Animals

Dobby's Story

Dobby’s Story

Beautiful Dobby

Dobby was rescued by Officer Becky Thompson of the Syracuse Police Department.  She was found tied to a toilet in absolutely horrible conditions.  She was dangerously emaciated and terrified of everything.

 

Her arrival at VMC sent shock waves through the staff, and through one of our veterinarians in particular. One of our emergency doctors, Dr. Annette Otis, offered to foster her personally during her delicate re-feeding and recovery period.  And so Dobby’s life of horror, hunger, and uncertainty ended and her new life began.    Physically she recovered very well with the loving and experienced care of Dr. Otis, but her psychological scars did not heal so easily.  Dr. Otis kept everyone updated on her progress, Dobby visited VMC frequently, and so everyone was concerned when Dr. Otis reported that Dobby had acted aggressively toward her nephew.  Most of us were of the opinion that Dobby would probably do best in a home with no children.  Except, that is, Shannon, our Client Services Manager, who insisted that she be allowed to take Dobby on a trial basis, even though she had a young daughter at home.  We’ll let Shannon tell Dobby’s story from here:

Dobby frequented the hospital and I would give her kisses and hugs and was in love with her. I talked Dr. Otis into giving my home a shot. I had a baby and a young boxer named Barley, so Dr. Otis warned me about her aggression towards kids, dogs, and food but I said “let’s just give it a go."  Dr. Otis trusted me to keep everyone safe during the trial period and knew that I understood her issues, so Dobby came home with me.

In the beginning Dobby was very shy and hated Barley. She would lunge at him, even trying to bite him, and she would be very protective of me and her food. Barley had such a kind soul and didn’t take it personally. One day I decided to let them outside together and, at first, Dobby tried to attack Barley, but Barley (being the loving kid he was) wouldn’t give up until she played with him. Finally she gave in and they started playing and chasing each other.  After that, they were the best of friends.  They ate near each other, played with each other, and even slept next to each other.

Warm Dobby

Unfortunately a few months later, Barley passed away suddenly and unexpectedly and our family was crushed.  Dobby definitely felt the loss, but also comforted us. She provided us with the light we needed in that dark time. That was more than a year ago and Dobby’s days are now filled with love.  She is never alone and spends her days playing with my daughter who is now 3years old. My daughter will hand feed Dobby her kibble from her bowl. Her food and kid aggression is gone.  Dobby still has issues with other dogs (mainly females), but every Friday she goes and visits her boyfriend Bruin (who is the cutest pit bull!).

Dobby and Bruin

Dobby had a horrible life before she came to us. I have made it my mission to make sure she never has a bad day and always knows we love her.  Her guardian angels Dr. Otis and Officer Thompson not only saved her life, they saved ours too. I will be forever grateful to them and all the staff at the Veterinary Medical Center for loving my girl when no one else did.

This beautiful girl got caught in the safety net just in time.  She had no more time to spare.  Just look at how her life and her forever family’s lives have been enriched by having each other.   Please report cruelty when you see it.  Please don’t turn a blind eye.  There are a number of excellent local organizations doing great work in combating cruelty in our area, but Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse and Cuse Pit Crew are standouts in this regard.  Now would be a great time to donate if you are passionate about this topic!

 

 

Christmas Pet Safety Tips

Cat-in-Christmas-Tree
Cat-in-Christmas-Tree

No one wants to end up in our emergency room over the holidays!  Consider these risks to reduce the likelihood that we will need to see you!

Holiday Ornaments: Consider any new decoration you put out! This is especially important with young dogs and cats who are typically more boisterous and curious, and also with any pets new to the household.

  • Candles are an obvious risk. Place carefully and always supervise or consider flameless candles.
  • Ornaments pose several risks. How breakable? How dangerously chewable? Are they toxic? Homemade salt dough ornaments are extremely toxic.
  • New cords (for lights, etc.) can and will be investigated by a curious young dog or cat. Also assess risk of entanglement.
  • Tinsel: If you own a cat, forgo the tinsel. What looks like a shiny toy to your cat can prove deadly if ingested. Tinsel does not pose a poisoning risk, but is thin and sharp and can easily wrap itself around the intestines or ball up in the stomach once ingested. Many unfortunate cats have required emergency surgery to save them once the tinsel has caused obstruction or other problems.
  • Imported Snow Globes: Recently, imported snow globes were found to contain antifreeze (ethylene glycol.) As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze when ingested by a cat or a tablespoon or two for a dog (depending on their size), can be fatal. Be sure snow globes are placed where they cannot be knocked over and broken.
  • Liquid Potpourri: Filling your house with holiday scents is wonderful, but heating your scented oils in a simmer pot can pose risks. Scented oils can cause serious harm to your cat, with just a few licks resulting in severe chemical burns in the mouth, fever, difficulty breathing, and tremors. Dogs aren’t as sensitive, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry. Simmer natural scents (orange, cinnamon, etc.) on the stove, or scent your home with a non-toxic candle kept safely out of your pet’s reach.
thanksgiving-dog-dinner-dogvacay-300x225
thanksgiving-dog-dinner-dogvacay-300x225

Holiday Foods: With the holiday season comes a delightful variety of baked goods, chocolates, and other rich, fattening foods. Do your best to keep your pet on his or her regular diet over the holidays and do not let family and friends sneak in treats.

  • Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, a chemical highly toxic to dogs and cats. Ingestion in small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea but large amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias.
  • Holiday baked goods are typically too high in sugar to be good for our pets in any form. Increasingly, many sugarless gums and candies also contain xylitol, a sweetener which is toxic to dogs. It causes a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and potential liver failure. It is also contained in some brands of peanut butter.
  • Grapes and raisins can result in kidney failure in dogs -- another check against fruitcake!
  • Alcohol: Because alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, it affects pets quickly. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure.
  • Yeasted dough: Raw dough can expand in a pet’s stomach and require emergency surgery. It may also cause alcohol poisoning as the yeast reacts in the stomach. Make sure that rising dough is well out of reach.
  • Overfeeding and “Garbage Gut”: A very common reason for a holiday trip to the veterinary emergency room unfolds innocently in a busy holiday household. The meal is over and everyone is too full to pay attention to where the leftover food is in relation to your pets. Your pets have been waiting literally all day for such an opportunity, and are busily helping themselves to the overstuffed trash container and/or the leftovers on the counter. While dogs are usually the main offenders in cases of “garbage gut,” cats are not immune! Within a few hours some combination of vomiting and diarrhea requires a trip to the emergency room. Leftover, fatty meat scraps can produce severe inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) leading to abdominal pain, vomiting and bloody diarrhea. It’s one thing if you occasionally give a little nibble of something to your pet, but if all 20 party guests decide to do the same, you can wind up with a seriously ill pet.
poinsettia
poinsettia

Holiday Plants:  Cats are usually most apt to "sample" your houseplants.  Veterinary advice should be sought if any of these plants are suspected of being ingested!

  • Lilies (including tiger, Asiatic, Stargazer, Easter and Day lilies) are the most dangerous plants for cats. The ingestion of one to two leaves or flower petals is enough to cause sudden kidney failure. We do NOT recommend any lilies in cat owning households!
  • Daffodils (including paperwhites) can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even possible cardiac arrhythmias or respiratory depression. The bulb, plant, and flower are all toxic.
  • Holly is toxic, and can cause severe gastrointestinal upset and even heart arrhythmias.
  • Mistletoe: Both berries and leaves are toxic, and symptoms of toxicity include gastrointestinal upset, difficulty breathing, slowed heart rate, low blood pressure, and odd behavior (possible hallucinations).
  • Amaryllis causes vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, and tremors. The entire plant including the bulb is dangerous
  • Christmas tree and tree water: Bacteria, molds, and fertilizers can cause your pet to become ill with only a few laps, and both dogs and cats are at risk. Chewing on the tree itself can cause some more mild oral and gastrointestinal upset, and there is a small chance that needles can cause punctures and other gastrointestinal problems.
  • Though they have a bad rap, poinsettia plants are only mildly toxic. The effects are typically “self limiting” – chewing them is unpleasant, they taste bad, and then whatever little amount is eaten is fairly quickly thrown up. Pesticides on the plants are likely of more concern.

Houseguests and Holiday Hustle and Bustle Any time you stray from your normal routine or introduce people unfamiliar with your routine into your household, there is the possibility of your pets finding some trouble, including:

  • Escape
  • Overfeeding of unfamiliar or inappropriate foods
  • Ingesting guest’s medication
  • Stress!

Gates and doors left open, dietary indiscretion, guests leaving their medications in a place where your pet can “investigate”, and a host of other scenarios can create problems for your pets.

Keep your pet’s ID tags current and on your pet, and help your guests “Pet Proof” their belongings. This is the time to alert your guests of any “special” habits your pet may have (sock stealing/eating, etc.) so they can prepare.

Also remember that changes in routine can stress your pets, especially cats and older pets. Consider giving them a quiet space of their own to get away from the festivities if they don’t seem relaxed and content.

A little bit of prevention can help ensure that your holidays are happy, healthy, and spent at home!

June 2015 VMC Pain Management Patient of the Month

Puccini's Story Puccini

My husband and I are proud owners of our 11 year old standard poodle named Puccini. Since Puccini was the runt of a litter of six, he weighs only 42 pounds, whereas, typically, the breed weighs between 60-70 pounds. During Puccini’s initial veterinary visit, Dr. Davis at Lyndon Veterinary Clinic, advised us that sometimes the runt of a litter can develop a variety of health challenges. Clearly, this has proven to be so for our dog. Beginning as early as 3 yrs. old, Dr. Davis diagnosed Puccini with hip dysplasia, with the right hip significantly worse than the left. Just looking at the x-ray of Puccini’s right hip, Dr. Davis commented, “you wouldn’t think he could walk.” Dr. Davis prescribed Cosequin double strength twice a day, and he modified Puccini’s playtime eliminating the run/stop action which was bad for his back legs. In 2009, Dr. Davis diagnosed Puccini with Intervertebral Disc Disease. Dr. Davis referred us to Cornell Companion Animal Hospital where they discovered that Puccini’s hind limb muscles had atrophied. At that time, they recommended Lis Conarton and the Physical Rehabilitation Service at the Veterinary Medical Center. Lis evaluated Puccini, and provided us with a thorough understanding of the problems and challenges he may encounter. She highlighted the various techniques she would use on Puccini including: laser therapy; the underwater treadmill; the “agility course”; and the importance of addressing the Myofascial Trigger Points (muscle knots). We were impressed with Lis—her breadth of knowledge, her professional demeanor, her patience, and Puccini who doesn’t like meeting people warmed right up to her immediately. Lis has been able to markedly improve Puccini’s muscle strength and maintain his muscle mass. Due to Puccini’s aging process, Lis has continually modified his rehab sessions, along with the home exercise program. She informs Dr. Davis of her observations about Puccini which has produced a “winning team” for our dog. We are convinced that Puccini’s quality of life is very good because of Lis. We are not taking anything away from Dr. Davis, who is a great veterinarian, but Lis has skills that are not widely available. We refer to Lis as the “animal whisperer”. Lis is an amazing and talented young woman, who possesses the desire to stay abreast of everything related to her profession. We are always recommending the VMC and Lis to anyone who has an animal in need, because she treats each animal as if she is the owner. To this day, we count our blessings that physical rehabilitation is available in Syracuse and that a highly knowledgeable, competent, and talented woman by the name of Lis Conarton manages the area. ~Puccini’s Family

Puccini

  • 11 year old Standard Poodle
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Cervical Disc Disease/Intervertebral Disc Disease
  • Right Cruciate Ligament Strain
  • Compensatory Muscle Strain & Myofascial Trigger Points
  • Irritable Bowel Disease

Current Treatments

Weekly Rehabilitation Sessions Including:

  • Hydrotherapy Exercise
  • Under Water Treadmill
  • Low Level Laser Therapy
  • Joint Mobilization
  • Massage Including-Myofascial Trigger Point Release
  • Home Exercise Program
  • Home Massage Program

Canine Circovirus - Should you be concerned?

 Ricci3

Do I need to worry about dog circovirus?

The recent reports of a mysterious illness causing death in Ohio dogs may have you wondering, do I need to worry about circovirus in my dog?

First, what is a circovirus?

Circoviruses are small viruses that have been shown to infect birds and pigs. The dog circovirus was first identified in a sick dog from California in 2012. Following discovery of this new virus researchers evaluated blood and stool from sick and healthy dogs and found the virus in about 11% of dogs with diarrhea and in 7% of healthy dogs. Researchers also confirmed that the virus is NOT the same virus that infects birds or pigs.

Is circovirus responsible for illness in those Ohio dogs?

Circovirus was recently detected in the stool from one dog in Ohio with vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and lethargy. This is the first time dog circovirus has been identified in that state, however, it is unclear as to whether or not circovirus played a role in that case. Remember, circovirus has been found in the stool of perfectly healthy dogs.  It is possible based on evidence in pigs and on research done in California that circovirus is more likely to cause symptoms when there are other infectious diseases present in the same dog. In summary, circovirus has NOT been confirmed as a cause of illness/death in dogs in Ohio.

What are the signs of infection?

Ohio veterinarians have reported several dogs that have presented with severe vomiting and bloody diarrhea and some of these animals have died.  The signs quickly start making the animal very ill. Hospitalization for intravenous fluids and nursing care is often required for recovery.

Melrose

What should I do?

There are many causes of vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Some result in only mild symptoms whereas others result in life-threatening disease. If your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea, contact your family veterinarian or the Veterinary Medical Center.  Depending on the severity you may be encouraged to bring your pet in to be examined by a doctor. Hesitating to seek veterinary care could allow your pet to become more ill, potentially resulting in an increased cost and worsened outcome.  In particular, if your pet’s vomit and/or feces contains frank red blood or looks like brown coffee-grounds, if your pet will not eat, or if he/she is weak or collapses, you should seek veterinary attention immediately.

How can I protect my dog?

There is still a lot we do not know about circovirus in dogs. Although there is no vaccine for this virus, there are several measures you can take to protect your dog from infectious causes of vomiting and diarrhea in general. First, do not allow your dog to have contact with sick dogs. Many viruses and bacteria that cause diarrhea in dogs are spread through the mouth and nose during normal interactions with other pets and feces. Equally important, do not allow your sick dog to come into contact with other pets until he/she is fully recovered. Cleaning up after your pet immediately after elimination is always encouraged to help minimize the spread of disease. Finally, maintaining a yearly preventative health schedule with your veterinarian helps minimize the risk of other infectious diseases that could worsen clinical signs if your dog were to come into contact with circovirus.

In conclusion, there is little evidence that circovirus is a risk to dogs in Central New York at this time. There is no need to change your daily routine with your pet.  However, if they develop vomiting or diarrhea, do not hesitate to contact your family veterinarian or call the Veterinary Medical Center at 315-446-7933.

Heather White

This blog post written by Dr. Heather White, DVM, DACVIM- Specialist in Veterinary Internal Medicine at VMC of CNY

 

 

We Will Remember

September 11
September 11

September 11, 2001 ~ A day that for many at SDF defines why we do the job we do, whether it be behind a desk, driving a fire engine or training a Search Dog. Today we remember the men and women who lost their lives 11 years ago today and the brave first responders who responded to the call for help that day. 13 SDF teams joined Canine Disaster Search Teams from across the country to help in the rescue efforts and though all 13 canines have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, we salute all of our nation's Search Teams who are following in their pawprints. We have not forgotten. We will never forget.