Archive for January, 2012

Dr. Miele will be out of the office this week
on Wednesday, to attend a meeting. 
He will resume office hours on Thursday morning.

The clinic will be open Wednesday from 10 AM to Noon
for retail sales and appointment scheduling. 

Please note:  We are unable to fill prescription
medications in the doctor’s absence.

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(Photo removed)

– This pet has been found.

     Please keep an eye out for this handsome dog, male, 6 yrs old, missing from the Haygood/Witchduck area in Virginia Beach.  His owners miss him very much.

     If you have any information on his whereabouts, please call our clinic at 757-583-2619.

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     If you own a female dog or cat, you will be faced with the question of whether or not to spay your pet. Many animal shelters make that decision for the prospective owners, as they often will not adopt out an intact pet. Cats that come in and out of heat every few weeks, yowling, rolling, and trying to escape outdoors, are typically spayed in a hurry, so the owner can relax. 

     But female dogs can be quiet about estrus*, perhaps not shedding much blood or making a nuisance of themselves. Male dogs jumping the fence in search of a mate may be the worst part of the problem. Still, pet owners wonder whether the risk of spay surgery is acceptable. Spaying – at least for now – is still an elective, rather than a legal mandate, in most places.  [*Italicized words are defined in the glossary at the end of this article.]

     For the purposes of this post, we will consider as a “spay” an ovariohysterectomy, in which the uterus and ovaries are removed. Another type of spay surgery is the ovariectomy, in which only the ovaries are removed. 

     What are the benefits of spaying?

  • Reduced risk of mammary cancer
  • Eliminated risk of uterine and ovarian tumors
  • Eliminated risk of uterine infection (pyometra)
  • Eliminated risk of unwanted litters
  • Financial incentive, i.e. greatly discounted rate for city license fees 
  • Fewer unwanted “suitors” coming to call

     Focus on pyometra
Pyometra is a preventable disease, in that it can be prevented through spay surgery. Intact (non-spayed) females are at risk for pyometra, which often presents 1-2 months after estrus (or “heat”). Elevated hormone levels can lead to greater than normal secretions in the uterus, providing a breeding ground for bacteria.

     Affected dogs may have an “open” pyometra, in which pus, mucus, and blood may be seen draining from the vulva. In a “closed” infection, the accumulated pus does not drain, and the pet may show more severe signs of illness. In either case, look for lethargy, anorexia, depression, excessive thirst. Pets with “closed” infections may exhibit vomiting and diarrhea, shock, and collapse. Interestingly, fever is not always present.

     In most cases, spay surgery is the preferred remedy for pyometra. Due to the illness, the risks of surgery are elevated. To wit: the infected organ must be removed from the body without introducing its contents to the body cavity. Adding to the risk is the pet’s poor general health as a result of the infection. For these reasons, prevention through early spay surgery is recommended.

Normal canine uterus. Photo by Jennifer Miele

Normal canine uterus. Photo by Jennifer Miele

Infected canine uterus (pyometra). Notice the sausage-like appearance. Photo by Jennifer Miele


  • anorexia – loss of appetite
  • estrus – the portion of the reproductive cycle in which female animals will accept a mate; “heat”
  • intact – not spayed or castrated
  • lethargy – tiredness, reluctance to move or engage in normal activity
  • ovariohysterectomy – surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus; “spay” surgery
  • pyometra – infection of the uterus
  • vulva – the external female genitals

Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice (Birchard, Sherding)
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary (Blood, Studdert)

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As requested by our friends at the Norfolk Police Department, we are passing this notice along to you:

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(Photo removed)
 A Beagle and a Terrier were found running together at Halprin Drive near Dominion Avenue in Norfolk today. If you recognize these dogs, please call our office at 583-2619. The owner/s should be able to provide proof of ownership.

     Note:  These dogs are not at our office at this time.

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Top Ten Ways to Be Kind to Animals

10.  Never leave a pet alone in a car.

09.  Spay or neuter your dog or cat.

08.  Pick up litter that might hurt animals.

07.  Never kick, hit, or spank a pet.

06.  Take pets for annual health exams and recommended vaccinations.

05.  Quit smoking; secondhand smoke can cause allergies in animals.

04.  Provide pets with plenty of exercise.

03.  Brush your pet’s teeth.

02.  Volunteer to help care for a busy or elderly neighbor’s pet.

01.  Spend quality time with your pet daily.

     For a list of 23 more ways to Be Kind to Animals, click on the picture below.

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     Check out the course catalog for Evenings at St. Patrick, a perennially popular local fundraiser.

     Most classes are $30, and you get to choose from categories like Arts and Music, Computers and Technology, Family Matters, and more.  Learn Irish dancing, the secrets of beekeeping, and how to make money selling items on eBay.  This year’s program has over 100 courses to choose from, so you’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy.

     Classes begin January 24th and opportunities to participate continue through March.  In past years, I’ve taken a class by Lisa Suhay on writing fiction for children, a course in private investigations by a local PI, and another class on the fiduciary duties of non-profit organizations.  Whew!

     Don’t wait another minute – sign up today and see what you can learn!

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