Tag: animal hospital

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Hairballs Aren’t Normal

Veterinarian Ukachi Ugorji D.V.M. of Craig Road Animal Hospital in North West Las Vegas identifies the causes and treatment of hairballs in cats.

Dr. Ukachi Ugorgi

By: Ukachi Ugorgi D.V.M.

Cats spend at least half of their waking hours licking themselves. They are trained to groom themselves from birth by watching their mothers. Cats lick themselves for several reasons aside from the obvious motive of hygiene. For them, grooming is a coping mechanism and form of self-comfort when they feel displaced or nervous. They also use grooming to regulate their body temperatures. The evaporation of saliva on their coats helps them to cool down in hot weather.

Cat tongues have tiny backwards-facing barbs that serve several purposes. The barbs (papillae) serve as the perfect grooming tool for your cat’s coat care. Their tongues are like a built-in comb that rakes their fur free of any dirt and debris. During this process, a cat’s free flowing hairs get raked up and can get swallowed.

Regular grooming is a very important role in managing hairballs.

Hairballs are an accumulation of free hair in the stomach. Generally, loose strands of hair pass through your cat’s digestive tract and are expelled in the feces. However, in some cases, the free hair that your cat swallows can get clumped together inside the stomach and is vomited up. Rare situations can result in a giant hairball called a trichobezoar.

A trichobezoar is a hard wad of hair that becomes lodged in the stomach that is too large to vomit or pass through the pylorus (opening of the stomach into small intestines). In extreme cases, hairballs can be fatal. If a cat is unable to pass the hairball, it can cause intestinal blockage that may require a gastro intestinal surgery to remove. Sluggishness, lack of appetite, and weight loss in your cat are all symptoms to cause alarm concerning your cat’s gastro-intestinal health. Speak with your veterinarian immediately if your cat won’t eat, or is retching and not producing anything.

To diagnose stomach or intestinal blockage a physical exam must first be performed by a Veterinarian. X-rays and ultrasound are methods by which your veterinarian can confirm that your pet has a blockage. After an ultrasound or X-ray reveals a blockage, depending on the location (stomach, esophagus, or intestine) and the size of the mass an endoscopy may be performed.

During this surgical procedure, a small tube with a camera attached is fed through the mouth and into the stomach to provide the surgeon with a view of the inside of the patient and remote grasping and loop tools are used to aid in the retrieval of the object. If the object, such as a hairball, cannot be removed by endoscopy then a full abdominal exploratory surgery may have to take place.

Dr. Ugorgi and her cat Mowgli

Hairballs, while relatively common, are not normal. There are a variety of underlying issues that can result in your cat vomiting up hairballs including stress, skin disease, allergies, parasites, and decreased motility of the gastro-intestinal tract.

Over-grooming is the most common cause of hairballs in cats. It is important to closely evaluate your cat’s environment for any causes of stress that could be compelling your cat to groom excessively. Note if there have been any recent changes in the household that could be triggering your cats, such as an addition of a new housemate or any unpleasant stimulus. Observe the interactions between your cat and the other members of the household to ensure that they are not stressful to your cat. Cats will also groom themselves out of boredom.

Ensure that your cat’s environment is enriched with toys to occupy themselves while they alone. Also, make sure they are getting enough attention and interactions while you are home.Hairballs can occur in long and short haired cats, although the problem is more persistent in cats with longer hair. It is especially important to maintain proper grooming and brushing to aid in the removal of loose hair in your cat’s coat. The more you aid in maintaining you cat’s coat the better you can prevent hairballs in your feline friend.Although hairballs are a natural part of a cat’s life cycle, they are not something that they have to suffer with if they become a problem. If you think your cat is having hairball issues you should discuss this with your Veterinarian.

May 17, 2017 0 221 Views

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Meet our Pets of the Month DAX & BLUE

By: Regina Toney

These adorable puppies belong to Juan and Vanessa of Las Vegas.  DAK (pictured on the left) is a 5-month-old a Pitbull-Shepherd mix.He is full of energy and despite his size, he absolutely loves to play. DAK is a very active puppy and loves to go for runs. 3-month-old BLUE (pictured on the right) is a blue nose, Pitbull. BLUE  is the newest edition to the family. He loves to play as well and to eat as much as he can.

They’re brothers, even though DAK is 3 times BLUE’s sizes and they’re only months apart and it doesn’t stop them from playing with each other. Because  BLUE isn’t intimated from DAK’s size,  they’re constantly playing tug a war with each other! “These boys are still puppies and both are so different but they bring nothing but joy & fun into our lives”

We couldn’t choose between the two, so congratulations DAK & BLUE, you boys tied for our May our 2017 Pet of the Month!

If you would like to submit your pet for Pet of the Month, please use the form here

(don’t forget a picture!) or email us at info@craigrd.com.

May 11, 2017 0 156 Views

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Craig Road’s New App and Online Access

Mike Falconer, Hospital Administrator

By Mike Falconer

Here at Craig Road Animal Hospital our goal is to provide great pets with great care. In order to serve you more efficiently we have upgraded our online services to include:

* Access to a new, easier to use, Pet Portal.
* Ability to schedule appointments online in real time.
* Mobile access through the MyPetsWellness app.

Pet Portal and Online Scheduling:
The online pet portal allows you to have quick and easy access to see upcoming appointments, upcoming reminders and lets you request refills for prescriptions.

In addition, you have the ability to schedule appointments online, in real time, through the pet portal.  Utilizing our online scheduling allows you to schedule your pet(s) next visit with us no matter what time of day it is and see actual availability of your pet’s doctor.

That is right, you can book an appointment for your pet(s) without having to pick up the phone!

To access your record online or schedule an appointment online:

MyPetsWellness Mobile App:

MyPetsWellness, is now available in the App Store for iOS devices and in the Google Play store for Android devices. The app gives you access to all of your vital pet health information at any time, from anywhere. You’ll be able to see each pet’s upcoming appointments, vaccine reminders, and prescriptions. You can even book an appointment, request boarding for your pet, or refill a prescription. And you can upload your favorite pet photos.

To view the iOS version of the app, click here.

To view the Android version of the app, click here.

Or, from either the App Store or Google Play store, simply search “MyPetsWellness” and you should find it.

The username and password for the MyPetsWellness app is the same one you use for your online pet portal. If you have been using our existing pet portal please switch over to the new system as the old system will be going away soon.

If you would like to see a little more about our new system you can watch our video below.

We hope you enjoy these new tools and find them useful. If you have any questions you can, of course, call us on 702 645 0331, email us at info@craigrd.com , or ask any of our staff next time you are in the hospital.

Feb 23, 2017 0 1402 Views

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Craig Road Animal Hospital Externship Program: Rikki

Meet our newest extern, Rikki!

Rikki joins the team at Craig Road Animal Hospital as part of our extern program. Currently, Rikki is pursuing her D.V.M. degree at Colorado State but her journey to becoming a veterinarian started here in her hometown of Las Vegas, NV.

At first, Rikki was torn between caring for humans or animals, “I was really interested in the science of medicine, but when I was shadowing doctors in hospitals it never really clicked with me that this is what I want to do.” A few weeks later, she had visited an animal hospital for a tour and immediately realized that veterinary medicine was what she had been looking for all along.

Rikki aspires to gain more experience with surgery and emergencies as she shadows Dr. Koenitzer during her externship. While at Craig Road, she is most excited to see her book learning turn in to hands on practice. Ultimately, she would like to gain the experience in order to care for large breeds and exotic animals.

Throughout her life Rikki had plenty of pets to care for ranging from ferrets and snakes to common household pets like gerbils and dogs. However, she now focuses her efforts on her only pet, a Siberian-Husky named Jade. In her spare time Rikki enjoys hiking, golfing, climbing, and pretty much everything involving the outdoors, she says she plans on making sure to visit Mt. Charleston during her externship.

Jan 10, 2017 0 933 Views

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Craig Road Animal Hospital Externship Program: Elsbeth

Welcome our newest D.V.M. Extern, Elsbeth!

We’re excited to introduce Elspeth, our newest D.V.M. extern at Craig Road Animal Hospital! In her hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, Elspeth always had a love for animals, she says, “When I think about why I went into this profession, I just thought to myself ‘What made me happy as a kid?’, right away I knew the answer to that question was animals.” But Elspeth’s story doesn’t begin with animal welfare. In fact, she attended Williams College in Massachusetts pursuing a career as a lawyer, but after working for a law practice, she soon realized that pursuing a ‘life of arguing’ was not for her.

Elspeth had later returned to school at Cleveland State to finish two years of science courses, but now attends Ohio State as she works to finish her D.V.M. degree. Now, her ultimate goal is to gain experience from all the different facets of veterinary medicine through her externships and use that experience as a series of stepping stones to becoming a veterinarian. As far as her specific interests, she enjoys all aspects of veterinary medicine which allow her to be hands on with patients.

“It’s a challenging profession that really keeps you on your toes and your always learning new things which is what I’m attracted to the most.”

Elspeth’s personal interests include traveling, the outdoors, yoga, and rock climbing. She says she’s making sure to visit Red Rock National Park before the end of her externship at Craig Road. Elspeth lived in Taiwan for a year but that didn’t stop her from caring about the welfare of other animals. On her way back to the states she brought ‘Betty’, a native Taiwanese dog she found wondering on the streets.

Dec 22, 2016 0 972 Views

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Craig Road Animal Hospital Externship Program: Jennifer

Welcome our newest extern, Jennifer!

It’s our pleasure to introduce the newest DVM extern at Craig Road, Jennifer! Growing up in Boca Raton, Florida, Jennifer knew at an early age what it meant to take care of our four legged friends. “Whether it’s now or when I was a kid, the welfare of other animals is something that I’ve always been interested in.” After researching the profession, Veterinary medicine offered Jennifer a challenge that she couldn’t refuse.

During her time at Craig Road, Jennifer looks forward to gaining hands on experience and becoming comfortable with the pace of a busy hospital. Jennifer is currently in the process of pursuing her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Ross University after completing her clinical study at Louisiana State University.

Jennifer found out about Craig Road’s externship program from Dr. Ashman during her previous externship in Thailand. Currently, Jennifer has experience with small animal practices and shelter medicine because of her travels, but plans to become more familiar with ultrasound during her externship.

In her spare time Jennifer enjoys all aspects of the outdoors from boating, to fishing, bonfires, and even four-wheeling. At home Jennifer has two cats, Tigger and Mambo, as well as three dogs; Mo, Max, and Cruise.

Oct 26, 2016 0 789 Views

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Craig Road Animal Hospital Externship Program: Morgan

morgan extern

Meet our newest extern, Morgan!

We’re excited to introduce Morgan, our newest DVM extern at Craig Road Animal Hospital! Growing up as an only child in Syracuse, New York, Morgan spent most of her time with animals while her parents worked. Knowing that the experience would either make or break it for her, she started her veterinary career working at a veterinary clinic back in high school.

Fortunately for Morgan, the challenge offered by Veterinary medicine was very appealing. “That’s when I realized how much I loved the science behind the medicine, the opportunity for continual learning, and working with clients and patients,” she said.

Currently Morgan is pursing her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University. Morgan says she decided to extern at Craig Road because of the recommendation she received from one of her classmates, Austin, a previous extern at Craig Road.

She says her goal during her externship is to, “Gain experience outside of academia, work with doctors who have different perspectives, and be exposed to the fast pace of the hospital.” Of the many veterinary interests she has, Morgan is most involved with diagnostic imaging.

When she isn’t caring for animals, Morgan enjoys traveling, reading, and hiking on her days off. At home Morgan has one cat, a domestic medium-hair named Athena.

Oct 18, 2016 0 650 Views

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Craig Road Animal Hospital Externship Program: Kassi

Meet our new extern, Kassi!

We would like to welcome Kassi, our newest D.V.M. Extern, to Craig Road Animal Hospital! Growing up in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Kassi always felt a connection and sense of belonging when it came to the health and welfare of animals.

Kassi attended Pennsylvania State University for her animal sciences degree, but her interest in Veterinary Medicine didn’t stop there. Her desire to explore lab animal medicine led her to an externship in Houston at the University of Texas’s Health Science Center where her study involved laboratory animals ranging from rodents and monkeys to dogs and cats.

“Lab animal medicine has grown dear to me because I want to be the advocate for the animals to have the best lives possible.”

Kassi is currently a third year student at Iowa State University, she hopes to broaden her knowledge in small animal medicine and further develop her technical skills during her time at Craig Road.

Her personal interests include health & fitness, horror movies, as well as volunteering for the SPCA and various animal wildlife clinics. She appreciates all animals including the very small and not-so-cute, at home Kassi has a bunny named “Puff” and two mice “Tootsie” and “Cricket”.

Sep 8, 2016 0 610 Views

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Craig Road Animal Hospital Externship Program: Austin

Meet our new extern, Austin!

Austin started caring for a variety of animals at a young age, helping out on his father’s boarding house for horses. Whether it was binding an injured foot or feeding any of the cows, chickens, or sheep on his family property, there was always something to do.

As he got older, his love for education and animal communication grew.

“People learn more about themselves through their animals,” Austin said. “Being able to share that knowledge with others is all I want to do.”
The fourth year Colorado State student is interested in small animal practice. Austin believes that veterinarians play a very important role in the community and is focused on education, engagement, and animal behavior.

“There is a plethora of wrong information out there that people have access to at the tips of their fingertips,” Austin said. “It is important to have a professional that clients feel comfortable with to help guide them on how to care for their pets.”

Austin is from New Mexico and enjoys spending his study breaks with his pointer mix, Jerry.

May 20, 2016 0 1146 Views

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Pet of the month March 2016

By Tianna Winters

Sara was making her normal rounds on the farm when she stumbled across a brown heap of fur. “He was just curled up into a little ball, and you can tell that he was starved, just skin and bones,” she said. Sara remembers how it was easy to tell he had been out here for some time. When she offered him some water, he slowly uncurled and cautiously walked towards her. That’s when she noticed his injury. “His leg looked like it was completely crushed, it was just limp and bent the wrong way,” Sara said.

This is how Bill was found. He was malnourished and sitting on top of his damaged leg.

She called over one of the field hands to help her pick Bill up and carry him back to the farm. “We all discussed what we wanted to do,” she said. “We knew that the leg was going to have to be amputated because it just looked terrible.” Sara and a few of her coworkers take their pets to Craig Road Animal Hospital which is how we came to know the story of Bill. “We saw Bill right away and decided the best thing we could do was to amputate the leg,” said Katherine Ballor, DVM who saw Bill that day. “We took x-rays to check for internal injuries, we ran blood to check the internal organs, and ran a fecal test to check for parasites,” Dr. Ballor said. “Bill was malnourished, had parasites, and a severely injured leg. The poor guy had it rough.”

Bill lounging in his new home.

After a successful surgery, Dr. Ballor wrapped Bill up and sent him home. A few days later Bill came in for a check-up and the difference was night and day. “The timid, emaciated dog that came in for an emergency turned out to be a playful, affectionate pup,” Dr. Ballor said. “He even started to gain some weight and was already well accustomed to getting around on three legs. He was a completely different dog.” Our entire staff fell in love with Bill the moment he came through our doors. We could not put into words the feeling we had to see him walking around like a normal, lovable dog. And Sara said he’s flourishing at home. “He runs and plays all over the place. He is also starting to understand commands,” she said.

Bill with his new roommate and friend Whiskey, a Shibu Inu mix.

He is also a bit of a guard dog, letting any unfamiliar face know that this is his pack…or at least until Sara tells him to back off. “Overall, he’s just a big teddy bear,” she said. “We all love him on the ranch, he’s our mascot.” His love for his mother definitely shines through. Anywhere she goes, Bill is close by. Her favorite story to share is how affectionate Bill is. He sleeps in his own bed next to hers and throughout the night, Bill lifts his head onto the side of her bed, just to let her know that he’s there. Congratulations Bill, you are our March Pet of the Month!

Watch Bill’s whole story here:

Mar 11, 2016 0 1482 Views

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“Calling Dr. Murphy” Part III

Tianna Winters

Craig Road Animal Hospital’s very own Marketing Manager Tianna Winters shadowed Dr. Shane Murphy during one of his shifts to get a feel of how the hospital runs and its culture. Below is the final addition of her personal account of what it’s like to be a veterinarian in North West Las Vegas.

You can catch up here for the first article or here for the second!

7:15 p.m. I meet Dr. Murphy in the doctor’s office where he is able to sit down for the first time. He takes one bite of his sandwich before being called to another room. It’s another vaccine exam for a very playful bulldog puppy.

7:45 p.m. – The new bulldog owners are full of questions and Dr. Murphy answers them all. They apologize for keeping him. “You’re already the best kind of puppy parents because you have questions, ask away,” Dr. Murphy says.

8:00 p.m. – Dr. Murphy takes a few more bites of his sandwich (apparently finishing an entire snack is very rare) while researching some possible reasons for the cat’s lethargy. Two of the other doctors huddle around him, sharing their thoughts. Theories range anywhere from anemia to constipation. Dr. Murphy will have to wait until the test results are back to be able to narrow down a potential diagnosis. Another emergency is brought in and Dr. Murphy walks out of the office.

Dr. Murphy having a moment with a new patient!

8:05 p.m. – The emergency is a tiny pup that had been involved in a dogfight. This time it’s a long-haired Chihuahua weighing in at four pounds. He’s shaking, but still manages to kiss anyone he comes in contact with. Dr. Murphy checks everything. His eyes, ears, chest, legs, and stomach. He listens to his heart and lungs. And X-rays are taken.

9:15 p.m. Dr. Murphy discusses the extent of the injuries and care options with the family. One of his eyes is going to have to be removed. The dog has a few punctures around his torso and will have to have a tooth extracted but other than that, it looks like he’ll be okay.

9:50 p.m. The Chihuahua is prepped for surgery and given anesthesia. After the dog goes under, Dr. Murphy scrubs in to perform the eye enucleation (removal). He also cleans and stiches the Chihuahua’s puncture wounds and extracts damaged tooth.

11:15 p.m. Dr. Murphy is done with another successful surgery. He calls the parents and says that they can pick up their pup in the morning and that he is doing well, though he is a little drowsy.

Dr. Murphy sits down for a few minutes and checks his voicemail. He then gets back up to take a walk through the patient ward to see how everyone is doing.

The hospital technically closes at 10 p.m. but the doctors are on-call for emergencies 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year. I didn’t stay past the surgery but I do know that two more emergencies were brought in after midnight.

Following Dr. Murphy was everything I thought it would be and so much more. Yes there were a lot of cute puppies to play with, but there was a lot of science, compassion, and care. From the slides to surgeries to research, no wonder they go to school for so long!

Feb 25, 2016 0 1488 Views

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Periodontal disease can affect more than your pet’s teeth

Orlena Tampira, DVM

Veterinarian Orlena Tampira of Craig Road Animal Hospital in North West Las Vegas discusses the importance of proper dental care for canine and feline teeth.

By Orlena Tampira, DVM

Dental hygiene is just as important for your pets as it is for you. Not only can your loved one experience pain while chewing and bad breath, dogs and cats can experience the same diseases as humans like gingivitis, gum disease, and tooth decay. Without proper care, this bacteria can travel to the liver, kidneys, and heart through the blood stream.

Upper 4th premolar extracted due to extensive decay.

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is very common in pets. Studies show that 85 percent of pets have gum disease by the age of three. A professional cleaning, is the only way to remove harmful plaque and bacteria, and assess the health of the mouth.

A proper dental cleaning involves placing your pet under anesthesia then scaling, polishing, and evaluating each tooth. Without anesthesia, these steps could not be performed properly thus decreasing the benefit of performing a dental.

Tartar build up on canine teeth.

Things that you can do at home involve daily tooth brushing with pet toothpaste and certain foods or treats.

Dental health is very important in keeping a happy, healthy pet. Signs that your pet may need a cleaning could be bad breath, drooling, pawing at the mouth, loose or missing teeth, or discomfort while chewing. As always, it is best for a veterinarian to evaluate the mouth, any of our doctors would be more than happy to help you out with any questions or concerns you have.

Want to watch the entire dental cleaning process? You can see what a difference we made on Chip, a Greyhound, here:

Jan 25, 2016 0 1454 Views

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Wellness exams can play an important role in your pet’s health

Courtney Daniels, DVM

Veterinarian Courtney Daniels D.V.M. of Craig Road Animal Hospital in North West Las Vegas discusses the importance of a yearly exam for your pet by a professional. Wellness exams are one of the few ways to help detect a problem before it becomes a serious illness.

By Courtney Daniels, DVM

 We all love our pets, and we all want to do what’s best to take care of them. A wellness exam allows a veterinarian to evaluate your pet’s overall health and can detect a problem before it turns into a serious illness. Dogs and cats do not have the gift of speech, so they cannot verbally tell you what is wrong. Having a thorough examination on your pet plays an important role in keeping them happy and healthy. A thorough wellness exam can include a physical exam, vaccinations, blood tests, urinalysis, and a parasite screening. Depending on the results, your veterinarian may recommend further diagnostic testing. This may include radiographs (X-rays) and additional blood tests. We recommend having your pet examined at least once a year.

Dr. Daniels performing a wellness exam.


Senior pets and those experiencing chronic health issues should have a wellness exam more frequently. Your veterinarian will start by asking you questions regarding your pet’s health history. They will then follow up with your pet’s diet, how much water they are consuming, and their daily behavioral patterns. It is very important to mention any unusual behavior including:

excessive urination

excessive drinking of water

excessive panting

eating more or less than usual



excessive scratching


weight gain

difficulty walking, running, or getting up in the morning

Your veterinarian will go over your pet’s potential exposure to fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal parasites. Depending on your pet’s age, breed, life style, where you live and other factors, your veterinarian will recommend screening tests. During the exam your pet’s eyes, ears, skin, joints, reproductive systems, weight, heart, lungs, mouth and teeth will all be carefully examined. A vaccination schedule will be tailored for your pet. Core vaccinations for dogs include canine distemper virus, parvovirus, adenovirus, hepatitis, and rabies. Core vaccinations for cats include feline panleukopenia (distemper), feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, and rabies. Other vaccinations will be recommended based on lifestyle, geographic location, or travel history, breed and age.

Falling in love with a new client!

A wellness exam is one of the simplest ways to detect and prevent major health issues from puppies and kittens to senior pets. Having a veterinarian examine your pet once a year or more means that you are helping them live a longer and healthier life.

Jan 11, 2016 0 1689 Views

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Pet of the Month January 2016

Our Pet of the Month for January 2016 is Noel!

This French Poodle with the teddy bear face joined her family on Christmas Day. They named her Noel. She has been coming to Craig Road for a few years now and loves Dr. Daniels and getting groomed. Noel is a very prissy and pampered pup. Sometimes when Noel gets too hyper, Mom has to hold her like a baby to calm her. Besides being the center of attention, she also enjoys her belly rubs. Noel is definitely a daddy’s girl. Every night, like clockwork, she will sit on Dad’s lap and stare at his face for hours.

Congratulations Noel, you’re our January 2016 Pet of the Month!

If you would like to submit your pet for Pet of the Month please use the form here (don’t forget a picture!) or email us at info@craigrd.com .

Dec 31, 2015 0 1474 Views

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“Why does my dog eat poop?!?”

Kurt Mychajlonka, DVM

Veterinarian Kurt Mychajlonka D.V.M. [Dr.Mych] of Craig Road Animal Hospital in North West Las Vegas identifies the causes why a dog might eat his own feces, aka coprophagia, and shares some helpful tips on how to nix the dirty habit.

By Kurt Mychajlonka, DVM

Yes, dogs eat poop, no matter how horrified the owner may be. But eating poop-technically known as coprophagia-is actually a common canine behavior.

When puppies are first born, mother dogs clean their puppies and ingest their feces and urine in the process. And yes, cat mothers do the same thing. Newborn pups are pretty helpless in the beginning-they can’t see, they can’t walk. The nest would get unsanitary very quickly if the mother were to allow the waste to accumulate. It is only when the puppies start eating solid food and are able to leave the nest to relieve themselves, that mom doesn’t have to worry about those little snacks left around.

“Thanks for the clean-up, mom!”

Although this behavior is recognized as natural canine behavior, it shouldn’t be ignored and may require medical attention or behavior modification.
In the instance of indoor accidents, dogs may develop a connection between punishment and presence of fecal material. Dogs may ingest their own feces so they won’t get into trouble. This is why it is important to not use negative reinforcement when housebreaking.

Boredom can be another reason for dogs to eat feces. A busy dog doesn’t have time to be bored, so increase your dog’s daily exercise through walks, playing ball, or practicing obedience commands or tricks. Give your dog a Kong filled with frozen peanut butter, or their favorite treat, to keep your dog entertained and distracted.

Another strategy to combat coprophagia is to change to a different variety of dog food. Your veterinarian may recommend a prescription or hypoallergenic diet to address underlying digestive problems. Ask your veterinarian about your individual dog’s health and diet recommendations. Always mix the new food in with the old to gradually change it over a period of 7 to 10 days.

Coprophagia can be caused by a multitude of medical and behavioral symptoms.

Another tool to break the stool eating habits are food additives like CoproBan, a roast beef flavored soft chew which is fed along with a meal and has the effect of making the stool taste undesirable. Yes, as if stool didn’t already sound undesirable tasting enough!

If none of the above works, there may be a medical problem going on with your pet. Intestinal parasites can cause dogs to eat waste due to changes in their stool. Provide a fresh fecal sample to your veterinarian to screen for any parasites. Underfeeding, a poor quality diet, or going too long between meals, may contribute to coprophagia. Your veterinarian can help evaluate your dog’s weight, provide a dietary recommendation, and provide an individualized feeding schedule that best suits your dog’s needs.

Constant outdoor supervision combined with positive reinforcement training is another method to help kick your dog of this particular habit. You’ll need a collar or head halter for the dog, a leash, and some small treats that they favor. If your dog is easy to handle, just a collar will suffice. A head halter is used for dogs more motivated to ingest feces as it will give you more control of the dog’s mouth than a collar alone. Always use the leash when taking your dog out to use the potty. The moment your pet’s waste hits the ground, call the dog over to you while keeping the treats out of sight. As soon as your dog reaches you, praise them and give them the treat. Then back away, call them again, and give them another treat. Repeat this process three to four times and the dog will have completely forgotten about his poop.

Make sure to clean stool up immediately, but only when your dog isn’t around. The best way to combat the desire to eat poop is to not have it near them. Not only is it unhealthy for your dog to eat waste, it isn’t sanitary to have feces lying around for you either. It is important to start intervention as soon as you notice your dog eating his own waste. The less time the habit gets to develop the easier it will fade. As with many behavior problems, supervision is key. Do not leave your dog unsupervised in the backyard- you cannot prevent what you aren’t witnessing!

If you encounter your dog in the act of snacking on feces, resist the temptation to yell and chase him about. Yelling and chasing may serve as reinforcement of this “game” in the future. The better strategy is to distract your dog with a squeaky toy or running in the opposite direction- either game is more fun and will distract your dog from the fecal treat nearby.

So don’t feel too bad when you notice your dog treating themselves to their own or someone else’s poop as a snack. You’re not alone, and neither are they.

Nov 13, 2015 0 2027 Views

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Pet of the Month November 2015

Our Pet of the Month for November 2015 is Murray!

Murray was found on a cold night and all alone. Mom says it was love at first sight and now Murray has a warm place to call his own. Murray has taught himself to play catch but will sometimes request assistance from mom, meowing until she throws a ball for him to chase after. He is more of a lover than a fighter, preferring to cuddle any chance he gets. Murray is also very vocal, especially when he is ready for breakfast. He’ll walk all over his sleeping mother, meowing and attempting to eat her hair.

Congratulations Murray, you’re our November Pet of the Month!

If you would like to submit your pet for Pet of the Month please use the form here (don’t forget a picture!) or email us at info@craigrd.com .

Nov 2, 2015 0 2165 Views

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Beware of the monsters inside

Katherine Ballor, DVM

Veterinarian Katherine Ballor of Craig Road Animal Hospital discusses what you can do to help detect parasites in your pet’s gastrointestinal tracts. These invisible monsters can make you and your loved one very sick. The following are the most common parasites found here in North West Las Vegas.

By Katherine Ballor, DVM

Fecal tests are one of the easiest forms of preventative care for your pet.

It isn’t because we enjoy dealing with poop, it’s because it allows us to check your dog or cat for internal parasites. Parasites are fairly common and because they are invisible to the naked eye, a fecal check is the only way to detect them. The initial stages of infection often have no symptoms. Did I mention that many of these parasites can be transferred from your pet to those living in your household? Children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals are at the highest risk of contracting these freeloaders. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), roundworms, initially contracted by dogs and cats, infect up to 14 percent of humans living in the United States.

Roundworm-Toxocariasis [courtesy of CDC/ Dr. Mae Melvin]

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) website tracks and shares infection rates by state and county. In Clark County, roundworms were found in 1 out of 111 dogs tested. Roundworms are usually found in poop or vomit and the adult worms resemble spaghetti. This parasite feeds on the intestinal wall of the infected animal. Puppies tend to be at the highest risk for this parasite. Deworming your puppy as early as six weeks old is recommend and we also suggest deworming any female animals before they breed and during their pregnancy.

adult roundworm [courtesy of CDC]

Roundworm infections can come from eating infected small mammals such as mice, or drinking milk from a contaminated mother. Soil can also be a source of infection-particularly potting soil. The best way to help prevent the spread of roundworms is by picking up your dog’s feces regularly. Keep children from playing in the areas where animal feces are found to avoid possible pet to human infection.

Hookworm is another nasty parasite that can have a severe effect on your pet, and is potentially fatal in extreme cases. In Clark County, according to CAPC, hookworms have been found in 1 out of 170 dogs tested. Like roundworms, hookworms can also thrive in cats, and humans. There are three different species found in dogs and some can infect humans by simply migrating through the skin. Trust me, you don’t want these in your body. The hookworm gets its’ name from literally hooking itself to the intestinal wall. It feeds on your pet’s blood and tissues and can even detach itself to move onto another spot, leaving ulcers behind.

A hookworm attached to the intestinal wall [courtesy of CDC]

Most hookworms are passed through the feces and the larvae will hatch under moist, warm conditions. They can also be ingested when your dog licks the ground or grooms themselves where the larvae may be present. And as mentioned earlier, they can migrate through the skin, typically through the paws and stomach. Signs your pet may have an infection are weight loss, pale gums, diarrhea, and a bloody stool. To reduce the chances of contracting hookworm, pick up pet waste on a daily basis and keep areas where humans have direct contact to the ground clean.

Another common parasite found in Las Vegas is Giardia. This parasite can be transmitted to humans and is completely invisible by the naked eye. Giardia infection often shows no symptoms in most dogs until the later stages after the parasite has already colonized in the intestines. The parasite then feasts off of the intestines preventing the animal from receiving the nutrients it needs causing diarrhea and weight loss.

An electron micrograph view of Giardia.
[courtesy of CDC/ Dr. Stan Erlandsen]

The diarrhea caused by a Giardia infection is frequent, urgent, and is often paired with a very bad smell and mucus. While Giardia, like all parasitic infections, is treatable, it can take a significant amount of time and be extremely frustrating due to the pet re-infecting itself while grooming. Your pet can initially get this parasite from drinking contaminated water, playing in parks, and from infected food.

Giardia is something that can only be diagnosed by a veterinarian from a fecal sample. This parasite often infects puppies and is very common in dogs under three years old.

While there are currently no preventative vaccines for Giardia, you can help prevent contamination by always providing clean water when on walks and not allowing your dog to drink from natural sources. Also eliminate any standing water sources like puddles or drainage in areas around the home.

To protect your pet, and by extension your family, from parasites we recommend fecal examinations two to four times in the first year of life and then one to two times a year after that or at any time you suspect your pet may infected. The fresher the stool sample the better the results! A same day sample is preferred. We aren’t afraid of poop, so don’t worry about us. We just want you to have a healthy, happy pet. I cannot stress enough how important these tests are in preventative care for your loved one.

Happy pooping!

Oct 16, 2015 1 1289 Views

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20 Days Until the Open House!

Mike Falconer, Hospital Administrator

Things for the open house are progressing nicely.

For those of you who keep an eye on the Craig Road Animal Hospital Facebook page, we have chosen the winning captions for the six images that will help decorate our walls – it was a tough job as we got a lot of great submissions (thank you eveyone!) but we are very pleased with what we have. we are currently just waiting on the proofs from our graphics people.

One of our wall images that our Facebook fans kindly submitted captions for.

Our two remaining infographics were finished and ordered last week which is a great weight off our minds – as was the signage for the front of the building (see below). Our event permit from the city of Las Vegas came through for the event itself which was also a big relief. we did not think there would be any problems but until you actually receive something like that you are always a little nervous. Finally, we made a good start on a video project that we want to have ready for the open house. Many thanks to Dr. Tampira who helped a great deal with making that all happen.

The final completed banner for the front of the building. Note the logos for our vendors at the bottom.

This week’s big jobs are to continue with the video project, the repainting of our boarding suites, and to start on the script for our tour guides.

Probably our biggest headache this week is the various building projects that we either have to get going on or just accept that they will not be ready for the open house – which would probably be fine, but we would like to be able to have the fun new things to show off.

There is also a bit of a waiting game going on at the moment as we wait for our signage materials to arrive and for our newspaper ad to appear.

The staff is beginning to get excited about the event itself, and we are being to sort out who is going to do what during the event.

See you soon!

Apr 8, 2013 0 3339 Views

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27 days until the Open House!

Mike Falconer

In the first of a series of posts, Craig Road Animal Hospital’s Hospital Administrator, Mike Falconer, talks about the preparations  for our upcoming open house!

Craig Road Animal Hospital is having an open house for our existing veterinary clients, and potential new ones, in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas on Sunday the 28th of April, 2013. We will be having vendors, a hospital tour, a petting zoo, a free new pet booklet and lots more from 10:00am till 2:00pm.

Oh, and we will be open and seeing patients before, during, and after, as normal!

We felt it might be a nice idea to give you a little behind the scenes look at our behind the scenes look at Craig Road Animal Hospital.  Currently we a finishing off the details of the open house posters and other advertising materials with our marketing and graphics consultants. You can see where are at with this below.

Still some modifications to make but our materials for the open house will look something like this!

For those of you who have had a tour of Craig Road Animal Hospital in the past; perhaps when you were looking at whether to choose us as your vet or to see our boarding facilities. You may have noticed the infographics and pictures we have around the building. We are adding two new infographics in time for the open house, one showing off how we provide dental care and other on internal parasites (or worms if you prefer!) These are also in the final stages of design and proofing, however these have been a huge challenge to get right so we are still concerned about making sure we have them installed in time.

The confirmed vendors for the open house, most of whom will be set up in our parking lot, is currently:  Vegas Shepherd Rescue, Las Vegas Labrador Rescue, Trupanion Pet Insurance, Sit Means Sit, Lone Mountain Animal Hospital (our sister hospital), and Roos N Moore – our petting zoo vendor.

Still lots to do but we hope to see you there!

Apr 1, 2013 2 4144 Views

phone: 702.645.0331 | fax: 702.645.5009 |
5051 W. Craig Road Las Vegas, NV 89130
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