Archive for November, 2012


  • Cassie Brown
  • Megan
  • Paco
  • Cujo
  • Lola
  • Reno
  • Beautiful Williams
  • Tanner
  • Starbuck
  • Chewy
  • Sophia
  • Buddy
  • Kona
  • Callie
  • Tips
  • Courage
  • Hope
  • Bleeker
  • Deuce
  • Taz
  • Suki
  • Sophie
  • Poppy
  • Dusty
  • Peaches
  • Skipper
  • Miha
  • Nina
  • Sasha


  • Compass
  • Willie
  • Tiger
  • Sheena
  • DJ


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Earlier this month, we told you about VPI’s One For All sweepstakes. As part of the prize package, a veterinarian will get to choose an animal-related charity to receive $2000.

Choosing a worthy organization may be the most difficult — and rewarding — part of the process. There are so many good people helping animals these days.

Most of us are familiar with our local humane societies, but there are other groups that might interest you. ‘Tis the gift-giving season, and a donation to charity may be the perfect present for someone who already has everything he or she needs.

Can you help a pet in need this holiday?

I’ve compiled a list of organizations you may like. (Reviews for many non-profit organizations can be found on Charity Navigator and Guidestar.)
Tip: Hover over the names to learn a little more before clicking through.

American Veterinary Medical Foundation…..4 stars from Charity Navigator

Buddy Care Foundation

Days End Farm Horse Rescue…..4 stars from Charity Navigator

Guide Dogs for the Blind…..3 stars from Charity Navigator

Morris Animal Foundation…..4 stars from Charity Navigator

Pet Partners (formerly Delta Society)…..3 stars from Charity Navigator

Wildlife Center of Virginia…..2 stars from Charity Navigator

Do you have a favorite animal-related charity you like to support? Tell us about it in the comments section!


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     Have you noticed sores or “acne” on your dog or cat’s chin? If your pet is eating or drinking from plastic bowls, it could have an allergy to the petroleum in the dishes. Plastic allergies can lead to mild or severe sores at the lips, chin, and nose.    

A plastic dish may not be right for your pet.

     Quick fix: swap out all plastic bowls for stainless steel or crockery (make sure it’s food-safe and not lead-based.) Ask for Dermalone topical antibiotic at our clinic and apply this pet-specific ointment to the sore area 3 to 4 times a day.

(Look for cute, affordable stoneware pet dishes, like this one at WalMart.)

     If your pet continues to have sores, also check for and remove plastic and rubber toys.

     Inform the veterinarian if the problem persists or if you see signs of infection, such as pus, swelling, inflammation, or bleeding. Sometimes other allergens or bacteria are the cause of the problem. However, it is a good idea to remove plastics first, so they won’t exacerbate any existing allergy or bacterial infection.

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Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

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Q:  What happens when you combine your pet’s thyroid pills with your blood pressure medication?

A:  You don’t want to find out.

And you don’t have to. For safety’s sake, always use a separate pill splitter for your pet’s medication. If you share, some pill dust may remain behind on the splitter, inadvertently exposing you to your pet’s drugs or exposing your pet to your medication.

Though the risk of cross-contamination may be small, it’s not a risk worth taking.

We recommend our combo pill splitter/crusher to better enable you to conceal medication in your pet’s food. As a bonus, it is unlikely to look like the device you use for your own meds, so there’s no confusing the two.

The brand we carry has a splitter

a crusher 

and compartments for holding small quantities of pills.

Take it apart for easy cleaning 

then snap it back together for easy storage. 

Pick one up on your next visit to our clinic!

Pet poisoning from human drug ingestion is a common occurrence. 
Keep these numbers on hand in the event of a poisoning emergency:

Pet Poison Helpline……………………………………1-800-213-6680

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center……….1-888-426-4435

BluePearl Veterinary Emergency Hospital….757-499-5463

Quick links to past articles on pets and medication.

Tylenol toxicity

Top Toxic Human Medications



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  Every year, around Turkey Time (that’s Thanksgiving and Christmas), pets are rushed to the emergency room with a sudden onset of illness after sharing the family meal. So what’s going on with all those animals?

  The answer is: acute pancreatitis.

[How do you say that word?  Try this: pan-cree-uh-tie-tis]

  The pancreas is a V-shaped abdominal organ that produces digestive enzymes and insulin. (Insulin regulates blood sugar. A lack, or insufficient quantity, of insulin results in diabetes.) 

  Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, in which the organ essentially digests itself via the enzymes it produces.

[Where did pancreatitis rank in VPI’s pet insurance claims in 2011? Click here to find out.]

What causes acute pancreatitis?
Common causes are:

  • high-fat diets (long-term)
  • singular high-fat meal (like meat trimmings)
  • obesity
  • infection
  • blockage of the pancreatic duct
  • abdominal injury or surgery
  • hyperstimulation by certain drugs and venom

  Because of the high fat content of many holiday feasts, pets that are fed from the table are at serious risk of becoming gravely ill. In some cases, pancreatitis will be fatal.

  We recommend feeding your pet its own food prior to mealtime, to make it less likely to beg. If you or your guests are tempted to share food with Fluffy and Fang, we recommend moving your pets to a separate area of the house during mealtime and after-dinner cleanup.

  Let your guests know that your pets are on a strict diet and cannot have table food. If you have to – blame the vet! We’re always happy to play wet blanket when it comes to giving pets unnecessary – and even harmful – treats.

Symptoms of pancreatitis
Watch for:

  • abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • weakness
  • depression
  • collapse from shock

How do you know if a pet is experiencing abdominal pain?
Look for these signs:

  • restlessness
  • panting
  • trembling
  • hunched-up posture
  • “praying” posture
  • resting on cool surfaces
  • vocal or physical response to touch (on the belly)

Which types of pets are most at risk of pancreatitis?
Normally, in this type of article, I list the age span, breeds, and gender of dog or cat most commonly affected by the disorder. I am not going to do that in this post for one specific reason: I do not wish to give any pet owner the impression that his or her pet is “safe” from pancreatitis and can join in the family meal. We just don’t recommend it for any pet.

Take Action
If you believe your cat or dog may have pancreatitis (even at a non-holiday time of year), take him to the nearest Veterinary Emergency Hospital. Immediate intervention in a critical care setting will give your pet the best chance at recovery.

Remember: some cases of pancreatitis can be deadly, so prevention and early intervention are key to your pet’s good health.


Instructions for Veterinary Clients
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary
Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice
The 5 Minute Veterinary Consult

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