Now that we are in the depth of Summer, we wanted to take a minute to discuss a topic that is completely avoidable, Heat Stroke. Heat stroke is a serious and dangerous problem that can happen to our four-legged children. It is something that can happen very quickly and is 100% preventable.
Animals do not sweat as humans do. Although animals do have sweat glands in the pads of their feet, their primary way of cooling themselves is by panting.
Recognizing the signs of heat exhaustion is imperative to prevent heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion is defined as a body temperature over 103.0°. Signs of heat exhaustion include:
Lack of coordination
Dark red tongue
Increased heart rate
Lethargy or depression
If Heat exhaustion is not treated your pet is at risk of having a heat stroke. Heat stroke is defined as a body temperature over 105.8°. Heat stroke IS A LIFE THREATENING CONDITION.
Signs of heat stroke include but are not limited to:
Obtunded, or large, hard abdomen (caused by excessive panting)
Change in mentation – unaware of who you are or where they are
Loss of consciousness
Petechiae or pin point bruises noted on gums or skin
Rapid heart rate
Short-snouted dogs (pugs, bull dogs, etc.), dogs with long hair (light or dark in color), or obese animals are at higher risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Recognizing and treating the signs of heat exhaustion is the key to keeping your pet from having a heat stroke. If you see any of the signs above call your veterinarian immediately. In the mean time, place cool clothes in their arm pits, between their hind legs, or submerge in a cool bath. NEVER submerge in ice water as this will cause the body temperature to drop too rapidly and can cause shock. Cool circulating air, such as a fan, can also help. Offer small amounts of cool water, too large of an amount can make them vomit.
Keeping your pet’s time limited outdoors is crucial! If they must be outdoors offer plenty of shade and fresh, cold water. Never leave your pet in a car (anytime air temp is over 75°), even with windows down. Prevention is the key!
Summer is approaching and like most of us, a vacation is near. As you pack your sunscreen, clothes, towels, and bathing suits think about your furry friends as well. Just like you would for children, assigning a caregiver while you are away takes the stress off of your mind. Most facilities where you take your pets have forms to fill out in the case of an emergency. Here are some questions to ponder before you take your getaway:
Who will be caring for my pet?
What phone numbers should I leave them in the case of an emergency?
Do I have enough food to last the duration of my trip?
With pets that take medications- Do I have enough medication to last for the duration of my trip?
Should I see if the facility has a possibility to leave my Credit Card on file, in the case that my pet sitter has to come in?
Is my pet sitter authorized on my account at the Vet’s Office, in the case of an emergency?
Does my current Vet have an emergency facility?
What are my wishes for CPR in the case that something does happen and are my wishes clear with the sitter?
What is the best facility to meet my pet’s needs for boarding?
Is my pet up to date on all the vaccines required at the facility?
What are my wishes in the case that CPR may need to be performed?
How does the facility feel about medications if my pet needs any?
Is there someone in the building at all hours of the day or just during regular business hours?
Will my pet interact with other pets during their stay?
What is the facilities protocol in the scenario that my pet starts to get sick?
Where will the boarding facility take my pet if medical treatment is needed?
These are just some of the questions that you should think on. Here at Aldie Veterinary Hospital, we offer Emergency Treatment Authorization forms to fill out and add on the account, as well as credit card forms to leave on file. We strive to make your vacation as stress-free as possible. We also have our emergency services through Dulles South Animal Emergency & Referral, all housed in the Dulles South Veterinary Center. Our medical staff is available 24 hours a day. Enjoy a fun-filled summer and please call us if you have any questions at 703-327-0909 or download these forms here.
Have you heard about non-anesthetic dental cleanings for your pets? In this blog post Dr. Pattie will discuss the risks of such dental practices as well as the benefits to traditional dental care at the vet’s office. If you have any questions about your pets oral health, the safety of anesthesia, or what you can do at home, please don’t hesitate to contact us, or to schedule time with a licensed veterinary technician to answer your questions.
ANESTHESIA-FREE DENTAL CLEANINGS : FACT VS. FICTION
Veterinarians, including those at Aldie Veterinary Hospital, are more frequently encountering cats and dogs that have had “Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleanings” (AFDC) or what has been termed “Non-professional Dental Scaling” (NPDS). The alternative is professional dental scaling & polishing with a licensed veterinarian, which is exactly the same procedure you do at your dentist checkups. The only difference is that animals don’t “open up and say ahhh”, therefore a professional veterinary dental cleaning requires general anesthesia.
There are a few reasons for this notable increase of AFDC/NPDS. Fortunately, this is primarily the result of more owners being aware of the importance of oral health care for their pets. These owners also have natural concerns about the risks of anesthesia and the associated costs. Unfortunately, AFDC/NPDS has been marketed as an attractive alternative that touts the same benefits as professional scaling without the cost and risks. By definition, a complete and comprehensive oral exam includes a complete visualization of all dental/oral structures, probing the gum-line, and may include taking dental X-Rays. In spite of the claims, it is IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to perform a “complete, comprehensive and thorough” oral assessment on companion animal patients without the assistance of general anesthesia.
The reason for this impossibility is because not all surfaces of a pet’s teeth are even visible in an awake patient. Periodontal disease affects the surfaces 360 degrees around the teeth (just like humans). Most periodontal infections start in locations BETWEEN teeth where the toothbrush does not reach. The hidden bacteria that cause periodontal disease and infection is NOT addressed with AFDC/NPDS, and a false sense of accomplishment is conveyed. These pets may continue to be affected for years with chronic oral infection which progresses to the point of pain, gum recession, and eventually tooth loss. When infections are finally recognized, the patients are usually older, and often have additional health related problems that increase the risks of anesthesia. Instead of treatment being an elective, preventive procedure on a relatively healthy patient, there is often urgency to treating the problem on a less healthy patient. Additionally, the problems become not only more urgent to treat, but treatment costs are then often greater.
As for general anesthesia, no one should ever say it is without risk; however, it can absolutely be approached safely with appropriate pre-sedation screening and trained professionals. Most major anesthetic risks are associated with two things: 1) the general health of the patient (young & healthy vs. older & existing problems), and 2) the level of training, knowledge, caring and skills of those individuals administering and monitoring the anesthesia itself. Highly trained and experienced veterinarians and technicians are found here at Aldie Veterinary Hospital. Bottom line: risk of sedation must be outweighed by the potential benefit (pain relief, etc.). The more we know the details of your pet’s health, the safer we can deliver anesthesia and effective oral health care.
Furthermore, with AFDC/NPDS, proper treatment of any oral problem is even less possible to perform and can even be dangerous. In California, a recent (2012) case of a patient’s fractured jaw led to a ruling against the party as practicing veterinary medicine without a license. The reason this accident happened was due to the non-sedated animal struggling against attempts to perform oral work.
It is acceptable for well-meaning clients to decline professional treatment because of their fear of anesthesia or if they cannot afford it. However, it is another thing to be fooled by the marketing of untrained individuals that target this fear and offer an alternative that is “just as good”. AFDC/NPDS is a service whose marketing sounds appealing and logical on the surface, however, it promises a lot more than can be delivered. It is essentially a cosmetic procedure that addresses only the visible surfaces of only some of the pet’s teeth. Unfortunately, without the benefit of general anesthesia, pets most often do not receive the proper and timely preventative care, diagnosis and treatment of oral problems. What results are pets that are not receiving thorough preventative care, and some have serious dental problems that go undiagnosed and/or are improperly treated.
For general information on performance of dental procedures on veterinary patients, please read the AVDC Position Statement on Veterinary Dental Healthcare Providers, which is available on the AVDC web site (www.AVDC.org). For information on effective oral hygiene products for dogs and cats, visit the Veterinary Oral Health Council web site (www.VOHC.org). or ask any of our trained and knowledgeable professionals at Aldie Vet.
Some people believe that veterinary visits are too stressful or unnecessary for their cat. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Cats are secretive and masters of hiding disease. It takes a trained eye, a thorough history, and maybe some lab tests to know for sure. Nature teaches cats that the sick and the weak fall, for this reason, they will hide sickness until they are no longer physically able to do so.
Frequently, when owners are concerned about their cats because they’re acting ill, they have a very advanced disease process. These cats were often acting perfectly normal even up to the day before they started acting sick. Routine examination and blood work can detect minor changes in organ function. Therefore, treatment can be started early and prolong the life of the patient.
An annual examination allows the veterinarian to have a good baseline for your pet. This will help them detect abnormalities or changes over time. A good annual exam will cover all body parts of your cat from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail.
Eyes and Nose The vet will check for clarity, basic vision, and signs of infection or inflammation. They may also ask you about your cats’ behavior at home. Oral Cavity The vet will examine the oral cavity for gum inflammation, oral masses, signs of excess tartar on the teeth, and tooth abnormalities or breakage. Ears The vet will examine your cat’s ears for signs of infection, debris, inflammation, redness, drainage around the ear canal, and mites. Heart and Lungs Your vet will listen to your kitty’s heart and lungs with a stethoscope, listening for any heart murmurs or any other abnormal sounds, such as respiratory congestion. Fur Your vet will examine your cat’s skin and hair coat, these can be indicative of certain disease processes, allergies, or flea infestation. Paws and Legs The vet will examine the legs and feet. They will palpate to make sure your cat has a full range of motion and is not painful. Abdomen Your vet will palpate your kitty’s abdomen. This is to feel for any apparent masses or any pain in the digestive tract. Rectum The anus will be checked for visual evidence of worms, and the anal glands for potential signs of infection or impaction.
All of these things will give your vet an idea of your cats’ health. Additionally, your vet may request lab work. This could include blood work, urinalysis, and potentially radiographs or an ultrasound. Certain values in the blood or urine will change as organ function begins to decline. These blood values may remain the only symptom for an extended period of time. Early detection will make treatment much more possible and manageable.
Your vet will use all of these clues to determine the health of your pet. Continued care and monitoring are the only way to detect changes. This is the reason that an annual examination is the standard of practice. As your cat gets older your vet may opt to do twice yearly examinations. Waiting until your cat shows signs of illness may be too late.
Did you know that Aldie Vet has a business page on Yelp? If you have not had experience writing a review, here are the recommendations Yelp provides on their website:
What makes for a great review?
Yelp reviews are useful, funny and cool because people like you take the time to share thoughtful insights on local businesses and services. The best reviews are personal and experiential, and tend to offer helpful suggestions, perhaps even an insider tip or two. The most useful reviews sometimes make mention of unique qualities that make the business special or the type of person who might also like this business.
If you wish to write a review of your experience, please click on the link below. We love 5-star reviews from our Yelpers.
When your pet is in need of a physical fitness plan or is recovering from an injury or surgery, he or she will often benefit from a physical rehabilitation routine. The key to any successful rehabilitation plan is communication. Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioners will work carefully with you and your primary care veterinarian to assess your pet and create a customized rehabilitation plan. We offer a complete array of rehabilitation services including hydrotherapy (underwater treadmill), laser therapy, hot and cold therapy, ultrasound, as well as massage and stretching techniques.
Acupuncture and eastern medicine can provide an excellent complement to modern western medicine. These methods are becoming frequently used to provide a more well-rounded approach to pet wellness. The most frequent reasons for acupuncture referral include; musculoskeletal problems (back pain, joint disease), neurologic disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and other chronic conditions that are not responding to traditional therapies. Our certified veterinary acupuncturist will place small needles into strategic points to affect energy flow in the body and promote self-healing.
Other chronic conditions not responding to conventional therapy, including (but by no means limited to): skin allergies and dermatitis, lick granulomas, epilepsy, respiratory conditions, hormonal imbalances, infertility, internal organ dysfunction
Prevention of disease and promotion of well-being, geriatric support, and performance enhancement.
Dr. Pattie will typically see patients for acupuncture with an initial workup as an hour-long appointment, which includes the first treatment. This initial appointment is followed by a commitment to at least 3-5 once-weekly treatments which are 30-40 minutes long. A single treatment may be enough for an acute condition. A series of 3-10 treatments can resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may continue to need repeated treatments over time. All acupuncture appointments are best seen on an outpatient basis with no other tests/grooming/etc. that same day.
If you are not sure if acupuncture is right for your pet, you can also schedule an abbreviated acupuncture consultation with Dr. Pattie to discuss the case, your goals, and suspected outcome specific to your pet. If you decide to come back for the treatment series the cost of the consult will be deducted from the initial workup fee.
What is acupuncture? The insertion of very fine needles into specific predetermined points on the body to produce physiologic responses. Modern research shows that acupoints are located where there is a high density of nerves, immune cells, and small blood and lymphatic vessels. As more studies are conducted, the mechanism of this ancient therapy will be better understood.
Does it hurt? 95% of animal patients are comfortable with acupuncture therapy. Some animals will even fall asleep during treatment.
Is it safe? Acupuncture is very safe when administered by a qualified and certified practitioner. There are also no negative side effects, unlike many Western drugs.
How do you know where to put the needles? The points used vary according to the condition being treated. Each point has specific actions when stimulated. When points are used in combination with other points, the results may be tailored to the specific problems being addressed.
Are there other holistic modalities besides acupuncture? Herbs, chiropractic, massage, diet, homeopathy, and various other forms of complementary medicine are available to veterinary patients. Dr. Pattie is currently pursuing certification in herbology, but there are many other holistic veterinarians in our area to whom we can refer if indicated.
Other chronic conditions not responding to conventional therapy, including but not limited to: skin allergies and dermatitis; lick granulomas; epilepsy; respiratory conditions; hormonal imbalances; infertility and internal organ dysfunction
Prevention of disease and promotion of well-being, geriatric support, and performance enhancement
Let us pamper your pet at our Day Spa! We provide pet grooming for all breeds of dogs and cats. Our grooming services include:
Clipping and scissor cuts
We provide boarding services for our client’s dogs and cats. Our separate cat and dog wards ensure tranquility for the cats and companionship for the dogs. All of our cages and kennels are indoors and therefore, temperature controlled with installed smoke, heat, and motion detectors. Because boarding is supervised by a veterinarian, you can be comforted that all of your pet’s medications will be properly administered and he or she will receive prompt medical attention, if needed.
Diet and nutrition are important to maintaining your pet’s health. Feeding your pet a specially formulated diet to meet the needs of adulthood helps encourage a long and healthy life. We will provide guidance regarding your pet’s nutritional needs for each life stage, including dietary requirements for growth, weight loss and maintenance, and performance. Please feel free to consult our veterinarians to help you find the right food to fit with your pet’s lifestyle, body condition, and health needs.
If you choose, Aldie Vet will help you provide end-of-life comforting care, to your terminally ill or dying pet. This will allow you to spend quality time at home with your pet until such time as you decide to euthanize or until death occurs. We will provide assistance, as requested, as it relates to pain and symptom control, wound care, problems with incontinence and other aesthetics, and changes in behavior patterns.
When you have reached the extremely difficult decision that there is no quality of your pet’s life or that your pet is suffering, our veterinarians will be there to help you through the process of euthanasia. Please feel free to discuss the process and ask any questions to our veterinarians. They are very familiar with the experience and are able to talk with you about the process and feelings that go with it. Also, please click our Pet Bereavement link for additional information.
Along with our knowledgeable staff, Aldie Vet is located in a premiere veterinary facility dedicated just to pets. This enables us to offer a diverse list of medical services, including pet emergency care for those unscheduled accidents and illnesses your pet may face.
Internal Medicine – Healthy functioning internal organs are critical to your pet’s health. Organs can become diseased or damaged. Utilizing our lab and diagnostic equipment, we are able to diagnose and treat many diseases relating to your pet’s internal organs and systems.
Dermatology – Skin conditions are often the result of your pet’s body reacting to environmental and internal changes.
Treatment of allergies due to food, parasites or environment
Ectoparasites (mange mites, ear mites, ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes)
Nail and nail bed infections
Endocrinology – Our pet’s body is made up of complex systems. When these systems malfunction, disease or other health problems result. Diabetes is a common disease that results from the malfunction of your pet’s endocrine system. Other system disorders include Addison’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism.
Gastroenterology – We are able to diagnosis and treat diseases involving the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine (colon), liver, gallbladder, and pancreas, such as inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal ulcers, and cancer. Our veterinarians perform endoscopy (minimally invasive) procedures to visualize the gastrointestinal tract and to obtain biopsies, as well as retrieve foreign bodies.
Ophthalmology – Eye infections are usually treatable with medication. But, injuries from objects striking the eyes or chemicals coming in contact with your pet’s eyes should be taken seriously and should be seen by Aldie Vet immediately.
Comprehensive eye exams including Schirmer Tear Test
Treatment of eye conditions and diseases (glaucoma)
Cardiology – Our veterinarians can discover many heart problems during a physical exam. In the event your pet needs additional testing, such as radiographs (x-rays) and ultrasounds, we are able to perform these tests on-site. For certain heart conditions, we will collaborate with a veterinary cardiologist to provide the best treatment plan for your pet.
Anesthesia – We utilize the safest available anesthetics to provide that extra margin of safety, especially for our high-risk patients. Using the most modern equipment, our patient’s vital signs are monitored at all times by one of our Licensed Veterinary Technicians, using ECG, Pulse Oximetry, as well as blood pressure monitoring before, during, and after all anesthetic procedures.
Pain Management – It is our utmost priority to ensure your pet is kept comfortable before, during, and after any procedure, whether it be routine or major. We start any anesthetic procedure by giving your pet an injection of pain medication to help alleviate any associated pain. While hospitalized, we monitor your pet closely to assure their pain is managed. When your pet goes home, if needed, oral pain medication may be prescribed to ensure your pet’s recovery is pain-free. Aldie Vet also offers acupuncture as a service to complement pain management. Ask our veterinarian trained in acupuncture to discuss your pet’s condition to determine if acupuncture is an option for pain management.
Critical and Urgent Pet Care – We are located in a 24 hour veterinary center for your convenience in the event your pet needs to be seen urgently or is recovering from a veterinary procedure and requires overnight observation and monitoring.