What’s Going On In There?

Have you ever looked at a closed door and wondered what is behind it? Or maybe a cabinet that is very high and said, “If I only had a ladder.”

For years we veterinarians wondered the same thing about dog’s and cat’s mouths! Well specifically, what is going on in there? Guess what, we found the ladder!

So you’re saying, “Dr. Steve, what in the world are you talking about?”. Over the last several years, dental radiographs or x-rays, have become available. And thanks to modern technology, regular and dental x-ray machines are now digital. When we as humans go to the dentist, we often have x-rays made of our teeth. What are the dentists and us vets looking for?

We are looking at the present condition of of the tooth roots and bone that support and anchor our pet’s teeth. And we are also looking at the future of your pet’s mouth.

According to the American Veterinary Dental College, periodontal disease ” is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats, and is entirely preventable.” ( https://www.avdc.org/periodontaldisease.html ) Statistics show that by 3 years of age, most dogs and cats have signs of periodontal disease. Let that sink in: “most common clinical condition” and “3 years of age”. Is that shocking to you?

If you think about it, for the average dog and cat, 1 year of age is equivalent to 7 years for humans. (That is an average. Dogs in particular age at different rates based on size, breed, and sex) At what age do we start brushing our children’s teeth? At what age do our children start going to the dentist? Hopefully not at age 21!

So back to the matter of dental x-rays for dogs and cats. Many of our pets can suffer from hidden tooth root damage and periodontal bone loss. This can result in a tooth that is dying, or severe infection, and pain. And many of our pets never show us the pain. And when they do, the problem is advanced and requires immediate action.

A case in point is Emmy, my own 12 year old Miniature Schnauzer. She had a routine dental performed in June of this year. Dr. Mark Plott and his team performed dental x-rays. Emmy’s right upper canine tooth was basically dead. She had shown no obvious signs of pain and discomfort at home. When they cleaned the tartar from that tooth, there was a slight discoloration near the gum line. Without the x-rays we would have never known about the advanced nature of her problem and her pain. The recommendation was to remove the tooth. Once she healed from the extraction, she was like a new dog. She was playing often and hard with our new puppy. Even acting like the puppy herself!

My point is, we never knew Emmy was in that much pain. And to make matters worse, she was in a position to develop an abscess that would have created more pain and misery and could have potentially seeded her blood stream and body with infection.

All dental cleanings performed at Foster Animal Hospital now receive full mouth x-rays. Yes, this has increased the cost of the procedure. Unfortunately, the digital dental x-ray machines are not cheap. But we feel as the advocates for your precious family members, the benefits and value of this step are definitely worth the cost. And Emmy agrees!

There is probably not a more important procedure to have done for your pet. You never know what is behind that door!

May 2014 091


All the best,

Stephen E Foster, DVM, CCRT

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons

Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center

730 Concord Parkway North

Concord, NC 28027




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I’m Back!!

Well I haven’t really been “gone”. I just haven’t blogged in a while. Thus, I’m Back!

Through this forum, I hope to share news and happenings from Foster Animal Hospital, Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons, and Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center. If there are topics you are interested in, please feel free to email me at: sfoster@fosteranimalhospital.com.

Just like the world we live in, Veterinary Medicine is rapidly changing. I began practicing in 1985 and much has changed over the last 31 years! Here at Foster Animal Hospital, we were once a Mixed Animal practice that helped all species of animals but now we are a Small Animal practice that only helps cats and dogs. We used to have a full service boarding and grooming facility, but 24 months ago converted that space to full time Canine Rehabilitation and Conditioning. For 50 years we operated solely from our main hospital at 730 Concord Parkway North. In 2008, we opened an Out-Patient Clinic at 3805 Concord Parkway South. We now offer specialty services such as Canine Rehabilitation and even have a Board Certified Surgeon and a Board Certified Radiologist that come and provide specialized surgeries and specialized diagnostics at our main hospital. What the future holds is exciting!

So please join me on this “journey” as I share information and topics about and from Foster Animal Hospital, Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons, and Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center.

And lastly, all of us here wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!

All the best,

Stephen E Foster, DVM, CCRT

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons

Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center

730 Concord Parkway North

Concord, NC 28027





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Watch Me Rehab!

Hello Friends!

I’m excited to show you my newest Canine Rehabilitation Therapy video!

Have you ever wondered what I do during my rehab sessions at Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center? Well, Candace (my Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant) doesn’t just massage knots out of my muscles, she makes me work hard! But it’s ok, because that’s what makes my knees strong.

Here’s a video of one of the exercises I do called ‘Sit to Stand’. I have to balance on an inflated ball called a ‘peanut’ while I repeatedly sit and stand (for treats, of course).

This exercise helps strengthen the muscles in my legs, especially the ones around my knees. My knees sometimes pop in and out of place which hurts and makes me skip a few steps. Once my muscles get stronger, they will hold my knee joint in place better and they won’t pop out of place anymore.

That’s good news because if I can make my joints stronger now, I won’t have lots of joint issues when I get to be a lot older. Well, I better go now, I hear Candace calling me for my next canine rehab session.

Until Next Time,


To Flex or Not to Flex?

To flex or not to flex? That was the question I asked myself during my canine rehabilitation therapy this week. Candace, my certified canine rehabilitation assistant, was making me do all sorts of yoga poses today!

Yoga 3


I have to say that it does feel really good! It helps take away all my tension.

Yoga 2

It also makes me limber so I can do more exercising on the treadmill to help build up the muscle around my knees. I have to admit, I used to think that canine rehabilitation wouldn’t help me feel better, but wow, was I ever wrong!

Yoga 1


All of this therapy is making me feel great! I may be 8 human years old, but you would never know it! I bounce around like a puppy again! I can’t wait for my next canine rehabilitation therapy session!

Until next time,


Independence Day Blues…

Independence Day is here again and while it means family, friends, grilling out and fireworks for most, for me it means… ANXIETY!!!!





Every year around this time people in my neighborhood like to shoot off fireworks to celebrate. I don’t like fireworks. They make a lot of noise that sounds like thunder and it makes my anxiety level go up.

I get so nervous that it makes my tummy hurt and I can’t eat or drink. I don’t even come out from under mom & dad’s bed. It’s dark and quiet under there. This is usually how I spend every 4th of July.

But not this year!






This year my mom is using Adaptil. Mom says, “Adaptil is a synthetic copy of the pheromone a puppy’s mother emits after birth to calm and reassure new puppies. These pheromones can have this same calming effect on adult dogs in stressful situations.”

I don’t understand all those big words she used, but I can’t argue with results! Whenever mom sprays this on my bed or puts a collar on me, or even plugs it into the wall I start to feel less stressed. Mom says she can see a big difference when she uses it, even during thunder storms!

I’m just happy that I won’t have the Independence Day Blues again this year!

Thanks Mom!



Underwater Treadmill?!?


It’s me again, Amadeus! I’ve got to tell you about my week at Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitiation. It was so weird! But, in a good way!

I went to my canine rehab appointment like usual on Friday but when I got there, my Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant, Candace told me that I was going to use the Underwater Treadmill today. The WHAT?!?!? Underwater Treadmill? What does that even mean?


I have to admit, I was pretty suspicious the rest of the morning. Luckily, I was able to see one of my rehab buddies, Shepp, in the Underwater Treadmill first.  He did a lot better than I did though. I kept trying to stop walking but that didn’t help. Here’s a video of my buddy Shepp during his rehab session (Click the link):   Shepp Underwater Treadmill

When it was my turn, it took me a while to get used to the water moving all around me, but I started to get the hang of it. I walk on the land treadmill twice a week, so I started to realize that it’s the same kind of thing. I just keep walking.

I could feel the movement of the water and it made me focus on my balance better so it didn’t push me from side to side. I also felt the resistance from walking in the water. It definitely gave me a good workout!

I can’t wait until my next visit! I am going to have mom take a video of me so I can show you all how good I’m doing in rehab!


At the Heart of it All

Pets hold a special place in our hearts, so let’s learn how to take better care of theirs.
Everyone has nervously watched as your veterinarian quietly listens to your pet’s heart. Some of us have even heard the dreaded phase “ Fido has a heart murmur.” When I uncovered a heart murmur in my own kitty Chance last year during his annual checkup, I had a moment of disbelief. I made Dr. Seals verify what I was hearing. When it comes to my own pets all my years of training go out the window and I became the nervous client waiting to hear the news. However, I hadn’t made a mistake and my baby was diagnosed with early heart disease. So what exactly is a heart murmur and what can we do to keep our pets healthy?

While stroke and heart attack are fairly uncommon in our four-legged friends, murmurs are frequently discovered. A heart murmur is an abnormal sound heard with a stethoscope. Instead of the distinct “Lub – Dub”, we hear a ”Lub – whoosh – Dub”. This extra sound indicates turbulent blood flow. Some of the causes include a leaky heart valve, thickened heart muscle, anemia, or an innocent murmur heard in puppies and kittens.
How do we find out the cause of the heart murmur? The three most common tests veterinarians run include a chest x-ray, echocardiogram, and blood pressure screen. The chest x-ray allows the veterinarian to evaluate heart size and the surrounding lung fields for potential fluid accumulation, a sign of congestive heart failure.

The echocardiogram allows us to visualize the inside of the heart including the heart valves, the four chambers and blood flow. All of us know why blood pressure is important.

While some murmurs are silent and will only be detected by your veterinarian, others present with symptoms such as a cough, exercise intolerance, or even collapsing episodes.
So how do we keep our pets heart healthy? The best way to prevent heart disease is by maintaining proper body weight for your pet, exercise your pet regularly, keep up with dental care, and take your pet in for a yearly checkup.

Brittany Novosad, DVM

(704) 786-0104

Foster Animal Hospital
Concord, NC 28027

LIfe’s Unexpected Changes

“20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the one’s you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

Sometimes in life, things come down your path that you weren’t looking for, but when they arrive, cannot be ignored. One of these exact situations presented itself to me this winter.

Anyone who has worked with me for any period of time knows my favorite part of my career is small animal surgery. The definition of surgery is the branch of medicine concerned with the treatment of injuries or disorders of the body by incision or manipulation, especially with instruments. The etymology of the word surgery comes from the Greek and Latin words meaning “hand work”. This is not to say surgeons enjoy the actual cutting into a loved-ones companion and putting them through the subsequent recovery, but rather the ability to address and correct certain illnesses and conditions that medicine alone cannot alleviate. The bond a doctor can make with a patient and client through a more involved procedure and recovery can be lifelong and extremely rewarding on our side of the fence. Even routine procedures such as spays, neuters, and declaws can better the health and life of the pet and keep them in a loving home longer.

As I have gotten older (that seems weird to admit, LOL), I’ve realized I have always seemed to gravitate toward activities and hobbies that have that same “hands-on” quality. I loved art and science classes all through school MUCH more than music and English (this blog may make that apparent). Pottery class in high school was probably my favorite class of all time. My hobbies all involve the same use-your-hands commonality. The adjustments needed on an remote-controlled car to make it handle better and race faster, building an remote-controlled airplane and piloting it through aerobatic maneuvers and then successfully landing it in one piece, and creating a piece of furniture from a pile of wooden boards that (hopefully) stands the test of time, all reflect the hands-on interests I’ve had.

All of these reflect underlying reasons in my enjoyment of surgery. I feel more comfortable removing a complicated intestinal foreign body than trying to make dosage adjustments on a sick diabetic patient. The latter involves having a solid grasp on MANY invisible complex physiologic parameters, while the former, however, depends heavily on manual dexterity as well as adhering to laws of anatomy and sterile technique.

The opportunity that has been offered to me involves the chance to pursue my favorite aspect of the veterinary profession in an increased capacity. After a long and at times difficult decision-making process, I have decided to accept this offer. While I am excited by this new area of professional growth, it does mean leaving the safe harbor of my Foster family. In the six years I’ve been fortunate enough to be on the Foster team, I’ve learned a great deal and have developed relationships I hope will last the rest of my career.

It is with both anticipation and ambivalence that I announce Tuesday, April 30 will be my last day with Foster Animal Hospital. The Foster team is stocked with some of the brightest, most talented, caring, and most devoted doctors, technicians, and staff that you will find anywhere around. It is the fact that I get to call these same people my friends which has made this decision so difficult. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of these last 6 years, it’s been a heck of a ride! It’s time to leave safe harbor for the uncharted possibilities of the future.


Seth Ueleke, DVM

Foster Animal Hospital

Concord, NC  28027

New Opportunities!


Dear Friends,

Foster Animal Hospital has been your trusted source for veterinary care for over 50 years! We are proud to serve this community to the best of our ability year after year, all the while, building relationships that last a lifetime!

The team at Foster Animal Hospital has recently received the opportunity to better serve our community with a revised schedule at both of our convenient locations. Effective March 25th, Foster Animal Hospital will be expanding its surgical schedule to include Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday of each week. No more limitations on available days for you to have your pet’s surgical procedure completed by the best veterinary team around!

Due to the changes in our surgical schedule at our main office, effective March 28th, Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons will be closing on Thursdays. Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons will now be open for business on Monday, Wednesday & Friday, effective the week of March 25th.

We would also like to inform our friends of a change to our Veterinary Staff in the near future. Dr. Seth Ueleke has received an unexpected opportunity to pursue a personal passion in the veterinary field. His decision to leave the Foster Animal Hospital team has come after great hesitation and contemplation on the matter. He has informed our team that this was not an easy decision but he must pursue his interests in the field. We are sad to see him go. Dr. Ueleke wants to ensure that all of his patients are well cared for and he will continue seeing patients through Tuesday, April 30th.

The team at Foster Animal Hospital views these changes as an opportunity to grow with our community’s current needs. We are dedicated to providing our friends and neighbors with exceptional veterinary care for years to come!

Thank you for your loyalty!
Doctors & Staff of Foster Animal Hospital

Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center- Press Release

Canine Rehabilitation Comes To Concord
For Immediate Release
Canine Rehabilitation Comes To Concord
Concord, NC – (February 18, 2013) Foster Animal Hospital has been providing Concord with superior veterinary care for over 50 years and is proud to announce certified canine rehabilitation is now available.
Dr. Steve Foster, son of founder Dr. Tom Foster and current co-owner of Foster Animal Hospital, recently became interested in Canine Rehabilitation at a continuing education lecture. “Canine Rehabilitation is very similar to physical therapy and reading about the successes with dogs, I became fully energized to be a part of this exciting new field. I wanted to bring this service to our hospital and our area,” states Dr. Steve Foster. In March 2012, Dr. Foster completed his required courses and completed an internship for certification.
What is Canine Rehab? Basically it is Canine physical therapy. However, physical therapy is a human term; therefore, the appropriate term in veterinary medicine is Canine Rehabilitation. Just as in physical therapy, Canine Rehab helps to restore appropriate functionality to our patients. Whether the issue is due to trauma, a surgical procedure such as anterior cruciate ligament repair, degenerative arthritis, obesity, a neurological issue such as intervertebral disc disease, or others, Canine Rehab can help restore functionality.
After six months of working with local pets and owners, Dr. Foster shared, “The results I have seen have been nothing short of amazing. Patients’ lives have been extended, patients’ quality of life has been markedly improved, and clients are ecstatic that their ‘babies’ are recovering from surgery faster and completely. Geriatric dogs are active and happy again and have a new lease on life. As a veterinary practitioner of almost 28 years, Canine Rehabilitation Therapy is one of the best career decisions I have made. Seeing my patients do so well is especially rewarding. All post-op dogs, neurological cases, and older patients should experience the wonderful benefits of Canine Rehabilitation Therapy.”
Foster Animal Hospital is launching Paws in Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center which will offer full therapy services custom to the pet’s individual needs. From laser to manual therapy, each case is unique. Dr. Foster evaluates each patient to customize a rehab plan in order to reach the owner’s goals for their pet. To find out more, please visit www.fosteranimalhosptial.com or the FAH blog at https://www.fosteranimalhospital.com/blog/
Foster Animal Hospital www.fosteranimalhospital.com
Foster Animal Hospital offers full-service veterinary care and pet services for dogs and cats. We are proud of our more than 50-year reputation in the community, along with our commitment to providing modern, up-to-date veterinary care. Our progressive methods and the latest thinking in pet care make us the #1 choice in Concord, North Carolina

What our clients are sharing…

“I made an appointment with Dr. Steve Foster knowing in my heart that Molly, our 13 year old Lab, only had days to live. Her arthritis had become so bad in her left front elbow and her back legs that I could no longer bear to see her suffer. Through the tears, I explained Molly’s problem. Dr. Steve asked me if I would be willing to try rehabilitation/physical therapy. This was the best thing I have ever done for Molly. After several sessions, her limp is gone and her back legs move independently where before the back legs did the old man shuffle. If you have a dog like Molly it is definitely worth doing therapy. It saved her life. Words cannot express our gratitude.”
~ Michelle

“Our walk was longer and very interesting. Jackson does not sit or lay down which indicates he is more comfortable walking. HOWEVER, he is showing his stubborn streak of planting his feet and refusing to move when he sees something interesting. Last night it was a neighbor’s garden. He was totally focused and standing with his feet firmly planted. It was very hot and I got a little lax with the leash. He sensed the lack of tension and bounded in the garden. He jumped a rabbit!!! The energy was amazing. He didn’t go far and returned when I called him but it was a Jackson miracle. Afterwards, he turned towards home and was ready for water and a nap!”
~ Janice

“My family took me to see Dr. Foster and he thought that I either had severe arthritis in my back and hips and perhaps some neurological deficits which made use of my legs very difficult. He suggested arthritis medicine and pain medicine and then a new program to make an effort to strengthen my legs through physical therapy and rehabilitation. On Mondays and Wednesdays my dad would put me in the front seat beside him and take me into the hospital and I was met by the nicest girls. I was treated like a queen and got a lot of attention. I had a funny haircut so Dr. Foster could do laser therapy to my hips. I did a little better at first and then I had a bad spell where I almost could not get around at all. We took a couple of weeks off and started working hard again. My daddy was worried that I would not improve. He thought it was time to call in hospice. Dr. Steve and I proved him wrong. Mother was happy as I continue to make improvements over the last two months. I still have periods of stumbling and I need a little help getting up the front steps in the house. I now spend more time in the house and get so much more attention. When I go for walks in the neighborhood the cats stay away from me. Neighbors are amazed at how well I get around. I got a new hairdo and bath for the summer. My parents and sister Diana love me so much probably because they realize how close they were to losing me. I cannot say enough good things about the people at the hospital. They have loved me as much as my parents. Dr. Steve has pushed me hard and made me work for all of my improvement. I owe all of my improvement in the quality of my life to Dr. Steve and the girls. Without the new expertise of Dr. Steve and the compassion of everyone, I would probably not be here. Rejuvenated and Rehabilitated Pup, Cleopatra”
~ Dr. Robert