Halloween Pet Costume Contest 2016

Thank you to all who sent us photos your pet in their Halloween costumes! The staff is currently reviewing the photos and voting for their favorite one. Hang tight, we’ll announce the winner soon!

October 2016 – Dr. Frost’s Observer Today Article

Help keep dogs cancer free

By Dr. Rebekah Frost - OBSERVER Columnist

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We all know someone around us who has been affected in one way or another by this horrible disease. Did you know that animals can be affected as well? Breast cancer and ovarian cancer are commonly diagnosed in our feline and canine patients.

Katy was a beautiful Dalmatian that was with our family for 10 years. My parents had bred her twice and she had given us two beautiful litters of puppies. She was a very loyal and devoted family dog, however my parents had never chosen to have her spayed. As she grew older, she started to develop a large mass around her mammary gland.

Our veterinarian at the time assured my parents that we did not have to worry about the mass. I still wonder to this day why this advice was given. It was only a short period of time after this diagnosis that Katy started to have breathing issues. We woke up one day to her struggling to even catch a breath. We took her to another veterinarian who diagnosed Katy with breast cancer that had spread to her lungs. Her lungs were full of fluid and it was too late to do anything. I will never forget our family all huddled around Katy as we said goodbye. And as a veterinarian I will never forget the lack of concern the first veterinarian had shown and I vow to be a much better advocate for my pets and all my clients’ pets health.

Baby, an 8-year-old Dachshund came to our clinic to be euthanized. She had a very large ulcerated mammary mass that dragged on the ground behind her. She was not spayed and upon closer examination, had smaller mammary tumors in every mammary gland. Baby looked up at me with these big brown eyes, wagged her tail at me, and I just couldn’t do it. Baby underwent a very extensive surgery to remove all the mammary tumors and was spayed at the same time. She was screened thoroughly for any spread of the cancer and fortunately she was clear of any metastasis. She has recently come back into our clinic and is currently up for adoption. Please contact the Lakeshore Humane Society if you may be interested in adopting Baby!

Dr Frost and Chili

Did you ever wonder why your veterinarian recommends spaying and neutering your pets? Number one answer: cancer. Breast cancer can occur very commonly in unspayed pets. Spaying your pet before their first or second heat cycle reduces your pet’s chance of getting breast cancer by 90 percent.

Breast cancer in dogs and cats can be aggressive and fatal especially if not caught in time. Recently at our clinic we have seen a number of rescue pets that are turned over to the humane society with large mammary gland tumors from not being spayed. The expense associated with removing these tumors and spaying these pets can be very high. The surgery is also very involved and can cause significant scarring and prolonged healing times.

This is why we recommend spaying them at a young age before there is any chance to develop these tumors. Once breast cancer develops, it can very quickly spread to the lymph nodes and lungs. It is never too late to spay and neuter your pets.

Spaying not only reduces the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer, but it also reduces the risk of life threatening uterine infections and unwanted pregnancies.

Leaving your pet unneutered also has its risks. Unneutered dogs and cats are more prone to testicular cancer, rectal masses, enlarged prostate glands, and behavioral problems. The majority of dogs that run away and are hit by cars are unneutered male dogs. If you are not going to breed your pets, be an advocate for your pet’s health and have them spayed and neutered!

The Dunkirk Animal Clinic is offering a discount on spay surgeries for the month of October! Call and schedule your appointment at 366-7440.

September 2016 – Dr. Frost’s Observer Today Article

Rabies still a major concern for pets and owners

By Dr. Rebekah Frost - OBSERVER Columnist

Sept. 28 is World Rabies Day. World Rabies Day was established on the anniversary of the death of Luis Pasteur who developed the first effective rabies vaccine. Rabies is carried by wildlife, most commonly raccoons, bats and skunks. Rabies is a virus that is zoonotic, meaning it can be transferred from one species to the next. The rabies virus causes an acute encephalitis, or infection, in the brain of mammals. New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Oklahoma are the top five states with the most rabies cases. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there have been 37 human cases since 2003, with 34 of 37 of these resulting in death. As you can see, rabies is a huge public health concern!

The majority of confirmed rabies cases in our domestic animals have been cats! It is extremely important to vaccinate our cats as well as our dogs. New York state requires that all domestic cats, dogs, and ferrets receive their rabies vaccine. The first rabies vaccine must be given at three months of age. The vaccine must be boostered in a year, then every three years after this. If you own a pet that is not up to date on their rabies vaccine, and this pet bites a person, then New York state has the right to euthanize that pet to send for rabies testing.

As a veterinarian, I see many clients that do not vaccinate their cats. Their excuse is that they are strictly indoor cats and they have no access to wildlife. It is important to make these owners aware that first of all, the rabies vaccine is required by law. We also tell owners that a bat can very easily get into your home. Without your knowledge, you and your pets may be exposed to a rabid bat very quickly. If you happen to catch a bat in your home, we recommend you call the Health Department and submit the bat for testing. We also recommend you have all pets in your house that may have been exposed be boostered for rabies. Finally, we recommend that you call your own doctor for recommendations if you were possibly exposed.

The Health Department in Chautauqua County puts on many rabies clinics throughout the year. These clinics are free of charge, but please use caution when taking your pets to these clinics. Your pet is not examined prior to the vaccine, and there may be a chance of an allergic reaction to the vaccine that is given. You are also putting your pet at risk for getting in a fight with another pet, or escaping because they are frightened. At our clinic, you receive a full comprehensive physical examination assuring your pet is healthy to receive the vaccine. With a full examination, your vet may also pick up on other health issues that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Your pet is also in a controlled environment, which is much safer and less stressful for them.

As a pet owner, please also take precautions if you live in a rural area and your pet is exposed to wildlife. Raccoons are the number one carrier of rabies in our area. Just a few years back, we had a client’s dog kill a raccoon in the owner’s front yard. I examined and handled the dog, boostering its rabies vaccine. Just days later, the Health Department tested the raccoon and it came back positive for rabies. The owner and I had to go through a series of immune boosting painful injections to protect ourselves after being exposed to the dog that had killed the raccoon.

To help with the costs associated, the Dunkirk Animal Clinic is offering 50 percent off the rabies vaccine (office call price not included in this) for the week of Sept. 26. Don’t forget your cats and ferrets as it is New York state law and highly recommended to vaccinate them as well! Call 366-7440 to set up your appointment today

August 2016 – Dr. Frost’s Observer Today Article


Common summer ailments to look for

By Dr. Rebekah Frost - OBSERVER Columnist

The hot and dry summer this year has brought on a multitude of problems for our patients at the Dunkirk Animal Clinic. Below I will discuss some of the common ailments we see during the summer months, and ways you can help prevent these problems in your own pets.

1. Hot Spots/Allergic Dermatitis – there are still environmental allergens in the summer months that can affect your pet and cause intense itching. With the heat, the itching can lead to a severe bacterial infection on the skin called a hot spot. Fleas can also lead to allergies and hot spots. Be sure to continue monthly flea preventive and if your pet starts itching, contact your veterinarian for suggestions on helping the itch before it turns into a severe infection. A new product is available called Apoquel that is much safer than using conventional steroids for allergies. It helps control the itch and has no side effects.

2. Heat Stroke – never leave your pets in the hot sun or in a hot vehicle. Heat stroke can occur quickly especially in overweight, dark-skinned or long-haired pets. Short-nosed breeds are also more prone to overheating. When the body temperature rises above 105 degrees, organ failure and death can occur quickly. Pets with respiratory or heart issues should be kept indoors in air conditioning as much as possible. Also, do not exercise your pet in the extreme heat. Pets do not sweat and can overheat quickly.

3. Eye issues – there are many seeds, burrs, and dying weeds in the fields right now. If your pet is running through the weeds, they may be prone to scratching their eyes on the dried foliage. If your pet has weepy, red, itchy, or watery eyes, we recommend you have them checked by your veterinarian. A scratch on the eye can lead to infection and possible blindness.

4. Upper Respiratory Infections – if your cat is outdoors in the summer months, they may pick up respiratory infections from other cats they may come in contact with. An upper respiratory infection may cause sneezing, coughing, runny nose and a fever. Make sure your cats are up to date on their vaccines to help prevent these infections.

5. Bee Stings – we have probably received the most calls about bee stings this year. Ground bees are prevalent at this time of year and your pet may walk right into a nest unaware. Always keep Benadryl on hand and ask your veterinarian for a proper dose. Some pets can be extremely allergic to bees and swell up quickly. If this happens or if your pet is having difficulty breathing, call your veterinarian immediately.

6. Parasites – intestinal parasites are common this time of year. Parasite eggs thrive in the warm weather and can be easily picked up by your pet even with just a walk around the block. Parasite eggs are microscopic and need to be diagnosed with a fecal sample under a microscope. We recommend yearly testing of your pet’s stool sample. If your pet is having on and off diarrhea or is thin and not gaining weight, we highly recommend a fecal check to look for underlying parasites.

7. Abscess/fight wounds – cats are out and about and getting in fights with other cats. One scratch or bite can get severely infected quickly. Be sure to watch for any swelling, lameness, or just overall lethargy in your outdoor cats.

8. Hit by cars – our dogs are out more as well and both our dogs and cats can unfortunately come in contact with vehicles. Please contain your pets the best you can. There are too many dangers that can injure and even kill your pet. Most pets do not survive a run-in with a vehicle. There are shock fence systems available to keep your pet safe and contained in your own yard. There are underground or wireless fence systems available that are affordable and can save your pet’s life.

We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer into fall with your pets. Keep your pets safe and be sure to always have your veterinarian’s number available if you run into any of the above situations!

September 28th is World Rabies Day

Celebrated annually, World Rabies Day is a global health observance designed to raise awareness about both human and animal rabies. It was founded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC). Their goal is to unite relevant partners to address rabies prevention and control. The theme for 2016 is Rabies: Educate. Vaccinate. Eliminate.

Get involved by making sure you pets are up to date with their vaccines and keep them away from wildlife that can spread the disease.
Learn more at:
CDC World Rabies Day

Global Alliance for Rabies Control

Learn How You Can Prevent and Control Rabies Every Day

Rabies in the U.S. 

Rabies in New York State

Chautauqua County Rabies Information (with contacts)