Thursday, July 25, 2013

Signs of Illness in Cats

Our feline friends can be very good at hiding the fact that they don't feel well. Here are some of the subtle signs that your cat needs to be seen by a veterinarian.
  • Hair loss or excessive shedding
  • Lumps or growths
  • Bad breath or unpleasant odor
  • Changes in any of the following:
    • Eating- an increase or decrease in appetite
    • Drinking- excessive thirst or decrease in water consumption
    • Activity- usually we see activity level decrease in sick cats, but an increase in activity can also be indicative of a problem
    • Grooming- decrease in grooming or excessive licking in one area
    • Personality- a shy cat who is suddenly affectionate or a friendly cat who starts hiding from you
    • Weight- unexpected weight loss or weight gain
    • Litter box habits- not using the litter box or lingering inside it for long periods
The best thing you can do for your cat is to bring her to the veterinarian at least once a year, and any time you notice a problem. At VACC, a common reason for a visit is, "He's not himself." You know your pet better than anyone, so if you have a feeling that something isn't right, trust yourself and make an appointment. Most illnesses are easier to cure if they are caught early.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dr. Tom Burns Discusses Pets and Ticks

Don't make the mistake of thinking that deer ticks are the only danger to you and your pets! Co-host Dan McCready talks with Dr. Tom Burns, of Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod, about the dangers pets and their owners face from tick-borne illnesses. Sunday Journal is produced by the Cape Cod Broadcasting NewsCenter and is aired on the FM stations: 99.9 WQRC, Ocean 104.7, Classical 107.5 WFCC and Cape Country 104 each Sunday morning.

 If you are having trouble using the audio player, click here.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Danger of a Hot Car

Summer has finally arrived on Cape Cod! Unfortunately, VACC has already lost one patient because she was left in a hot car. Remember, 70 degrees is too hot to leave a dog in the car, even if the windows are cracked. If you aren't sure if it's too hot, be on the safe side and leave your dog at home. In this video, veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward show us just how hot it can get inside a parked car. The chart below shows how extreme the difference in temperature can be inside a car as opposed to the outside temperature.

If you must bring your pet with you, bring an extra key, so you can lock your pet inside with the air conditioner running.

If you come across a dog inside a parked car on a hot day, here's what to do:
  • Have someone stay with the dog and watch for signs of heat stroke:
    • Excessive panting or drooling
    • Bright red tongue and gums
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Vomiting
    • Confusion or disorientation
    • Bloody diarrhea
    • Lethargy
    • Collapse or seizure
  • Call animal control or the police. They will need to know the location of the vehicle, as well as the make, model, color, and plate number.
  •  Ask nearby businesses to page the owner of the vehicle.
If the dog appears to be suffering from heat stroke, it needs to be removed from the car as soon as possible. The safest thing to do in this situation is to find the owner and have them remove the dog. Be aware that while some states have laws that offer protection to an individual who enters a vehicle to rescue an animal in danger, Massachusetts does not. Should you make the decision to remove the dog yourself, be sure to call the authorities before you do so and inform them of the situation. It is also a good idea to have a witness with you who can back up your story, if needed. Before breaking the windows of a vehicle, check to see if the doors were left unlocked. Have a leash ready for the dog, and be careful that it doesn't bite you. In these situations you need to be ready for the owner of the dog to be hostile as well- another reason to wait for the local authorities! Once the dog is out of the car, offer some cool (not ice cold!) water to drink, use the same temperature water to wet the dog down, and get it to a veterinarian as quickly as you can- preferably in an air conditioned vehicle.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Bladder Stone Removal Via Cystoscopy

At Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod, our surgeons are fortunate enough to have the ability to use the endoscope for certain procedures.

In the x-ray of a miniature schnauzer below, three pea-sized stones can be seen in the bladder. 

Dr. Burns elected to use cystoscopy, and the procedure was a success. During this procedure, the scope is passed into the bladder through the urethra and the stones are retrieved. In most cases, the benefits of using the endoscope for this procedure (compared to the traditional surgical method) are huge:
  • Anesthesia time is greatly reduced.
  • There is no incision. This shortens recovery time for the patient, and virtually eliminates the risk of post surgical complications.
  • There is less irritation to the bladder. This is especially beneficial to patients who are at risk for developing more stones and may require multiple procedures over their lifetime.
In the video below, you can see the surgeon's-eye-view of the bladder stone retrieval.

The x-ray below, taken after the procedure was completed, confirms that all of the stones were removed.