The Animal Health Bulletin
Healing Springs Animal Hospital
Serving Family & Farm Since 1979
Dogs, Cats, Equine, Bovine, Small Ruminants, Camelid
Healing Springs Animal Hospital
107 Nuckolls Curve Rd
Galax, VA
(276) 236-5103


Volume II, Issue XI

November 2006


        A Pet Friendly Way to Approach the Internet

        Upcoming Events

        Improving Joint Function in Dogs

        Holiday Hazards for Furry Friends



Pet Portals Login







Upcoming Events



A Pet Friendly Way to Approach the Internet


When you first open your web browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape, the first page that appears is YOUR homepage.  It is very often the page that Microsoft or your internet service provider has chosen for you.  Make YOUR homepage a page that works for you.  Choose Springboard, a free service of Healing Springs.   Springboard gives you more service and options in a fast-loading page than most homepage options.  Imagine, everytime you open your web browser you have immediately available:

ü   Two top search engines

ü   Animal news and special interest headlines

ü   Local Weather

ü   All the latest World News Headlines


One Click Away:

ü    Local movie showings and times

ü    Phone directory for people and businesses

ü    Driving directions

ü    Detailed & ten day weather forecast

ü    Animal News Stories

ü    Top World News stories

ü    Pet Portals Login


Click Here for more details and instructions on how to change your homepage.


Click Here to see Springboard now.

Customer Appreciation Day


Tuesday, December 12, Healing Springs will serve refreshments all day in the lobby to show our appreciation for you.  We will also have a drawing for door prizes.  Remember, Healing Springs is now open from 8 am to 7 pm on both Tuesdays and Thursdays.


Purina OM dog food for weight controlBiggest Pet Loser Contest

We’re still signing up contestants.  Express your interest now. 


Use this fun contest to get lots of support and discounted, high-quality food to help your chubby buddy lose weight.   The winner gets 100 pounds of free Purina dog or cat food, and everyone gets a healthier pet.


Healing Springs will team up with Purina to see whose dog or cat can have the highest percentage weight loss in three months.  Contestants must use Purina OM Dog Food or Purina OM Cat Food.  All contestants will get $10 off all OM Food purchases (this makes some package sizes free).  Contestants will all have an initial weigh-in and will weigh in every two weeks at Healing Springs.  Contestants need not be clients of Healing Springs, but the discounted Purina OM must be purchased at Healing Springs. 


Want to participate?  Sign up to be notified when the date for the initial weigh-in is set.

Sign-Up Now Online

Or call us at (276) 236-5103


Another premium cat food for weight maintenance


Improving Joint Function in Dogs


The winter months are the time you are most likely to see joint stiffness and discomfort in pets.  Arthritis is so common, that it affects one in five dogs over the age of seven.  Severity can range from uncomfortable to disablingly painful, and the condition often progresses in severity with age.  Arthritis and joint pain in dogs typically affects the shoulders, elbows, hips, neck, and back.  Signs that your dog may be suffering from stiff or painful joints include favoring one leg over another, reduced range of motion in the elbow or shoulder, difficulty in sitting or standing, reluctance to jump, and decreased activity levels.  Pet owners have a number of options for improving their dog’s quality of life including a newer nutritional therapy called hyaluronic acid. 


Hyaluronic AcidHyaluronic acid (also known as hyaluronan) is a naturally occurring substance in the bodies of many types of mammals including dogs, horses, humans, and rats.  Hyaluronic acid is one of the main components in making synovial fluid slippery.  Synovial fluid is the fluid in joints that helps cartilage and other structures slide across one another instead of tearing one another.  Many nutritionists theorize that with age, damage to joints occurs after synovial fluid begins to lose its slippery quality. 


In human medicine, some doctors offer injections of an upgraded form of hyaluronic acid directly into problematic joints (Current Opinions in Rheumatology: Advancements in the Surgical and Alternative Treatment of Arthritis).  Human studies seem to indicate that hyaluronic acid proves most effective in mild cases of arthritis. 


In veterinary medicine, nutritional supplements providing hyaluronic acid are most common.  Supplements are available for both dogs and horses.  Because of its energetically stable chemical structure, hyaluronic acid consumed by mouth (orally) travels directly into the body without being broken down by digestion.  A supplement manufacturer tested mammalian digestion by radiolabeling hyaluronic molecules and feeding them to beagle dogs and wistar rats.  They found that the body absorbs hyaluronic acid in as little as 30 minutes and that absorption peaks at about five to seven hours. 


Conquer K9Hyaluronic acid provides the comforting advantage of speedy results.  Dogs and horses often demonstrate improvement in joint function in a matter of days or weeks.  This compares favorably to the older nutritional supplements containing only glucosamine and chondroitin.  Those building blocks typically take months to produce the desired effects.  However, hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, and chondroitin are each important, and all three work together to produce even better results than each one can produce individually.  This is part of the reason that the vets of Healing Springs enthusiastically recommend Conquer K9 for dogs which synergistically combines hyaluronic acid, chondroitin, and glucosamine.  Conquer K9 also provides dogs with omega 3 fatty acids and nine vitamins and minerals important for joint function, immune function, healthy skin, and healthy coat. 


Glucosamine is a building block that helps the body manufacture glycosaminoglycans, a substance that works to maintain cartilage structure.  Chondroitin helps attract water into cartilage for added structural strength and joint lubrication.  Chondroitin may also inhibit enzymes that destroy cartilage.


Other strategies for reducing joint pain in dogs include:

     Control weight: obesity puts unnecessary pressure on joints.  See Healing Springs for high quality, weight control food and treats.

     Improve food quality: Foods high in corn, wheat, or soy (the primary ingredients in low-cost dog foods) may increase joint inflammation and aggravate arthritis.  Give buying preference to foods that have quality meat ingredients listed as the first (and therefore most prominent) ingredient.  For dogs aged 7+, the vets of Healing Springs strongly recommend Science Diet Senior which is enriched with glucosamine, chondroitin, antioxidants, and other nutrition formulated to support joints, cartilage, and immunity.

     Keep your pets and horses warm and cozy.  See “Thinking of Cats and Dogs During Cold Weather” and “Care for Horses in Cold Weather.”

     Raise food and water bowls to more ergonomically comfortable heights.

     Give your dog a massage.  Most dogs enjoy massages just as much as people do.  Gently rub around affected joints and surrounding muscles.  The tactile stimulation, heat from your hands, and possible improvement of muscle action can help reduce discomfort.


If you suspect that your pet has arthritis, make a specific appointment or bring it up during your senior wellness visit.  A vet can give you individual consultation on arthritis care.  In severe cases, a Healing Springs vet will devise for your pet a drug regimen that will minimize the risk of future organ damage while maximizing pain control. 



Conquer K9, vet recommended for improving joint pain











Dental Hygiene – more important than many pet owners know












Care for cats and dogs during cold weather














Order Pet ID Tags conveniently online and get free shipping




Holiday Hazards for Furry Friends


The holidays sometimes present new hazards and considerations for cats and dogs.  Here are a few reminders that may make the holidays more enjoyable for you and your pets.


Uncooked Bread Dough:

When pets consume bread dough, the animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in the animal’s stomach.  In addition to the size problem, alcohol produced during the fermentation process can cause alcohol toxicosis.  This is primarily a problem for dogs that get on counters to steal bread dough, but can also happen to a lesser extent when cooks give dough to dogs as treats.  Pets who have eaten dough may experience abdominal pain, bloat, vomiting, disorientation, and/or depression.  If you see these signs in your pet, you may need to bring the pet to Healing Springs for evaluation.


Bones from Human Meals

Healing Springs sees multiple cases of problems caused by consuming ham bones, turkey bones, and other bones from human meals.  Bones can cause choking or intestinal blockage.  They also can splinter and perforate the stomach or intestines.


Cats Sometimes Eat Tinsel


Mistletoe Can Be Toxic

Don’t let pets nibble on it.  Keep mistletoe in high places such as over doorways.  If ingested in large enough quantities, mistletoe can cause stomach irritation, excessive thirst and urination, a drop in blood pressure and heart rate, seizures, coma, and /or death.  However, most cases of mistletoe ingestion involve only a couple of sprigs and mild stomach upset that resolves without treatment.


Poinsettias Not Good, But Not So Bad

The toxic effects of poinsettia consumption may have been exaggerated in the past.  Studies show that cases of poinsettia consumption have good outcomes, and that the effects of poinsettia consumption are mild.  If your cat or other pet is nibbling on a poinsettia, take it away.  Pets must consume a large volume of poinsettia to cause serious effects.  A 50lb dog would have to consume 1.25 lbs or 500 to 600 leaves to reach toxic levels.  The most common signs of poinsettia consumption are vomiting, anorexia, and depression.  The effects are self-limiting and typically require minimal treatment.


Dogs Can Sniff Out Food Gifts

If just one of your gifts under the tree contains food, don’t be surprised if your dog chooses that gift to unwrap when you aren’t around.  This can cause multiple problems from the dog consuming packaging to the dog consuming chocolates or other candies that are bad for pets.


Large Amounts of Holiday Food:

When a pet consumes a large amount of fat to which the body is not accustomed, an acute episode of pancreatitis can result.  Fat excess can result when humans serve pets a sizable portion of turkey, roast beef, ham, etc.  Pancreatitis is a painful, life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas that forces digestive enzymes into the body cavity.  Signs include severe vomiting, tense & painful abdomen, tiredness, refusal to eat, refusal to drink.


Chocolate Doesn’t Like Pets:

Chocolate can be toxic to pets – especially dark chocolate.   For more details on how chocolate affects pets, read the Halloween article from October 2005 (second to last paragraph).



Pet enthusiasts should make Springboard their homepage


















Dogs’ Flea Control Can Kill Cats

















How Dangerous are Holiday Plants to Pets?


Humane Society’s Pet Tree


Honor your pet on the Humane Society’s pet tree and help less fortunate pets at the same time.  The Twin County Humane Society (TCHS) has created The Pet Tree to be on display at Magic Mart from until December 31.  For a donation of $5.00, TCHS will put your pet’s picture and a short story of your pet’s life on the tree.  To participate, mail your donation to:


Attn: Pet Tree

 Twin County Humane Society

PO Box 125

Hillsville, VA  24343


Submit photos size 4”x6” or smaller.  Put a story on an index card.  Pictures cannot be returned. 






The Animal Health Bulletin is a FREE service of

Healing Springs Animal Hospital

(276) 236-5103

107 Nuckolls Curve Rd

Galax, VA  24333


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