July 2016 – Dr. Frost’s Observer Today Article




Saying Goodbye

By Dr. Rebekah Frost - OBSERVER Columnist

The day has come to say goodbye
Memories of you run through my mind
The day we got you, the challenges we faced
The joy you brought into our lives
Your wagging tail, your sloppy kisses
The companionship and loyalty you provide
And now I watch you lying there
Your body failing and in pain
We know the decision must be made
It’s just so hard to let you go

I look up at you and wonder why
You have tears welling in your eyes
You are my leader, and my forever friend
I can sense there is something amiss
I cannot run and greet you anymore
My legs just don’t work the same
But I will always be by your side
Through whatever you must face
I painfully stand up and follow you to the car
I have to be lifted into the seat
We travel down the road
And pull into the place I know so well.

I look at my schedule and wonder why
I have to again help an owner say goodbye
This is an appointment that I always dread
But I know I will be helping relieve the pain
I try to pull my emotions together
And walk into the room with chart in hand
I know this dog and owner well
I have been there through
Every year of this dog’s life
The dog comes up and gives me kisses
He rests his head on my chest as I kneel to pet him
The tears start to well in my eyes
I do not want to say goodbye
But I have to be strong for what is to come
The sedation must be given
You fall so peacefully asleep
We know that your pain is now relieved
One last injection and one last breath
We know you have left us in this world
The tears are flowing, but the memories will remain
With each pet we say goodbye to
A piece of my heart goes with them forever
You will always be remembered here
As if you were one of our own.

June 2016 – Dr. Frost’s Observer Today Article

A special father for a husband

By Dr. Rebekah Frost - OBSERVER Columnist

During my dating years, I had three criteria that a guy had to meet in order to deserve another date with me.

1. They had to ride a horse well. 2. They had to do chores with me willingly. 3. They had to love animals as much as I loved animals. My husband Daryl passed these three criteria better than all the others and we’ve been married now for 12 years. For this coming Father’s Day I would like to honor him by writing about how much he means to me and my children!

Daryl was born the youngest of three children. He was raised in a small town and was taught good family values just as I had been. He also learned the importance of a strong work ethic, which is one thing that attracted me to him. Daryl has the easiest going personality.

604048_1Nothing stresses him or bothers him; he takes each day in stride. We complement each other well as I am the exact opposite of that! He always has endless energy and can keep up with our three crazy children and the farm that we now run. He has always kept a good job and works harder than anyone I know, helping him advance in his career at DFT Communications.

We dated all through college and my time in veterinary school. He took on the family farm chores like a champ and never complained. He even built my mother horse stalls in exchange for my engagement ring he purchased from her store.

I will never forget the day he helped deliver a baby goat. My family raised Nubian goats and I happened to be the only one home at the time one of the goats went into labor. The baby goat was breached with one back leg turned backwards. I couldn’t do anything to dislodge the baby from the mother’s pelvis.

He threw on the gloves, stuck his arm up in there and pulled that baby goat out alive. I knew I was going to marry this guy after that! We married half way through veterinary school and bought an old farm house that probably should have been bulldozed to the ground. He, however, took on the challenge and rebuilt the house, added an addition, and turned it into a beautiful liveable home for us.

When I graduated veterinary school, we finally began our life together as a married couple. I had taken a job as a mixed animal veterinarian and was planning on getting settled in to our new home and my new job. Not one month later, I found out I was pregnant.

Nine months later, Caden Wyatt was born. Caden was a very good baby. He adjusted well to daycare and even went on some veterinary calls with me. He is kind and gentle, gets along with everyone, and is just as easy going as his father. He has artistic talent and is good at building things like his father.

Mikenna Rose came three years later. Mikenna is stubborn like her father and looks so much like him. She has his work ethic and his energy. We thought we were content with two children, but I started to get that itch, the baby itch … should we have one more? One prayer to our Father above to help in our decision and I found out I was pregnant two weeks later. Colton Marshall came along in 2012. He is as busy and active as his father and has his loving and kind personality.

Daryl has been the best daddy to our three precious children and to our animal children as well. He has supported me in all my endeavors in my career as a veterinarian. He never became angered when I brought home yet another animal. He has even started his own projects with the animals, including beekeeping and raising pigs. He also incubates chicken eggs every spring and raises the chicks to eventually become our laying hens.

When we adopted Claire, our abused three-legged Pitt bull puppy, she was scared to death of him. When she first met him, she cowered down in a submissive position and urinated. Daryl very gently kneeled down and talked to her in a calm, quiet voice. She now loves him and plays every day with him when he gets home from work.

I am blessed to have such a wonderful husband and father to my children and my furry children. On this Father’s Day, be sure to thank the fathers in your life. If you are a father, we thank you for all you do and we hope you enjoy your day.

Happy Father’s Day from the Dunkirk Animal Clinic!

May 2016 – Dr. Frost’s Observer Today Article

Happy Mother’s Day!

By Dr. Rebekah Frost - OBSERVER Columnist

Warm baked bread and butter, songs and prayers before bed, mountain pies and stories around the campfire, planting beautiful spring gardens, helping make homemade goat milk fudge, and weekend horse back rides; these are just a few of my memories of my mother.

dr frost mom

Dr. Rebekah Frost with her mother Karen Swerdon.

My sister, brother, and I are very fortunate to have a mother who is always there for us. She gave up her job as an art teacher to stay at home with us. My mom and my dad chose to raise us on a farm and to be self-sufficient. We raised our own chickens and eggs. We had a goat herd and my mom made cheese, butter, and fudge. We planted a garden every year and canned our vegetables. We made maple syrup from our trees and baked our own bread.

My mom taught me the value of hard work and the skills of being self-sufficient. My husband Daryl and I have chosen to raise our children much in the same way and I am grateful for the time my mom took to show us how important it is to have a strong work ethic. Not far from where I grew up, my family lives on our own small farm. We make our own maple syrup and have two beehives. I enjoy canning vegetables from our garden we plant every year. This past year we raised our own pigs and chickens for meat. We also eat fresh eggs every day from our flock of chickens.

Having grown up on the farm being surrounded by many animals, my mother passed on a love for all animals and taught me how to show respect for God’s creatures. This was one of the most important things she could have taught me. In my career as a veterinarian, a sincere love and kindness for animals is extremely important. Most animals will sense that you truly care for them and are much more relaxed, making my job easier. I became comfortable not only around cats and dogs, but large animals like horses, cows, and goats. I also gained a respect for wild critters and have even rescued an orphaned fawn, feeding it goat milk until we could find a wildlife rehabilitator to raise him. I am very fortunate to be able to work on a variety of animals and am not afraid to treat anything from a 1 pound hamster to a 1,000 pound horse.

Another important skill that my mom passed on to me was a sense for business. Even though she was a stay at home mom, she was always finding a way to make money to help support the family. She made cabbage patch dolls and doll clothes. She made handmade pottery and homemade fudge. She raised Tennessee Walking horses and Dalmatian puppies. She makes her own jewelry and now owns her own clothing store in Lakewood. I am fortunate that she taught me to work hard for what I want and this has helped in my journey of becoming a business owner. I wouldn’t have even taken a chance on buying the practice if it wasn’t for my mom’s support and mentoring as a business owner herself.

On this Mother’s Day take a moment to appreciate and thank our mothers for all that they have done and all they have sacrificed for us. They have helped shape us and make us who we are today. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there from the Dunkirk Animal Clinic!

April 2016 – Dr. Frost’s Observer Today Article

Top 10 toxic plants for your pets

By Dr. Rebekah Frost - OBSERVER Columnist

“Sophie,” a three-year-old Shih Tzu came to our clinic for a visit because she had been drooling excessively, chattering her teeth, and licking her lips. On examination, her gums, tongue, and lips had the appearance of raw hamburger. After a series of questions for Sophie’s owner, we came to the conclusion that Sophie had been ingesting leaves from her owner’s Dieffenbachia plant. Any plant in the Arum family contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that when ingested, penetrate the oral tissues and remain in the tissue until the next skin cell cycle. Immediate signs include a painful mouth, drooling, foaming at the mouth, swallowing hard, and difficulty breathing.

In just a few weeks, I will be making my yearly trip to the local greenhouses to purchase my annual flowers and replace some of my perennials. As a pet owner, however, it is important to be aware of what plants and flowers can be toxic to our pets and try to avoid these or plant in gardens that your pet does not have access to. Below I am going to list the most common indoor and outdoor plants that can be toxic if ingested by your pet:

1. Lily family this includes the Tigerlily, Stargazing lily, Cala lily, Easter lily, Asiatic lilies, and more. Any part of these plants can cause severe kidney failure if ingested by your cat. Increased thirst and urination, dehydration, vomiting, and lack of appetite may all indicate the onset of kidney failure.

2. Autumn Crocus any part of the crocus if ingested can cause severe burning in the mouth, intense thirst, nausea, and severe vomiting and diarrhea. The bulb is the most toxic part.

3. Amyrillis family this includes Daffodils, Narcissus, Snowdrops and Amyrillus the entire plant is toxic and can cause dizziness, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors. The most toxic part of the plant is the bulb.

4. Azaleas and rhododendrons can cause oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, and a severe drop in blood pressure just from eating a small part of the plant.

5. Arum family as mentioned above this includes many houseplants like the Dieffenbachia, Elephants ear, and Philodendruns. They all produce calcium oxalate crystals that can build up in the gum tissues causing severe irritation.

6. Tulips and hyacinths Tulips and hyacinths are also in the lily family, but they cause different clinical signs than most lilies. Ingestion of the bulbs can cause severe nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate and increased respiratory rate

7. Cycad family this includes the Sago Palm plant and the small ornamental bonsai trees. These plants can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, tremors, and liver failure.

licky-up-close-FB8. Glycoside containing plants these include Foxgloves, Lily of the Valley, Milkweed, and Oleander. These plants all contain cardiac glycosides similar to Digoxin, a heart medication used in human and veterinary medicine. Ingestion of one of these plants can cause severe heart arrythmias, vomiting and diarrhea, and in some cases neurologic signs.

9. Nightshade family This family includes tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant. Any part of the green plant can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, delirium, headaches, and convulsions.

10. Grapes In our area grapes are abundant. Just recently it was discovered that grapes are very toxic if ingested by our pets. Grapes can cause severe kidney failure if a large amount of grapes are eaten and should be avoided at all costs!

After reading this article, please do not panic and go rip all your plants out of the ground! I highly recommend understanding your pet’s personality and monitoring them at all times. I still have a perennial garden that is all lilies because I love lilies. But my pets do not bother with the plants in the garden, and the garden is in an area away from where they spend most of their time. If you have a cat that is outdoors and likes to chew on grass and eat plants, then I would recommend NOT having a lily garden! If you have a dog that likes to dig things up and chew on their findings, then I would avoid daffodils, tulips, and crocuses that all grow from a bulb. But it is important to understand what plants may cause problems in our pets so we understand the clinical signs they might be showing and what plants to watch your pets closely with. If you ever have a question about a plant, don’t hesitate to call our clinic at 366-7440 or go www.aspca.org website for a list of toxic and non-toxic plants.

March 2016 – Dr. Frost’s Observer Today Article

Springtime and Our Pets

By Dr. Rebekah Frost - OBSERVER Columnist

MelbaSpring is officially here! With the welcome change in the weather, there are some Spring dangers to be aware of with our pets. Below I will discuss how to protect your pets in the upcoming months.

1. Beware of what lies beneath. As the snow is melting, things are surfacing that could pose a risk to our pets. This might include wild animal feces, puddles of water containing harmful bacteria, animal carcasses, and more. At our clinic, springtime brings on a flood of pets with vomiting and diarrhea. I attribute this to non-discretionary eating of things surfacing as the snow melts, or drinking water from puddles that can be harmful to our pets. Watch your pets closely when letting them outdoors this time of year. When cleaning up your yard, check for things that may be harmful to your pets.

2. External parasites ticks and fleas are emerging in the outdoors and infesting our pets. Ticks love cooler temperatures and any temperature above 40 degrees they thrive. Ticks lay waiting on the tops of grasses and in woodpiles. They look to jump on your dog or cat where they will attach and start their blood meal. The most common tick we see in the clinic is the deer tick. Deer ticks can transfer Lyme disease, a bacterial disease that causes life long joint and kidney issues. Fleas are also emerging with the warming weather. Ask your veterinarian what flea and tick preventives are best for your pet.

3. Internal parasites many parasite eggs can survive the winter and be ingested by your pet. If your pet just sniffs another pets stool, they can pick up the parasite eggs which may cause severe disease. We recommend a yearly fecal check to make sure your pet hasn’t picked up any of these parasites. Only a couple of intestinal parasites are visible to the naked eye. The rest have to be diagnosed by looking at a sample under the microscope.

4. Spay that cat! Springtime is the start of your pets going through their heat cycles. Cats will go into heat monthly and can very quickly escape out an open door and become pregnant. Help control the pet population and protect your pets from breast cancer and uterine disease by spaying your pet.

5. Beware of wildlife. Spring is the time for the local wildlife to emerge from their winter hibernation. Many dogs will get “skunked” this time of year. Although not dangerous to your pet, the odor will stay with your pet for a long time! Porcupines also emerge this time of year. Porcupine quills are very painful and can lead to a deep infection very quickly. Protect your pets by keeping them contained and not allowing them to roam. Make sure your pets are up to date on their Rabies vaccination. Rabies is a deadly virus contracted by a bite from an infected animal and is also a human health risk.

6. Select non-toxic plants when gardening, select plants that are non toxic to your pets. Any plant in the lily family is very toxic if your cat ingests any part of the plant. Do not let your pups dig in your gardens 607615_2as the bulbs of daffodils and hyacinths can also be toxic.

Above all, get outside with your pet! The warm temperatures are a welcome change for your pets that have been cooped up all winter. Take your pet for a walk, take them out and play fetch, let them spend time with you while gardening and cleaning up your yards for the year to come.