News Bites for January 2024

Canine infectious respiratory disease

In August 2023 an atypical canine infectious respiratory illness was reported in Oregon. These infections primarily fall within three general clinical syndromes:

  1. Chronic mild to moderate tracheobronchitis with A prolonged duration (6-8 weeks) that does not respond well to antibiotics.
  2. Chronic pneumonia that is not responsive to
  3. Acute pneumonia rapidly becomes severe and often leads to a poor outcome in as little as 24-36 hours.
    Many specialists are actively working to find the cause of these infections. The Oregon department of agriculture and the chief medical officer for the Oregon Humane Society do not want people to panic because the number of reported cases is very small. They do have a list of precautions that pet owners may choose to take.

Five things you can do to mitigate risk of infection –

  1. Vaccinate your dog as recommended by your veterinarian. This may include vaccinations for canine influenza, Bordetella, parainfluenza and canine adenovirus.
  2. Avoid communal water bowls and toys.
  3. Avoid playdates with unknown dogs. Socialization is important for your dog, so you might want to consider creating a playgroup of dogs that you know are fully vaccinated.
  4. Avoid exposure to settings with unknown dogs, such as dog parks.
  5. If your dog is sick, keep them at home and seek veterinary care.
    Once we know more about this disease, or if we begin to see possible cases in the state of Utah, we will let you know via email or on our website.

Dental News

Contrary to popular belief, “doggy breath” is not normal. If your dog or cat has bad breath, he could have dental disease which is a painful condition caused by bacteria infecting the tissues of the mouth. What’s even worse than bad breath is that dental disease can lead to serious health issues as infection can spread throughout their body.
Since maintaining oral hygiene is crucial to keeping cats and dogs healthy and happy, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), created dental care guidelines that can help you and your veterinarian provide the best dental care possible for your pet. The following are important points of these guidelines.

Jack wishes you a very happy new year and hopes that it will snow again soon!!!
  1. Dental disease begins early in life.
    Cats and small dogs can begin to develop dental disease as early as nine months old. By the time they’ve reached their third birthday, most dogs and cats begin showing signs of dental disease, such as bad breath, yellow tartar buildup on the teeth, and red, swollen gums. Left untreated, throbbing pain and inflammation can cause pets to drop food, drool excessively, paw at their mouth, or become reactive to petting. But, because most dogs and cats are experts at hiding pain, many suffer in silence.
  2. Early detection is key. As a part of your pet’s annual veterinary checkup, AAHA recommends dental evaluations at least once a year when your cat or small breed dog reaches one year of age, or when your large breed dog turns two.
  3. “Xray vision” is essential for diagnosing dental disease. There is no way to evaluate the lower part of the tooth and the tooth roots without xray images. Dental radiographs should be performed on every oral health procedure because more than 50% of dental disease is found under the gum line.
  4. Anesthesia makes dental evaluation and treatment safer and less stressful for your pet. Oral health procedures performed with anesthetized patients allow veterinarians to make a more accurate diagnosis, allow for a more thorough treatment, and decrease the chance of complications, like inhaling water or bacteria produced during the procedure.
  5. Anesthesia is much safer than you think. AAHA’s guidelines include steps to increase the safety of anesthesia, even in older pets. Part of these guidelines include carefully screening the patient with bloodwork and other tests to ensure that they are free from underlying disease. Also, making sure that there is at least one trained professional dedicated to continuously monitoring, recording vital signs, and communicating the findings to the veterinarian throughout the entire procedure.
  6. Removing plaque from teeth beneath the gums is vital. In fact, it is even more important than scaling the portion of the teeth we can see. Bacteria thrive under the gumline, causing infections deep in the tooth root and jaw that can spread throughout the body and affect other organs, such as the heart or kidneys.
  7. There are many similarities between human and veterinary dentistry. Veterinarians and credentialed technicians use sharp, sterilized instruments, just like those you see in your dentist’s office. Board-certified veterinary dentists go through extensive residency training to perform advanced procedures like root canals, tooth extractions, and crowns. Preventative procedures such as tooth brushing should be performed daily on your pet just like your teeth.
  8. Your veterinarian may create a personalized pain protocol to keep your pet comfortable. Although your dog or cat will be anesthetized during a tooth extraction, numbing medications will decrease the amount of general anesthetic needed and can last up to eight hours after the procedure, allowing your pet to rest in comfort. Your veterinarian can tailor your pet’s prescription pain medication to match the procedure, so he’ll recover peacefully at home.
  9. Don’t forget to brush! Brushing your cat or dog’s teeth every day will promote good oral health and prevent potentially expensive surgeries later.
    There are special pet toothpastes that are flavored so that your pet will more readily accept them. Please never use human toothpaste as it can contain ingredients such as xylitol that can be toxic to animals.
  10. Consider using other products if brushing isn’t an option. Oral rinses, gels, sprays, water additives, and chews can help with your pet’s dental hygiene. Be sure to look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval on all pet dental products. The VOHC website (, shows how to brush your pet’s teeth and gives other great information.
    If you have any questions about dental health or any other questions that our professional team can answer for you, please call (801)254-6621. To take advantage of the discounted pricing, please schedule your pet’s oral health procedure at your earliest convenience.

If you have any questions about dental health or any other questions that our professional team can answer for you, please call (801)254-6621. To take advantage of the discounted pricing, please schedule your pet’s oral health procedure at your earliest convenience.

News Bites for May 2023

Vaccine Information

At Riverton Veterinary Clinic, we feel that it is extremely important to have your furry family member fully vaccinated. There are obviously a large number of different vaccines that are recommended, and unfortunately when you bring your pet in for vaccines, the list of recommendations can be overwhelming. Here is a list of the vaccines that we recommend and what they are used for. This will hopefully make your vaccine appointment a little less difficult.

For Dogs and Puppies:

Distemper virus:
This virus can cause a wide range of symptoms including upper respiratory signs, (watery eyes, cough, nasal discharge) gastrointestinal signs (vomiting, diarrhea), and even neurological signs (tremors, seizures, or paralysis). Unfortunately, contracting this virus often leads to death.
This virus has two types. Type 1 causes hepatitis. Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. Type 2 causes tracheobronchitis which is when the windpipe and bronchi become inflamed leading to a cough.
Parvo is a serious and often fatal illness in puppies that most commonly presents with gastrointestinal signs and symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, inappetence).
This is one of the many respiratory pathogens that can cause kennel cough in dogs. So, it is associated with severe cough.
This vaccine protects against the Bordetella bacteria which is another bacteria responsible for causing kennel cough.
Leptospirosis (Lepto) is a disease that may cause serious damage to the kidney and liver and in some cases may be fatal. It is transmitted through the urine of an infected animal, so dogs can be exposed when drinking out of streams or lakes. It is potentially contagious to humans, so your dog could pass it to you.

Canine influenza is specific to dogs and our vaccine protects against both known types H3N8 and H3N2. Sinilar to influenza in humans, our dogs can show respiratory signs including cough, discharge from the eyes or nose, sneezing and lethargy. In severe cases, pneumonia and high fevers may also be present. Pneumonia can be fatal.
This vaccine is required by law for dogs in Utah. Rabies is a fatal virus that affects the brain and spinal cord. It is very important to keep our pets vaccinated against rabies as fatal cases have also been documented in humans.
Canine Influenza:
This vaccine protects against a severe tracheobronchitis that can progress to pneumonia. We are fortunate to have very few confirmed cases of this in the state of Utah but if you and your pet are going to travel out of our state, we highly recommend this vaccine.

For Cats and Kittens:

FVRCP: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia. This combination vaccine prevents all 3 of these viral diseases.

  • Rhinotracheitis is caused by a herpes virus and presents as an upper respiratory disease in cats. Common signs include cough, eye/nasal discharge, and lethargy.
  • Calicivirus is a pathogen also responsible for upper respiratory and oral disease in cats.
  • Panleukopenia is a very serious viral disease that attacks rapidly growing cells, like those in the bone marrow. This can cause devastating effects if not protected against.

FeLV: Feline Leukemia
This vaccine helps prevent infection by a viral agent that suppresses a cat’s immune system and makes them prone to serious infection.
This vaccine is required by law for cats in Utah. Rabies is a virus that affects the brain and spinal cord. It is very important to keep our pets vaccinated against rabies as cases have also been documented in humans.

News Bites for January 2023

10% off all dental procedures from January 1 through March 31, 2023

Giardia in Pets

Intestinal parasites are common findings in our furry friends. They are diagnosed by sending a fecal sample to the lab where tests are performed that confirm the presence of particular intestinal parasites. One of these parasites is called Giardia. Giardia is a single celled organism that is infectious to many types of animals, including humans.

Giardia has two forms. One is called a trophozoite. This is the form that lives within the host, uses a small flagella (tail) to swim through the intestine, and a suction cup that it uses to attach to the intestine of the host and feed. The second form is a cyst. This form lives outside the host in the environment once they are shed in the feces. The cyst is the contagious form and can live in the environment for a long period of time, as long as it stays cool and wet. Contaminated water is the classical source of a Giardia infection. 

After infection, it takes 5-12 days in dogs or 5-16 days in cats for Giardia to be found in the host’s stool. Diarrhea is the most common clinical sign, and it can precede the shedding of the Giardia. Infection is more common in kennel situations or breeding environments where animals are housed in groups. 

Giardial infections as a general rule, have become a bit difficult to treat due to resistance of the organism to medication. The most common treatment used by the professional staff at Riverton Veterinary Clinic is a combination of a medication called Metronidazole and Fenbendazole. Puppies and kittens that don’t have a mature immune system have a harder time getting rid of the organism than do adults, and often times need multiple treatments to be parasite free.

If your pet develops Giardia, we recommend cleaning up their stool as soon as they defecate, as the cyst can live in the stool. If you clean up the stool, the sun and heat can kill any cyst left in the environment. Cysts can stick to the fur of the infected patient, so wiping your pet’s anal area with a baby wipe is recommended each time they defecate, and completely bathing them after treatment is important to get rid of all of the cysts. There is a potential for the cysts to infect humans as well, so it is important to maintain good hygiene practices such as regular hand washing.

If you have any questions about Giardia in your pet, or if you would like your pets stool tested, please let us know and we can certainly help you out. 

Marijuana in Pets

While the use of cannabis is not new, the fact that it has been legalized for both medicinal and recreational use in several states has made it more accessible, which has led to an increase in accidental exposure in pets. 

The most common way that dogs and cats are exposed to cannabis is through ingestion of edibles or by ingesting it directly. They can also be exposed through secondhand smoke. Because dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains, the effect of even small amounts are more dramatic and potentially more toxic when compared to humans. 

Although exposure to recreational marijuana is fairly safe, medical grade products can have a dangerously high THC content that can potentially be fatal in animals. 

Many of the signs of intoxication in animals are neurological. Pets may become wobbly, uncoordinated, hyperactive or sleepy, disoriented and vocal. In severe cases, tremors, seizures, and coma can result. When mixed with brownies, the chocolate can be toxic as well. 

If you notice that your pet has ingested any marijuana, the first treatment, which is inducing vomiting, must be done very shortly after ingestion. So seeking emergency veterinary care is critical. The veterinary team might also use activated charcoal to help neutralize the toxin. If your pet is not taken to the vet until clinical signs are noticed, then they will provide supportive care until the effects of the drug wear off, but keep in mind that the effects of the drug can possibly be fatal.

When it comes to cannabis use and pets, the bottom line is be careful. Keep all medication, including cannabis out of reach of your pet. Keep pets away from secondhand smoke and remember if the cannabis is mixed with anything edible, your pet will be tempted to eat it.

If you notice suspicious behavior in your cat or dog and cannabis exposure is possible, please take you pet to your veterinarian for treatment.

Information obtained from VCA Animal Hospitals.

Happy New Year!!

From the staff at Riverton Veterinary Clinic, we wish you all a wonderful 2023 filled with good health and happiness.

News Bites for October 2022

New Happenings

We are so pleased to introduce our new Veterinarian, Dr. Erin Krysinski, who joined our team in September. 

Dr. Erin was born and raised in Michigan to parents that are both also veterinarians. She received her doctorate in 2019 from Michigan State University and has been living and working in Utah since graduation. She loves surgery, especially orthopedics and soft tissue surgery, but her greatest joy in veterinary medicine is using her skills to strengthen the human-animal bond.

When not working at the clinic, Dr. Krysinski can be seen riding her thoroughbred, “Sur,” or hiking/biking with her husband, Seth, and her Field Bred English Cockers, Finny, and Shorts. Her family also consists of 2 cats, Bridger and Mackinac, and 11 chickens.

Holiday Foods to Avoid

As hard as it is to believe, summer is over, fall is here, and the holidays are right around the corner. With holiday celebrations, sharing large meals and treats are common in most households. Sharing food and drink with your beloved furry family member is not always a wise or healthy choice. Here is a small list (definitely not all-inclusive) of some of the items not to share with your pet.

  1. Alcohol. This has the same effect on a dog or cat’s liver and brain as it does on a human, but it doesn’t take as much to cause serious damage and can even lead to respiratory distress, tremors, coma, and death. 
  2. Caffeine. Deserts and other holiday dishes may call for coffee, tea or chocolate for an ingredient, but they all contain caffeine, which can actually be fatal.
  3. Candy. While the sugar in candy isn’t great for your pet, the sweetener xylitol, which is often used in sugar free candy, can lead to liver failure.
  4. Chocolate. In addition to caffeine, chocolate contains theobromine which can result in seizures and death if a large enough amount is consumed.
  5. Dairy products. Milk, cream, cheese, and butter are bad for both humans and pets. They can cause diarrhea and other digestive disturbances as well as allergic reactions, so leave the dairy laden foods off their plate this holiday season.
  6. Eggnog. Loaded with fat, sugar, milk, raw eggs, and alcohol, this beverage is definitely off of the holiday list for your pet.
  7. Garlic, onions, and chives. This group of ingredients can be found in just about anything from mashed potatoes to stuffing. If enough is ingested, it can lead to damaged blood cells and anemia.
  8. Ham and bacon. Dishes that contain pork can cause pancreatitis due to the amount of fat it contains. Pancreatitis can be a potentially life-threatening disease in  your pet.
  9. Nutmeg. In significant amounts, this spice can be toxic, causing hallucinations, stomach pain and even seizures. Other spices can be dangerous too, so please try not to feed your pet treats from your holiday dinner.
  10. Turkey bones. Please be exceptionally vigilant this holiday season and make sure your pet does not have access to any turkey bones. Cooked bones can be hard and sharp and can perforate the intestines or cause an obstruction and have to be surgically removed. (PETA)

Riverton Veterinary Clinic staff wishes you and your family a wonderful, safe, healthy holiday season. Thank you for your support and continued patience and we hope to see you and all of your wonderful furry family members soon. 

News Bites for July – September 2022

World Rabies Day

World rabies day is Wednesday, September 28, 2022. To support this important cause, Riverton Veterinary Clinic will reserve this day solely for discounted vaccines and the associated office visit.

Please call (801-254-6621) and schedule your appointment. September 28 is for vaccines only. We will schedule any medically sick or health concerns another day.


Rabies is due to a virus that affects mammals and is transmitted through the saliva of an infected mammal. In the United States, rabies is transmitted most commonly from wild animals to other animals and humans. Racoons and skunks have been common carriers of the virus but bats have become the number one cause of human rabies. In developing countries, lacking in good vaccination programs, dog bites are still the major cause of human rabies.

If a human is bitten by an infected animal, the virus is transferred through the saliva deep into the wound. There is a latent period, from days to months, where the virus multiplies in the muscle and then enters the nerves where it travels into the central nervous system and causes encephalitis and death.

If a human does not seek medical attention before they develop encephalitis, the rabies infection is 100% fatal. If they are treated immediately after a bite, they can be given a series of vaccines and should live.

When an animal develops rabies, they will die within 10 days of the virus being shed in their saliva. If an animal bites a person, it is often quarantined for 10 days. If it is still alive in the 10 days, it wasn’t shedding the virus in their saliva when it bit the person.

Because we vaccinate our dogs and cats, wildlife is the major cause of human rabies exposure in the United States. The last three human deaths in the United States have been due to bat exposure. Bats have such small teeth that sometimes people don’t even know that they have been bitten and exposed to rabies. So, the Center for Disease Control recommends staying away from bats and securing your homes so that they can’t get in. Don’t keep windows open that don’t have screens, and if you have a bat in your house, try to safely catch it so it can be tested for rabies. 

If you get bitten by a dog or cat with unknown vaccine history, or a skunk, racoon or bat, wash the wound thoroughly and then contact animal control and your nearest medical facility for treatment. 


Happy Independence and Pioneer Day!! As we celebrate these fun holidays, please keep a couple of things in mind. Fireworks can be horrifying to dogs and cats. They can react to the noise by running away, so make sure and keep them inside, with music or a television playing to mute the noise a little. If you know that they react strongly to the noise, we can prescribe medication that can relieve some of their anxiety if given prior to the noise starting.

Have a wonderful, safe summer. From Jack, our favorite”Doodle-Dandy”.

News Bites for April 2022

Senior Spotlight

As our beloved furry family members age, we have to deal with many of the problems that come along with being a senior citizen. Although cancer can occur at any age, we diagnose it more in senior pets. There are a wide variety of different types of cancer that can occur in dogs and cats. One of the more common types that we diagnose is lymphosarcoma. It commonly presents as enlargement of the lymphnodes, most commonly, the ones under the jaw, behind the knee, and by the clavicle.

Meet Cody. He is Dr. Sara Shaw’s 12 year old Labrador. He was diagnosed with lymphosarcoma the first of October, 2021. Dr. Shaw took him to the expert oncology team at MedVet where he successfully received six months of chemotherapy. He completed his chemo protocol and was celebrated by the entire oncology staff.

 Cody is now in remission, and our hope is that he will stay in remission to live a longer, healthy life.      

Often, when we find cancer, severe skin disease, eye disease or neurologic disease in your pet, we need to refer to a specialist. There are several different speciality hospitals in the valley that have the best specialists in the state. We utilize them for our own pets as we trust them completely. Dr. Shaw and Cody would like to thank the entire Oncology staff at MedVet including Dr. Katie Wright, Dr. Lisbeth Ambrosius and Dr. Lori Cesario.

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites in dogs and cats are very common. We see it in puppies and kittens, and in pets that go hiking, camping or are allowed to roam outside. Parasites are transmitted through oral-fecal contact, through water contaminated with feces, or through the placenta and milk of a mom dog or cat to her babies. 

Roundworms are the most common of these intestinal parasites, but we also see animals infected with hookworms, tapeworms, giardia and coccidia. Most of these worms have the potential of being transmitted to humans, so diagnosing, treating and preventing reinfection is even more important. 

Many infections do not show symptoms, however, below are some of the symptoms that you might see in your pet.


  • Diarrhea with mucous
  • Poor growth in puppies/kittens
  • Distended abdomen
  • Worms visible in feces (not very common)
  • Vomiting worms


  • Flat segmented worms in the feces or crawling on the anal area
  • Diarrhea
  • Emaciation
  • Malaise


  • A one celled microscopic organism
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss


  • Poor growth in puppies and kittens
  • Diarrhea
  • Dark, tarry stools
  • Anemia


  • A one celled microscopic organism
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy

Because of the prevalence of intestinal parasites in dogs and cats, and because of the potential for human transmission, the veterinary profession and the Center for Disease Control recommend using a heartworm prevention in your pets monthly that also deworms them intestinally. Additionally, it is recommended to have a fecal test performed every 6-12 months. Puppies and kittens should be dewormed at least once a month for the first to 6 months of their life.

Please bring a fecal sample every year when you bring your pet for her vaccines so we can make sure she does not have one of these parasites. 

We want to thank you all for allowing us to care for your furry family members. We are allowing you to come into the clinic for appointments and we are no longer requiring masks. 

Please like us on facebook, and review us on either google or yelp.

Happy Spring,
Love, Jack!

News Bites for January 2022

New Happenings

We are so pleased to introduce you to our newest Veterinarian, Dr. Val Schuster.

Dr. Schuster is originally from central Wisconsin. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Exercise Science from the University of Cincinnati in 2012 and received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin in 2017. She has a special interest in nutrition, dentistry, preventative wellness, and client education. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, skiing, camping, boating, and spending time with her family. Her best friend is Elsa, a beautiful golden retriever. 

Congratulations to Dr. Smith

We are so proud to announce that Dr. Dale Smith, the leader of our clinic, was selected as the Veterinarian of the year by the Utah Veterinary Medical Association. He was nominated by his peers and fellow UVMA members, and his work and service were reviewed by a selection committee. The UVMA chooses the Veterinarian of the Year because of their exceptional service within the association and the community. Congratulations to Dr. Smith from all of us that respect and appreciate all that he does. 

Common Toxins for Pets   

Every year, the ASPCA compiles a list of the top toxins commonly reported that year. 

  1. Over the counter medications is one of the top toxins reported to all Poison Control Centers. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, cold and flu medication, vitamins and supplements and joint rubs fall into this category.
  2. Human Prescription Medications including antidepressant, anticonvulsant and cardiac medications are the next most common. Adderall and topical ointments are also included. Please keep all purses out of the reach of your pets if they have medication in them.
  3. Human food is responsible for a large number of reported animal poisonings. Grapes, raisins, xylitol, onions, and garlic can all harm your pet.
  4. Chocolate comes in at number four. Dogs seem to love chocolate. Usually, exposure only causes some vomiting and diarrhea, but if they ingest enough, especially dark chocolate, they could have serious, even fatal consequences. 
  5. Bouquets and plants, both indoor and outdoor can be a threat to your pet. Plants such as Easter lilies, Aloe vera, Amaryllis, and Iris plants can be toxic to both dogs and cats. 
  6. Household toxicants like cleaning, beauty and home repair products are the next on the list. Due to Covid, many people staying at home took to home improvement projects using paint, adhesives, and cleaners. These should all be kept away from your pet, and your pet should be kept away from painted and cleaned surfaces until they have dried. 
  7. Rodenticides are common especially in the winter months when rodents like mice and rats, come looking for warmth. It is supposed to taste good so the rodents will eat them, and dogs and cats seem to like them too. Pets can develop kidney failure, bleeding, seizures or even death if the toxin is ingested. 
  8. Veterinary products such as tasty chewable medication, attract pets, so they have been known to open the container and consume the entire bottle. This includes heartworm prevention, and carprofen.
  9. Insecticides like ant baits, and bug sprays can be enticing to pets just like it is to bugs. There are pet-safe alternatives that can be used. 
  10. Garden products such as fertilizers can be toxic to pets when they ingest it or lick their feet after walking on it. When fertilizing your lawn, allow 3 waterings to occur before allowing your pets on the lawn.

These lists certainly do not include all of the items included in the group. Please visit the ASPCA website to see a much more inclusive list.

The ASPCA also has an Animal Poison Contol Center phone number for emergency animal poisonings. (888)426-4435.

Dental Disease

Please remember that dental disease is the number one disease in small animals. To ensure that your pet’s dental disease does not cause heart or kidney disease, or cause tooth loss, please call and make an appointment so that we can determine if your pet needs a professional cleaning. 

Jack is teething right now, but his teeth get brushed every day to help prevent dental disease. 

Please visit the Veterinary Oral Health Council website to see what dental products have been proven to help your pets’ teeth.

News Bites for October 2021

Jack the Golden Doodle puppy.
Meet Jack

Jack is a little Golden doodle puppy that came to the clinic in August. He was what is called a “Swimmer Puppy”. This means that his back legs would not hold him up, so he just laid down causing his chest to grow flat, pushing his heart and lungs out to the side. There are several possible causes of this syndrome, which include housing them on a slippery surface so they can’t grip the ground with their hind feet, delayed neuromuscular development, rapid growth or neurologic problems.

As you can tell, little Jack was full of life and was adopted by Dr. Ingraham. It took a village of the most wonderful, huge hearted people to help him. It started with Dr. Ingraham’s family. Jack was immediately made part of the family and he was helped by everyone. He was supported, massaged, and cared for by the entire family. He was taken to Alta Dog Rehabilitation and was greeted with open arms by Tena Hosie. She organized a team of specialists to create chest splints to help his chest form more normally, and worked with him for many weeks with slings, massage and exercises to help strengthen his legs.

Jack was doing very well and started walking on his own. He was very weak and wobbly on his hind legs, but he was a fighter, and the team of care givers wouldn’t let him give up.

We then conducted an x-ray of his chest to see how well he was coming along. Surprisingly enough, we saw a big rock in his stomach. He was watched every minute, so the rock was a mystery.

You can see the rock in the upper part of Jack's abdomen.
You can see the rock in the upper part of his abdomen.

Now Jack was headed to another specialist, Dr. Tucker. She immediately performed an ultrasound and then an endoscopy to try to grab the rock. Unfortunately, it had moved passed the stomach. Luckily, he passed the rock.

This is Jack now. He is a happy, normal, little puppy.

He walks normally, his chest is normal, and he can breathe normally. He is beautiful and full of life thanks to the many kindhearted people that dedicated so much time and effort to him.

He is certainly a fighter and he wants to thank with all of his heart Dr. Ingraham’s family, Tena Hosie and her staff, and Dr. Melissa Tucker.


Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes is a common disorder that we find in both cats and dogs. It is a disease of the pancreas, an organ which helps our pets digest their food by providing essential enzymes and it produces insulin.

Insulin is required to regulate the level of sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream. Without insulin, the cells of the body cannot absorb glucose. This leads to an excessive amount of glucose in the bloodstream; a problem we call hyperglycemia.

When there isn’t enough insulin, the cells do not get an adequate amount of energy from glucose. This causes the body to start breaking down fat and protein for energy which will cause weight loss and stimulate a ravenous appetite in most pets. The body tries to eliminate excess glucose by urinating it out of the body. To avoid dehydration, the pet drinks more water. This helps to explain why in our diabetic patients we see increased urination, increased thirst, weight loss, and an increased appetite.

To diagnose diabetes, we look for the presence of clinical signs (increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss, etc.) and then we will run a blood test and a urinalysis to detect the amount of glucose in the blood and urine.

We treat diabetes with insulin injections twice daily. Routine monitoring tests are then required to make sure the insulin dose is appropriate for the pet.

Although diabetes in your pet requires a lot of your time, many pets live long and healthy lives with the disease.

If you have questions about diabetes or you are suspicious that your pet has signs of diabetes, please give us a call and schedule an appointment.

(Thank you Dr.Albergo)

News Bites for August 2021

Covid 19 has obviously affected each and every one of us. Nationwide, the veterinary profession has increased appointments by 30-50% since covid began. Nationwide, there is also a shortage of veterinarians and veterinary technicians, so you can understand how this has caused some problems.

At Riverton Veterinary Clinic, we have tried to rearrange our appointments, increase appointment visits, and increase staff to be more able to accommodate all of the furry friends that need to be seen. This has been not only difficult, due to the lack of veterinarians and technicians, but also exhausting for the staff that we are fortunate enough to have at our clinic.  

We know how frustrating it is to have a sick pet and not be able to get in immediately. Please understand that we hate to send you to another facility, and we do everything in our power to accommodate everyone that needs to get in. Depending on the type of problem your pet has, it is sometimes better to send them to a specialty facility that 

has better equipment to treat your pet, or overnight care that your pet might require.

Please understand that we will do everything in our power to see your sick pet. Please also understand that if we are running a little late for your appointment, it is due to the fact that we are seeing more sick animals daily, and often this puts us behind. 

We hope you continue to entrust your furry family member to us and we hope that you understand that we are working as hard as possible to accommodate everyone that is counting on us to help their pet.

Pain in our Pets

All veterinarians take an oath as they graduate from veterinary school. As part of this oath, they pledge to prevent and relieve animal suffering. Because animals do not speak directly to us to let us know if they are in pain, veterinarians are trained to observe their actions.

Some of the clinical signs related to pain could include decreased appetite, decreased playing with their favorite toy, increased aggressive behavior, not sleeping in the bed with the owner, etc. This information is obtained by getting a complete history from the owner and by asking a lot of questions pertaining to the pet’s behavior.

After getting a thorough history, veterinarians rely on their physical exam. Does the pet tense up when their abdomen is palpated? Do they turn their head and look at you when their back legs are flexed or extended? Is the pet protective of a certain part of their body? All of these things can be our pet “telling” us they are in pain. 

Managing Pain

One of the best ways to manage pain, is to prevent it from happening in the first place. This is difficult in some cases, but as veterinarians we are obligated to try.

Prior to any procedure that we are going to perform in the clinic we can use different ways to prevent pain. We can use local blocks, where we use lidocaine or bupivacaine to block the pain before we even start the procedure. We use these blocks for spays, neuters and oral health procedures. This helps provide a smoother anesthetic experience and a more comfortable recovery for our patients. 

If pain is already present, such as arthritis, trauma, lacerations, etc., there are other modalities that we can use to help. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), are similar to Advil or Aleve. They help control pain and inflammation. Rimadyl (Carprofen), Meloxicam, and Onsior are just a few NSAIDs that are commonly used in the veterinary field. 

Opiods are typically more potent than NSAIDs. These medications are reserved for very painful situations.

We do not only rely on pain medicine, but other therapies have proven helpful as well. Therapeutic laser treatment and acupuncture are just 2 proven ways to help our furry friends recover faster and manage pain as well. 

Sometimes the most important part to managing pain is keeping our pets quiet and relaxed at home. This task is usually a lot easier said than done, but preventing them from running outside, or jumping on and off furniture while they are recovering can not only help them heal faster but prevent future injury. In addition, by providing them a safe, warm place for them to rest can reduce their stress as well. 

If you feel like your furry family member is showing signs of pain, please let us know and we will evaluate them to see how we can help relieve their pain. 

News Bites for April 2021

Receive a FREE heartworm test with the purchase of 6 months of heartworm prevention.
Special in effect from April 1, 2021-June 30, 2021

COVID-19: To protect you and our staff, we are still practicing curbside care. We are hoping to open our doors for in-clinic examinations by May 3, 2021. We will still require masks and will allow two people into the clinic per pet. We will still offer curbside service to those who would like to stay in their automobile. At that time, we will ask you to stay in your car when you arrive. Call us and when your exam room is available, we will have you bring your pet into the clinic. You will not have to wait in the reception area as your room will be ready. After your pet’s examination, we will check you out in the exam room so that you can leave as soon as your appointment is finished. We will continue to follow all Covid protocols to help protect you and our staff. Again, we thank you for your patience.

New Happenings

We are so excited to welcome Dr. Jessica Zelnik to our clinic. She will be joining our team the first part of June. 

Dr. Zelnik was born in the US Virgin Islands and grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Washington State University. She worked in Herriman, Utah from 2009-2012 and has worked in Salt Lake City from 2012 until now. Dr. Zelnik has one dog, Nala, who is a Rottweiler mix. She is an avid skier and mountain biker but these days spends most of her time chasing around and enjoying her little toddler. Please join us in welcoming her to our clinic.

Heartworm Disease in Dogs and Cats

2019 Heartworm Incidence

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. In dogs, heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs and arteries, and can affect the animal’s health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone. For this reason, prevention is by far the best option and treatment-when needed- should be administered as early in the course of the disease as possible. 

Heartworms are transmitted by infected mosquitos. An infected mosquito injects larva into an uninfected dog or cat when taking a blood meal. Once inside a new host, it takes approximately 6 months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Once mature, heartworms can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs and up to 2-3 years in cats. Because of the longevity of these worms, each mosquito season can lead to an increasing number of worms in an infected pet.

Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen. Cats may experience respiratory distress which can look like feline asthma. Even if treated immediately, can progress to death.

Annual testing is necessary, even when dogs and cats are on heartworm prevention year-round, to ensure that the prevention program is working. Heartworm medications are highly effective, but pets can still become infected. If you miss just one dose of a monthly medication or give it late-it can leave your pet unprotected. Even if you give the medication as recommended, your pet may spit out or vomit a heartworm pill or rub off a topical medication. Heartworm preventives are highly effective, but not 100 percent effective, so yearly testing is very important. Although Utah is not a big heartworm burden state, the incidence of heartworm has increased every year, and so year-round prevention is highly recommended for both dogs and cats, whether they are outside of inside only pets.

The above information was taken from the American Heartworm Society. They have some great information. Please visit their website at

If you have any questions that our professional team can answer for you, please call (801) 254-6621. To take advantage of the discounted pricing, please schedule your pet’s heartworm test at your earliest convenience.