Greenbrier Animal Clinic
Warm Hearts - Treating Cold Noses
Grooming * Boarding * Dental Care * Vaccinations * Wellness Exams

 

Serving Northeast Alabama since 1980

Please Call for an appointment walk-ins accepted
Phone (256) 237-9585 FAX (256) 237-9589
After Hrs ER Phone (256) 591-5030 (256) 591-5030

Greenbrier Animal Clinic
GREENBRIER ANIMAL CLINIC
5 Star Rating 5 Star rating by Wellness.com
BUSINESS HOURS
MONDAY - FRIDAY 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Phone (256) 237-9585 FAX (256) 237-9589
Email: greenanimal@cableone.net
725 Greenbrier Dear Rd.
Anniston, AL 36207
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Dr. William H. Brom, DVM

Serving Anniston and surrounding areas for over 3 decades!
Wellness Exams * Vaccinations * Surgery * Laser Surgery
Microchipping * In-house Lab * Dental Care * Grooming * Boarding
Dogs, Cats, Exotic Pets Welcome

 
Welcome to Greenbrier Animal Clinic
     
 
Care Guides
The Wellness Exam | Keeping your pet at a healthy weight | Flea and Tick Prevention | Dental Cleaning

The Wellness Exam
A wellness exam is an overall general health assessmentthat may include blood tests, urinalysis, and parasite screening.
A wellness exam is recommended for most pets at least annually.
Some veterinarians recommend wellness exams at least every 6 months for senior pets and pets with chronic health issues.
A wellness exam can help ensure your pet's health and detect early stages of disease.

What Is a Wellness Examination?

A wellness examination is a complete physical examination along with diagnostic testingthat may include bloodwork, urinalysis, and checking a stool sample for parasites. In many cases, a wellness examination can help detect the early stages of disease. Often, your veterinarian will schedule this exam when your pet is due for vaccinations.

What Does a Wellness Exam Include?

Wellness programs vary depending on the species, age, and health needs of the patient. Your veterinarian may askyou to fill out a preliminary checklist along with a complete medical history of your pet. The checklist will ask about any issues that your pet may have. For example, if you noticed that your pet is losing weight, your veterinarian may perform special tests to help rule out specific diseases that can cause weight loss. Make sure to fill out the forms thoroughly and bring a list of questions that you may have about your pet’s health. This is the perfect time to ask these questions.

Most wellness exams include a complete physical examination, which is a nose-to-tail inspection for any abnormalities. Your veterinarian will use special equipment, including a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs, an otoscope to view the inside of the ears, and an ophthalmoscope to examine the eyes. Your veterinarian will also feel all over your pet’s body for lumps and bumps. In addition, your veterinarianwill check your pet’s vital signs (temperature, pulse, and respiration) andrecord your pet’s current weight.

Many veterinarians perform testing on samples of blood, urine, and stool during a wellness exam. The blood test may include a complete blood cell count (CBC) and a chemistry panel. These tests can help determine if your pet has problems such as anemia, infection, or organ disease. Other tests, such as a thyroid evaluation, may be helpful, depending on the physical examination results and patient history.

Parasite tests are usually performed during wellness examinations. Your veterinarian may request that you bring in a sample of your pet’s stool for analysis. A fresh stool sample can be tested using special procedures to identify parasites. However, not all parasites are detected through stool samples. Your veterinarian may recommend testing your pet for heartwormdisease. This type of parasite test involves taking a blood sample. Some veterinarians perform heartworm testing and fecal testing on site, but others send these tests to an outside laboratory for analysis.

Your veterinarian may also recommend checking your pet's urine by performing a urinalysis. This helps determine whether your pet's kidneys are working correctly and may also help diagnose certain conditions, such as diabetes and urinary tract infection. A urinalysis also involves testing the urine for the presence of bacteria, blood, and sedimentas well as evidence of infection, any of which may mean that there is a problem.

Depending on your pet’s age, current medical condition, and medical history, your veterinarian may recommend additional tests as part of your pet’s wellness examination.

What Is a Wellness Exam Used For?

A wellness examination is an important part of preventive health care for pets in all stages of life, from puppies and kittens to senior pets. If your pet seems to be young and healthy, a wellness examination is a good way to detect changes such as weight gain or loss, dental disease, or other subtle changes that may not be evident at home.

For any pet, especially senior pets, a wellness examination isa good way to detect early onset of disease. Early diagnosis and treatment of diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, can greatly improve the overall health and well-being of your pet.


Keeping your pet at a healthy weight
Nearly 50% of adult dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese.
Obesity increases the risk for other serious health problems.
Follow your veterinarian’s advice on which diet to feed your pet, how much, and how often.
Give your pet plenty of opportunities for regular exercise that is appropriate for his or her age and health status.

Why to Watch Your Pet’s Weight

Pet obesity has become a very common problem. Studies indicate that nearly 50% of adult dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese, and that percentage increases among older pets. Obesity increases the risk for other serious health problems, including osteoarthritis, diabetes (in cats), heart and respiratory diseases, and many types of cancers. Overweight pets are also at increased risk for complications during anesthesia if they need to undergo surgery or other procedures. And if a pet already has a health condition, obesity makes the problem that much harder to manage. Being overweight can also lower your pet’s energy level and hamper his or her ability to enjoy an active lifestyle with you and your family.

What Causes Weight Gain?

Simply put, weight gain results when an animal eats more calories than it burns off during normal activities or exercise. Factors that can contribute to weight gain include:

Overfeeding or overeating
Inactivity or low activity levels
Breed
Age
Reproductive status (intact versus spayed/neutered)
Preexisting diseases (e.g., hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, Cushing disease)

Certain breeds, especially smaller ones, are more prone to being overweight or obese, as are many senior pets.

How to Assess Your Pet’s Weight

Whether your pet is a dog or a cat, and regardless of what size or breed it is, you should be able to feel—but not see—its ribs. Being able to feel some ribs is a sign that your pet is at a healthy weight. Additionally, if your pet is at a healthy weight, it should have a distinct “waist” where the body narrows, just behind the rib cage and in front of the hindquarters, when viewed from above. When viewed from the side, your pet’s abdomen should appear to be slightly tucked up behind the rib cage. If your pet has fat deposits over its back and at the base of its tail, or if it lacks a waist or an abdominal tuck, chances are that it has a weight problem.

Veterinarians typically use a measurement called a body condition scale or body condition score to assess whether a pet is underweight, overweight, or just right. Your veterinarian can use this scale to show you what to look for when checking your pet’s weight.

Know What You Feed

Excess weight is generally due to a very simple problem—too much food! Treats and other tidbits are also major culprits. Although commercially produced pet foods must meet AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) nutritional standards, which ensure that they contain protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water in the proper proportions, treats are often not nutritionally complete and balanced and can contain a lot of calories. Therefore, it is important to be aware of how much your pet is eating each day. This information can help your veterinarian if he or she determines that your pet needs to lose weight.

To track how much your pet eats, it may be helpful for your family to keep a “food diary.” Everyone in the family should write down how much he or she feeds the pet every time the pet is fed. Treats count; so do rewards given during training sessions or when encouraging a pet to take medication.

It is also important to feed your pet the right food for his or her species, age, and size. For example, an adult dog or cat should not be fed a formula for puppy or kitten growth. Ask a veterinary professional for advice on what products offer the right nutritional mix for your pet, and how much and how often to feed. Most diets come with feeding guidelines, but every pet is different. Your veterinarian can make recommendations specifically for your pet.

Feeding “people” food to pets can not only contribute to weight gain but also cause other medical problems. Some foods that are perfectly healthy for people, like grapes, can be toxic to pets. Even foods that aren’t toxic can contribute to stomach problems, food allergies, or other problems for pets. Additionally, feeding table food to a pet that is already receiving a nutritionally balanced pet food changes the “balance” of that pet’s diet. Consult your veterinarian before feeding any human food to your pet.

A Note on Exercise

It is also essential to give your pet plenty of opportunities for regular exercise that is appropriate for his or her age and health status. A vigorous daily walk—if approved by your veterinarian—is an excellent place to start for many dogs. Most cats won’t tolerate leash walking, but regular play periods with fun toys, such as a light pointer or tossed ball, can provide satisfactory activity levels and help maintain their health.

Reading Labels

Under federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, every pet food must include a label listing its ingredients and a guaranteed analysis of how much protein, fat, and other important nutrients are in it. Reading the percentages can get complicated, so one of the best quick ways to assess the quality of a diet is to look at the ingredient list. By law, the pet food manufacturer must list the ingredients by weight. For more information on reading pet food labels, visit www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou and click on “Pet Food Labels—General” under “Information for Consumers Fliers.”

Avoiding the Battle of the Bulge

Feed a well-balanced, veterinarian-approved diet. If necessary, feed a calorie-restricted diet.
When you treat your pet, give healthy treats.
Consult your veterinarian before giving your pet any human food.
Make sure your pet gets plenty of regular age- and health-appropriate exercise.
Don’t allow your pet to have unrestricted access to food—its own or another pet’s!
Make sure all family members are on the same page when it comes to feeding—and treating—your pet.



Flea and Tick Prevention
Fleas and ticks are external parasites that can cause extreme discomfort and serious illness in pets and even people.
Fleas and ticks are easily prevented from bothering your pet through the use of safe, easy to administer, effective products.
Parasite prevention also may require treating your home and yard and keeping pets out of areas where fleas and/or ticks are likely to lurk.
Flea or tick control products meant for dogs should never be used on cats and vice versa.

What Are Fleas and Ticks?

Fleas and ticks are external parasites that can cause extreme discomfort for your pet and can also cause serious diseases.

Fleas

Fleas are insects that are ubiquitous in the environment—meaning they can be found almost everywhere. There are more than 2000 species of fleas, but the common cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is the one that most commonly afflicts dogs and cats.

A disease of concern that can be caused by fleas is flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), which is a severe allergic reaction to flea bites. Some pets are so allergic that even a single bite can cause a reaction. FAD makes pets miserable. In severe cases, it can cause severe itching and inflammation that, if left untreated, can lead to excessive scratching and chewing that can damage the skin. Secondary bacterial or fungal infections can develop as a result.

Fleas can also play a role in transmitting parasites, such as tapeworms, and bacterial diseases, such as cat scratch fever (bartonellosis), to humans.

Finally, in very severe infestations, particularly in old, ill, or young animals, fleas can remove so much blood through feeding that they can weaken the animal.

Fleas are prevalent throughout the United States. They prefer warm, humid conditions, so infestations are typically worst during mid to late summer and early fall. In some parts of the country, they can be a significant problem year round. Even during the cooler months, fleas can survive very well indoors once an infestation has been established.

Ticks

Ticks are not insects, but they are closely related to spiders, scorpions, and mites. There are approximately 80 tick species found in the United States, but only a handful of them are of real concern to pets and people. Some of these include the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus), the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis), and the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis). The brown dog tick is the only species that can complete its entire lifecycle on a dog and can infest homes and kennels.

Tick bites can be painful and irritating, but the real concern with ticks is the number of serious diseases they can transmit, such as Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. These diseases can cause significant illness and even death in both pets and people.

Ticks are found in virtually every region of the United States. They are most prevalent in the early spring and late fall, although some species are well adapted to temperature extremes and can be found any time of year. In general, however, they prefer dark, moist, brushy places in which to lay their eggs.

How Do I Know If My Pet Has Fleas and/or Ticks?

Larger tick species can typically be seen or felt in the hair coat, especially once they are engorged after feeding. Deer ticks, on the other hand, are very tiny—about the size of the head of a pin in some stages—and can be harder to see.

Repetitive scratching is a telltale sign that your pet may have fleas. Adult fleas can be identified on the pet, but fleas in other stages of their life cycle (eggs, larvae, and pupae) can be harder to find. Adult fleas are tiny and can be hard to see, but flea combs can be used to remove fleas as well as flea dirt. Flea dirt is essentially flea feces, which is digested blood. To check your pet for fleas, run a flea comb through your pet’s fur and dump any hair and debris onto a white paper towel. Dampen it slightly with water. Any small, dark specks that stain the towel red are a clear indication your pet has fleas. Finally, excessive grooming is also a sign of a potential flea problem. Infested cats will groom themselves repeatedly in an effort to remove fleas.

How Do I Prevent Fleas?

There are many safe, effective, and easy to administer flea control products. These products are typically administered orally in tablet (or liquid) form or topically by applying the medication as a fluid directly to the animal’s skin—generally between the shoulder blades or at the back of the neck. Some flea control products are only active against adult fleas, whereas other products can also target other stages of the flea life cycle, such as eggs and larvae. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend more than one product in order to most effectively kill fleas and break the flea life cycle.

Once an infestation is established, fleas can be very difficult to get rid of. You may need to treat your pet repeatedly. In addition, fleas must be completely removed from the affected pet’s environment. Therefore, all other animals in the house must also be treated with flea control products, and the house and yard may need to be treated as well.

Vacuuming rugs, throwing out old pet bedding, and laundering other items may also be recommended by your veterinarian to help remove fleas from your pet’s environment.

How Do I Prevent Ticks?

There are many safe, effective, and easy to administer tick control products. Many of the major flea control products also have formulations that will help prevent ticks. These products are typically administered topically by applying the medication as a fluid directly to the animal’s skin—generally between the shoulder blades or at the back of the neck.

Prevention also includes keeping pets out of “tick habitats,” such as heavily wooded areas or tall grass. As much as possible, create tick-free zones in your yard by keeping grass mown short and bushes cut back. Ticks like moist areas, so remove leaf litter from around your house. If necessary, you may need to treat your backyard with a pesticide to reduce the number of ticks.

Finally, make a habit of performing a “tick check” on your pet at least once a day, especially if he or she has any access to wooded or grassy areas where ticks may lurk. If you find a tick, grasp it with a pair of tweezers as close down to the mouthparts as you can reach. Exert a gentle, steady pressure until the tick lets go. There are also tick removal tools that are very easy to use. Never remove a tick with your bare fingers. Avoid using lighter fluid, matches, or other products that may irritate the skin or cause other injuries to your pet. When in doubt, ask your veterinary care team for assistance removing the tick.

Never use flea control products intended for dogs on cats. Some medications can be highly toxic to cats. Only use products on the species for which they are intended, and follow all label instructions.




Dental Cleaning
85% of all pets have periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years of age.
Dental disease can result in bad breath, painful chewing, and tooth loss.
Bacteria under the gum can travel to the heart, kidneys, and liver.
A professional dental cleaning is required to remove plaque and tartar from a pet’s teeth and to assess the health of the mouth.
A thorough dental cleaning requires that the pet be under anesthesia.
Regular, at-home dental care can help improve the health of your pet’s mouth and lengthen the intervals between professional dental cleanings.

It’s estimated that 85% of all pets have periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years of age. Periodontal disease is a progressive disease of the supporting tissues surrounding teeth and the main cause of early tooth loss.

Periodontal disease starts when bacteria combine with food particles to form plaque on the teeth. Within days, minerals in the saliva bond with the plaque to form tartar, a hard substance that adheres to the teeth. The bacteria work their way under the gums and cause gingivitis—inflammation of the gums. Once under the gums, bacteria destroy the supporting tissue around the tooth, leading to tooth loss. This condition is known as periodontitis. Gingivitis and periodontitis make up the changes that are referred to as periodontal disease. The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can also travel in the bloodstream to infect the heart, kidneys, and liver.

A professional veterinary dental cleaning is the only way to remove tartar from the teeth and under the gum tissue to protect your pet’s health. With a professional dental cleaning and follow-up care, gingivitis is reversible. Periodontal disease is not reversible, but diligent at-home dental care and regular veterinary cleanings can slow down the progression of the condition.

What Is a Dental Cleaning?

During a dental cleaning (sometimes called a prophylaxis), (1) plaque and tartar are removed from a pet’s teeth and (2) the health of the entire mouth (tongue, gums, lips, and teeth) is assessed. A thorough dental cleaning can be accomplished only while the pet is under general anesthesia. Anesthesia keeps your pet free of pain during the dental procedure and allows your veterinarian to fully inspect the teeth and remove tartar from under the gums. During anesthesia, a soft plastic tube is inserted into the trachea (the main airway in the throat) to support the patient’s breathing. Placement of the tracheal tube also prevents inhalation of bacteria that are aerosolized during the dental cleaning.

A dental cleaning may include the following:

Removal of visible plaque and tartar from the teeth
Elimination of plaque and tartar from under the gum
Probing of dental sockets to assess dental disease
Polishing to smooth enamel scratches that may attract bacteria
Dental radiographs (x-rays) to evaluate problems below the gum line
Application of fluoride or a dental sealer
Removal or repair of fractured or infected teeth
Dental charting so progression of dental disease can be monitored over time
Inspection of the lips, tongue, and entire mouth for growths, wounds, or other problems

How Do I Know if My Pet Needs a Dental Cleaning?

Regular inspection of your pet’s mouth is important to catch dental disease in the early stages. Tartar may appear as a brownish-gold buildup on the teeth, close to the gum line. Redness or bleeding along the gum line may indicate gingivitis. Other signs of dental disease include:

Bad breath
Drooling
Pawing at the mouth
Difficulty chewing
Loose or missing teeth

If you notice any of these signs in your pet, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

What Are the Benefits of a Dental Cleaning?

A professional dental cleaning removes not only the visible plaque and tartar on the teeth surfaces but also the bacteria under the gums. This eliminates potential sources of infection to the mouth and other organs and protects your pet from pain and tooth loss.

What Can I Do to Keep My Pet’s Teeth Clean?

Once a dental cleaning has been performed, you can take a number of steps at home to keep your pet’s teeth clean and lengthen the intervals between dental cleanings.

Your veterinarian may recommend a plaque prevention product—a substance that you apply to your pet’s teeth and gums on a weekly basis. The product adheres to the teeth surface to create a barrier that prevents plaque from forming.

Just as in people, daily brushing can help remove food particles from between your pet’s teeth. You can use a child’s toothbrush or purchase a finger brush from your veterinarian. Human toothpastes should be avoided because they contain ingredients that should not be swallowed by your pet. Your dog or cat may like the taste of pet toothpaste, which is available in flavors such as chicken, seafood, and malt.

Several dental diets and treats can also help keep plaque and tartar to a minimum. The diets tend to have larger kibbles to provide abrasive action against the tooth surface when chewed. Or they may contain ingredients that help prevent tartar mineralization. Ask your veterinarian which diets or treats are appropriate for your pet.

     
   
 
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