Woodbrook Animal Clinic

Dog Care

Canine Care


You have made a decision to bring a dog into your family.

Your dog depends on you to provide him or her with the basics of life: food, water, veterinary care, shelter and exercise. In return, your dog will give you unconditional love. Owning a dog is a commitment that will last a lifetime. We are here to help you with all life stages of your dog.

  • house training.
  • spay or neuter your pet.
  • nutritional and exercise consultations for all stages and conditions throughout life.
  • vaccination recommendations.
  • helping ensure a healthy start to life from the first puppy visit.
  • senior geriatric care to be sure living is with a goal of a comfortable pain free life.
  • physical exams to look for subtle changes in development or clues of disease or pain as your pet ages.
  • general recommendations to aid in training your pet to be an enjoyable member of your family.
  • help your dog be comfortable around people and other pets.
  • recommendations to help your pet keep a coat that is healthy, soft and shiny.

Routine canine health maintenance

Our pets do not speak the same language but they do talk to us. We like to work together with you the owner and our trained health care team to recognize early signs of illness to give the best quality and length of life as we can. While vaccinations are important in preventing diseases, we feel the physical exam is the most important aspect of keeping your pet healthy. Most people are aware of the 7 years to our one that dogs age.

During a wellness visit, your pet’s history is reviewed. You will be asked questions about changes in behavior, amount of water or food consumed, stiffness getting up, change in breath, and other questions that help us become aware of issues that may exist.
It often looks like we are just petting your pet but we are also gathering information for our exam looking for lumps and bumps, feeling of coat, feeling lymph nodes, and watching movement and response to touch.
We look at many systems of the body during the exam from eyes, ears, teeth, heart, lungs, skin, joints, and a good feel to the belly.


Recommended vaccinations

Rabies: is a fatal viral disease in mammals. This includes cats, dogs, livestock, and humans. Rabies is a vaccine required by law because it is a major health hazard. It is important your pet be vaccinated against it.
Distemper: is caused by a virus related to measles. It can affect many systems of the body. It is highly contagious and is spread from one dog to another by air. It is potentially fatal and is recommended all dogs be protected from this virus.
Leptospirosis: is a disease that can affect the liver, kidneys, and other organs. It is spread by contact with urine from infected animals. This can cause renal failure in 80-90% of dogs with clinical disease.
Adenovirus: is a virus that affects the liver, kidneys, spleen, and lungs. It can be shed in the urine for months. It is spread by ingestion of fluids from infected dogs.
Parainfluenza: One of the viral infections that can result in “kennel cough”. The signs are a dry, harsh cough followed by retching and gagging. Spread from dog to dog in close confinement such as when boarding or doggie daycare.
Parvovirus: A hearty virus that can escape many disinfectants. Causes bloody diarrhea. Very young puppies are very susceptible to this virus but can infect dogs of any age.
Lyme: Most people know at least one person that has Lyme disease. It is also common in dogs. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 8 dogs in Maine has Lyme disease. The vaccination has helped many dogs from getting Lyme disease or minimizing symptoms.
Bordetella(Kennel Cough): This is the more commonly recognized upper respiratory tract infection. It is highly contagious and is spread by airborne droplets from infected dogs. We strongly recommend vaccinations for dogs that are at risk from their environment: boarding facilities, groomers, and dog parks.

Common Canine Medical Emergencies & Conditions

  • Accidents (e.g. foreign body ingestion, hit by car)
  • Illnesses
  • Hereditary and congenital conditions
  • Cancer
  • Emergency care and surgery

Signs of an Emergency in Dogs

Rule of Thumb: If you are unsure, call.
  • Loss of use in rear legs ( especially in Dachshunds, Corgis)
  • Bleeding
  • Bloat
  • Collapse
  • Profound weakness
  • Pale gums
  • Painful, struggling to urinate (often appreciated by vocalizations and “accidents” in the house)
  • Won’t lie down
  • Abdominal distension
  • Seizures
  • Severe Pain


Click on the different tabs to read about common pet health concerns!


Like people, dogs can have allergies in which their immune systems recognize everyday substances as allergens. Some common substances that can cause dog allergies are fleas, food ingredients, pollens, mold spores, mites, perfumes, cleaning products, fabrics, or rubber and plastic materials.

Although there may be a genetic component, any breed of dog can develop allergies at any age. However, most allergies develop between one and four years of age.

Most commonly, dogs with allergies will be ITCHY. They may show this by scratching, licking or chewing themselves. Itchiness around the back or tail base is often due to flea allergies. They may have additional dermatologic symptoms, including itchy, red, moist or scabbed skin, brown discolored fur, hair loss, itchy and runny eyes, ear infections, and eye infections. Secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections that require further treatment. Depending on the type of allergy and the severity, signs may also include sneezing, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Severe allergic reactions include hives, facial swelling (especially in dogs), and rarely shock, respiratory and cardiac failure leading to death. These are often to certain drugs, chemicals or insect bites.


What to Do If You Suspect Your Pet Has Allergies:

If you suspect your animal suffers from flea, food, or contact allergies, please contact your veterinarian to schedule an appointment. Your veterinarian may recommend further diagnostic testing, including skin cytology and blood tests. If allergies are suspected, your veterinarian may subsequently recommend some or all of the following treatments:

  1. Antibiotics: Secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections are present and may require oral antibiotics or anti-yeast medications to treat these infections prior to further diagnostics or treatments of the underlying allergies.
  2. Shampoos: Natural shampoos (often oatmeal based) are often recommended to remove possible contact allergens from being absorbed thru the skin. Additionally, medicated shampoos may be used to provide added itch relief.
  3. Anti-inflammatory allergy medications: Depending on the nature of the allergy, steroids, antihistamines, or cyclosporine may be prescribed to prevent inflammation and itchiness.
  4. Omega fatty acids: To promote skin and hair coat health, omega fatty acids may be recommended. These may also provide beneficial anti-inflammatory properties.
  5. Change to Hypoallergenic Diet: In instances of suspected food allergies, hypoallergenic diets may be recommended on a trial or permanent basis.


If you suspect a severe allergic reaction and anaphylaxis, contact your veterinarian or Emergency Hotline as soon as possible as this can be a life-threatening condition.

As pets age, pets often develop joint disease that may have mild to severe affects on your pet’s quality of life.

Although dogs (especially larger breeds) are more susceptible to arthritis, it can also be seen in cats. Conditions that can worsen or trigger arthritis include tendon disease, fractures, developmental disorders (such as hip or elbow dysplasia), cancer, inflammatory joint disease (such as from Lyme disease), degenerative joint disease, or many others.


As with humans, signs of arthritis often include stiffness, limping, reluctance to move, difficulty rising (especially after sleep or resting), limb favoring while moving, or evident pain.

If your animal displays any of the signs indicated above, an appointment with a veterinarian is warranted. Further diagnostics may be available to determine a cause of your animal’s lameness (e.g. a Lyme disease test or radiographs to determine if the dog is suffering from hip dysplasia or cranial cruciate disease).

Furthermore, your veterinarian can provide medications and supplements that lessen the progression or clinical signs of arthritis. These may include pain medications, anti-inflammatories, or glucosamine supplements. A weight management plan and exercise routine may also be developed.

A dog and cat ear canal is different from people.

There are three areas of the ear: outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear.

  • The outside is simple called the outer ear. This consist of the the flap called the pinna.
  • The inside of the ear which we can see is part of the outer ear called the ear canal. This is cone shaped and longer then humans. The canal is shaped like an L. The canal ends at the tympanic membrane commonly called the ear drum.
  • Beyond this point special diagnostic tools are needed to see what is going on in the middle ear and the inner ear.

The ear canal is lined with specialized skin containing sebaceous glands, cerum producing glands and hair follicles. The glands secrete oily secretions and enzymes involved with antimicrobial activity. There is a complex micro-environment in the ear involving the constant battle of keeping the level of bacteria and yeast in check.

Dogs that are more prone to ear infections can be the floppy eared breeds more than upright eared breeds. Dogs with hair in the ear verses those without hair are also high risk. These would include the cocker spaniel, golden retriever, poddle and schnauzer.

Floppy ears are not the only cause for the higher risk. The glands and ph of the ear canal can predispose these breeds. Underlying issues increase the risk of ear infections such as allergies and endrocrine disease.

Cats often don’t get ear infections. They are very fastideous and groom themselves so it unusaul to see infections in cats. Most cat ear issues are associated with ear mites. If it is not mites, ear infections are generally a secondary to another underlying issue.

  • infections from bacteria or yeast
  • wax buildup in the ear canal
  • allergies
  • autoimmune disease
  • tumors or polps within the ear canal

There have been 14 species of ticks identified in Maine.  At least 4 of these species can transmit disease.

  • Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis are commonly diagnosed tick borne diseases.
  • During 2014 in Maine: Ticks are most active during the spring and fall months, but can be found during the summer and even on those warmer winter days!
  • 1 in 7 dogs tested positive for Lyme disease,
  • 1 in 12 tested positive for anaplasmosis, and
  • 1 in 78 for ehrlichiosis
  • Diagnosing tick borne disease can be done with a simple blood test here in clinic.
  • WBAC also offers several products to prevent ticks from biting your pets.


Only 5% of the flea life cycle is spent on your pet.  The other 95% is spent in the environment (your home!)

  • Fleas can carry tapeworm and bartenella
  • Female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs a day for 50 days.  That is 2500 egg in 1 female fleas lifetime!
  • 1 flea bite can cause and allergic reaction on your pet known as flea allergy dermatitis
  • Flea eggs can be carried home on clothing or bags.  Indoor pets are not immune to fleas!
  • WBAC has several products available to prevent and treat fleas!