Canine Influenza


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Summer vacation is in full swing and many people are headed out of town to relax.  During your summer fun, Greenbriar is happy to see your furry family member(s) for a stay in our luxury pet resort.  We pride ourselves in keeping up on the latest medical and technological advances to keep your pet(s) safe and comfortable.

One of our recent concerns involves canine influenza, a highly contagious respiratory infection that can be fatal to both dogs and cats (the H3N2 strain).  There are two versions: H3N8, first noted in 2004, and H3N2, first noted in 2015.  Both strains are spread through direct contact with respiratory secretions (such as sneezing, coughing, or barking) or contact with contaminated items (such as grooming tools, surfaces, hands, and clothing).  Nearly 80% of unvaccinated dogs that are exposed to the virus will show symptoms.  These symptoms may be mild, involving a cough for 10 to 30 days, a mild fever, decreased appetite, and lethargy.  Pets may also have slight to thick nasal discharge.  The more severe form involves a higher fever with possible pneumonia and respiratory distress.

Canine influenza is of special concern to Greenbriar because of our large boarding facility and day care program.  We continue to practice high quality sanitation procedures to avoid disease transmission between our guests and currently require the H3N8 vaccination.  We will be offering the combination H3N8 and H3N2 vaccination to protect against both strains in the near future.  The vaccination should be administered at least 2 weeks prior to the boarding stay or day camp for full protection.

Please partner with us to keep your pet(s) safe from canine influenza. Call today to schedule an appointment for vaccination!

Contributed by Dr. Melinda Spaar

Static and Dry Skin, Welcome to Winter

This time of year we love to cuddle under our blankets by the fire or just keep our heat turned up to a comfy temperature. I don’t know about you, but all these comforts come at a cost. My skin cracks, my socks stick to my sweaters out of the dryer, and my hair just sticks straight up from static. We need moisture!

This is also true for our pets. Their skin gets just as dry but applying lotion to their entire body is just not practical. My solution, fish oil supplements.  Not just any fish oil, Omega 3 fatty acids. This fatty acid supplement can help to improve skin health as well as a healthy coat. This helps to hydrate the skin and help condition the skin from the inside.

Omega three fatty acids are not only good for skin, but they are good for joint health, heart health, kidney health, brain health and helps support the immune system. Something we ALL can use, not just our dogs and cats.

Good news! This month, Welactin (Omega 3s) in capsules and liquid are 10% off.

All Omega 3 supplements are not created equal just as human multivitamins are not created equal. Welactin is from Nutramaxx, a company we trust and we have seen great results from this brand.

So give your pet the gift of comfort this winter.




Osteoarthritis, also known as OA, degenerative joint disease (DJD) or simply arthritis, is a degenerative condition affecting the cartilage surfaces that line the ends of the bones as they articulate in the joints of the body.  Predisposing factors for the development of OA in dogs are orthopedic conditions of growing dogs known as OCD (osteochiondritis dissecans) and forms of dysplasia, trauma (such as fractures, especially those involving the joints), conformational abnormalities (such as angular limb deformities or as in chondrodystrophic breeds, like Dachshunds), or simply being of a large or giant breed of dog.  

OCD is a condition where the cartilage model we all start off as does not progress properly when turning into bones; it is a failure of the process known as endochondral ossification.  Dysplasia means “abnormal growth or development of”, and in dogs we commonly see dysplasia of both elbows and hips.  When joints develop abnormally, this leads to abnormal motion within the joints, causing abnormal wear of the cartilage surfaces lining the joints.  Abnormal wear of cartilage surfaces is the defining event that gives one OA for the rest of their life.  Similarly, trauma and conformational (shape) abnormalities in some dogs leads to abnormal joint motion and, therefore, OA development.  It is believed the excess weight and muscular forces applied across their joints causes excessive wear and tear and leads to more frequent diagnoses of OA than in smaller, lighter breeds.  

OA is, by definition, a progressive condition, which means it ALWAYS gets worse with time.  No one in veterinary or human orthopedics can completely stop OA’s progression, nor can they effectively reverse the changes that are present.  This is why it is so important to do what we can for our pets in limiting the rate at which their OA progresses.  With the right mixture of weight management, exercise modification, pharmaceutical & nutraceutical (nutritional supplement) therapies, we can greatly abate the rate at which OA progresses in our furry loved ones.  Overweight dogs, similar to large & giant breeds, put excessive amounts of weight across the joints and can exacerbate the progression of OA.  Exercise in patients with OA has to be altered to limit explosive activities, avoid concussive forces across the affected joints (eg, dogs with hind limb OA should not perform vertical jumping, as with catching Frisbees or jumping up for a treat held above the dog’s head), and to strive for more frequent, shorter bouts of exercise as opposed to fewer, longer bouts.  Medicinally, two main modes of therapy are available: the first is NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) therapy, such as Rimadyl or Deramaxx (these are similar to aspirin-like drugs but are much safer to administer to dogs) and the second is injections of hyaluronic acid in a product called Adequan (typical course is 2 injections per week over 4 weeks; clients are often taught how to administer the subcutaneous, or under the skin, injections by our medical staff at Greenbriar & perform the final 7 injections at home for cost-effectiveness).  Probably the most important component of conservative medical management for OA in dogs is nutraceutical therapy.  Because these are not food and they are not pharmaceuticals, DEA & FDA regulation is extremely limited and many manufacturers of these products have little to none of the important ingredients in their formulations.  This is why at Greenbriar Veterinary Hospital we ONLY carry Nutramax brand nutraceuticals.  Nutramax makes veterinary as well as human nutraceuticals and they have independent laboratory analysis guaranteeing 100% of what is on their labels is in their products.  For OA management, the two Nutramax brand nutraceuticals I very highly recommend are Welactin and Dasuquin.  Welactin is their brand of fish oil, or omega-3 fatty acids.  Not only do these substances afford excellent chondroprotection (protects joint cartilage from the damaging effects of OA), but they also prevent allergies in about two-thirds of patients, minimize the risk for certain types of cancer, boost immune system function, help to prevent many types of dermatopathies, give dogs a glossy hair coat & usually increase the palatability of food.  Dasuquin is a combination of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and soy & avocado extracts that has four protective effects for joints.  First, the former two ingredients are the constituents of joint cartilage so they help to bathe the cartilage in the substances it needs to repair itself.  Second, they help to minimize cartilage degradation that place within the joint.  Third, they have mild anti-inflammatory activity.  And, fourth, they have powerful oxygen free-radical scavenging, or anti-oxidant, properties.  And these two products are synergistic when combined and given together- in other words, 2 + 2 = 10, not 4 (you get a greater combined effect than you would if you added up the effects of either given alone).  So if your older pet is seeming a bit slow or stiff upon rising or after sleep, he or she may have OA and their quality of life may be greatly enhanced by having one of our doctors at Greenbriar examine them & possibly prescribe the aforementioned therapies.  

Contributed by Hooman Pooya, DVM, Chief of Surgery

My Dog is Coughing and Sneezing! What could be happening?

I do not know about you, but I really suffer from allergies in the Fall. Ragweed, pollen mold… My kids just started coughing and sneezing this week. This started me thinking about similar symptoms in our pets.

First, I want to discuss the normal respiratory system in dogs to help everyone get a clearer understanding of what is happening when coughing and sneezing occurs.

The respiratory system has a lot of defense mechanisms in place to protect the airway. Think of all the bacteria and debris we inhale in a day. Our airways have to be strong to prevent those inhalants from making us sick. One of the unique defense mechanisms we have is the mucociliary escalator. This system, depicted in the diagram below (from helps to move all the bacteria and debris back up to the throat area where they can be swallowed or coughed out.


When this system is disrupted, infections occur. This system can be compromised by stress, allergies, and cigarette smoke exposure, to list a few.

Why is my dog coughing and sneezing?


Yes, that’s right, our pooches can have the same symptoms we do in allergy season(sneezing, coughing, eyes watering, itchy skin, itchy nose, etc…). Pets inhale the pollens and molds, which irritates the lining of the nasal passages and/or the throat, causing them to cough and sneeze. Coughing and sneezing can further inflammation, leading to more coughing and sneezing(rhinitis/sinusitis).

Upper Respiratory Infection

An upper respiratory infection is a viral, bacterial or fungal infection of the nasal passages, larynx, and trachea(windpipe).  Sometimes an upper respiratory infection looks identical to allergies. Other times, especially when bacteria are involved, there may be a thick or colored(usually white, yellow or green) nasal discharge. Upper respiratory infections can be passed between dogs, but most of the time upper respiratory infections occur when the mucociliary escalator has been disrupted.  As mentioned above, this can be due to things such as stress or even allergies.  Just like colds in a child’s daycare, these infections can spread between dogs quickly especially when they are kept in close quarters, playing with others at a dog park, or even playing with others in a back yard. Since a viral infection can look identical to allergies, these situations can be difficult to prevent. Luckily, most upper respiratory infections can be easily treated or can go away on their own.

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If your dog is suffering from coughing and sneezing, please call us to schedule an appointment. We can help make your pet more comfortable and reduce allergy or respiratory infection symptoms.


Karen R Pearson, DVM

A Look at the Inside of Our Pets

“Ms. Smith, this is your doctor’s office calling with your lab results.  Good news, everything is normal.”

These are the type of messages we like to hear.  When we go to our doctor’s for our yearly physical, we usually have blood work associated with that visit.  We may be following a known problem, monitoring a medication or just routine screening.  This is called the “Standard of Care” in medicine.  This is something we come to expect.  It is no different in veterinary medicine.anatomy

Our standard of care screening begins when our pets are young.  We as pet parents usually do not realize it is being done because we include it as part of of the spay/neuter protocol.  We do a pre-surgical blood screen before we even work up the patient’s anesthetic protocol.  We do very basic blood work that allows us to evaluate organ and bone marrow function.  The CBC, or complete blood count, lets us know if there is an active infection or inflammatory process going on.  It also lets us know if the patient is anemic the day of the surgery.  The pre-op chemistry looks at several liver and kidney tests as well as a blood glucose(sugar).  We do this because the drugs used to sedate the patients are metabolized in the liver and excreted through the kidneys.  If there is an elevation in these values, the veterinarian will take measures to either change the anesthetic protocol or if severe, postpone the surgery and address the problem.

As we see the patients on a year-to-year basis for their annual exam, we recommend this basic screen as well.


1.  Things change .  We all have seen the aging charts that equate the fact that our pet age at a much faster rate than we do.

2.  Our patients can’t talk and tell us how they are feeling.

When the veterinarian does a physical, they are looking at a brief snapshot in time.  Yes, they can tell a lot from looking in the eyes and ears, listening to the hear and lungs and palpating the abdomen, but that only tells us part of the story. We need to know what is going on inside.  We are so used to doing blood work when there is a problem, but what if we can forecast a problem or follow a trend in blood work to help us prevent rather than treat a disease? This is the perfect time to continue this Standard of Care and screen blood work on a yearly basis.

For example, by the time kidney values are elevated(abnormal), 75% of the kidney function is lost.  This leaves us to treat the disease when, if we followed trends throughout the life of the patient, we could help the veterinarian take measures to control the disease in the early stages.

And yes, kidney and liver disease can happen in young animals. Many times we find concerns on the prop screening at the time of the spay or neuter.  If we ignore the next 10 years because your pet looks good, we would be doing you and our patient a disservice.

Our senior pets face the same concerns we as human seniors face.  That is why our Senior screenings go deeper in looking at internal organ function.  We go further and evaluate more liver and kidney tests as well as screen their thyroid, electrolytes and a complete urinalysis.  Again, if we can control a disease early on instead of managing a severe form of the disease, we give our patients a chance at a better quality of life.

Doing a physical exam only gives us part of the information about your pet. A thorough history about how your pet has done over the past year as well as annual blood screening can go far in helping us keep our non-talking family members healthy.


Contributed by Margaret Stafford, RVT

February is right around the corner

DOGTOOTHBRUSHand February is National Pet Dental Health Month.


Dental health starts at a very young age and at this age you probably have not even considered dental care (or perhaps just fleetingly when you glimpsed at the gnawed sofa).  It is just as important for our pets as humans to develop good oral hygiene. Brushing your pets’ teeth is the gold standard to help safeguard your pup (or kitten) from severe dental disease down the road.

Here are some other helpful hints in addition to brushing that can maintain good oral health.


  • Choosing a dental diet such as t/d is a good choice for oral health. The crunching of the food helps to scrape any food or bacteria on the surface of the teeth, minimizing the opportunities for plaque to develop. Wet or canned food is most likely to get trapped in crevices, but you don’t have to feed only kibble if your little one prefers a little canned food.  Whether your pet has its full set of adult teeth or they are still working on it, it is never too early to get serious about daily dental health. It is hard to imagine that one day your tiny little puppy’s (or kitten’s) shiny, new teeth may soon be dotted with brown tartar, but without regular brushing or mechanically brushing, tartar affects most adult dogs.
  • At Greenbriar Pet Hospital and Luxury Resort our Veterinarians recommend the C.E.T. Brand chews and treats that are mechanically abrasive with enzymatic toothpaste in them, which allows your pet to enjoy a daily treat and it does the “dirty” work for you. Speak with your Veterinarian to find out which would best suit you and your pet.
  • Regardless of how diligent you are at brushing your pet’s teeth, they eventually need to have a scheduled dental cleaning. Your veterinarian or veterinary technician can help guide you as to when this procedure is necessary.  It does require anesthesia. Anesthesia is a minimal risk and we have several precautions we take (IV catheter, preanesthetic blood work, individualized anesthetic protocols, etc…) to ensure safety during anesthesia.  Severe dental disease also increases anesthesia time so bringing your pet to have a dental cleaning before the teeth are too bad also decreases risk.

Tartar is more than just a cosmetic issue, bad breath and yellowing of the teeth could be a sign of serious disease, which may affect their kidneys, liver, and heart. Oral disease is the most frequent diagnosed health issue for pets, and 80% of dogs, and 70% of cats by the age of 3. Just like in humans, plaque and bacteria develop in your pets mouth, if it is not brushed or mechanically scrapped away (food or treats), the plaque can turn into tartar with in 36 hours. This bacteria can also cause rotting of the teeth and sinus infections causing your pet to stop eating.

During the month of February and it being National Pet dental Health month Greenbriar is giving 15% off of all dental procedures so call to make your appointment ASAP!


contributed by Lindsay Ostby

What to know before bringing your pet for boarding at Greenbriar Pet Resort

The Holiday season is upon us and you are getting ready to drop off your furry, feathery or

scaly family member to stay with us while you travel.  Here is a checklist of things to

consider before you leave your beloved pet during your holiday travels.

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You may bring your own food for your pet if you want but we do ask that you place it in individual baggies per meal with the pet’s name on it so we know it is for your pet and that is the amount you would like us to feed them.

Any time you or your pet are away from home, it can be stressful. When pets get stressed, they often stop eating.  If you think your pets may have this kind of stress reaction, please bring a can of your pets favorite food or let us know when dropping off that if they do not eat we have permission to add something to entice them to eat. We also supply treats but if you want to bring your own, there is not charge.

Attachment-1Bedding and Blankets

There is no need to bring anything with your pet as far as blankets, bedding, or toys because we have everything your pet needs for their say.  We have a wide variety of bedding, towels, therapeutic beds, and every kind of toy your pet can imagine


We take extra time here to be sure your pet gets the medication you bring.  We ask you to bring your pets medication in the prescribed bottle and make sure it is labeled correctly.  If there are any discrepancies in what you are telling us to give and what is labeled by your veterinarian, we will call your veterinarian to double check that it is okay to give the medication the way you have requested.  We have peanut butter and cheese here to help administer the medication, but you are more than welcome to buy a bag of our “Pill Pockets” available in several delicious flavors.

Health Issues Attachment-1 (1)

Please let our front staff know if there are any health issues off which we should be aware.  We have a special wing of the resort our special needs pets are kept to make sure they are monitored frequently.

Nervous Pets 

If, at the time of drop off, your pet is very nervous, we will take the extra time to be sure your pet settles in and is comfortable.  Please feel free to call us anytime during our open hours to check on your pet.  One of the resort staff will let you know how your pet is doing.  If your dog or cat is known to be very nervous away from home or in new situations, they may benefit from a treat called Composure. “This treat contains three main ingredients that work together to support calming and relaxation without affecting the dog’s energy levels or personality.The C3™ colostrum calming complex supports stress reduction and cognitive function; L-Theanine helps the body produce other amino acids to bring certain neurotransmitters back into balance; and B vitamins (thiamine) affect the central nervous system to help calm anxious animals. Composure™ Bite-Sized Chews are available in a delicious chicken liver flavored chew to provide easier delivery.”

Going Home 

After a short or a long boarding stay when you pick up your pet, they may be tired.  Although we try our best to keep the stress level to a minimum, there is no place like home.  so your pet being tired when they get home is not uncommon.  Please also remember that leaving boarding and a car ride home may upset their stomach.  Don’t give them food or water as soon as your get home, wait a little bit and let them settle in.  Then offer them small amounts of food and water.

Tours During High Volume Times 

When our house is full, we try not to do tours to protect our guests.  It is stressful to have a stranger staring at you while you are trying to take a nap. We LOVE giving tours, but our guests come first so we keep our tours to a minimum during these peak times.


We want to provide the best care of each and every one of our guests.  We take extra time to be sure all of your pets are as comfortable as we can make them. Please have patience when checking in your pets for their holiday stay. We want to take the time to make sure all their accommodations and needs are met

Thank you for Boarding with us! We look forward to seeing you

Contributed by Jen Stup, Resort Manager

New Pricing Effective May 1, 2014


Price Changes Effective May 1, 2014

Effective May 1, 2014 Greenbriar Luxury Pet Resort will have a few pricing changes. These changes are going into effect due to many factors but in a major part from our current clients asking us to simplify our pricing and try to iron out confusion at the time our clients are checking out their pets from boarding.

Pricing Changes Dog Boarding:

* In order to simplify the check in and check out process we will have one set price for each of our suites.

– Greenbriar Suite: $33.00/Additional Guest $22.00. Includes 3 walks a day, breakfast and dinner, snacks and a bath before going home (for stays over 3 nights)

– Double Greenbriar Suite: $40.00/Additional Guest $30.00. Includes 3 walks a day, breakfast and dinner, snacks and a bath before going home (for stays over 3 nights)

– Deluxe Suite: $48.00/Additional Guest $38.00. Includes Indoor/Outdoor access, breakfast and dinner, snacks and a bath before going home (for stays over 3 nights)

– Penthouse Suite: $55.00/Additional Guest $40.00. Includes Indoor/Outdoor access, breakfast and dinner, a bath before going home (for stays over 3 nights)

– Luxury Suite: $77.00/Additional Guest $50.00. Includes Indoor/Outdoor access, breakfast and dinner, a bath before going home (for stays over 3 nights)

Pricing Changes Cat Boarding:

– Cat Condo: $27.00/Additional Guest $22.00

– Mountainside Condo: $34.00/Additional Guest $28.00

* Charges will be assessed nightly. You may check your pet in anytime our lobby is open. Charges begin at check in, regardless of the time. If you drop off at 2:00pm or 6:00pm it is all the same, that is considered check in and a charge to your boarding package will begin.

* However, like all luxury hotels (even pets) check out is at 11:00am Monday – Friday. If you pick up your pet by check out time, Monday-Friday by 11:00am, there will be no room charges for that day. Due to limited hours on Saturday and Sunday there is no early check out and the full day charges will apply.

* All ancillary activities will end the day before check out unless you make a special request for an activity, medication administered or grooming the day of check out. Those charges will be assessed to your end of stay invoice.

* If a client schedules a grooming appointment at the end of their pets stay, our Grooming Department will groom your pet the day of check out. A member of our team will schedule your check out for later in the day, however you will not be charged for that day of boarding. A great way to get your pet completely groomed and save money!

Please feel free to contact us here at Greenbriar Veterinary Hospital & Luxury Pet Resort with any questions or concerns. (301) 874-8880. http://www.greenbriarpets,com

New Contributor

I am new to the blogging world, but I am really excited to be the main contributor to Greenbriar’s running blog.


I thought for my first blog, I would introduce myself to everyone. My name is Dr. Karen Pearson.  I just joined Greenbriar’s caring staff in January. I may be new to the team, but I have lived in this area my entire life (except those years spent away at school).  My husband Greg and I have two sons, Charlie(7) and Joe(5). They are growing too fast as kids do. We have two dogs, Lilly and Ruby. Lilly the labrador retriever was a graduation present from my parents, my aunt, and uncle.  She is a wonderful dog who is very tolerant of my little kids. Ruby joined our family last spring. She was a rescue and suffering terribly from mange. She really embraced being the “Mangy Mutt.”

My goal for this blog is to update you on all the amazing happenings at Greenbriar Veterinary Hospital and Luxury Pet Resort as well as keep you updated on any late breaking news or helpful hints from the veterinary world.

I am really excited to be taking part in this and hope you enjoy!

Come visit me this weekend, March 29th, at the Harry Grove Stadium 5th Annual Easter Egg Hunt from 11am-2pm. It’s free, bring the kiddos. I am bringing mine!

December 2013 Discounts and Specials

Check Out Our December Discounts & Specials

Greenbriar Pet Resort