This baby cockatiel (shown in Figure 1) has an upper and lower beak that are not properly aligned. This condition is commonly known as "scissors beak." The cause is speculated, but not known. Looking at the left side of the photo in Figure 1, you can see how the upper beak is displaced towards the bird's right side.

In order to correct this deformity, we placed a wire implant through the bird's frontal bone while it was under anesthesia (see Figure 2). There is a hook at one end of the wire to which a rubber band is attached. The other end of the rubber band is placed around the upper beak in order to place tension on it and pull it into the correct position. While the implant was in place, the cockatiel was given pain medication and oral antibiotics to prevent infection.

The implant was left in place for 2 weeks, then removed. Figure 3 shows the baby cockatiel after implant removal. There is still some minor swelling at the surgery site, but the beak is now properly aligned.

Now the baby cockatiel is nearly full-grown, happy, and healthy! (Figure 4)

 
Cockatiel with Scissors Beak
Cockatiel with Wire Implant
  Baby Cockatiel after Implant Removal   Baby Cockatiel Recovered from Scissors Beak
           
  Budgie with Crop Stones

Shown in Figure 1 is a 9 year old budgie who came in for its annual examination. The budgie had no health issues according to the owner and was acting normally at home. Everything also appeared normal on his physical exam except for two hard masses that were felt within the bird’s crop.

X-ray of Budgie with Crop Stones   

We decided to take radiographs (x-rays) of the budgie (see Figure 2) to try to determine what these masses were. The bird was anesthetized briefly with gas anesthesia to keep him still and properly positioned while we took the x-rays. While using anesthesia does have some risks, the risks are usually very low in an otherwise healthy bird. The procedure is also much less stressful to the bird when performed while it is under anesthesia compared to being awake. In the x-ray shown in Figure 2, you can see two round mineral densities in the crop.

   Ingluvioliths or Crop Stones found in Budgie

After reviewing the budgie’s x-rays, it was decided that the best course of action would be to surgically remove the masses before they could cause problems by blocking the outflow of the crop into the rest of the gastrointestinal tract. We proceeded with surgery to remove these two crop stones, or ingluvioliths, from the budgie. Surgery was relatively quick as was the budgie's recovery. We were unable to find a cause for the stones in this bird, but possible theories include an underlying crop infection or any disease causing decreased intestinal motility. Some ingluvioliths have been shown to have seed husks in their centers! (Figure 3 shows the removed crop stones.)

This case stresses the importance of avian annual exams, which allow us to discover abnormalities early and hopefully fix them before serious health problems can occur.

 

We see emergencies during our normal hospital hours. If we determine that your pet requires overnight nursing care or a level of specialty we cannot provide here, we will co-ordinate your pet’s referral to the appropriate critical care or specialty hospital.

In the event of an emergency during our normal hospital hours, please call ahead if possible and proceed directly to our practice. Our main telephone number is (978) 486-3101.

For after-hours emergencies, we advise that you contact one of the emergency centers shown below.

Westford Veterinary Emergency and Referral Center
11 Cornerstone Drive, Westford, MA 01886
(P) 978-577-6525

Angell Animal Medical Center – Boston
350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
(P) 617-522-7282

Animal Medical Center Emergency & Referral of New England
168 Main Dunstable Road, Nashua, NH 03060
(P) 603-821-7222

Bulger Veterinary Emergency Hospital
247 Chickering Road, North Andover, MA 01845
(P) 978-725-5544

Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital
20 Cabot Road, Woburn, MA 01801
(P) 781-932-5802

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
200 Westboro Road, North Grafton, MA 01536
(P) 508-839-5302

BluePearl Veterinary Partners
180 Bear Hill Road, Waltham, MA 02454
(P) 781-684-8387

  Rooster with Frostbite  
     

This rooster (shown at right) was brought in to Littleton Animal Hospital for evaluation due to severe depression, anorexia, and discoloration of the comb and wattle. These symptoms occurred after a period of extremely cold winter weather and high winds. The diagnosis was acute frostbite. The rooster was treated with IV fluids, pain medications, topical therapy of the comb and wattle, and syringe feeding. After a few days, the animal was released to its owners for further care. We have since heard that the rooster is very healthy and crowing loudly. It did have some permanent damage and loss of tissue as a result of the frostbite injury, however.

 

We offer Holistic Veterinary Care for Pets.At Littleton Animal Hospital, our veterinarians have experience in providing alternative and complementary approaches to traditional veterinary care. In addition to the highest quality traditional medicine, we offer the following holistic veterinary services:

  • Veterinary Acupuncture — Many fine gauge needles are inserted at selected acupuncture points, stimulating these points and thereby activating the body's natural healing abilities.

  • Herbal Therapies — Individual herbs or Chinese herbal formulas are used for therapeutic value.

  • Nutritional Treatments for Pets — The easiest factor to influence in the health of your pet is its diet. We will evaluate your pet's needs and make specific recommendations regarding proper nutrition.

Using Holistic & Alternative Therapies, we can treat a variety of common conditions in pets including:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Difficult Dermatology Cases
  • Gastrointestinal Disease
  • Neurological Disorders

Please call us at (978) 486-3101 for more information or to schedule a consultation.

What Is Integrative Veterinary Medicine?

We integrate traditional, alternative, and holistic medicine for the best possible treatment for your pet. The goal is to use any and all treatment options available — either traditional, holistic, or a combination of both — to find the most effective treatment for your pet's current condition.

Find out more about Integrative Veterinary Medicine.

PBS did a spotlight feature on Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). To better understand Integrative Veterinary Medicine, watch the PBS video below:

 

Veterinary Acupuncture for Pets

Dr. Papscoe is certified in veterinary acupuncture through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. Acupuncture has many clinical applications and can be used alone or in conjunction with conventional medicine to treat many conditions. Some of the more commonly treated problems are: arthritis, hip dysplasia, cancer, seizures, intervertebral disc disease, and muscle injuries. Acupuncture is also a good way to strengthen the immune system and stimulate appetite. Please call if you would like any information on acupuncture or if you wish to schedule an initial assessment appointment.

Littleton Animal Hospital maintains a complete inventory of both prescription and over the counter products to keep your pet happy and healthy. Our in-house pharmacy is stocked with prescription medications to provide preventive care, treat illnesses and ensure that your pet’s medication is always available. Other products available include vitamins, shampoos, and heartworm preventatives. We also sell products for birds, pocket pets and exotic animals.

 

Littleton Animal Hospital offers the latest technology in health care for your pet — therapeutic laser therapy. Our therapy laser provides a deep-penetrating light that allows relief of pain by releasing endorphins and stimulation cells to heal faster. Your pet will relax and enjoy the pain-free treatments.

What is Veterinary Laser Therapy?

Laser therapy is a surgery-free, drug-free, non-invasive treatment to relieve pain. It accelerates the body's natural healing process. Laser therapy is effective in treating chronic conditions, acute conditions, and post-surgical pain and inflammation in pets. Whether your pet is rehabilitating from trauma or injury, healing from wounds or simply aging, laser therapy has been shown to provide relief and speed healing.

What Conditions Can Veterinary Laser Therapy Treat?

Feline conditions that pet laser therapy treats.   Canine conditions that pet laser therapy treats.  
       
Chronic and acute conditions that respond to laser therapy treatments include:
  • Anal Sacculitis
  • Arthritis
  • Aural Hematomas
  • Avian Specific Disorders
  • Back Pain
  • Burns
  • Chronic Neurological Conditions
  • Cystitis
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Ear Disorders
  • Feline Acne
  • Fractures
  • Gingivitis
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Infections
  • Inflammation
  • Lacerations
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Neck Pain
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Neuromuscular Disease
  • Oral Cavity Disorders
  • Orthopedic Disorders
  • Otitis (ear infections), acute and chronic
  • Post Surgical Pain Relief
  • Post Operative Healing
  • Pyotraumatic Dermatitis (hot spots)
  • Skin Conditions
  • Soft Tissue Trauma
  • Sprains and Strains
  • Stomatitis
  • Tooth Extraction Pain Relief
  • Trauma
  • Wound Healing

If you think that your pet would benefit from laser therapy call us at (978) 486-3101 to schedule a consultation to find out how laser therapy can help your dog or cat.

 

clientcare@littletonanimalhospital.com

Annual veterinary care is crucial to keeping your pet happy and healthy. Click the icons below to learn more about what your veterinarian can do for your pet.

  Pet Exams icon   Pet Vaccines icon  
 

Exams check overall health and detect problems before they become severe or costly.

 

Vaccines protect against common and fatal diseases based on your pet's age and lifestyle.

 
Pet Dental & Oral Care icon   Veterinary Lab Tests icon   Parasite Prevention icon
Dental and oral care prevents bad breath and diseases that could become life-threatening.   Lab tests diagnose and prevent sickness or injury in safe and non-invasive ways.   Parasite prevention treats and protects against deadly heartworms, parasites, and flea/tick infestations.
         
  Pet Nutrition icon   Spaying & Neutering icon  
  Nutrition ensures your pet gets the balanced diet it needs and maintains a healthy weight.   Spaying and neutering protects pets from serious health and behavioral problems.  
 

Care Guides for Pet Owners

Your pet's health also depends on you. Click on the icons below to learn more about what pet owners can do at home to keep their pets living a long, healthy life.

Pet Home Care icon   Care for Pets at All Ages icon   Pet Ages & Stages icon

Home care is just as important as veterinary care in keeping your pet happy and healthy.

 

Care for all ages includes veterinary care and home care tips for your pet at every age.

 

Ages and stages is our chart to help you find out your pet's age in "human years."

Annual Pet Care logo

Bringing your pets to the veterinarian for a physical exam every year is the smartest and easiest way to keep them healthy. Exams allow your veterinarian to detect any problems before they become severe or costly.

Pet Exams for Dogs and CatsYour Veterinarian Will Check...

  • muscular and skeletal health by feeling for healthy muscle mass and joint pain.

  • neurologic system – it could indicate birth defects in younger pets, and cognitive issues in older pets.

  • appropriate weight and  lifestyle for your pet's age.

  • lymph nodes – swollen nodes can indicate a wound, virus, infection or some other illness.

  • vital signs (temperature, pulse and respiration) – an abnormal reading could indicate illness.

  • skin and coat condition for growths, infection wounds and overall skin health.
     
 

Bring Your Pet to the Veterinarian Every Year for a Clean Bill of Health and Peace of Mind

Your pet can't tell us what's wrong. But routine physical exams can help your veterinarian detect any problems or diseases you might not have otherwise picked up on, including heart murmurs, tumors, enlarged organs, cataracts, ear infections, ear mites, dental and gum disease, skin issues and allergies.
 
     


Download the Pet Exams handout

Annual Pet Care logo

Vaccines protect against common diseases that your pets may become exposed to.

Did You Know?

Vaccines have about a 95% success rate for preventing infections and fatal diseases.

     
  Canine Vaccines

Rabies

The rabies vaccine is required by law and protects against the fatal illness. Rabies can be transmitted to other pets and people through the bite of an infected animal.

Distemper (DHPP)

This combination vaccine protects against viruses that cause life-threatening neurologic, respiratory and gastrointestinal issues.

Leptospirosis

This vaccine protects against a bacteria that can cause deadly kidney or liver disease. Leptospirosis is also transmissible to people.

Lyme

This vaccine helps prevent Lyme disease, which is easily transmitted through the bite of an infected tick.

 
 

Lifestyle Vaccines

These might be recommended if your dog visits boarding facilities, groomers, training classes, dog parks, and other social settings.

Bordetella

This vaccine protects against an airborne respiratory virus known as "Kennel Cough."

Canine Influenza

The canine influenza vaccine protects against a contagious respiratory infection.

 
 
     
  Feline Vaccines

Rabies

The rabies vaccine is required by law and protects against the fatal illness. Rabies can be transmitted to other pets and people through the bite of an infected animal.

Distemper (FVRCP)

This combination vaccine protects against viruses that cause life-threatening respiratory and gastrointestinal issues.
 
     
 

Lifestyle Vaccine

This is given to all outdoor cats, including those who go out occasionally -even if it's just on an open porch.

Feline Leukemia

This vaccine protects against the contagious and often fatal disease, which is easily spread between cats.

 

 

     
 

Vaccines are the key to a long and healthy life. Your veterinarian will suggest the best vaccines for your pet based on age, medical history and lifestyle.

 
     

Download the Pet Vaccines handout

clientcare@littletonanimalhospital.com

Annual Pet Care logo

Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets. Without proper preventive or home care, plaque and tartar can build up, which may cause oral infections, bad breath, infected gum tissues (gingivitis) or even bone loss (periodontitis).

Did You Know?

It's not normal for your pet to have bad breath – it can be a sign of serious dental or gum issues.

Pet Dental & Oral Care

     
 

Sixty percent of dental disease is hidden below the gum line, and can only be found with x-rays. Brush your pet's teeth regularly and check with your veterinarian about screenings, cleanings and products available to help keep those pearly whites clean.

 
     


Download the Pet Dental & Oral Care handout

Annual Pet Care logo

Yearly lab tests are safe and non-invasive ways to diagnose and prevent sickness or injuries in pets that a physical exam cannot detect.

     
  Dog and Cat icon

Blood Screening

A blood screening checks for anemia, parasites, infections, organ function and sugar levels. It is important to get a blood test annually for your pet, to help your veterinarian establish a benchmark for normal values and easily see any changes that may point to problems.

Urinalysis

This test has the ability to screen for diabetes, urinary tract infections, bladder/kidney stones, as well as dehydration and early kidney disease.

Intestinal Parasite Check

Using a stool sample, your veterinarian can check to see if your pet has parasites. Many parasites can be passed on to humans, so it is important to complete this screening annually, especially if your pet has any symptoms including upset stomach, loss of appetite and weight loss.

 
     
 
 
     
 

Routine testing can add years to your pet's life. Your veterinarian will recommend lab tests appropriate for your pet based on age and lifestyle.

 
     
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  Dog Icon

Canine Tests

Your veterinarian may check for the presence of heartworms in your dog, as well as the three common tick-borne diseases – Lyme, Anaplasma, and Ehrlichia Canis.
 
     
 
 
     
  Cat icon

Feline Tests

A combination test checks for heartworm, Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). FeLV and FIV are serious diseases that weaken the immune system, making cats susceptible to a variety of infections and other diseases. FeLV is spread through casual contact, and FIV is transmitted primarily through bite wounds. They can also be transferred to cats by their mothers. Any new pets, or sick/stray cats entering a household, should be tested.

Blood Pressure Testing

Senior cats are routinely tested for high blood pressure. It may occur as a secondary disease to another illness and is commonly seen in older cats. But it can affect a cat at any age and cause damage to the eyes, heart, brain and kidneys. A new heart murmur or alterations in your cat's eyes during a routine exam may prompt your veterinarian to take a blood pressure reading.

 
     

Annual Pet Care logo

Prevention is the best approach in protecting your pet against deadly heartworms, intestinal parasites, and flea and tick infestations. Your veterinarian will help you find the product that is right for your pet based on his or her needs.

     
 

EXTERNAL PARASITES
are assessed visually by your veterinarian.

 
     
  Flea icon

Fleas

Fleas thrive when the weather is warm and humid. All cats and dogs are susceptible to flea infestations. Beyond the skin irritation and discomfort, flea infestations can also cause deadly infections, flea-allergy dermatitis (OUCH!) and the transmission of tapeworm parasites if ingested.

Tick icon

Ticks

Ticks can spread serious infectious diseases such as Lyme, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis and Babesiosis to pets and people. Pet owners should inspect their pets regularly for ticks, large and small, especially after being outside in a wooded or grassy area.

 
     
 
     
 

INTERNAL PARASITES
are assessed by blood tests and fecal exams.

 
     
 
  Intestinal Parasite icon

Intestinal Parasites

Roundworm, hookworm, tapeworm, whipworm, Coccidia, Giardia and Cryptosporidium are all common in cats and dogs. Many of these parasites can be transmitted to you and your family if your pet becomes infected.

Heartworm icon

Heartworm

Mosquitoes can spread heartworm, a harmful disease that affects both dogs and cats. As its name implies, heartworm lives in the blood of a pet's heart and blood vessels. We recommend annual screenings for both dogs and cats, even if they are already on heartworm preventatives.

 
     
     
     
 

Life is better for your pet and family without parasites.
Let us help you choose your flea, tick, heartworm and
intestinal parasite preventatives today!

 
     


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Annual Pet Care logo

Just like humans, an animal's diet directly affects its overall health and well-being. Allowing a pet to overeat, or to consume the wrong foods, may lead to a wide variety of ailments including obesity, diabetes and arthritis.

Did You Know?

Over 50% of dogs and cats in the United States are obese or overweight.

Proper Nutrition

Although we think of our pets as family members, they shouldn’t be allowed to eat like us. Maintaining a proper diet will help keep your pet at a healthy weight. Be sure not to overfeed, and that you are providing a diet tailored to your pet's breed, age, weight and medical history.

Common Foods To Avoid

Think twice about feeding your pet table scraps. Common foods such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions and garlic could be dangerous to an animal. Some non-food items like lily plants and antifreeze are also toxic to pets. Check with your veterinarian if your pet has ingested anything questionable.
Pet Nutrition

 

Growth Diet

Growing puppies and kittens need more nutrient-dense food than adults. Ask your veterinarian which food is right for this stage of life. Cats switch to an adult diet right after being spayed or neutered, no matter what the age, to decrease the likelihood of obesity and related conditions.

Adult Diet

Selecting an adult dog or cat food that will keep your pet healthy and energetic starts with knowing your pet's lifestyle. Does your dog weigh just the right amount and go for long walks daily? Or is it a lap dog that loves nothing more than to snooze the day away? Talk to your veterinarian about these issues to help guide you in choosing the best food for your pet.

Senior Diet

Your senior dog or cat may need fewer calories, less fat, and more fiber as he or she ages. Many older pets can continue eating the food they always have – just a little less to compensate for not being as active. Check with your veterinarian which food and amount is best for your pet.

   
     
 

Every pet ages differently. Your veterinarian can help you determine the best diet for your pet's needs.

 
     


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Spaying or neutering can protect your pet from serious health and behavioral problems later in life. It also helps control the stray animal population.

Spaying or Neutering Reduces the Risk of...

Uterine Disease

Known as a pyometra, this is a potentially life-threatening condition which can be very expensive to treat. It is 100% preventable if your pet is spayed.

Mammary Tumors (Breast Cancer)

Over one-half of all mammary tumors are malignant and can spread to other areas of the body. Early spaying, prior to your pet beginning its heat cycles, significantly reduces the incidence of tumor formation.

Testicular Cancer

This cancer, as well as prostatitis (an infection causing malignant or benign swelling of the prostate), can be greatly reduced with early neutering.

 

Behavioral Problems

Unwanted behaviors such as dominance aggression, marking territory and wandering can be avoided with spaying or neutering.

Overpopulation

There are more puppies and kittens in shelters than there are people willing to provide them with love and care. Sadly, many are euthanized. Spaying or neutering can help reduce the number of animals in need of homes.Cat and Dog graphic

   
     
 

Spayed and neutered pets live healthier and longer lives! Consider the benefits to your pet and the community, and ask us when is the best time to spay or neuter your pet.

 
     


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