Visit Your Local Emergency Pet Hospital Before Your Pet Has an Emergency


Human and Animal Blood Drive at NorthStar VETS

Human and Animal Blood Drive at NorthStar VETS

Every year, 1000’s of pet owners rush their beloved pets to the emergency pet hospital for a variety of reasons. However, gastrointestinal illness and trauma top the list. If you have a pet, you don’t want to wait until there’s an emergency before you visit the local emergency pet hospital. The panic of Googling your options as you watch your pet in obvious discomfort will only add to your stress.

The Blessing of the Animals event is held at NorthStar VETS in October

The Blessing of the Animals event is held at NorthStar VETS in October

Instead, ask your family veterinarian who they recommend in emergency situations and after hours. They may have rotating vets on call or recommend a local emergency pet hospital. Don’t forget to add the contact information to your phone. It’s also a good idea to leave it in a prominent location like on the refrigerator in case another household member or a pet sitter needs it. NorthStar VETS can supply you with a refrigerator magnet with this information.

Dr. Kimberly Hammer, Medical Director for NorthStar VETS says, “By visiting your emergency veterinary hospital beforehand, you will not only know how to get there, but also have a chance to meet the people who work there and understand the process of how your pet gets the very best care possible.”

One of the Pet First Aid lectures held at NorthStar VETS in 2016

One of the Pet First Aid lectures held at NorthStar VETS in 2016

If you’ve visited your local emergency pet hospital in a time of calm, you’ll have a little more familiarity with the people, place and process. As Hammer says, “Your focus can be on making the very best decisions for your pet in a time of need.”

NorthStar VETS provides plenty of excellent opportunities to visit the hospital in non-emergent situations. Sign up for our e-newsletter or follow us on Facebook to be in the loop on upcoming events like pet first aid lectures, human and animal blood drives, and the blessing of the animals. You can also schedule a time to come by for a tour.

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.

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NorthStar VETS ACVO Service Dog Eye Exams 2016


eye-exams1Peggy Breuninger and her Great Dane, Alma, sat in the waiting room of NorthStar VETS in Maple Shade awaiting their eye appointment with Dr. Vygantas. Alma is a service and therapy dog and works with autistic children, and also visits hospices and hospitals. But on this day, they were at NorthStar VETS for the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology (ACVO) National Service Animal Eye Exams event. Dr. Vygantas explained, “The ACVO has put together a service event that’s nationwide where the diplomates of the college donate their time and services to examine pets and animals that are working in a service capacity to help people who are disadvantaged, or disabled in other capacities. We do an eye exam to ensure that the eyes are healthy and that they are able to perform their duty in the best way possible.”

Dozens of service animals visit NorthStar VETS each year for a free exam. Dr. Vygantas explained further. “The service dogs will be getting an exam just like any of our clinical patients. There is a lot observation, both looking with the microscope and with special lenses to see deep into the eye. We check ocular surface health by checking with a fluorescein stain to see if there are any abrasions, we check lubrication of the eye with a test called the Schirmer tear test, we check the pressure of the inside of the eye with an instrument that we actually touch to the surface of the eye called the Tono-pen or the Tonovet to make sure these pets don’t have Glaucoma. It’s a general exam much like what you would get when you go to your eye doctor, just to make sure that their eyes are healthy.”

Stacy Milazzo of Stokes Pharmacy, the main sponsor of this national event, told us what the event is all about. “Stokes Pharmacy is a proud sponsor of the ACVO Service Animal Eye Exams which happen in the month of May. They’re free exams given by Veterinary Ophthalmologists to screen service animals and catch any problems before they happen so they can make sure these animals will be ready to serve for the rest of the year.”

eye-exams2These service animals have a wide variety of jobs. Ruth Osman and her dog, Kelsey, were also there to see the Ophthalmologist. Ruth gave us her volunteer story about her work with Kelsey and the Tri-State Canine Response Team. “Kelsey and I are a therapy dog team with some extra training. We’re trained to respond in case of a disaster or crisis and give comfort and stress relief to first responders, family members of victims and even visiting shelters after disasters. Other times we visit libraries, schools and nursing homes.” Sue Keenan and Xena were another team doing search and rescue. “Xena will be seven in December,” said Sue. “She was found as a stray and I adopted her from the Associated Humane Society in Newark. She had no obedience training or related work done with her, so we started first with obedience training and we got into trailing and finally scent detection. Xena is a trained search and rescue dog. She is certified through two organizations, NASAR search and rescue and the North Carolina Police Dog Association. She is certified to search for human remains and we do searches for missing people around the country, but mostly down south.” And Xena gives back in other ways as well. “We’ve also been participating for the last several years with the NorthStar VETS Canine and Feline Blood Bank. She donates blood there to dogs that are injured or sick and need blood.”

Thanks to ACVO and Stokes Pharmacy, these dogs are seeing great and ready to get back to work. Sue Keenan concluded, “These eye exams are great because the ACVO does this every year and allows us to visit Dr. Vygantas at NorthStar VETS to have her eyes examined.” And Stacy from Stokes Pharmacy added, “It’s been a wonderful experience for us. We’ve been able to go out and see some of the clients and see how vital these animals are to the people that they serve. It’s been a really nice thing for our organization to be able to sponsor that.”

To learn more about the event, visit the ACVO Service Dog Eye Exam website.

James Clinton, VMD, DACVOJames Clinton, VMD, DACVO
Dr. James M. Clinton received his veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He then completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the prestigious Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston prior to undertaking a residency in ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Clinton has been a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology since 1972.

Dr. Clinton opened the Animal Eye Clinic of New Jersey in 1971, which was one of the first independent ophthalmology referral practices in the country and the first one on the East coast.

Kristina R. Vygantas, DVM, DACVOKristina R. Vygantas, DVM, DACVO
Dr. Vygantas is a graduate of the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University. She completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery as well as her residency in ophthalmology at Auburn University. Dr. Vygantas became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists in 2001. She was in private practice in Birmingham, Alabama, for four years prior to joining NorthStar VETS in 2005. She also served on the board of the exam committee of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. Her special interests include corneal surgery and wound healing as well as equine ophthalmology.


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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From the Client Perspective: My Dog was Diagnosed with Kidney Disease


From time to time, we will share stories from the client perspective, giving insight into some of the thousands of stories that take place at NorthStar VETS every year. This is the story of Butterscotch, who was diagnosed with kidney disease.

Butterscotch1

Butterscotch was bleeding from his mouth one day, so I called my family veterinarian. The technician suggested that maybe he had a broken tooth, but the bleeding continued, so I brought him in. One of the associate veterinarians immediately looked at him. There was concern about cancer, but after some tests it turned out to be chronic kidney failure. Butterscotch was given some medicine to control the bleeding and sent home.

A couple of weeks later, over the weekend, Butterscotch continued to bleed on and off as he tried to eat and drink. He continued to remain very weak and something was not right. Monday morning, I called my family veterinarian. After a second examination, his numbers were worse than on my initial visit and his situation was more serious. My family suggested I get him to NorthStar VETS right away. We were on an emotional rollercoaster, but we were ready to fight for the health of our precious family member.

When he presented to NorthStar VETS a few days before Thanksgiving, his numbers were dangerously high from all the blood loss and they were worried about his condition after five days of dehydration and anemia. They kept him for two days and after 37 hours of IV fluids and a blood transfusion, his numbers were much better. We brought home a happy and excited dog. The staff from top down at NorthStar VETS could not have been more honest, attentive, friendly, concerned, and supportive. I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

Butterscotch2A week later, he was doing well and went for a recheck and his numbers were settling down to present a true picture of his kidney disease. Dr. Anderson at NorthStar VETS suggested a renal diet and fluids at home. Five months later, Butterscotch is doing very well with the subcutaneous fluids.

Thank goodness I took him to NorthStar VETS and he is being treated and monitored for kidney failure. NorthStar VETS didn’t just save my dog; they saved a member of our family!

Robin

If you would like to share your story in an upcoming “From the Client Perspective” blog post, email Marketing Director Phil.

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Human and Animal Blood Drives at NorthStar VETS


photo1NorthStar VETS is hosting TWO human and animal blood drives this June! These are excellent opportunities for you and your pet to give back with the gift of life. Find the event most convenient for you and sign up right away!

Human and Animal Blood Drive with the Community Blood Council of NJ
Thursday, June 23 from 10:00am-2:00pm
NorthStar VETS in Maple Shade, NJ
2834 Route 73N, Maple Shade, NJ 08052
Humans can sign up at the Community Blood Council website.

Human and Animal Blood Drive with the American Red Cross
Wednesday, June 29 from 9:00am-2:00pm
NorthStar VETS in Robbinsville, NJ
315 Robbinsville-Allentown Road
Robbinsville, NJ 08691
Humans can sign up at the Red Cross website. Type in zipcode 08691 or scroll down to June 29 and select the event at NorthStar VETS.

You can begin your pet’s pre-screening process today at northstarvets.com.

Blood Bank 012Learn more about the NorthStar VETS Canine and Feline Blood Bank
See some of the NorthStar VETS Superheroes saving lives every day
Read some success stories of pets saved with donated canine and feline blood

See TV news coverage from last year’s Human and Animal Blood Drive at 6ABC.com

Watch the NorthStar VETS video covering the 2015 human and animal blood drive

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3 Ways to Ensure a Safe Veterinary Waiting Room Experience


My Oncology team and I have more than thirty years combined working in veterinary hospitals. Over the years, we have seen many different interactions in the waiting room. These are the top three things you can do to ensure a safe experience for everyone while you wait to be seen.
DSC_4215

  1. Make sure children understand how to interact with other people’s pets
    Most pets in the NorthStar VETS lobby are either sick or painful. It is best to not to interact with other people’s pets without permission. Encourage children to ask permission before interacting with a pet, and help them understand that a sick/hurting/scared animal may not want to be pet.

    This applies to your four-legged children as well. Dogs naturally want to sniff or play with other animals in the waiting room, but you don’t always know why other owners have their pets in the hospital. If those pets are sick, they may not want to play.

  2. Avoid retractable dog leashes
    Many clients like retractable leashes, but they do come with risks. With a retractable leash, dogs can be more difficult to control, may not understand their boundaries, and the leash has the potential to snap due to wear over time. It also tempts dogs to greet other dogs in the waiting room. Read Dr. Marty Becker’s post on the top 10 risks of retractable leashes

  3. Use a carrier for smaller pets
    If you own a cat, bird or other small animal, please keep them in a carrier. Some dogs have a strong prey drive, and may take an unwelcome interest in your pet. And having smaller pets in a carrier makes it easier to get them into the hospital and into and out of the exam room.

    This is another important tip. If your pet requires a muzzle, allow your veterinary professional to place it on your pet. Many of us are very skilled at understanding the scared or hurt pet that might be potentially reactive. In most cases, we are able to gently restrain a pet without the aid of our clients.

    Our top priorities are the pet, their well-being and safety for everyone.

    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. After two years at the National Cancer Institute performing cancer genetic research, she attended veterinary school at Tufts University. Dr. Kim completed a rotating internship at the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan, New York, and an oncology internship at Cornell University. She began at NorthStar VETS as an emergency clinician in 2005 and returned in 2010 to treat oncology patients after completing her residency in medical oncology at Michigan State University School of Veterinary Medicine. In her free time, Dr. Kim is an avid foodie and knitter.

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How Rehabilitation Improves Quality of Life for Patients


Sheila is a Veterinary Technician who specializes in animal Rehabilitation, who was inspired when she had to get care for her own dogs. “I was a dance teacher for more than twenty-five years and had a couple of Dalmations of my own,” said Sheila. “As they became senior dogs, they required a lot of nursing care. And during the process of nursing my Dalmations, I realized that I really liked the profession and it was something that I really wanted to do. I knew at some point I was going to retire from teaching dance, so when I did, I went back to school to become a Veterinary Technician so that I could help. I did my externship from school here at NorthStar VETS and absolutely fell in love with the place. I stayed and never left.” She laughs. “I spent time in different departments around the hospital, particularly in Surgery and Radiology. And then one Summer, they asked if I would come and help out in the Rehabilitation department and I said, ‘Sure!’ It just seemed like the perfect fit from the dancing career to Rehabilitation so I decided that I wanted to specialize in it.”

Sheila performing a laser therapy session on a patient

Sheila performing a laser therapy session on a patient

NorthStar VETS sees hundreds of pets each week and Sheila is always staying busy. She remarked, “We run two or three appointments simultaneously. I help assist the doctor, who is a Veterinary Physical Therapist. I am a Technician Physical Therapist. We see all of our post-operative Neurologic cases as well as Orthopedic cases. It’s actually part of their surgical packages. Their suture removals are done with us and then we start them on an exercise program. It helps to speed up recovery, it helps to build that animal-owner bond, and also helps to build their relationship with us as well. Often, those patients will come back to us years later and now they have some arthritis or some pain in other places and they end up seeing us for other modalities such as our therapeutic laser, acupuncture or underwater treadmill. And we can always redo their home exercise program. We combine this with medications as well to help everything work synergistically together to help improve our patients’ quality of life.”

The water treadmill is another tool that Sheila uses to help patients get back to full strength. “Our underwater treadmill is wonderful in that it gives them support so that an animal that cannot stand is often able to stand when they’re in the treadmill. And then when the belt moves, it causes their legs to move which gives them that exaggerated range of motion. They also get proprioceptive feedback when their feet strike the belt every single time. It works really well with our neurologic patients. It’s one of the top therapies that we use with those patients.”

Sheila, and the team an NorthStar VETS, will continue to provide the best in veterinary medicine for you and your pets. “Every single day I love seeing the patients and we get to see a lot of them on a regular basis so we become very attached to them. They’re just a joy! And it’s wonderful when you see a patient completely paralyzed and unable to walk transform over six to eight weeks and get back to normal. They’re playing and having a normal life again which is very rewarding.”


Sheila Mills, CVT, CCRPSheila Mills, CVT, CCRP
Mills is a native of New Jersey with a Bachelor of Science degree from Houghton College (Houghton, NY) in Business Administration. After a long career as a dance instructor, she obtained an Associates of Science degree from Manor College (Jenkintown, PA) in Veterinary Technology. In 2012, Sheila completed an externship at NorthStar VETS and was licensed by the state of Pennsylvania to become a Credentialed Veterinary Technician (CVT). She joined the NorthStar VETS team that same year as a full-time technician spending much of her time in the Radiology, Surgery and Rehabilitation departments.

In 2014, Sheila completed a specialty in Canine Rehabilitation from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine to become a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP). She currently focuses her efforts in the Rehabilitation department providing therapeutic treatments, including Laser Therapy, Therapeutic exercises and Underwater Treadmill, for both in-patients and out-patients.


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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Gabriel is the Luckiest Dog


We recently met a patient named Gabriel owned by three amazing triplets. His story is incredible and this may be the luckiest dog we’ve ever met. This is his story.

Gabriel the Basset Hound“Gabriel is actually a southern boy.” The triplets begin recounting the tale. “He came up on a transport because he wouldn’t hunt down south and he ended up at the Somerset Regional Animal Shelter right down the street from our house. He stayed there a couple of weeks until a family adopted him on a trial. It was on their first day that a teenage girl was walking him when something spooked him and he bolted. That was the beginning of his saga. He was lost on his own, dragging the leash, crossing major highways here in New Jersey for forty-two days!”

Despite an extensive search, Gabriel traveled over seven miles across Somerset County enduring ticks, dehydration, an elbow injury, and losing twenty-five pounds in the process before he was luckily found.

“One day, a gentleman in Martinsville found him in his chicken coop. They called the shelter and the shelter immediately went and got him. His original family felt that he was a little too much for them to handle, so they brought him back to the shelter. He needed elbow surgery on account of maybe being nudged by a car.”

The three sisters took Gabriel to a local veterinary hospital to have the elbow injury operated on. But after finding additional heart problems, the triplets turned to the specialists at NorthStar VETS.

Dr. Jennifer Schneiderman placing the pacemaker into GabrielJennifer Schneiderman, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology), explained, “Gabriel is a Basset Hound that was diagnosed with an arrhythmia called third degree A-V block. Basically, that causes the heart to beat too slow which can make animals feel weak, lethargic, and they can even have passing-out episodes. The only way to fix that kind of arrhythmia is by placing a pacemaker which allows the heart to beat at a faster rate that’s more compatible with everyday activity and life.” She continued, “The way we place pacemakers now in veterinary medicine is minimally invasive. Using fluoroscopy, we can go down the jugular vein and place the lead wire of the pacemaker into the right ventricle. It’s then attached to a battery pack that sits in a pocket under the skin on the neck. This way, we don’t need to open up the chest and dogs go home the next day feeling great!”

“He is so happy!” Reported the triplets, “He wakes up wagging his tail, he rests soundly, and he’s got a great appetite. He is a delight! And he loves the way when he arrives at NorthStar VETS everyone says, ‘Gabriel’s here!’ He feels like he is a VIP patient here.”

“Dr. Schneiderman noted, “Doing these procedures is very gratifying because it is such a wonderful feeling to be able to instantly help an animal feel better. Really, as soon as they wake up from the surgery they feel great and they’re ready to run around.”

After all Gabriel has been through, he’s now relaxing at home with Georgette, Gail and Gerie. They remarked, “He was near death when we found him. It’s a miracle he survived. He came with the name Gabriel and we thought that was perfect, so we kept it.”


Jennifer Schneiderman, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology)Jennifer Schneiderman, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology)
Dr. Schneiderman received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree at Ross University in 2009 before moving back home to Long Island, New York where she completed a one-year rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Atlantic Coast Veterinary Specialists in March 2010. After that, she completed a three-year residency in Cardiology at Atlantic Coast Veterinary Specialists in July 2013 and then stayed on there as a Staff Cardiologist until June 2014. Now a board-certified Veterinary Cardiologist, Dr. Schneiderman joined the NorthStar VETS team in August 2014. Her clinical interests include treatment of congestive heart failure and complex arrhythmias along with an interest in interventional procedures such as pacemaker implantation, balloon valvuloplasty and patent ductus arteriosus occlusion. Outside of work, Dr. Schneiderman enjoys traveling, scuba diving, going to the beach and spending time with her two tuxedo cats.


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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What Pet Owners Should Expect When They Arrive at the Pet Hospital in an Emergency


Bringing your pet to a veterinary emergency hospital can be a very scary experience! Here are some tips on what to expect so that you can be best prepared when a veterinary medical emergency arises for your pet.

NorthStar VETS technicians race to help an incoming pet suffering a medical emergency

NorthStar VETS technicians race to help an incoming pet suffering a medical emergency

Barbara Maton, DVM, DACVECC says, “Pet owners should expect to have their pet’s vital signs taken, and a brief assessment of why they came in through Emergency. If their pet is unstable, ideally urgent treatments should be started with owner permission.”

Bring your pet’s latest medical records if you can. Have the contact information for your family veterinarian. Bring proof of your pet insurance and/or a method of payment. Pet hospitals will require payment at the time of service.

Know any medication your pet is on. It’s important for your attending doctor to be aware of any possible side effects or interactions. Be as clear as possible about your pet’s symptoms and actions. The more information you can provide the better.

We recommend putting this information together as well as pre-registering your pet and visiting your nearest emergency pet hospital before you need it. If you do need emergency medical care for your pet, it’ll be a little easier knowing how to get to the hospital.

Barbara Maton, DVM, DACVECCBarbara Maton, DVM, DACVECC
Dr. Maton is originally from Florida, where she earned her undergraduate degree in biology from the University of North Florida, and studied veterinary medicine at the University of Florida, obtaining her DVM in 2006. She completed a rotating internship focused on emergency medicine at SouthPaws Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Center in Virginia, then moved to Pittsburgh where she worked as an emergency veterinarian for two years and completed her residency in the specialty in 2012. After helping to start a critical care service at an established veterinary referral hospital in Delaware, she joined NorthStar VETS in 2014. Her clinical and research interests include trauma, electrolyte derangements, anticoagulant therapies and CPR medicine.


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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Dog Recovers from Insecticide Toxicity with Intravenous Lipid Emulsion


Raisin is a 7-year-old, female spayed, Collie Mix that was referred to us for further treatment after ingestion of a toxic dose of abamectin insecticide (InVict insect paste). This is in the macrolide class of insecticides, and at high doses, crosses the blood-brain barrier, binds to glutamate-gated chloride channels, causes hyperpolarization, prevents nerve conduction, and ultimately can lead to paralysis and death. There is no specific antidote, and traditionally is monitored with supportive care, treatment of seizures, and mechanical ventilation if needed. More recently, intravenous lipid emulsion has become an effective treatment option for animals with toxicities.

Raisin’s clinical signs on presentation included vomiting, hypersalivation, pupil dilation, blindness, mild head tremors, weakness, and mental dullness. In worse cases, dogs can develop seizures and become comatose. We used intravenous lipid emulsion to treat Raisin through her toxicity. She initially received boluses (higher dose over 1 hour), then would relapse clinical signs, so was maintained on a continuous low dose infusion for 40 hours, after which she was weaned off, and had only mild clinical signs. She was discharged 4 days after admit, and on recheck one week later was fully recovered and back to normal.

Intravenous lipid emulsion’s primary mechanism of action is acting as a lipid sink for lipid soluble drugs, drawing them away from the brain into the blood, where they do not exert toxic effects, until the drug can be metabolized/excreted and is below a toxic level. There are other theoretical mechanisms of action. Side effects include lipemia (fat in the blood), and in people, they can develop pancreatitis and fat emboli, but we have not appreciated this to be a clinical problem in dogs and cats.

Raisin is also a special case, due to her genetics, she carries an MDR1 gene mutation, which codes for a protein pump in the brain. This gene mutation makes her particularly more sensitive to drugs that affect the brain, like the macrolides. Although she had a toxic dose of the drug, her genetics made her even more sensitive to the drug. We tested for this in Raisin due to her breed and the known prevalence of this mutation in Collies.

The treatment was a success! The owners were very worried about Raisin when she first presented, and concerned about her long-term expectations, but they are so happy to have Raisin fully normal and back home to her family!

Barbara Maton, DVM, DACVECCBarbara Maton, DVM, DACVECC
Dr. Maton is originally from Florida, where she earned her undergraduate degree in biology from the University of North Florida, and studied veterinary medicine at the University of Florida, obtaining her DVM in 2006. She completed a rotating internship focused on emergency medicine at SouthPaws Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Center in Virginia, then moved to Pittsburgh where she worked as an emergency veterinarian for two years and completed her residency in the specialty in 2012. After helping to start a critical care service at an established veterinary referral hospital in Delaware, she joined NorthStar VETS in 2014. Her clinical and research interests include trauma, electrolyte derangements, anticoagulant therapies and CPR medicine.


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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Jaws the Cat Gets Broken Jaw Fixed


Jaws is a cat who was discovered under the car of a caring woman named Melissa. Melissa’s mom went to put the garbage out, heard a terrible yowling and realized that there was a cat under their car. She called Melissa down, and they spent about twenty to thirty minutes trying to get this cat out. They realized that he was seriously hurt when they got him out. Melissa recalls, “He looked rabid to me, and I didn’t want to touch him, but my mom managed to grab a towel and we got him into a case, and she was really insistent that we bring him over to our vet, who is Dr. Rockhill over at Belle Mead Animal Hospital. And she took it from there. He’s a really sweet cat and we did what we could for him to make sure he was stabilized until we could get him the help that he needed.”

Dr. Rockhill, a veterinarian at Belle Mead Animal Hospital, was the doctor who took on Jaws’ case. She said, “I opened up the carrier and he sort of, popped his head out, and was purring away. He had all this discharge from his nose and initially his jaw was lopsided. He had a couple fractures, and the discharge from his nose was from the trauma. He was still the friendliest cat I had ever seen. We didn’t have to sedate him for the exam, he let us draw blood, and when we tested it, everything looked perfect. Then we took X-rays.” At this point, they had to think about their next step. Dr. Rockhill continued, “We weren’t sure what we had to do. He didn’t have a microchip, he was a neutered male and pure-bred, and we weren’t sure if he had an owner. We called over to a local shelter, but nobody was looking for him. We still weren’t sure if we would be able to take over his care or if somebody else had to take care of him. But the shelter said based on how much pain he was in, they were probably going to euthanize him because they weren’t equipped to take care of what it would take to fix him.” Dr. Rockhill had to think fast to save this cat. “I started a Go Fund Me for him, because we knew it was going to be a costly matter for him to get fixed up based on the work he had to get. From there, everybody, through Facebook and word-of-mouth, donated money just to help out with his cause. We kept him in our care, got him on fluids, got him stabilized and then Melissa brought him to NorthStar VETS.”

Dr. John Lewis, Veterinary Dentist and Oral Surgeon at NorthStar VETS, was brought in to help repair the worst of Jaws’ problems. Dr. Lewis said, “The first time I met Jaws, I put my stethoscope to his heart to take a listen, and he was purring despite having so much severe trauma to his entire facial region. His jaw was split down the middle of the two lower jaws, and the left-lower canine tooth was poking into the soft tissue of the roof of the mouth and causing severe trauma. He had what looked like multiple maxillary fractures as well. We unfortunately see that degree of trauma not on a weekly basis, but we do see it on a monthly basis. The good Samaritans who found him proceeded because once they learned that it wouldn’t be inhumane to go ahead and proceed with trying to repair his maxillo-facial trauma, they were all in.”

Melissa commented on Jaws quality of life today by saying, “I never thought with the type of trauma that he had, that he would look so great and that Dr. Lewis would be able to get him to look like this. This is amazing! Jaws is so sweet and good-natured. He is really a ham and gets along with everyone.”

Dr. Lewis summed up the story like this, “The community just gathered around and through the Go Fund Me page that Dr. Rockhill set up, and through the Vet-i-Care charitable foundation, there was a lot of support to allow him to get all of his trauma dealt with. And now he’s a new cat!”

This is a great story about how one person stepped up to help an animal in need, and two caring veterinarians stood with her and got the community involved to save this cat’s life and give him a second chance.

John Lewis, VMD, FAVD, DAVDC
John Lewis, VMD, FAVD, DAVDC
Dr. Lewis graduated from University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1997 and spent five years in general practice prior to returning for a residency in dentistry and oral surgery. He 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 assistant professor of Dentistry and Oral Surgery, associate director of the Mari Lowe Center for Comparative Oncology, and more recently, as Chief of Surgery. His 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 in October 2013, Dr. Lewis was the residency director of the world’s first academic residency in veterinary dentistry and oral surgery at The University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Lewis received the AVDC Outstanding Candidate award in 2004, the Hills AVDS Education and Research Award in 2012 and the AVD Fellow of the Year award in 2013.

Dr. Lewis is the proud father of five boys, two dogs, and two cats, all of whom keep him busy outside of work.

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