February 12th, 2013

Dr. Michael P. McTigue, Dr. Brian C. Hurley and the rest of the Gardner Animal Care Center team are pleased to welcome you to their hospital blog. This fun and fact-filled blog is updated regularly and includes up-to-date information about your pet’s health care. Also included in the blog are fun, pet-related news stories that we want to share with you and photos and information about our hospital and staff members.

We invite you to check our blog often.

Thank you for visiting.

– The veterinary team at Gardner Animal Care Center

What You Need to Know about Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

August 20th, 2015

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is an immune-mediated contagious viral disease of cats caused by certain strains of the feline coronavirus. The disease is progressive and eventually fatal.

How the Disease is Spread and Risk Factors

Although FIP is not highly contagious, infected cats can transmit the virus through body fluids (respiratory and oral secretions) and feces. Infection occurs by inhalation or ingestion of the virus. Close contact between cats is very important for transmission of the disease. The disease can also be passed from mothers to unborn kittens or through milk.

Cats living in multiple cat populations, such as in shelters or catteries, are at the greatest risk of FIP infection. Cats with weakened immune systems, including kittens or seniors or those with the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), are most susceptible; however, cats of all ages can become infected.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of FIP include fever, weight loss, fatigue, and lack of appetite followed by a swollen abdomen, jaundice, kidney and liver disorders and eye problems. Due to the vague and generalized symptoms of FIP, your veterinarian may test your cat when he / she is ill in order to rule out this disease.

As the disease progresses, cats typically develop either a “wet” or “dry” form of FIP. The wet form is characterized by an accumulation of thick yellow fluid in the body cavities. In the dry form, nodular masses are seen on the surface and inside certain organs such as the spleen, liver, kidneys, eyes, brain and lungs.

Diagnosis of FIP is made through a combination of physical examination, your cat’s history, presenting symptoms, X-ray and laboratory tests.

What to do if your Cat has FIP

Unfortunately, there is no cure for this fatal disease. If your cat is diagnosed with FIP, we recommend supportive care, including easing the effects of the symptoms, providing good nutrition and of course giving your sweet companion lots of love and attention. There has been an FIP vaccination since 2002, but it is controversial due to its ineffectiveness. Research aimed at slowing the disease’s progress is ongoing.

If you have a multi-cat household, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of FIP. These include scooping litter daily, thoroughly disinfecting the litter box regularly and keeping the litter box away from food and water dishes. Keeping up with your cats’ vaccinations and providing a good diet are also important. If you suspect one of your cats has FIP, he or she should immediately be separated from your other cats and taken to your veterinary hospital for testing.

To learn more about FIP, schedule an appointment, or to have your cat(s) tested for FIP, please call Gardner Animal Care Center today.

FDA Recalls Dog Food Due To Possible Salmonella Contamination

August 11th, 2015

Multiple batches of two brands of dog food are being recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA says the dog food may contain salmonella, which can affect both pets and humans. Routine testing by the New York State Department of Agriculture showed the presence of salmonella in some of the products affected by the recall. So far, the manufacturers say they have not received any reports of illness in either humans or animals.

Here are the products affected by the recall:

Nature’s Valley:
UPC# 769949611431 — Instinct Raw Chicken Formula Bites for Dogs; 4 pounds; Best By 04/27/16
UPC# 769949611448 — Instinct Raw Chicken Formula Bites for Dogs; 7 pounds; Best By 04/27/16
UPC# 769949611486 — Instinct Raw Chicken Formula Patties for Dogs; 6 pounds; Best By 04/27/16

Bravo Blend:
UPC 829546214012 — Bravo Balance Chicken Dinner for dogs — Patties; Item No. 21-401; 3 pound bag; best use by 12-05-16
UPC 829546214012 — Bravo Balance Chicken Dinner for dogs — Chub; Item No. 21-402; 2 pound chub; best used by 12-05-2016
UPC 829546215088 — Bravo Blend Chicken diet for dogs & cats — Patties; Item No. 21-508; 5 pound bags; best used by 12-05-2016

Pet owners with these items should safely destroy and dispose of them. Monitor your pet closely for signs of salmonella infection, which include lethargy, diarrhea, bloody stool, fever, and vomiting. If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, please call Gardner Animal Care Center right away.

Tick-Borne Illness Update: Summer 2015

July 30th, 2015

Tick season is in full swing in the Northeast, and with those pesky parasites come a host of tick-borne illnesses that can threaten the life of you and your pet. Ticks are especially prevalent this year in the due to the long, snowy winter. In an interview with Yahoo Health, entomologist Bennett Jordan, PhD explained that the snow acts as a blanket over the insects, insulating them from cold weather that would otherwise wipe them out.

Here’s what to watch out for:
1. Lyme Disease – very high risk in our area
Symptoms in dogs: fever, lameness, swelling in the joints, swollen lymph nodes, lethargy, loss of appetite.

2. Ehrlichiosis* – medium risk in our area
Symptoms in dogs: Fever, swollen lymph nodes, lethargy, lameness, rash

3. Anaplasmosis* – moderate risk in our area
Symptoms in dogs: lameness, joint pain, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite

Please call a veterinarian or staff member at Gardner Animal Care Center if you would like more information about these diseases or to learn about effective treatment methods. We carry a selection of highly effective flea and tick preventatives for your pet.

*Although Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis have been reported in cats, little is known about the prevalence of infection, disease manifestations, and treatment recommendations.


May 22nd, 2015
Companies like Interceptor are offering not only a $12 rebate with the purchase of 12 doses, but also a free Sock Monkey Toy with the purchase of 12 doses.

Companies like Interceptor are offering not only a $12 rebate with the purchase of 12 doses, but also a free Sock Monkey Toy with the purchase of 12 doses.



Call our office at (978) 632-7110 or stop in and visit. We will design a heartworm, flea & tick prevention program that is right for the needs of your pet’s life stage and medical status, as well as your family’s lifestyle, and help you balance the benefits of each product while making sure you get the best discounts possible on the products of your choosing.


The product manufacturers of the following products provide veterinarians with special promotions that are only available through your veterinarian, to encourage the purchase of their product from an educated source.  As an added bonus, most product manufacturers guarantee the efficacy of their products from a veterinarian and most don’t guarantee the efficacy of their product when purchased from an outside source.  We are excited to be able to offer you the following promotional offers from our product manufacturers in 2015.


Advantage Multi for Cats (Monthly topical liquid: fleas/ear mites/roundworms/hookworms/heartworm):  Buy 2 Six Packs (equals 12 tubes) for Price of 9 tubes, or Buy 1 Six Pack and Get 2 Tubes Free, or Buy 4 Tubes & Get 1 Free; Expires 12/31/2015.  Redeemed at time of purchase.  (Manufacturer:  Bayer)

Advantage Multi for Cats (Monthly topical liquid: flea/ear mites/roundworms/hookworms/heartworm) & Seresto Collar for Cats (Collar:  flea/tick)Purchase Combo:  Buy 6 doses of Advantage Feline Multi & 1 Seresto Collar for Cats; $50 Mail in Rebate; Expires 1/15/16.  We mail in the rebate for you, you receive the rebate check in the mail at your home address directly from the manufacturer.  (Manufacturer:  Bayer)

Frontline Plus Dogs or Cats (Monthly topical liquid: flea/tick):  Buy 6 doses & Get 2 Free; or Buy 3 Doses & Get 1 Free; Expires 12/31/15; Redeemed at time of purchase.  (Manufacturer:  Merial)

Nexgard Dogs (Monthly beef flavored chew: flea/tick):  Buy 6 doses & Get 1 Free; Expires 12/31/15; Redeemed at time of purchase.  (Manufacturer:  Merial)

Heartgard Plus Dogs (Monthly beef flavored chew:  heartworm/roundworm/hookworm):  Buy 12 Doses ; $12 Mail in Rebate; Expires 12/31/15; We mail in the rebate for you, you receive the rebate check in the mail at your home address directly from the manufacturer.  (Manufacturer:  Merial)

Heartgard Plus Dog/Frontline Plus Dog Purchase Combo:  Buy 12 Heartgard Chews & Buy 6 Frontline Plus Tubes; $50 Mail in Rebate; Expires 12/31/15;  We mail in the rebate for you, you receive the rebate check in the mail at your home address directly from the manufacturer.  (All other Heartgard or Frontline promotions do not apply with this offer.)  (Manufacturer: Merial)

Heartgard Plus Dog/Nexgard Dog Purchase Combo: Buy 12 Heartgard Chews & Buy 6 Nexgard Chews; $50 Mail in Rebate; Expires 12/31/15; We mail in the rebate for you, you receive the rebate check in the mail at your home address directly from the manufacturer.  (All other Heartgard or nexgard promotions do not apply with this offer.)  (Manufacturer:  Merial)

Bravecto Dogs (Every 3 Month beef flavored chew:  flea/tick/demodex mange):  Buy 2 Doses (equivalent to 6 months protection) & Receive $15 Rebate; Buy 4 Doses (equivalent to 12 months protection) & Receive $35 Rebate; Expires 12/31/15.  We give you a code to login on line to process your rebate.  The manufacturer mails your rebate check to the address you provide.  (Manufacturer:  Merck)

Interceptor Dogs:  (Monthly beef flavored chewable tablet:  heartworm/roundworm/hookworm/whipworm): Buy 12 Doses; Receive Free Sock Monkey Stuffed Pet Toy and $12 Mail in Rebate; Expires 12/31/15; We mail in the rebate for you, you receive the rebate check in the mail at your home address direct from the manufacturer. (Manufacturer:  Elanco)

Interceptor Cats:  (Monthly beef flavored chewable tablet:  heartworm/roundworm/hookworm): Buy 12 Doses; Receive Free Sock Monkey Stuffed Pet Toy and $12 Mail in Rebate; Expires 12/31/15; We mail in the rebate for you, you receive the rebate check in the mail at your home address direct from the manufacturer. (Manufacturer:  Elanco)

Seresto Collars -Cat, Small Dog, or Large Dog (8 month collar:  flea/tick):  Buy 1 Collar ; $15 Mail in Rebate;  Expires 6/30/15;  We provide you the rebate coupon that you send into the manufacturer and you receive the rebate check in the mail at your home address directly from the manufacturer.  (Manufacturer:  Bayer)


What We Carry & Recommend for Heartworm, Flea or Tick Product at the GACC:


Seresto: (active ingredients: flumethrin/imidacloprid)  8 Month Collar, Fleas/Ticks; Sizes:  Cat, Small Dog, Large Dog

Advantage Multi Cats:  (active ingredients:  imidacloprid/moxidectin)  Monthly Topical Liquid, Fleas/Ear Mites/ Roundworms/ Hookworms/ Heartworm); Sizes:  Cats 2-5lbs, Cats 5.1 – 9lbs, Cats 9.1-18lbs

Frontline Plus Dogs: (active ingredients:  fipronil/s-methoprene)  Monthly Topical Liquid, Fleas/Tics; Sizes:  5-22lbs; 23-44lbs; 48-88lbs; 89-132lbs

Frontline Plus Cats:  (active ingredients:  fipronil/s-methoprene)  Monthly Topical Liquid, Fleas/Ticks; Sizes:  (For Cats & Kittens 8 Weeks and Older)

Nexgard Dogs:  (active ingredient: afoxolaner)  Monthly Beef Flavored Chew, Fleas/Ticks; Sizes:  4-10lbs, 10.1-24lbs; 24.1-60lbs; 60.1-121lbs

Bravecto Dogs: (active ingredient:  fluralaner) Every 3 Month Beef Flavored Chew, Fleas/Ticks: Sizes:  4.4-9.9lbs, 9.9 – 22lbs, 22-44lbs, 44-88lbs, 88-123lbs

Interceptor Dogs:  (active ingredient:  milbemycin)  Monthly Chewable Beef Flavored Tablet, Heartworm/Hookworm/Roundworm/Whipworm: Sizes:  2-10lbs; 11-25lbs; 26-50lbs; 51-100lbs; Over 100lbs.

Interceptor Cats: (active ingredient:  milbemycin)  Monthly Chewable Beef Flavored Tablet, Heartworm/Roundworm/Hookworm:  Sizes:  1.5-6lbs; 6.1-12lbs; 12.1-25lbs

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for clarification on any product and for product pricing.  Often once the rebate is applied or free product dispensed our prices are lower than most outside sources.



Doggie Daycare Fun – What a Face (15 Second Short)

May 21st, 2015

A face more than a mother can love!  Lucy, what a cutie-patootie.


Lucy. "Good dog, sit." #gardneranimalcarecenter #gaccdaycare #gaccdaycarefun

A video posted by Gardner Animal Care Center (@gardneranimalcarecenter) on

Doggie Daycare Fun – Checkin’ Out the New Girl (15 Second Short)

May 21st, 2015

Lucy is known to the group but hasn’t been in the doggie daycare group for a while, as she was recovering from her spay surgery.  She certainly got a warm, or one could say “curious” welcome.

Check in' out the new girl. :). #gardneranimalcarecenter #gaccdaycare #gaccdaycarefun

A video posted by Gardner Animal Care Center (@gardneranimalcarecenter) on

Doggie Daycare Fun – Brody & Roxy (15 Second Short)

May 21st, 2015

Brody & Roxy, best buds at our doggie daycare facility, playing in our outdoor enclosure.


They literally do this all day with each other. True best buds. No wonder they are tired every night! #gardneranimalcarecenter #gaccdaycare #gaccdaycarefun

A video posted by Gardner Animal Care Center (@gardneranimalcarecenter) on

Pawsitive Pet Perspectives of a Practice Manager: “The Eyes? Have it!”

December 18th, 2014

It began as a day like any other, but when you work in veterinary medicine, “ordinary” is not the description of a typical day and this day was no exception.

We received a frantic phone call from a woman stating her dog’s eye had fallen out. Now at first, of course, this sounds odd, and even for “the unusual” which is often the norm in our occupation, this was a little extreme. The Client Service Representative asked the appropriate questions and the unusual ones for the circumstances, to ascertain if this eye was truly detached from the body, hanging precariously, intact but maybe swollen around the socket, or  intact and scratched. As frantic as the woman was it was clear that it was not inside the socket.

The woman explained that she doesn’t drive and that the dog officer came to her home and picked up the dog. The woman sent the dog officer with the dog to our hospital. She lived in a surrounding town, a few towns away from us, but a friend had used our facility in the past and recommended our team. She explained that she could not travel with the dog because the dog officer was only allowed to transport pets, not humans.

About 20 minutes later, the dog officer arrived with a very adorable and surprisingly calm little Boston Terrier dog whose one eye was open and the other closed. Upon closer inspection a few droplets of blood seeped out along the eye lashes of the closed lid, and the eyeball was most definitely not inside. To this little guy, it appeared to be a typical day. Sure he lost his eye, but he took a ride in the car, and went to visit a bunch of people that doted over him and gave him lots of attention.  At first the front office team thought he must be in shock. However, he truly was just very calm about the whole situation and all vitals upon examination were normal.

When Dr. Mike entered the exam room, the dog officer presented him with a jar containing the eye with the optic nerve attached and a paper towel.  Again, surprisingly, given the situation the dog showed no signs of trauma to brain function, the other eye, or any other physical or mental concerns.

We contacted the owner to explain the situation and that we recommended he receive further specialized attention, but for now he was stable.  We cleaned the area and told her we would put him on antibiotics so she could determine where he would receive specialized treatment. Because remarkably, the eye had completely fallen out with the optic nerve attached and the injury had stopped bleeding on its own. She then explained to us that she had no income and wasn’t sure how she could pay for our services.

Recently a very kind individual donated to our hospital some antibiotics and some pain medications that we had prescribed for their pet whom had passed prior to the pet’s use. When that happens we keep the medication until it expires in what we call our “donated meds bin” for situations like this.  As it turns out, the medications were just what this little guy needed and fit his dosage requirements as well.

Dr. Mike, whom had examined the dog, donated his time, and because of a kind soul who wanted their beloved deceased pet’s medications to go to good use, to our knowledge the little Boston is on his way to recovery.

You may be asking, how did the injury happen? It is our understanding that another dog in the household bit down on the other dogs head in an altercation in just the perfect manner to cause the very freak accident of the eyeball of a normal, healthy dog to be completely (and what one would think with great precision given the cleanliness of the detachment) dislodged and fall fully intact onto the pet parent’s floor.

While a distressing situation for the pet owner, but seemingly uneventful situation to the little dog given his reaction, calm demeanor and completely normal vitals, it produced for Dr. Mike, a beautiful medically preserved specimen of an eyeball for which he holds a special fascination. He walked around with this gem in his pocket, and left it on his desk for viewing for about two days. To us, that is not unusual, but often we forget that eyeballs in jars are not the norm for most of our clients. To Dr. Mike’s chagrin, a photo of the eye does not accompany this blog post for obvious reasons (we try not to post what some would find as gore, blood and guts), but mostly there is no photo in order to protect the “eye of the beholder” who views it. Because once you “see” it, you can’t “un-see” it. Though none of us here would lose our lunch while viewing it, and we can talk about cases like this in great detail while eating lunch without a second thought; we recognize that the general population might find us quite mad. This may be the holiday season, but it is not Halloween. We have counseled him to let it be and to save its viewing for special occasions or upon request. Should you have the curiosity to view it, just ask him. He will be happy to show you and elaborate on the story.

Pawsitively Pondering the Perplexities of Pets (& Humans…)
Gayle M. Craig, CVPM, CVJ, Practice Manager

Day 10 Nicaragua Mission

June 20th, 2014

I am writing from 35,000 feet over the Gulf of Mexico. Technically this is day 11 of the mission trip, but yesterday was so busy that I did not write a blog. If you were paying a subscription for this blog I would feel guilty, and you would be foolish, but since this is just for fun, I will write this final blog and limit your exposure to harmful essay.

Yesterday we started out, as we usually do, with a hearty breakfast that included guya pinto, and I must confess I have grown to enjoy rice and beans for breakfast. I don’t expect to continue this culinary delicacy back home, which will make my wife and coworkers happy, but it has been enjoyable in a simple kind of way. We also had fresh squeezed fruit juice everyday, including mango, star fruit, passion fruit, grapefruit, and mixed juice combinations. They have all been very good. The cooks at the Gaitins cabins are quite good, and very warm and smiling, and we will miss them.

After breakfast we went zip lining, which the students universally chose over the other option of touring lake Nicaragua by boat, which was too slow for them. It was a lot of fun to go zipping down the wires, in any position you want, like superman, or backwards, or upside down, or bouncing. As long as you don’t fall off, they are pretty flexible. No one was injured in this expedition, and it was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone except perhaps by our guides who had to put up with us, but they were very friendly and helpful and seemed to enjoy it also. We then went to tour a volcano at a national park. They had a visitors center, and then a car ride to the top where we hiked up and around the rim. It was belching, or maybe spewing, blowing, or disembubbling, could also be used to describe the white smoke with the slightly sulphuric odor, like it had been eating guya pinto for a few centuries. It was a nice visit, as long as you stayed upwind. After lunch, we went to the market for a couple of hours of shopping, and I was able to pick up some gifts and souvenirs, and we enjoyed a cold Milky Way frappachino, mucho bueno! The market had a very Central American feel, no surprise, with lots of colorful clothes and gifts and hand crafts. The vendors are very happy to see Americanos shopping and gladly except dollars, mucho gracias. Our last dinner included hamburgs and Nicaraguan fries, of which I abstained because of some disagreement between my gastrointestinal organs.

We had a final group devotion and prayer time, and it was very uplifting and encouraging. Our team really bonded, from the very first day, and worked together joyfully and humbly, whether working, playing, eating, or driving, but especially when we were praying. It was unexpected and spontaneous, and everyone contributed to the group. We were of one mind, working together for a single purpose, to bring glory to our Lord, and hope to the people, and health to the animals. It is always amazing how God can work in and thru people, even in such a short time. We came from 9 different states and Canada, with vets, students, vet technicians, and spouses, all working together as “one body, for The Lord”. We treated 470 dogs, 300 cows, 46 horses, 35 cats, 32 pigs, 21 rabbits, and 2 deer. We did 36 spays and 6 neuters. We gave out lots of tracts, and talked as best we could to as many people as we could including playing with lots of children, especially Bill. We were hot and dirty and smelly, sometimes tired, never hungry, busy but not overwhelmed, away from home but not alone, far away in miles but close together in Spirit, had mixed emotions but not anxious or sad, unable to speak the language but able to communicate the heart, and always in the loving arms of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. It really was a special time and I would like to thank everyone on our Christian Veterinary Mission team for their dedication, hard work, and spiritual encouragement. You were a joy to serve with, and I hope we can do it again some day.

And one final thought, if you have not gone on a mission trip, I would encourage you to go. The final words of Jesus were “go, and make disciples of all the nations…”. And remember, the most important mission you have is not overseas, but right where you are, to your family and neighbors and coworkers and friends. They need you to bring hope and love and blessings from our God. It is a wonderful journey that you are on, and you have many divine appointments to keep, and when it is finished, and you are saved, you will be forever with God in a new and Glorious home forever. That is a trip you do not want to miss!

Many blessings and mucho gracias
Dr Mike







Day 9 Nicaragua Mission

June 19th, 2014

Today was the first day we did not go anywhere in the Baptisa 15 person van. It was not designed for 15 people, but with plastic chairs you can be creative and squeeze more people in. It is not so bad as Mongolia, where sitting on laps and body contortions are often required for travel in an old, hard uncomfortable Russian van, but it is still tight. It seemed surprising when we came to a police checkpoint coming back from one of our trips that Oscar told me to put on my seatbelt, as there were not any seat belts for many of the other passengers, especially the one right between Oscar and I in the wiggly, moving, sliding, folding, plastic chair that needed protection most of all. But we got thru the checkpoint fine, they were just looking for drugs, and I am glad they did not check our bags because we had many different kinds for the animals, and if you could see the looks on the faces of the pets when they are waking up after their first drug usage, they would probably wish the police had seized all the drugs. In Nicaragua, you don’t notice many police, and it is a pretty safe country, unless you are a pet who lives in a village that a Christian Veterinary Missions team will be visiting, and you happen to be an unspayed female dog or a midnight crooning rooster.

Today we stayed here and people bought their animals to us. We probably treated about 100 animals, mostly dogs, but some cats, rabbits, and horses also. No deer though, I was looking for them, and was ready to jump into action to protect the people from these potentially dangerous beasts. But I will continue to be diligent and if the need arises you can relax and rest assured that you are in good hands. And if you see any of those dangerous fish, like tuna or stripers or lobsters, you should first bring them to me for a thorough physical exam, that I will perform free of charge, just in case they are carrying a dangerous disease that you did not even know about, and I can take care of the disposal of the disease ridden body, which usually requires boiling or grilling, again at no charge to you. I am just that kind of guy I guess.

Another thing that is annoying down here is the internet. It is not as reliable or fast as it should be, and there should be some kind of law against that. But what was really grating my craw today was that everyone else was getting on and I could not. They would say with a smirk in their voice “oh you still can’t get on, that is to bad, I got on right away again, it must just be the clouds or something”. Now Nancy will be worried and think that I got into some kind of major traffic accident because we don’t wear any seat belts, or veterinary drug seizure undercover operation initiated by some ill informed deer owning vigilante, because I did not message her yesterday. But don’t worry honey, I am ok, and still bright, alert, and responsive, or BAR, as we put on our physical exam record of any pet who appears healthy and normal. It is just the illegal lack of access to fast and reliable internet that has kept me from contacting you. Hopefully she will get this blog before she sends Lexi and Sam on a rescue mission, because the only thing they can reliably search for and find is porcupine or turkey poop.

Tomorrow is our last day here, and we have no work scheduled, so we will be doing some fun things that I will be sure to tell you about. And if I ever get on the internet again, maybe you will actually be able to read about it.

Until then, blessings from Catarina
Dr Mike