Dental Care

Did you know that oral hygiene is just as important for your pet as it is for you?  Though most people brush their own teeth every day, they don’t often think about brushing their pet’s teeth. According to the president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, periodontal disease is the most regularly diagnosed issue in cats and dogs.  In order to increase awareness, and to encourage owners to come in for regular check-ups, the AVMA has made February “Pet Dental Health Month”.

            By age three, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show some indication of oral disease; this is why it is so important to keep an eye on what’s going on inside your pet’s mouth. Some signs of periodontal disease include: bad breath, red and irritated gums, and a buildup of brownish colored tartar along the gum line. Bacteria in the mouth turns into plaque that builds up on the teeth, continues to grow, and eventually will become tartar. The tartar causes gum irritation, and bacteria adhere easily to its surface. This buildup will lead to periodontal disease if not treated, causing the animal pain and putting their teeth in jeopardy. Infections in the mouth can also cause damage to other organs in the body, just as it can in humans. Broken teeth from hard toys or treats, such cow hooves, is an issue seen regularly in dogs, especially those living outside . The second most common oral malady in cats (behind periodontal disease) is resorptive lesions, affecting about 28 percent of domestic cats in their lifetime. These lesions are where the tooth has some erosion at the gum line; they will get progressively worse, and are very painful to the cat.

            The first thing an owner can do to take care of their pet’s oral health is a routine dental exam from their veterinarian. Owners can start a regular brushing regimen at home with toothpaste designed for animals. There are also foods available through your veterinarian’s office that are specially formulated to help your pet’s teeth while they eat. Take a look inside your animal’s mouth. Do you see tartar buildup? Do you see red, inflamed gums? If these signs are there, it is time to talk to your veterinarian about having a cleaning done. Good oral care will help your pet live a longer, happier life.

We couldn’t have written it better ourselves so we’re sharing a wonderful, short article from the Humane Society on summer pet safety tips.

Please be extra mindful about keeping your pets safe during the summer heat. NEVER, not even for a second, leave you pet in a car!

The temperature in a car, even with the windows down, can surpass the outside air temperatures and rise to a deadly 120 degrees within minutes! Dog and cats normal body temperature ranges from 100-102.5 degrees which makes them especially susceptible to heat related stress.

Brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds such as pugs, boston terriers, bulldogs etc. are especially susceptible to heat stroke and even death if over heated.

Read more on link below.


The ” Thundershirt” is a recently developed product to help reduce anxiety in dogs.  Traditionally medications have been the treatment of choice for anxiety in most veterinary hospitals. While frequently prescribed, they aren’t effective for every dog.

We are testing the Thundershirt with an employee’s newly adopted shelter dog at All Pets Animal Hospital. This dog, while very sweet and submissive, spent months in a cage at a high volume shelter in SC and has exhibited moderate anxiety. To help ease the transition from shelter to household, our employee chose to give Thundershirt a try. So far the report is, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being most anxious,  Thundershirt takes the dog down in anxiety to about a 4 on the scale. The pet is now less anxious about going in the crate, and settles down faster upon the owners return as well as exhibiting less overall anxiety.

If you are interested in learning more about Thundershirt, please ask for technician Donna Tully or discuss this with any of the doctors during your visit, or simply click on the word Thundershirt.

Authored by Donna Tully, RVT

Author, Michelle Raiford

Some pet owners want cute and cuddly but a growing number of people prefer small and scaly. One popular reptile, the gecko, has pierced the American consciousness as the face of a major insurance company. Geckos, like all pets, require specific care to support their health. Without proper lighting and diet, geckos can suffer serious, sometimes fatal complications. To find out more about gecko care, I consulted All Pets Animal Hospital veterinary assistant Parisa Azamghavami. Parisa is the proud owner of a New Caledonian Crested gecko named Stryker.

All geckos and reptiles, for that matter, need a calcium supplement as well as a well balanced diet and UVB light to convert calcium to vitamin D. Vitamin D is vital for bone development. Without it, geckos can develop metabolic bone disease, a serious condition that results in rubbery legs and easily broken bones. While a complete powder diet is sufficient, Parisa recommends owners supplement the diet with crickets. She advises owners to obtain their crickets from a reputable source to make sure they are healthy. Some people prefer to raise their own crickets, but many people purchase gut-loaded crickets. This simply means the crickets have been raised and fed a diet complete and beneficial for a gecko. Parisa cautions crickets must be the proper size for your gecko. An over-sized cricket can be difficult for gecko’s to digest and can lead to impaction—a serious condition in which the digestive track is blocked. If not treated, impaction will lead to death. Although lighting and diet are key for gecko health, other environmental conditions such as humidity, temperature and housing are factors potential owners should familiarize themselves. Care for geckos is breed-specific. A breed Parisa recommends for beginners is the leopard gecko.

No matter which breed you choose, there are many online resources you can consult; however, your best resource is one of the reptile-friendly veterinarian at All Pets.

Parisa Azamghavami holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Western Carolina University and has worked in the veterinary field for five years. Parisa has applied to veterinary school and is currently in the interview process with several veterinary colleges in the South East.

Author Michelle Raiford

One of the many ways we show love for our companion animals is through food. What many well-meaning owners don’t realize is that those loving spoonfuls can lead to obesity and preventable disease in our feline friends. Cats possess a unique metabolism and require a diet that meets their special needs. The amount and quality of food we give our cats can improve their quality of life and improve the odds that they will live longer disease-free lives.

There is a direct link between feline obesity and feline diabetes. In fact, obesity is a primary risk factor for feline diabetes. If your cat is obese, chances are he or she will become diabetic. Common signs of diabetes include:  increased appetite, increased drinking, increased urination, and rapid weight loss. As in humans, feline diabetes can require ongoing treatment with insulin and monitoring of blood glucose levels. Although cats can live with diabetes, the treatment and vet bills associated with the disease can be daunting to owners. Taking measures now to maintain your cat’s healthy weight can eliminate a future diagnosis of diabetes.

Obese cats face additional risks. Excess pounds strain the cardiovascular and skeletal systems. As with people, excess weight requires the heart to work harder to circulate blood. Cardiovascular health is essential for providing oxygen and nutrients to all organs and eliminating waste and carbon dioxide. In addition to the cardiovascular risks, carrying excess pounds can damage your cat’s joints and tendons and lead to arthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD). Maintaining a healthy weight can protect heart health as well as the agility and grace cats naturally possess.

How much weight is too much? Just a few pounds make the difference between healthy and obese. Take for example All Pets patient Zach, a young domestic shorthair. In August, 2009, Zach weighed in at 17 pounds. Realizing the risks to Zach’s health, his owners began the diet set out for them by Dr. Bedsaul. Following this plan, in just over two months Zach was down to 14.3 pounds.  Within another three months, Zach reached his optimal weight of 13 pounds. With a loss of just four pounds, Zach has transformed from fat to fit and lowered his risk for all obesity-related problems.

Not sure if your feline friend is overweight? If you suspect that he or she is carrying extra pounds, make an appointment to discuss your cat’s health with your vet. He or she can set up a diet plan that will help your cat reach a healthy goal weight. If a special diet is indicated, All Pets Animal Hospital carries prescription diets that can assist you in feeding your cat the right combination of calories, proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber. Don’t go it alone when it comes to feline weight loss.  Communication between veterinarian and owner about proper diet can prevent a dangerous side effect of rapid weight loss known as hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease. This condition can occur when a cat’s fat stores bombard the liver and consequently cause the organ to fail. With your vet’s guidance, your cat can lose weight gradually and safely.

Maintaining a healthy weight through proper diet is an integral part of caring for feline companions. Show them love with a balanced diet, fresh water, play, physical contact, and regular veterinary care. Fat cats make for affable cartoon characters, but obesity is a serious risk to your cat’s health and longevity.

Fat Zach 17 pounds

Healthy Zach at 13 pounds

Author Donna P. Tully

Today we had the pleasure of  visiting with one of our former “residents”.

Onyx had been a wild cat living up in the woods outside the clinic for months back in 2007.  Several of the staff had tried to befriend him to no avail. We left food out for him for several months and would see “cameo” appearances from time to time, but no one could get very close to this “wild child”. Eventually, we resorted to setting out a hav-a-heart trap for him, yet he alluded the trap several times, sneaking in to eat but somehow slipping out before the trap door would close! He was just too smart to get trapped.

We continued to leave food out for him overnight and one day, after several months,  we found him in the trap when we arrived in the morning. We placed him in the  isolation ward to settle down and began domesticating him. After a few days we were finally able to lay hands on him,  and eventually able to draw blood to test him for FIV/FELV, common feline diseases, neuter him, (he was a crypt orchid, meaning only one testicle had descended), and start the long process of earning his trust. This little guy was so skeptical at first, but ended up completely trusting us and has turned into a phenomenal pet!

We knew it would take a long time to find the perfect fit in regards to a new owner. He was skittish, easily lost confidence if he got scared, wasn’t crazy about dogs or loud noises, and needed someone with a lot of  “cat savvy” who would be able to embark on the slow and patient work it would take to earn his confidence.

After several months of searching, Onyx found the PERFECT home! One of our clients had lost her 18 yo cat to renal failure and had no other inside pets. She really wanted another kitty and was waiting for the right one to come along. She came and looked at Onyx once, leaving to “think about it.” A few days passed and she just couldn’t stop thinking about him.  She returned a few days later, convinced he was meant to be her next kitty companion.

Onyx couldn’t have found a better home. His owner and he completely understand each other and she remarks how loving and interactive he is for a cat that was simply a “wild cat” early in life.

We have the great pleasure of seeing him for his annual vaccinations and dental cleanings. He still loves us, despite having lived within the confines of a busy vet hospital for so many months. He still responds to us with total confidence, love and trust and lights up our hearts each time we see him. His ability to trust is a testament to the deep human-animal bond that is possible when the relationship is placed first.

Author Donna P. Tully
Anyone who has worked in the medical field knows how much waste is produced and must be dealt with.

At All Pets Animal Hospital, we’re making an effort to reduce our waste and make a difference in our impact on the environment. Here are a few ways we’ve gone “green”:

In 2007, we installed an oxygen scavenging system for use in the surgery suite. This state of the art unit scavenges oxygen from the environment, filters it,  making it available as pure oxygen for our surgery patients. Therefore, reducing  impact on the environment through the process of compressing atmospheric gases, transportation cost of purchased oxygen tanks, not to mention the cost of buying oxygen.

In November 2008, we purchased a high-definition digital radiography machine. Requiring less power than traditional radiography units, digital x-rays require no processing leaving no toxic chemicals to breathe,  change and dispose of.  Silver is a by-product of processing traditional radiographic films, making the disposal process more involved to remain environmentally friendly. The digital radiographic unit produces high-definition radiographs which can be manipulated via computer. This technology results in fewer x-rays being taken, less radiation produced, decreasing radiation exposure to our patients and technicians.

We’ve also installed a hospital air filtration system which removes 99.9% of pollutants from the hospital. This is the same system found in human hospitals making the air our patients, clients, and staff breathe, healthier.

We recycle our office paper waste. What paper isn’t recycled we use for shipping product and kitty litter for de-claw patients after surgery.  All cardboard boxes are broken down and recycled as well.

All plastic bottles, tin cans and acceptable refuse is recycled.

Having experienced several years of drought, we contemplated how we could maintain our beautiful landscape and not further tax the aquifers. Earlier this year, catch barrels were connected to the gutters, allowing collected rain water to be used for irrigation.

Certain medical refuse can be sterilized in a high heat autoclave and reused for minor procedures, thus reducing waste in the landfill.

We’re exploring other avenues of going green such as wind turbines and solar panels, passive solar heat.

A small effort makes a big impact on the environment!