Preventive care case studies

Two case studies that illustrate why preventive care and annual exams are so important!

This week at the office we saw two cases that illustrate perfectly why preventive care and regular vet visits are so important.

thumbs_2-seniorsitOn Friday, we saw a 10-year-old Beagle (Molly) for her annual exam and vaccines. Molly’s owners are very proactive and come in every year for her exam and do regular bloodwork on her. This year Molly’s bloodwork changed and one of her liver values was very high, nearly 10 times normal, and 10 times what it was last year on the same blood test. This indicated to us that there was a change going on within the liver that we needed to investigate.

 There are many reasons for elevated liver values in older dogs. In Molly’s case, she had no obvious symptoms, she was eating, drinking and acting normally at home. Her owners decided to pursue an abdominal ultrasound and we were able to determine the cause of her elevated liver enzymes. On ultrasound Molly had numerous stones within her gallbladder and lots of calcification in her bile ducts. This condition can progress and become critical if left untreated. We were able to start her on medication that will help dissolve the stones and prevent them from causing congestion and disease in her liver which can be fatal if untreated.


The next case is that of a 9-year-old, male, indoor only cat (Lucky). Lucky had been to the vet before, but 2 years prior. He came in for a checkup and his owner pointed out a small lump on his neck. The mass was the size of a pencil eraser and looked like a small skin tag. We were able to take a sample of the mass and determine that it was a mast cell tumor which is a type of cancer. These masses should always be removed since they tend to become more aggressive the longer they are present and the bigger they become. Mast cell tumors are one of the most common types of tumors that we see. Although they are cancer, if they are caught early and completely removed the prognosis is usually good.

Lucky had surgery this week and we actually found 2 additional masses and removed those as well. Lucky likely had his life significantly prolonged because his owner brought him in for a routine exam where we were able to diagnose and treat his tumor. Wellness exams are particularly important for cats and can save lives.

Wellness exams don’t always uncover a problem, but they are a great opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns about your pet’s health. Routine screening tests and exams allow us to closely monitor your pet’s health and provide the best care possible. We offer several new wellness panels to encourage owners with younger pets to start screening early in life so that as changes occur we can follow up and hopefully prevent any negative health effects.

We would like to make case studies a regular part of our blog. Are you interested in reading about more interesting cases that we see? Let us know!

Clinton Veteinary Hospital’s guide to managing arthritis in older pets

Arthritis in aging pets & How to help your pet age gracefully

When is a pet considered a senior?

The general rule of thumb is that any dog over 7 is considered a senior, and any dog over 10 is considered geriatric. For cats, similar ages apply, but many consider cats over 10 to be a senior and cats over 13 to be geriatric. Check out this helpful chart to determine your pet’s age equivalent in people years. (Click on the image for larger version)



What are some of the things to look out for in older pets?

Older pets may require veterinary visits every 6 months as opposed to once a year. Older pets can have changes in their mentation, their joints or organ health. More frequent blood work might be recommended to help track changes in a pet’s health at this age. A thorough orthopedic exam can help determine if older pets are experiencing pain.

What are the signs of arthritis in dogs and cats?

Many people assume that a pet will cry or yelp if in pain. In older pets with arthritis we more often see changes in behavior or routines as a manifestation of arthritis. For example, when a cat or dog has hip or knee pain they may be less likely to jump on or off the furniture, or they may hesitate to go up and down stairs. Some people report that their pets avoid walking on certain surfaces where they may slip or that they no longer can get into the car or go on long walks like they used to. Some pets experience weight gain, lethargy and decreased activity levels. These are all possible symptoms when a pet has arthritis. If your pet is exhibiting behavior changes or has stopped doing the things that they used to do check in with your veterinarian. There are many things you can do to help them remain comfortable.CL86239


What can I do to help treat my dog or cat’s arthritis?

An examination by your veterinarian is always helpful. They can help to determine where the source of pain might be and come up with a plan to help treat it. For some pets NSAIDS or non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs can help manage the pain. These medication are made specifically for pets and can be prescribed by your veterinarian. (Caution- Please do not give any human medications to your pet! Medications like ibuprofen and Tylenol are extremely toxic to dogs and cats)

You can also provide joint support for your older pet with supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin or fish oils. These supplements work best when given before a pet is experiencing symptoms of arthritis so consider using them earlier in life when they will be of the most benefit. Some of Clinton Veterinary Hospitals favorites include dasuquin for dogs and cosequin for cats. We also like Welactin for a good source of omega 3’s.

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Keeping your pet active is also important. Short, more frequent walks are ideal for older pets to keep them mobile. Swimming is a great activity for those who like it.

If you have questions about any of the information or think your pet might have arthritis give us a call. At Clinton Veterinary Hospital we are always happy to come up with a plan that will suit you and your pet’s individual needs!


Bloat, GDV and Gastropexy surgery at Clinton Veterinary Hospital

Bloat, GDV and gastropexy surgery in dogs at Clinton Veterinary Hospital, Clinton, CT

What is Bloat?

Bloat, also referred to, as GDV is a problem seen most commonly in large, deep chested dogs. Bloat occurs when the stomach fills with air and sometimes twists on itself. Bloat is life threatening and if symptoms are not recognized very quickly the condition can be fatal.

What are the symptoms?

  • Retching or non-productive vomiting
  • Distension of the abdomen (very enlarged or full looking belly)
  • Stretching or restlessness due to discomfort or pain
  • Drooling or panting
  • Pale gums

What are the risk factors for bloat?

  • Any breed has the potential to bloat but the breeds with the highest risk are- Great Danes, Weimaraners, St. Bernards, Irish setters, Gordon setters, Doberman Pinschers, Standard Poodles and German Shepherds. Dogs with a deep chest have the highest risk of bloat or GDV.
  • Meal frequency is also a risk factor. Dogs who eat only one meal a day are at increased risk of bloating
  • Speed of eating. Dogs who eat very quickly are at increased risk of bloat. The same goes for water consumption. Drinking too much too quickly increases the risk of bloat.
  • Genetics are also a factor. Dogs who are related to a dog who has previously had bloat are at increased risk of developing the condition.
  • Risk of bloat increases with age. Older dogs are at a higher risk.

How is it diagnosed?

Figure 1 GDV radiograph

Bloat is most commonly diagnosed by taking an x-ray of the abdomen. Bloat has a common appearance on x-ray. A physical exam of a dog that is bloated can also reveal a very tense and enlarged abdomen, an increased heart rate, poor pulses and pale gums.

How is it treated?

Bloat requires emergency surgery to correct. Generally patients who are suffering from bloat must be stabilized before going to surgery. Stabilization involves IV fluid therapy and decompression of the stomach. To decompress the stomach a tube is often passed to relieve some of the gas that causing the stomach to enlarge. Once in surgery the stomach is untwisted and a gastropexy is performed to prevent the stomach from rotating or twisting. The gastropexy involves tacking or suturing the stomach to the body wall to prevent it from twisting.

Can it be prevented?


  • For the breeds at highest risk we recommend a gastropexy at the time of spay or neuter. Gastropexy surgery involves tacking the stomach wall to the abdominal wall so that the stomach cannot twist. This surgery is the best way to prevent bloat, particularly for those breeds at high risk.
  • Feeding multiple meals a day rather than one large meal will decrease the risk of bloat.
  • Using a slow feeder, or a bowl with rocks or balls in it to slow your dog down while eating will also help prevent this condition.
  • Limiting vigorous exercise after a meal will also help decrease the risk of bloat.


Do you have a large breed dog? Are you concerned about GDV or bloat? Call us today to inquire about gastropexy surgery. 860-669-5721

Free dental consults at Clinton Veterinary Hospital in Clinton, CT 860-669-5721


Dog and cat dental health

Dog and cat dental health begins with regular checkups!

February is dental month at Clinton Veterinary Hospital. We offer discounts on all dental services during February to highlight the importance of maintaining your pet’s oral health. Dogs and cats should both have their teeth examined annually. Dental cleanings should be scheduled as necessary based on this exam. Some pets may just need a dental cleaning to prevent further tartar from accumulating, while others may need teeth that have become infected or painful removed. We are happy to consult and advise you on what the best dental care plan is for your pet.

Optimal healthcare for your pets starts with routine dental care and cleanings. We are offering 10% off of all dental care services during the month of February. Dental services include routine cleanings as well as more advanced periodontal surgery and extractions.

Poor dental health can lead to inflammation, pain and infection in your pet’s mouth. Many times dental disease goes un-noticed until there is a large problem. Some of the most common veterinary dental problems we see include tartar, inflammation, cracked or broken teeth and tooth root abscesses. Yearly dental and oral exams can help detect these problems early and prevent painful situations for your pet.

Some of the most common signs of dental disease in pets are:

  • Bad Breath
  • Increased drooling
  • Facial Swelling
  • A change in eating behavior or decreased appetite
  • Redness or inflammation along the gum line

We offer complimentary dental exams prior to any procedures and are happy to answer questions about your pet’s oral health. We recommend yearly physical exams for both cats and dogs. During this exam your pet’s teeth will be examined for any of the above problems. Many dental issues can be prevented by regular cleanings.

Do you have questions about what a dental cleaning entails? Do you think your pet needs to have their teeth cleaned? Contact us today to schedule your pet’s dental  consult or cleaning for 2017!

For information on recommended food and dental treats click here: Dog and Cat dental treats

For helpful information and videos on how to brush your pet’s teeth click here: How to brush your pet’s teeth




Our favorite pet toys and treats at Clinton Veterinary Hospital in Clinton, CT

 December 15th, 2016

These are a few of our favorite things! We asked our staff to pick one thing that their pets could not live without. Here are their answers. We hope this blog might help provide some inspiration for holiday gifts for pet lovers and their owners.

(Full disclosure- we are not supported by, nor have we received any products from any of the companies listed below)

Dr. Santelli and Baya

Dr. Santelli says that Baya’s favorite toy is her lamb chop squeaky toy. It is the only plush toy that she won’t destroy. For dogs who like to play tug of war or like squeakers this toy is perfect!

Where to find: carries a similar version of this toy which can be found here for under $5. lamb chop toy

Meg and Sophie

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Sophie cannot live without her tennis balls! She would be lost without them. Tennis balls are her favorite toy and Sophie is happiest when surrounded by them.

Where to find- If you’re looking for a budget friendly tip most local tennis clubs will give you their “dead” or used tennis balls. This is a great way to stock up on toys for tennis ball loving canines.

Tiara, Hazel and Sophia


Tiara’s cats are obsessed with catnip! They don’t have a particular favorite brand, they love it all. These two ladies will drool and roll around for hours when given a cat nip toy. Here are a few that we think are pretty cute:

 organic catnip tin

rainbow catnip toy

Dr. Price, Hemingway, Pip, Fergal, Gwen and Jojo


My dogs absolutely love the Earth Animal No Hide Chews. We discovered them at our favorite dog store- The Mutt Hut on Block Island. They are a great alternative to rawhide and they keep even my aggressive chewers entertained for hours. Plus- Earth Animal is a CT company and the products are all organic and made in the USA. You can find Earth Animal products on amazon here:

Earth Animal No Hide chews

Shana and Maui


Maui Wowie can’t live without her “Petrie” toy. Named after the dinosaur from The land before time- Maui just loves this toy! This is a good choice for smaller dogs or dogs who prefer to play with softer squeaky toys. A similar toy can be found here: Maui’s favorite toy

Alex, Ferdinand and Juno


Alex says her dog’s favorite treat are greenies! Greenies are a great dental chew and are good for decreasing tartar on dog’s teeth. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes for all dogs and you can even find them with added ingredients for joint support. For a selection of different types of greenies check out or

Dr. Ciok and Harold, Kumar, Ghenghis, Crackle and Kevin


This feline crew can’t live without their temptation treats. Each night before bed they anxiously await treat time. Crackle’s personal favorite flavor is catnip and cheddar, but these guys will eat them all. Temptations treats can be found at almost every grocery store in the pet food aisle. Find the catnip and cheddar flavor here: catnip and cheddar temptations

Laura and Dooney

FullSizeRender-2Donney Loves her Kong Wobbler. She gets her treats in this interactive toy. The kong wobbler is great for older dogs like Dooney who need a little extra activity and stimulation. These toys are great for increasing activity and encouraging older or overweight pets to move around. Want one? You can find it here: Kong Wobbler

Judeth, Walter and Charles


Judeth says her pups can’t live without the lake. These guys love their lunchtime dips in the local watering holes. Spending time outdoors with your pets doesn’t cost a thing. So why not grab a friend, grab a leash and take your pet for a walk. Enjoy the beautiful shoreline community that we live in. There are so many great places to see.

We wish you all a peaceful, healthy and happy Holiday Season!

Vacation, Travel and Pets at Clinton Veterinary Hospital


Vacationing this summer? Here are some tips to help keep your pets safe while you’re away and/or traveling with you.


Summer means vacation time for many families. If you are traveling this summer make sure that you have a plan in place for your pet while you are away. Many people chose to leave their pets at home. If this is the case make sure that you have a trusted pet sitter to care for them. We recommend going over all medications and health issues with your pet sitter. Make sure that any prescription medication and food is refilled so that your pet sitter will not run out while you are away. It is also a good idea to leave information about the veterinary hospital where you take your pet. In case of an emergency notify the pet sitter of where to take your animal and discuss the types of care that you will permit. Many owners will drop off a letter authorizing a pet sitter to obtain any necessary veterinary services in their absence.


Talk to your pet sitter about your routines:

  • What time is your pet usually fed?
  • What time do they typically go for walks or go outside?
  • Do they need to be on a leash at all times or can they roam in the yard?
  • Do the get anxious when you are away?
  • Should they be crated or confined when no one is in the house?
  • How active is your pet? Will they require lots of play time or walks?
  • Are they are medications that your pet must receive?
  • What time are the medications typically given? Do they need to be given with meals?
  • What does a normal day look like? If your pet sitter is prepared they will be able to detect changes in your pets behavior or routine.



If you are planning on boarding or kenneling your pet make sure that they have all the necessary vaccinations needed for the kennel. Most kennels require the bordetella and influenza vaccine as well as routine vaccinations such as rabies and distemper. Don’t wait until the last minute to find out if your pet needs boosters! Call at least 2-4 weeks ahead of time to get your pet the necessary vaccines to ensure that they are protected when they enter the kennel. If your pet has never been kenneled before it is a good idea to do a trial day and see how your pet does. Most kennels will allow this to ensure that it will be a good fit for your pet. Bring any medications and food that your pet is on to the kennel so that their regular routine can be maintained while you are away. Also notify the kennel of your veterinarian’s name and address in case your pet needs medical attention while you are away.


If you are traveling with your pet make sure that you have a good plan in place. Remember to pack all necessary food and medications that your pet might need. It is also a good idea to bring along some of their bedding and toys to make their new environment seem more like home. Don’t forget to bring food and water bowls, poop bags and treats!


For those who might be flying with their pets most airlines require a health certificate. This means that your pet has to be examined by a veterinarian 30 days prior to travel. If you are headed out of the country there can be lengthy requirements and quarantine periods in some countries. For these trips your pet may need vaccines or titers within 6 months of travel. It is a good idea to plan for any trip overseas with your pet well in advance. If you are planning on any international travel with your pet Dr. Santelli is a USDA accredited veterinarian who can provide international health certificates to those who need them.

Please check out this website for additional information and requirements for international travel.


If your pet gets anxious or motion sick while traveling there are lots of new options for treatment! Call us today to get any needed medications for your pet to ensure that they have a happy, healthy vacation!

Veterinary Exams for cats at Clinton Veterinary Hospital in Clinton, CT

CatCordThe importance of annul exams for cats

One of the most frustrating things that I see as a veterinarian is a cat that hasn’t been to the vet in years. I often see these patients when they are very sick or have end stage disease. The reason this is frustrating is that most of these cats could have been helped- or had their lives prolonged if they had received routine preventive care.

We often forget that cats are not small dogs. Cats tend to hide their ailments and illnesses until it is too late. Dogs can live for 5-7 days without eating- cats cannot. Once they stop eating we have a very narrow window of time to figure out what is wrong and get them back on track.

In older cats thyroid disease, dental disease and kidney disease are some of the most common problems that we see. Often times these cats present to us for not eating, or for being constipated due to severe dehydration. It is much easier to detect and treat these diseases when they are caught early.

During a feline annual exam we look at your cat’s teeth, listen to their heart, palpate their belly and their kidneys and if your cat is over 7 we recommend an annual blood screening that checks major organ and thyroid function. This test allows us to detect disease early and intervene before the animal is sick. We have included a new biomarker for kidney disease on all our geriatric screens. The SDMA level is designed to pick up signs of kidney disease before the values (BUN and Creatinine) become elevated on bloodwork.

Some of the signs of thyroid disease in older cats include an increased appetite, weight loss and increased vocalization. Thyroid disease in a small percentage of cases can also cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Kidney disease usually causes a slow decrease in appetite and is often associated with increased thirst. Dental disease is also very common in older cats and is often overlooked until the teeth are infected or abscessed. Dental disease can cause bad breath, facial swelling or increased drooling.

If you have older cats, or a multi cat household- portion feeding is a great way to monitor your cat’s health. Measuring out the amount of food fed per day- or the amount of water that you put down daily will help to monitor your cat’s habits and health. By portion feeding- or feeding a set amount at set times- you will be able to detect a decrease or change in appetite right away. This is especially important in multi cat households where cats often go days without eating or drinking before a change is detected. Another good way to monitor your cat’s health is to clean the litter box daily. Are you seeing the same amount of urine and stool each day? Has the litter box pattern changed? These are all important indicators of feline health.

Even if your cat is always indoors it is extremely important to have them examined every year. Doing so could save their life!

National Heartworm Awareness Month

        As we enter into the month of April here at Clinton Veterinary Hospital, I am reminded that April is National Heartworm Awareness month. As I read that statement, I nodded my head in agreement— yes, this is an important subject and pet owners should be fully informed as an active participant in their pet’s health. As a part of every wellness visit, I ask if the pet is on heartworm preventative. It is so routine, integral and, ingrained in my every day job; I sometimes forget to take a step back and really explain why it is so important. Why do we advise you to buy this monthly preventative medication? Why do we recommend treatment even during a New England winter? Why is an annual 4DX test so important? Allow me to answer those questions, and hopefully shed some light on this routine but vitally important practice of monthly heartworm prevention.


     Heartworm disease can be a severe condition that results in cardiac, lung and other organ damage. It is a disease that is spread by Dirofilaria immitis-a parasitic worm. The larval stages are carried by the mosquito (intermediate host) and injected into the blood stream of the definitive host (the dog) when the mosquito bites to feed off the host. Once the larva is injected into our pets’ bloodstream they travel around and mature in the chambers of the heart. It takes about 6 months for the larva to mature and become adults and to start producing more off-spring. Your cat can also get this disease, but is considered a more resistant host to initial infection. Just for a quick comparison—a dog can handle up to a burden of 30 worms before clinical signs begin while just 2 worms can cause your feline friend to have symptoms.

     Other wild carnivores, like the lovely coyotes and foxes around Clinton, CT can also be carriers of this disease. Also, wouldn’t you know, sea lions can be carriers? So, you can see how easy it is for mosquitoes to keep passing the larval stages to different hosts (our beloved pets)?

Life Cycle of the Heartworm



     A yearly 4DX (heartworm, lyme anaplasma and ehrlichia test) allows us reassurance that your pet can continue on the monthly medication. If owners miss a dose or even give a dose late, the larva can survive in the bloodstream. That is why it is very important to give the medication at the same time each month and do the yearly test.

     We recommend our patients start heartworm medication right away; usually at 8 weeks. Since it takes about 7 months for the parasitic heartworms to mature and start producing babies, we preform the first 4DX test at 1 year of age. Our adopted pets who come to us at a later age (7 months or older), are the ones we test first before implementing a monthly regiment. This monthly preventive is something called a Macrocyclic Lactone. This class of drug can also work against some intestinal parasites like hookworms and roundworms-bonus!


     The signs of a heartworm infestation in cats and dogs can vary.  The clinical sign we see most often in both species, is coughing. Since the life cycle of the parasite ends with adult maturation in the heart the normal function of the heart is affected. This can lead to the clinical signs we see. Besides coughing, some other symptoms often seen are gagging, weakness at home and a decrease in appetite. Cats can sometimes only present with vomiting. Heartworm infection can also lead to heart failure in our pets.


     Once it is confirmed a dog is positive for heartworm disease by the 4DX and confirmed with a test sent out to a laboratory, we can initiate treatment. This process can be quite extensive and expensive—involving months of treatment and rechecks. If the dog is already in heart failure, surgery may be needed to remove the worms.

     Unfortunately, at this time, there is no approved treatment for cats, leaving prevention as our best course of action.


     Some of you may be asking yourselves; “If heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes, why do we have to give heartworm medications in the winter months? Especially here in this region, where we can have brutally low temperatures and three feet of snow?” The American Heartworm Society recommends year-round prevention due to the changing mosquito species. Some of these species are adapting to live in colder temperatures and others are successfully surviving indoors. Therefore, giving your pet the heartworm medication each month is very important for preventative measures.

Heartworm Incidence Map of 2013

Heartworm Incidence Map of 2013

     Overall, having your pet on monthly preventative is the best solution to avoiding this disease. It is important to us all that your pet lives a healthy life, and if a simple monthly pill can help them live longer and disease-free, isn’t it worth it? For more information visit the link provided below or ask our Doctors and staff at Clinton Veterinary Hospital next time you are in about these preventatives. We are currently running a special if you buy 12 months of Heartgard, you get a 12 dollar mail in rebate!

Latest Flea and Tick Medications available at Clinton Veterinary Hospital in Clinton, CT

Latest Flea and Tick treatments available at Clinton Veterinary Hospital in Clinton, CT.

Spring is here and at Clinton Veterinary Hospital in Clinton, CT we carry all the latest flea and tick medication to help protect your pet.

Did you know that there is a new oral flea and tick medication? Nexgard is available and Clinton Veterinary Hospital clients are switching over to it for flea and tick protection. Nexgard protects against fleas and ticks and is available in an easy to administer, flavored, chewable tablet. Nexgard protects against fleas and ticks for one month. You don’t need to apply the greasy topical medications anymore to protect your pet from fleas and ticks. Stop in our office today to try a free dose of Nexgard and keep your pet protected.

We also carry to traditional flea and tick mediations such as Frontline, which is a topical flea and tick medication that is applied monthly. For cats we suggest Revolution, which is also a topical flea and tick medication. Revolution has the added benefit of protecting your cat or dog from heartworm and it also provides control of certain intestinal parasites. For outdoor cats or cats who like to hunt revolution is an ideal choice because it will de worm them as well.

We are offering several specials at Clinton Veterinary Hospital right now to help you keep your pet protected from fleas and ticks this season. You can try a dose of nexgard for free, or if you buy a 6 pack you get one dose for free. Revolution is also a great deal- when you buy 6 doses you get 2 free and when you buy 9 doses you get 3 free. There are also several rebates available when you purchase flea, tick and heartworm prevention products together.

Stop by Clinton Veterinary Hospital today and stock up on your flea and tick medications for the season.

Dental Healthcare for your pet at Clinton Veterinary Hospital in Clinton, CT


Cat dental care


Dog dental care

February is dental month at Clinton Veterinary Hospital. Optimal healthcare for your pets starts with routine dental care and cleanings. We are offering 10% off of all dental care services during the month of February. Dental services include routine cleanings as well as more advanced periodontal surgery and extractions.

Poor dental health can lead to inflammation, pain and infection in your pet’s mouth. Many times dental disease goes un-noticed until there is a large problem. Some of the most common dental problems we see include tartar, inflammation, cracked or broken teeth and tooth root abscesses. Yearly dental and oral exams can help detect these problems early and prevent painful situations for your pet.

Some of the most common signs of dental disease in pets are:

  • Bad Breath
  • Increased drooling
  • Facial Swelling
  • A change in eating behavior or decreased appetite
  • Redness or inflammation along the gum line

We offer complimentary dental exams prior to any procedures and are happy to answer questions about your pet’s oral health. We recommend yearly physical exams for both cats and dogs. During this exam your pet’s teeth will be examined for any of the above problems. Many dental issues can be prevented by regular cleanings.

Contact us today to schedule your pet’s dental cleaning for 2016!

For information on recommended food and dental treats click here: Dog and Cat dental treats

For helpful information and videos on how to brush your pet’s teeth click here: How to brush your pet’s teeth