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Foods You Should Never Feed to Your Dog or Cat

Many foods that people eat are extremely toxic and dangerous to your pets. Be sure your never feed your dog or cat:

• Products containing Xylitol which is an artificial sweetener found in sugar-free candy and gum
• Chocolate
• Onions
• Grapes and raisins
• Fatty foods
• Fried foods
• Macadamia nuts
• Avocados

Watch what your four-legged family members eat and keep them safe!

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Does My Pet Need an MRI?

Most of us know someone who has had an MRI. The same advanced diagnosing technology is now available for our four-legged children.

During the last two decades MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) has become the gold standard for diagnosing issues that typically cannot be found using other modalities such as radiographs or ultrasonography. Once only available in the university setting, MRI is now widely available at referral and specialty animal hospitals. Due to the high cost of purchasing, maintaining, and staffing an MRI unit—it is not available in general veterinary practice.

MRI is the modality of choice for diagnosing issues relating to the brain and central nervous system, including the spine. The most common use of MRI is to locate herniated disks or tumors in the spine and to look for brain lesions or tumors. In addition, MRI can uncover hidden issues involving the nasal cavities, nose, ear, eye, bones, tendons, ligaments, and joints that physical examination, radiographs, or ultrasonography cannot find.

MRI is very safe as it does not use ionizing radiation like radiographs. Since the patient must remain very still during the MRI general anesthesia is required. Most MRI scans last 30 to 60 minutes. They can be followed immediately by surgery if necessary.

If your pet has been suffering with an unknown diagnosis, an MRI should be the next step in the process of bringing relief to your pet.

Here are photos of several of our patients who have benefitted significantly from an MRI.



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With warm weather comes the risk of heat stress and heat stroke

Know the signs and what you should do if your pet is affected.

Heat Stress and Heat Stroke
One of the more common and tragic injuries seen each year is heat stroke. Very young, very old, and brachycephalic breeds (those with a short “smashed face” appearance like pugs and bulldogs) are at the most risk.

Signs of heat stress and impending heat stroke include:
• Heavy panting
• Decreased responsiveness to commands
• Weakness
• Glassy eyes
• Body temperature above 103.5 degrees F

Heat stroke symptoms include:
• Collapse
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea (possibly bloody)
• Seizures
• Body temperature above 106 degrees F

What Should You Do?
If your pet shows signs of heat stress begin first aid by cooling them but do not decrease their body temperature below normal and take them to a veterinarian immediately. Heat stroke causes damage to internal organs. Even with aggressive treatment some pets may die.

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Emergency LVT Positions Available with Signing Bonus

The Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia is an award-winning locally owned and operated specialty practice that provides Emergency, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Behavior Medicine, and Ophthalmology services.  Our Emergency Services Division is open 24 hours a day/365 days a year, including holidays.  We provide an enriching, educational environment with a strong culture of teamwork and a progressive approach to medicine.  Please visit www.vrc-nova.com for more information about our practice.

Currently we have openings for full-time and part-time Emergency Licensed Veterinary Technicians.  The ideal candidate must have a great work ethic, possess strong client service skills, be self-motivated, observant, caring, team-focused, and honest.  Reliability, dependability, and flexibility are essential.  Emergency experience is preferred but not required.  New graduates are welcome to apply.  Salary is commensurate with experience.  Generous benefits are provided for full-time staff members.  Please send your resume to trish@vrc-nova.com.  You may call Trish at 703.361.8287 with any questions you may have.

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Urethral Prolapse in Dogs

Urethral Prolapse is a relatively rare condition in young, intact, male dogs. It is more common in brachycephalic (short nosed, flat faced) breeds such as Bulldogs and Boston Terriers. The tip of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to excretion, everts through the opening of the penis.

While the exact cause is unknown, it may be related to prolonged sexual excitement due to being intact or an underlying urogenital disorder. If a urogenital disorder is suspected further diagnostics will be necessary.

The condition appears as a small red or purple mass at the tip of the penis. The symptoms include:
• Visible blood at the tip of the penis
• Blood in the urine
• Excessively licking the penis

The diagnosis can usually be made by physical examination. The treatment of choice is surgical intervention to resect the prolapsed part of the urethra. The patient should be castrated at the time of surgery to avoid recurrence.

This can become a life-threatening situation if the tip of the urethra becomes “strangled” and urine can’t be excreted. Prognosis with surgery is excellent. Cats are not affected by this condition.

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Protect Your Beloved Cat or Kitten

You can protect your kitty from these eight diseases with vaccinations and deworming:

• Rabies (which can be spread to people)
• Feline Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper)
• Feline Herpesvirus
• Feline Calicivirus
• Feline Leukemia (FeLV)
• Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
• Heartworm Disease
• Intestinal Worms including Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, and Tapeworms—some of these can also infect people

Please talk with your veterinarian about which vaccines and deworming products are best for your cat or kitten.

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Protect Your Pet from Heavier Summer Traffic

With more pets being outdoors there is an increase in dogs and cats being hit by a car, golf cart, ATV, or other vehicle. Injuries range from minor abrasions to head trauma, broken bones, and internal bleeding. Always keep your pet on a leash around traffic.

If your pet is injured he or she should be evaluated by a veterinarian. Even with seemingly minor injuries, close observation is recommended since some damage (internal bleeding, head trauma) may not be apparent for up to 24 hours.

Enjoy the warm weather and long days with your pets this summer but remain alert to the potential dangers. Be prepared. Make sure you have a plan, including any first aid you might need to administer, and the contact information for your veterinarian and/or the nearest emergency clinic.

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Protect Your Beloved Pet from Water Dangers

Cooling off at the pool, lake, or beach is welcome on a hot summer day. Your dog can enjoy the water but a few essential precautions should be taken.

Most dogs will instinctively paddle if in water over their head but not all dogs are good swimmers. Always supervise your pet around water. A small kiddie pool may be a better way for your pet to cool off than the big pool. Also, once they are in the water not all dogs can figure out how to get out of the pool and can become exhausted.

Try to minimize your pet swallowing water for several reasons. Chlorine in a pool or algae and microorganisms in lake water can cause vomiting and diarrhea. If your pet swallows too much fresh water, a dangerous drop in the blood sodium can occur, potentially causing brain swelling and seizures. This condition is called water toxicity. At the beach ingesting salt water will cause a rapid increase in the blood sodium resulting in neurological symptoms.