August 12, 2014
A critical part of providing the highest quality of veterinary medicine to pets and their families starts with the diagnosis—and that’s where a board certified veterinary radiologist comes in.
WestVet is fortunate to have the expertise of Andrew Gendler, DVM, DACVR, to collaborate with our specialists as well as family veterinarians around the Treasure Valley. This blog post focuses on how utilizing the expertise of a veterinary radiologist can help your family with an unexpected illness or injury to your pet.
A Veterinary Radiologist—a valuable resource in your pet’s health care. Just as in human medicine, sometimes the need arises for the assistance of a specialist for a diagnosis. When that occasion arises, rest assured that your family veterinarian will seek a referral for the specialized diagnostic work that ensures your pet will receive the highest standard of veterinary care possible.
As a board certified radiologist, Dr. Gendler has completed extensive training in all aspects of radiology including radiography (x-rays), ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and fluoroscopy. Beyond the radiography tools utilized by many family veterinarians, the expense of the highly advanced imaging techniques such as a CT scan or MRI, as well as the specialized training requirement, means that these sophisticated medical services typically are only available at specialty and referral hospitals, such as WestVet.
Your pet may be referred to a Veterinary Radiologist. When your family receives a referral to WestVet, Dr. Gendler will work in partnership with your family veterinarian and our other veterinary specialists to provide seamless care and pinpoint a precise diagnosis. Often the signs of disease on an x-ray or radiograph can be very subtle. In order to be less likely to be missed or misinterpreted, the expertise of a board certified radiologist will make optimal use of the technology available for diagnosis.
Imaging technology utilized at WestVet. Advances in medical imaging and veterinary medicine allow WestVet and Dr. Gendler to offer multiple options for the best diagnostic imaging of your pet. Digital radiography, ultrasound, fluoroscopy, CT and MRI are all routinely utilized in the diagnostic work and care of our patients. Utilizing non-invasive imaging is a priority to keep pets comfortable and avoid more invasive and costly options. Advanced imaging also allows your family veterinarian and other specialists to provide you with the most accurate prognosis and pre-procedural planning.
You, your veterinarian, and your radiologist work together. Once Dr. Gendler has completed the imaging, he provides both a verbal and written interpretation to your family veterinarian. These results will be shared with you. As the pet owner, we recognize that you play an important role in your pet’s health care, thus communication between the radiologist and your family veterinarian will ensure the best possible outcome for your pet.
As a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiology (ACVR), Dr. Gendler is one of only 427 board certified Veterinary Radiologists. The ACVR is an AVMA Recognized Veterinary Specialty Organization. Their mission is to enhance and promote the highest quality of service in diagnostic imaging and radiation oncology, to optimize veterinary patient care and to advance the science of veterinary radiology and radiation oncology through research and education.
While Dr. Gendler fills an important role for pet owners throughout Idaho, the advances in telemedicine enable him to review medical images and offer consultations remotely to any veterinarian with an internet connection.
Dr. Gendler has been a part of the WestVet specialty team for six years.
August 6, 2014
We are delighed to share a story published in the Urban Liaison this summer featuring our own Dr. Hazel Carney. This story was written by Christy Hovey.
In 2002, Elaine Gie was ready for a change for herself and her three cats. The Texas native visited Boise and fell in love with our climate and the beautiful landscape. That summer she moved to Idaho with her cats, Kittywell (age 12), Tiger (age 11), and Miss Cleo (age 7), to “escape the heat, humidity, and relentless traffic issues associated with living in Houston.” One year later, Kittywell was diagnosed with feline hyperthyroidism. He was referred to Dr. Hazel Carney, Feline Medicine and Behaviorist specialist at WestVet, for I-131 radiation treatment. Feline Hyperthyroidism causes numerous metabolic changes in cats including weight loss, fluctuations in appetite and energy level, fever, rapid heartbeat, excessive water intake, diarrhea, and osteoporosis. Dr. Carney is a nationally recognized veterinarian who co-created I-131 radiation treatment in 1986.
Elaine says, “Kittywell was an easygoing cat who could jump large heights, even in his senior years. He had experienced a heart murmur while living in Houston, so Dr. Carney took extra precautions.” During his treatment he developed an extremely rapid heartbeat and Elaine believes that without Dr. Carney’s expertise, his heart might have given out. She administered medication to slow Kittywell’s heart and help him through the I-131 treatment—which was 100% successful in curing his hyperthyroidism.
Dr. Carney successfully coordinated Kittywell's follow-up care with his family vet and he went on to live another 6 years. Blood clots finally wore him out and Elaine had him put to rest in early 2009 at the ripe old age of 19. She says, “I will always believe that he would not have lived such a long life without Dr. Carney's knowledge and care.”
Elaine’s tortoiseshell tabby female, Tiger, also reached age 19 under Dr. Carney’s care. Just like Kittywell, Tiger was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and treated in 2004. Tiger developed a myriad of health issues related to chronic renal insufficiency and Dr. Carney not only coordinated treatments with her family veterinarian, she also recommended holistic treatments such as non-prescription supplements that were beneficial to Tiger without added side effects.
Dr. Carney successfully treated Elaine’s all-black, short-haired cat, Miss Cleo, (who is now 19 years old) for hyperthyroidism. Elaine attributes he
r cats’ long and happy lives to the attention and consideration that Dr. Carney showed toward her feline family. “I'm very happy to have Dr. Carney involved in the care of my cats. No one else has her in-depth knowledge of feline health, especially for geriatric cats, and no one else has the deep regard and appreciation for cat behavior that Dr. Carney demonstrates on a regular basis.” Pictured above, Dr. Carney with her cat, Wyatt.
Dr. Carney was recently named Idaho Veterinary Medical Association Vet of the Year. She serves as Chair of the Guidelines Committee of the American Association of Feline Practitioners. She’s a co-author of several Guidelines publications that establish best practices for feline nursing care, creating a healthy environment, handling of cats during veterinary visits, and management of feline house-soiling behavior. WestVet can work with you and your family veterinarian to help you decide if I-131 treatment is right for your cat. You don’t have to go through your pet’s illness alone. The WestVet team reminds us that, “We hope you don’t need us, but if you do, we’re here to help.”
July 29, 2014
We have many WestVet stories that inspire us, but Mochi’s tale is one of our favorite. A few weeks ago, just as summer was launching, Mochi, a Drahthaar mix, was outside with her owners, Chris and Kit; their daughter and son-in-law, Megan and Kevin; and two companion dogs. They were all enjoying a Sunday run in a rural area near Eagle along a familiar road the group had visited numerous times before. (Pictured right, left to right, Megan, Chris and Kit with Mochi at WestVet.)
The three dogs, ‘Mochi,’ ‘Ani’ and ‘Roxey’ could not resist the ditch filled with water and—as all had previously proven to be avid swimmers—Chris and Kit allowed the dogs to go for a swim. That’s when things went terribly wrong; here is Kit’s story:
“We were only five minutes from the car when disaster struck…after jumping in and out of the ditch, Ani and Roxey returned to us, but Mochi did not. We called her name, paged her collar, still no response. We were alarmed, as this behavior is very unlike Mochi, who is an obedient and eager-to-please dog.
Chris looked at the ditch and said, "She wouldn't be in there?" I ran to the left side/incoming culvert, Chris ran right, to the outgoing culvert. Miraculously, he saw her orange collar and lifeless body in the water. It seemed the culvert had sucked her in, and with no grate on the intake and no space to breathe while under the road, Mochi had been trapped.
Chris leapt into the water and scooped her up. On the opposite bank, I held Ani on the leash and began sending prayers up to God. We had buried Mochi’s sister just four months ago after she was hit and killed on the road near our home. I felt I was reliving the nightmare of carrying her body back to the house. (Pictured right, Kit with Mochi and Nani as puppies.)
Megan and Kevin were immediately at Chris’s side performing CPR. He began compressions while the two of them began breathing for her. Mochi had a slight seizure, coughed a little, and began to come around. As the men were loading her into the car, Mochi was clearly struggling to breathe, choking, and bleeding, but alive.
I hopped in the back seat to hold her and phoned our family veterinarian. The answering message directed emergencies to WestVet. When we saw another vet hospital along our route, they also directed us to WestVet and even called ahead for our arrival. When we pulled up, staff members took Mochi right to the back and started working on her.”
Having suffered a near drowning, Mochi was in extremely critical condition. She was sedated, and given oxygen, but her condition was so severe that it required she be put on a ventilator. We were amazed and inspired by the love of the family and friends that came to our hospital to support Mochi and her people. She was continuously surrounded by love—something that certainly aided her recovery.
“It helped us to know that while we were at work, a family member had been with Mochi. When we visited, in part or as a whole family, she knew we were there, she felt our kisses, heard our familiar voices, knew we loved her, knew we were fighting for her and that she had to stay connected with us and fight for her life and come home to us,” Kit wrote to us.
Mochi remained on a ventilator for 48 hours. This allowed her lungs to slowly recover while stabilizing her oxygen level and breathing rate. She continued on oxygen therapy for two additional days, becoming stronger almost hourly. Four days after the accident, Mochi was released and returned home--just in time to celebrate Kit’s birthday.
Several components of Mochi’s journey were critical to her survival. First, Chris had the physical strength to pull an unconscious dog from under flowing water. He and Kit co-own the ATA Martial Arts Center & Karate for Kids in Eagle and he is in excellent shape. Second, everyone in the party was CPR-certified and able to assist Mochi with emergency breathing. Finally, they immediately pursued emergency veterinary care. In her condition, Mochi would not have survived without medical intervention.
Kit tells us that the one word that describes Mochi is “love,” she continued,
“[Mochi] filled the hole that was left in our heart when our dear Belle passed away.
She is sweet, sensitive, strong and loving. Mochi has always loved to be close, snuggle, and will hop up on your lap and give kisses...especially if her sister is getting in trouble. She is protective, just days before the accident she came to us whining because her sister and gone through the collar/fence and was stuck on the other side and couldn't get back over.”
Kit concluded her email with this:
“I truly believe that God puts people in our path for a reason and I know that Mochi is so grateful for the staff at WestVet. She knows they helped bring her back from heaven! Words cannot express how thankful we are and how much we appreciate what the doctors and staff have done for our Mochi and for our family!”
This beloved dog and her sweet family continue to inspire us and we thank them for entrusting her care to us.
July 24, 2014
For frustrated cat owners, it can be a common issue—your cat not using the litter box, and urinating and defecating in your home. There are new tools to address house-soiling cats, thanks, in part, to WestVet’s Dr. Hazel C. Carney, Feline Behaviorist, who collaborated with other feline specialists to develop the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) Guidelines for Diagnosing and Solving House-Soiling Behavior in Cats.
The new guidelines, released in June, report that numerous cats are abandoned and/or relinquished to shelters because of house-soiling behavior. Most importantly, this behavior is not due to spite or anger toward the owner. Instead, the behavior presents itself because the cat’s physical, social, or medical needs are not being met. The collaborative team behind the new guidelines is hopeful that these veterinary and owner tools will result in less feline euthanasia.
It’s all about the litter box and home environment. The panel determined that the size, availability, placement, type of litter and cleaning routine of your cat’s litter box, along with other environmental factors play a significant role in this behavior. The “five pillars” of a healthy feline environment include providing a safe retreat (perches or enclosures that allow cats to evade perceived potential threats); multiple, separate locations for food, water and litter boxes; opportunities for predatory play and feeding; regular human interaction; and an environment that respects a cat’s sense of smell (cats can be extremely sensitive to new odors and fragrances). In addition, the AAFP guidelines evaluate the medical problems associated with house-soiling behaviors to assist veterinarians in making an accurate diagnosis.
“Our hope is that by using these guidelines, veterinary practices will be able to more effectively, and confidently address cases of feline house-soiling,” said Hazel Carney, DVM, MS, DABVP, and AAFP Advisory Panel Co-Chair. “Success with these cases will improve the veterinary–client–patient relationships and overall feline welfare, while keeping cats in their homes with a good quality of life.”
Cat owners work together with their family veterinarian for individualized care. For you, as a cat owner, a questionnaire regarding your cat’s behavior is available; the answers will help your veterinarian assess your cat’s behavior in light of medical examination and the testing results. In addition, home care instructions that your veterinarian will individualize for your cat will provide practical guidance on the things that you can do to address house-soiling.
For veterinarians, both an algorithm and specific diagnostic suggestions help pinpoint the cause of the behavior. Information regarding specific treatments of the 4 basic causes of house-soiling as well as general management suggestions about the optimal litter box and meeting feline environmental needs will guide treatment recommendations. The paper also suggests logical steps to take if a frustrated cat owner is considering euthanasia.
Dr. Carney has been providing behavior and medical veterinary care to cats for the past twenty-five years. If you’re experiencing litter box aversion, house-soiling, or other anxious or difficult behaviors with your cat, she is available to assist you and can bring harmony back to your home with your cat. Please contact WestVet for appointment information, 208.375.1600.
The AAFP/ISFM guidelines utilize scientifically documented information, and the combined feline veterinary clinical experiences of the authors: Tammy Sadek DVM, Dip ABVP (Feline), Terry Curtis DVM, MS, DACVB, Vicky Halls DipCouns, Sarah Heath, BVSc, DipECAWBM, CCAB, MRCVS, Pippa Hutchison, MSc, Dip(AS), CCAB, Kari Mundschenk, DVM, Jodi Westropp DVM, PhD, DACVIM.
July 21, 2014
Part of the fun of owning an active dog is being active with them, such as running, hiking the foothills, walking the greenbelt, etc. However, there are a few situations that pose a danger to pets when loose/not leashed. These are common veterinary emergencies that we treat regularly at our veterinary hospital.
In today’s blog post, Dr. Jennifer Pearson, WestVet Emergency Veterinarian, shares her advice on helping keep pets safe when off leash and at play.
"The canals and ditches that meander throughout the Treasure Valley may contain bacteria and Giardia, if dogs drink that water, it will make them sick. Symptoms of ingestion include diarrhea and/or vomiting. Severe cases will require veterinary treatment and it could be transmitted to humans. Read more about Giardia HERE.
Beyond that, canals and ditches pose the risk of drowning—even for dogs considered to be strong swimmers. I have treated dogs that were swimming when they were suddenly pulled under the current and experienced a near drowning accident. Treatment and recovery, when possible, require extensive medical care. It’s recommended to avoid these areas if possible.
Leashes serve as a protection for your dog. Even a compliant, obedient dog could suddenly run up to greet another dog who is aggressive, resulting in an attack. The biggest concern is for small dogs being bitten by larger dogs as they typically sustain the most injury. All dogs are unpredictable, even “nice” dogs can become aggressive around another dog if they feel territorial or threatened. The leash helps the owner keep the dog in control and safely away from unknown dogs. In addition, depending on the area, an unleashed pet could quickly dart into traffic and suffer vehicular trauma. Sadly, we have treated this type of accident at WestVet and seen dogs with extensive injuries."
Keep your pets safe when out and about enjoying a Treasure Valley summer day.