Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Dr. Hanson live here and not in Hawaii?

This seems to be the most frequently asked question from anyone who has been on our website! The short answer: she was born in CT, both of her parents are from New England, and she has always vacationed on the East Coast. People in California were a little odd, and Hawaii is very expensive. She appreciates the opportunity to go back to Hawaii for visits, but the Boston area has become home.

What type of pet would best fit into my household?

We would be happy to talk about you and your family, in order to help you determine what type of pet would best suit your lifestyle. Please call or fill out the appointment form to schedule a time.

I have decided on a dog; can you help me figure out what type is best for me?

Again, we would love to help with this decision. Personality varies widely among the different breeds and ages of dogs, and this should be taken into consideration before purchasing a pet. If you need advice, we would love to talk with you.

What are your vaccine protocols?

We are gradually switching over to three year distemper vaccinations for both dogs and cats. We are using Merck vaccines, which are the only ones actually labelled for 3-year use. Feline leukemia vaccines (recommended for outdoor cats) are labelled for 2-year use. We still recommend vaccinating annually for Lyme and Leptospirosis for those dogs at risk; we are happy to discuss vaccine recommendations for your individual pet at the time of visit.

What type of prescription diets do you carry?

We carry a variety of prescription foods from Hill's/Science Diet, Purina, and Royal Canin. Sometimes pets will not eat one brand of food; we can always refund your money and offer another appropriate diet. Please note that prescription diets are only sold to current patients or those with current prescriptions from another veterinarian.

My pet is very itchy. Do you offer allergy testing?

We do offer allergy testing through the VARL laboratory. Studies have shown that this is not a valid way to test for food allergies, however, so we only offer the inhalant/contact allergen testing. (The test is done by submitting blood, and does not require anesthesia.) Contact us for more information.

Do you offer genetic testing?

There are a number of genetic tests available for diseases now, particularly in dogs. Some of these can be performed at home, using a cheek swab. However, we are also happy to help with this in the clinic. We are not currently offering genetic tests to determine the make-up of mixed breed dogs, as a recent article in the New York Times showed that these tests are not proven.

What do you recommend to treat a pet that has been skunked?

There is a commercially available product called Skunk-Off. You can also make a home remedy: mix together 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 1 Tbsp of liquid dish soap. Leave this on the pet for 10-15 minutes, then rinse it off. Be careful not to get either product into the eyes. Also, be aware that the home remedy may bleach black pets.

How do I remove a tick?

Ticks can be removed using a tweezer. They should be grasped at the head (closest to the pet's body), and then genttly pulled off. If the tick breaks, the body will eventually extrude the head; contrary to common belief, the head will not continue to burrow into the pet. Burning the tick off is not recommended. There are a variety of devices that are also available to remove ticks.

Can I get Lyme disease from my dog?

No. Lyme disease is transmitted directly from infected ticks. The tick has to attach for 24 hours in order to transmit Lyme. However, people and their dogs are generally in the same areas; if a dog comes up positive for Lyme, household members should be checking themselves for ticks. At Burlington Animal Clinic, we check dogs yearly for exposure to Lyme and two other tick diseases (Ehrlichia and Anaplasma).

Help! My pet got skunked. How do I get rid of the smell?

A simple remedy is to mix 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 1-2 teaspoons of Dawn dish detergent in a bucket. Sponge this onto the pet. Be careful not to get this into the eyes, if you are applying it around the head. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, and then rinse it off. This should help significantly with the smell.

Do you offer vaccine titer testing?

We do. We send this test out to Cornell University. Results take about two weeks to come back, but are quantified (there is a number, not just a positive or negative result).

What is the MDR-1 gene?

This gene causes problems with a variety of medications, and is why Collies can�t take high doses of ivermectin. It is most common in Collies, followed by herding breeds, but can also be present in mixed breeds. It is easy to test for this gene; you can send away a cheek swab sample.

Where do you send your thyroid tests?

We usually send dog panels to Michigan State. They run a variety of tests, including a T4, T3, free T4, and autoantibody test. In addition, all of our samples are evaluated by an endocrinologist. Again, results take about two weeks to come back, but are very accurate.