Veterinarian - Melbourne
1029 Sarno Road
Melbourne, FL 32935
(321) 254-1754

Read 2011 Tails From The Vet 

Dec 22, 2012

A good stocking stuffer for your pet is a trip to the vet.
Consider getting your pet up to date on vaccines against contagious diseases such as rabies, distemper, parvo, and many others. Also, along with new Christmas toys, let’s add things like combination heartworm/flea prevention to their stockings. These are very beneficial in keeping your pet healthy and happy for the holidays and the coming year. The Brevard County Veterinary Medical Association would like you to visit your local veterinarian during the new year for the continued health care of your pet.
Don’t just bring your pet to the veterinarian for their medical appointments. Bring them by for a social visit just to say “hello”, get a treat and a scratch behind the ears. They’ll enjoy the ride and we love seeing them.
On behalf of Sarno Animal Hospital and the BCVMA , we would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a “Yappy” and healthy 2013.


Dec 5, 2012

Holiday decorations and presents are pretty and very inviting, especially to our pets. This is where the old saying “look, but don’t touch” is very true. The tinsel, ornaments and lights are shiny and attractive, and your pet doesn’t know they’re not suppose to chew on them. If they do get a hold of these and ingest them, it can cause serious injury to the intestines, the mouth, the throat and a trip to the emergency room. Check the electrical wiring for any fraying or signs of chewing. It is best to use a grounded three-prong extension cord for safety.
Many of the beautiful plants that we put out at this time of year are also dangerous. Pine needles, holly and poinsettias can cause mouth irritation, diarrhea, and vomiting. Mistletoe can also cause these symptoms, along with difficulty breathing, hallucinations and even death. Keep these, and holiday decorations, away from your pets and everyone will have a wonderful and happy season.


Nov 27, 2012

“Is it a hairball, again, that is causing that hacking noise in my cat? But, I don’t ever see a blob of hair on the floor.” We hear that a lot from our feline parents. A number of times it is a hairball, but it can also be parasites in the respiratory system, allergies, heart failure, or even cancer. It’ a good idea to let your veterinarian check for internal parasites and heartworms to help eliminate these common causes. The next step will be blood work for FIV/feline leukemia, and
x-rays of the chest, usually three views. Most of the time, we see allergies as the cause. We have even used prednisolone and albuterol in inhalers to keep the drugs administered directly into the lungs! Using nifty little tubes or rigging up a baby bottle as chambers for the inhalers have worked well.


Nov 20, 2012

The holidays are starting, whether you’re ready for them or not. The smell of roasting turkey with all the trimmings will be going through the house for all to enjoy, even your pets. The aroma of these wonderful foods is all that your pet needs to experience.

Veterinarians see an increase in digestive problems in their patients during the holidays, because their owners want to share. It’s really easy to slip your dog some turkey with skin, ham, or gravy on their regular food. These are no-no’s for your pet. Overindulging in fatty foods can cause upset stomach, diarrhea, and even pancreatitis. A small amount of skinless turkey mixed with their regular food is okay, but keep it at a minimum. A good thing to do for you and your pet before the festivities begin is to get some exercise. Go for a walk or play “fetch” with your dog. This will get them tired and they will be resting while you are eating and visiting with friends and family. Enjoy the holidays, the feast, and the company. Watch what your dog gets to eat, and they will enjoy this time, too.


Nov 20, 2012

Most of our patients love to come see the veterinarian. They all know that they will get lots of lovin’ and treats. There are a few, though, that really have a hard time with coming to see us. Some of the dogs and cats are downright impossible to get into their carrier or the car. With you canine buddy, try going on more car rides and stop in to see the veterinarian just to say “Arf” or “hi”. This gets them use to seeing us on a social basis instead of just for medical or surgical reasons.

Now, with your feline friends, it’s best to get them use to their carrier. Leave it out in a room. Spray some feline pheromone on a towel and place it in the carrier, along with some treats, of course. Make sure that it is open at all times so that he/she can come and go as they please. Most veterinary clinics have a separate exam room or two for cats only! These tricks will make for a more memorable and pleasant visit by you and your pet.

See ya soon and “Happy Trails” to the vet. Call your veterinarian for further guidance and information.


Nov 5, 2012

Pets ingesting toxic drugs or chemicals and what to do about it can cause very anxious moments for us. What, exactly, did they swallow and should we recommend making them vomit? This is the first thing on a healthcare professionals’ mind.

We must take in to account if the substance is toxic, like bleach or petroleum based product. If so, we cannot induce vomiting. Most of the time, it is best to call Poison Control at 1-888-426-4435, and ask their advice prior to calling your veterinarian. Once the description of the toxic substance is given to the Poison Control Center, they will instruct you, or us, what to do. So please, consult poison control or your family veterinarian before proceeding to give your pet an emetic.


Nov 5, 2012

Vaccinating our pets is very important in the prevention of many severe diseases. Some of these vaccines are required yearly and others, not so often. Like the flu vaccine in humans, physicians recommend yearly vaccinations, as new strains emerge and the public has no immunity against these strains.

As with any medication, vaccines can have adverse affect on us and our pets. These affects are especially harmful if there is a sickness or disease already present in the body. Post vaccination signs to watch for are: lethargy, pain or discomfort, not eating, or a lump at the injection site. These reactions can last for 1-2 day after vaccinating. Very rarely, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and difficulty breathing are seen. Sometimes, we recommend a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medication to go home post vaccinations, especially for the little breeds. Just remember, the vaccines advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.Oct 19, 2012

Soon, the neighborhood children will be running around in costumes depicting their favorite character and asking for treats to fill their Halloween bags. Your pets like special treats, too. Just the word “treat” perks them up. Let’s try to keep these treats healthy.

There are lots of good treats for your pets such as carrots. Many treats are good for humans, but not for pets, such as chocolate. Some pets have health problems that restrict certain foods from their diet. Stay away from bones and rawhide, as these can cause G.I. issues and harm.

Our pets are a very special part of our lives and they deserve a treat every once in a while. Be sure they’re the right kind of treats for your favorite four legged friends.


Oct 8, 2012

Have you ever had your dog panting in your face and wondered what the heck he or she just ate. Was it a dead animal maybe? Most likely, it is halitosis or bad breath. Usually this foul smell emanating from your dogs mouth is due to severe tarter and gingivitis or maybe even pyorrhea (pus in the gums). In cats, there may be no bad breath at all, but they may refuse to eat, especially their crunchy food.
These are serious issues and can lead to other maladies throughout the body. It is a good idea to get your dog and cat in for routine dental check up at your veterinarian’s office. Some simple blood work, dental scaling and polishing and your dog and cats breath will be fresh. Then they can bestow you with endless kisses once again.


Oct 2, 2012

Last week was maternity week. We saw everything from a positive pregnancy test to new pups come into the world. If you are not sure your dog or cat is pregnant, bring her to the veterinarian at about 30 days post breeding for a pregnancy test. If she is 45 days post breeding, you can have her x-rayed and your veterinarian can do a head and spine count to determine how many babies will be born and how big. If the size is too big, your veterinarian may recommend a c-section. An ultrasound can also be performed and this will let us know the vitality of the babies.


Sep 25, 2012

Rub a big belly for good luck!! Well, if you notice your pet’s belly getting bigger, they may not be so lucky. Besides getting fat from too many calories and not enough exercise, there could be a medical problem lurking. Such maladies can be right sided heart failure, kidney disease, internal parasites, liver failure or even a cancer growing in the abdomen and leaking. Depending on the cause, your veterinarian can perform a database, (x-rays, blood work, etc.), and help get your pet back on the right track.


Aug 30, 2012

As the stomach turns, can be a very serious problem for our canine companions.  This problem can occur in any size pooch, but is seen more often in large breed dogs, such as Mastiffs, Great Danes, etc.  This syndrome can make a very healthy dog
become sick and this may even become fatal very quickly.  Some of the risk factors include one large meal per day or eating very quickly and then exercising after a large
meal.  Once the stomach turns, it starts to blow up (bloat) and circulation to the stomach and spleen are cut off.  Symptoms include nausea and retching, a distended abdomen, and lots of abdominal pain. They can also show signs of anxiety which include drooling, pacing, and restlessness. This is an emergency situation and you need to get your dog to the veterinarian immediately.  An exam and x-rays are very diagnostic of this condition. 


Aug 27, 2012

Have you ever noticed a sudden rear leg lameness in your dog? Lately, we have seen an increase in this type of lameness. Most of the time, our pooches have been rough housing, climbing a fence, or just standing there and suddenly experience a pain and then a severe lameness in a rear leg. When we examine these sore legs, we have to check out all joints and pads. Most of the time, we find that there is damage to the cranial cruciate ligament inside the knee joint. We can also find hip joint trouble or a slipped disc in the spine as the culprit. Be sure that you check your pet’s pads before going to the vet as it could just be a simple cut or foreign body causing the lameness.


Aug 27, 2012

Our busy lives can often involve stress. Can our pets experience stress? The answer is, sure they can. In cats, we may see them scratching at objects more, constant licking or chewing, voiding outside of their litter box, aggressive attitude and crying at night. In dogs, we see destructive chewing at objects, constant licking or chewing at their bodies, aggressive attitudes toward people or other animals, inappropriate house soiling and separation anxiety.

If you notice any of these changes, get your pet an exam and tests. If the results are normal, we have to address the behavior(s). Most vets carry thundershirts, a calming apparel, for your anxious pet. Also, the veterinarian will discuss pheromone treatment for their anxiety. 


Aug 13, 2012

Just this week, a sweet kitty named Sashi came in with a severe case of “boogeritis”. This poor cat was putting out booger balls the size of large worms. Upper respiratory tract disease is common in our feline friends.

There are many causes, such as viruses (herpes, calici), bacteria, yeast, or fungus. Allergies can also be the cause. We also need to check the feline leukemia and aids status. Sometimes there is a chance of polyps or cancers in the nasal passages. Even an abscessed tooth can lead to upper respiratory disease. Depending on the cause, there are many treatments. Once in a while, in spite of our extensive workups, the cause is unknown. So, it is best to get your cat to your vet to start a workup.


Aug 3, 2012

Never lose your pet with Pet Tracker, the GPS for your pet.  Call 321-254-1754 for details.


Jul 25, 2012

Hot summer days are a great time to bath our dogs outside. With outside temperatures in the mid 80’s to upper 90’s, the garden hose we use to bath our pets can get very hot. The temperature inside these hoses can reach 120. This water temperature can produce thermal scalding injury. These injuries can appear to be 2nd and 3rd degree burns. Please be careful in using these outdoor hoses. Always run the hose for awhile to allow the water to cool.
May the dog days of summer be a fun and safe time for you and your pets!


Jul 12, 2012

Lately, we have experienced a good number of missing pets. It is always a sad and traumatic situation for the pet owner and I’m sure, very anxious for the pet as well!

The first thing you should do is make sure that your pet is not missing, but maybe stuck in a closet or in the backyard. If this is not the case, call your shelter and veterinarian to let them know your pet is missing and to keep an eye out for them. Hopefully, your pet is microchipped so that they can be identified if found. Most of the chip companies can also put out an animal “Amber” alert.

Recently, at Sarno Animal Hospital, we have begun to carry Pet Trackers, a GPS collar that will tell you, via email or text, exactly where your dog or cat is anywhere in the U.S. They will show up on a map and it will even give you directions to get to them.


Jul 4, 2012

Many of us have seen the picture of the little boy sneaking his broccoli to his pet while mom isn’t watching and some of us may have even done it once or twice, but is it safe? The answer is “yes”. Cooked green vegetables, such as broccoli, green beans, and peas are okay to give your pet as a treat as long as they do not have sauces or heavy seasoning on them. While you are making a salad, it’s okay to share a piece of carrot with your pet. They like the texture and the crunchiness. Pumpkin, cooked not raw, is a good source of fiber and vitamin A and will help keep their GI tract moving. Another good source of fiber and vitamin A and C are apples. Just be sure that there are no seeds and that the core has been completely removed, as these should not be eaten by your pet. Cooked, boneless, skinless chicken or turkey can also be a special treat. Be sure this is not heavily seasoned and never give your dog the bones. These can splinter and cause severe damage to your pet.
Just remember, these foods are for special treats and should not be given as your pet’s regular diet. They should not exceed more than 5% of what they eat. The pet food that you normally feed has the right mixture of nutrients that your four legged friends need, so save these treats for when you want to say a special “love you”.


Jun 24, 2012

We are all tempted, at times, to slip our pets a little nibble from our plate. There are some foods that are okay to feed your dog, but there are also many that you need to avoid. These foods can be very dangerous for your pet. Ingesting them can cause everything from upset stomach to liver and/or kidney failure, and even death in some circumstances.
Chocolate – can stimulate your pet’s nervous system and cause serious, even life threatening, health problems
Tea/coffee – dogs have a high sensitivity to caffeine.
Onions/garlic – can cause damage to the red blood cells and may cause anemia and even death
Milk – dogs and cats can be lactose intolerant. This can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea and vomiting.
Grapes/raisins – even a small amount of these fruits can cause severe damage such as kidney failure, which can lead to death.
Fatty foods – foods such as deli meats, chicken and turkey skin, and sausage can cause pancreatitis.
Sweets – even if they like sweets, there is no nutritional benefit for your pet and they can cause diabetes.
Xylitol – artificial sweetener found in sugar-free gum, breath mints, some candy and baked goods. This can cause a sudden release of insulin and can cause shock and even liver failure.
Please call your veterinarian for more information and guidance.


Jun 11, 2012

Many times we receive calls asking us what owners can put on their dogs’ or cats’ eyes, as they seem to be squinting and tearing a lot. The answer, unfortunately, cannot be made without the veterinarian examining the eye. Evaluating the general appearance of the whole eye is crucial in determining what needs to be done. One test that we always perform is the fluorescein eye test. This is a stain test that we place on the surface of the eye (cornea). If the fluorescein stain remains after flushing the eye, this indicates to us that there is an ulcer or erosion of the cornea. The treatment is then geared to an antibiotic solution or ointment or the patients’ own plasma to help heal these deficits. Also, something for pain is given to the patient. Care of non-healing ulcers may be referred to a veterinary eye specialist.

Please call your veterinarian for more information and guidance.


Jun 4, 2012

Sometimes our patients can be very small. They could even fit in the palm of your hand. They are sometimes referred to as “pocket pets”. These include gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters and guinea pigs. They all have their own unique husbandry. Most require clean bedding to be on and this should be changed frequently. Actually, pelleted newspaper works the best, as a lot of saw dust and corn cob substrates harbor bacteria and fungus. Improper bedding and poor hygiene can lead to infected skin and feet. If you notice infections are developing, remove your pet from this environment and place them in a clean box with clean newspaper. Get them to our vet, who will then choose the appropriate measures and antibiotics to help you little friend. Please call your veterinarian for more information and guidance.

If you have any general questions regarding your pet, call Dr. Ponte at 321-254-1754.


Jun 1, 2012

When I was a young lad in college, I read James Herriot’s book, “All Creatures Great and Small”. These English veterinary tales made me wonder about my future medical career. Originally, I wanted to be an M.D., but because of my love of animals and Mr. Herriot’s stories, I changed my quest from becoming a medical doctor to a veterinarian. In the eighth grade, I knew I wanted to become a doctor after receiving the school’s science award. Looking back now, even though we vets don’t get financially rewarded as much as our human doctor colleagues, the joy of helping the animals and their parents is more than enough reward. So, when you visit the other family doctor, your veterinarian, remember that they chose a calling along with a career. Please call your veterinarian for more information and guidance.


May 22, 2012

We, as your family doctor, take care of your beloved pets in sickness and in health with preventative medicine. Your veterinarian is the other family physician. Lately, it seems that there has been local reports of non-veterinarians charading as doctors for your pets. Reports have recently come to light regarding this with mobile vaccine practices. Also, I have clients who tell me that with some non-mobile clinics, there has been no doctor examining their pet prior to vaccinations, especially with rabies administration, which is a Florida State law! They may also use a veterinary technician, instead of a doctor, for an exam. This, too, is not legal.

Please, ask if your pet is seeing a veterinarian at the time of their vaccines and check the lobby/receptionist area for a state, county, and/or city license for that veterinarian. If it is a veterinary establishment, check for a premise permit also. Don’t be lured in by low vaccine prices, as your beloved pet may not be getting an exam by a licensed doctor.

Please contact your family veterinarian for further help and guidance.

If you have any general questions regarding your pet, contact Dr. Ponte at 321-254-1754


May 7, 2012

“Ouch, that hurts.” Something that our patients just can’t say to us. Pain comes from disease, trauma, or surgery. We can tell when we are hurting or our kids tell us what hurts. How can we tell when our pets are in pain? Here are some helpful signs to look for in dogs. They may appear afraid and submissive. They may cry or whimper and have shallow breaths with abdominal breathing patterns. They may have their ears pinned back and may walk with a hunched back. They may also growl and bite if a particular area is sore to the touch. Be careful when you are transporting them to the veterinarian. It’s a good idea to muzzle them at this time. Please call your veterinarian for more information and guidance.


Apr 19, 2012

“Got to go, got to go!” “Where’s the bathroom?” Our patients, unfortunately, have the same issues. A urinary tract infection can lead to cats going outside the litter box or dogs having accidents near the door. The first thing our clients usually think of is a bad behavior starting to develop. However, the first thing that we have to check is if the pet has a UTI (urinary tract infection). Of course, there are other causes, such as urinary incontinence or congenital defects in the urinary tract system. Most of the time, in both young and adult pets, it will be an infection. Sometimes there will be urinary stones anywhere from the kidneys to the bladder.

A sample of urine from your dog is not too hard to get unless they are low riders. Try a disposable Tupperware type top to collect these samples. Cats, on the other hand, will require non-absorbable pellets in their litter box without regular litter. Or the cat can be dropped off at the hospital. A cystocentesis is the best, but has to be performed in the exam room.


Mar 27, 2012

Those Easter lilies are beautiful, but can be deadly to cats. All parts of the lily plant, including the pollen, are highly toxic to our feline friends. The initial symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea. Then, after a short period of time, renal failure can occur and possible death.

The good news is that the damage can be reversed if you get your kitty to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Oral decontamination and IV fluids can help reverse the renal damage in most cases.

So, have a Happy Easter and keep the kitties with a healthy, playful hop in their step and away from the lilies.

Consult your veterinarian for more information.


Feb 14, 2012

At least a few times a week, owners will ask us if their pet is suffering. How do they know if it is time to humanely put them to sleep? We ask them about their pets’ quality of life at home. One criteria we use: has your pet given up on eating, especially their favorite human food? This is not a good sign. Can they get up to eat and go to the bath room? If the answer to these questions is “no”, then they are suffering. If they cannot maintain proper hygiene, their mobility is greatly affected and no pain medication can help, then we must make sure that they do not live under these conditions.

Remember, all throughout their lives they gave us unconditional love. When you see these signs, and with the help of your family veterinarian, you can return that love to them in the end. Please call your veterinary team for help during these times.


Jan 30, 2012

Have you seen Fido shaking his head a lot lately? How about Little Kitty scratching at her ears incessantly? In dogs, ear irritations are usually caused by allergies. This could be allergies to food or anything out there in nature. The most common ear problem in cats is due to ear mites with secondary infection.

Once the causative agent(s) initiate the ear issues, usually next to follow is the infection of the ear canals and flaps. As the irritations progress, the dog can violently shake his head and even produce a swollen ear flap called a hematoma. Cats scratching at the ear flaps can produce wounds to the flaps and also an aural hematoma.

We also see more ear problems with the floppy eared dogs as compared to the breeds with erect ears. Prevention is the key to preventing the ear issues from occurring or progressing to permanent ear damage or loss of hearing.
Please contact your veterinarian for further information.


Jan 3, 2012

Food allergy and intolerance has been recognized in people and animals for many years. Foods can cause an immune reaction or toxic effect on the body. In dogs and cats, it can lead to itchy skin and/or gastrointestinal signs such as diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain! Up to 15% of dogs and 10% of cats with skin or ear disorders can be caused by food allergies. Also, food allergies can occur as early as 3 months of age and start as late as 14 years of age. Some of our pets may have combined allergies such as atopy, flea allergies, and food allergies.

Your veterinarian will eliminate other causes of itching, hair loss, and skin infections, first. If these tests are negative, your veterinarian will recommend a food trial with a unique protein source or hydrolyzed diets. Please contact your veterinarian for more information.

Michael J. Ponte, DVM
Sarno Animal Hospital
1029 Sarno Road
Melbourne, Fl. 32935

If you have general health questions regarding your pet, call Dr. Ponte at 321-254-1754

Read 2011 Tails From The Vet