Pet Wellness:Dental & Oral Care
Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets. Without proper preventive or home care, plaque and tartar can build up, which may cause oral infections, bad breath, infected gum tissues (gingivitis) or even bone loss (periodontitis).
Did You Know?
It's not normal for your pet to have bad breath – it can be a sign of serious dental or gum issues.
Sixty percent of dental disease is hidden below the gum line, and can only be found with x-rays. Brush your pet's teeth regularly and check with your veterinarian about screenings, cleanings and products available to help keep those pearly whites clean.
Pet Wellness:Lab Tests
Yearly lab tests are safe and non-invasive ways to diagnose and prevent sickness or injuries in pets that a physical exam cannot detect.
Pet Wellness:Parasite Prevention
Prevention is the best approach in protecting your pet against deadly heartworms, intestinal parasites, and flea and tick infestations. Your veterinarian will help you find the product that is right for your pet based on his or her needs.
Just like humans, an animal's diet directly affects its overall health and well-being. Allowing a pet to overeat, or to consume the wrong foods, may lead to a wide variety of ailments including obesity, diabetes and arthritis.
Did You Know?
Over 50% of dogs and cats in the United States are obese or overweight.
Although we think of our pets as family members, they shouldn’t be allowed to eat like us. Maintaining a proper diet will help keep your pet at a healthy weight. Be sure not to overfeed, and that you are providing a diet tailored to your pet's breed, age, weight and medical history.
Common Foods To Avoid
Think twice about feeding your pet table scraps. Common foods such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions and garlic could be dangerous to an animal. Some non-food items like lily plants and antifreeze are also toxic to pets. Check with your veterinarian if your pet has ingested anything questionable.
Growing puppies and kittens need more nutrient-dense food than adults. Ask your veterinarian which food is right for this stage of life. Cats switch to an adult diet right after being spayed or neutered, no matter what the age, to decrease the likelihood of obesity and related conditions.
Selecting an adult dog or cat food that will keep your pet healthy and energetic starts with knowing your pet's lifestyle. Does your dog weigh just the right amount and go for long walks daily? Or is it a lap dog that loves nothing more than to snooze the day away? Talk to your veterinarian about these issues to help guide you in choosing the best food for your pet.
Your senior dog or cat may need fewer calories, less fat, and more fiber as he or she ages. Many older pets can continue eating the food they always have – just a little less to compensate for not being as active. Check with your veterinarian which food and amount is best for your pet.
Pet Wellness:Spaying & Neutering
Spaying or neutering can protect your pet from serious health and behavioral problems later in life. It also helps control the stray animal population.
Spaying or Neutering Reduces the Risk of...
Known as a pyometra, this is a potentially life-threatening condition which can be very expensive to treat. It is 100% preventable if your pet is spayed.
Mammary Tumors (Breast Cancer)
Over one-half of all mammary tumors are malignant and can spread to other areas of the body. Early spaying, prior to your pet beginning its heat cycles, significantly reduces the incidence of tumor formation.
This cancer, as well as prostatitis (an infection causing malignant or benign swelling of the prostate), can be greatly reduced with early neutering.
Unwanted behaviors such as dominance aggression, marking territory and wandering can be avoided with spaying or neutering.
There are more puppies and kittens in shelters than there are people willing to provide them with love and care. Sadly, many are euthanized. Spaying or neutering can help reduce the number of animals in need of homes.
Pet Wellness:Home Care
Make your pet's well-being a priority. See your veterinarian regularly and follow these tips to keep your pet happy and healthy.
Your veterinarian will give you a recommendation for a high quality and nutritious diet for your pet, and advise you on how much and how often to feed him or her. Diets may vary by species, breed and age.
Microchipping is a safe and permanent identification option to ensure your pet's return should he or she get lost. Ask us about the process and get your pet protected.
Always keep your dog on a leash in public, and your cat indoors to protect them from common hazards such as cars and other animals.
Frequent brushing keeps your pet's coat clean and reduces the occurrence of shedding, matting and hairballs. Depending on the breed, your pet may also need professional groomings.
Dental and Oral Health
Brush your pet's teeth regularly and check with your veterinarian about professional cleanings as well as dental treats and products available to help prevent bad breath, gingivitis, periodontitis and underlying disease. Although your pet's teeth may look healthy, significant disease could be hidden below the gum line.
Be sure to spend at least 15 minutes a day playing with your cat to keep him or her active and at a healthy weight. All dogs need routine exercise to stay fit, but the requirements vary by breed and age. Ask us what's best for your dog. Doggy daycares and boarding facilities are other ways to help to burn off some energy and socialize your pets.
Enroll your dog in training classes to improve his or her behavior with pets and people. Cats need minimal training. Be sure to provide them with a litter box beginning at four weeks of age.
Entertain your pet's natural instincts by using toys that encourage them to jump and run. Cats especially need to fulfill their instinct to hunt – provide interactive toys that mimic prey like a laser pointer or feathers on a wand. You can also hide treats in your pet's toys or around the house to decrease boredom while you're away.
Pet Wellness:Care for All Ages
Every animal is unique, and the start of each stage of life calls for different home and veterinary care. Check with your veterinarian to establish a proactive wellness plan to keep your pet happy and healthy throughout its life.
Puppies and kittens must receive a series of properly staged vaccines and physical exams. During these exams, your veterinarian may also recommend parasite preventatives or lab tests.
Adult pets will need to continue visiting the veterinarian annually for physical exams, recommended vaccines and routine testing.
Senior pets can develop similar problems seen in older people, including heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and arthritis. Your veterinarian may recommend biannual visits to ensure your pet's quality of life.
Females spayed before their first heat cycle will be less likely to get uterine infections, ovarian cancer and breast cancer. Males neutered at any age will be less likely to get prostate disease. Spaying or neutering also helps prevent behavioral problems like marking and escaping. Talk to your veterinarian about spaying or neutering your pet.
Pets require different types of food to support each life stage. Growing puppies and kittens need more nutrient-dense food than adults while adult dogs and cats need food that will keep them healthy and energetic. Your senior dog or cat may need fewer calories, less fat, and more fiber as he or she ages. Talk to your veterinarian to determine what's appropriate for your pet.
Adult dogs should stay active with daily walks and one-on-one training. Keep your adult cats fit by using toys that encourage them to run and jump, and be sure to give them at least 15 minutes of playtime a day.
Weight management of your senior dog or cat is extremely important to ensure they are at an ideal body weight and able to move around comfortably.
Behavioral issues are a major cause of pet abandonment. Begin training your puppy or kitten right away to prevent bad habits and establish good ones.
Start house training your puppy as soon as you get home. Keep your puppy supplied with plenty of chew toys so he or she gets used to gnawing on those and not your belongings.
All cats need a litter box, which should be in a quiet, accessible room. Place your kitten in the box after a meal or whenever it appears he or she needs to go. Be sure to scoop out solids daily and empty it out completely once a week. The number of boxes in your household should be the total of number of cats plus one.
Pet Wellness:More Resources and Links
The veterinary resources featured on this page provide useful information to pet owners on a variety of topics related to veterinary medicine and pet health care.
Animal Breed Associations
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
- The Humane Society of the United States
- North Shore Animal League America
Pet Grief Support
Heather Blake, DVM
Dr. Heather Blake, our Chief of Staff, graduated from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in 2004. She returned to her home town to practice veterinary medicine at Greylock Animal Hospital, with a special interest in veterinary oral care and orthopedics. Dr. Blake also participates in the shelter veterinary medicine program at Berkshire Humane Society and volunteers her time with the Greylock Animal Hospital Stray/Wildlife Fund. In her spare time, Dr. Blake enjoys spending time with her family, her three cats Tang, Washcloth and Oven Mitt, and her dogs Digger and Barnaby.
Laura L. Jones, DVM
Dr. Laura Jones has been practicing veterinary medicine at Greylock Animal Hospital since 1990 (though she has been affiliated with the practice since she was an undergraduate at Cornell University). She enjoys all aspects of general veterinary practice, but has a particular interest in nutrition, dermatology, and senior pet care. Outside of work, Dr. Jones enjoys spending time with her husband and three sons, hiking with her dog, horseback riding, and skiing.
Katie E. Wolfgang, DVM
Dr. Wolfgang graduated from Tufts University in 1987, and practiced in Seattle and San Francisco before returning to New England in 1993 to join Greylock Animal Hospital. Dr. Wolfgang enjoys all aspects of veterinary medicine, especially geriatric medicine, endocrinology, and the human-animal bond. Dr. Wolfgang splits her time between Williamstown and Saranac Lake, NY, where her husband, Dr. Jonathan Krant, runs the Rheumatology practice at Adirondack Medical Center.
Dr. Wolfgang also enjoys riding her horse, Richie, spending time with her sons Nicholas and Benjamin, hiking with her dogs, and kayaking.
Rebecca J. Mattson, DVM
Dr. Rebecca Mattson attended Tufts University, graduating in 1998, after receiving a BA at Williams College and an MS at Yale University, both in Chemistry. She practiced in the Greater Boston area, Rhode Island and Utah prior to arriving at Greylock Animal Hospital in 2007. Since completing her training in small animal acupuncture at the Chi Institute in 2013, Dr. Mattson has added acupuncture, electropuncture, and Traditional Chinese herbal medicine to her practice to complement her interests in classical Western internal medicine and surgery. When she's not in the office, she spends time with her children, Col, Lily, and Quinn, cleans up after her dog, four cats and two hamsters, and loves finding time to sing and be outdoors hiking or skiing.
Joanne L. Ziemba, DVM
Dr. Joanne Ziemba joined Greylock Animal Hospital after her graduation from Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine in May of 2003. When she is not working, she is spending time with her three children. Joanne, her husband (Mike) and their working K9 bloodhound, often do classroom visits to local schools and nursing homes to talk about life as a veterinarian and a K9 police officer. She also enjoys time spent outdoors on the Ziemba family farm. Joanne has enjoyed volunteering time with the GAH Stray/Wildlife Fund as well as Berkshire Humane Society.
Laura Eiszler, DVM
Dr. Laura Eiszler received a DVM degree from Michigan State University. During her second summer of veterinary school, she completed a comparative pathology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. After graduating in 2000, she practiced here at Greylock Animal Hospital for five years. She rejoined our team in August 2015, and we couldn't be happier to have her back!
Dr. Eiszler has also practiced at Pittsfield Veterinary Hospital and North County Veterinary Hospital, holding the title of Chief of Staff at the latter. Her special interests include soft tissue and limited orthopedic surgery. She also takes pride in assuring high-quality veterinary care for pets and effective communication with clients. Outside of work, Dr. Eiszler enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking and spending time with her husband, Jeffrey Grandchamp.
Laurel Bifano, DVM
Dr. Laurel Bifano is originally from the New York City area. She first came to love the Berkshires when she attended Williams College, graduating with a degree in Psychology and Neuroscience. Dr. Bifano went on to attend Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine where, in addition to receiving her DVM degree, she also received a Masters of Public Health. After graduation, she completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in Rhode Island. She was excited to have the opportunity to return to the Berkshires and join the Greylock Animal Hospital family in 2013. While Dr. Bifano enjoys all aspects of veterinary medicine, her special interests include infectious disease, gastrointestinal disease, immune mediated disease and preventive medicine.
In her spare time, Dr. Bifano enjoys spending time with her husband, Mark; two dogs, Dee and Harley; and cat, Captain Jack. She can often be found hiking with her dogs throughout the many wonderful trails in the area. When at home, she also enjoys cooking, home renovation, gardening, skiing (both downhill and cross country), and reading.