Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Calling All Clients!

  Hi to all of our wonderful blog followers! My name is Amy. I am a certified veterinary technician here at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod. I have had the pleasure of working here for the last six years. Every year, Dr. Thomas Burns reviews each staff member to make sure they are happy, feel appreciated, and that  their performance is up to standard. This is incredibly important because patient care is number one on Dr. Burns' ever growing list. Listening to staff concerns, ideas, and feedback on a regular basis enables a positive work environment, which in return makes for the highest quality patient care. Another part of the annual review is to offer additional responsibilities and/or opportunities. One of my new responsibilities is writing the blog. So I will be making a new blog entry once a week. Amongst several ideas I already have, I also would like to try to incorporate our clients more. So if you have a picture, a medical case, or just a happy story about your furry family members, please share them with me at:  grizzandshikaka@gmail.com. In the subject line please write "blog" so I can filter through more easily. Thanks to all who follow!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Microchipping: More than just a chip!

Microchipping has become increasingly popular over the years in veterinary medicine because it is such a wonderful tool to help reunite lost pets with their owners.  In recent years, think about all of the major storms we have had and how many pets have been lost to their owners due to dire circumstances.  For the person who has lost everything, finding their pet is one of the greatest gifts indeed.

What is the microchip?  It is a small electronic chip embedded with a number that gets implanted between the shoulder blades of your pet.  At Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod we often implant the chips while they are anesthetized for their spay or neuter procedure; this ensures they do not feel a thing.  Each number is unique and specific to that pet.

But it doesn't stop there, perhaps the  most important part about microchipping your pet is to register with the online database.  This is something the owner must do when they get home.  At our hospital we do a thorough patient discharge with the client for the surgery and we also go over all of the microchip information and the importance of registering your pet online.  This step is crucial because at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod we have the pet's microchip number in our files, but they are not yet in the online database.  The online database is whats going to allow for your pet to have the best chance of being reunited with you should they get lost.  This way anyone who finds your pet can bring him or her to the nearest shelter or clinic where they can be scanned for a microchip.  Then all the clinic workers have to do is search the online database for that pet's microchip number and the owner's information will be readily available.

Registering your pet is incredibly easy.  It can be done online if you have Internet access or over the phone if you do not.  It only takes 5 to 10 minutes and all you have to do is create an account with  your name, address, and the best phone number to reach you.  It is best for the owner to do this at home because they can provide the most accurate information should their pet be lost.

If you have further questions about getting your pet microchipped you can visit the PetLink website at www.petlink.net, or simply give us a call at 508-394-3566 and one of our certified veterinary technicians will be happy to answer any questions!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Patient Spotlight: Grizz Lee

     Grizz Lee  is a 13 year old lab with a condition called laryngeal paralysis.  Laryngeal paralysis is something that is fairly common in older, larger breed dogs.   The larynx is surrounded by separate plates of cartilage that form a box-like shape in the throat.  The stability of the larynx is maintained by laryngeal muscles.  When the nerves of the muscles weaken, the muscles will relax and collapse inward.

     When Grizz Lee breathes in, the larynx does not properly open making it slightly more difficult to breathe.  This condition becomes aggravated when he is excited or stressed.  The more excited/stressed he gets, the more he pants, and the more difficult it becomes for him to breathe.  In rare cases pets with laryngeal paralysis can become so stressed/excited that they will be completely unable to breathe and go into respiratory distress.  This situation in fact happened to Grizz Lee early one morning and his owner had to rush him to CARE where he could be anesthetized and intubated in order for him to breathe.

    Grizz Lee has since recovered from his respiratory crisis and received surgery to correct the laryngeal paralysis called a Laryngeal Tie-Back.  Surgery for this condition involves tying the collapsed cartilage to the side of the larynx to prevent it from obstructing breathing in the future.  Although the surgery often dramatically improves quality of life, as it has for Grizz, it has a few small risks.  Now that the larynx is permanently tied back, the owner must be careful to feed their pet properly so that they do not get food and/or water into their trachea and into the lungs.  This can be done easily with a few minor, but important feeding adjustments.

     Since his surgery Grizz has gone on to be a happy, normal lab.  Although he's not as spry as he used to be, he has a wonderful quality of life and is otherwise healthy.  Not all animals with laryngeal paralysis will require surgery; it is done as a case by case basis and should be fully discussed with your veterinarian.If you have more questions about Grizz Lee's condition we'd be happy to answer them  for you! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Condition Spotlight: Pancreatitis

What is Pancreatitis?  This is a condition that happens in both cats and dogs that we see fairly often here at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod.  The pancreas is a vital organ located in the right side of the abdomen and  it has two functions:
  1. To produce enzymes that assist with digestion of food
  2. To produce hormones such as insulin
When the pancreas becomes inflamed it is known as pancreatitis.  The causes of pancreatitis are not known, however, it is believed that eating a rich, fatty meal can be a contributing factor.  In dogs, the administration of corticosteroids is also considered a contributing factor.  Normally digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas are activated in the small intestine.  With pancreatitis, the enzymes are activated pre-maturely in the pancreas resulting in the digestion of the pancreas itself.

As you can imagine, this can be a very painful condition.  Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea.  Diagnosis is based on three criteria:  clinical signs, laboratory tests, and x-rays and/or ultrasound.   Successful treatment of pancreatitis will depend on early diagnosis and medical therapy.  The pancreas must be able to "turn off" it's activation of digestive enzymes and this can only be done by withholding food and water.  In this case your pet will need to be hospitalized to receive intravenous fluids and other medications to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance.  The severity of your pet's case will depend on the length of time necessary for hospitalization.

Prognosis for pancreatitis depends on the extent of the disease, but is generally favorable with medical intervention.