VetStart Youth Veterinary Class Summer 2015 at WestVet

WestVet is pleased to offer classes that enable young people to learn some of the ins and outs of working in the field of veterinary medicine, in today's blog, details on how you can enroll and join us!

Calling animal friends and future veterinary professionals!  VetStart is returning summer 2015.

Kids (ages 8—11)-- Tues. July 28; 6–8 PM

Youth (ages 12—16)--Thurs., Aug 13; 6—8 PM

Led by veterinary specialists and professionals from WestVet,WestVet offers youth veterinary classes in Idaho, summer 2015 these classes enable youth considering a career in the field of veterinary medicine to enjoy some hands-on learning.

Students practice bandaging, perform physical exams, explore x-rays, read microscopic submissions, and more! Plus, each student who enrolls receives take-home keepsakes. 

Even better? All proceeds from VetStart tuition go to the Audrey Pet Foundation(APF), a 501(c)3 non profit fund that provides financial assistance  to pet owners facing economic hardship. APF—affiliated exclusively with WestVet—provides financial assistance for veterinary emergency and/or specialty treatments for families facing economic hardship. Funds are combined with donated services from WestVet specialists and doctors. Applicants may receive a discount of up to $1200 on their veterinary expenses. Eligibility for assistance is based on a sliding scale of income and household size.    

Previous VetStart classes have filled quickly. We encourage interested patrons to enroll early to secure a spot for the future veterinarian in your life.WestVet's youth veterinary classes are a lot of fun, join us for VetStart summer 2015

How to register for VetStart.

Enrollment Details: Complete a registration form for each child, you may download the form HERE and return with full payment.

Pay online with a credit or debit card: HERE

Mail/drop off forms and payment: WestVet VetStart c/o Audrey Pet Foundation 5019 N. Sawyer Ave. Garden City, ID 83714; pVetStart at WestVet - fun youth veterinary classes for kids, summer 2015lease make checks payable to “Audrey Pet Foundation.”

Classes are held at WestVet Animal Emergency & Specialty Center 5019 N. Sawyer Ave., Garden City, ID 83714; We are located just north of the 50th/Chinden intersection.

Tuition: $45/per child. Your tuition is a donation to the Audrey Pet Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, we will provide a receipt via email for 2015 tax purposes.

If you have additional questions, please give us a call at 208.375.1600 or send us an email.

Hope to see you in class at WestVet this summer!

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WestVet Vet Technician Shares skills to serve with Animals around the World

Many of our colleagues who work in veterinary medicine do so in order to help animals, for one of our certified veterinary technicians, this desire took her around the world to help provide care in Nicaragua.

Our team of veterinarians, specialists, and technicians maintain state licensure by attending classes and seminars that offering continuing education credits. They attend conferences and presentations locally, nationally, and internationally. One of our talented surgical technicians, Christa Dew, had the opportunity to not only earn CE credit, but to serve pets in Nicaragua.

Last summer Christa, along with other veterinary professionals from around the world, spent time with World Vets.WestVet Certified Veterinary Technician Christa Dew working with Wolrd Vets This nonprofit organization offers veterinary services in 42 countries. They collaborate with animal welfare groups, foreign governments, non-governmental organizations, agriculture and public health officials, and area veterinary professionals within the country they are serving to offers spay and neuter clinics, basic veterinary service, and to develop, implement and manage veterinary and disaster relief programs internationally for animals.

Christa traveled to Granada, Nicaragua, a small colonial city located in the western part of the country. Her team consisted of five veterinarians, two veterinary technicians, one specialty technician and a variety of pre-veterinary and current veterinary students. 

One important aspect of their service is free veterinary care local horses.Christa Dew, CVT at WestVet, provided services to numerous animals through World Vets As you can imagine, horses are crucial for families relying on them for income or transportation. Small ailments or injuries could become more serious without treatment and affect become a long time, serious problem for families.

In addition, the volunteers provided veterinary care for cats and dogs.

“In five days we provided veterinary care, spays/neuters, vaccinations, and de-worming, for more than 120 dogs and 50 cats, as well as de-worming and wound care for 25 horses.”

Christa told us that her training as a WestVet Veterinary Technician was extremely beneficial as she was called on to teach pre-vet students how to perform duties they had not yet learned. “I partnered with another technician in leading the 13 veterinary students to work together in a time-efficient manner. WestVet ER Certified Veterinary Technician Christa Dew served with World Vets in Summer 2014This was crucial for us to be able to complete the care and procedures in the best way possible and in the shortest amount of time.”

“I never wanted to leave,” Christa said. “It was so rewarding to see how the project helped the local animals, people, and students that came to learn. It was a wonderful experience! I encourage anyone who is medically trained in the veterinary field to go help with one of the projects.”

World Vet Projects are held all over the world. Each has different costs associated with it; the Nicaragua project being the least expensive.WestVet Certified Vet Tech volunteers to help animals around the world Christa utilized her WestVet stipend, generous donations from friends and family, and good old-fashioned budgeting to come up with her fee. “I cut back in my own life. I chose not to eat out, go to movies, and missed out on various other things so that I could save the money to go. In all my costs were around $1300 for the project.”

She is planning on doing it again! She hopes to serve animals somewhere in the world every other year.

WorldVets is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, for more information about their mission and upcoming projects, check out their website HERE.  


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Bee Stings & Insect Bites 101 with ER Vet Dr. Curtis Brandt

While a pet insect bite can be a fairly common predicament, how your pet responds to it varies, today’s veterinary blog outlines the important symptoms and reactions pet owners should look for following a sting or bite.

Dogs love to explore their surroundings—something that could lead to an ant hill, hornet’s nest or a flower bed—and right to stinging and biting insects. Dr. Curtis Brandt, WestVet Emergency Veterinarian, offers advice for pet owners after a dog or cat gets a little too curious and comes away with a sting/bite:

Insect bites or stings have the potential to range widely in severity. WestVet provides 24/7 ER Vet care for pets stung by a bee or insectSometimes there’s nothing more than minor, temporary pain or swelling; other times a more serious wound or life-threatening problems such as allergic reaction can result. 

Insect stings are very common in pets, occurring more frequently in the warmer months. If you suspect your pet has been stung by an insect, watch closely. If the pet is only temporarily, mildly uncomfortable then quickly returns to normal behavior, close monitoring at home is perhaps all that will be required. You should keep your pet where you can see him or her for at least the next several hours, watching for trouble. If, on the other hand, you see pain or lethargy for more than a few minutes, swelling of the muzzle and face, hives (red bumps over the body, often more obvious in sparsely-haired regions like the abdomen), vomiting, weakness, pale gums or collapse (lying down and inability to get back up), prompt veterinary attention is needed. 

Some insect bites (such as spider bites) have the potential to cause problems as well. The most dangerous spider found in SW Idaho is the Black Widow. WestVet provides 24/7 ER Vet care for pets in Boise Idaho and the Treasure ValleyThankfully these spiders a re fairly reclusive, but any interaction between your pet and a Black Widow warrants prompt veterinary evaluation. The other local spider which may cause injury is the Hobo: expert opinions vary in terms of how much trouble a Hobo spider bite may cause. Chronic, slowly-healing wounds have been described, though others say it is difficult to document that such wounds are the result of a Hobo spider bite. Fortunately, it appears that these kinds of wounds are fairly rare in pets here in SW Idaho.

If you are concerned that your pet is behaving acutely abnormally, whether or not you suspect a reaction to an insect bite or sting, it is always appropriate to consult your veterinarian right away. If your veterinarian is unavailable, WestVet is open and able to address your concerns 24 hours a day. 

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Weimaraner Trains for a Marathon after successful TPLO surgeries at WestVet

Shadow suffered a torn ACL in both hind legs, her owners knew that this young dog--who loved to run--needed to be restored to full activity; that’s when they turned to WestVet’s Dr. John Chandler, Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon for help.

We love sharing stories about the dogs we meet and their people. Shadow, a delightful Weimaraner, is one such pooch. She was adopted into her family at just 8 weeks of age after her people had lost their longtime pet. Maria says she was looking for a new running partner, and as a photographer herself, she loves William Wegman’s work with Weimaraners. This was the catalyst that led her to seek out Shadow for their family. The blue-eyed little bundle arrived and quickly melted their hearts. Training began right away. Maria and Shadow started out with short walks, then longer walks, followed by short runs, and by her first birthday, the pair was on the trails daily where Shadow was learning good trail behavior.

 Maria described Shadow as a “bit high maintenance.” This determined dog often will not accept “no” for an answer. Her research on Weimaraners included Wegman’s photography stories, it turns out he and his wife owned a Weimaraner puppy that also wouldn’t accept a “no.” Their pup wanted to be at his side, even in the photography studio. They finally relented and began including the pup in his photo sessions and completely changed his career.

Maria says this story rang true. At their home, a rule was ‘dogs are not allowed on the furniture.’ Shadow jumped up on the couch anyway. Maria would tell her no and put her back on the floor. She would jump back on the couch. After this routine repeated itself for hours, Maria says, “I finally got worn down and let her on the couch. Now, she lies happily next to me as I work in the evening. Occasionally, if my husband Don is out of town, she'll jump up on the bed and sleep with me, but if she hears his footsteps she's off the bed in a flash!”

Shadow is an active dog. She loves to run and swim—even in winter. She stays near Maria. “When I'm home she really does shadow me everywhere, to the extent that she'll squeeze between me (or Don) and the cabinets when we're in the kitchen cooking.” She said, “Shadow doesn’t like the car (even though she never had a bad experience) or hugs, but she loves running the trails. She stays close and is my companion and protector.”

Shadow came to WestVet with a referral to Dr. John Chandler, Small Animal Surgeon, after Maria noticed that she was limping on a hind leg. At the time, Dr. Chandler and the surgeons at WestVet were involved with a clinical trial for knee repair in dogs.

“The idea of participating in the clinical trial intrigued me. Shadow was enrolled and was randomized to have the TPLO surgery.”

TPLO surgery went smoothly for Shadow. As post-operative recovery was critical to ensure she did not reinjure the knee, Maria and Don corralled Shadow in the family room, brought her to work to keep her resting, and did the recommended exercises to strengthen the leg. Maria thought they had the system all worked out, until one day, after corralling her and leaving for work, she unexpectedly returned to get something and discovered that Shadow had jumped the 3-foot high corral. After that they utilized the kennel.WestVet Board Certified Veterinary Surgeons specialize in dog knee repair including TPLO and ACL Shadow recovered from the TPLO surgery and was on track to resume trail running when she began limping on the other hind leg. It was another torn cruciate ligament, requiring a second surgery and another round of rehab. Finally Shadow was fully healed—she’s been running ever since.  

Her renewed vigor for running became a crucial element for Maria to train and compete in the New York City marathon. “A good friend and I had always wanted to run the NYC marathon. Several years ago we had run a few together. To be ready I had to train in six or seven weeks.”

Maria and Shadow began. They started running 6-7 miles and kept lengthening the distance.Dr. John Chandler, Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon provides TPLO repair for dogs with Knee problems Maria says Shadow met her stride for stride. The pair stayed along the greenbelt to enable Shadow to get a drink and cool off and to help Maria with pacing. “As she had to be leashed on the greenbelt, she kept me at just under 10 min/mile, until I began to tire at the end of the really long runs. I shared my banana pieces and Power Bars with her and as our mileage increased she showed no ill effects from the TPLO surgery. During our 20 mile runs , Shadow was running happily just in front of me, then demanding to stop at all of the places we regularly stopped so she could get a drink and take a dip. If I acted as if we weren't going to stop, she would pretty much drag me there—again, she wouldn't take "no" for an answer!”

“Shadow deserves the medal I earned in the NYC marathon as much as I do - for her motivation and loyalty and athletic ability. I am so grateful that the TPLO surgeries allowed her to be the runner she is.”

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Dr. Breaux and Audrey Pet Foundation Restore Quality of Life to Gidget the Poodle

In today's veterinary blog, when Gidget, the toy poodle, experienced a second eye disease in as many years, the Audrey Pet Foundation helped her family with veterinary expenses to reduce pain and restore a good quality of life to this beloved pet

Gidget is an apricot toy poodle who will celebrate her 12th birthday next month. Her people are planning a big celebration for this little dog who just recently overcome glaucoma—her second major eye disease.

In 2012, the Barlows were referred to Dr. Carrie Breaux, WestVet Veterinary Ophthalmologist, to address Gidget’s cataracts. Audrey Pet Foundation works with WestVet specialists to help families cover veterinary expensesDr. Breaux successfully performed surgery and restored Gidget’s eyesight.

Following that procedure, they sent us a thank you message that read in part,

“We cannot thank you enough for giving our beautiful little girl, Gidget, back her eyesight. We are so lucky you were recommended to us. We could feel the compassion from you and your staff during our very first visit for consultation. Immediately, we knew we had the right doctor with the right staff in the right clinic…  Dr. Breaux, you and your staff also handled Gidget’s parents with aplomb. The extent of the kindness and caring was outstanding. We are so happy there are doctors like you (and so is Gidget)…

Thank you, again, for your superior knowledge, professionalism, and hard work.”

Unfortunately, Gidget’s eye issues returned, this time in the form of glaucoma. Though the Barlows diligently treated her eyes—administering medicated eye drops three times a day for two years—her condition continued to deteriorate.  

“Despite everyone’s best efforts, we were unable to manage this medically,” Dr. Breaux said. “Gidget lost her vision and was experiencing a lot of pain. This necessitated eye removal for her comfort and quality of life.”  

The Barlows are retired and on a fixed income and they had exhausted their resources with Gidget’s cataract surgery. Wanting to ease her discomfort, they turned to the Audrey Pet Foundation for help. Their application for funding was approved. The APF funds, combined with donated services from Dr. Breaux and WestVet, enabled the Barlows to pursue the surgical procedure to remove Gidget’s eye.

Recently the Barlows were visiting WestVet for a follow up exam—one that Gidget passed with flying colors—and they told us that she is a new dog. Audrey Pet Foundation & WestVet combine to help families cover the veterinary specialty expenses pets may need.Even though she is now blind, she is much happier and pain free. Mrs. Barlow says Gidget has her energy back, gets around their home easily, is now eating on her own, and sometimes it’s easy to forget she has a disability at all.

“She comes and goes as she pleases through the doggy door. When the doorbell rings, she jumps right up and navigates her way quickly to the door with any hesitation,” Mrs. Barlow said. “Sometimes I forget she’s blind!”

The Barlows keep a close eye on Gidget, particularly when she is outside. However, they have an assistant! Her housemate, Sophie, a 10-year-old silver poodle, will sometimes guide and help Gidget out through the pet door or back inside.  Even with Gidget’s recent setback, the Barlows say they are happy that they pursued the initial cataract surgery. “Dr. Breaux gave our sweet girl two more years of eyesight,” Mrs. Barlow told us. “That gift is priceless to us, and we are forever grateful.”

The Audrey Pet Foundation (APF) mission is to provide assistance for veterinary emergency and/or specialty care for financially disadvantaged pet owners. Eligibility for assistance is based on a sliding scale of income and household size. Applicants may receive a discount of up to $1200 on their veterinary expenses and care at WestVet.

The Audrey Pet Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Your generous donations are tax deductible. 100% of all financial donations go directly into the fund that provides specialty veterinary care to families in the Treasure Valley. You may read other success stories and make a donation on their website HERE.

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