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Spaying and Neutering Is Important

Every year millions of unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens, are euthanized. The good news is that you can make a difference. When you have your dog or cat sterilized—you are doing your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens. Spaying and neutering:

• Prevents unwanted litters
• Helps protect against some serious health problems
• May reduce many of the behavioral problems associated with the mating instinct

Removing a female dog’s or cat’s ovaries eliminates heat cycles and generally reduces the unwanted behaviors that may lead to owner frustration. Removing the testes from male dogs and cats reduces the breeding instinct which makes them more content to stay at home and less inclined to roam.

Spaying female dogs and cats early can help protect them from some serious health problems later in life such as uterine infections and breast cancer. Neutering your male pet early can lessen their risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate gland) and testicular cancer.

Some pets tend to be better behaved following surgical removal of their ovaries or testes which makes them even better companions. Talk to your veterinarian about the best time to spay or neuter your pet.

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Our LVTs Provide Amazing Care!

The Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia’s Licensed Veterinary Technicians (LVTs) play an essential role in the outstanding, compassionate care we provide to our patients. They provide excellent nursing care, treatments, patient monitoring, and diagnostic assistance. They intubate patients, place IV catheters, draw blood, assist with ultrasounds, x-rays, and endoscopic exams, and provide laser therapy. Our LVTs assist in surgery and monitor anesthesia. They provide behavior medicine services and ophthalmology services.

We extend our deepest thanks to each and every one of our LVTs for all they do for our patients and our practice every day! We recognize their significant contribution during National Veterinary Technician Week!

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Our LVTs are Exceptional!

The Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia’s dedicated Licensed Veterinary Technicians are passionate about the quality of care and level of compassion that they provide to our patients. They take their oath, shown here, very seriously.

We thank them for all they do for our patients every day!

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Happy National Veterinary Technician Week to the Very Best LVTs—Ours!

The Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia’s Licensed Veterinary Technicians (LVTs) are truly the very best in their field and we are extremely proud to have them on our team. They are critical to our practice. Our LVTs are knowledgeable, highly trained, caring, compassionate, and dedicated to their profession and to all of the dogs and cats to whom they provide care.

Please join us in giving our LVTs a well-deserved round of applause!

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Dr. Jay Coisman Joins Our Surgery Team

The Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia is pleased to announce that James “Jay” G. Coisman, DVM, MS,  DACVS-SA has joined our exceptional Surgery Team.  

Dr. Coisman grew up on a small farm in rural upstate New York.  After high school he enlisted in the Marine Corps and served four years on active duty and several years in the Marine reserves.  In 1999 he graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a minor in Molecular and Microbiology.  During his first year as a veterinary student he was awarded an Army Health Professions Scholarship and commissioned into the Army Veterinary Corps.  


In 2004 Dr. Coisman earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Florida and return to active duty military service as a clinical intern at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Veterinary Services in San Antonio, Texas.  He served as Officer in Charge of the Moody Air Force Base Veterinary Treatment Facility and Chief of the Fort Shafter Branch Veterinary Services.  


Dr. Coisman returned to the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine and completed a residency in small animal surgery and a Master’s degree in Clinical Sciences in 2013.  He attained board certification in the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2015.  Subsequently he has served as the Deputy Commander of the 218th Medical Detachment Veterinary Services Support (MDVSS) at Fort Lewis, Washington; in Afghanistan in support of the 72nd MDVSS as the theater clinical specialist; as a clinical instructor and referral surgeon at the Fort Belvoir Veterinary Center; and Chief of Animal Medicine, Veterinary Services Branch, Defense Health Agency.  


His particular interests are in minimally invasive, trauma, and oncologic surgery, wound management, and sports medicine.


Dr. Coisman lives in Stafford with Natalie, his wife, and their four children Olivia, Kira, Adyson, and Sawyer, Belgian Malinois Betty, German Shephard Tonka, and Shar Pei Mater.  In addition, they have a large menagerie of chickens, rabbits, and goats.  He enjoys spending his free time with his family, running, and serving at church and 4H.

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Dr. Keaton Massie Joins Our Emergency Team

The Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia is pleased to announce that Keaton Massie, DVM has joined our highly qualified Emergency Team.

Dr. Massie grew up in Oregon and Washington with a childhood dream of working as a veterinarian.  After completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology at Washington State University, he moved to Florida to work in the zoo industry on his eventual path to becoming a veterinarian.  During the first decade following college Dr. Massie worked as a mechanic, alligator wrestler, and zookeeper focusing on reptiles.  He worked with everything from the tiniest Poison Dart Frogs to large King Cobras and Crocodiles.  Dr. Massie joined the Army in 2011 and spent three years on active duty living in Italy as an animal care specialist/veterinary technician.

Following his active duty commitment, Dr. Massie earned his veterinary degree from Ross University in St. Kitts in 2018.  During veterinary school, Dr. Massie completed research studying the effects of Alfaxalone in Alligators.  In addition he assisted with research on Leptospirosis in Nevishian Donkeys.

In his free time Dr. Massie enjoys diving, sport/competition shooting, hunting, fishing, and working on cars and motorcycles.

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Fall Health Tips for Your Pets

Fall is a beautiful time of year.  Make sure your pet has a healthy and happy fall by following these tips:

  • Check for ticks
    Ticks are still alive and well even though fall weather arrives.  Many tick species are active into the winter and survive the first frost.  Eliminate leaf and garden litter where ticks can survive the cold, continue using tick control and repellent products, and check your pet frequently for ticks.
  • Be careful when it comes to mouse traps and rat and mouse poison as many are very harmful to dogs and cats.
    Direct ingestion can be fatal.  Talk with your veterinarian about methods of pest control that are safe for your beloved pets.  Be aware that your neighbors may be using dangerous rodenticides so if you think your pet has eaten a rodent—contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Mushrooms appear in many yards and wooded areas in the fall and some are toxic.
    A small percentage of mushrooms are highly toxic to our dogs and cats.  A guide can be found on the ASPCA website.  If you think your furry family member has eaten a toxic mushroom—contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Feed your pet right as colder temps require more energy for your pet to stay warm.
    Food generates body heat so pets who spend time outdoors need more food to stay warm as the temperatures fall.  Talk with your veterinarian to determine what your pet needs.
  • Protect your pet against antifreeze toxicity.
    People often winterize their cars in the fall.  This includes changing fluids such as antifreeze which can be deadly for your pet.  One to two teaspoons of antifreeze can kill a ten-pound dog.  Less will kill a ten-pound cat.
  • Be careful with decorations.
    Holidays include decorations.  Be careful not to leave decorative items around the house where your pet can sample them.  Gourds or other fall decorative items can be dangerous if ingested and can lead to foreign body obstructions.
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Dr. Jessica Diebold Joins Our Emergency Team

The Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia is pleased to announce that Jessica Diebold, DVM has joined our exceptionally well-qualified Emergency Team.

Jessica Diebold grew up in northwestern Pennsylvania and graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2001 with a major in English Literature and numerous minors including Chemistry, Biology, and History. After realizing that full-time students can’t support themselves, and with a lifetime love of animal science and zoology, she went on to veterinary school and graduated from St George’s University after completing her clinical year at the University of Florida in 2005.

Prior to joining the Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia’s Emergency Team in July 2018, Dr. Diebold worked as an Emergency Veterinarian for 13 years throughout Northern Virginia. Her professional interests include emergency surgery, emergency medicine, and animal welfare.

Jessica and her husband Nick have two children—five-year old Grayson and nine-year old Lyra.  She enjoys spending her limited free time with her family, caring for her hobby farm and rabbitry, and traveling. She currently has six dogs, one hairless cat, goats, chickens, ducks, ball pythons, saltwater fish, and innumerable rabbits.

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Congratulations to Dr. Madison Walsh

The Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia is pleased to announce that Madison Walsh, DVM has been promoted to Medical Director of our Emergency Division. Dr. Walsh grew up in southern Oregon where she had several animals, including a dog, cats, llamas, and a blue and gold macaw. She moved to Mississippi for college and completed her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. Her passions within veterinary medicine include emergency medicine, client education, and building relationships with people and their pets. She is very pleased to be working her dream job as an emergency veterinarian here in Virginia.