Friday, July 31, 2015

July Team Member of the Month- Saskia!!!

Weekday Night Crew!!!!
It is arguable that the backbone of our practice is our Emergency Technician staff, as they are often tasked with dealing with our most critical patients at their most critical time. Yet, they are a big part of our team that largely goes unseen by much of the staff!

While most of us are winding our days down ,our ER Technicians are just beginning their's and are responsible for upholding our standards of quality care through the wee hours.
This month we want to say 'Thank you' to one of these team members that from day to day, largely goes unrecognized.

As one of our Certified Veterinary Technicians, Saskia has been at the VCA HAH for 7 years and brings a great deal of expertise to the table. While she started out as a STAR! Daytime Technician she quickly made the choice to switch to nights and settled in with our all-star weekday team.

Saskia is team player. She is a wonderful example of someone that always puts the animal 1st!!Even at the end of her shift (the start of most of ours) she has a smile on her face and a laugh to be heard. She is an asset to our practice and to the excellence care we strive to provide.

We hope many reading this will never have the need to meet her during the late night hours but if you do, her genuine care for animals, her attention to detail and her focus on the job will go to the best possible care for your pet.

We Thank you! Saskia, for all you do! You are a pleasure to know and we are happy to recognize you as our July Team Member of the Month!

Monday, July 27, 2015

July Patient of the Month-Sidney!!!

A neighborhood cat, Sidney was like many other multi-family strays. She hung around only the best houses; those that provided the best food and the most love.Then one day in 2010, her most beloved caregiver noticed a lump on the top of  her head. As a longtime client of our Dr. Anne Murphy she immediately scheduled an exam for her neighborhood stray.

Initially, Dr. Murphy found the lump to be fluid filled with no evidence of infection or abnormal cells. She drained the lump and saw immediate improvement.  

However, two weeks later, the growth was back, larger and more solid then before. When a round of antibiotics made no change, more intense diagnostics were necessary.

Under anesthesia, radiographs of her skull showed aggressive changes in the bone of Sydney's skull. A biopsy and culture were performed and a  sample was sent for pathology. The pathologist report diagnosed the mass as an osteosarcoma type of bone tumor: bone cancer.

Osteosarcoma in cats has a survival expectancy of 5-6 months. Treatment can include surgery to remove the mass. In Sidney's case, removal was not an option. As Sydney had only recently adopted her new family and aggressive treatment like radiation therapy and chemotherapy to her tumor would mostly improve her survival but not cure it her family opted to keep her comfortable throughout whatever time she had left. 
Sidney, or as she is affectionately called at home: Lumpy- lives the good life now. With the diagnosis of bone cancer her humans made a comfy home inside for her and she has never left. Now, five years later signs of the cancer remain in her very visible lump and with only now a developing sinus issue presumable from the mass. Although, Sydney does not seem to mind. Her silly disposition has never dampened. Whether at home or in our hospital she maintains her eternal smile and seems to have fully embraced her lovely lady lump!

We gladly share the love with her today as our July Patient of the Month!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Yuck! My Pet Ate Garbage!

Anytime food preparation is underway, food scraps, wrappers and more end up in the garbage. Inevitably, household animals help themselves to that tempting trash. In the holiday season, decorations become fodder as well.

Why worry? Because people food is not safe for animals. And food isn’t the only risk—animals will eat the most unexpected things. It’s important to guard that garbage can.
“You don’t want your dog to pig out on chocolate or leftover pizza, chicken or turkey—anything with a high percentage of fat can lead to pancreatitis (inflammation and swelling of the pancreas, which can cause permanent damage and be fatal)," says Martha Gearhart, DVM, owner of Pleasant Valley Animal Hospital, Pleasant Valley, N.Y. “Raw bones are digestible, but their sharp points are dangerous, and cooked bones are very brittle and can shatter [once eaten].”

The odor of food or blood attracts animals to garbage, sometimes with tragic results—Gearhart’s brother’s dog ate the plastic wrap and Styrofoam tray from a package of meat, killing the dog. “It didn’t show up in the X-ray, but the points from the Styrofoam punctured the lung,” she recalls.
Boredom and separation anxiety can make animals explore trash cans or pounce on decorations, Gearhart says. “Some dogs have a passion for salty, smelly socks!” she notes. “I had one dog that enjoyed knocking down glass ornaments and biting on decorative balls.”

Cats eating tinsel is so common that tinselitis is a veterinary term. “Cats won’t eat tinsel from the garbage can, but will be attracted to tinsel on a tree,” warns Gearhart.
I discovered that myself—my own cat once ate tinsel. I found out when she eliminated it, tangled in balls of poop that she dragged around the apartment. I was lucky to get her to the veterinarian in time for treatment.

Dogs may eat used tampons or sanitary pads, which cause dangerous internal obstructions, Gearhart says.

There is string in a roast or bird, and string is severely dangerous—it causes internal damage. Cats are more likely to eat string than are dogs, notes Gearhart.

Prevention First
Prevention is the best way to protect animals from garbage:
·                     Rinse wrappers, containers and packaging before pitching them.
·                     Lock garbage under the sink or on the porch.
·                     Use trash cans with tight-fitting lids (heavy, self-closing cans for households with large dogs).
·                     Move garbage from indoors to well-secured outdoor containers.
·                     Put tinsel and breakable decorations high up, out of reach.
·                     Put a decorated tree in a room with a door—and keep it closed.
·                     Keep dogs away from dangerous and tempting situations.
As Gearhart notes, “I’m all for crate training. They feel better and more secure.”

Protective Measures
If precautions fail, the best thing to do is call your veterinarian, who might have you come in to get a vomit-inducing drug. Or, they may encourage you to induce vomiting, unless the animal ate something sharp, acidic or caustic.
In some instances, your veterinarian might have you wait—it can take up to 5 days for elimination. Regardless, work with your veterinarian to find the best “cure” for your pet.
Here’s to a safe diet, and holiday season, for your animals!

Originally published by AAHA.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tuesday's Tips from our Doctors-Leptospirosis!!!

Tuesday's Tips from our Doctors!
Recently our Doctors asked how they could share some facts about the common (and not so common) things that can affect the health of our pets in S. Florida.  This is what we can up with. Be on the lookout for more Tips from our Doctors and be sure to let us know what other things you would like to know about!

Leptospirosis, a  bacteria which can cause kidney and liver failure, can affect both animals and humans. For many years infection in pets has been rare in Florida; however it has been diagnosed more frequently in recent times. Although the bacteria is found worldwide, the organism tends to live in warm, tropical locations, with high rainfall. Risk factors that increase the spread of this disease include: slow-moving or stagnant water, high rainfall, rodent exposure, roaming animals in rural areas, and urbanized wild animal exposure. It has recently been found that 80% of inner city rats have tested positive for Leptospirosis. Examples of animals that can carry the disease to your pet include squirrels, opossums, rats, and raccoons. It can also cause infection in cows, pigs, horses, and deer amongst other animals. To date, it has been reported to have infected over 150 mammalian species.

The disease is mainly spread through the urine of infected animals. It can live in water and soil for months. Infection may occur through contact with contaminated urine, water, or soil that has come into contact with skin or mucous membranes. It can also be transmitted via bite wounds, infected drinking water and consumption of infected tissue.

Common clinical signs exhibited by animals that have been infected include: anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, increased thirst and urination, abdominal pain, weakness, muscle pain, and yellowing of the mucous membranes. Dogs appear to be infected more severely than cats and occasionally show signs of lung disease and bleeding disorders in addition to the symptoms previously mentioned. Younger pets appear to be more seriously affected than older pets. In acute cases, the survival rate is 80% with aggressive treatment. Treatment often includes multiple days of hospitalization, antibiotics, and intravenous fluids. Some animals require dialysis. Survivors of the disease may have chronic kidney or liver disease. Animals may shed the disease for months after recovery.

As the treatment for this zoonotic disease can be long and quite costly, it is now recommended to vaccinate animals in high risk areas. The vaccine can be given to help prevent clinical disease and development of a carrier state. However, it will not prevent dogs already infected from becoming carriers. Initially, the vaccine is given twice in a three week interval, and is then boostered yearly. Other precautions that can be taken to decrease disease transmission include rodent control, avoidance of contact with reservoir hosts (mentioned above), and proper sanitation and drainage.

Should your pet be diagnosed with leptospirosis, please seek medical advice from your physician immediately and follow the following precautions: 1) encourage your pet to urinate away from areas in which other animals may come into contact with it, 2) use disinfectant to clean soiled indoor areas and wear gloves while doing so, and 3) wash your hand frequently after exposure to your pet or your pet’s excrement.

Taryn Robinette, D.V. M.
University of  Florida, 2013