Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod. Travel safely if traveling, enjoy your family and friends, eat enormous amounts of food, but most importantly, 

Condition Spotlight: Seizures

A seizure can be defined as an abnormal electrical discharge in the brain.  Both dogs and cats can have seizures, but it is far more common in dogs. Although any breed of dog can have a seizure, it appears to be more common in these certain breeds:

  • Beagles
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Collies
  • German Shepherds
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Irish Setters
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Poodles
  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • Saint Bernards
  • Fox Terriers
    (list courtesy Vetstreet)
       A seizure can have many causes.  Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), toxicity, liver disease, tumors, or trauma can all cause your pet to have a seizure.  When a cause of the seizures can’t be found it is called idiopathic epilepsy. Idiopathic epilepsy, an inherited condition, is the most common cause of seizures in dogs.
     When your pet has a seizure, try to move them to a clear area on the floor if you can safely do so.  Pets do not swallow their tongue during a seizure so do not attempt to put your fingers in their mouth or you may be badly injured.  Try to remember to keep track of how long the seizure lasts.  A seizure that goes on for more than 5 minutes requires immediate veterinary attention! Seizures are scary to watch, but are not considered to be painful to your pet. However your pet will most likely feel confused and frightened afterwards.
      If your pet is having seizures, you should get him or her to your vet for an exam as soon as possible.   He/she will do a complete physical exam and perform some laboratory tests to determine the cause of the seizures.  As mentioned earlier, epilepsy is often idiopathic, or of unknown cause, so the exam and test results may come back as normal.
If your pet has a severe grand mal seizures, has several small seizures in a row, or continues to have more than one seizure a month, your veterinarian may want to pet your pet on an anti-seizure medication such as phenobarbital or potassium bromide.  These medications will require that you bring your pet back to the vet for continuous lab work to monitor for any adverse side effects.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Project Samana 2014

    I just returned from my second, and not my last, trip to the Dominican Republic. As many of you know Dr. Labdon started Project Samana in 1992. Project Samana provides veterinary care to both small and large animals on this remote peninsula in the Dominican Republic. Every six months a group of veteranarians, technicians, students, and hard working assistants combining to about 15-20 people, gather from all over the U.S. to contribute their skills and make a difference.
    Samana is far from lacking in tropical beauty, but the people are incredibly poor. It really gives the whole "first world / third world problems" a new meaning. Something I truly believe many of us could use a lesson on. This trip really puts my "issues" in perspective. Not to mention the utter gratitude towards each team that visits. Hundreds of people come from miles away to have their pet spayed, neutered, and/or surgically repaired. Sitting patiently in the oppressive heat for hours on end without a single complaint. They are undoubtedly grateful for our services, and I can honestly say, there is no feeling quite like it.
   Once we arrive in Samana, or first order of business is having a meeting. That way we can introduce ourselves and get a little background on everyone we will be working with that week. After the meeting we eat and attempt a good nights sleep to prepare for day one of Project Samana.
    The team, along with some amazing local volunteers, divides up to make a check in/information area, a surgery prep team, surgeons, recovery team, and a discharge area. On this trip, and any given trip, we typically work on 50 to 70 animals a day! No that is not a typo. We really put all  our compassion and skills together and push hard every day. Except Wednesday. We get Wednesday off to enjoy hiking, horseback riding, beaches, ziplines, or just relaxing by the pool. Wednesday is much needed after the first two days. It also helps us get ready for Thursday and Friday.
    This year our total number was 277 in 3 1/2 days. Primarily spays and neuters, although there is always a leg amputation (or two) and wound repairs as well. The half day on Friday is to take inventory to know what is needed next time, followed by a extraordinary sunset catamaran cruise. It is astonishing to me how close you can become with people you've never met before in 6 days. We all start off with one thing in common, but we end up like family.
     I would like to thank everyone that has contributed large or small to Project Samana. Whether a donation, your time, or just a simple thank you to those who have been. I would also like to thank Dr. Burns for sending myself and several other technicians over the years as well as all the supplies given from VACC to make it happen. Most of all, I would like to thank Dr. Labdon. You are an inspiration to all of us.  Project Samana is absolutely a life changing trip and I am proud to be a part of it.