When a federal court judge ordered the surrender and removal of more than 500 dogs and puppies from a USDA licensed breeder in Iowa, one of the many organizations that stepped were the student, faculty and staff volunteers from the College of Veterinary Medicine. “I knew that this would be a big ‘all hands on deck’ situation and I wanted to help where I could,” said Melissa Garcia Rodriguez, a third-year student. “The dogs had the potential to be in bad shape so I wanted to provide my skills as a veterinary student to help the veterinarians and be there for the dogs.” The students assisted in administering rabies vaccinations while also conducting low-stress handling and doing a few procedures. They also helped unload kennels, safely removing the dogs, assisting with examinations and drawing up vaccinations.
A Growing Challenge Small animal caseloads have surged in hospitals and veterinary clinics throughout the country, and the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center is no exception. “There’s no plateau yet,” said Dr. Rebecca Walton, clinical assistant professor of veterinary clinical sciences and a critical care specialist at the Hixson-Lied Small Animal Hospital. The rising patient numbers can be attributed to many factors, but the primary one is an increased demand for animal health care services.
The problem that Beauty had is fairly common. Yet if left untreated, the four-year-old Pomeranian could have been at a high risk of developing heart failure. Beauty was diagnosed with patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), which is a common congenital heart defect in dogs. “If left untreated, most dogs will develop congestive heart failure within their first year of life,” said Dr. Michael Papon, cardiology resident. “Beauty’s PDA was small and her disease progressed much slower, but she was at a high risk of developing heart failure when she came to us.” The ISU Cardiology team performed a minimally invasive PDA occlusion on Beauty. “The procedure is usually curative and most dogs go on to live a normal lifespan without medications,” Papon said.
Insurance for your companion animals is becoming more and more popular these days. Deanna Collins, health information technician III with the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center (LVMC) said insurance claims for your companion animals is very similar to your personal health insurance claims. “You should pick the insurance policy that best suits your needs for your dog or cat,” Collins said. “For instance, if your breed of choice is prone to certain diagnoses, you should research the policy so those diagnoses or possible surgeries will be covered.” Just like in human health insurance, owners should be aware of pre-existing conditions their pet has. Insurance companies will request any medical records on file once pet insurance is purchased and before any claim is paid. Collins also suggests pet owners begin to purchase insurance when their animal is a puppy or kitten. In such instances a variety of claims will be covered including illnesses, injuries, breed-specific conditions, diagnostic tests, surgeries, hospital stays, and medications.
When Dutton was presented to the Hixson-Lied Small Animal Hospital he was suffering from frequent and uncontrolled regurgitation and over time his condition led him to be severely dehydrated and in declining health. The French bulldog’s condition was so bad that his owners surrendered him to the Poweshiek Animal League Shelter. The clinicians and surgeons at Iowa State diagnosed him with Brachycephalic Syndrome, where short-snouted dogs’ nostrils are too small and stiff, making it hard for them to get enough oxygen and sometimes causing regurgitation issues. What’s exciting is that not only did Dutton have surgery to correct his constricted airways but he found his forever home along the way.
Fall is upon us and it’s a great time for a walk with your canine friend. Here are a few healthful hints for those long walks.
- Keep your dog warm
- Be careful around mushrooms
- Watch out for wildlife
- Days get shorter, get reflective gear for you and your dog
- Consider their joints
- Check for ticks
- Avoid allergy aggravates
- Protect their paws
- Keep their nutritional needs in mind
- Dog-proof your environment