Tri-County Small Animal Hospital

Tri-County Small Animal Hospital in Oliver Springs, TN is here to serve all your pet needs.

The Best of 2016 — December 27, 2016

The Best of 2016


Happy holidays humans! It’s the end of 2016 and I’ve been studiously working on my “Best of 2016” list. Here it is thus far: TV show (Paw Patrol), song (Pads, Paws and Claws), movie (The Secret Life of Pets), and veterinary client handouts (see below for links to my three favorite). You know you’ve been waiting with (fish) baited breath for my top veterinary client handout list! I’ve posted links for your reading pleasure, compiled from dvm360 and written by veterinarians or veterinary technicians. The first handout, “Google This”, includes six tips for safer web surfing while looking for animal medical information. The second handout , “How to create low-stress veterinary visits for cats”, discusses four ways to make trips to the vet clinic less stressful for us sensitive kitties. Being the generous and amazing fur princess that I am, I’ve included one handout, “Why punishment fails; what works better”, for those misbehaving dogs in your life, since they need all the help they can get. May you have a safe and prosperous New Year, filled with fur, treats, and all that jazz. Hearts, Bella



Diabetes Awareness Month & How Dogs Can be Helpful — November 5, 2016

Diabetes Awareness Month & How Dogs Can be Helpful

Hello dedicated readers! Fall has arrived, and with it, kitty sweaters, crunchy leave to chase, and more time to relax. November is Diabetes Awareness Month and it’s important to me that you know the signs of this disease so you can get your fur baby screened and treated if necessary. If your kitty or pup has any of the following:

  • increased thirst,
  • increased urination,
  • increased hunger while losing weight,
  • decreased activity (less active/sleeps more),
  • cloudy eyes (dogs),
  • doesn’t grooms (cats), or
  • thinning, dry, or dull hair,

you should talk with your veterinarian about getting your pet screened for diabetes. With proper management and monitoring, a dog or cat with diabetes can lead a healthy, happy, and active life ( Diabetes screening at Tri-County Small Animal Hospital (which I let my humans operate) involves a general health exam, sampling your pet’s urine for the presence for glucose or ketones, and testing your pet’s blood to determine blood glucose levels. Diabetes is diagnosed when persistently high glucose levels are found in both the blood and urine. Treatment typically involves daily insulin injections and some manageable lifestyle changes.

Pet diabetes can lead to other health problems, such as formation of cataracts (dogs) and weakness of the hind legs due to nerve damage (cats), both resulting from persistently high blood glucose levels. Controlling high blood glucose levels can lead to healthier outcomes, so it’s important to get an early diagnosis.

Diabetes service dogs can alert humans with diabetes when a hypoglycemic episode beings. (As amazing as these canines are, this is the first and only time I’ll post a picture of dogs on my kitty blog.)

On another note, did you know that diabetes service dogs can alert a human with diabetes when a hypoglycemic episode begins? They are trained to recognize the changes in their human’s blood chemistry and alert them. Dogs may be smelly, but they can be amazingly helpful, too.

I’ll be posting more information throughout the month about diabetes on our Facebook page, so stay tuned.

IMG_3712 (1)





Hearts and licks, Bella the (beautiful, vivacious, fluffy, and sassy) Cat


Dogs + Chocolate = Very Bad Results! — September 13, 2016

Dogs + Chocolate = Very Bad Results!

20160912_165603Hello my beautiful readers, it’s Bella the cat here. I realize you’ve been longing to read my next blog entry, but alas, I’ve been entirely too busy to write. Keeping an eye on the clinic and grooming my white, silky fur takes up a majority of my time. Today my grooming was interrupted by the yapping of a pesky dog, Angel* (name changed to protect her identity), who came in having eaten an entire package of peanut butter and chocolate no-bake cookies. Hello, dog, chocolate is toxic to you! Duh! What were you thinking?! Chocolate toxicosis usually only happens to dogs because cats are too smart to eat chocolate. I was annoyed at first by Angel’s incessant barking, but pretty soon felt sorry for her. I checked on her between my grooming regime and saw that the doctor had to make her vomit, which she (both the dog and the doctor) hated, and then she had to get IV fluids. Angel was monitored for cardiac issues for the subsequent 12 hours.  Luckily, the owner brought her into the office very soon after she’d ingested the chocolate, so the dog was treated quickly and fully recovered.

Not every dog is as lucky as Angel. The active ingredients that cause the problems are caffeine and theobromine, and an overdose can cause pancreatitis and/ or death. Symptoms of chocolate toxicosis include drinking lots of water, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, and restlessness, and can progress to agitation, nervousness, increased heart rate and respiratory rate, high blood pressure and temperature, cardiac arrhythmias, tremors, difficulty keeping balance and seizures. Treatment includes making the dog vomit with or without a stomach tube and lavage (stomach pumped out), activated charcoal to stop absorption, fluids, hospitalization, and medications to control seizures, heart problems, and fever. So, basically, you can see dogs shouldn’t be exposed to chocolate—ever! The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is (though Dr. Osborne thinks the darker the chocolate, the more delicious it is). While stinky dogs aren’t my favorite animal, I certainly don’t want any of my fur friends to get sick or die. As the season of chocolate arrives (aka Halloween or Howl-o-ween as canines refer to it), remember to keep all chocolate-related items inaccessible to pets. I’m glad Angel fully recovered, and I look forward to teasing her about it next time she visits.  Hearts and licks, Bella the Cat

Keep The Worms Out Of Your Pet’s Heart! — May 3, 2016

Keep The Worms Out Of Your Pet’s Heart!

IMG_3712 (1)Meow! Bella the cat here! How is everyone doing? I think the warm weather is here to stay, which means the bugs are too. If there is any pest we can all agree to hate, it would be mosquitoes. Did you know mosquitoes not only transmit disease to people, but they can also transmit them between animals? We pets have to worry about heartworms. Never heard of them? I’ll get you up to speed.

Heartworm disease develops when a dog or cat is bitten by a mosquito carrying microscopic heartworm larvae of a parasite called Dirofilaria immitis. As the mosquito feeds, these larvae are deposited on the pet and quickly penetrate the skin to begin their migration into the blood stream. Adult heartworms can grow 10 to 12 inches in length and make their home in the right side of the heart and the pulmonary arteries. Continue reading

Prevent a litter, fix your critter! — April 6, 2016

Prevent a litter, fix your critter!


bella's blog.png

Greetings from your friendly neighborhood clinic cat! Spring is here and love and romance are in the air. 😉 It’s the perfect time to talk about spaying and neutering. There are a lot of myths and rumors that abound about these procedures, so I hope to be able to clear up some of the common misconceptions. This way you can make an informed decision when it comes to the health and care of your pet.

Ladies first! We recommend spaying for all female pets. Besides helping control animal overpopulation, some of the advantages include:

  • Prevention of heat or estrus
  • When in “heat”, the female experiences an urge to escape and find a mate. This is eliminated
  • Prevention  of uterine infection (pyometra)
  • The prevention of breast cancer. Dogs spayed before the first “heat” have less than 0.5% chance of developing breast cancer
  • Elimination of uterine and ovarian cancer
Now on to those smelly boys. We also recommend neutering for all male pets. Like spaying, this offers many health benefits:
  • Reduces the risk of prostate cancer and prostatitis
  • Reduces the risk of hormone-related diseases such as perianal adenoma
  • Eliminates the risk of testicular cancer
  • Removal of sexual urge which results in roaming behaviors
  • Reduction of certain types of aggression

Continue reading

Get me home! Getting up to speed on microchips — January 27, 2016

Get me home! Getting up to speed on microchips



I’m back again this month to talk about something very important, microchipping. Did you know that around 8 million animals end up in shelters every year? Sadly, only 15-20% of dogs and less than 2% of cats are reclaimed by their owners. Microchipping is one of the ways to increase the chance of being reunited with your lost pet!

A microchip is a tiny transponder, about the size of a grain of rice that is implanted into the skin. The chip has a unique number on it that can be picked up and read by scanners used by veterinary offices, animal shelters, and animal control officers. Implanting the microchip is easy and relatively painless. A large gauge needle is used to place the chip under the animal’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades. It hurts about as much as having blood drawn, but is as quick as giving an injection. Doing the registration paperwork takes more time than the implantation.

Completing the registration paperwork accurately and keeping it updated is a very important part of the microchipping process. When the chip is scanned it displays the chip number and contact info for the company that the chip is registered with. The company is then contacted and they release the contact info for the pet. If that information is not available or up to date, getting your pet home can be hard to do. Tri-County Small Animal Hospital will enroll you in the registry and this is included in the total price of the microchip.

A common misconception with the chips is that they are almost like GPS devices. The chip does not provide the location of your pet when they are found. It is up to the individual or agency that has your pet to follow the proper steps to contact you. Using a microchip in addition to identification tags on the collar adds an extra level of protection in case the collar is lost. This can help ensure that your pet is returned to you!

Currently Tri-County Small Animal Hospital is using the microchip company, Save This Life. They provide an aluminum tag that is stamped with the pet’s microchip number. That number can be searched in Google and then an alert (in the form of a text and/or email) is sent to the owner with the location of where the pet was found. The chip is also readable by all universal scanners. If you have any questions in regards to the microchips and how they work you can check out or call us at the hospital (865) 435-1374.

Until next time,

Bella the clinic cat

Helpful Holiday Hints — November 10, 2015

Helpful Holiday Hints


Hi everyone! It’s Bella the clinic cat here again. I hope everyone is enjoying this cool weather and getting ready for the holidays. I know the people here at the clinic are decorating and it makes for some fun play time for me! All the excitement that comes at this time of year can lead to some oversights, though. Let me tell you some tips to keep your pet safe during the holidays.

 When it comes to decorating, less can be more when you have curious pets. Some holiday plants can be quite dangerous if ingested. Holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, and many types of lilies can cause vomiting and diarrhea and, in severe cases, organ failure and death. You can always ask the vet if you have specific questions, and remember there are artificial flowers. Christmas trees pose some more problems. Although they are not poisonous, if the needles from real or artificial trees are ingested, they can cause pain and discomfort as they pass through the intestines.

I also recommend keeping tinsel or “angel hair” away from your furry friends. Cats like me find tinsel very attractive to play with, but we have a bad habit of eating it. This can lead to intestinal blockages, and usually surgery to remedy the problem. Try to keep glass ornaments and lights towards the top of your tree. Pets can knock ornaments off and the glass can cut our paws and mouths if we try and play with them. Wires from the lights seem like a fun thing to play with for some animals, but we can easily become entangled. If chewed on, the wires can burn the mouth of your pet or cause electrocution.

I know passing along food to your furry friends seems like a good way to get them involved in the festivities, but table food is rarely a good idea for pets. Rich, fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis, which can require hospitalization. Items made with chocolate cause problems ranging from mild stomach upset to seizures or death. Alcohol is another no-no. Us animals don’t know any better and will try to “share” your beverage with you, but pets can die after a single bout of alcohol consumption. Be sure to put your used cooking items like aluminum foil and wrappers in the trash, in an area your pet doesn’t have access to. All those yummy smells can make us want to investigate, so this way you won’t end up with a mess and we won’t end up with digestive discomfort or blockages.

The last thing I want to talk about is presents. I love getting gifts! Be sure to examine toys to make sure that they don’t have small parts that could be chewed off. Toys with rattles or squeakers inside can easily be torn apart and those noisy bits can be ingested, possibly leading to intestinal obstructions. Please supervise us with those!

Following these tips will help you have a safe and pet friendly holiday season. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and I will see you in the new year!