Page 1

Volume 8•Issue 3

Fall 2017

Project Go—Providing Orthopedic Care to Animals in Need Group Training, or Private Training: Which is Best for Dogs? A New Leash on Life for Recovery Dogs



“Sasha” is seeking a forever home. She is available through the Clarke County Humane Foundation. (details on Page 46)

contents Volume 8

Issue 3




Fall 2017

Projec t Go—Pr oviding Orthop edic C are to Anima ls in Ne ed

Fall 2017

Group Tra Training: ining, or Priv at for Dogs Which is Best e ?

departments 8

A New Le for Reco ash on Life very Do gs

Metro Mutts: Shelter Medicine: More than just Spaying and Neutering

On the Cover… “Sasha” is seeking a forever home. She is available through the Clarke County Humane Foundation. See Page 46 for Details.




 raining: T Group Training or Private Training—Which is Better for Dogs


Legally Speaking: With Michael Gordon, Esquire





A New Leash on Life for Recovering Dogs


All in the Family: The Life-Changing Benefits of a Pet’s—and a Family Member’s— Unconditional Love and Friendship


Achilles Tendon Injuries­— What Causes Them, and How to Treat Them

With Dr. Lauren Talarico

Pet Travel:


The Pet Lady:  oliday Gift Guide for Pets H



When Companions Are Needed Most—New Companioning Center Comes to Loudoun County

& Their People


Happier At Home

Ask Dr. Katy:


New Lives and Second Chances for Pets with Disabilities

Mobile, by George!

With Dr. Katy Nelson

46 Seeking A Forever Home


Photo by: Kathy Durand

Ask A Neurovet:



is She is ava seeking a forever ilable thro home. ugh the County Cla Humane Foundation rke (details on . Page

special feature 22

Project Go—Providing Orthopedic Care to Animals in Need

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com


contributors Stephanie Clarke As a writer and editor who resides in Clermont, Florida, with over twelve years of experience within the writing and editing industry, Stephanie has had the opportunity to contribute to a multitude of online blogs and publications. Originally a writer within the field of mental health stemming from her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, she has expanded to various subjects of interest over the years. Stephanie also provides ghostwriting and editing to other authors who require her services.

Krisi Erwin, DVM, CVA, CCRT, CVPP Dr. Erwin, a life-long Loudoun County native, is the owner of Wholistic Paws Veterinary Services located in Ashburn, VA. Dr. Erwin offers both house-call and in office services to include acupuncture, rehabilitation, pet hospice, and euthanasia for her clients. In addition to being a DVM, Dr. Erwin is a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist.

Ashleigh Fairfield, LVT, CCRP Northern Virginia native, Ashleigh Fairfield began her veterinary career in 2004 as an assistant for a small animal practice in Herndon, Virginia. She went on to earn her degree as a Licensed Veterinary Technician from the Northern Virginia Community College Veterinary Technology program in 2009. She graduated from the University of Tennessee’s Canine Rehabilitation Program in 2012, and has been passionately practicing rehabilitation at Veterinary Surgical Centers Rehabilitation (VSCR) ever since. Her special interests include pain management, working dogs and return-to-sport patients, and rehabilitative nursing care. Currently, she is pursuing a VTS in Physical Rehabilitation. She works with patients at both VSCR locations, in Vienna and Leesburg.

Michael I. Gordon, Esquire Michael I. Gordon, Esq. is a partner at Wright, Constable Skeen in its Estate & Trusts Practice Group. Michael resides in Pikesville, Maryland with wife Sandra, 4-year old tabby Gabby and the baby of the family, Ozzie, a 3-year old, miniature Schnauzer. Michael can be reached at mgordon@wcslaw.com or 410.659.1306.

Dana Humphrey Dana Humphrey AKA “The Pet Lady” travels from Coast to Coast to pet trade shows and consumer events such as Superzoo, Global Pet Expo, Intergroom, Pet News Now, NAVC, Total Pet Expo, Super Pet Expo and “mutts” more, to scout out the hottest, hippest and most unique pet products on the planet! Bringing you tips and tricks from the top vets, groomers, and trainers on how to safely travel and live happy with your pet! From Fox, ABC, NBC and other media outlets “The Pet Lady” will be in a city near you soon, showing off the latest and greatest tech pet gadgets, cozy comforts and fab gift idea’s for man’s (and woman’s) best friend!

Laurie Luck, M.A., KPA-CTP Dog lover and professional trainer, Laurie knows the joy that dogs bring to our lives. Smart Dog University specializes in dog-friendly, positive training. From pups to dogs, Laurie makes training fun for both ends of the leash!

“Dr. Pawz” on Washington DC’s All News Radio Station WTOP live on air every two weeks. You can also catch her on her online radio show called “Pawsitive Talk with Dr. Katy” on the all positive radio network HealthyLife. Net. Dr. Nelson is a Certified Veterinary Journalist (CVJ), accredited by the American Society of Veterinary Journalists (ASVJ). Catch her every Friday morning on News Channel 8’s “Let’s Talk Live,” and you can even find her reporting on animal health topics every week on WJLA ABC7 News. A prolific writer, you can follow her on The Pet Show’s blog www.wjla.com/blogs/ the-pet-show and find back episodes of The Pet Show there, as well.

Alexandria Pallat Alexandria Pallat is a Communication & Outreach Manager, instructor, and aspiring writer. She is a pet parent, and knows first-hand the empowering experience of raising pets. She is currently a Content Creator with Odyssey and Medium and believes in telling authentic, real-life stories that relate to and empower others.

Dirsko J.F. von Pfeil, Dr. med. vet., DVM, DACVS, DECVS, DACVSMR Dirsko J.F. von Pfeil is double board-certified in surgery with the American and European Colleges of Veterinary Surgery and board-certified in sports medicine and rehabilitation with the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is a staff surgeon at Friendship Surgical Specialists with the Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, D.C. and serves as adjunct professor in small animal surgery at Michigan State University.

Lauren R. Talarico, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology/Neurosurgery) Dr. Talarico is a board certified neurosurgeon at VCA SouthPaws in Fairfax, VA. She graduated with honors from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, completed an internship at the University of Georgia and neurosurgical residency at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. Dr. Talarico conducts research projects involving Chiari-like malformations through the pediatric neurosurgery team at Children’s National Hospital in DC. She has also been published in several veterinary journals and textbooks. Dr. Talarico specializes in brain and spinal surgery, reconstruction procedures and treatment of medical neurologic diseases.

Pamela Townsend Pamela Townsend is a writer, editor, photographer, and animal lover who works at the Humane Rescue Alliance. She has self-published three dog photo books and is currently working on a fourth. A Huffington Post blogger, Pam also has contributed to several National Geographic publications. She lives with her husband, Mark, and three dogs, ranging in age from 3 to 15 years.

Ginger Warder Ginger Warder, the author of Fido’s Virginia and Fido’s Florida, is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers, specializing in luxury travel and travel with pets. Her current canine research assistants are her German Shepherd, Tipsy, and her Daschund, Max.

Katy Nelson, DVM Dr. Katy Nelson is a veterinarian and the host of “The Pet Show with Dr. Katy” on Washington DC’s News Channel 8 - the show airs at 11am on Saturday mornings. An ardent advocate for pet rescue, Dr. Nelson works with numerous local and national rescue organizations to promote pet adoption. Dr. Nelson is known as


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

{ department }

Owner/Publisher Pamela Wahl Editor in Chief Matt Neufeld Director of Operations Pamela Wahl Art Director Kim Dow, Kalico Design Graphic Designer Cecelia Lee, Kalico Design Andrea Neff, Kalico Design

a note

from our publisher

A Dedication to Peter Charles Durand as written by Hilleary Bogley, Founder of the Middleburg Humane Foundation: We lost a beautiful soul this summer. A kind, funny, gentle, compassionate and extremely talented young man who left us way too soon. Peter Durand, son of Kathy and Pete Durand of Round Hill Virginia and owner of M80 Recording Studio passed over the rainbow bridge at just 23 years of age.

Social Media Cami O’Connell Kristin Carlson Senior Editor Kimberly Holmes Photographer Kathy Durand Copy Editor Josh Warren Advertising Director Pamela Wahl

Peter started volunteering at the Middleburg Humane Foundation (MHF) in 2002. He was eight years old. I remember being immediately impressed by his witty, enthusiastic love of animals and extensive knowledge of music. Over the years, he and his mom Kathy became a big part of the MHF family.

Production Coordinator Diane Weller Contributing Writers: Stephanie Clarke Joyce Darrell Krisi Erwin, DVM, CVA, CCRT, CVPP Ashleigh Fairfield, LVT, CCRP Michael Gordon, Esquire Dana Humphrey Laurie Luck, M.A., KPA-CTP Katy Nelson, DVM Alexandria Pallat Dirsko J.F. von Pfeil, Dr. med. vet DVM, DACVS, DECVS, DACVSMR Lauren Talarico, DVM, DACVIM Pamela Townsend Ginger Warder The Virginia-Maryland-Washington, DC Dog Magazine 200 West Main Street Middletown, MD 21769 Tel: (301) 514-2804 Fax: (301) 694-9799 www.vamddcdog.com topdog@vamddcdog.com ©2017 No part of this publication may be reproduced without expressed written permission of the publisher. No part may be transmitted in any form by any means, including electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Publisher accepts no liability for solicited or unsolicited materials that are damaged or lost. Views expressed by editorial contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.


Honor Peter’s life by making a point to live your life to the fullest, be kind to animals and always remember, long live Rock & Roll! Peter would want it that way.

Peter and Kathy were instrumental in fundraising as well as the rescue of many animals. Peter was great at trapping (TNR) feral cats and was always willing to help. He provided his music at several of MHF’s annual Fluted Hoot Music Festivals opening the evenings with his masterful talent. A true progeny. Kathy & Peter helped rehabilitate then ultimately adopted a seven pound poodle named Little Man. Little Man blossomed in his new home spending much of his time making sure that Peter knew who was the boss. An interesting relationship with lots of ridiculously funny stories! More recently, they adopted a little poodle named Tulip who Peter absolutely adored. Many deserving animals were saved and given a second chance because of Peter’s commitment to animal welfare. He made an impact on many lives both two and four legged. He inspired many. The Durand family came into our lives to help create a more compassionate community and to open our eyes to how precious life really is.

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{ metro mutts }

Shelter Medicine:

More Than Just Spaying and Neutering By Pamela Townsend

When some people think about shelter medicine, they think of vaccinations, the treatment of parasites, and spaying and neutering surgery. It’s true that veterinarians at the Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA) give many vaccinations—about 9,000 every year—and they treat hundreds of animals for different parasites. They also spay and neuter nearly 7,000 animals every year. However, although routine care takes up the largest percentage of their time, HRA veterinary staff also face much

her miserable. While conducting an initial examination of 3-year-old Fiona, Baker discovered that not only was an active infection in both ears causing the dog pain, but that both her ear canals were completely occluded with tissue, which occurs when infections go untreated for an extended period of time. “In cases like Fiona’s, when ear infections have gone on for so long, standard medication is no longer a possibility because the drops or ointment cannot penetrate past the overgrown ear canal,” Baker explained. “Her only option for pain- and itch-free ears was surgical removal of the entire ear canal and inner ear.”

more unusual cases. Take the case of Dublin, a 6-month-old puppy found running on the streets of Washington, D.C, with a cone of shame around his neck and a bandage dangling from his left front leg. An initial examination revealed that Dublin had a severely swollen left front paw, which was about three times the size of the right one. He also had a deep laceration above the back of his left wrist area and several small cuts on the top and bottom of the paw. Dr. Kendra Baker cleaned and rewrapped his paw and started him on antibiotics and pain medication. By the following day his injury had worsened significantly. The paw, which had a strong, unpleasant odor, had become even more swollen and the tissue was an unhealthy grey and lavender mix of colors. He also didn’t react at all when his toes were pinched, indicating a neurological deficit. Drs. Jackie Hathaway and Elysia-Marie Branson determined that Dublin was at high risk of developing a life threatening systemic infection, or septicemia, and that amputation, while extreme, would save his life by stopping the spread of the infection.’ And it did. The resilient puppy recovered well from his surgery and quickly found a forever home where he has adjusted easily to a healthy life as a tri-pawed dog. The medical condition of another HRA patient, although not life threatening, was certainly making


An unavoidable side effect of such surgery was the loss of Fiona’s hearing; however, it was likely already compromised prior to the surgery. Today she is enjoying a life without pain in the company of her adoring human companions—and she has a new name, Mollie. Unlike Fiona, Sparky has yet to find his forever home. However, he’s enjoying good health while he waits, thanks to HRA’s veterinary staff. When the 10-monthold American bulldog was found abandoned in a dog crate, he was little more than a pile of skin and bones, as close to frozen as a living dog could possibly be, recalls Hathaway. Sparky tipped the scales at an astonishingly low weight of just 54 pounds, and his internal body temperature was too low to even register on a rectal thermometer. He required intense medical care in the form of heat support, IV fluids to rehabilitate him from shock, and various blood tests to measure his blood sugar, level of anemia, and level of dehydration. Fortunately, these efforts paid off, and the morning after his arrival, Sparky finally had a readable body temperature and stood on his own for the first time! He received round-the-clock care for two additional days, followed by seven more days on an intensive re-feeding diet and tender-loving-care regimen. Today, Sparky is living in a rescue organization foster home, where he has doubled in weight and is relaxing in comfort as he awaits adoption.

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

{ metro mutts }


It’s true that veterinarians at the Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA) give many vaccinations—about 9,000 every year—and they treat hundreds of animals for different parasites


“Sparky” “Fiona”

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com


{ training }

Group Training or Private Training:

Which is Best For Dogs? By Laurie Luck, KPA-CTP

All dogs benefit from training, from a basic good manners course to more advanced and specific training such as therapy dog training, obedience, or agility training. Training can help broaden a dog’s world by teaching him to her new skills that lead to adventures. Dog owners have their choice of different types of training that include group training and private training. It’s important for a dog owner to consider which option would be better for his or her dog: group training or individual training. There isn’t a right or wrong choice--both have advantages and disadvantages. Group training is exactly what it sounds like: several dog-handler teams show up to one location at the same time and they learn the same skills at the same time. Individual, or private training is typically done one-on-one with just the one dog and handler and is often customized to the dog and owner’s specific needs. Deciding which is the best choice can include a few different criteria. The first criterion is the dog: is the dog appropriate for a group


course? Is the dog social and friendly? Generally, group classes aren’t appropriate for dogs that are aggressive to either people or other dogs, as safety is paramount. Also, dogs that are especially fearful don’t do well in a group class. Dogs who are noisy--barky or whiny--might do best with a few private lessons first before being immersed in a group class setting. Another consideration when choosing the type of training is the owner’s goals for the dog. Group training is generally best suited for good manners training. While there are specialized group classes (therapy dog training, for example), most group classes cover a broad range of lessons and behaviors and have a pre-determined syllabus that doesn’t lend itself to individualized customization.

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog


{ training }

Group classes are perfect for puppies that need appropriate socialization and early learning to help them develop into well-adjusted adult dogs that are even-keeled and appropriate in different situations.

Typically, the group learns the same skills at the same time with little possibility of customizing the agenda to suit the dog owner’s specific needs. Individual, private training is perfect for those who have a specific problem and whose dog already has general good manners. It’s also good for problems that occur only at home such as house training, fence fighting, or chewing household items such as carpet and molding. Individual training affords the owner one-on-one coaching--the entire hour (the typical private consultation appointment length) is focused on the dog owner and his or her dog, no sharing the time with anyone else. Something else to consider when contemplating which type of training is convenience and scheduling. Group training usually occurs at the same time each week for a set number of weeks. The owner needs to drive to and from the training each week, which depending on the location of the training, can add significant commute time so a one-hour class might actually be a two-hour investment of the owner’s time if commute time is factored in. Private training usually offers the most flexibility. Appointments can often be scheduled at the owner’s home, which means no commute for the owner, and on his or her schedule, which makes private training more convenient and easier to fit into an owner’s schedule. Price is another factor. Group classes usually have anywhere from five to eight participants and are therefore usually less expensive than individual training because of the volume of students per hour. Price varies around the country, but group class training can some-


times cost anywhere from $15 to $40 per one-hour class, whereas individual training cost can range from $85 to $200 per one-hour lesson. Individual training is more expensive because it costs the trainer more, such as commute time, fuel expense and working with just one person, and because there is greater value for the dog owner, such as individualized coaching, in-home convenience and no commute time. Group classes are perfect for puppies that need appropriate socialization and early learning to help them develop into well-adjusted adult dogs that are even-keeled and appropriate in different situations. All puppies and young dogs need all the good manners training, and if individualized training is needed later in the dog’s life, the dog will already have learned the basics in a good puppy class. Individual, private training is best for people who have specific issues that need attention, home- or neighborhood-specific issues, such as barking at a particular neighbor or dog, and in-home problems such as chewing or house training, or have a dog that might not do well in a group class environment. Individualized training is also good for people whose lives don’t fit well with the grouptraining schedule, such as same time every week for a set number of weeks, due to work or family commitments. The most important thing an owner can do for his or her dog is to teach the dog basic manners so that the dog behaves appropriately and is welcomed in many situations. With two available training choices--group or individual training--training is available to almost every dog owner, and the owner and the dog benefit from the training.


For more information: Laurie Luck Smart Dog University 240.394.1112 SmartDogUniversity.com

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com



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{ legally speaking }

Legally Speaking Timely and Useful Information for Pet Parents

By Michael Gordon, Esq.

Q: I have loved dogs all my life, and would like to leave a legacy of helping them after I am gone. I am far from a millionaire, but I will have some dollars left in my estate after providing for my pets and human family members, and I am hoping there might be a way to use these assets for the benefit of animals immediately after I pass on and for many years thereafter. I have heard that to do this, I would have to create a Foundation, and that requires substantial funds. My question is this: Is there a way for folks like me, with more modest incomes, to support the causes we believe in after we pass on?

A: Thank you for your question. First, you are not alone. I get this question a lot from clients who wish to leave a legacy but do not have the means to fund a foundation, whose set up and maintenance (you are correct) can easily run many thousands of dollars. Secondly, yes, there are ways to achieve the result you want, and one is with a “donor-advised fund,” a charitable vehicle created for just this purpose. Donor-advised funds allow donors to contribute a relatively small amount of money to a charitable fund that can be used somewhat like a family foundation, under the

umbrella of a nonprofit organization. A donor-advised fund can be created with a legacy gift (a bequest in a will), or with one or more gifts during a person’s lifetime. Once the fund is established, the donor or the donor’s designated fund advisor may recommend distributions from the fund to charitable organizations. Community Foundations are one of the easiest ways I know of for donors to create a donoradvised fund that enables them to leave a legacy. The Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF) is one of these, and, as you live in Maryland, I will use the BCF for illustration.

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com


{ legally speaking }

Here‘s how a donor-advised fund at the BCF (and Community Foundations in general) work(s): You (the donor / grantor) set up the Fund through a lifetime gift or a bequest in your will. You name the fund, establish guidelines and choose the Advisor, who will implement your wishes. - You indicate the amount you will give to the BCF (to fund your Fund). - You sign a simple fund agreement, which is non-binding. You can get out of it at any time, up to your death; but funds already transferred to BCF are not returnable. - You give your fund a name. (Examples below) - You choose whether you want the Fund to be “Endowed” or “Non –Endowed.”

If you want it to be self-sustaining over many years, you would choose “Endowed.” Endowed funds are permanent. You may recommend distributions only from a spendable amount calculated annually (generally around 5%), which enables the fund to be self-sustaining. You do not have to distribute the full spendable amount each year. Undistributed spendable maybe carried forward for future distributions, or returned to principal for growth. By contrast, with a non-endowed fund, you may recommend distributions from principal and income, and you may choose to entirely deplete the fund at some point. - You designate an Advisor. Like an executor in a Will, your Advisor sees to it that the funds are distributed each year as you intended. He or she selects a charity or charities and advises the amount of the distributions, based on your stated purpose. You also select Successor Advisors, who can perform the tasks in the event of the Advisor’s inability or unwillingness to serve.

What BCF does: The BCF invests and administers your Fund. Specifically: - The BCF puts the assets of your donor-advised fund into a pool with other donors’ funds and invests the money. - A committee of financial advisors oversees investments and issues quarterly reports so that you (while you are here) and your designated Advisor can see how the money has performed. - Because of the large pool made up of many donors, the committee can make choices often open only to larger investors and at institutional rates. - BCF’s board of trustees reviews the spending policy annually and approves the spending rate for each year such that it will not invade principal, thus keeping your Fund self-sustaining. - BCF is compensated for its administrative services through an annual fee, which currently ranges from .25% to 1.5% depending on the size of the fund and whether it is endowed. The one-year investment return as of 3/31/17 was 11%.

Can you change your mind? Contributions made to establish or add to a donor-advised fund cannot be returned—these are irrevocable gifts that qualify for a federal charitable tax deduction. If your fund is non-endowed, you can choose at any time to distribute all remaining assets of the fund and close it. You may also choose to change the purpose of the fund. If the fund is endowed, then it will remain a permanent fund of BCF. If you are establishing a charitable fund through a bequest, you (the donor may of course change that bequest at any time.

- You indicate the “specific purpose of the Fund.” Here you provide specific and detailed guidelines for the Advisor to use in selecting charities.


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

{ legally speaking }

Some other features - You can name the fund whatever you wish, e.g. something with your name, such as The Jeanie Fund, or something otherwise meaningful. One client, for example, named her fund “The Clarence Fund,” after the angel who finally got his wings in Frank Copra’s movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Another chose “Sophie’s Fund,“ in honor of her beloved multipoo. - In the section of the BCF fund agreement headed, “The Specific Purposes of the Fund,” you can tailor with examples or areas to guide the person you have named as Advisor. For example, you could say “…Aid to nonprofits that have been proven to do good work to help animals, preferably locally within Baltimore and Maryland; those helping get animals out of abusive conditions, finding good homes, etc” Grants can also be made in case of emergencies such as when animals are affected by natural disasters. These are the types of organizations and situations which this fund will help. -BCF supports distributions from donor-advised funds to nonprofits not only in the Baltimore region, but across the U.S.

If you have a question you would like Michael to answer, please e-mail Michael at mgordon@wcslaw.com. With four columns a year, not every question can be answered in this column, but Michael will respond to every question. Thank you.

On Choosing a Community Foundation There are similar community foundations in every part of the U.S. (e.g. VA has 28; MD has 14) and you can find one near you through this link. www.cof.org/community-foundation-locator. Look for a community foundation displaying the “accredited” seal. These community foundations meet rigorous standards overseen by The Council on Foundations. Community Foundations exist to help enable philanthropy, but the requirements, options, investment policies and fees may vary. It is prudent to look into several to determine which is the best fit with your objectives.


More on Michael Gordon: Michael Gordon is a partner at Wright, Constable & Skeen in its Estates & Trusts Practice Group. He is actively involved in animal welfare matters, and is a published writer on planning for the future care of pets and other matters related to your pets and the law.

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com


{ feature} feature }

A New Leash on Life for

Recovering Dogs

By Krisi Erwin

Rehabilitation practitioners offer dogs recovering from surgery, injuries or ailments hope for a better life Has your pet had recent surgery? Have you noticed your faithful friend lagging on walks or wanting to stay home? Was surgery recommended for your pup but you want to seek other options for recovery? Does your pet need help with weight loss? These are all common concerns that pet owners encounter and they are prime reasons to seek out a rehabilitation practitioner as part of a dog’s medical care team. Sometimes, though, pet owners encounter families who thought they were doing rehab for their pup by following a cookbook list of exercises without one on one assistance or coaching. And, still, there are families who do not know this option even exists for pet families. Let’s take a minute together and examine how a rehabilitation practitioner can help pet owners and their pups have a new leash on life.


What is a rehabilitation practitioner? Typically, a rehabilitation practitioner is a veterinarian, licensed veterinary technician, physical therapist, or physical therapy assistant who has participated in a certification program such as those offered by the University of Tennessee or the Canine Rehabilitation Institute. These folks are specially trained in bodywork and therapeutic exercises to help with recovery from injury or surgery, promote strength and fitness, and it also help improve pain relief for chronic problems such as arthritis.

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog


{ { feature }

While pet owners should be encouraged to learn and do things at home, the plan should be collaborative with periodic check-ins with the practitioner to assess how Fido is doing and that pet owners are making progress.

Can’t a pet owner just follow instructions from a website or book?

should be collaborative with periodic check-ins with the practitioner to assess how Fido is doing and that pet owners are making progress.

While there is a large amount of information that can help pet parents who are trying to help their pet, it is important to note that not all exercises are appropriate for every animal. Also, not every animal’s recovery from an injury is routine and exercise plans need to be tailored to that specific pet’s needs and abilities. It is most beneficial to work closely with an experienced practitioner to help pet owners get on the right track.

What do these visits entail?

Visits with a rehabilitation practitioner can vary based, on where a pet is in his or her recovery. During an initial consultation, the rehabilitation practitioner will ask pet owners many questions in areas of pet care, such as diet, pain management, the initial injury, a pet’s activities during daily living, the layout of the pet’s house, expectations for the pet’s recovery, and the pet owner’s physical abilities in caring for their pet. The exam typically consists of a scan of the pet’s body to feel for areas of pain or heat and a range of motion of the joints and muscle mass. The practitioner may also provide laser therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, or acupuncture based on their skill level and the pet’s needs. Therapy may simply begin with teaching pet owners basic massage techniques, range-of-motion exercises, and starting a home exercise plan. Most rehabilitation programs also include a walking program. It is imperative that a pet’s pain and comfort be addressed during this time.

How do pet owners find a rehabilitation practitioner in their area?

Pet owners can start by checking with their family veterinarian. If a pet had surgery, the surgery center may also provide rehabilitation services. Pet owners can also search websites such as: www.caninerehabinstitute.com and www.ahvma.org for additional help with finding a practitioner in their area.


For more information: Wholistic Paws Veterinary Services PO Box 713, Hamilton, VA 20159 (571) 438-0339 wecare@wholisticpawsvet.com | www.wholisticpawsvet.com

Through time, the rehabilitation plan may grow to incorporate more exercise modalities such as underwater treadmill and equipment such as platforms, therapy balls, or cavaletti rails. The practitioner can also help pet owners modify their home environment to make things safer and easier for pets and also help pet owners to determine what assistive products are available to help them. While pet owners should be encouraged to learn and do things at home, the plan

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com


Frederick, Howard, Carroll & Montgomery Counties

Teach. Play. Love.

A little training goes a long way.

Small group training

Customized in-home training when you’re at work Personalized in-home training with you and your dog

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240.394.1112 | www.SmartDogUniversity.com

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Achilles Tendon Injuries— What Causes Them, and How to Treat Them By Dirsko J.F. von Pfeil, Dr. med. Vet., DVM, DACVS, DECVS, DACVSMR Photos courtesy of Dr. Dirsko von Pfeil

The autumn season is associated with much activity for dogs and pet owners. As the weather cools down a bit, people get back into sports activities, and running becomes increasingly popular. With this increased activity and eager weekend warriors trying to increase training miles and competing in regional races, a peak in sport-related injuries is seen in human and veterinary sports medicine. One of these injuries pertains to the Achilles tendon. The best method of treatment of these injuries is prevention: typically achieved by stage-wise increase of training intensity. Working with a professional trainer is recommended. Still, these injuries can occur. Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com


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Radiographs showing typical tendon swelling (left), drawing of repair (center), and radiograph taken after surgery (right).

The Achilles tendon is composed of multiple tendons that arise from different muscles in the hind leg. The muscle best known by most people is the gastrocnemius, or gastroc-muscle. The first, or proximal, part of the Achilles tendon consists of a muscular part, followed by a junction of muscle and tendon the musculo-tendinous junction, which eventually develops into a pure tendon as it attaches distally to the calcaneus, or the heel, or point of the hock, bone. In humans, Achilles tendon injuries are associated with poor training methods, administration of specific antibiotics, or fluoroquinolones, and poor blood supply to the tendon. In dogs, the use of corticosteroids has also been suggested to play a role, and repetitive injury and heavy exercise has also been associated with this injury. Most often, damage occurs close to the insertion of the tendon to the calcaneus, or heel, but occasionally, mainly in racing, agility, or other sporting dogs, tendons can also undergo injury at the musculo-tendinous junction, which is the connection between the muscular and tendon part of the Achilles tendon.In dogs that have an injury of the musculo-tendinous junction of the gastrocnemius muscle, treatment protocol and prognosis vary and need to be discussed on a case-to-case basis. In most cases, however, non-surgical treatment and a significant amount of rest allow dogs to return to normal function. In contrast, the following discussion is related to injuries of the more frequent tendon and bone and tendinous attachment, typically requiring surgical treatment. Dogs with Achilles tendon injuries have a dropped hock or with partial tears, or intact superficial digital flexor tendon, which is a crab-like position of the claws.


In dogs that have an injury of the musculo-tendinous junction of the gastrocnemius muscle, treatment protocol and prognosis vary and need to be discussed on a case-to-case basis. Treatment recommendations for Achilles tendon injuries depend on the degree and etiology of the injury. If there is only mild injury or strain--rest, injections of certain substances that may improve the healing and placement of a positional bone screw can be considered. The screw reaches from the calcaneus to the tibia, or shin bone. A cast or prosthetic are often applied for additional support. With partial or complete rupture, which is often associated with plantigrade stance, when the patient walks on the hock instead of on the toes, stabilization consists of surgical repair of the tendon, which can include a synthetic mesh or ligament from a donor, frequently also placement of a bone screw, and addition of a cast, external fixator, or articulating splint, which is called a prosthetic, to minimize stress on the repair. After surgery, regular rechecks and bandage changes are performed, and the best method is with a physical rehabilitation team, to allow for concurrent supportive treatment, or medical laser therapy, to improve tendon healing. During the course of two or three months, the tendon support is gradually

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

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Application of a bivalve cast (left), a dog with bilateral casts to protect the Achilles tendons after surgery (center), and an example of an articulating splint (right).

Once recovered, our four-legged friends can once again be expected to be seen running with their owners along the beaches of Virginia and Maryland.

reduced with a screw removal; a stage-wise reduction of supportive orthotics, or casts. To ensure the best recovery and decrease the risk of skin irritation, it is recommended to strictly limit the patient’s activity. Severe strain on the surgical site could result in failure of the repair. Too much activity or neglect of the cast or bandage may result in sores of the skin. After the complete removal of all external support, physical rehabilitation sessions are recommended twice weekly for four to six weeks. The total duration of limited activity from the time of surgery can be as long as nine to twelve months. The reason for this slow and gradual recovery is that tendons need approximately one year after surgery to heal completely, but even then they only achieve about 80 percent of their total original strength. The suggested slow recovery protocol provides slow increase of stress to the repaired tendon tissue, minimizing the risk for repair failure and increasing chances for an optimal outcome.

The prognosis is best for dogs that still have a close to normal stance without significant pain, swelling or tendon defects. If the time from injury to surgery is relatively short—one to fourteen days is optimal—an excellent outcome can be anticipated. Patients with chronic injuries or animals with additional metabolic diseases are at risk of poor return to function or not healing despite all of the best efforts. In a worst-case scenario, if unsatisfactory healing occurs, a pantarsal arthrodesis, or a fusion of the ankle joint, may be necessary to provide comfort and long-term function. Achilles tendon repairs can be pervasive and complicated cases to treat. Despite the aforementioned caveats, with appropriate treatment affected patients usually return to completely normal function. Once recovered, our four-legged friends can once again be expected to be seen running with their owners along the beaches of Virginia and Maryland.

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com


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Project GO–

Providing Orthopedic Care to Animals in Need Shelters, rescue organizations, and working dogs such as K-9 units are often in need of health care. Unfortunately, many of these organizations simply do not have the funding to provide everything these animals need.

By Stephanie Clarke Photos courtesy of Project GO

“Porter” & his K9 Handler


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

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They often have the funds to provide basic care, but some advanced surgeries and other treatment, especially advanced orthopedic care, simply cost more than they could afford. Dr. Sherman Canapp, a veterinarian and owner of Veterinary Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group (VOSM), has long dreamed of helping these organizations with this burden for years. In fact, when he opened VOSM in 2005, he was already thinking about how he would create Project GO (Global Orthopedics for Animals), Inc.

Now that his goal of providing veterinary medical care for injured animals without financing was becoming a reality, Dr. Canapp had to decide how he would determine how Project GO would operate. He determined early on that he wanted to work with “working dogs, K-9 units, search and rescue groups, animal sanctuaries, and shelter and rescue organizations with dire financial restraints. We are willing to work with any organization that falls into any of these categories.”

Over the next ten years, Dr. Canapp received many requests for help from organizations that simply didn’t have the funding for veterinary services. He often saw those involved have to make the difficult choice to either pull money from some other key part of their organization or let their animal suffer. “The difficult decision to forego advanced veterinary care was often based on the financial need of these organizations, and resulted in animals not receiving immediate, proper veterinary care for injuries,” he stated.

In order to get financial assistance with care, an organization first has to fall within one of these categories and reach out to Project GO for help. Then they need to show that they’ve already tried to obtain financial assistance elsewhere, such as looking for local or state funding, applying for care credit, or using credit cards. The reason for this is because, while Project GO has raised some initial funding, that funding is still limited.

In response, he began discounting his own services to help these organizations provide the advanced orthopedic care their animals needed. However, there was only so much he could do. “I realized very quickly that there was a tremendous amount of training and financial investment that goes into working/ service dogs, he said, “however, funding for treatments was often limited.” After years of seeing animals suffer and being unable to help every one of them, Dr. Canapp realized he had to make his dream of Project GO a reality. After he treated a high-ranking DC region working dog with a significant orthopedic condition that the organization was unable to afford treatment for, he said enough is enough. “I made it my mission and 2016 New Year’s resolution to create a non-profit to help these amazing working canines.” With little but his determination, Dr. Canapp quickly realized that operating VOSM was one thing, but creating a nonprofit organization was another. Instead of giving up, he reached out to Josie Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Maryland Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Josie provided him with guidance in creating a board of directors, selecting committee members, and learning the ropes of fundraising.

Unfortunately, Project GO is not able to offer financial assistance to client-owned animals at this point. Dr. Canapp hopes that’s not always the case. “It is our hope that eventually Project GO can gain enough funding that we can start accepting cases from injured client-owned animals that need financial assistance as well.” In addition to treating domestic animals, Dr. Canapp has experience in treating exotic animals. During his surgical residency training at the University of Florida, he was able to work with the exotic animals and wildlife at Walt Disney World, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Sea World. “I had the opportunity to work on everything from bats to leopards, prairie dogs to monkeys.” Once he moved back to the DC region, he began assisting local aquariums, zoos, and wildlife sanctuaries with their animal health care needs. While Dr. Canapp provides much of the care that animals receive in the DC, he has also set out to make sure that animals around the country and even the world receive the help they need. Project GO has several other referral locations located around the world that he has certified as capable of providing the highest quality orthopedic and neurological care. This certification indicates that Dr. Canapp trusts the vets at these offices to provide the same level of care he provides at VOSM. He hopes to further expand these locations in the future so that more and more injured animals can receive the care they need no matter where they are.

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com


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therapy using stem cells and platelet rich plasma. With a custom brace and further rehabilitation, Porter was able to fully recover from his accident. Exactly one year to the day that he fell from the cliff, Porter passed all of his re-certification exams to return to work. Another story that stands out is that of Little Terri the turtle. Little Terri lives at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, but when she was first presented to the aquarium, she had progressive bone loss in her left shoulder. Her caretakers recognized that Little Terri’s needs were not something a local vet would be able to handle, nor did they have the funding they needed to cover the tests and treatment.

In 2016, Project GO hosted several cultivation events to help raise awareness of its work, and Dr. Canapp and his team have a number of events planned for 2017 and 2018. Project GO has also built relationships with a number of working dog organizations, shelters, and rescue groups to help spread the word about Project GO both to organizations that could benefit from medical assistance and to potential donors. The board of directors is working to secure partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and others who may be able to help Project GO provide help to more animals. Over the years, Dr. Canapp has treated many different animals, both through VOSM and Project GO. Several stand out. One of his most memorable was Trooper Porter, a K-9 officer. Porter was participating in a search and rescue mission when he fell off a sudden drop and landed 25 feet below. His right forelimb was injured, but a trip to the local vet showed no fracture. He was given a splint and put on rest. During this time, he was unable to walk properly. His rehabilitation therapist knew that Porter needed additional treatment and reached out to Dr. Canapp. With funding from Project GO, Porter was brought to VOSM for evaluation. Dr. Canapp’s wife, Dr. Debra Canapp, performed a diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound on Porter’s right carpus and determined that he had mid-grade sprains in his flexor carpi ulnaris and medial collateral ligament. She performed regenerative medicine


They reached out to Dr. Canapp, and he was able to perform a minimally invasive surgery (arthroscopy) to obtain tissue samples from her shoulder and evaluate her tendons, ligaments, bone structure, and tissue, and Dr. Canapp was able to clean up the joint. After determining that she was suffering from a degenerative condition caused by an inflammatory reaction, Dr. Canapp was able to treat her with antiinflammatory medication. Little Terri made a full recovery. These are just a couple of the stories Dr. Canapp has to tell. It’s clear that he has a deep love for animals. This passion makes it all the worse when he has to turn down organizations due to financing. “Luckily, we are able to offer financial assistance for most of the cases that are presented to us, but unfortunately we have had to turn down several cases due to lack of funding available.” Even when they can’t offer treatment, though, Dr. Canapp and his associates do what they can. “We still offer our guidance about the best recommended treatment plan and point organizations in the right direction for where to receive help given their financial restraints.” At the bottom of all of the challenges Dr. Canapp and Project GO face is money. As a fairly new organization, Project GO doesn’t yet have a wide list of fundraisers and supporters. Spreading the word about what Project GO offers is important, Dr. Canapp stresses. Without fundraising, it’s difficult for the organization to continue treating new cases or providing follow-up care. In 2016, Project GO hosted several cultivation events to help raise awareness of its work, and Dr. Canapp and his team have a number of events planned for 2017 and 2018. These include hosting a themed 5K run, a shop for a cause event, a wine tasting benefit, a sports skills clinic, and more

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

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Project GO is currently one-hundred-percent funded by donations. while continuing to reach out to major pharmaceutical companies and other potential investors and partners. Project GO is currently one-hundred-percent funded by donations. Without assistance, the organization cannot provide financial assistance to animals in need. Dr. Canapp can’t stress this point enough, especially since Project GO is so new. “These donations help to ensure funding is available to working dogs, K-9 units, search and rescue groups, animal sanctuaries, and shelter and rescue organizations with dire financial restraints. Without continued donations and support, financial aid cannot be provided to these animals.” When anyone asked Dr. Canapp what they can do to help Project GO, donating is always at the top of the list. Every little bit helps, especially when it comes to emergency surgeries or 24-hour care. For those who may not be able to financially contribute, Dr. Canapp asks that they simply talk about Project GO. Letting others know that the project exists is one of the biggest hurdles a new nonprofit faces. Beyond potential donor organizations that could use Project GO’s services to help their animals also need to know that this resource is out there.

He continued, “I would like to bring these doctors and students to the US for training as well as go to their locations to offer assistance with challenging cases in need.” By spreading this type of specialized training around the world, it will help make this type of treatment much more affordable since organizations won’t have to travel to find a specialist. While it may have started as an idea, more than ten years ago, today Project GO is thriving and looking towards the future. With more partners, additional certified providers, and assistance from its many donors, this dream has become a reality. But it’s not over yet. In fact, Dr. Canapp has a new dream that’s just as large as Project GO: “My dream would to be have a retro-fitted retired jet that we could modify to include an operating room, exam room, and a classroom for teaching doctors and students. We’d take the Project GO Sky Vets jet around the world, helping animals and teaching. There is a similar non-profit organization for human eye care that has performed this same miracle, so why not?”

While the project is still working to make itself known worldwide, Dr. Canapp and his board of directors already have big plans for the future. With the right funding, he hopes to further expand the project so that animals in all parts of the world can receive the orthopedic and neurological assistance they need when they need it. With the right global partnerships and alliances, the project’s aim is to provide care for all injured animals. Again, however, Dr. Canapp comes back to finances. “Unfortunately, our biggest challenge in pursuit of our vision is, and will most likely continue to be, receiving enough funding.” Fundraising aside, Dr. Canapp has many plans for Project GO. First and foremost is to provide assistance to all service or working dogs in need, no matter where they’re located. Beyond that, one of his top priorities is to expand the project by offering assistance to rescues, shelters, and wildlife sanctuaries. But helping animals in need of orthopedic or neurological care is just the initial mission for Project GO. “I want to help veterinarians and veterinary students in third world countries learn basic orthopedics and sports medicine so that have the abilities to help similar animals in need.”

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com

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Making Your Dog Healthy

Will Keep You, Your Pup & Your Wallet Happy Too! Have you ever really read the ingredient label on the food you give your dog? Even those expensive “prescription or dog breed foods?” I bet you will see lots of starch - potato, rice, peas, beans even as the first ingredients. Do you know where the meat comes from? How about that “animal fat” that is often seen on the label? I’m sure you would be as appalled as I was when I learned that if meat being used is not human grade, then its not fit for human consumption - like diseased or dying animals. Or that animal fat can be discarded restaurant grease. Just plain gross! With the greater availability of organic foods bringing the costs down, I opt for as much organic, pesticide free, and antibiotic free food as possible for my own diet. Its the healthy choice you need to make for yourself and you should also be making for your pups. Too many grains, starches, ingredients we can’t pronounce let alone spell - that’s not something you want your dog eating. Dogs need high quality protein, void of pesticides and GMOs that can cause cancer but also void of sugars/starches that can feed those cancers. That high quality protein can be found in certain kibble, but also in frozen or dehydrated raw food - something we highly recommend even if you can only add it as a topper. You would be amazed at how many clients with dogs that have sensitive stomachs, switch from prescription diets to better food and many of their skin, coat, digestive issues disappear! Plus they are happier!

lots of vet visits. Dehydrated Raw is a great way to add raw to kibble if that’s all that is affordable, but it still gives your pup needed calcium, premium ingredients and an extra boost. Whole Dogz strives to meet the entire needs of your pup, from chemical free daycare and boarding to training, at food and supplements. And we know they work because we use them on our own pups and have seen amazing results with our clients. Check us out today!

wholedogz.com | (703) 751-3649

Supplements are also essential and help to keep your pup in top condition, support their immune system, joints and overall health, while avoiding costly vet bills. From coconut oil made for dogs, to superior joint supplements, your pup really deserves the best! While higher quality dog foods and supplements may cost a little more, in the long run they will save you

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com


{ ask a neurovet }

Ask A Neurovet Dr. Lauren Talarico

By Lauren R. Talarico, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology/Neurosurgery) Photo Courtesy Dr. Lauren Talarico

Dear Dr. T, I have a 14-year-old mixed breed dog that just started getting stuck in corners and pressing her head against the wall. I call her name and she will respond, however she often appears confused and disoriented. Are these signs of a neurologic problem or do you think my dog is just getting old? —Eric, Alexandria VA

Dear Eric,

Head pressing is indicative of a problem with the part of the brain known as the cerebral cortex, or prosencephalon. Common causes of head pressing in older dogs include brain tumors, autoimmune processes (i.e. encephalitis) and less likely strokes or canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS or “doggie dementia”). Toxin exposure and metabolic imbalances can also be a cause of head pressing in young to middle aged dogs. Dogs tend to press their head against the wall as a way to alleviate pain. Head pressing is often seen with other clinical signs of a problem with the cerebral cortex such as staring off into space, loss of learned behaviors (i.e. you dog may be urinating inappropriately in the house); decreased or lack of vision, circling, pacing/wandering and even seizure activity.


I would recommend having your dog thoroughly evaluated by a veterinary neurologist in the near future. After this evaluation, an MRI will likely be recommended to help determine the underlying cause for your dog’s head pressing behavior and the best treatment plan.

Do you have questions for the Neurovet? You can follow Dr. Lauren Talarico on Twitter @neurovet3 or contact her through her blog at www.theneurovet.com.


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

{ ask a neurovet }

Dear Dr. T,

Dear Dr. T,

I have an 8-year-old Labrador that appears weak on her hind limbs. She has difficulty getting up and occasionally I hear her feet dragging on our hardwood floors. I read online that an ACL tears and spinal cord problems can cause weakness that look very similar. How can I tell which my dog is suffering from? —Gina, Washington DC

Sassy, my 9-year-old German Shepherd, was recently diagnosed with discospondylitis. My veterinarian said this is an infection of the spine and put her on a long course of antibiotics and she is doing great so far! I have two other dogs in my household and I am very afraid they will catch Sassy’s spinal infection. Do you have any advice as to how I can prevent this disease from spreading to my other dogs? —Katerine, Falls Church VA

Dear Gina,

This is a very good question and a very common worry among pet owners. Weakness from an orthopedic problem looks very different than weakness, otherwise referred to as a paresis, from a spinal cord or nerve problem. The one key factor you mentioned with regard to your dog is the dragging of her feet on the hardwood floors. Dogs with a primary orthopedic problem will not drag their paws; rather they just have difficulty supporting their weight on their limbs. On the contrary, neurologic causes of hind limb weakness are often associated with concurrent ataxia, or dragging of the paws on the ground. You may also notice that if you flip your dog’s paw over that she doesn’t correct it very quickly. If that occurs, that is consistent with a proprioceptive deficit secondary to a spinal cord lesion. In older large breed dogs, it is possible to have concurrent orthopedic and spinal cord problems. For example, your dog may have a partial tear of their cruciate ligament (aka: ACL) as well as a structural or degenerative spinal cord problem at the same time. Your primary care veterinarian will be a great resource at this point and can refer you to the appropriate specialist based on their exam findings.

Dear Katherine and Sassy,

Discospondylitis is an infection of the vertebrae as well as the intervertebral discs that live between them. The most common signs of this disease are back pain, decreased appetite and sometimes fever and lethargy. If left untreated, nerve damage or spinal cord compression can result. There are two types of discospondylitisbacterial and fungal. The bacterial form is much more common than the fungal form. Luckily, Sassy is already being treated with antibiotics by your primary care veterinarian and she is responding well! The most common causes of discospondylitis include previous infections including those of the skin, urinary tract (UTI), prostatic infections in male dogs, and contaminated wounds. German Shepherds are predisposed to developing this disease, however it is seen in all breeds of dogs. Fortunately, discospondylitis is not contagious. It cannot be transmitted between dogs in your household or to humans. I recommend continuing treatment with long term antibiotics and pain medications. Frequent recheck examinations and spinal x-rays will help determine treatment success over the course of the next several months.

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com


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All in the By Alexandria Pallat Photos courtesy of Alexandria Pallat


The Life-Changing Benefits of a Pet’s— and a Family Member’s–Unconditional Love and Friendship

Many dog owners will admit to treating their dogs like family, or like children, often referring to their dogs as their baby or “fur-baby.” Not only do we, as dog owners, willingly admit it, but we see it in other dog owners’ interactions, and research supports it. In his article on the flexible personhood of companion animals, Shir-Vertesh (2012) states that between 68 and 93 percent of pet owners have a tendency to view their animals as family members, even describing “their pets as possessing a human status within the family and as being integral to the family,” and, according to a Time magazine article in April, 2017, by Mandy Oaklander, a 2015 Harris poll revealed that 95 percent of pet owners view their animal as a family member. Dogs seem to be taking the place of children in some families. But why? There has been continuous research and much written about the bond between humans and animals. A key aspect of this human-animal bond is the pet owners’ perception that the animal’s love for them is unconditional. Perhaps that is why those who struggle with mental illness turn to animals for support. In 2012, a CNN article written by Elizabeth Landau and Hal Herzog, a professor of psychology at Western Carolina University, explained that there is evidence to suggest that “interacting with pets produces biochemical changes in the brain.” Psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman stated that “caring for a pet helps people become less frightened, more self-sufficient, and secure.” Emotional support animals, or ESAs, are just one category of dog that can provide needed support. According to Michigan State University’s Animal Legal & Historical Center, an ESA “provides emotional support and comfort to individuals with psychiatric disabilities and other mental impairments.” I have first-hand experience about that “biochemical change in the brain” that happens when caring for an animal. That is how my dog, Belle, helps me. In the year that I have had her, she has not only supported me as I struggle with anxiety and depressive symptoms, but I’ve also learned a lot from her. Belle has encouraged me to be more self-sufficient and secure. The process of training her allowed me to focus on only her during those moments, instead of whatever may be causing depressive symptoms that day, and I’ve noticed a difference not only in her but also in myself. I have more confidence in her—that she will stay when told, that


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

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Belle has encouraged me to be more self-sufficient and secure. The process of training her allowed me to focus on only her during those moments, instead of whatever may be causing depressive symptoms that day, and I’ve noticed a difference not only in her but also in myself. she will behave better on walks, and, most importantly, that she will come when called—and that confidence in her has boosted my self-confidence.

Alexandria & “Belle”

I recently took her to a dog beach, and I was anxious as she decided to run off and sniff some of the greenery that led to a trail. When I called her name, though, she turned right around and came trotting back, head tucked, the look of “sorry, coming mom” in her little brown eyes. That was when I had an epiphany moment: Wow. She listens. I did that! And just by realizing that I had successfully trained certain behaviors, my attitude changed that day. I relaxed and was able to be fully involved in her in a way I haven’t been able to before. Having confidence in her means I have confidence in her training, meaning I have confidence in the way she was trained, which then means I have confidence in my abilities. The process of gaining that confidence also meant I learned what it means to have another living being rely on you. Even when I’m suffering, I have to take care of her—feed her, take her outside, play with her. She relies on me to provide for her; I can’t just sleep all day. When I don’t feel I can get up, she comes to my bed with all the energy that a one-year-old Border collie has in the morning and gives me kisses (yes, dog kisses are a good thing!). Even if my mind is in a haze of anxious or depressive thoughts, those kisses put a smile on my face and make me giggle. She gives me incentive and puts the depressive state at bay. I have to admit, on many days when I am not working, if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t leave the house. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t go on evening walks. I work to provide for her, to give her what she needs—from the obvious, like food and water, to the bit more lavish, like the ability to go to day camp to socialize with her dog friends, and to the silly, like the pretty collar that adds some color to her dark black coat. Many people who have ESAs express that what helps the most is the animal’s unconditional love for them. I have a friend who also has an ESA, and I know that ESA provides her with the unconditional love she needs to feel secure in herself and her surroundings. When my friend struggles with anxiety, her dog stands by her side, and I can see the impact just that closeness has on my friend—her

body instantly relaxes. When that same friend experienced personal turmoil, her dog was there to provide the love she needed, and it was a love that only a dog can provide—unconditional and non-judgmental. That is what Belle provides for me. No matter what kind of day I’ve had, she’s always bouncing around and talking in her excitement to see me. No matter how I feel, she shows me, again, with slobbery kisses, that she loves me and doesn’t judge me. She has taught me that confidence in myself is paramount to surviving in the real world--and that it’s okay to have struggles because there’s always support. To me, Belle is more than a best friend or a child. She is my everyday therapy, my support network.

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com


{ pet travel }

Mobile, by George! By Ginger Warder Photos courtesy of the Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa

If you only meet one Mobile native, make sure it’s Mr. George at the historic Battle House Hotel. As a native Virginian, I can tell you that Southerners love telling stories of our past—the more colorful, the better—and most of all, we love our storytellers. In every town in the South, you’ll find at least one iconic figure that has earned the reputation as the defacto oral historian of the city. In Mobile, I found Mr. George. Although Mr. George is somewhat coy about his age, it’s safe to say that he’s worked in Mobile’s hospitality industry for more than six decades. The beloved concierge of the historic Battle House Hotel leads tours peppered with personal memories that date back to the 1950s, when he first worked at the hotel. “I remember one time this really wealthy couple had their wedding reception here in the ballroom. They had told guests not to bring any gifts. They stood on the stairway and threw a big stack


of money into the air and it was raining money all over the room. One of my friends went through a crawl space and got onto the ballroom floor and was grabbing as much money as he could,” he said laughing. Born and raised in Mobile, George Moore and his gracious Southern hospitality have earned him numerous accolades, as well as the unique honor of having the hotel’s gift shop named in his honor. Nicknamed “Mobile’s Living Room”, the historic Battle House Hotel originally opened in 1852. In 1860, Stephen Douglas spent election night at the storied hotel after losing to Abraham Lincoln. Destroyed by fire in 1905, the hotel reopened a few years later and through the next seven decades, played to host to politicians and celebrities from President Woodrow Wilson to the king himself, Elvis Presley.

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

{ pet travel }

Mr. George worked at the hotel during the 50’s and 60’s, but sadly, the doors closed in 1974 and more than 30 years later, when the grand dame of Mobile was finally restored, Mr. George was one of the first hires. Mobile is home to the country’s first Mardi Gras celebration and according to Mr. George, the best place to watch the parade is from the balcony of the Battle House. He also highly recommends another Mobile original, Wintzell’s Oyster House. Opened in 1938 as a six-stool oyster bar, today the seafood restaurant is still known for its oysters “fried, stewed or nude” and for its famous West Indies salad, Mobile’s favorite appetizer featuring lump crabmeat, chopped onions and spices that have been marinated in oil and vinegar for 24 hours. Four-legged visitors of all sizes also receive a warm welcome at the luxurious Battle House with a one-time pet fee of $75 for a stay of one to six nights, and downtown Mobile—designed for long, leisurely strolls— is filled with outdoor cafes where your pooch is welcome. Whether you’re planning a visit to Alabama’s beaches or you’re just passing by on your way to another destination, Mobile’s Battle House Hotel is one of those historic luxury hotels of centuries past that shouldn’t be missed. And tell Mr. George I sent you!

Mr. George

CARE is Your Choice

Emergency Services & Board Certified Specialists + ER Doctors and Technicians Always On-site 24/7 + Internal Medicine: Thoracic Ultrasound, Chemotherapy, Endoscopy + Soft Tissue Procedures: Laparoscopy, Abdominal and Thoracic + Sports Medicine, Rehabilitation Therapy, Pain Management + Surgical Services: TPLOs, Patella, Fractures, Arthroscopy, Hip + CT Scanner + Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) + Underwater and Land Treadmill 24/7 EMERGENCY HOSPITAL 1080 W. Patrick Street, Frederick, MD 21703 PHONE 301-662-CARE (2273) WEB www.carefrederick.com The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog Summer 2017.indd 1

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com

6/1/2017 2:03:35 PM


{ feature } Patients relaxing in one of the comfortable rooms at Wholistic Paws Veterinary Services


Companions Are Needed Most

By Krisi Erwin Photos courtesy of Wholistic Paws Veterinary Services (WPVS)


New Companioning Center in Loudoun County, Va., Offers Pets and Pet Owners A Veterinary Friend During the Most Difficult Times

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

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The word “companion,” when broken down into its original Latin roots, means com for “with” and pan for “bread.” As in, someone you would share a meal with; as in a friend; as in an equal. Wholistic Paws Veterinary Services is proud and excited to announce the opening of the facility’s new home--the Wholistic Paws Companioning Center. This new location just opened in June, 2017, and is located in Ashburn, Virginia. The center has allowed the facility’s owners to expand their services so they can better help families and their pets. While the center still offers in-home care for Loudoun County, Va., the center allows the owners and staff to help families whose pets are well enough to come in or for those who live outside of the center’s travelservice area. Wholistic Paws Veterinary Services was started by myself, Krisi Erwin, the author of this article, and Jeremy Erwin. The center has been operating in the Loudoun County area since 2010. Initially, the center’s services were purely house-call-based, and included acupuncture, rehabilitation, hospice and euthanasia services. Overtime, the center’s owners felt it would be helpful to have a central location that would allow them to see patients, provide educational seminars, and allow them to hire support staff to expand their services. The Companioning Center concept has been modified several times during the last two years until the idea was finalized in the spring of 2017. Some people may naturally wonder what a companioning center is, exactly. The term Companioning was introduced to facility officials by Alan Wolfelt at the Center for Loss. Their website, www.centerforloss. com, explains the concept beautifully in that Wolfelt believes in “companioning” the bereaved, in contrast to the medical model, which is based on “treating patients.” The word “companion,” when broken down into its original Latin roots, means com for “with” and pan for “bread.” As in, someone you would share a meal with; as in a friend; as in an equal. While many of the center’s patients are not considered to be at the end of their lives, most have had chronic illnesses or problems and their families may come to the facility stressed, tired, and frightened about how the future might look for their pet’s comfort and quality of life. Facility officials have built the center to create a comfortable environment to provide a safe space for tough conversations and also to help keep our patients comfortable and fear

free during their visits. The center’s officials have a goal of extending the concept of companioning beyond helping bereaved families and into a practice philosophy where center officials can walk through difficult or troubling times alongside families to help pets recover, experience improved quality of life, or make a gentle end of life transition when it is time. The Companioning Center has also allowed facility officials to expand their team. The center now has talented professionals that can provide new services, such as massage therapy, pet rehabilitation, herbal medicine, and sports medicine. Two of the Center’s team members will soon be certified as Animal Hospice and Palliative Care Providers. Center officials are also excited to announce the start of pet loss support circles led by local counselors who understand the nuances of pet loss. The opening of the new Center marks an exciting time for the facility. The owners are proud to provide their community with new services to better support both people and their pets.

Owners, Jeremy & Dr. Krisi Erwin

For more information and questions about the Companioning Center: 20600 Gordon Park Square Suite 170, Ashburn, VA 20147 (571) 438-0339 | wecare@wholisticpawsvet.com www.wholisticpawsvet.com

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com



OCTOBER 7, 2017 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm • Rain or Shine

Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard RAFFLES | SILENT AUCTION | VENDORS DOG COSTUME CONTEST & PRIZES $20 Gate Donation Includes Limited Edition Wine Glass & Glass of Wine (must be 21)



16 Veterinary Specialties 39 Veterinarians 167 Team Members

Together, We Redefine Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Care 24 Hours a Day 365 Days a Year



When Does Your Pet Need Urgent Care? Severe Bleeding or Bleeding for over     5 minutes Bleeding from Nose, Mouth, Rectum Coughing Up Blood or Blood in Urine  Difficulty Breathing  Continuous Coughing or Gagging Inability to Urinate or Pass Stool Eye Injuries Hit by a Motor Vehicle Seizures - Staggering - Unconsciousness Severe Vomiting or Diarrhea  Fractured Bones or Severe Lameness  Signs of Pain, Discomfort and/or Anxiety that concerns you Over Exposure to Heat/Cold Heatstroke or Hypothermia Ingestion of a Poison, Toxin or Foreign Object  Refusal to Drink for 24 hours Any combination of the above signs OUR LIST DOES NOT COVER ALL EMERGENCIES Please Consult a Veterinarian Anytime You Have Concerns about Your Pet(s) Health! PLEASE USE CAUTION IN HOT WEATHER DO NOT LEAVE PETS IN CARS! Follow Us @ Facebook/tlcvets  for pet care tips and to learn more about the teams at The LifeCentre

Celebrating Our 10th Anniversary   134 & 165 Fort Evans Rd, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176 

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Happier at Home Simple steps to keep aging or disabled dogs safe and comfortable around the house By Ashleigh Fairfield, LVT, CCRP

All pets are special, but if you’ve been lucky enough to have a senior pet, you know all of the wonderful things they bring to home life. You also know that pets deserve a high quality of life and dignity—even in their golden years. Unfortunately, as pets age and battle pain, weakness and other mobility issues, home can suddenly become a daunting place. And because pets are very good at hiding their vulnerabilities and discomfort, we often are slow to make the necessary environmental changes to help them feel more comfortable and get around better. Here are some simple solutions that can benefit your canine companions as they age or recover from injury, illness, or another of life’s setbacks.

Mind the Floor Slick flooring, such as hardwood, vinyl and tile can be troublesome terrain for our aging canines. One simple solution that can help build confidence and reduce further injury is to use runners or yoga mats over your home’s high-traffic areas. These products are fairly inexpensive to purchase and can be easily rinsed in the sink or with a hose to keep clean. When considering where to place the mats, think this: Where does your dog do that tight turn at a full sprint when the UPS man arrives or the doorbell rings, or anywhere else that he or she does a quick turn or pivot. While stopping this less-than-desirable behavior is a challenge, you can easily provide some much-needed traction in these areas and help avoid injuries. Additionally, there are wearable products on the market to help improve traction. You may consider booties for your pup’s paws, which are designed to improve mobility. Some products can even be worn outside in inclement weather. There also are paw waxes and sprays, which offer short-term solutions to help paw pads better grip slippery surfaces. One example, Paw Friction (pawfriction.com), takes this concept a step further by offering a non-toxic coating that can be applied to the paw pads and lasts an average of seven days. Another option is Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips (www.toegrips.com), which slide over


your pet’s nails and provide instant traction and confidence. Several of the patients at the facility where I work use these, and they are generally well tolerated and last one to three months.

Watch Your Step Stairs also can be a particularly difficult obstacle for the impaired dog. As much as possible, stairs should be carpeted or covered with runners to prevent slipping and to give your pet good traction going up and down. If there is slick flooring at the top or bottom of the stairs, consider placing a mat in those areas to make the transition from stairs to floor easier. When pets have aches and pains in certain areas, it’s much easier for them to mask those symptoms when they are standing or walking on flat surfaces. But the steep inclines and declines of stairs can force pets to project more body weight onto these areas of discomfort or weakness. That may be why some pets try to avoid stairs, or they bunny hop or tip toe up or down to ascend or descend as quickly or slowly as possible. One way to provide some gentle support is by using a harness. There are many harnesses on the market that are designed for various pet needs. One well- known, all-purpose example is the Help ‘Em Up Harness (helpemup.com).

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

{ feature } This product is particularly useful for pets with difficulty using stairs, as you can provide support using one or both of two available handles—one supports the chest and the other supports the pelvis. These also are designed to be comfortable so that pets can wear them 24/7. To ensure proper and safe usage, a strong recommendation is that Help ‘Em Up harnesses, specifically, should be fitted by an experienced rehabilitation specialist.

dishes can decrease stress to the front legs, neck, and back, and can help to reduce compensatory discomfort. Be sure to speak with your primary veterinarian about raising food and water dishes and other concerns, depending on your pet’s condition and abilities. You may want to consider placing a non-slip mat in front of or beside bowls to provide added traction and confidence while pets eat.

Up and Down

And in a perfect world, any good meal is followed by an even better nap. As you consider your pet’s bedtime routine and accommodations, remember that whatever seems most comfortable to the human eye isn’t always best for aging pets. Avoid billowy, pillow-like beds and slick and silky beds and blankets for dogs that suffer from pain or weakness, as they can make it more difficult for pets to obtain a good grip while lying down or rising. Similarly, knitted or crocheted blankets can be troublesome, as dogs can easily snag or catch a toenail in them, which could result in muscle or joint injury. In most cases, a low, flat dog bed with firm memory foam is a safe and comfortable option for your pet, and will send them happily off to dreamland without any extra discomfort.

Navigating furniture or getting in and out of vehicles also may be a struggle for some dogs, particularly if the surface is significantly elevated off the ground. There are many lightweight pet stairs and ramps available on the market; although in our practice we find some dogs, especially those who are particularly painful or anxious, will simply refuse to use them. Wider and more gradual ramps are typically better tolerated by dogs than narrow, steep ones are. Vehicles and furniture also can be made less treacherous by utilizing a harness, as mentioned above, to hoist pets up and gently place them back down. If your dog likes to hop on and off furniture, try using a wide ottoman or equivalent to break up the distance between the furniture and the floor so there is less of an impact on their joints. Another option for the home and vehicle is a wide and sturdy collapsible stool that can help to lessen the impact of climbing in and out or on and off surfaces, and can be easily stored.

These are just a few of the many changes you can consider making around the home today to ensure your aging pet is comfortable. You’ll feel better knowing you’re doing all you can to make their life easier, and your pet will appreciate still being able to enjoy the everyday activities and interactions that make family life so special.

Dinner Time & Bed Time It’s highly likely that feeding time is one of your pet’s favorite times of time. That’s why it’s important to consider how pet owners can make them most comfortable in these spaces. Elevating food and water dishes to shoulder level with the use of a stand or raised

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com


{ the pet lady }

By Dana Humphrey

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE FOR PETS & THEIR PEOPLE! While the holiday season may seem far away, it will be here before you know it! Now is a great time to start shopping for all of the pet-loving people in your life. With so many pet products on the market today, it can be a difficult task on deciding what to buy. Here are few new products that make “paw-some” and unique gift options that will benefit both pet owners and their animal companions!


For more information about Dana Humphrey, also known as the Pet Lady: thepetlady.net; @petladyworld; info@thepetlady.net; on Facebook, DanaHumphreyThePetLady; on Instagram: @danakhumphrey.

One Fur All – Candy Cane Candle: As we begin shopping for friends and family for the upcoming holiday season, the One Fur All Candy Cane Candle makes for a unique and festive gift! We love our pets, however they often add unwanted odors in our living space that can be difficult to control. There are various pet odor elimination products available on the market; however, One Fur All has created a unique line of candles, wax melts, room freshening sprays and car fresheners that contain an effective odor neutralizer to create the freshest environment. All of their products are made in the USA, pleasantly attractive, long lasting and satisfaction guaranteed. Scented candles often contain harmful chemicals and dyes that are considered just as dangerous as second-hand smoke. Retailing for $19.95, One Fur All Candles and Wax Melts are crafted with 100% natural, dye-free soy wax and contain absolutely no paraffin/petroleum by-products. There are many candle fragrances available but Candy Cane is a holiday favorite that combines peppermint with sweet vanilla. Pet owners will enjoy smelling this festive and safe candle during the holiday season and beyond! www.onefurallpets.com A Pet with Paws – The Jackson Pouch: The Jackson Poop Pick-Up Pouch makes a unique, stylish and functional gift for every dog mom out there. This vibrant red accessory will be sure to add a pop of color to any walk or adventure with Fido. Not only is this bag fashionable, but it’s eco-friendly, cruelty-free and vegan too! A Pet with Paws has innovated the way we currently know the poop bag holder by integrating a sophisticated, eco-friendly pouch into the mix. Who would have imagined that plastic bottles could be recycled into an innovative chic bag? At first glance, the Poop Pick-Up Pouch look like leather; however upon closer examination, you realize your eye has been tricked and what you


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

{ the pet lady }

are seeing is a crisp photo printed image on fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. Retailing for only $21.50, The Jackson is ideal for those who want to live a more sustainable lifestyle. However regardless if you’re going ‘green’ or not, everyone will fall head-over-paws for this pouch due to its design and functionality. The Jackson is the perfect size bag to take on a walk. It easily attaches to a leash, pet carrier, or belt loop. The discrete small opening on the backside makes it easy to access poop bags. Simply pull, tear off bag, and you’re ready for scooping. Picking up dog poop may not be the most glamorous task, but it’s an inevitable daily task for pet parents. The trendy and convenient Red Jackson Poop Pick-Up Pouch will help to encourage pet owners to go green while picking up after their four-legged friend in style! Learn more at: www.apetwithpaws.com. Treatibles Hemp Wellness Chew: If you’re shopping for someone with an anxious dog, then you may want to consider helping by giving the gift of Treatibles! Best known for making hemp wellness chews for animals, Treatibles was founded on the values of compassionate care, quality ingredients, consistent reliable information, and integrity. Over the years, hemp-derived nutraceuticals for animals are becoming more popular. Treatibles is a safe and trusted brand, and offers the perfect hemp wellness solutions to incorporate into your dog or cat’s life when anxiety strikes. Treatibles products all contain phytocannabinoid rich oil extracted from whole plant medicinal grade hemp grown in the USA. In addition to cannabidiol (CBD), one of the most therapeutic compounds, several other phytocannabinoids as well as terpenes are included creating what is known as the entourage effect, providing a full spectrum of benefits for pets. Treatibles products are legal to sell in and ship to all 50 states. Adding Treatibles to your pet’s routine can help them through the many changes presented during the hectic holiday season.

ensure the efficacy and safety of all of their products. Treatibles third party lab test at every stage, from the raw materials to the finished product. All additional ingredients are made in the USA and are preservative-free, gluten-free and vegan. The Small Pumpkin Chew for instance, consists of wholesome foods and spices like real pumpkin, oat flour, peanuts, turmeric, to name a few. The price for these chews range, but begin at $24.00 for a small bag. A pet owner struggling with a nervous dog will benefit greatly from sharing a Treatibles with their furry friend! Learn more at: www.treatibles.com. SmartBones Holistic Grain Free Dog Chew: Chewing is an essential activity for dogs. It helps keep them happy and healthy by cleaning teeth, strengthening their jaws, and preventing boredom and destructive behavior. Pet parents should ensure that they satisfy their dog’s natural chewing instinct in a healthy and satisfying way. No-rawhide and grain-free dog foods are a hot trend in the pet food industry today, which is why SmartBones® Holistic Grain Free Chews make a smart choice when purchasing a gift for a pet! These healthy and delicious chews are offered in multiple sizes and are made with real chicken and wholesome ingredients for a scrumptious taste dogs can’t resist. The SmartBones® Holistic Chews are offered in both bone and stick shape. The bones are available in four sizes: Mini 2.5” (5-10 lbs = 50 calories), Small 5” (1125 lbs = 161 calories), Medium 5.5” (26-50 lbs = 243 calories), and Large 7” (over 50 lbs = 337 calories). The sticks measure 5” long. Prices range from $9.99 - $20.00 depending on size and shape. In addition to being rawhide and grain free, SmartBones® Holistic Chews are gluten-free, wheat-free, soy-free, contain no chicken-by-products and are low fat. Just like all SmartBones® chews, they are highly digestible too. SmartBones® Holistic Dog Chews have all the benefits of a rawhide chew, without the rawhide! Learn more at: www.smartbones.com.

Not all hemp-derived products for pets are created equal; however, Treatibles goes above and beyond to

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com


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New Lives and Second Chances for Pets with Disabilities A Non-Profit Offers Assistance--Because Disabled Pets’ Spirits Aren’t Broken By Joyce Darrell Photos courtesy of Pets with Disabilities (PWD)

Pets with Disabilities (PWD) is a non-profit grassroots organization located in Prince Frederick, Md., that offers a voice for disabled animals. The rescue facility is dedicated to promoting the adoption of dogs and cats with disabilities, educating families about the options of managing pets who are disabled, and supporting shelters across the country with placing disabled pets in forever homes. Whether blind, deaf, missing a limb, or paralyzed--many of these pets are happy, healthy animals full of spirit, living their own normal lives. The rescue facility is run by myself, Joyce Darrell—the author of this article—and my husband Michael, assisted by an amazing network of volunteers. Our story started long ago when our own beloved pet, Duke, severed his spinal cord while playing with another puppy. After Duke, came Misty, another wheelchair-dog who had been living in a New York shelter for more than five years. Duke and Misty were the inspiration and foundation for an organization that would go on to help many animals from all areas of life. Once I made the decision to commit myself to rescuing, rehabilitating and supporting pets with disabilities fulltime, the momentum grew. Today my husband and I have ten disabled dogs and four cats that will live out the remainder of their lives at their home. In addition, at any given time, the center has an average of fifteen to twenty dogs in various stages of surgical recovery or treatment that will become available for adoption. Mike still works fulltime and is in charge of mobility for Pets with Disabilities. I do not take a salary. We have dedicated volunteers and families that help with transporting dogs, fostering, and computer work and fundraising. The organization could not operate without the help of all of the volunteers. To date, Pets with Disabilities has helped more than five hundred dogs get adopted into forever homes. On average, the adoption process takes about six months--and a large amount of money for a dog to be ready for adoption. Mike and I keep in touch with adopters. It is a requirement that dogs are to return to us if the need arises. So our commitment to each animal is for life.


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

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Whether blind, deaf, missing a limb, or paralyzed– many of these pets are happy, healthy animals full of spirit, living their own normal lives. Pets with Disabilities does not work alone. We coordinate our efforts with other rescue organizations and shelters that share a common goal, which is the rescue, rehabilitation and placement of dogs. Pets with Disabilities recognize the time and patience and the physical and financial strains that a disabled pet can put on an organization. However, we feel that every dog deserves help. And when we see the wagging tail of a blind dog chasing a ball, or a wheelchair barreling down a trail, or a three-legged dog running like the wind, or a deaf pup learning from others, that is simply rewarding and awesome! Typically, each dog that arrives at the facility requires $1,000 to $5000 worth of medical care--and many dogs need much recuperation time. Pets with Disabilities hold several fundraisers every year to support their rescue efforts. They hold “A Toast to Pets with Disabilities” each year in early June, usually on the first Friday. The fundraiser is a night of wine and food with friends, a silent auction, and music. Running Hare Vineyard in Prince Frederick, Md., donates the use of their impressive Tuscan-style events building for an evening in the vineyard. This is all done for a great cause, of course.



Pets with Disabilities’ second annual event is their Open House, which is held every fall at the rescue facility. This year, the open house will be held on Saturday, October 28, 2017, from noon to 5 p.m. Visitors get a chance to see and meet the dogs and the rescue facility. There is always lots of food and fun, 50/50 raffles and a great lucky draw!

For more information:

For dogs that are available for adoption from Pets With Disabilities, please visit www.petswithdisabilities.org. If you can’t adopt at this time, you can considering sponsoring a dog, or donating a contribution to the organization. There are many ways to help the organization—and their dogs!

Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com


?a?k Dr. Katy


{ ask dr. katy }


? ?

? ? ? ? ?



With Katy Nelson, DVM


Dear Dr. Katy: How can I tell if my dog (a mixed breed medium-size dog) is of healthy weight and condition? —Sydney C., Washington, DC

Dear Sydney,

Great question, Sydney! The best way to determine body condition score (BCS) is to talk with your veterinarian. We use a body condition scoring system (similar to BMI in humans) from 1-9, with 1 being life-threateningly emaciated, 9 being morbidly obese and between 4-5 being an ideal weight depending on the dog’s frame. Breeds vary in body shape, from deep-chested dogs like Boxers and German Shepherds, to more robust breeds like Akitas and Bulldogs, to thinner framed breeds like Whippets and Afghan Hounds, so scoring will vary based on a number of factors. An ideal condition dog will have palpable

ribs with minimal fat covering, along with an easily discernible waist and an abdominal tuck when viewed from above. If your veterinarian feels that your dog’s BCS is less than ideal, then she will discuss with you how to best correct that score towards the ideal through a diet and exercise program designed to build lean muscle and a healthy lifestyle!

Dear Dr. Katy: I have a question about nail clipping. I try to maintain my dogs’ nails on a routine basis. However, there have been a few times that they have gotten longer than I would like them to be resulting in having to take more length off then when they are routinely clipped. During the times that I have had to take more length off with a single clipping in order to get them back to what would be considered a standard and comfortable length, the nails tend to bleed a bit. Can you tell me why this is happening? —Connor K., Bethesda, MD

Do you have questions for Dr. Katy?


You can follow her on Twitter @drkatynelson, on Facebook or send her an e-mail at bark@vamddcdog.com.


Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

{ ask dr. katy }



Fall 2017 | www.vamddcdog.com




? ?




—Mark W., Upperville, VA


In wanting to be as proactive as possible with my newly adopted puppy, are there any routine tests that I should request from my vet other than blood work and fecal testing? I’m a bit paranoid because of a previous situation wherein my dog was exhibiting a particular behavior, and my vet at the time did not suggest any particular testing, or refer me to a specialist resulting in my dog passing away from an illness that per the necropsy report could have been very much avoided had testing been pursued.


Dear Dr. Katy:

Hi Mark, I’m sorry to hear about your previous story with your pup. However, it has been said that every tragedy has a lesson equal in its significance to its heartbreak. So, let us learn from this situation that one can never be too cautious, or too persistent, when fighting for those that we love. Every rescue pet is different, and they all come from different backgrounds. When assessing a new pup, my baseline diagnostics would include a thorough physical exam, heartworm/tickborne disease testing, and a fecal exam. Then, depending on the pup’s age, history and exam findings, I may go on to recommend full bloodwork (a CBC, chemistry panel and thyroid test), urinalysis or even radiographs. For new pet parents who don’t want to miss a thing, consider DNA testing with a company like Embark, who not only gives you a breed breakdown, but tests for over 160 genetic disorders. Always remember, though, you have choices when it comes to your pets’ care. If your pet care philosophy and that of your veterinarian don’t match, find a veterinarian that you feel respects your wishes and meets your expectations. After all, you and your veterinarian need to work as a team to be the best advocates that you can possibly be for your pet’s health. Every rescue pup deserves that.


The nail is composed of two layers, the hard outer shell, and the soft, vascular center cuticle, also referred to as the quick. What many people are not aware of is that the quick actually grows with the nail. As your pup’s nails grow, the quick also lengthens, possibly even growing close to the tip of the nail. This means when you trim the nails shorter that you are hitting the inner cuticle, leading to bleeding. When you trim small amounts frequently, the cuticle tends to recede further into the nail bed, making it easier to trim the nails over time. Many veterinarians and groomers even use a dremel tool on dogs’ nails, and this can also help to lead to recession of the quick.

Dear Mark,


Dear Connor,


{ seeking a forever home }

Seeking A


Forever Home

Sasha came to the Clarke County Humane Foundation (CCHF) as a repeat offender in October of 2015. Her owner was taken to court, and never returned to reclaim her. Sasha was sponsored by a visitor to the CCHF for spaying and placed back up for adoption. Sasha has had many visitors. But, when told that she is not good with cats and some dogs, the potential adopters become disinterested. Because of this, Sasha has remained at CCHF for the last two years. Sasha is an absolute sweetheart, and is in need of a forever home with someone willing to provide her with lots of daily exercise.


Pit Bull Mix



Approximate Weight:

60 to 65 lbs.

Approximate Age:

2 to 3 Years of Age


Highly Active

Good w/Other Dogs:

Good with some, but not all dogs

Good w/Cats:


Good w/Children: Good with children, but due to her activity level she should be supervised around small children

Photo by: Kathy Durand


Partially housebroken

Medical Issues:


Feeding Issues:

 ood and treat distribution and type must be provided in a F consistent manner due to potential of stomach upset

Special Needs:


Vaccinations: Up-to-date Microchipped:  No Fun Facts:

Clark County Humane Foundation

 asha is an absolute sweetheart. All that she wants is a S chance. She loves belly rubs and playing with her fuzzy squeaky toys. She loves to run and play and to chase butterflies. She also has a very unique way in talking back. When potential adopters are present, she likes to melt against her kennel in order to make them bend down to touch her.

225 Ramsburg Lane Berryville, VA 22611 540.955.5104 www.facebook.com/CCHumaneFoundation/

Contact: Jenny Wright jwright@clarkecounty.gov


Clarke County Humane Foundation: The Clarke County Humane Foundation is likely unknown to most folks. However, you may be aware of their well-known affiliate, the Clarke County Animal Shelter. In 2000, the Commonwealth of Virginia mandated certain standards for all county animal shelters. The Board of Supervisors at the time suggested that Supervisor Barbara Byrd put together a committee to study the feasibility of upgrading the shelter to meet these new standards. Barbara got together with Mrs. Stacy B. Lloyd, Mrs. Nancy Simpson, Mrs. Peggy Richardson-Cone, Mrs. Becky McCoy, Mrs. Leslie McLean, and Mr. George L. Ohrstrom II and formed the Board of Clarke County Humane Foundation. Very quickly it became obvious that “upgrading” the existing shelter was impractical from both a construction and economic point of view; and they decided that they would try to raise funds to build a shelter that the CCHF would own, to be operated and staffed by the county. Becky, Nancy, and Peggy were friends of Mrs. Betty Casey and they were successful when they asked her to donate ten acres of land to the Foundation. The land was a great starting point to get the Foundation up and running; it is close to the Clarke County Park. People walking the two-mile trail that wraps around the park often stop by to visit. CCHF is open seven days a week.

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

your pet

is our priority At Veterinary Surgical Centers, we’re committed to providing world-class surgery, physical rehabilitation, and pain management for pets and families facing injury, illness, and more. We work to ease the stress and fears of surgery and treatment by putting you and your furry family member at the center of all we do. Our board-certified surgeons and certified rehabilitation practitioners specialize in: • Orthopedic surgery

• Plastic & reconstructive surgery

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Let’s work together to restore your pet’s health and quality of life. Contact us today for more information or to request an appointment.

Vienna (703) 242-6000 / Vienna@VSCVets.com Leesburg (703) 771-2100 / Leesburg@VSCVets.com Winchester (540) 450-0177 / Winchester@VSCVets.com


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The Virginia Maryland Washington DC Dog Fall 2017  

The Virginia Maryland Washington DC Dog Fall 2017