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!