Posts Tagged ‘veterinary care’

If you’d like to become a Veterinary Technician, but aren’t able to attend classes outside the area, then the Veterinary Technology Distance Education Program may be for you.

We urge you to attend the information session on Thursday, November 6 (at 5 PM) on the Virginia Beach campus of Tidewater Community College. The courses are available via the Blue Ridge Community College.

See the flyer below or for more information, call 540-453-2279.

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Annual Examinations Can Save Pet Owners from Racking Up Expensive Bills

Brea, Calif. (March 5, 2013) – Pet owners can save hundreds and even thousands of dollars on veterinary costs each year by taking pets to their veterinarian for routine examinations. Preventive care is one of the most important factors for pet owners to maintain their pet’s health, and has the added benefit of minimizing total expenses on veterinary care. Nose-to-tail wellness examinations are an excellent way of catching any potential – and likely expensive – problems early on. Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently sorted its database of more than 485,000 insured pets to determine costs associated with the most common preventive canine and feline conditions in 2012. Following is a cost analysis of the five most common ailments that can be avoided through preventive care:


Dental Diseases: 
Definition: Diseases caused by, or directly related to inflammation or infection of the gums or teeth due to overgrowth of bacteria. 

Examples: Tooth infection or cavity and periodontal disease. 
Average cost per pet to treat: $531.71 
Average cost per pet to prevent: $171.82 
Prevention tips: Routine dental care, such as brushing teeth or feeding pet foods designed to help reduce dental tartar, can result in improved overall health. The most effective preventive treatment for dental disease is a professional teeth cleaning which will remove plaque buildup and tartar before it leads to more serious oral issues, such as tooth decay and periodontal disease.


Internal Parasites: 
Definition: A parasite is a plant or animal that lives within another living organism (called the host). Pets may acquire conditions caused directly by a parasite or the pet’s response to the parasite living within its body.
Examples: Round worms, tape worms and giardia.
Average cost per pet to treat: $179.93
Average cost per pet to prevent: $29.51
Prevention tips: Keep your pet and the environment free of fleas. Clean up your pet’s feces immediately, and eliminate exposure to the feces of other animals when your pet goes for a walk. As recommended by your veterinarian, annual fecal exams and preventive medications can greatly reduce the chance of a parasitic infestation.


External Parasites: 
Definition: A plant or animal that lives upon another living organism. Pets may acquire conditions caused directly by a parasite or the pet’s response to the parasite or its bite. Some conditions are the result of a toxin or organism (e.g. bacteria, virus, etc.) transmitted by the parasite which can cause an illness. 

Examples: Heartworms transmitted by mosquitoes, Lyme disease transmitted by ticks and flea allergic dermatitis. 
Average cost per pet to treat: $180.67 
Average cost per pet to prevent: $84.89 
Prevention tips: Keep your pet and the environment free of fleas and ticks. Thoroughly check your pets after outdoor activities and remove any ticks you find with a pair of tweezers. As recommended by your veterinarian, use preventive medications and vaccines to limit your pet’s exposure to fleas, ticks and the diseases they carry.


Infectious Diseases: 
Definition: Conditions transmitted via bite or contact with another animal which carries a transmittable or communicable disease (virus, bacteria, fungi, etc). Transmission of disease can occur in various ways including physical contact, contaminated food, body fluids, objects, airborne inhalation, or through biological vectors (any agent that carries and transmits an infectious pathogen into another living organism). 

Examples: Parvovirus, Lyme disease and feline leukemia virus. 
Average cost per pet to treat: $678.24
Average cost per canine to prevent using core vaccines: $85.14 
Average cost per feline to prevent using core vaccines: $73.52 
Prevention tips: Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent contraction of common canine and feline infectious diseases. A vaccination protocol will be recommended by your veterinarian, which may include additional vaccines based on your pet’s exposure risk (e.g. outside cat, area with high prevalence of ticks, etc). Keep your pet and the environment free of fleas and ticks to limit exposure to organisms that external parasites carry. In addition, keep your pet away from any other animals that may be sick.


Reproductive Organ Diseases: 
Definition: A reproductive organ is any of the anatomical parts of a pet’s body which are involved in sexual reproduction. Pets may develop conditions caused by, or directly related to, the pet having intact reproductive organs. 

Examples: Pyometra (infection of uterus), prostatitis (infection or inflammation of prostate gland) and ovarian neoplasia. 
Average cost per pet to treat: $531.98 
Average cost per pet to prevent: $260.69 
Prevention tips: Spay (removal of the ovaries and uterus of a female pet) or neuter (removal of the testicles of a male pet) your pet, as recommended by your veterinarian.

“As the data above shows, regular pet preventive care can significantly lower potential costs,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Similar to ensuring that all members of the family see their doctor regularly for wellness visits, it’s just as important for pets. Taking preventive measures can avoid more serious and expensive medical conditions from arising down the road and helps keep our furry, four-legged family members on track for a long and healthy life.”

 Est. 1973


About Veterinary Pet Insurance

With more than 485,000 pets insured nationwide, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency (VPI) is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies and is the oldest and largest pet health insurance company in the United States. Since 1982, VPI has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers.

VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. CareGuard® coverage for routine care is available for an additional premium. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, one in three Fortune 500 companies offers VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A rated company (2012); National Casualty Company (all other states), Madison, WI, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2012). Pet owners can find VPI Pet Insurance on Facebook or follow @VPI on Twitter. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

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     Have you examined your pet’s feet lately?  What do the toenails look like?  Unless your dog or cat gets groomed on a regular basis, its nails could be growing wild.

  • Some dogs and cats are afflicted with claws that grow around into the toepads.  The result is a bloody and painful mess.
  • Dewclaws or “thumbnails” which are not trimmed can sometimes catch in rugs, upholstery, or fences and tear or break off, which also leaves a bloody and painful mess.
  • Untrimmed nails may cause your pet’s toes to spread apart when standing or walking, which can cause discomfort.

     If your pet’s toenails are clicking on the floor, then it’s probably time to trim them back.  You can do this at home with a cooperative pet, a good pair of nail clippers, and steady nerves.

Start with a good pet nail trimmer.

     If your pet’s nails are white and you can see the pink quick inside, trim in front of the quick to lessen the chance of cutting a vein.  The quick is the fleshy part of the toenail, which has veins and can bleed when cut.  Leave a small amount of white nail between the trimmer blade and the quick.

Note:  Since cats normally retract their claws, you will need to gently squeeze each toe to extend the claws for trimming. Take care to wrap your cat in a thick towel if he tends to scratch or bite. 

     If your pet’s nails are black, you will not be able to see the quick.  In this case, trim off small amounts at a time.  In some pets, the tip of the nail is thinner than the base and is hollow-looking from the underside.  This is typically a safe area to cut, as it rarely contains blood vessels.

     Do not trim more than you are comfortable with.  If you feel that you have not removed enough of the nail, be sure to ask a groomer or vet to finish the job.
     Keep in mind that a pet will sometimes sense the owner’s nervousness and become nervous in response.  If you are anxious about trimming your pet’s nails, because you are afraid of cutting the quick, your anxiety may transfer to your pet which will then run and hide, saving you the trouble of trimming its nails.  As a result, you may wish to ask a groomer or the veterinary staff to do it for you.

     If you do cut the quick, the nail will bleed.  Use styptic powder or cornstarch with cotton and firm pressure to stop the bleeding.  Cut the other nails longer than any that bleed.  You can try a dremel tool like the sort advertised on tv, but we have heard few positive remarks about them.  Most clients report that their pets do not like the sound of the tool and run out of the room.

     Need a photo demonstration?  Washington State University has produced a guide to trimming claws on dogs and cats. 

Originally posted on October 26, 2010.

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     In medicine, health problems are often described by using a combination of a word element referring to a body part/system/activity plus a word element referring to the condition of that part/system/activity.

     For instance, when we combine dys (difficult) + phagia (swallowing), we get dysphagia (difficulty swallowing.)
Or: ot (ear) + itis (inflammation) = otitis (inflammation of the ear.)
Or: hypo (abnormally decreased) + glycemia (presence of glucose in the blood) = hypoglycemia (abnormally decreased level of glucose in the blood.)

     This is by no means a complete list, but it can start you on the path to understanding disease names and medical jargon.

ger(o)-………old age
hyper-………abnormally increased, excessive
hypo-………..abnormally decreased, deficient
dys-………….bad, difficult, disordered
poly-…………many, much

Common Suffixes
-gram…….written, recorded
-iasis……..state, condition
-ology…….a branch of learning
-osis………disease, abnormal increase
-pathy…….morbid condition, disease (without inflammation)
-phagia…..eating, swallowing
-trophy……growth, development

Shortcuts to other Medical Definition entries:

Colorful Definitions

Parts Department

Sounds Like Trouble


Resource: Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary, Second Edition

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Let’s begin with a partial list of the things pet owners may be embarrassed to admit to their veterinarian:

  • how much “people” food their pet eats
  • how little exercise their pet receives
  • how rarely the pet’s ears are cleaned
  • how difficult the pet is to medicate

All of the items listed above can be cause for concern, but difficulty in administering at-home medication can cut across all medical issues.

Compliance with doctors’ recommendations is a hot-button issue in veterinary (as well as human) healthcare. Some of the top reasons for lack of compliance in following a doctor’s instructions are:

  • the owner’s forgetfulness
  • worry of side effects
  • inability to understand instructions
  • inability to administer medicine due to physical limitations
  • inability to administer medicine due to scheduling conflicts
  • inability to administer medicine due to pet’s character
  • the pet’s refusal to accept medication due to objectionable flavor
  • the pet’s apparent improvement before the course of treatment has been completed

The list goes on. The real problem arises when an owner does not immediately reveal to the vet that they have been unable or unwilling to give the medication as instructed.  

What can happen? Well, two things, at least. 

1) The pet’s condition worsens, the vet is made aware of the dosing problems, and the patient possibly faces more strenuous treatment the second time around, since the disease condition has progressed.


2) The pet’s condition worsens, the vet is not made aware of the dosing problems and goes on a wild-goose chase to figure out why the pet is not responding to treatment. The vet may end up trying new drugs that the client is also unable to give. No one is helped.

Admitting you are unable to follow the doctor’s orders may be embarrassing to you, but watching your pet grow sicker without treatment is likely to be worse.

Our advice:

  • Make sure you understand all instructions given to you, including dosage amount, frequency of administration, what to do if you forget to give a dose, whether it’s okay to combine different drugs, and whether to give the medication with food or on an empty stomach.
  • Ask questions about anything you do not understand. If you get home and realize you have a question, call the vet ASAP.
  • Request easy-open (non-childproof) containers when needed.
  • Ask for a typed copy of instructions not already included on the pill container.
  • If you cannot give your pet its medication at all (especially if you fear being bitten), tell us! While this may limit our treatment choices, it will also save you time and expense. In most cases, once a drug has been dispensed, it is non-returnable. And medicine that sits in a cabinet, never to see the light of day (or the inside of your pet’s body) does no good at all.

Not every complication can be foreseen. Sometimes, the appropriate course of treatment is financially out of reach. Or perhaps your own health and life issues prevent you from doing all you would like to for your pets. It happens. In the meantime…

Let us know how we can better serve you when we dispense medications.

  • Do you need a large-print version of all instructions?
  • If a choice is available, would you prefer liquid or tablet medications?
  • Would you like a dosing demonstration?
  • Would you like a written timetable to coordinate administering multiple drugs?
  • Would smaller quantities help? It can be budget-friendly.
  • Would you like recommendations on flavorful pill concealers or other tricks* to improve the taste of medications?

It’s a team effort: the better we understand your lifestyle and capabilities, the better we can plan a treatment you can work with.

*Some pharmacies offer to compound drugs with a more palatable flavor. Though costlier, this may be the key to success for some pets.

We found this pet pilling demo on YouTube:  How to Give Your Pet a Pill.

What are your concerns about administering medications to your pets?

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     It’s 5 o’clock – do you know where your pets are?

     Last night, I attended a class given by a Norfolk Animal Control officer and learned or re-learned a few items of interest to pet owners in Norfolk.

     Did you know…

*A dog or cat running loose is considered “at large.” More importantly, if that pet runs into the street and is hit by a car, the pet owner has no recourse of action against the driver, because drivers are not required to stop for animals at large. Scary! It sounds harsh, but that is the law – so be sure your pets can’t get loose and run into the street.

*If a dog spends the majority of its time outdoors, it must have a dog house with a door flap. The door flap must be in place from November through April. Also, the dog house should be raised 2 inches above the ground. (Read code 6.1-2 for the full explanation of adequate shelter.)

*City code 6.1-5 appears to allow pets to be buried on private property: “The owner or custodian of any animal which has died from disease or other cause and is not the subject of a rabies exposure as defined in article III shall forthwith bury with at least twelve (12) inches of fill dirt flush with the ground surface, or sanitarily cause disposal of the same in accordance with guidelines set by the superintendent of waste management.”

*Pet owners are permitted up to four adult dogs and four adult cats in a single household. The catch – pets are considered “adults” under the law at 4 months of age.

     You can read the current Norfolk city codes for animal welfare here. Keep in mind that the Commonwealth of Virginia has its own guidelines and codes, which Norfolk animal control officers will also use to protect animals and people in the city.

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     Veterinary Pet Insurance has released a list of its most unusual ingestion claims from 2011. Here are five of the strangest items on the list:

  1. package of fluorescent light bulbs
  2. cholla cactus
  3. deer antlers
  4. tent stake
  5. dead porcupine

     Want to see the other freaky items removed from pets’ innards? The complete list can be found at VPI’s Hambone Awards.

     Granted, most of us don’t have a dead porcupine or a set of deer antlers scattered about the house, where the dog can help itself to a buffet. But we do have plenty of household objects that can be just as dangerous, warns the ASPCA.

     Here are five to watch out for:

  1. batteries
  2. rubber bands
  3. plastic wrap
  4. nylons
  5. cotton swabs

     Visit our clinic and pick up a copy of the ASPCA’s pamphlet “101 Things You Didn’t Know Could Harm Your Pet.” Or I can mail it to you. Just ask!      ~~  Jen

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     Need something new around the house?  Check out these ideas:

Critter Cord – Discourage cord-chewers and protect them against electric shock.

Guard against electric shock due to cord chewing.

Eat Slower Pet Dishes – Reduce the risk of bloat due to gulping food.

The divided dish design slows your pet's eating to reduce the risk of bloat.

Pet Peek – The window for your fence.

Give your pet a new outlook on life.

Skamper-Ramp – Protect pets and wildlife from drowning.

Give animals a leg-up to get them out of the water.

Spotlight Pet Locator – It’s like Lojack for your pet.

GPS-assisted pet tracking device - a must for pets with wanderlust.

All photos are the property of the respective companies and manufacturers and are used here for illustrative purposes.
We make no warranty or guarantee as to the safety or efficacy of any product or service. 
Always read and follow installation and safety instructions.
Have you used one of the products above or a similar item?  Review it in the comments section!

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We’ve got new pet packs from VPI – and they’re chock-full of cool stuff:

  • An “In case of emergency” phone decal
  • A “Pets Inside” window decal (to alert first responders)
  • “First Aid for Your Pet” booklet
  • “Preventing Pet Poisoning Emergencies” booklet
  • “New Pet Owner” booklet
  • and one of the neatest things I’ve seen in a long time – the New Cat/New Dog Hintbooks.

Be sure to claim your Pet Pack when you bring your new pet in for its first examination with us.  (Quantities are limited.)

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     Veterinary Pet Insurance has done it again. They’ve mined their database to compile a profile of the most dangerous days in 2010. Here is a sample of what they discovered (keeping in mind these numbers reflect pets insured by VPI only):

  • The most dangerous day of the week was Monday, with an average of 152 pets treated for injuries.
  • The most dangerous month was June, with an average of just over 4140 claims. That works out to about 138 pets treated daily for each of the 30 days.
  • For the year, accident claims were highest after holidays like Labor Day, Memorial Day and Easter.

     The “safest” day of the week appeared to be Sunday, with statistics showing an average of only 59 claims on that day. However, a top VPI veterinarian is concerned that the low number actually reflects the lack of emergency care available on Sundays in some areas. In other words, cases that are seen on Monday should have been treated on Sunday, but an emergency facility was either unavailable or unknown to the pet owner.

     Can you guess the month with the fewest emergency claims? It was December, with about 108 pets treated each day, for an overall total of just under 3350 emergency claims for the month.

     VPI culled the information by reviewing its data on over 485,000 enrollees and looking at emergency claims like broken bones and poisoning, among others.

     Do you know the phone number and location of your local 24-hour veterinary emergency hospital? If you have a pet, this information is vital. We recommend the Tidewater Animal Emergency and Referral Center on South Independence Road in Virginia Beach. Keep their number in your speed dial: 757-499-5463.

Information for this article can be found in the July 2011 edition of Veterinary Practice News, p.4.

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