Author Archives: Tim Hodge DVM

Risky Prescription Purchases – Not Worth It!

The Risk of Purchasing Medication Online and Without a Prescription.

There has been a trend noted of pet’s not getting proper refills of medications.  When owners are surveyed, they report that their pets are on preventatives.  However, when compared to medical records, no refills were approved, authorized or prescribed.  THIS IS A BIG CONCERN.

Prescription medication for people and pets is a huge industry.  Pharmaceutical costs continue to rise and rise.  So, it makes sense that consumers would like to save money when possible.  However, the purchase of online mediations (especially those without a written prescription) may wind up costing you more money in the long run as well as the potential to harm you and your pets.

  • Every day, 20 new illegal pharmacies appear on the internet, as reported by the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies.
  • 62% of medicines purchased online are fake or substandard, as indicated in a Report from the European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines.
  • 89% of illegal online pharmacies do not require a valid prescription, as found through NABP’s review and analysis.

According to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, “Buying from rogue online drug sellers puts consumers at risk of:

  • Receiving pills that contain such fillers as drywall and rat poison
  • Having your financial and other personal information stolen
  • Having your email inbox flooded with spam that could infect your home computer with viruses

In the worst cases, people have died from receiving counterfeit medications that didn’t treat their serious medical conditions.”

Do not purchase medications if it’s from an online site that is in the following list:

Heartworm, flea and tick preventatives are guaranteed by the manufacturer when purchased from your veterinarian.  This means the manufacturer has certain provision in place for your pet’s wellbeing should the medication cause issues or not perform as indicated.  You lose this guarantee when purchasing online from non-approved websites.

Don’t take a risk with your pet’s health (or your own) by purchasing medication from unverified websites and from sites that do not require a prescription. They do not have your pet’s best interest at heart and are only looking for profit.


Reading Recommendations for Training (Dogs & Cats).

Reading Recommendations for Training (Dogs & Cats).Dr. Sophia Yin’s 2 books – “How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves” and “Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right”.

Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D., Brenda Scidmore – “The Puppy Primer”

American College of Veterinary Behavorist and Karen White – “Decoding Your Dog”

Gwen Bailey – “The Perfect Puppy”

David Weston – “Gentle Modern Method of Dog Training”

Debbie and Kenneth Martin – “Puppy Start Right” and “Puppy Start Right: Foundation Training for the Companion Dog”

Ian Dunbar’s free copies of “Before You Get Your Puppy” and “After You Get Your Puppy”

Kersti Seksel – “Training Your Cat: A New Approach to Caring for Your Cat and Protecting Wildlife”

What’s There to Howl About?

Siberian Husky dog howling

Howling….why do dogs do it?

We know that howling is a non-specific behavior.  It can occur when a dog is stressed or distressed, territorial, in a situation where there is no way out, or in response to some other stimuli, such as noise, like a siren.

Wolf-like breeds (Huskies, Malamutes, etc) are more like their ancestors who howl to alter an enemy they are ready for a tussle or to help members of their family return safely.  So, this howling can be seen as a warning or as a come home signal.

When howling is a problem, then behavioral training is needed.  Training can help to determine the cause of the howl and the methods to best reduce its occurrence.  Keeping a dog occupied, mind at work and play can help avoid unwanted howling.  Playing music or the TV can help drown out noises that can stimulate howling.  And a dog with plenty of exercise is a tired dog and let likely to howl out of stress or anxiety.

Why do dogs (and some cats) eat grass??

1800290_692546867443455_926235046_n  There are many reasons why a dog (or cat) may eat grass. However, most veterinarians’ consensus is that pets will eat grass as a way to reduce, eliminate or relieve GI upset, nausea, parasites or possibly infection.  Many pets will eat grass and then vomit.  It’s the purging act that the pet seeks.  Generally, the pet will feel better after vomiting.  Seek veterinary care if this is occurring on a repeatable basis.

Another school of thought is that these pets may be craving a nutrient that they are not getting with their diet and is found in grass.

Lastly, some pets may just like the taste of chlorophyll in the grass or the texture of the grass blades.

Anesthesia….Need to Know!

anesthesia_dog_surgery  Almost every pet will need general anesthesia at some point in their life.  With today’s excellent pre-anesthesia physical examinations, modern anesthetic drugs and protocols, advanced monitoring and prompt recovery, pet anesthesia has never been safer.  Read this article by Robert D. Keegan, DVM.

Dr. Keegan is a board certified veterinary anesthesiologist.  Didn’t know those existed in veterinary medicine?  Well they sure do, as well as a host of other specialties.  Dr. Keegan is an
Associate Professor with the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Washington State University.  Click the link below to read Dr. Keegan’s article.

Your Pet is Going to be Anesthetized…

Assisi Loop – Targeted Pulsed Electromagentic Therapy

Assisi Loop

Targeted Pulsed Electromagentic Field Therapy (fPEMF)

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy is a means of using electrical currents to heal tissue and improve health.  These fields, when placed near a conductor (such as any portion of a pet’s body) will induce a current flow.  These currents are induced from outside the body, without their needing to be any actual body contact.

These magnetic fields penetrate through fur, bandages, clothing, etc.  It is this induction of electrical currents in the tissue that is the therapeutic effect.  This happens by activation of the Nitrous Oxide (NO) cycle.  Nitrous Oxide is a principle anti-inflammatory molecule.  This is because Nitrous Oxide reduces pain, improves blood flow and reduces edema.  The Nitrous Oxide cycle also increase the production of the cellular energy molecules that drive growth factor production, which then leads to stimulation of new blood vessel growth formation, tissue regeneration and tissue remodeling.  This is the basics of what we call “Healing”.NO cycle.

Our hospital recommends the use of an Assisi Loop. This loop generates the necessary electromagnetic current and applies it in a controlled, pulsed manner.  The Assisi Loop treatment recommendations are to start with a minimum of 3 to 4, 15 minute treatments per day for both acute and chronic disease.  This is generally done for 7-10 days, or until there is healing, improved mobility and less pain.  Then we begin a slow taper down to 1-2 sessions per day for a few weeks, then down to maintenance levels.

The Assisi Loop is used for pain management, Inflammation, post surgical healing, osteoarthritis, wound healing.  The loop can also be used for any inflammatory process in the body such as cancer, cystitis, pancreatitis, ear infections, hot spots, etc.  Contact us to see if an Assisi Loop is a good addition to the treatment plan for your pet. We commonly use the Assisi Loop in combination with our holistic services of Laser Therapy, Acupuncture, Herbal medicine and supplements. We have these loops for purchase and use at home.

Bravo Recalls Select Chicken Pet Foods

thBravo Recalls Select Chicken Pet Foods Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

Contact: Consumer: (866) 922-9222 (866) 922-9222 FREE Media: E-mail: [email protected] FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 23, 2015 – Manchester, CT – Bravo Pet Foods of Manchester, CT is recalling select lots of Bravo Chicken pet foods for dogs and cats due to concerns of the possible presence of Salmonella. The recall was initiated after routine testing by the New York State Department of Agriculture revealed the presence of Salmonella spp. Poly A contamination. All products tested negative by a third party independent laboratory prior to release for distribution to consumers. No additional products are affected by this recall. The company has received no reports to date of illness in either people or animals associated with these products. Salmonella can cause serious illness or fatal infection in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal cramping and diarrhea. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers. Always use proper caution when handling raw foods. The following product is being voluntarily recalled because of the possible presence of Salmonella.

ProductItem #Size:Best Used ByUPC
Bravo Blend Chicken diet for dogs & cats – Chub21 – 1022 lb (32 oz.) chub12-05-16829546211028

105 cases of this product were sold to distributors, retail stores, internet retailers and directly to consumers in the US. These products DID NOT test positive for Salmonella, but are also being voluntarily recalled out of an abundance of caution because they were manufactured in the same manufacturing facility on the same day as the product that tested positive.

ProductItem #Size:Best Used ByUPC
Bravo Balance Chicken Dinner for dogs – Patties21 – 4013 lb (48 oz.) bag12-05-16829546214012
Bravo Balance Chicken Dinner for dogs – Chub21 – 4022 lb (32 oz.) chub12-05-16829546214029
Bravo Blend Chicken diet for dogs & cats – Patties21 – 5085 lb (80 oz.) bag12-05-16829546215088

These products were sold to distributors, retail stores, internet retailers and directly to consumers in the US. The recalled product should not be sold or fed to pets. Pet owners who have the affected product at home should dispose of this product in a safe manner (example, a securely covered trash receptacle). To submit a claim, pet owners should return to the store where they bought the product. To get a refund at the store where you bought the product: Customers should return to the store where they purchased the product and submit the Bravo Recall Claim Form available on the Bravo website for a full refund or store credit. See Bravo Product Claim Form for details. More information on the Bravo recall can also be found at, or call toll free (866) 922-9222 (866) 922-9222 FREE Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (EST).


Harbourside Animal Hospital 1112 Channelside Drive Unit 4 Tampa FL 33602 (813) 229-3322

Stella and Chewy’s Recall

Stella aStellachewynd Chewy’s is recalling 11 of its products after Listeria monocytogenes was found in one of its dog food products during routine testing.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture ordered the company stop selling Chicken Freeze-Dried Dinner Patties for dogs on Saturday. Tests revealed the product was contaminated with Listeria.

As a precaution, the company recalled the affected product along with 10 others made for both dogs and cats.  These have not tested positive, but could have been exposed.  See Stella and Chewy’s comments on Facebook.

Stella & Chewy’s (“S&C”) is announcing a voluntary recall of some of our dog and cat dinners and treats in the U.S. because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The recall was prompted by a positive test result as reported by the Maryland Department of Agriculture. The health and safety of our customers and their pets is always of the utmost importance to us. We are accountable for everything we make and are highly committed to the quality and integrity of our products. We are working collaboratively with the FDA to further investigate and quickly address the situation. For more details regarding the recall and how to identify affected products, visit our website

Infected pets may exhibit flu-like symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, etc.  Infection can lead to brain swelling, which is often fatal.  If your pet is showing any symptoms and has eaten any Stella and Chewy’s Products, then contact Dr. Hodge or Dr. Drew immediately.

For a link to the products that have been recalled, go to the company’s website at this link.

Microchip – A Return Home Ticket!

Microchips save lives!  There, I’ve boldly said it!  Microchip insertions for pets have been a game changer in the lost and found department of pet care and shelter medicine.  Without them, the number of lost pets never returned to their loving families would be shattering.

What is a Microchip?  – A Microchip is a small transmitter about the size of a grain of rice.  The chip itself is encapsulated in a biocompatible polymer that doesn’t cause a body or immune system reaction.   Microchips have no battery and thus will not fail as time passes.  Microchips have no active, moving or working parts that can break or have the need to be replaced.  Microchipping has been around for over 20 years and has a proven efficacy and safety.

How are Microchips implanted?  – Basically, a shot with a big needle.  Microchips come in sterile, individualized packages.  In this package, there is usually a microchip tag with the name and code in a typed format for home records.  Based on the species of the animal being Microchipped, there are standardized locations of where the Microchips are to be placed.  Dogs (and cats) have their Microchip injected under the skin between the shoulder blades.  A common misconception is that surgery is needed to place a Microchip.  This is false.  A Microchip can be placed in a matter of seconds.

Does the implantation hurt?  – The discomfort associated with placement of a Microchip is about the same as that of getting an injection for vaccinations. The needle is a little larger, but the injections happen so quickly, that many pets don’t seem to notice.  Many Microchips are placed when pets are under anesthesia for their spay procedure, neuter, dental treatments, etc and are thus not even aware.

How does the Microchip work?  – When a Microchip scanner is passed over the region of the body where the implant resides, a signal is emitted indicating the unique identification number of the chip.  This is read on a view screen on the scanner.

What information is on the Microchip?  – The only information on the Microchip is the unique identification number that is encoded.  No personal information about the pet or the owner is on the microchip.  The microchip information is similar to that of a vehicle identification number (VIN number) on a car.

How does the Microchip information become registered?  It is very important that your Microchip information be registered.  Simply having the chip implanted will not bring your pet home.  If a Microchip is unregistered, the manufacturer can tract the Microchip to the facility (animal hospital, shelter, etc) that they sold it to, but unless that facility has records of each of the Microchip numbers, you are at a loss.  Many animal hospitals will register the information for you.  Other animal hospitals or facilities will give you the paperwork that you can fill out and mail in.  Some Microchip manufacturers allow you to complete the registration online.  No matter the means, REGISTER.

Do Microchips cause cancer?  – No, Microchips do not cause cancer.  There have been numerous studies that prove that Microchips do not cause cancer.  Since the material that coats the Microchip is a biocompatible element, the body’s immune system doesn’t even know it is there.

Can a Microchip be used to locate a lost pet?  No, a Microchip is not a location device.  GPS systems are small enough to fit on a dog’s collar, but still too large to be made inside a Microchip.  A lost pet is generally scanned at a veterinary hospital, shelter or rescue organization.  Once scanned, this number can then be checked with the manufacturer’s registration database or in a database run by the American Animal Hospital Association at  It is the database that holds the owner’s contact information.

How often do Microchips need to be registered?  – Once the Microchip is registered, that registration is indefinite.  The problem however, is that people move and their contact information changes, but the registration is never updated.  So, always remember that if you move, change your phone numbers or other registration information, please contact the manufacturer to update their database as well.  If the registrar allows for secondary contact information, provide that of a person who lives in a different location than yours.  If there is a natural disaster and your pet is found and identified, but you cannot be contacted and your secondary contact is your neighbor, who is also affected by the natural disaster, you are again at a loss.  However, if you give contact information for someone outside of your living area, the likelihood that they can be contacted is greater.  We learned a lot of this the hard way from hurricane Katrina.

Be a life saver – Microchip your pet today!