Author Archives: lakewood

Merry Christmas…

When Christmas time approaches it’s easy (and fun sometimes) to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all. But before you do, it’s a good idea to consider your pets at this time of year, and make sure you’re doing all you can to give them a happy—and a safe—holiday season. We want the holidays to be a happy time for you and your pet, not a time for an emergency visit to your veterinarian.

  • If you plan on having a Christmas tree in your home there are a few things that you should remember. For instance, tinsel should be avoided because your pet may think that it is a toy to play with and they may accidentally swallow and choke on the tiny strings. In addition, do not decorate your tree with popcorn or other food items and remove all edible gifts from under the tree.You should also try to hang small and breakable ornaments out of your pet’s reach. Do not place chemicals in your tree’s water. It may keep your tree fresh longer, but it can prove very harmful to your pets. Do not allow your pet to drink the tree’s water because it can get dirty very quickly  and many pine needles fall into the water dish. A tight-fitting tree skirt over the tree stand may help to prevent this. Always make sure your pet has plenty of fresh water in his/her own dish at all times.
  • Electric window displays and lights are very inviting, not only to you and your neighborhood, but to your curious pets as well. Make sure that all of your electrical connections and outlets are secured and concealed. Tape electrical cords to the walls or floors to ensure that your pet will not chew on them.
  • Holiday plants, such as poinsettias, amaryllis, mistletoe, and holly may add beauty to your home, but they are very poisonous to your pets. If these plants are ingested, they may cause vomiting, diarrhea, or even more serious problems. If you purchase these items for your home, please make sure that they are out of your pet’s reach.
  • After you have had your fill of holiday turkey, ham, chicken, and/or roast beef make sure you throw those bones away – do not give them to your pet! You might think that you are giving them a treat, but actually you may be threatening their health. Bones can splinter easily and cause damage to your pet’s throat and intestines. Bones can also become lodged in your pet’s throat, which may result in your pet not being able to breathe.
  • You should also avoid feeding your pet chocolate, candy, and cookies, which can be toxic to their health. Feeding your pet these products can result in extreme vomiting and can make your pet very sick. If you want to give your pet a special treat then try changing the way you feed them their regular pet food. Adding water or broth to dry food or mixing in canned food makes a great treat and it is much healthier for your pet. Do not feed your pet high-fat foods, such as gravy and dressing, which can cause serious stomach upsets. You should make sure that your guests know not to feed your pet as well.
  • After your gifts are opened, quickly dispose of all plastic wrappings, ribbons, and bows that can be easily swallowed by curious pets.

Lyme Disease and your Dog

Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world. It is caused by a spirochete (bacteria) species of the Borrelia burgdorferi group. Dominant clinical feature in dogs is recurrent lameness due to inflammation of the joints. There may also be a lack of appetite and depression. More serious complications include damage to the kidney, and rarely heart or nervous system disease.

Symptoms and Types

Many dogs with Lyme disease have recurrent lameness of the limbs due to inflammation of the joints. Others, meanwhile, may develop acute lameness, which lasts for only three to four days but recurs days to weeks later, with lameness in the same leg, or in other legs. Better known as “shifting-leg lameness,” this condition is characterized by lameness in one leg, with a return to normal function, and another leg is then involved; one or more joints may be swollen and warm; a pain response is elicited by feeling the joint; responds well to antibiotic treatment.Some dogs may also develop kidney problems. If left untreated, it may lead to glomerulonephritis, which causes inflammation and accompanying dysfunction of the kidney’s glomeruli (essentially, a blood filter). Eventually, total kidney failure sets in and the dog begins to exhibit such signs as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss, increased urination and thirst, fluid buildup in the abdomen and fluid buildup in the tissues, especially the legs and under the skin.

Other symptoms associated with Lyme disease include:

  • Stiff walk with an arched back
  • Sensitive to touch
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever, lack of appetite, and depression may accompany inflammation of the joints
  • Superficial lymph nodes close to the site of the infecting tick bite may be swollen
  • Heart abnormalities are reported, but rare; they include complete heart block
  • Nervous system complications (rare)


If the diagnosis is Lyme disease, your dog will be treated as an outpatient, unless its health condition is severe. There are a number of antibiotics from which to choose. It is important that you keep your dog warm and dry, and you will need to control its activity until the clinical signs have improved. The recommended period for treatment is four weeks. Your veterinarian is unlikely to recommend dietary changes. Do not use pain medications unless they have been recommended by your veterinarian. Unfortunately, symptoms do not always completely resolve in some animals. In fact, long-term joint pain may continue even after the bacteria has been fully eradicated from your dog’s system.


A variety of sprays, collars, and spot-on topical products are available to kill and repel ticks. Such products should only be used according to the label’s directions. In addition there are vaccines available for dogs; talk to your veterinarian about its availability and whether it is right for your dog.


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Fleas make pet’s lives miserable, and humans begin to itch just at the thought of them. The adult flea seen on a pet only represents about 5% of the flea population present in the environment. Flea eggs, larvae, and pupae reside in carpeting, rugs, bedding, and grass. Each flea can lay ~50 eggs per day and up to 2000 eggs in its short life causing a rapid increase in the flea population in the environment.

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Excessive scratching may be the first sign that your pet has an annoying flea problem. It is a good idea to check pets for fleas on a regular basis.  When checking for fleas, look for black specks (flea dirt) on your pet or on its bed or the actual fleas. These are easier to find if a fine tooth comb is brushed through the hair coat, especially on the back and rump area of the pet.

Diseases caused by fleas

  • Flea allergy dermatitis – an allergy to flea bites – specifically the saliva of fleas
  • Anemia – fleas feed on the blood of pets. If there is a large flea infestation the fleas can actually severally deplete the animals blood volume.
  • Tapeworms – fleas are one of the tapeworm hosts and infect pets they bite.
  • Rickettsiosis, Plague, Cat Scratch Disease – bacterial infections.

What to do about fleas

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Many flea products are available that have varying degrees of efficacy. Some over the counter products can be toxic to your pet, not just the fleas. Products available from your veterinarian are often the safest and effective. Treating your pet is one step in the process. Since flea eggs and larvae are also in the environment treating your house and yard may also be needed in severe flea infestations. Talk with your veterinarian about the best options for you and your pet.

Everyone knows fleas aren’t fun. However, here are some flea facts that will amaze you!

  • Fleas can jump up to 150 times their own length. To put that into perspective, if a human competed in the Olympic long jump with that ability, that athlete would certainly win the gold medal with a gravity-defying 1,000 foot long jump. So they can easily jump onto your pet from the ground, or from another pet.
  • On average, a flea’s lifespan is two to three months. However, pre-emerged fleas (not living on a pet) can survive undisturbed and without a blood meal for more than 100 days.
  • The female flea can lay 2,000 eggs in her lifetime. That means that if all 53 million dogs in the United States each hosted a population of 60 fleas, the U.S. would house more than six trillion flea eggs. Laid end-to-end, those eggs would stretch around the world more than 76 times! It’s important to kill fleas before they get a chance to lay eggs.
  • The female flea consumes 15 times her own body weight in blood daily.
  • A flea can bite 400 times a day. That’s a rate of 4,000 bites a day if your pet has just 10 fleas.

Heats and Pregnancy in Dogs

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Puppies are so cute and full of energy when they are little. Often the question is asked about whether a male or female dog makes a better pet? Ultimately that question is answered by personal preference. Regardless it is recommended that pets be spayed or neutered at 5-6 months of age to help reduce their risk of developing cancerous conditions, reproductive infections or diseases, and unplanned litters of puppies.

Breeding the female dog

Most dogs come into heat for the first time between 6 and 12 months of age. It is recommended to not breed a dog until around 2 years of age so she can finish growing and be evaluated for developmental problems. It is especially important in dog breeds known to be predisposed to hip dysplasia that the hips be x-rayed and evaluated prior to breeding the dog.  The hips can be certified and graded using two different methods to assess for hip dysplasia.

The first thing you will recognize when your dog goes into heat is a swollen vulva and bloody discharge. Somewhere between days 6-11 of the heat cycle the female will become more interested in the male and actually become fertile. While in heat a dog can be breed by more than the one male. She will be in heat for ~3 weeks and her cycle will arrive every 6-9 months.

Gestation (pregnancy) a brief overview

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Gestation is the period when the young are developing in the mother’s uterus. Gestation is normally 63 days, but puppies may be delivered between 58 and 68 days. There are no practical blood or urine tests available to confirm pregnancy in the dog. Pregnancy diagnosis is typically confirmed using ultrasound or x-rays. There are few noticable changes until after the 5th week of pregnancy. Some mammary development may begin as early as day 35 of gestation, but typically is seen within the last week before delivery. Some behaviour changes can be normal, especially in the last few weeks of gestation. A whelping box that is big enough for the mother to sleep in comfortably and leave room for puppies should be provided for the mother to nest in prior to delivery. Blankets and papers should be provided for her to shred and make a nest out of.

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Good nutrition is essential for healthy puppies and mothers. During the first 4 weeks of pregnancy nutritional needs change little for your dog. However during the last 5 weeks it is recommended to feed several small meals each day and an increased amount of food may be necessary to meet the energy demands for the mother. Fresh water should always be available. Dietary supplements should be used only as recommended by the patients veterinarian.

Moderate exercise is best for the pregnant dog. Neither forced rest or strenuous exercise is a good idea. Short periods of gentle play and short walks are good.

Heat Stress and your pet!

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Warm weather is finally here in western New York! Some are rejoicing in the heat and basking in the sun’s golden warmth, while others of us are seeking shade and the air conditioned comforts of the indoors as much as possible.  During these hot summer days it is important to be mindful of our 4 legged companions as even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn if overexposed to the heat.

Summer Safety Tips

  • Make sure there is adequate shade all day long for your dog if it is outside on a sunny, hot day.

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  • Never leave your dog in a closed vehicle on a hot day. The temperature inside a car can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes.  Heatstroke and death can occur within minutes in warm temperatures.
  • Always provide plenty of cool, fresh water.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days. Take walks in the early mornings or evenings, when the sun’s heat is less intense.
  • Try to avoid prolonged exposure to hot asphalt or sand, which can burn your dog’s paws.
  • Dogs, especially those with short hair, white fur, and pink skin, can sunburn. Limit your dog’s exposure during the day and apply sunblock to his ears and nose 30 minutes before going outside.
  • Most dogs enjoy swimming, but some cannot swim, and others may hate the water. Be conscious of your dog’s preferences and skills before trying to make him swim.  Don’t let your dog overdo it; swimming is very hard work and he may tire quickly. Never leave your dog unattended in water or around a pool where they may accidentally fall in and be unable to get back out of the water.


Heatstroke can be the serious and often fatal result of a dog’s prolonged exposure to excessive heat.

Early Stages:

  • Heavy panting.                                             •Rapid breathing.
  • Excessive drooling.                                    •Bright red gums and tongue.
  • Standing 4-square, posting or spreading out in an attempt to maintain balance.

Advanced Stages:

  • White or blue gums.                                                  •Lethargy, unwillingness to move.
  • Uncontrollable urination or defecation.          •Labored, noisy breathing.
  • Shock.

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If your dog begins to exhibit signs of heatstroke, you should immediately try to cool the dog down. Applying rubbing alcohol to the dog’s paw pads will help to cool the pet in less advanced cases.  With advanced cases of heat stress it is important to cool the pet as quickly as possible.  Cold water baths and fans are usually the quickest way to cool your pet. Check your dog’s temperature regularly during this process. Once the dog’s temperature has stabilized at between 100 to 102 degrees, you can stop the cool-down process. If you cannot get the dog cooled down and you begin to see signs of advanced heatstroke you should contact your veterinarian immediately. There can be long term side effects from heat stroke in your pet so it is a good ideal to talk with your veterinarian if your pet has suffered from heat stroke.

Parasites and Your Pet

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For many of us the family pet greatly enhances our lives and is an important member of the family. Just as we want to protect our family from infection and diseases, we naturally want to protect the family pet from internal parasites. Pets can harbor zoonotic parasites that can potentially be transmitted to people. Precautions for preventing the spread of zoonotic diseases are necessary and often are deemed more significant when there are young children in the household. Parasitic larvae can migrate within the human body damaging tissues and possibly result in blindness. Many of the  common internal parasites of dogs and cats are transmissible to people. Children are at the greatest risk for acquiring a zoonotic parasite. This certainly is influenced by their penchant for putting anything and everything into their mouths, playing in the dirt, and lack of concern about washing their hands.

What are Intestinal Parasites and Where Does My Pet Get Them?

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Intestinal parasites are worms that live in the pet’s gastrointestinal tract. Worms cause disease by robbing nutrients from the pet’s digestive system and leave internal wounds where they attach to the intestinal lining. Some major intestinal parasites are: hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms, coccidia, and giardia. Most puppies and kittens are born with parasites or acquire them shortly after birth from nursing. If pets are exposed to contaminated areas (places where fecal matter may be or has been) or other pet waste they could ingest eggs or larvae which can develop into adult worms. Unfortunately worm eggs and larvae are in many places in the outdoor environment. All pets are susceptible to infection with internal parasites.

What are Some Symptoms of Intestinal Parasites?

Not all intestinal parasites/worms are visible in your pets stool.  Depending on the worm load of your pet there may be no recognizable signs of infection.  Overwhelming number of worms living in the intestinal tract could cause vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, pot-bellied appearance, coughing, weight loss, and even death. The best way to determine if your pet has internal parasites is to have a fecal exam performed yearly on your pet.

How Do I Protect My Family?

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  • Regular veterinary examinations and fecal testing for your pet
  • Always wash hands after handling pet or pet toys
  • Avoid contact with pet urine or feces
  • Never eat anything your pet may have licked or had in their mouth
  • Wear gloves when gardening or playing in dirt or sandboxes

Monthly deworming and heartworm preventatives are available and have been proven to be almost 100% effective if administered properly. At a minimum yearly fecal examinations can screen pets and allow for the development of a tailored deworming program.

Why Is A Fecal Exam Recommended? Why Not Just Deworm My Pet?

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Fecal flotations’ are laboratory tests in which the feces is mixed with a special solution and spun in a centrifuge. The solution causes the eggs to float upward and collect on a microscope slide placed on top of the cylinder. A fecal exams reveals which parasites, if any, that your pet has and the number. This allows for development of an effective deworming program to rid your pet of unwanted internal parasites. Certain parasites require your pet be redewormed two to three months later in order to effectively break the egg-larvae-adult cycle. Routine deworming is only recommended in puppies and kittens since they are often born with internal parasites or acquire them soon after birth.

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

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It is National Pet Dental Health Month, but your pet’s dental health should be addressed every day of the year, not just in February. If your pet has bad breath, that odor might signify a serious health risk with the potential to damage not only your pet’s teeth and gums but the internal organs as well.

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It is estimated that by the age of two, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums. These infections have been linked to diabetes, heart problems, blood clots, kidney disease, and other life threatening disorders. The best way to prevent periodontal disease is by having a regular dental regime for your pet coupled with regular oral exams by your veterinarian. Unfortunately once a large amount of tarter has developed on a pets teeth, a routine dental cleaning is often necessary. Once the tarter has been removed and the teeth cleaned and polished it is important to start an at home program to help prevent tarter and gingivitis from reoccurring.

At home dental care for your pet

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  • Brushing your pets teeth is still considered the best way to prevent dental disease. Special pet toothpaste should always be used to brush your pets teeth as human toothpaste has to high a fluoride content if your pet swallows it. If your pet has not had its teeth brushed before, it may require some time to teach your pet to allow you to brush their teeth.
  • Special dental diets are available to help prevent tarter buildup. Many of these diets have enzymes that work against tarter and are a larger, coarser nugget of food which works similar to a toothbrush on the tooth when chewed.
  • Special dental chews are available to help prevent tarter buildup. Enzymes in these chews work against tarter buildup .
  • There are also water additives and dental gels which aid in the prevention of tarter.

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Bring your pet in for a dental examination and we can help you decided the best oral health regime for you and your pet. Sometimes a combination of different oral health products will work the best for your pet.

Information on Seresto Collar Safety

Statement made by Orchard Park 3/3/2021 regarding the recent news on Seresto collars:

“We have been made aware of recent news reports about Seresto collars killing pets.  This product, if bought from us, is guaranteed, and backed by the manufacturer.  We do not recommend getting this product from Amazon (which the articles reference) or other online pharmacies as many of these products are found to be counterfeit.  We did have a client about a year or so ago bring in their Seresto collar purchased from Amazon and while the packaging was similar, it was found to be counterfeit.  
If you are concerned about their collar, you can verify their product by calling the company and they can run the lot # from the tin packaging to make sure it matches their production numbers.  We can, of course, recommend other flea/tick products. We have no major reports of deaths or other side effects from the collars sold by us.  Many of our staff members use these on their own pets (from the manufacturer and obtained through the hospital) without issues.”

Statement from Elanco on Seresto Collar Safety:

“Elanco Statement of Safety of Seresto® Elanco takes the safety of our products very seriously, and thoroughly investigates potential concerns related to their use. It is critically important to understand that a report is not an indication of cause. Since its initial approval in 2012, more than 25 million Seresto collars have protected dogs and cats in the U.S. from fleas, ticks and the resulting tick-borne illnesses that can impact their quality of life. There is no established link between death and exposure to the active ingredients contained in Seresto. The reporting rate for all adverse events related to Seresto is less than 0.3% of all collars sold since 2012 – defined by the WHO (World Health Organization) as “uncommon”. The significant majority of these incidents relate to non-serious effects such as application site disorders – reddening of the skin or hair loss below the collar. As a globally marketed product, more than 80 regulatory authorities around the world, including the US EPA, rigorously reviewed the safety data collected over the course of Seresto’s development prior to registration and/or approval, as appropriate. Further, the safety and efficacy of Seresto are continuously monitored and scrutinized by global regulatory bodies as well as via internal processes.”

With all of this being said, Please make sure to purchase your flea and tick preventive care from your Veterinarian to ensure quality and safety.

Several of our veterinary staff use the Seresto collars on their pets without issue as well.


January 18, 2021

Lakewood Veterinary Service LLC

PO Box 126 Rushford, NY 14777    585-437-5120

After much consideration and discussion, we at Lakewood have reluctantly decided that we will soon discontinue our more than 35-year policy of after-hours emergency service for small animals. We certainly will continue to see emergencies during our regular hours of operation.

We did not come to this decision easily. We do realize how much your pets (and our patients) mean to you and your families. However, we have struggled for years to remain fully staffed to meet the demand, with a high veterinary turnover. Part of the difficulty in attracting and retaining new veterinarians is their disinterest in being “on-call” for emergencies at night, on weekends and the few holidays that we are closed. When we are short-staffed, those vets who remain are on call more often. When short-handed, the regular hours worked plus on-call frequently exceeds 100 hours per week of commitment. The situation is compounded by the fact that most other clinics in our region do not provide any after-hours services, resulting in frequent calls from their clients looking to us to help them.

To provide top-quality care, including emergencies, during our normal hours of operation, we do need to strike some reasonable work/life balance and have time to take care of our non-veterinary responsibilities.

Thankfully, the majority of you take outstanding care of your 4-legged friends. Because you emphasize preventive care and respond early to indications that your pet may not be well, after-hours services are rarely needed. While perhaps not as convenient, but certainly available and of high quality, are fully staffed emergency clinics in the Buffalo and Rochester areas.

We hope you never have need of after-hours care that requires you to drive the longer distance. To help avoid that situation, we recommend you continue good preventive care and timely regular vet visits to keep your pets healthy and catch any signs of health issues early. Not allowing your pets to roam freely will also help avoid injuries from being hit by cars or from scuffles with other animals.

We are working on filling the gap in veterinary staffing. We are optimistic that the policy change will help us in our search for new veterinarians so we can continue to provide quality care for your pets and perhaps expand our regular hours (already more than 50 hours per week).

Thank you very much for entrusting us with your family members and your support of our veterinary practice. The intended date of this policy change is February 26, 2021.


Matt Chuff, owner                                          Rob McNeill, owner

Has your new puppy had all of it’s “puppy shots?”

What does it mean when we ask if your dog/puppy has had all of its vaccines?

Puppies are initially protected by antibodies passed to them by their mother. Over time these antibodies diminish in their ability to prevent disease. Therefore, we vaccinate puppies at a time when their mother’s protection is decreasing and their own immune system is strong enough to start producing antibodies of its own. In general, the best time to start vaccinations is at 8 weeks of age. Puppies require a series of boosters a month apart after its initial vaccine to adequately develop immunity. We often find that some breeders do vaccines at a very early age, such as 5 to 6 weeks old. We recommend a follow up booster two weeks after those are given to begin the puppy’s complete series of vaccinations.  

The recommended schedule for puppy vaccines are as follows:

  • 8 Weeks of age1st DHPPC (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, coronavirus)
  • 12 Weeks of age2nd DHLPP +/- Lyme (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, leptospirosis) Lyme is an optional vaccination that can be added at this time                        Rabies (1st rabies is good for one year)
  • 16 Weeks of age3rd DHLPP +/- Lyme booster
  • 20 Weeks of age4th DHLPP (rottweilers only)

Dogs over 16 weeks of age that have never been vaccinated still need a Rabies and 2 DHLPP vaccines a month apart.

Please be mindful when someone/breeder says that a puppy/dog “has had it’s puppy shots,” that may NOT mean that it’s adequately vaccinated against all the diseases it needs protected from. It may have only had ONE at a very young age and it still may be susceptible to very serious illnesses. 

We do require all vaccines before admission to the hospital for a spay/neuter, since this is protection for your pet as well as other that may be hospitalized that day.