The Importance of the Canine Influenza Vaccine

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At River Oaks Animal Hospital, East Lake Animal Clinic, and Pet Care Center of Apopka, we have been vaccinating for canine influenza for three years, ever since this virus became a cause for concern. All around the country the news is reporting canine influenza epidemics, especially in the Midwest, and we hope that just by watching the news you will start to understand why it’s so important to have your pet protected from this!

With all the media coverage of canine influenza right now, we want to set the record straight about a few things. All over the news and the internet, we keep seeing high prices quoted for this vaccine and we want to make sure that our clients aren’t skipping this critical preventive care due to those quoted costs! We’ve seen national news sites quoting costs of $100+ for vaccines, but at our animal hospitals, we offer the vaccine for:

  • $40 for the first time the vaccine is given – comes in a package of 2 for first administration and then a booster 3 weeks later, for no additional cost.
  • $28.55 for an annual booster every year following.

Our veterinary team believes firmly that every dog should be vaccinated against the canine influenza virus, without exception. This is not a situation where you can determine the need of the vaccine based on where your dog goes or what they do. No matter what, an unvaccinated dog is at risk because they have no immunity to this potentially fatal virus.

Get Your Canine Influenza Vaccine

If your dog has not been vaccinated against canine influenza, please contact us today to schedule their vaccine appointment. This vaccine is so important to everyone’s health. Please, act now.

New Gadget Let’s You Play with Your Pet from Anywhere in the World


Petcube is a box with a laser pointer, speaker, and light that you can control from anywhere in the world via the Petcube smartphone app.

You control the laser by moving your finger around your iPhone or Android phone’s screen. Anywhere your finger moves, your pet will follow, as long as she likes lasers.

You can also take screenshots of the app and share them via Petcube’s social network. What’s more, you can make your Petcube open to the public, so you can let anyone play with your pet while you’re home or away.

To be honest, letting strangers get a view of your home when you’re away (or home) sounds kind of strange, so maybe you’ll just want to stick with the lasers.


Questions about Pet Obesity

At our Central Florida Vets practices, we are often asked about ongoing, at-home pet care. One of the most common concerns has to do with a healthy pet weight. Our most recent question was:

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Why is my dog so fat when I really don’t feed him very much?

 We are so glad that you’re looking to maintain your pet’s weight. Just like with humans, obesity has become a leading health issue for pets. When determining your pet’s dietary needs, it’s important to understand that:

  • Each brand of dog food will have a different caloric value per pound and you should know what yours is on the brand of food your pet eats.
  • Some foods may be higher in fat content. These will be the foods that your pet is more likely to like better. This is similar to the human desire for fast food!
  • Other factors that must be considered in dietary management are your pet’s:
    • Energy levels
    • Age
    • Living conditions

Once you understand these parts of your pet’s lifestyle, it’s important to evaluate the amount of food they eat daily and the amount of exercise they get. If your pet is not overeating and is getting adequate exercise and still looks like a football on legs, there may be another issue that is causing the weight gain. A metabolic disease can be the cause of this, but a condition of this type must be diagnosed through examination and blood tests. Weight issues can be caused by conditions such as an underactive thyroid or Cushings disease.

A River Oaks Animal Hospital Case Study

 Our veterinary team is currently working with a pet named Bonzo who is experiencing weight management issues. He is currently 67 pounds, but his healthy weight is only 15 pounds.

Bonzo’s case addresses another problem: how to lose weight.  In this case, there is an underlying disease, so we use medication and diet control. Bonzo’s food is strictly regulated and we have now started an exercise program.  With this amount of excess weight, we are aiming to boost the metabolism by splitting his meals into four portions and making sure that he walks before eating.  In other words, no energy input without energy output. We are aiming for a weight loss of about 1 to 2 pounds every ten days.


So far, we are on track and after a few days, Bonzo has been able to double his exercise.  The owner is committed to winning, and that is another important facet. Ignore the comments and stares you may get taking a very overweight dog to the dog park. You are doing the right thing. Overweight dogs have a higher chance of developing diabetes and joint disease.

Is Your Pet Overweight?

 If you are a pet owner with an overweight pet, talk to us. We would love to work with you to help determine the root cause, and more importantly, the treatment options available to get your pet back to their healthy weight. Remember, a healthy weight is essential for a long life!



Buster and the Eyelid Tumor Removal

Introducing our brave patient Buster! Just look at that sweet little face.


Buster recently was diagnosed with a tumor under his eyelid. Eyelid tumors are common in older dogs, and while the majority of these tend to be benign, or non-cancerous, it is important for them to be professionally evaluated. These tumors generally develop in the glands that line the eyelids. Often these tumors don’t cause a lot of problems, but they can be irritating to pets. If they are, removal is recommended.

Eyelid Tumor Removal

Generally, there are two different methods used for eyelid tumor removal, and the choice between one method and the other depends on the tumor itself. Veterinarians will often use a local anesthetic to remove as much of the tumor as possible, and then follow up with cryotherapy to remove the remainder of the tumor cells. The second method is often used when a tumor or growth is more aggressive and this involves sedating the patient and removing the tumor surgically.

At our Central Florida Vets practicesRiver Oaks Animal Hospital, Pet Care Center of Apopka, and East Lake Animal Clinic—we operate on a case-by-case basis, choosing methods of removal based on the individual pet’s needs and condition.

Sweet Buster’s Prognosis

After having a surgical removal of his eyelid tumor, Buster is doing well! His Mommy, who practices alternative therapies in her own workplace, has been using them on him to help him feel good as new and to speed up his healing process. We’re so glad Buster’s prognosis is looking good!

When is it Time to Say Goodbye to Your Pet?

LUCY GOOSEYThis is probably the most often asked question of us. It’s a tough subject but I hope this will help you, as like you, we have had to part from our dear friends, including 18 year old Lucy just two weeks ago. She was old in body, and a little older in mind(aren’t we all!) but from a general health point of view doing well…bloodwork was good just a week before she passed on. But realistically, I knew her quality of life was deteriorating, rapidly. I reached that stage when you wonder if you are prolonging life for your our selfishness.  You may be facing this now, but I really became sure that my absolute last boundary was when she no longer wanted to react or interact with us. I still give that advice to people. Trust me, you will know. That will be a look that may just show you..”hey, mom, I am just too tired to try any more “. And when the dreaded day comes. Be calm. Remember dogs live for the now. There is no fear of death. Ease your special friend on to his next journey and know he will be just around the corner…waiting for you to catch up.

Did I put to sleep? No. Lucy spared me that. I told her in no uncertain words that I just couldn’t do this, she would have to handle it in just the manner she handled everything else. With courage. The next day she died at home with heart failure.

For all you people facing this now…it will be alright. Give your pet every chance, but don’t hesitate if you know it is the right thing to do.

This article is dedicated to all those clients we have seen our veterinary hospitals that have been through this, and for every pet that we were honored to help whatever the problem. God bless you all.

Medical Referrals

When you refer a new client to our practice for medical care, they will receive a free new client exam and a free bath. You will receive a $20 credit once the new client has spent $50 or more on medical services.


When you refer a new boarding client to us, they will receive a free boarding night for a future occasion once their pet has stayed with us for three nights. Once they board with us for three nights, you will receive a free night’s stay as well! Visit the Pet Care Center of Apopka, River Oaks Animal Hospital website by clicking the link below to learn more about our other referral specials!


We do find that certain problems seem to come in twos.  We may go for weeks without seeing a fracture and then boom! Two in one day.  Last week was lump and bump week, and I hope this blog will help clarify why it is SO important not to ignore or play “wait and see” with any growths that may appear in your dogs or cats.  Generally speaking we will see more problems in dogs, and the majority of them will not be of any concern.  But, as always, the moral is, check it out first.

The first case we will look at was a 6 year old cat, with very vigilant owners, who have never missed any scheduled exams and are wonderful fur -parents.  About three weeks previously, they had noticed small lumps on the left side of the lower thorax.  They elected to have these removed and sent to histopath after the doctors recommendations.  After shaving and prepping the area for surgery, it became apparent that there were more very small lumps, barely palpable lower down in the mammary chain.  At this point, it no longer became a simple lump removal but a decision to act aggressively and do a full one side mastectomy.  There were no apparent changes on the right side of the body.   The surgery was completed successfully and the cat recovered quickly and smoothly .  Histopath results showed feline mammary carcinoma or breast cancer .  Due to the highly aggressive form of this cancer, the owners have elected to have further preventative surgery on the right side of the body.

In the second case, a wonderful elderly rescue Bulldog,  that was adopted,  had had a small persistent lump on the breast, as well as assorted others, that had been monitored for some months.  Cytology did not show anything to be overly concerned about. Then, suddenly, the largest lump grew and the owner elected to do surgery, despite the risk of anesthesia this particular patient was faced with.  The surgery went very well, and with the extra precautions that we use for Bulldogs, including EKG bloodwork and very close monitoring, the dog did much better than expected and woke up ready to go home.  A very large area of flesh had been excised by Dr Greer.  This would prove a challenge from the healing point of view, but this had been anticipated, and wound care and cold laser therapy helped tremendously.  Again, and as is always recommended, a sample was sent to histopath.  Despite the tissue involved ( mammary tissue) the result actually showed osteosarcoma….bone cancer cells.  This is very rare, and did not make for a good prognosis.  Research shows an average lifespan after this diagnosis of mere months.  However, this brave bully has apparently decided to ignore the diagnosis and just carry on with life.  The owner reported today that she is doing better than ever, her appetite and zest for life is as good as always.  As there is no successful treatment for this, we opted for specific frequency low level laser therapy.  Certainly, the owner and pet are happy and we continue to wish the best for them and will keep you updated.

Bulldog Surgery

Case number three, was a perky 1 year old beagle that had a small pea –sized pigmented,dermal mass on the chest.  Pigmented masses are always suspicious of cancerous growths such as melanomas, which can be fatal.  In this case we were happy to let the owner know that the mass showed it to be completely excised, and a benign tumor known as a hemangioma.  The area will be closely monitored for any changes.

In all these cases, two with serious potentially life threatening conditions, and one that was benign, the owners had caught the problem early.  The lesson to be learned is when you are caressing your pet and notice something that wasn’t there before always get it examined.  We have seen cases spread rapidly and dramatically from one small lump on the foot to the pet needing a leg amputation to save its life.  When a growth is found and is reported as cancer we will then always follow up with X rays and ultrasound of the body to see if the cancer has metastasized into the internal organs.  Treated early your pet may be cured completely or have a longer life span.  And that’s what we all want for our best friends.          

Antifreeze Danger

Did you know that antifreeze is poisonous for cats and dogs? Pets may be attracted to the chemical because of its sweet taste and smell, so it’s important to keep it stored out of their reach and wipe up any spills on your driveway or garage floor!