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)

1-Jenna-award
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.

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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Ask the NorthStar VETS Vet: Finding the right type of food for your cat


Q: What’s the best type of food to feed your cat?

A: This is a very personal answer and if you read on the internet there is a lot of different advice. Personally, my own cats eat Science Diet and Purina Pro Plan. Both of these companies do a lot of research on pet foods to help us understand what keeps our pets healthy. If your cat is doing well on a food, there is no need to change. Most pet foods are formulated to AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) guidelines. This organization creates standards for pet foods. There is no ‘best’ food, just what works best for your cat. Keep in mind that most cats are meal feeders and not grazers. Most cats who have access to food all the time will be overweight. I also recommend that in multi-cat households, cats do not share food bowls. By doing this, if one becomes sick, you will know who is not eating and if a cat needs to be placed on a special diet, it’s easy to feed your pets different foods.

Jennifer Kim, DVMJennifer Kim, DVM
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.

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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Ask the NorthStar VETS Vet: Merkyl Cell tumors in dogs


Q: What can you tell me about Merkyl Cell tumors in dogs?

A: These are typically benign tumors of the skin and once removed completely, generally do not come back or metastasize (move to another location). These tumors can rarely be associated with abdominal organs.

Jennifer Kim, DVMJennifer Kim, DVM
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.

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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Ask the NorthStar VETS Vet: When to have a skin growth examined by a veterinarian


Q: When should a skin growth on a pet be concerning? And what changes would be cause for a re-evaluation by your vet?

A: Skin growths are common in both dogs and cats. Skin tumors can both be benign and malignant. If your pet has a skin mass, I recommend having it evaluated by your veterinarian. If a mass is bigger than 0.5cm, generally we can put a needle into the mass to obtain cells, called a fine needle aspirate to determine if it is benign or malignant. Any time a mass is growing or changing in character (for example, gets firm), it should be evaluated, even if it has been evaluated before. Occasionally, a mass that was previously diagnosed as benign can turn into a cancerous mass. I recommend any mass that is larger than 2cm or growing be removed. Certain breeds of dogs are more likely to get mast cell tumors such as Pugs, Boston Terriers and Boxers. And other breeds, such as Cocker Spaniels, have benign papillomas.

Jennifer Kim, DVMJennifer Kim, DVM
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.

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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Ask the NorthStar VETS Vet: I’m-Yunity extract for dogs with cancer


Q: My 11 year old Lab was recently diagnosed with a splenic mass via ultrasound at your facility. Unfortunately, the mass ruptured prior to being able to get her into surgery. She did have emergency surgery at another specialty hospital and the spleen and mass were removed. She is doing FANTASTIC! The biopsy came back as a probable Hemangiosarcoma, but her liver biopsy was clean. We are opting NOT to give her Chemo. My vet mentioned to me a drug that the University of Penn did studies with, a mushroom extract called I’m Yunity. Do you know anything about this and would you suggest giving her these supplements?

A: More information can be found on that study at http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/compound-derived-mushroom-lengthens-survival-time-dogs-cancer-penn-vet-study-finds.

From this link you can see that this supplement does increase survival from 86 days to 199 days in dogs that have only had surgery at the 100mg/kg group. What hasn’t been published yet is the survival data for other dosage groups. They did say that the other treatment groups were statistically the same. Please keep in mind that a 1 week supply for an 80 pound dog is ~$100 so this doesn’t come cheap, but they also mention no side effects, which is great. I have personally never used this supplement, but would be interested in using it if a client was interested.

Jennifer Kim, DVMJennifer Kim, DVM
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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