Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Patient Highlight!! Meet Lupo, a pint size powerhouse!!

Lupo, a 2 ½ yr old, male Pomeranian, entered our hospital for the first time 6 months ago for bruising on his abdomen and gums.  Lupo had been experiencing vomiting and diarrhea at home and his primary Veterinarian referred him to us with concerns of possible toxin exposure.  Upon exam and initial diagnostics by Dr. Freifeld and Dr. Rittenberg, it was suspected that Lupo suffered from Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia (IMTP).

IMTP is a serious disorder in which the body attacks its own platelets; the cells associated with the formation of bloodclots.  Lupo’s body was in revolt and he was losing blood platelets quickly causing the appearance of bruising. If left untreated, his thrombocytopenia (which means low platelet count) would lead to increased bleeding, anemia (low red blood cell count) and possible death.

Comprehensive diagnostics were ordered to confirm this disease process with included a complete blood count (CBC), chemistry profile, coagulation testing, titers for infectious diseases, urinalysis and advanced imaging of the chest and abdominal.

Upon confirmation, little Lupo was admitted to our ICU and prescribed medications to suppress his immune system in an attempt to stop the attack on his blood platelets. Through the use of special chemotherapy drugs, his body’s own process of creating more bone marrow was enhanced and he eventually began to win the battle and build up his platelet supply.

However, a side effect of his treatment was the development of a stomach ulcer which further worsening his disease process and simply made him feel dumpy. Further treatment were needed and a after a total of 11 days in our ICU, Lupo rebounded.

Now, months after his initial diagnosis, with a calendar of regular rechecks under his belt, Lupo is on his way to being a happy, healthy, fluff ball again! His platelet count is now over 400,000 (a health range being between 175,000-500,000) He is now simply a happy puppy coming to visit his Vet, Dr. Freifeld.
Our team could not be happier to see him either!  Much of Lupos puppyhood was spent fighting. His spirit endeared him to our staff and Doctors and that is no more evident than in his bond with Dr. Freifeld who has a photo of little Lupo permanently on his desk!

Long-term, it is expected that Lupo will do very well and live a normal pup’s life. We are so pleased to be able to share this happy ending and proud to be partnered with Lupo’s family in his health care.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dr. Larry, you will be missed!!

Thank you, Dr. Larry for your many contributions to our HAH!!
After 48 years of clinical practice, Dr. Larry Dee will be retiring on June 28, 2017. 

Dr. Dee will forever be a part of the fabric of this practice. He has been integral to our growth and development from a small wellness clinic to a 24 hour Emergency, Specialty & Wellness facility. A blueprint of his lifelong commitment to the care of our community is imprinted upon our staff and we will forever honor him with our care. We wish him the best in retirement and thank him for his years of service. 

Dr. Dee has serviced his profession in many ways during his career, serving as president of the Ridge Veterinary Medical Society (Polk County) , the Broward County Veterinary Medical Association, the Florida Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. He served the American Veterinary Medical Association in its House of Delegates for fourteen years, on its American Board of Veterinary Specialties for nine years, and on its Executive Board for six years. He continues to serve on the Board of Directors of “Florida Animal Friends’ (the spay/neuter license plate), on the American Veterinary Medical Foundation as treasurer and as outgoing President of the Hollywood Rotary Club. 

He thanks his clients, patients, colleagues, and the staff of Hollywood Animal Hospital for their trust and friendship, and for allowing him a most enjoyable career. He plans to continue to serve the community in other ways.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

What you need to know about CIV!!

H3N2 Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) Fact Sheet
What you need to know about CIV!!!

What is Canine Influenza Virus?
Canine influenza virus is a very contagious influenza virus that infects dogs. This virus emerged in the US in early 2004 in the form of the viral strains- H3N8. Vaccinations were created for this strain. In 2015 a new strain developed, H3N2. Confirmed cases were seen throughout the US. Today, confirmed cases of H3N2 have been found in Florida.  It has already infected thousands of dogs in more than 30 states and has been seen in 20+ cases in So. Florida. The current vaccine protects again both CIV strands.  CIV has also infected cats but there is no evidence that it can infect people.
What does CIV cause?
H3N2 CIV causes a respiratory infection in dogs that is also known as “dog flu”. Common symptoms include sneezing, nasal discharge, and frequent coughing that can last for 2 weeks or more. Many dogs have a fever, decreased appetite, and lethargy during the first few days of illness. Some dogs have more serious disease and pneumonia that requires hospital care.  CIV can cause respiratory infections in cats too. The cats start sneezing and have nasal discharge but usually do not cough.

How do dogs get CIV infection?
H3N2 CIV is spread by direct contact with a sick dog and by contact with an environment or people that are contaminated with the virus. Coughing dogs produce invisible virus‐containing mists that travel more than 20 feet in the air, facilitating rapid spread of virus over distances. This type of virus transmission contributes to a rapid increase in coughing dogs in a kennel situation. The virus can survive in the environment (kennel surfaces, food/water bowls, collars/ leashes, toys, beds) or on people’s clothing and hands for 12 to 24 hours before it dies. It is easily killed by hand washing with soap and water, normal laundering of clothing and bedding, and washing food/water bowls and toys with soap and water.
What dogs are at risk for CIV?
Most dogs do not have immunity to H3N2 CIV. This means that dogs of any breed, age or health status will likely be infected if they are exposed to the virus. Dogs at most risk for exposure are those with a social lifestyle and participate in group events or are housed in communal facilities, especially in communities where H3N2 CIV is circulating. This includes dogs in boarding kennels, day care centers, shelters, dog shows, veterinary clinics, pet stores, grooming parlors, etc. Dogs that mostly stay at home and walk around the neighborhood are at low risk.

What should I do if my dog has canine flu symptoms?
First of all, your dog may have a respiratory infection caused by other respiratory viruses and not H3N2 CIV. This can only be determined by a diagnostic test performed by your veterinarian. Here are the important steps to follow:
Call your veterinarian. Do not go to the clinic without calling first. Your dog may have a very contagious infection that can easily spread to other dogs in the clinic.
Tell the veterinarian the following information:
•Your dog’s symptoms and when they started.
•If your dog has been to a dog show, boarding facility, dog day care center, dog park, grooming parlor, or another event with other dogs within the past week.
• If your dog was around coughing dogs in the past week.
The veterinarian will provide specific instructions on when and how to see your dog.
Talk with your veterinarian about performing a diagnostic test to determine if your dog has the flu virus or another virus. This is very important to the care of your dog. The test is performed on swabs of the nose and throat that are submitted to an outside laboratory.

What if my dog is diagnosed with CIV?
Most dogs recover at home without any complications. The most important aspect of home care is to keep your dog isolated from all other dogs for 4 weeks. While dogs recover from illness in about 2 weeks, they can remain contagious to other dogs for up to 4 weeks. If you have other dogs or cats in the house, then all of them must be isolated in the home for 4 weeks. Your veterinarian will provide instructions on how to monitor the health of all the pets and when to call about concerns.
About 20% of dogs can progress to pneumonia. Dogs with pneumonia typically have decreased appetite, are very lethargic, and may have labored breathing. Call your veterinarian if you see these signs. These dogs likely need special hospital care for recovery. Fortunately, the mortality rate for H3N2 CIV is low.

What can I do to protect my dog against CIV?
You should also remain aware of any information about confirmed documentation of H3N2 CIV in your community or communities where you take your dog. If this virus is present in the community, then be careful about exposing your dog to events or facilities with other dogs. Knowledge and common sense are your best defenses against canine influenza.

The most important step is to vaccinate your dog against the canine influenza viruses. Just like human flu vaccines, the H3N2 CIV vaccine may not completely prevent infection but will make it less likely. Additionally, if a vaccinated dog does get infected, the disease is likely to be more mild and of shorter duration. The vaccine can also protect against pneumonia. Talk to your veterinarian about vaccination against CIV and other canine influenza viruses.
Source: University of Florida l College of Veterinary Medicine l 2017

Friday, May 26, 2017

Loyatly and love. A Gypsy's life, repaid!!

We all know the importance of going to our own doctor each year for a check up but sometimes the craziness of life and the natural playful disposition of our pets can lead us to forget their very important annual and semi-annual exams. 

Having an established relationship with a Veterinarian that knows your pet is key to a full lifetime with your fur-baby. 

This true story, this happy tale is the perfect example of why:

Last weekGypsy, a 15 year old mixed breed female was brought in for her regular exam and vaccinations with Dr. Murphy. During her physical exam, Dr. Murphy felt something was wrong. Gypsy's abdomen felt firm, not the soft belly she was accustom to feel. Dr. Murphy spoke straight to the problem and recommended xrays to further evaluate the source of this change. The xrays showed a mass in Gypsy's abdomen. Upon ultrasound diagnostics, it was clear that the mass was on her spleen and that surgery was her best option. Within 4 hours, Gypsy went from the exam room, through diagnostics, into surgery and was onto recovery.

As with any surgery, a Splenectomy comes with it's own risks and potential complications but when caught and acted on quickly, the risks are at their lowest. If left alone the tumor could have eventually burst and then the outcome would be very different.

 As her name implies, Gypsy's is a  

 " wild child! Just kind of happy-go-lucky..."

Gypsy was a rescue that came to her forever home 8 years ago in pretty bad shape -heartworm positive, fear of affection/touch, food issues. As she settled in with her new family she blossomed into a wonderful pet! 

Her most prominent trait is her loyalty. She is her mom's constant shadow, always around to make sure everything is ok. Gypsy was the watch-guard of their other pup before she passed; always getting help whenever she would fall or get stuck in certain places. The day their son's crib was set up, Gypsy began sleeping next to it... months before his  birth. Upon his arrival she never left his side and loved him like he was his own baby
 "Gypsy even found the strength in her little arthritic body to get up on [our son's] bed and sleep with him the first night in our new house." 
While it is hard to watch a pet age and slow down, Gypsy's parents always re-payed her loyalty with the very best care possible. So when it was time for her vaccinations, an appointment with Dr. Murphy was a given. It was certainly a shocked to find her in surgery only a few hours after her exam having a 5 pound mass removed from her abdomen.
Because of the trust between Dr. Murphy and Gypsy's parents,this story ends well.
The care was swift and timely and Gypsy is now home with her family. 

The entire team at VCA HAH is proud to be a part of this story. There is nothing better then caring for animals and helping to keep our fur-families happy and healthy for as long as possible.


A note from Gypsy's parents:
 I want to tell anyone who will listen how wonderful Dr. Murphy is. I never hesitate or second guess anything she says or recommends... You can tell that she is in this field because she truly cares. I can't even find words to express how we feel about her... MY WHOLE FAMILY!!!! I started going to her with my very first dog ever when I still lived with my parents and now (a gazillion years later) I wouldn't go anywhere else. She is amazing and someone needs to write an article about her! She is super cool and she is our hero! <3