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Today is International Hug Your Cat Day. No matter what language you speak all cats speak pretty much the same language. While each cat has its own individual disposition and temperament, when it comes to body language, all cats communicate in essentially the same way! When you know what to look for, learning to interpret their message is not that difficult! As you become familiar with cat body language you will find a deeper bond develop between you and your cat. Lets start with a Test: if you want to show your cat that you trust them and you are non threatening slowly squint yours eyes and keep them half closed and don’t be surprised if they reciprocate. Staring at a cat can be interpreted by your cat as threatening.Read More
May 30, 2017 12:58:57 PM By Barry Miller cat, behavior, body language, Behavior,

The answer is Yes!

If you didn't know that answer please know you are not alone.

Novartis Animal Health, conducted research that found over half of pet owners aren't aware their pets can also spend the spring season feeling miserable thanks to pollens and other environmental allergens.

If you have ever experienced seasonal allergies you wouldn't wish it on any one, especially your pet!

Unfortunately changing seasons will often cause allergies to flare up and for some dogs, this also means the start of feeling absolutely miserable.

Seasonal allergies in dogs are referred to as Canine Atopic Dermatitis, or Canine Atopy, and make up one of the most common allergic skin diseases, second only to flea allergy dermatitis. This chronic skin disease is associated with an inflammatory allergic reaction that can be extremely uncomfortable to a dog and also alarming to its owner. It must be so frustrating for them, as a pet, to not be able to tell you.

"What happened to my dog's skin and why won't they stop itching?"

Canine Atopic Dermatitis occurs when allergens are absorbed, inhaled, or ingested through the dog’s skin. Once this happens, the immune system produces an antibody that releases chemicals that cause the skin to become inflamed and itchy.


  • Animal dander
  • Airborne pollens from grasses, weeds, trees, flowers
  • Mold spores
  • Dust mites

Since your pet is unable to tell you that they feel miserable and ask for some medicine. You will have to notice their behavioral changes and signs that they may be suffering from Atopic Dermatitis.


Extreme itchiness, rubbing, scratching and licking of sides, belly, groin, elbows. Watery runny eyes, scratching at and rubbing ears and face against furniture, carpet, and ground. Biting at the base of their tail. Licking and chewing feet and pads. Snoring due to a swollen throat and sneezing. These signs can lead to these symptoms

  1. Skin: Reddened, possibly with crusts or scales, odor
  2. Haircoat: Bald spots, brown discoloration from licking
  3. Ears: Waxy discharge, redness, odor
  4. Face: Reddened with hair loss on muzzle, chin, and areas around eyes
  5. Feet: Inflammation, redness, odor, brown discoloration from licking
  6. Secondary skin infections caused as the result of chewing and scratching
  7. Hair loss due to scratching and rubbing

 Do all Dog's suffer from seasonal allergies?

I have seen every type of dog experience some sort of allergy including seasonal allergies, so my answer would be any dog breed can develop allergies at any time during his life. But allergic reactions seem to be especially common in Terriers, Setters, Retrievers, and flat-faced (brachio cephalic) breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Boston terriers.

Common Treatments for Canine Atopic Dermatitis

As the saying goes  "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"

I recommend  weekly bathing to help relieve itching and remove environmental allergens and pollens from your dog’s skin. Discuss with your vet what prescription shampoos are best, as frequent bathing with the wrong product can dry out skin.  I recommend these products :Aloe and Oatmeal shampoo and conditioner,  AntiSeptic KC Shampoo, Malaseb shampoo and KetoHex Shampoo. These products may help prevent skin infection, which occurs commonly in dogs with allergies. Sprays containing oatmeal, aloe and other natural products are also available and can be helpful. 

Fatty acid supplements might help relieve your dog’s itchy skin. Such as Omega Tri V and Triglyceride Omega.

In the case of airborne allergens, your dog may benefit from Allergy Shots (Depomedrol). These will help your pet develop resistance to the offending agent, instead of just masking the itch.

On the other hand in some cases, no amount of bathing, supplements and allergy shots will cure your pet's atopic dermatitis. In these instances Veterinarian's usually recommend.

  1. Corticosteroids like Prednisone, 
  2. Anti Histamines, Hydroxyzine, chlorpheniramine and Benadryl, ask your veterinarian first
  3. Allergy testing and immunotherapy
  4. I have had great success with Apoquel and Atopica 

Why it is important to treat Atopic Dermatitis ASAP?

I know I have suffered through allergy season without really treating my symptoms, especially consistently taking allergy medicine. But here is why you should treat your dog's allergies.

Allergies in your pets can lead to skin infections, hair loss, lick granulomas and Bronchitis.

Hot Spots can develop in dogs (hot spots are rarely seen in cats). A hot spot is inflamed, infected skin that occurs when your dog's natural bacteria overwhelms an area of his skin. Typically the skin will be very red, and often there is bleeding and hair loss.

Chronic exposure to inhaled irritants (including cigarette smoke) may be a cause of bronchitis in your pet. Bronchitis is characterized by a persistent cough due to inflammation of the airway and excessive mucus production. Treatment may include medication to open breathing passages, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory agents.  Treating these can be expensive.

 As soon as you realize your pet may be suffering from allergies see your Veterinarian for a check up.  The more your pet is exposed to the allergens he's sensitive to, the more intense and long-lasting his allergic response becomes. I have seen seasonal allergies turn into year long allergies. By treating your pet's allergies early (as early as 6 months old) you reduce the risk that your pet 's immune system produces these allergy fighting antibodies for a more prolonged time. Plus your pet will feel so much better and thank you.

To your Pet's good health,


Dr. Barry



Henry Schein Health

May 15, 2017 11:53:22 AM By Barry Miller DVM allergies, itching, scratching, dogs, cats, Allergy,
Happy National Pet Week. May 7-May 13 During this special week, we are reminded to cherish the human-animal bond and to recognize our part in responsible pet ownership. As Pet Parents we can live out these values by following the action outlined by National Pet Week's theme this year, "Lifetime of Love—The Basics: Seven Days to a Happier, Healthier Pet." The American Veterinary Medical Association invites all Pet Parents or Pet Lovers to follow the action dedicated to the next 7 days that are vital to achieving a Lifetime of Love.Read More
May 5, 2017 11:41:00 AM By Barry Miller national pet week love pets, General Information,

“And there it was, that lump in my throat…

Everyone once in a while the Human Animal Bond is palpable.

I feel it even after 17 years of Small Animal Medicine.”

A few weeks ago, my next client appeared around the corner of the treatment room, he was a clean cut older gentle man. He reminded me of someone from the 40’s, well slicked back hair, white t shirt, belt and blue jeans.  He laid his dog on the table. I examined the dog that was showing multiple signs of a dog that was well past his prime.  After further examination I regrettably determined that his dog had advanced stages of cancer and that it appeared to have spread to multiple areas of his body.

And there it was that lump in my throat as I looked at this gentleman loving look at his dog and say.

 “Well, it was you and me for a long time and now it’s just going to be me”.

 I could feel the love and companionship this dog had offered his owner, they were a team.  

Read More
Apr 27, 2017 9:21:00 AM By Barry Miller benefits, pets, children, autism, Behavior,

Poison Prevention Week: Dogs

Xylitol: Safe for People, Deadly to Dogs

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar-alcohol found in many types of fruits and vegetables and used as a sugar substitute in many common products. Appealing to dieters because of its sweet taste and small amount of calories, Xylitol is also widely used by diabetics who must monitor their sugar intake. While it has been determined to be a safe product for human consumption, Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs, for a ten pound dog, ingesting one piece of gum may be all it takes for the animal to suffer from hypoglycemia.

Xylitol Dangers for Dogs


In both dogs and humans, the pancreas controls the level of blood sugar through the release of insulin. When Xylitol is ingested by humans there is only a small release of insulin. 
However, when Xylitol is ingested by a dog:

  • The substance is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, which stimulates the pancreas to rapidly release insulin
  • Shortly after ingestion, the animal will experience hypoglycemia, a sudden decrease in its blood sugar level
  • Without the proper veterinary treatment, hypoglycemia can be life-threatening


Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning

Signs of Xylitol toxicity develop rapidly, sometimes within 15 to 30 minutes following ingestion, but are usually evident within 1 to 2 hours. In some pets, toxicity may not show for up to 12 hours. Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Incoordination
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Liver failure

What to Do If Your Pet Ingests Xylitol

  • Contact their veterinarian immediately
  • Have product label of item ingested when they phone for help, if possible
  • Do not take steps unless directed by a veterinarian

Prompt veterinary care is essential in order to help an animal that has ingested Xylitol.  You may also

call the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) 

Do you have Products in your house with Xylitol?

Xylitol is found naturally in small amounts in many fruits, vegetables, and some trees, for example:

  • Raspberries
  • Plums
  • Corn
  • Birch wood  

As manufactured and used as an added ingredient, Xylitol is commonly found in many types of products, for example:

  • Medications:
    • Vitamins
    • Fiber supplements
    • Nasal sprays
    • Cough syrup
    • Throat lozenges
    • Sleep aids
    • Nicotine gum
    • Certain prescription drugs
  • Dental health products:
    • Toothpaste
    • Dental floss
    • Dry mouth sprays
    • Mouthwash
  • Food:
    • Sugar replacement to sweeten beverages, add to cereals and baked goods
    • Instant coffee
    • Ketchup
    • Pancake syrup
    • Peanut butter
    • Pudding
    • Ice cream
    • Drink powder
    • BBQ sauce
    • Chewing gum
    • Candy
    • Jam
    • Chocolates
    • Sugar free mints

Xylitol is even found in small amounts in some veterinary pet products, such as in some toothpastes and mouthwashes. When a veterinary product is found to contain Xylitol, it is important to follow the prescribed dose and to keep the product our of your pet’s reach to avoid potential poisoning

Steps to Prevent Xylitol Poisoning

1.Check the product labels of items being brought into your home, watching for alternative names on the product list, including:

  • Birch sugar
  • E967
  • Meso-Xylitol
  • Xilitol
  • Xylit
  • Xylite
  • Xylo-pentane-1,2,3,4,5-pentol

2.When products are found to have Xylitol as an ingredient, make sure that they are put away so pets can’t get to them.

3.When Xylitol ingestion is caught early and the pet receives veterinary treatment right away, the prognosis for outcome is better. However, since even a small quantity of Xylitol can be deadly, it is important to advise clients that if they suspect their pet has ingested even a tiny amount of Xylitol that they seek veterinary help immediately.

4. Make sure that your children know to store Sugar Free gum, candies and chocolates or other items that contain Xylitol out of reach of their pets.  I know in my household sometimes wrappers with small amounts of food are left in reach of a pet that would like a taste. As well, gum packages and chewed gum can be spat out and left for a dog to consume. If children know the danger that these items can impose on their pet they are more likely to keep them out of their pet's reach.

To Your Pet's Good Health,

Dr. Barry



Mar 16, 2017 3:14:39 PM By Barry Miller poison, prevention, dogs, xylitol, General Information,

We love our puppies! However, every year large numbers of dogs end up out of the house or placed in shelters because of behavioral issues. 

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While many drugs and medications are safe for both human and dog  to use, the same does not apply to CATS. Unless specifically indicated, cats should never be given people or dog medications or supplements. According to the Pet Poison Hotline website, close to 50% of the calls they receive regarding toxic ingestions in pets involve human medications. 

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Mar 15, 2017 12:11:00 PM By Barry Miller poison, cats, General Information,

This month we celebrate National Puppy Day on March 23rd this is part 1 of a two part blog series celebrating the joy of new puppies. 

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Mar 1, 2017 11:48:27 AM By Barry Miller new dogs, children, training, introducing, Behavior,

Hip Dyslasia Information and Tips for Clients

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Jan 26, 2017 4:24:15 PM By Barry Miller hip, dysplasia, arthritis, Arthritis & Joint Health,

Dental disease can be a serious problem but simple steps to prevent gum disease can lead to a longer healthier life.

Read More
Jan 26, 2017 3:04:54 PM By Barry Miller Dental, hygiene, disease, gum, Dental Health,
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