Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tips for Flea and Tick Prevention

Fleas and ticks are not just an annoyance, they can pose a serious health threat to both pets and humans.  Fleas and ticks can transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other zoonotic diseases from animals to humans so choosing the right preventative for your pet is key to keeping your pet, home, and family safe.  With so many products available on the market, it’s important to consult your veterinarian to ensure you select the safest and most effective preventative.  For your pet’s safety, we recommend the following:
  • Always check with your veterinarian prior to using any product (especially over the counter).
  • Use caution when using preventatives on pets who are pregnant, older, very young, or taking medications.  Your veterinarian will provide expert advice on the appropriate preventative in any situation.
  • Never use any preventative on cats that are indicated for dogs only. 
  • Double check the weight range prior to administering any preventative.  Giving a small pet a dose for a larger animal can have detrimental results.
  • Follow the directions that are indicated on the product.  Never apply more or less than the recommended dose.
Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod offers a wide variety of flea and tick preventatives in hospital.  From topical, oral and collars; we have you covered!  Our online pharmacy offers an assortment of products as well.  Remember to keep your pet safe and use flea and tick preventatives throughout the entire year! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Dangers of Xylitol

Many pet owners believe they are aware of what is toxic to dogs.  Chocolate, caffeine and grapes are just a few that dog owners are well aware of.  However, many dog owners are not aware of the danger of xylitol.  Xylitol is an artificial sweetener commonly found in many sugar-free products.  When ingested by dogs, xylitol may cause vomiting, weakness, lethargy, loss of coordination, seizures, hypoglycemia, liver failure and even death.  Below are a few common products that may contain xylitol:
  • Sugar-free gums
  • Candies
  • Breath mints
  • Children’s chewable vitamins
  • Toothpastes
  • Mouthwashes
  • Baked goods
  • Some peanut and nut butters
Signs of xylitol toxicity appears quickly – usually within 15-30 minutes of consumption.  If you suspect that your dog has ingested xylitol, contact your veterinarian immediately.  If you do use products containing xylitol, store them in a safe place that is completely out of reach of your pets.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Vehicle Safety Tips

Many of us who have dogs frequently take our beloved pups out for car rides.  While this can be a great way to bond and spend time with your pup, it’s important to be aware of your pet’s safety whenever you’re in the car. 
  • Never leave your pet unattended in the car.  Even when the temperature outside is at a pleasant 70 degrees, the temperature in the car can climb to 90 degrees in 10 minutes.
  • Remove your pet’s leash when riding in the vehicle.  A coworker recently reported that her puppy nearly choked himself to death because his leash got wrapped around the center console.
  • Never allow your dog on your lap or to wander the car.  Keep your dog in a secured carrier or in the back seat while traveling.
  • Turn off power windows.  It may seem harmless to let your pet stick their head out in the breeze, but overly excited dogs have jumped out of moving vehicles.  A dog can easily close the window causing the window to close on their neck.
  • Make sure to have fresh water and a bowl in case your dog becomes thirsty. 
Everyone at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod wishes you and your four-legged family members a happy and safe summer!  If you’re planning to take your pet for a ride along in the car, ask yourself if you’ll need to stop anywhere.  If the answer is yes, it’s best to leave your pet home where it is cool and safe.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Avoid Memorial Day Mishaps

Memorial Day Weekend is in a few days, and while it’s a great time to celebrate with family and friends, we need to be cautious of our pet’s safety.  Fireworks are a Memorial Day tradition, and while most of us enjoy the noise and flashes from a firework display, this can be extremely frightening to dogs.  Here are some tips to keep your dog safe during the holiday weekend.
  • Keep your dog inside at all times.  It is easy to lose track of your pet when you’re entertaining guests.
  • Be cautious of alcoholic beverages.  Make sure all alcohol is kept out of reach and guests are mindful where they place their drinks.
  • Avoid offering table scraps.  Raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and avocados are common snacks found at barbeques, but these are all toxic to dogs.
  • Make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag or microchip.  If your pet becomes lost during the holiday commotion, they can be easily identified.
  • Stay clear of glow jewelry.  Dogs can chew up and swallow the plastic jewelry, which can cause excessive drooling and gastrointestinal upset.
  • Leave your pet at home when going to a fireworks display.  The combination of loud noises and unfamiliar people can be extremely frightening and traumatizing to your pet. 
Everyone at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod wishes you a wonderful and safe holiday weekend.  We would like to honor all of the men and women who sacrificed their lives to serve in the U.S. Military and continue to serve to keep our Country safe. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Summer Time Tips

As the weather warms up and summer approaches, we will be spending more time outside with our family, friends and pets!  Many of us will be having cookouts and spending our days at the beach.  Here are some helpful tips to keep your pet safe during these fun social gatherings.
  • Save outdoor time with your pet during the early morning or later in the day.  Pets can easily succumb to heatstroke, especially pets who are older, overweight, or brachycephalic (has a flat-shaped face).  Always provide plenty of cold water and shade.  Avoid walking on pavement when the sun is in full force, as this can burn your pet’s paws. 
  • Be mindful of food during barbeques.  Corncobs, chicken bones and ribs are just a few common foods that can cause obstructions if ingested by your pet, which may require surgery.  Keep food out of reach from your pet at all times and don’t forget to keep a tight lid on any trash cans.
  • Avoid bringing your dog for a day at the beach.  While this may sound like a great idea, we recommend limiting your dog’s beach excursions to either early morning or late afternoon.  It is too hot for your pet to endure an entire day at the beach, which can result in heat stroke.  Dogs can ingest sand, come in contact fish hooks and drink saltwater, all of which can become very serious and require veterinary care.
As pet owners, we naturally want to involve our pets during social gatherings or day excursions.  However, we must always place our pet’s safety first and foremost.  Often times, this means keeping your pet at home in a cool and safe environment. 


Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Importance of AAHA Accreditation

Did you know that Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod is one of only three veterinary hospitals on Cape Cod that is AAHA accredited?  In fact, we are the only AAHA accredited veterinary hospital located in the Mid Cape.  The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is the only organization to accredit companion veterinary hospitals.  AAHA accredited hospitals hold themselves to higher standards, placing pets as their #1 priority.  What sets AAHA accredited practices apart from non-accredited practices?
  • Accreditation is voluntary – only hospitals interested in raising the bar strive for this accreditation
  • Accredited practices undergo regular comprehensive evaluations by AAHA veterinary experts who evaluate the practice on approximately 900 standards of veterinary care
  • Re-evaluations are required every three years to keep practices up-to-date
  • Only 12-15% of all veterinary practices in the United States and Canada are AAHA accredited
We encourage everyone to ask if their veterinary hospital is AAHA accredited, regardless of where you bring your pet.  The AAHA evaluation process gives us the opportunity to continuously improve our practice and provides an atmosphere in which all team members work together harmoniously.  If you’ve never been to Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod, we encourage you to stop by for a visit!  We are confident that our hospital with both meet and exceed your expectations of a veterinary hospital.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Happy Vet Visits Part 8

A lot of changes have been made to help ease your pet’s fears and anxiety when coming to the veterinary hospital.  We understand that it can be nerve-racking when your pet is brought to the back for vaccines and bloodwork.  The inability to see what is being done to your pet can make you feel helpless, even if you know and trust your veterinarian.  For this reason, we are performing more vaccinations and bloodwork in the exam room with owners present.  Here are few changes you will see:   
  • Lower-stress handling approach.  There are long-standing consequences for the future ability to handle your pet based on how your pet was handled in the past.  Our gentle, lower-stress handling approach will leave a positive experience in your pet’s mind.
  • We believe in positive reinforcement and pets often appreciate treats as a reward.  Each exam room is stocked with plenty of treats.  We encourage bringing a hungry pet for exams.
  • We try our best to examine your pet in their comfort zone.  Whether that be on the floor, an exam table, in their crate with the lid removed, or even your lap!   
We have made these changes to benefit both you and your pets.  If you are uncomfortable watching your pet receive vaccinations or other treatments, you are welcome to step out of the exam room or we can bring your pet to the back – the choice is yours.  Next time you come for a visit, we encourage you to take note of the changes we made.  We never want pets to fear going to their veterinarian and we’re hoping to make veterinary visits fun for both pets and their owners.  If your pet suffers from extreme anxiety, we encourage you to alert the client services representative when booking the appointment.  We will go above and beyond your expectations to make your pet’s visit a positive one!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lending a Helping Hand

Most of us know Dr. Burns as a wonderful veterinarian that treats our cats, dogs and sometimes feathered family members.  Many of you may not know Dr. Burns’ passion for Ocean Conservacy – with particular interest in shark conservation.

Recently, Dr. Burns was in Hawaii.  While most of us would spend our time in paradise soaking up the sun with a tropical beverage in hand, Dr. Burns seized this opportunity to help an animal in need.  While out at sea, Dr. Burns noticed a plastic bottle on the surface.  Upon closer inspection, he realized that this bottle was attached to a female oceanic white tip shark. 
While it may not seem like much, this air-filled bottle was keeping this shark at the surface, tiring her, and would likely result in death.  Unfortunately, fisherman will occasionally do this as retribution to sharks that take baits and to keep them off their lines.
Dr. Burns and his team were able to corral her, and his teammate was able to cut her free.  She did momentarily “panic” towards Dr. Burns during the process, but eventually cruised away.  The team kept up with her as long as they could after cutting her free.  She resumed a normal swimming pattern and was rejoined by almost a dozen pilot fish.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Happy Vet Visits Part 7

Our canine companions can suffer from fear and anxiety when going to the veterinarian.  When redesigning our hospital, a major goal was to reduce anxiety for both pets and owners.  Visiting your vet shouldn’t be stressful, in fact, we think it should be fun!  Here are some changes we made specifically with your pooch in mind:

  • Our scale is flush with the floor and equipped with an anti-slip surface.  The days of forcing your dog to step up on a cold metal scale are over!
  • Expanded species-specific waiting area.  Even with multiple dogs, there’s plenty of room for everyone to sit and relax in peace.
  • Plenty of treats available in our lobby and exam rooms.  Have a dog with food allergies?  No worries!  We’ve got you covered with hypoallergenic treats – just ask!
  • Adaptil diffusers in examination rooms are continuously releasing calming pheromones.
  • Soothing music in canine only examination rooms specifically designed to calm dogs.
  • Complimentary thunder shirts are available during your dog’s visit to help ease anxiety.

We’re excited to offer your dog the very best during his/her visit to our newly redesigned hospital.  If you haven’t seen our new facility, we recommend to swing by!  Hospital tours are available upon request. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Happy Vet Visits Part 6

When our hospital went under renovations, we made a point to make the atmosphere as relaxing and inviting as possible.  We understand that bringing your pet to the vet can be stressful, and while we touched upon some tricks that you can try at home, we made some major changes to the design with your comfort in mind.
  • Large waiting area with high ceilings.  Even if you don’t suffer from claustrophobia, it can be stressful if you’re waiting for your appointment in a small waiting area. 
  • Plenty of natural sunlight.  Our lobby is filled with large windows allowing natural light to fill our entire lobby.
  • Pleasing color scheme.  The colors of our facility were carefully selected to be pleasing to both pets and people.
  • Stunning 440 gallon saltwater fish tank.  Relax and watch our captive raised tropical fish and corals.
  • Complimentary coffee, tea and bottled water is available at all times.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to stop by and see our newly renovated facility, we highly encourage you to.  All changes were designed to benefit both you and your pets.  Additionally, if you’re planning on going out of town, ask for a guided tour of our new Salty Paws Resort.  There’s no better or safer place to have your pets stay when you’re away!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Happy Vet Visits Part 5

In our Happy Vet Visits series, we have touched upon what pet owners can do to help ease their pet’s fears and anxiety when visiting the vet.  We’re going to switch gears and inform pet owners what we have done as a clinic to make your pet’s visit less stressful, perhaps even pleasurable!

If you haven’t stopped into Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod recently, you are missing out.  We have undergone a complete remodel designed with pets, their owners and staff in mind.  You’ll notice dramatic differences when entering the hospital, having a seat in our lobby and in the examination rooms.

A huge change in our hospital is species specific waiting areas and exam rooms.  This is huge for cat owners as many cats become stressed when leaving their familiar surroundings.  Thankfully the days of barking dogs and stressed out cats sitting side by side prior to appointments are over!  As soon as you check in at our front desk, have a seat in our spacious lobby.  You’ll find a cat only waiting area overlooking a beautiful 440 gallon saltwater aquarium.  You and your cat can relax to the sounds of soothing cat music playing in this tranquil area equipped with Feliway diffusers that will help calm your cat.

When it’s time to see your veterinarian, our room technician will lead you into one of our cat only examination rooms.  These rooms have windows to the outside world, ramps and scratching posts, toys and treats, pheromone diffusers and warm towels for your cat’s enjoyment and comfort.  Relax to the soothing music designed specifically to calm your cat’s anxiety.  Remember our blog recommending specific carriers for your cat?  If your cat feels safe in their carrier, our doctors will remove the lid from the carrier and examine your pet in their safe spot! 

Checking out is a breeze in our newly designed facility.  Simply make your way over to the discharge side of our front desk.  Once you’re ready to go, you’ll find a new separate exit door – no more accidental encounters with patients entering the building!         

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Happy Vet Visits Part 4

In our Happy Vet Series, we’ve touched upon simple changes you can try at home that can greatly reduce your pet’s fear and anxiety when going to the vet.  We understand that even with the most diligent training and positive reinforcement, some pets react aggressively when in a veterinary setting.  As a veterinary staff member, rest assure that this reaction is not uncommon, and we try our best to make your pet’s visit as stress-free as possible.  Here are a few recommendations for historically aggressive pets:
  • Invest in a basket muzzle.  Basket muzzles are great as pets can easily breathe and drink water while wearing them.
  • Give your pet time to become comfortable wearing the basket muzzle.  We recommend applying the muzzle at home periodically so your pet does not associate the muzzle with going to the vet. 
  • Try putting a sticky treat like peanut butter or squeeze cheese in the muzzle at home to make your pet comfortable wearing one.  Your pet will learn that the muzzle is not a negative thing and often comes with a tasty treat inside!
  • Go for a quick drive with your muzzled pet.  Once you get home, reward your pet with plenty of belly rubs, treats and any other positive reinforcement!  This will teach your pet that a car ride wearing a muzzle does not necessarily mean you’re going to the vet.
Next time you need to visit the vet, and you are aware your pet exhibits aggressive behavior, consider trying a basket muzzle.  Give yourself plenty of time to allow your pet to become comfortable wearing the muzzle at home prior to their next visit.  Make sure your pet enters the veterinary clinic wearing the muzzle – we recommend applying the muzzle at home with the aforementioned techniques.  This should reduce you and your pet’s stress level when going to the vet!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Happy Vet Visits Part 3

Part 3 of our Happy Vet Visits series continues to touch upon tips that owners can try to reduce your pet’s stress level when going to the veterinarian.  It’s amazing how a few simple changes made at home can reduce the amount of anxiety and stress your pet experiences at the vet.  Increasing the amount of car rides between vet visits and desensitizing your pet to their pet carrier are great options to reduce stress, but there are more options to help your pet when he’s nervous about his vet appointment. 
  • Bring hungry pets.  Skipping or reducing the amount of food given to your pet prior to their vet appointment will make your pet more likely to accept treats in the exam room.
  • Bring plenty of your pet’s favorite treats to their appointment.  Even consider fresh deli meat or squeeze cheese as treats to sweeten the proposal for your pet. 
  • Offer treats often while in the lobby, exam room, and during the actual examination.  This provides a positive distraction for your pet.
If your pet gets nervous when going to the vet, try out these tips.  Many owners say their pets will not accept treats at the vet, but implementing the tips above will help entice your pet.  As always, consult with your veterinarian prior to reducing their food intake or offering different treats. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Happy Vet Visits Part 2

The second subject we’d like to touch upon in our Happy Vet Visits series is desensitizing your pet to their carrier.  Unfortunately, many pets only associate their pet carrier with going to the vet, resulting in your pet fleeing when she sees her carrier.  Here are a few tips on making your pet’s carrier a welcome sanctuary:

  • Keep the carrier out at all times.  If this is not possible, try taking out the carrier at least a few days prior to your pet’s veterinary appointment.  Always keep the carrier’s door open so your pet can enter and exit as she pleases.
  • Make the carrier a comfy safe zone.  Furnish your pet's carrier with soft bedding, toys and treats.  The key is to make your pet's carrier so appealing that she enters on her own.
  • Spritz calming pheromones on the bedding inside your pet's carrier.  Cats enjoy Feliway and dogs love Adaptil.  Using these pheromones will increase your pet's chance of entering their carrier on their own free will.
  • Invest in a hard-sided carrier.  These sturdy carriers are extremely safe and eliminate the chance of injury should a heavy object fall against it.
  • Make sure the carrier has adequate ventilation.  Ideal carriers will have openings on all three sides.
  • Invest in a carrier with a removable top.  Once your pet associates her carrier as a "safe place", examinations can easily performed inside the carrier if she prefers.  This can reduce your pet's anxiety during her physical exam.

Next time you schedule your pet’s check-up, considering trying out these helpful tips.  Even if your pet is not due to see the vet, it’s best to try these tips early on.  The more time your pet has to associate her carrier as a safe zone, the easier it will be to place her in the carrier when it’s time to visit the vet!


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Happy Vet Visits Part 1

As we educate our clients about our pet-centered practice, we will be providing a series of tips to help make your pet’s visit a pleasurable one.  The idea behind a pet-centered practice is that we put your pet’s comfort and emotions first and foremost.  Many owners find going to the vet a stressful endeavor, however, some simple changes can result in calmer vet visits.
Many pets find car rides stressful and often display anxious behavior due to associating car rides with visits to the veterinarian.  We recommend introducing car rides between vet visits to reduce your pet’s veterinary anxiety.  Here are a few helpful tricks:
  • Make sure your pet hasn’t eaten a few hours prior to taking a quick car ride.  Some pets vomit due to stress and holding off on treats during these quick trips reduces the chance of a mess.
  • Make the car ride short and sweet.  Start off with a quick 5 minute trip and return directly home.  Once you arrive home, make sure to reward your pet with affection and treats!
  • When taking your cat for a quick car ride, make sure their carrier is as level as possible, facing the carrier forward in the rear seat.  Draping the carrier with a blanket or sheet, allowing only the front area exposed, can help make your cat feel comfortable.
  • Use soothing pheromones!  Spraying Feliway (for cats) or Adaptil (for dogs) on your seat cover has been shown to reduce anxiety.
  • Try increasing the duration of rides and consider making “pet friendly” stops, such as a bank drive through, as these businesses often offer treats for your four-legged fur baby.
  • Stop in for a treat!  Make a quick stop at your veterinarian's office for a treat.  Familiarizing your pet with her vet's office through frequent, quick visits will make her more comfortable with smells, sounds and staff members that she will encounter during her exams. 
  • Don’t forget to relax!  Pets easily sense when their owner has fear or anxiety, resulting in stress on your pet.  If you approach car rides calmly, your pet will follow suit!
Taking your pet for frequent, quick drives between vet visits can make a world of difference.  Your pet will learn to associate car rides with something pleasurable, rather than stressful, making your next trip to the vet a breeze!  Always consult with your veterinarian prior to trying out any of these helpful tips.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Bringing Home a New Puppy or Kitten?

Spring is right around the corner, which means an abundance of puppies and kittens will be welcomed into their new homes.  Start your new four-legged fur baby on the right paw with a few tips that will help you in the future.

Let’s face it, most pets do not enjoy nail trims.  My advice is to familiarize your pet with nail trims from day one.  Play with his paws, let him smell the nail trimmers and always use positive reinforcement when he responds with desirable behavior (ex. allowing you to trim a few nails without any pulling or fidgeting).  Familiarizing your pet to nail trims and playing with their paws at a young age will make trimming their nails a simple task.

Two other areas that pets can be sensitive about are their ears and mouths.  Desensitizing them by frequently touching these areas, and giving your pet positive reinforcement, is an excellent way to teach your pet that ear and teeth cleaning can be a pleasant experience.  In fact, you’re teaching them that if they allow you to clean their ears or teeth, they receive a reward!

When you bring a new pet into the home, it’s a good idea to teach him proper feeding manners.  When offering a treat, encourage your pet to take the treat gently from your hand.  This can avoid any potential accidents in the future.

We highly encourage puppy classes at an early age.  Enrolling your puppy in an obedience course will socialize them, start them off on the right track to appropriate behavior and give you guidance on how to properly train your pet.  

Implementing these guidelines from day one can place your fur-baby on the track to success from the beginning, saving you stress in the future.  Always consult your veterinarian if any questions or concerns arise.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Bathing Battle

Do you find bathing your four-legged fur baby a battle?  How about cleaning ears or trimming nails?  Did these questions raise your blood pressure?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, trust me, you’re not alone!  Your bathtub at home is most certainly not designed with bathing your fur baby in mind.  Even if you make a valiant effort, you finish with a sore back, more water outside the tub than inside and a clogged drain from pet hair!  If this sounds familiar, we have some great news.  Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod is pleased to offer soothing bathing options at our Salty Paws Resort!

Our newly renovated resort offers a brand new hydraulic bathing tub providing the deepest clean and scrub, from soothing oatmeal to medicated baths.  Dogs really appreciate the ease of the hydraulic lift – no need to go up any stairs or be lifted.  Our older or arthritic dogs really appreciate this feature!  Our baths also include the following upon request:

  • Nail Trim
  • Ear Cleaning
  • Anal Gland Expression   

We have received a “five paw” rating from our four legged friends!  Give us a call today to make an appointment.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Minimally Invasive Procedures (MIS)

Minimally Invasive Procedures (MIS) are noninvasive alternatives to traditional surgery techniques.  Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod is the only veterinary hospital on Cape Cod to offer this wonderful alternative.  From exploratory surgery, bladder stone removal, to prophylactic gastropexy procedures, our minimally invasive approach means considerably smaller incisions, faster recoveries, with much less pain.

MIS, which includes laparoscopic surgery, uses the latest technology.  The surgeon creates dime-sized incisions that allow the use of a miniature camera, laparoscope, and specialized instruments to perform the procedure.  This eliminates the need for larger, conventional incisions; resulting in less pain and recovery time.   

Laparoscopic Spay:

A laparoscopic spay will mean that your pet will experience up to 65% less pain, greater safety and faster recovery time.  What are other advantages?
  • The surgery is performed through two tiny dime-sized incisions
  • Provides the surgeon a significantly better vie
  • Reduced potential complications
  • Bleeding is minimal to nonexistent
  • Gastropexy can be performed at the same time

Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (GDV):

GDV is a life threatening disorder most commonly seen in large, deep-chested dogs.  The term refers to a gas-filled stomach (bloat) that twists upon itself.  The exact cause is still unknown, but it is one of the most serious non-traumatic conditions seen in dogs; requiring immediate veterinary attention to save the dog’s life.  Some breeds prone to GDV include Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Standard Poodles, Doberman Pinschers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Setters.
Due to the severity of this disorder, many veterinarians are recommending at risk breed dogs undergo a prophylactic (preventative) laparoscopic gastropexy so the dog is never at risk for the condition.  This procedure surgically attaches the stomach to the body wall and is the most effective means of prevention.  This can be performed at the time the dog is spayed or neutered, or at any other time.  The laparoscopic procedure is much less invasive than the traditional open surgery, with reduced post-operative pain, bleeding and recovery time.
Laparoscopic Exploratory Surgery:
Laparoscopic surgery is a giant leap forward from traditional “open” exploratory surgery.  Veterinarians perform exploratory surgeries through a large incision in the abdomen in order to look inside and take biopsies.  The traditional method requires a long and painful incision, resulting in hospitalization of your pet for appropriate care and pain management.  Laparoscopic exploratory surgery eliminates the large abdominal incision and replaces it with incisions so tiny that the patient experiences far less post-operative pain and faster recovery time.  This safe procedure poses no greater risk than traditional surgery.
Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod is the only veterinary hospital in southeastern Massachusetts performing these minimally invasive procedures!
Endoscopy is a noninvasive approach to assessing patients.  Endoscopes are flexible video cameras with working channels that are passed into sites, such as the gastrointestinal tract or respiratory tract, for high-resolution investigation.  Far superior to traditional fiber optic scopes, Veterinary Associates can achieve favorable results without surgery.  For instance, Dr. Burns was able to remove 29 pieces of cloth from a patient without any surgery.  This noninvasive procedure reduced the patient’s pain, less expensive than a traditional foreign body surgery, and enabled the patient to go home the same day!  In addition to an alternative to foreign body surgery, video scopes allow us to take biopsy samples for the diagnosis of prolonged vomiting, diarrhea and coughing.  Dr. Burns has received advanced training from the leader in this field and has become highly skilled with this technology. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Keep Your Pet Healthy and Happy

With the holidays over and spring just around the corner, we thought it’s an appropriate time to talk about an all too common problem – pet obesity.  Did you know that approximately 52% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese?  Being overweight puts your pet at risk for a variety of health problems including diabetes, hypothyroidism, arthritis and cardiovascular disease.  Just like us, pets who maintain a healthy body weight reduce the risk of falling victim to preventable health problems. 
Similar to humans determining their body condition using their body mass index (BMI), a veterinarian determines your pet’s body condition score (BCS) to evaluate their current body mass.  During your pet’s physical examination, your veterinarian will be able to tell you if your pet’s BCS is within a healthy range.  If your pet is outside the desirable BCS, your veterinarian can offer some tips to get your pet on the right track.  Here are some tips to keep your pet in great shape!
  • Portion control is key when feeding your pet. 
  • When determining how much to feed your pet, less is often the healthier choice.
  • Daily physical activity should be a priority.
A few changes in your pet’s diet and exercise habits can make a huge impact in the overall quality of their health.  Research has proven that dogs consuming calorie-restricted diets live two years longer than those lacking calorie restriction.  Including the benefit of weight loss, daily exercise strengthens the pet-owner bond!  Now that we’re in the homestretch to spring, it’s a great time to get outside and start a daily exercise routine with your pet.  Before making any changes to your pet’s diet, please consult with your veterinarian.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Make Your Cat's Veterinary Experience a Positive One

It’s the morning of Fluffy the cat’s annual examination and everyone in the house is on edge.  Fluffy’s usual warm and affectionate personality has transformed into a defensive lioness-like huntress, willing to do anything to avoid getting into the dreaded crate.  The success of catching Fluffy and placing her into her crate is short-lived when she begins howling during the entire car ride to the vet’s office.  Once in the exam room, the battle of removing Fluffy from her crate makes this morning’s initial capture look like child’s play.  Even hours after returning home, Fluffy glares at you with hatred in her eyes over her “traumatic” experience.  Sound familiar?  You’re not alone.  Thankfully, we have a few simple tips to help change Fluffy’s perception of going to the vet!
  • Make her crate a safe haven.  Instead of taking her crate out only when she needs to go to the vet, try keeping it out at all times.  If that’s not possible, keep it out for at least 3 days prior to her veterinary appointment.  Place enticing treats and toys inside her crate to encourage her to enter on her own accord.
  • Try using a pheromone diffuser and spray.  Pheromones act as calming agents for cats, and spraying the towel/blanket in her crate and in your car can greatly reduce her stress during transportation.
  • Skip Fluffy’s breakfast or offer her a smaller amount of food than usual.  If Fluffy is hungry when you bring her to the vet, she will be more likely to accept treats during her office visit – making her time less stressful and perhaps pleasurable!  Consult your veterinarian prior to using this tactic if your cat is young, geriatric or suffers from health conditions.
  • Invest in a crate that enables you to remove the top.  If Fluffy doesn’t feel like coming out of her crate, no worries!  We can work with her in her “safe zone”.
  • Keep the carrier out when you’re back home.  Continue placing treats and toys in the crate for at least a few days after her visit – she will likely associates the crate with good thoughts, making your next veterinary visit even easier!
We highly recommend trying these tips next time you bring your feline friend into the vet!   Her annual checkup shouldn’t be a nightmare, but rather a simple experience that gives you the peace of mind that she is happy and healthy.  A few minor changes can make what used to be a stressful experience, an enjoyable one that both you and your cat deserve!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Giving Back to Our Community

We receive a plethora of inquiries about what opportunities are out there for young people interested in a career in veterinary medicine.  Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod is a proud leader in giving back to our local community – with a specific interest in education.  From pre-school through veterinary school, we offer programs to help students along their journey.

Dr. Burns visits local pre-schools on a regular basis, providing children with an early introduction into the exciting field of veterinary medicine.  It’s no secret that children love animals, and Dr. Burns embraces this interest by providing fun and informative meetings to preschoolers.  Our Veterinary Academy caters to children between the ages of 9-14.  Veterinary Academy students meet at our hospital on a monthly basis for a 1 hour interactive class.  Each hands-on class focuses on a specific veterinary topic spanning from surgery, digital imaging, emergency medicine and laboratory.  Students successfully completing 4 or more of our 6 classes are eligible to participate in our graduation ceremony!  High school students have the chance to delve further into veterinary medicine by participating in a work-based study program.  Students participating in this program come to our hospital, work hands-on with doctors and technicians, and experience what goes on in a true veterinary setting – even earning class credit!
We offer internships to college students to help hone their veterinary skills prior to moving into a career post-graduation or prior to continuing to Veterinary School.  These students come to our hospital during their college’s summer and winter breaks to further expand their veterinary knowledge.  Working alongside doctors and technicians, college interns are exposed to multiple scenarios that veterinary hospitals face on a daily basis.  Paid internships are available to current veterinary students.  Actively enrolled veterinary students participating in our internship program work closely with our doctors to further refine their veterinary skills and knowledge.  These valuable internships leave future graduates better prepared and confident to enter their careers!
It’s clear to see that we value giving back to our community and encourage hands-on education programs!  We strive to offer programs to students of all ages who are interested in a career in the veterinary field.  Whether your child is in pre-school, high school or college, we have a program perfect for him/her!  If you’re interested in learning more, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Safety is Our First Priority

Going on vacation is supposed to be a relaxing experience, however, it can be nerve-racking when you need to leave your pet in the care of others.  So many thoughts run through our minds – is my pet getting fed on time, are they receiving enough attention, did they receive their medication, and what happens when my pet is left alone throughout the night?  Trust me, you’re not alone.

Entrusting your pet in the care of Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod gives you the peace of mind that your pet is cared for by dedicated resort staff members.  Does your pet take medications?  Whether they are oral or injectable medications, our staff of professionals will make sure your pet receives their medications on time.  If your pet is in need of veterinary attention, you can rest assure that he/she will be seen by one of our caring veterinarians immediately.  Our building is equipped with a custom sprinkler system powered by a brand new 8 inch water pipe directly from White’s Path!  Our generator is powerful enough to power the entire hospital in the event of an outage.  24-hour surveillance cameras covering our entire hospital, carbon monoxide detectors and alarm system ensure the safety of your pet when our staff members leave at night.    

Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod is proud to announce the opening of our fully renovated resort facility.  Dedicated resort staff make sure your pet is in comfortable, loving and safe hands.  Our intentionally low-volume resort is designed to put your pet’s care first and foremost by offering a state-of-the-art facility equipped with individually raised beds, supervised playtime in our secure outdoor play yard and plenty of sunlight from our large windows and skylights.  Our feline guests enjoy peace and quiet in luxurious multi-level cat condos furnished with spacious views of the outside world.

If your pet needs extra TLC while staying with us, we offer Pampered Pet Packages for both dogs and cats.  For an additional fee, dogs will receive the added benefit of additional outdoor playtime, a one-on-one leash walk with one of our resort staff members, a frosty paw treat in the evening and a complimentary bath in our hydraulic tub every sixth day.  Pampered cats enjoy one hour of playtime in our “cat only” exam room, access to multiple scratching posts and custom climbing areas, and dedicated one-on-one playtime with a staff member using laser pointers and other cat toys.  Owners of both pampered dogs and cats will appreciate a daily text update with a picture of their beloved pet!  Due to limited space, we highly encourage advanced appointments.  Speak to any of our client services team for additional information!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Tips on Caring for Your Buns

With MSPCA hosting a rabbit adoptathon at all locations on the 16th and 17th, we thought it’s all too fitting to give some helpful tips on how to properly care for your rabbit.  Rabbits are an excellent choice for a pet, but it’s important to be aware of their specific needs to ensure they are happy and healthy.

Before bringing your rabbit home, be sure that you have the proper housing for him!  Whether you choose to keep him indoors or outdoors, it is important to have a wire cage that has 50% of the floor covered with either Plexiglass or washable towels.  It’s vital that the wires of the cage floor and any other surface are kept clean to prevent illness or injuries to your furry friend.  Adequate shade and hiding spots are important for your rabbit as they are very sensitive to environmental changes.  All enclosures need suitable protection from wind, rain, snow and ice.  House training rabbits to use a litterbox is quite feasible and should be considered to give your rabbit extra time outside the cage!  Always supervise your rabbit when he is outside the cage and be cautious of any electrical wires that he could potentially chew.

Maintaining a healthy rabbit requires incorporating both hay and pellets into their diet.  Offering good-quality hay containing grass, alfalfa or clover is believed to reduce intestinal problems and decreases a rabbit’s tendency to pull out and chew on hair.  Pellets should be offered at all times unless overeating and obesity become problems.  “Salads” consisting of lettuce, spinach, alfalfa sprouts, carrot tops, beet greens and apples should be offered in small amounts – 2-3 times per week.  These “salads” should never exceed 20% of your rabbit’s overall diet due to their lack of nutrient density and many rabbits will develop a preference for these items over pellets.  If your rabbit stops eating or becomes lethargic, we recommend seeing a veterinarian immediately.  It is wise to establish a relationship with a veterinarian that is well-versed in the care of rabbits early on, thus confirming the wellness of your rabbit and ensuring you have someone to go to in the event your rabbit becomes ill.

The average life expectancy for a rabbit is 5-10 years, with some living as long as 15 years!  Providing proper housing, offering a well-rounded diet and developing a relationship with a trusted veterinarian will provide you many happy and healthy years with your new pet.  If you need help finding a veterinarian that will treat your rabbit, feel free to give us a call!  We have a veterinarian on staff that will gladly see your floppy-eared friend!