Breast Cancer Awareness in St. Louis



October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is not a disease that discriminates. Women, men, dogs, and cats can all be victims. This year, the disease has hit the health care team at Heritage Veterinary Hospital in St. Louis. Technician Gina is undergoing chemo for breast cancer now. You might notice that Gina is only working a few days as she undertakes her battle. Gina, being Gina, has a smile on her face during the days that she feels well enough to be here working. Since Gina is only able to work a day or two during treatments, the Heritage health team has decided to spend the month of October raising awareness of breast cancer and to raise funds to offset some of the expenses occurred while Gina is unable to work.

On Saturday, October 17th, we will have a “NAIL-A-THON” starting at 1 p.m. Your pet’s nails will be trimmed by our volunteers for a donation of $10. We do require that your pet be current on its rabies vaccine and be on a leash no longer than 6 feet (leave the flexi leads at home) or in a carrier. Nails will not be filed.  If your pet normally needs sedation for nail trimming, we ask that you come to see us at another time. We will not be trimming birds or reptile nails.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Pic

In addition to our NAIL-A-THON event, we are featuring a “Prints of Hope” event, where you can stop in and purchase a paw print for $1. Put your name or the name of someone you love on the foot print and add to the “Prints of Hope” wall to show your support. The Heritage health team will also be holding a raffle October 31st, with calls to prize winners made the following week. Occasionally, in October, we will have a bake sale as well. Treats will be for humans and/or dogs. We will post on Facebook when the elves have been baking! Donations are being sought for the raffle, should you or your business care to make a donation. Donations will be posted on our webpage and on Facebook.

Please share this information with your family and friends. Also follow Heritage Veterinary Hospital on Facebook during the month of October. We will also have some new blogs on our website covering the subject of breast cancer in our pets. With your help, we can spread the word about breast cancer while helping our Gina.

Let’s make this happen!


Dr. Kim Sanford, Dr. Frank McLaughlin, Dr. Kelvin Urday, Dr. Grace Long, Katy, Meagan, Diane, Amber,

Lynn, Molly, Nancy, Jenn, Braiden, Lou, Mutz, and Niki

Zoonotic Diseases

In 64 million American household’s pets are a source of joy and perhaps even the key to longer, healthier lives. However, pet-owning households with young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems need to be aware that their animals can play host to disease-causing microorganisms.

Humans are not likely to catch a disease through their pets, but in very rare cases it can happen. Fortunately, most of these diseases rarely occur in healthy individuals, are mild and can be easily treated. Others, like toxoplasmosis, can be far more serious. Diseases transmitted from animals to humans are called zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases usually live out their complex life cycles in animals, but sometimes cross into human bodies. Usually contracting a pet-borne disease requires very close contact with animals or their excretions, so zoonotic diseases can be avoided with common sense, cleanliness and regular pet examinations and vaccinations.

Children often put their hands in their mouths, providing an easy route for bacteria to travel into their bodies. For example, children who eat dirt are more susceptible to contracting zoonotic diseases. Children also are more susceptible to pet-borne illness because they carry fewer antibodies than adults do. The same holds true for puppies and kittens, making them more likely to carry disease than older dogs and cats.

Although the chances of getting a zoonotic disease from your pet are slim, these are some common pet-borne illnesses that can make people sick:


This bacteria generally makes its way into human bodies through contaminated food. The bacteria can be passed through animal feces and may cause symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea and exhaustion.


Roundworm eggs and microscopic adult worms can be excreted in the feces of dogs and cats infected by the worms. Children may be at a higher risk for contracting roundworms because they play near pets or touch infected feces and put their hands into their mouths. Because of the risk to children, all cats and dogs should be taken to their veterinarians for regular fecal examinations. Also remember to cover all sandboxes when not in use to prevent children from contacting contaminated feces. Symptoms can include fever, cough, loss of appetite, weakness and lung congestion.



Cat Scratch Fever

This bacteria is usually transmitted from cats to humans through scratches. The bacteria is found on nails or claws and can cause high fever, loss of appetite, weakness and swollen lymph nodes. In otherwise healthy people, Cat Scratch Fever is usually mild and resolves itself. However, the bacteria caused by Cat Scratch Fever can be extremely dangerous or even fatal if left untreated in immune-compromised individuals. It’s important for these pet owners to tell their doctors they own a cat. Young children should be sure to wash scratches thoroughly with soap and water.

Strep Throat

Though your pet is probably not the culprit bringing strep into your household each year, the possibility does exist. Recently, researchers have found that it’s more likely that people are infecting their pets. In any case, keep your children from kissing, licking or exchanging food by mouth with their pets.

A fungal infection of the skin, hair or nails, ringworm starts as a rapidly spreading hairless, circular lesion. Humans can be infected through use of contaminated objects like hair brushes, towels or clothing or by contact with infected animals like cats, dogs, mice, rats and guinea pigs.


Also called sarcoptic mange, scabies is a skin disease caused by itch mites which burrow under the skin. Scabies cause intense itching and scratching that can result in severe eczema. Humans can be infected through contact with infected animals.

The most effective way to prevent zoonotic diseases and ensure your good health is to ensure good health for your pets. This means taking your pet to the veterinarian for regular exams and vaccinations. Most pet owners find that by following their veterinarian’s nutritional and health recommendations, their pets will lead happy, healthy lives with little risk of zoonotic infections.