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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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Safe Use of Flea & Tick Prevention Products

Fleas and ticks are not just an annoyance—they present health risks to people and animals. They suck your pet’s blood, your blood, and transmit disease. It is very important to protect your pets from these parasites and keep the parasites out of your home.

There are many effective flea and tick prevention products on the market. Some are topical products that you administer directly on your pet’s skin. Others are oral medications. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian about your options and which choice best meets your pet’s specific needs. Here are some important questions to ask your veterinarian:

• What parasites will this product protect my pet against?

• How often should I apply or administer this product?

• How long will it take for this product to be effective?

• What should I do if my pet has a reaction to this product?

• Do I need to use more than one product? If so, how do I apply or administer multiple products.

It is important that you and your veterinarian develop a customized plan that is best for your dog or cat considering their age, breed, lifestyle, health, and any other medications they are receiving. Caution is essential when considering flea and tick treatments for very young, very old, or unhealthy pets. Your veterinarian will help you choose wisely.

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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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Dr. Eric Martinez Joins Our Emergency Team

We are delighted to announce that Eric Martinez, DVM has joined our highly qualified Emergency Team.  Dr. Martinez was born and raised in Puerto Rico.  He attended the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez campus for his veterinary prerequisites and participated in multiple research projects. Dr. Martin
ez was accepted to Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine where he participated in research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health and presented at the North Carolina State University Summer Scholars.

After earning his DVM degree, he successfully completed a small animal medicine/surgery rotation and small animal surgical internship in South Florida. Dr. Martinez relocated to the Northern Virginia area for continued training and liked the area so much that he has decided to settle here.  His interests include emergency surgery and medicine.

Dr. Martinez enjoys spending his free time with his wife, two beautiful daughters, two dogs and a cat.  Diving, sailing , and other outdoor activities are among his favorite pastimes.

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Getting Pet Health Information Online

Keeping your beloved dog and cat healthy and happy is very important to you. Understanding their health is a critical component to ensuring their well-being and happiness.

There are many sources of pet health information available to you—books, magazines, family and friends, newspapers and journals, and extensive online resources. The internet can be a great source of information—BUT it is also a major source of misinformation. It is often difficult to separate accurate, reliable information from information that can be extremely harmful to your pet.

What is the best source of reliable, accurate information regarding your pet’s health and well-being? Your veterinarian is your number one resource for correct, actionable information for your beloved four-legged family member. Here’s why:

• Your veterinarian knows you, your pet, and your pet’s individual health needs well and tailors their advice to what’s best for you and your pet.
• Your veterinarian has the education, training, and in-depth knowledge to provide you with the accurate information you need.

When you have questions about your pet’s health and care—contact your veterinarian for the right information.

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What is Elbow Dysplasia?

The term dysplasia means abnormal development. There are several different theories concerning the cause of dysplasia including defects in cartilage growth, trauma, genetics, and even exercise and diet. The exact cause is not known.

Elbow Dysplasia is a catch-all term used that includes several different conditions involving the elbow joint. These conditions include Fragmented Medial Coronoid Process (FCP), Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD), and Ununited Anconeal Process (UAP):

• FCP is a small piece of bone on the inner (medial) side of the joint that has broken off the ulna. This fragment irritates the lining of the joint and grinds off the cartilage.
• OCD is a condition where a piece of cartilage becomes partially or completely detached from the surface of the bone.
• UAP is a condition where a part of the ulna bone, called the anconeal process, fails to fuse with the main ulna bone during the growth phase.

Most often seen in large and giant breeds, Elbow Dysplasia can affect any breed. It is the most common cause of forelimb lameness in large and giant breeds. Different breeds have different predispositions to different forms of the disease. Both forelimbs may be affected. Once the elbow joint is damaged a cycle of inflammation and further cartilage damage begins.

Most dogs show signs of Elbow Dysplasia at about five to seven months old. Usually diagnosis can be made with a physical examination and radiographs. Rarely additional diagnostics such as a CT scan are necessary to make a diagnosis.

Surgical intervention is needed to correct these elbow joint diseases. If the elbow disease has become too advanced—surgery may not be an option. As with hip dysplasia, the earlier the surgical intervention the better the long-term outcome will be. The goal of surgery is to slow the progression of arthritis and prolong the pet’s use of the affected leg.

The sooner any disease process is addressed—the more comfortable your pet can remain into their senior years.

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Today is National Dog Day

This holiday was created to honor dogs and to rescue dogs from homelessness and abuse. It’s an opportunity for us to recognize and appreciate the value and importance of dogs in our lives. If you have room in your loving home—please visit your local shelter or rescue organization and adopt a needy dog or puppy today. They will enrich your life!

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Do You Have a Senior Pet?

Thanks to better veterinary care—dogs and cats are living longer than they have before. As they age—they need extra care and attention. Cats and small breed dogs are considered senior citizens at seven years old. Large breed dogs have a shorter life span and are considered seniors at five to six years old.

Regular veterinary examinations for your pet can detect problems in older pets before they advance or become life-threatening. In many cases, solutions and relief for your pet are available.

Here are some signs to watch for that may indicate age-related problems:

• Sudden weight loss, especially in cats
• Less interested in active playing or running
• Having trouble with daily activities
• Seems more depressed or irritable
• Easily disturbed by loud sounds
• Unusually aggressive behavior
• Increased barking or meowing
• Anxiety or nervousness
• Confused or disoriented
• House soiling or “accidents”
• Change in sleep habits

Regular appointments with your veterinarian ensure that your senior dog or cat gets the care and attention they need as they age.