Brentwood Country Animal Hospital opened in 1995 with the vision of providing optimal health care for our patients while establishing a lasting partnership with our clients. We offer a variety of services including routine surgery, dentistry, and x-ray with an emphasis on preventative medicine. We treat your pets as we would our own.
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Helping pets cope with anxiety

Dr. Kate Lawton

Many common situations are difficult for pets, including kennel stays, house moves, arrival of a new pet, baby, or visitors, sudden noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms, travel, vet or groomer visits, and the holiday period. Many cats do not cope well in a multi-cat household. There are many ways our pets can respond to new and challenging situations, and not all animals will react in the same way, or find the same experience difficult.

There are many different products available to help with our pets' anxiety, ranging from environmental modification to natural supplements to pharmaceutical support. We often make recommendations in a stepwise fashion to figure out the best solution for your pet.

Canine flu detected in Massachusetts

Dr. Julie Hunt

In May 2014, the Massachusetts Division of Animal Health informed veterinarians that the canine influenza virus — or dog flu — has been found in the state of Massachusetts for the first time. At the time of this writing BCAH has not seen any confirmed cases of canine flu.

First reported in Florida in 2005, the respiratory illness has recently been confirmed in four dogs believed to have been exposed at the same facility in Ipswich, MA. Fortunately, dog flu isn't known to be transmitted to humans, just as dogs don’t usually catch flu from people.

The H3N8 canine flu virus affects dogs in much the same way that flu viruses typically affect people: causing a runny nose, cough, and fever, usually resolving with rest and time. But in some dogs, regardless of age and health status, the flu may progress to pneumonia. There is no way to predict which dogs will be stricken with more severe illness. Rarely, a dog can die from canine influenza.

It’s Finally Spring, so Get Outside and Walk your Dog!!

Dr. Julie Hunt

If I had a nickel for every time I say, “your dog needs to lose weight,” I would be rich indeed!

This article offers an overview of some of the wonderful places in the Exeter area where owners can walk dogs in a safe, outdoor environment. However, each location has rules and regulations about dog walkers. In general, they all require that dogs be on leash and that owners clean up after their dogs. Some offer “poop bags” but I recommend always having a supply in your car in case the public supply is empty. If we want these public areas to continue to allow dogs, being respectful of each property and following basic rules is essential. Some areas may allow hunting during certain seasons, so please refer to town websites or call the towns for clarification. (Stratham banned hunting at Stratham Hill Park in March 2014.)

The most common reason for authorities to disallow dog walking in a public space is that owners neglect to clean up after their dogs. Dog poop can contain parasites that infect other dogs and in some cases can affect public health. Another reason dogs are banned is that a few owners allow their dogs off leash and subsequently a child, runner, or other walker is bitten, knocked down, or frightened. So if you want to continue to walk your dog in your favorite place, pick up after your dog and keep it on leash!! Keeping your dog current with rabies vaccinations is a NH state law and critical to being a responsible dog owner, too.

Eight lives left

Dr. Jody Kaufman

Buttons came in for her yearly exam last November. She was a healthy and happy house cat who never went out, weighing 9.7 pounds. She was given a clean bill of health and went home.

Then she went missing one day in December. Her people combed the neighborhood, put up flyers, posted messages on Facebook and Craigslist, all to no avail.

Then six and a half weeks later, a call came. A volunteer for Safer, a feline rescue organization, had trapped a stray and brought it to a local veterinarian. She was weak, feverish, and emaciated (weighing 4.5 pounds). They scanned to see if she had a microchip and....she was reunited with her owners!

The most plausible story is that she had sneaked out through a loose window in the sunroom. A house in the neighborhood that had been foreclosed for over a year was having some work done, and then was closed up again. Workmen returned six weeks later. While the workers didn't see her, a “stray” appeared in the area.

A cautionary tale, and some new information

Dr. Jody Kaufman

How many people remember the Bedlington Terrier? Probably very few under the age of sixty. Bedlingtons were cute, curly-haired white dogs that looked like little lambs and were once one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. Their demise coincided with the appearance of an inherited condition that caused the liver to be unable to eliminate excess copper. Copper is an essential element in the diet, but an overabundance is toxic. The excess copper gets deposited in the liver, causing inflammation, scarring, and eventually liver failure. Unfortunately for the Bedlington Terrier, understanding of the disease and the fact that it was hereditary came a little too late. The gene pool was so contaminated that there were very few individuals left who weren't carriers.

When to spay or neuter your pet

Dr. Kate Lawton

Over the past several months there have been a few studies that look at the many effects of neutering our pets. It has been common practice in the United States to neuter cats and dogs by six months of age to reduce both overpopulation and the risk of undesirable behaviors.

Since establishing spay/neuter programs, we have seen a huge improvement in overpopulation. During the 1980s over 17 million pets were euthanized annually; currently, 4-6 million pets enter shelters annually with only half resulting in euthanasia.

Fluffy and Fido are FAT!

Dr. Julie Hunt

According to the Association for Prevention of Pet Obesity (APOP), just over 50% of both cats and dogs in the US are overweight or obese. Obesity is defined as weighing greater than 30% above normal body condition. Surprisingly, only 22% of dog owners and 15% of cat owners realize their own pet is overweight despite being aware of the risks of obesity. One of our biggest goals as veterinarians is to convince owners that obesity is a health issue in pets.

What are the causes of obesity in our pets? The obvious causes are overfeeding and lack of exercise, both of which are exclusively under the owner’s control. Thyroid conditions can cause weight gain and are easily treatable. Spaying and neutering our pets can contribute to weight gain by slowing metabolism, but by simply being aware and watching food intake after neutering, weight gain is preventable. Overall, the biggest causes of pet obesity are completely under the owner’s control. Pet owners are enabling the obesity epidemic!

Canine Influenza update

Dr. Jody Kaufman

We have been offering a vaccination for Canine Influenza for the last year and a half, recommending it for animals that might be at risk. We should understand the history, distribution, and clinical significance of the disease before defining what “at risk” means.

Canine Influenza was first recognized about eight years ago after a group of racing Greyhounds in Florida became ill (many fatally) with a severe and extremely contagious pneumonia. It has since shown up sporadically in several areas in the country, especially where there is a lot of contact among dogs. The reports that made us prick up our ears were of outbreaks in states that suggested that the virus was working its way north. There have since been cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, among other states.

'Tis the season

Dr. Kate Lawton

With the craziness of the holiday season comes a variety of ways you could find yourself spending an evening sitting in an emergency veterinary hospital with your pet. To help prevent any yuletide casualties, here is a compilation of some of the most common mishaps of the holidays.

Don't stop now! Heartworm preventatives are most effective when given year round

Dr. Julie Hunt

Most dog owners are aware of heartworm disease and have been instructed to give a heartworm preventative pill to their dog once monthly. You also probably know that heartworm is passed from dog to dog through the bite of a mosquito. So how do the preventatives work? And why do we recommend heartworm prevention year round, even here in New England, where mosquitoes do not live in the dead of winter?

Let’s review the heartworm parasite life cycle. Adult heartworms live in the arteries that go from the heart to the lungs (pulmonary arteries). Adult heartworms reach many inches in length and if the infection is heavy, they start to “back up” into the heart chambers. Symptoms occur when the worms cause inflammation within the lungs, causing your dog to cough. As the worms start plugging up the heart, heart failure develops. Once settled within the pulmonary arteries, the adult male and female heartworms mate and produce baby heartworms (called microfilaria) which circulate within the infected dog’s blood stream. When a mosquito bites an infected dog, it ingests the microfilaria contained within the blood meal. The microfilaria develops inside the mosquito until it becomes a larval stage capable of being transmitted back to a dog. When the mosquito bites another dog, it passes the larval stage of the heartworm into the skin. From there, the larval heartworm develops into a mature worm and migrates to its favorite place, the pulmonary arteries, where the life cycle begins all over again. It is important to understand that microfilaria cannot mature within the dog. The mosquito is the only place microfilaria can develop into a larval stage capable of infecting another dog. Therefore mosquitoes are essential for transmitting heartworm from dog to dog.