Jenn Pet Vet's Blog

Happy Halloween !!! October 31, 2012

This is my favorite Halloween photo. My Bullmastiff, Petunia (the angel), and her sister, Mousse (the devil). Mousse would not leave Petunia’s halo alone … little devil!



Halloween can be a super fun time for you and your pets but there are some things to be aware of the keep you and your fuzzy four-legged friends safe.

I love dressing up my dogs for Halloween!  But I also have seen some of the problems that end up on my veterinary doorstep during Trick Or Treat time.

Here are some things to do (or not do) to make sure Halloween stays happy. 

Don’t give your dog any candy.

The excess fat and sugar that is typical in candy can cause some pretty bad problems for your dog’s gastrointestinal tract and pancreas. If this happens your pooch might experience vomiting and diarrhea and possibly a trip to the hospital or having to call me for a housecall if the symptoms are severe.

Avoid these toxic foods:

Chocolate, especially solid dark chocolate, in a large enough amount can be toxic. The typical things that occur with chocolate ingestion are vomiting, diarrhea, increased drinking, increased urination, incoordination, hyperexcitabilty, and it can even cause heart arrhythmias.

Xylitol is found in a lot of sugar free products like chewing gum (and toothpaste – I always remember trick or treating at a dentist’s house when I was a kid and he gave out a toothbrush and toothpaste).  This sweetener is extremely toxic to dogs and causes severe low blood sugar and liver failure. The typical signs of xylitol toxicity are vomiting, diarrhea, depression, incoordination, and seizures.

Macadamia Nuts if they are in any cookies, plain, or my favorite – the chocolate covered variety – can cause neurological problems in dogs. If a dog has ingested a toxic amount of macadamia nuts they might have tremors, joint pain, hind limb weakness, depression, incoordination, hypothermia, vomiting, and be unable to get up.

Raisins (and grapes and possibly currants) can cause kidney failure in dogs and possibly in cats and ferrets. It’s not exactly known how this happens and toxicity is not dependent on the amount they eat – a small amount ingested can be just as toxic as a large amount. Symptoms of toxicity may include anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

If your dog does eats or if you suspect they may have eaten any of the above mentioned toxic foods call your veterinarian immediately or contact the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at (888) 426-4435. 

Keep your pets inside

Especially cats! As much as I can’t comprehend how anybody would want to hurt an animal, there are reports every year of cats and dogs deliberately being harmed when some kid’s pranks take a turn for the worse.


I hope all of this helps to keep you and your pets happy and safe this All Hallows’ Eve!

And as always …

Peace, love, and plenty of tail wags~

Jennifer Forsyth, VMD


Diamond Pet Food Recall May 9, 2012

My bullmastiff, Petunia, enjoying a home-prepared meal.


One of the most enjoyable ways that we have to interact with our pets is in feeding them and watching them enjoy their meals.  That’s also the reason why finding out that what we might be feeding them could be harmful is so upsetting.

Diamond Pet Foods has recalled several brands of dog food that were manufactured in their South Carolina plant due to potential Salmonella contamination.  If you feed any of the following foods, please check your bag and the link below to see if your food is affected by the recall: Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul, Country Value, Diamond, Diamond Naturals, Premium Edge, Professional, 4Health, Taste of the Wild, Apex, Kirklnad Signature/Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain, or Canidae.

Diamond Pet Food Recall Website


The following excerpt is from the Center For Disease Control’s website about Salmonellosis:

Salmonellosis is an infection with bacteria called Salmonella. Salmonella germs have been known to cause illness for over 100 years. They were discovered by an American scientist named Salmon, for whom they are named.

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

Dogs infected with Salmonella can exhibit similar gastrointestinal symptoms including anorexia.  If you or your pet are experiencing any of these symptoms please call your doctor or veterinarian today.


I usually get questions from my clients about home cooking after a pet food recall occurs.  My favorite book for providing clients with non-raw and easy-to-prepare home cooked diets has always been, Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets: The Healthful Alternative by Donald R. Strombeck, DVM, PhD.

This book is now available online and the following is one of the many easy recipes that Dr. Strombeck has developed.

Poultry Meat and Boiled Rice Diet

1/3 pound (weight before cooking) poultry meat (152 grams)
2 cups rice, long-grain, cooked (320 grams)
2 tablespoon sardines, canned, tomato sauce (38 grams)
1 tablespoons vegetable (canola) oil (14 grams)
1/4 teaspoon salt substitute-potassium chloride
1/10 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon bone meal powder (3 grams)
1 multiple vitamin-mineral tablet

provides 879 kcalories, 43.1 g protein, 37.3 g fat
supports caloric needs of 29 to 30 pound dog
Omission of sardines reduces caloric content by 68 kcalories, protein by 6.2 g and fat by 4.6 g.


If you would like to discuss your pet’s diet and how you can change to a healthier and safer option, give me a call today at Marmalade & Mobile Vet to schedule an appointment – I’d love to help you help your pet.  (856) 375-1314


peace, love, and plenty of tail wags~

Dr. Forsyth


Natural Flea & Tick Prevention April 15, 2012

Some examples of natural flea and tick preventions.


Spring is here and so are fleas and ticks.  Protecting your pet naturally from fleas and ticks is not only possible but also very important.


Fleas can transmit tapeworms to your pets and fleas are also the source of a much more serious problem, Bartonella (Cat Scratch Disease).  Bartonella can cause serious illness no only in cats but it can also affect dogs and you and your family.  Bartonella can cause oral diseases, respiratory diseases, eye problems, intestinal diseases, and many other things.  If you’d like more information on Bartonella the National Veterinary Laboratory has the best information.  If you would like to have your cat or dog tested give us a call at Marmalade & Mobile Vet (856-375-1314) and we can schedule an appointment for an examination and testing.


Ticks can also transmit serious diseases to cats and dogs.  Lyme disease is the best known tick-borne disease here in the northeast USA but there are many other diseases that are caused by ticks.  Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis (carried by the deer tick) most commonly cause dogs to develop lameness, fevers, anorexia, and lethargy.  The lone star tick and dog ticks carry diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichia, and Babesia that can affect your dog’s platelets and red blood cells causing problems including anemia and abnormal bleeding.  If you’d like more information about ticks, tick identification ,and tick-borne diseases Scalibor has a nice interactive website.


There are so many natural flea and tick preventions out there in the market and I can’t personally comment on the ones I haven’t used.  The products that I’m mentioning here in this post are only the ones that I have personally used and found to be effective.  If anybody has a product that they love that I didn’t mention please feel free to post in in the comments section.

Buck Mountain Parasite Dust


Cedar Oil from the Cedar Oil Store is the main product that I use for my dogs when it comes to tick control.  My experience has been that fleas are much easier to prevent than ticks and my best success with tick control has been with cedar oil.  I live in what I call “tick central” because I have a lot of tress, shrubs, wild grasses, a stream, etc … .  This is what I do to in the war against ticks.  Once a week during peak tick season (spring and fall) I mix up a solution that I make from the Nature’s Defender Vet’s Choice concentrate (2 oz. of concentrate to a gallon of water) and “dip” my dogs.  I sponge it over my dog’s entire body, being careful to avoid the eyes.  This dip procedure helps to repel the ticks for up to a week and it can be especially useful for dogs that have a long coat and are difficult to spray.  For my daily regimen I use the Dr. Ben’s Paws & Claws treatment or the AromaDog Flea Flicker to kill any ticks that might have made it past my “dip” procedure.  If you don’t live in a high tick area you might be able to skip the “dip” step and only use the once a day sprays.  The AromaDog Flea Flicker is an awesome product, especially for small short haired dogs.    I also really like Buck mountain’s Herbal Gold Parasite Dust.  The parasite dust uses Neem and diatom flour which can be sprinkled on your pet’s back and combed in against the grain of the fur. The only reason I don’t use Flea Flicker or Parasite Dust as my primary products is because I have 4 mastiffs and 1 Chihuahua so the large spray bottle for the cedar oil is more convenient.


For cats there are two products that I recommend.  The first is the Ectopamine spot on which is convenient because it lasts for 3-4 weeks (the Ectopamine also comes in a spray that can be used for dogs).  The other product I like is AromaCat’s Scat! No Fleas Please.

Ectopamine for Cats


One of the most important things to remember with any parasite control program is that a high quality diet is very important.  When you feed your pet with high quality ingredients they will be healthier and less attractive to parasites like fleas and ticks.  Foods that are rich in B-vitamins like sea vegetables help to make your pet less likely to pick up parasites.  Small amounts of garlic (I don’t recommend using garlic for cats as their red blood cells are much more sensitive to potential toxicity) in the diet can also help to deter fleas and ticks.  The two supplements that I love for adding into my pet’s food are Animal Essential’s Green Alternative and Wholistic Pet’s Wholistic Sea Blend with Garlic.  Never feed a food that has by-products, artificial preservatives, food colorings, animal digest, propylene glycol, or grains that aren’t whole grains.  Home prepared diets are a wonderful option.  You can use the recipes in a book like Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats or if you are short on time you can have somebody like Loreen at the K-9 Pet Chef cook for you.  And if you feed kibble, support a local natural pet food store like Daminger’s Natural Pet Foods.



peace, love, and plenty of tail wags~


Purina® Dog Chow® – Don’t Buy It March 3, 2012

I got an excellent question today from a dear old friend.  It goes as follows:

My dog is very itchy and dry. Her skin is flaky and she loves to have her back end scratched. She is 8 yrs old and this only started over the past year. We tried switching food but that didn’t help. Any words of wisdom?


The first question I asked was “What are you currently feeding your dog?”

Dog Chow - don't buy it!

The answer was Purina® Dog Chow®.

I get this kind of question so many times that I thought it deserved it’s own post.


My first recommendation is to try a food change again.  Even if it hasn’t helped in the past, there can be several reasons for those failures.  (1) The new food wasn’t fed for a long enough time to have seen a change.  It can take up to 8 weeks to see a difference in skin and coat quality with a diet change.  (2) Simply that the the wrong food was tried.  Sometimes all grains needs to be eliminated in dogs with skin problems, or the protein source needs to be changed.  I usually recommend a fish and potato based food in these situations.  To find a good quality fish and potato based food I recommend finding your local small business pet food store and tell them that you are looking for a grain free fish based food.  You will get much better service, and support your local community, by patronizing a small business instead of a big box store.  Beyond a food change, I recommend that all dogs receive an omega-3 fatty acid supplement in the form of cod liver oil.  It’s important to use a high quality supplement like the one from Nordic Naturals.


I also wanted to take a moment to review the ingredients in Purina® Dog Chow®:

Whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), meat and bone meal, brewers rice, soybean meal, whole grain wheat, egg and chicken flavor, animal digest, calcium phosphate, salt, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, added color (Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 2), zinc sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, Vitamin D-3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.


What I highlighted in red are all grains.  The first thing to look for in a food is to make sure that meat is your first ingredient – which it isn’t here.  I always recommend avoiding corn, wheat, and soy in dogs that have skin and coat problems.  This food contains all three of those grains.  I also recommend feeding only whole grains and this food has corn gluten meal and brewer’s rice.  Another thing to know about brewer’s rice is that it is only sold to make pet food and dairy feed – it is not a human grade quality ingredient.


Now onto what I highlighted in green: poultry by-product meal.  This is the nasty left over stuff from chicken carcasses and it isn’t fit for human consumption.  So you might be asking yourself “Why would they use by-products in my dog’s food?”  That’s a great question that’s easily answered – it’s cheap.


Animal digest (highlighted in orange) is just plain nasty stuff.  Animal Digest is a boiled concoction made from unspecified parts of unspecified animals. Digest can be sprayed on lower-quality foods lacking good-tasting ingredients to give the food some desirability and palatability. The animals used for this broth can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. Ingredients can come from restaurant and supermarket refuse, the dead, diseased, disabled, or dying (“4 D”) animals raised for human food, other farm animals, rodents, pets euthanized at shelters, and so on.


Never feed anything that contains a generic animal product like “meat meal” or “animal fat” (the things I highlighted in blue).  You always want to know what kind of animal that a meat or oil comes from – like chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, etc … .  Food companies don’t always disclose what kind of animal is in your dog food because they want to use whatever the cheapest thing on the market is that week.  That’s unacceptable in my book – I want to know exactly what is in my pet’s food!


As far as artificial food colorings (highlighted in purple) – they just don’t need them!  Artificial food colorings can create or at least contribute to a whole host of problems including allergies, behavior problems, arthritis, cancer, immune problems etc … .  Many times colorings are added to give pet owners a false sense of feeding something healthy; something that looks rich and meaty.


I hope this information helps.  And I’m so glad that I got this question today – like I said it’s a good one.  I’m always happy to help educate when it comes to nutrition.


~peace, love, and plenty of tail wags


Dental Month – it’s not too late February 17, 2012

Skookum, my Dogue de Bordeaux enjoying his antler

February is dental month for pets.  Taking care of your pet’s teeth is very important because excessive tartar can lead to gum disease.  And where there is gum disease there are bacteria.  The bacteria associated with dental disease can lead to infected teeth (abscessed teeth) which are very painful and these teeth then have to be extracted.  The bacteria can also spread to other places in the body  –  especially the heart, kidneys, and liver.  That’s why paying proper attention to your pet’s teeth through brushing, and having a professional dental cleaning performed when there is a problem, is so important.  Keeping your pet’s mouth healthy helps to keep them healthy overall.

Petunia, my Bullmastiff chowing down on some natural food

Proper nutrition is a very important way to care for your pet’s teeth.  And that doesn’t mean feeding kibble.  Contrary to popular belief, feeding the kibble-type food does not prevent dental disease.  I see plenty of animals that eat only kibble that have horrible teeth.  I recommend feeding a high quality diet like the ones I mentioned in my post about Daminger’s Natural Pet Foods.  Or even better, if you are feeding kibble, add some fresh food into their diet.  I love the recipes in Richard Pitcairn’s Book: Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide To Natural Health For Dogs and Cats.  He has some great recipes in there for fresh food to add on top of kibble.

There are some other ways besides fresh food to help dental health. Dogs like to chew as part of their natural behavior. The veterinary dentists do not like giving dogs hard objects to chew on as it is possible for them to fracture teeth; however, I’ve decided to take that risk and let my dog’s natural instincts serve as my guide. Raw meaty bones are the most natural choice for dogs to keep their teeth health. If you don’t like the mess of a raw bone, antlers are also terrific. If you’d like to avoid hard chewing objects altogether, my favorite natural dental products come from AromaDog/AromaCat: Bluto’s Yummy Gum Brush for the dogs and Peppermint Catty’s Purrly Whites for the cats are great for tooth brushing.

Some of the wonderful dental products at Cutter's Mill

If you are looking for the perfect place to find an antler for your pooch, come visit me this Sunday.  On Sunday, February 26th, I will be at Cutter’s Mill in Cherry Hill from 12 noon until 3:00.  I will be doing free dental exams and giving out dental health goodie bags (while supplies last).  I’ll also be doing free mani/pedis for those pets that need some extra pampering.  And last, but not least, I will be doing low cost microchipping: for $40 you get a lifelong registration. ~ peace, love, and plenty of tail wags


Daminger’s – A Natural Pet Foods Store February 8, 2012

Some of the dry foods found at Daminger's


I cannot stress enough just how important good food is to the health of a pet. I’ll admit, I used to provide average-quality food to my dogs when I was in vet school and for a year or so afterwards. But then my dog Lily decided she wasn’t going to eat it anymore while I was visiting family in New York. I ended up stopping in a pet store that carried natural foods. When I asked for something like my current brand they were quick to inform me that I didn’t want that kind of food and they gave me a bag of Wellness. This new food didn’t contain artificial colors, preservatives like BHT/BHA, or animal by-products; but it did contain some ingredients that were very different for me like blueberries and flax seeds AND my dogs loved it!


After I arrived back home in my small southern New Jersey town, I began to worry that I wouldn’t be able to find my dogs’ new favorite healthy food. You can imagine my surprise when the store locator from Wellness’s website sent me only 3 miles down the road to Daminger’s

The canned food display at Daminger's


Daminger’s is the quintessential country store with it’s wooden floors, painted shelves, and old-fashioned charm. It is currently owned by Ken Daminger and Tom Mariner, two of the friendliest and most helpful guys you’ll ever meet.  Daminger’s was started back in 1929 by Ken’s grandfather and they have been providing love through nutrition even since.


There are so many wonderful foods there; I won’t be able to cover them all but I’ll give you some of my favorite categories.


For the fussy eater: ZiWi Peak is a food in it’s own category as it is a jerky style food. I have a lot of success with small breed dogs accepting this food. Health Extension Little Bites, an organic chicken based food, is also an excellent choice for the little guys that don’t like big kibbles.  Merrick, Nature’s Variety (Homestyle), and Tiki Dog/Tiki Cat are canned foods that look like real food. These are good choices for pets that will only eat table food.  Nature’s Variety also makes a freeze dried powder called Raw Boost that can be used to make a delicious gravy to help get Fido back to his bowl.

Merrick (Campfire Trout Feast ) and Nature's Variety (Homestyle Chicken Stew)


Grain-free foods are a good option for dogs that have allergies, as many times grains (especially corn, wheat, and soy) can contribute to creating inflammation. NutriSource is unique in that they use pea fiber (instead of potatoes).  Petcurean makes Now which is their grain free formula and they use only the freshest human grade quality ingredients.  And for completely starch free, Wysong makes Epigen.


Daminger’s also carries frozen raw food which is one of the things that I personally feed to my pack. They have Primal, Nature’s Variety, and Rad Cat stocked in their freezer.  For those not ready to take the raw plunge, there are options between raw and kibble like dehydrated foods (NRG), freeze dried foods (Stella & Chewys and Nature’s Variety Raw Boost), and refrigerated food (DeliFresh).


Let’s face it, economic times are tough right now, and Daminger’s carries something for every budget.  The chicken formula for both Canidae and Verus are less than $30 for a 30 pound bag. And for those that want to go organic, ProNature’s wild caught Atlantic  salmon formula is less than $50 for a 30 pound bag.




Post Script (AKA Dr. Forsyth’s philosophies) – We personally create the type of community that we want to live in. Our neighborhoods are their own web of life. When we shop at a small family owned business, instead of a big box store, we are investing in our community and ourselves. 


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