Posted in Events News Veterinary Services on Dec 15, 2021 | no responses.

With visits by Santa’s Reindeer to Belle Mead Animal Hospital in years past, we thought we would treat you to some Reindeer facts this holiday season!

Reindeer 2015 Belle Mead Animal Hospital







Did you know…

  1. Reindeer live in the Northern parts of North America including Canada and Alaska. They also live in Europe, Russia and Greenland in the tundra regions (as well as the North Pole with Santa!)
  2. Reindeer are also known as Caribou. In Europe they are called Reindeer most of the time. However, in America, we only call them Reindeer when they are domesticated. Otherwise, in the wild we call them Caribou. (Their scientific name, by the way, is Rangifer Tarasndus).
  3. Reindeer are herbivores meaning they eat plants.
  4. A Reindeer can live up to 15 years in the wild and can weigh from 240 to 700 pounds.
  5. A Reindeer’s antlers grow to be 3 feet tall. They shed their antlers in the winter, and no two Reindeer antlers look exactly the same!
  6. Reindeer use their hooves to dig for food in the snow. The outer edges of their hooves are sharp and help them walk on ice and rocks.
  7. A Reindeer can run 50 miles per hour!

Reindeer Crown Vet 2016







All the best for a safe and healthy holiday season!

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital









Posted in General Pets News Veterinary Medicine on Nov 15, 2021 | no responses.

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, we want to be sure you are aware of the many foods your pets may appear to crave but should be made off limits to keep them healthy – and that means no treating from the Thanksgiving dinner table, making sure all trash lids are secure, and all tin foil and saran wrapped leftovers are safely stored away from your pet’s eyes and nose.

Cat at food dish

And don’t forget to inform your Thanksgiving Day guests and all members of your family that Fluffy and Fido need to stick to their own regular pet food diet and not be fed from the dinner table! Folks without pets may not have the same awareness that a pet parent has of what foods may be safe and what may be harmful to your pet. Dogs, especially, will eagerly eat a much wider variety of foods than cats, but let’s keep kitty safe, too, and away from that tempting fatty piece of meat that might cause a digestive upset.

We would like to share a list of what Pet Poison Helpline considers high on their list of reasons for emergency calls during the Thanksgiving holiday. Maybe you should print this out and tape it to your refrigerator or other prominent place in your home so everyone in your household knows the dangers.

Fatty foods – These include butter, bacon, fatty meat drippings, gravies and meat scraps – all pose threats of stomach upset such as pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that can result in clinical signs of vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and abdominal pain. Symptoms may not be immediate and can occur up to 4 days after exposure.

Discarded food items – Turkey trussing and bones can result in obstruction or gastrointestinal injury. Even corn cobs have the same danger and can result in emergency surgery. For those of you who follow our Facebook page, we’ve posted about our patient who suffered this exact issue by swallowing a corn cob earlier this year!

Keep corn cobs away from dogs

Turkey Brine – Did you know your pet could suffer from salt toxicosis by drinking this salt-saturated solution? Clinical signs are excessive thirst and urination, vomiting and diarrhea. This can potentially result in serious electrolyte changes and brain swelling.

Xylitol – We’ve warned pet parents before about the danger of this sweetener found in candies, desserts, peanut butter, and chewing gum, to name a few. Xylitol can result in a rapid drop in blood sugar in dogs along with liver damage.

Raisins, currents and grapes – These are a serious concern for dogs as they have the risk of resulting in acute renal failure with even small ingestions. Don’t take chances.

Chocolates – Clinical signs include of vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, tremors, and increased heart rate along with potential seizures. Keep all chocolate out of reach!

Nuts – The high fat content poses the same risk of digestive upset and pancreatitis as the other fatty foods mentioned above. Macadamia nuts are more serious and if ingested can result in vomiting, diarrhea, inability to rise or walk normally.

Bowl of Nuts







Holiday floral arrangements – This is something we have also warned you about in the past. Often floral arrangements contain poisonous plants such as lilies – cats can die of acute renal failure if any part of the lily plant is ingested. Keep floral arrangements completely away and out of reach by pets. Take no chances. It could be fatal for your pet!

Lilies are toxic to cats

Holiday decorations – Ornaments that humans find festive and pretty to look at are viewed as toys by pets and pose a danger by swallowing. Traditional candles can result in accidental burns while flameless candles contain batteries that when ingested can result in gastrointestinal burns and corrosive injury. We’ve treated dogs in our practice who have ingested batteries which pose a real and present danger year round, not just during the holidays.

Make Thanksgiving Day a Happy Day for your pets! Keep them safe and secure away from harmful foods and situations – share your concern with your family and guests – and everyone enjoys the holiday!

Remember, even though Belle Mead Animal Hospital does NOT offer 24 hour emergency care, should a mishap occur, visit our website Emergency page for guidance on how to proceed to your nearest emergency animal clinic.

Also keep the Pet Poison Helpline phone number handy – 1-800-213-6680 for 24/7 emergency assistance.

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Posted in Exotics Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Services on Oct 09, 2021 | no responses.

Rabbits make wonderful pets. Once you and your family learn about the basic care and dietary requirements, you can enjoy many years with your furry friend. There are several breeds to choose from, and they all have the same general characteristics.

Diet and digestive system:

First of all, a rabbit’s digestive system is similar to a horse.  Rabbits have very little stomach and small intestine. They do, however, have one huge appendix.  We call that a “cecum.”

Because of their anatomy, rabbits require hay daily as a natural fiber source to live well and stay healthy.  A rabbit’s diet should consist of 80% grass hay.  Oxbow is a good company who makes little bales of hay for rabbits.  Pellets should be a really small portion of their diet, and if they eat all their hay, give them more hay.  A diet of pellets and very little hay will take its toll on your rabbit’s digestive system and teeth.

You can also feed a minimum of one cup vegetables for each 4 lbs. of body weight.  You can select three different types of dark green or yellow vegetables daily such as alfalfa sprouts, basil, beet greens, broccoli leaves, Brussels sprouts, carrot and carrot tops, cilantro, collard greens, endive, green peppers, parsley, romaine lettuce, kale, outer cabbage leaves, wheat grass, pea pods but not peas, squash, radicchio or dandelion leaves.

Rabbits eating greens

Rabbits eating greens

You may add a small amount of fruit (up to 3 types) totaling 1-2 level Tbsp per 5 lbs. body weight.  Stick to high fiber fruits like apple, peach, plum, pear, melon, raspberry, papaya, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry and pineapple.  Avoid sugary fruits like bananas and grapes, and feed no fruits at all if dieting.

Symptoms that your rabbit is not feeling well:

Also, like a horse, rabbits cannot physically vomit.  Because they cannot vomit, that is one less warning sign that your bunny may be ill. For a rabbit, their stomach will explode before they vomit.  You will have to look for other symptoms.

It might not be obvious, but you may notice your rabbit is simply more quiet than usual. Rabbits are quiet anyway, so it’s important to know what level of activity is normal for your pet.  Maybe your rabbit is simply moving around less.  An obvious symptom is that your bunny is simply not eating, and even more important is that your rabbit is no longer defecating.  This indicates your rabbit may be in serious trouble.

If a rabbit does not eat for whatever reason (gas pain, infectious disease, inflammatory disease), its appendix (cecum) shuts down and starts filing up with gas. That becomes painful and a viscous cycle has begun.

One of the things we try to teach owners is how to force feed their rabbit. If someone calls on a holiday, an emergency treatment to help a rabbit feel better quickly and cheaply is to force feed it, especially if we cannot get to the pet or if the owner cannot get their rabbit into an emergency clinic immediately for any reason.

Force feeding bunny with Oxbow Critical Care

Force feeding bunny with Oxbow Critical Care

We recommend force feeding with Oxbow Critical Care.  This is basically a fiber product that you mix with water. We teach people how to administer it, and we discuss it in the exam room during a wellness visit. Sometimes an owner can save their rabbit’s life if they can’t get it into the hospital quickly enough.

In the old days, veterinarians would X-ray rabbits, see a hairball in their stomach and think surgery was required to remove it. We have since learned that 99.9% of the time, rabbits who are constantly grooming themselves will naturally have a hairball in their stomach.  Usually the hairball is not the problem, and if the rabbit has not eaten for three or more days, sometimes surgery can hasten their demise.  The solution becomes rehydrating them with food and water to open up their intestine quickly and making sure they are eating the proper diet going forward.

Why dental exams are important:

Rabbits are born with one set of teeth.  Their teeth are designed for eating hay in that they are perfectly even and grind the top and the bottom teeth together.  Rabbits have front teeth and back molars, but no teeth in the middle.  The back molars are what the owners can’t see.  Veterinarians can only see them during an exam by using a special instrument.

Rabbit Dental

Rabbit Dental

Rabbit dental with malocclusion and in need of Orthodontist

Rabbit dental with malocclusion and in need of Orthodontist










When the back molars develop sharp points that begin to lacerate the rabbit’s tongue, the rabbit experiences pain and cannot eat properly. Sometimes I find a rabbit has been literally starving for weeks or months because it cannot eat properly, and the owner is not even aware.

It’s therefore important to note a rabbit’s weight during every exam.  If the rabbit has lost 5-8 oz. in the past six months, usually 99% of the time it’s a medical issue. Five ounces is nothing for us, but for a rabbit, this is a serious danger signal that something is medically wrong.

Checking your rabbit’s teeth and weight once or twice a year and making sure they are eating the proper diet is lifesaving. They do need to be seen by a veterinarian, and this is where the education process begins for the owner.

Please feel free to call our office if you have any questions, would like a tour of our facility or want to schedule an appointment.

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hopsital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Posted in Exotics Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Services on Sep 23, 2021 | no responses.

We talk a lot about indoor rabbit care, but what about those rabbits that are kept outdoors?  Good husbandry and proper housing is just as important for outdoor rabbits as those kept inside your home.

One common practice that many well intentioned rabbit owners do is putting their pet rabbit in the same pen that houses their chickens or goats.  Some will even let the rabbits live on the ground loose without an elevated area inside the pen that the rabbit can retreat to.

Rabbit in pen with chickens

Rabbit in pen with chickens

It simply is not an ideal situation to house rabbits together with other outdoor animals such as chickens or goats, and here is why:

The most common intestinal microscopic parasite of rabbits, goats and birds (especially chickens, ducks and geese) is Coccidia. These parasites found in the animals’ stool multiply invisibly on the floor close to the ground, especially in chicken floor spaces.

Chickens carry lots of Coccidia.  Rabbits, especially young rabbits, who get infected with Coccidia can develop growth retardation and stop eating.  They can also experience diarrhea, constipation, liver failure and eventual death.

Goats who are housed next to chickens are even more susceptible to developing Coccidia induced diarrhea. They can stop eating, become dehydrated and eventually die.  Very young goats (those who are less than four months old) are especially susceptible.

Outdoor rabbits need clean living areas that are kept free from manure of any sort daily. They need hutches with good ventilation so they don’t get stressed and be at increased risk for serious Pasteurella respiratory infections.

Chickens defecate constantly.  They are messy and create dusty areas due to the way they eat. So again, chickens should not be sharing the same floor space with pet rabbits. Furthermore, rabbits who eat chicken food are at risk to develop an intestinal blockage, and this is cause for an emergency situation to an unsuspecting pet owner.

Rabbits would do better in an elevated, mostly wire hutch with a section that is totally wood enclosed (top and bottom) where they can get in from the cold and hopefully hide from a fox or raccoon patrolling around at night. Their stool can then fall below through the wire area of the hutch, while the rabbit can still enjoy safe shelter off wire.

Properly constructed Rabbit Hutch - front vieww

Properly constructed Rabbit Hutch – front view

Properly constructed Rabbit Hutch - side view

Properly constructed Rabbit Hutch – side view














If you want to have a rabbit loose in a pen because you have trained them and handled them extensively since birth, then go ahead.  However, please make sure the pen is clean, secure and just for rabbits.  If you leave them in a pen overnight or during the day without supervision, a hawk or a fox will get them sooner or later.  At night, foxes can tear through flimsy enclosures as well as dig under bottom fencing that is not buried deep enough. They will bite the toes off rabbits who are housed on wire enclosure with no solid bottomed shelter.

Also important to know is that bunnies are more susceptible to heat stroke from temperatures greater than 85 degrees F.  You should roll or move their hutch into a cool garage or under a tree for shade when the temperature climbs.  Also, place a frozen plastic milk jug inside their hutch. The jug will keep your rabbits cooler while the jug slowly thaws.

That being said, rabbits can get frostbite if left outside in severe, bitter cold weather without a proper solid shelter.  We recommend moving their hutch to a warm garage or shed for those nights that are just too severe to be safe.

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital


Posted in General Pets Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Services on Aug 15, 2021 | no responses.

In late summer and early fall, we sometimes see an infection called Cuterebrosis in cats.  It starts with a botfly, which is a genus of Cuterebra.

Botflies lay eggs on blades of grass or in nests. Once the eggs hatch, they release tiny worms or maggots that crawl onto the skin of animals passing by.  Often they attach to rodents and rabbits that live in the wild. However, a passing cat or kitten can become infected, too.

Kitten with Cuterebrosis infection

Kitten with Cuterebrosis infection

One of our cases was a kitten, as seen in the accompanying photo.  In this case, the Cuterebra worm most likely crawled around on the kitten until it found an orifice to enter, which happened to be a small wound on the kitten’s neck area.

Once an orifice is found, a lump is formed on the skin where the worm lives called a warble. The worm comes up for air every few seconds which we can clearly see.  When removing it, we must be careful to not crush it.  We want to remove the worm intact so it does not release a toxin.

Video – Cuterebra worm in kitten

The danger is that once larvae migrate through the cat’s tissues, further illness follows with symptoms that include respiratory signs, neurological signs or ophthalmic (eye) lesions.

When a Cuterebra worm is found and when a positive Cuterebra diagnosis is made, a broad-spectrum anti-parasite medication is typically administered.  A corticosteroid treatment will be given before administering the medication. The anti-parasite medication can be administered either to alleviate the signs caused by any worms suspected of migrating into the lungs or to kill larvae in other tissues, including the central nervous system.

It is therefore important to protect pets from being outside and make sure they don’t have any scratches or wounds that can become a home for Cuterebra.  It is equally important to have your veterinarian examine pets that come from outdoors for possible wounds/Cuterebra that are covered by fur or often missed.

That being said, rabies is endemic in our area, and the virus can live up to three hours in wounds. Never clip and clean or physically examine wounds yourself and without gloves, especially on strays. This applies to even your own rabies vaccinated pets. The rabies vaccine protects your pet but not you, the owner, if exposed to any blood, saliva, or other secretion. If exposed, please report it to your family doctor and veterinarian immediately.

Remember that a mother cat permitted to roam outside can carry a worm indoors that attaches to one of her indoor kittens.  Also, the worms can infect the same cat time and again.

Please call our office if you notice any symptoms, have further questions, or wish to make an appointment for your pet’s wellness exam.  We are here to help.

Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Posted in General Pets News Veterinary Medicine on Jul 08, 2021 | no responses.

As veterinary professionals, it is part of our job to report any animal bite in a person / client at our practice to the local health department where the person resides because of the risk of rabies. The Somerset County Department of Health (SCDOH) has developed a comprehensive Record of Animal Bite Form that we have been notified to use in accordance with New Jersey Revised Statutes (N.J.R.S.) 26:4-78 through 95.

Somerset County Department of Health

Somerset County Department of Health

As per their notification, the purpose of this form is to obtain all pertinent information regarding the animal bite in order to initiate a rabies control investigation in an expedient manner.  The above referenced statutes address rabies control and mandate that all bites and exposures to humans and animals be reported to the local department of health, which serves as the lead agency for rabies control activities.

Rabies explained:

Rabies is a viral infection of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) that can affect all warm-blooded animals. The virus is excreted in the saliva of an infected animal (usually a raccoon, fox, skunk, groundhog, dog or cat) and is transmitted by a bite or by contamination of open (i.e., bleeding within the past 24 hours) wounds or mucous membranes with saliva or central nervous system tissue (brain and spinal cord) from an infected animal. Rabies in humans can be prevented by the administration of rabies immune serum and vaccine after a bite or exposure from a known or suspect rabid animal has occurred. Once signs and symptoms of illness appear (usually 2-12 weeks following the bite), there is no cure or treatment for the disease.

The SCDOH suggests these procedures to follow should an animal bite occur:

1. Wash animal bite wounds thoroughly with soap and water as soon as possible after the bite. Contamination of open cuts or scratches with saliva of potentially rabid animals should also be washed off immediately.

2. If bitten by an owned animal, obtain the owner’s address and telephone number. In case of bites from wild or stray animals, if it can be done safely, try to capture the animal so that it can be observed or tested for rabies. Call your local animal control officer for assistance.

3. Consult a physician as soon as possible.

Furthermore, the SCDOH advises that biting dogs and cats should be confined for rabies observation by the local department of health for a period of 10 days following the bite. If a dog or cat had rabies virus in its saliva at the time of the bite, it will become very ill with rabies within a few days and can be sacrificed and tested to verify the presence of the disease. Dogs and cats showing signs of rabies at the time of the bite may be sacrificed and tested immediately. Other domestic animals, i.e., horses, cattle, goats, etc. may be confined for observation for 10 days if they are healthy at the time of the bite.

Signs of rabies in animals include loss of appetite, fever, restlessness, irritability, progressing to either frank aggressiveness and/or paralysis and difficulty walking, unusual crying or howling, drooling of saliva, and eventually seizures, coma, and death. The progression of the disease is rapid, with domestic animals usually dying within one to five  days of onset of illness. At the first signs of any such illness in an animal confined for rabies observation, the local health department should be notified at once.

There is no safe rabies observation period for wild animals. Raccoons, skunks and foxes may have the virus in their saliva for a week or longer before showing signs of illness.  If any of these animals are seen acting unusually, showing signs of aggression, and out during daylight hours, they should be considered as potentially rabid. Stay away from these animals and do not let pet dogs, cats, or other animals come in contact with them. Report to the local department of health any bites or exposures from these animals to your pets, livestock, or yourself.

Please direct all questions and/or concerns to the SCDOH at 908-231-7155.  You can also find more information about their services on their website.

Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Posted in General Pets News Veterinary Services on Jun 03, 2021 | no responses.

As we approach a year and a half into the pandemic, we want to thank all of our clients for their continued understanding as we all navigate this world together! We are writing this letter to update everyone on how the clinic is functioning and to explain some of the changes you may have experienced over the past year.

We know the first question on everyone’s mind is when we will be allowing clients back into the clinic. Right now, we are continuing our curbside service for the foreseeable future. On a case-by-case basis at the doctor’s discretion, we will be allowing ONE person to accompany a pet into the exam room, but you will still be waiting in your car both before and after the appointment. Our waiting room will continue to be closed at this time. We will of course continue to do some exams outside and allow you to be present for euthanasia – a policy we have had in place for the entire pandemic. We will also ask that you be masked while you are inside the clinic and interacting with staff, and especially during any time social distancing cannot be adhered to. Please note that if you are going to ask to accompany your pet inside, you will not be able to bring additional family members with you.


As many of you have noticed, our phone lines are extremely busy. We once again ask that if you are calling to update a doctor, request an appointment, to refill food or medications, or for curbside service – please pay attention to the phone prompts. These prompts will direct you to specific phones and personnel in the hospital, and they may not be able to assist you with your issue if the correct prompt is not chosen.

In addition, we ask that you refrain from repeated calls to the hospital – if you left a message for us, unless this is an emergency, we would ask that you give us 24 hours to return your call. Multiple phone calls mean that multiple staff members may be working on the same issue, which prevents them from assisting with anything else. If you have not heard from us within 24 hours then please call again – or you can also consider emailing the clinic at and we can always assist you that way. 


Our pharmacy line has similarly been inundated with calls and messages, so we are extending our refill time from 24-48 hours – please check your medication levels and plan accordingly for refills. For special order medications that need to be shipped, please plan for at least 2 weeks to fill these medications. We also have an online pharmacy available through our website that you can have medications as well as prescription food mailed directly to your house, and clients can also request refills of medications using our app or the online portal on our website.  


The clinic email is also a wonderful way that you can send us pictures of things that concern you – small lumps or incisions or videos of behavior you have questions about! These emails help us correctly triage what needs to be seen versus what can wait – and as you have noted, we are booking out weeks in advance for both wellness and technician appointments.


We appreciate your understanding and encourage you to plan on booking wellness visits out as far as possible to ensure your pets can get their vaccines. For sick or injured pets, we have reserved appointments available each day, but we also have drop off appointments available where your pet can be dropped off earlier in the day at your convenience and the doctor that is on surgery that day will evaluate your pet in between their surgeries. This does mean that your pet will likely be spending the day with us, but will be walked, fed, watered and medicated as needed. That being said, there is more demand than there are available appointments, and there are times that we will have to refer you to a local emergency clinic to be seen if our doctors are simply not able to fit another appointment in.


We try to accommodate as many appointments as possible, but all clinics are feeling the strain of an increased number of appointments – we have had local emergency clinics close to incoming emergencies or have 6-8 hour waits on the weekends.  These situations are unavoidable and are happening everywhere across the country – we understand that this is a stressful time for everyone, including owners of sick pets. We are doing our best to see what we can during our open hours – and will continue to see same day emergencies, drop offs, and sick appointments when our doctors have the availability.  On the weekends when we are not available, there is a chance that local emergency clinics may ask for stable emergencies like ear infections or allergies to wait and see us during the week if they are overwhelmed with serious emergencies. Similarly, during the week we may ask ill but stable pets to wait until openings are available later in the week or utilize the drop off appointments if available.


To ease some of the burden of scheduling appointments, we are very excited to announce that starting in mid-June we will be welcoming Dr. Rita Blanco, a new veterinarian, to the practice! Dr. Blanco has graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and is very interested in internal medicine and is also excited to learn about exotics! A native of New Jersey, she has one horse, 2 cats and 4 goldfish. We know you will all love her, and she is excited to get started seeing appointments!
Posted in General Pets Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Services on May 12, 2021 | no responses.

Is your dog tired or achy after a walk? Is your cat eating less than usual? These seemingly minor changes may indicate your pet has a tick-related disease, and you may not even realize it.

Ticks are tricky. Even when you check your pet for ticks they can be tough to find because they’re small and hide well in dark fur. But it’s crucial to find ticks and remove them quickly. Why?

Some ticks carry bacteria referred to as a spirochete that cause disease such as Lyme disease, but there are many others. And it just takes one undetected tick bite for your pet to become infected. Not all pets show classical symptoms in 4-8 weeks. Some pets might not show any symptoms for months to years.  If undiagnosed and untreated your pet can become very sick and eventually develop kidney damage. At times, these diseases can be fatal.

Starting in early spring, check for ticks on your dog’s body immediately after every outdoor walk. Ticks can hide between your pet’s toes, the underside of the toes, in the ear flaps and around the tail base. Use a magnifying glass to determine whether or not you are looking at a tick – a bump with “legs” is most likely a tick. The goal is to remove ticks as soon as possible within the first 24 hours before disease-causing bacteria is transmitted by the tick bite to your pet.

Ticks and Fleas on a dogTicks and Fleas on a dog







What if you do find a tick on your pet? Make sure you wear gloves and ideally use a tick-removing tool. It’s a must that the tick be removed correctly to avoid inadvertently spreading infection by crushing the tick in bare hands or mishandling.

Follow these tips suggested by the AVMA:

  • Remove ticks by carefully using tweezers to firmly grip the tick as close to the pet’s skin as possible and gently and steadily pulling the tick free without twisting it or crushing the tick during removal.
  • Do not attempt to smother the tick with alcohol or petroleum jelly, or apply a hot match to it. This may cause the tick to regurgitate saliva into the wound and increase the risk of disease if the tick is infected.
  • Crushing, twisting or jerking the tick out of the skin while its head is still buried could result in leaving the tick’s mouth parts in your pet’s skin; this can cause a reaction and may become infected.
  • After removing the tick, crush it in a napkin or tissue to avoid contact with tick fluids that can carry disease. You can safely flush the tick down the toilet.


It’s a good idea to disinfect your dog’s skin with soapy water or diluted povidone iodine (Betadine) after removing the tick. Monitor the area for the next few days, and if you notice any irritation or inflammation of the skin, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

Your veterinarian may suggest having your dog tested for tick-borne diseases about three to four weeks after removing a tick. If you choose not to have the blood test, then it’s important to watch your dog closely for several months for any signs of loss of appetite, lethargy, changes in gait, fever and intermittent limping. These are all symptoms of potential tick-borne diseases, but again, early detection is critical. By the time you notice these symptoms, disease has already set in, however, so please consider testing at your veterinarian’s recommendation.

DogChecking your dog externally for ticks and having his blood checked annually by your veterinarian for tick diseases like Lyme, Anaplasma, and Ehrlichia is a good way to help your pet stay healthy.  When detected and treated early, tick-related diseases can be cured.

The best way to prevent dogs from devastating tick diseases in dogs is to use a safe monthly preventative all year long. Ask your vet what would be best for your pet. Whatever you do, don’t pay to spray your yards against flea and ticks. It is not good for your pets.

If you suspect a tick-borne disease, call your veterinarian to set up a thorough exam. Your vet will also check for hidden ticks along the way. We’ll also talk about how to keep your pet tick-free and determine if a simple tick-borne disease-screening test is needed.

Recommended Reading:

NexGard – an FDA approved chewable to combat fleas and ticks on your dog

Ensuring healthy pets ensures healthy families

Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Posted in General Pets News Veterinary Medicine on Apr 09, 2021 | no responses.

The BMAH Pet Pain Clinic offers non-invasive Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT, or shockwave) for pets with certain conditions. Shockwave is a non-invasive treatment that uses pressure waves to treat various areas that are painful and stimulate a natural healing response.

Shockwave treatment is helpful for many conditions including:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
  • Bone Fractures
  • Scar Tissue
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Tendonitis and Ligament injuries
  • Chronic or non-healing wounds.
  • Myofascial trigger points
  • Areas of chronic muscular pain or strains
  • Chronic back pain

Many people are familiar with other more high-powered shockwave treatments that include breaking up kidney stones. Our unit is a PiezoWave unit is less energy than this traditional units, and this enables us to deliver focused shockwave energy to your pet. Our machine is also much quieter and less painful than traditional shockwave treatments of the past. In fact, our animals don’t even require sedation for their treatments!

BMAH Chloe Shockwave Treatment March 2021

Shockwave is thought to work by creating small microtraumas to the tissues being treated, and this encourages the body to heal itself by encouraging new blood supply, thereby increasing blood supply to the area; this brings new nutrients and helps take waste products away from the area. This also stimulates the body to repair itself and can also blocks some of the pain pathways.

Shockwave treatment takes between 5-10 minutes depending on how many areas are being treated. We use a water-soluble gel to enable us to conduct the shockwaves through the fur.

Specific Technique

Shock wave therapy is an outpatient procedure. A probe is placed on the skin after a gel is applied to help conduct the shock waves. High- or low-energy waves may be used. High-energy waves may cause pain and require a local or regional anesthetic. Low-energy shock wave therapy often is performed without anesthesia. Therapy is more successful with active patient participation where the patient tells the therapist whether or not the probe is at the area of pain. One or more treatment sessions may be needed.

Dr. Kim Somjen, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Kim Somjen DVM Fear Free Professional
Posted in Exotics Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Services on Mar 15, 2021 | no responses.

Continuing with our series about guinea pig care, perhaps now you are a proud owner of one or more of these little cavies.  Here are some things you should know about maintaining your guinea pig’s health and well-being:

Always seek veterinary care if you suspect your pigs are ill.  If your guinea pig is losing weight for no known reason, do not delay contacting your veterinarian, as they hide their illnesses sometimes until it’s far too late to cure.

Guinea Pig Trio

Other common signs of disease besides weight loss are lethargy, sneezing, coughing, diarrhea, hair loss and itching.

Regular dental exams are extremely important.  Guinea pigs are born with one set of teeth that consist of front incisors and back molars.  They have no middle teeth.  It’s very common that they are brought to a veterinarian appointment starving because their back molars are overgrown and have strangled their tongue.  Their molar points also could be hurting or lacerating their tongue.  They can no longer eat comfortably in this condition.  In most cases, the owner is not even aware that this is happening and that their pet is suffering.

Also, guinea pigs can develop a condition known as “bumble foot” (ulcerative pododermatitis) which present as open sores on the bottom of their hocks. This is a bacterial infection and inflammatory reaction that can occur especially if they are inactive or become overweight and spend too much time in wire and mesh cages.  A veterinary call is in order if this condition develops, as antibiotics may be necessary to clear the infection. To avoid this condition, it is important to keep the cage clean to combat bacterial buildup. This can be achieved by adding a layer of cardboard or old clothing on the cage floor and changing this layer a few times a week.

Guinea Pig Face

Another condition to watch out for with your pet guinea pig is overgrown toenails. This can be quite painful if the nails grow into their pads. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to safely clip their nails, or bring your pet into the hospital so that one of the technicians can trim their nails on a regular basis.

Lice and mites can appear suddenly as balding, scabbing, itchy lesions on guinea pigs. It’s important to note that lice and mites are not contagious to people and are easily treatable.  However, this causes a lot of discomfort for your pet, and your guinea pig should be examined and treated by a veterinarian.  Mite infestations are usually more severe than lice. A vet can diagnose a mite infestation by performing skin scrapings of affected areas and viewing them under the microscope. Lice infestation can be detected in a similar manner by inspecting the hair.  A treatment plan will be determined by your veterinarian.

Guinea pigs don’t need vaccinations like dogs, cats and people, but they do need to go to the veterinarian once or twice a year to check their weight, heart, and back molars.

Guinea Pig

If you are unable to regularly provide vitamin C through fruits and vegetables, then you may need to supplement vitamin C by adding it to their water.  However, get your cavy used to it by adding tiny amounts of vitamin C to their water slowly over a few days. Some cavies might not drink vitamin C readily in their water unless you introduce it slowly.  Vitamin C in pellets and commercial foods don’t last long and they may not provide enough of the daily nutrient.  Vitamin C is easily destroyed by air, light and heat

We don’t advise using a multi-vitamin but rather a vitamin C supplement that can be administered with water with the recommended dose of 50 mg Vitamin C to 8 oz. drinking water daily.

Visit our Learning Center to source more information about Guinea pig care.  Also feel free to call our office with questions and to schedule a wellness exam for pet.

Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

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