All posts by cvp

Woman’s Best Friend: Dr. Venier & Blackie

 

By Dr. Tracy Venier, DVM

“The journey of life is sweeter when traveled with a dog”
It was during my second semester of Veterinary School when Blackie and I began our wonderful journey together.

Blackie was one of our clinic dogs at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. The clinic dogs were instrumental in our training to learn anatomy, practice palpation, as well as practicing anesthesia and several other invaluable skills to further our education. These dogs also provided some stress relief and enrichment for students. In our second semester, students were assigned to walk and take care of the clinic dogs. Blackie was a mostly black with some tan, fuzzy 6 year old “Coconut Retriever.” This is what we fondly called many of the mixed breed island dogs.  It didn’t take me long to realize what a special dog Blackie was, and how lucky I was to find out that Blackie was up for adoption.

Blackie officially came to live with me during my 3rd semester. Together, we spent another 2 years on St. Kitts before embarking on our next journey together. Blackie was my protector, fondly, or not so fondly called “the lion” by many local Kittitians, as he let them know that this was his house and I was his girl. I tried to make Blackie into a beach dog, but soon realized he did not have an affinity for water, sand or the heat despite his Caribbean roots. We had many late nights together spent studying and cramming for exams. He was always there for me. 

Then, came our final semester at Ross. As it was almost a right of passage for Ross students to bring a dog, or two home with them as they departed the island, I was worried about getting Blackie on a plane home so I asked my good friend Danielle if she would fly down, spend a few days and take Blackie back to New York to meet my parents.

That month without Blackie was so lonely! I was so eager to return to him. As our time on the island was finished, Ross students complete their final year of training at a University teaching hospital in the US. I did my clinical training at Purdue University. With an even more rigorous schedule, unfortunately that meant a lot of time home alone for Blackie, but we soon found a horse barn close by to school where I would take lessons. I soon learned that Blackie, who remember was not a beach loving dog, loved being a barn dog and loved horses. Some of my fondest memories are riding around and Blackie would follow behind, always close by to me and the horses. He may have grown up as an “island dog,” but his true calling was as a barn dog. We had the best times at Foxton Farm, that even led to the purchase of my beloved Thoroughbred, Valentino.

As our time in Indiana drew to a close, that meant Vet School was officially completed! Blackie and I yet again set back to the East coast. He was the very best travel companion and he loved riding in the car. Blackie helped me through Vet School, clinical year and what followed as I transitioned into the real world of Veterinary Medicine.

BeFunky Collage

My first year out in practice I was devastated when Blackie was diagnosed with malignant oral melanoma, a very aggressive cancer. How fortunate we were that surgery was very successful and with follow up visits with an Oncologist, Blackie did very well. 

A little over 2 years ago I took a leap of faith and decided to relocate and take a job with Winding Hill Veterinary Clinic. This was not an easy decision as it meant leaving behind family, friends and a place that I had called home for most of my life.  I can honestly say, having Blackie by my side made things much easier, and I also soon learned how wonderful everyone at WHVC would be to not only me but to Blackie also.

Blackie soon became the unofficial Winding Hill mascot as he would take many trips to work with me. He would pick his spot in the Doctors office where he liked to take naps, usually under Dr. Barnhart’s desk. He loved to attend our staff meetings so he could travel around from person to person to beg for pizza, Panera or whatever catered goodies were up for grabs. Blackie also loved coming to the clinic for his weekly therapeutic laser treatments with Nanaette, as she would focus on all of his sore, arthritic spots, and of course, treats were involved. His BFF Brittany also made him his own special platter of treats during his many visits, you can see Blackie was a very food motivated dog but he also loved his interaction with everyone at the clinic as well.

It was this past November that Blackie made his journey to the Rainbow Bridge. While I miss him every single day I am beyond thankful for our 7+ year journey together. My parents would often say how lucky Blackie was to have found me on St. Kitts, but I can honestly say that I was truly the lucky one to have found such a devoted, loyal and loving companion. 

I received so many wonderful messages from people that knew Blackie from our time in St. Kitts to Indiana, New York and beyond. I realized that Blackie touched other people’s lives also. My father, who didn’t grow up with dogs and who was admittedly a little timid of most dogs grew to share such a wonderful bond with Blackie. I’m convinced it was almost impossible to not love him, though I know I’m a little biased. Our journey together was one filled with many adventures, wonderful memories and a whole lot of love. And all of those things I will cherish forever. 

Gift a Pet for Christmas?

By Terri Heck CVT Winding Hill

shutterstock_227819830Giving a pet as a gift on a holiday may sound like a good idea – after all they can be such a symbol of love, joy and many things good. But in reality, the gift of a pet comes with the need for a commitment – a commitment of responsibility – time and money. Adding the right pet at the right time to the right family is a blessing that keeps on giving.

Christmas in itself is not the best of times to add a pet to the family. It tends to be a busy time. The hustle and bustle of the season can make building the relationships with the new pet and the bonding experiences more challenging. Added responsibilities can be better timed after the holidays. The winter weather associated with the time of year and a young puppy is not for everyone.

Who better to select their new pet than the person or family who is ready for one. A gift certificate to a shelter or a breeder if the recipient has voiced a place where they would get their new addition could be a welcome gift. Consider a basket of supplies or a book related to their expected pet of choice. Add a card with a little note saying that you would like to help with the purchase of their new pet aka “family member” when they are ready.

Pets and people can share a wonderful connection. Just be sure the pairing is done in a way to bring the love and the joy of the season to both the pet and the person or family.

Popular Apps For People and Their Pets: Appiness is Just a “Click” Away

Appiness Is Just A “Click” Away

Popular Apps For People and Their Pets

 

By Dr. Patty Gabig

Here are some applications that one might find useful. Please feel free to contact me with others you have found and feel others could benefit from:

Pet First Aid Red Cross
Take care of your furry family member. The American Red Cross Pet First Aid app puts veterinary advice for everyday emergencies in the palm of your hand. Get the app and be prepared to act when called upon. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to know Pet First Aid. Download: iTunesGoogle Play

aspcaASPCA
This free app shows pet parents exactly what to do in case of a natural disaster. It also allows pet owners to store vital medical records, and provides information on making life-saving decisions during natural disasters. Download: iTunes + Google Play


Animal Poison Control Center (APCC)
Products that may seem safe in your home and garden can actually be toxic for pets, and all too often pets are poisoned as a result of their natural curiosity. That’s why the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – the country’s first animal welfare organization and a leading voice for animals — has launched the APCC by ASPCA App. Download: iTunes + Google Play

iVet Veterinary calculators and Drugs
iVet Veterinary Calculators & Drugs is an application for Mac computers with more than 10 different kinds of calculators used in small animal veterinary and a complete Veterinary Drug Formulary with more than 600 drugs. Download: iTunes

mypet reminderMy Pet Reminder
Need help remembering to give Fluffy those pills, Fido his flea and tick medicine, or schedule Bella’s annual vaccines? My Pet can help keep your pet’s appointments and reminders in one place. Download: iTunes + Google Play


Rover
Over 65,000 pet sitters and dog walkers have listed their services, making Rover the nation’s largest network. On the app, connect with a nearby sitter, pay securely, and get photo updates. The platform offers insurance, 24/7 support, background checks, and a reservation guarantee. Download: iTunes + Google Play

Wag
Need someone to take care of your dog when you’re busy, stuck at work, or on vacation? Wag! connects dog owners with dog lovers in their community they can hire on-demand for dog walking, pet sitting, or dog boarding services 7-days a week. Wag! is like having a trusted dog loving neighbor, or friend at your beck and call! Download: iTunes + Google Play

Fitbark
FitBark monitors your dog’s everyday activity and turns it into BarkPoints, so you can track progress. It’s a new way to understand your dog’s health, explain changes in behavior, make better decisions with your vet, and share memorable moments with friends & family. FitBark is all about your dog, from head to tail. Download: iTunes + Google Play

Whistle GPS Pet Tracker (device that syncs with an app) whistle gps
Whistle GPS Pet Tracker attaches to your pet’s collar, allowing you to locate your pet in minutes and track their daily activity on your phone. Download: iTunes + Google Play

Cam2Pet
Be with your pet, even when you are not at home – Cam2Pet makes it possible. Developed and tested for and with pets (dogs and cats) under real conditions! This app would be good for monitoring your pet especially if they are elderly, diabetic or recovering from surgery. Download: iTunes + Google Play

Voyce
Voyce creates a vital sign baseline for your dog so you and your vet can readily detect and address changes in health and behavior. Manage your dog’s health by settings goals and accessing advice from pet experts, tailored specifically to you and your dog.

VitusVet
The VitusVet App is a life and sanity saving tool for pet owners. In addition to having all of your pet’s medical records available in an emergency, the app helps you take the best care possible of your pets. Track major events and daily items such as medication reminders, walk times, current brand of pet food…even request family vet and specialist appointments. All members of your family and your extended pet care team will have login access to upload information and locate records through the VitusVet app. Just invite them to your pet’s care team and start today! Download: iTunes + Google Play


Dog Whistle
This is a dog training app with the following potential to: stop your dog or your neighbor’s dog from barking, recall your dog, train your dog to do cool tricks.

How does this works? The application generates frequencies ranging from 100 to 22000 hertz. Dogs hear those sound very well, and those sounds are always the same. That makes it very easy to teach your dog new tricks. Proper tutorial will be implemented in future app update. Remember to not abuse your animals!!! Long exposure to any sound might damage hearing. And that might be a crime. Also don’t use this app on puppies.

ikibbleiKibble
How many times have you wondered, “Can I feed this to my dog?” This app has an extensive data base of common foods so you can find out which ones are o.k. if your pet eats something. Download: iTunes + Google Play


Dog Communicator
Get closer to your dog with Dog Communicator, a dog sound translator that helps you identify your dog’s feelings with the touch of a button. Download: iTunes + Google Play

Pet Name
It’s harder than you think sometimes to come up with a name for your pet. This data base can help.

Pet Snap
Move over paparazzi: there’s a new photographer in town. With WowWee Snap Pets, you can turn selfies and group shots into full-on photo sessions. 32 built in sounds to attract your pet before the picture is taken. Download: iTunes

Pet PlayPen
Just for fun adopt 3 virtual pets. Download: iTunes

 

And finally, there are also apps that teach children how to care for a pet:

toca petsToca Pet
Kids cure and feed animals in cute, empathy-promoting app. Download: iTunes + Google Play + Amazon


Doc McStuffins Pet Vet
Fix animal ouchies, play mini-games, meet great role models. Download: iTunes

Are there any must-have pet apps that we missed? Let us know!

Halloween Photo Contest

Calling All Halloween Lovers!
Send us a photo of your pet in a costume and you could win a $50 gift card to our hospital!

To enter:
Like our Facebook page and send us a direct message on Facebook with your pet’s photo by Sunday, October 23rd.

On Monday the 24th we will post all of the photos in an album and then voting will begin! Vote for your favorite photo(s) by “liking” them or using your favorite reaction. The photo with the most “likes”/”reactions” will be our winner and will be announced on October 31st!

We encourage you to share your picture, or the album, with your friends and family to increase your chances of winning.

Good luck and may the best costume win!

*One photo per pet. If you have won a contest more than once, we ask that you please split the prize with the 2nd place winner. To keep this lighthearted and fun, pictures shared to “like for like” groups or those similar, or others deemed unfair or inappropriate, will be disqualified.
Winding Hill - nicole renee - remy alexa

2015 Halloween Contest Winner – Remy Alexa

Have You Checked the Chip?

By: Elianna Brook, WHVC technician

During the peak of vacation season and fun in the sun, we often forget the anxieties these joyous times bring our furry friends. Whether your pets travel with you, are kenneled, or watched after by trusted friends or family, the chances of them getting away are very high during these times. You may say your dog would never run away or your cat never leaves the house, but stressful times may change these habits in your pets.

If you were to (heaven forbid) get into a car accident while your cat or dog was traveling somewhere with you, during which time they escaped from your vehicle and didn’t know where they were, the best way to maximize their chance of returning home safely is having them microchipped and following up with registering that chip to you. The first thing most animal shelters, veterinary clinics, and police do upon finding a “stray” or lost pet, is to scan for a microchip. These tiny chips are placed just under the skin, typically between the shoulder blades or in that general area. The procedure is often done in correlation with a young pet’s spay or neuter surgery while they’re under anesthesia, but the implants are also placed while animals are awake. It’s a quick procedure that takes just about as long as a regular vaccine administration. These chips may migrate through time, so having your chipped pet scanned at routine veterinary appointments is not frowned upon.

Each year in the United States, about 7,600,000 cats and dogs enter animal shelters. Of those 7.6 million, only about 649,000 are returned home safely to their owners. Imagine how many more pets would find their way home if everyone had their companions microchipped.

Any time of change can be scary for your little (or not so little) ones, so ensuring their ability to find their way home is important. Travel, fireworks, and the hustle and bustle of company or workers in and out of your home are just a few things that could spook a cat or dog into running away. Though microchips aid in the reuniting of many pets with their families, they are not GPS devices so you can’t track your critters if they go missing.

National Check the Chip Day is August 15. If you haven’t had your pets microchipped and are interested in doing so or have more questions, don’t hesitate to contact your favorite veterinarian, technician, receptionist, or other member of the Winding Hill team for more information.

Tech Elianna scanning Kevin, an adorable dog adopted by our practice manager, Tena. He was adopted through Furry Friends Network.
Tech Elianna scanning Kevin, an adorable dog adopted by our practice manager, Tena. He was adopted through Furry Friends Network.

Heartworm and Prevention

Heartworm infestations can be deadly, but if you follow a couple easy steps it’s totally preventable.  Heartworm is a parasite that lives in the heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels. Heartworm is passed from a mosquito taking a blood meal on an affected animal, picking up the microfilaria (baby worms).  The microfilaria then mature in the mosquito. Once matured, the mosquito then takes another blood meal on an unaffected animal; leaving the microfilaria behind, infecting the next animal.

While heartworms can affect any mammal, the one I’m going to focus on is the canine. The few things you can do to make sure your canine friend stays heartworm free is get a blood test i.e. 4DX+, annually. Not only does this test screen for heartworm, it also screens for Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, anaplasma. On top of that, you want to keep your dog on heartworm prevention year round. There are a couple different types, but most are a flavored tablet your dog will take once a month. Most canines will take it as a treat. There is a treatment for dogs that come up positive, but it lasts several months and can be expensive. Some signs and symptoms to look for are coughing, loss of appetite, intolerance to exercise, and possible weight loss. You also run the risk of the heart or lungs being damaged permanently, so prevention is the best option. So schedule your heart worm test today!

Adopt a Shelter Cat Month

Welcome to Adopt a Shelter Cat month!

Along with the beautiful weather and flowers, June tends to bring out the amorous side of our feline friends. The ASPCA estimates that there are roughly 70 million stray cats in the United States at any given time. The fertile females of that group can have 1 to 2 litters every year, averaging 4 to 6 kittens per litter. If one third of those 70 million cats are fertile females and they each have 1 litter that year with 5 kittens in the litter, that’s 116,666,666 kittens born that year!

Out of all of those millions of cats, around 3.4 million are received into shelters a year. “Of cats entering shelters, approximately 37% are adopted, 41% are euthanized, and less that 5% of cats who come in as strays are returned to their owners.”* To put that into numbers, 1.3 million will be adopted, but 1.4 million will be euthanized every year.

I think what strikes me the most about all of these numbers I’ve thrown out, is that it all boils down to more cats being euthanized than adopted out. That’s heartbreaking. Shelters work so hard to care for and get as many homes as possible for the kitties they have. We can help them by going to them when its time to bring a new feline into our hearts and homes. Even just spreading the word can greatly help. “According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 40% of pet owners learned about their pet through word of mouth.”* So, even if you’re not looking for one of your own, get out and advocate and help make Adopt a Shelter Cat month a success!

On a related note, June 4th is International Hug Your Cat day. Help us celebrate by submitting some pictures of you showing your feline friend some love! In return, here are pictures of some of the Winding Hill crew hugging their kitties.

*All figures and quotes come from ASPCA.org

Feline Leukemia Virus

By: Dr. Carol Edwards

Most of us have heard of Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), a fatal and contagious disease of cats. It can cause severe and irreversible anemia, cancer, or terminal immunosuppression. One of the issues with the virus is that it can take a month to show up on a blood test. So even if your new cat or kitten has tested negative for FeLV, MAKE SURE TO RE-TEST a month later.

Transmission: Any body fluid can spread the virus. It is most commonly spread in saliva (bite wounds, shared food or water bowls, grooming each other) but can also be spread by blood, venereally, by the queen to her kittens before birth or through her milk.

Kittens are 6-7 times as susceptible to infection because of their immature immune system, and it is generally fatal for them. Infection: The virus infects tonsils and lymph nodes first, and then goes into the blood. Because this can take several weeks, a FeLV test is warranted a month or after any possibility of exposure.

Six-eight weeks after exposure, the virus goes from the bloodstream to actually enter the blood cells themselves and infect the blood cells. Once the virus is inside the blood cells, it is no longer detectable by routine testing. Specialized tests, called IFA and PCR can detect the virus. In adult cats with infected blood cells, the infection can become regressive or progressive.

Regressive Infections:

  • Most common
  • May remain latent (inactive) indefinitely
  • Generally not contagious
  • Requires a specialized REAL Time PCR test to diagnose

Progressive Infections:

  • Can result from any exposure, including Regressive Infections
  • Survival averages ~three years
  • Fatalities secondary to tumors are progressive anemia, immunosuppression, and others

As a result, we recommend FeLV testing:

  1. When you get a new cat
  2. A month after any possible exposure your new cat has had with any other cats
  3. If your cat should be exposed to any cat of unknown FeLV status
  4. If your cat should develop a new illness suggestive of FeLV, is responding poorly to treatment, or has vague, nonspecific symptoms.

If you’re ever concerned about your cat’s health, please call us at 717-697-4481.

Lessons Learned From Hound to Child

By Terri Heck, on behalf of her work with Summit Search and Rescue

We all know dogs and kids can have a magnetic attraction. Our bloodhounds love kids of all ages and kids of all ages migrate to our bloodhounds. What an opportunity this has been to spread a message of safety throughout the community.

Whether the child we run into on the street
Or in a public park we get to greet
Perhaps a group at a school we meet
Time with kids and hounds is sweet!

Hounds and kids – a wonderful pairing.
Safety lessons are made for sharing.
Play safe, stay safe – always be caring.
This the bloodhound is declaring!

K9 Apache shares a lesson
K9 Apache shares a lesson
K9 Briggs with kids
K9 Briggs with kids
K9 Merit with preschoolers
K9 Merit with preschoolers

So often we are told a tale of a child who remembered a lesson of safety that may have made a difference at a moment where safety was important. This lesson was not remembered because of Mom, Dad, teachers or Jim or I, but in the words of a child “I have to be safe because Apache wants me to be”. So whenever a child migrates to your bloodhound or your bloodhound migrates to a child seize the opportunity. Remind the child to listen to Mom, Dad or whoever they are with and always be safe – spoken from the hound (with a little help from you!).

Team Summit Search and Rescue 
with middle school students
Team Summit Search and Rescue with middle school students

What Is Wellness?

Your pet’s yearly appointment for a check-up and vaccinations is to keep your pet well. In that visit, your veterinarian is checking for problems visible on a physical exam. We examine your pet’s eyes, ears, hair coat, and skin, listen to the heart and lungs, palpate the abdomen, assess the lymph nodes, and look at the mouth and teeth. Any abnormalities will be discussed and treatment or additional testing recommended.

9067These tests might include: bloodwork, urinalysis, stool samples, radiographs, or ultrasounds.

Vaccinations are another way we keep pets well. Recommendations are based on the pet’s age and lifestyle.

Other routine wellness tests in southeastern PA include: at least yearly fecal samples to decrease the risk of transmitting intestinal parasites, which can be zoonotic (a disease communicable from animal to man), with potential serious consequences in children. Dogs are screened for heartworm (transmitted by mosquitoes) and Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma (all transmitted by ticks). Kittens are screened for feline leukemia and feline immunosuppressive virus.

As pets age, they are at risk for chronic illnesses such as kidney or liver disease, diabetes, thyroid disease, and cancer. These diseases may not be apparent to you in the early stages. “Wellness” bloodwork can detect problems earlier, and therefore the disease can be treated more effectively before the pet is noticeably ill, losing weight, etc. Wellness bloodwork can also be used as a baseline for future comparison.

If you have questions about why we make certain recommendations, please ask your veterinarian at your pet’s visit. A website that I often recommend to clients for additional information is: www.veterinarypartner.com. It is a good source for accurate information about a range of veterinary subjects.

Anne C Barnhart, VMD