The veterinarians and staff at the Irving Pet Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

INFOGRAPHIC: Pet Holiday Hazards

The holidays can mean exciting smells, sights, and tastes for your curious pet -- and more ways he or she can get into trouble. Please take a look at the infographic below outlining the most serious dangers. Take the necessary precautions to keep the holidays happy and healthy for everyone in your home!

Click on the graphic below and print it out. Keep it handy during the holiday and give copies to your friends and family.

Holiday Hazards

Dog Spays - Answers To Common Questions

There is little in scientific literature that indicates any negative effects of spaying a dog. The most recent research conducted by Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine indicates that spaying, even on very young puppies (perhaps as young as eight weeks of age) is safe, and that the dog recovers within a few days.

Aside from having puppies, non-spayed females are more susceptible to mammary gland tumors, uterine infections and ovarian diseases. After the ovaries are removed, vaginal estrous bleeding is no longer a concern. The dull and shaggy coat appearance that often occurs in some dogs during the estrus cycle seems to disappear. Pyometra (infections of the uterus), which are extremely common in non-spayed bitches and almost always require emergency surgery, do not occur. Mammary tumors that get large and multiply quickly occur much less frequently in spayed female dogs.

Behavioral effects

The behavioral effects of dog spays are only positive. The bitch does not go into estrus (heat), the time of the cycle when she is receptive to males. (In non-spayed female dogs, there are generally about two heat cycles per year.) Since estrus does not occur in spayed female dogs, there are no bloody secretions on the carpets, upholstery or throughout the house. Non-neutered male dogs are attracted to females in heat. These male dogs travel long distances in order to mate with a bitch in estrus. This creates a nuisance, as the male dogs are fairly aggressive and remain in the vicinity until the heat cycle is finished.

Male dogs are attracted to female dogs in heat.

Non-Neutered Male Dogs Are Attracted To Female Dogs That Are In Heat

Spaying does not really change the way a dog digests food. It does, however, affect the dog’s activity level. Non-spayed females have periods of greater activity during their estrus cycle. By removing the ovaries, as is done in an ovariohysterectomy (spaying), the female hormone levels are greatly reduced. Without the surge of estrus related hormones, there is no hormone-related increased activity level.

To make sure your dog does not become obese, it is necessary to regulate her diet and activity level. Adult dogs can have their rations cut back until you reach a point at which the dog maintains a stable weight. If this is insufficient, there are several good quality weight reducing dog foods that are available. Ask your veterinarian or a veterinary technician for a food that is right for your dog. Also, make sure your dog is exercised, even if it's for one long daily walk.


A normal, annoying, sometimes disappointing, and dangerous behavior pattern seen in unspayed female dogs is pseudopregnancy (also called false pregnancy or pseudocyesis). Pseudopregnancy is a condition that occurs slightly less than two months after estrus. The bitch develops enlarged mammary glands and an enlarged abdomen. She may even show typical "nesting" behavior associated with having puppies. Often, a stuffed toy or other inanimate object is taken to the "nest" and she appears to be protecting or even nursing it. Problems arise when she becomes aggressive or attacks a person or other animal whom she perceives as threatening her "offspring."

Pseudopregnancy is a false pregnancy seen in unspayed female dogs.

Pseudopregnancy Is A False Pregnancy Seen In Unspayed Female Dogs

The natural evolution and advantages associated with pseudopregnancy are still being debated. The most widely accepted theory is one that recognizes ancestral wolf behavior. In wolf packs, bitches who did not give birth to pups might act as the pups' "nursemaids." This particular behavior, as well as milk secretions, is associated with pseudopregnancy and results from production of the hormone prolactin. This is the same hormone that is produced during the final stages of a normal pregnancy. Thus, pseudo-pregnant behavior would prepare these nonpregnant bitches for their protective and nursing role. Obviously, for a dog that lives in a human household, and not in a pack, this behavior is inappropriate and undesirable.

Uterine infections are not uncommon in bitches that frequently experience pseudopregnancy. Once the pseudopregnant behavior has ceased, the bitch should be spayed in order to prevent this behavior as well as the infections from recurring.

Having your female dog spayed (ovariohysterectomy) is an inexpensive and realistic method of pet population control. The number of unwanted adult and young dogs that are euthanized each year in the United States is astounding. Aside from the pet overpopulation problem, spaying your female dog helps prevent — and even eliminates — medical problems associated with hormonal imbalances.


Periodontal disease is classified under two categories; gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the more mild form of periodontal disease. With effective and timely teeth cleaning, gingivitis can be completely reversed.

Early Periodontitis

Early Periodontitis

Periodontitis is a condition that may be controlled but not cured. It is often seen in pets that are over five years old. Most animals with periodontitis have bad breath, tooth mobility and bleeding gums. Severe inflammation of the gums, gum recession, alveolar bone loss (the bone that supports the tooth is "eaten away"), and pustular discharge are common signs of periodontitis.

Moderate-Advanced Periodontitis

Moderate-Advanced Periodontitis

Periodontitis is more serious than gingivitis and involves the loss of tooth support with permanent damage. At best, lesions of periodontitis are only partially reversible. Special (oral) surgical procedures are necessary in order to limit the progression of periodontitis.

Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced Periodontitis

Proper home dental care, along with regular veterinary dental checkups, will reduce the risk of periodontitis in your pets.

VIDEO: What's Wrong With My Cat's Mouth?

Many cat owners look at the grace, athleticism and beauty of their pets and think that they have the “perfect” animal. Unfortunately, many of these same cats will have a very “imperfect” mouth, due to a serious and very painful condition that causes teeth to resorb, dissolve and even break! Here’s what we know about Tooth Resorption in cats.

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Celebrity Pets: Chances Are They’re Wealthier Than You

Feel like Grumpy Cat is everywhere these days? It’s not just you.The famously dour feline has had a big few years since her owner posted her on Reddit in 2012. With multiple books, licensed product lines, pet food endorsement deals, and even a starring role in a made-for-TV-movie where she was voiced by Aubrey Plaza, Grumpy Cat has transformed from the star of a popular YouTube video to a full-fledged brand. Grumpy Cat’s owner won’t say how much the cat has made, but one tabloid pegged the figure at $100 million (a figure the owner denies). And yet, it’s still not enough to make Grumpy Cat smile.

Grumpy Cat isn’t the only living meme raking in dough. Boo, the Pomeranian dog, has signed off on licensing deals with companies like Crocs, published three books, and secured a spokesdog gig with Virgin America Airlines. Of course, fame has a dark side: like many celebrities before him, he was the subject of a death hoax. Not to worry – Boo is alive and well.

Other rich pets include Chris P. Bacon, a pig who was born without the use of his hind legs who has learned to get around on wheel legs built out of toys by his owner; Lil’ Bub, a cat whose underdeveloped jaw gives him a permanent slack-jawed expression; and Tuna, a Chihuahua with an overbite that gives the pup a permanent expression somewhere between a grin and grimace. All three have millions of social media followers, book deals, product lines, and endorsement deals that keep them raking in cash hand over paw.

Think your pet has what it takes to be the next A-list meme? Only one way to find out – break out the camera and get something cute on YouTube, because it doesn’t look like the Internet’s love of animals is going away any time soon.

VIDEO: Hot Hybrid Dog Breeds

From the well trained, low shedding Labradoodle to the perfect for the apartment Puggle, new hybrid dog breeds are appearing everywhere. Becoming popular with celebrities and anyone wanting to be part of the latest trend, these new cross breeds are winning their way into people's hearts and their pocketbooks as well. Is this just a fad or do these hybrids have a chance to be part of the purebred world? Watch this video to learn more.

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Christmas Season Pet Hazards

Holiday season adornments are attractive to all creatures. The ornaments, foods, gifts, wrappings, ribbons, lights and plants are all curiosities for pets. Pets investigate new items by sniffing, tossing, chasing, and finally by tasting. A few precautions are necessary to avoid the holiday crowds at the veterinary hospital.

Holiday Tree

The most common problems this time of year are stomach or intestinal disturbances caused by pets eating the holiday feast or other novelties. Scraps from the table can cause gastrointestinal upset and even predispose pets to life-threatening pancreatitis. Bones can get stuck in the mouth or perforate the intestines and should be avoided. Chocolate is poisonous to cats, dogs, and birds. Plastic wrap and aluminum foil (coated with good-tasting juices) are enticing but can cause intestinal damage (and even blockage) if eaten by the pet.

Other sweet treats, like gum and hard candies, can also make your pet ill. Sugar-free candies and gum are made with xylitol, a sugar substitute that can cause a drop in blood sugar, depression, loss of coordination and seizures in your pet. Xylitol is also linked to liver failure in dogs. Be sure to keep all candies, chocolate and other sweets out of your pet's reach. If you believe your pet may have ingested chocolate or candy, call your veterinarian immediately.

Chocolate and other sweets can make pets sick

Chocolate with Wrappers

Be sure to properly dispose of leftovers and wrappers. Feed pets their usual diet. Treats formulated similarly to the pet's regular diet are generally healthy and safe. Also keep in mind (while cooking) that pets may not know about hot stoves or to stay out from underfoot. Keep pets away from the stove so they don't get burned or get hot foods spilled on them.

Several decorative plants are poisonous. Mistletoe and holly can cause stomach upset with vomiting and diarrhea. The berries of these plants are attractive, easily swallowed, and potentially fatal if consumed. Poinsettias, like the leaves of most any plant, can also cause stomach upset. Use artificial mistletoe and holly; keep other plants out of your pet's reach.

Mistletoe Holly

Mistletoe and Holly

Make sure Christmas trees are secured so that pets cannot pull them over. Omit preservatives from the tree-stand water and cover the water so pets don't drink it. Don't spray snow on the tree unless it is labeled for pet consumption. Angel hair is spun glass and is irritating to both the inside and outside of your pet. Even glass ornaments and ornament hooks have been chewed and swallowed. These objects can cause problems from stomach upset to damaged intestines. Low-hanging ornaments are a real temptation, as are tinsel and electric lights. Decorative lights and electrical wiring can cause shock or burns when chewed, soremember to unplug holiday lights when pets are unattended.

Holidays have lots of activity going on. Be sure doors are not left open as guests come and go. Indoor pets inadvertently left outside could be injured by frostbite, cars, or other animals. Ice-melting chemicals and salt on sidewalks and roads can severely burn foot pads and should be washed off right away. Also, watch that guests don't leave interesting objects, such as chocolate, ribbons, stocking stuffers, or other illicit treats, within your pet's reach.

Holidays can also be as stressful for your pet as they are for you. Large gatherings of unfamiliar people may cause your dog or cat unnecessary stress and worry. If your pet does not interact well with strangers, keeping him or her in a separate room during the festivities may help keep your pet relaxed and worry-free.

Don't leave food items under the tree with an unsupervised pet; the wrapping, ribbon and enclosed gift are probably not compatible with your pet's digestive system. Ask Santa to put gifts out of your pet's reach so your pet won't beat you to them on Christmas morning.

When choosing a gift for your pet, consider the pet as an individual. Cats enjoy lightweight toys they can bat around, catnip toys, scratching posts, and kitty perches. Dogs like balls, chew toys, and things they can carry around. However, beware of toys with parts, such as bells, buttons, string, yarn, or squeaky parts, that can be detached and swallowed. Watch how your pet handles a new toy until you are sure it is safe. Some dogs treat a stuffed toy like a friend and carry it around and sleep with it. Others will tear them up and eat the stuffing and get into trouble. Also, if there is more than one pet in the household, consider all the pets before buying for any one of them. A one-inch diameter toy for a cat is fine, but a puppy in the household may swallow it and possibly require surgery to remove it.


If your pet does get sick, consult your veterinarian before giving any medications. Many of the over-the-counter drugs, such as acetaminophen - Tylenol(r) and Excedrin(r) and ibuprofin - Advil(r), Motrin(r), are toxic for animals even though they are safe for us. Don't wait to see if your pet gets better. If your pet is acting sick, consult your veterinarian.

Only Five Northern White Rhinos Remain In The Entire World

The northern white rhinoceros is closer than ever to extinction now that Angalifu, a 44 year old male white rhino at the San Diego Zoo, has passed away from old age. After Angalifu, there are only five northern white rhinos remaining, including Nola, a female also living at the San Diego Zoo, with whom Angalifu was unable to breed.

The other remaining northern white rhinos include Najin and Fatu, two females in Kenya; Sudan, a male also living in Kenya and the last remaining male of the species; and an elderly female in the Czech Republic.

“Angalifu’s death is a tremendous loss to all of us,” said park curator Randy Rieches, “not only because he was well beloved here at the park but also because his death brings this wonderful species one step closer to extinction.”

The San Diego Zoo preserved some of Angalifu’s testicular tissue and sperm in hopes that the species may survive through artificial breeding methods.

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