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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From the Client Perspective: Our Story of Caring for Our Best Friend


Christopher-LenochiEach one of our clients has a unique story to tell, but they all have a common theme: mutual love and devotion between pet and pet-parent. We received this story from clients of ours who were absolutely committed to taking care of their best friend in the same way that friend had been there for them over the years. This is the story of Christopher. It may remind you of your own story about caring for your furry best friend in their time of need. If it does, let us know in the comments below.

In May of 2010, a handsome little miniature pinscher joined our family. He came to be known as Christopher.

It didn’t take us long to see how smart, loveable and human-like Christopher was. He understood every word, especially any word starting with a “P.” He would perk right up hearing the word “pizza.” He loved riding in a car, more so if he heard “Wawa” or “Dunkin Donuts.” He became my wingman!

Christopher loved being hugged and kissed. Then he would close his eyes and hug you back. His way of talking to us was a blooping sound. On the other hand, nothing was allowed in his yard. No birds, no squirrels, not even planes could fly overhead. Chris would trot around to chase the planes away. He acted like the older brother to the other dogs, and would bark if they didn’t obey.

In July of 2014, his regular veterinarian found a problem with Christopher’s kidneys. We then took him to a veterinarian we had known for more than fourteen years, Dr. Tammy Anderson at NorthStar VETS. After tests and ultrasound, he was diagnosed with renal failure. Our hearts sank and a sick feeling came over us. Dr. Anderson told us there was no cure, but we could try to slow it down. We started fluids and changed his food to what was recommended.

Three days later, when Chris began vomiting, we took him back to NorthStar VETS. We met Dr. Nancy Vail-Archer in the Emergency department. She ran tests and diagnosed Chris as having severe pancreatitis. He was admitted and put in ICU. On Wednesday, Dr. Anderson took him back under her care. He spent five days in ICU at which time Dr. Anderson told us we could take him home. In our hearts and minds, we figured we were going to lose him then.

Christopher went on a routine of fluids every day, and bloodwork every three months to keep track of his values. We changed his food again and he never had another outbreak of pancreatitis.

Along the way, he developed eye problems. Again, we called on a veterinarian at NorthStar VETS we had known for more than fourteen years, Dr. Kristina Vygantas.

He was on numerous medications, some for the renal issue and some for his eyes. With the help, care and compassion, and the hugs and kisses, our Christoper lived another year and half.

Christopher with NorthStar VETS technician, Sabrina

Christopher with NorthStar VETS technician, Sabrina

Toward the end of December 2015, Christopher wouldn’t eat anything on his own. We could see the sparkle in his eyes fading and he couldn’t keep standing on his own.

On January 3rd, 2016, we guided Christopher to the stairs that led to doggie heaven. No more pain, no more needles. Just peace where he would forever be a pup.

With very humbled hearts, we would like to thank our family veterinarian, as well as the team at NorthStar VETS including Dr. Vail, Dr. Anderson, Dr. Vygantas and all the techs and receptionists who helped Christopher along the way. Everyone showed warmth, care and much love to our Chris. Christopher was loved to pieces and will be kept in our hearts forever.

Lorraine and Michael

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NorthStar VETS Receives AAHA Accreditation in Maple Shade


NorthStar VETS is proud to announce that it has received AAHA Accreditation at its Maple Shade location. Now pet owners can feel confident in the standard of care they receive at both locations!

NorthStar VETS was first accredited in 2010, named AAHA Specialty and Referral Hospital of the Year in 2013, and now in 2016, both facilities (Robbinsville, New Jersey and Maple Shade, New Jersey) are AAHA accredited!

The following services are included

  • Behavior
  • Cardiology
  • Clinical Pathology
  • Dentistry
  • Dermatology
  • Emergency & Critical Care
  • Internal Medicine
  • Interventional Radiology
  • Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Radioiodine (I-131)
  • Radiology
  • Rehabilitation and Pain Management
  • Surgery
  • Theriogenology (Reproductive Medicine)

Veterinary hospitals are evaluated on approximately 900 standards of veterinary excellence in order to become accredited. AAHA-accredited hospitals are recognized among the finest in the industry, and are consistently at the forefront of advanced veterinary medicine. Pet owners can feel reassured about the care their pets receive at AAHA-accredited hospitals. There is a saying among business leaders: Good management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things. Accreditation assures you that your veterinarian does both!

To find out more on the importance of AAHA Accreditation, please visit www.aaha.org.

AAHA Logo

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The importance of why NorthStar VETS stays accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association


NorthStar VETS has been a member of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) for years and was named their referral practice of the year in 2013, which is one of the highest honors in our industry, and one of the many awards we’ve received of which we are most proud. Here is the statement we made when we were named.

AAHA-Award-Statue2

“Our AAHA accreditation reflects NorthStar VETS’ commitment to consistently fulfilling our purpose statement: to improve the quality of life of our patients, our clients, the family veterinarian and our staff. AAHA accreditation highlights the importance of our 5 core values: professionalism, excellence, compassion, teamwork and service. As one of the few AAHA accredited referral practices, the importance of increasing public perception regarding the sophistication of our profession is paramount to us. Incorporating referral practice standards for quality patient care raises the level of care provided; it maintains a commitment to practicing quality, state-of-the-art veterinary medicine. Maintaining our AAHA accreditation holds us accountable to that commitment. The AAHA accreditation process itself was a wonderful team-building experience and our entire staff takes great pride in our AAHA achievement. As leaders in the veterinary referral field, we hope that our accreditation will inspire other practices (referral and general) to join AAHA’s commitment to meeting the highest standards in veterinary excellence in the ever-growing and rapidly-advancing veterinary industry.”

We are working here to get re-accredited and encourage all pet owners to learn more about AAHA accreditation and why it is important to the quality of veterinary care your pet receives. To get more information, visit www.aaha.org.

Rosalie LoScrudato, DVM, CVA, CCRPRosalie LoScrudato, DVM, CVA, CCRP
Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner
Dr. LoScrudato received her undergraduate degree from Cook College, Rutgers University, and graduated from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in 1990. After graduation, Dr. LoScrudato returned to New Jersey and practiced small animal medicine for 17 years, developing an interest in emergency and critical care medicine. She joined NorthStar VETS in 2007 as an emergency clinician.

Dr. LoScrudato earned her certification in veterinary acupuncture in 2009 from the Chi Institute. Dr LoScrudato started the Acupuncture service at NSV in 2009, giving our hospital another avenue to improve our patients’ comfort and function. Beginning in 2011, she transitioned from our ER department and dedicated her time to building the rehabilitation and pain management service at NSV along with Dr Pamela Levin. She completed her certification as a canine rehabilitation practitioner from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. Dr LoScrudato was certified in companion animal pain management in March 2015. She considers her greatest achievements her four beautiful children. Dr LoScrudato enjoys music, spending quality time with her children, and fishing.

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Does My Pet Really Need Blood Tests Before Surgery


The short answer is “yes.”

The minimum standard includes a Complete Blood Count (CBC) and Blood Chemistry Profile, however, other tests may be needed for specific situations. These might include X-rays of the chest, ultrasound of the abdomen, ultrasound of the heart, or urine checks.

Veterinary team members consulting about a patientThere are several reasons why bloodwork should be rechecked prior to any anesthesia.

  1. The complete blood count provides information regarding the red blood cell count, platelet count and white blood cell count.
    • If your pet is anemic, a blood transfusion may be necessary.
    • If the platelet count is low, your pet could have serious risks of bleeding during and after surgery (which can be fatal if unchecked).
  2. The blood chemistry profile provides information regarding your pet’s overall body function. This enables us to choose the best anesthetic medications to use for your pet, making his or her anesthesia as safe as possible.
    • Some medications can cause severe reactions if the liver is not at its full capacity.
    • Your pet may require special fluid needs if the kidney values are elevated.
    • Certain fluid types may be necessary if electrolyte disturbances are present.
    • There are other metabolic problems that can be identified on the chemistry that would require a change in the anesthetic planning.
    1. Pre-anesthesia screening should be done as close to the time of surgery as possible. If your pet is undergoing an elective procedure, results up to 1 month old are acceptible. If your pet is undergoing emergency surgery, screening tests will need to be done immediately prior to anesthesia.

      Our goal is to make your pet’s anesthesia smooth, painless, and as low risk as possible. There is always some risk to anesthesia, no matter how prepared you are; performing pre-anesthesia screening helps us to make anesthesia as safe as possible and helps us to tailor the anesthesia protocol to your pet’s specific needs.

      Daniel Stobie, DVM, MS, DACVS - Chief of StaffDaniel Stobie, DVM, MS, DACVS – Chief of Staff
      A New Jersey native, Dr. Stobie completed his undergraduate work at Cook College/Rutgers University and is a 1990 cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri-College of Veterinary Medicine. He completed an internship in small-animal medicine and surgery at the Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, then went on to complete a three-year surgical residency at the University of Minnesota and earn a Master’s Degree in Veterinary Surgery, Radiology, and Anesthesia in 1994. Dr. Stobie became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1995. In 2007, he completed the mini-MBA certificate program at the Rutgers School of Business.

      To read more about Dr. Stobie, see his full bio at northstarvets.com.

      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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Welcome Shady to the NorthStar VETS Family


shady-tie-computerB“Shady” is the newest member of our NorthStar VETS family and goes by many different names. Mr. Shady, Shady Aquaman, Slim Shady, Nigel, the list goes on and on. His official name is Shady, and we had that name kind-of picked out before we even had him in our arms. We saw pictures of Shady when he was 8-weeks old. Considering he would be the hospital cat for our Maple Shade facility and the fact that he is a lovely smokey grey color, the client service representatives at the Maple Shade facility thought “Shady” would be perfect! Dr. Kimberly Hammer, in charge of the NorthStar VETS Blood Bank for Dogs and Cats, took multiple names from the ones suggested on our Facebook page and had the employees vote on the best one and well, Shady won! He certainly lives up to his name. He will stay in your shadow if you are walking around the facility. He does not like to be left alone, even during bathroom breaks he must tag along. The way he walks suits his name well too as he has this strange, slinky, low to the ground movement when he’s lurking behind you. Shady is the most affectionate kitty if he knows you, and will instantly turn over for a belly rub if you offer them. He loves chasing imaginary things in our huge windows at Maple Shade and he will eat anything you put in front of him. All of us at NorthStar VETS who have had the chance to meet Shady have fallen in love with his fluffy fur and his sweet heart.

Shady also has a rare blood type for cats. He is blood type B which is only found in one percent of the domestic shorthair population. Cats with type B blood who need a transfusion can only receive type B blood. When Shady is full-grown, he will join our blood donor program to help cats in need. His rare blood type will be life-saving! If you have a cat or dog who you think would make a good blood donor, please visit the Blood Bank page on our web site and take the quiz to see if he/she would be eligible.

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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