Kingsbrook Animal Hospital's Blog

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Service Pet Peanut in Frederick, MD

Peanut chillaxin' at KAH
 Throughout the year there are several days memorializing our service men and women. Today, we are saying a special thank you to one of our service pets in Frederick, MD: Peanut.  Peanut is a 13 year old Domestic Shorthair that was adopted by his owner, Katie, when he was 7 years old.  Shortly after Peanut's adoption, Katie began taking him for "walks"- and by walks we mean rides in a pet stroller!  Peanut enjoyed getting outside into the fresh air and Katie started realizing that she had quite the unique kitty. 

Peanut visiting with Katie's grandmother.
  After Katie's grandmother fell ill and was placed in a nursing home, Katie took Peanut to visit with her.  She passed away the following day, but Peanut's visit made her so happy.  That is why Katie started to take him to see other residents. Peanut enjoys himself as well!

  Peanut is now a therapy pet and regularly visits the nursing home with Katie.  His favorite toys are ear plugs, and he will even go so far as to remove them from Katie's ears when she is sleeping if he is feeling frisky!  Katie- just make sure Peanut doesn't eat the ear plugs or you will be visiting his veterinarian at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Warrior Canine Connection

In July 2008, Licensed Social Worker Rick Yount created the first Warrior dog-training program to provide a safe, effective, non-pharmaceutical intervention to help treat the symptoms of post-traumatic stress (PTS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). The program, based at the Palo Alto VA’s Men’s Trauma Recovery Program in Menlo Park, CA evolved into a highly respected intervention. To date, hundreds of Service Members and Veterans suffering from symptoms of combat stress have participated.

Rick was asked in 2009 to establish the Warrior
dog-training program at Walter Reed Army Medical
Center’s Warrior Transition Brigade (WTB) in Washington, D.C. In October of 2010, he and the program were invited to be part of the PTSD and TBI research, treatment, and education mission at the new National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), in Bethesda, MD – located at what is now the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

In 2011, Warrior Canine Connection was founded to expand the availability of this therapeutic service dog-training program to DoD and VA medical treatment facilities throughout the country, and to conduct research to establish this model as an evidence-based therapy for PTS and TBI.

Training a service dog for a fellow Veteran provides a valuable opportunity for a Warrior suffering from psychological injuries to reintegrate into civilian life. As part of his or her training, Warriors have the responsibility to teach the dogs that the world is a safe place. Through that process, they must convince themselves of the same.  
Warrior trainers are taught to praise and provide treats to their dogs when they experience a startling event, such as hearing a car backfire. Rather than turning inward to focus on their past trauma, the trainers must get outside of their own heads to focus on the dogs and their mission to help another Veteran. Additionally, dogs offer opportunities for Warrior trainers – who often isolate themselves from society – to experience positive interactions with members of the community. Their training requires emotionally numb Warriors to demonstrative positive emotion in order to successfully teach their dogs. 
Warrior Canine Connection trains and places Service Dogs for physical and psychiatric disabilities, Facility Dogs and Military Family Support Dogs. Applicants must agree to follow Warrior Canine Connection and Assistance Dogs International standards of care and ethics for working dogs; including adhering to all exercise, health, behavior and training regiments. In addition, all applicants must commit to maintaining the training level of each dog and give it opportunities to use its skills. Applicants must also attend a 2-3 week training camp at WCC headquarters and participate in ongoing follow-up visits and training for the lifetime of the partnership.

There is no fee for the dog or for the training.

For more information CLICK HERE

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital would like to thank all of America's Warriors for fighting for our freedom.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Presidental Pets

Engraving of George Washington with a Foxhound

Our founding father, George Washington, was a big fan of hound dogs, as most of us know. What you may not know is that the American Kennel Club recognizes Washington as the father of the Foxhound breed. George Washington bred French, English and American hounds to become what is now the Foxhound! It seems Washington was in general smitten with canines because in addition to a large number of hounds, he owned terriers, spaniels and a Newfoundland that resided at Mount Vernon. Washington was creative in the naming of pups. He had Coonhounds named Drunkard, Tipler, Taster and Tipsy, and Staghounds named Sweetlips, Scentwell and Vulcan. Washington was also a wealthy, accomplished equestrian and owned many stallions. His favorite was a stallion named Nelson that he rode in the Revolutionary War. Later, Nelson lived his old age out at Mount Vernon in return for his services during the war.

Lyndon Johnson with a furry friend

   Although Washington did not live in the White House, an array of animals have resided there since the time of our second President, John Adams. Adams was an admirer of horses and built the stable at the White House that housed his horse Cleopatra. He also owned 2 dogs named Juno and Satan.  Next in line was Thomas Jefferson. He quite possibly was the one who began the trend of unusual animals at the White House. In addition to some dogs, Jefferson also had a mockingbird. During their expedition across the United States, Lewis and Clarke sent a magpie, 2 grouse and a prairie dog to Jefferson. Even more unusual was a gift of 2 baby grizzlies bought from Indians and delivered across the country to Jefferson by horseback. For a time, the bears lived in a cage on the White House front lawn, but eventually they were sent to a museum.

Harry Truman's puppy, Feller

  After Jefferson, the resident animals of the White House became more odd. Tiger cubs, given to Martin VanBuran by a Sultan, stayed in the White House until Congress stepped in and had them sent to a zoo. John Quincy Adams had an alligator that lived in a bathtub for several months. This was not the only alligator to spend time at the White House! Herbert Hoover's son had 2 pet alligators that would visit and crawl on the grounds. This list goes on from goats, cows and one legged roosters,  to possums, black bears and Pygmy Hippos! Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge had the most animals resulting in what could be considered a petting zoo! Coolidge's pet raccoon, Rebecca, was meant to be part of their Thanksgiving dinner. Coolidge found her to be too friendly and instead she became part of his menagerie until she got to rambunctious and was sent to Rock Creek Zoo! Thankfully, it is no longer politically correct to own exotic or wild animals so hopefully no more caged bears or alligators in bathtubs at the White House!

William Taft with Pauline Wayne the cow

   No matter what pet is living in the White House, we enjoy hearing about it. When we hear the name Socks we think of Bill Clinton and Barney and Millie conger up memories of the Bushes. Likewise, when a Portuguese Water Dog walks through the doors of Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, we are reminded of Sunny and Bo!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Noise Phobias in Dogs

This is the time of year when a lot of dog owners notice their dogs having Noise Phobias.  Whether it is from fireworks, thunderstorms, motorcycles or gunshots, dogs can show the same symptoms/reactions to these noises.  The most common fear reactions in dogs to these noises would be hiding, panting, trembling, and seeking attention from their owner. In severe cases, you may see destructive behaviors and or aggression.  The magnitude of these reactions can be based upon the severity of the dog’s phobia or the loudness of the sound.                                          

Here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, we see a lot of our patients with these fears to noises.  There are a few things that we recommend that you can try:
 The first would be desensitization to these loud noises.  There is a great website by Dr. Sophia Yin that is a great reference. To visit her website CLICK HERE.  Dr. Yin focuses on behavior modification and has lots of great tips for these types of situations. 
Ranee's Blossom modeling her pink Thundershirt
Another great option to try would be a thundershirt.  The concept of a thundershirt is to apply constant pressure and a feeling of comfort much like a baby being swaddled in a blanket.  For more information CLICK HERE.
Another option would be DAP or dog appeasing pheromones.  Pheromones naturally relax or affect an animal’s behavior.  These can be found in a collar, spray, or a plug in at any retail pet store.

In some cases these options are just not enough for a severe noise phobia. In that case, we do recommend an exam with one of our veterinarians to discuss medication options. 

Please feel free to call and speak with any of our staff here at KAH to discuss further if you think your dog may be having a noise phobia.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

We are taking our pet on vacation, What should I consider?

     Frederick, MD is warm and sunny, the kids are out of school, and after the winter we have had…it is time to venture out and take a vacation!  At Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, we consider our pets family, so why not bring them along too?  If you are able to bring your furred family member with you, plan ahead to ensure a safe, fun trip for everyone.  Traveling by land, air, or sea has its obstacles so make sure you have what you need ahead of time to prevent any hiccups in your trip.
     Firstly, no matter how you are traveling, as long as you are in motion, your pet should always remain in a veterinary approved carrier for safety.  Carriers come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be either hard or soft.  Carrier size and shape may not make a difference if traveling in your own car, but some airlines or buses will require a certain kind of carrier that must fit under the seat.  Make sure you check with the travel company before hand to ensure you have the correct carrier.
Haley's Blue is ready to go.
Megan's Juno says "Don't forget me Mommy."
     Another thing to consider is whether or not you need a Health Certificate for travel.  Health Certificates require a scheduled visit to your veterinarian before your travel date.  Most Health Certificates are only good for a short period of time, so scheduling is very important depending on when you plan on leaving.  It may also be advisable to bring a copy of your pet’s medical record with you in the event of an emergency, especially if your pet has a medical condition.  Planning ahead, will ensure you have the necessary paperwork needed for a hassle free vacation.
     Besides what your pet will be traveling in and possible paperwork you will need, consider what necessities your pet may need too.  Always make sure your pet has fresh water available.  If traveling in your own car, having some bottled water reserved will accomplish this.  If you are traveling in an airplane or bus, you may not be able to take your pet out while in motion. Freeze some water in a bowl so that it slowly melts as you travel; this will prevent spillage and will keep your pet hydrated.  Food is also something your pet will need.  Depending on how long your trip is, your pet may need to eat during travel.  If you are unable to take your pet out of his carrier, keep some dry food in with him.  Make sure you plan to bring enough food for the entire trip, plus a little extra just in case.  If your pet is on a prescription food or medication, contact your veterinary office before hand to make sure you have it in hand before you go. 
     With these tips in mind, you should have everything you need for a fun filled, well needed, family vacation.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

We take our dog swimming. Why does he keep getting ear infections?

Kelly's Wyatt enjoying his vacation at Lake Anna

      With the summer season right around the corner, we will all be looking for a place to cool off during the blistering hot days.  What is a better way to cool off in Frederick, MD than swimming?  While swimming is a fun activity for all of us, and helps keep us cool in the hot summer weather, it can cause some not so “hot” problems for your friend Fido.
Kelly's Sugar swimming at the lake.
     A dog’s ear canal is shaped very differently than ours; it is longer and creates an “L” shape.  The unique shape of a dog’s ear provides the perfect environment for infectious organisms like bacteria and yeast.  Add water to the equation and your dog’s ear is the perfect place for these organisms to grow and thrive.  When bacteria and/or yeast are able to grow, they cause infection in a dog’s ears.  Symptoms of an ear infection may cause your dog to shake his head, scratch his ears, cry out, and have a dark rusty colored discharge and odor.  If you suspect your dog may have an ear infection, contact your veterinarian for an appointment.
     Cleaning your dog’s ears with a veterinarian approved ear cleaner after every water activity will help to prevent future ear infections.  Ear cleaning is simple and is done in three easy steps; pour the ear cleaning solution into the ears until you see the solution start to pool, massage the base of the ear gently to break up wax and debris, and then swipe the inside of the ear with a dry cotton ball.  See our video on Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s YouTube channel for a tutorial of how to follow these three easy steps here.
     So have fun and fight the summer heat with a refreshing swim, but don’t forget to follow up with an ear cleaning to prevent painful ear infections later.

Megan's Sophie enjoying the pool.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Does my dog need sunblock?

 Summer is finally here and you know what that means- SURF, SAND, and SUNscreen! Yes, even for your pets! Like humans, pets are susceptible to and can suffer from sun damage due to exposure and need protection from those harsh rays. Without proper precautions, your pet is at risk for changes in skin color or nails, sunburn, sun rash, and even tumors. Dogs and cats with pigmented skin or thick hair coats are usually less susceptible to UV radiation because their coats act as a protective barrier, while those with thinner hair coats or areas with less pigmentation are more susceptible.  Areas that are particularly sensitive to sun exposure and sunburn include muzzle, tips of ears and bare bellies - especially in breeds such as Pit Bulls, Boxers, Whippets, Dalmatians and Bull Terriers. Surprising, thinly haired bellies are commonly sun-burned because the sun reflects off the concrete and many dogs also enjoy sunbathing belly-side up. Sphinx (a hairless kitty) and especially cats with white ears/noses are the ones commonly seen with solar damage among our feline friends.  Also, don’t forget pets who have recently been clipped either for cooler summer hairdos, for surgical preparation or treatment of wounds/skin problems, are also at increased risk for sunburn. 

But not to fret! There are ways that you can safely protect your fur-kids during those hot summer months in Frederick, Maryland.  The most common sun protectant is sunscreen. It’s important to look for a sunscreen specifically designed for pets as many human sunscreens can be toxic if ingested.  Baby sunscreen can be used; however it is important to speak with your veterinarian prior to use. Products containing ingredients such as zinc or titanium dioxide should specifically be avoided. There are some pet-specific products on the market, but the only FDA approved sunscreen for dogs (and horses) is called “Epi-Pet Sun Protector”. It also has properties to condition the skin while your dogs are out and about.   There is no current FDA approved sunscreen for cats and is important to note that Epi-Pet should not be used on cats because the breakdown product is toxic if ingested. For cats, it is also important to stay away from anything with Octyl Salicylate, homosalate, and ethylhexyl salicylate. Titanium dioxide is ok for cat ear tips, but again, toxic if ingested. The good news is Epi-Pet is currently working on a product that will be approved and safe to use for cats.
Sunscreens should be water resistant and have UV/UVB protection comparable to SPF 15 or 30 in humans (SPF values are not allowed to be used on products advertised for pets). Depending on your pet’s size of course, approximately one tablespoon per exposed body area is recommended and sunscreen should be re-applied every 4-6 hours.  Sun damage can happen anytime so it is recommended to use sunscreen year round. Some other options to consider using in conjunction with sunscreen include sun hats, sun suits, avoiding the sun during its strongest hours of the day, and just plain staying in the shade! Also it is important to remember our canine and feline friends are at higher risk for heat stroke in the hot summer months, so be sure to provide plenty of shade and shelter from the heat and fresh water for your pet. 
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet and the sun, please don’t hesitate to contact Kingsbrook Animal Hospital at 301-631-6900.


Miller, H. William, Craig E. Griffin, and Karen L. Campbell, Muller and Kirk’s Small Animal Dermatology. 7th  Edition.  Saunders, 2012. Print.