Pet Wellness:Dental & Oral Care
Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets. Without proper preventive or home care, plaque and tartar can build up, which may cause oral infections, bad breath, infected gum tissues (gingivitis) or even bone loss (periodontitis).
Did You Know?
It's not normal for your pet to have bad breath – it can be a sign of serious dental or gum issues.
Sixty percent of dental disease is hidden below the gum line, and can only be found with x-rays. Brush your pet's teeth regularly and check with your veterinarian about screenings, cleanings and products available to help keep those pearly whites clean.
Pet Wellness:Lab Tests
Yearly lab tests are safe and non-invasive ways to diagnose and prevent sickness or injuries in pets that a physical exam cannot detect.
Pet Wellness:Parasite Prevention
Prevention is the best approach in protecting your pet against deadly heartworms, intestinal parasites, and flea and tick infestations. Your veterinarian will help you find the product that is right for your pet based on his or her needs.
Just like humans, an animal's diet directly affects its overall health and well-being. Allowing a pet to overeat, or to consume the wrong foods, may lead to a wide variety of ailments including obesity, diabetes and arthritis.
Did You Know?
Over 50% of dogs and cats in the United States are obese or overweight.
Although we think of our pets as family members, they shouldn’t be allowed to eat like us. Maintaining a proper diet will help keep your pet at a healthy weight. Be sure not to overfeed, and that you are providing a diet tailored to your pet's breed, age, weight and medical history.
Common Foods To Avoid
Think twice about feeding your pet table scraps. Common foods such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions and garlic could be dangerous to an animal. Some non-food items like lily plants and antifreeze are also toxic to pets. Check with your veterinarian if your pet has ingested anything questionable.
Growing puppies and kittens need more nutrient-dense food than adults. Ask your veterinarian which food is right for this stage of life. Cats switch to an adult diet right after being spayed or neutered, no matter what the age, to decrease the likelihood of obesity and related conditions.
Selecting an adult dog or cat food that will keep your pet healthy and energetic starts with knowing your pet's lifestyle. Does your dog weigh just the right amount and go for long walks daily? Or is it a lap dog that loves nothing more than to snooze the day away? Talk to your veterinarian about these issues to help guide you in choosing the best food for your pet.
Your senior dog or cat may need fewer calories, less fat, and more fiber as he or she ages. Many older pets can continue eating the food they always have – just a little less to compensate for not being as active. Check with your veterinarian which food and amount is best for your pet.
Pet Wellness:Spaying & Neutering
Spaying or neutering can protect your pet from serious health and behavioral problems later in life. It also helps control the stray animal population.
Spaying or Neutering Reduces the Risk of...
Known as a pyometra, this is a potentially life-threatening condition which can be very expensive to treat. It is 100% preventable if your pet is spayed.
Mammary Tumors (Breast Cancer)
Over one-half of all mammary tumors are malignant and can spread to other areas of the body. Early spaying, prior to your pet beginning its heat cycles, significantly reduces the incidence of tumor formation.
This cancer, as well as prostatitis (an infection causing malignant or benign swelling of the prostate), can be greatly reduced with early neutering.
Unwanted behaviors such as dominance aggression, marking territory and wandering can be avoided with spaying or neutering.
There are more puppies and kittens in shelters than there are people willing to provide them with love and care. Sadly, many are euthanized. Spaying or neutering can help reduce the number of animals in need of homes.
Pet Wellness:Home Care
Make your pet's well-being a priority. See your veterinarian regularly and follow these tips to keep your pet happy and healthy.
Your veterinarian will give you a recommendation for a high quality and nutritious diet for your pet, and advise you on how much and how often to feed him or her. Diets may vary by species, breed and age.
Microchipping is a safe and permanent identification option to ensure your pet's return should he or she get lost. Ask us about the process and get your pet protected.
Always keep your dog on a leash in public, and your cat indoors to protect them from common hazards such as cars and other animals.
Frequent brushing keeps your pet's coat clean and reduces the occurrence of shedding, matting and hairballs. Depending on the breed, your pet may also need professional groomings.
Dental and Oral Health
Brush your pet's teeth regularly and check with your veterinarian about professional cleanings as well as dental treats and products available to help prevent bad breath, gingivitis, periodontitis and underlying disease. Although your pet's teeth may look healthy, significant disease could be hidden below the gum line.
Be sure to spend at least 15 minutes a day playing with your cat to keep him or her active and at a healthy weight. All dogs need routine exercise to stay fit, but the requirements vary by breed and age. Ask us what's best for your dog. Doggy daycares and boarding facilities are other ways to help to burn off some energy and socialize your pets.
Enroll your dog in training classes to improve his or her behavior with pets and people. Cats need minimal training. Be sure to provide them with a litter box beginning at four weeks of age.
Entertain your pet's natural instincts by using toys that encourage them to jump and run. Cats especially need to fulfill their instinct to hunt – provide interactive toys that mimic prey like a laser pointer or feathers on a wand. You can also hide treats in your pet's toys or around the house to decrease boredom while you're away.
Pet Wellness:Care for All Ages
Every animal is unique, and the start of each stage of life calls for different home and veterinary care. Check with your veterinarian to establish a proactive wellness plan to keep your pet happy and healthy throughout its life.
Puppies and kittens must receive a series of properly staged vaccines and physical exams. During these exams, your veterinarian may also recommend parasite preventatives or lab tests.
Adult pets will need to continue visiting the veterinarian annually for physical exams, recommended vaccines and routine testing.
Senior pets can develop similar problems seen in older people, including heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and arthritis. Your veterinarian may recommend biannual visits to ensure your pet's quality of life.
Females spayed before their first heat cycle will be less likely to get uterine infections, ovarian cancer and breast cancer. Males neutered at any age will be less likely to get prostate disease. Spaying or neutering also helps prevent behavioral problems like marking and escaping. Talk to your veterinarian about spaying or neutering your pet.
Pets require different types of food to support each life stage. Growing puppies and kittens need more nutrient-dense food than adults while adult dogs and cats need food that will keep them healthy and energetic. Your senior dog or cat may need fewer calories, less fat, and more fiber as he or she ages. Talk to your veterinarian to determine what's appropriate for your pet.
Adult dogs should stay active with daily walks and one-on-one training. Keep your adult cats fit by using toys that encourage them to run and jump, and be sure to give them at least 15 minutes of playtime a day.
Weight management of your senior dog or cat is extremely important to ensure they are at an ideal body weight and able to move around comfortably.
Behavioral issues are a major cause of pet abandonment. Begin training your puppy or kitten right away to prevent bad habits and establish good ones.
Start house training your puppy as soon as you get home. Keep your puppy supplied with plenty of chew toys so he or she gets used to gnawing on those and not your belongings.
All cats need a litter box, which should be in a quiet, accessible room. Place your kitten in the box after a meal or whenever it appears he or she needs to go. Be sure to scoop out solids daily and empty it out completely once a week. The number of boxes in your household should be the total of number of cats plus one.
Pet Wellness:More Resources & Links
The veterinary resources featured on this page provide useful information to pet owners on a variety of topics related to veterinary medicine and pet health care.
Animal Breed Associations
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
- The Humane Society of the United States
- North Shore Animal League America
Pet Grief Support & Memorial Services
- Final Gift (New England Pet Crematory & Memorial Services)
- Tufts University Pet Loss Support Hotline
Meet Our Veterinarians
As veterinarians, we strive to implement the cutting edge advancements in veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry so that we can be depended to provide unrivaled veterinary care in our community. Our vision then is to provide this state-of-the-art care in a personal, warm, and compassionate manner to our patients and their families. We strive to combine the best attributes of a progressive multi-doctor practice, with the warmth and familiarity of a "small town" practice.
Dawn Brooks, DVM, Chief of Staff
Dr. Dawn Brooks, our Chief of Staff, joined our practice in July of 1999. She has enhanced us with her professionalism and good nature, and her clients speak highly of her quality medicine and compassion for her patients. She was born in Lowell and has lived in Westford since birth and many recognize her as a member of the Tandus clan.
She is the 4th generation in her family to live in Westford since her great-grandfather settled here from Poland. She graduated from Westford Academy in 1990, and then attended Stonehill College in Easton, MA. From there she went west to Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, graduated in 1998, and then moved back to New England to her roots. She rounded out her academic career as an intern at the Angell Memorial Medical Center in Boston until 1999.
Brian Holub, DVM
Dr. Brian Holub received his Bachelor's of Science degree in 1979 from the University of Cincinnati, and is a 1983 graduate of the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Holub was a staff veterinarian at Bedford Animal Hospital (in Bedford, NH) and Hudson Animal Hospital (in Hudson, NH), and was also a veterinarian for Benson's Wild Animal Farm, formerly of Hudson, NH. He has been connecting with his clients at Countryside Veterinary Hospital since 1985.
Stemming from his experience and education, he has adapted many progressive programs into his hospital over the years, including but not limited to the treatment of exotics, ultrasonography, laser surgery, digital radiography, physical therapy and laparoscopy. He is a member of the Veterinary Laser Society, a Winn Feline Foundation grant reviewer, and a member of the Hills Veterinary Diets Advisory Board.
Julie Kopser, DVM
Dr. Julie Kopser is a graduate of Tufts University in N. Grafton, MA. She performed her internship at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, and became an integral part of our hospital when she joined our staff in 1994.
She has enhanced our hospital with a passion for her work and her love of learning. Dr. Kopser provides medical, surgical services for dogs, cats and exotic pets. Medical services include general medicine, ultrasound, echocardiography and chemotherapy. Surgical services include soft tissue and orthopedics such as patellar luxation repair and cruciate repair. One of the most exciting and rewarding cases that Dr. Kopser has treated combined both medicine and surgery. Using echocardiography, she diagnosed a four month old puppy with a serious heart defect (patent ductus arteriosis) and was then able to surgically correct the defect with the help of the skilled team of CVH employees.
Kerry Arsenault, DVM
Dr. Arsenault joined our practice in June 2006. She is a graduate of Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. She performed an internship in early 2006 at Countryside. It was then that her talents were noticed as an up and coming veterinarian, as well as her wonderful, caring, outgoing personality.
She has been working in the animal care field for over 17 years. She had known almost all of her life that she wanted to be a veterinarian, and she has achieved that dream and so much more. As a veterinarian Dr. Arsenault is well respected for her talent and skill as well as her compassionate nature. She is a valuable asset to the staff and an excellent veterinarian to our patients.
Dr. Arsenault and her husband have one amazing son Evan and a new additon will be added to their growing family in August.
Photo taken by Blue Amrich and Aimee Powers
Tiffany Rule, DVM
Dr. Rule joined Countryside Veterinary Hospital in November of 2006. Her previous years of experience have been in a high-quality practice setting working along side board-certified veterinary surgeons.
Dr. Rule is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio where she grew up with many animals and spent time showing hunter-jumpers on the A-circuit and fox hunting.
Dr. Rule is passionate about pursuing continuing education so that your pet can have the most current care available. She enjoys passing this knowledge along to pet owners and their families. Having had many inspiring mentors in the process of becoming a veterinarian, Dr. Rule welcomes questions from parents and their interested children about her career path. She enjoys the process of mentoring promising students as they work towards application to veterinary school.
Katherine Connor, DVM
Dr. Katherine Connor joined Countryside Veterinary Hospital in December of 2012. She graduated from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 2009. She spent the following 2 1/2 years in a busy mixed animal practice in southeastern Massachusetts doing both small animal and equine medicine, and has also worked part time for a small animal practice in Quincy.
Dr. Connor's love of animals started at a very early age when her parents allowed her to become involved in 4-H and to raise sheep and a few llamas. She has wanted to be a veterinarian since she can remember, and loves all aspects of her job. She especially loves talking to clients about their pets' health and is always happy to answer questions.
Outside of the hospital, Dr. Connor enjoys baking, sewing, spinning wool and hiking in her spare time. She lives with her husband Shawn and their cat Jasmine.
Photo taken by Blue Amrich and Aimee Powers
F. Alexa Warburton, DVM
Dr. F. Alexa Warburton grew up in Hopkinton, NH and currently resides in Westford, MA. She received an undergraduate degree from Middlebury College and earned a DVM degree from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Prior to joining the Countryside Veterinary Hospital team, Dr. Warburton worked as an intern at Tufts VETS in Walpole, MA. Her special interests include soft tissue surgery and ultrasound.
Dr. Warburton shares her home with a miniature pincher, Luna and a cat, Sparky. In her spare time, backcountry skiing, hiking, backpacking, gardening and traveling.
Ashley Miranda, DVM
Dr. Ashley Miranda grew up in Westford and will soon reside in Chelmsford, MA. She received an undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire and earned a DVM degree from the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to joining the Countryside Veterinary Hospital team, Dr. Miranda practiced at Banfield Pet Hospital in Leominster, MA. Her special interests include preventative care, dental care, and feline health and behavior.
In her spare time, Dr. Miranda enjoys yoga, hiking, and reading science fiction and fantasy. She also has two cats at home, Saffron and Rigel.
Dr. Miranda has wanted to work at Countryside for many years and is very excited to have the chance to serve her community!
Alex Walker, BVetMed
Dr. Alex Walker joined Countryside Veterinary Hospital in June of 2018. He earned his veterinary degree from ‘across the pond’ – the Royal Veterinary College in London, England. He wishes he had acquired the British accent over his 4 years abroad (his fiance' Sarah concurs). After graduation, he spent the previous 2 years in a busy 24/7 first opinion small animal emergency practice in Delaware.
Originally from Maryland, Dr. Walker is no stranger to the area. He graduated undergrad from the University of New Hampshire where he met Sarah. His and her family are spread out all over New England. They live with Jake - their grey tabby, who Sarah rescued.
Cindie Davis Holub, DVM
Dr. Cindie Davis Holub attended New Albany High School in Ohio, and received her veterinary degree from Ohio State Univerisity in 1983.
It was in college at Ohio State University, that she met her husband of 28 years Dr. Brian Holub, while both in veterinary school. They married in June of 1982. Over the years, Cindie practiced at Countryside Veterinary Hospital in addition to helping manage and build the practice until her death on February 28, 2010.
Along with her many contributions to the hospital, she was an avid horseman and kept her beloved horse Orion at Volo Farm in Westford, MA. She was accomplished in many equestrian activities. She was a triathelete and had run in many marathons, several half marathons, and several triathalons. Running three triathalons in just one year alone, it was during training for her first ironman triathalon that she had her accident.