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Fecal Sample Collection Guide

Fecal samples play an essential role in helping us keep your pet healthy.  Though it is sometimes a dirty job, it is important that it is done correctly!  Follow the guidelines below to collect and submit a proper fecal sample for the lab.

All Pets

  • Samples should be a minimum of 5 grams or the size of a U.S. quarter or 1 teaspoon.
  • A quality sample should be fresh, no more than 6 hours old.
  • If refrigerated the feces is good for no more than 24 hours.

Cortisone Usages by Frank Utchen, DVM

Dr. Utchen, the vet said she wanted to give my dog a shot of steroids. Is this the same thing athlete’s abuse? 


No, due to an unfortunate similarity in terms, the performance-enhancing drugs that athletes abuse, and the type of steroids doctors and veterinarians commonly prescribe, sound the same, but are actually very different drugs with entirely different effects.  

Performance-enhancing steroids are correctly referred to as “Anabolic Steroids”, meaning they cause the body to build more tissue through metabolism. These unfortunately have numerou... Read More

Snail Bait Toxicity by Frank Utchen, DVM

Dr. Utchen, why is snail bait bad for dogs? 


First, realize that there are two main types of snail baits, and one is considered relatively safe for dogs. Look for the active ingredient and use the kind that contains 1% Iron Phosphate. This is relatively safe for dogs, because there is actually very little iron in the compound, and what there is, is poorly digested and absorbed by dogs, so most of it passes through them without incident. That being said, Iron Phosphate can still be toxic dogs if they ingest enough of it: a 40 lb dog would have to consume about 3 lbs of this bait to receive a lethal dose... Read More

Separation Anxiety by Frank Utchen, DVM

Dr. Utchen, my dog chews up everything in the house when we are gone. He has chew toys but doesn’t always chew on them. Is he angry at us for leaving him alone? 

Answer: Anxious is probably the more accurate term. Separation anxiety in dogs is often manifest by destructive behavior like you describe, or excessive barking when left alone. Some dogs urinate and defecate in the house when left alone, but not when their owners are home. All of these are indications that your dog is probably unable to cope with being left alone, and uses these behaviors as ways of diffusing his anxious energy. 

Separation anxiety can be treat... Read More

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