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Frequently Asked Questions: Internal Medicine

Internal Medicine at VRC

 

Why does my pet need to see an internal medicine specialist?

Most patients that present for evaluation to internal medicine have complicated ailments that may be difficult to diagnose or treat. Our goal is to help discuss with you your diagnostic options, do everything that we can to get an answer to what is going on, and treat your pet in a way that will provide the best outcome possible.  The initial consultation will simply be to discuss your pet’s condition and all options regarding how to proceed.

How is my pet going to do during/after treatment?

Many patients that have complicated diseases/disorders can respond to treatment in different ways. This means that we often need to initiate treatment, monitor your pet’s responses, and adjust treatment based on what we see.

Does my pet have to receive diagnostic testing?

We encourage diagnostic testing as it can play an important role in allowing us to make proper medical recommendations and treatment adjustments for your pet. A definitive diagnosis gives us the best likelihood of a successful treatment. If you decide not to pursue diagnostic testing, we can try to treat your pet’s most likely condition(s) without a definitive diagnosis. It is important to understand that if we are treating your pet without a definitive diagnosis it is impossible to predict how they will respond.

Can my veterinarian do the follow up treatments?

Absolutely, we always work closely with your veterinarian. Many clients travel from a long distance and it is difficult for them to continue to make trips back for recheck blood work, weight evaluations, x-rays, etc. If you are going to follow-up with your veterinarian, we ask that you request diagnostic updates to be faxed to us so that we can continue to monitor them. We will then fax our medical recommendations, based on the information provided, to your veterinarian and (s)he will get in touch with you to discuss any changes to the treatment plan.

Can I get the prescription medications from my veterinarian?

We would be happy to fax any necessary paperwork to your veterinarian to fill a prescription as long as the medication is in stock and a valid Veterinarian-Client-Patient relationship exists. This means that your pet has seen a particular primary veterinarian for visits and check-ups on a regular basis (typically within one year).

Can I get my pet’s prescription medications from a human pharmacy?

As long as the recommended medication or a suitable substitute is available as a human prescription, we would be happy to fax a prescription to a local or online pharmacy of your choice. Given that the cost of human medications fluctuates with time and across pharmacies, we recommend that you do some price shopping.  The same is true for online prescription purchases.

Do I need to fast my pet for the appointment?

Generally your pet does not need to be fasted prior to the appointment. If your pet will need to be fasted for specific tests or anesthesia, we will discuss fasting recommendations during the first appointment. If your veterinarian thinks that your pet will need anesthesia the day of the appointment or has recommended fasting, please contact us to discuss options.

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.

Introducing Willem Becker, DVM DACVS-SA!

We are thrilled to welcome our newest orthopedic & soft tissue surgeon, Dr. Willem Becker!

 

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The VRC team is growing! We are excited to announce that Dr. Willem Becker is the newest orthopedic & soft tissue surgeon at VRC. He joins Kenneth Sadanaga, VMD, DACVS; Gayle Jaeger, DVM, MSPVM, DACVS; and Dietrich Franczuszki, DVM, MS as a member of our Surgical Department.

 

HIS SERVICES INCLUDE:

  • Total Hip Replacements
  • Minimally Invasive Arthroscopy
  • Minimally Invasive Laparoscopy
  • Minimally Invasive Thoracotomy
  • Cruciate Ligament Repairs
  • Complex Tumor Removal
  • Biliary Disease Treatment
  • Stifle Disease Treatment
  • Phone Consultations with Veterinarians
  • Available for Lunch & Learns

 

MORE ABOUT DR. BECKER

Hailing from Tennessee, Willem Becker, DVM, DACVS-SA received his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, and later his Degree of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University in 2009. After completing his general rotating internship at Michigan State University in 2010, he embarked on a three-year residency at Tufts University. Board certified in small animal surgery, Dr. Becker’s clinical interests lie in advanced orthopedics such as total hip replacements, minimally invasive arthroscopies, and cruciate ligament repairs. He also has extensive experience with complex tumor removal as well as biliary disease and stifle disease treatment. When he is not improving the quality of life for his patients, he is climbing, skiing, and spending time with his wife and two young children.


GET TO KNOW OUR TEAM

If you are a referring veterinarian and would like to schedule a Meet & Greet or Lunch & Learn with
Dr. Becker 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.