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Memorial Day: Discount for Military, Police, and Assistance Dogs

On Memorial Day, we stop to remember the brave men and women who have given their lives while serving and defending our country. However, men and women aren’t the only ones who protect and serve. Across the country and around the world there are hundreds of thousands of military, police, and assistance dogs that help keep us safe every day. Whether they’re serving in Afghanistan or Iraq as military working dogs helping to detect explosives and perform guard duty, assisting the police in tracking down narcotics, or improving the lives of persons with disabilities right here in the United States, service dogs of all kinds deserve to have their work acknowledged, which is why at your VRC specialty veterinarian in Philadelphia, all military, police, and assistance dogs receive a 20% discount!

CONTRIBUTION TO MANKIND

Service dogs have been helping mankind since the days of the ancient Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, and Persians. Service dogs help visually impaired individuals cross busy streets, as well as performing search and rescue operations, acting as sentries, and helping to detect bombs and drugs. Right now, there are approximately 2,700 active-duty dogs serving in the military, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. Military working dogs (MWDs) help with everything from explosive and narcotics detection to scouting and patrol duty, and are deployed all over the world.

According to the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA), there are between 10,000 and 15,000 working police dogs in the United States, serving 90% of police departments in communities of 100,000 or more. That means more than 60% of all police officers in America are employed in departments where they may work alongside canine companions. While we often think of police dogs as primarily assigned to sniffing out drugs, they serve a wide variety of roles on the police force, including aiding in search and rescue efforts.

Finally, the University of Arizona has estimated that there are nearly 400,000 assistance dogs partnered with individuals with disabilities throughout the United States. While we may be most familiar with “seeing eye dogs” that assist those with visual impairments, these dogs aid a variety of individuals with disabilities including hearing impairments, PTSD and other mental illnesses, mobility impairments, diabetes, autism, and more. Assistance dogs are often more than just a help to individuals living with disabilities; they are also a much-needed friend and source of comfort.

DISCOUNT

All of these dogs who serve us in so many ways are an inspiration to us here at VRC, and we’re proud to offer a 20% discount for all training, active duty, or veteran service dogs, including those serving with the police, in the military, or as assistance dogs. If your best friend falls into one of these categories and needs specialty or emergency medical care for any reason, please let us know when you make your appointment.

CONTACT US

To learn more or schedule an appointment today, just contact VRC, a specialty veterinarian hospital in the Philadelphia area.

Welcome Dustin Lewis, DVM, DACVR (Radiation Oncology)!

We are thrilled to welcome our newest radiation oncologist, Dustin Lewis, DVM, DACVR (Radiation Oncology)!

 

 

The VRC team is growing! We are excited to announce that Dr. Dustin Lewis is the newest radiation oncologist at VRC! He brings with him years of experience and skill in the field of radiation oncology.

 

MORE ABOUT DR. LEWIS

Dustin Lewis, DVM, DACVR-RO grew up in Northeast Indiana and attended to Purdue University for both undergraduate studies and veterinary school.  In 2010, he graduated and began a small animal rotating internship at The Animal Medical Center in New York, NY.  In July 2011, he began a joint residency in radiation oncology at both North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC and Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO.  Dr. Lewis completed his radiation oncology residency in July of 2013.  Upon completion of his residency, he accepted a position as radiation oncologist at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls, NJ before he began also offering his services at VRC in 2017.


GET TO KNOW OUR TEAM

If you are a referring veterinarian and would like to schedule a Meet & Greet or Lunch & Learn with Dr. Lewis or any of our other doctors, please contact
Brian Haugen at Brian.Haugen@CompassionFirstPets.com.

To learn more about VRC and the many services that we offer, give us a call at (610) 647-2950.

Frequently Asked Questions: Cardiology

Cardiology at VRC

 

How can I detect heart complications and diseases in my pet?

Regular check-up appointments with your family veterinarian are essential in making sure that your pet is heart-healthy.  In many cases, your family veterinarian will be able to detect a heart complication through listening to the beat patterns, X-rays, EKGs, and/or performing routine blood tests. If an abnormality is found, he or she will refer you to a Cardiologist at VRC.

What symptoms might my pet display if he or she is experiencing a heart problem?

If your pet has progressing heart disease, he or she may show observable symptoms. In dogs, these symptoms include gagging cough, fainting, weakness or reluctance to exercise, rapid resting or sleep breathing rates (more than 30 breaths per minute), and abdominal swelling. Cats may faint, have an increased rate of abdominal breathing, experience lethargy, painful limbs or limb paralysis, and they may hide more than usual. Be sure to make an appointment with your family veterinarian as soon as possible if you witness any combination of these symptoms in your pet.

What is a cardiac consultation at VRC like?

A cardiac consultation at VRC consists of a thorough evaluation of the heart and includes a physical exam, echocardiogram (test that displays real-time heart structure and function imaging), Doppler ultrasound, blood speed studies, and electrocardiogram (test that monitors the heart’s electric activity). At VRC, we utilize state-of-the-art equipment to perform all tests, which are each essential in effectively evaluating your pet’s heart.

Can I be present during my pet’s cardiac examination?

Yes, we encourage you to be with your pet during his or her cardiac consultation. This will help your pet feel calm and comfortable, and also allow you to observe the heart tests being performed. After the exam, please feel free to ask any questions that you may have about the consultation and your pet’s heart health.

Can I pick and choose which cardiac tests are performed on my pet?

No, we perform the same cardiac tests with each consultation. Our carefully selected series of tests are needed to decide the best medical treatment for your pet and to determine whether or not further diagnostic procedures are required.

Are the cardiac tests painful for my pet?

Not at all! All of our tests are completely noninvasive. The ultrasound has a massaging action that is completely painless and our EKG clips are nothing like what is used in human medicine; they are surprisingly comfortable. Your pet will be gently positioned on the side of a towel and will be awake and comforted throughout the entire procedure. The vast majority of pets require no sedation and there are no side effects to these tests. Many patients look forward to their visits with our team and have become close friends with our staff members!

Do the tests leave any bruising or physical marks on my pet?

Not at all! Your pet will look exactly the same and no one would be able to tell that he or she was in the hospital if you don’t tell them. We don’t even need to shave your pet for these tests, as we use alcohol to mat down the hair instead; a completely painless coupling gel is also applied for use during ultrasounds.

Can my pet’s heart condition be treated?

For the most part, if your pet is diagnosed with and treated for heart disease early on, he or she has a good chance at successful symptom management and living a long, healthy life. Once your pet is diagnosed, we have an extensive medical arsenal and will do what we can to provide your pet with a good quality of life for as long as possible. If your pet is diagnosed with a congenital heart defect at birth, surgery may be feasible to correct the condition. Early detection and a personalized treatment plan from a veterinary cardiologist will help manage your pet’s disease and improve his or her overall quality of life. Even advanced heart disease and heart failure may be treatable, so it is never too late for your pet to get a cardiac consultation.

You have recommended that my pet take medication. How do I fill this prescription?

At the end of the exam, the drugs that your pet needs can be dispensed at VRC.  In many cases, your prescription can be filled at almost any pharmacy, so please feel free to price shop; however, a popular cardiac drug called VetMedin must be filled at a veterinary source. You can also utilize our online pharmacy with Vets First Choice for hundreds of guaranteed products and convenient shipping right to your home.

Preparing for Surgery: A Pet Owner’s Guide

Sometimes pets need a surgical procedure. It’s no one’s favorite part of owning a pet, but being prepared about what to expect can lessen a lot of your anxieties when you get the news from your specialty veterinarian in Philadelphia.

Pet surgeries can be worrisome, whether your pet needs something routine like a tooth extraction or something serious like a malignant skin mass removal. You’ll want to prepare your pet as best you can, and in this regard, the best advice to follow is whatever your Philadelphia area veterinary surgeon tells you to do. Heeding your vet’s directions is of paramount importance. Even if you have a friend whose pet went through the same procedure, if he or she tells you to do something different, clear it with your vet first.

Most of the instructions your vet will give you will be common sense. They may ask you to reduce liquid intake or food intake. They may need you to give your pet a special medication or ask you to give your dog a bath or trim their nails. You may even be asked to reduce your pet’s activity level, whether by going on shorter walks or eliminating family roughhousing for a few days.

Your dog or cat isn’t the only member of your family who will need to be prepped for your pet’s surgery, however. Your family will also need some preparation, especially if you have small children. Make sure you talk to them in general terms about what your pet will be going through, and start a dialogue about it. Ask them if they have any questions, and relay an age-appropriate amount of information about the procedure. Your children may have a lot of feelings, worries, fears about a pet surgery, especially if there’s been a (human) family member who has been through something similar.

It’s also good to talk to your child about the importance of aftercare for your pet once they get out of surgery and come home. If your pet has been under anesthesia, they may be woozy when they come home, for example; if they’re wearing a cone or a bandage, make sure your kids know not to mess with it. And make sure that playtime is monitored—children may not realize how slowly bodies heal and may want things to get “back to normal” immediately, which is often not possible.

Speaking of aftercare, sticking to your vet’s aftercare routine is just as if not more important than following their preparatory instructions. Often, vets will provide you with aftercare instructions on a sheet of paper. Make sure to go over it with your vet so that the instructions are crystal clear to you, and call if you have any questions. Your pet’s recovery is often in your hands, so ensure that you understand what your pet’s needs will be post-surgery, and make sure your whole family understands, too.

VRC is a specialty veterinary healthcare hospital in the Philadelphia area. We have advanced surgical facilities and are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.