Our knowledgeable staff and our facilities allow us to deal with a variety of medical conditions your pet may experience. We hope we do not have to see you or your pet for an emergency, but if we do, we are equipped to handle the situation. In some cases, your pet may require hospitalization and further diagnostic tests. Our website describes the medical services we offer in more detail.
Complete Medical Assessment
A complete medical assessment begins with a thorough physical examination whereby your pet’s eyes, ears, skin, cardiovascular, neurological, gastrointestinal and skeletal system are examined for any abnormalities. Blood tests can be performed as necessary to assess the proper functioning of your pet’s kidneys, liver, pancreas, and endocrine system including the thyroid gland and adrenal glands. Urine tests can detect similar problems. Depending on your pet’s condition, we may recommend further diagnostic tests such as radiography (X-rays), endoscopy (internal scoping), ultrasound or surgery.
A heart problem can affect your pet at any age although it is more often found in older pets. Heart failure occurs when the heart no longer can pump blood around the body effectively. Heart failure can lead to congestive heart failure. If an animal is suffering from congestive heart failure, it usually accumulates fluid in the lungs although it can result in fluid accumulation in the abdomen as well. Animals suffering from congestive heart failure often experience difficulty breathing and frequent coughing. Some causes of heart failure include congenital heart disease (animals born with a heart problem), valvular heart disease (abnormalities of the valves of the heart), heartworm disease, and arrhythmias (rhythm disturbances).
Many heart problems can be identified on physical examination. Additional tests are usually required to identify the cause of the heart disease accurately. Additional tests include EKGs (electrocardiograms), radiographs (X-rays), and ultrasounds.
Heart disease is a serious life threatening condition, but early diagnosis and appropriate therapy can extend your pet’s life.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is inflammation and infection of the tissues that surround and support the teeth. It is the #1 disease of cats and dogs. Over 80% of adult pets are affected.
Why does my pet have dental disease?
Normal daily activities like eating and grooming introduce bacteria into the mouth. Unless the teeth and gums are cleaned regularly, infections will develop. Some pets are more prone to developing dental disease due to genetics and breed.
What can I do to keep my pet from developing this disease?
A consistent home care program can slow the progression of periodontal disease. This includes frequent tooth brushing and oral rinses, tooth-friendly chew toys and special dental diets. Most pets will still require dental cleanings during their lifetime.
What is dental prophylaxis?
First, the entire oral cavity is examined, and the level of disease for each tooth is charted. Plaque and calculus are removed above and below the gum line using ultrasonic and manual scaling instruments. The teeth are polished, and a chlorhexidine rinse is applied. Diseased teeth are detected and treated at this time.
What is involved in a surgical tooth extraction?
The tooth roots are exposed by creating a flap of the overlying gum tissue. A drill removes the overlying bone and splits the tooth so each tooth root can be removed individually. The remaining socket is packed with a bone stimulant to help support the jaw. The gum tissue is then sutured close.
Why does my pet have to have general anesthetic?
One reason is to keep the pet still so that the procedure can be thorough and complete. Anesthesia will also ensure your pet does not experience any pain, anxiety or fear during the procedure. Any anesthetic concerns can be addressed before the procedure.
Why should you care for your pet’s teeth?
Everyone can understand the importance of dental care for their pets because the risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease is the same for animals as it is people. There is no reason to believe that animals do not feel the same pain of sore gums and a toothache that we feel. So, the main reason to care for your pet’s teeth is to prevent pain.
If you never brushed your teeth, your mouth would be sore, and you would have trouble eating. You might feel tired all the time because the infection in your mouth would spread throughout your body. The same thing happens in your pet’s mouth. The mouth is the door to the rest of the body. It has an excellent immune system to protect it against the constant barrage of bacteria and toxins it deals with every minute. But it needs some help. We must keep it clean of the plaque that is always forming on the teeth.
Plaque is a clear, thick substance consisting of saliva, bacteria, and food particles. In fact, plaque is 80% bacteria and forms within 6-8 hours after brushing. It sticks to the teeth and collects in the pockets around the teeth. If left uncleaned, an infection will result, which will eventually overwhelm the body’s immune system and cause gingivitis and periodontal disease. The same thing happens in our mouths, but we brush our teeth to remove it periodically.
Signs of gingivitis and periodontal disease:
- BAD BREATH
- DIFFICULTY CHEWING OR EATING
- GUMS SWOLLEN OR RED MAY BLEED
- BROWNISH – YELLOW CALCULUS (TARTAR) ON TEETH
- RECEDED GUMS
- LOOSE OR MISSING TEETH
Radiology (x-rays) is routinely used to provide valuable information about a pet’s bones, gastrointestinal tract (stomach, intestines, colon), respiratory tract (lungs), heart, and genitourinary system (bladder, prostate). It can be used alone or in conjunction with other diagnostic tools to provide a list of possible causes for a pet’s condition, identify the exact cause of a problem or rule out possible problems.
When a pet is being radiographed, an x-ray beam passes through its body and hits a piece of radiographic film. Images on the film appear as various shades of gray and reflect the anatomy of the animal. Bones, which absorb more x-rays, appear as light gray structures. Soft tissues, such as the lungs, absorb fewer x-rays and appear as dark gray structures. Interpretation of radiographs requires considerable skill on the part of the veterinarian.
Ultrasonography, or ultrasound, is a diagnostic imaging technique similar to radiography (X-rays) and is usually used in conjunction with radiography and other diagnostic measures. It allows visualization of the deep structures of the body.
Ultrasound can be used for a variety of purposes including examination of the animal’s heart, kidneys, liver, gallbladder, bladder, etc. It can also be used to determine pregnancy and to monitor an ongoing pregnancy. Ultrasound can detect fluid, cysts, tumors or abscesses.
A ‘transducer’ (a small hand held tool) is applied to the surface of the body to which an ultrasound image is desired. A gel is used to help the transducer slide over the skin surface and create a more accurate visual image.
Sound waves are emitted from the transducer and directed into the body where they are bounced off the various organs to different degrees depending on the density of the tissues and amount of fluid present. The sounds are then fed back through the transducer and are reflected on a viewing monitor. Ultrasound is a painless procedure with no known side effects. It does not involve radiation.
Dermatology refers to the study of the skin. Skin disease is a frequently observed problem in dogs and cats. Diagnosing a skin problem in your pet may simply require an examination by a veterinarian; however, most skin diseases or problems require additional steps to obtain a diagnosis accurately. Additional diagnostic procedures may include blood work, urinalysis, skin scraping, biopsies, etc.
The cause of skin problems ranges from hormonal disorders to the common flea. You should book an appointment for your animal if you notice any excessive itchy behavior, loss of hair, and/or the presence of scabs or scale on the skin.
Endocrinology is the study of hormones, and there are several common endocrine disorders found in dogs and cats. Hypothyroidism is often diagnosed in dogs. Hypothyroidism indicates that the animal has low levels of circulating thyroid hormone. The opposite is true for cats. They are frequently diagnosed with high levels of circulating thyroid hormones.
Additional endocrine problems include Cushing’s Disease and Addison’s Disease
There are many signs observable in pets with endocrine disease. These symptoms include (but are not limited to) the following: abnormal energy levels, abnormal behavior, abnormal drinking, urinating and eating behavior, excessive panting, skin disorders, and weight gain or loss.
A flea problem on your pet means a flea problem in your home. Understanding the flea life cycle and methods for its control can be a daunting task. We will gladly assist you in this process. We can provide you with safe, effective flea prevention and if necessary, flea treatment. See the flea article in the Pet Health Library of our site.
Pain Management and Control
We know the issue of pain management is a serious concern to pet owners today. As in human medicine, we have a variety of medications available to manage your pet’s pain that may be caused by a variety of reasons such as preoperational and postoperation pain, trauma, and chronic medical conditions. We would be pleased to discuss your pet’s available options and any concerns you may have.
We have the ability to test your dog or cat’s eyes for excess pressure easily and safely. This test allows us to diagnose glaucoma and eye infections that could cause blindness if not detected and treated early.
Acupuncture is the insertion of thin, sterile needles into specific locations and depths on the body to cause a therapeutic effect such as pain relief, hormone regulation, decrease inflammation and immune system regulation. Acupuncture can treat a variety of diseases including but not limited to pain and lameness, neurological disorders, dermatological disorders, behavioral disorders (anxiety, fear, and aggression), reproductive disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and improvement of the quality of life in geriatric and cancer patients.
A healthy body is said to be in “homeostasis” or “balance.” Illness or injury can cause the body to become “unbalanced.” Acupuncture works through the central nervous system – affecting the musculoskeletal, hormonal, and cardiovascular systems. It increases circulation, causes a release of many neurochemicals (including endorphins – the body’s “natural pain-killing” hormones); It relieves muscle spasms, stimulates nerves, and stimulates the body’s immune system.
There are usually minimal to no side effects if performed by a professional. There can be rare and minor side-effects such as local infection and bruise in the area where the needle is inserted.
The insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless. Once in place, there should be no pain. Most animals become very relaxed and may even become sleepy. However, it can cause an energetic sensation which may be uncomfortable to some animals.
Treatment depends on the condition, how long the condition has been present and the age of the animal. Acute conditions resolve quickly while chronic diseases require multiple treatments. Acupuncture is typically performed once or twice per week for 4-8 treatments until desirable effects are seen. Treatments are then tapered according to the patient’s response.
Acupuncture is commonly used as an adjunctive therapy to Western modalities and medications.