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Case Fall Puppy Social

September 4, 2014

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Submitted by Lisa A. Yackel, CVPM, PHR
Hospital Adminstrator at Case Veterinary Hospital

Calling all puppies between the ages of 9 weeks and 6 months of age!
On Tuesday, September 9th, 2014, Case Veterinary Hospital will host another of its quarterly Puppy Socials. We will start at 6:30pm and end at 7:30pm. Several of our hospital healthcare team members will be there as well as Kevin Ray,B.S.Ed., CPDT-KA ,ACDBC,VSPDT, a Certified Behavior Consultant.
Did you know behavior problems are the number one cause of relinquishment of dogs to shelters? Another very disturbing statistic: over half the dogs entering shelters in the U.S. will be euthanized. It’s a well-known fact that puppy classes help prevent behavior problems and increase the likelihood a dog will become a great pet and lifelong companion.
We feel it is important to give puppies opportunities to come together to learn to be in different environments, to be surrounded by different people, and to have opportunities to be around other puppies. It is a fun time but an educational one as well. This is an article excerpt from Dr. Marty Becker on the subject:
“Socialization means exposing your puppy to as many new people, animals, environments and other stimuli as possible without overwhelming him. Over-stimulation of a young puppy can result in excessive fear, withdrawal or avoidance behavior, so knowing how much is enough is important.
A properly socialized puppy is:
• Handled from birth and learns to accept touching of all body parts
• Exposed to as many people, other animals, places and situations as possible
• Encouraged to explore and investigate his environment
• Allowed to experience a variety of toys and games, surfaces and other stimuli
• Brought along often on car rides to new environments with his owner
Proper socialization will engage all of your puppy’s senses through exposure to the sights, sounds and smells of day-to-day life. This exposure will desensitize and condition your pup so that he develops a comfort level with different and new situations. Socialization also helps you train your young dog to handle new experiences and challenges with acceptable, appropriate behavior.”
We hope you are able to make it. The whole family is welcome and we will have both human and dog treats for everyone. Please call us at 912-352-3081 if you have any questions.

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Why Bother with Being Accredited?

October 31, 2011

Submitted by Lisa A. Yackel, CVPM, PHR
Hospital Administrator at Case Veterinary Hospital

My work day started at 6:00am on Wednesday, October 12, 2011. It was the accumulation of months of work preparing for our re-accreditation from the American Animal Hospital Association. The evaluator was due to arrive at 7:30am and I wanted to make sure everything was ready for her. When you are a veterinary hospital with a full hospital ward and boarding, mornings are always unpredictable. I wanted to make sure we had no smells, no hair, and no dirty cages. Not an easy task as cleaning and patient care is always ongoing in our hospital.
We have been an AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) accredited member since 1982. This certainly was not my first inspection since coming to Case Veterinary Hospital in 1991 and I had actually been evaluated by this same inspector on two previous visits. That being said, the process was no less stressful or unnerving.
I knew we were prepared. Our whole healthcare team had been working diligently for months. There are over 900 standards that must be evaluated and considered to pass the process. I had personally gone through each of them three or four times, written and reviewed numerous protocols, and educated the team on changes that needed to be made. Dr. Case McCorvey, as our Medical Director, had also painstakenly gone through the standards and confirmed whether we were in compliance. As we are evaluated every three years, most of the standards are part of our everyday life at the hospital but there are always newer, higher standards to strive for. This ensures that hospitals are always updating their skills and medical protocols as well as enforcing them on a daily basis to ensure consistent quality and standards of care for our patients.
The American Animal Hospital Association is the only organization that accredits small animal hospitals throughout the U.S. and Canada. AAHA-accredited hospitals voluntarily choose to be evaluated. My internal mantra that morning at 6:00am was, “This is voluntary, and why am I (we) going through this rigorous process?”
“Veterinary practices choose to become AAHA-accredited for a myriad of reasons, including the desire to improve practice operations and team building, update their skills, enhance their credibility with clients and strive for continuous improvement. Approximately 3,200 veterinary hospitals in the United States and Canada have made a commitment to meeting the highest standards of veterinary care.” This statement is straight out of the AAHA informational brochures and website http://www.healthypet.com/Accreditation/StandardArticle.aspx?art_key=67932ead-979d-4686-84a6-00ed068d4f35.
They also quote, “Choosing an AAHA-accredited hospital assures pet owners that the hospital they select has the staff, equipment, medical procedures and facilities that AAHA believes are vital for delivering high-quality pet care.” And, hence, I have my answer to the mantra that was going on in my head. We are doing this because we believe strongly in pushing ourselves and our healthcare team to be the best we can be. Because We Are Family rings true in this situation as it does in so many other ways at our hospital. We have served Savannah for over 102 years as a family business that cares for our team as family and cares for our patients and their owners as we would our own family. The whole AAHA accreditation process validates our commitment. And, yes, I am proud to say, we passed with flying colors!

Celebrating National Technician Week

October 10, 2011

The second week in October is National Veterinary Technician Week.   The theme of this year’s NVTW is “Pets and Vets need Techs”. Celebrating for one week every year solidifies the yearly commitment every veterinary technician gives to the profession of veterinary technology, veterinary assisting and veterinary medicine.  Our doctors at Case will tell you that we have the best technician staff and I could not agree more.  They are a phenomenally dedicated group of men and women who truly understand and embrace the Human-Pet-Veterinary Bond.  They treat each animal within their care as if it was their own and they advocate for the pet’s needs, realizing that their voice is important. 

Our technicians work long, physically hard days.  Although we try to give them a comfortable work environment, the nature of their job doesn’t always make this possible.  Let’s face it, there are bodily functions that just have to be dealt with and there are some pets that are just not appreciative of our help and let us know it by lashing out.  And yet, on a day where they might have been urinated on, defecated on, and bitten, our veterinary technician health care team takes it in stride and remains cheerful and upbeat. 

Here are a few quotes I gathered from them this week:

“It’s nice to be recognized for doing what I love.  I couldn’t have chosen a better profession”

“I love working with animals.  No job is more rewarding”

“Saving lives, stomping out disease, doing the work of the Lord.”

“Being able to help animals is something that I’ve always wanted to do.  It’s a great feeling knowing that this profession allows me to put my love for animals to good use. “  

“I love using my unique ability to be patient and comforting with animals and their owners in times of sickness.  it is very rewarding to help animals recover, knowing you were an integral part in the recovery.  helping owners to enhance the special Human-Animal Bond is the best part of my job.” 

“Not many people can say that they look forward to work each and every day, but I have that luxury.  I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by a great group of technicians and veterinarians.  I also get to see happy puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats each day.  Animals are great to work with because they’re always happy to see you regardless of how bad they may feel.  Their tails are always wagging and they always have a “smile” on their face. I really love my job.”

Traditionally, I have not done anything overly special for our technicians on this publicized week.  The main reason is that I believe strongly in the whole healthcare team concept and there is no national Receptionist Week, Groomer Week, Veterinarian   Week, or Kennel technician Week.  Last week we had a party for the whole staff to celebrate the end of summer (traditionally one of our busiest times in the practice).  It was striking how much the team enjoyed one another’s company and truly like one another.  In my thirty plus years in this profession, I consistently have seen the bond the veterinary team forms with each other.  They work 12 hour shifts together and probably spend more time with their team members than they do their family.  But, I don’t think that that is the “gorilla glue” that holds them together.  It is not the pay, the benefits, or the glamour.  It is the fact that they are united in a common mission:  to promote the Human –Animal Bond and to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves-the animals.    My hat goes off to our technician team during this celebratory week.  I am in awe at what all those in the profession accomplish on a daily basis.  We are in what is often called a “Noble profession”  and it makes me proud to be a part of it. 

Do you have a child or know someone interested in becoming a technician?  There are over sixty accredited programs throughout the United States which provide intensive study of the skills and knowledge to work competently as a Veterinary Technician, including, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, clinical techniques, pharmacology, anesthesiology, surgical and medical nursing, radiology and clinical pathology training.  We have one locally at Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro.  Check them out at http://ogeecheetech.edu/faculty/program%20pages/vet%20tech/index.html.

New Pet Food Information Resource

October 7, 2011

Submitted by Lisa A. Yackel, CVPM, PHR

 

A few weeks ago, I did a blog on a new pet food from Science Diet that helps with weight, dental health, and joints.  I also confessed to my ongoing quest to keep my own weight in check.  My busy life, like so many others, does not leave a lot of time to plan meals and to exercise as I should.  I give myself credit for trying to watch what I eat and for reading labels and calorie information at restaurants and on food products I buy.  I even have an “app” for that! 

I have found that there is a lot of misleading information on the labels.  One that I am on the alert for is the number of serving sizes.  A can of soup for example would seem appropriate at 130 calories but then you find that it is two servings, not one.  And then there are the misleading words like “low salt, natural, organic, no fat, etc…   

Pet owners and veterinarians now have a new resource when they have questions about pet foods similar to my questions about my own dietary products.  The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has announced the launch of a new website, “The Business of Pet Food”. (www.petfood.aafco.org)

The site features explanations and links to resources in the states and U.S.government with information that individuals will need to know about ingredient listing and labeling requirements. 

“Many people are surprised by how many regulations apply to the pet food industry. “Says Liz Higgins, Chair of AAFCO’s Pet Food Committee.  

I found the site to be a bit scientific and not exactly every day, user- friendly.  I do like the fact that there is a reputable, non-biased group that produces a website where I can look up information that doesn’t have marketing “hype”.  It is too easy to be lulled into buying at a farmer’s market and thinking I am being good buying “organic” food and “all natural” dog biscuit treats for my pet.  I am a lot less naïve than I use to be and I seek guidance from my aunt who is a dietician and from my primary physician here in Savannah.  Most veterinarians are happy to make a food recommendation for your pet as well.  All the variety and marketing can get overwhelming.  Let them help you with decisions about your pet’s nutritional needs.  I sometimes will judge my diet by how my hair, skin, and weight are doing as well as how good I feel.  All these are covered when your pet gets a physical exam, and your veterinarian can give you a lot of insight on how well the current diet is working just by examining your pet.

Rabies Scare in Savannah

October 3, 2011

Submitted by Lisa A. Yackel, CVPM, PHR

Hospital Administrator at Case Veterinary Hospital

 

I want to shout this from the rooftops; go check your pet’s records now.  Is she/he current on a Rabies vaccine?   Several times a week we get asked why Chatham County (as well as neighboring counties) requires a rabies vaccine yearly even though they are current in other areas of the country for 3 years.  This is especially a concern from those who live in Savannah part time and up north part time.  

A recent new story swept the media when a dog contracted rabies and exposed several people in the Savannah area.  In Florida, helicopters are having to drop baited meat laced with the rabies vaccine because of an epidemic of rabies in the raccoon population.  Think how often your pet comes in contact with the wildlife in our area.  It is because of this extensive wildlife population that our county officials and our Health Department have seen fit to impose the stronger, once a year, requirement for the rabies vaccine.  It is the law and is there to protect not only your pet but also the humans who are around your pet.  Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.

We have become complacent about vaccines in the US both for our children and our pets.  We are beginning to see a rise in diseases that were once all but eradicated by vaccination.   We often think only other countries have problems with rabies but, every year, an estimated 40,000 people in the U.S. receive a series of shots known as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) due to potential exposure to rabies.  Rabies is a deadly virus that can kill anyone who gets it.

As a pet advocate, my concern is two-fold.  This scare has Health Departments and Animal Control Agencies offering discounted Rabies clinics to ensure costs don’t prohibit pet owners from getting their pet vaccinated.  While that does protect the pet and the owner, it does do an injustice to the pet if getting the rabies vaccine is the only health care issue being addressed.  Pets need a thorough physical exam yearly as well to ensure that they are healthy.  The vaccine clinics are not set up to perform all that is involved in a physical exam.  Diseases go undetected and an owner might have a false sense of ease since all the vaccinations are up to date.  Celebrate September 28th, National Rabies Day, by ensuring that your pet has had a complete wellness exam as well as being up-to-date on vaccines.  Diseases that are preventable by vaccine are not the only thing on the rise.  Obesity, kidney disease, allergies, etc are also growing at a rapid rate.  Your veterinarians can help!

For more information about rabies, go to http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/.

 

DECLAWING YOUR CAT-YES OR NO?

September 26, 2011

Submitted by Lisa A. Yackel, CVPM, PHR

Hospital Administrator at Case Veterinary Hospital

 

As a new employee twenty one years ago,  I became exposed to the Case philosophy on cosmetic surgery.  The opinion on cosmetic surgery within the veterinary community (as well as breeders) was as varied and controversial then as it continues to be today.    

Case Veterinary Hospital has never performed ear trims.  Debarking is only done under extreme conditions where the pet is at risk for euthanasia due to a specific circumstance with the owner’s living conditions.  Tail docking is only done during a very small window when the puppy is almost a newborn and tail docks when indicated according to breed standards.  Dewclaws are removed not for cosmetic reasons but to prevent further injury at some point in the pet’s life when the dewclaw is ripped.  In general, the doctors at Case Veterinary Hospital feel that cosmetic surgery should be performed in a very limited format.  In recent years, the AKC has not required ear trims to show  many of the breeds that ear trims were standard in.  We were glad to see that trend.

 Declawing is where Case Veterinary Hospital makes an exception to their stance.  We know that behavior problems are the number one reason pets (both dogs and cats) are relinquished the animal shelters.  Cats that destroy their owner’s homes by ripping furniture, curtains, etc. are at risk for being euthanized when they are abandoned by the owners at a shelter.  At other times, the Human-Animal Bond is broken when an owner gets fed up and just boots the cat outdoors to minimize further damage to their home. 

 Our overall philosophy is to promote the Human-Animal Bond and to be the pet’s advocate, minimizing their suffering.  By having declawing available to our clients, we are often times allowing the cat to remain in his home.  That being said, we counsel all clients before they schedule the surgery on the need to keep the cat indoors if the claws are removed.  A declawed cat does not have adequate ways to defend themselves outside. We also offer solutions like cat scratching toys, confined areas of the house, etc.   We further require all our declaw surgeries to be done with a laser and provide more than ample pain medication throughout the healing process.  Performed with a laser, the surgery is less traumatic, and less painful to the cat than the standard “guillotine” method.   

We know that there are differences of opinions amongst our colleagues and with every cat owner.  Discuss with your veterinarian what is right for you and your cat.  If you do choose to have this “cosmetic surgery” for your kitty, be sure to be educated on the difference between the various surgeries and always insist on pain medication to ensure that this process is as painless as possible for your cat.

HEARTWORM PREVENTION-A MUST!

September 16, 2011

Submitted by Lisa A. Yackel, CVPM, PHR

Hospital Administrator at Case Veterinary Hospital

My husband is a helicopter pilot for Mosquito Control here in Chatham County.  Since May, he and his fellow pilot have been flying every night, seven days a week, to keep the mosquito population down and to combat West Nile Virus.  They are doing everything possible to control the situation but the bottom line is that we live in an area where mosquitoes are a fact of life.  As humans, we learn to use Deet, to keep standing water to a minimum, and to refrain from going outside at dusk and dawn when the mosquitoes are most active. 

Mosquitoes are more than just nuisances for our pets as well.  The most common disease that our pets contract from mosquitoes is heartworms.  Both dogs and cats that are not on effective,  monthly heartworm prevention run a high risk of getting this disease.  In fact, even with all the preventatives that are available, heartworm disease has been on the rise again for several years.  Compounding the situation is the fact that that if your dog is diagnosed with Heartworm Disease, the drug agent that we use to treat the disease is on a manufacturer backorder and is extremely difficult to acquire at this time.  Immiticide is the only FDA approved medication for the treatment of adult heartworms that is still available for use in the US.   With continuing increases in the number of heartworm positive dogs found in the US, veterinarians and pet owners are concerned with how this shortage will impact the ability to treat these dogs.

The solution has always been prevention and there is a huge variety of preventatives on the market.  Typically, veterinarians will recommend one that they feel is best for your pet’s lifestyle.  Most of the popular medications are in chewable tablet form that you give once a month.  For cats, the predominant prevention is Revolution©, a topical application, since tablets are not easily accepted by cats. 

The reason heartworm disease is rising is quite simply compliance.  With our busy lives, we honestly forget to give our pets their monthly heartworm prevention.  Statistics back this up with indications that 60% of clients don’t routinely remember to give the medication as prescribed. 

Proheart ©is an injectable heartworm prevention for dogs (sorry kitties) that is given at the veterinary office and is on board as a prevention for six months.  It takes the worry away from clients who know they are not as good about keeping up with their pet’s medication as they would like to be.  Priced similarly to most tablet forms of heartworm prevention, Proheart© makes sense when it comes to protecting your pet from heartworms.  It is not indicated for older pets and cannot be used on puppies until six months of age, so talk to your veterinarian to see if you pet is a candidate for this prescription. 

PREVENTION IS THE BEST MEDICINE!  We have used this mantra since I began in the veterinary field 35 years ago and it still rings true, especially now with the shortage of Immiticide©.  For cats, there is no treatment once they contract Heartworm Disease so prevention is definitely imperative.  Please be sure to keep up with your pet’s preventative.  Although it is an expense that can be daunting in today’s economy, the costs of treatment, as well as the cost of your pet’s health, far outweighs the expenditure.