Our knowledgeable staff, as well as our up-to-date 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.
Complete Medical Assessment
A complete medical assessment begins with a thorough physical examination, in which your pet’s eyes, ears, skin, cardiovascular, neurological, gastrointestinal, pulmonary and skeletal systems 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 also be used to detect unseen problems. Depending on your pet’s condition, we may recommend further diagnostic tests such as radiographs (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 has the ability to pump blood around the body effectively. When an animal is suffering from congestive heart failure, they can accumulate fluids in the lungs and/or abdomen. 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, such as EKGs (electrocardiograms), radiographs (X-rays), and ultrasounds, are often necessary to accurately identify the cause of a patient’s heart disease.
Heart disease is a serious and life-threatening condition, but with early diagnosis and appropriate therapy, it can be treated, extending your pet’s life.
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have oral disease by the age of 3. It is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets. Common signs of oral disease include tartar buildup, red and swollen gums, bad breath, changes in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face and generalized depression.
A veterinarian should evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. We recommend this because bacteria and food debris accumulates around a pet’s teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay results in irreversible periodontal disease and even tooth loss.
There are other reasons why you should pay close attention to your pet’s dental health. Bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream and may cause serious kidney infections, liver disease, lung disease, and heart valve disease. Oral disease can also indicate that another disease process is already occurring elsewhere in a pet’s body. A thorough physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if this is the case.
We can recommend and demonstrate preventative measures you can begin at home. Our wellness program emphasizes and explains how you can avoid costly dental procedures with your pet in the future through home care.
Radiology (x-rays) is routinely used to provide valuable information about a pet’s skeletal system, 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 great skill on the part of the veterinarian.
Endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that allows our veterinarians to visualize and biopsy (obtaining samples of tissue for testing) your pet’s internal organs without the need for invasive surgery. It can, for example, allow us to retrieve an accidentally swallowed item without the need for surgery.
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 handheld tool) is applied to the surface of the body to which an ultrasound image is desired. 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.
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 accurately obtain a diagnosis. Additional diagnostic procedures may include blood work, urinalysis, skin scraping, biopsies, etc.
The cause of skin problems range 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 and 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, or hyperthyroidism.
Additional endocrine problems include Cushing’s Disease and Addison’s Disease.
There are many signs observable in pets with endocrine disease. These signs 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.
We know the issue of pain management is of great 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 for a variety of reasons such as pre-operational and post-operational pain, trauma, and chronic medical conditions. We would be pleased to discuss your pet’s available options and any concerns you may have.
It is crucial for your pet’s vision that we detect and treat glaucoma and other problems with intraocular pressure (pressure within the eye) as quickly as possible. We can test your dog or cat’s eyes for excess pressure easily and safely. The test, performed with a device called a tonometer, is not painful and does not require sedation.
If not treated immediately (within days or even hours), glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss or even blindness. Pets that have suffered an eye injury should have this test performed. In addition, we recommend that breeds that are prone to developing glaucoma come in for regular measurements so we can monitor eye pressure and begin treatment before any problem(s) becomes irreversible. Please call us to discuss whether your pet may be at higher risk for glaucoma.
Call us right away if you notice any of the following problems in either or both of your pet’s eyes: dilated (enlarged) pupils, clouding of the cornea (the normally clear outer layer of the eye), red or bloodshot eyes, one eye protruding or appearing larger than the other, squinting, or tearing. Because glaucoma is painful, your pet may react by rubbing or pawing at the eyes or rubbing his or her head against the floor or furniture more than normal.