Posted in General Pets Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Services on Nov 09, 2018 | no responses.

The month of November is nationally recognized as American Diabetes Month, a month focused on raising awareness about diabetes in people. However, it’s important for pet parents to recognize that November is also National Pet Diabetes Awareness Month.

Both feline and canine diabetes are similar to the diabetic condition in humans. In fact, once diagnosed, your pets will be prescribed medication and using equipment and monitoring systems that are similar to those used by diabetic humans.

The diabetic condition is most likely brought on in our pets due to the growing prevalence of pet obesity (secondary to inactive lifestyle, a high carbohydrate diet, and lack of exercise).

Obese Dog

Obese Cat






While there’s no cure for diabetes, the proper veterinary care can help your pet live a happy, healthy and active life. The more you know about diabetes, the better you’ll be able to work with your veterinarian to successfully manage your pet’s health.

Signs and Symptoms

Regular wellness exams are important to establish baselines and note any changes in your pet’s weight and behavior. Be sure to report the following diabetic symptoms to your veterinarian so a proper diagnosis to the cause can be made.

  1. Lethargy, weakness or fatigue
  2. Excessive thirst
  3. Frequent urination
  4. Sudden weight loss
  5. Increased hunger

Signs of pet diabetes








Because cats use litter boxes, be aware that larger urine clumps means they are drinking more and that may be due to diabetes. Although symptoms of diabetes are similar in both dogs and cats, a cat’s symptoms are more subtle than a dog’s, and weight loss is harder to appreciate in cats. An 8 oz. or 1/2 lb. weight loss in your average 10 lb. cat equates to a 5% weight loss, and this is significant in a cat.

Cat drinking waterCat using litter box






Only your veterinarian can diagnose diabetes and provide appropriate preventive and management programs. And the earlier the diagnosis is made, the better. Why? When diabetes goes on undiagnosed, or when it becomes difficult to control or regulate, a life-threatening condition called diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA) can occur. DKA develops because the body is so lacking in insulin that the sugar can’t get into the cells which results in cell starvation. Cell starvation causes the body to start breaking down fat in an attempt to provide energy to the body. Unfortunately, these fat breakdown products, called “ketones,” are also poisonous to the body.

Diabetes PetCare Alliance






What happens when a pet is diagnosed with Diabetes?

If diabetes is caught early enough before the pet is Ketotic, there will be no need to hospitalize the pet, so again, early detection is important.

However, if the pet comes to us very sick and Ketotic, then yes, they may need 24 hour care for a few days. We may do a BG curve for a day in the beginning, and then again in a week and every few weeks until the pet is regulated, which may take 3 months.  Some cats can go into remission during the first 3-6 months with a diet change and good regulation. We now have blood glucose monitors that owners can use at home that helps with regulation and costs.

Managing your pet’s condition at home

It’s important to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations at home for diet and monitoring once your pet is diagnosed. The goal in managing diabetes is to keep glucose concentrations regulated, avoiding spikes and drops, and to reduce or eliminate the signs of diabetes, such as excessive thirst and urination. Although diabetes can’t be cured, the condition can be successfully managed with daily insulin injections and changes in diet and lifestyle.

During the holidays, some diabetic pets may be left at home with the pet sitter. It’s important that the pet sitter be made fully aware of the pet’s condition so he/she can be managed properly while you are away. Here is a link to a handy pet sitter checklist that you can download and use.

Since weight management is key to avoid diabetes and many other health risks, please refer back to our earlier newsletter, Why managing your pet’s weight is so important.

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital


Posted in Events General Pets News on Oct 26, 2018 | no responses.

Unfortunately, we must announce the cancellation of the 2018 HOWL-O-Ween Dog Parade and Costume Contest scheduled for Saturday, October 27, at the Ann Van Middleworth Dog Park in Hillsborough, New Jersey. With a nor’easter moving in and  heavy rain predicted, it’s just not possible for the event to take place as originally planned by Hillsborough Parks and Recreation, so they have made the decision to cancel.

Howl-O-Ween Parade






We are looking forward to next year, and in the meantime, everyone stay dry and have a safe Halloween. Remember to keep Halloween treats such as chocolate away from your pets, and keep pets indoors in their “safe place” while you answer the door to greet Trick-or-Treaters.

We look forward to next year’s event, and you can read about the 2017 HOWL-O-Ween Dog Parade and Costume Contest here: Howl-O-Ween at the Hillsborough Dog Park!

Happy Halloween!

Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal  Hospital 

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Posted in Events General Pets News on Oct 13, 2018 | no responses.

With Halloween around the corner, it’s time to start making fun plans that include your dogs! Belle Mead Animal Hospital will be participating in two local events this year, and we invite you to join us!

Pet Masquerade Parade – October 20th

Animal Alliance of New Jersey has scheduled their 14th annual Pet Masquerade Parade on Saturday, October 20, 2018 in Lambertville, New Jersey from 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. (Rain Date Sunday, October 21). Belle Mead Animal Hospital is one of the proud sponsors of the event. The event will be staged at the Mary Sheridan Park on York Street. There is a $15 registration fee for each pet registered in the Pet Masquerade contest/parade with many different categories and chances to win!

Adoptable Dog Pet Masquerade Parade







Read about all the fun that was had last year:  Belle Mead Animal Hospital Sponsors Pet Masquerade Parade

We hope to see you there!

HOWL-O-Ween Dog Parade and Costume Contest – October 27th

Once again BMAH will host a vendor table at the annual HOWL-O-Ween Dog Parade and Costume Contest organized by Hillsborough Parks & Recreation.  The event will take place at the Ann Van Middleworth Dog Park on Saturday, October 27. You can attend and participate for free, and those in the parade can register starting at 8:30 a.m.  The parade will begin at 9 a.m. at the Pavilion. There will be prizes for category winners at end of the procession!







Read about last year’s event here: Howl-O-Ween at the Hillsborough Dog Park!

Again, we hope to see you there!

Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital



Fear Free Certified Professional

Posted in General Pets Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Services on Sep 15, 2018 | no responses.

There are many factors to be considered in assessing the nutritional needs of a dog or cat to ensure and promote optimal health.  Good nutrition that you can trust which targets the pet’s individual needs based on a professional Nutritional Assessment can really enhance a pet’s quality of life.

A Basic Nutritional Assessment screening should be performed when a veterinarian is initially evaluating a pet.  When visiting your vet for an annual wellness exam, please let him or her know anything and everything about your pet that you feel may be important for your pet’s overall quality of life.  This includes new or old behavioral issues, environmental or social changes and especially diet choices.

Dr. Heather Simon, VMD, examines Pudgie

Dr. Heather Simon, VMD, examines Pudgie

The basic nutritional evaluation includes a routine history followed by a 12 system yearly physical examination performed by a veterinarian. Another important part of the visit is you and your veterinarian reviewing out loud your pet’s previous medical records. This may or may not include your pet’s previous diagnostic baselines like blood work, urines, etc.

You should be asked to discuss current diets, activity level, and other important factors. During every patient exam your veterinarian is recording and adding vital assessment information like temperature, pulse, respiration, and pain assessment to your pet’s medical record.  Nutrition is the 5th Vital Assessment!

An Extended Nutritional Evaluation is done by your veterinarian when one or more nutrition-related risk factors are found.  Some risk factors that affect nutrition assessment are age, activity level, muscle condition, medications, supplements, and disease conditions. Some of the really common genetic acquired disease conditions that veterinarians diagnose daily are: dental disease (number one) followed by kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, thyroid disease, diabetes, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, acid reflux, high triglycerides and cholesterol issues, urinary tract infections and bladder stones, to name a few.

Hospital Forms

Our pets age at a much faster rate than we people do, and they unfortunately inherit many preprogrammed genetic problems silently and suddenly all of the time.  You and your veterinarian are your pet’s best advocate.  Early diagnosis coupled with a proactive, preventative state of mind is the best medicine for pets who can’t talk.

Bentley dog patient BMAHThere is a common saying in veterinary medicine: If you don’t look you will not find until it’s too late sometimes. Therefore, it is important to remember that pets suffer silently without loving and well-intentioned owners even knowing until veterinary driven evaluations and conversations uncover potential or under-the-radar problems.

Routine annual and baseline testing can include complete blood counts (CBC), biochemistry panels, urinalysis, Heartworm, Lyme, feline Leukemia, and other tests. Hopefully, all results are in normal ranges. However, if abnormal results are identified early, then maximum health and quality of life can be preserved.  Great nutrition is the most natural way to healing a patient from the inside out.

Many pets, especially those with increased risk factors, could greatly benefit from a therapeutic diet that targets specific disease or illness. Please ask your veterinarian to make a specific nutritional recommendation for your individual pet.  They can guide you better than television commercials or the Internet. Your pet’s individual medical information is a vital part of properly assessing the best nutrition for you 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

Posted in Events General Pets News on Aug 06, 2018 | no responses.

For those of you with a big interest in herpetology (the branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians and reptiles), come to the 2018 Somerset County 4-H Fair!  Dr. Jessica Stephens will be judging numerous snakes, lizards and a few amphibians and frogs showcased in the Herpetology Club tent on Wednesday, August 8, 2018. Judging takes place in the afternoon from approximately 3:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Somerset County 4-H Herpetology Club





Pets in the Herpetology Club include: bearded dragons, blue-tongued skink, California king snake, Russian tortoise, frogs, Western painted turtle, Eastern painted turtle, leopard geckos, snapping turtle, checkered garter snake, crested Gecko, and corn snake.

4-H Herpetology Reptile TWO

4-H Herpetology Snake





Throughout the year, Herpetology Club members are encouraged to learn about their pets so they can keep them healthy and help educate others about what they have learned. The annual Somerset County 4-H Fair gives club members a venue to showcase their pets and win awards.

4-H Herpetology Reptile







Awards include Best in Show, Best Reserve in Show, and ribbons for each category, typically the four herpetology animal groups (snakes, lizards, turtles and tortoises, and amphibians). However, if there are a large number of pets one category, such as bearded dragons, that may can count as a separate category all its own.

The annual Somerset County 4-H Fair is organized by the Somerset County 4-H Association. The 2018 event takes place in North Branch Park in Bridgewater August 8-10. This year’s Fair Theme is: Unleash Your Passion (in 4-H)!   Find more details here:

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Certified Fear Free Professional  – Our Mission is to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them.

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Posted in Events General Pets News on Aug 04, 2018 | no responses.

Join us in congratulating our Vet Technician Alyson Weiss for her recognition as one of this year’s Somerset County 4-H “Outstanding Alumni.”  In addition to a reception at the 4-H Center and dinner at Verve, the Somerset County Freeholders will visit the annual 4-H Fair to further recognize the alumnis’ achievements on Wednesday, August 8, at the Alpaca tent at 7 p.m.

Why the Alpaca tent you might ask? Alyson is Co-Division Chair of the Somerset County 4-H Alpaca Club, and she is the proud owner of two alpacas of her own, Rambler and Rebel.

Alyson Weiss BMAH Vet Tech Alpaca Ramler

Alyson Weiss BMAH Vet Tech Alpaca Rebel







Following the 7 p.m. presentation, at 7:30 p.m. seventeen members of the 4-H Alpaca Club will compete in showmanship with their animals.  But that’s not all – the alpacas will compete in the tent again on Friday, August 10, at 1 p.m. for Agility.  Club members will lead their alpaca through an agility course consisting of jumps, weave polls, a bridge they must go over, a teeter totter, and hoops.

Fun fact: The Somerset County 4-H Alpaca Club was the very first 4-H Alpaca Club in the entire country!  The club was started right here in Hillsborough, New Jersey.

The annual 4-H Fair is organized by the Somerset County 4-H Association.  This year’s Fair Theme is: Unleash Your Passion (in 4-H)!   Find more details here:

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Certified Fear Free Professional  – Our Mission is to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them.

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Posted in Exotics General Pets Veterinary Medicine on Jul 16, 2018 | no responses.

At Belle Mead Animal Hospital we understand that considering procedures that involve anesthesia can be intimidating. Anesthesia does involve some risk in animals, just as it does in humans. There is no way to completely remove all risk when doing anesthesia. Therefore, a pet owner’s concerns are certainly warranted. You are putting a great deal of faith and trust in your veterinarian’s office when scheduling your pet for an anesthetic procedure.

Scorpio kitten patient Belle Mead Animal Hospital

It is important to keep in mind that there are no state regulations or nationwide standards for anesthetic drugs or procedures in veterinary medicine. Not all individuals are the same, and not all drugs are created equal. If our primary goal was to do things as quick and as cheap as possible we could use a standard inexpensive protocol for every animal. This type of medicine would also not involve thorough anesthetic monitoring and adequate monitoring after the procedure. Please keep these things points in mind when comparing prices from various hospitals. At Belle Mead Animal Hospital, our primary goal is to make things as safe as possible for each individual patient. We believe that each individual pet should be treated as a member of your family. This does require more work on our part. But we believe it is what each patient deserves.

Important points to make sure your pet’s anesthesia is as safe as possible:

1)  Proper case selection: Make sure an adequate exam is done prior to scheduling a procedure. Preanesthetic blood work is also critical prior to most procedures. At BMAH we do not use a “one size fits all” protocol. This physical exam and the blood work results will help your doctor determine which protocols and drugs are best for your pet. At BMAH we try to use a multi-drug approach so that the smallest amounts of each drug can be used. This allows for quick induction, smooth recovery, and less risk of side effects from each particular drug.

2) Intravenous Access: An intravenous catheter is placed in your pet’s vein where fluids can be administered. This catheter is critical should any of your pet’s vitals change during the procedure. The fluids help maintain hydration and blood pressure during the procedure.

3) Proper Monitoring Equipment: The first and BEST way to monitor our patient is assigning a skilled veterinary technician dedicated to each surgery patient. In addition to a proper technician monitoring your pet, who will be documenting your pet’s vitals every few minutes, there are some parameters that we continuouslymonitor with proper equipment – Continuous ECG (electrocardiogram), heart rate, blood pressure, core body temperature, SPO2 (oxygen level in the blood) and ETCO2 (end tidal carbon dioxide concentration). Proper heat is important for all patients under anesthesia. There are many ways to do this; some are safer and more effective than others. At BMAH our surgery table is heated, and we use a bear-hugger which is a warm air circulating blanket that is cocooned around your pet to keep him/her warm.

4) Trained Individual Monitoring: As mentioned above, a trained individual is extremely important for monitoring the patient under anesthesia. But it is also imperative that this individual stays with the animal and makes sure that they safely and smoothly recover from anesthesia.

Puppy Face






When trying to decide if anesthesia is right for your pet and where you should bring your pet, please keep all these things in mind. At Belle Mead Animal Hospital we want anesthesia to be as safe as possible for your pet. Pets deserve to be protected like humans. We also want you to understand all of the things that help us do this. Please do not hesitate to make an appointment to discuss this with your veterinarian if you have any questions.

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Posted in Events General Pets News on Jun 28, 2018 | no responses.

From June 30 to July 1, 2018, some of the best-behaved and most highly-trained dogs in the nation will meet at The Roberts Centre in Wilmington, Ohio, with the goal of becoming the next National Obedience Champion at the prestigious American Kennel Club® National Obedience Championship. Our own Dr. Kim Somjen with her dog Chill will be among the contenders!

Dr. Kim Somjen and Dog Chill








Dr. Somjen and Chill will compete against the top obedience dogs in the country who were invited based on the number of Obedience Trial Champion (OTCH) points earned throughout the year or placements at AKC Obedience Regional Qualifying Events.

The purpose of obedience trials is to demonstrate the dog’s ability to follow specified routines in heeling, jumping and retrieving as directed by the handler. All contestants in a class are required to perform the same exercises in essentially the same way, so that the relative quality of the various performances may be scored.

The event will be livestreamed! Let’s tune in and cheer them on!  The link below gives you access to Chill’s livestreamed event on Saturday, June 30th, so they won’t be in until the afternoon. Chill is Dog #175! Go Chill !!  AKC TV, Ring 3 and Ring 4: 

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital




Posted in Events News Veterinary Medicine on Jun 27, 2018 | no responses.

There’s still time to enter the Kitty Gift Basket Raffle! Earn tickets with the purchase of Feline Revolution, the safest, most effective way to protect cats against heartworm disease, fleas, and ticks. Revolution will also protect your cats against ear mites and several fecal parasites! You only need to apply Revolution once monthly, and it is easier to apply than Frontline, which by the way does NOT protect cats against heartworm disease.

Kitty Gift Basket Revolution Raffle 2018

Feline Revolution







One raffle ticket is entered for the purchase of 6 months of Feline Revolution, and three tickets are entered for the purchase of 12 months of the product. There are also rebates that cat owners should take advantage of to save money when protecting their cat companions – $5 rebates for 3 doses, $15 rebates for 6 doses and $35 rebates for a full year.

Remember, even if your cat is indoor only, he/she still needs protection. Stop by our reception area to see the ‘Kitty Gift Basket” on display, and protect your feline friends!

Learn more here: Cats Deserve Protection Too!

Belle Mead Animal Hospital, Your Other Family Doctors

Handling Every Pet with Love Every Day!

Belle Mead Animal Hospital Team May 2018

Posted in Events General Pets News Veterinary Services on Jun 13, 2018 | no responses.

The Belle Mead Animal Hospital team will participate with a table in the concourse at Bark in the Park Night hosted by the Somerset Patriots on July 23, 2018 at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater. You’re invited!  It’s a fun family event where you can also bring your dog! Come early and participate in the Pooch Parade at 6:30 p.m.  Game starts at 7:05 p.m.

Belle Mead Animal Hospital team at Somerset Patriots Bark in the Park

BMAH Paw Magnet Best thru 2018






While you are there, stop by the Belle Mead Animal Hospital table and meet some of our Team Members! We’re giving away some cool BMAH Patriot Car and Refrigerator Magnets to our Facebook Friends in addition to a raffle, treats for your dog, and live canine demonstrations! Ask questions and learn more about our services and why we are the Best Team offering the Best Medicine with the Most Compassionate Care!

In addition to the Pooch Parade, doggy ice cream treats will be offered during “Yappy Hour” and the Patriots will provide bowls of water for the attending dogs throughout the concourse area.

All pet owners attending with their dog(s) are asked to bring paperwork displaying proof of vaccination and their dog ID tag to be checked before entry outside the main gate. Dogs do not need a ticket for entry (only the owners!). For faster check-in with your dog, print the Waiver Form at home and bring it with you to the ballpark.

Get tickets and find more information here.

Hope to see you there!

Belle Mead Animal Hospital, Your Other Family Doctors

Handling Every Pet with Love Every Day!

Belle Mead Animal Hospital Team May 2018