Client Education

Curing Feline Diabetes With Food

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Barnaby is a 9yr old DSH MN kitty that has been coming to our hospital for the past year.  He is strictly indoor and shares his home with two other cats.  When we examined him a year ago, Barnaby was overweight at 17.2lbs.  The owner changed his diet to a high quality, grain free, weight management dry food to try to get the excess weight off of him.  He had been doing well until he recently came in for lameness.  On physical exam, it was found that Barnaby had lost a significant amount of weight and his “lameness” was actually a change in his gait and stance.  He was walking on his ankles or hocks which can be a sign of diabetes.  Blood work was immediately performed and he had a severely elevated blood glucose of 548 (normal range is 64-120). He also had a large amount of glucose in his urine.

Diabetes affects about 2% of our indoor cats and the culprit is DRY FOOD.  Even high quality, grain free dry food contains too many carbohydrates and not enough protein for our cats.  Feeding strictly canned, freeze dried, or raw diets to cats will prevent any possibility of your cat developing insulin dependent diabetes.  There are plenty of diets made specifically to treat diabetes but those diets can be expensive and typically are lower quality than other high end commercial canned food. We also love freeze dried and raw diets for our cats.

We decided to not start insulin on Barnaby since he was still feeling okay and he was not in diabetic ketoacidosis (he was a stable diabetic when he was brought in). Barnaby was started on Nature’s Variety INSTINCT canned food and all dry food/treats were removed from his life.  The owner was told that a food change does not cure all cats and he may need insulin injections, so he was brought back in 4 days to have his blood sugar checked. His blood sugar was 194 four days after starting canned food and 95 eleven days after stopping all dry food.  We cured Barnaby’s diabetes with a simple diet change in 11 days!!

We use nutrition to fix many of our pet’s health ailments!  It is so great that Barnaby does not need twice daily insulin injections for the rest of his life. He and his owner couldn’t be happier!

A Life Jacket Saved My Dog’s Life

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I regularly kayak on Mountain Island Lake and would bring my dog Tyler with me.  She would ride in the back of the kayak and occasionally get out to swim during our trips.  She always wore a life jacket because I worried about her tiring in the water.  I never imagined that jacket would actually save her life.

Almost 2 years ago, we were out on the water and Tyler was getting anxious in the kayak so she jumped into the water.  She seemed a little disoriented and was swimming away from me.  It was then that she had her first seizure of her life … in the water, about 20 feet from me.  There was not enough time to get to her and I know she would have drowned if she was not wearing her life jacket.  The following day, a MRI was performed and found a brain tumor which eventually took her life.   My dog had her very first seizure at 12 years of age in the middle of Mountain Island Lake! I am so thankful that she did not drown in the water and will forever be grateful she was wearing a life jacket.

The lake life is amazing around the Davidson area and our dogs love the water – life jackets can save their lives!

Dr. Carrie Uehlein

Importance of Alar Fold Resections in Short Nosed Pets

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We love our Bulldogs, Frenchies, and Pugs for their short noses and snoring.  They were bred a certain way to maintain those smooshy, adorable faces however there is a big price to pay for all that cuteness.  They just can’t breathe well and have a tendency to overheat in warm environments.  There are typically 4 anatomical changes found in our short nosed dogs:  stenotic nares (very small nostrils), elongated soft palate (this causes noisy breathing by covering the entry to trachea), narrow trachea (windpipe), and everted laryngeal saccules.  So you have this 50# American Bulldog who is basically breathing out of a straw!  No wonder they snore and make so much noise even when they are inactive. The good news is that you can surgically fix a few of these issues to help them breathe better!

The best way to prevent respiratory issues is to surgically correct their stenotic nares by removing the excess tissue and creating a nostril to breathe.  Studies have shown that if you correct the nostrils in a brachycephalic dog before they develop difficulty breathing (when they are young or at time of spay/neuter), you can actually prevent their soft palates from getting thickened and consequently, prevent them from needing surgery on their palate too.  I have seen pugs able to go for a 2-3 mile run because I performed an alar fold resection on them when 7m of age.

We use cautery or surgical laser to perform these procedures.  The attached picture shows the right nostril of a French Bulldog prior to surgery and the left nostril already surgically corrected.  As you can see, the dog now has an open airway to breathe!!  So if you have one of our beloved smooshy faced breeds, we have the ability to greatly improve their quality of life so just ask us if an alar fold resection would help your pet!

Calming Treats For Your Pet

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Does your dog have anxiety on car rides? Difficulty staying calm through thunderstorms or fireworks? Does he get stressed at the groomer or while boarding?  Is separation anxiety a problem when you leave the house?  Does your cat urinate in the house when you have guests over?  Is senility affecting your dog’s sleep cycle?  Is your cat having difficulty adjusting to the new baby in the house? Does your puppy need to stay calm after a surgical procedure?

If your pet’s anxiety is situation based, Vetri Science Composure treats can help keep them calm during these stressful times.  Many vets will tell you to give your dog Benadryl to keep him calm on a car ride but as many of you know, this tends to not be enough and you are looking for another option that won’t severely sedate your pet and doesn’t have side effects.  Or maybe your cat has to be sedated heavily when you have company over and you are not comfortable with that level of sedation or your dog’s senility is causing changes in his sleep/wake cycle and you do not want to use harsh medications to help your geriatric pet sleep through the night. Composure Treats are made of Thiamine, Tryptophan, Colostrum Calming Complex, and Theanine – all natural ingredients that can improve your pets quality of life without causing harmful side effects.  This product comes in a treat form or a liquid formula so you can choose the best option for ease of administration.  So come see us if you are looking for more options to help your pets anxiety.  And don’t forget, we also have a variety of plant based herbal anxiety remedies too!

Vaccine reactions and nail problems

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Painful auto-immune condition of the nails in pets

Painful auto-immune condition of the nails in pets

I saw a dog last week for a condition called Onychodystrophy, a painful condition where the nails start to grow abnormally and eventually start falling off.  Sounds painful right?  It is.  Generally it is first noticed when a dog starts licking a specific toe nail or a nail falls off.  With a closer look, all nails are misshapen and have rough surfaces.

The normal treatment for this is to just wait for all of them to fall off, one at a time.  Often they are painful and barely holding on, and a dog will need to be sedated to have the nail torn or cut off each time one goes bad.  Some vets will try vitamins or fish oils, and sometimes steroids are given.  Most dogs just have to live through it for about a year while all nails fall off and hopefully turn over new, healthier nails.

I see this almost always as an auto-immune condition.  In a nutshell, this means the immune system has suffered an insult which make it attack part of the body that is normal (the nails) as if they are foreign.  So in this disease, the immune system is seeing the nails as foreign and the body is trying to reject the nails.  Ouch!

Well, the first thing I asked is whether or not the dog had suffered a vaccine reaction.  Sure enough, yes.  Twice in fact.  I am always looking to find what caused the immune system to “trip”, and this one was easy.  The dog had reacted very strongly to a Distemper-Parvo vaccination 5 years ago.  Only 8 months prior to the first nail falling off, the dog had another vaccine reaction on a day he received a Bordetella and Lepto vaccine.  It turns out that day he was also under anesthesia.

So my first job was to detoxify the vaccine viruses and bacteria out of the body.  I do this with a variety of natural herbal medications.  And they work.  It should take about a month to do this.  Next, I looked for imbalances in the body (a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine technique).  Many times my auto-immune patients are way too hot.  But this fella was not.  He was quite balanced.  Last, I performed Muscle Testing to look for weaknesses in his organs.  Again, he was pretty good here.  We just needed to detoxify the viruses out and calm down the immune system.

This dog should be fine, hopefully in a lot less time than a year.  We also should be able to have him be stronger overall, so he is not at risk for more immune-related disease.  We will have to be very careful about everything that goes into his body – vaccines, pesticides, chemicals.  We will perform blood titers for Distemper and Parvo to feel comfortable that he is protected.  We will avoid the Lepto and Lyme vaccines since he is at low risk for these diseases.  We will use Bordetella only if necessary, and we will use a 3-year Thimerosal-free (aka Mercury-free) Rabies vaccine when he is due.  When giving the Rabies vaccine, we will also give the detoxification herbs before and after to prevent any negative effects.

Think your pet may have suffered a vaccine reaction or disease resulting from vaccination or other chemical?  Let us know how we can help!

Case Study – K-Laser Therapy on Acral Lick Granuloma

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Gracie is a 4yr old Labrador Retriever with an acral lick granuloma on her left carpus that was unresponsive to treatment for almost a year.  Lick granulomas are chronic wounds that become very deep infections and typically do not respond to surgery (the dogs will just create another wound over the surgical incision) and are very difficult to cure. Gracie’s wound was cultured and appropriate antibiotic therapy was given long term along with topical treatments and bandaging of wound intermittently but nothing seemed to completely resolve this lesion. It would get better but within a short period of time, Gracie was licking at her leg and the granuloma would regress again.  We decided to use K-Laser therapy on this wound in conjunction with more antibiotics based on a new skin culture.  K-Laser was performed three times weekly for the first 4 weeks then performed twice weekly.  The wound has almost healed with 2 months of K-Laser treatment!!  We will continue K-Laser therapy until it is completely resolved and Gracie could not be happier.  K-Laser has given us the ability to cure lick granulomas when in the past we would just have to manage them as chronic wounds.

Anxiety in dogs – thinking outside the box

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So many dogs we see suffer from some form of anxiety.  Some dogs I truly believe have a chemical imbalance, and just like some humans, are best with a little pharmaceutical assistance (ie: Prozac, Xanax etc).  Usually these dogs have generalized anxiety and are anxious all of the time.  Dogs come to our practice for more natural solutions, and it is very rare that I think a dog should start one of these drugs.

For years, I have worked to balance dogs internally to help their anxiety and aggression.  Most commonly, I find that dogs are too hot (think “hot and bothered”), too dry, or have liver stagnation (think “angry drunk”).   I have had good success using acupuncture and Chinese herbs for many dogs who are out of balance in some way.

There is however, a whole other category of anxious dog – the dog is perfectly fine most of the time and then has a complete melt-down under stressful situations.  Usually these stressful situations involve loud noises, separation from their owner, or removal from the comfort and safety of their own home.  I have recognized this sort of dog for some time and have been seeking treatment options for them.  They are the dogs who have suffered a traumatic event or very stressful puppyhood (or both).  Many come from shelters or bad homes, some have suffered the loss of their owner or companion.  They are always the same.  They are generally calm even in the vet’s office, have low heart rate, and are generally very sweet and kind natured.

I think I have made sense of these dogs.  They suffer from “Adrenal Fatigue”, a well appreciated problem in humans, especially Americans, and especially those of us who are always moving, always going, and never taking our foot off the gas pedal.  Adrenal fatigue is often compounded by poor diet, for people and dogs.  Your adrenal glands help you deal with physical stress, and when you have been under chronic stress, your adrenal glands can no longer help you cope with stress.

Dogs with adrenal fatigue are perfect most of the time, until the stress hits.  Then they lose their minds.  They enter a complete panic attack, destroying their crate, carpet, or furniture, clawing their way out of a door or wall, or barking and howling incessantly. I use a simple muscle testing technique called Meridian Autonomic Testing to quickly diagnose and treat these dogs.  We also look for other hormone and organ imbalances and treat as needed.  These dogs start about a 3 month regimen of natural nutrition-based supplements to restore healthy adrenal glands and allow them to appropriately deal with normal stresses a dog faces, such as spending time alone and guests coming to the house.  Treating Adrenal Fatigue in dogs has completely revolutionized the way I treat anxiety in my patients.  Do you think your dog may suffer from Adrenal Fatigue?  Has he or she suffered a very stressful time in their life?  Are they calm and sweet and perfect until something stressful happens?  Maybe we can help.

Severe anxiety when away from owner

Monthly Prevention

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Here at the Veterinary Hospital of Davidson we strive to delivery only the very best in veterinary medicine. This extends even to the simplest medications that we can offer and some that can be the most important for the regular health of your pet. That’s right monthly prevention! It is important for both cats and dogs to be on monthly prevention. While many indoor only cats do not need a monthly prevention, there are circumstances when Dr. Sheehan and Dr. Uehlein would recommend it. Don’t underestimate the power that one little flea has to turn into millions!

We offer Revolution for sweet kitties; this is a monthly topical that prevents fleas, their eggs, heartworms, ear mites, roundworms, and hookworms. Just make sure to get it high enough so they can’t turn around and lick it off. Another option for our feline friends would be our flea and tick collar, Seresto. Seresto works similarly to a monthly topical, but as the active ingredients wear off over time, a new supply is continuously replenished in low concentrations. The active ingredients spread from the site of direct contact over the skin surface. Bayer’s polymer matrix technology is designed to slowly and continuously release the active ingredients over eight months, a duration that makes it clearly different from other collars.

We have more of a variety for the dogs in our lives. While many products do exist, we only carry the ones that we feel are the safest! For heartworm prevention we carry Heartgard Plus and Sentinel. Heartgard Plus is a monthly chewable that prevents heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms. Its beef flavored and most dogs love it! Sentinel is monthly tablet that does a little extra. It covers heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms- the extra covers whipworms and acts a flea birth control. This means that a flea can still jump on your pup, but it will not be able to reproduce. If your loveable pooch is an outdoorsy type or you live in an area where the risk for fleas and ticks is higher, we offer 2 different types of flea and tick prevention. The first is Nexgard. This is a monthly chewable pill that is from the makers of Heartgard and it will kill fleas and ticks. You can take our own pet’s word for it that it is super delicious! The second is Seresto Collar . This is the same flea and tick collar we recommend for cats that lasts for 8 months!

We love to keep our pets and our client’s pets happy and healthy! Come in and see us to find out which prevention is best for you!

Therapeutic K-Laser Applications

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K-Laser is a class IV therapy laser with multiple small animal applications and benefits to your pet. The laser allows healing to begin at the cellular level by increasing ATP and protein synthesis which results in increased growth factor response.  It also accelerates and stimulates cell reproduction to allow faster healing and increase oxygen and nutrient availability to the treated region.

Overall, there are 3 physiologic effects that occur simultaneously during treatment: reduction of the amount and duration of inflammation, reduction in pain, and accelerated tissue healing.

There are multiple uses for K-Laser therapy, some of which are listed below.

  • Tendonitis/Bursitis
  • Lick granuloma/dermatitis
  • Back/Neck pain/IVDD (Disc Disease)
  • Spondylosis (Arthritis of the Spine)
  • Chronic otitis externa (Ear Infection) and Aural Hematomas
  • Post surgical recovery
  • Snake bites/Spider bites
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hip Dysplasia/Hip Pain
  • Non-union fractures
  • Sacroiliac strain (Groin Injury)
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Wounds/Ulcers

We expect to see a positive response within 3-4 treatments but often have a noticeable response after the first treatment.  Every patient is different and therefore our treatment protocol for each dog and cat can vary.  For chronic cases such as hip dysplasia or IVDD we can typically get our patients on a maintenance plan of 1-2 treatments per month but more acute injuries or wounds may need treatments a few times a week to bring relief and accelerate healing. We are now offering a special K-Laser promotion package of 5 treatments for $189 (10% savings). Please call if you have any questions regarding K-Laser and its use to improve your pet’s health and happiness.


Click on the link below to watch a K-Laser mechanism video.

Heartworm Treatment – Update on Penny

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Remember pretty Penny?  She’s Kristin’s rescue baby who ended up positive for heartworm.  We decided to try an herbal treatment for her, since we knew we caught it early and she had already started heartworm prevention tablets (which kill the “baby” worms).   She had been on her herbal medication for a few weeks when she started to have slight elevations in her breathing at home.  For one weekend, she was lethargic and breathing heavy.  After 2-3 days of this, she suddenly was normal.  We were worried she was having symptoms from the heartworm, but these are also symptoms a dog can have after treatment of adult worms with Immiticide.  So we looked at her heart again with the ultrasound, and sure enough, the adult heartworm living in her heart was gone!  The herbal medication helped her immune system fight it naturally.  She was having symptoms as her body was clearing the parasite from her heart.  Wow!  Penny is back to normal and feeling great!  Great job Kristin!