Friendship Hospital for Animals Blog

Introducing Extracorporeal Therapies!

Friendship Internal Medicine is happy to announce the opening of our Extracorporeal Therapies Service! Dr. JD Foster, Dr. Gideon Daniel and their team can perform hemodialysis and hemoperfusion to treat kidney disease and various toxin ingestions in our patients.

Our first patient, Bay, is a four year old lab. Bay’s owners returned home from a day out to find her unconscious, having difficulty breathing, and not responding. She had eaten half a bottle of ibuprofen sometime during the day.  When Bay presented at Friendship, she had an obvious loss of alertness.

Hemodialysis and hemoperfusion allow us to remove toxins from the blood in ways that traditional therapies cannot. If treated early enough, drugs (like ibuprofen) can be removed from the blood prior to causing any permanent organ damage. Two hours into her treatment, Bay woke up and became neurologically appropriate!

After a five and a half hour treatment, Bay walked out the dialysis suite on her own accord!


Dr. Foster, Bay and Miranda



We are happy to report that after two days in the hospital, Bay went home! There is no evidence of kidney damage on her blood work, and Bay has made a full recovery!

Fergus is in remission!

Fergus was in today to see Dr. Mallett for his final chemotherapy treatment for lymphoma.  We are so happy to report that he is feeling well, and his cancer is in remission!


Headed by board-certified oncologist Dr. Courtney Mallett, Friendship Oncology Specialists offers a wide variety of treatment options for pets with cancer.


Dermatology FAQs with Friendship Dermatology Specialists!

DERMASTROLOGY – reading the skin signs

Who is a veterinary dermatologist?

Many owners, even those who work in human medicine, are surprised to hear that there are veterinarians who specialize in only dermatology. Dermatology is a branch of medicine that manages diseases affecting the skin, hair, and nails. Other human specialists may manage allergies, infections, and ear disease, but these are often treated by veterinary dermatologists as well.

Veterinary dermatologists go through undergraduate studies, veterinary school (4 years), a rotating internship (1 year), sometimes a dermatology internship (1 year), and a residency (3 years). After the residency, there is a 2-day board certification exam in order to become a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology (DACVD).

What types of skin diseases are common in dogs and cats?

Many patients are itchy, but not all; some dermatology dog and cat patients can be spotted in the lobby, but not all. One of the more common problems that we deal with is a secondary bacterial or yeast skin and/or infection, due to a primary dermatologic disease. These infections can look like pimples, red bumps, and circular crusts with hair loss, dandruff, and scratch marks.

One of the frequent underlying primary diseases is allergies: flea, food, and/or environmental. Flea allergy is the most common. Food allergy will be covered in a future blog post. Environmental allergy can develop to things inside or outside the home. Some patients have a combination of these allergies.

Immune-mediated diseases are due to the body attacking its own skin. Sometimes, the trigger for this inappropriate response can be an infectious organism, drug, vaccine, or systemic disease, but often times, the initiating stimulus is unknown.

There are also some skin cancers that are either limited to skin or present with skin signs first. After diagnosis, we often collaborate with other services in the hospital, such as surgery, oncology, and/or neurology, to develop a plan for management of the disease.

What diagnostic tests does a veterinary dermatologist perform?

One of the frustrations of dermatology is that many of the skin lesions appear very similar, despite very different underlying causes. One of the most helpful, immediate, non-invasive tests is cytology; this is simply a fancy word for sampling the skin and then examining the sample under a microscope. Sampling techniques can include plucking hair, rubbing a slide against the skin, taping the skin, gently scraping the skin, and swabbing the ears.

What treatments are often prescribed by a veterinary dermatologist?

Antimicrobials (like antibiotics or antifungals) are often prescribed for infections. Topical solutions are also used very frequently and, in some situations, are preferred over oral systemic medications. There are many different types of anti-itch medications, some with more side effects, limitations, and monitoring than others. For immune-mediated diseases and cancers, other types of medications that affect the immune system are prescribed.

When should my pet see a veterinary dermatologist?

The dermatology service at Friendship Hospital for Animals is available for appointments Monday through Friday, whether for acute severe diseases that require immediate workup, for more chronic diseases that require long-term management and follow-up, or for anything in-between. Your primary veterinarian can also help identify the problem and refer you to us. We look forward to helping your pets!


What is an adverse food reaction (AFR)?

An adverse food reaction is also known as food allergy, hypersensitivity, or intolerance. It is an overreaction by the body’s immune system to a certain ingredient (sometimes multiple) in a diet, typically protein. While food allergy is less common than flea allergy or environmental allergy, it is still important to rule out or diagnose because a) patients can have more than one allergy (even if food allergy is a smaller contributing factor) and b) environmental allergy can only be diagnosed by excluding other diseases (including food allergy).

Why do AFRs develop?

AFRs are thought to develop because of small food proteins leaking out of diseased intestines (ex. affected by a virus, parasites, autoimmune disease, cancer). These proteins that are outside of their normal environment are identified by the immune system as a “foreign invader,” and the body starts to react to these proteins as something negative.  The gut and the skin share many of the same immune system cells which is why food allergies in pets show up as skin disease. Some of the more common allergens in dogs and cats include: beef, chicken, soy, dairy, corn, eggs, and fish.

What are the symptoms of AFR?

Animals with food allergy are classically itchy. This can be focused on the mouth, paws, ears, or “rears.” Other pets can present with secondary infections, concurrent with itch or separate. While it is important to treat the infections, it is still more important to treat the underlying allergy to limit these cycles of infection.

These symptoms differ from the classic idea of what food allergy is in humans (ex. peanuts). Anaphylactic reactions are not typical for our patients.

What types of animals develop an AFR?

Any animal could theoretically have an AFR. However, there are some breeds that are more likely to be food allergic, such as: cocker spaniels, Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, boxers, Lhasa apsos. The classic age of onset for AFR is relatively young (<6-months-old) or relatively older (>6-years-old). For these patients, we are more likely to pursue an AFR workup.

How do we diagnose AFR?

The only way to diagnose an AFR is through an 8-12 week strict diet trial, followed by a 2-week challenge. While blood and skin food allergy tests do exist, they are not reliable and often result in false positives and negatives.  In the future, we hope there will be faster and more convenient ways to diagnose an AFR.

Why is raw food controversial?

We do not recommend feeding raw food to pets as there is little scientific evidence to support its benefits. The major concerns include:

-Infectious disease risks to both the animal and to humans: Raw meats can contain many different types of pathogenic organisms (like E. coli or Salmonella). Indirectly interacting (being licked by the pet, cleaning up after the pet) with a pet that eats raw meats still places the human at risk.

-An unbalanced diet: A raw food diet, especially if not supplemented with other nutrients, may not fulfill all the components that a dog or cat needs.

-Foreign bodies: Some ground-up raw foods may contain some bones which can be dangerous and can block the esophagus or intestines.  They may also pose a choking hazard.

For detailed information regarding raw food diets please see:

Why is grain-free food controversial?

Contrary to popular belief, grain-free diets do not offer health benefits over a diet that contains grains, and each diet should be assessed based on its overall nutrient profile rather than individual ingredients.  Dogs and cats can digest and utilize grains as well as other sources of carbohydrates.  In general, animal proteins are more common causes of food allergies than grains (or other carbohydrate sources) in both dogs and cats.

For detailed information regarding grain-free diets please see:

What diets do we use for the food trial?

We recommend a prescription food of either novel protein (something that your pet has not eaten previously, ex. kangaroo) or hydrolyzed protein (the protein is broken down into a smaller size, and the body should not react to it). If your pet is determined to be food allergic, then long-term options are discussed.


Board-certified dermatologists Dr. Darcie Kunder and Dr. Fiona Lee see appointments Monday through Friday.


Wellness visits – so much more than vaccines!

Wellness Visits- So Much More than Vaccines!

Veterinary medicine has changed a great deal over the past 40 years. As a child in the 1970s, I remember my parents taking our dog, Missy to the vet for her “shots.” There was little focus on her overall health, and basically, she got several injections and that was it. Fortunately, we have evolved a great deal since that time. While there are certainly some vaccines that are necessary, we are at a time when the recommendations are actually tailored to the individual. The patient’s pet parent and veterinarian decide what vaccines are indicated, and the focus of the visit is less about “shots” and more about how to stay healthy and happy for as long as possible.

What to Expect During Your Pets Visit

Your pet’s health care team consists of you and your family along with your pet’s doctor and veterinary assistant. I think that it’s helpful to think of your pet’s visit in phases.

Phase 1: Taking a Good History

One of our veterinary assistants will interview you to take a thorough history. This is when we all get on the same page about what your pet is eating, what medications he or she is taking, as well as any concerns you might have. Remember, even if we have prescribed a medication, we want to be sure that it is still being given and check to see if you need refills on long term medications. You will talk about lifestyle risks, such as boarding, daycare and visits to the dog park for dogs, and whether or not your cat is allowed to venture outside. You will also touch base about what wellness tests and vaccines are due at the time of the visit. Ultimately though, you and your pet’s veterinarian will decide what is necessary and in the best interest of your pet that day.

Phase 2: The Physical Exam

Your pet’s doctor will perform a physical exam. This involves assessing each organ system, usually starting in the front and ending in the back. Very often we do this while we are chatting with you. During the exam, we are making mental notes of what we find. Are the eyes clear? Is there evidence of dental disease? Does the patient’s heart sound normal? Whatever we find, we will then summarize at the end of the exam. We love when we can say that your pet looks great! Once the exam is completed, your pet’s doctor will administer any vaccines that were deemed necessary at the beginning of the visit.

Phase 3: Diagnostic and Treatment Recommendations

Once your pet’s doctor has assessed your friend, she or he will make recommendations for any necessary diagnostic tests and treatments. For example, if a dental cleaning is recommended, we will offer to perform pre-anesthetic blood tests. If your pet is a senior patient, we will offer to perform wellness blood and urine tests (A bit more on that later!) This is also a team effort, so be sure to ask questions and take part in this process as well.


We see your pet’s annual exam not only as a means of being sure that he or she is healthy, but also as our chance to be sure that we have all the information needed in order to help you take care of your pet as best we can for the upcoming year. It is our chance to foster, nurture, and maintain a good client-patient-doctor relationship. Here are some helpful hints to get the most out of the visit:

  • Dig in with one person if possible. We have a great team of primary care doctors, and it is really wonderful if we can get to know you and your pet year after year. Continuity of care leads to the best patient care. Please don’t hesitate to ask our client care team who you saw previously if you can’t remember.
  • We know that coming to the doctor is very stressful for some pets. We are striving to have a fear free hospital here at Friendship, but that is easier for some pets than it is for others. We are happy to discuss and dispense anti-anxiety medication to administer prior to the visit.
  • Don’t hesitate to make a list of questions or concerns prior to your pet’s appointment. We want to be sure that all of your concerns get addressed.
  • Lastly, I want to mention the value of wellness blood and urine testing. I personally lost my little Yorkshire terrier, Mr. McQueen about 1 year ago due to a rare kidney problem that caused him to lose excessive amounts of protein in his urine. Looking back on everything I learned during that time, I became firmly committed to the value of checking blood and urine tests on an annual basis. The best thing we can tell you when we get the results is that everything is normal. However, in the event that something is not normal, we generally have more options for accurate diagnosis and treatment if we find things earlier on in the disease process. It is certainly not a requirement, but it is something you and your pet’s doctor can discuss at each wellness visit. I included a picture of him, since he was such a cute little guy.

Mr. McQueen




Dr. Dugan attended the University of Florida for both undergraduate studies and veterinary school, graduating from the latter in 1991.  After graduation, he completed his internship at Friendship and returned in 2001 as a staff doctor until relocating to New York in 2007.  In 2014 he rejoined our team once again!  Dr. Dugan works in our Primary Care Service.


Cats need exercise too!

cat with featherCATS NEED EXERCISE TOO!

Did you know that household cats, especially those who live exclusively indoors, have little to do and can easily become bored?  This can lead to behavioral issues, excessive weight gain, and eventual health consequences.  Although it may be tempting to allow your cat outdoors, there are many safety and health concerns that pose a much higher risk than keeping your cat indoors.  Even if you do not think your indoor cat seems bored, the following are some of the potential consequences of boredom and important reasons to provide enrichment opportunities for your feline companion:

  • Cats who lack enrichment can become aggressive in play with both humans and other animals in the house.
  • Young cats without adequate development opportunities often bother their owners for play at inappropriate hours of the day and night.
  • Cats may become destructive with furniture, plants, or other household objects.
  • They may become reclusive and are more likely to retreat from new people or objects that enter their home.
  • Cats lacking regular play may overreact to the presence of outdoor cats and become very distressed.

Luckily, there are many great ways to keep your indoor cat happy and to ensure a long, healthy life inside your home.  You can quickly provide environmental boosts for your cat(s).  Try these tips and ideas:

  • Provide a variety of interactive toys that keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Rotate through your stock of toys every few days to provide your cat a “new toy” and prevent him or her from getting bored with a particular toy.
  • Provide opportunities for your kitty to “hunt” – move toys in a way that mimics the movements of a mouse or bird, use a laser toy or kitty fishing pole. Provide several minutes of stimulation with these playthings per day to encourage exercise and an outlet for your cat’s natural prey drive.
  • Provide objects for your cat to explore – cardboard boxes, paper shopping bags, a dripping water tap, or an aquarium with real fish can provide great entertainment!
  • Provide appropriate surfaces on which your cat can scratch. Cats have individual preferences, therefore, cat treeproviding a variety of scratching posts and surfaces in several different areas of your house is best.
  • Be sure there are climbing opportunities on furniture, shelves, and cabinets and access to several windows as cats love to sunbathe and watch birds, squirrels, and other small animals. Position bird feeders outside your windows where your cat can observe. You may also provide a cat tree (available at many pet stores or research how to build your own).
  • Provide several small meals per day and avoid free-feeding (i.e. keeping your cat’s bowl full at all times). If your schedule is too hectic to provide scheduled feeding, try purchasing a feeder with a built-in timer. You should also consider the use of an interactive food dispenser such as the FUNKitty Egg Cersizer by PetSafe easily found on Amazon.    egg cersizer
  • Training your cat can provide great mental stimulation. Cats, just like dogs, can learn tricks and commands.
  • Teaching your cat to walk on a leash and harness is a safe way to take your indoor cat on outdoor adventures. Be sure your cat always wears ID tags when walking outside and/or has a microchip implant.
  • Many cats enjoy the company of other cats, and in some cases dogs. A companion can provide the opportunity for exercise, play, mutual grooming, and affection while you are away from home.

I recommend reviewing Ohio State University’s Indoor Pet Initiative site for more information on how to provide the proper stimulation for your indoor kitty –

Now . . . it is time to play!

dana carr
Dr. Dana Carr graduated from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2006 and completed a small animal medicine and surgery internship at Friendship.  She stayed on as a staff doctor from 2007 to 2012 before relocating to Pittsburgh.  She has since returned to area and rejoined our team!  Dr. Carr works on our Primary Care service.

Veterinary Internship

Friendship Hospital for Animals is a unique veterinary hospital because our hospital provides both primary care and advanced specialty care. Another unique feature of Friendship Hospital for Animals is that we are a teaching hospital. For the past 32 years our hospital has been committed to training and mentoring new veterinary graduates through our internship program.  Our first intern class started in 1984 with two doctors and has now grown to a class of twelve!

A veterinary internship is a year-long program of intense training for doctors who have recently completed veterinary school.  It is designed to mentor young doctors and provide them with a strong foundation for their medical practice.  In this year-long program, our doctors spend several weeks in each of our specialty areas: oncology, radiology, surgery, dentistry, primary care, emergency, internal medicine, clinical pathology, neurology and rehabilitation therapy.  Our interns can then spend one elective rotation outside the hospital.  This elective rotation can be tailored to personal interest and help provide exposure to another specialty not offered at Friendship Hospital for Animals.  For example, interns have spent time at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, local shelters participating in spay and neuter programs, and with local veterinary dermatologists or ophthalmologists.  During their year at Friendship Hospital for Animals interns are expected to participate in journal club, present clinical cases or research, and see patients as in integrated member of our hospital team.

To be selected for an internship, applicants go through a rigorous application and matching process.

Internships tend to attract veterinary graduates who are in the top of their class and highly motivated to improve and better their skills and knowledge.  An internship is not mandatory to practice medicine after completing veterinary school.

Each June, we welcome a brand new class of interns.  These doctors come from all across the country and sometimes abroad.  This year our newest intern class welcomes graduates from California, New York, Illinois, Florida, Grenada, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Quick facts about FHA:

  • 101 interns since first class of 1984-85
  • 18 current Friendship staff doctors completed their internship at FHA
  • All doctors at FHA have completed an internship or similar training
  • 31 intern classes to date
  • 70 applicants for 12 internship spots at FHA

Quick facts about veterinary internship programs in the US:

  • Only 25 % of graduating veterinarians complete an internship
  • 128 small animal medicine/surgery internship programs nationwide
  • 99 programs are in private practice hospitals with 614 private practice positions
  • 952 applicants for 794 available small animal medicine/surgery positions
  • 66% of applicants to small animal medicine/surgery internship candidates match to a program


Dr. Nicole Cohen
Dr. Nicole Cohen graduated from veterinary school at the University of California, Davis in 2004 and went on to complete an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Bay Area Veterinary Specialists in northern California.  Dr. Cohen joined Friendship in 2006 and works on both our Emergency & Critical Care and Primary Care departments.

Common summer dangers

beach photo 1It’s (finally) summertime and the livin’ is easy – unless your dog jumps up on the picnic table, eats a plate of ribs, develops horrible diarrhea and lands in the emergency room.

Below are some common summer dangers we see with pets that everyone might not know about. Heat stroke is by far the most common summertime danger for our pets but there are a few other things you should be aware of during the warm months.

Cookouts are a surprising source of pitfalls for your dog.  Any respectable chowhound will spend a fair amount of time searching for a tasty morsel.  Chicken and rib bones are usually digestible but often cause a nasty case of pancreatitis due to a very high fat content.  The pancreas is a gland that lives near the stomach and gets very angry when exposed to a high fat diet.  This results in severe abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea that usually require medical attention.

Another cookout troublemaker is corn on the cob as it is the perfect size to be scarfed down whole and then lodge in the small intestine.  This then causes an obstruction that almost always requires surgical intervention for removal.  Signs to watch for are decreased or loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain.  If your dog displays any of these clinical signs please bring him to your veterinarian immediately.

Other dangerous food items are onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, chocolate and sugar-free gum.  If you think your dog may have snacked on any of these items either see your veterinarian or call ASPCA’s animal poison control 24-hour hotline.

If you are going to have guests staying with you this summer and you have a nosey dog or cat be sure to tell them so they can put away any medications they may be taking.  Even over the counter drugs such as Tylenol, Advil, Aleve and Sudafed can be life threatening to pets.

beach photo 2You may notice, most of what I have been talking about is directed towards dogs.  It is not that I have been neglecting cats but as a general rule they are usually smart enough to avoid most of these issues.  You rarely see a cat running around outside in 90 degree weather or jumping up on the picnic table to grab an ear of corn.  The one lapse in judgment that almost all cats suffer from is their determination to eat plants and flowers.

Many indoor and outdoor plants and flowers are extremely toxic to cats and dogs causing clinical signs that range from stomach upset to death.  The most infamous flower is the Lily.   Kitties only need to eat a small bit of petal or leaf to cause acute kidney failure, which quickly leads to death.  The ASPCA website has a comprehensive list of plants that you need to watch out for.

Finally, fireworks and thunderstorms can be a source of fear for your pets.  If you notice that your dog or cat does not seem to appreciate the loud noises be sure to take precautions so they don’t run away or destroy your home.  Speak with your veterinarian about prescribing an anti-anxiety medication.  Pure sedatives are not ideal and can actually make things worse as your pet is still afraid but too sedate to do anything about it.  This then causes a rebound effect and the next time they experience feelings of anxiety it will be much worse.

Also keep in mind during the warm weather fleas, ticks and mosquitoes are out in force.  Be sure to administer your pet’s monthly heartworm, flea and tick preventatives.  This goes for indoor kitties too, they are still at risk for heartworm disease.

I hope these tips help you and your pets have a happy and safe summer!

Ashley G 125

Dr. Ashley Gallagher graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and completed an internship at Friendship.  She’s been on staff ever since and works on both our primary care and surgery services.  Dr. Gallagher has her hands full at home with four dogs and three cats, who always keep things interesting.

Intervertebral disc herniation

Smitty is a 9 year old Dachshund that came to Friendship when he was suddenly unable to walk. The day before, his owners noticed that Smitty was limping a little bit, but by the next morning, he was completely unable to walk. On exam, Dr. Nichols (Smitty’s urgent care doctor) and I, found that he was painful and unable to move his back legs well. Smitty quickly had an MRI of his back, which revealed a large intervertebral disc herniation compressing the spinal cord in his back.  We reviewed the MRI findings and discussed Smitty’s options with his family.  After weighing the pros and cons, the decision was made to take Smitty to surgery immediately after the MRI.

After several days of recuperation in the hospital, Smitty went home to his dedicated family. With several weeks of rest,  Smitty slowly became stronger and began walking much more normally on his own.

IMG_3925FullSizeRender (1)

Smitty’s family very gradually increased the amount of activity he was allowed to do over a period of weeks. Now, he is back to his adventurous preoperative lifestyle thanks to his dedicated family and his FHA Team!

Dr. Lindsay Boozer is the heLindsay Boozer 125ad of Friendship Neurology Specialists at Friendship Hospital.  She graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008 and then completed a rotating small animal medicine and surgery internship at Red Bank Animal Hospital in Red Bank, NJ. This was followed by a research fellowship at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine studying brain tumors and encephalitis in dogs. She then returned to UGA for a neurology specialty internship and residency before joining Friendship in 2014.

Hookworms and preventative medications during the cold weather.

Does your dog or cat receive preventative medications during the cold weather? If not, here is one reason you should hookwormscontinue your heartworm prevention year round. Heartworm medications also deworm for common intestinal parasites such as hookworms, roundworms, sometimes whipworms. At Friendship, we’ve been seeing a significant number of patients that test positive for hookworm infection. Hookworms are a common parasite and prolific egg producers. In dogs and cats that have diarrhea from the infection, the eggs are often shed for several days before the onset of signs. Sometimes, infected dogs and cats show no outward signs of infection and shed large numbers of eggs into the environment continuously. Right now the eggs are just hanging out under the snow, but next week as the weather warms and the ground becomes even more moist, the conditions will be perfect for a bloom of hookworm larvae. Want to know more about hookworms and how to protect your pet? Keep reading.

Hookworm infection

Hookworms are a nematode parasite that is common through out the US. They are short [6- to 12-mm], thick worms that are whitish to reddish brown with a hooked front end. They colonize the small intestines and live by attaching to the mucosal lining and sucking blood.

hookworm1The infection is transmitted when an immature hookworm (larva) penetrates the skin or is ingested. Skin penetration occurs most commonly on the feet and belly by coming in contact with contaminated soil. Dogs and cats may ingest contaminated dirt when grooming or eating something off the ground. They can also be ingest larvae by eating an infected animal. This could be a rodent, or an insect such as a cockroach. Puppies and kittens can also be infected through the placenta or the mother’s milk.

After skin via skin penetration, the larvae migrate through lungs and up trachea where they are swallowed to arrive in the gastrointestinal tract. Larvae that are swallowed have a more direct route to the stomach and intestines. After the larvae arrive, they penetrate the intestinal wall where they mature into adults and then return to the intestine to attach to the intestinal mucosa. Not all the larvae mature, some invade skeletal muscle cells or gut wall and enter an arrested state of development. Arrested larvae can later become reactivated and migrate either to the small intestine or to the mammary glands.

Signs: Affected adult dogs and cats may not show any outward signs. But some dogs may develop diarrhea, and in severe cases, anemia and weight loss can be seen. Affected puppies and kittens may be more susceptible to illness and may develop diarrhea with a dark, tarry appearance from digested blood, they may become anemic, may not gain weight and may have a poor hair-coat.

Treatment: Commonly used anthelmintic medications kill the adults present in the intestines. The treatment is hook 2repeated in 3 weeks to eliminate adult hookworms that were larva at the time of the initial treatment. Severely affected animals may also need supportive care for diarrhea, dehydration and anemia.

Deworming does not kill the larvae arrested in the tissues. The intestinal tract can be repopulated by dormant larvae from the tissues that periodically become activated and resume development.

Because of the zoonotic potential of hookworms, antihelmintic treatment is recommended for all puppies and kittens, even if fecal floatations are negative for eggs.

Zoonosis: Adult hookworms do not infect people, but larvae can penetrate and migrate through the skin, causing elevated winding tracts that are intensely itchy. People most at risk are those living in warm coastal clients and those exposed to contaminated soil or sand such as; farmers, gardeners, landscapers, sunbathers lying on sand, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and children playing in potentially contaminated areas.

Prevention: Puppies and kittens should be dewormed routinely during their examinations, and then monthly. Adult dogs and cats should continue to receive a monthly parasite control product that is effective against hookworms. These products include Heartgard Plus®, Interceptor®, Sentinel®, Advantage Multi®, Trifexis®, Iverhart Plus®, Iverhart Max®, Tri-heart®, and Revolution®.7

To help decrease environmental contamination with ascarid eggs, feces should be removed and disposed of promptly. In the environment, larvae don’t die until temperatures plummet to about 5ºF. Preventing ingestion of rodents can help reduce risk of infection. Proper hygiene, including hand washing, must be practiced when handling feces. Other preventive measures include; covering sandboxes when not in use, wearing shoes and gloves while gardening, washing hands thoroughly after playing outside or exposure to soil, and keeping dogs on leashes or in fenced yards and keeping cats indoors.
For more information on hookworms visit:

Companion Animal Parasite Counsel

Veterinary Partner

CAPC Parasite Prevalence Map


Dr. Dana KuehnDr. Dana Kuehn joined Friendship in 2005 and is our Chief of Primary Care Services.  She is originally from Minnesota, where she completed a BS in biology and graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995. She completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery in Hollywood, Florida and continued on as an associate in the practice for 10 years.  Her professional interests include endocrinology, ophthalmology, soft tissue surgery, and urology.

Tails from the ER – Stone and Rocks


Meet Stone!   Stone is a handsome Akita puppy that was hospitalized in late November for vomiting multiple times.  The breeder had noted he was licking some gravel that milk had been spilled on earlier in the day.  We did not realize quite how much gravel he had ingested until we took x-rays of his belly.  We were concerned that he was going to need surgery based on the number of stones ingested, and the possibility of an intestinal obstruction.  He was admitted to the hospital for monitoring, and received intravenous fluids, pain medications, and nausea medications.  Frequent walks can also help the GI tract to move.
Stone rads 1
The stones are the bright white objects filling his stomach and intestines.

He passed multiple pieces of gravel (over 250!) in his stool overnight.  We repeated x-rays the next morning, and he had passed the majority of the stones on his own.
Stone rads 2

The vomiting resolved, and Stone was discharged the next day.  Fortunately, Stone did not require surgery!


Nicola M


Dr. Nicola Moore was born and raised in Silver Spring, MD.  She received her DVM from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and completed a one-year rotating internship at Friendship before joining the team as a full-time staff doctor in 2009.  Dr. Moore works in both our Primary Care and Emergency & Critical Care departments.