Posted in General Pets News Veterinary Services on Aug 14, 2019 | no responses.

Belle Mead Animal Hospital has upgraded our phone system to serve you better. Please note that old numbers stored in your personal phone history or elsewhere may no longer work. Please be sure to store our main number only – 908 874 4447 – and clear any other alternate numbers from your speed dial history. 

A reminder about scheduling appointments: Our team is trained to offer appointment times and procedures that have your pet’s best interests in mind. Therefore, communication between a BMAH team member and client is crucial for your pet’s Fear Free experience.

Specially-Abled-Pets at Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Some pets may enjoy the sights and sounds of a busy hospital reception area while waiting for their appointment time, while others may benefit staying outside with their owner upon arrival and being ushered directly into an exam room when ready. Daytime emergency cases will be given individual consideration and advice when the call is taken. 

Learn more here about Achieving Fear Free Exams for Your Pet

Belle Mead Animal Hospital, Your Other Family Doctors

Handling Every Pet with Love Every Day!

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

Fear Free - Taking the Pet out of Petrified
Posted in News on Jul 16, 2019 | no responses.

The Hillsborough YMCA offers week-long specialty camps throughout the summer, introducing the children to a variety of subjects. One such camp called Future Vets under the supervision of Laura Rodriguez, Associate Program Director, gave Dr. Martins, DVM and technician Mark Sopko, the opportunity to present on July 10, 2019. 

The presentation took place in two parts: In part one, Dr. Martins gave the children an overall summary of good pet care habits and answered questions.  Part two of the presentation was handled by Mark Sopko, who gave tips on how to respect wildlife with a real life visitor, Mr. Puff Puff the skunk.

Dr Martins at YMCA Future Vet Camp

 

 

 

 

 

Part Two – Vet Tech Mark Sopko on Respecting Wildlife

Mr. Puff Puff the skunk was introduced as Mark Sopko’s own animal that he takes along to presentations for wildlife educational purposes.  The children were cautioned not to try to touch him.

Dr Martins and Mark Sopko address YMCA Vets Comp

Naturally, people and other wildlife immediately fear a skunk is going to spray using their anal scent glands.  Mark explained that if they don’t put their tail up, they can’t spray you.  However, Mr. Puff Puff doesn’t have this ability any longer because his anal scent glands have been removed, so he’s incapable of spraying. In the wild, skunks don’t have a defense other than spraying using these glands, and they can get hurt easily by wolves and coyotes when they are mostly out at night.  Even owls can attack a skunk because owls have no sense of smell.  The only thing a skunk can do is spray and run away from their predator. It takes about 10 days to recharge their anal scent glands after a skunk has sprayed in order to be able to spray again.  Therefore, they don’t spray often because they are then defenseless during that 10-day recharging period. 

Mark instructed the children that if you see a skunk, or any wildlife for that matter, simply watch it from afar and try not to disturb it. Skunks eat a lot of bugs, and they like the bad ones like hornets, that sting.  Their nails are long, and they can go into the ground and dig a burrow to sleep in and dig bugs up out of ground to eat.  Skunks come in many colors – brown and white, all white, all black, or spotted. There can be many different patterns to their coats.

Mark Sopko with Skunk at YMCA Vets Camp

Mr. Puff Puff will walk on a leash sometimes, and Mark does let him run around and play under his supervision. Mr. Puff Puff is very calm, but Mark cautioned the children the next time you see a skunk in the wild, just stay back.  If a skunk in the wild sees you coming, they will stop, slowly back up and walk away. But if you keep coming toward the skunk, he will turn around and he’ll spray you.  So with any animal, respect that animal, and that means you are being nice to them and letting them alone without bothering them.

Never stare at a wild animal, invade their space. or try and touch them. They might bite you. Same as with other people’s pets.  Puff Puff is not from the wild, he came from a skunk breeder.  Mark explained he needs a license to have a skunk of his own in order to educate others to respect wildlife.

YMCA Vet Camp Children

Questions and Answers – Skunks do bite, so you never want to try to touch one.  Mark has had Mr. Puff Puff since he was a baby and he is friendly with Mark, but any animal with teeth will bite.  Always be careful.  For food, skunks like berries, fruit and bugs, but sometimes they get into garbage and find piece of hamburger.  Sometimes they get into  bees hives. 

So what do you do if you see a skunk in the back yard? You watch through a window! 

Belle Mead Animal Hospital, Your Other Family Doctors

Handling Every Pet with Love Every Day!

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

My Pet is Loved at Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Fear Free - Taking the Pet out of Petrified

 

Posted in News on Jul 15, 2019 | no responses.

The Hillsborough YMCA offers week-long specialty camps throughout the summer, introducing the children to a variety of subjects. One such camp called Future Vets, under the supervision of Laura Rodriguez, Associate Program Director, gave Dr. Martins, DVM and technician Mark Sopko  the opportunity to present on July 10, 2019.  

The presentation took place in two parts: In part one, Dr. Martins gave the children an overall summary of good pet care habits, how veterinarians treat pets, and answered questions.  Part two of the presentation was by Mark Sopko, who gave tips on how to respect wildlife with some do’s and don’ts for children to remember.

Dr Martins at YMCA Future Vet Camp

 

 

 

 

 

Part One – Dr. Joe Martins, DVM on Pet Care

Dr. Martins began by explaining the importance of training cats and dogs.  He went on to discuss the need to watch your pet’s behavior and take note of subtle changes in behavior that might signal illness.

Questions veterinarians will ask when a pet comes in for an exam include: How do you think your pet is doing?  Is the pet eating normally? How many times a day do you feed him/her?  Do you have fresh water out for them every day, and are they drinking?

Dr Martins YMCA Vet Camp Children

Dr. Martins emphasized the importance of being aware of your pet’s behavior because they can’t speak in words like you and I – pets talk through their actions. If they are not feeling well, they will often display changes in behavior.  Dr. Martins explained if your pet is normally happy, wagging its tail, and eating well, then all is probably fine.  But if your pet is really lethargic, tired, staying away from you, not eating, having trouble eliminating, then what would you do?  First, children should make their parents aware that their pet is acting a little different.  Make everyone in the household aware in case he/she needs to go to the vet.

When a pet vomits, especially repeatedly, that can be another sign that something is wrong.  Pets eat things in the yard, and could ingest toxic mushrooms, mold, or even plastic.  BMAH saw a puppy who got under the bed and chewed on an old battery.  The puppy came in drooling, but the vet discovered the problem and was able to help the puppy.

Dr. Martins emphasized the most important thing the children should remember is to watch their pet’s behavior. If there is a change, the pet should be seen by a veterinarian soon to be treated. The goal is try to prevent injury and illness, and treat an ill pet as soon as possible.

YMCA Vet Camp Children

Veterinarians do many things to look after a pet. They examine the pet, prescribe medicine if needed, and perform surgery and dentistry.  Pets often have to wear nice, soft cones after surgery to prevent them from licking or gnawing on their surgical wound so it can heal properly.  One of the most important things a veterinarian can do is take care of your pet’s teeth in order to keeps their heart and kidneys healthy. 

Veterinarians also test for parasites and administer mediation.  They also recommend vaccines to protect pets against bacteria and viruses. 

Dr. Martins introduced his son Henry with their dog Smiley.  Smiley is a three year old Chihuahua/ Pomeranian/Schnauzer mix.  They did a DNA test on him and analyzed his blood to find out his ancestry.  Blood work also tells us whether or not a pet is healthy. 

Dr Martins YMCA Vet Camp

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the pet care presentation, Dr. Martins took a few questions from the children regarding blood tests, why pets wear cones after a surgical procedure, and more about his own pet, Smiley.  Dr. Martins gave out stickers to all the children to take home, and began the introduction to Part Two of the presentation about respecting wildlife.

Belle Mead Animal Hospital, Your Other Family Doctors

Handling Every Pet with Love Every Day!

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

Fear Free - Taking the Pet out of Petrified My Pet is Loved at Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Posted in News on Jun 15, 2019 | no responses.

Ready for a family night out with your dog? Come to the Somerset Patriots Bark in the Park Night on July 30, 2019.  The Belle Mead Animal Hospital team will once again host a table in the concourse at the TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, and you’re invited!

Even if you don’t own a dog, come anyway! It’s a fun night out and a good opportunity to meet many of the BMAH team members. We’ll have giveaways for people and pets, information available about all our services, and live canine therapeutic exercise demonstrations with the Pet Pain Clinic team and their dogs.

If you plan to bring your dog, there are a few things you need to know: Dogs must have all their shots and be current with all their vaccinations to attend! Proof from your vet will be required at check-in outside the main gate at the ballpark. Dogs must be leashed and well socialized. Come early and participate in the pre-game Pooch Parade around the field beginning at 6:30 pm.  Click Here to complete a Somerset Patriots Waiver to print and bring with you before arriving at the game.

Game starts are 7:05 p.m. Listen for the Yappy Hour announcement and buy your dog some delicious doggie ice cream! There will be plenty of treats for you there, too! Fans can receive $5.00 Upper Box Tickets for the game by using Promo Cod Woof when purchasing tickets on-line. Get your tickets here! 

Recommended Reading:

Bark in the Park Night – A Look Back

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 May 15, 2019 | no responses.

Cats can suffer from respiratory distress the same as humans. A pet diagnosed with asthma is actually suffering from a recurring respiratory compromise that constricts the lung’s airways, making it difficult for your pet to breathe.

What signs do I look for?

Notice how your cat is breathing, whether at rest or at play. Cats suffering from feline asthma will display labored breathing and/or rapid breathing. Listen for any sounds of wheezing. If your cat is hard at play and begins open mouthed panting, this is a signal that a trip to your veterinarian is in order.

Notice your cat's breathing while at rest or at play

Notice your cat’s breathing while at rest or at play.

Some cats actually cough. Do not confuse coughing due to lung inflammation with the idea your cat is trying to spit up a hair ball. If your cat begins coughing, but spits up nothing or only spits up mucus, this is a sign that lung inflammation may be present.

Asthma will leave a cat with a pronounced lack of energy and weaken their whole body. Not all cats will display all symptoms at the same time, so it’s important to have your pet evaluated by a veterinarian so a proper diagnosis and treatment plan can be established. As with humans, feline asthmatic attacks can be life threatening.

How asthma affects the body

Asthma is a progressive disease. First, excess mucus forms in the lungs. Next, the airway walls swell with inflammation and can actually ulcerate. The airway muscles will eventually go into spasm, which leads to constriction.

Asthmatic airway constriction can happen spontaneously or as a type of allergic reaction. Therefore, relieving and preventing airway constriction can be life saving for your pet.

Consult your veterinarian promptly for a proper diagnosis

Once symptoms present, it is important to contact your vet who will examine your pet and order a chest x-ray and blood work. Your veterinarian might also want to run some easy parasite screening tests.

Once asthma is diagnosed, your veterinarian can prescribe medication and discuss with you how you can manage your cat’s condition.

Flovent puffer

Flovent Metered puffer

Causes of feline asthma

Feline asthma can result due to an allergic reaction that occurs when a cat breathes in any substance that stimulates their immune system. Irritants include pollen, mold, dust, and cigarette smoke. Asthma can even be a result of ingesting foods to which the cat is allergic.

Your veterinarian can help determine if other health problems are playing a role, such as heart problems, obesity, or infection with parasites. Stress can also induce asthma attacks in felines.

You can manage feline asthma at home

There is no cure for feline asthma, but there are ways to manage the condition. Your cat will require daily medication to keep the lung airways open. The easiest way to administer medication to your cat is by use of a Corticosteroid inhaler such as Flovent.

There is actually a device called the AeroKat Feline Aerosol Chamber designed to be used with the Flovent metered dose inhaler (puffer) in order to deliver the medication to your cat.

Aerokat Chamber and puffer

Aerokat Chamber and Flovent puffer

When the AeroKat chamber is attached to the puffer, it allows your cat to breathe normally and inhale the aerosol medication deep into your cat’s lungs.

Your cat may be resistant at first, but your veterinarian or technician can show you how to calmly approach your pet.  Take it slow, and once your cat starts receiving the medication and begins to feel better, your cat will actually allow you to administer treatments daily without cause for alarm.

cat and pufferCat gets used to flovent

Administering flovent with the AeroKat Chamber

Administering flovent with the AeroKat Chamber

Read more about the AeroKat Feline Aerosol Chamber and view additional photos on the AeroKat website.

Feel free to call our office if you have further questions or notice symptoms in your cat.  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 Veterinary Services on Apr 15, 2019 | no responses.

We all know how pets can enhance our lives and bring more love and joy into any home. However, even the most docile dog or cat can bring tears to a small child’s eyes if the interaction is not supervised and managed correctly. It’s crucial that children learn how to properly approach a new puppy, kitten or older dog or cat.

Puppy

 

 

 

 

 

 

So before you bring a new pet into your home, it’s important to prepare your kids, your home and yourself to make sure your household remains happy and stress-free.

Here is some advice:

1. Supervise interaction between pets and children

It’s not wise to leave babies or small children alone with a new pet. Kittens and even older cats can play rough. Scratching and biting during play is how they interacted with their kitten siblings, and they will tend to do the same with a young child who extends their hand unknowingly.

Puppies need time to grow, develop and learn good behavior through positive training techniques. Children need to be instructed on how to properly approach a dog, read its body language, and pet the dog appropriately.

Child learns to pet a dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a general guideline, most young children under 5 years old should not be left alone with a new pet. Older children need to prove they know how to be gentle and follow the petting and play rules before left alone with the pet.

2. The pet needs time to adjust too

Introducing a pet to its new surroundings and allowing it to feel secure and comfortable may take a little time. The excitement the children display over the new pet might cause the animal stress.

Kittens and older cats might hide in a closet or under the bed at first. This is normal for that pet, so don’t be alarmed. Let the pet adjust, and ask the children to cooperate by leaving it alone until it comes around on its own.

Henry and Lion the kitten

 

 

 

 

 

Puppies are different. They require lots of stimulation and new sights and sounds to mature properly. Be sure to supervise all interactions with a new puppy so neither the dog or child gets hurt. Older dogs may need additional training, so take it slow with the children until you understand the character of the dog and how it reacts to people, young and old.

Baby Henry and dogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Let the kids pitch in to help

If the child is old enough, it’s not a bad idea to assign some pet care activities such as replenishing the water bowl or changing the pet’s bedding. Help your child become part of the experience and learn responsibility in properly caring for the pet.

Leave the litter box cleaning and poop scooping to adults, however. Animal feces sometimes have intestinal parasites like roundworms, hookworms and whipworms. It’s important to wash hands thoroughly, and young children may be more careless.

4. Both pets and kids need rules to live by

Before you bring your new pet home, have a clear idea of where the animal is permitted to eat, sleep and play. Cats love to jump on counters and climb curtains. Puppies will want to explore all areas of the home and find lots of household or clothing items to chew. It’s important to supervise young pets and learn their behavior patterns and compensate with toys, scratching posts and proper sleeping areas if you don’t want your favorite couch or shoes ruined.

Cats on scratching post

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children need to be taught when to approach a pet and when to leave it alone. A sleeping canine is best left sleeping rather than aroused suddenly by an excited child who might actually frighten the pet and cause it to react aggressively. Teach children to ask permission to interact with the pet, and assist them with them play activities.

5. Pets are life-long commitments

Many pets land right back in shelters where they came from because the new family was not able to integrate the pet into their lifestyle. Do your research beforehand. Let your veterinarian or shelter personnel help you determine the best breed and age of animal to introduce into your home.

If you do experience issues, consult your veterinarian and explain the problems. So often minor adjustments can be made in the home regarding the animal that solve the issue without ever giving the animal back to the shelter or another home. A pet’s first wellness visit will even determine if there is any underlying medical issue that needs addressed that can cause behavioral issues.

Dr. Kim Somjen, DVM with kitten

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spend some time helping your children learn about the pet. Offer them books and other reading material that you can read together and discuss.

Many local 4-H groups exist that parents and children can take part in to help them learn more about pet care and even demonstrate their ability at local fairs and activity centers.
Let the new pet become a true member of your family that you will enjoy sharing experiences with for years to come.

Recommended Reading:
Dr. Joe Martins addresses local Cub Scouts on Pet Safety
It’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week
Some pet behaviors may be related to hidden illness

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 Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Services on Mar 21, 2019 | no responses.

With spring comes lawn care and garden maintenance.  However, did you know that certain mulch brands can be dangerous for your pets?

Some of you may have read the warnings that have been circulated through the internet recently and in the past about the dangers of Cocoa Bean Mulch and your pets. A version we noticed recently was about a dog named Calypso who ate the mulch and died the next day. This particular story has been in circulation for many years now, and the AVMA published an article to clarify the concern to pet owners about this particular story (read full article here).

Since there are chemicals contained in the mulch that do pose a health risk to your pet, it is worth discussing in more depth.

Cocoa Bean Mulch can be purchased in certain garden centers and online around the country. Landscapers and homeowners like it because it is aromatic, it repels garden pests, and it retains moisture adequately.

What makes the mulch dangerous to pets, especially dogs who would have a greater tendency than cats to chew the material, is the chemical compounds found in the cocoa bean shell it is made from.  The shells contain two compounds called methylxanthines that are also found in chocolate: theobromine and caffeine.

The aroma of the mulch is what dogs find appealing. According to research by the ASPCA, the risk to your dog depends on its size, the amount of mulch ingested, and also the level of theobromine in the mulch. However, this can vary widely depending upon the brand. Puppies and small-breed dogs would be at greater risk.

Puppy

Our recommendation is to avoid the use of Cocoa Bean Mulch completely and look for safer mulch products; read labels carefully.  As always, supervise your pets when outdoors and pay attention to what they might chew or put into their mouth. Distract them with safe chew toys and keep them away from flower beds and mulched areas of your lawn.

There are other dangers associated with pets consuming Cocoa Bean Mulch, however. The mulch also may contain pesticide residue and mycotoxin-producing mold, specifically penitrem A and roquefortine.  Ingestion of this mold can result in severe neurologic signs, tremors, and seizures.

Symptoms of mulch toxicity will usually appear within 6 to 12 hours and can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea and abdominal pain
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Possible Death

Our best advice is to prevent your dog from ingesting mulch of any kind. Always keep the Pet Poison Helpline number handy – 800-213-6680and visit their website in advance so you know the procedure in case of emergency. Emergency instructions can be found here.

Also, visit the Belle Mead Animal Hospital website Emergency page to find an emergency care facility in our area if the need does arise.

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Posted in News on Feb 10, 2019 | no responses.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is gearing up to start, and dogs from all over the country are flocking to New York City! Did you know our very own Dr. Somjen will be competing in the Westminster Kennel Club Masters Obedience Championship with her Border Collie, Chill?

Chill works out in preparation for his upcoming shows.
Chill works out in preparation for his upcoming shows.

In addition, Dr. Somjen has two other clients who will be competing – Kathy Walker with her Border Collie Drake, as well as Jennifer Evans with her Border Collie Edith! All three of these dogs are kept in tip-top shape with physical rehabilitation and acupuncture!

Tune in Monday, February 11, 2019 for the live streaming of the First Round at 9:30 am, and the Freestyle Round at 1:30 pm and cheer Chill, Drake and Edith on!  Get more info here.

Belle Mead Animal Hospital, Your Other Family Doctors

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Fear Free - Taking the Pet out of Petrified
Posted in News on Jan 25, 2019 | no responses.

As the proliferation of ticks continues in New Jersey, we continue to work closely with our clients so their pets receive the most appropriate parasite protection to ward off disease. Today, we have some good news for cat owners! Revolution for cats, our most highly recommended product, is now improved. Introducing Revolution Plus!

Revolution Plus Comparison

As you can see from the comparison above, feline Revolution Plus is FDA approved, and we believe the safest, most effective way to protect cats against fleas, ticks, ear mites, roundworms, hookworms and deadly heartworm disease. You only need to apply Revolution Plus once monthly to protect your cat from parasites. 

Remember that indoor cats need protection year round, just like those that may go outside occasionally or even live most of their life outdoors.  And we can’t emphasize protection against heartworms enough. This deadly disease is carried by mosquitoes that sneak into homes unnoticed. Cats tend not to show any symptoms of the disease when they are infected. So owners are unaware that their cat is harboring a potentially fatal disease. Sadly, many cats can die suddenly from heartworm disease, when it could have been easily prevented by a monthly application of parasite protection. 

Have questions? Call our hospital or speak with your family veterinarian at the time of your next appointment.

Belle Mead Animal Hospital, Your Other Family Doctors

Handling Every Pet with Love Every Day!

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

Fear Free Certified Professional
Posted in Events News on Dec 18, 2018 | no responses.

Dr. Kim Somjen and her dog Chill (Katwalk Calm Like a Bomb UDX OM3 PCDX GN BN TKP) recently competed in the AKC Obediene Classic, December 15-16, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. Four obedience dogs and their owners – one dog/handler team in each of the four classes – were crowned at the event, which brought together 243 dogs from across the United States and Canada.

Several of our clients also competed with their dogs. The winner of the open division is our patient, High Times Quiet Riot CDX PCD BN, a Golden Retriever known as “Riot,” owned by Janice and Mark Curran of Titusville, New Jersey.

Dr. Somjen and dog Chill AKC Obedience Classic

Other clients competing with their Obedience Trial Champions: Kathleen Walker with “Drake”, OTCH Katwalk Extra Special UDX5 OM8 BN; Jan Curran with her other dog, OTCH Chiporego Bahama Breeze UDX OM2 OA AXJ XF; and Jennifer Evans with OTCH Edith UDX5 OM6 RAE2 CGCA.

Our client, Anne Scripko, competed in the Utility Division and placed fourth with Katwalk’s Don’T Blink UD BN RE AX AXJ XF

Placing first in their class were as follows:

Novice: GCH CH Rising Star’s Rhinestones and Spurs CD BN RN, a Border Collie known as “Dallas,” owned by Lara S. Avery of Somers, Connecticut.

Open: High Times Quiet Riot CDX PCD BN, a Golden Retriever known as “Riot,” owned by Janice and Mark Curran of Titusville, New Jersey.

Utility: Half Moon Irresistable Impulse UD RN, a Golden Retriever known as “Journey,” owned by Brenda Enders of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Masters: OTCH Topbrass The Greatest Show on Earth UDX8 OGM BN GN, a Golden Retriever known as “Circus,” owned by Annette Sizemore of Greer, South Carolina.

Congratulations to all the winners and competitors!

Dr. Kim Somjen, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Kim Somjen, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital
Kim Somjen, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital