Friday, June 24, 2016

Welcome, Dr. Matthew Schexnayder!!!!!!!!!

Dr. Matthew Schexnayder was born and raised in South Louisiana. His love for animals domesticated and wild was evident from a young age and he vividly recalls bandaging his stuffed animals after a veterinarian visited his Pre-K class. He attended Louisiana State University for undergraduate, graduating in 2012 with College Honors, a Bachelor of Arts in Geography, and minors in Asian Studies, Chemistry, and Chinese. During his undergraduate years at LSU, Matthew competed in several club sports, including rowing, powerlifting, and quidditch.  In 2009 he was the Quidditch Captain and led LSU to fourth place in the Quidditch World Cup.

Matthew stayed on at LSU for veterinary school, where he worked as an after-hours laboratory and surgery technician. Additionally, Matthew was a Co-Chair of the Wildlife Hospital of Louisiana, devoting his free time to the rehabilitation and release of injured birds. Matthew also volunteered as a surgeon at a local animal shelter throughout his final year of veterinary school.

These days, Matthew enjoys nature photography, trail running, paddle sports, tennis, becoming a better author, and spending time with his dwarf rabbit Blackjack. His professional interests are broad, but he particularly loves cytology and plans to pursue a residency in veterinary clinical pathology.

Canine bloat- GDV!!!

I remember the night like it was yesterday. I was finally relaxing at home after a long day of clinics when Captain, my four year old German shepherd starting acting, well, strange. Twenty minutes later, radiographs at the emergency room confirmed my suspicion. Captain had gastric dilatation and volvulus or GDV.

GDV is commonly known as canine bloat. Many of you may remember this as the heart-wrenching disease from Marley and Me. This is a potentially life-threatening condition where the dog’s stomach rotates completely around itself causing the entrance and exit of the stomach to become obstructed. This obstruction leads to air getting trapped in the stomach (bloat) and decreased blood supply to the affected areas. Emergency surgery is required to correct this situation.

While the exact cause of this condition is still unknown, several risk factors have been identified. These risk factors include large or giant breed dogs (Great Danes, German Shepherds, Irish Wolfhounds, Labradors), older age, rapid food intake, naturally anxious or stressed dogs or dogs with a parent that had GDV.

Signs you may notice at home that may indicate your dog has GDV include but are not limited to the following: pacing, circling, restlessness, whining, increased breathing rate or effort, looking at their side, attempting to vomit a foamy substance or nothing at all produced, distended abdomen, pale gums, drooling, weakness or in severe stages collapse. GDVs have a better outcome the sooner they are addressed. So if you notice these clinical signs a veterinarian should immediately see your dog.

Treatment of GDV is based on the needs of your individual dog when they arrive to the hospital but initially consists of fluids and pain medications. Once GDV is confirmed with radiographs, the stomach is decompressed. Meaning the air trapped in the stomach is released prior to surgery to relieve some discomfort to the dog and lessen the stretch of the stomach. Then surgery is performed to de-rotate the stomach. The stomach and surrounding intestines and organs are examined to make sure they are still healthy. In some cases, the compromised organs die due to the lack of blood supply they experienced. In these cases the dead portions are removed and the remaining healthy gut is reattached. A gastropexy, a fancy word for suturing the stomach to the side of the body, is then performed to prevent the stomach from rotating again in the future. Following surgery, your dog will likely be hospitalized for a couple of days for close monitoring and supportive care.

While we cannot tell for sure which dogs will develop GDV in the future, it can be prevented in at risk dogs. A prophylactic, or preventative, gastropexy can be performed. It is highly recommended at the time of spay or neuter since the dog will already be under general anesthesia.

Luckily in my case, Captain’s surgery went smoothly and he recovered perfectly. I hope that you never have to experience the fear of what I went through with Captain. But if it does occur, now that you know what to look for, hopefully your dog too will be back to doing what they love in no time

Abigail Kreines

Welcome Dr. Denise Lukacs!!!!!!!!!

Dr. Denise Lukacs was born and raised near Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She received her Bachelor’s in Animal Biology from the University of Guelph in 2010. She went on to complete her Master’s in Animal Behavior and Welfare, with a research interest in the behavior and thermoregulation of elephants and giraffes.  During university, Denise continued to work at a companion animal hospital, as a veterinary assistant, where she gained valuable experience in general practice and reproduction medicine.

Denise completed her veterinary degree at the Ontario Veterinary College.  Denise served as the president of the Animal Behavior Club, and enjoyed volunteering with various animal and community outreach organizations, while completing her veterinary degree. Denise is excited to join VCA HAH, and hopes to further develop her special interests in emergency, critical care and internal medicine.

In her free time, Denise enjoys horseback riding, having competed to the international level in eventing. Denise also enjoys spending time with her dogs, and competing with her Border Collie, Anky. She also owns a loveable black cat named Jagger. Denise is excited to explore southern Florida, and spend time by the ocean.

Education: Ontario Veterinary College

Pet Periodontal Disease Prevention

Pet Periodontal Disease Prevention  
Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition affecting adult dogs and cats. It is a progressive disease that can cause bad breath, oral pain, and spread of bacteria from the mouth to the rest of the body. Fortunately, periodontal disease is preventable with both home dental care and routine veterinary dental care.

What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is the destruction of bone, gum tissue, and structures that hold the teeth in place. Just like in humans, periodontal disease starts out as a bacterial film on the teeth called plaque. The bacteria can then spread causing gingivitis, infection and inflammation below the gumline, and eventually destruction of bone leading to tooth loss.

How do I know if my pet has periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease occurs below the gumline where it is not visible. In advanced stages of the disease, you may notice that your pet has bad breath, loose, teeth, and a painful mouth.  If your pet’s teeth appear white and clean, this does not mean that periodontal disease is not present!

The only way to identiy or prevent periodontal disease is through regular veterinary dental exams and cleanings. Anesthesia is required to assess your pet’s dental health below the gumline!

The KEY to periodontal disease is PREVENTION
The two components to preventing periodontal disease in your pet are home dental care and annual veterinary dental care.
·         Daily brushing remains the gold standard recommended by veterinary dentists to prevent plaque and slow progression of periodontal disease. Many pets can be trained to accept and even like brushing.  It is important to begin a brushing routine when your pet’s mouth is clean and healthy (a pet with oral pain may develop a negative association with brushing).  Offer a positive reinforcement, such as a treat or toy, following brushing. Use a soft bristled toothbrush and a palatable pet toothpaste.
·         Annual veterinary dental cleanings under anesthesia are an important part of your pet’s oral health routine. During this procedure, the veterinarian will visually examine each tooth and probe for pockets, which can result from periodontal disease. Dental radiographs (x-rays) can also be taken to look for dental disease below the gumline and to evaluate diseased teeth. An ultrasonic scaler is used to clean the visible area of the teeth and under the gums.  Finally, the teeth are polished to eliminate the rough surface created by scaling. When this procedure is performed regulary, beginnings of periodontal disease can be addressed immediately before it causes extensive and expensive damage.
     Lauren Vezzosi

Welcome Dr. Abigail Kreines!!!!!!!!!!

Dr. Abby Kreines was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from University of Wisconsin – Madison. While in Madison Abby served as the social chair of the Pre-Vet Club for two years. She also spent weekends volunteering at the local Henry Vilas Zoo educating children about various animal species.

Abby received her veterinary degree from St. George’s University in Grenada and completed her clinical year at University of Florida. In Grenada Abby served as first the zoo rep and later the president of the Exotics and Wildlife Society. She also spent one of her summer vacations in South Africa learning from a wildlife veterinarian.

When not working, Abby enjoys taking her German shepherd, Captain, on long walks or hikes. She also enjoys cooking, traveling and reading. Abby is interested in zoo and exotic animal medicine but she loves all animals of all sizes.

Make the love last! Maintaining a healthy-weight in your pets can add years to their lives together!!!!

Obesity in our four-legged family members is one of the most common diseases seen by veterinarians. It is often a sensitive subject with clients, but it is in the best interest of the pet for you to know the risk factors and associated diseases. 

One study determined that as many as 40% of dogs are overweight. Older, female spayed dogs are the most likely to struggle with obesity, however, any dog of any age can be affected. Some breeds are more susceptible to obesity such as Labradors, dachshunds, and beagles. It is important to remember that small dogs can be obese, too!
Dogs that are overweight are at much higher risk of developing osteoarthritis. Medium and large breed dogs are at a significantly higher risk of ruptured cranial cruciate ligaments (ACL) in the knees while small dogs are at higher risk for luxating patellas (knee caps). 

As many of 52% of domestic cats are considered overweight. While indoor cats are generally more affected, both indoor and outdoor cats can be overweight. Obesity in cats puts them at much higher risk for developing diabetes mellitus and osteoarthritis. Overweight male cats are at higher risk for developing a lower urinary tract obstruction. There is also a condition called “fatty liver disease” that occurs when overweight cats stop eating. This is a life threatening disease that requires aggressive medical treatment. If you notice that your overweight cat has not been eating, please contact your veterinarian. 

Determining if Your Pet is Overweight
Veterinarians determine the correct size and weight of your pet based on a scale known as a body condition score. This is a scale of 1-9 (1-3 is underweight, 4-5 is ideal, and 6-9 is overweight) and a scale of 1-5 (1-2 is underweight, 3 is ideal, and 4-5 is overweight). We are assessing five parameters listed in the Purina scales below. 

Obesity Prevention and Treatment

Diet and exercise are the two main components to prevent obesity in our companion animals. If your pet is determined to be overweight, there are prescription diets that can help them to lose the weight. Please ask your veterinarian to calculate the correct amount of food for your pet per day. We are here to help!

Welcome Dr. Rebecca Rittenberg!!!!!!!!!!

Rebecca Rittenberg originally hails from Charleston, SC. Her first experience in Florida came when she attended the University of Miami in Coral Gables for undergraduate where she received a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Judaic Studies and a minor in history. While attending the U, she was involved in an internship program that allowed her to meet a Holocaust survivor with whom she wrote and published his memoir after graduation. 

After graduating in 2008, Rebecca moved to Israel with her now husband for 6 months before returning to Charleston where she began courses to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. Rebecca attended veterinary school at the University of Minnesota with a focus in small animal medicine.
Rebecca’s veterinary interests include internal medicine as well as preventive medicine. 

Her interests outside of the veterinary field include traveling with her husband any time she gets the chance, hiking with her perfect dog, Sababa,  attending plays and concerts, and being with family and friends. She is excited to make this move to South Florida and catch up on much needed heat after four years in “America’s Icebox.”