All posts in Clinic Information

Petly is here!

Dr. Denise and I are excited to announce the launch of Petly – your personalized pet health page! We have decided to upgrade our current pet portals to a new Pet Health Network called Petly.  We hope you will find this interactive system more user friendly. You should have recently received an email invitation to connect to your pet’s vital health information.

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What exactly is Petly?  We like to describe it as a secure, single place for everything concerning your pet. With your free upgrade, you’ll have access to many great features, including:

Centralized Pet Health – Keeping your pet healthy has never been so easy! Your new system allow us to share more of your pet’s health records than every before. Request an appointment or order a prescription online. Petly is designed to let you access your pet’s health resources when you need them at your convenience.

Your Pet’s Appointment Information – View up-to-the-hour information on future appointments. Know when to arrive, how to prepare for and what to expect at each appointment. Petly will even send you appointment reminder emails.

Your Pet’s Vaccine Records – View and Print Vaccine Records with one easy click.  Take this printout with you wherever you need proof of your pet’s vaccination status.

The Latest in Pet Health – You can also access informative articles about the latest in pet health from the Pet Health Network. Information ranges from medical articles to behavior tips, breed information to breaking current pet news and food recalls.  The Pet Health Network has it all to help you keep your pet as healthy and happy as possible.

Get Social! – With a live Facebook feed, see the latest in pet-related news, learn about deals and offers, and stay in touch.

How Do I Join Petly?  If you and your pet have visited us in the last two years, you would have received an email that provides you with login information to join! During your first login, you’ll be asked to create a password. Be sure to write it down since the hospital will not have access to it.  Your previous pet portal program will be deactivated December 1st, 2014.

Rest assured, your email address is used only for communications between you and our veterinary hospital.  Please don’t forget to review and personalize your communication preferences before you log out of your account in manage my account.

If you have any questions concerning Petly, please do not hesitate to contact our office 417-889-2727.  We hope you find the transition to Petly simple and an improvement over our current pet portal.

Sincerely,

Dr. Ned

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Springfield MO Vet Aquires New Digtial X-Ray Technology

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Deerfield Veterinary Hospital in Springfield Mo. purchased a Vet Ray Digital radiography machine. How does this machine differ from our previous veterinary digital radiography machine?

Our new veterinary digital x-ray emits 8 times less radiation than our previous machine.  This makes our machine more environmentally friendly by decreasing its carbon footprint. This also means that your pet and our veterinary team are being exposed to less radiation with each radiograph performed which significantly decreases our chances of obtaining radiation exposure from repeated contact with the x-ray beam.

The Vet Ray produces a clearer, more detailed image which allows us to appreciate the finer details of our patients organ shape, size, and overall organ health. For instance,  we are able to appreciate the thickness of the intestinal bowel loop walls and determine if inflammation, infection, or possible neoplasia may be present; whereas with our previous machine we were only able to see the loops of bowel and not appreciate the wall thickness. This allows us to diagnose abnormalities sooner and provide intervention to hopefully reverse or prevent further progression of diseases and to improve the quality of life for your pet.

Additional patient friendly features include a 4 Way Float Top Table! This means that the table glides gently left, right, forward, or backwards as needed to properly position your pet to obtain the best image possible. We no longer have to physically slide the animal on the table to be directly under the beam, but instead move the table while the patient rests comfortably for appropriate positioning. This reduces stress and anxiety for our patients allowing them to spend more time in your arms, and less time on our table.

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Bordetella…The Misunderstood Vaccine

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It’s a common comment heard in many veterinary hospitals…”we don’t need the kennel cough vaccination…we never board or kennel our dog”.  Despite the owner’s insistence that their pet isn’t at risk, most people would be surprised to find out that this disease can be found in a wide variety of places.

Infectious tracheobronchitis, more commonly known as “kennel cough”, is a communicable bronchitis in dogs that is often found anywhere dogs congregate.  Naturally, boarding kennels come to mind, but quite often, people will forget that grooming salons, dog parks, pet superstores or even their favorite veterinary hospital can also be potential sources of infection.

Dogs who contract tracheobronchitis will produce a rough, hacking cough that many owners will describe as the pet trying to cough something up or even retch.  Spasms, or coughing fits, are not uncommon and some people relate that their pets seem worse at night.

Kennel cough can be caused by a wide variety of organisms, including canine adenoviruses, canine distemper virus and a bacterial species that goes by the name of Bordetella bronchiseptica.  Other viruses, such as canine herpesviruses or reoviruses are also thought to contribute to the disease and it is not uncommon to see more than one pathogen involved.

Infected dogs will spread viruses or bacteria through airborne particles where healthy dogs can inhale them.  In some cases, the germs can also spread via toys or food dishes.  Dogs that are exposed will generally show signs of illness within two to fourteen days and may act sick for an additional two weeks.  In many cases, the disease is very mild and your pup may never run a fever or act as if anything is wrong.  However, this is a disease that can progress to pneumonia and be life-threatening.

What’s even worse is that a pet who has recovered from this illness could potentially infect other dogs for up to two or three months!  So, that normal looking dog at the busy city dog park could, in fact, be sharing some nasty germs as he plays with his doggie pals!

Like many diseases we see in pets, proactive prevention is the key to stopping kennel cough.  Most dogs will receive vaccinations against canine adenoviruses and parainfluenza when they receive their canine distemper and canine parvovirus vaccines.  In addition, Bordetella vaccination is available and can help limit the severity of the illness if your pet is ever exposed to this bacterium.

The Bordetella vaccine is considered to be a “non-core” vaccine by the American Animal Hospital Association.  This means that not all pets need this vaccination, but the choice to vaccinate should be based on the pet’s risk factors.  As mentioned above, if your pet is routinely groomed, enjoys trips to the local dog park or even gets to go shopping with you at the big box pet food store, he is likely being exposed to the agents that cause kennel cough.

Vaccination against the Bordetella bacterium will generally provide immunity for about one year.  So, pets at risk will need annual boosters and some pets who board frequently or visit grooming salons regularly may actually benefit from re-vaccination every 6 months.  Experts also recommend getting your pet a booster vaccination five days or more prior to possible exposure, if more than six months have passed since the last vaccination.

If your pet is dealing with any sort of cough, the best advice on treatment will come from your veterinarian.  Although antibiotics may or may not be prescribed, your pet could receive a cough suppressant or even a recommendation to let the dog stand in the bathroom while you shower!  Just like with kids, the warm, humid air in the bathroom can loosen congestion and help your pet to breath more easily.

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Veterinary Medicine Online – Calling Dr. Google?

From new toys and comfy beds for your pets to medications, designer sweaters and even recommendations for “pet friendly” vacation destinations, animal lovers can find just about anything for their four legged furry family online.  Unfortunately, it’s far too easy to find a lot of mis-information and even potentially dangerous advice when it comes to your pet’s health care.

Since the very first website was created, anyone with the time, creativity and access to a web hosting service can post their opinions about almost any subject.  This has led to a wide variety of non-veterinarians who claim to be “experts” in pets providing advice and recommendations.  Sadly, pets have been harmed or even died when owners followed the counsel provided by these individuals.

When searching for helpful information about animal health, you should trust sites that have a veterinarian who either writes or oversees the content.  HealthyPet.com from the American Animal Hospital Association is a great place to start.  You can also look at your state’s veterinary medical association website or even their Facebook page for pet owner resources.

A new organization, the American Society of Veterinary Journalists, has been created to help both the media and the public find trustworthy professionals providing advice through any sort of media.  Look for the Seal of Approval from ASVJ.

The popularity of veterinary blogs is hard to ignore and bloggers like Pawcurious.com or Pet Health Care Gazette.com can provide general suggestions and opinions about veterinary care.  The added bonus to following these well-liked sites is that they are often a lot of fun and give the reader a personal viewpoint that is lacking from other sites.  Just remember, none of these bloggers can diagnose or treat your pet’s specific problem.

Another fashionable trend is the use of review sites to find service providers, restaurants or almost any other type of retail outlet.  The question here is, should you rely on these review sites when you are looking for a veterinarian?

According to SearchEngineLand.com, almost 80% of online users say they trust online reviews as much as personnel recommendations. There is no doubt that sites like Yelp, YP.com and Angie’s List can have a significant impact on a person’s decision to use a specific provider.  These experts do recommend that you follow some easy guidelines when reading online reviews.

First, find sites that present a balanced set of reviews and look for at least ten to twelve postings before you can say you spot a trend for that particular business.

Next, look beyond the reviewer’s words.  Is there a genuine concern over poor service or are emotions and a focus on money obscuring the real issue?  Let’s face it…some people are very hard to please or are often simply grumpy.

Conversely, avoid relying on reviews that are excessively positive and seem too good to be true.  While there are people who are always happy and never have a bad word to say, companies do exist that pay individuals to write positive reviews for a wide variety of organizations.

Finally, look at the reviewer’s profile.  Has this person reviewed other businesses?  Do they seem to be objective or are they using the same “cut and paste” language on all their reviews?  If their evaluations seem too similar, they may be working for one of the review writing companies.  Another red flag is to watch out for reviewers who constantly try to send you to look at their own profile…odds are, they are trying to sell something and they are using the review sites as marketing opportunities.

It’s been said before, but your veterinarian (www.deerfieldvet.com) will always offer you the best and most trusted source of information.  With a good relationship, you can have confidence that your veterinary professionals are eager to help and offer the correct advice!

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Why is Your Veterinarian Fascinated with Pets Feces?

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It might be the look on the person’s face or maybe the way they are carrying the bag, but staff at a veterinary office can always tell when their clients arrive with a stool sample for testing.  Dozens of specimens arrive each day, some in Ziploc baggies, others triple wrapped in aluminum foil and some are tucked neatly in plastic containers.  The clients may not realize it, but that smelly sample brought in for testing may help prevent an illness in their pet…or in them!

Why does your veterinarian have such an interest in your pet’s stool?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state that 3,000 to 4,000 human serum samples are sent to their labs every year with a presumptive diagnosis of toxocariasis, or, infection with roundworms or hookworms. The illnesses caused by these parasites are not reportable in the United States, so true numbers of human cases are not known.  What is known is that 36% of dogs across the country and 52% in the southeastern states carry these zoonotic worms.  Many pet owners are unaware that their furry family members are capable of harboring these parasites.

Some clients don’t believe that their pet could have worms.  But, pets can come into contact with these parasites in the yard, in potting soil, at the dog park or even on our hands or feet after we come inside from working in the garden or after taking a walk.  The larva and eggs of these parasites are simply abundant in many places.

In fact, a single female worm can shed more than 100,000 eggs per day and most puppies and kittens are infected with more than just one worm!   That’s millions of eggs spreading through areas where dogs and cats go to defecate.   Pets infected with a protozoan parasite, like coccidia or giardia, can shed over a billion cysts each and every day!

So, what does your veterinarian do with the sample you brought Most people understand that veterinarians are checking fecals as a means to find intestinal parasites, more commonly known as “worms”.  What is less well known is that the veterinarian is not looking for whole adult parasites.  They are looking for microscopic eggs and protozoans that may inhabit your pet.

First, the feces are mixed with a sugar or salt solution, a liquid that is slightly denser than regular tap water.  Breaking up the stool allows any infective eggs to enter the solution.  Next, the mixture is carefully poured into conical tubes that are placed in a centrifuge.   The spinning action helps separate the organic debris of the feces from the parasites and the parasite eggs.

After about 10 minutes, the suspension is then allowed to sit with a microscope coverslip placed on top.  The eggs and most parasites will float to the top and adhere to the coverslip.   A veterinary technician or assistant can then take this sample and review it under a microscope.  Any positive specimens are discussed with the veterinarian and an appropriate deworming medication can be prescribed.

This process may not sound appetizing to most readers, but these tests are an important part of a veterinarian’s dedication to your pets, but also to public health as a whole.  The CDC, the Companion Animal Parasite Council and the American Animal Hospital Association all recommend regular fecal testing for all pets.  This means you can expect to package up a stool sample once or twice each year per pet.  If your pets aren’t on monthly heartworm prevention, your veterinarian may ask for a sample every 1-2 months!

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