General Medicine

In providing general pet medicine, our veterinary staff is capable of diagnosing and treating a variety of pet medical needs. Our approach to diagnostic and therapeutic services is meant to allow you and your pet increased comfort while maintaining confidence that you are in capable hands. At our veterinary office, we take corresponding safety precautions and observe all sanitation standards. Our goal is to provide quality pet care and exceptional customer service.

As a general practitioner, we can diagnose and treat a variety of health problems. However, if diagnostics or treatment lies outside our veterinary specialty, or requires a veterinarian specialist, we may refer you to one of our partnered veterinarians. We work closely with other practices that can further assist you in achieving optimum pet health care.

 

General pet medicine includes the following: 

  • Cardiology
  • Dentistry
  • Dermatology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology
  • Senior pet care
  • Ultrasounds
  • Vision care

If you witness your pet exhibiting any of the following symptoms, please schedule an appointment to have them evaluated, as the condition might require prompt treatment:

  • Anxiety that causes noticeable emotional changes
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Coughing
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty standing up, climbing stairs, or walking long distances
  • Excessive itching
  • Excessive weight loss or weight gain
  • Foul odor in or around ears
  • Foul smelling breath
  • Inability to control bodily functions
  • Increased dehydration
  • Increased eye or nose secretion
  • Increased urination
  • Limping
  • Lumps in the skin that have increased in size or are entirely new
  • Sneezing
  • Tiny cuts across areas of the skin
  • Unexplained exhaustion
  • Vomiting
  • Wounds that will not heal

Prolonged Condition Management

In some instances, pet care requires more than just a single day’s visit. Our staff can provide a comfortable setting for pets receiving ongoing care that requires hospitalization. If your pet requires attention around the clock, our facilities are equipped to house them throughout the extent of the treatment.

If you have any questions, or need to schedule a medical visit, please call our office.

Diagnostic Imaging

The Basics of Imaging

A look at Radiography (X-rays), Ultrasound and MRI

In veterinary medicine the question has always been how to diagnose a medical problem in our pets when they can’t tell us where it hurts. For years radiographs (x-rays) have been used as a non-invasive way to look inside a pet’s body. Now thanks to advances in human medicine we have multiple forms of imaging.  MRI and ultrasound are two additional forms of imaging that each give us a different look inside the body with minimal to no risk to our pets. When used together radiographs, MRI and ultrasound give us a more complete look at the internal systems of the body.

Radiographs

X-rays made up of electromagnetic radiation pass through the body and transfer an image onto a film or digital plate producing a radiographic image.  Digital radiographs require fewer x-rays and produce a higher quality image than film radiographs do.

Radiographs are taken when:

  • a general view of the body is needed
  • to evaluate organ size, shape, and position
  • to evaluate bone

Ultrasound

Images are produced by pulses of high frequency sound waves reflecting off the body’s organ tissue.

Ultrasound imaging:

  • allows the doctor to see the internal structures of each organ
  • shows motion in the body such as blood flow, heart beats and muscle contractions.
  • Helps to distinguish fluids from tissue.
  • can usually be performed with minimal to no sedation


An MRI is a series of consecutive cross-section images of a patient’s body allowing a doctor to see both bone and soft tissue at the same time.  Images are computer generated, produced by recording the signal emitted from the organ following a radio wave stimulus while the animal lies safely in a high-powered magnet.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

Reasons for an MRI:

  • torn ligaments, infections, brain abnormalities, spine problems such as protruding disks, spinal chord infection, masses, lesions and much more.
  • there is a degree of clarity, contrast, and resolution only available with MRI
  • MRI is highly sensitive to even the slightest motion.  The MRI itself can be very loud and could startle your pet therefore anesthesia is needed to ensure that the pet is motionless and comfortable during the scan.
  • Pets with implants, especially metallic implants, may need to use an alternate form of imaging due to the large magnets involved.

Cardiology

Our office is dedicated to providing pets with compassionate care. In offering cardiology services, we can better evaluate and treat heart and lung diseases, working towards improving quality of life. Annual pet wellness exams enable our staff to detect early indicators of heart disease that could potentially save your pet’s life – just one more reason why an annual check-up is important for your pet’s well-being.

Diagnostic imaging is initially used when a disease or condition is suspected. This non-invasive method of obtaining information allows our veterinarian to determine existence, severity, and location of a condition or disease. After diagnosis, our physicians will discuss with you the best plan of action for your pet.

Possible indications of heart disease: 

  • Coughing that lasts longer than three days
  • Inability or refusal to sleep at night
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, or rapid breathing
  • Sudden changes in pet behavior and an inclination to isolate themselves
  • Sudden episodes of fainting, or unexplained collapses
  • Swelling in the abdomen

What do cardiology diagnostics involve?

Diagnostics could involve a variety of different procedures. Upon examining your pet, the veterinarian will decide which method is necessary under the circumstances.

Blood Pressure – Routinely checking blood pressure at pet wellness exams is critical. High blood pressure can cause heart failure.

Blood Tests – Blood tests examine hormone levels. Changes in certain hormones indicate heart failure.

Digital X-rays – X-rays allow the veterinarian to examine the heart, lungs, and bones. From an X-ray, your pet’s physician can determine enlargement of the heart or fluid build-up in the lungs. X-rays can also be used to determine placement of pacemakers.

EKGs – An EKG allows the physician to monitor heart rate and rhythm, allowing for detection of abnormalities.

Ultrasound – Ultrasounds let the physician see a 3-dimensional image of the heart and its chambers. From this image, they can observe blood flow and check for any heart murmurs.

Dental Services

In an added effort to provide your pet with quality care, we offer pet dental services in our veterinary office. It is estimated that 80% of pets exhibit the beginning stages of periodontal disease by age 3, which is why dental exams and teeth cleanings are essential. Also, studies indicate that pets with good oral hygiene tend to live 2 to 4 years longer than pets who neglect dental care. While periodontal disease is entirely preventable, when left untreated it can lead to cardiac disease, kidney infection, liver infection, or stroke.

Reasons for regular dental check-ups: 

  • Avoid tooth loss due to periodontal disease
  • Help your pet avert unnecessary pain
  • Help your pet maintain healthy and functional teeth
  • Improve foul breath
  • Prevent potential damage to the brain, heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys

What does a pet dental exam involve?

Pets can experience many of the same dental issues that humans do, including gingivitis, periodontal disease, necessary tooth extraction, and deep scaling. Regular dental exams and cleanings can help you avoid the costliness of involved dental procedures and can help prevent your pet from unnecessary suffering.

Pet dental exams are similar to human dental exams and involve teeth cleaning and buffing. Additional services offered include sedation dentistry and dental X-rays. If more serious conditions are discovered, root canals, tooth extraction, etc. might be required.

During your pet’s teeth cleaning, a dental technician will gently clean the surface of the teeth with an ultrasonic scaler that cleans using the vibration of sound waves and water. The waves push the water creating tiny scrubbing bubbles that implode on tooth surfaces and kill microbes as they separate plaque from the tooth structure. After scaling the teeth, the technician lightly buffs and polishes your pet’s teeth to complete their dental cleaning.

After the cleaning, we will provide you with a comprehensive analysis of your pet’s oral health. You will receive at-home oral hygiene tips specific to your pet, and if any serious dental conditions exist, you will be notified prior to any treatment planning.

Some simple home hygiene tips are: 

  • Brushing your pet’s teeth as little as one time a week can cut down on 50-60% of tartar build-up.
  • Dental products specifically designed for pets, including Oravet and CET, can help protect gums and lessen tartar.
  • Dry pet food is better for teeth than canned food; it causes abrasion to tooth surfaces when chewed, helping remove tartar build-up. Other treats such as raw-hide can also help remove built-up plaque.
  • There are many pet toys that support dental health. Buying your pets these toys not only entertains them, but offers a dual purpose in helping clean teeth.

Remember, creating a smooth clean tooth surface makes it more difficult for tartar and plaque to build up!

If you would like to schedule a professional dental cleaning for your pet, call our office to schedule an appointment, and allow your pet to experience a healthy smile!

Dermatology

Most pet owners are unaware that scratching, licking, biting, and chewing are tell-tale signs of an underlying skin problem. While there are over 150 different skin diseases that can affect pets, managing skin problems is possible.

Skin disease or irritation can cause distress. To relieve that suffering, we offer dermatological testing and treatment that can help your pet live comfortably. In trying to diagnose and treat skin disorders, your role as a pet owner is essential. Discovering what causes flare-ups and irritation will primarily be your job. Pay attention to your pet’s reaction after eating, playing outside, and interacting with other animals. During your appointment, the veterinarian will discuss your observations to determine a series of laboratory tests that will help diagnose or treat your pet’s skin issues.

Common dermatological issues for pets:

  • Auto-immune disorders
  • Chronic ear disease
  • Disease of the foot
  • Ear infections
  • Flea allergy dermatitis
  • Hair loss
  • Hormone disorders
  • Parasitic, bacterial, or fungal infections
  • Skin allergies caused by contact, environment, or food
  • Skin cancer

What does treatment involve?

Our veterinarian will work with you and your pet to determine a treatment plan that is manageable. Trying to find the best method of therapy is an ongoing process that may take several attempts in order to discover an effective treatment.

To help with diagnosis, we may perform the following tests to supplement our initial prognosis of your pet’s condition:

Biopsies – A biopsy is often performed to diagnose various skin cancers and autoimmune skin disorders. A biopsy is executed by removing the affected skin, processing it, and examining the sample under a microscope. By enlarging the area, the veterinarian can usually determine the underlying issue.

Intradermal Allergy Testing – The intention of performing intradermal allergy testing is to discover exactly which allergens your pet reacts to. To perform the test, a patch of hair is shaved, and a grid is drawn on the skin. Common pet allergens are injected into separate squares on the grid. The dermatologist then examines the grid after a waiting period of 20 minutes. All swollen, red injection-sites indicate a positive allergen.

Skin Cultures – If your pet exhibits a skin disorder that is resistant to all previously tested forms of treatment, a skin culture is typically used to test numerous treatments at one time. This will help determine a successful treatment to heal the affected skin without continually unsettling your pet.

Video Otoscopy – Video otoscopy is used to diagnose and treat chronic ear infections and diseases. A magnified camera is inserted deep into the ear canal to identify any abnormalities, tumors, or foreign bodies that might exist. If immediate treatment is needed, tools can be attached to the otoscope to flush waxy build-up, perform surgery, or remove foreign objects.

If you have any questions about pet dermatology or think your pet might have a skin condition, contact our office today.

Euthanasia

Losing a pet is a delicate situation, and we understand the difficulty in having to make that final decision. Our veterinarians are skilled in assessing pain management and do not recommend euthanasia casually. We also make certain that the process of putting your pet to sleep is carried out in a humane manner.

When being euthanized, pet owners are welcome to be in the room as their pet passes, and if they prefer, a pet can be sedated prior to administering euthanasia. The final injection is a chemical that mimics an overdose of anesthesia, allowing your pet to fall into an eternal sleep. As it enters the bloodstream, the chemical targets the brain and heart, first preventing nerves from sensing pain, then gradually stopping the heart from beating.

While the decision to euthanize is heart-wrenching, it is important for a pet owner to consider the pet’s suffering before their own. In circumstances where putting your pet to sleep offers them relief from physical anguish, ending misery can be the best decision you can make for your pet.

Common reasons for euthanasia: 

  • Behavioral problems, namely aggression, which cannot be corrected
  • Illness that would cause suffering if the pet were kept alive
  • Inability to afford involved medical procedures
  • Organ damage that cannot be repaired
  • Rabies
  • Euthanizing pets in shelters when homes cannot be found
  • Terminal illness such as cancer

What happens after euthanasia?

After putting your pet to sleep, you can decide to take your pet home with you, have your pet cremated, buried from a pet funeral home, or you can opt to leave your pet with the veterinarian. Because saying goodbye is difficult, we recommend having after death plans arranged prior to your visit for euthanasia. No matter what you decide to do, don’t feel pressured to choose one option or another; choose the option that is best for you. Some pet owners feel that an urn with their pet’s remains helps the grieving process. Others think leaving the pet with the vet is easier for them emotionally. Because your pet has peacefully passed, it is now your decision to do what is best for you.

The bereavement process is different for every pet owner. Some only take a couple days for mourning while others take months. It is completely normal to mourn the loss of your pet, and you should never feel obligated to put a time limit on what is the “right” amount of time.

If you have any questions about the process of putting a pet to sleep, or want to schedule an appointment to see if it would be beneficial for your pet’s condition, contact our office at your convenience.

Medical Oncology

We understand that having a pet diagnosed with cancer can be emotionally draining and difficult to process. Our veterinary oncologist is able to help our pet cancer patients and their owners better understand their diagnosis and choose a treatment plan that best works for them. Whether you opt for chemotherapy or radiation therapy, we will discuss all benefits and potential side effects associated with each treatment. Our goal is to provide you with valuable information, provide answers to all of your treatment questions, and help guide you through the decision making process.

The following signs are possible indications of cancer: 

  • Change in shape, size, or texture of existing lumps in pet skin
  • Constant drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating
  • Drainage and foul smell coming out of ears
  • Foul breath
  • Frequent runny nose with or without blood in it
  • Lethargy beyond normal levels
  • New lumps in skin
  • Noticeable change in stride – limping or sudden change in posture
  • Noticeable increase in water consumption
  • Shifting of teeth
  • Vomiting

If you notice one or several of these in your pet, we advise you to schedule an appointment immediately to assess the cause.

Common types of pet cancer

Abdominal Cancer– Abdominal cancer in pets affects one or more of the major internal organs (e.g. stomach, kidneys, liver, etc). During annual pet exams, we perform routine tests to check for signs of abdominal cancer.

Bone Cancer – Bone cancer most commonly occurs in larger canine breeds, but can affect smaller canines and felines as well. Osteosarcoma, the most common form of bone cancer in pets, accounts for nearly all cases. Because it is a particularly aggressive disease, quick diagnosis and treatment planning are critical.

Canine Lymphoma – Canine Lymphoma is most notably a concern when your pet develops round, hard bumps on its skin, usually around the armpits, back, or abdomen. If suspected, a number of tests can determine whether the lumps are cancerous. In some cases, a biopsy of the lump is necessary.

Feline Leukemia – Feline Leukemia attacks the immune system (immunosuppression) and can lead to cancer. Typically transmitted from close contact with another cat that has the disease, Feline Leukemia requires close veterinary care to help prolong the life of your pet.

Skin Cancer – There are several types of pet skin cancer, including mast cell carcinoma and melanoma. Having the appearance of an abnormal growth, a veterinarian can determine if your pet has skin cancer. When treated quickly, the cancer can be surgically removed; if it has spread over a larger area, radiation therapy might be necessary.

What pet cancer therapies are available?

Unlike humans, animals with cancer do not experience a lot of pain. While many human cancers are very similar to pet cancers, the way they attack the body are very distinctive; for this reason, treatment procedures are handled differently. Without an absolute cure for pet cancer, therapies are developed to make your pet as comfortable as possible, with the hope of prolonging life. Most cancers can be controlled with close veterinary care, and the side effects are usually minimal. Pet cancer treatment options include chemotherapy and supplements, radiation, and/or surgery. Treatment plans vary depending on what type of cancer a pet is diagnosed with, as well as the invasiveness of the cancer. Sometimes one therapy is used alone. Other times, multiple treatments are combined to attack the cancer in a multidimensional approach. The veterinarian will formulate a specific treatment plan for your pet based on their particular cancer and its development.

If you have any questions about pet medical oncology or therapy, please contact our office.

Veterinary Opthalmology

Veterinary ophthalmology is a branch of pet medicine that focuses on eye care and ocular disease prevention. Annual pet vision exams evaluate current eye health, measuring tear production, eye pressure, and potential corneal scratches. If more serious issues are detected, such as glaucoma, cataracts, early vision loss, or dry eye problems, they will be addressed and treatment will be planned. During treatment planning, all options and recommendations will be thoroughly discussed so we can build an effective and comfortable vision procedure for you and your pet.

Indications of pet eye problems: 

  • Abnormal growth near or on the eye
  • Behavioral changes, namely a sense of depression
  • Bumping into objects or seemingly lost in a familiar setting
  • Discoloration of the iris or pupil
  • Hazy film over pupil
  • Increase in discharge from eyes
  • Pawing and rubbing eyes
  • Red, swollen eyes
  • Sensitivity to light or squinting

Preventing and improving pet vision problems

The following tests are performed at routine pet vision exams. Each vision test is cautious of pet comfort and does not cause pain. If serious problems are detected, treatment options, including surgery, will be discussed.

Fluorescein Stain – By inserting drops of a florescent green stain on the eye, the veterinarian will be able to detect secretion from any sores. The bright green stain rests in scratches and on wounds so the veterinarian can easily detect them.

Intraocular Pressure Test – The veterinarian will use an instrument that reads eye pressure and rest it gently on the surface of the eye.

Schirmer Tear Test – The veterinarian will place a small strip of test paper beneath your pet’s eyelid with the intention of irritating the surface of the eye. This irritation will cause the eye to water, allowing the vet to test the amount of tears produced per minute.

How does pet vision differ from human vision?

Pet vision is vastly different from human eyesight with the primary distinctions being visual acuity and color spectrum. Pets have fewer cones in their retina, limiting the amount of colors they can see. Because of this, pets can only distinguish between yellow, white, blue, violet, and black. Your pet also has a much wider field of vision than humans do, but their acuity is limited to a range of about 20 feet. The final difference is pets have an additional structure in their eye called a tapetum. This tapetum enables pets to have more accurate night vision by gathering light and increasing what is able to be seen.

If you have any questions about veterinary ophthalmology or would like to arrange for a routine pet eye exam, please contact our office to schedule your pet’s appointment.