- Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy
- Feline Cardiomyopathy
- Systemic Hypertension
- Valvular Disease
- PDA (Patent Ductus Arterosus)
- Computer Tomagraphy (CT) Scan
- Contrast Study-Arthrography
- Contrast Study-GI Tract
- Contrast Study-Spinal Column
- Contrast Study-Urinary Tract
- High-Field MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
- MPL (Medial Patellar Luxation)
- CCL (Cranial Cruciate Ligament) Injuries
- Extracapuslar Stabilization For CCL
- TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy)
- TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement)
- FHO (Femoral Head Osteotomy)
- FHNE (Femoral Head and Neck Excision)
- OCD (OsteoChondrosis Dessicans)
- (TPO) Triple Pelvic Osteotomy
- Laryngeal Paralysis
- Herniated Disc Repair
- Root Canal
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure used for joint disease. This procedure uses a small, rigid, lighted optic tube (arthroscope), which is inserted into the joint through a small incision. Images of the inside of the joint are then viewed on a television monitor.
There are many advantages to arthroscopy-assisted surgeries including improved visualization of the joint structures, minimally invasive technique and shortened procedure times compared to conventional surgery. Our surgeons use arthroscopy in the diagnosis and treatment of numerous joint abnormalities.
WVRC’s Blood Bank adheres to strict standards in our quality control procedures and donor screening tests, to ensure safety and confidence in all our components.Our Blood Bank is made up of components generated from both our hospital’s in-house blood donor program, as well as from commercial blood banks.
Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease of the heart muscle which causes the heart to enlarge and not function properly. The disease usually afflicts larger breeds of dogs. The occurrence of Dilated Cardiomyopathy increases with age and typically has an age of onset between 4 to 10 years. The cause of DCM in dogs is still unknown; however, many factors suggest a genetic cause.
CCL (Cranial Cruciate Ligament) Injuries
A cranial cruciate ligament rupture (CCL) is the most common orthopedic injury in dogs. It occurs when a ligament in the knee joint tears resulting in either partial or complete joint instability, pain, and lameness. Cruciate ligament ruptures can be acute (sudden onset caused by trauma) or chronic (degenerative changes in the ligament causing an unstable joint over time). CCL injuries can occur in cats, but are not as common as in dogs. Most pets experience symptoms such as lameness on and off or holding the leg up off the ground. In acute injuries, your pet may be 3-legged and painful initially; however, most pets start to feel better after a few days of rest and pain medication and are able to walk around on three legs. Recommended treatment of a CCL rupture is surgery, although small breeds (weighing less than 30 lbs) can sometimes do well with medical management.
Compared to people who receive chemotherapy, pets experience fewer and less severe side effects because lower doses of drugs and not as many combinations of drugs are used as in human medicine.
Chemotherapy may be used as the sole treatment for certain cancers or may be used in combination with other treatments, such as surgery and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is likely to be recommended for cancer that has already spread to other areas of the body (metastatic disease), for tumors that occur at more than one site (multicentric disease), or for tumors that cannot be removed surgically (nonresectable disease).
In some cases, chemotherapy can be used to try to shrink large tumors prior to surgery or to help eradicate certain types of microscopic cancer cells that cannot or have not been completely removed surgically. For cancers that are at high-risk for metastasis early in the course of disease, chemotherapy can be used after surgery or radiation therapy to help slow down the growth of cancer cells in other parts of the body.
Computerized Tomography (CT)
A Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan is more commonly known by its abbreviated name CAT Scan. It is an X-ray procedure in which a large donut-shaped X-ray machine takes X-ray images at many different angles around the body. A computer then processes these images to produce cross-sectional pictures of the body.
When these images are added together, a three-dimensional picture of an organ or abnormal body structure can be obtained.
Are there risks to my pet in obtaining a CT Scan?
CT scan is a very low-risk procedure. It is painless and fairly fast. Unlike an ordinary X-ray, a scanner does not just show bones, but also soft tissues like muscles. The amount of radiation a pet receives during a CT scan is minimal. Because it is essential that the patient remain absolutely still during a CT scan, general anesthesia is required.
In addition to providing anesthesia support to the specialists at WVRC, our anesthesia services are available to the primary veterinarian as well. Our anesthesiologist can tailor anesthesia protocols for the high-risk patient, provide consultation on anesthesia equipment and medications, as well as set up pain management protocols for post-surgical or chronically painful patients.
Contrast Study – Arthrography
Arthrography is a procedure involving multiple x-rays of a joint using a fluoroscope, or a special piece of x-ray equipment which shows an immediate x-ray image. A contrast medium injected into the joint area helps highlight structures of the joint.
Contrast Study – GI Tract (barium series)
A barium series is easy to do but takes at least 4-6 hours. Barium is a liquid contrast media that appears solid white on radiographs. Barium is given alone or with food and can increase the diagnostic accuracy of radiographs by outlining objects and structures that do not show up on plain radiographs.
If the animal has frequent and/or severe vomiting that will not allow for the retention of the barium, it may not be a helpful test. Barium is good for diagnosing megaesophagus, foreign bodies, and decreased motility.
A myelogram is an x-ray study in which special dye is injected into the spinal fluid surrounding the spinal cord. The spinal cord is not visible on a normal x-ray. Injection of this dye outlines the spinal cord, and makes it visible on the the x-ray. The injection of this dye into the spinal fluid may be done in the neck area or in the lower back area.
Just before the dye is injected, a sample of spinal fluid is collected from the patient and is submitted to the laboratory for analysis. A myelogram is a difficult and very delicate diagnostic procedure, and ideally should be done by a veterinary specialist. General anesthesia is required for the procedure.
Contrast Study – Urinary Tract (cystography)
Cystography is a diagnostic procedure that uses x-rays to examine the urinary bladder. Contrast radiographs are taken when plain radiographs and an ultrasound examination do not render the diagnosis. The bladder is filled with a negative contrast material (usually air), a positive contrast material (refers to a substance taken into the body that causes the particular organ or tissue under study to be seen more clearly), and then a little positive contrast material with a negative contrast material (double contrast study). A radiograph is taken each time.
These three procedures permit visualization of otherwise unseen bladder stones, tumors and polyps, diverticula, and wall thickening. It is necessary to pass a catheter into the bladder and to distend it with the contrast materials; therefore, general anesthesia is required.
Echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound)
Ultrasound applied to the heart is called an “echocardiogram”. Echocardiograms help to evaluate the structure and function of the heart. This test can be extremely useful for identifying birth defects, diseases of the heart valves, and heart muscle diseases (cardiomyopathy). The exam also can be used to identify fluid around the heart (pericardial effusion), cardiac tumors, and certain types of heartworm infections. The chest cavity and cranial mediastinum (upper chest cavity) also can be evaluated, though in most cases the lungs cannot be visualized (due to the air in this organ).
Echocardiography is a procedure utilizing ultrasound that allows the cardiologist to examine the inner structure of the heart. WVRC is also equipped with Color Flow Doppler, a technology that can greatly enhance the ability to diagnose specific types of heart disease through ultrasound.
An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a testing procedure that looks at the electrical impulses created by the activity of the heart. Changes in electrical impulses occur when the heart lacks oxygen or has some other type of heart disease.
Endoscopy is the visual inspection of the interior of the body through a small tube containing fiber optics. The endoscope is inserted into an orifice allowing an internist to view internal organs. Sometimes the procedure is simply for diagnostic purposes, and other times the procedure is used for treatment purposes, such as the removal of a tissue sample or removal of a foreign object. There are many types of endoscopy.
Bronchoscopy is a diagnostic procedure in which a flexible endoscope is inserted through the mouth into the lungs to provide a view of the airways. Bronchoscopy is typically a procedure used for inspection of the interior of the tracheo-bronchial tree. The bronchoscope is also used to take tissue samples and remove foreign bodies.
Laryngoscopy, Rhinoscopy & Pharyngoscopy
The various procedures are used to examine the tubular cavities of ear nose and throat areas. Procedures are usually considered for diagnostic purposes. Frequently viewed areas are: the larynx, vocal chords, sinuses. Even small tumors of these areas can be safely removed.
A procedure that enables a veterinarian to view the inside of the bladder in great detail.
Extracapuslar Stabilization For CCL
Extracapuslar stabilization is another type of surgery performed to treat stifles with torn cruciate ligament injuries. This procedure is a more traditional type of surgery and has been practiced for years. It is recommended on smaller dogs which have too small of bones to be a candidate for TPLO surgery. During the surgery, the surgeon stabilizes the stifle joint by replacing the torn ligament with an artificial ligament made of heavy suture material. Recovery time is generally 3 months of strict rest, followed by 6-8 weeks of rehabilitation. This is surgery that can also be performed on large breed dogs in cases where TPLO surgery is not an option.
The most common cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease) in cats is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This form has many variations, and is defined by thickening of the primary heart muscle, the left ventricle.
A common secondary change in cats with cardiomyopathy is enlargement of the left atrium. This finding is particularly worrisome in cats because they are susceptible to blood clot formation.
Unfortunately, the development of a blood clot is unpredictable and can occur on any medication. Blood clot formation can result in a cat being paralyzed in the rear legs, limping on a front leg, exhibiting episodes of abnormal behavior or even sudden death.
FHO (Femoral Head Ostectomy)/FHNE (Femoral Head and Neck Excision)
A Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO), also called a Femoral Head and Neck Excision (FHNE), is considered a salvage procedure. This means that it usually is performed after osteoarthritis has become so severe in the dog’s hips, that it limits a dog’s activity or makes the dog constantly uncomfortable.
It is the presence of the osteoarthritis and bone-on-bone contact between the femoral head and acetabulum that results in pain. In this procedure, the head and neck of the femur are removed and the limb becomes reliant on muscles and fibrous scar tissue for support.
Patients undergoing an FHO/FHNE will never have the function of a normal hip joint and will always be somewhat limited in activity, but this procedure can greatly reduce pain, and often results in improved function compared to the arthritic joint.
Fluoroscopy is a technique for obtaining "live" X-ray images of a living patient. The Radiologist uses a switch to control an X-ray beam that is transmitted through the patient. The X-rays then strike a fluorescent plate that is coupled to an "image intensifier" that is (in turn) coupled to a television camera. The Radiologist can then watch the images "live" on a TV monitor. Fluoroscopy is often used to observe the digestive tract.
Herniated Disc Disease
Discs in your pet’s spine can become weak with age or trauma. They can rupture, or herniate, causing a portion of the disc to protrude upward and place pressure on the spinal cord. This pressure creates symptoms such as weakness and/or dragging of the legs, pain, loss of control of urination, and a hunched/arched back. Small breed dogs, such as Dachshunds and Cocker Spaniels, are most commonly affected by disc disease. Typically, symptoms will develop suddenly if your pet has a traumatic occurrence, such as jumping off of a couch. Symptoms can progress to paralysis if not treated promptly. Medical management, such as strict rest and steroids, is usually started first before considering surgical treatment, depending on how severe your pet’s symptoms are. If your pet is not walking, treat it as an emergency, and take your pet to a veterinarian immediately.
If surgery is recommended, a myelogram or CT scan is performed to diagnose where the herniated disc is located. Pets are usually in hospital 1-2 days after surgery. Patience and time is required after surgery, as it may take 3 months before your pet starts to walk. A neurologic evaluation by a surgeon or neurologist before considering surgery will help determine how well your pet may do in the recovery period.
Laryngeal paralysis occurs when the muscles that hold the airway open become paralyzed and collapse, causing difficulty breathing. This disease is most common in older, large breed dogs. Your pet may have symptoms for a long period of time such as coughing, change of bark, tiring easily, and sometimes collapse. Most pet’s symptoms will progressively worsen until surgery becomes necessary. To correctly diagnosis laryngeal paralysis, the surgeon must perform a laryngeal exam under sedation. This surgery can be very successful and provide your pet with relief and the ability to live a happy, active life.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) utilizes powerful magnets and radio waves to generate images from the hydrogen protons in the body. Unlike radiographs or CT scans, MRI’s are safe with no concern of radiation exposure.
What Are the Indications for MRI?
MRI provides exceptional soft tissue detail, making it extremely useful in imaging the nervous system, joints, cardiovascular structures, and the abdominal organs. It is particularly useful in situations where other diagnostic tests have failed to give a diagnosis, a client is hesitant to pursue invasive procedures, or an owner needs an accurate diagnosis when making difficult decisions regarding the care of their pet.
Some indications include, but are not limited to:
Patients with Vestibular Symptoms
Neck or Back Pain
Paresis / Ataxia
Abnormal Nasal Drainage or Swelling
What is High-Field MRI?
The images produced by a high-field MRI are much faster exams, with improved diagnostic quality. The difference is often very striking - broad clinical experience and many studies have demonstrated the superiority of high-field MRI over veterinary-based open MRI systems.
MPL (Medial Patellar Luxation)
Medial Patellar Luxations (MPL) occur when the knee cap (patella) slips off to the side of the knee joint and slides out of its normal groove. The luxation can either be caused by trauma or congenital disorders. Most pets will typically carry the limb up for a few steps and may be seen shaking or extending the leg before regaining full use again. Surgical repair depends on the severity of the patellar luxation and your pet's symptoms. If the luxation is mild, medical management may be recommended. This injury is not an emergency, and most pets do well with rest and pain management until a consult appointment with a board-certified surgeon is scheduled.
OCD (Osteochondrosis Dessicans)
Osteochondrosis Dessicans (OCD) is a condition of abnormal cartilage growth seen in rapidly growing dogs. Labrador retrievers, Rottweilers, German shepherds, and other large /giant breed dogs are most commonly affected. Most dogs are between 5-7 months of age when signs of lameness occur.
The most commonly affected joint is the shoulder followed by the elbow, ankle (hock), and knee (stifle). X-rays of the affected joint reveal a flattened area of the bone, which corresponds to the defect left by the dead cartilage.
Treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs alone is usually not successful and surgery is generally required. The goals of surgery are to remove any loose cartilage and encourage filling of the defect with new healthier tissue.
PDA (Patent Ductus Arterosus)
Puppies diagnosed with Patent Ductus Arterosus (PDA), is the most common congenital heart disease found in pets.
It is a small hole in the heart that leads to turbulent blood flow from the heart and ultimately shortens the pet’s lifespan.
If a puppy is diagnosed with PDA, our Cardiologist, along with our Surgeons and Anesthesiologist can cure the condition by performing a procedure that can fix the heart.
The benefits of this surgery are seen immediately and the recovery time is almost zero. In most cases the pet is able to go home the following day.
Radioactive Iodine (I-131) treatment can completely cure feline hyperthyroidism by destroying only the thyroid tumor. Your pet is given an injection under the skin (like a vaccine) of a small carefully measured dose of Radioiodine.
The Radioiodine targets the thyroid gland and attacks only the tumor. Over 94% of all cats treated never need future treatment. Thyroid function usually returns to normal within four weeks.
Radioiodine does not affect normal thyroid tissue and produces no harmful side effects.
Is Radioiodine Safe?
The doses used are very small compared to those used in humans, and our patients are not discharged until their level of radioactivity has fallen to an acceptable level. We also make sure that you are educated about, and comfortable with, further precautions that need to be taken once your cat returns home.
Can Radioiodine therapy be used in Dogs?
No. At this time, Radioiodine therapy is only available for use in patients with feline hyperthyroidism.
Systemic Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Systemic hypertension is a sustained elevation in arterial blood pressure. Typically, systolic blood pressure greater than 160-180 mmHg is considered abnormal (this may be an underestimation for the extremely stressed feline patient). Hypertension that develops in the absence of underlying disease is known as primary hypertension. Primary hypertension is very common in humans but this is not the case for small animals. In cats, systemic hypertension is most commonly secondary to renal disease and/or hyperthyroidism. In dogs, systemic hypertension is most commonly secondary to renal disease, Cushing's disease (hyperadrenocorticism), diabetes mellitus, and/or pheochromocytoma (a tumor of the adrenal gland).
TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy)
A Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) is a revolutionary new technique that is performed by a surgeon for the repair of a torn cranial cruciate ligament in a dog’s knee.
Rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament is one of the most common orthopedic abnormalities that occur in dogs. Untreated, this condition can lead to severe, even crippling arthritis of the knee.
This procedure is highly recommended for dogs over 40 lbs. that could return to a high-activity or performance lifestyle and for young dogs that will depend on their repair to minimize arthritis throughout their lifetime.
TPO(Triple Pelvic Osteotomy)
Triple Osteotomy of the Pelvis (TPO), is a surgery for treating hip dysplasia. The word osteotomy means to cut bone. The purpose of the surgery is to set the ball (femoral head) into the socket (acetabulum). This is done by cutting the bone in three places and rotating the pelvis so the acetabulum rests securely over the femoral head. Once the bone is cut, it is held in place with a stainless steel plate and screws or a combination of screws and wire. It is not necessary to remove the plates, screws, or wires.
TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement)
Tibial Tuberosity Advancement is another type of cruciate ligament repair. Similar to the TPLO surgery, it involves performing an osteotomy. The cut is made in the non-weight bearing portion of the tibia, just behind the tibial tuberosity. A bone graft is also placed in the open area of the osteotomy to help speed up healing, which usually takes about 6-8 weeks. This procedure is not as common as the TPLO or extracapuslar repairs, and is relatively new to veterinary medicine.
Ultrasound is a technique for looking at tissues within the body by using high frequency sound waves. Many people will be familiar with its use in monitoring human pregnancies. A hand held probe is placed against the body adjacent to the site to be investigated. The probe emits bursts of sound waves (inaudible to the human ear) and these sound waves are echoed back from the tissue to be picked up by the same probe. Some seriously clever electronics then converts these sound waves into a picture that represents a "slice" through the tissue. This is displayed on a small TV screen as a "real-time" moving image.
The most common form of heart disease in dogs is valvular disease. This disease typically affects older, smaller breeds of dogs. The primary valve affected is the mitral valve, which is located on the middle of the left side of the heart. The edges of the valve become frayed and allow backward flow of blood within the heart. A normal heart valve keeps blood flowing in the forward direction only with no backward flow. With time, backward flow of blood overworks the heart and causes enlargement of both the primary muscle pump (the left ventricle) and the chamber that receives this backward flow (the left atrium). As the left ventricle enlarges, the strength of the pumping action deteriorates and medication to help this problem is required. With enlargement of the left atrium, the dog becomes at risk for the accumulation of fluid in the lungs (congestive heart failure.)
To obtain a degree as a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) requires 4 years of college and then 4 years of veterinary medical school. Veterinarians who wish to specialize must continue on with their training by completing an internship or private practice experience, a 2-3 year advanced training program (called a residency), and then pass a rigorous examination given by other specialists. When all of the requirements have been fulfilled, the veterinarian is recognized as a Diplomate ("board-certified") in his/her specialty.
X-rays use invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs on film. X-rays are made by using external radiation to produce images of the body, its organs, and other internal structures for diagnostic purposes. X-rays pass through body structures onto specially-treated plates (similar to camera film) and a "negative" type picture is made (the more solid a structure is, the whiter it appears on the film).