Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Itchy Ears are a Common Problem - Massie and Canine Otitis Externa

Canine otitis externa is defined as inflammation of the ear canal. It is a painful problem and very frustrating for owners, vets, and pets when it persists despite treatment.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Ghost Story: The Haunted Diamondback Tavern in Ellicott City, MD

My name is Ana and I am an Internal Medicine Technician at VCA-VRA.  My husband Chris and I have an interesting hobby we like to go Ghost Hunting. As Halloween approaches, we want to tell you about a place we found in Ellicott City, Maryland called "The Diamondback Tavern".

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Patient of the Week: Bogey

Reporting from the fishbowl:

Bogey is one of our beloved pets. He is a former doctor’s only child. I don’t think I could say enough about how he touched the lives here at VCA-VRA. Believe me, everybody here has their own story so, I’ll just tell you how I saw it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vet Tech Week: Lauren Pagonis

Meet Lauren! Lauren is one of our technicians in our Critical Care ward here at VCA VRA. Her caring nature and passion for animals does not go unnoticed! Here is what Lauren had to say about being a veterinary technician and what it means to her!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Patient of The Week: Paddy Bruder

My name is “Paddy” and I am a very tiny 5 year-old Yorkshire Terrier. In 2010, I was adopted by Ana Bruder (Internal Medicine Technician) after I almost died. My past owners mated me with a Chihuahua and as I went into labor, my little body could not handle it. My owners took me to the ER at VCA VRA and the doctors said I was suffering from dystocia (difficult labor/birthing), hypoglycemia and anemia.   

One of my pups was a still-birth and another was alive initially. Despite the fact that I was still in labor with one more puppy, my owners took me home against medical advice. They thought I could wait till my regular vet opened. The doctors at VCA checked on my well-being in the morning and my owners told them they could not afford to take me to my regular vet. At this point I was not doing well, really I was dying. At that time they decided to surrender me. 

VCA did an emergency surgery and I was spayed to save my life. My recovery was long and tough, but I made it! I was blessed at the end of such ordeal by finding my Ana. She said when she saw me she knew I was made to be with her! My life is great now and for that I am grateful.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pudgy Pups Fit Camp

Losing weight is hard for everyone…our “fur” family members included. You cannot control many factors regarding your pet’s health but you can help them to control their weight! Overweight dogs have many health problems and even a decreased life expectancy. Here at VCA Veterinary Referral Associates we wanted to find a fun and enjoyable way to help our pets lose the extra weight. That is why Pudgy Pups Fit Camp was created.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Every Day Magic of Veterinary Technicians

Every day I experience an overwhelming phenomenon, one I don’t recognize adequately and one that I should pay homage to every day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Adopt A Shelter Dog Month

According to the ASPCA approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. To put that into perspective that number is larger then the population of Maryland and Washington DC combined! The worst part is that over the duration of one year approximately 2.7 million of those companion animals will be put down.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It Takes a Village

When Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote “It Takes A Village” more than a decade ago, she was describing the collective efforts needed to help our planet’s children. This concept of a multifaceted community to treat our animal friends has become especially relevant to the veterinary community.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I Took a Barbados Vacation, and Came Home with Stray Kittens

They were tiny and starving little cats, struggling to survive on the streets. To make a long story short, I couldn't leave without them.
In October 2005, I was on vacation in Barbados with my cousin Marie. Two days before our departure, as I walked past a frangipani tree, I spotted two small kittens on the walkway. Someone had put out milk for them in 95 degree heat. They were clearly starving. Some children from Great Britain filled me in. The kittens were abandoned and struggling to survive.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Outside The Office: Country Living

I live in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and work as a critical care technician at VRA. I have been making the trek to VRA for almost five years. My boyfriend and I bought an old one room school house  that sits by itself on a little over a half acre lot surrounded by farmland. There is also a beautiful horse pasture across the road. It is very quaint and quiet with no neighbors close by.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Outside The Office: Dr. Tina Conway's Cycling Trip

What do a bunch of veterinarians do on summer holiday?

In the middle of June, I went with a small group of veterinary bike enthusiasts from all over the United States to Provence, France for a continuing education conference and a chance to bike across the beautiful countryside.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Outside the Office: The Run Club with Lauren Pagonis

Everyone who knows me knows how much I love to run. I have done several 5ks, one Tough Mudder, two different 10k trail running series and the George Washington Parkway 10 miler. I got started running when my husband was stationed in Okinawa Japan as a Marine Corps MP. Running was my time to not think about what was going on in my life and just RUN.

Last September my husband and I ran in the Damascus Freedom 5k. This is one of my favorite running events because all the money raised to participate is donated to different veterans associations. The race is run in honor of September 11, 2001. All of the food, music, timing equipment and anything else needed for the race is donated by different businesses in Damascus. It is a real hometown race and makes me proud to be from Damascus.

This year I am the assistant coach for the Damascus Freedom Kids Running Club. The club is completely free to the kids and meets three times a week, two running days and one gym conditioning day. The goal of the running club is to prepare the kids to run in the up coming Freedom 5k on September 7. There are about 18 kids total, ranging in age from three years old to 11 years old. All of them can run two miles at this point and most of the older kids can do three miles.

I wish everyone had as much enthusiasm about running as these kids do! If they can run so can you!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Patient of the Week: Hilda the German Shepherd

"She's old, so we bought her here to die in peace".

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Story of the Week: Jolly and a Lonely Bouquet

Jolly is a 7-year-old male Harlequin Great Dane who came to the VCA in June with increased weakness and instability in his hindquarters. He was recently seen by VCA-VRA neurologist Dr. Steinberg who performed a physical exam and an MRI. Jolly was diagnosed with Wobbler’s Disease, which involves compression of the spinal cord in the neck vertebrae, which causes the instability and weakness Jolly is experiencing. Fortunately, this disease is treatable with medicine and surgery options available on a case-by-case basis. He hopes to start Prednisone soon and looks forward to enjoying the rest of the summer. Jolly’s hobbies include going boating, swimming, hanging out at the beach, and playing with his two brothers (another Great Dane and an English lab).

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Patient of The Week: Tucker Weintraub

Tucker  Weintraub or “Why Bones are Bad”

He got into the garbage almost two weeks before we met him. It was not intentional (on his owner’s part, anyway).  The garbage bag was sitting next to the front door; closed and ready to be taken outside. Tucker, an extremely sweet, fluffy, grey yorkiepoo very quietly nosed his way into the bag and ate his delectable find, including the chicken bones that would cause him so much trouble.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Patient of the Week: Miracle Maggie

Every month Maggie is with us, is a gift. A Yorkshire Terrier, born the runt of her litter in April 2009, Maggie has faced numerous medical challenges since birth. The first clue for us, was her inability to rid herself of internal parasites, at a very young age, after repetitive treatments. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What Do Veterinary Technicians Do?

Just like a human hospital, vet’s offices need more than just doctors to keep things running smoothly. That’s why at VCA-VRA, we hire only the best veterinary technicians! While our veterinarians handle prescribing medicine and deciding on treatment, vet techs help do a lot of the heavy lifting when a sick pet comes to our animal hospital.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Patient of the Week: Lily Johnson

Lily Johnson was referred to the VRA emergency department on January 25th after being attacked by a larger dog on a walk. The owner was able to pick her up, however, the offending dog jumped up and snatched her away from the owner. A neighbor was fortunately able to help get the owner and Lily back to their house safely. Lily was taken to a nearby veterinarian and was stabilized with pain medicine, antibiotics and fluid support. Chest x-rays were taken and revealed multiple rib fractures and pneumothorax (free air in the chest). Lily was referred to us for further aggressive care and possible surgery.

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Quick Look at the Benefits of Having a CT

As we’ve discussed in Pt. 1, The Benefits of CT Over X-Ray, and in Pt. 2, So What is CT Anyway, obviously, CT is much more efficient and accurate when compared to X-ray (or Ultrasound) and delivers conclusive results; often showing diagnosis that X-ray (and Ultrasound) have “missed”.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

So what is CT anyway?

CT is one of the most reliable and dependable imaging options available today and delivers fast results to expedite the treatment of your pets.

“CT or CAT (Computed Tomography and Computed Axial Tomography) is a non-invasive imaging technology that uses computer-processed x-rays to produce radiologic images of specific area(s) of the scanned object, allowing the user to see what is inside it without cutting it open. A CT produces a volume of data that can be manipulated in order to demonstrate various bodily structures based on their ability to block the x-ray beam. Although, historically, the images generated were in the axial or transverse plane, perpendicular to the long axis of the body, modern scanners allow this volume of data to be reformatted in various planes or even as volumetric (3D) representations of structures.”

Now that’s definitely more than a mouthful. T o simplify, basically a CT takes pictures (using x-rays) and these pictures allow the doctors to see what’s going on inside your pet.

Another way to visualize the process is to think of it like a loaf of bread. Each picture represents a slice of bread and the CT will show which “slice” has a problem. Where a x-ray only shows information in a 2D plane (similar to a picture or a drawing) a CT provides information to the doctor in three planes.

Additionally, with x-rays, you will get a certain degree of magnification, because it takes one picture (in a flat 2D plane), so there is no way of telling how far away or how deep “the problem” is because it is using just a flat view.

Alternatively, with a CT you gather much more information. Not only do you know which slice the problem area is on, but the information tells you how far left or right it is, as well as how deep within the patient it is (because of the 3 planes). In other words, you know exactly where the problem is located; adding in your doctors diagnosis.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How Can Your Pet Catch Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a condition characterized by inflammation of the lung. While there are several ways your pets can contract this condition, it’s important to get them treatment as soon as possible. But in order to know that your pet needs treatment, you need to be able to identify the symptoms. The sooner the veterinary specialists at VCA-VRA can get your pet tested for pneumonia, the sooner we can begin treatment and get your pet breathing correctly again!

Monday, May 19, 2014

To CT or Not CT?

The Benefits of CT over X-rays If you or your pet has ever been to the hospital, chances are that at some point you (or they) have had an x-rays. If you haven’t, I’m sure that you’ve at least seen them on a cartoon, ER, or Grey’s Anatomy.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

How We Use Thyroid Scintigraphy as a Diagnostic Tool

Thyroid scintigraphy (thyroid scan) as a diagnostic tool:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Case of The Month: Norman Bauer Pt. 1

Norman, a 5-year-old bulldog, was having episodes of fever, restlessness, and panting. His veterinarian performed blood tests which revealed very high thyroid hormone levels. Although his symptoms could fit a picture of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland), this is highly unusual in a dog and on the rare occasion it is seen, it is usually due to thyroid cancer.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pet Insurance in Maryland

Is your pet insured? Through Petplan and VCA-VRA, we can make sure your pet gets the care it need at an affordable rate. If your pet has an accident or becomes ill unexpectedly, we can help cover the costs. Best of all, with Petplan pet insurance, filing a claim is fast and easy.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Maple French Toast and Bacon Cupcakes by Emily Fulerton

Check out the blog spot for the recipe and my tips on these delicious Maple French Toast & Bacon Cupcakes! For the Cupcakes:

Monday, March 31, 2014

What Causes Cataracts in Dogs?

Have you noticed your dog’s eyes getting cloudy? They may be suffering from cataracts! Cataracts are an opaque film that forms on the eye, and are a common issue amongst all dog breeds. While not harmful, they do impair your dog’s vision. If your pet is suffering from cataracts, contact our Maryland ophthalmology department today!

What Should You Do When Your Pet Breaks a Bone?

Are you ready if your pet breaks a bone? It’s important to be prepared in order to put yourself in the best position to get them timely help. But what’s the best way to handle a broken bone? We’re here to help!
If you believe your pet has broken a bone, come to our Maryland critical care facility immediately.
VCA-VRA has two board-certified in emergency/critical care, so you know you’re in great hands no matter how serious the break is!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

How We Treat Feline Bronchial Asthma

Did you know that feline bronchial asthma is a lot like human bronchial asthma? The symptoms of bronchial asthma in cats are very similar to that in humans, and it’s diagnosed in a very similar way. So when your cat has asthma, how do you treat it? At VCA-VRA, we have a very effective approach to treating feline bronchial asthma. So if you suspect your kitty is suffering from asthma, contact us today to learn more about our treatment.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Patient of the Week: Nellie

Nellie is a beautiful 13 year old Bishon Frise who doesn’t look a day over five. Her clinical signs were subtle during the summer of 2012 when she began clearing her throat.  The throat clearing progressed to upper airway noise (loud breathing) and a change in her bark by January of 2013.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Patient of the Week: Shelby

Shelby is an 11 year old lovely golden retriever who was diagnosed with malignant melanoma of the digit (toe) in April 2011.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Case of the Month: Moses Bender

Moses is a 9 1/2 year old Golden Retriever who came to see us for a sudden onset of noisy, labored breathing through his nose. Previous treatment with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory corticosteroids had not resolved his symptoms. His veterinarian recommended a consultation, CT scan, and rhinoscopy (procedure involving a video camera on a tiny tube inserted in the nostril) to obtain a diagnosis and plan treatment.
Our CT scanner is very useful for evaluation of the nasal cavity, sinuses, ears, and bones of the jaw and skull. Frequent causes of nasal symptoms in dogs include allergies, inflammatory rhinitis, infection, cancer, and foreign bodies. By combining CT scans and rhinoscopy procedures, we can also take biopsy samples and treat symptoms at the same time. This helps decrease the number of episodes and duration of anesthesia, provides faster and more complete diagnostic answers, and allows treatment to begin sooner. Moses was immediately scheduled for a CT scan and his nasal cavity and sinuses were normal, but an oval object was obstructing the nasopharynx (back of the nasal passages where they open into the throat). During rhinoscopy, this object was visualized and determined to be a lodged almond! The almond was removed and his prognosis for full resolution of symptoms is excellent.