The Animal Health Bulletin
Healing Springs Animal Hospital
Serving Family & Farm Since 1979
Dogs, Cats, Equine, Bovine, Small Ruminants, Camelid
Healing Springs Animal Hospital
107 Nuckolls Curve Rd
Galax, VA
(276) 236-5103


Articles from Healing Springs Animal Hospital

Animal Health Bulletin Library



Pet Portals Login





Volume III, Issue V

June 2007


        Dogs Help People Lose Weight & Keep It Off!

        Heat Exhaustion in Small Ruminants and Camelid – Time to Shear

        FDA Renews Warnings about Turtles and Salmonella




Upcoming Events & Announcements




Huge Yard Sale Fundraiser

Saturday, June 16, 2007

8 AM to 3 PM

At the Church of the Good Shepherd on Hwy 58 in the Baywood Area


All proceeds benefit Healing Springs’ H.E.L.P. Fund – a charitable fund created to help pet owners provide extensive veterinary care to sick or injured pets.  Your support is greatly appreciated.  Shop and enjoy this huge yard sale.

For more information call Jen Roberts. Work: (276) 236-5103,  Home: 236-0904



Heartworm Clinic at Healing Springs

Difficult to treat.  Sometimes fatal.  Easily prevented. 

Schedule a brief, free educational visit to learn everything you need to know about the heart worms that threaten your dog.  During the heartworm clinic, Healing Springs will make available discounted testing, rebate forms, and sample dewormer such as Interceptor or Sentinel.

Call or use your Pet Portals to schedule a Heart Worm Clinic visit.

Tuesday, July 10




Peaceful Heart Alpacas

Check out this great, local business on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  You can visit their farm and visit their website:  They raise their own beautiful alpacas and use their amazingly soft fiber.

·        Shop high quality products made from alpaca fiber

·        Purchase an alpaca

·        Purchase alpaca fiber to spin

·        Take fiber classes

Peaceful Heart Alpacas

Mile Marker 204, Blue Ridge Parkway

1563 Misty Trail / Fancy Gap, VA 24328

(276) 728-4950




Dogs Help People Lose Weight & Keep It Off!


The nagging voice telling you to exercise today could also have sad eyes and a wet nose.  A new book, Fitness Unleashed, reports on a study conducted by Northwest Memorial Hospital in Chicago.  The study found that people who exercised with their dogs were more likely to stick with it.  They found that dogs make excellent exercise partners because they are never too busy, and they never try to talk you out of a walk.  When pet owners see their pets loosing weight and gaining happiness from daily walks, they become even more motivated to keep the exercise in their daily schedule.  At the price of one leash and a pair of shoes, it’s also an inexpensive activity.


Some dogs don’t get the message right away that you are out for a brisk walk.  They seem more interested in sniffing to see who has been there and leaving their own messages in the grass.  Give them a few minutes of “warm up” time for sniffing and other business.  Then, give them a command such as “jog.”  A tug on the leash and a spring in your step will teach them that jog means let’s keep moving.  With the right leadership from an owner, dogs will quickly fall into the brisk walking or jogging routine. 


Great places to walk a dog

New River Trail – Bring dollar bills for parking fees

Felts Park – Galax (bring your pooper bags)

Mountain View Park – Galax (bring your pooper bags)

Cumberland KnobBlue Ridge Parkway - Strenuous



Dog Training Classes Hosted by Healing Springs










Low Calorie, Healthy Treats that Dogs Love


Heat Exhaustion in Small Ruminants & Camelid


Sheep and goats have few natural defenses against heat.  They are vulnerable to heat stress and heat exhaustion, but not as much as alpacas and llamas.  Llamas and alpacas are suited to the cool mountains of the Andes more than they are to the warm, humid summers of the southern U.S.  When temperatures rise above 70 degrees, you will notice sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas changing their grazing patterns to graze in the cooler parts of the day or evening. 


heat index chart, sheep, goats, llamas, alpacasThese animals naturally dissipate heat under their bellies and between their rear legs.  These areas are lighter in wool and are more vascular.  As warm blood runs through these cooler body areas, the blood cools.  To maximize this effect, they will sometimes pick a cool place to lie down.  These animals also dissipate heat by panting.  Panting becomes less effective as humidity rises. 


Heat stress can cause poor growth, illness, and death.  Some authors state that small ruminant, llama, and alpaca vulnerability to heat runs along the heat index in a pattern roughly similar to the tolerance of humans (see chart).    Others have suggested that sheep are relatively safe up to a heat index of 120, which is pretty hot for humans.  This may be relative as sudden temperature changes and prolonged acclimation to air conditioning can be problematic for all mammals.  Prolonged exposures to direct sunlight can increase heat index values by up to 15 degrees.  Heat stress lowers natural immunity and makes animals more vulnerable to disease.  Overheated sheep are prone to bloating.  Temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit have been shown to negatively affect ram fertility.  Heat stress can cause early embryonic death in small ruminants.


How to protect your animals from heat stress

·        Make sure they have shade for the entire flock / herd.  If natural shade is not available, consider constructing run-in sheds, shade cloths, or other structures to provide shade.

·        Sheer your animals at the beginning of summer.  Leave fiber on the tails of llamas and alpacas.  This helps them flick flies.

·        As much as possible, let them rest in the heat of the day.

·        If they need to be transported, shown, or worked, try to schedule these events for early morning or early evening.

·        Place fans in barns with little air movement. 

·        Time births of sheep, llamas, and alpacas so that they do not occur in the hottest months.  Newborn llamas and alpacas do not control their body heat efficiently.  Most authors concur that spring is the ideal time for births of alpacas and llamas.

·        Provide plenty of water.  Some people like to use ice cubes or frozen bottles of water to make the drinking water cooler.

·        Consider adjusting your feeding regimen if heat seems to be a problem with your camelid or small ruminants.  Alfalfa and high protein supplements can cause body temperatures to rise.

·        Keep your sheep, llamas, goats, and alpacas at a health body condition.  Fatter animals have more trouble with heat.

·        Some authors suggest feeding supplements during summer months in the South.  Feed the supplements in a cool shaded area.  The theory is that llamas will get too hungry and graze in the heat of the day, even when they shouldn’t.  Supplements give them the option of getting proper nutrition without braving mid-day heat.

·        Supplementing water with electrolytes is standard practice among llama and alpaca owners.  It has been suggested that goats will overeat mineral supplements in an attempt to replace electrolytes lost by sweating.  This can be problematic since goats are prone to urinary blocking from minerals.  Therefore, electrolyte supplements in the water may be beneficial for small ruminants as well.

·        Provide areas of cool ground with pea gravel, sand, or concrete.  Sand or concrete can be wetted to provide extra cooling.  Straw is a hot bedding and not great during the summer.

·        Sheep with horns can dissipate heat better than polled sheep.


Signs of Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, or Heat Exhaustion

·        Rapid breathing

·        Increased effort in breathing

·        Open mouth breathing

·        Nasal flaring

·        A respiratory rate over 40 breaths per minute

·        Staggering

·        Drooling – alpacas & llamas

·        Unwilling or unable to stand

·        Rectal temperature over 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  Normal temperature in a llama or alpaca is 99.5F to 101.5F.  Normal temperature in a sheep can go as high as 102.5F.  Temperatures greater than 107 cause cellular degeneration and death.

·        A heart rate over 90 beats per minute

·        Not chewing cud (llamas)

·        Not coming to feed

·        Excessively pendulous or baggy scrotum is a sign that the body is trying to reduce the heat to maintain fertility.  Employ some of the methods above to ensure a good breeding season.

·        Lethargy:  If your animals seem too lazy and tired during the heat of the day, this may be a sign of sub-clinical heat stress.


What to do with animals experiencing heat stress

·        Call Healing Springs Animal Hospital.  This can be an emergency.  Therapies such as I.V. fluids may be life saving.  While waiting for the vet . . .

·        Get the animal in a cool, shaded place.  An air-conditioned room is good if available.

·        Apply rubbing alcohol on the belly and between the rear legs to maximize natural cooling.

·        Do not spray water on the backs of wooly sheep or llamas to cool them.  This works for most animals, but it seals sheep and llama wool in a way that does not allow air to pass through.  Without air movement on the skin, no cooling can occur.  However, if you can completely submerge the animal in a pool or safe creek, this can help.

·        Make cool drinking water easily available, but they may not be able to drink voluntarily in severe cases.

·        If you can sheer the heat stressed animal without causing further stress, this may be helpful.















Pasture Boarding at Healing Springs


Stall boarding also available.















Learn more about haemonchus and other parasite control for sheep and goats




















Siphotrol water treatment – kills mosquitoes before they become disease spreading adults



























The yard spray that kills fleas and ticks in your grass


FDA Renews Warnings About Turtles and Salmonella


In response to the recent death of a four-week-old infant in Florida, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently renewed warnings about baby turtles and the risk of salmonella.  The strain of salmonella bacteria that killed the child was also found in the family’s pet turtle. 


The sale of pet turtles with a carapace length of less than 4” has been banned in the U.S. since 1975, when 280,000 turtle-related cases of salmonella poisoning occurred each year.  The ban on the sale of baby turtles has been highly effective at reducing the number of salmonellosis cases, and has reduced turtle-related salmonellosis to 74,000 cases per year. 


Salmonella is a group of bacteria that can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms in humans for two to seven days.  It is typically associated with raw and undercooked meat – especially chicken.  Turtles and other reptiles spread salmonella because they are relatively unaffected by it.  Salmonella poses a high or potentially life-threatening risk to very small children, frail seniors citizens, and humans with other risk factors such as chemotherapy, organ transplant, AIDS, diabetes, etc.


Adult turtles are equally likely to carry salmonella as baby turtles.  Many reptiles carry salmonella.  Some pet store owners and turtle farmers have complained that the ban on baby turtles is discriminatory because older turtles and other reptiles are equally likely to carry salmonella.  Stephen Sudloff, head of the FDA’s center for veterinary medicine theorizes that the ban on just baby turtles has been so effective because these were the reptilian pets most popular among children.  Children are the pet owners most likely to ignore simple precautions.  The baby turtle ban was the most effective way to address the problem while still allowing certain liberties for responsible, adult pet owners.


The FDA states that simple hand washing will protect humans from salmonella.  Salmonella can be transmitted from turtle to humans by contact with the turtle’s shell, skin, feces, or tank water.  Simply wash your hands after coming into contact with reptiles or their surroundings.  Keep in mind that both wild and pet reptiles can carry salmonella.  Reptiles in houses, child-care facilities, natural exhibits, etc all pose a risk to humans.  This risk is greater to children because they are less likely to wash their hands, more likely to put their hands in their mouths, and more vulnerable to the effects of salmonella. 


Turtle farmers in Louisiana have gone to great lengths to develop systems that produce salmonella-free turtle hatchlings.  Sundloff recently told National Public Radio that this should not be enough to lift the ban, in his opinion.  Sundloff says that even turtles that leave the farm salmonella free are unlikely to stay that way – especially if they’re fed raw hamburger or chicken.          


Stay up to date on animal health news by making Springboard your homepage


Instructions on setting your homepage

















View and manage your individual pet record online.


Healing Springs’ Pet Portals!




The Animal Health Bulletin is a FREE service of

Healing Springs Animal Hospital

(276) 236-5103

107 Nuckolls Curve Rd

Galax, VA  24333


Visit our website at







Request an article topic. Click Here.

To ask questions about a specific pet, call Healing Springs at (276) 236-5103.


You have permission to forward this bulletin in its entirety to a friend.

If you did not receive the Animal Health Bulletin directly and would like to begin receiving them, simply enter your information for a free subscription:

Click here to subscribe.



Click here to subscribe, update your e-mail preferences or unsubscribe.


The Animal Health Bulletin is developed and distributed with the assistance of

Brazzell Marketing Agency specializing in healthcare marketing.



© BMA 2007