1. (207)339-0700

Lebanon, Maine

The cold weather, ice and snow bring a

winter wonderland, but also some potential

problems for your pets. Here's a list of things

to think about:

Pets can get frostbite. Water bowls on the porch or outside will freeze.

Antifreeze is lethal to both dogs and cats. Be sure that none has dripped on your garage floor. It only takes a very small amount to poison a cat. Consider Propylene Glycol a non-toxic ingredient now available in antifreeze mixtures.

Cars, pets and winter can cause problems just like cars, pets and summer. Be sure there's a blanket for your dog to snuggle under if you have to leave him in one for a few minutes.

Cats will jump onto a hot woodstove ... just once. Lilies, Christmas Rose, Bittersweet also have toxic parts. See the link below for additional information.

Keep your pets safe if you're expecting lots of unfamiliar folks over the holiday. Crate time during big gatherings can make your pet feel safer and behave better.

Some of the foods that can

upset your pets' stomach or worse are:






macadamia nuts

xylitol (sweetener)

Click For: Additional information on poisonous foods

Maine Poison Control: 800-221-1222 (free call)

ASPCA Poison Control: 888-426-4435 (consultation fee)

Dear Dr. B,

Our older cat has developed a huge appetite! We have almost doubled the amount of food we give her each day. It seems the more we give her the more she wants. We were hoping that more food would keep her from bringing those mice she finds into the house. She has gained some weight--which is good we think--but we are wondering, could she have a tapeworm?


Always Hungry

Dear Hungry,

There are several clues in your question that may help me to advise you. I see that she is an older, indoor/outdoor cat, a "mouser," whose change in eating habits has your attention.

Your question is a good one. A tapeworm is certainly one possibility. Keep in mind that when your cat or dog for that matter, has a worm infection, you may or may not see signs of the worm itself on your pet's hind end.

Both indoor and outdoor cats can be exposed to the tapeworm-causing vectors or carriers--fleas and mice. Often, pets with parasites can have multiple types of parasitic infection at the same time.

To diagnose a parasitic infection, a simple test on a stool sample called a fecal float (a microscopic exam for parasite eggs) is a good place to begin.

The test requires a small amount of fresh "poop" picked out of the cat box or off the ground, depending on your cat's bathroom. You can use a plastic bag over your hand to pick it up then just turn the bag inside out and you've got it. Drop it by the office and you will have the results the same day.

Treatment for tapeworm and other parasites is, most commonly, an oral medication. So, the best place to begin is in the cat box! We recommend a yearly screening for all pets for the presence of parasitic infection. Some infections can be passed from pets to people, so the fecal float is an inexpensive and simple way to keep both your pets and their people healthy.

Dr. B

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(An occasional blog from Great Brook ...)


(An occasional blog from Great Brook ...)

Dr. B and Tug

Our Cat is Always Hungry. What could be the cause?


Wishing you and your pets a safe and happy 2018/2019 holiday season!!!




(An occasional blog from Great Brook ...)

It' s not quite like an oncologist with cancer but I've sure been having an experience the past few weeks that seems awfully close to what it's like to be on the other side of doctor-patient examination table.


As a fairly fit and healthy adult male who rarely gets sick, I found it unusual this past week when a common chest "cold" that I'd been experiencing entered into it's third week. The crescendo came on suddenly one evening when every muscle and joint in my body began to ache. I lay on the couch in my home in Lebanon and felt like I was HBC -- (hit by car) -- as we say in the veterinary jargon.


Feeling too tired to even roll over, let alone prepare for Monday's office appointments at Great Brook, I looked to my ever watchful and truly caring mate, Diane, for what to do. She took my temperature, determined that I was running a fever, and quickly whisked me over to our friends at Berwick Medical Services.


I was seen promptly, first by a nurse who took my history and vital signs (were I a dog, this is just what would have been done at Great Brook by one of our technicians). I was then seen by a clinician (it could have been me earlier in the day!).


As I sat there pondering the parallels between animal and human medicine, the differences became apparent. I was asked to take several deep breaths as he placed his stethoscope directly on my skin and ausculted (listened with a stethoscope) my lungs. He didn't have to wait for me to stop panting, nor did he have to whistle or flick my ear to get me to stop sniffing the table! The clinician was unimpeded by any scratching sounds of a hair-covered coat rubbing against the stethoscope -- as I always am when examining animals. And, thankfully he did not have to hold my nose closed and force me to take a deep breath. After only a few breaths he was able to conclude that I had some dullness posteriorly and rhonchi compatible with bronchitiis and ... PNEUMONIA! Yikes.


Years ago, a study in dogs showed that a significant number of patients with bronchopneumonia have neither fever, nor cough. Hence, diagnosis is more difficult especially considering the limitations of the physical exam noted above. Anyway, my healthcare provider and I had a refreshingly frank discussion about the costs vs. benefits of additional testing and treatments and concluded our visit with a viable treatment plan that now, 36-hours later, has worked well enough to give me the energy (and lucidity?) to write this.


The mainstay of the treatment is antibiotics, those nasty wonder drugs -- overused, yes, and not without potentially serious side effects, but in this case they might just be life savers.


So what is the take home message?


If the patient is not right, seek medical attention -- not from the Internet but from a qualified veterinary or human provider. Listen. Asked informed questions, and follow the advice given.

Things can go south, but usually we get it right.


Now I'm feeling better enough to really face the new year!


Doc Holbrook


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