Lyme Disease, you and your pets

So, back in June, I went into the woods trying to find a lost heifer.  She got loose with a calf stuck in the canal, and we were hoping to save her and the calf.  Well, I shot her with my dart gun, but the drugs just weren’t strong enough to knock her down in her tracks.  Fortunately, a few days later, she was tempted back into her herd by grain.  While I was in the woods that day, we did find the calf.  She’d been able to deliver it.  Unfortunately, he didn’t make it, but at least the mama’s life was saved.

That day in the woods, I picked up 50 ticks.  I’m not exaggerating.  I counted.  I counted every last single one of those nasty things as I got them off before I took my shower and as I was taking my shower that night.

I never had the bulls eye rash.  I had a few bites that swelled up a lot, but that wasn’t unusual for me.  I tend to be sensitive to them.  A week later I was having migraines.  Again, not unusual for me.  But these headaches were different than my normal ones.  I couldn’t see straight and I was seeing shadows and I couldn’t hear normally.  Things were just “off.”

Thankfully, I went to my doctor, and we found the Lyme disease, and we’ve been treating it from pretty early on.  Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi in these parts.  You, your horse, and your dogs can all get this.  And you can actually vaccinate your dogs against it.

If you have dogs that hunt, or dogs that go out into the woods often, or get ticks on them regularly for whatever reason, vaccinate them for Lyme, please.  You ask anyone who knows me:  I am not a wimp.  I have worked 500 head of cattle with a broken hand because the man I was working with didn’t think women should work outside the home.  I am tough and stubborn.  I’ve worked all day seeing patients while passing kidney stones.  I don’t say any of these things to toot my own horn.  I say this to tell you, when I tell you Lyme disease is painful, it is PAINFUL.  You can actually prevent your dogs from experiencing this pain.  So do it.  Just vaccinate them.  And protect yourself.

Protect your pets from ticks and fleas.

Protect yourself and your loved ones just the same.  Be careful going out into the field, into the woods.  Use some kind of repellent.

For those of you who know me, you’ve already figured this out or you know.  For those of you who don’t know me closely, this is the reason I have not been able to practice this summer.  I’m still waiting to see what kind of recovery I make.  I intend to make a complete recovery, but it’s not just up to me.

If you pray, your prayers are appreciated.  Thank you, and have a blessed day.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We’re having a heat wave…..

Gone Swimming


Hey y’all!  It’s getting hot out there!  With temperatures in the 90s now, remember that our critters get affected by the heat just as we do.

Remember that no one eats as much when it’s really hot.  Always keep plenty of fresh, clean water available.  BUT!  If your pet is overheated, do not let them drink their fill of water all at once.  They will get sick.  Dogs vomit.  Horses colic.

All animals outdoors need adequate shade, shelter, and fresh clean water.  If you have barns, install some box fans or industrial fans to keep air flowing.  Give your dogs and hogs wading pools to play in.  Hose your horses off.

The temperature of asphalt in the Georgia summer reaches 175 degrees.  Don’t make your pets walk on it!  They will get 3rd degree burns!

Cars are no place for pets now unless the car is running and the air conditioner is on; not even for five minutes with the windows cracked and parked in the shade.  It’s not safe.



Keep a thermometer on hand.  A $5.00 cheapy digital thermometer from any pharmacy will do.  If you are concerned your pet is overheated, check the temperature.  Cats and dogs should never be above 103.5.  Horses and cattle should be under 102.5.  Goats and sheep should be under 104.  If anybody is over 105, you have an EMERGENCY on your hands.  Get your vet ASAP.  Hyperthermia can cause organ damage, brain damage, blood clotting issues, seizures, coma and death.  Don’t hesitate.  Don’t wait!

As always, if you’re concerned, call.  Peace of mind is priceless.

Y’all stay cool out there.  Keep water or Gatorade with you and keep hydrated!

Enjoy your summer.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coming Soon


2014-04-27 14.35.46 2014-05-03 12.49.48We are excited to announce that we are in the process of opening a hospital in Zebulon, GA.  During the upcoming months, Dr. Gardner will still provide in home and on farm care.  We will always provide house call services.  Opening the hospital will allow us to expand the services we provide.  Look for us near the end of summer.  Updates to follow!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

“Fairness to Pet Owners Act” not all it seems.

Folks: This “Fairness to Pet Owners Act” is not what it seems. It’s big pharma trying to get your money. Most of the time, veterinarians can offer lower prices on medications than retail pharmacies can. And, in my humble opinion, any veterinarian worth their salt is going to give you an Rx if you can get your pet’s meds somewhere else for less money. WE DON’T WANT YOUR MONEY. WE WANT TO TREAT YOUR PETS.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Get ready for March!

Our March Specials include:
Lyme vaccines for dogs 50% off.
FIV/FeLV testing for cats 50% off.
Fecal egg count and customized deworming schedule for your horse, only $15.
Call 706-551-8519 to schedule your appointment today!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What’s New this Month?

We are offering a discount on Canine Influenza Vaccines for the month of February. If you dog is exposed to other dogs, goes to daycare, obedience classes, grooming, or boarding, you need to have them vaccinated for both Bordetella and Influenza. Bordetella causes Kennel Cough, which most of us are familiar with. However, Canine Influenza H3N8 is becoming more and more of an issue. Get your pup vaccinated for 50% off the normal price during February 2014 only. $17.50!!

We are also pleased to announce that Gardner Veterinary Services is now carrying ProHeart6, an injection of heartworm prevention that lasts 6 months! Combine ProHeart6 with our Scalibor Collars, and you won’t have to worry about fleas, ticks, or heartworm prevention for six months!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Low Cost Horse Castration Clinic

GERL 2013 Castraction Clinic

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jerky treat recall in Georgia

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Local Raptor Rehabilitation Needs Your Help

Huge red tail hawk baby

Huge red tail hawk baby


Bubba and Friends, Inc. is a raptor rehabilitation facility here in Pike County, Georgia.  Occasionally, I have the honor of working on their birds.  I’ve assisted with Red Tail Hawks, Red Shoulder Hawks, Barn Owls, Barred Owls, Great Horned Owls, and even baby Vultures.

Bubba and his friends need your help.  Funds are desperately low and they need donations to purchase more food for the birds.

To make a donation or to learn more, please go to:

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

How Do You Know When it is Time to Euthanize?

By Dr. Andy Roark
Just last week, while I was performing euthanasia for a critically ill patient, the pet’s owner looked at me and said, “I bet this is the hardest part of your job.” That gave me pause.
For me, putting animals to sleep is not one of the hardest parts of being a veterinarian. That’s because euthanasia is often a blessing and gift to a suffering animal. In my experience, the hardest part of being a veterinarian is telling owners that their beloved pet has a terminal illness and will soon be leaving this world. The emotions that pass across their faces, even if they have suspected the worst for some time, are heart-wrenching.
Related: The Hardest Decision a Pet Owner Has To Make

It’s Never Easy

I still remember the first person I had to share this terrible news with. He was a nice, middle-aged man with two small children and an 8-year-old Rottweiler named Stone. Stone was a member of the family, and when he started to limp, his owner brought him straight in to be checked out. Stone was a wonderful dog at home, but he was not a fan of the veterinary clinic. My best dog treats did nothing to warm his heart, and when I manipulated his painful left shoulder, well… that ended our chances of being best friends.
Even though Stone was not an admirer of mine, I liked him, and I really liked his owner. That made it so much harder to discuss his diagnosis: osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma is a painful bone tumor that responds poorly to treatment. In some cases, treatments involving limb amputation and/or radiation therapy can be beneficial. In Stone’s case, these options were not feasible.
Together, Stone’s owner and I decided to provide him with the best palliative care we could, and we promised each other that we would not let Stone suffer. When the time came, we would do the right – if tough – thing and put him to sleep rather than allow him to live in increasing pain.
Stone’s owner was the first person I ever had an end-of-life discussion with, and he was also the first person to ask me a question I have heard hundreds of times since: “How will I know when it’s time?”
The most recent person to ask me this question was my own mother. Her Miniature Schnauzer has battled long-term health problems and was recently diagnosed with diabetes. Unfortunately, she initially responded poorly to treatment. She lost her love of food, began soiling her bed and was generally acting pitiful.
How to Decide

Over the past few years, I’ve heard a lot of veterinarians give wonderful advice to people who are wondering when it is time to give their pets the gift of a peaceful passing. Here are four of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard, and they are the same ones I passed on to my own mother for her consideration.
Every pet, illness and situation is different. There is no single rule that can be followed for when it is time to help your best friend “cross the rainbow bridge.” Getting input from your veterinarian on the specific medical conditions that your loved one may face is vital for doing what is best for your pet. You may also benefit from having a caring friend who is not as emotionally involved in the situation as you are to help you gain perspective and really “see” what is happening with your pet.
Related: Euthanasia – Why Some Pet Owners Choose to Stay and Some Choose to Go

Remember that pets live in the moment. One of the most wonderful things about animals is how they embrace the present. Every time I walk into my house, my faithful Vizsla throws a one-dog ticker tape parade. The fact that I have entered the house thousands of times before, or that I will leave again in a few hours, means nothing. All that matters to him is the joy that he feels right now.
When our pets are suffering, they don’t reflect on all the great days they have had before, or ponder what the future will bring. All they know is how they feel today. By considering this perspective, we can see the world more clearly through their eyes. And their eyes are what matter.
Ask yourself important questions. Sometimes, articulating or writing down your thoughts can make the right path more apparent. Some questions that help pet owners struggling with this decision include:
Why do I think it might be time to euthanize?
What are my fears and concerns about euthanizing?
Whose interests, besides those of my pet, am I taking into account?
What are the concerns of the people around me?
Am I making this decision because it is best for my pet, or because it is best for me because I’m not ready to let go?
Measure their quality of life. This is no more than trying to determine how good or bad our pet’s life is at this moment. Trying to assess this can be difficult, but there are some ways you can try and evaluate it. Let’s take a look at a few of my favorites in the next section.
Is Life a Joy or a Drag?

Our pets may not be able to talk to us and tell us how they are doing, but if we pay close attention, there are many clues that can help us answer that question.
The Rule of “Five Good Things”: Pick the top five things that your pet loves to do. Write them down. When he or she can no longer do three or more of them, quality of life has been impacted to a level where many veterinarians would recommend euthanasia.
Good Days vs. Bad: When pets have “good days and bad days,” it can be difficult to see how their condition is progressing over time. Actually tracking the days when your pet is feeling good as well as the days when he or she is not feeling well can be helpful. A check mark for good days and an X for bad days on your calendar can help you determine when a loved one is having more bad days than good.
HHHHHMM: t is a well-known veterinary oncologist. Her “HHHHHMM” Quality of Life Scale is another useful tool. The five H’s and two M’s are: Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Happiness, Hygiene (the ability to keep the pet clean from bodily waste), Mobility and More (as in, more good days than bad). Dr. Villalobos recommends grading each category on a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being poorest quality of life and 10 being best). If the majority of categories are ranked as 5 or above, continuing with supportive care is acceptable.
Pet Hospice Journal: Keeping a journal of your pet’s condition, behavior, appetite, etc., can be extremely valuable in evaluating quality of life over time.
A Tale of Two “Endings”

Thankfully, my mother’s Schnauzer, Zoe, eventually responded to her therapy. As a perpetual optimist, I like to think that she may be with us for some time to come. Still, the reality of having older pets is that we must be vigilant in their care and aware that every day is a gift.
In the case of my long-ago patient, Stone, with whom I first walked this path, I am glad to say that he did not suffer unnecessarily with osteosarcoma. His owner made a good decision, and Stone crossed the rainbow bridge while in the loving arms of his people. He was remembered by them as a strong, loving protector of the children in his family, and I will always remember his owner for having the strength and wisdom I hope we’ll all have when the time comes to say that final goodbye.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment