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Senior Pets: How Can We Help?

By | Dental Disease, Disease, Health, Nutrition, Patients, Registered Veterinary Technicians, Staff, Veterinarian | No Comments

Dr. Kim Quinn                                                                                                                                                                  December 2017

In general, we consider our dog and cats to be ‘senior’ pets when they are over 7 years of age.  This rule may differ with large breed dogs, since these breeds age faster than smaller breed pets.  Depending on the species, we can see different changes over time.  Some of these changes may be preventable, and some we can slow the development over time.  So, how do I know what to do and when?

Here are some of the more common diseases found in senior pets.

    1. Lenticular Sclerosis of the lenses of the eyes- This is seen with almost all geriatric pets, when the lens of the eye becomes gray and opaque over time. This is different from a true cataract, since dogs don’t become blind from the issue, but vision will decrease over time, especially in low light conditions. There is no treatment to reduce the progression, but dogs tend to do well with this issue over time.  Cataracts can also form in dogs and cats, though the majority of time they are due to other health conditions, such as diabetes.  If your vet is concerned there is a cataract present, they may recommend blood and urine testing to rule out diabetes as a possible underlying cause.
    2. Arthritis and Stiffness– Over time, joint wear and tear leads to inflammation, cartilage damage and pain. Most of these pets are stiff when they first get up, but as they start moving their joints produce synovial fluid to increase lubrication which facilitates easier moving as the day progresses.  Some other signs you may see with arthritis include: hesitation to jump or go up/down the stairs, limping, reduction in energy level, and specifically for cats- urinating/defecating outside the litterbox.  There are many different treatments available for arthritis such as: joint supplementation (i.e., glucosamine/chondroitin), pain medication, low impact exercises, and physiotherapy.   Walking and exercise are very important for our senior animals, since we want to keep their muscles intact as long as possible.  Continue bringing them for their daily walks, monitoring how well they are tolerating them.  More frequent number of shorter walks is the best recipe for the seniors.  Swimming is a great low-impact exercise, as well as hiding food in toys such as kongs- to keep their muscles and brain active!
    3. Urinary or Fecal Incontinence- Urinary incontinence is relatively common in spayed female dogs as they age due to estrogen level reduction in the body causing relaxation of the urinary tract sphincter muscle. Urinary incontinence can be seen by drips of urine in the place where the pet was laying.  There are times when urinary incontinence can be confused with a urinary tract infection, or when the open urinary tract sphincter can predispose to a urinary tract infection.  A urinalysis is performed first to help determine underlying causes, and which treatment (antibiotics, an estrogen supplement, or both), may be needed.  Fecal incontinence can be more difficult to diagnose and treat.  This can be caused by nerve issues, an issue with the anal sphincter, or gastrointestinal disease.  Depending on the cause, treatments may be completely different.
    4. Dental Disease- Plaque and tartar are made up of bacteria and food. Initially, they adhere to the teeth, but keep accumulating until they cause gingivitis, recession of the gumline, and finally root disease and decay.  Our senior patients are most at risk because of years of tartar accumulation.  Tooth root abscesses can cause infection, pain and severe disease necessitating emergency treatment. Daily tooth brushing helps to decrease accumulation of plaque and tartar over time.  Dental cleanings can aid in reducing the further progression of dental disease, and helps identify diseased teeth which may need removal prior to causing abscesses.
    5. Lumps and Bumps


 – It is common for humans and animals to have growths as we age. Most lumps will be benign (non-cancerous), but since they could be cancerous we would like to examine them to ensure this isn’t the case.  If there is any question, we may recommend either a needle biopsy, or to have the entire lump removed and sent away for analysis.  This will help us to plan if we need any further stages of treatment, or if the lump has been removed in its entirety.

6. Major organ abnormalities, i.e., Kidneys, Thyroid- These organs commonly have issues with function as time goes on. In cats, an overactive thyroid gland, as well as kidney disease are two different disease which require medical treatment.  An overactive thyroid gland can cause weight loss, hyperactivity, ravenous appetite, and heart disease.  In dogs, an underactive thyroid gland is a common issue, leading to decreased metabolism, weight gain, poor hair coat, and lethargy.  In either pet, kidney disease is a wearing out process over time, causing increased drinking and urination, weight loss, and loss of muscle mass.   With any of these issues, we would recommend blood and urine testing in order to diagnose, then determine types of treatment and prognosis

7. Senility– As we age, our cognitive function will decline, the same happens with our pets. This is often seen as disorientation or confusion, and especially disruption of normal sleep-wake cycles.  In cats, this may mean meowing at odd times of the day, often in the middle of the night.  They may ask for more food when the bowl is full, and otherwise have changes in behaviour over time.  In dogs, asking to go outside more often without needing to go to the bathroom, the development of anxiety disorders, and there is change in the amount they would like to interact with their owners.  With senility, there are a few different treatment types we may adopt such as: Selegiline, a supplement used to aid in cognitive dysfunction syndrome, brain health diets (i.e., Purina Neurocare), or antianxiety medications

8. Proper Diet- Ensuring the correct nutritional balance is important, older animals may need more fiber, less calories, and lower levels of protein, but this is all based on the individual. Calories are especially important for us to monitor over time, since so many senior pets are overweight!  We can calculate the approximate number of calories needed for your pet anytime.

 

This is just a quick overview of some of the common issues we deal with concerning our senior pets.  If you have questions or concerns about your pet, please give us a call!

Oh, no! My pet ate something it shouldn’t have!

By | Health, Nutrition, Patients, Registered Veterinary Technicians, Saftey, Staff, Veterinarian | No Comments

Do you need to keep your garbage and laundry hamper locked tight, lest your pet get into something?  Unfortunately, this is such a common issue in the animal world.  While some ingestions may be fairly benign, causing mild GI upset, others can be much more severe requiring medical intervention or even surgery.

Each year the ASPCA posts the top toxins which they received calls for, with human prescription medications topping the list and over-the-counter medications at a close second! Check out the list from 2016 for more information. Many of these ingestions can require lengthy hospital stays and treatments, with some having much better outcomes than others.

What about an animal who eats an object?  We have had to perform surgery on many animals to remove foreign objects- usually these will show up on X-Rays, sometimes barium is given to outline the object.  A few of the more memorable objects include: clothing (underwear and socks are the dog’s clothing of choice), string (more common in cats, of course, string can actually saw through intestines- very dangerous!), pieces of foam puzzle mat flooring, rocks, an electrical resistor, branches, condoms, bones, etc., etc.  Check out some of the oddest X-Ray winners from 2016!

What should I do if I suspect my pet ingested something inappropriate?
Call your vet immediately!  If it is something that requires the pet to vomit, they’ll need to see your pet as soon as possible, before the object is absorbed into the body, or passes from the stomach into the intestines.

If it is a potential toxin, your vet will recommend calling the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661.  There is a cost to the service, but the benefits of expert toxicology and emergency medicine advice to further direct treatment is worth its weight in gold.  There are some toxins where getting the animal to vomit can be dangerous, so if you are able to get specific information such as the:

– Name of the item

– Strength of the medication/item (i.e., the mg amount of a tablet, or mg/ml concentration of a liquid)

– Possible amount ingested (number of items, volume)

– Approximate time of ingestion

Knowing this information will drastically help improve your pet’s care and treatment.  They will also want to know information about how your pet was feeling prior to ingesting this item, if they are on any medications, or have any pre-existing conditions they should know about.

What if my Vet Recommends Surgery?

If your animal ingests something solid which cannot pass through the GI tract and cannot be vomited up as seen on x-rays or Ultrasound, surgery may be the only option.  When we open up the abdomen under anesthesia, the entire GI tract is felt between the fingers to find all of the possible locations where the foreign material could be.  Many times we have to make multiple cuts into the intestines to rid of foreign materials.  Once the material is removed, the areas of the intestines which were cut open are then sutured back together. A ‘Leak test’ is performed, injecting sterile saline into this area of the intestines to ensure the sutures have formed a strong seal from any leaks.

Of course, pain medication is given to keep your pet comfortable, and antibiotics are sent home with all pets to try to reduce infection risk from opening the intestinal tract. An Elizabethan collar (cone collar) is sent home with your pet to ensure they don’t bite or lick at the incision.

This is a very in depth surgery, and most animals aren’t at their healthiest prior, so these are animals who need to be monitored very thoroughly before, during, and especially after the procedure.  With feeding, they need small frequent meals for a few weeks to avoid overloading the intestines and potentially stretching the sections of the intestines with the sutures.

Prognosis depends on many factors, your vet will be able to discuss this in more depth with you while looking at each individual case.

Surgery

 

 

 

Cold Weather Safety

By | Disease, Health, Saftey, Staff, Veterinarian | No Comments

January 2017                                                            Dr. Kim Quinn

It’s cold out there!  Just as in the heat of summer, we do need to take care of our pets in the cold of winter- protect them from the elements.  Each animal’s weather tolerance is different, depending on fat stores, fur coat, and other issues such as arthritis which can worsen with cold weather.  Animals with poor circulation due to other underlying issues such as kidney disease, Cushing’s disease, diabetes, etc., can also reduce a pet’s cold tolerance.

Walking Safety

If it is too cold outside for you, it’s too cold outside for them.  Have your dog will wear a sweater or jacket when outside to help shield them from the wind.  If you’re going out for a walk and it is below zero, there are some great booties dogs can wear to help protect their feet from the cold.  My dog will limp if she is outside in the cold because it hurts her feet.  While she doesn’t like having the booties put on, she is much more comfortable on the walk and doesn’t limp during or afterwards.

If your pet isn’t wearing booties, check between their toes and remove any snow or ice balls which may have accumulated.  This will make your pet feel much more comfortable.  Wipe their feet down after coming in from outside, to remove any salt or de-icer still on their paws.  Road salt poses a unique hazard for our pets.  Ingestion of these salts can cause major GI issues such as vomiting or diarrhea, or even neurological issues.  To reduce the risk of ingestion with your dog, use a dog friendly variety such as PetSafe Icemelter.  This is a safer product since it does not contain salt, but instead amides which can cause some GI upset if in high dosages.  Of course, try to avoid your dog getting into any of these products for their own safety.

Avoid ice, which could cause you and/or your pet to slip and fall.  This is another situation where booties can be helpful in increasing traction.

Car Safety

Don’t leave your pet alone in the car or outside for longer than 5 minutes in the cold.  They become subject to hypothermia from the lower temperatures much quicker than we do, they have a much higher surface area to lose the heat from!

When going outside to start up your car, bang on your hood a few times.  Animals can hide amongst the warm car engines during the wintertime, to seek out any heat.  This may save a life!

If you’re refilling any fluids for your car, keep your pets inside!  Clean up any messes left behind as soon as possible.  Antifreeze is very toxic to pets, causing fatal kidney failure if left untreated.

House Safety

Ensure you have carbon monoxide detectors around the house, especially near the furnace or other gas powered appliances. It could save many lives!

Stay safe out there!Dog Toe Impressions in Snow

Puppies and Kittens!

By | Health, Nutrition, Patients, Registered Veterinary Technicians, Staff, Veterinarian | No Comments

CaesarianSectionThis time of the year we see many of our adorable, furry, new additions to our pet families.  Getting a puppy or a kitten is such an exciting time for everyone involved, and we love seeing our new friends!

When you get a new member of your family, there is always a lot of preparation: new food and water dishes, toys, leashes, a crate for puppies, litterboxes for kittens, and pet food, just to name a few!

 

There are so many types, how do I chose a Pet Food?

The first rule for any puppy or kitten is to be on a puppy or kitten specific food.  Read the bag, ensure that it is not an ‘All Life Stages’ type of food, which is used to feed every age category from a pediatric, to an active adult, to a geriatric, to a nursing mother.  It is better to feed an age specific food to ensure they are getting the correct nutrition.


The second rule is, if switching diets, perform a gradual transition over at least a 7 day period.  During this 7 days, slowly increase the proportion of new food in the mixture.  This can help to avoid some vomiting or diarrhea which can arise with a quick diet change.

Our recommendation with any diet is to ensure the company you are working with has performed research diet trials, this helps to ensure the food is going to be safe for your pet.

 

When does my pet need to come to the vet for Vaccines?

It is of the utmost importance that pets are vaccinated, especially puppies and kittens.  Our typical vaccination schedule for these pets is vaccines at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age, then yearly thereafter.  At each of these appointments, new vaccines are added, and some vaccines are boosted to provide more lasting immunity.  Some animals may be vaccinated earlier, give us a call if you have questions about a vaccine schedule which is appropriate for your pet.  We will also discuss lifestyle choices for your pet to determine vaccines outside of the core recommendations which might be needed.

 

What about deworming?

At any pet’s first vet visit as well as their yearly visits, we recommend brining in a fecal sample which is less than 24 hours old (and not frozen) for parasite evaluation.  Many puppies and kittens acquire intestinal parasites from their parents, through the milk, in-utero, or via feces.  Some of these parasites can be transmitted to people via feces, so the sooner we can treat them, the better.

We often prophylactically treat puppies and kittens with broad spectrum deworming treatment for their own and their owner’s safety.  But, there isn’t one dewormer which will treat all intestinal parasites, so the fecal sample is so important.

 

Fleas, Heartworm and other treatments?

When you come for your first visit, we will discuss these different preventions, and will recommend something specific depending on their risk levels or what is found on their physical examination.

 

Dog Bathroom Training

In order to train your puppy, bring them outside as soon as they wake up, after they eat and drink, and every half hour when you are home. When they urinate or defecate outside, praise them!  This can be either a pat on the head, or a treat to eat.  If they make a mistake and go inside, don’t punish them or yell.  Punishment is confusing for a young dog, it leads to fear of their owners since they don’t actually link the punishment to the behaviour.
Some owners will hang a bell by the back door, ringing it when bringing the puppy outside.  Over time, the bell sound is linked with their visits outside, so they begin ringing the bell themselves.  This can help to signal you when they need to visit the facilities.

 

Puppy and Kitten Biting

These cuties are used to playing with their littermates by biting around their head and neck, they translate this behaviour to biting our hands, arms and legs.  If you want to ‘nip’ this behaviour in the bud, it requires patience and dedication from everyone at home.  I could write an entire blog on biting, thus I encourage you to check out our website, sign in for a full list of articles on puppies and kittens, including a great article on how to decrease biting behaviours.

 

There is only so much space I have to write about these important milestones and so much more to discuss.  Give us a call if you have questions about your new critters!

KittenWellness

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help! My Pet is Overweight

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Diet and Weight Loss

Diet and Weight Loss

Did you know:

A 1 ounce cube of cheese to a 20lb dog is the equivalent of a person eating 2 ½ hamburgers or 1 ½ chocolate bars!

The most common disease in pets is not cancer or diabetes, it is obesity.  I recently went out of town for a few weeks, leaving my dog with my parents.  Upon our return, my mother whispered to me, “Your father gave Pepper a few extra treats here and there. He told me it is a grandparent’s prerogative”.  We love our animals through food, it’s a large part of how we bond with our pets and my dog will shower you with affection when you feed her!  Now, I should tell you that my dog’s previous owners, as well as my husband and I, have worked diligently to reduce her weight.  She was a chunky girl (4lbs overweight at her heaviest), and we had gotten her down to a perfect weight over about a one year battle.  At the end of our vacation, the scale measured Pepper at gaining two pounds (half of the weight she had lost!), and her treat bags were almost empty (instead of being half full!).

How do I know if my pet is Overweight?

The first step is realizing when your dog or cat is overweight.  An animal with an ideal Body Condition Score (BCS) should have an hourglass figure when observed from above, and a slight tuck upward in the waist towards the hips. With your fingers, your pet’s ribs should be readily felt under the fingertips.  When pressure is needed to feel the ribs, this means the layer of fat between the skin and ribs is too thick, and your pet is overweight.

The Hills website had a great section with questions and diagrams to help you determine your pet’s Body Condition Score.

http://www.hillspet.com/weight-management/pet-weight-score.html

 

Why does it matter?
When a pet gains weight, it does not just accumulate in one location, it is evenly distributed around the body.  That means increased amounts of fat surrounding the major organs such as the heart, kidneys, bladder, etc.  The excess weight, can also put pressure on these organs and cause issues with breathing, or their organ function such as joint mobility.  Overweight to obese animals are more likely to develop diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, heart and respiratory disease, and have reduced lifespans compared to a dog at an appropriate weight.  Extra weight means less energy, and they tend to have a decreased quality of life compared to another pet at a good weight.

 

So, what can I do?

  1. Feeding Plan for Weight Loss

Give us a call to recommend an appropriate weight loss diet for your pet based on their medical history.  Our technicians will calculate the amount of calories for your pet’s daily needs, allowing for weight loss.  Then, we can take into account the food and treats to find a feeding plan appropriate for your pet.  There is not one weight loss diet or plan which works for every pet.

Also, multiple small meals are better than one large meal of the day for weight loss. This ensures your pet won’t be extremely hungry at one point, prompting their body to store more fat to compensate for these periods of hunger.

  1. Exercise

Just as important with people, exercise combined with a healthy diet is the best way to ensure weight loss, and continuing to maintain weight after weight loss.  There are lots of activities you can do with your pet to increase their daily exercise.  For example, take longer walks more often. If your pet likes to swim, increase the amount of times they are in the pool.  Take up agility training with your pet or fly ball, etc.

Need more ideas?  Check out these different exercises:

http://www.hillspet.com/weight-management/pet-exercise.html

  1. Feed them in a toy, not a bowl

There is no rule book which says we need to feed our pet in a food bowl.  So why do we do it?  Mainly because of its ease!  But our pets burn no calories with the food bowl method.

Instead, put their daily calories into a Kong, Busy Buddy or a Puzzle ball to stimulate their mind while burning calories.  All of my dog’s food goes in a Kong toy, she has a great time being rewarded for batting the toy around!

There are many other items on the market which can slow down the feeding process, such as games, or stationary objects with holes in the side for cats to use their paws to remove the kibble.

  1. Limit treats

Treats, whether they be people food, or dog treats, all add up to excess calories.  Remember, if your pet gets a treat, you must decrease their caloric intake of their regular meal that day to compensate.  Please, avoid feeding your pet people food, not only is it high in calories, it can cause major health issues such as pancreatitis, vomiting or diarrhea.

Remember:

For a 20lb dog, eating just 1 hot dog is the same as a person consuming 3 entire hamburgers or 2 whole chocolate bars.

Our dogs and cats deserve the best, and being a healthy weight is our gift to them for a long, healthy life.

References:

Hills/AVMA Alliance for Healthier Pets. Obesity Awareness and Prevention Program.

“Trim Claws for a Cause” on Sept 27, 2015

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Does your pet need a manicure/pedicure, and you would like to help a great cause?

Join us at South Windsor Animal Hospital on Sunday, September 27th from 2-4pm for our 4th annual “Trim Claws for  Cause“!

In exchange for human canned goods for the Downtown Mission (4 cans per pet nail trim, please), we will be providing nail trims for dogs, cats, and pocket pets.

Additionally, we will have:
– The LeeLee Hats group teaching us how to loom hats to be donated to babies in the local Neonatal ICUs

– Shawn from My Pet’s Butler to answer questions about his pet shuttle/pet sitting/dog walking services

Windsor Firefighters with their fire engine, a great photo opportunity for kids and/or pets!

– A baked good sale and Raffle Prizes, with all proceeds going to the Downtown mission

 

If you can’t make it out that day? We welcome donations of canned goods at the clinic before the event as well for nail trims.  Give us a call for more information.

Can’t wait to see you at this great event, and thank you for all of your support!

Your South Windsor Animal Hospital Family

Heartworm Disease- What is it? Why is it so Important?

By | Disease, Health, Heartworm, Patients, Registered Veterinary Technicians, Staff, Veterinarian | No Comments

Heartworm DiagramThe warm weather is coming soon, its almost starting to feel like spring!  With warm weather comes mosquitoes which can transmit heartworm disease to our dogs (and cats extremely rarely).  Heartworm disease can be a fatal disease, but an easy disease to prevent with the appropriate medication.  Heartworm disease occurs most commonly in areas with prevalent mosquitoes, such as along the Great Lakes and other waterways and coastlines.  Windsor, Ontario is one of the most prominent locations for heartworm disease in Canada due to our warm weather and the surrounding Great Lakes.

How do dogs get Heartworm disease?

When a mosquito takes a blood meal from a dog infected with heartworm it ingests microscopic heartworm larva in the infected dog’s bloodstream.  These larva mature further within the mosquito before making their way back to the mouth parts of the mosquito.  When the mosquito bites another animal, these microscopic sized heartworm larva (microfilaria) can be injected into the bloodstream of a dog or cat and then make their way into the heart and blood vessels to the lungs. Over the period of 6 months, the worm grows to be an adult, ranging in size between 6-14” long and 1/8” wide!  At the largest size, that is over a foot long, and thicker than a piece of cooked spaghetti!  Adult heartworms can live up to five years, and during this time, the female can produce millions of microfilaria to circulate through the dog’s bloodstream.  The worms mainly live in the vessels of the lungs and the heart (hence the name, heartworm disease).  As you can imagine, having worms living in the bloodstream can cause difficulty with normal functioning of the heart and lungs.  With an increasing number of worms, more damage is done to these important organs. Animals can appear short of breath, have a cough, faint, be lethargic, or if only a small number of worms, may not show any signs or symptoms at all.  By the time clinical signs are seen, the disease is typically very well advanced.

At our clinic, we recommend yearly testing of all dogs for heartworm disease.  This is a simple blood test to detect adult worms in the bloodstream.  If our dogs have not acquired heartworm disease, they are kept on a monthly medication to kill any microfilaria from mosquitos they may have picked up from the last 30 days.  The most important months of the year for heartworm prevention is May through November, but with our weather varying from year to year combined with our proximity to the Great Lakes, we highly recommend yearly heartworm prevention.
What happens if my dog acquires Heartworm Disease?

If a dog tests positive for heartworm disease, there are multiple diagnostic tests which are done to help determine the severity of the infestation.  First tests include: repeating the heartworm test to ensure it is not a false positive, regular bloodwork to ensure the other organs are functioning normally, radiographs of the chest to evaluate the health of the heart and lungs, and may proceed to tests such as a cardiac ultrasound. Once a dog is deemed to be healthy enough, we would proceed according to the American Heartworm Society’s Guidelines for treatment based on the severity of the disease.  The treatment can be intensive, expensive, and does not come without risks.  For these reasons, it is much safer for your dog, and less costly, to be on a monthly preventative medication than to need to go through treatment.

For more information, give us a call about heartworm disease, prevention, and testing so we can tailor a plan appropriate for your dog!

References:

  1. Dr. Ruotsalo. 2009. Lifelearn: Heartworm Disease in Dogs – Testing. (https://www.lifelearn-cliented.com/page.php?id=19&rid=773)

My North American Veterinary Conference & Disney Experience

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Back to work! In January I returned back to work after a wonderful week long vacation in Orlando, Florida, where I not only got to take my family to Disney World but I also was able to attend the North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC) for the first time. The North American Veterinary Conference is the largest Veterinary Conference in North America.

Belonging to the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT), I have had the pleasure to attend our own OAVT conferences in both London and Toronto- but the NAVC conference is HUGE in comparison!!!  This year there was just over 15 000 attendees! The sheer size of the conference hotels (yes, there was more than 1) was intimidating and jaw dropping!8

These conferences provide the veterinary community with Continuing Education lectures from specialists along with introduction of new, innovative products and further information regarding current products.
As an RVT (registered veterinary technician) we are required to log a certain number of continuing education hours to be current and provide up to date veterinary medicine to our patients. (the veterinarians also require continuing education- so don’t worry, they keep up to date too!)

The NAVC conference lasted 5 days, with hundreds of lectures on topics ranging from customer service, small and large animal medicine, exotics, pharmacology and everything in between! I thoroughly enjoy attending these lectures, as I love learning about the ever changing field of Veterinary Medicine.

Aside from all the lectures, there is also a Trade Show area to demonstrate up and coming products, current products and be introduced to hundreds of various veterinary related companies (and some non-veterinary related companies such Life Planning companies to better enrich the lives of the members of the veterinary field.)

Every company is different and many offered fun games and trivia to help remember their products (and here is the really fun part- win and receive cool free stuff!)
I came home with a number of great new ideas, samples and more information that I think you, our clients and we, the clinic, will benefit from.

I also was able to attend a motivational lecture evening with Jillian Michaels [For those of you who aren’t familiar with her name, she is the original trainer on the Biggest Loser and WOW it was amazing]. She is a wonderful speaker and motivator, it was extremely exciting to be sitting 20 feet away from her and listen to her speak. She is also quite the comedian!

The most enlightening moment of Jillian Michael’s speech was her own experience with her own overweight pet, who has since passed away. She fully admitted that even though she is conscious about all aspects of being healthy, eating right, exercising, having a healthy mind and soul, she was not aware that overweight animals can suffer from ALL the same health complications that overweight humans can. Since learning of this aspect, she has become a faithful advocate for animal health and wellbeing.
This was eye opening for me, being so deeply associated with animal health; she helped me recognize the views of those unrelated to the animal world. They may not realize that these animals can suffer from all the same debilitating and life threatening conditions as humans. One of the most important aspects of our jobs is being a source of knowledge and information. Every single day we discuss your pets health and well-being and how we can prevent disease. The better we are at our jobs, the better you can be as an owner.

The other part of my trip including bringing my family to Disney World. It truly is a magical place! I won’t bore you with all the details of our trip; however I did take a few photos while in Animal Kingdom of the medical side of the park. We were able to see the examination area, the surgical suite and even xrays! We missed the physical examination of a few of the members of the park (which was such a bummer for me!) but the whole tour was still amazing. I don’t know why I had originally thought that it might be vastly different from our own surgical suite.  They just have to have a greater diversity in the size of their equipment, from lemurs to monkeys to elephants-oh my!

I hope you enjoy!!
The Golf Course in front of one of the conference hotels!Florida in January!
Golf Course in front of the Conference Hotel (Florida in January!)

Inside

 

 

Surgical Suite in Animal Kingdom- so cool!

Surgical Suite in Animal Kingdom- so cool!

Xray of a Gorilla Hand

Xray of a Gorilla Hand

 

 

 

 

Memorable Patients!

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My veterinary practice has been serving the neighbourhood of South Windsor for the last sixteen years. This means I have seen a lot of dogs and cats come through my doors. It also means I have been privileged to be a part of the entire lives of many of these animals. As veterinarians, we collect memories of the patients we see over the years.  Some of those memories are of unique cases where we feel we performed our jobs brilliantly; some of the memories are of cases where we wish we had done something differently in hindsight. But most of all, our memories are of the unique personalities of our patients, and the owners who bring them in. There are hundreds of names I could put on this list but I thought I would list just a few of the patients who have a spot in my memory photo album.

Mac Duff. A Tabby cat who hated me from the moment he saw me but reserved this anger for my office and was otherwise the nicest cat in the world!

Miss Tee. The Cocker Spaniel with such terrible skin problems who still managed to wag her stumpy tail at me despite incredible discomfort.

Jazz. A Shih Tzu who managed to snort up a large piece of a branch into his nose. We used a special miniature camera to retrieve the offending plant material.

Ellie. A three pound Toy Poodle, one of my smallest canine patients, who put up with me squeezing her anal sacs for years and did not seem to harbor any ill feeling towards me.

Giselle. A dachshund with her abdominal blood vessels in the wrong place! I remember scratching my head when I saw them. She eventually had her problems rectified and lived a long happy life.

Marshmallow. A rabbit I trimmed the teeth on every month for years and years. He outlived all our predictions by five years.

Shredder. This cat managed to survive having worms burrow under his skin, urinary stones and severe liver disease. Even though he has been seeing me for fifteen years now, he still manages to roll onto his back for a belly rub every time he comes to see me.

Toby. Toby was a Basenji with a very unique genetic abnormality. He taught me a lot about some areas of medicine which I knew little about before treating Toby.

Athena. My technician’s dog that we resuscitated after she went into cardiac arrest (Athena, not the technician). She was clinically deceased for almost 15 minutes. We had to support her for a couple of days while we waited to see if she had suffered brain damage. Many specialists were concerned that she could not survive without major health implications. Fortunately she recovered fully after two days without any residual side effects!

Otis. A huge Akita who decided to twist his stomach around at the end of the day. Myself and his owners went to Walker Road Animal Hospital late in the evening to perform emergency surgery on Otis. He went on to live a great life.

Molly. Molly is a living testimony to the survival abilities of animals. At fourteen, Molly has exceeded her expected survival period by approximately seven years. Molly was diagnosed with spinal cord cancer in 2007 and given months to live. Obviously, nobody told Molly that.

Casey. Casey was a great Himalayan cat who decided to stop eating one day. Unfortunately this caused his liver to shut down. His owners fed Casey through a stomach tube for many weeks while he recovered. Thanks to the hard work of his owners, Casey lived, and ate on his own, for many years after this episode.

Taffy. This dog was hoisted onto a couple who had never owned a pet by their veterinarian son-in-law (guilty). Taffy was previously owned and needed a new home. She managed to turn that couple into dog lovers and excellent pet nurses. That same couple has recently had another pet- in- need put into their hands by this veterinarian. I am sure they will do an equally good job with this one.

There are so many other patients who have touched my life as well as their owner’s lives that I feel bad stopping my list at this point, but these are just a few of the thousands of patients and their owners who have made an impact not only in my career as a veterinarian but in my life. These animals make my job fun and are the reason I became a veterinarian in the first place.

Dr. Chris Chamandy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being a Registered Veterinary Technician is the life for me!

By | Registered Veterinary Technicians, Staff | 3 Comments

For as long as my parents and I can remember, I had said I wanted to work in the animal field.  I can certainly remember being 4 years old and telling people I was going to work with animals. Sure I had times where I said I also wanted to be a teacher but for the most part it was the animal field.  When I got into the Veterinary Technician program at St Clair College it was one of my happiest moments (for those of you who do not know, there could be over 500 applicants for only 40-50 spots!)
From the moment I stepped into the clinical setting at the school, I was hooked on veterinary medicine.  I couldn’t learn enough.  The thought that I could combine two of my interests, medicine and animals was amazing.

At St Clair College, the veterinary technician program has its own building on campus. If you’ve ever been there during the school year, you’ve probably seen technician students walking the dogs.  The animals we have are comprised of cats and dogs that have been residing at the local shelters. Their personalities are assessed prior to bringing them into the program.  I can assure you that NO animal testing is performed on these wonderful creatures! What is given to them is the love and care that many are so desperate to have. They are walked three times per day and loved and cared for. The students learn and, along with the guidance and support of Registered Veterinary Technician teachers and Veterinarians, administer vaccinations, draw blood for health checks, perform fecal evaluations, take x-rays  and administer general anesthesia for spaying & neutering (to name a few).

But I digress. When I finished the program, I had the confidence and skills to work out in the field. Luckily for me, I had been working at South Windsor Animal Hospital for two years as a Veterinary Assistant so I easily stepped into the role of Registered Veterinary Technician.  For me, not only do I get to see routine examinations and vaccination appointments, but I also get to witness medical anomalies and miracles. No two days are ever the same. And in the ever changing medical field, I get to learn new things all the time. Not only through working but attending seminars and workshops.  I see patients come into the clinic with their families who are heartbroken to see their pet not feeling well and I know we are the ones who get to help them. We get to diagnose, perform procedures and administer medications that will change their lives. It is amazing seeing a patient recover. What is also amazing is watching their families recover as well.   Of course, we do have days where sadness occurs, but in reality we have still helped those patients through the next transition of their life. And the good days and good experiences far outweigh the negative.

Remember when I said I had also wanted to be a teacher? Well lucky me, I also get to do that! I get to teach people every day on responsible pet ownership, what to do for their pet, how to treat their pet when it is injured and how to continue through an issue. We also bring in Veterinary Technician students from the college for co-op placements and externships and I get to teach them too! Wow how awesome!

I remember walking into South Windsor Animal Hospital and watching their receptionist at the time; she knew who each person was walking in the door, remembered their pet and spoke about something specific regarding their pet. I thought “wow, there is no way I will remember all these clients and their pets!”  And here I am, 10 years later and I can’t believe how many patients I remember!  What is a little crazy for me, is to see some of my earliest patients, whom I can remember walking in as puppies or kittens, whom I watched transition into adulthood and who are now in their senior years. I am literally living their lives with them.  I think and care about them as if I was going to be bringing them back home with me, I treat my patients like they are my own.  I have made so many wonderful friendships, laughed and cried with wonderful clients and hugged and fallen in love with so many amazing patients.

They say that most RVT’s only stay in the field for about 7 years. It can be a very stressful, high energy and demanding job (physically and emotionally) and I can understand that it can be difficult to stay in it. But I am lucky. If you ask our staff members how long they have worked here,  you will hear  5, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15 years. That says something. I found a clinic with not only amazing staff but amazing clients. This is the reason I continue in this profession.  So I thank all of my clients, past, present (and future!) for helping make my career decision the best one I could!

Clarissa, RVT