Quarter 1 Newsletter 2017

Happy New Year!

2017 is already very exciting here at River Rock. We have Dr. Schad back from her maternity leave and the hospital is back to full time regular hours and full time after hours care! Come out on January 26th to our VetChat all about “Toxic Hazards” in the house. The March VetChat is entitled “Vaccines… Bad or Beneficial”, and will be a short bit of information about vaccines and then a question and answer session? As usual all VetChats are at no cost and open to all Midland area residents.

Check out our new LOWER dental pricing and the February promotion to make getting your pet’s teeth cleaned even less expensive. The Promotion for March will be LOW pricing on Microchips! Also, we must be going crazy, but we have a Quarter Special on foods as well!

As usual thank you for being a loyal client and we hope your new year is wonderful!


The River Rock Staff

Case of the Quarter

When most people think about Heartworm disease they think about that pill or chewy treat they give their dog each month. Last week we got to meet King, a two year old male neutered German Shephard Dog who has a very different thought about heartworm disease. King was tested during his annual exam for heartworm disease and the test was positive. King has heartworms!

Heartworm disease is an infection with small worms that live inside the heart. When bitten by a mosquito carrying the heartworm larva any dog can become infected. If that         dog isn’t taking a monthly preventative such as Heartgard Plus or Interceptor Plus then those larva can grow into adult worms and multiply. Heartworms multiply quickly and cause disease by obstructing blood flow in the heart. They can also cause liver and kidney failure.

To treat a dog with heartworm disease, The American Heartworm Society recommends starting a heartworm positive dog on a prevention to kill the larval stages of the worms and giving antibiotics. Once these treatments have begun then there is another most often recommended treatment use to kill the adult worms and it is called melarsomine. This is a very strong medication and must be used only in a hospital setting. Many animals can react to the drug itself or to the dying heartworms in their body. The treatment must be given once and then again a month later. Unfortunately it is quite expensive.

King is currently residing in the Midland County Humane Society and has started receiving treatment. This loving dog also has kidney failure most likely from the heartworm infection. Soon he will receive the first of his melarsomine injections and if he does well he’ll go on to receive the second round a month later. King is a very sweet boy and hopefully after the heartworms have been treated he’ll be able to find a great forever home with a new family.

Elephants Fighting Cancer?

A group of researchers have discovered some amazing properties of elephant DNA and how it might be used to fight cancer in humans. Cancer is a very non-specific word used to describe a wide range of growths from tumors in the brain to dark patches on the skin and everything in between. Some grow fast and some grow slow. There are lumps that won’t affect the body at all and those that drastically change how the body works or even stop it from functioning at all. Cells make up every part of our body, cancerous or not, and they are controlled by DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). When a cell becomes cancerous” the DNA isn’t being read correctly and so the cell is growing out of control and acting abnormally. Each cell has several different bits of DNA that can “fix” or stop the inappropriate growth but sometimes they don’t work and the cancer grows. One of these bits is named p53.

These researchers studying elephant DNA discovered that elephants rarely get cancer and upon further evaluation found that the elephant version of p53 or Ep53 is much more effective at stopping cells from becoming cancerous than the human version of p53. So they have developed a chemotherapy using elephant p53 to kill cancer cells without harming normal cells. This amazing treatment has worked in the lab and they have started in vivo trials.  How wonderful this could be for fighting cancer! Thanks to the elephant.

Winter Safety for Dogs

The cold weather brings many thing to Michigan. The snow covered trees and beautiful icicles and warm bundled sweaters are some of the nice things about winter. For our pets though, we need to keep in mind a few things to make sure their winter days are fun and pain free. Here are some steps to do just that.

1.      Cold weather is just that… COLD. This means do not let your beautiful short haired Chihuahua or even Pitbull stay outside in this cold without a coat. And certainly, no dog should be chained outside in this weather no matter how thick a coat they have. Shelter from the weather is one of the most basic rights for any animal.

2.      The snow and ice is super fun to play in for many dogs but please make sure to check their feet when they come inside. Chunks of snow can pack between the pads and cause severe pain and even frostbite if not addressed quickly.

3.      In the house, be careful of hot space heaters and electric blankets that can cause thermal burns on your dog’s body.

4.      Be very diligent to clean up any antifreeze or de-icing liquids when you use them as these products are deadly to dogs and cats. One would think that a smart animal wouldn’t eat these toxins but antifreeze tastes sweet and so many pets drink it thinking it’s a treat.

5.      Salt and other chemicals are used on the roads and on our personal driveways to help make driving and even walking safer but these chemicals can cause severe irritation to the skin and even chemical burns. Also please do not let your dog drink from the puddles on the road or on your drive if you are using salt because drinking large amounts of salt is very dangerous.

There are lovely coats and sweaters for dogs as well as booties for their feet to protect them from the cold and elements but still keep an eye on them. If your dog starts to slow down or slips on the ice please bring them back inside and let them take a break and warm up. Also a reflective jacket or one with bright lights will help keep you both safe on your walks this winter. Make winter beautiful and fun for your pets with these simple steps.

What is an

“Annual Exam”?

Each year you take your pet in for their “annual exam” but what should you be expecting?

There are many hospitals that will not fully evaluate each patient when they come in “just to get their shots.”

That is not an annual exam!

Here at River Rock we take a full 30 minutes (sometimes longer) to go over your pet’s history and perform a detailed head to tail exam. This means we’ll be evaluating the eyes using an ophthalmoscope to visualize the inside of the eye. We will exam the mouth including all of the teeth and the tongue. Your doctor will actually look inside each ear with an otoscope. We listen to the heart and lungs with a quality stethoscope and feel your pet’s skin and body for any signs of disease. We will also specifically look at anything which concerns you, their owner and caregiver.

Our policy is to only give the vaccines that your pet needs and only recommend the food and medications that make sense for your individual pet!

So, while some hospitals cut corners at River Rock we know your pet deserves the best care.

Questions? Please call

989-750-7222 or email at



We would like to take a minute to remember the beloved pets who have passed on. As a hospital and family, we were honored to have known and cared for them. Our deepest condolences go out to their families:

Tigger              Morgan                        Lilo                  Pickles             Bissa                Annie           Snow “kitty”    Blue                 Buddy              Milo                 Max                 Calvin CJ                      CoCo                            Jesse               Faygo


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Quarter 1 2017

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Quarter 1 2017

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