Winter Harbor Veterinary Hospital in Wolfeboro, NH loves the great outdoors!
Winter Harbor Veterinary Hospital in Wolfeboro, NH takes great care of us!
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For the Best in Small Animal Care, we go to Winter Harbor Veterinary Hospital in Wolfeboro, NH!

(603) 569-3777
fax (603) 569-3360

Our Location and Hours

667 North Main Street
(NH Route 109)
Wolfeboro, NH  03894
8am - 6pm
8am - 6pm
8am - 6pm
8am - 6pm
8am - 6pm

Sarcoptic Mange

Sarcoptic mange (scabies) is a curable skin disease caused by the mite, Sarcoptes scabiei.  Mites live in the superficial layers of the skin where they burrow, breed and lay eggs.  Scabies mites do not survive for prolonged periods without the host, so they are generally passed by direct contact with other dogs.  However. in a number of cases, no known contact has occurred.

The hallmark of the disease is intense itching that may be only partially responsive to steroids or other drugs.  To definitively diagnose this disease, the mites must be seen microscopically on skin scraping or fecal exam.  However, becasue the number of mites may be very small, this may be very difficult to do.  Inability to find mites does NOT eliminate this disease.  Since these mites are contagious to other dogs and can affect people as well, if sarcopic mange is suspected, it should be treated.

There are a few options for treatment of scabies and all must be continued throughout the 21 day life-cycle of the mite.  With all the treaments there may be an initial increase in itching with the first treatment and often dogs do not show improvement until after the second or even third treatment.  It is important to continue treatment until there are no signs of sarcoptic mange and at least one month to break the life cycle.  When effectively treated, this disease is cured and will only return if the dog is again infected from another animal with mites.

Canine Hyperadrenocorticism

What is "Cushing's Disease"?

The term "Cushing's disease" is borrowed from human medicine, and is another phrase for hyperadrenocorticism.  This condition is caused by excess levels of the hormone cortisol in the body.

What is the hormone cortisol?

Cortisol is a hormone with several important functions.  Among other things, it allows both humans and animals to cope with "stress."  Cortisol is produced in two small organs in the abdomen called adrenal glands.  The adrenal glands are under the direct control of a part of the brain called the pituitary gland.  The pitutary gland signals the adrenal glands to make cortisol when it is needed, so the levels of hormone fluctuate throughout the day.  The levels of cortisol are strictly controlled because too much or too little cortisol can be very harmful.

What causes Cushing's disease?

There are two types of Cushing's disease: either the pituitary gland is signaling the adrenal gland to make too much cortisol, or the adrenal gland is independently making too much cortisol.  The majority of animals have a benign tumor of the pituitary gland that signlas the adrenals to make too much cortisol.  In some animals, a tumor in one or both adrenal glands causes excess production.  These tumors may be either malignant or benign.

What are the symptoms of Cushing's disease?

Cushing's disease usually occurs in middle-aged to older dogs and is extremely rare in cats.  The most common clinical signs are increased appetite, excessive urination, excessive thirst, a pendulous abdomen, hair loss and weakness.  Some cases, however, may not show any of these systemic signs.

How is Cushing's disease diagnosed?

Hormonal testing is required to confirm a diagnosis of Cushing's disease in a patient with symptoms suspicious of the disease.  Once your pet has been confirmed to have Cushing's disease, additional tests may be necessary to determine which type they have, as the treatment and prognosis are different.

How is Cushing's disease treated?

Pituitary Dependent Cushing's disease can be controlled (not cured) with oral medication and periodic monitoring.  Adrenal Dependent Cushing's disease is treated by surgically removing the tumor. Surgery is curative if the tumor is not malignant.

The majority of dogs with Pituitary Dependent Cushing's disease can lead a normal life with careful monitoring, and be successfully managed for many years.

Feline House-Soiling

While cats are the most popular pet in the United States, their most common behavioral problem, house-soiling with urine or feces, is very unpopular with their owners.  In fact, house-soiling may lead to outdoor banishment, relinquishment, or euthanasia.  This article will touch primarily on inappropriate urination.

Understanding the true underlying motivations for house-soiling and making a definitive diagnosis is critical to formulating a targeted treatment plan.  The first thing to rule-out is a medical cause.  Your pet should have a physical, blood tests, urinalysis and a radiograph.  If all the tests are normal, then we need to determine if the cat is doing inappropriate toileting versus marking behavior. 

Litterbox aversion is a common cause of inappropriate toileting.  Litterbox cleanliness, location, style and litter type/brand can all impact acceptance/rejection of the litterbox.  A negative experience accessing or in the litterbox (e.g. ambushed by a person/another animal when in the box) can create a litterbox aversion.

Marking involves urine sprayed on vertical surfaces or puddles of urine deposited on horizontal surfaces with special social significance.  The cat usually continues to use the box for both urination and defecation and there is no evidence of litterbox avoidance.

If your cat is urinating around the house, contact us to set up an appointment so we can determine the best course of treatment for your pet.

Teaching Your Cat to Travel Well

The Perfect Carrier

Despite previous unpleasant  experiences, a cat can be taught that a carrier and travel don't have to be stressful.  A carrier is important for everyone's safety and should be a cozy secure space.  The right carrier should be sturdy and open quietly from both the top and the side.  The top should come off quickly and easily to allow access to your kitty without pulling or tipping him out.

A Happy Place 

Make the carrier a place that your cat likes to be in at home.  Put it somewhere convenient for both you and your cat.  Keep the door open or the top off, for easy access and put a soft towel inside.  You can use dangly toys to encourage your cat to climb into and out of the carrier.  Feeding your kitty inside the open carrier helps change associations in a good way.  Facial pheromones ( can be sprayed in or wiped inside the carrier to increase the sense of security. Try to apply it 15-30 minutes before your cat gets into the carrier so the alcohol in the spray evaporates.

Practice Makes Perfect

When your cat climbs into the carrier, immediately praise him and give him a reward.  Over a few days to weeks, once your cat associates the carrier with rewards, close the door to the carrier before you praise and reward.  Open the door again so he can come out at will.

Ready For Lift-Off

When (re)training your cat or kitten to be a fear-free traveler, it is important to break the trip down in to the following little steps, providing rewards at each step to be sure that your cat is comfortable with each one before moving on to the next step on the next day.  Wean him, or her, into the new stress-free experience, one new step at a time:

     - Cover the carrier with a towel or blanket

     - Hold the carrier steady with a hand on either side, or stabilize it with one hand under it and the other on the handle

     - Place the carrier on the back seat of the car (away from potential airbag harm) and secure it with a seatbelt

     - Close the door, get into the front seat and close the door and start the engine

     - Drive to the end of the driveway and back.

Begin with short trips around the block, then incease to slightly longer drives, working up to a drive to the practice (without the cat being examined or handled) to complete the process.



Why Diagnostic Tests Are Important

Although we can learn a lot by performing a physical exam on your pet, there are some signs of disease that can only be detected with further testing.  This applies to seemingly healthy pets, also.  Here is a breakdown of critical diagnostic tests we may recommend to ensure your pet is as healthy on the insideas he/she appears to be on the outside.

1)Fecal exam:  We recommend checking your pet's stool twice a year for signs of intestinal disease and parasites.  We will examine the stool for outward signs of disease - such as blood, mucus or abnormal consistency.  We will also perform a fecal flotation procedure and look under the microscope for common internal parasites.

2)Heartworm/Lyme tests:  Each year we collect a small sample of your pet's blood to test for heartworms and tick borne diseases.  Even pets that stay indoors are susceptible, as mosquitoes and ticks can slip into homes and bite an unprotected pet.  Even if your pet is on heartworm prevention year-round, it is critical to do this blood test annually, as even one missed or late dose of preventive can put them at risk.

3)Complete blood count (CBC) and serum chemistry profile:  Symptoms of some conditions or diseases won't show up until your pet is very sick.  As your pet ages, we recommend these tests to check their overall body functions.

4)Urinalysis: Like a blood test, a urine test gives us an understanding of how healthy your pet is on the inside.  It offers clues that point to underlying causes of disease, such as bladder infection or kidney disease. 


Leptospirosis is the name for disease caused by bacteria of the genus, Leptospira. The many strains of this bacteria survive in various hosts, including many wildlife species (raccoons, rodents, skunks,etc) and domestic food animals, such as cattle.  The affected animals shed the bacteria in their urine which can contaminate water sources (rivers, ponds, puddles). The Leptospira organisms usually infect animals by penetrating through the mucous membranes of the eye, mouth or nose or through breaks in the skin.  Many of the strains cause damage to the liver and kidneys and can result in a permanent decrease in function or death.

Clinical signs can be fairly non-specific.  It generally starts with a fever, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain and can progress to jaundice and bleeding issues.  The signs will depend on whether the strain of bacteria causes damage to the kidneys or liver.  Early treatment with antibiotics can be curative.

An important note - this disease is zoonotic. That means that humans can also be infected by the bacteria.  It most often happens when we are swimming in infected lakes or ponds, but we can get it through direct contact with an infected animal or its urine.

An effective vaccine is available and should be administered yearly to your dog to help prevent the spread of this disease.

Making the Decision to Euthanize

Pet Loss

We never enter into these relationships thinking about the eventual loss we will suffer of one of the most non-judgemental and supportive companions in our lives.  A loss may be sudden, or it may come after months, or even years, of decline.  Quite often, we tailor our life around the care of our pet - getting up in the night or coming home from work early if their bladder won't last long enough, building ramps to aid in mobility, sleeping downstairs if the stairs are now too much of a challenge for a companion that has always slept by our side.  Eventually though, quality of life issues arise that often lead us to make the decision for euthanasia.

The term "euthanasia" is translated from the Greek derivation - "eu" referring to "well" or "good" and "thanato" referring to "death"...meaning "painless death."  It is the final gift we can give to a pet at the end of its life.

Making the Decision


Our pets fulfill many different roles in our lives and, for most of us, they truly become a member of the family.  Many people struggle with the responsibilty of making the decision to euthanize a pet.  Different factors to consider when making this decision include:

COMFORT:  What is the pain level of your pet?  Can it rest and move in a comfortable manner?

MOBILITY:  Can your pet get up and walk without assistance?  Does it want to go for walks?  Does it stumble or fall?

HUNGER/HYDRATION:  Does your pet want to eat?  Is it eating enough to maintain its weight and strength?  Is your pet drinking enough to maintain its hydration given any medical conditions it has?

HYGIENE:  Can you pet eliminate in a normal fashion and maintain proper hygiene?  If not, are you able to care for it in such a fashion that it stays clean and dry?  Is it immobile to the point that it is getting pressure sores?

HAPPINESS:  Is your pet glad to see you?  Does it still recognize family members?  Does it express interest in its surroundings?

All of these are factors to consider when faced with nearing the end of life for a pet.  As caregivers, we must make the decision to euthanize if our pet is suffering.  Your veterinarian is a valuable source for discussion about the decision to euthanize your pet.  While no one can make the decision for you, frank discussion about your pet's health issues, quality of life and your ability to financially and emotionally support its needs is essential.  Please feel free to call and speak to the doctor that has been involved in your pet's care.