West Chester Veterinary Center
7330 Liberty Way, West Chester OH 45069 - Phone: 513-755-2273

Are you watching out for your pets this holiday season?

by Karla R. Blackmore, DVM

The holidays are always a busy time full of people, parties, and presents. Amid the rush of activity, we often forget that our pets may not experience the same sense of excitement as their human companions. Worse yet, some things that we enjoy may be downright dangerous to our four legged friends.


  • christmas dogChocolate is probably the most well-known human food that is toxic to dogs. During the holidays, chocolate is often hidden inside of gifts and stockings. Dogs have a GREAT sense of smell, and they can find the treats even amid the wrapping paper. Make sure that all chocolate is kept up high or behind secured doors. Do not put it under a Christmas tree, in accessible stockings, or on side tables. If your dog does ingest chocolate, contact a veterinarian immediately.
  • “People food”: While it may be tempting to allow your canine or feline companion to indulge in Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham, they do not produce the same enzymes as humans to appropriately digest our foods. Allowing pets to share our meals can lead to GI upset or pancreatitis, which can be life threatening. If you want to spoil your pet, give an appropriate, dog-friendly treat. It’s also important to remember that the food waste from get-togethers and meals can be very tempting to our companions. It is best to remove kitchen trash bags expediently and throw them in the outdoor containers.
  • Some people think it’s funny to give their dog alcohol, but alcohol is toxic. Dog’s bodies are much smaller than ours, and even a small amount of alcohol can cause serious issues.

Celebratory items:

  • Unsecured Christmas trees: Pets are curious by nature. Unsecured trees can be a fall risk for a cat if they try to jump into one and fall to the ground. Any pet may also cause the tree to fall over itself, leading to broken ornament shards and a potential fire hazard.
  • Open flames: Many celebrations include candles. Be sure that candles are kept out of reach of pets and that flames are extinguished when the celebration has moved out of the area.
  • Tinsel: Tinsel is often used to decorate Christmas trees and to stuff gift bags. Tinsel is made of a relatively strong foil-like material of varying lengths. Because it is shiny, pets, particularly cats, find it attractive to chase, play, and potentially, ingest. Ingestion of tinsel can lead to a linear foreign body obstruction, a type of intestinal obstruction that is a surgical emergency and can be life threatening if not treated soon after it occurs.
  • Poinsettias and lilies are two ornamental flowers common at this time of the year. If you choose to bring these plants into your home, they should be displayed out of reach of pets. Both of these plants are toxic if ingested. Poinsettias cause irritation to the mouth and stomach. Lilies can cause kidney failure.


  • veterinary center west chester ohPets love normalcy. Many pets enjoy their day in/day out routine with the humans they love. Having friends and family in the house for a few hours, or a few days, may be very upsetting to our furry friends. This distress may cause GI disturbances or behavioral changes. It is important to monitor your pets closely for signs of stress.
  • Many pets, especially dogs, are on the defensive in strange situations. Human bites are more likely to occur when there are strangers in the home. Children are the most common recipients of many of these bite wounds for two reasons: 1) they often do not know how to appropriately approach strange pets and 2) they are “on level” with pets which may be interpreted as a much more aggressive/dominant position than that of a full grown human. Sometimes the best decision for our pets is to board them or keep them separated from guests.

We wish you the happiest of holidays this season and remind you to stay safe!

Huge Increase In Lyme Disease in Ohio:

Recent reports by passive surveillance agencies in charge of monitoring tick populations indicate the population in Ohio of a common tick that carries Lyme disease is increasing dramatically. Previously, Ohio was not considered a Lyme disease endemic state. It was not understood exactly as to why many border states would report large numbers of Lyme disease, while Ohio numbers would remain relatively low. Ohio does have a good climate for harboring Ixodes scapularis (the black legged tick), one of the carriers of Lyme disease. Surveillance agencies with the Ohio Department of Health are noting an increase in black legged tick populations over sixty times higher than in 2010. As the black legged tick populations increase in Ohio, there is great potential to see an increase in the number of Lyme disease cases.

Getting a new puppy is an exciting time, but there are many questions you may have as a new puppy owner. Questions such as - How do I house train my puppy? Should I crate train them? Let them sleep on the bed? What are safe toys for them to play with?

The veterinary staff at West Chester Veterinary Center can help you with reliable advise to start your puppy's transition to your home a smooth one.

  • new puppy adviceHousetraining is a big part of having a happy household. It is most common to have dogs go to the bathroom outside, although occasionally small dogs may be trained to urinate on 'pee pads'. The most basic part of housetraining is to take the puppy outside right after they eat, when they wake up and after playing. It takes time for them to understand what you want, especially at first, but patience and rewarding appropriate behavior are keys to sucess. It is also a good idea to keep them with you when inside so that you know if they are showing indications of needing to go out.
  • Crate training is a good way to ensure your puppy’s safety while you’re gone by limiting the number of things they can get into and places they can make a mess. It gives them their own safe place and can be invaluable when unusual circumstances arise. Proper crate training can help them feel more secure when they have to be kenneled and make it easier to do so. It can also assist with housetraining by not giving them places that are far away from where they sleep to have accidents.
  • Socialization with other people and animals helps them to lead happier lives. Activites such as puppy kindergarden and trips to the park (once they are fully vaccinated) can be valuable for teaching them appropriate ways to interact with people and animals that are not from their household. Different breeds have different inclinations toward strangers and it is best to work toward the behaviors you want as early as possible.

 Hip Dysplasia and other Joint Diseases

dog hip problems

Joint disease, while commonly thought of as a problem in mainly older pets, is a very common condition in all ages of dogs.  Research shows that thirty percent of dogs over the age of one have some type of joint disease.  Joint disease can cause lameness, unwillingness to rise or walk, and difficulty navigating stairs.

Young animals, particularly certain breeds, may be genetically predisposed to develop some types of joint disease.   Joint disease types seen in young animals include elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, and OCD (osteochondrosis dessicans).  Veterinarians now understand that many of these are much more common in certain breeds that others.  German Shepard dogs are an example of one of these breeds.  If you have a young predisposed breed with symptoms of lameness, it is important to pursue early diagnosis and treatment options. Elbow dysplasia is a term for a group of diseases of the elbow joint of the dog where the growth plates do not close properly.  This failure of closure leads to pain, arthritis, and chronic lameness.   Thankfully, there are surgical options available to treat elbow dysplasia with generally very good prognosis rates for resolution of lameness.  OCD (osteochondrosis dessicans) can also be treated surgically by removing the abnormal piece of cartilage with a good prognosis for resolution of lameness.  

spay and neuter

Spay and Neuter

WCVet offers affordable spay and neuter services with expert care.  We use the safest anesthesia methods available.

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Pet Vaccinations

Proper Vaccinations are vital to the health and protection of your pet, and serve as a preventive measure against diseases.


Pet Grooming Services

Expert pet grooming care ranges from traditional grooming to high style custom styles and colors.