Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Treating with Cold Laser Therapy

The Family Veterinary Center recently purchased a state of the art cold laser to aid in the treatment of all of our patients! The model we're using is the Cutting Edge MLS (Multiwave Locked System) Cold Laser. The benefit of this advanced laser system is the ability to customize parameters such as frequency, time, and emission intensity for each patient's unique needs.
With this laser we can treat all kinds of issues including, but not limited to: chronic and acute pain, wounds, edema, inflammation, skin issues, granulomas, etc. It also assists in shortening post surgical healing time.
This laser has the ability to treat all small and large animal species including birds and pocket pets.

How does it work?
LASER stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emissions of Radiation. Non-thermal photons of light are emitted and pass through the layers of skin (specific depth depends on the wavelength/intensity setting). When the target area has been reached the light energy gets absorbed and interacts with light sensitive elements in the cells (similar to photosynthesis in plants). This stimulates mitochondria (the power house of the cell) to speed up the production of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate- which is an organic compound found in all living things). This increases cell growth and intracellular metabolism resulting in faster healing, normalized tissues, and a reduction of pain or inflammation.

Especially considering chronic pain and arthritis, laser therapy makes an amazing addition to acupuncture and chiropractic treatments! Call our office to find out if laser therapy will help your pet and discuss treatment plans!! (413-268-8387)

Check out the Benefits and biological effects offered by :

Benefit of Cold Lasers
  • Easy to apply
  • Extremely safe
  • Non-Toxic
  • Non-Invasive
  • No side effects or pain
  • Cost effective for both the practitioner and patient
  • Highly effective in treating ailments (more than 90% efficacy)
  • Superior alternative to analgesics, NSAID's and other medications
  • Reduces the need for surgery
  • Works synergistically with other modalities like Chiro, Acupuncture, and PT
General Therapeutic Laser Biological Effects
  • Increased Cell Growth: Laser photons accelerates cellular reproduction and growth.
  • Increased Metabolic Activity: Photons initiate a higher outputs of specific enzymes, greater oxygen and food particle loads for blood cells and thus greater production of the basic food source for cells, Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP).
  • Faster Wound Healing: Cold laser photons stimulates fibroblast development and accelerates collagen synthesis in damaged tissue
  • Anti-Inflammatory Action: Laser photons reduce swelling caused by bruising or inflammation of joints resulting in enhanced joint mobility.
  • Increased Vascular Activity: Laser photons induce temporary vasodilation that increases blood flow to effected areas.
  • Reduced Fibrous Tissue Formation:Laser photons reduce the formation of scar tissue following tissue damage from: cuts, scratches, burns or post surgery.
  • Stimulated Nerve Function: Laser photon exposure speeds the process of nerve cell reconnect ion to bring the numb areas back to life.
  • Pain Reduction: Almost all systems have a mode of operation specifically designed to reduce pain.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Pet Insurance

Finding a good Pet Insurance can seem like a very daunting task; a plan that works great for one family might not fit for another. Pet insurance companies offer the same general types of coverage and are processed similarly, but the deciding factors are in the details! Different from human insurance: your pet would come in for their visit, you would pay up front, then submit a claim to your insurance company and they confer with your veterinary office and reimburse you. Most companies and plans are compatible with all veterinary clinics. (Some will pay out just by looking at your detailed receipt.)

I went to four of the major insurance companies to get quotes, I used my own dog's stats: a 10 year old long haired mini dachshund with no current medical concerns:

Trupanion: $82.91/month with $200 deductible (lifetime per incident deductible*) This plan covers illnesses and injuries including specialties but NO routine visits (vaccines, flea and tick, heartworm, etc.) There is an additional rider for about $10/month that adds coverage of acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, etc. They have no payout limit**

Embrace: $44.78/month with $750 annual deductible (an 80% reimbursement plan) This plan covers illness and injury including specialties but no routine visits nor prescription coverage. Though, their standard plan DOES include acupuncture/chiropractic and holistic options. They also offer military discounts and electronic withdrawal discounts. They also offer a "Healthy Pet Deductible" meaning your pet's annual deductible automatically goes down by $50 each year that you don't receive a claim reimbursement.

Doing my research I wanted to get a quote from "the highest rated pet insurance company": Healthy Paws. For $55.46/month with an annual $750 deductible and 60% reimbursement. They do NOT include pre-existing, spay/neuter, or routine. They DO include Alternative Treatment which covers Acupuncture, chiropractic and hydrotherapy.

Lastly, a little less known company (for pet insurance) Nationwide (I am not sure if plans can be adjusted if you have a regular policy through them- but definitely worth looking into!) They offer 3 basic plans including a wellness plan that covers routine exams, vaccines, heartworm preventative, etc. (most pet insurances don't offer this option). Wellness plan was $22/month with no deductible but an annual maximum payout of $500/month. Their whole pet option covers illness, injury and general routine care: $237.69/month with a $250 annual deductible. What I liked about this plan (although it was the most expensive) it really has the most coverage, they include all routine visits in this policy along with the injury and illness.

Tips for when you're looking at insurance:
Especially if you have a pure bred dog: check their pre-existing condition list and exclusion list!! And check to see if your breed is on the exclusion list- a lot of companies won't cover an issue if it's congenital or hereditary (esp. English Bulldogs, Pugs, German Shepherds, etc.) I saw many companies don't cover things that you might expect. Some companies also cover (or partially cover) prescription foods. This could be a big benefit if the need ever arose.
If you're getting insurance for a puppy or kitten check to see if the policy will cover spaying or neutering. Most policies won't cover your vaccines but the second biggest cost with a puppy or kitten is spay/neuter surgery. For the most coverage your best bet is to get insurance while your pet is young, this will cancel out most of the "pre-existing conditions".
Always check each companies FAQs, you might learn something you never thought of before and gives you a good general idea of their policies without having to read every detail.
Also, most policies have a waiting period that varies for injuries and illnesses, make sure you check these details. Rule of thumb is: if you have a question, give them a call!

For a general overview of the major pet insurances please check out: ;   or (I do not know if this company received any kind of reimbursement for their listings but they break down the different pros and cons in a very user friendly way)

According to NAPHIA (North American Pet Health Insurance Association), there are 13 pet insurance companies in the US and Cananda:
• American Modern Insurance Group
• Embrace Pet Insurance
• FIGO Pet Insurance, LLC
• Hartville Pet Insurance Group
• Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and Foundation
• Independence American Insurance Company IHC
• Nationwide
• PetFirst Healthcare
• Pethealth Inc.
• PetPartners
• Petplan
• Pets Best Insurance Services
• Pets Plus Us
• Trupanion
• Western Financial Insurance Company

*Lifetime per incident deductible- This means it is applied only once to any given condition during the lifetime of your pet. Once the deductible amount has been met for any given injury or illness, all future medical costs associated with that injury or illness will be eligible for coverage. For example: you would pay your deductible for your dog's first ear infection but each recurring ear infection would be covered by insurance (once deductible is met).
**Payout Limit- some insurances have an annual payout limit meaning that once they have paid that specific amount they do not cover anything additional (make sure you watch out for this!)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Routine blood work

Checking blood work on your pet, even if they appear healthy, can be very beneficial. We recommend blood work while your pet is healthy to establish a baseline, knowing this information can help in establishing what's normal for each individual and if they become ill, interpret changes.
Routine blood work is great for early detection of disease and can help identify and treat an issue early before it becomes a more serious problem. For example, approximately 75% of kidney function can be gone before showing in any physical symptoms. Being proactive in these situations can significantly increase your pet's lifespan.
The standard blood work profiles we offer consist of a CBC, Chemistry, Urinalysis, and Fecal test.
CBC stands for complete blood count, this looks at white cells, red cells, platelets, etc. and can give information in regards to hydration status, anemia, infection, clotting ability and immune system responses.
Chemistry looks at individual enzymes and substances in the blood to establish how internal organs are working (liver, kidneys, pancreas, thyroid) and if diseases are present.
A Urinalysis verifies pH and concentration in urine, along with checking for blood, bacteria, crystals, etc. This gives a more complete look at the  renal system.
Fecal tests check for internal parasites that animals can pick up very easily from many different sources. We offer full fecal examinations that include a test for giardia and coccidia.
We have established discounted Junior and Senior screens with our laboratory so it is the best time to come in for blood work! We recommend blood work to be done every 2-3 years on pets under 8 years of age and annually over 8 years. It is important to check chemistry levels more frequently on animals who are on long term medications (thyroid, NSAIDs, steroids, incontinence medication, etc.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Flea, Tick and Mosquitos: Prevention and Diseases

Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes  are not only a nuisance but can cause some serious diseases in our canine and feline friends! At Family Vet Center we recommend staying on a flea and tick preventative seasonally and a heartworm preventative all year.
Not all preventatives are created equal. Our NO NO list includes (but is not exclusive to): ANY Hartz products, Sergeant, Top Spot, Pet Armor, Sentry Fiproguard and BioSpot. Many of these products contain permethrins that can cause severe tremors or even fatality in felines (even when they are labeled for cats)! Frontline has also made our NO NO list recently as we have had many complaints on lack of efficacy.
It is recommended you get all your medications from a veterinarian but if you choose an online pharmacy or store make sure to verify where they get their products from! We have been seeing many bootlegged products that can contain many harmful ingredients. Also, manufacturers will generally stand behind their products sold through a licensed vendor, but not products sold through online pharmacies.
On to our trusted products:
~Bravecto: prevents fleas and ticks, safe for use in dogs and cats 6 months and older, given orally for dogs and topically for cats every 12 weeks!
~Advantage II- fleas and lice only, applied topically monthly. Safe in dogs over 7 weeks and cats over 8 weeks.
~Advantix II- for dogs only! Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Applied topically monthly, safe in dogs over 7 weeks.
~Revolution: Fleas, intestinal parasites, ear mites and heartworm prevention. Safe in dogs over 6 weeks and cats over 8 weeks. Applied topically monthly.
~Seresto collar: fleas, ticks and lice. Safe on dogs over 7 weeks and cats over 10 weeks. This collar lasts 8 months! (remove for swimming or baths)
(Call for approved hearworm medications, this is available through prescription only)

Tick borne illnesses:
~Lyme disease: contracted by deer tick or black-legged tick. Symptoms include: acute lameness, fever, swollen joints, decreased/no appetite, "not acting themselves". Long term/left untreated can lead to damaged/painful joints or kidney disease. Vaccination is available- ask your Vet!
~Anaplasmosis: contracted by deer tick or black-legged tick. Symptoms include: low energy, fever, swollen/painful joints, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea. Long term/left untreated can cause low WBC or platelet count, chronic pain, and neurological symptoms.
~Ehrichiosis: contracted by brown dog tick. Symptoms include: decreased appetite, depression, fever, painful joints, pale gums, bloody nose. Long term/untreated: blindness, autoimmune diseases, bleeding complications.
All of the tick borne diseases are easily treated with antibiotics (doxycycline), full recovery of symptoms is expected when detected and treated early, but some remain positive through testing. (Other than Lyme disease we will treat depending on symptoms.)

Heartworm disease- mosquitoes transfer larvae through biting your dog and these larvae grow in the heart into adult heartworms. There are no immediate symptoms but will soon present with a mild, persistent cough, tiring easily, decreased appetite and weight loss. Immediate treatment is recommended since left untreated heartworm can cause heart failure, lung disease, and sudden death. Treatment can only be done through your veterinarian.

We recommend annual testing, we have an in-house test that checks for all of these diseases and you can get the results in 10 minutes!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fireworks and Your Dog

Fourth of July is upon us! With this holiday comes BBQs, swimming and, of course, Fireworks!
Some dogs are completely comfortable with loud noise but, let's face it, the majority of them are not! There are a few important steps for keeping our pets safe over the week of Fourth of July.
Firstly, if you and your family are going to an outdoor party and/or a fireworks show DO NOT bring your dog friends with you. Outside they can easily get spooked and run off on you, please keep your dogs indoors during any fireworks displays. Secondly, check to make sure doors and windows are well secured. A dog who has noise sensitivity will bust right through a screen door or window if they are scared enough!
The good news is there are many safe, natural calming remedies! Oral remedies include flower essences: Bach flower (Rescue Remedy), Mimulus, Aspen, or Rock Rose. You can also give valerian root orally. In more extreme cases you can use Benedryl (please call your vet for dosing and to verify that it is safe for your specific pet!) or Sileo (available only through your vet). Lavender essential oils also work well, this is to be applied topically and not to be digested. You can even get a Lavender scented wall plug-in! Classical music or even white noise will help as well.
It's best to be there with your dog if you're able, give them calm attention. DO NOT act like they have a reason to be scared, avoid coddling and act as though the loud noises aren't even happening. Dog's take many cues from us and if you are calm it is much easier for them to be, as well. A light massage is calming and he/she will definitely appreciate it! You can also keep them occupied with a Kong filled with peanut butter or cream cheese (freeze it to make it last longer!), or a puzzle ball (these are available at most pet stores).
These remedies are also great for cats who have noise sensitivities!
I hope everyone stays safe over the next week and enjoys the holiday! Thanks for checking out Tech Talk!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summertime Care for your Dogs!

We all love to be outside during the Summer time! Especially in Western Mass there are so many fun things to see and do all while enjoying the limited amount of warm weather we get! Sometimes we are lucky enough to have our dog friends join us but there's a lot to keep in mind!
First of all dogs cannot sweat like humans and they can suffer heatstroke much more easily. Always keep fresh, cool water for your dog available at all times. It is best if you always allow a shady area and account for sun movement!
Pavement is usually inadvisable for doggy paws in the summer so grass is always best. If you need to go on the pavement check the temperature, if it's too hot to touch it's too hot for your dog's paws! You can exercise your dog either early in the morning or late in the evening, the pavement is usually cooler around these times but I advise this, even on grass so they do not overheat (especially for braciocephalic breeds) .
All braciocephalic breeds (boxers, pugs, boston terriers, English bulldogs, etc.) are much more susceptible to overheating as they cannot breathe as well as other breeds. Also, heavy coated and elderly dogs can easily get overheated. Please, take extra special care with these guys! Allow them a cool room in the house with either a fan or air conditioner, fresh water, and DO NOT leave them outside unattended. Kiddie pools are great for dogs that like to be outside! (Check below for some fun, dog-friendly, summer recipes!)
And, I must touch upon this, DO NOT leave a dog inside a car, even with the windows cracked. The heat inside a car on a warm day can easily reach over 100* in a matter of minutes! If you must leave the dog to go in somewhere keep the car running, have water available, and only leave them for short periods! If you see a dog in a car that appears to be in distress (heavy panting, laying on their side, etc.) check around for the owner, verify that the car is not running, and call the police. Do NOT smash a car window and leave, this could be very dangerous for you and the dog.

Homemade Doggy "Icecream"
32 oz Plain low-fat yogurt
1 banana
spoonful of peanut butter
spoonful of honey

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Separate into containers and freeze.

Also! You can put dog treats, or canine friendly fruits, inside ice cube trays or freeze peanut butter or cream cheese inside a kong to keep them cool and occupied!