7 things you can do to make the holidays safer for your pet

  1. Keep people food out of the reach of your pet and ask your guests to do the same
  2. Make sure your pet doesn’t have any access to people food, especially those containing chocolate, xylitol, grapes/raisins, onions, or other toxic foods
  3. Don’t leave your pet alone in a room with lit candles, a decorated tree, or potpourri
  4. Keep holiday plants (especially holly, mistletoe and lilies) out of reach of pets
  5. Consider leaving the tinsel off your tree if you have a cat
  6. Secure your Christmas tree to keep it from falling over if your dog bumps it or your cat climbs it. Fun Fact: hanging lemon-scented car air fresheners in the tree may deter your cat from climbing it!
  7. If your pet is excitable or scared when you have company over, consider putting your pet in another room with some of his/her toys, a comfortable bed, etc. or providing a safe place for your pet to escape the excitement (such as a kennel, crate, perching place, scratching post shelf or hiding place)

The death of an international traveler diagnosed in the U.S. as having the Ebola virus disease (EVD), coupled with the precautionary measure by Spanish health officials to euthanize the dog of an exposed healthcare worker, have raised questions and concerns among veterinarians and the public alike:

*How will the U.S. react if faced with an increased number of EVD patients?

*Is there any chance that what happened in Spain could happen here?

*Is it even possible for dogs to get EVD or spread it to humans?

We know that you are looking for answers, and we’re working to get information for you.

Ebola virus in animals

At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola or of being able to spread the virus to people or animals. Even in areas of Africa where Ebola is present, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with the virus.

The chances of a dog being exposed to Ebola virus in the U.S. are very low. Exposure requires close contact with bodily fluids of a person with symptoms of Ebola infection. This is why it is important for individuals symptomatic with the disease to avoid contact with animals and others to the greatest extent possible. We do not yet know whether or not a pet’s body or fur can transmit Ebola to people or other animals.

Ebola virus in people

Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with:

  • Blood or body fluids (e.g., urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with the virus
  • Objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
  • Infected fruit bats or nonhuman primates

Ebola is not spread through air, water, or food, with the exception of handling or consuming infected bushmeat (food derived from wild animals, such as fruit bats and nonhuman primates). There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects transmit Ebola virus, and only a few species of mammals (e.g.  humans, nonhuman primates, and fruit bats) are noted to be susceptible and capable of spreading the virus.

Symptoms of Ebola in people may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days (average 8 to 10 days) after exposure and include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising).

Article Courtesy of the American Veterinary Medical Association web site.

Visit www.avma.org/ebola for more information regarding Ebola and pets.

The holiday season is a wonderful time to show thanks and love for our family and friends, including our 4-legged ones.  Instead of thanking your pet with an overabundance of food (and a possible case of pancreatitis!), show your appreciation with the gift of good health.

Preventive health care goes a long way to ensure your pet’s quality of life. Wellness care focuses on disease prevention and early detection of health problems. The adult wellness exam is also an ideal opportunity to learn about any new treatments and recommendations. During the preventive health care visit, your veterinarian will perform a thorough examination on your pet as well as discuss with you:

Dental health.
Gingivitis and bad teeth can affect your pet’s heart, kidneys, liver and lungs.
Fecal examinations and prevention. Twice yearly fecal examinations ensure that your pet and your family are parasite free.
Heartworm testing and prevention. Prevention of this deadly disease is simple. Once your pet becomes infected, treatment becomes complicated and risky, especially in cats.
Immunizations. Based on your pet’s lifestyle, your veterinarian will recommend any necessary immunizations.
Nutrition. Are you feeding your pet a healthy diet? Is your pet at an ideal weight? Pets fed healthy diets that promote an ideal weight live 15% longer and have fewer veterinary cost.
Wellness testing. This testing analyzes your pet’s blood to evaluate blood counts and internal organ function. This testing complements your veterinarian’s thorough physical examination of your pet. Wellness testing not only detects problems, but more importantly, it establishes a baseline of what is normal for your pet.

It is a well-known fact that early detection with wellness exams leads to early treatment, which results in more positive outcomes. Talk with your veterinarian about any concerns that you may have about your pet. Your veterinary team is an invaluable resource for information.  If you want to offer your pet something special too, choose alternative treats such as a new toy or extra bonding and exercise time. At the end of the day, you will be thankful you did and so will they!


New Modalities in Pain Management: The Unique, the New and the Tried & True Join us for our 3 part blog series on new modalities in pain management. 

Part Three: Arthroscopic surgery, minimally invasive orthopedic surgery
As part of our promise to bring innovative technology to our patients, our doctors here at the Glen Carbon location are training on this new minimally invasive surgery technique. With minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery, your pets can get back to their normal lives with less pain and faster than with traditional surgery methods.

What is arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure orthopedic surgeons use to visualize, diagnose and treat problems inside a joint. In an arthroscopic examination, an orthopedic surgeon makes a small incision in the patient’s skin and then inserts pencil sized instruments that contain a small lens and lighting system to magnify and illuminate the structures inside the joint. By attaching the arthroscope to a miniature video camera, the surgeon is able to see the interior of the joint through this very small incision rather than a large incision needed for surgery.  The video camera attached to the arthroscope displays the magnified image of the joint on a video monitor, allowing the surgeon to look, for example, throughout the knee (stifle) at cartilage and ligaments, and under the kneecap (patella). The surgeon can determine the amount or type of injury, and then repair or correct the problem, if it is necessary.

What can be treated arthroscopically?
Several disorders may be treated with a combination of arthroscopic and standard surgery.

  • Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury in the Knee
  • Elbow Dysplasia: OCD, Coronoid Disease, UAP
  • Shoulder OCD
  • Shoulder Injuries
  • Tarsus (Hock Joint) OCD

What are the advantages?

  • The arthroscope can be inserted to areas of the joint not visible in a traditional “open “surgical evaluation.
  • In addition, the image is magnified up to 20 times on the video monitor, allowing for a more detailed evaluation of the joint.
  • Patients will use the limb earlier and better, with less loss of muscle tone and strength.
  • The onset and development of osteoarthritis may also be expected to be less compared to “open” arthrotomy.


Stay tuned for more information on this new surgery option and when it may be available at Hawthorne.

New Modalities in Pain Management: The Unique, the New and the Tried & True Join us for our 3 part blog series on new modalities in pain management. 

Part Two: PRP and Your PetInformation Provided By Arthrex, Inc.

Healing after an injury involves a well-orchestrated and complex series of events where proteins in the blood act as messengers to regulate the entire process. Many proteins involved in the healing process are derived from small cell fragments in the blood called platelets.

Platelets are small, colorless, cell fragments present in the blood. They are formed in the bone marrow and are freely passing through the bloodstream in a resting state. However, when an injury occurs, the platelets become activated and start to gather at the injury site to release beneficial proteins called growth factors. This is the beginning of the healing process.

For many years, blood components derived from the patient and then delivered to the site of injury have created growing interest for use in orthopedic procedures. New research and technology has expanded the application of this therapy for use in orthopedic procedures in dogs, cats, and humans.

What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)?

PRP is a concentration of platelets and growth factors created from a small amount of your dog’s own blood. Increased levels of growth factors have the potential to improve signaling and recruitment of cells. This is often referred to as Autologous Conditioned Plasma.

How does the PRP process work?

Your veterinarian will recover a small amount of blood from your pet using a needle and syringe. The blood then goes through a rapid spinning process that separates and concentrates the platelets and other beneficial growth factors from the blood. The entire PRP production process is usually done in less than 20 minutes. The PRP is then injected directly into the affected joint(s) of your pet, using heavy sedation to minimize stress. This is an outpatient procedure; your pet walks out the door the same day of his/her PRP, with minimal post-PRP discomfort.

Is my pet a candidate for treatment with PRP?

Speak with your veterinarian and ask if PRP is right for your pet. Your veterinarian will perform an examination to make a determination if the use of PRP will benefit your pet. If your pet is on anti-inflammatory medications or blood thinners, your veterinarian may temporarily discontinue the use of these until after treatment has taken place.

The most common indications for PRP in dogs and cats include:
-Cruciate Ligament and Meniscal Injury


-Joint Injury from Previous Trauma

What are the risks associated with this treatment?

PRP uses your pet’s own natural properties to treat their injury. Side effects utilizing PRP are very uncommon.

How much will this procedure cost me?

In most cases, two injections of PRP are recommended. The injections are spaced one month apart for maximum benefit. The average cost for sedation and PRP is $150.00. Depending on the special needs of your pet, additional medications, treatments, or diagnostics may be indicated prior to PRP which can elevate this cost estimate.

Part One: Minimally Invasive Surgery; the “key” to less painful procedures!

laparo sx2Laparoscopic surgery, also called minimally invasive surgery or keyhole surgery, is a modern surgical technique in which operations in the abdomen are performed through small incisions (usually 0.5–1.5 cm) as opposed to the larger incisions needed in laparotomy.

Keyhole surgery makes use of images displayed on TV monitors to magnify the surgical elements. The main element in laparoscopic surgery is the use of a laparoscope.

The laparoscope has a telescopic rod lens system, that is connected to a video camera Also attached is a fiber optic cable system connected to a ‘cold’ light source to illuminate the field.

The abdomen is usually insufflated, or essentially blown up like a balloon, with carbon dioxide gas. This elevates the abdominal wall above the internal organs like a dome to create a working and viewing space. CO2 is used because it is common to the body and can be absorbed by tissue and removed by the respiratory system.

There are a number of advantages to the patient with laparoscopic surgery versus an open procedure. These include:

• Reduced hemorrhaging, which reduces the chance of needing a blood transfusion.

• Smaller incision, which reduces pain and shortens recovery time, as well as resulting in less post-operative scarring.

• Less pain, leading to less pain medication needed.

• Reduced exposure of internal organs to possible external contaminants thereby reduced risk of acquiring infections.


Another minimally invasive procedure offered at Hawthorne is endoscopy.  Endoscopy uses the same camera technique as laparoscopic surgery but instead of surgery inside the abdominal cavity, it is done within the digestive tract, including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and colon. Through endoscopic surgery, doctors can collect biopsies, perform certain surgical procedures, place feeding tubes, and remove foreign bodies.

Hawthorne has also added a LigaSure ForceTriad unit to the companion animal surgical suite. The LigaSure ForceTriad brings together the standard LigaSure tool with monopolar and bipolar cautery units. With the ForceTriad, doctors can isolate tumors, for example, with minimal dissection and bleeding. The unit acts like a jaw, clamping around tissue, while also allowing surgeon to control bleeding, all with one instrument.

We are currently doing minimally invasive surgery at our Glen Carbon office.  Give us a call to get procedure pricing, surgery dates and more information on these great new options.

GDV or Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus is a life threatening disorder that refers to a gas-filled stomach (bloat) that then twists upon itself.  Many people became aware of this condition in dogs after seeing the 2009 movie “Marley & Me”, based on the book by John Grogan (Side-note: a great read for any canine lover, but have tissues on hand for the ending!)  In the movie, Marley passes away from complications of GDV after battling the condition once before.  GDV is most commonly seen in large, deep-chested dogs such as: Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Weimaraners, Irish Setters, Gordon Setters, Standard Poodles, Basset Hound s, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, and Old English Sheep Dogs. Labrador Retrievers can also be prone to GDV.

The exact cause is unknown.  The most common cause is a large breed dog that eats or drinks rapidly, then exercises.  The enlarged stomach then twists upon its mesenteric axis causing gases in the stomach to stretch and enlarge the organ.   The gas filled stomach presses on the large veins in the abdomen that carry blood back to the heart, compromising the circulation of blood.  Vital tissues become deprived of blood and oxygen, resulting in systematic shock.  In addition, the pressure of the gas on the stomach wall results in inadequate circulation to the wall, causing tissue death.  Digestion ceases and toxins accumulate in the blood, exacerbating shock.  As the distention continues to build, the stomach wall can rupture.

Symptoms of GDV can be: distended stomach, most obvious on the left side; labored breathing; painful abdomen with an arched back; non-productive retching; hyper-salivation; and restlessness.  Dogs also may collapse and be unable to move due to discomfort and pain of distended abdomen.

GDV is probably one of the most serious non-traumatic conditions seen in dogs.  Immediate veterinary attention is required to save the dog’s life.  The pressure on the stomach wall and internal organs must be reduces as soon as possible.  After the pet is stabilized, abdominal surgery is needed to return the stomach to its proper position and remove any dead or dying stomach tissues.  During this surgery, gastropexy is usually performed to prevent future GDV.

Gastropexy is a surgical procedure that sutures the stomach wall to the abdominal wall to prevent it from twisting.  Gastropexy can also be done as a preventative surgery during a routine spay or neuter.  This helps prevent GDV in dogs prone to the condition.  At Hawthorne, the gastropexy can be done laparoscopically, thus reducing recovery time, pain and chance of hemorrhaging during surgery.

Other ways to help prevent GDV:

– Feed several small meals a day rather than one or two large meals

– Avoid stress during feeding (if necessary, separate dogs in a multiple-dog household during feedings)

– Restrict exercise before and after meals

– Do not use an elevated feed bowl

– Do not breed dogs with a first-degree relative that has a history of GDV

If you suspect your dog is “bloated” or experiencing GDV, call your vet immediately.  The earlier the condition is caught, the better chances for recovery.


check the chipNational Check the Chip Day!

In honor of the AVMA/AAHA Check the Chip Day, we wanted to dedicate this blog to all the pets reunited with their families thanks to a microchip!

So what exactly is a microchip and how does it work?  We get those questions a lot.  So to help answer them, we wanted to share some information from the AVMA and Home Again, the microchip company we use here at Hawthorne.

The Lost Pet Reality (data and materials from Home Again)
1 in 3 pets goes missing during its lifetime, and without proper ID, 90% never return home. A microchip for dogs & cats gives the best protection with permanent ID that can never be removed or become impossible to read.

Dog and cat microchipping is a simple procedure. A veterinarian simply injects a microchip for pets, about the size of a grain of rice (12mm), beneath the surface of your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. The process is similar to a routine shot, takes only a few seconds, and your pet will not react any more than he would to a vaccination. No anesthetic is required.

A microchip is permanent pet ID. The microchip itself has no internal energy source, so it will last the life of your pet. It is read by passing a microchip scanner over the pet’s shoulder blades. The scanner emits a low radio frequency that provides the power necessary to transmit the microchips unique cat or dog ID code and positively identify the pet.

When an animal is found and taken to a shelter or veterinary clinic, one of the first things they do is scan the animal for a microchip. If they find a microchip, and if the microchip registry has accurate information, they can quickly find the animal’s owner.

For more FAQs on microchips, visit the AVMA’s website:



Renal failure in cats is a condition we see in many older cats.  We have regular patients, like Cody who is seen here, who come in for subcutaneous fluid therapy as part of their treatment protocol.  So what is renal failure?  How is it diagnosed?  cody rapp

Cats with kidney problems have a reduced ability to excrete waste products into their urine, leading to a potentially toxic build-up in the bloodstream. While some kidney problems occur suddenly, chronic kidney disease shows up more slowly over a period of time.

So how do you know if your cat has kidney problems?  If your cat shows any of the following symptoms, please take them to see your veterinarian.

  • Appetite loss/decrease
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Lethargy or depression
  • Dehydration
  • Change in water consumption
  • Pain in the kidney area
  • Litter box aversion
  • Mouth ulcerscody rapp fluids 2
  • Bad breath
  • Constipation
  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Urinating in abnormal places or pain when urinating
  • Stumbling, acting drunk

There are various ways to determine if a cat has kidney disease. Most commonly, a blood panel and urinalysis are recommended.  These tests check certain values such as the BUN (blood urea nitrogen) or creatinine levels (blood tests) or specific gravity and protein (urinalysis).  If these levels are high or off, it can indicate kidney problems.  Radiographs, ultrasound, blood pressure measurement or biopsy of the kidney may also be performed.

Finding the reason for kidney disease can be difficult.  Age, breed, high blood pressure, infection, kidney trauma, urinary obstructions such as kidney stones, and exposure to toxins, especially antifreeze can all be causes for kidney disease.

Depending on the stage of kidney failure a cat is in, emergency treatment and hospitalization may be necessary. Acute kidney disease can be caught early on, keeping kidney damage minimal.  That is why routine annual blood panels and urinalysis are so important.  That gives the vet a base value for these levels and they can monitor rises and drops in those levels.

The most important thing for your cat with these symptoms is early recognition of acute kidney failure.  This allows your doctor time to begin treatment before further damage occurs to the kidneys.  Treating kidney problems can be varied pending on the cause of the problem.  Medications, diet changes, fluid therapy and electrolyte management can all be part of a treatment plan.

To find out more about kidney disease or if you cat is beginning to show any of the signs listed above, contact your veterinarian to schedule an appointment and diagnostic testing.

“My dog/cat has what looks to be dried rice on his back end. What are they?”

We get asked this a lot. These unpleasant remnants are actually tapeworm segments. Tapeworms are long, flat worms that attach themselves to your dog’s (or cat’s) intestines. A tapeworm body consists of multiple parts, or segments, each with its own reproductive organs. Tapeworm infections are usually diagnosed by finding segments—which appear as small white worms that may look like grains of rice or seeds—on the rear end of your dog, in your dog’s feces, or where your dog lives and sleeps.

A pet can get tapeworms several different ways. The main way they get them is by ingesting an infected flea. When the infected eggs are released into the environment, they have to be swallowed by immature flea larvae in the environment. Once inside the larval flea, the tapeworm egg continues to develop as the flea matures into an adult flea. During grooming or in response to a flea bite, a dog or cat can ingest the tapeworm infected flea and complete the life cycle.

Flea control is critical in the management and prevention of tapeworm infections. Monthly topical or oral meds, such as Sentinel, Comfortis, Trifexis, Parastar Plus, Advantage Multi or Revolution, can help kill adult fleas or stop flea life cycles. It is very important to use the products correctly and continuously during flea season, which in the Midwest, is becoming almost year round. Talk to your veterinarian about which product would be best for your pet. Reader warning: Some canine flea products can be toxic to cats, so read labels carefully and never apply a dog product to a cat, especially over the counter products!

For more information on tapeworms and other intestinal parasites, visit our Client Education page at: