NorthStar VETS Cool Case Dobby


Dobby is a Chihuahua born with deformities in his upper legs. Through advanced veterinary medicine, Dr. Daniel Stobie of the NorthStar VETS Surgical team used 3D printing as a tool in helping this dog have good legs to stand on.

Dobby had trouble walking normally as a puppy, and as he grew, the problems became more pronounced. His mom, Lori, shared her experience. “By the time he hit about a year old, we realized there was something seriously wrong with the left leg, not realizing there was anything wrong with the right leg.” Doctors soon determined just how serious Dobby’s problem was.

“His patellas were not sitting in place.” explained Dr. Daniel Stobie of the veterinary Surgery team at NorthStar VETS, “The patella is the knee cap, and normally it should sit in the middle of the femur on the leg, but it was moving off to the inside of the leg. That did not allow for him to support weight on his hind legs, and it also caused the bone in his left femur to grow crooked.”

Dr. Stobie decided to perform multiple surgeries to help fix both of Dobby’s legs. “The left leg was much worse than the right leg, the left leg was a grade 4 patellar luxation and the right leg was a grade 3 patellar luxation. We decided to repair the one that was not as badly affected first to give him a good leg to stand on after the surgery on the left side. The left leg is going to require what is called a corrective osteotomy because of the abnormal forces. What that means is that the bone grew crooked. We were able to do a CT scan of his whole pelvis and 3D print the bone. The bone has grown to where it’s sloping medially (medial varus), and is not straight because of the pressure from the patellar luxation.”

Lori commented on how things went during the surgical process. “Dobby sailed through. Everyone here is so compassionate and kind and patient with him. They always told me what to expect, told me how to handle it, and it all went as expected.”

Dr. Stobie and the team at NorthStar VETS printed a 3D model of Dobby’s bones to help plan the details of the surgery and he walked us through that process. “It allows us to look at the bone in three dimensions and measure the angles and the slope of the bone. These models are made out of a plastic that we can cut which will allow us to practice the surgery ahead of time so we can make sure we have the right angle, take the right amount of bone out, and have a special plate made that attaches to the outside of the bone to hold it in its new position once it’s repaired. You can even see from this model how far off the bone is from the straight edge of the plate.” He gestured to the 3D model held against the plate. “That degree of angulation is going to be taken out so that when we repair it, that bone will sit against the plate and be held in its new position. It’ll allow him to have a nice straight leg to walk on and should allow for us to get the knee cap back in place.”

After eight weeks of recovery after Dobby’s first successful surgery, Dobby underwent another surgery to great success. Lori gave us an update after the second surgery. “Now that he is about 90 days out after the surgery, he’s putting his leg down. Not that I doubted it would happen, but after seeing him hold it up for such a long time, it was hard to imagine how he would ever walk on four legs, but he is putting weight on it! He’s almost like a normal little dog again. In fact, he comes to work with me every day, and now instead of having to carry him everywhere we go, I have to remember to put him down on the ground and let him walk like a normal dog because he can. Everyone who sees him is actually impressed and amazed to see that he can actually walk now, because for such a long time, just to get ten feet across the room was exhausting to him. I was concerned about his back and having long-term issues with his back or other legs, but now he’s like a normal little dog. We’re really happy about it!”

Dr. Stobie and the team at NorthStar VETS will continue to utilize new technologies to better serve and treat their patients. Dr. Stobie summed up Dobby’s case. “Being able to have this new technology allows us to do new, innovative procedures. That is always exciting! Bringing the latest, greatest technology to our hospital means better patient care and better outcomes for the pets.”

Learn more about the Surgery service at NorthStar VETS along with more about the Surgery team.

Daniel 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. Learn more about Dr. Daniel Stobie.

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Cool Case Marzipan


Marzipan and Dr. Erin Rockhill share a moment

Marzipan and Dr. Erin Rockhill share a moment

Poor Marzipan has always suffered from incontinence from around the age of 6 months. To her good fortune, she grew up in the home of Dr. Erin Rockhill, a veterinarian at Belle Mead Animal Hospital. Dr. Rockhill has a big heart for Marzipan, and has always done everything she could give her the best quality of life. That included using a drug named Proin designed to reduce urine leakage. “I knew the urine leaks weren’t her fault,” said, Dr. Rockhill, “so we started her on Proin. As time went on, we had to keep increasing the dose until we maxed it out. Eventually, we added a second drug, but she was still having trouble.”


It was at this time that Dr. Rockhill reached out to Dr. Kimberly Hammer, an Internal Medicine specialist at NorthStar VETS. “I remembered Dr. Hammer doing an interesting case a few years ago for a dog with a bladder issue, so I asked her what could be done for Marzipan.” recalled Dr. Rockhill. “She told me about a new procedure where they inject collagen into the sphincter muscles in the urethra to plump them up and help prevent urine from dribbling through. I trusted Dr. Hammer to do the procedure, and after researching it for myself, decided to explore this option further with her.”

“Marzipan, a 7-year-old Doberman Pinscher, is affected by one of the most common urinary tract diseases in female dogs: urinary incontinence,” explained Dr. Hammer. “Urinary incontinence is when the sphincter that connects the bladder to the urethra is weak. This results in urine leakage when she is not urinating. The amount that leaks can be variable: sometimes a few drops at night, sometimes a constant drip all over the house. It is most commonly seen in female spayed dogs and there may be some connection to the loss of hormones (mainly estrogen) when a female dog is spayed,” Dr. Hammer continued. “We have many options with respect to treating urinary incontinence including drugs to help tighten the sphincter and procedures that tighten the sphincter. In Marzipan, we performed collagen injections into the sphincter to help tighten it up.”
Marzipan4Marzipan5

Dr. Rockhill had Marzipan checked out by Veterinary Cardiologist, Dr. Karen Meltzer, at NorthStar VETS. “I dropped her off for an echocardiogram,” explained Dr. Rockhill, “to make sure her heart was good and Dr. Hammer checked Marzipan to rule out any structural issues before moving forward.”

Marzipan2Dr. Hammer performed collagen injections into Marzipan’s urethra. This was done cystoscopically (a camera was passed through the vulva into the urethra with no incisions made). Collagen was injected into the tissue at the smooth muscle sphincter. “If you’ve ever seen a celebrity after getting collagen into their lips to make the lips look fuller,” said Dr. Hammer, “then you can picture what we did for Marzipan.” The procedure was a success and Marzipan when home the same day. “Everyone treated us well,” said Dr. Rockhill, “I’ve been coming to NorthStar VETS recently with my cat, Mango, so I’ve gotten to know a lot of the team there.”

Back at home, Dr. Rockhill exclaimed, “Things are going well! I know it’s not a permanent fix, but it’s really helped Marzipan a lot. Over time, the collagen will get reabsorbed into Marzipan’s body, allowing more urine to slip through the sphincter. As that happens, we’ll add Proin again to maximize our time, then consider a second collagen injection in the future. I’m hoping we get at least 18 months from this.”

“I named Marzipan after a cartoon character, not the dessert topping,” revealed Dr. Rockhill, “I just loved the name. We got her as a puppy at three months of age and she has been my dog ever since. Even with her issues, we’ve made every accommodation for her. Our furniture has cloth covering so we can clean up after her. I love her no matter what, but it’s great that we were able to improve her quality of life through this procedure!”

Learn more about the Internal Medicine service at NorthStar VETS.


Kimberly Hammer, DVM, DACVIMKimberly Hammer, DVM, DACVIM
Dr. Hammer received her veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2000. She spent a year at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine for a small animal internship and returned to the University of Pennsylvania for a two-year residency in small animal internal medicine. She earned board certification from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2004. She has a special interest in interventional radiology/endoscopy and minimally invasive procedures. Her other interests include endocrinology, gastroenterology and hematology. She currently serves as the medical adviser for the NorthStar VETS blood bank. She joined the NorthStar VETS team in September 2007.

Outside of work she enjoys hiking, mountain biking, going to music concerts and reading.

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Cat Food Recall Notice


The J.M. Smucker Company today announced a voluntary recall of specific lots of 9Lives® Protein Plus® wet, canned cat food due to possible low levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1). No illnesses related to this issue have been reported to date and the product is being recalled out of an abundance of caution. The impacted products are as follows:

  • 9Lives® Protein Plus® With Tuna & Chicken 7910021549 4 pack of cans, 5.5 oz each Mar. 27, 2020- Nov.14, 2020
  • 9Lives® Protein Plus® With Tuna & Liver 7910021748 4 pack of cans, 5.5 oz each Apr. 17, 2020 – Sept.14, 2020

The Best if Used By information can be found on the bottom of each can. These products were distributed by The J.M. Smucker Company to a variety of retailers nationwide. No other 9Lives® products or products of The J.M. Smucker Company are impacted by this recall.

Cats fed diets low in thiamine for several weeks may be at risk for developing a thiamine deficiency. Thiamine is essential for cats. Symptoms of deficiency displayed by an affected cat can be gastrointestinal or neurological in nature. Early signs of thiamine deficiency may include decreased appetite, salivation, vomiting, failure to grow, and weight loss. In advanced cases, neurological signs can develop, which include ventroflexion (bending towards the floor) of the neck, mental dullness, blindness, wobbly walking, circling, falling, seizures, and sudden death. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your cat is displaying any of these symptoms. If treated promptly, thiamine deficiency is typically reversible.

Pet parents who have impacted product should stop feeding it to their cats and dispose of the product. If pet parents have questions or would like to receive a refund or coupon for replacement product, they should call the company at 1-888-569-6828, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM ET. The potential for low thiamine levels was identified internally by finished product testing. The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Cool Case Ceili


The tumor on Ceili's right elbow was cancerous and needed to be addressed.

The tumor on Ceili’s right elbow was cancerous and needed to be addressed.

Ceili, a rat terrier, has had fatty tumors before, but this one was different. This time around, Ceili’s growth was firm and she reacted when touched. Ceili’s veterinarian at Garden State Animal Hospital checked it out for her and determined that this one was cancerous. Ed and Nancy were told they needed to see a Veterinary Oncologist.

Ed and Nancy would do anything for Ceili, so their next step was to research veterinary specialty hospitals in the area. They read Yelp reviews and combed through websites. Ultimately, they settled on NorthStar VETS. “When we looked up NorthStar VETS, we felt like they were a great blend of experience and compassion. That’s why we chose to go there.”

When they came in for their appointment in the Maple Shade location, they met with Dr. Jennifer Kim of the Oncology service. Ed and Nancy didn’t know what to expect or what the diagnosis and prognosis would be when they came to the hospital. In the hour they spent, they built a great rapport with Dr. Kim as they explored the options. Dr. Kim performed additional tests to determine that it was a non-invasive, low-grade tumor and referred them to Dr. Daniel Stobie of the Surgery service to discuss removing it.

These innovative skin expanders allowed for removal of Ceili's tumor with enough skin to close the site afterward.

These innovative skin expanders allowed for removal of Ceili’s tumor with enough skin to close the site afterward.

At the second appointment, this time in Robbinsville, Ed and Nancy discussed the options with Dr. Stobie. “There were basically three,” they remembered, “chemotherapy, full amputation of the leg, or removal of the tumor with the innovative use of skin expanders to allow the site to close properly after surgery.” Ed, Nancy and Dr. Stobie felt that the skin expanders in combination with surgically removing the tumor would be the best option, and it would allow for the use of chemotherapy beads which would improve Ceili’s post-surgery prognosis.

Now Ed and Nancy were faced with their next big decision. Because Ceili is thirteen and has a known heart murmur, she is a higher-risk patient for anesthesia. they made an appointment with Dr. Ryan Keegan of the Cardiology service to have Ceili checked out. Ceili’s heart looked pretty good, so Ed and Nancy moved forward with scheduling her first surgery.

The skin expanders under Ceili's skin stretched the skin to allow for a successful phase 2 procedure.

The skin expanders under Ceili’s skin stretched the skin to allow for a successful phase 2 procedure.

To be fully successful, Ceili would require two surgeries. The first would be simple and involve the insertion of two little flat disks, each about the size of a nickel, under her skin near the tumor. These disks are designed to pull fluid from the surrounding tissue and soak it up like a sponge, inflating as they go. The slow pace of growth allows the disks to stretch the skin above it, which makes it more useful in the second surgery when they have to stretch that skin over the surgery site after the tumor is removed. This is exactly what happened and the first surgery was a complete success. Three weeks later, the skin expanders had done their job and Ceili was ready for phase 2.

Still confident, Ed and Nancy moved forward in the process. “Other than a luxating patella (loose kneecap), Ceili is active and healthy, especially for her age.” Ceili is Ed’s second dog, but his wife was raised with dogs. Their family has expanded to include Chance, a Black Labrador Retriever, and Lola, an Australian Shepherd. Years ago, when Ed and Nancy’s first dog, a Newfoundland named Max, passed away, their daughter wanted another dog and that’s when they discovered Ceili as a puppy. She shared a birthday with Ed, and it just felt right. It wasn’t long before the entire family fell in love with her. “Ceili is friendly and independent, but loves to be pet. She barks at every noise she hears and despite being the smallest of the three dogs in the house, is definitely the one in charge. As a pup, she loved snuggling into our laps, and learned lots of great tricks like playing dead. She’s a perfect blend of smart and loving mixed with a healthy dose of independence.”

The second surgery was a success, with the expanders and the tumor gone, there was room to implant chemotherapy beads into the site and close the skin with appropriate tension.

The second surgery was a success, with the expanders and the tumor gone, there was room to implant chemotherapy beads into the site and close the skin with appropriate tension.

Ed and Nancy were nervous on the day of the big surgery, but it came and went successfully. Dr. Stobie performed the procedure to remove the tumor with good margins along with the skin expanders, inserted chemotherapy beads into the site, and closed the skin with just the right amount of tension to heal well. Dr. Stobie called Ed and Nancy to give them the good news while Ceili woke up from her anesthesia and they were ecstatic. The next day, she went back home. “Ceili is fine at home. She doesn’t love this cone she’s got to wear, but she’s using the leg more and more. We’ll be back soon to get the sutures removed, and she seems much more comfortable.” Now Ceili and her family look to the future. “Hopefully, things will be good. Both locations (Maple Shade and Robbinsville) were honest and compassionate, and cared about our emotional state through the process. Plus, the entire team seemed completely smitten with Ceili! We’ll be back!”
Ceili woke up from surgery feeling much more comfortable thanks to the good decisions of Ed and Nancy along with the expertise of the NorthStar VETS team.

Ceili woke up from surgery feeling much more comfortable thanks to the good decisions of Ed and Nancy along with the expertise of the NorthStar VETS team.

Learn more about the Surgery and Oncology services at NorthStar VETS.


Daniel Stobie, DVM, MS, DACVSDaniel Stobie, DVM, MS, DACVS – Founder and 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. Read the full bio for Dr. Stobie.

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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Struvite Dissolution Pearls for Veterinarians


Struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) bladder stones are a common stone seen in younger dogs. 99% of struvite stones are related to a urease-producing bacteria associated with a urinary tract infection. The great things about these stones are that they are completely dissolevable with medical therapy! Any patient that presents with bladder stones should have a urinalysis and urine culture. If the urine culture is positive, consider trying dissolution with a combination of antibiotics, a struvite dissolution diet, and periodic radiographs to monitor your progress.

Here are some pearls of wisdom when performing a struvite dissolution protocol:

  1. Base your antibiotic therapy on a urine culture. The diet AND the antibiotics must be given throughout the dissolution protocol. Do not stop the antibiotics until you document that the stones are gone! The diet must be fed EXCLUSIVELY!
  2. Once the stones are dissolved and the infection is resolved, these dogs do not need to stay on a stone prevention diet. This is an infection-related stone, so monitoring for infection is the most important preventive therapy.
  3. It is a very small risk to develop a urinary obstruction as the stones get smaller in size. This is a RARE complication and should not be a reason not to attempt struvite dissolution.
  4. Dogs with struvite stones who present with stranguria and hematuria often have these signs secondary to infection rather than the stones themselves. Once you treat the infection, you will often see a resolution in clinical signs.
  5. Some of the dissolution diets are high in fat, so make sure there are no contraindications in your patients.

Learn more about the Internal Medicine Service at NorthStar VETS.

Kimberly Hammer, DVM, DACVIMKimberly Hammer, DVM, DACVIM – Medical Director, Robbinsville
Dr. Hammer received her veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2000. She spent a year at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine for a small animal internship and returned to the University of Pennsylvania for a two-year residency in small animal internal medicine. She earned board certification from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2004. She has a special interest in interventional radiology/endoscopy and minimally invasive procedures. Her other interests include endocrinology, gastroenterology and hematology. She currently serves as the medical adviser for the NorthStar VETS blood bank. She joined the NorthStar VETS team in September 2007.

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FDA Issues Recalls on Three Brands of Pet Food


The FDA recently issued notices on its website regarding three pet food manufacturers with food containing excessive amounts of vitamin D. The companies have issued voluntary recalls. More information is available at the links below.

  1. Natural Life
  2. Orlando
  3. Nutrisca
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Coco to Warm Your Heart


CocoCoco came quickly into Gail’s life. One afternoon, Gail was busy taking care of her human patients at work at Robert Wood Johnson when a coworker found a young stray cat and wanted to find it a home. When the cat was offered to Gail, she immediately said yes and brought Coco home to meet Gracie, her seven-year-old cat. They were fast friends.

Soon after that, Coco was taken to see his family veterinarian for a procedure. Things seemed to go well until the next night at home when Gail awoke to the sound of banging in a different part of the house. Upon investigating, Gail found Coco walking into furniture and looking confused. “Was he blind?” she thought to herself. In panic, she made the decision to bring Coco into NorthStar VETS to get checked out.

Within minutes of arriving and checking in, Siobhan, a technician at NorthStar VETS, was seated beside Gail. “She was so good to me,” Gail exclaimed. In this moment, Gail was in shock and feeling guilt-stricken at the thought that her cat may be blind. Although Coco had suffered a seizure, Gail wasn’t sure what was going on and whether he’d make it. “Siobhan took care of me right away and put my mind at ease. Dr. Tasker, who examined Coco, was amazing and did the same.” It seemed that Coco had a neurological problem that was destined to come out eventually, but going under anesthesia brought it to light sooner. That’s when Dr. Gaemia Tracy of the Neurology team took over the case the next day.

“Dr. Tracy called me on Monday morning, and that’s when I accepted that Coco didn’t have a quick fix in his future, but did have hope.” It was recommended that Coco have an MRI of his brain to see what was going on, and Gail knew what she had to do. She approved the testing and awaited the results. Later that day, Dr. Tracy called. “It looks like Coco has an inflamed brain due to immune-mediated Meningioencephalitis.” This meant he would be in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for more than two weeks to undergo treatment and recovery.

Gail came to visit Coco every day in the ICU, and sometimes twice a day when she could do it. “They never rushed me and let me stay and hold him as long as I needed. Everyone got to know me and Coco. The receptionists greeted me warmly each day, the nurses showed me respect, and I never felt like I was a bother to anyone.” In spite of that, Gail was still feeling unsettled. “The waiting was excruciating,” she admitted, “and going to work was the only time I could take my mind off things.” Her coworkers were empathetic and offered support through the ordeal. Finally, after two long weeks, she received the phone call from Dr. Melanie Puchot of the Internal Medicine service she was waiting for. “Would you like to take him home today?” she asked.

Gail was ecstatic because she couldn’t wait any longer to bring him back home. “I just wanted him close to us,” she said, “and I was willing to give him the continued care at home that he needed. I gave him his three different medicines each day without issue and helped him find his new normal at home.” Coco is still mostly blind, and figuring out how to navigate around the house. Gail is holding out hope for the future that by sixteen weeks, he will regain more vision.

Coco2For much of this time and especially since then, Gail and Coco have been back to see Dr. Puchot for continued additional care. “They don’t come any finer!” Gail gushed. She really connected with Dr. Puchot during her visits and the feeling was mutual. Dr. Puchot now proudly displays a framed photo of Coco on her desk and said, “this was one of my favorite cases this year because I connected so deeply with Coco and Gail.” Dr. Puchot was happy to get to know Coco and help in a big way with this case.

By this point, Gail was slowly getting used to her new pace of life with Coco at home. “I feel so good now,” Gail continued, “we got through it, and I couldn’t have done it without the team at NorthStar VETS. Every person was pleasant, and I hope to give the patients I work with the same level of care! When you’re giving great care, you have to take your time and be present with people, and NorthStar VETS gets that. They treat people well!”

Learn more about the Internal Medicine service at NorthStar VETS.


Melanie Puchot, DVM, DACVIMMelanie Puchot, DVM, DACVIM
Dr. Melanie Puchot is a Texas native who received her veterinary degree from Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. After graduation, she completed a small animal rotating internship at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. She then returned to Texas A&M University and completed a 3-year residency in small animal internal medicine in 2017. She has a special interest in endocrinology, nephrology and interventional endoscopy / radiology. Dr. Puchot is excited to join the team at Northstar VETS.

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Is Anesthesia Safe for My Pet


Fear of anesthesia is often cited as a reason why pet parents hesitate to put their dog or cat under for a procedure. Although risks inherent to anesthesia do exist for veterinary patients, the chance of death from anesthesia is low in healthy cats and dogs undergoing routine elective procedures. The chances of death in healthy cats and dogs are less than 0.1 percent and the chances of death in sick cats and dogs is less than 1.5 percent.

Source: Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia Fifth Edition

Source: Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia Fifth Edition

A study of cats under anesthesia reported that anesthetic risk decreases with adequate monitoring of the patient’s vitals and blood oxygenation levels. In an effort to minimize risk to our patients, we at NorthStar VETS adhere to current veterinary anesthesia standards by implementing diligent monitoring of patient vitals. Standard monitoring includes pulse rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, mucous membranes and capillary refill time, temperature, ventilation (measuring exhaled carbon dioxide), blood oxygen levels, and EKGs.

Because anesthetic risk is associated with the health status of patients, we recommend pre-operative bloodwork in our patients to complement the results of our physical examination to better assess our patient’s health status prior to anesthesia. Diagnostic tests sometimes help us identify hidden diseases so you can make an informed decision about your pet’s health.

Source: Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia Fifth Edition

Source: Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia Fifth Edition

While old age is not a disease, geriatric patients commonly present with additional diseases that can predispose them to anesthetic complications. Many of the patients that come to NorthStar VETS are older and sick. This sub-population of patients therefore will benefit most from a thorough pre-anesthetic diagnostic workup. Surgery and anesthesia nurses at Northstar VETS benefit from the support of specialists in Surgery, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, and Emergency and Critical Care to improve the safety of anesthesia in our higher-risk patient population. We are able to tailor our anesthesia protocols to an individual pet’s needs to ensure the safest anesthetic experience possible.

Learn more about the different services at NorthStar VETS.

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Believing in Magic


Dr. Coggeshall watches over Magic in the hospital's Intensive Care Unit.

Dr. Coggeshall watches over Magic in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

Jose considers himself a man of faith, a faith which was tested recently when his dog was lost for two days under a building collapse in Philadelphia. Fortunately, his story didn’t end there. Watch the news stories which cover the first half of Magic’s saga at NBC and 6ABC. You’ll see in these videos Dr. Jason Coggeshall of the NorthStar VETS Surgery service examining the dog. Dr. Coggeshall doesn’t live too far from Jose and Magic, so as soon as he heard about what happened, he rushed over to help.

Jose was beside himself after thinking that he lost his dog, then miraculously getting him back. “A piece of my heart went away when I tried to find him, but couldn’t. I had a dream that he was still with me, but I was starting to think he was gone.” Jose still remembers the flood of emotion that came over him when the construction crew called him to tell him they uncovered Magic and he was still alive. “I immediately broke down crying. He’s always been a fighter, I just had to keep the faith and give him a chance.” Jose called his family to rejoice.

Jose and Magic leaving the hospital to go home

Jose and Magic leaving the hospital to go home

Shortly thereafter, Dr. Coggeshall was there to examine Magic and encourage Jose to bring him to NorthStar VETS in Maple Shade. “He was severely dehydrated, had head trauma, and needed care right away” Dr. Coggeshall reported. Jose took the advice, loaded Magic into his car, and brought him in. Magic received fluids and care for a couple days after his ordeal, then was discharged to go home with his family.

“It’s about helping each other,” said Dr. Coggeshall, “because I’d want someone to do that for me.” Jose felt similarly. “I help people with their cars. Helping others is so important to me, which is why I was so grateful for Dr. Coggeshall and my neighbors who rallied around me. Magic is like a son to me, I am so attached to this dog. I trained and taught him to be kind and he loves other people the way I love him. I am so happy he’s home.”

Learn more about the Surgery service at NorthStar VETS.


Jason Coggeshall, DVMJason Coggeshall, DVM
Dr. Coggeshall is a Maryland native with a passion for veterinary surgery, research and teaching. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland and his doctorate in veterinary medicine at Tuskegee University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Coggeshall completed internships at the Dallas Veterinary Surgical Center and Iowa State University. He also completed a Comparative Orthopedic Research fellowship at the University of Florida. Dr. Coggeshall completed the first year of his surgical residency at the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and the subsequent two years at the Veterinary Referral Center in Malvern, PA. Dr. Coggeshall has a strong interest in clinical research, orthopedic surgery, minimally invasive surgery, and trauma surgery.

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Canine Distemper Deals Fatal Blow to Raccoons in Ocean County


NorthStar VETS wants to make pet parents aware of a serious problem happening at the shore. Canine Distemper is currently running rampant through the raccoon population because they have no immunity to it. This disease can also affect pets, so it is advised that you visit your family veterinarian to discuss keeping your pet safe against canine distemper.

Read news coverage of the issue at NJ.com and ABC7 NY.

Separately, Dr. Steven Berkowitz of the NorthStar VETS Emergency and Critical Care team recently warned area pet parents about the spike in Leptospirosis cases in the region and advised them to see their family veterinarian to discuss getting their pets vaccinated.

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