Venomous Snakes in Maryland

This is Samantha who was bitten by a snake this morning. Her family got her to us and treatment was started within an hour of the incident, she seems to be responding well to the treatment. Here is more information about venomous snakes in our area and good recommendations –

 The copperhead, timber rattlesnake and cottonmouth (water moccasin) are venomous snakes that can be found in Maryland. During the day, the snakes are most likely to lie underneath objects to take cover from the hot summer sun. Their natural camouflage can make them difficult to detect if they are lying in leaves or brush.

copperhead[1]Timber Rattlesnakewater moccasin

Should you come across a venomous snake, zoology experts from the Cooperative Extension at North Carolina State University advise you not to take chances. Many people are bitten while trying to kill or handle the snake.

What to do in the event a snake bites your dog?
First, let me tell you what not to do. Do not take out your pocketknife and cut Xs over the fang marks! Do not attempt to suck venom through those X marks. Do not grab the snake in a fit of anger and attempt to choke it to death. You may be bitten yourself.

Instead, you should:
• Try to identify the snake by taking note of its size, color patterns and the presence or absence of a rattle at the end of the tail.
• Look the dog over carefully for fang marks, noting that there may be more than one bite wound.
• If bitten on a leg, wrap a constricting band on the affected limb snugly at a level just above the bite wound (on the body side of the wound). This band could be fashioned of a shirtsleeve or other fabric and should be snug but not excessively tight. The compression around the limb will slow the spread of the venom. The dog may lose the limb but that is better than losing his life.
• Start your journey to the nearest animal hospital while trying to keep the dog as quiet as possible.

Preventing Snake Bites
• While out walking, controlling your dog with a leash may be your best safety device.
• Do not allow your dog to explore holes in the ground or dig under logs, flat rocks or planks.
• Stay on open paths where there is an opportunity for snakes to be visible.
• Keep nighttime walks to a minimum; rattlers are nocturnal most of the year.
• If you hear a rattlesnake, keep your dog at your side until you locate the snake; then move away.
• Off-trail hiking with an unleashed dog may stir up a snake and you may be as likely a victim as your dog.
• If your dog seems unusually curious about “something” hidden in the grass, back off immediately until you know what it is.
Above all, be vigilant when walking with your dog in areas inhabited by venomous snakes. It’s not a bad idea to memorize your veterinarian’s emergency phone number, too!

Sources: Poisonous Snake Alert in Montgomery Co. | NBC4 Washington…/Poisonous-Snake-Alert-in-Mon… and
mypetMD “Snake Bites And Dogs”

Samantha’s Update

This is Samantha the next day. Samantha’s doing much better this morning. She is eating, drinking, much more alert and playful. The swelling in her foot has gone down. The plan is to send her home this afternoon, but will need close monitoring and daily vet exams. But overall, looks as good as we hoped for!! She is a very lucky girl!


Taking the bite out of Fleas & Ticks


Fleas are truly devoted to their work. In one day, a single flea can bite your cat or dog more than 400 times. During that same Flea Control Falls Road Veterinary Hospitalday, the flea can consume more than its body weight of your pet’s blood. And before it’s through, a female flea can lay hundreds of eggs on your pet, ensuring that its work will be carried on by generations to come.

Flea bites may be merely a nuisance to some pets, but to others, they can be dangerous. They can cause flea allergy dermatitis—an allergic reaction to proteins in flea saliva. A pet’s constant scratching to rid itself of fleas can cause permanent hair loss and other skin problems. A pet can get a tapeworm if it eats a flea that has one. And flea feasts on your pet’s blood can lead to anemia and, in rare cases, death.

But fleas are not your pet’s only nemesis. Tick bites can give your pet such infections as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. And ticks can give those same infections to you.

In years past, veterinarians recommended getting rid of fleas by simultaneously “bombing” the house with insecticide, spraying the yard, and dipping the dog or cat. Today, treating only the pet often takes care of the problem. But if there is a severe flea infestation or if the problem persists, you may still need to treat the pet’s environment,

Types of Flea and Tick Products

Hundreds of pesticides, repellents, and growth inhibitors are approved or licensed to control fleas and ticks on cats and dogs or in their environment. Products range from oral medications that require a veterinarian’s prescription to collars, sprays, dips, shampoos, and powders that are available at retail stores. Some products kill only ticks or adult fleas—others break the flea life cycle by preventing flea eggs from developing into adult fleas.

Some flea and tick products are not prescription drugs, yet are available only through veterinarians. This is because the manufacturer chooses to sell its products through vets, so that the vet can provide important safety information to the client.

The Preventic collar is one such product. The collar kills ticks by interfering with a tick’s ability to feed on dogs. It contains the insecticide amitraz, which paralyzes the tick’s mouthparts. Amitraz should not be used on dogs that are sickly, pregnant, or nursing, or with certain drugs that may interact with the insecticide. The manufacturer, Virbac Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, sells the collar through veterinarians, who can ensure that a dog is healthy and can use the collar safely.

When to Treat

It’s best to treat your pet year round. The severity and length of the flea season vary depending on which part of the country you live in. It can last four months in some places, but in other places, like Florida, fleas can live all year long. Fleas can also  live inside a warm house year-round.

In many areas, September is often the worst month for flea infestation. In most parts of the United States, the greatest chance of infection by a tick bite is May through September, the period of greatest tick activity by “nymphs.” Nymphs are the stage of tick development that occurs after they have had their first blood meal and molt, and before they become adults.

Lyme Disease

About 200 species of ticks live in the United States. Some of these can transmit infectious diseases, such as Lyme disease, to pets and humans. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium transmitted through the bite of the deer tick, also called the black-legged tick, which is no larger than the head of a pin.

Typical symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include joint soreness and lameness, fever, and loss of appetite. Symptoms in humans include fatigue, chills and fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and a red, circular skin rash.

Read the Label, Talk to Your Vet

When buying a flea or tick product, it’s important for pet owners to read the label and follow the directions carefully. There can be serious problems with the misuse of dog flea and tick control products containing the insecticide permethrin. Dogs can tolerate concentrated permethrin, but it can be lethal to cats. Never use products on cats that are labeled for use on dogs only.

If the label states that the product is for animals of a certain age or older, don’t use the product on pets that are younger. Flea combs, which can pick up fleas, flea eggs, and ticks, may be useful on puppies and kittens that are too young for flea and tick products.

Talk to your vet about the flea and tick product most appropriate for your pet. The product you use will depend on your pet’s health and age, whether your pet is a cat or a dog, and whether it’s an indoor or outdoor pet. Also check with your vet to determine whether the Lyme vaccine is right for your dog.

Using Flea and Tick Products Safely

  • Read the label carefully before use. If you don’t understand the wording, ask your veterinarian or call the manufacturer.
  • Follow directions exactly. If the product is for dogs, don’t use it on cats or other pets. If the label says use weekly, don’t use it daily. If the product is for the house or yard, don’t put it directly on your pet.
  • After applying the product, wash your hands immediately with soap and water. Use protective gloves if possible.
  • If your pet shows symptoms of illness after treatment, call your veterinarian. Symptoms of poisoning may include poor appetite, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive salivation.
  • Store products away from food and out of children’s reach.

Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400.


Local Pet Event Alert – Strut Your Mutt Bethesda

Fun Local Pet Event For The Entire Family!

Strut Your Mutt Bethesda 2013 will take place on May 18 between 10AM and 3PM in the Woodmont Triangle Area of Bethesda at Norfolk Ave. and Woodmont Ave. The day Strut You Mutt Bethesdawill be packed with fun activities for kids, adults, and their best friend!

Parking is available in Public Parking Garage #11, at Woodmont Avenue and Norfolk Ave.


10:00am – 3:00pm Registration, Dog Vendors, Music
10:00am – 3:00pm Kids Play Area – Moonbounces and Games
10:00am – 2:00pm Raffle – win 50% of the pot – you need not be present to win!
10:30am Parade Line-up – at Main Stage
10:45am Dog Parade
11:30am Dog Contests – Main Stage
Noon – 3pm Every half hour: Training shows  and Adoption Shows by rescue groups.
2:15pm Raffle Winners Announced
3:00pm Strut Your Mutt Concludes

Parade Awards – one winner in each category

  • Best Strut – large dog
  • Best Strut – small dog
  • Biggest dog
  • Smallest dog
  • Best tail wag
  • Best Parade Outfits
  • Best Mutt

Contests – 1st, 2nd and 3rd places:

  • Owner/Dog look-alike
  • Best Kisser
  • Best Costume
  • Best Trick
  • Best Singer

Strut Your Mutt is a rain or shine event.

You’ll find everything from dog accessory retailers, to vets, to dog photographers, to dog walkers, to dog trainers, to doggy daycare providers.
Hundreds of dog owners will Strut with their Mutts in our parade through downtown Bethesda. Judges along the parade route will judge the dogs on “Best Mutt Strut,” “Best Parade Outfit,” and other categories.
Do you look like your dog? Is your dog the best dressed in Bethesda? How about the best kisser? Does your dog know an amazing trick?
See dogs available for adoption from the Montgomery County Humane Society and local rescue organizations strut their stuff across the main stage. Maybe you’ll meet your new best friend!
Fun for kids of all ages including a moonbounce, games, and facepainting.Plus, food (for people and dogs) and music. A great day of fun for you, your family and your dog.

Great Pet Product Savings In The Month Of May


COUPON ALERT – Wellness Checkup Discount Offer From Merial (March 1, 2013 – June 30, 2013)

Choose your savings:

– $25.00 Off Wellness Check Up When You Purchase 6 Doses Of FRONTLINE PLUS And 12 Doses Of HEARTGARD or
– $15.00 Off Wellness Check Up When You Purchase 6 Doses Of FRONTLINE PLUS.
*Note – Coupon will be applied at time of purchase.

Frontline & Heartgard Offers:


* Buy 3 Frontline treatments and receive 1 FREE


* Buy 6 Frontline treatment and receive 2 FREE


* $12.00 Rebate from Merial When you purchase 12 pack of Heartgard



Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400.


Dr. Bev Hollis, DVM Joins Greenbriar Veterinary Hospital & Luxury Pet Resort

Please welcome Dr. Bev Hollis, DVM to our sister facility Greenbriar Veterinary Hospital & Luxury Pet Resort.

Greenbriar Veterinary Hospital & Luxury Pet Resort

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Bev Hollis, DVM to our veterinary practice here at Greenbriar Veterinary Hospital & Luxury Pet Resort.  Her knowledge and years of experience will be a wonderful addition to our thriving Veterinary Hospital.

Bev Hollis, DVM

Dr. Bev Hollis

 Dr. Hollis moved to the northern Virginia/ Maryland region in 2006 from Nashville, where she had lived for 13 years.  She earned her undergraduate degrees in English, Math and Biology from the University of Minnesota and George Mason University and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 1997.

During her years in Nashville she worked in a small animal practice, started her own veterinary house call practice, and became Nashville’s first full-time shelter veterinarian. She is an avid supporter of greyhound rescue and was a co-founder of Operation Scooby, a non-profit organization that sent teams to Spain annually to work as volunteers…

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Acetaminophen Toxicity In Pets:

  • Acetaminophen can be toxic to dogs and cats, but cats are 7 to 10 times more susceptible to acetaminophen toxicity Dogs & Human Medicationthan dogs are.
  • Once swallowed, acetaminophen reaches the blood stream within 30 minutes; toxic effects are rapid and damage the liver and red blood cells.
  • Never give a medication intended for people to your pet unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian.

What Is Acetaminophen Toxicity?

Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol and some other related medications that are used to treat pain and fever in people. Unfortunately, this drug can be extremely toxic (poisonous) to cats and dogs. Acetaminophen toxicity occurs when a cat or dog swallows enough of the drug to cause damaging effects in the body.

Acetaminophen is mostly metabolized (broken down and eliminated from the body) by the liver. Some of the substances that are created during this process can have harmful effects on cats and dogs. Cats are at much greater risk of toxicity than dogs because they lack certain proteins necessary for the liver to safely metabolize acetaminophen.

How Does Acetaminophen Toxicity Occur?

Many cases of acetaminophen toxicity in dogs and cats are accidental. A pet may find and chew on a bottle of pills or eat a pill that has fallen on the floor. Sadly, some cases occur because pet owners give medication intended for people to their pets without being instructed to do so by a veterinarian.

Acetaminophen is a drug meant for people. However, there are situations in which your veterinarian may prescribe a specific dosage of acetaminophen for your dog. Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s dosage directions very carefully and report any vomiting or other problems right away. Cats are 7 to 10 times more susceptible to acetaminophen toxicity than dogs are. Because cats are extremely sensitive to the drug’s toxic effects, acetaminophen is not given to cats.

What Are the Clinical Signs of Acetaminophen Toxicity?

Once swallowed, acetaminophen is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and intestines and can achieve significant levels in the blood within 30 minutes. The main toxic effects take two forms:

  • Liver damage: One of the substances produced by the breakdown of acetaminophen binds to liver cells, damaging them. Severe damage can lead to liver failure.
  • Damage to red blood cells: One of the substances produced by the breakdown of acetaminophen binds to red blood cells. Once bound, this substance changes hemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen) into a molecule that is no longer able to carry oxygen. This means that the blood can no longer supply adequate amounts of oxygen to the body’s vital organs. The altered hemoglobin molecule is called methemoglobin; its lack of oxygen-carrying ability changes the color of blood from red to brown.

Cats and dogs can develop both forms of acetaminophen toxicity. However, cats are more likely to suffer hemoglobin damage while dogs are more likely to suffer liver damage. The main clinical signs associated with acetaminophen toxicity that result from liver injury and an inability of the blood to carry oxygen include:

  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy (tiredness)
  • Difficult or rapid breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Brown discoloration of the gums (a result of methemoglobin)
  • Brown urine
  • Blue gums (known as cyanosis, indicates inadequate oxygen supply)
  • Swelling of the face or paws
  • Shock, collapse, death

How Is Acetaminophen Toxicity Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of acetaminophen toxicity is commonly based on a history of recently chewing or swallowing pills. Your veterinarian may recommend diagnostic testing, such as a chemistry panel and complete blood cell count (CBC), to assess the extent of the damage.

What Are the Treatment and Outcome for Pets Suffering From Acetaminophen Toxicity?

Acetaminophen is absorbed and metabolized very quickly. If you realize right away that your pet has swallowed acetaminophen, vomiting can be induced to remove the drug from your pet’s stomach before the body can absorb it. Your veterinarian may also administer a special preparation of liquid-activated charcoal to slow absorption of toxic material from the stomach and intestines.

There is a specific antidote for acetaminophen toxicity. This medication, N-acetylcysteine, limits formation of the toxic substance that damages the liver and red blood cells.  Additional treatments may include blood transfusions, intravenous fluid therapy, and other medications to help support and stabilize the patient.

Acetaminophen toxicity can be fatal. However, pets can survive if the condition is recognized, diagnosed, and treated quickly.

Most cases of acetaminophen toxicity are preventable. Never give medications meant for people to your pet unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian, and keep all medications in the home secured to help prevent accidental swallowing.

Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concern. (301) 983-8400.

A Pet Owners Guide To Flea Control:

What Are Fleas?

Fleas are blood-feeding parasites that can infest many species of birds and mammals. Although fleas on dogs and cats don’t Fleainfest people, fleas may bite people if an area is heavily infested. Flea infestation is one of the most common medical problems veterinarians see, and pets suffer greatly from this condition. Flea bites can trigger severe allergic reactions in some pets. The intense itching caused by flea infestation causes pets to scratch and bite themselves. This can lead to skin wounds, skin infections, and general misery for your pet. Even if your pet is not allergic to flea bites, fleas can transmit serious diseases, such as bartonellosis (the bacteria that causes “cat scratch disease” in people), and other parasites, like tapeworms.

How Do Animals Become Infested With Fleas?

Fleas are very successful parasites. Temperature and humidity extremes can kill them, but they can survive for long periods of time under a surprising range of conditions. Developing fleas can even become dormant for many months if there are no hosts available.

If your pet spends time outside, in kennels, or around other animals, the risk of picking up fleas increases. However, even a completely indoor pet can become infested with fleas. Because the temperature and humidity conditions inside your home are fairly stable, fleas can live there with relative ease. In this way, fleas can live in colder regions of the country, surviving climate conditions that would otherwise be intolerable. Once they have entered a house, fleas can multiply very well under favorable year-round conditions, adding to the challenge of controlling them in a home environment.

You can bring fleas into your home on your clothing, and any people or animals that come into your home can also bring fleas with them. Once fleas find a host, they begin to feed almost immediately. They lay large numbers of eggs, which eventually mature into new fleas that continue the infestation. Adult fleas may remain on an animal, but the eggs and larvae fall off the animal and remain in the environment. Flea larvae are mobile, and they can hide in places such as carpeting, bedding, furniture, and baseboards. Once they mature, they take the first opportunity to jump onto an animal or person and begin to feed, continuing their life cycle.

How Can I Tell If My Pet Has Fleas?

Fleas may not be easily visible on your pet. If an infestation is heavy, you may see fleas on the animal’s skin, or you may find them by combing your pet with a flea comb. Adult fleas are the easiest stage of the parasite to find, but they account for less than 5% of an infestation. The other stages (eggs, larvae, and pupae), which make up the other 95%, are smaller and more difficult to find.

You may also find small black/brown specks on your pet’s skin or bedding. These specks look like tiny coffee grounds and are commonly called “flea dirt.” Flea dirt is the feces of adult fleas and is actually the digested blood of the host. When the dark particles get wet, the red color returns, which may help with identification.

Some pets are allergic to fleas and can become intensely itchy from a single flea bite, whereas other pets may experience mild itching or none at all. Just because your pet isn’t scratching doesn’t mean there are no fleas. When in doubt, check it out!

How Can I Treat the Problem?

Because flea infestations involve multiple life stages, an effective treatment strategy targets as many stages as possible. If you believe your pet is infested with fleas, begin with a trip to your veterinarian. Your pet may have a skin infection or other problem that needs attention. Once your pet has been examined, your veterinarian can recommend a safe and effective product that you can use to kill the fleas. Some products specifically target adult fleas, while others also target the immature stages, like eggs and larvae. Regardless of what product is used, multiple treatments are generally required to completely eliminate an infestation. If you have multiple pets in your home, each animal should be treated with an appropriate product. In some cases, the house may also need to be treated to exterminate fleas. Products are also available for treating the yard and outdoors.

Although fleas have been around for a long time, many products are available today that can safely and effectively eliminate them. Ask your veterinarian about the best way to control fleas and keep them from endangering your pets!

Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400.