping
  • Sudden inability to move back legs
  • Crying in pain when touched
  • Seizures
  • Any loss of consciousness
  • Any difficulty breathing or labored breathing
  • Any blue, purple, or pale hut to the tongue and gums
  • Sudden collapse
  • Crying out while urinating
  • Sneezing excessively
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Runny eyes or nose.

 However, there are also some very subtle symptoms our pets might display that could be hiding potentially life-threatening conditions.  Because our pets can’t tell us when they aren’t feeling well, pay particular attention if your pet displays any of the symptoms below because they might require urgent care:


  • Unintended weight loss
  • Excessive drinking
  • Clumsy or disoriented behavior
  • Coughing, especially at night
  • Panting in a cat
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vocalizing and/or straining in the litter box without producing urine (especially in male cats)
  • Change in urination: location, frequency, amount, color, or smell
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Nose bleed or bruising anywhere on the body
  • Any unusual odor
  • Excessive hair loss
  • Squinting

 If as a pet owner, you ever have doubts as to whether your pet should be seen, don’t hesitate to call our office.  Our trained and dedicated staff will be more than happy to assist you.



Does My Pet Need Regular Dental Care?

Does your pet have bad breath? A bad odor from the mouth (halitosis) can be a sign of serious problems for your pet, such as periodontal disease which could lead to systemic infection.

Did you know that a recent study by the American Veterinary Dental Society found that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age three. 

Some common signs of oral disease include:
*Bad breath
*Inflamed Gums
*Adnormal drooling
*Yellow-brown crust on teeth
*Bleeding gums
*Change of chewing or eating habits

Oral disease starts with the build up of bacteria. Once this bacteria combines with saliva and food, it can cause plaque formations that begin to accumulate on the teeth and eventually form tartar. Tartar is difficult to remove by hand and needs specialized dental scalers to remove. 

Not addressing oral problems early could lead to periodontal disease which affects the tissues and structures supporting the teeth, tooth loss, oral pain and systemic complications. The inflammation and infection associated with periodontal disease may damage other organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys, or lead to other serious healht problems. 

Prevention is the key to a healthy mouth for your pet. Prevention starts with routine physical examination by us, which includes a dental exam. We can assess your pet's oral health and whether home care, such as routine brushing with toothpast desinged for pets, or professional care are needed. 

Pets won't let us throughly examine and clean their teeth while they're awake, which is why professional dental care for your pet requires anesthesia. Prior to any anesthesia we will perform a physical examination and run bloodwork to assess the best anesthetic agents. 

While your pet is under antesthesia, monitoring their vitals signs, such as heart rate, body temperature, oxygen level, and blood pressure, helps to ensure your pet is safe while undergoing their dental procedure. 

Dental radiographs (x-rays) may be taken to help us better assess the condition of your pet's teeth. Often problems exist under the gum line which a visual exam alone cannot detect. These x-rays can also help confirm whether certain teeth need to be extracted or not. 

Profession dental cleanings include the removal of dental tartar using an ultrasonic scaler, the same equipment a human dentist uses. Next the teeth will be polished to smooth any scratches in the tooth enamel with a specialixed past for pets, this will prevent tartar form attaching to the teeth immediately. Lastly a barrier sealant, such as OraVet, will be applied to hlep prevent the future buildup of plaque. 

Caring for you pet's mouth and teeth is an important part in keeping your pet free from pain and helps to prolong their lives by preventing heart disease and infections.