Dr. Cranfill Discusses Oral Health


Just imagine: You don’t brush your teeth for 1 week; how gross would they be? Now think about your dog that NEVER brushes its teeth.

8 out of 10 dogs that walk in our door have periodontal disease. That means pain, infection, and some degree of tooth decay that results from the bacterial growth that is constantly occurring in the mouth.  Many dogs need tooth extractions at early ages to relieve pain from this disease. Often dogs don’t show signs of this pain, but when the disease is treated they feel much better. 

Up until now we have had trouble maintaining dental health between dental cleanings because owners have a hard time brushing their dog’s teeth, but we are happy to announce that we now carry Oravet chews! This is a great new product that contains Demopinol, an ingredient used by dentists in human oral rinses that prevents plaque and tartar accumulation. This ingredient leaves a protective coating on the teeth that repels the food debris and sugars from the food that feed bacteria. The chews also help to mechanically remove plaque and tartar as they are being chewed. Dogs love them, and when given once a day they can make a significant impact on oral health. Your dog will still need annual dental evaluation but when these chews are given regularly, they help to kill the bacteria that cause dental disease.  We are excited by the prospect of minimizing the damage done to our patients’ mouths throughout the year from dental to dental.

Periodontal disease can lead to heart, kidney, and other systemic diseases, not to mention the pain that it causes. So the first step in bettering your dog’s health is to get dental evaluation, and now is a good time to do that. February is National Pet Dental Health Month! After your free dental assessment, we will be able to get you scheduled for a cleaning. Please call our office at (870) 425-5175 if you have any questions and to schedule your pet’s assessment. Let’s start this year off right with better-than-ever dental hygiene!



Dr. Erin Cranfill graduated from Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2003. For a full bio, visit http://allcreaturesmh.com/cranfill.html


Heartworms – The Scoop

Sarah Shedenhelm, DVM, discusses the importance of regular prevention and testing for this deadly disease.


“Heartworms are parasites that live in the hearts of dogs and (rarely) cats. There’s much to be said about this complex disease, but what I really want to stress today is the importance of using prevention all year round and regularly testing for heartworm disease.

Why use prevention  year round?

Heartworms are transmitted by being bitten by mosquitoes.  In our area, we see mosquitoes all year round, making it especially important to keep your dog protected. Especially with the recent mild fall and winter, mosquitoes have been a problem.

If I give my dog heartworm prevention every month, why do I need the test?

So you’re doing everything  you’re  supposed to do, giving your dog his heartworm preventive every month, on time, regularly. Wonderful! But the unfortunate fact is, using heartworm prevention is still not a 100% guarantee that your dog is safe from these parasites.  Heartworm resistance has been a problem in the Delta region for several years, and now we are seeing it right here in Mountain Home. We need to test for heartworms at least once a year to make sure they aren’t sneaking in on us. Because there are no symptoms for some time after infection, you can’t just look at your dog and know that he has heartworms. The only way to tell if your dog has them is to do a blood test. The test we use at All Creatures is simple, easy to read, and we get results within 10 minutes. Another good thing about our test is that it also screens for 3 tick-borne diseases, so you get more bang for your buck. Our clients really like the broader results from our combo test. Like so many other diseases, the sooner we catch this one, the more successful treatment is.

So what if my dog does have heartworms?

As I said earlier, in the early stages of the disease, there are no noticeable signs. As the disease progresses, the most recognizable sign is coughing. We have a 3 stage grading system for the progress of the disease, and by the time your dog is showing clinical signs, he will be at stage 2. If your dog is diagnosed with heartworms, there is treatment available! The treatment isn’t without risk, but is far less risky than not treating at all. I have seen this disease make dogs very, very sick and die. You can imagine:  The heart pumps 70-100 beats per minute, over and over again, all day long, and there’s  a clump of worms the size of an acorn thumping around in there every single beat. That’s a miserable way to live.

This is a deadly disease. If your dog gets heartworms and you choose not to treat, he could live for several years, but he will eventually die from heart failure caused by the parasites. 

There’s no immunity to this disease, so even after treating for heartworms, if you don’t continue prevention, your dog can get them again.

Let’s talk dollars and cents.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care. It’s going to cost you around $12 a month to prevent the disease, opposed to about $1000 for diagnostics, hospitalization, and treatment of the disease. Or you could think of it like this: 7 yrs of prevention is the same cost as one treatment!

We are always happy to educate our clients; if you have any questions about this or any other disease, please let us answer them for you! Together we can come up with the best plan for your pup to keep him safe and healthy.”




Dr. Shedenhelm graduated from Louisiana State University in 2014 . For a full biography, follow the link below.




Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season

Dr. Sarah Sexton shares a message about pet holiday safety.

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas! It’s the best time of the year!!  It’s a time to celebrate the greatest gift of all through baking, giving of gift, and sharing time with our friends and family. Many families also include their pets in their various festivities. However, there are many precautions you can take to ensure that the season is safe for both you and your furry family members. Here are a few things to consider:



  • Electrocution Keep all cords out of reach of pets- especially puppies. Puppies tend to be the most curious and doglightsare exploring everything in the world with their mouths.





  • Foreign body ingestion (aka: eating your Christmas ornaments and decorations)– This is most often seen in cats and puppies. So, if your pet starts vomiting be on the lookout for broken or missing decorations (including tinsel).


  • Pancreatitis or other Gastrointestinal diseases– I know it is tempting to share thedog-stealing-food-jpg-838x0_q80 fruitcake and fudge with your furry family member but DON’T DO IT! Their body is not made to digest these fats and sugars and can lead to vomiting and diarrhea that can become severe and even life threatening.


  • Cold weatherFor those of us who have pets that prefer the outdoors make sure that they have a warm shelter that is easily accessible for them. Also, be sure that their water remains thawed and accessible.

frozendogFor those who go out merely to relieve themselves or for a brief breath of fresh air, be aware of ice melting products and antifreeze.  If an ice melting product has been used please wipe your pets’ feet off immediately after a trip outside.  These products could be licked and be yet another reason for Gastrointestinal upset.  Antifreeze ingestion can cause kidney shutdown!

  • ATTACK, ATTACK!– Here’s the scenario: For Christmas dinner you are going over to Aunt Margie’s house who has Great Dane that lives indoors.  You want to bring along your little poodle that the Great Dane has never met before.  Poodle thinks she’s going to show Great Dane who is boss.  Great Dane, with one echoing bark and snap shows poodle that this is his house and poodle better back off.  You are now rushing poodle into the veterinary ER to- at the least- clean and mend a few wounds, at the most- attempt to save Poodle’s life.

This sounds a little dramatic, but it happens all too often.dogfight.jpg  Be aware that pets can be territorial. Please discuss with family members before deciding whether or not to bring your pets with you to another home.  If boarding your furry friend turns out to be the best option please make sure you plan ahead and make your reservations before there is no room in the inn.


Dr. Sexton graduated from Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008. For a full bio of Dr. Sexton, click the link below.


An Early Christmas Gift

This is Travis. Travis is an 8-year-old dachshund. In his younger days, he loved to compete in obedience trials. Around Thanksgiving, Travis’ family found him lying in the yard, unable to move his hind end. They brought him in to All Creatures, and upon examination he was diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease. Travis began treatment for his condition and slowly began responding to medications prescribed by Dr. Wendy Smith as part of his treatment plan. Sadly, there is no cure for Travis’ condition; his owners can only hope to manage his pain and give him the best quality of life they can. Last Friday, Travis’ family dropped him off to be fitted for a wheelchair. He spent the day with us getting used to his new legs, and at the end of the day, the dog’s owners were greeted by a peppy, mobile pup!

        The wheelchair that gave this patient the Christmas gift of mobility was donated to our hospital by a family with a special story of their own. Baltazar, the unlikely hero of our story, was  a boston terrier who was born lame and lived only 9 short months. After his passing, his family donated his wheelchair to All Creatures in hopes of helping another family in need.

         What a pleasure it is to work with these dear clients who are willing to share their stories to brighten our holiday season!

In Loving Memory of Baltazar

“He only lived 9 months, but he touched our hearts like no other.”

-Matt and Karen, Baltazar’s owners

A Bald Eagle Rescue

On Monday, November 14, Dr. Conner received a call from Officer Lyndel Crownover with the AGFC; a bald eagle had been found on the Norfork River and was in need of medical attention. According to the the Wildlife Officer, the eagle was sickly and unable to fly. Using our digital XRAY machine, Dr. Conner and All Creatures technician Mounir discovered a broken shoulder. Dr. Conner immediately began treatment. At first, the patient was in too much pain to eat, but after a few days of regular temptation with fresh trout donated by our local fish hatchery, he slowly began to regain his appetite. After weeks of expert medical treatment, confinement (to prevent further damage to the injured shoulder), and a healthy diet, this All Creatures patient took his leave from our hospital earlier this morning. Around 9 a.m. Officer Doug Small transported this fiesty, rejuvenated bald eagle to a bluff along the Norfork River, and released him back into the wild.   

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 J.R.R. Tolkien “Farewell,” they cried, “Wherever you fare till your eyries receive you at the journey’s end!” That is the polite thing to say among eagles.”May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks,”answered Gandalf, who knew the correct reply.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Annotated Hobbit: The Hobbit, Or, There and Back Again


Chronic Wasting Disease – The Scoop


“CWD is a neurological (brain and nervous system) disease found in deer, elk, moose and other members of the deer family. It is similar to mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep. The disease belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or prion diseases. It is 100 percent fatal.”

-Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Wendy Smith, DVM, provides answers to frequently asked questions relating to the most recent disease plaguing our wildlife, Chronic Wasting Disease  (commonly referred to as “CWD“).

Q: Have there been any cases of CWD in our area?

A: As of today, it has not been seen in Baxter county to our knowledge. We are actively looking for the disease in this part of the county. 

Q: How can we test our deer for CWD?

A: Bring your deer head in to ACVH on Highway 62 East, between Mountain Home and Gassville. We test lymph tissue. We will not damage deer heads that owners would like to mount. To get a good sample, we need the head and 3 vertebrae past the head. The specimen can be refrigerated or frozen. We thaw to get the sample. We can then refreeze at the owner’s request. (It costs $30 to have your deer tested.)

Q:  How soon do we get results?

A: The samples are sent to outside laboratories.  It takes 4-6 weeks to get results.

Q: Should I be concerned about the disease affecting my family or my other pets?

A: Venison tested positive for CWD is not known to be harmful to eat, and other pets are unaffected by the disease.

 Q: Why should I bring a sample in?

A: The more samples we collect, the more we can learn about the disease and help prevent its spread.




Dr. Wendy Smith graduated from Louisiana State University, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. For a full biography, visit