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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

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.

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. 

Vaccines and Your Horse

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A “standard” vaccination program for all horses does not exist. The American Association of Equine Practitioners has developed a list of Core or recommended vaccines for each horse. Other vaccines are administered on a case by case basis depending on the risk of exposure to theses diseases.

Core Vaccines

  • Tetanus – an often fatal disease caused by a potent neurotoxin  from the anaerobic, spore-forming bacterium, Clostridium tetani.
  • Eastern/Western Equine Encephalitisa neurologic disease caused by a virus which can be transmitted by mosquitoes. Typically 90% of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) cases die from the disease.
  • Rabiesan infrequently encountered neurologic disease of horses.  While the incidence of rabies in horses is low, the disease is fatal and has considerable public health significance.
  • West Nile VirusA neurologic disease of horses typically spread from one infected animal to another by biting flies or mosquitos. Horses represent 96.9% of all non-human mammalian cases of WNV disease.

Non-Core Vaccines

Equine Influenza (Flu), Rhinopneumonitis (Rhino), Strangles, Potomac Horse Fever, Botulism

There are risks with vaccination and each individual situation requires evaluation based on the following criteria:

  • Risk of disease (anticipated exposure, environmental factors, geographic factors, age, breed, use, and sex of the horse)

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  • Consequences of the disease
  • Anticipated effectiveness of the selected product(s)
  • Potential for adverse reactions to a vaccine(s)
  • Cost of immunization (time, labor and vaccine costs) vs. potential cost of disease (time out of competition; impact of movement restrictions imposed in order to control  an outbreak of contagious disease; labor and medication if, or when, horses develop clinical disease and require treatment, or loss of life.)

A good vaccination program is always recommended, however, it is important to realize that:

  • Vaccination alone, in the absence of good management practices directed at infection control, is not sufficient for the prevention of infectious disease.
  • Vaccination serves to minimize the risks of infection but cannot prevent disease in all circumstances.
  • The primary series of vaccines and booster doses should be appropriately administered prior to likely exposure.
  • Each horse in a population is not protected to an equal degree nor for an equal duration following vaccination.
  • Protection is not immediately afforded the patient after administration of a vaccine that is designed to induce active immunity. In most instances, a  priming series of multiple doses of a vaccine must be administered initially for that vaccine to induce protective active immunity.
  • All horses in a herd should be vaccinated at intervals based on the professional opinion of the attending veterinarian

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.

Dental tips for your Dog

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With rare exceptions, puppies are born without teeth. The first teeth to erupt are the incisors, at 2 to 3 weeks of age. Next are the canines and premolars. The last premolar erupts at about 8 to 12 weeks of age. As a rule, the teeth of larger breeds erupt sooner than those of smaller breeds. The average puppy has 28 deciduous (temporary or baby) teeth. The deciduous teeth remain for only three to seven months.  Starting at about 3 months the first permanent teeth start to come in. By 7 to 8 months of age, a puppy should have all the adult teeth.

We all know bad breath—also known as halitosis—when we smell it. Bad breath is the result of a build-up of odor-producing bacteria in your dog’s mouth, lungs or gut. Persistent bad breath can indicate that your dog needs better dental care or that something is wrong in his gastrointestinal tract, liver or kidneys. In all cases, halitosis is a red flag that should be investigated. Most often, bad breath is caused by dental or gum disease, and certain dogs—particularly small ones—are especially prone to plaque and tartar. However, persistent bad breath can also indicate larger medical problems in the mouth, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract or organs.

Taking these steps will make brushing a lot easier for the both of you:

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  • First get your dog used to the idea of having the teeth brushed. Massage the lips with your finger in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds once or twice a day for a few weeks. Then move on to the teeth and gums.
  • When your pet seems comfortable with just having your fingers massaging the teeth and gums, put a little bit of dog-formulated toothpaste on the lips to get them used to the taste.
  • Next, introduce a toothbrush designed especially for dogs-it should be smaller than a human toothbrush and have softer bristles. Toothbrushes that you can wear over your finger are also available and allow you to give a nice massage to your dog’s gums.
  • Finally, apply the toothpaste to the teeth for a gentle brushing.
  • A veterinary exam beforehand may be helpful to find out if your dog’s gums are inflamed. If your dog has mild gingivitis, brushing too hard can hurt the gums.

Ask us about a specially formulated dry food, treats, or dental chews that can slow down the formation of plaque and tartar.

Have A Happy Thanksgiving With Your Pet

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We hope you have a happy holiday season with your pets! ‘Tis the season for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also for possible distress for our animal companions. Everyone wants to make sure their pets feel included in the holiday along with everyone else. However pets won’t be so thankful if they munch on undercooked turkey or a pet-unfriendly floral arrangement, or if they stumble upon an unattended alcoholic drink. Eating to many treats or table scraps can make your pet seriously ill as well.

Talkin’ Turkey
If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer them raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

Sage Advice
Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delicious, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

No Bread Dough
Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving them raw bread dough. When raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in the stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

Don’t Let Them Eat Cake
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Too Much of a Good Thing
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.

A Feast Fit for a Kong
While the humans are chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

* Information courtesy of the ASPCA Website:

Cold Weather Tips

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Brr….. It is supposed to be cold outside as winter has arrived in our area. We want to wish you a fun filled time as you bundle up and head out to play in the snow with your pets. Don’t forget your pet can be affected by the cold as well, frostbite doesn’t just happen to people.  Some pets remain outdoors all year round.  Make sure these animals have a draft free shelter with clean, dry bedding they can make a nest in.  The water supply should be checked regularly to ensure it is not frozen and they may need an increase in their food ration when it is really cold outside.

Suggestions For The Cold…

  • Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
  • Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
  • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm—dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.

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  • Consider keeping your indoor/outdoor cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze and sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
  • Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
  • Antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. More information can be found at ASPC Animal Poison Control Center.

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