Understanding your pet’s digestive health!

As the holiday season approaches, it’s important to be mindful of potential gastrointestinal (GI) issues that can affect our beloved pets. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), upset stomachs rank as the third most common reason for veterinary visits. With tempting table food and increased stress levels during this time, it’s crucial to keep an eye out for any symptoms that might indicate GI distress in our furry friends.

What to look out for

If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, give us a call at 607-756-4240:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea (may have blood or mucus)
  • Weight loss
  • Less appetite than usual or missing overall
  • Fever
  • Dehydration or not drinking water
  • Abdominal pain or distension

What are some common causes?

Digestive issues in pets can have many different causes. Some of the most common causes are food-related, stress-related, and intestinal blockages.

Food-related digestive issues in pets often stem from their curious nature, leading them to consume things they shouldn’t, whether it’s table scraps or unexpected sidewalk snacks. Abrupt changes in your pet’s diet can also trigger digestive disturbances. To ease this transition, we recommend gradually introducing new food over one to two weeks, allowing your pet to adjust.

While food-related digestive issues are relatively common, ranging from mild to severe symptoms, there are steps you can take to promote your pet’s well-being. If you notice any concerning signs, don’t hesitate to give us a call. At Crossroads Veterinary Clinic, our team is here to provide the care your pet deserves.

Stress can also be a factor in your pet’s upset stomach. The holidays can be a time of increased stress for pets, as the festivities often disrupt their routine, whether they’re traveling with their families, staying in boarding facilities, or hosting visitors at home. All these things affect your pet’s daily routine, leading to heightened stress levels. Increased stress can take a toll on your pet’s appetite and eating habits, occasionally resulting in digestive issues.

Intestinal Blockages are another common GI issue that pets suffer from. These obstructions, also referred to as foreign bodies, prevent food from passing through the digestive tract. While some blockages may result from factors like hernias or cancerous masses, the majority stem from pets ingesting non-edible items. The array of inedible items that can lead to these blockages is diverse, ranging from small toy fragments and plush toy stuffing to sticks, small rocks, and even household items like socks or blankets.

If you know your pet likes to chew up toys, blankets, sticks, etc., restricted access and supervised playtime can significantly reduce the chances of your pet ingesting these items.

Intestinal blockages can be very serious and can quickly turn life-threatening. Symptoms may include severe vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and potential damage to the intestines. In the event of a blockage, prompt veterinary attention is essential. X-rays of your pet’s abdomen will be conducted, and the veterinarian will decide whether surgical intervention is necessary to safely remove the obstructing item. How to know if it’s an Emergency Situation:

Because upset stomachs are common in pets, it can be hard to know what is or isn’t an emergency. We always recommend giving us a call if you have any concerns! Some signs that you may need to seek veterinary care are:

  • Regardless of age, but especially if your pet is a young puppy or kitten, or an older senior, an upset stomach could be a sign of an underlying health problem and should be taken seriously if the issue persists.
  • Your pet starts exhibiting lethargy, fever, dehydration, or abdominal pain
  • Your pet is suffering from continuous vomiting or diarrhea

To ensure the well-being of our pets during the holiday season, it’s important to be proactive. Avoid giving them table scraps and keep them away from harmful substances. Minimize stress by providing a safe and quiet space for them to retreat to. If you notice any symptoms of GI issues, consult your veterinarian for proper guidance and treatment.

Remember, a little vigilance and care can go a long way in keeping our furry companions happy and healthy throughout the holiday festivities.


Welcome to Dr. Lauren Jacobsen!

We are proud and happy to warmly welcome Dr. Lauren Jacobsen to Crossroads!

Dr. Lauren Jacobsen graduated with her DVM from University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign in 2008. Following graduation, she completed an equine surgical and medical internship in Arizona. She entered general practice and focused primarily on equine medicine for 8 years. In 2016, she transitioned to companion animal medicine, moved to upstate New York, and has been here ever since. She particularly enjoys ophthalmology, which is the study of eye health and eye diseases. The most rewarding part of medicine for her is being able to witness the bond between her clients and their pets. She joined Crossroads Veterinary Clinic in March 2021. Her other interests include swimming, hiking, skiing, camping, and paddle boarding.


Welcome Dr. Thorne!

Dr. Thorne comes to us from the Greater Toronto Area in Canada. She graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Biomedical Science and a minor in Neuroscience from the University of Guelph in 2015. After that she attended vet school on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts and Nevis at Ross University. As much as she enjoyed island life, she fell in love with upstate NY while completing her clinical year at Cornell University and has been practicing here since her graduation in May 2019. Dr. Thorne’s professional interests include orthopedic disease management and dermatology. She also enjoys seeing pocket pets (rabbits, rodents and ferrets). She currently lives in Homer, NY with her boyfriend Brock, their German Shepherd Kenai, and their Saint Bernard Kala. When she’s not in the office, Dr. Thorne enjoys Crossfit workouts, visiting the beautiful NY wineries, and hiking the Adirondacks with her fur kids. 


Introducing Dr. Michele Best-Hall

We’d like to introduce you to our new doctor, Dr. Michele Best-Hall! She joined us in June 2020. We will introduce our second new doctor, Dr. Meghan Thorne, in the very near future. She joined us in July of this year.

Dr. Best-Hall grew up in the Hudson Valley and graduated from Cornell University with her bachelor’s degree in biology in 2014. After graduation, she spent one year at the National Institutes of Health doing neuroscience research, and the following year even further from home, teaching English to children in Jinan, China. After some time away, she was more than ready to return to Central New York, where she completed her DVM at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2020. She lives in Ithaca with her husband, toddler daughter, two mutts (one that was a stray in China and found his way into her suitcase), and a flock of chickens. She is extremely excited to join the Crossroads team!



COVID-19 Status – March 18, 2020

In order to limit contact and maintain social distancing, we are providing car-side service and ask that people not enter our building. If you have an appointment, please call us from the parking lot and we will come out and get your pet for an exam. We will communicate with you by phone.

We are rescheduling all routine appointments in an effort limit contact. Please bear with us at this time.

I want to reiterate, please DO NOT come to the clinic if you are sick at all. If you have a fever, if you are coughing, have a scratchy or sore throat, please don’t come. If your pet urgently needs to be seen, send a healthy friend or neighbor.

We are trying to handle some minor medical issues over the phone as much as we can.

Let’s all try to stay healthy and keep our immunocompromised friends and relatives and our older family members and friends safe.


Our Newly Redesigned Site!

I hope you enjoy our newly redesigned site!  Let us know if you have any article suggestions or questions you’d like answered in this blog area.  Questions about animal health or behavior?  Something you’ve always been wondering?  We’d love to pen some articles to help you understand your furry family member better!


Problem Scratching in Cats

Scratching Behavior in Cats

What do you do if your adult cat is scratching up your furniture?  There are many possible ways to help curb this behavior.


Simon, showing off his new post


First, you should clip your cat’s nails every other week.  This keeps them blunt and makes it less likely that your cat will damage items.  Cat nails are not hard to clip.  Here’s a great video that will help you learn how to do this, and if you are still having trouble, ask one of the doctors or technicians to demonstrate how to clip nails at your next wellness visit.

Second, get some scratching posts.  A variety of posts is best.  Some cats prefer the cardboard scratchers that are available at most pet stores.  Other cats like sisal posts, as pictured above, and others prefer carpet.  Scratchers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, materials and positions.  Some cats prefer to scratch by stretching upward and others prefer to scratch on a flat surface.  You should be able to help determine what your cat’s preferences are by how he’s scratching now.  If he, like Simon above, likes to scratch vertically, you will find that he scratches on things like walls, couch sides, etc.  Choose a post that mimicks his scratching preferences, and ideally, offer more than one post in different positions and types.    Place the post within close proximity to the area that he’s unfavorably scratching.  Scent your scratching post with catnip, if he likes it.  Make the area he’s currently scratching unfavorable by putting double-sided sticky tape on it, or covering it with an object or blocking his access to it.

If you are still having trouble after trying these things, you can come in and ask for one of the technicians to help you apply Soft Paws to your cat’s nails.  Not all cats will leave them on, but if they will, they do help decrease destructive scratching by capping the sharp nail with a blunt artificial one.

Other generally good things to do to help minimize problem scratching are to keep your cat amused by playing with him at least 10 minutes daily, giving him things to look at (bird feeders, cat TV) and by giving him amusing toys or even food puzzles like the Slim Cat Ball.

Feel free to call the office if you have any questions about your cat’s scratching.

More information and a great video on the subject is here:

Managing Destructive Scratching


Breeding your dog?

O. Denise McGinnis

Although breeding your pet and raising puppies (or kittens) can be a fun and rewarding experience, it is also expensive, time consuming, and a great deal of work.  Here is a short summary of things you should be aware of if you are thinking of breeding your dog.

It is very important that your dog is properly vaccinated and de-wormed before coming into heat and that you get adequate prenatal checkups before the actual delivery day.  We recommend that only pets with good personalities (i.e. NO aggressive/dominant, shy tendencies) and who are healthy be bred.  If you are not sure that your pet meets these criteria please make an appointment to have your pet evaluated by one of our veterinarians.  Certain breeds should have their hips and/or elbows checked at two years of age, prior to breeding, so as not to pass on genetic traits that can make life miserable for future generations.  There are additional health clearances that many breeds should pass, as well.  Some of these include thyroid testing, CERF (eye) checks by a veterinary ophthalmologist, BAER (hearing) tests, etc.  You should know what genetic problems are seen in your breed, so that you can have the appropriate tests performed at the appropriate time.

It has been shown in numerous studies that a dog does not have to breed or come into heat to live a happy, healthy life.  On the contrary, it is well proven that for females, the more heat cycles they go through the higher the chance of having breast cancer later in life.  Dogs who have had 3 or more heats are 26% more likely to get breast cancer.  It is therefore recommended to have them spayed as early as possible (4-6 months of age) or at least before their second heat.  Spaying before the first heat significantly reduces the risk of breast cancer, and some protective benefit is still conferred if the dog is spayed before the second heat.  Also, female dogs that are not spayed are at high risk of getting a life-threatening uterine infection (pyometra) which requires them to be spayed under emergency conditions.  This is far more costly and dangerous than spaying at a young age.

For male dogs, when they are no longer breeding, we suggest that you neuter them to decrease their chances of prostate & testicular problems.  Generally, spayed and neutered dogs are usually more content, happier, and make better household pets.

In order to know when your dog conceives, and hence the due date of your litter, it is imperative that you know exactly when she is ovulating during her “heat” cycle.  The only two ways to get this information is to either do serial vaginal cytologies once you notice that she is in heat, or to do blood tests to check her progesterone levels, or both.  Any other method makes it more difficult to monitor her for potential complications.

When your dog is in her sixth week of pregnancy we strongly suggest that you take her rectal temperature twice daily and graph it.  When the temperature drops by 1-2 degrees and stays down, you should expect delivery within 24 hours.  Not all dogs have a drop in temperature, however, which is why it is important to have their exact date of ovulation and hence the due date.  The last week before delivery we suggest a radiograph (X-ray) of the dog to determine the number of puppies.  This will tell us how many to expect and if we should prepare for possible problems with the puppies being too large to be delivered naturally.

Once she reaches week 7 (the third trimester) of her 9-week pregnancy it is important to change her diet to a high protein/high calcium diet.  We suggest a high quality puppy food (Science Diet, Nutro, Iams, Eukanuba, or Purina ProPlan).  Calcium is another important nutrient that pregnant dogs need to help them with their contractions and production of milk.

While most dogs will deliver normally and nurse their puppies without a hitch there are quite a few animals that do go through some complications, ranging from simple to serious and life threatening problems.  We strongly advise that you plan in advance for such emergencies.  The times to seek a veterinarian’s help are:  if the temperature drops and 24 hours later there is no sign of delivery, if the dog has delivered one or more puppies and two hours later the other puppies haven’t been delivered, if the bitch is in distress or there is copious amount of vaginal discharge, if a puppy is born dead, if the bitch starts to seizure or anything else that seems unusual.  Some animals may need an emergency C-section and the sooner this is determined the better the chances of delivering live puppies and with fewer complications for the mother.  C-sections can be costly and you should budget for one in case the need should arise.

Puppies should be kept with their “family” until they are at least 8 weeks old so that they can be socialized with their littermates.  We recommend that puppies start their vaccination series and de-worming between the ages of 6-8 weeks.

Letting your pet have a litter may not be in her best interest and the decision to breed should be seriously considered.  If you do decide to breed your dog we strongly encourage you to seek further information by contacting a breeder to mentor you and reading books on the subject.