Archive for the ‘News’ Category

The GACC Addresses the Recent Parvovirus Outbreak

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Recently there has been a reported and confirmed outbreak of parvovirus in the Fitchburg area.  The announcement indicates the outbreak is affecting northern Berkshire and Worcester County.  The MVMA (Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association) confirmed this outbreak and indicated their findings and recommendations in the following press release issued June 18, 2013 at 2:09 p.m. to all Massachusetts veterinarians.

PLEASE DO NOT PANIC.  As the release below indicates, if your dog is up-to-date on his/her parvovirus vaccination, there is need for awareness but no need for panic. If your dog has been vaccinated for distemper at GACC, our “distemper” vaccine includes immunization against parvovirus.  Most veterinarians vaccinate with a vaccine containing immunization against parvovirus, but please contact your veterinarian with any questions or concerns.  While no vaccine is guaranteed 100% effective, keeping your pet currently vaccinated and choosing the proper places to socialize or frequent with your pet greatly lowers your pet’s risk of contracting the virus.

We urge all puppy owners whose puppies have not yet completed their distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, and leptospirosis vaccination series, do not visit areas that potential unvaccinated dogs may frequent until the puppy has received his/her full recommended amount of boosters in the series.

If your pet has been vaccinated for distemper at the GACC, and you are unsure of your pet’s vaccine history, please call us and we will be happy to update you on your pet(s) vaccine status.  If you have further questions about parvovirus after reading this blog or following the links provided, please do not hesitate to call our office or contact Dr. Brian Hurley directly at

Our distemper vaccination is produced by Merck and provides 5 components of protection:  Canine Distemper, (Adenovirus Type 2) Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and we include Leptospirosis for the 5 way protection.  For more information about Merck’s Parvovirus vaccinate:


(Copied and Pasted Directly from the MVMA Press Release Dated 6/18/13)

For immediate release

BOSTON – Friday, June 14, 2013 – Officials from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ Division of Animal Health would like to alert dog owners of two significant Canine Parvovirus outbreaks affecting northern Berkshire County and Worcester County. Dozens of dogs have been affected in these two areas, and several have died or had to be euthanized due to severe illness caused by the virus. There are effective vaccines available. Puppies generally require a series of vaccinations while adult dogs may need a yearly booster. All of the dogs that have been infected during these outbreaks had either never been vaccinated, or had only received one vaccine. Animal Health Officials are urging dog owners to check with their veterinarian to confirm that their pets are protected.

Parvovirus primarily infects puppies, but any unvaccinated dog remains susceptible. Dogs usually exhibit symptoms of gastrointestinal illness, including vomiting and diarrhea. Although dogs can recover from the disease if it is detected early and treated aggressively, it can be fatal. The virus is typically spread directly from dog to dog, but it can persist in the environment for several months. Dogs that have been infected and recover can remain infectious for several months. Canine Parvovirus does not affect humans and other domestic animals.

DAR’s mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions – Agricultural Conservation & Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, and Crop and Pest Services – DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth’s agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture’s role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit DAR’s website at , and/or follow us at and



For Further Information Please Visit: (type “parvovirus” into the search box and click search)

Feeding Bones is an Expensive Gamble!

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Bones 8 326 245No matter if it’s a brand new puppy or a senior citizen dog, pet owners love to spoil their canine friends with bones.  After all, what’s more natural than a dog with a bone?  But veterinarians warn that feeding bones is a gamble that could end up creating a very unnatural veterinary bill!

We have all seen the cartoons and commercials depicting dogs burying bones and stashing them away for later.  Unfortunately, most pet owners are completely unaware of the significant risks and problems that are associated with feeding these treats.  The situation has gotten so bad that even the FDA has warned consumers to avoid giving bones to their dogs.

Advocates of raw pet foods and other so-called “natural diets” claim that, given properly, bones are a great way to clean your pet’s teeth and provide an instinctive means of stress relief. Some even state that bones provide important nutrients and should be included in your pet’s daily routine.

So, is it okay to give a dog a bone?


What is a Responsible Pet Owner?

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Two Great DanesFor several decades now, pet owners have been encouraged to be “responsible” and spay or neuter their pets.  We all know that these surgeries can reduce the numbers of unwanted puppies and kittens.  But, there is a deeper meaning to being a responsible pet owner.  How else can we reduce shelter populations, save more animals and even enrich the lives of our pets at home?  I will often use the analogy, “Our pets are the kids that never leave home.  They rely on us to take care of them their entire life.”

Pets are important, cherished parts of our family lives.  After all, where else can a person find such unconditional love and affection as well as the scientifically proven emotional connection we call the human-animal bond?  Yet, despite this powerful relationship, animal shelters and rescues are still inundated annually with millions of dogs, cats and other pets that are relinquished for a wide variety of reasons.  So, how can we help make sure pets find a “forever home”?

Most people can understand that our animal friends need an appropriate diet, fresh water and necessary veterinary care.  But, many fail to see that there are other, less tangible needs that should be addressed if our pets are going to remain in our homes.


Veterinary Technicians-Trusted Partners for Your Pet’s Care

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

We all know that your pet’s doctor will often ask one of his or her staff members to either help restrain a pet or maybe prepare a specific medication.  But these helpers are often involved in a lot more than you may realize.  From preparing laboratory samples to taking x-rays to communicating treatment plans with clients, veterinary technicians and assistants have carved out essential roles in modern animal hospitals.

The team at the Gardner Animal Care Center would like to congratulate our very own certified veterinary technician, Christy Boris.  This past weekend, the Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association named Christy Technician of the Year. We are proud of her for receiving this very deserving award!!

Anyone who has read James Herriot’s immortal novels about veterinary practice knows that much of the work he did with animals and pets he did by himself.  The owners in the stories were either unable or unwilling to help and having any sort of assistant was reserved for extreme situations, like a difficult calving.


Do Generic Flea Products Meet Your Pet’s Needs

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

For almost two decades, safe, effective flea medications from your veterinarian have helped
pet owners battle these blood-sucking parasites.  Now, several “generic” flea medications are flooding the market, showing up in big box stores and grocery stores across the country.  Will these cheaper medications help more pets or do they have the potential for failure?

For a long time, flea control consisted of harsh products that were related to nerve gases of World War I.  Many of these carbamates and organophosphates worked well at killing fleas, but unfortunately, they weren’t very safe for pets and had the potential for severe toxicity. Then, about fifteen years ago, modern chemistry helped give us safer topical flea treatments.  Because fleas, ticks and other parasites are medical problems that need educated medical recommendations, the companies producing the new products chose to sell these flea medications only through veterinarians.

Fast forward to present day and you can find many flea products both over the counter (OTC) and through veterinary or “ethical” channels.  Annual sales of flea and tick medications exceed $1 billion and there are many companies eager to get their share of the pie.

Recently, the compound, fipronil became available for generic use.  The original patent holder, Merial, produces an excellent flea product (Frontline®) that was the main choice of veterinarians for many years.  Now, no less than 15 “generic” fipronil flea products will be offered in the OTC markets.

What does this mean for you and your pets? Can you feel comfortable with generic flea medications?


The Down & Dirty on the Flea Battle

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

I hope all of you had a safe and happy 4th of July Holiday.  My family had a wonderful time together with a cookout, fireworks and a parade.

Many of us enjoy snuggling close to our pets and despite misguided news reports detailing health risks, most of us will continue to do so.

But, there is a risk of sleeping with pets and it has to do with diseases carried by our old enemy, the flea.  So…what’s the best way to shut down this annual pest?  Fleas may be one of our pets’ worst enemies, but they don’t have to conquer your pet or your home.

The most common type of flea in the U.S. is the Ctenocephalides felis…or the Cat Flea.  Despite its name, this species will feed from cats, dogs and even humans. These wingless insects attack both people and pets and feed by drawing blood from their host.

While most people relate to the irritation of flea bites, fleas can transmit more serious diseases.  Flea allergy dermatitis is certainly the most common problem associated with fleas, but they can also transmit Bubonic Plague, tapeworms and Feline Infectious Anemia.

The challenge of winning the flea battle lies in understanding the flea’s life stages, then attacking all levels of the life cycle.

A single female flea can lay 20-50 eggs at a time, creating over 2000 fleas in her life span of three months.  With just 25 adult female fleas that equates to more than a quarter of a million fleas in only 30 days! (more…)

We Are AAHA Accreditation!!

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

On May 17, 2011, we underwent an intensive review by the American Animal Hospital Association.

The Gardner Animal Care Center is proud to announce that we passed our evaluation and are honored to be an accredited member of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Our accreditation demonstrates our commitment to the highest standards of veterinary care. AAHA regularly evaluates our hospital to ensure that we comply with the association’s standards for facilities, equipment, and quality procedures. AAHA standards are recognized around the world as the benchmark for quality care in veterinary medicine.  Please watch this video to learn more.


New Laser May Beam Your Pet’s Pain Away

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Pet owners are passionate about finding ways to help relieve pain in their older, arthritic dogs or lessen the discomfort of a pet with cancer. Veterinarians are now using a high tech solution that just might surprise you. We continue to explore this option at the Gardner Animal Care Center.

Whether used to blow up the Death Star or vaporize Romulans, most people view lasers as something destructive. Even in surgery, lasers can be used like scalpels to remove unwanted tissue or seal blood vessels with their intense heat. So, it may come as a surprise to learn that lasers are now being used to help heal wounds or provide pain relief for arthritic pets!

Photobiomodulation is the fancy word that describes how a laser is used to stimulate cells in an animal’s body. Unlike a surgical laser that uses a high energy output, lasers used to heal and relieve pain use a lower wattage. Although the actual mechanism is not known, advocates of “cold laser” theorize that the laser light stimulates the cells to increase production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule that helps provide energy for cellular function. The added energy seems to encourage the healing process.

Even though using lasers in this way is relatively new, the first notation of its potential was seen more than 40 years ago. A Hungarian scientist testing laser effects on skin cancers saw that hair grew back more rapidly on the backs of shaved mice when a laser was applied. Fast forward four decades and low level lasers have been used for everything from combating hair loss to tattoo removal. Even the FDA has approved the use of therapy lasers, although it is still considered experimental. And, most insurance companies won’t cover any kind of laser therapy.


Anesthesia Free Pet Dentistry May Feel Brush of Law!

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Dental month is now over but dentistry is important throughout the year.  Veterinarians have long told pet lovers about the importance of good dental care. However, danger is lurking.  Conscientious pet owners are being misled by aggressive marketing of a ‘fad’ option, “Non-Anesthesia Pet Dentistry” (NAPD).

This trend, using unlicensed and unsupervised individuals, advocates non-anesthetic techniques that may actually be harmful to pets.

 Statistics from the American Veterinary Dental Society report at least 80% of pets by age three show signs of periodontal (gum) disease. 

Good dental hygiene should start at home. A healthy oral regimen includes brushing, good dental diets, dental chew materials, and other effective techniques to retard accumulation of dental plaque.  

This regimen should be augmented with regular dental exams by a licensed veterinarian.  According to American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), dental exams for cats and small dogs should start at one year of age and large-breed dogs at two years.   

While the concept of a non-anesthetic dental initially appears to make sense, a pet dental exam without anesthesia is purely cosmetic in nature.  (more…)

The Humane Conflict

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

There’s a battle brewing and it is not terrorism or presidential politics. This conflict centers on our domesticated pets and is generating heated debates, controversial laws and impassioned pleas for help. On the surface, the welfare of America’s pets seems to be at the center of the battle, but are there deeper, more sinister motives?

The images are designed to enflame our anger and tug at our hearts. Severely matted dogs, wounded cats, and emaciated horses linger on the television screen and in our minds. Throughout the ninety second infomercial, celebrity voices plead with us to open our hearts, and our wallets, to save these poor creatures.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has spent more than fifty years standing on the front lines in the battle against animal cruelty. From raids on “puppy mills” and animal hoarders to helping enact legislation for more humane conditions at farms and feedlots, HSUS considers itself the largest and most effective animal protection organization in the world. So, with such a positive agenda, why would anyone criticize their efforts?

Critics of HSUS claim that the tear-jerking commercials mislead animal lovers into donating $19.95 per month that is then used to fuel questionable lobbying efforts, pay six figure salaries and fund yet more infomercials., an organization dedicated to “watching the Humane Society”, issued a press release detailing a survey in which more than 70% of respondents believed that HSUS is an “umbrella organization for local humane societies”. Not true.

Beyond that, more than 60% of surveyed adults believe that their local animal shelter is actively associated with HSUS. 59% believed that HSUS used donations to provide care and support at their local humane organizations. Again not true.