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 III, Issue I

January 2007


     Current Events

o    Pet Adoption Day – January 30

o    Free Dental Clinic for Dogs and Cats– February 13

o    Goat Day at Virginia Tech – March 3

o    Springboard – the first page for internet viewing

     Conjunctivitis in Cats (reader requested)

     Preparing for the Foal’s Arrival



Pet Portals Login






Pet Adoption Day – January 30


Healing Springs Animal Hospital hosts a pet adoption day this Tuesday, January 30, from 9am to 6pm.  Several pets currently housed by Healing Springs will be available for adoption.  Area rescue groups will also make available photos and information about other pet adoption opportunities.  Everyone is invited to help us place these pets in caring homes.


Click Images Below for Larger View








Find pets up for adoption in your area at










Shelter Pets

Foster Pets

Lost & Found


Twin County Humane Society Website


Free Dental Clinic – February 13


Make an appointment for our free dental clinic for dogs and cats on Tuesday, February 13.  The event will feature

Dental Exams        Treat Samples         Toothpaste Samples

Food Samples        Coupons       Demonstrations & Information


Call Today: (276) 236-5103

Or log into your pet portals account to make an appointment online.  Click Here.


Buy dental care products from the Healing Springs Webstore


Goat Day at Virgnia Tech – March 3


Topics in Herd Health.  8:30 am – 4:00 pm. 


Goat Day will offer some of the latest information to help you manage your herd. Whether you have dairy goats, fiber goats, meat goats, or just a pet or two, the topics covered can help you keep your goats happier, healthier and more productive.  The symposium will include some of the most knowledgeable speakers in the Commonwealth, as well as Dr. Steve Hart from Langston University's E (Kika) de la Garza Institute for Goat Research. Multiple classes will be offered throughout the day, allowing you to select topics that are of utmost importance to you. Rick Odom, VA Animal ID Program Coordinator, will be on hand all day to answer questions about premise and animal ID in Virginia. Please join us for this wonderful opportunity to learn, meet with other goat owners, and share in our common goal of improving goat husbandry.  Lunch will be served on site.   Registration/Lunch fee: $15.  Optional FAMACHA Materials fee: $13.  Please pre-register by February 15. 


For registration form or more information, contact:

Sue Benner Garvin of Bearly-Alpine Dairy Goats

(540) 987-7206

90 Rolling Rd / Sperryville, VA  22740


Parasite Control for Sheep & Goats


Springboard Pets HomepageWhen you first log on to the internet, you can choose the first page you see (your home page).   We have created a very useful and entertaining page for you to use.  When you set Springboard as your homepage, you have instant access to two top search engines, the latest in animal related headlines, local weather, and the top national news headlines!  Using Springboard as your homepage, you are also only one click away from on-line phone book info, local movie times, MapQuest, and Healing Springs Pet Portals!


How to Change Your Homepage               View Springboard




Conjunctivitis in Cats


Conjunctivitis CatConjunctivitis is a swelling and irritation of the supportive structures in the eyes.  In our experience, roughly 25% of cats suffer from conjunctivitis at some point in their lives.  Conjunctivitis occurs in cats as the result of some other disease that is affecting the whole body.  Conjunctivitis can occur alone or with upper respiratory signs.  The top three causes of conjunctivitis in cats are chlamydia psittaci, feline rhinotracheitis (herpes virus), and feline influenza (calicivirus).  Vaccination, spaying and neutering to prevent risky behaviors, and controlling cat-to-cat interaction will all help prevent the transfer of these diseases.  Cats and kittens can have a single or mixed infection.  Presenting with only mild to moderate symptoms, feline influenza requires treatment, but doctors typically do not consider it a significant problem. 


Herpes Virus: The conjunctiva consists of membranes that line the eyelid and eyebulb.  Feline rhinotracheitis is a herpes virus that causes conjunctivial disease and systemic respiratory disease.  This disease is a common disease of kittens and cats.  Once this disease infects a cat, it becomes a lifelong problem.  Once infected, eighty percent of cats will carry the virus for life, but will only have occasional flare ups.  Most cats will only be able to spread the virus while showing symptoms, but forty-five percent of cats will spread the virus even while apparently healthy.  Kittens and cats will experience clinical symptoms during periods of stress and anxiety, such as new introductions into the household, change of environment, and periods of sickness.


The clinical symptoms of feline rhinotracheitis are marked conjunctival swelling, red eyes, sensitivity to light, increased blinking, and increased eye discharge that can be clear fluid or pus.  If the conjunctivitis is left untreated, the disease can progress to excruciatingly painful ulcers in the eyes.  The course of the disease can last 2 weeks to three months if untreated or seven days if treated.


The treatment regimen usually includes topical antibiotics, antivirals, and treating the ulcer.  Antiviral drugs are expensive and are available in a topical and systemic form.   Anti-inflammatories such as Metacam can help reduce inflammation in the eyes and the upper respiratory system.  Studies have shown that steroids and cyclosporine A can suppress clinical symptoms, but they do not remove the virus.  A cat’s or kitten’s response to treatment will depend on its immune status and general health. 


Chlamydia: Chlamydia psittaci is similar to herpes virus but is less severe in clinical symptoms.  The clinical symptoms of chlamydia psittaci are similar: conjunctival swelling, red eyes, increased eye drainage, and squinting.  The symptoms can be seen in one eye or both eyes.  This disease can have a respiratory component, or it can just cause symptoms in the eye.  Typically, kittens acquire the disease from their mothers.  This disease can last months if untreated or 3-7 days if treated.


The treatment of choice is a topical ophthalmic antibiotic tetracycline.  Doctors will avoid using steroids in the eyes if there is the possibility of mixed infections or if the eye has an ulcer.  If the kitten or cat has respiratory symptoms, oral tetracycline is the antibiotic of choice.  Anti-inflammatories such as Metacam can help reduce inflammation in the eyes and the upper respiratory system.



Microchips bring pets home













Thinking of Cats & Dogs During Cold Weather














The Bald Truth – Hair Loss in Cats & Dogs


Preparing for the Foal’s Arrival


FoalNow is the time to prepare for the 2007 foaling season.  Most mares foal in the springtime.  Pregnant mares need to be vaccinated 30 days prior to foaling to bolster immunity that can be transferred to the foal in colostrum.  The vaccinations can be as simple as a tetanus shot or can cover vaccinations for Rhinotrachitis/Calicivirus, eastern & western encephalitis, tetanus, rabies, and West Nile Virus.  If the mare is not already off fescue and eating fescue free hay, the owner should make arrangements to get fescue out of the mare’s diet.


Watch for Mammary Development: One needs to watch the mare’s mammary glands for development.  At two weeks prior to foaling, if the mare does not have any milk production, we can give the mare a drug called Domperidone.  This drug breaks the fescue toxicity effects and allows the mare to produce milk.  The quality and presence of colostrum, the mare’s first milk, is the biggest factor in assuring a foal’s survival.


Stall Preparation and Monitoring: Most mares foal at night.  A pregnant mare should be put in the barn at night when she is getting ready to foal.  A 12’ by 16’ stall with straw used as bedding is the best place for a foal to be born.  Mares should be checked hourly to watch for foaling problems.  Closed circuit and internet cameras that are now commonly available prove helpful for monitoring pregnant mares and for watching the foaling process without the risk of interrupting the mare’s labor.  Mares have considerable control over the foaling process and will stop the process if there is much human interaction.  Ninety percent of mares do foal uneventfully, especially if the producer controls the mare’s fescue exposure.


The signs that a mare’s labor is impending are a relaxation of the mare’s hindquarters, a lengthening of the vulvar lips, and “waxing” - small beads of colostrum at the tips of the teats.  Once a mare commits to the birthing process, she should be done in about 20 minutes.  Newly born foals should be on their chest in one to two minutes.  The mare should still be lying down.  Newborn foals can take up to two hours to stand, but they should be making an effort in about an hour.  Once the foal stands, that should break the umbilical cord.  At this point, the mare should start getting up.  The mare staying down with the umbilicus still intact allows for an important transfer of umbilical blood that helps establish the foal’s immune system.  Within 2-20 minutes after birth, the foal should have a suckle reflex.  The producer can stick his or her finger in the foal’s mouth.  The foal should suck on the finger.  After the foal has stood, its next instinct is to nurse.  The foal normally starts by suckling on the mare’s body moving back toward the mammary glands.  The foal’s normal time to nurse is 2-3 hours.  If a foal takes longer than 2-3 hours to nurse, call Healing Springs for a farm visit that night. 


Dip, Enema, & Vaccinations: There are things mare owners can do to ensure a healthy baby.  At birth, dip the navel in a betadine or chlorhexidine solution and repeat at 4-6 hours after birth.  This will help prevent navel ill.  The foal has to pass meconium, the first feces.  This is a very sticky substance that is difficult to pass.  A warm water enema or a “Fleet” enema will help the meconium pass easily.  Should you choose to use a warm water enema it should be about 60-120mls in volume and given slowly and gently.  If the mare has not been vaccinated for tetanus thirty days prior to foaling, the foal should be vaccinated with a tetanus antitoxin.  The foal can be given a tetanus toxoid at six and twelve weeks of age. 


Foal Checks: Even if there are no apparent problems, a veterinary visit for a foal check may be beneficial.  Have the foal check performed six to eight hours after birth.  However, foal checks on apparently healthy foals are not emergencies and do not merit paying additional emergency fees.  Simply make the appointment during the day, Monday through Saturday.  Healing Springs can perform a physical exam and a foal check to test for colostral antibodies.  The foal check is a blood test that measures the amount of colostral antibodies the mare has absorbed.  If any abnormalities are found, they need to be dealt with swiftly to ensure the foal’s survival.


Care for Horses in Cold Weather

















Square Bales Better than Round Bales for Horses – But Cows Don’t Care















The Gold Standard for Foal Vaccinations






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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© BMA 2007