Kingsbrook Animal Hospital's Blog

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Osteoarthritis Management-What is available for my senior pet?

Osteoarthritis is defined as degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone, most common from middle age onward. It causes pain and stiffness, especially in the hip and knee joints. Osteoarthritis hurts!  I know because I have it.  Some days the pain is tolerable.  Other days it is not.  I have the ability to say that I am not feeling well.  Our pets are not able to tell us when they are experiencing pain.

As pets age, wear and tear on the joints cause inflammation and arthritis.  Your pet may walk slower.  You may notice that they seem stiff when getting up from a laying down position or may groan with the effort.  They may not jump up on the bed or into the car as easily as they used to. They may seem lethargic on rainy days.  You may notice some limping on occasion.  Although these are signs of getting older, they are not normal and there are treatments available.

The veterinarians at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital are well versed in pain management.  They can make recommendations based on your pet and it's lifestyle.  There are many options available for osteoarthritis management.  Here are a few:

Hill's Prescription J/D diet is formulated for joint health.  The ratio of fatty acids in the diet help to reduce inflammation.  It also includes glucosamine and chondroitin which are nutraceuticals that are found in normal cartilage and tendons.  The addition of these agents helps to relieve joint pain and restore cartilage.

Dausaquin is a once daily glucosamine/chondroitin supplement.  It comes in a flavored, chewable tablet for dogs.  It comes in a capsule form for cats that can be opened and sprinkled on the food.

Welactin is a high-potency natural salmon oil supplement. Welactin can be mixed with food, and is a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids which have beneficial effects on the joints, skin, heart, kidneys and immune system.

Adequan (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan) is a prescription,  polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG) that helps prevent the cartilage in your dog’s joint from wearing away. It helps keep the cartilage healthy and intact, so that the bone in the joint cannot touch other bones.

NSAID's or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescription medications that are used to treat inflammation associated with osteoarthritis.

If your pet is showing signs of osteoarthritis, call our office in Frederick, MD at 301-631-6900 for an appointment.  We will be glad to help you keep your pet healthy and comfortable into it's senior years.

By: Ranee Baker RVT

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Why are physical exams recommended biannually for pets 8 years and older?

We all know that our pets don’t live as long as we’d like them to. Just like people, their bodies’ age and regular check-ups and health screenings become a recommendation. For humans, our senior years start between 56 and 60 years of age. Our pets, however, reach senior status at 6-8 years of age, depending on species and breed. At this point, they are between 50 and 57 years old in human years, and your veterinarian will start recommending semi-annual examinations every 6 months.

Older pets can develop the same health problems as older people, including joint or bone disease, senility, kidney disease, and diabetes. Unfortunately, our pets cannot tell us if anything hurts; many early signs of disease are very subtle and may not be something you, as a pet owner, notice. Increasing your pet’s examinations to a semi-annual basis helps you and your veterinarian detect signs of illness and other problems sooner, so we can diagnose earlier and begin treatment.

Even though our pets don’t live forever, semi-annual examinations with your veterinarian at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital may help to not only prolong their life, but also maximize their health and well-being so that the time you get to spend with your beloved animal is as wonderful and pain-free as possible.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My journey as a Licensed Veterinary Technician in Frederick, MD

My decision to go back to school to study Veterinary Technology came in my late 20’s after deciding mental health was not my ideal career choice.  I thoroughly enjoyed my 2 years at Northern Virginia Community College and had an affinity for the information I learned.  My draw to the profession came from a life of being around horses.  Riding was my passion as a child and young adult and during the 2 years I was in school in VA I had the very fortunate opportunity of working at the Marion Dupont Scott Equine Medical Center in the nursing department.  I learned so much about horse health in my time there and gained a much better appreciation of my relationships with horses when I came from the point of reference of caregiver.  It gave me the ability to take the best care of the horse I had been with since I was 10 years old and ultimately had the pleasure of owning for the last 6 years of his life. 

After graduating from the technician program and passing my national board exam I decided I needed a more “normal” schedule and started working at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital.  After 14 years in the same clinic I have to say I am so fortunate to have found my way here.  My experiences here has shaped me as a professional and a person.  I am so lucky to work with a group of doctors and veterinary professionals that have such dedication to what they do and practice kind and thoughtful medicine.  My experiences as a seasoned technician include anesthesia monitoring, patient care, radiology, dentistry, nutritional counseling, client education, performing diagnostic tests, phlebotomy (drawing blood samples) and intravenous catheter placement.   The diversity of my tasks and my patients keeps my life at work very interesting and non-static.  There is always the opportunity to learn and experience something new, even if you have been in the field for many years.

It is a great feeling to be 17 years into a career and still have a passion for it.  I am motivated to stay in this line of work based on my experiences thus far.  I attribute this outlook to Kingsbrook Animal Hospital.  All employers are not created equally.  My veterinarians appreciate my contribution to the health care team and utilize me to my fullest potential.  This mind set on their part has left me open to learn and grow and feel very useful and productive in my work.  

Being a licensed veterinary technician is very rewarding, but can also be very emotionally taxing.  Relationships people have with their pets are very personal and heart felt.  In helping people care for their pets, especially in critical times, we learn our most important job is helping our clients cope with the stress and heartache of seeing their loved one ill.  I greatly appreciate the relationships I have built with owners over the years in helping them care for their pets.

My chosen profession is one I am very grateful for.  I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Written by Nora McKay-Clark RVT

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Katie- newly graduated from tech school, about to sit for national boards

Ever since I was a child, I have always known that I wanted to work with animals and my family can attest to the fact that I tried to adopt or find homes for every sick or stray animal I encountered.  I had the opportunity, shortly after graduating high school, to work in an animal shelter and to intern at a vet clinic in Hagerstown.  It was during that point that I decided I wanted to be a veterinary technician.  I was in awe of everything the technicians could do!  I was also anxious to work in a field where it was not to late to help an animal, which was unfortunately often the case at the Humane Society.  I decided to go to Wilson college and get a four year degree in veterinary medical technology.  I graduated this past spring, and I am anxiously waiting to take my boards to become licensed in November!  
I have been so fortunate to find a home at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD!  The veterinarians not only appreciate the skill set that has been devloped and practiced for the four years of my schooling, and also truly value the education in which I have invested.  I love being in a field where continuing education is not only encouraged, but required as we all know how the veterinary field can change and evolve.  Here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital compassionate, knowledge care is at the heart of everything we do, and I get to work in a field where I learn something new everyday.  
Written by Katie Bruner

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tiffanie’s Adventure in Veterinary Medicine

My love for animals started long before I can even remember and as soon as I was old enough to understand what jobs were…I knew I wanted to work with animals.  My career in veterinary medicine started in Yokosuka, Japan in 1998 where I worked as a volunteer at the Veterinary Treatment Facility and was Vice President of the local animal shelter.  In Japan, at the time, the stray cat population was three times worse than anywhere in the world.  Taking care of all of the stray cats that came through the shelter and assisting in there medical treatment and surgery just solidified that this was the career choice for me.  I realized then that I could make a difference in the lives of animals and in the lives of the humans that loved them just as much as I did.

After leaving Japan in 2001, I moved to New Jersey and worked in general practice at an animal hospital not far from the military base I lived on.  In New Jersey, we treated a lot of dogs that were associated with dog fighting.  Client education and patient advocating was an important part of what I learned in New Jersey.  From New Jersey, I moved to Italy.  It was a challenge to get a job in Italy, but I ended up at the Veterinary Treatment Facility in Naples, in addition to working at an outdoor recreation center.  In Italy, I learned that preventative medicine changes depending on the country you live in.  There was so much to learn, and I wanted to know more and more about what my career choice had to teach me.

My military travels ended in Italy in 2003 and I found my way back to Maryland.  I started working at an animal hospital in College Park just a few days after arriving back in Maryland, and was there for a couple years.  I then moved to another hospital in Silver Spring, and then Gaithersburg.  I stayed at the animal hospital in Gaithersburg for seven years, where I learned a lot about alternative medicine.  It was there, that I decided to become licensed and started taking classes in 2006.  I have been taking classes since, and am nearing the end of my certification.  It has been quite a challenge working full time, taking care of my family, and going to school…but I am determined to finish.
My love and passion for the veterinary profession is what ultimately brought me to Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, Maryland.  At Kingsbrook, I have found a team of people that share the same feelings that I have for the job that I love to do.  They encourage me every day and support my efforts in obtaining my license.  I am so fortunate to work with such a great group of people and look forward to years to come.

Written by Tiffanie Thayer

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What is a veterinary technician anyway?

 A RVT is a registered veterinary technician.  While having a strong love of animals is why most of us found our way into this profession, there is a lot more to it then that.

They are educated and knowledgeable.
 They have graduated from a 2 or 4 year AVMA-accredited school and has taken and passed the VTNE (a national test) and Maryland boards.  Once ‘registered,’ they must complete 24 credit hours of continuing education every three years to maintain their license. 

What can a vet tech do?
Our vet techs perform a wide range of duties. It is actually easier to define what they can’t do instead! Legally, they can do everything EXCEPT perform surgery, offer prognosis and diagnosis, and write prescriptions.

On any given day, an RVT at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital wears many hats.

Vet techs are… radiology technicians.
Vet techs are… dieticians.
Vet techs are… anesthesiologists.
Vet techs are… dental hygienists.
Vet techs are… paramedics.
Vet techs are… grief counselors.

Why are KAH techs the best in Frederick!?

At least 5 of our techs have 10 or more years of experience.  6 of our technicians travel over 40 minutes to work each day.  They pass a number of other clinics to work at KAH because we have the best group of people to work with!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Puppy Socialization in Frederick, MD

New puppy? They're so cute, so much fun, and ... so frustrating sometimes! With house training, nipping, stealing, crate training, barking, and all the other things that come with puppyhood, it can feel like you're in over your head.
Puppies are like sponges for about a month or two after they come to live with you (8 - 16 weeks old). Your pup needs to learn good habits now or else he'll learn bad ones. And believe me, it's a lot easier for you (and the pup) if you teach him what he needs to know now rather than wait 'til you're pulling your hair out due to his troublesome behaviors.
Puppy training classes can go a long way to helping you survive puppyhood and to helping you have that well-behaved dog of your dreams. Find a training class that has a small class enrollment, that teaches with force-free, positive reinforcement (clicker) training, and taught by a qualified trainer.
After your veterinarian has seen your pup, deemed him or her healthy, and started the initial series of vaccinations, you are ready to start puppy training! Ideally, bring your dog to puppy school as soon as possible, and get as many classes under his belt before he's 16 weeks old. That's when the socialization window closes. Imagine you're working with clay and making a bowl. If you mold the clay when it's pliable and elastic, creating the exact bowl you want is quite simple. But as the clay gets older and dries out, it's impossible to form the clay into any shape other than the original. That's what the socialization window is like -- your pup needs to get out and experience puppy class each week until he's 16 weeks old.

By: Laurie Luck

If you are interested in structured puppy classes check out Smart Dog University by clicking HERE.  Laurie Luck is a certified pet dog trainer and uses positive reinforcement techniques to help you train your pup.  She teaches classes at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in the evenings.