News Bites


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.

New Happenings

Specials: 10% off all Oral Health Procedures performed at our clinic from January 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021.

It has been an exciting year of change for us at Riverton Veterinary Clinic. We have a new staff full of a very motivated, loving, friendly, and professional crew. Seasoned veterinarians new to our clinic include Dr. Kim Ingraham (Medical Director), and staff veterinarians Dr. Sara Shaw and Dr. Jessy Albergo. Dr. Corey Nebeker is also a part-time member of our veterinary team. Our experienced staff is ready to help care for your four-legged friends.

COVID-19: To protect you and our staff, we are still practicing curbside care. When you get to the clinic for your appointment, you will call the clinic and check-in. A veterinary nurse will come out to your car, get a history on your pet and bring your pet into the clinic. Our veterinarians will then perform an exam and any other procedure required, and then call you or come out to your car to discuss findings. A Customer Service Representative will then come to your car to check you out. Whenever any of our staff come to your car, please make sure everyone in the car has a mask on. When we move to having you inside the clinic, we will let you know with another message. Thank you for your patience.

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.

  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. Plaque RemovalRemoving 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.