The Making of a Christmas Card

Posted by on Nov 30, 2016 in Our Blog | 0 comments

If you’ve ever tried to take a group picture with a pet involved, you’ll understand this saga. Dogs are way more interested in getting attention from all those people behind them than looking at the flashing light on the camera. Here’s our attempt at making a Christmas card.
First, we had to take a test shot to make sure everyone would fit in the picture:
Then, we had to get all the dogs looking in the right direction. Some couldn’t care less about the treats (Holly!).
Still trying…
Getting closer, everyone’s in the picture now!
We lost Holly again.
This is starting to get comical.
We’ve completely lost it!
Finally, SUCCESS! Big thanks to one of our clients who came by at just the right time and took pity on us. A squeaky toy behind the camera helps immensely!

November Pet of the Month

Posted by on Nov 12, 2016 in Our Blog, Pet of the Month | 0 comments

In February of this year, Elle noticed a big orange tabby hanging around outside herrascal house. After a few days of the same routine, walking outside to see him waiting patiently for a meal, Elle decided to bring him in for a general check up, to make sure he was healthy before finding him a new home. “I’m not keeping him!” she proclaimed upon her arrival for his first exam. He received a clean bill of health, and the rest was history. “Rascal” had found his forever home.
This summer Rascal came back in because he had a very deep “croupy” sounding cough. On exam he was working hard to breath and had raspy lung sounds. X-ray were taken and showed changes consistent with Asthma or a severe bronchitis. Heartworms can cause the same changes in cats, so a heartworm test came back positive. Sure enough, he came back POSITIVE!
Heartworms are internal parasites passed by mosquitoes. A mosquito ingests the microfilaria, or baby heartworm, when it feeds from an infected animal. The microfilaria mature within the mosquito over the next few weeks. Then the mosquito feeds on a new victim and passes on the heartworm larvae from their saliva into the skin. The larvae mature and migrate to the main pulmonary artery over the next 6 months. Once there is an adult male and female they mate and the lifecycle continues.
When discussing heartworms, people commonly think of it as a dog disease, but cats can get heartworms too! Since cats are not the natural host, they tend to mount a pronounced inflammatory response to the parasite which is often more detrimental to the cat than the heartworm itself. In most cases, heartworms do not survive long enough to mature in a cat, but the resulting inflammation can be life threatening to the cat. Cats with heartworms often present with coughing or difficulty breathing. Many cats were previously diagnosed with asthma before we realized they could get heartworms too. In some cases chronic vomiting may be the only sign or sudden death.
Rascal was treated with oral steroids to reduce the inflammation which likely resulted as the heartworm was dying. He was also placed on an oral antibiotic to kill Wolbachia on any remaining heartworms . It is theorized that this bacteria-like organism has a symbiotic relationship with the heartworm and killing it weakens the heartworms. We do not actually treat cats with medications to kill the heartworms in cats because treatment can be more life threatening than the parasite itself.
Rascal was likely infected prior to his adoption into his new home. Fortunately, he has responded well to treatment and we are slowly weaning him off of the oral steroids. He will remain on Revolution monthly so that he does not get infected with additional heartworms. His owner will be diligent about monitoring for future episodes of difficulty breathing as there could still be some heartworms present that will eventually die. Rascal is loved by our hospital and all our staff, and we couldn’t be happier with his recovery. Keep your cats protected from heartworms with a monthly preventative such as Revolution!

October Pet of the Month

Posted by on Oct 10, 2016 in Our Blog, Pet of the Month | 0 comments

Congratulations to the October pet of the month: Greta.
The first time I saw Greta, Parker (her big lab brother) and she came to the clinic forgreta boarding. I thought she was the prettiest Dachshund I had ever seen in my life. She was 4 years 3 months at that time and I couldn’t believe how blue and expressive her eyes were. They complimented her dapple color perfectly. Greta, on the other hand, was not as thrilled to see me. She immediately went to her safe spot between Parker’s legs and kept an anxious eye on me. After a couple of days of boarding she started to warm up to me and we started bonding. From that point on I always had a great time with Greta and Parker. Over the next year Parker and Greta came for boarding multiple times and our bond kept getting stronger.
One day, Greta’s owner called to inform us that she wasn’t walking right and that the night before she had a bad time trying to get out of her kennel. Her owner decided to bring her in for an exam. After performing a thorough exam, Dr Forbes diagnosed Greta with hind limb paralysis with no pain sensation in the hind limbs. This is commonly due to a slipped disc in Dachshunds because of their long backs. Loss of deep pain indicates a severe compression of the spinal cord and carries a guarded prognosis for return of function. Dr. Forbes decided referred Greta to the University of Missouri Veterinary Health Center for an emergency MRI and surgery.
Greta was admitted to the University Health Center under the care of Dr Kishi. Testing confirmed compressed disc spaces at T12-T13 and T13-L1 (Two disc spaces in the center of her back). Dr Kishi performed surgery to remove the extruded disc material compressing her spinal cord. Unfortunately, at surgery it was also discovered that there was additional compression along the length of 10 vertebrae due to hemorrhage at the time of injury. Fortunately Greta has very dedicated owners that elected to continue with surgery and give Greta a chance. She recovered well, but she was unable to use her hind legs or urinate on her own. Pets unable to completely empty their bladder can become susceptible to bladder infections. Greta was discharged 6 days later with pain medications and antibiotics for a bladder infection she developed. Her owners were instructed to keep her confined to her kennel for six weeks during which the owner should perform some physical therapy and express her bladder every eight hours.
Greta came to stay with us during the daytime for the next month so that we could assist with extra bladder emptying while the owner was at work and she was recovering from her infection. We were always happy to welcome her in the clinic. I would look forward to seeing Greta; it became part of the morning routine for me. We implemented a strict schedule for her that over time everyone got used to, even Greta. Both Dr. Forbes and Dr. Sappington (depending on schedule and availability) expressed her bladder daily and made sure she would get all her medications and food. Because Greta couldn’t use her back legs, we created a sling with a regular towel that would support her back end while she walked with her front legs. Walking her that way must have encouraged her to act more like herself because one day as Dr. Sappington was walking her back towards the entrance of the clinic, Greta started urinating on her own. We all knew we hit a milestone and couldn’t be happier for her. Maybe there is hope that she will be able to urinate completely on her own some day.
On May 5th, Greta went back to the University clinic for a recheck. Dr. Mauler was there for her examination this time. She found that Greta is healing normally. Unfortunately Greta did not regain use of her hind limbs and still requires that her bladder get emptied manually each day. Thanks to science and some really ingenious people, Greta was able to get a wheelchair cart for movement. Today Greta enjoys her life like she used to, she doesn’t look back and keep things “rolling” forward.

Fleas: They Are More Than Meets The Eye

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in Our Blog | 0 comments

We are in the height of flea season, so I thought it would be a good time for some flea pictures! If your pet has fleas there are a few things you should know. The most important is that the fleas you are seeing on your pet are just 5% of the population of fleas in your home. The other 95% is comprised of flea eggs, larvae (tiny maggot-like creatures), and pupae (similar to a cocoon). They are all in your carpet, floor boards, bedding, and couches. This picture shows in gory detail the reproductive capability of fleas. This cat had been in the kennel for just a few hours, and all those little white specks on the kennel floor are flea eggs that fell off of him in just that amount of time. The black specks are flea “dander”, essentially flea poop made up of digested blood. The larvae that hatch out of those eggs feed on flea dander until they reach the pupae stage.

Our feline "salt and pepper shaker". White (salt) specks are flea eggs. Black (pepper) specks are flea dander. This came off of this cat in just a couple hours in this kennel.

Our feline “salt and pepper shaker”. White (salt) specks are flea eggs. Black (pepper) specks are flea dander. This came off of this cat in just a couple hours.

This cat received a Capstar, a pill that will start killing fleas that are on the pet within 30 minutes. It only lasts for 24 hours, so he was also sent home with a topical flea preventative for continued flea control. Once he went home the kennel and the rest of the room he was in was sprayed with Knockout Area Treatment to kill any eggs that may have been left behind after cleaning.
An adult flea. They are generally 3-4 mm long.

An adult flea. They are generally 3-4 mm long.

If your pet has fleas, how can you treat for the other life stages hanging around in your house?
1. Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum!!! This will mechanically pick up eggs, larvae, and pupae. Also, the heat, movement, and vibrations will stimulate fleas to come out of their pupae, at which point they will either jump on your pet and be killed by the flea prevention that you are now applying religiously every 30 days, OR you will kill them with…
2. A household treatment. We like Knockout Area Treatment, but there are many available. Flea bombs can help, but they won’t get under furniture where fleas like to hide. Be sure to spray in those shadowy corners, and focus on areas that your pet spends a lot of time.
3. Make sure ALL your pets are on a flea preventative. This includes dogs, cats, even rabbits or other small mammals you keep in the house (call your vet for recommended products and doses). It does not matter if they aren’t itchy or you haven’t seen fleas on them. Be sure to get a good quality flea preventative. Cheaper options available through retail stores tend to be less effective.
4. If your pet spends a lot of time outside, you can treat places he sleeps in a lot with an outdoor flea treatment. Focus on shaded areas, under trees or on or under a deck.
If you are using a topical flea prevention applied to the skin, do NOT use flea baths after you have applied it (even if it is a week or 2 later). You will strip the oils off of the pet’s skin, and the flea product along with it. Flea baths will only kill the fleas that are on the pet at that particular moment, so they do nothing to address fleas that jump on them later. Find a soap-free shampoo to use with your topical product instead.
An adult flea under the microscope. Don't let them take over!

An adult flea under the microscope.

If you’re having trouble with fleas contact your vet to discuss a flea treatment plan specific to your situation.

September Pet of the Month

Posted by on Sep 8, 2016 in Our Blog, Pet of the Month | 0 comments

Callie is a 13 year old female domestic shorthair cat who was presented to us in April



for vaccines and a senior wellness blood screen. At this time Callie had some weight loss, but otherwise was looking healthy. When results returned from the senior wellness blood work, we discovered that her liver values were elevated.
The liver is an important organ in the body, contributing to the detoxification of metabolites, protein synthesis, and the production of bile, which is necessary for digestion. Because of the varying functions, we were unsure as to what exactly caused the increase in her liver values. We prescribed Clavamox, an antibiotic, to treat for a possible bacterial infection. This antibiotic was also used to help rule out Cholangiohepatitis, a common condition of liver disease that causes inflammation of the liver and bile duct. When we ran a follow-up blood panel, however, it showed little improvement in her liver values.
We continued to pursue a diagnosis with additional testing, as well as a liver supplement. Abdominal X-rays were taken to check for size or mass abnormalities, and a liver function test was performed. When both tests came back normal, Callie was referred to the University of Missouri Veterinary Hospital for an ultrasound. The purpose of the ultrasound was to provide a different method and image of any abnormalities in the size or shape of the liver, but all findings were, again, normal. Throughout this process, liver values were continuously checked, to no avail, and Callie continued to lose weight.
Since the origin for Callie’s elevated liver values was still a mystery, a different antibiotic was prescribed in hopes of a more effective response than with the Clavamox. Minimal improvements were observed with this antibiotic, however, and so a biopsy was suggested to determine a definite diagnosis.
Dr. Forbes performed biopsies of both the liver and intestines, and the samples were sent to multiple labs across the country. The examination of the biopsied tissues reported back with findings consistent with small cell malignant hepatic LSA, or lymphosarcoma. Also known as lymphoma, lymphosarcoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels, organs, ducts and nodes found throughout the body. This system’s job is to transport lymph and help rid the body of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials. Callie presented an interesting case of lymphoma, as it usually occurs first in the small intestines. However, the malignant cells were only found in her liver.
We are thankful that Callie’s owner decided to do a senior wellness blood screen, as that is what helped us distinguish a problem in the first place! She has begun chemotherapy to destroy the cancerous cells.

Written by Maggie

August Pet of the Month

Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 in Our Blog, Pet of the Month | 0 comments

Congratulations to Serenity, our August pet of the month!
Serenity A simple walk in the evening with a friend turned out to be a little more than a stroll with a bit of casual conversation. Emily (one of our techs) and her friend decided to go for a walk in the area and while out they found a dog in the neighbor’s pasture that was extremely malnourished and loaded with fleas. As with all of the employees at Rock Bridge Animal Hospital, our mentality goes into help mode.
The dog was brought home to Emily’s house and separated from all of the other pets. She was bathed to try and help get rid of the fleas. The dog was so weak from lack of food that when she shook to get the excess water off she fell over. She was soon put on a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice and as soon as she was tolerating it well she progressed up to balanced diet of dry food.
It was common knowledge from the beginning she could not keep the new pet, butSerenity2 wanted her in optimal shape so she would be a great addition to someone else’s family. So on July 2nd, she was taken to Rock Bridge Animal Hospital for an exam, vaccinations, wormer and flea and tick protection. At that time she was weighed in at 25.5 pounds. She was given her first round of Distemper and Parvo vaccines and also was given a vaccine for Rabies along with Nexgard for fleas and ticks. Emily took her home and started her on a feeding schedule of 4 – 6 feedings per day. She soon was flourishing and on her next vet visit, which was a week later, she was up to 35.5 pounds. On August 3rd, she was taken for her vaccine boosters and a final weigh in and I am happy to announce she weighed in at 44.7 pounds and was given a clean bill of health!
As an employee of Rock Bridge Animal Hospital and a pet lover myself, I cannot express the importance of taking care of your pets. Ownership of a pet usually consists of over 12-14 years (and sometimes more) which include vaccinations, proper food and clean water, exercise and mental stimulation as well as providing a healthy environment.

The new and improved Serenity!

The new and improved Serenity!


Serenity is available for adoption by contacting Emily at Rock Bridge Animal Hospital 1-573-443-4501. She does well with other dogs and cats. She barks at new people, but only because she is excited and is still in the process of learning manners. She loves toys, especially ropes and tennis balls.


Written by Kim

Dogs and Cats Can Become “Senile” Too!

Posted by on Aug 11, 2016 in Our Blog | 0 comments

Has your pet started acting differently as he gets older? Seemingly forgetting where he is, or staring at the wall? Maybe he’s started staying awake all night or losing his house training. Many subtle symptoms of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) such as these get written off as old age, but there are things we can do to help slow the progression of this disease and get your friend back.
CCD is a chronic disease that is comparable to Alzheimer’s disease in people. It develops via a number of pathways, but ultimately there is oxidative stress to the brain cells, particularly the mitochondria, leading to their dysfunction and abnormal protein deposition in the brain. The dysfunction of these cells and abnormal protein deposits disrupt normal electrical signaling in the brain, leading to what we see as behavior changes. There is likely a genetic component that will predispose some pets to developing CCD.
Common behavioral changes include:
• Sleeping more, or sleeping all day and staying awake at night
• Overall decrease in activity level
• Forgetting basic obedience training, or apparent deafness
• Decreased interest in their surroundings
• Confusion or disorientation (staring at the wall, pacing, forgetting where he is)
• Difficulty navigating the environment (going to the wrong side of the door, running into things)
• Inability to recognize familiar people
• Increased thirst
• Increased panting
• Difficulty eating, or decreased interest in food
• Loss of bladder or bowel control
• Changes in vocalization
If you think your pet may be exhibiting some of these symptoms please let your vet know. There are many other diseases that can cause similar symptoms that need to be ruled out before arriving at a diagnosis of CCD.
As of now, there is no cure for CCD, however there are several options for slowing the progression or even temporarily reversing some of the symptoms. Because there are many pathways that lead to CCD, treatments that work for one patient may not work for another, so there may be a period of trial and error.
Lack of exercise, lack of sensory input, lack of rest which can be seen with excessive pacing or abnormal sleep patterns, excess calorie intake, obesity, high carbohydrate or high fat diets, and certain nutritional deficiencies can all contribute to progression of CCD. Some of these things are easy to address. You can certainly increase how much exercise your pet gets by going on more frequent walks. Getting out and experiencing different sights/sounds/smells can address the sensory input as well. This activity will also help with obese pets in burning more calories, however measuring their food daily is a major component of weight control. You can revisit basic house training and obedience training to help your senile pet remember what they’re supposed to be doing when.
Discuss with your vet which supplements or medications might be appropriate to address other symptoms. There is even a veterinary diet designed specifically for senile pets which contains an appropriate balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, as well as specific supplements to address brain aging. Your vet may also want to revisit medications your pet may be taking for other health conditions, as some can worsen CCD symptoms. Hopefully with a little help your pet can get back to his normal self for a while.

July Pet of the Month

Posted by on Jul 25, 2016 in Our Blog, Pet of the Month | 0 comments

Mia is a 6 year old Retriever Lab mix who presented on April 11, 2016 for blood in her urine. Her owner was very worried as he was preparing to leave for China the next day and would be gone for 3 weeks. During the initial exam, it became apparent that she was bleeding extensively. When she stood up from where she sat, there were clumps of clotting blood on the floor which are not typical in a urinary tract infection. We ran a blood panel which showed that her white blood cells were elevated, indicating an infection. Radiographs showed a very enlarged uterus, which should not normally be seen on x-rays. All of these findings led to a diagnosis of pyometra. A pyometra is an infection of the uterus and can occur in any unaltered female dog and is life-threatening. We decided to rush her into emergency surgery.
MiaThe safest and preferred method of treating a pyometra is to surgically remove the uterus via an ovariohysterectomy, or spay. Most pyometras occur 4-6 weeks after the female’s last heat cycle due to the hormonal and physical changes occurring at that time. Older females are at a greater risk but a pyometra can occur at any age and after any heat cycle. If bacteria find its way into the uterus during or directly following the cycle, a pyometra may occur. Symptoms may not be as severe as the blood coming out of Mia, but may range from excessive licking of the hind end, vaginal pus or discharge, swollen abdomen, vomiting, lethargy, dehydration and eventually collapse or death via septic shock (infection affecting multiple organs or parts of the body).
After putting Mia under anesthesia, we began surgery to carefully remove her uterus. Throughout the procedure, we made sure that there were no tears or openings in the uterine wall where infection could have leaked into her abdomen from the infected uterus. After her uterus was carefully removed, we examined her abdomen and determined that there were no signs of peritonitis, (infection of the abdominal cavity) and then carefully stitched her up. After she awoke from surgery, we placed her on broad spectrum antibiotics to kill any residual infection in her body and she was given pain medication to help her recover from surgery. The next few days we struggled to get her to eat much of anything until we found out she liked canned tuna with some baby food on top. We continued to administer her antibiotics and pain medications while she stayed with us for the following two weeks. After her stay with us, she went to be with a family friend until her owner returned from China. We were updated on her a couple weeks ago and she is doing great with no residual problems and no sign of infection. We are so happy she was brought in quickly and we were able to get her fixed up without additional complications.
Written by Emily

June Pet of the Month

Posted by on Jun 9, 2016 in Our Blog, Pet of the Month | 0 comments

When Titus’s owners brought him in for an exam due to a lack of appetite, the lastTitus Picture 1 thing they expected was that Titus would be in need of emergency surgery. Titus lost his appetite and began showing signs of discomfort about four days before his appointment. He didn’t want to drink anything either, so his owners had been using a dropper in an attempt to keep him hydrated. An exam confirmed that Titus was extremely uncomfortable and painful in his abdominal region. In addition, the owners’ normally sweet, loveable cat had become extremely irritable due to pain, and even began hissing and striking out at staff due to his discomfort.
Dr.Forbes knew there was a big possibility that Titus’s behavior and discomfort was rooting from something very serious. A foreign body was suspected and X-rays confirmed that there was definitely something blocking Titus’s intestinal tract. Surgery was needed to remove the object from Titus’s small intestine, and it needed to be done soon. After explaining the findings to Titus’s owners, they consented to surgery. After making an incision and carefully navigating Titus’s abdomen, Dr.Forbes found that a large portion of Titus’s small intestine was plicated. This means that it was bundled together like a scrunchie over a rubber band. The intestinal plication was caused by dental floss that Titus had gotten into and eaten 2 weeks prior. The floss had embedded itself in his small intestine, requiring that almost 9 inches of the small intestine be removed.

Titus Picture 2The problem was that this portion of small intestine included about 90% of Titus’s illium, which is the only part of the intestines that absorbs B vitamin. Depleting such a large portion of his small intestine also put Titus at risk for chronic diarrhea, which could make keeping Titus hydrated and nourished a constant struggle. Fortunately, B vitamin could be supplemented by injections, and there was a good chance Titus’s stools would regulate themselves with time.
Titus made a grand recovery and after only a few days in our hospital we were able to reunite him with his loving owners. They took him home and after watching him closely for a couple weeks were able to report that Titus was feeling great, and the B vitamin injections seemed to be working just fine. Titus is now back to feeling like himself again, and as long as he stays away from dental floss, should live a long, happy, healthy life.


Written by Alicen

May Pet of the Month

Posted by on Apr 27, 2016 in Our Blog, Pet of the Month | 0 comments

Weiner, a 15 year-old Dachshund, came to the clinic one morning after getting in aWeiner tussle with the family Yorkie. Weiner sustained multiple lacerations, including a serious puncture wound on his right inguinal (groin) area, and injury to the upper palate of his mouth. When we first saw Weiner, things were not looking good. He was very lethargic and could not stand on his own. His parents were very worried about him, as he has been a part of the family since he was just a puppy. They wanted to make sure Weiner had the best shot at a full recovery, so he was taken into surgery right away.
Weiner4Dr. Sappington stitched up some of the more superficial lacerations on his flank, then got to work on the wound in his inguinal region. She cleaned the wound thoroughly and removed some necrotic, or dying, tissue. Because this area of the body is prone to movement and moisture, Dr. Sappington did not simply just close the wound, but instead placed a Penrose Drain to allow any excess fluids produced to drain out of the body.
When it came to Weiner’s mouth, three upper incisors and one upper canine toothWeiner2 had to be extracted. The teeth were very loose and just barely attached to the gums. The surgery ended up going well; however, this was not the end of the road for Weiner quite yet.
Following the initial surgery, Weiner had to return to the clinic for numerous rechecks. The large puncture wound ended up opening further due to infection. Dr. Sappington decided to leave the wound open until the infection Weiner1was cleared up. This meant Weiner had to come back every day for several days and be sedated for a bandage change each time. We were finally able to close the wound completely with sutures. A few weeks later, all of Weiner’s sutures have been removed and he has gone back to living a normal, happy life. However, Weiner’s parents have now made it a point to keep him away from their Yorkie!