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

Rabies is Still a Threat

October 2nd, 2015

September 28th was World Rabies Day, an international event established by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control to raise awareness of the deadly virus. The theme for 2015 is “End Rabies Together.” With this in mind, it’s the perfect time to take a few minutes to educate yourself about rabies prevention and treatment.

World Rabies Awareness Day

Rabies is caused by a virus that animals and people can get through exposure to the saliva or nervous tissue of a rabid animal, and is nearly always fatal without proper treatment. Rabies kills over 55,000 people per year; at least half those are children under the age of 15 who are unaware of the risks of rabies. In 95% of human rabies cases, the cause is a bite or a scratch from an infected dog.

Symptoms of Rabies

Rabies is not always visible to the naked eye. However, the following symptoms are common in infected animals:

  • Staggering or stumbling
  • Unprovoked aggressive behavior or overly friendly behavior
  • Foaming at the mouth

Rabies Prevention

The Global Alliance for Rabies Control recommends that all mammals in frequent contact with humans should be vaccinated, but especially dogs, cats, and ferrets. Additionally, vaccinations should always be kept up to date to ensure their usefulness. Call Gardner Animal Care Center if you are not sure about the vaccination status of your pet.

In order to reduce the risk of exposure to rabies from wildlife, the Alliance recommends that pet owners feed and water their pets indoors, as even empty bowls can attract wildlife. Garbage should be securely covered, as the smell from an open garbage can attracts stray animals. Wild animals should never be kept as pets, and should never be approached, even if they appear friendly.


If you’re bitten or scratched by an animal that is unknown to you, you may have been exposed to rabies. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. Once symptoms of rabies appear, survival is very rare.

If your pet is bitten by an unvaccinated animal, consult your veterinarian or local animal official immediately.

More Information about Rabies

For more information on rabies, visit the C.D.C website http://www.cdc.gov/rabies or the Global Alliance for Rabies Control website at www.rabiesalliance.org.

Most Popular Dog Breeds

September 25th, 2015

Dogs occupy a larger place than ever in our society in recent years. They’re not just pets – they’re real members of our families. People have come to cherish a wide variety of these four-legged friends. Depending on your personality, physical environment and time commitment, one of the breeds listed below would most likely make a great pet.

If you would like to discuss the ideal dog for you or your family, please stop by Gardner Animal Care Center and speak to a staff member. We’re here to help with these tough decisions.

According to the American Kennel Club, the 10 breeds below topped the ranks in 2014.

1. Labrador Retriever – Labrador Retrievers, or simply Labradors or Labs, are frequently described as devoted, obedient, outgoing, gentle, agile and intelligent. Great with children and eager to please, it’s no surprise these dogs came out on top for the 24th consecutive year.

2. German Shepherd Dog – German Shepherds are working dogs, originally bred for herding sheep. They are known for being strong, intelligent, obedient, loyal and easy to train. While they are a common choice for law enforcement and the military, they also make great family pets.

3. Golden Retriever – Golden Retrievers are the loyal, strong and sometimes overly enthusiastic good buddies of the dog world. These energetic, affectionate canines shower their families with endless nuzzles, kisses and tail wags, and make very emotionally rewarding pets.

4. Bulldog – This breed is gentle, kid-friendly, affectionate, and stubborn. Bulldogs are not the energetic equals of Golden Retrievers or Labs. Instead, they favor brief walks and long periods of rest – most preferably with their heads on a beloved human’s lap – between meals.

5. Beagle – Beagles are members of the hound group and possess a great sense of smell and tracking instinct. Happy, outgoing, loving but also inquisitive and determined, these small and hardy dogs make great family pets.

6. Yorkshire Terrier – Yorkshire Terriers are the most popular toy breed in the US. Attention seeking, intelligent and independent, with a propensity for yapping, they are great for apartment dwellers and families with older children.

7. Poodle – Poodles have an unmistakably distinct appearance that makes them stand out from other dogs. They’re elegant, active and very intelligent. There are three types of poodles, Standard, Miniature and Toy, and all are considered to be affectionate family pets.

8. Boxer – Boxers are medium-sized dogs that are happy, loyal, brave, high-spirited, playful, intelligent and energetic. This breed is an excellent watchdog, is a great family pet and benefits greatly from dominant owner and training starting at a young age.

9. French Bulldog – French Bulldogs have a distinct look, too – but they’re a little more funny looking than other dogs. They’re adorable, too, and it’s no mystery why these affectionate small dogs, with their easy-going and playful natures, have won people’s hearts. French Bulldogs enjoy lavishing love on their human companions and generally get along well with everyone, including children.

10. Rottweiler – Often used as search and rescue dogs, guide dogs for the blind, and guard dogs or police dogs, Rottweilers also make great companion pets. Known for being exceptionally intelligent and strong, they are also devoted, good-natured, obedient and fearless. Properly bred and socialized Rottweilers are playful, gentle, and loving to their families.

When deciding to welcome a canine companion into your home, it’s important to consider where you live, your family, your existing pets and your lifestyle. Choosing a pet with the temperament, energy level and size that complement each of these factors is a vital part of making sure your life together is a long and happy one! Remember, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need help in choosing the best dog for your family.

How Well Do You Know Our Presidents’ Dogs?

September 11th, 2015

Question 1:
What president had a dog who pulled off the French Ambassador’s pants at a White House event?
Ulysses S. Grant
Teddy Roosevelt
Woodrow Wilson

Question 2:
What assassinated president had a dog who was murdered?
Abraham Lincoln
William McKinley
John F. Kennedy

Question 3:
What Cold War-era president housed four “pupniks” after his dog had a Soviet romance?
John F. Kennedy
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter

Question 4:
What president supposedly ordered a destroyer to retrace its route when he learned his dog had been left behind?
Harry S. Truman
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Question 5:
What president caused an outcry when he picked up his beagle pups by the ears?
Theodore Roosevelt
Herbert Hoover
Lyndon B. Johnson

Question 6:
What president had a spaniel whose dog house was decorated with framed political photographs?
John F. Kennedy
Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush

Question 7:
What president said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog”?
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Bill Clinton

Question 8:
What president claimed his dog Checkers was the only campaign gift he ever accepted?
Calvin Coolidge
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Richard Nixon

Question 9:
What president had 36 dogs, but would not let his slaves keep dogs?
George Washington
John Adams
Thomas Jefferson

Question 10:
What president had a dog who sat in his own hand-carved chair during cabinet meetings?
James Buchanan
Rutherford B. Hayes
Warren Harding

Please check back in a few weeks for the answers

Study Says 57% of Cats and 52% of Dogs Are Obese

September 8th, 2015

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention has revealed that pet obesity rates has held steady in the past year, with 57.6% of cats and 52.6% of dogs recorded as overweight or obese, despite efforts by the Association to spread awareness of the dangers of pet obesity. Pet obesity, like obesity in humans, can lead to osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, joint injury, cancer and decreased life expectancy.

Overweight Dogs

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention also found most owners of overweight pets do not realize their pet is considered overweight. 93% of dog owners and 88% of cat owners believed their overweight pets were in the normal weight range. “There’s an entire nation of pet owners who are loving their pets to death with too many calories and not enough exercise,” said Joe Bartges, DVM, a veterinary nutritionist and internist. “They are in the dark that their pets are overweight and that a host of diseases can arise as a result.”

Canine Influenza Update

September 1st, 2015

The Canine Influenza outbreak that started in Chicago has now spread to 13 states. The strain of the virus, H3N2, originated in Asia in 2007 and has sickened over 1000 dogs in the Chicago area alone. Eight dogs have died from either the virus itself or secondary infections. Alabama, California, Georgia, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Jersey, Iowa and Indiana have all reported instances of Canine Influenza.

Canine Influenza’s symptoms are similar to the flu that humans get, and include cough, runny nose, and fever. However, the disease cannot be spread to humans. Because the virus is highly contagious between dogs, pet owners in affected areas should avoid dog parks.

A vaccination is available for dogs in high-risk areas. The vaccine has been shown to control the spread and minimize the impact of Canine Influenza infection and has been proven safe in more than 7 million dogs. Two doses of the vaccine are necessary to develop an effective immune response. However, since the vaccine is developed for the H3N8 strain, protection against the current outbreak H3N2 strain is unknown.

Please call Gardner Animal Care Center for more information about Canine Influenza.

Million Cat Challenge Has Saved 250,000 Cats So Far

September 1st, 2015

A campaign to reduce euthanasia in cat shelters has surpassed expectations, saving a quarter-million cats in its first year. The campaign helps shelters implement programs to reduce the number of cats coming into shelters, prevent feline disease and suffering, and promote adoption. The program aims to save one million cats by 2019.

“We knew how hungry animal shelters are to save cats’ lives, so we designed the Challenge to give them the tools they needed to do it,” said Kate Hurley, DVM in an interview with Veterinary Practice News. “Through their creativity, ingenuity, and determination, they’ve gotten us to a quarter million lives saved sooner than we ever expected.”

The program is a joint venture of the University of California Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program and the University of Florida Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program. So far, 263 shelters have signed up to participate in the challenge.

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.