Bugging the Bug Spray

                                      Bugging The Bug Spray

A gentle herb based insect repellent for dogs and cats you can prepare at home.  The active ingredient (d-limonene and rosemary oil) will also be a nice coat conditioner and give the coat a nice shine.  It will deter mosquitoes and other biting insects for a couple of hours.

Best to use as a light spray each time your pet goes outside when the “bugs” are around.  Cats will generally appreciate application better if you spray a cloth first and then give them a rub with the damp cloth (avoids the “hissing” sound of the spray.





  1.  1 Big fat Lemon- the more rind the better
  2.  6″ sprig of fresh rosemary (grows readily in NC, ask your gardening friends for a sprig)
  3.  Quart of hot, near boiling water.

Slice the lemon paper thin. Pit in a bowl with the rosemary.  Pour over with the quart of hot, near boiling water.  Let this steep overnight. (BONUS- your kitchen will smell wonderful)  Strain the mixture through a cheese cloth to get every bit of the active oil out.

Pour into a spray bottle and you are ready to use.

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Dog Bites, reading your dog and re-directing behavior

speak dog

  • Learn to speak “Dog” – Instead of expecting your dog to understand English.
  • Keep your dog safeSafe environment, avoid his anxiety trigger when possible, make sure he has a microchip and ID collar
  • Prepare for distractionsUseful if mild anxiety. Toys and treats and fun games can shift the association to something positive.
  • Decrease the trigger- Mask the trigger with white noise or calming music
  • Relieve tension Proactively- Vigorous exercise before hand, reduces a dog’s reactivity
  • Pheromone Therapy- or Rescue Remedy(Herbal) therapy helps about 50% of dogs, Thundershirts help about 30%
  • For mild cases, Over the counter Diphenhydramine (generic for Benadryl) may help. One 25mg regular strength tablet is appropriate for a 25 lb dog.
  • It is ok if your dog needs prescription medicine– when it is needed and used properly, it can make a real difference in his/her quality of life
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Dog Bites!

dog bites

You’re Invited!  Free class for all Pet Parents.

Dog bites are SCARY!  They can happen in an instant.

Dogs bite for different reasons, most can be resolved once we understand them.  Learn about dog biting behavior and how to keep your family safe.

Please join us at;

Heartwood Animal Hospital,  3091 Mays Crossroads Rd, Youngsville, NC 27596

Wednesday , July 13, 2016 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm for a presentation given by Dr. James Murray and Dr. Kate Crumley.

RSVP’s are welcomed but not required, 919-570-9311




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Heat Stroke in your pet.

dogfanJames Murray

The heat has been ramping up in Youngsville, and in these first few weeks of Summer our pets may start showing the effects of increased temperature on their daily activity. Dogs are more prone to heat stroke than humans, as their only way of dissipating heat is through panting. The only sweat glands that dogs have are on their paws and unfortunately this is not a major source of cooling. It is commonly reported that areas in direct sunlight at temperatures as low as 70 degrees Fahrenheit, can cause your pet to overheat. The inside of a car without the air conditioning can reach 140 degrees very quickly during the summer. The most common signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, bright red gums, vomiting, diarrhea, an increased heart rate, and increased salivation that can progress to very dry mucous membranes. The normal temperature of a dog should bet between 100- 103, anything above 103 F is very suspicious for heat stroke. This temperature should be checked rectally every 5-10 minutes (your regular thermometer in the first aid kit can work, I just wouldn’t recommend reusing it in people despite how well you clean it!) if you suspect heat stroke.

The most effective treatment for heat stroke is preventing it from happening in the first place. Try to exercise your pet during the early morning or late evening during these hot months. When you do exercise, make sure your dog has access to fresh drinking water every 30 minutes. If your dog has a black coat such as a Black Labrador or if your dog has a flat face like a pug, they will be more sensitive to the summer heat and extra precautions are needed.

If you do believe your dog is showing signs of heat stroke, the best thing you can do at home is rinse them off with very cool water or place cool wet towels over their body. It is important that you always call your veterinarian, as further treatments may be warranted. Your veterinarian will assess hydration status, as well as complications from heat stroke. These will include low blood pressure, kidney failure, and possible neurologic signs. Typically, IV fluids to help cool the body temperature and restore adequate blood circulation provides an excellent prognosis for a great recovery.

On a different note, thank you to everyone who came out to our Pet Parents University seminar on anxiety this past Wednesday. We look forward to seeing everyone for our next seminar on Dog Bites to be held on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

Until next time,

Dr. James Murray

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Pet Anxiety, there is help!


The first week of summer is here which means thunderstorms are about to be a common occurrence over the next several months. You may have a dog that shows very overt signs of anxiety during these storms which can be very frustrating.  However, there are also lots of pets that may be displaying signs of anxiety that owners are not aware of.  Listed below some of the subtle signs of anxiety your pet may be showing.

  • If your dog is super excited to greet you every time you return to the house, this may be a sign of separation anxiety.  This is always tricky to confirm as we tend to think that this is only because our pet loves us very much (which they certainly do).  Confirming if this is due to separation anxiety can be confirmed by setting up a home camera recording when you leave the house.  This may surprise you as your dog may be whining, panting, pacing, or even being destructive every you leave the house.
  • Excessive licking or chewing of the paws is a common sign that sometimes gets mistaken for allergies.  This could occur during storms, in their crate while you are away, or during other “stressful” times.
  • Shivering or wanting to stay super close to you.  My dog Minnie loves hanging out in my office in the hospital with me.  However, on the days Dr. Crumley brings her dog Spock, Minnie will tremble a little bit and force her way onto my lap as I type notes on my computer.  It turns out that Spock likes to bark a little bit more than Minnie is comfortable with, leading to some noise anxiety.  Minnie still loves Spock though and they get along great outside in the agility field!

We would like to invite everyone to Heartwood Animal Hospital next Wednesday, June 29th at 5:30 pm where Dr. Kate Crumley will be discussing treatments (both medical and behavioral changes) for anxiety in dogs to all who are interested.  I will be making homemade chocolate chip cookies again as well!  This event is FREE and we hope to see a lot of our favorite Heartwood clients there J

-Dr. James Murray

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Canine Influenza

Dog Flu Story: Learning It Was a Totally Different Strain

This wasn’t your mom’s dog flu. It’s amazing how quickly scientists figured out this wasn’t the same dog flu strain that was discovered back in 2004, and has been periodically popping up all around the country (called H3M8).

Subsequent testing, carried out with the New York State Animal Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell University and the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, identified the outbreak as being caused by a virus closely related to an Asian strain of canine influenza virus A. This strain has been in wide circulation in Chinese and South Korean dog populations since at least 2006, called H3N2.  No one knows how this strain arrived in the U.S., but here it is.

From there, quickly a vaccine was created.


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Snakes, creatures that may bite your pet

With Summer right around the corner and temperatures warming up, its time to talk about a specific species of creatures in your yard that may inadvertently bite your pet:  Snakes!   Last Summer Heartwood Animal Hospital treated about half of a dozen dogs that were bitten by snakes between the months of May and September.  This blog will focus on what to do(and not do) at home if your pet is bitten by a snake.
The majority of snakes in Wake Forest and Franklin County are non-venomous.  However, venomous snakes including the copper head and cotton mouth (water moccasin) are in the area.  Most dogs tend to be bitten on their face or front limbs, and the bite site will always be very painful regardless if it was from a poisonous snake.  Localized swelling, puncture wounds from the fangs, and weakness are all signs that your pet may have been bitten by a snake.  Identifying the snake is always helpful if you see the bite happen, but please do not risk your own safety to try and kill the snake or get a closer look.  Research shows that over 80% of snake bites in humans occur from trying to handle or kill a snake.  Please see the attached link on the bottom that has some information on how to tell if a snake is venomous or not along with how to avoid them in the water.
First aid and treatment for snake bites has changed dramatically over the last quarter of a century.  Things you should NO LONGER do for a snake bite because this can cause worsening symptoms of a bite include:
1) DO NOT Apply ice to the wound
2) DO NOT Try to place a tourniquet around the affected limb
3) DO NOT try to “suck out the venom” (True Grit anyone?)
4) DO NOT make any cuts around the bite wound
Things you SHOULD DO if your pet is bitten by a snake
1) Contact your veterinarian and inform them what type of snake it may have been.
2) Keep your pet (and yourself!!!) as calm as possible.  This includes do not continually do self examinations of the bite site as this is going to be very painful.
3) If the bite wound occurred on a limb, you may attempt to immobilize it with a splint.
4) Oral Benadryl (diphenhydramine) at a dose of 1mg/lb may be given once if you are unable to bring your pet to a veterinarian right away.  If you are able to bring to a veterinarian right away I suggest waiting on this, as the hospital will most likely give a Benadryl injection which works much faster than the oral route.
All snake bites will cause local pain and swelling, but depending on the severity of the bite may also cause conditions including low blood pressure, kidney damage, and blood clotting disorders.  Because of this, all dog and cats need to see a veterinarian immediately.  Diagnostics including a complete blood cell count and blood chemistry should always be performed.   Medications and treatments indicated may include antibiotics, steroids, antihistamines, intravenous fluids, and pain control.  Anti-venom is no longer carried by most veterinary hospitals as this treatment has become controversial due to potential allergic reactions (along with very expensive).  If a specialty/emergency hospital still does care the anti-venom, it is typically only effective if given within 4 hours of the bite.  It is also important to know that some illnesses from a snake bite will not develop until a few days after the bite, therefore careful monitoring and repeating lab work is sometimes needed for the safety of your pet.
I personally think that snakes are an amazing creature and are very cool to see in nature.  However, if you are lucky enough to see one in your ventures with the wilderness please take every caution  necessary to enjoy this from a distance!  For more information on snake bites and first aid on your pet, please join us at Heartwood Animal Hospital this Wednesday 5/25/16 at 5:30 pm for our first Pet Parents University seminar and open house.
Thank you and we can’t wait to see you,
Dr. James Murray
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We are Gold Status NOW!!!



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Silver Status Cat Friendly Practice


Heartwood Animal Hospital is excited to announce that we have achieved the certification of a Silver Status Cat Friendly Practice by the American Association of Feline Practitioners.  We are the only veterinary hospital serving the locations of Youngsville, Wake Forest, Louisburg and Franklinton to achieve this certification.  We look forward to providing stress free visits to all of our feline patients as well as the highest standard of care.  Please click on the attached link that lists ways that your cat will benefit from visiting a cat friendly practice.

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New Luxury Boarding Suite

Check out the video below introducing our new boarding suite!

Please give us a call with any questions or to schedule a stay at our hotel!

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