Pet behavior considerations during the holidays


While preparing for the holidays, consider the impact of your events on your pet. Here are five things that can impact your pet’s experience during this hectic time.

  1. Unfamiliar people may be coming in droves. If your dog is worried around strangers, keep him separated until you’re able to really watch him and monitor interactions with others (or just keep him separated throughout, with a tasty food toy). Remember that dogs don’t feel comfortable with strangers reaching to pet them at first introduction – or, for some, ever.
  2. With all the food comes the potential for resource-guarding. Dogs who are otherwise oblivious may growl or bite when a guest reaches for something they put down. They may also lie under tables and, again, bite if a guest reaches to pick up a dropped drumstick.
  3. Traveling with your dog to a relative’s house may include a long car ride; consider acclimating your dog to a crate for the car (which will also be handy at the destination). If a baby is traveling along, consider separating the dog and baby in the car. Also important, be cautious about introductions to the host’s dog, who might herself be anxious and guard her belongings.
  4. If you travel without your dog, there are considerations about boarding or hiring a house-sitter. If your dog is prone to anxiety, be sure to introduce the sitter in advance and insist that s/he sticks with the dog’s usual schedule and any cautions – for example to avoid pulling the dog off furniture. Boarding kennels should be advised of any behavioral special needs – for example the dog might need to be called out of a kennel, rather than being cornered by someone entering.
  5. Fights can erupt between pets when treats, toys, or food are involved. Separate pets to avoid competition.

Simple behavioral considerations can help make the holiday smooth and trauma-free for your dog.

Ilana Reisner, DVM, PhD, DACVBIlana Reisner, DVM, PhD, DACVB
Dr. Reisner has been a board-certified veterinary behaviorist since the specialty of veterinary behavior was established in 1995. She has expertise in both normal (though often undesirable) and abnormal behaviors of all companion animals. She graduated from Oregon State University and completed her Internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at Michigan State University. After completing her residency in Behavioral Medicine at Cornell University, she stayed on to earn her PhD in Behavioral Physiology. Dr. Reisner joined NorthStar VETS in October 2012.

Previously a member of the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine where she headed the behavior service at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Reisner provided clinical services to pet owners, served as mentor in a clinical residency program, and taught both clinical and undergraduate veterinary students. She has published and spoken extensively on all aspects of behavior problems in dogs and cats and has an ongoing research interest in dog bites and public health.

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A tiger with a toothache


Dante is a 16-year-old male Tiger living at the Popcorn Park Zoo. He has been a patient of Jennifer Kim, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology) here at NorthStar VETS to treat his cancer. You can find out more about how we’ve been helping Dante on that health front at the Popcorn Park Zoo website.

His caretakers noticed that he had some swelling of the jaw recently, and decided to bring him in to NorthStar VETS to get some scans done and receive an evaluation from John Lewis, VMD, FAVD, DAVDC in our Dentistry department. Dr. Jonathan Bergmann put Dante into his new transportation crate and made the journey in to see us.

Upon arrival, our team checked him out and got him a CT scan of his head and chest. The scan of his head was to check out the swelling of his jaw, and the scan of his chest was to check on his cancer. After the scan, the team reviewed the images and moved Dante to the Dental lab.

Once in the Dental lab, Dr. Lewis took X-rays of Dante’s teeth and reviewed those. With the rest of his time at NorthStar VETS, Dr. Lewis drained the cyst that was causing the swelling so that Dante could find some relief, and spoke with Dr. Bergmann about a return visit to have Dante’s lower canine tooth extracted. Until next time, Dante is back home at the Popcorn Park Zoo relaxing and enjoying his days.

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John Lewis, VMD, FAVD, DAVDC
John Lewis, VMD, FAVD, DAVDC
Dr. John Lewis is the veterinary dentist at NorthStar VETS. He was Assistant Professor of Dentistry and Oral Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1997 and spent 5 years in general practice prior to returning for a residency in dentistry and oral surgery. Dr. Lewis became a fellow of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry (AVD) in 2004 and a diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) in 2005. At the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Lewis has served as Associate Director of the Mari Lowe Center for Comparative Oncology, and more recently, as Chief of Surgery. Dr. Lewis’ research interests include oral surgical oncology, maxillofacial fracture repair, maxillofacial reconstruction, new therapies for treatment of feline oral squamous cell carcinoma, and lasers in oral surgery and dentistry. Dr. Lewis is a past President of the American Veterinary Dental Society, and has served as Examination Chair of the AVDC and Credentials Chair of the AVD. Prior to joining NorthStar VETS full-time, Dr. Lewis was the residency director of the world’s first academic residency in Veterinary Dentistry and Oral Surgery at Penn Vet.

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Pay it forward


I treat animals with cancer. This is a job that you would think is a lot of sadness. However, we are able to give hope to people that did not realize we could. And most of our patients can live a very good quality of life for longer than they would have without treatment.

Almost 2 years ago, a client was given a financial gift by an anonymous donor for a treatment of chemotherapy. This patient did well for many more months. On the 1 year anniversary of this dog’s death, the owner came back in. He had since gotten another dog and was so grateful for the care he had received here he wanted to pay it forward to another patient. So he left a credit for a dog to get a treatment of chemotherapy, as someone had done for him. Then, the recipient of this gift was so grateful and touched by this gift that he has since given us a check to pay it forward to another deserving patient. I hope that this is a trend that continues. To be able to give that surprise financial gift to a deserving client and patient is priceless. Tears of joy in their eyes and in ours, it’s an amazing feeling to pay it forward.

Jennifer Kim, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)Jennifer Kim, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)
Dr. Kim grew up in New York and received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. After spending two years at the National Cancer Institute performing cancer genetic research, she attended veterinary school at Tufts University, graduating in 2003. Dr. Kim completed a rotating internship at the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan, New York and then an oncology internship at Cornell University. She initially began at NorthStar VETS as an emergency clinician in 2005 and returned to us in January 2010 to treat oncology patients after completing a residency in medical oncology at Michigan State University, sponsored by NorthStar VETS.

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Gizmo is fighting for his life, and needs your help


Gizmo2On the evening of Thursday April 24, 2014, a house caught fire in Cranbury NJ. This family not only lost their home and much of what they had, but they also lost 2 of their beloved pets. Thankfully, they were able to rescue 2 of their dogs on their own and with the help of a kind-hearted Good Samaritan, they were able to save their beloved kitty, Gizmo.

Gizmo was saved, though not without injuries. Gizmo was rushed to Cranbury Animal Hospital where he was subsequently transferred to NorthStar VETS by the Cranbury First Aid Squad. They held him close, and gave him oxygen during his ride to NorthStar VETS. The Emergency / Trauma / Critical Care Department at NorthStar VETS worked hard to stabilize him and manage his burns. Gizmo is only 3 years old.

Gizmo has a little more than 20% of his body burned. Even with all these burns and in need oxygen, he still finds a way to head-butt our technicians when they enter his cage, demonstrating his fighting spirit. He is in critical condition, but the Critical Care Department is hopeful he will pull through. This will be a long road for him including numerous surgeries. This will also be a long and expensive journey for his family.

Gizmo1Thankfully, Vet I Care has donated some funds for Gizmo and is currently taking donations for his medical care. NorthStar VETS will be hosting a fundraiser together with Vet I Care in the days to come to help Gizmo and his family. Stay tuned for updates on Gizmo and the fundraiser.

To donate for Gizmo, please contact Eileen Schuck at 609-259-8300 x1153, email eschuck@northstarvets.com or visit the donation page at www.vet-i-care.org.

Alexander Munoz, CVTAlexander Munoz, CVT
Director of Learning and Development

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Sandy’s long journey to health


Sandy dogWe received this note from a grateful pet owner whose dog has been through a lot and today is doing great!

“Sandy has been through so much in the last year and a half, but he is still a happy dog who enjoys life. Sandy was diagnosed with diabetes and during the week we began his insulin with his family vet, he progressively got sicker. He was severely dehydrated and his blood sugar was in the 800’s. ‘He,’ to quote the emergency vet that we saw, ‘was on a slippery slope.’ I think he was in the ICU for 3 days. I am very grateful for the care he got, because he is with us today. Several months after that, Sandy started having strokes. He had three mini-strokes and a big one. He was admitted for supportive care after the big one by Dr. Logan, since he couldn’t eat or drink or walk. Gradually, he got better. His walks were his therapy. We did not know if it would keep happening, and each time the strokes got a little worse. Dr. Logan told us that his thyroid wasn’t working well, so we began to give him a supplementary hormone. He had another mini-stroke and he started taking medication to stop the strokes. Thanks to Dr.Guinan and Dr. Logan and all of the vet techs that cleaned him and cared for him, he pulled through again.

“Now he is getting laser therapy to help with his arthritic back. Dr. Pam Levin has been so kind to us and supportive when there was a problem or I had a question. It is great that Sandy walks into NorthStar VETS so confidently after all that has endured; on some level he knows that everyone is there to help.

“Dr. Hammer is managing his chronic diseases and checks to make sure he is as healthy as he can be. I know that she is always available via email and appreciates some of the silly photos or videos I send her.

“Dr. Logan has been a positive force during all of this. She has such a wonderful attitude and has said several times “Let’s just give him a chance and see what happens.” When it seemed hopeless, all of the vets involved in Sandy’s care were supportive and caring and gave him a chance to live and still enjoy his life.

“We are very grateful for the care the veterinarians at NorthStar VETS have given Sandy. Each time I bring him, the front desk staff and even the pharmacist marvel at how he looks.”

-Sue

Justin Guinan, DVM, DACVIMJustin Guinan, DVM, DACVIM
Dr. Guinan is a native of Westchester County in New York. He obtained his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology from Syracuse University in 2000. He then ventured to Prince Edward Island, Canada, where he received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2005. In 2006, Dr. Guinan returned to New York for a one year general internship followed by an additional one year specialty internship in internal medicine and neurology at Long Island Veterinary Specialists which was completed in 2007. From Long Island he moved to the Animal Medical Center in New York City to complete his residency in internal medicine in July of 2009. He joined our team in August 2009. Dr. Guinan has particular interests in hematology, kidney diseases and all forms of diagnostic endoscopy procedures. Outside of work he enjoys baseball, football, hiking and striving to fill his iPod with music.

Kimberly Hammer, VMD, DACVIMKimberly Hammer, VMD, DACVIM
Dr. Hammer graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000. She then spent a year at Mississippi State University for a small animal internship and then returned to UPENN for a 2-year residency in small animal internal medicine. She earned board certification from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2004. Dr. Hammer’s professional interests include endocrinology, hepatic and gastrointestinal disease, renal disease, and critical care medicine to name a few. Deeply committed to her patients, Dr. Hammer’s primary goal is to provide the very best patient care, both diagnostically and therapeutically. She joined the NorthStar VETS team in September 2007.

Melissa A. Logan, Ph.D, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology)Melissa A. Logan, Ph.D, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology)
Dr. Logan was born and raised in nearby Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from The Pennsylvania State University. After graduating, she spent a few years working as a veterinary assistant before applying to graduate school. Dr. Logan earned a Ph.D in Neurophysiology in 2003, where she studied mechanisms and treatment of acute spinal cord injury. After graduate school she attended Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine and graduated with her DVM in 2006. She stayed on at Purdue and completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery in 2007 and then completed her residency in Neurology in 2011. She is board certified in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Neurology). Her areas of interest include nerve and muscle disorders, spinal cord injury, as well as epilepsy. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Pamela Levin, DVM, CVA, CCRTPamela Levin, DVM, CVA, CCRT
Dr. Pam Levin is originally from New Hampshire. Pam earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from the University of New Hampshire in 1992. She graduated from Ross University, School of Veterinary Medicine in 1998 after completing her senior clinical rotations at Oklahoma State University. Dr. Levin has practiced as a small animal general practitioner and emergency and critical care veterinarian in New York, New Jersey, California, and Massachusetts. Pam has served as Director of Emergency Medicine at a small animal referral and emergency hospital in Massachusetts. Dr. Levin received her Certification in Veterinary Acupuncture in 2009 through The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society and her Certification in Canine Rehabilitation Therapy in 2011 through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute. Prior to joining NorthStar VETS in 2011, Dr. Levin served as staff acupuncturist at a small animal referral and emergency hospital in New Jersey. Dr. Levin’s areas of interest include improving patient’s quality of life though pain management, therapeutic exercise, and noninvasive alternative therapies. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association, American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture, International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians, and the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management.

The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your family veterinarian’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own veterinarian to determine what is right for your pet. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We can not and do not give you medical advice via this blog. The information contained in this online site and emails is presented in summary form only and intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge. The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation or advice of your veterinarian. We do not recommend the self-management of your pet’s health problems.

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K-9 Cop, Nero, gets tooth repaired


“Nero” is a police dog for Mercer County Sheriff’s Office. His handler is Officer Pat Papero. While doing bite work one day in late September, Nero suffered a bad fracture of his right upper canine tooth. The fracture extended well beneath the gum line. When a police dog loses a canine, it’s like a an officer losing a hand. Therefore, Nero underwent a periodontal surgery called an apically repositioned flap to explore the fracture and to reposition the gum line to allow a portion of the root to act as crown. After the periodontal surgery was determined to be successful, a root canal therapy was done on the pulp-exposed tooth. A crown preparation was done and detailed impressions were sent to a special laboratory in California to create a full metal jacket. Nero’s crown was cemented in place today and he will be apprehending perpetrators very soon!

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The fracture extended quite a ways under the gum line so a periodontal surgery called an apically repositioned flap was performed to allow part of the root to act as the new crown. Then a root canal therapy, crown preparation, detailed impressions, temporary crown, and finally cementation of the metal crown. It was a total of three anesthesias.

John Lewis, VMD, FAVD, DAVDCJohn Lewis, VMD, FAVD, DAVDC
Dr. John Lewis is the veterinary dentist at NorthStar VETS. He was Assistant Professor of Dentistry and Oral Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1997 and spent 5 years in general practice prior to returning for a residency in dentistry and oral surgery. Dr. Lewis became a fellow of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry (AVD) in 2004 and a diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) in 2005. At the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Lewis has served as Associate Director of the Mari Lowe Center for Comparative Oncology, and more recently, as Chief of Surgery. Dr. Lewis’ research interests include oral surgical oncology, maxillofacial fracture repair, maxillofacial reconstruction, new therapies for treatment of feline oral squamous cell carcinoma, and lasers in oral surgery and dentistry. Dr. Lewis is a past President of the American Veterinary Dental Society, and has served as Examination Chair of the AVDC and Credentials Chair of the AVD. Prior to joining NorthStar VETS full-time, Dr. Lewis was the residency director of the world’s first academic residency in Veterinary Dentistry and Oral Surgery at Penn Vet.

The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your family veterinarian’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own veterinarian to determine what is right for your pet. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We can not and do not give you medical advice via this blog. The information contained in this online site and emails is presented in summary form only and intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge. The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation or advice of your veterinarian. We do not recommend the self-management of your pet’s health problems.

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Surf makes amazing recovery from abdominal surgery


We love getting feedback like this from clients! Here is the story of Surf, who made an incredible recovery from intestinal surgery!

“I just wanted to give you a quick update on how my Sheltie, Surf, is doing since his intestinal surgery 30 days ago. Surf continues to do well and is gradually getting his energy back. He is eating normal food and having regular, mostly normal stool. Prior to the surgery Surf was an extremely fit, athletic dog that I did herding and agility with. After the surgery when 75% of his small intestine was removed, I was just hoping for survival and a good quality of life. Surf continues to amaze me. We have done a couple of short herding sessions to help build up his endurance. Tonight he did some agility training at a lower level than normal and skipped some obstacles that might be difficult due to the abdominal muscles required; however, he did fabulous. Here is a YouTube link to a video of part of his agility training session tonight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnVtsHfQvDo

“Many thanks to you and the entire team that worked on Surf so he was able to come home.”

Thanks!
Karin

We think Surf looks great out there on the agility course! Take a look for yourself!

Garrett Levin, DVM, DACVSGarrett Levin, DVM, DACVS
Originally from California, Dr. Levin earned his Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the University of California at Davis in 1994. He received his veterinary degree from Ross University, School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. Dr. Levin completed a small animal medicine and surgery internship in 2000 and a three-year comprehensive residency in small animal orthopedics, soft tissue, and neurosurgery in 2003 at The Animal Medical Center in New York. He was a Staff Surgeon at a small animal referral and emergency hospital in California and Medical Director and Chief of Surgery at a referral and emergency hospital in Massachusetts prior to joining NorthStar VETS in April 2009. Dr. Levin’s areas of special interest include cardiothoracic surgery, orthopedic surgery, soft tissue surgery, neurosurgery, stem cell therapy and emergency and trauma surgery. He has extensive training in Interventional Radiology (IR) and Interventional Endoscopy (IE) and is an integral member of the IR/IE Department at NorthStar VETS. Dr. Levin is trained in the Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgical procedure for the treatment of cranial cruciate ligament rupture. He performs a wide range of minimally invasive surgeries including arthroscopy, thoracoscopy, and laparoscopy, as well as minimally invasive fracture repair.

The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your family veterinarian’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own veterinarian to determine what is right for your pet. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We can not and do not give you medical advice via this blog. The information contained in this online site and emails is presented in summary form only and intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge. The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation or advice of your veterinarian. We do not recommend the self-management of your pet’s health problems.

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The comeback Kid: Jenna’s story


9-Jenna-happyJenna’s Story
Jenna is an amazing Labrador Retriever that came to NorthStar VETS last year after hurting her knee. Garrett Levin, DVM, DACVS, performed a Tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy (TPLO) procedure to repair her cranial cruciate ligament rupture, and Rosalie LoScrudato, DVM, CVA, CCRP, helped Jenna with her post-operative rehabilitation therapy. We see a measurable improvement in patients that receive rehabilitative care after a surgery over those that do not receive it, and Jenna makes a very strong case!

Since her procedure and recovery, Jenna has had an amazing year, as this update from her owner shows!

In January, after she finished her rehabilitation therapy, it was time for Jenna to start back into the Rally Obedience Ring. She jumped right back into competition and she was so happy wagging her tail during her whole performance. Since January she has:

  • Competed in 9 Rally Trials;
  • Completed 27 runs with Qualifying scores;
  • Placed in 23 of the runs (8 First, 7 Second, 5 Third, 2 Fourth, 1 Fifth);
  • Earned 3 Championship Class Titles (Level 1, Level 2 and Level3);
  • Was awarded her 6th ARCHMX Title! (Advanced Rally Champion Master Excellent)

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At some trials they give out special awards. Hudson Valley Dog Club, an outdoor Trial at the Polo Grounds in Middletown, NY, was one of these Trials. A cold, rainy day in early May, in her 6th run of the day late in the afternoon, she went into the Level 3 Ring (most advanced exercises) and scored a perfect 210! She earned High Scoring Pet Therapy Dog and High Scoring Labrador Retriever for the Trial!
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Here is one happy Jenna at Kellar’s Canine Academy performing a Level 3 run, and great rehab exercises!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KLZ-rlkvCU&feature=share&list=FLmy8ZhwBsWVQLi2T7JDYSAg
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Jenna has only hit field training lightly. All the rain and muck makes for sore joints, but she did have a few nice days to get out. She loves it but it is quite strenuous.

She is swimming better than ever, feeling more confident with her new strong leg and adjusted back.
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Maybe in 2014, she will enter her next Hunt Test. But in the mean time she will continue to train while having fun!

Jenna got to be pickup dog/retriever for the test setup, so she was a happy ‘duck’ dog!
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And when she gets too sore, she lets her mom know that too. She makes it obvious with the ears down and the sad eyes.
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She has excelled doing her Pet Therapy! She was recently awarded the ‘Hospital Healer Certificate’ and we was given the “Volunteer of the Year” award at the Creature Comfort Pet Therapy Appreciation Picnic in June!
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Additionally, she is in a study and visits patients on the Ortho Floor weekly. They LOVE her there! Out of numerous teams that visit the hospital, she was chosen to be the main character in a hospital video on Pet Therapy!
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Garrett Levin, DVM, DACVSGarrett Levin, DVM, DACVS
Originally from California, Dr. Levin earned his Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the University of California at Davis in 1994. He received his veterinary degree from Ross University, School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. Dr. Levin completed a small animal medicine and surgery internship in 2000 and a three-year comprehensive residency in small animal orthopedics, soft tissue, and neurosurgery in 2003 at The Animal Medical Center in New York. He was a Staff Surgeon at a small animal referral and emergency hospital in California and Medical Director and Chief of Surgery at a referral and emergency hospital in Massachusetts prior to joining NorthStar VETS in April 2009. Dr. Levin’s areas of special interest include cardiothoracic surgery, orthopedic surgery, soft tissue surgery, neurosurgery, stem cell therapy and emergency and trauma surgery. He has extensive training in Interventional Radiology (IR) and Interventional Endoscopy (IE) and is an integral member of the IR/IE Department at NorthStar VETS. Dr. Levin is trained in the Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgical procedure for the treatment of cranial cruciate ligament rupture. He performs a wide range of minimally invasive surgeries including arthroscopy, thoracoscopy, and laparoscopy, as well as minimally invasive fracture repair.

The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your family veterinarian’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own veterinarian to determine what is right for your pet. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We can not and do not give you medical advice via this blog. The information contained in this online site and emails is presented in summary form only and intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge. The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation or advice of your veterinarian. We do not recommend the self-management of your pet’s health problems.

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It takes a village…


George suffered a bad fracture on his elbow.
George’s Story
George, a 10 month old pit mix, underfed and severely broken, is in need of your help. Growing up the hard way earned George a serious fracture that needs surgical repair. Left homeless, with no family to back him, NorthStar VETS and the Veticare Foundation have stepped in to give him the chance he needs. Surgery for this type of injury is extensive and costly. With a team of willing doctors, a foundation with a heart and your direct donation, we can get this sweet little guy fixed. This is George post-op, recovering from his surgeryDonate now at www.vet-i-care.org or contact Eileen Schuck, Director of Vet-i-Care at 609.259.8300 x1153 or email eschuck@vet-i-care.org.
George is a cute little pup. Here he was waiting for his surgery.

Benjamin Staiger, Med. Vet.Benjamin Staiger, Med. Vet.
Inspired by the quality of veterinary science and exceptional level of care, Dr. Staiger pursued surgical specialization in the US after graduating from the University of Munich in 2004. He completed a one-year rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the Michigan State University followed by a surgical fellowship for international veterinarians. He was accepted into a comprehensive surgical residency program at MSU in 2006 and completed in July 2010. In addition, he is currently earning a Master’s Degree in veterinary surgery, orthopedics, and biomechanics. Besides his extensive orthopedic training and strong interest in traumatology and soft tissue surgery, Dr. Staiger developed a particular passion for Interventional Radiology (IR) from early on in his residency. He is a founding member of the IR Service at MSU and has assisted and performed in numerous IR procedures since 2005. Through collaboration between NorthStar VETS and MSU it was possible to create an IR Fellowship for Dr. Staiger at MSU, which in this way is the only university in the country to offer such a training program. Dr. Staiger joined NorthStar VETS in October 2011 as a surgeon and integral member of our developing IR team.

The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your family veterinarian’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own veterinarian to determine what is right for your pet. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We can not and do not give you medical advice via this blog. The information contained in this online site and emails is presented in summary form only and intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge. The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation or advice of your veterinarian. We do not recommend the self-management of your pet’s health problems.

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Why Miko needs your help today


Miko’s Story
deformed-limbMiko is a handsome, young German Shepherd owned by a 4th year college student from Rutgers University. When Miko was very young, about 2 months of age, he sustained a right radius and ulna fracture that was managed conservatively in a splint bandage by his local veterinarian. The fracture healed, but the growth plates were damaged and closed down prematurely, leaving Miko with an obvious and painful angular limb deformity. This deformity is characterized by severe angulation and shortening of the limb as shown.

The cost of Miko’s care for the original fracture management was in the thousands and Miko’s owner had to cover the bills with a student loan. He eventually came to NorthStar VETS and this is what happened next.

fixator-ringDr. Laura Culbert, one of the board-certified veterinary surgeons at NorthStar VETS, examined Miko in December of 2012. He had an orthopedic assessment and it was determined that the only thing that could be done was to surgically correct the angle of the bone and make the bone grow to “catch up” to his normal limb. This procedure is very complicated and expensive. It is referred to as a corrective osteotomy and distraction osteogenesis. It is accomplished by cutting the bones, straightening the leg, applying a ring fixator that is held in the bone with pins, and then the cut bones are distracted very slowly to grow bone. Miko’s owner was given an estimate and he was left with the task of finding funds to pay for Miko’s surgery. Miko’s owner was able to raise some money for Miko and then received a grant from Vet-I-Care to cover approximately 75 percent of the cost of the repair. Surgery was done on 1/25/13 by Dr. Culbert. Everything went well. The bones were straightened and then started to grow new bone to get the effected limb to match his unaffected side.

Miko-in-backyardThis is Miko in his back yard with the ring fixator on and bandaged. As you can see he is an active, playful puppy.

Things were going very well but approximately 7 weeks after the original surgery it was discovered that Miko was not growing bone fast enough. The fixator had to be removed and a large bone plate and screws had to be applied in order to hold the bones together. Miko also needed a bone graft to stimulate active bone growth.

This worked very well. Within a few weeks, Miko was home playing in his yard with a straight leg and no splint.

About 6 weeks post plating, Miko developed a draining tract at the surgery site. This indicated infection or implant loosening. He was treated with antibiotics and he did get better, but the draining tracts returned. On 6/26/13, Miko had another surgery to remove the plate and screws. Miko-German-ShepherdThe great thing at this point was that the bone had filled in well and the leg was strong. The plate and screws were removed so that all would eventually heal. Miko was seen on 7/3/13 and looked great. He will be in a splint bandage for another few weeks, but he should be on his way to a complete recovery.

How you can help
Because Miko encountered complications that required two subsequent surgeries after the first, the cost to repair this deformity is more than originally expected. With all of the help that Vet-I-Care and Northstar Vets has given Miko’s owner, he still has a need. If you can help Miko and his owner get back to a more normal existence and help them with this debt, they would be forever grateful. If you would like to make a donation directly for Miko, please contact Eileen Schuck at NorthStar VETS at eschuck@northstarvets.com or at 609-259-8300.

Laura Culbert, DVM, DACVSLaura Culbert, DVM, DACVS
Dr. Laura Culbert has been part of the surgical team at NorthStar VETS since 2006. She received her veterinary degree from Cornell University in 1992. From there she completed an internship and surgical residency at The Animal Medical Center in New York City. She has conducted research in the areas of developmental biophysiology and muscular biochemistry. Her resident project focused on neurologic diseases in dogs and complications associated with steroid therapy. Dr. Culbert’s areas of interest in veterinary surgery include, but are not limited to, cardiothoracic surgery, oncologic surgery, plastic surgery and fracture repair. In addition to her many talents, she offers the Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) procedure for large dogs and cranial cruciate ligament repair. Dr. Culbert has worked with various rescue groups over the years including Greyhound, Australian Shepherd, Jack Russell Terrier, Golden Retriever and Boxer Rescue.

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