Welcome To Mars Hill Animal Hospital Located in Athens GA

AAHA_tC_2Mars Hill Animal Hospital, conveniently located in Oconee County near Highways 78 and 316, is Athens premier animal medical facility. We provide the most advanced and compassionate pet health care for those who choose it. We pride ourselves in providing personalized and compassionate care to both our patients and their owners. We have achieved the highest accreditation level offered by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)

Snake Bite Safety and Prevention for Your Pet

Trees are budding, flowers are blooming, birds are singing and even bees are out in full force. It is spring! Did you know that there are approximately 300,000 dogs and cats bitten by venomous snakes each year in the United States? If you take your pet hiking with you or enjoy other outdoors activities together, it is important to know how to prevent snakebites and how to react should one occur. Here are some safety and prevention tips that may be helpful.

Tips to decrease the chances of a snakebite:

  1. During walks, keep your pet on a short leash, not off-leash or on a retractable lead. The majority of snakebites occur when a pet is far from his owner.
  2. Avoid rocky or dense brush and grassy areas. Choose wide trails over narrow ones.
  3. Tidy up your yard. Keep your grass cut short and eliminate brush, tools, toys, and rock piles. All make excellent snake hiding and sunning spots.
  4. Keep your yard clean of items which attract rodents (which in turn attract snakes) such as food, fruit, and birdseed.
  5. Snakes can get under fencing that does not have a solid cement base. You may want to install hardware cloth along the entire base of your fence, including across any gated areas.
  6. If you encounter a snake, calmly and slowly back away from it until you are no longer within striking distance (about half the length of the body). Then carefully leave the area immediately.
  7. Do your homework and learn what snakes are found in your area. If a bite occurs, being able to recognize what type of snake it was can make a huge difference in your pet’s survival.
  8. If you live in an area where rattlesnakes are common, you may want to give your dog the rattlesnake vaccine.
  9. Did you know all snakes can swim? You may want to reconsider playing fetch in the water; some snakes can bite underwater when startled. Use caution when enjoying activities such as canoeing, fishing, and rafting to avoid areas that snakes may use for sunning. Avoid drifting underneath tree branches; some snakes like to sun themselves on them and will drop into the water (or canoe) when they detect motion.

Should a snakebite occur:

  1. Know the signs! Immediate symptoms almost always include:
    • puncture wounds (with possible bleeding)
    • severe pain
    • swelling
    • restlessness, panting, or drooling
    • difficulty breathing
  2. Head to the nearest veterinary hospital immediately. Snakebites are always considered an emergency and every minute matters. A venomous snakebite can be fatal if not treated immediately, and even a bite from a nonvenomous snake can pose danger. Carry the pet to the car rather than having them walk.
  3. Keep your pet quiet and calm on the journey to vet; this means staying calm yourself too.

Personal Safety:

Don’t forget to keep your own personal safety a priority and never try to handle a snake even if it appears dead. 80% of snakebites affecting humans occur when they are trying to handle or kill a snake. Some snakes can still bite for hours after death because of lingering nerve reflexes, even if the head is severed from the body.

Spring Safety Tips

Click the image to read about Spring Safety Tips for dogs and cats.


Laser Therapy

One of the many pain management options we offer at Mars Hill Animal Hospital is laser therapy. Laser therapy is a surgery and drug free, non-invasive treatment that uses a beam of laser light to deeply penetrate the tissue. Laser therapy reduces pain and inflammation and increases the healing speed by inducing a biological response in the cells called photo-bio-modulation.

A certified technician uses a hand piece that emits the laser light. Both the patient and the technician wear protective glasses that block indirect laser light. Many of our patients that are regularly treated with laser therapy enjoy the soothing warmth the laser emits as well as the one on one care and time with our staff. Laser therapy is used to effectively treat wounds, inflammation, promote post surgical healing, lick granulomas, arthritis, and much more.

If you have any questions about laser therapy as a treatment option we would be happy to answer any of your questions!

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) Available at Mars Hill Animal Hospital

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a specialized medical intervention in which the atmospheric pressure is increased 1 ATA (Absolute Total Atmospheres) above sea level-(14.7 psig), usually by the filling of a single “person” chamber, multi-place chamber or a hyperbaric room with a dose specific amount of oxygen (atmospheric oxygen or enriched oxygen). At sea level, our lungs absorb a certain amount of oxygen molecules from the air. When descending to lower altitudes (below sea level), the pressure is greater (above 1ATA) and now the lungs more easily absorb the oxygen molecules in the air because they more compressed.

During a hyperbaric “dive” (named after the initial use of hyperbaric chambers as they were used by divers that had ascended too fast) fluids and tissues of the body receive an infusion of readily available oxygen. In fact, even cells and areas of the body with limited circulation become more saturated in oxygen. The effect is an increased uptake of oxygen in the blood, plasma, cerebral-spinal fluids, and tissues. In addition, the vasoconstrictive nature of hyperbaric therapy has an added effect of reducing inflammation and edema (the build-up of added fluid in tissues that decreases the ability for oxygen to diffuse into the cells).

Our hyperbaric oxygen chamber in use (photo above). It is available by owner request or by direct referral request (where veterinarians can refer their patients to us specifically for HBOT). There are no known contraindications other than an uncontrolled pneumothorax.. There are no other chambers in the local area and as far as known it is the only active chamber for pets in Georgia.
Uses of HBOT

Currently, there is an increase in the amount of research being conducted on hyperbaric medicine in modern practice. Published studies in leading journals, such as The New England Journal of Medicine and Critical Care Medicine document the use of HBOT for the treatment of such indications as sepsis, acute carbon monoxide poisoning, gas gangrene, air embolism, severe and infected wounds, bone infections, burns, ulcers and edema. But these established indications only begin to open the current chapter in the use of modern hyperbaric technology.

Uses of HBOT

There are studies now that indicate its effectiveness in neurological conditions published in leading journals such as Stroke and Journal of Neurology. We have had success in neurological conditions such as intervertebral disc herniation that left the dog paralyzed or in severe pain. We also most often combine this adjunctive hyperbaric oxygen therapy with surgery and other medical therapies that are designed to decrease inflammation and spinal cord swelling, i.e., targeted pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, hypertonic saline and mannitol. In short, the indications of hyperbaric oxygen are continuing to expand so please ask us about its possibility for your pet if we do not ? Here is a brief partial list of conditions we commonly treat with HBOT:

  • Severe wounds
  • Postoperative skin flaps
  • Wound infections
  • Fractures especially those not healing well
  • Fungal infections
  • Head and spinal cord injuries
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • GI foreign bodies (both before and after surgery)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Peritonitis
  • Kidney infections
  • Paralysis from disc ruptures
  • Pain from disc protrusion
  • Post operative swelling and pain
  • Crush injuries
  • Post resuscitation
  • Pain palliation with cancer patients
  • Smoke inhalation
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Burns
  • Snake and spider bite

Pet Insurance


Pet Insurance is a great way to insure you are always able to provide the best possible care for your pet. There are several companies to chose from and many options no matter what level of coverage you prefer.  Pet insurance is coverage for veterinary bills due to unexpected accidents or illnesses.  Compare policy features,
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The Cost Of Compassion

Your pet’s comfort and safety is our primary concern. We know that anesthesia and surgery are stressful for both you and your pet. We understand that cost is often a factor in choosing your pet’s health care, and want to be sure that you understand how our hospital policies can make a real difference to
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