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Volume 8•Issue 4

Winter 2018

Dogs & Veterans– A Helping Paw

When a Dog Comes Home from Surgery–What Next?! Housetraining Made Easy



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

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contents Volume 8

Issue 4





Winter 20

Winter 2018

departments 8 18

Dogs &


A Help Veterans– ing Pa w When

House Training Made Easy

On the Cover…

Health:  void the Winter Blues! A

a from Su Dog Comes Ho rgery–W hat Nex me t?! Houset raining Made Easy

“Duke” is seeking a forever home. He is available through the Clarke County Humane Foundation. See Page 46 for Details.

5 Tips to Keep Fido Comfortable & Moving this Winter



The Pet Lady: Walking in a Winter Wonderland— Pets & Safety



Pet Travel:


When a Dog Comes Home Ffter Surgery: What Next?!


Toxic Foods that You Should NEVER Feed your Dog


Shattered: Odyssey of a Broken Young Chesapeake Bay Retriever

The Best of VA Travel: Our Five Woof Favorites of 2017

Ask A Neurovet:  ith Lauren Talarico, DVM, w DACVIM


Rounding Up Rover:


Ask Dr. Katy:

The Art of Tracking

with Katy Nelson, DVM

46 Seeking a Forever Home

Page 46)

Photo by: Kathy Durand




is seeking He is ava a ilable thro forever home. ugh the County Clarke Humane Foundation (details on

special feature 24

Dogs & Veterans—A Helping Paw

Winter 2018 |


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, owns a house call practice called Wholistic Paws Veterinary Services that focuses on offering in-home acupuncture, rehabilitation, pet hospice, and euthanasia for her clients. Dr. Erwin is a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist.

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!

Katy Nelson, DVM

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.

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 Dachshund, Max.

Anne Willis Anne Wills is the founder of Dogs Finding Dogs, K9 Search & Rescue for Missing Pets, a 501c3 Non-profit organization. In addition, Anne is a Professional Dog Trainer and Private Investigator, as well as the owner of Dogs Finding Drugs, K9 Narcotic & Firearms Detection. She is also an HLN and Fox News Consultant.

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 “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 the-pet-show and find back episodes of The Pet Show there, as well.


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

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Owner/Publisher Pamela Wahl Editor in Chief Matt Neufeld

a note

from our publisher

Director of Operations Pamela Wahl Art Director Kim Dow, Kalico Design Graphic Designer Cecelia Lee, Kalico Design Andrea Neff, Kalico Design Social Media Cami O’Connell Kristin Carlson Senior Editor Kimberly Holmes Photographer Kathy Durand Copy Editor Josh Warren Advertising Director Pamela Wahl Production Coordinator Diane Weller Contributing Writers: Stephanie Clarke Krisi Erwin, DVM, CVA, CCRT, CVPP Dana Humphrey Laurie Luck, M.A., KPA-CTP Katy Nelson, DVM Julie Reardon Dirsko J.F. von Pfeil, Dr. med. vet DVM, DACVS, DECVS, DACVSMR Lauren Talarico, DVM, DACVIM Ginger Warder Anne Wills The Virginia-Maryland-Washington, DC Dog Magazine 200 West Main Street Middletown, MD 21769 Tel: (301) 514-2804 Fax: (301) 694-9799 ©2018 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.


This edition of The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog is dedicated to “Fig.” Fig’s owner, Laurie Luck, is the owner of Smart Dog University and is a dedicated contributor to this publication.

Dunroamin' Tango C Mango

" Fig"

May 18, 2003 - December 11, 2017

In Laurie’s words… “Tango was perfection. He was my life. He liked the things I liked. I enjoyed the things he enjoyed. He wasn't perfect -- are any of us? But he was perfect for me. Life is not the same without him. He is alive in my heart.” The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

Explore Virginia with your favorite four-legged travel companion!

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

Laurie Luck | Professional Dog Trainer


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Made Easy

A top priority when bringing a new dog home–puppy or adult –is house training.

By Laurie Luck Housetraining can be one of the easiest things to teach a puppy, especially if using the right mix M.A., KPA-CTP of tools, management, and schedules. The same schedule and tools described for a puppy can (and should) be used for an adult dog that isn’t housetrained.




Baby Gate

A crate is an essential tool for housetraining and for keeping a pup safely confined when the owner isn’t home. Generally, dogs don’t like to go to the bathroom in the same area they sleep. An appropriate sized crate should allow the dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Most crates are labeled for the appropriate breed(s). The crate should be large enough for the pup, but not too large. Many crates can be sectioned off which allows one to make the crate smaller for the puppy and adjust it, as the pup grows larger.

A baby gate allows the owner to keep the pup in the same room, while allowing more freedom than the crate. Constant supervision is one of the keys to quick housetraining and using a gate to limit the pup’s access to other areas of the house ensures that the pup can’t wander into another room and do his business.

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With perseverance, management, and supervision, housetraining can be mastered fairly quickly and easily.

Leash and Collar Puppies need to go outside frequently. It’s important to have the pup on a leash and collar so he can’t run off. Plus, it’s advisable to get the pup used to the leash and collar early, as our society requires that dogs be leashed whenever they’re out in public.

Treats Food treats are used to reinforce the pup for eliminating in the appropriate spot. Offering a tasty morsel, as the dog is finishing up lets him know he did a good job.

It only takes a few seconds for a pup to eliminate. If no one is around to (1) notice the pup’s signals and (2) take him immediately outside, the pup will go to the bathroom indoors and the owner has missed the opportunity to teach the pup to eliminate in the appropriate spot. Every time a pup is successful at eliminating indoors, the more it seems like that is the right spot to go. Minimize mistakes­—supervision is critical.

Another Important Consideration:

Schedule Put the pup or dog on a schedule. Give the pup meals at about the same time every day. Allow the pup about 15-20 minutes to finish the food in his bowl and then put the bowl up—whether or not there is any food left. At the next scheduled feeding, repeat the process, removing the bowl after 15-20 minutes. It’s important not to allow the pup to graze or to “freefeed” that is, leaving the food down all day for the pup to eat whenever he chooses. We know that about 15 minutes after a meal, your pup will need to eliminate. These scheduled meals help with housetraining because it makes the pup’s elimination predictable.

Other Prime Times to Get the Pup Outside Include the Following:

If the pup suddenly has a re-lapse in his housetraining, and the guidelines have been followed without success, schedule a veterinary visit for the pup. A veterinarian can perform any necessary tests to rule out an underlying medical condition. No amount of management or training will help housetrain a pup with a urinary tract infection or other related problem! Punishment will slow down the housetraining process. If punishment is used while housetraining, the pup will learn to eliminate anywhere except where people are—the pup will try to hide when he needs to go to the bathroom. With perseverance, management, and supervision, housetraining can be quickly mastered fairly quickly and easily.

For more information: Laurie Luck Smart Dog University 240.394.1112

1. Immediately after a nap 2. Immediately after they are taken out of the crate 3. 15 minutes after a meal 4. Immediately after a “wild” play session

Management: The crate and baby gates limit the pup’s movement so that he’s either secured in the crate or near the owner so she can watch for signs that the pup needs to eliminate.

Winter 2018 |


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When a Dog Comes Home After Surgery:What Next?! An experienced surgeon answers some of the most common questions asked about post-surgery pet care By Dirsko von Pfeil Dr. med. Vet., DVM, DACVS, DECVS, DACVSMR Photos courtesy of Dr. Dirsko von Pfeil & Dr. David Little

Surgery on pets is a stressful event and most concerns are typically associated with the dog undergoing anesthesia and the actual procedure. Thus, many questions arise also after the surgery, and once a dog has returned home. In most instances, the answers to such questions are easy to provide and there is no need to be overly concerned. However, it is better to be informed, and veterinary surgeons and their teams are happy to take an owner’s call, look at pictures an owner may want to e-mail (for example, of a dog’s incision) and to help in any way possible. Often help can be provided and the owner does not have to bring the dog back to the hospital. This article provides answers to frequently asked questions after surgery and hopefully will aid and guide dog owners in the immediate post-operative period. At any time if an owner is concerned about their dog, it is advisable to contact the veterinarian/surgeon or--after hours or on weekends--to call the closest veterinary emergency hospital.

Winter 2018 |




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This article provides answers to frequently asked questions after surgery and hopefully will aid and guide dog owners in the immediate post-operative period. At any time if an owner is concerned about their dog, it is advisable to contact the veterinarian/surgeon or–after hours or on weekends–to call the closest veterinary emergency hospital.

What do I do with the incision? In most cases, for the first couple of days after surgery, there should be a small dressing covering an incision. This can be removed after a few days, unless instructed differently. Do not allow dogs to lick the incision. This may lead to a severe infection, delay of the healing process, premature removal of stitches that causes the incision to open, and potentially life-threatening complications. The mouth of a dog contains large amounts of bacteria (think about being put on antibiotics immediately after a person is bit by a dog)--we do not want these bacteria to be inside your dog’s incision or wound. To stop your dog from licking, the following tricks may be tried: A T-shirt can be used to cover an incision on the chest or front part of the abdomen; gather the waist of the shirt up over the dog's back and wrap an elastic band around this part of the shirt. A bandage or sock can be used to cover an incision on a limb; fasten the top of the sock to the dog's limb with tape. Bitter apple can be applied around the incision; however--many dogs will continue to lick after application of this topical. Antipsychotic medication in some cases is needed.

Pictured from top to bottom: Normal looking incision; This dog licked the incision; Starting infection as a result of licking


Incisions around the anus or in the perianal area must not be cleaned unless specifically instructed by the surgeon. These incisions are typically not covered with external sutures to reduce the ability of bacteria to travel along the sutures deep into the wound. Instead, a thin film of tissue glue is often applied over these areas and this has been shown to provide an antibacterial effect. Rubbing on

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these incisions in an effort to clean off for example fecal material typically just results in destruction of the incision site and thus increases the risk for development of severe infections. If anything, these areas can be gently lavaged with sterile saline provided by the surgical team--but only after having consulted with the surgeon.

How does my dog show that he or she is in discomfort after surgery? Signs of soreness include crying, growling, not wanting to eat, hiding, biting, grimacing (lips are pulled back and the dog looks anxious), tragic facial expression, panting, restlessness, being unable to sleep and pacing. If abdominal surgery was done, the dog may not want to lie down on the incision, or will continually sit up in spite of appearing very tired. The worst soreness will occur during the first two to three days after surgery. Dogs are typically closely monitored for discomfort in the hospital. In clinics that staff a board-certified anesthesiologist, pain management is typically at the highest level. These specialists often plan very effectively, for example, through administration of ultrasonographically and electromyographically guided placement of nerve blocks, injections of epidural anesthetics, and the administration of constant pain infusions of specific analgesics. Similarly, the protocol for oral administration of post-operative medications is finely tuned to the needs of every patient. Thus, in most cases, the prescribed medications help to allow a comfortable recovery. If there should be any concerns, then the surgery team, anesthesiologist and/or pain-management specialist should be contacted.

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Do I have to use the E-collar? E-collars are mandatory to protect the surgical site and have to be worn at all times! Although they seem more inconvenient it is the author’s experience that inflatable E-collars often do not provide the same protection against self-mutilation as regular E-collars, made out of hard plastic, do. Therefore, it is advised not to use inflatable E-collars. Sometimes, even a cage muzzle has to be placed to avoid licking, or a towel can be placed between the base of the E-collar and the shoulder. This will allow the rim of the E-collar to extend beyond the muzzle. There is a high correlation between a dog licking the incision and development of wound infections. Therefore, always leave the E-collar on your dog until you obtain permission from the doctor to remove the collar.

What can be done to control pain? Several pain medications are available for dogs. Frequently, an anti-inflammatory, such as Rimadyl, Deramaxx, or Metacam are prescribed. You must not give any anti-inflammatories together! Most dogs will also be sent home in addition with pure painkillers such as Gabapentin. Some are administered Buprenorphine. All these medications help relieve pain and discomfort. Do not give any pain medications you may use for yourself to your dog. For example, Tylenol has significant toxicity! After surgery, commercially available cold packs or, for example, crushed ice in a Ziploc bag, can be applied to the site of inflammation. Put a dry and clean cloth between the skin and the cold pack. Cooling the surgical site helps to numb the area. Three to six sessions of each, five to ten minutes per day, for the first three or four days after surgery usually helps decrease inflammation and swelling.

My dog began behaving strangely after I got home–why could this be? The side effect of some medications, such as a Fentanyl patch, can include whining, panting, pacing, being nervous, not wanting to eat. Tramadol can lead to significant drowsiness, lethargy, drooling, and constipation. Importantly, as recently shown, Tramadol does not help reduce pain as it does in people. Thus its prescription to help with discomfort in dogs is disputed. Gabapentin can also lead to drowsiness and lethargy but is more potent to reduce pain compared to Tramadol.

Pictured left to right: Inflatable E-collars are NOT recommended; “E-collar extension” by use of a towel placed around the neck prevents the muzzle to reach outside; Not leaving an E-collar on may result in severe wound damage

If pet owners are concerned about abnormal behavior of their dog after surgery, and the dog has a Fentanyl patch, remove the Fentanyl patch first, wait for approximately thirty minutes to two hours, and re-evaluate the dog. Fentanyl is quickly metabolized, and removing the patch may help. If symptoms don’t improve, contact the surgery team. If administered an anti-inflammatory such as Rimadyl, Deramaxx, or Metacam, ensure these are given with food. If at any time diarrhea, anorexia, vomiting or generalized signs of illness are seen, notify your veterinarian. While very rare, these medications can result in severe negative side effects, including damage to the stomach (gastric ulcer formation), kidney (kidney failure), or liver (liver failure). Never force your dog to take such medications and ensure that they show a good appetite.

Do not give any pain medications you may use for yourself to your dog. For example, Tylenol has significant toxicity!

Winter 2018 |


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Pictured left to right: A bandage is placed to protect the surgical site; A protective boot has to be used to protect the bandage; a loose bandage has to be changed; Noncompliance with bandage care will result in severe problems

My dog has had surgery in the past. This time he seems much worse once we arrived home–why? Remember that not all procedures are associated with the same amount of discomfort after surgery. For example, after a spay, your dog may have appeared absolutely normal the day after surgery. With a more complicated procedure, such as a fracture repair, there may be more discomfort, the anesthesia may have taken longer, and the metabolism of your dog may have changed, so they cannot break down the various medications as easily as in the past. Other anesthetic agents may have been used. Even if your dog had the same procedure on the other side (especially cruciate ligament surgery), and did well after the first surgery, they may appear more uncomfortable after the second (contralateral) side underwent surgery. It is possible that in that case, he has now one good leg to stand on while maybe after the first side was operated on, the other side already had some early inflammation or tearing of the cruciate ligament. In general, if there are side effects that possibly could be related to negative side effects from anesthetic agents, it is advisable to seek a hospital that has a board-certified anesthesiologist on staff. The knowledge and experience of such a specialist, who will choose the best anesthetic protocol, can make a significant impact not only on safety during surgery, but also on the recovery of the dog.


My dog was discharged with a bandage/ splint. How do I care for this? Bandages or splints are placed to protect the surgical site. They have to be kept dry and clean at all times. Using an E-collar is one part of achieving this goal. Placing a protective boot over the bandage also helps to ensure this goal is achieved. These are placed prior to going outside and removed once back inside. If the bandage is soiled, if it slips, if the wound shows, if there is foul odor coming from the bandage, if the dog licked, chewed, or destroyed it, or if the dog is suddenly limping after there was normal gait before, then the bandage should be changed as soon as possible. Typically, to prevent development of pressure sores and to be able to monitor the surgical sites, bandage changes are recommended once weekly.

When should I expect my dog to have the first bowel movement after surgery? Many dogs will not have a bowel movement for the first four to five days after surgery. The reasons that a dog will not have regular bowel movements after surgery may include that the dog has been fasted prior to surgery. In addition, dogs often do not eat well during the hospital stay. They also may not be too hungry when they arrive home. Often, they are fed highly digestible food that produces little stool. Pain medications that contain narcotics can result in constipation. If a dog does not have a bowel movement after several days of being home, a stool softener such as Metamucil can be fed. Specific directions should be obtained from your veterinarian.

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Offering a variety of food helps to increase appetite

My dog won’t eat after surgery– what should I do? There are several tricks that can be considered. Offer chicken breast, turkey breast, lean hamburger that is low in fat and is cooked (drain off all fat after the meat has been cooked). Add some pasta, potato or white rice. Try canned dog food; to enhance the flavor add chicken or beef broth. Try baby food. Special prescription diets may be available as well. Hand feeding: place a small amount of food in the mouth. Warm the food slightly to hand-temperature, as the food will be more aromatic.

My dog is vomiting after surgery–why? There can be a couple of reasons: there may still be remnants of the anesthetic agents in the body of your dog, and it may take a few days for complete breakdown and elimination of these products. Your dog may have drunk a lot of water when he came home and feels sick for that reason. It is recommended to only give small amounts of water for the first day, but offer it several times a day to ensure the dog stays hydrated. Several medications may cause stomach upset. Most dogs have with drooling or vomiting within one to two hours after drug administration. A bland diet, consisting of chicken and rice, may help to calm the stomach down. Feed these for approximately three days, and then slowly mix in regular food. If vomiting does not improve after one day, or if a dog seems very painful in the abdomen (belly), please contact the surgery team or your regular veterinarian, because there may be a more serious problem, such as internal organ failure, or severe inflammation.


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administration of specific medication may help to prevent problems from that. Consult a veterinary health care professional if the regurgitation continues for more than a couple of days.

My dog is coughing after surgery–why? Most often when this happens, it is because there is some inflammation of the trachea (wind pipe) secondary to having been intubated during surgery: a small plastic tube is placed into the trachea during anesthesia and is used to help deliver anesthetic gas, breathe for the dog and provide oxygen. To ensure a proper seal and allow proper ventilation of the patient’s lungs, a small cuff is inflated around this plastic tube. This area can be mildly inflamed and irritated after surgery. Coughing usually stops after a few days. Cough associated with this irritation is usually described to be a dry cough, and that seems to come more from the upper part of the airway. If you notice a wet cough that appears to come more from the chest, or if you notice some phlegm coming up when the dog is coughing, there may be a problem with the lungs. Therefore, whenever pet owners are concerned about the coughing of their dog, and especially if the coughing does not subside within a few days after surgery, it is highly recommended to contact the veterinarian or surgeon.

There could also be an inflammation of the esophagus, secondary to acid coming up from the stomach. This is called regurgitation. A bland diet and

Winter 2018 |


When can I give my dog a bath? As long as the incision has not been cleared as being healed by the surgeon, no dog should have a bath. If stitches or staples are placed, these are typically removed within ten to fourteen days. In some cases, they are removed later than that. Even after their removal it is typically recommend to wait giving a bath for another few days to ensure that the water won’t soak the incision and possibly allow it to open up again and in the worst case get infected. To make the dog feel better, the use of a dry shampoo or brushing can be considered.

When can my dog run and act normally again? Returning to normal activity following surgery depends on the type of surgery and the location of the surgical site. For example, a dog with a small mass removal from the head must not be limited in activity as long compared to a patient that underwent a complicated fracture repair. In general, following soft tissue surgeries it is recommended to provide

limited activity for three weeks because this is the general time frame needed for soft tissues to heal and provide sufficient strength that typically prevents wound dehiscence (opening of the incision.) Following orthopedic procedures, for example, a fracture repair in an adult dog, activity needs to be restricted as directed by the surgeon, but that is usually eight weeks. Occasionally, this time is shorter (for example with very young dogs) or longer (for example when a tendon injury has been treated). It is imperative to always check with the surgeon prior to allowing a patient to return to normal activity. Often times, the use of an underwater treadmill and working closely with a physical rehabilitation team helps to return to best function. While all of these questions occasionally are asked by owners, it is the author’s experience that provided a thorough written protocol and clear instructions at the time the dog is discharged, there is a excellent recovery and outcome for most patients. Certainly, dogs that have severe illness and more complicated surgical procedures are at a higher risk to have a longer recovery compared to young and otherwise healthy dogs. As always, the best way to resolve any possible concerns is to contact the surgery team. With good communication and cooperation between the veterinary care team and the dog owner, excellent recovery is anticipated.


Pictured left to right: Working with a rehabilitation team and considering the use of a underwater treadmill will improve recovery; Provided good communication between surgeon and owner, excellent recovery is anticipated

With good communication and cooperation between the veterinary care team and the dog owner, excellent recovery is anticipated.


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Avoid the

Winter Blues!

Five Tips to Keep Fido Comfortable and Moving this Winter! By Krisi Erwin DVM, CVA, CCRT, CVPP

Winter can be tough on all of us and it can be especially difficult for our older pets or those who have suffered from orthopedic injuries. As with any of these recommendations, please make sure to check with your family veterinarian prior to starting any supplements or changing Fido’s diet. Hopefully these tips will help you all weather the winter comfortably and happily!!

1 Let Food Be Thy Medicine: So much of our health stems from our diet. This is true for our dogs as well. While choosing proper dog foods can be overwhelming (not to mention controversial at times!), there are some safe and simple things you can do. Crock pot soups are a great way to help provide your pup with some fresh, wholesome ingredients. They can easily be added to any diet and are best served warm to ease the digestion. Ingredients such as organic bone broth, chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon can help to increase energy, warm up old joints, and ease pain. Please keep in mind that onions are toxic to dogs and should be avoided. “The Pet Lover’s Guide to Natural Healing for Cats and Dogs” by Dr. Barbara Fougere is a great resource. You can also consult with a veterinary nutritionist or


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2 Give Adequan a Shot:

4 Hit the Spot:

Adequan is one of the few disease modifying drugs that we can use to help arthritic dogs. Adequan is polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, which is derived from cow tracheal cartilage. It is administered by injection and it is usually more successful crossing the joint capsule into arthritic joints than oral glucosamines can. Adequan is anti-inflammatory, slows damage to cartilage, supports joint repair, and also creates more joint fluid. If your pup is arthritic, ask your vet if Adequan might be worth a shot!

Massage can be hugely beneficial to arthritic pets. Massage improves circulation, warms the tissues, causes endorphin release, and provides a great time to bond with your pet. It can be helpful to find a certified canine massage therapist or rehabilitation therapist to show you best how to perform massage for your pet. “Bodywork for Dogs” by Lynn Vaughn and Deborah Jones is a great resource as well.

3 Turn Up the Heat:

Sometimes wintery weather can prevent outdoor exercise. However, it is very important to keep your dog moving. Motion is lotion and frequent moving can help to maintain muscle mass and keep arthritic joints fluid. Maintaining normal exercise during the day can also help to prevent older dogs from experiencing nighttime restlessness. A good general rule of thumb is to try and get arthritic animals up once an hour when you are home and awake-even just a lap around the main floor of the house can count as exercise. You can also create indoor obstacle courses and perform nose work games so that Fido keeps moving and has fun!!

Cold weather can be tough on arthritic bodies. You can create a simple heat pack for your dog by using an old sock and fill it with uncooked rice and then tie the sock closed. If your pup is anxious, you can mix some lavender buds in with the rice. The rice sock can be heated in the microwave for a few minutes to become a moist heat pack! Before using it, massage the rice around a bit to distribute the heat and then wrap a tea towel around it to keep it from burning your pet. Heat can be applied to any spasming or sore muscles and arthritic joints to help improve circulation, relieve pain, and improve range of motion. It can be applied for ten to fifteen minutes, one to two times a day (the mornings are better if it’s just once a day). Please avoid heating pads, as they are more likely to burn your pet accidentally.

5 Keep Moving:


For more Information: Wholistic Paws Veterinary Services 20600 Gordon Park Square, Suite 170 Ashburn, VA 20147 (571) 438-0339

Winter 2018 |



BE A HERO Blood donations give the gift of life to sick and injured animals. Our volunteer blood donation program needs help from willing canine volunteers and their owners. We have over 20 locations throughout Maryland and Virginia! LEARN HOW YOU AND YOUR PET CAN HELP AT BRVBB.COM BLUE RIDGE VETERINARY BLOOD BANK 120 E Cornwell Lane, Purcellville, VA 20132 | 540.338.7387

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Natural Winter Health Tips

Along with raw, ensuring that your pup eats the best kibble if that is your only option is essential for its long-term health, essential for digestive health and essential for avoiding issues such as cancer and other serious health problems. Whole Dogz has seen a huge difference even in the behavior of dogs in daycare and boarding when pups are switched to a higher quality dog food. You don’t eat diseased or dying animals—and neither should your dog but that’s what happens if your food doesn’t come from a USDA inspected facility—and is human grade. European standards are even higher and only a few brands meet those strict guidelines ensuring your precious doggie is getting the best.

Other great products for itching and dry skin is coconut oil. Did you know that coconut oil can be used for cuts and sores — even for you! And, it helps with digestive issues, dry skin, and overall health. The best coconut oil is one that is made to be bioavailable for your pup as you use less and the impacts are greater. Coco Therapy is our go to choice. There are also great herbal supplements that help severe itching where your pup might be so itchy that they bite and pull their hair off. Outdoor allergies are often the cause of such severe itching issues. Our reliable option is Earth Animal Allergy and Skin. And don’t forget the best options for coughing which you want to nip in the bud because it can lead to kennel cough or other serious bronchial problems. Earth Animals cough, wheeze and sneeze is a fabulous solutions for the sneezing pups in your life. Mine has reverse sneezing (that sort of geese like honking

sound). She suffers from this most frequently in the Spring and Fall and these drops stop the sneeze and cough. Immunity by Bixbi also is a fabulous option to boost the immune system, both to ward off diseases and keep your pup healthy and strong.

Whole Dogz has seen a huge difference even in the behavior of dogs in daycare and boarding when pups are switched to a higher quality dog food. None of these options should serve as an alternative to a Vet visit if symptoms persist but they are our first line of defense with our own pups and those precious ones we see in daycare and boarding. Because after all, a healthy dog is a happy dog!

Check out these and wonderful other products in our new online store.

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Toxic Foods That You Should NEVER Feed Your Dog

Source: ASPCA American Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals.

Despite the fact that this list has been circulated throughout the Internet as well as other animalrelated publications, we continue to read horror stories of people feeding their dogs toxic foods. Therefore, we felt a need to publish this list once again.

Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol.

Avocado: Avocado is primarily a problem for birds, rabbits, donkeys, horses, and ruminants including sheep and goats. The biggest concern is for cardiovascular damage and death in birds. Horses, donkeys and ruminants frequently get swollen, edematous head and neck. The bigger risk to dogs and cats is a foreign body obstruction, which can occur if the dog swallowed the whole large, round avocado seed; due to size alone, this seed can get stuck in the esophagus, stomach or intestinal tract of dogs.

Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine: These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee, and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas.


When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.

Citrus: The stems, leaves, peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants contain varying amounts of citric acid, essential oils that can cause irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression if ingested in significant amounts. Small doses, such as eating the fruit, are not likely to present problems beyond minor stomach upset.

Grapes and Raisins: Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. Until more information is known about the toxic substance, it is best to avoid feeding grapes and raisins to dogs.

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Macadamia Nuts:

Salt and Salty Snack Foods:

Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last approximately 12 to 48 hours.

Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. As such, we encourage you to avoid feeding salt-heavy snacks like potato chips, pretzels, and salted popcorn to your pets.

Milk and Dairy: Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other dairy-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset.

Nuts: Nuts, including almonds, pecans, and walnuts, contain high amounts of oils and fats. The fats can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and potentially pancreatitis in pets.

Onions, Garlic, Chives: These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies.

Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones: Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be harmful to pets and humans. Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option that might occur if your pet lived in the wild. However, this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract.


Xylitol: Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.

Yeast Dough: Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach to bloat, and potentially twist, becoming a life threatening emergency. The yeast produce ethanol as a by-product and a dog ingesting raw bread dough can become drunk (See alcohol). If you suspect that your pet has ingested any type of toxic foods, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately at: (888) 426-4435.

Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste.

Winter 2018 |


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The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

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–A HELPING PAW By Stephanie Clarke Photos courtesy of Dr. Heidi Ortmeyer

Winter 2018 |


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The latest statistics estimate 3.5 million dogs enter shelters in the US each year, and approximately half will not be adopted (The Humane Society of the United States). There is compelling evidence that companion dogs provide veterans with stability and strength, unconditional love, loyalty, and emotional support, helping to guard against depression and improving physical activity. Dr. Heidi Ortmeyer and her team hypothesize that training veterans to be companion dog foster caretakers, which will include basic dog training, will improve health, quality of life, and increase leisure-time activity, and of course save lives of dogs in need of a temporary home.

Reaching out to Veterans Through Adoption Heidi’s research project began in May of 2017 when she worked with Eskie Rescuers United to write a proposal for an Innovate Grant from Maddie’s Fund (#ThankstoMaddie). This nonprofit foundation has provided over $300 million in grants since 1994 to organizations for innovative education and research programs, and building relationships to save lives of homeless dogs and cats. Eskie Rescuers United received a grant for a program that would provide adoption fees, preventative care, and high-quality dog food for veterans who were adopting dogs from the nonprofit’s rescue group or from one of their partners.

Veteran Nelson Matias & “Caesar”

This project was designed to help unite veterans with rescued dogs. Veterans who have left the military are often on a fixed income. By removing the adoption fees, providing care, and assisting with food, the grant allows Eskie Rescuers United to connect veterans with dogs in need of a permanent home. So far, the program has paired up six rescue dogs with veterans in MD, OH, PA, and FL. These adopters fell in love with their dogs and vice versa, and they now enjoy the love and companionship a dog can bring. They’re also more active than they were before and enjoy walking their dogs and playing with them. This program has been well received. “Getting to know the veterans and hear their stories was inspiring,” she said. In fact, after meeting many veterans, Heidi was encouraged to apply for a Research Grant from Maddie’s Fund. This grant, Veterans as Foster Ambassadors, provides Heidi with funds to conduct a


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

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clinical research study of determine whether having a shelter dog in one’s home can have a positive impact on older veteran’s health, physical activity, and overall quality of life.

The Research Project Heidi’s project will make use of her experience as a Research Physiologist at the Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center (GRECC) at the VA Maryland Health Care System in Baltimore, a position she’s held since 2002. Her study will look at how rescue dogs can help veterans with issues such as stability, emotional support, and physical health. “Dogs can provide unconditional love, strength, and help battle depression,” she pointed out. Dog owners are also often more physically active than those who don’t have dogs. The project has been approved by the IRB, IACUC, and VA Research & Development, and Heidi has received final approval to begin her research. She, along with the research team at the GRECC and local participating rescue groups, celebrated the first pairing of a veteran, Nelson Matias, with a rescued dog, Caesar. Heidi doesn’t just believe that dogs can help veterans—she’s seen it with her own eyes. “My father served in World War II and in the Korean War. After he retired from the military, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. I’ve always remembered how, even on bad days, he would light up when Domino, our family dog, came to him. Domino brought him so much joy and companionship, plus he kept my father active. His life was much better thanks to Domino.”

more. “My goal is to have this program spread across the entire United States. It would bring veterans together with experienced foster caretakers to mentor them.” This would provide veterans with the skills necessary to care for their dogs while still providing homes for countless dogs and other animals, saving them from shelters or worse. This will involve forging partnerships, of course. Currently, the Vets Foster Pets program that Eskie Rescues United established through Maddie’s Fund works with rescue groups such as Adopt a Homeless Animal Rescue, the Canine Humane Network, and Maryland Animal Sanctuary and Rescue. To provide dog food to vets, Vets Foster Pets has also formed a partnership with VeRUS Pet Foods, a local business established by a veteran who understands the unique needs those who have been in combat have. As the Pets Foster Vets program continues to expand, Heidi plans on developing relationships with more shelters, rescue groups, and businesses. “I hope to see Vets Foster Pets expand nationwide,” she said. “The idea that rescued dogs could bring hope and joy and a reason to stay active in the same way Domino did for my father is really what this program is all about.”

“My goal is to have this program spread across the entire United States. It would bring veterans together with experienced foster caretakers to mentor them.”

In the short term, Heidi will collect information from veterans who work with dogs for a two-month period. This information will be used to determine exactly what kind of impact fostering a dog has on the veteran’s health and quality of life. She hopes to see that older veterans who aren’t as active begin to get up and do more.

The Project Goals In addition to providing data that shows dogs have tangible benefits for veterans, Heidi also hopes to expand the companion dog foster caretaker program, “Vets Foster Pets,” bringing it to the VA’s Whole Health Initiative, expanding the program beyond Balti-

Winter 2018 |


{ the pet lady }

By Dana Humphrey



Some important winter dog-walking safety tips— with some winter wear suggestions, too! What to do for a doggie walk? Even though it’s now cold outside, with the arrival of winter, there’s no better way to change-up a daily routine, stimulate the senses--and just let dogs be dogs by taking them for a proper walk.

However, of course winter means that routines must be adjusted to account for the colder temperatures. Planning is essential to ensure that walking with your dog is safe for everyone. And—along with some important cold-weather advice that could save pets’ lives, there are some handy seasonal suggestions from to help!


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


1 Know Before You Go: Even if you don’t have a radio or television tuned to hear the latest weather forecasts, it’s essential to know what kind of weather you might face while you’re out for a walk. Even if you don’t obsess about the weather forecast, keeping an easily readable digital thermometer next to the door will give you an up-to-the second temperature reading before you head out, enabling you to make important lastminute decisions about what you should wear, and how you should dress your dog.

2 Conserving Heat: Your breed might have a winter coat, but smaller dogs lose heat rapidly. That’s why it’s critical to maintain their body heat with a coat. An all- weather dog coat is waterproof, has a cozy fleece lining, and reflective piping for safety. When it’s cold outside, you get to button up your collar. Now you can snug up your dog’s collar to keep them warm. Cable knit dog sweaters are perfect for those nippy days when there’s no threat of rain.

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{ the pet lady }

3K  eep Frost From Nipping Those Paws: So, once a pet owner has checked the temperature and determined that they need gloves and a hat, and they have dressed their dog in their finest winter duds, what’s next? Well, there’s more to do to outfit a dog so that they’re ready to trot over frozen ground. People wear warm boots that don’t slip in the snow, so it makes sense that pet owners should provide the same comfort and protection for their dog! Faux fur dog boots do just that. These boots are made with water resistant ultra- suede uppers, durable rubber sole bottom, and Velcro strap and zipper for secure fit. They’re great for protecting paws against rain, snow, ice melt, burrs, broken glass and the rough asphalt.


4W  hen There’s Less Daylight, Pet Owners and Dogs Need Greater Visibility: The longer winter nights mean there is much less daylight for those after-work walks. Pet owners and their dogs need to be more visible at night. Wearing light colored clothing and dog coats, using a leash with a reflective border, and walking with a flashlight when it’s dusk or at night, are simple, ways to be visible. There are also small reflector lights—made especially for walking and jogging--that people—and dogs—can wear on themselves at night.

5 Just in Case: Bringing a cell phone on your walk is a great idea. It’s also helpful if someone can know which route you’re taking. Are you on the typical walk around the block, or heading off to explore a wooded trail? Pet owners will increase their security by sharing with a friend or family member where they will be walking, and what time they expect to return. It’s also important that pet owners always carry clear identification--and that dogs always wear their respective identification tags! Identification tags: The online pet store Puppy Kisses was founded by sisters Gina Pollock and Angela Kats in 1999. Pollock originally worked in the legal industry for two decades as a business development executive. She left that career path to follow her first love, her dogs. Through the years, she has owned dogs weighing from five to one hundred pounds, and she has worked to try and understand the needs that dogs have based on their sizes, breeds and personalities. When Pollock is not working on trying to design the perfect dog accessory, she is training her dogs in obedience and agility. Pollock received a human development

degree from Wheelock College. Kats is an experienced marketing professional with several years of experience in the advertising, legal and consulting industries. She took a leap of faith to pursue her passion full-time after many years in the corporate world. As a mom of two rescue dogs, she believes strongly that adoption is the best option and each one deserves an equal chance for success. Her background includes working on the advisory board and fundraising for several local charities. Kats received a marketing degree from Boston University.

Online Resources:; (917) 282-7650



Winter 2018 |


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The Best of Virginia Travel:

Our Five-Woof Favorites of 2017 By Ginger Warder

Whether you’re planning a holiday getaway, yearning for the sandy paws of summer or falling for Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, here are a few of our favorite destinations from 2017. Festive Holiday Favorites: Richmond and Roanoke For more than three decades, the annual Christmas tree lighting at the five-star Jefferson Hotel in Richmond is the kick-off to the holiday season. Take advantage of the special holiday packages to treat yourself and your pooch to a weekend of pampering, surrounded by some of the most beautiful decorations in the state. Check out the exhibits at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, stroll through the Garden Fest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens or take a spin on the ice at the seasonal downtown skating rink. But no nibbling on the gingerbread sculpture in the Jefferson’s Palm Court Lobby! The lighted star on the top of Mill Mountain that earned Roanoke the nickname “Star City of the South” was originally installed in 1949 as a holiday decoration. Maybe that’s why this is one of the most festive cities in the state during the Christmas season. From the pet parade in early December and the friendly and festive shopping on Market Square to the funky finds at Black Dog Salvage in nearby Grandin, Roanoke is a great place for some holiday R & R.


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

{ pet travel } Best New Place to Unwind: The Landsdowne Resort & Spa For a luxurious weekend in wine country, head to the Landsdowne Resort & Spa in Leesburg, one of our favorite finds of this year. A world away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but just a 30-minute drive from D.C, Landsdowne is set on 476 acres overlooking the Potomac River in the heart of Northern Virginia’s wine region. With hiking trails, golf, tennis, an indoor aquatic center, a fitness center, a spa and four restaurants onsite, as well as nearby attractions including historic Leesburg, wineries and Civil War battlefields, the resort offers something for everyone in the family.

Splashin’ Good Spring and Summer Fun: Virginia Beach Before the crowds descend on Virginia Beach on Memorial Day Weekend, take your four-legged friend for a romp on the beach, open to dogs before the high season begins. Or take your outward hound to Virginia’s most visited park. Located on Cape Henry in North Virginia Beach, First Landing State Park is where Virginia’s first settlers originally landed before heading to Jamestown. The 2,888-acre park offers swimming, hiking, biking, boating and fishing, as well as a wet lab, aquarium and historical exhibits. With more than 200 campsites and 20 cabins, there is plenty of room for the whole family and leashed pets are welcome on the 20 miles of hiking trails. The park also offers more than a mile of beachfront on the Chesapeake Bay.

Jefferson Hotel Photo courtesy of Jefferson Hotel

Virginia Beach

Falling for the Mountains: Shenandoah National Park and the Peaks of Otter If you prefer the mountains to the sea, Virginia is blessed with the bounty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We love hiking amidst the fall foliage in Shenandoah National Park and then cozying up in front of the fire at one of the family (and pet friendly) cabins at Big Meadows Lodge. For fit Fidos and a more challenging climb, head to the Peaks of Otter to hike up to Sharp Top Mountain or take a serene stroll around the lake.

Big Meadows Lodge

Winter 2018 |


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The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

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The Odyssey Of A Broken Young Chesapeake Bay Retriever By Julie Reardon Photos courtesy of Julie Reardon


Not many dogs would have survived the catastrophic injuries suffered by the young Chesapeake Bay Retriever Hope Springs Poltroon on October 18, 2017. Even fewer owners would have committed to the staggering expense of piecing her back together after the car accident that nearly took her life. But from birth, Polty, as she is called, was fiercely determined to overcome any obstacle she faced. The product of a highly anticipated breeding between two accomplished AKC Master Hunter Chesapeake’s, Polty was a litter of one. Typically with singleton pups, she had to be delivered by C-section. Worse, the dam, or mother, awoke from the anesthesia and the minute she laid eyes on her daughter, acted like the helpless newborn was the spawn of the devil. She had to be forcibly held so the puppy could nurse, and could not be left alone with her. By the third day, her milk dried up, along with any shred of maternal instincts—she was not exactly a candidate for Mother of the Year. So Polty was hand-raised, bottle-fed every three hours round the clock. That fierce determination helped her survive aspiration pneumonia at six days; a condition nearly always fatal to newborn puppies. She needed to be tough and independent since she was raised with no mother or littermates.

Winter 2018 |


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Polty was a keenly intelligent, precocious puppy-retrieving at four weeks, and housebroken by five weeks. She enrolled in puppy kindergarten the day before she turned seven weeks, where she progressed as rapidly as the twelve- and sixteen-weekold puppies. She loved retrieving, and she especially loved birds; in fact she loved birds so much she wanted to keep those for herself, and was willing to fight for them. She was nippy and mouthy long past the age retriever puppies outgrow the behavior. Her name Poltroon actually started as a joke, as it means sissy or feckless coward--Polty is neither. Despite, or perhaps because of, her intelligence and determination, Polty was extraordinarily willful. She took twice as long as most puppies to reliably master basic retriever training, because she had to be thoroughly convinced of the merits of each lesson. She was hardheaded and stubborn, but she showed uncanny ability to mark and remember retrieves from an early age. She also had the mental toughness necessary to succeed in the highly competitive world of AKC retriever field trials. After her basic training, she left at the age of twelve months to go to Baker Retrievers in Lincolnton, Ga., the top young dog field trial professionals in the country. She continued to be willful but she was talented, and she attracted plenty of attention because Chesapeake’s are rare in field trials, a sport dominated by the more numerous and tractable Labradors. Polty spent late spring and summer training in Georgia and Michigan to prepare for derby and qualifying stakes, the entry levels of field trials. She came back to Virginia in October to make her debut at the prestigious American Chesapeake Club Field Trial Specialty. This trial rotates around different time zones and was held in Virginia for the first time ever. The author was the field trial secretary, and planned to run Polty along with her dam and grandsire and two other related dogs. The author already decided that if it had a pulse, I would enter it. Everyone agreed Polty had a very real chance to win that derby, restricted to dogs less than two years of age.


“This was, perhaps, the hardest thing to take in,” the author told her trainers and friends. “It basically meant no possibility of any kind of working life for her. I knew the chances were very slim she’d ever be able to compete, but you always keep a glimmer of hope.” rushed her in to stabilize her and assess the damage. Amazingly, her vital signs were strong, but preliminary X-rays revealed several fractures in her pelvis, including a compound fracture of the acetabulum; dislocation of both hips; a fractured femur, and the most visible, a degloving wound with complete medial instability of her hock. She also had a large hernia in her abdomen with displaced intestines; a ruptured prepubic tendon and multiple bruises and scrapes. Because of her multiple fractures, thorough X-rays could not yet be done, but her heart rate and blood pressure remained strong, she was alert and there was no apparent internal bleeding or intestinal leakage. The VSC surgical team at TLC felt she could be saved. Thus began the most expensive medical odyssey in recent TLC history and a series of grueling surgeries for the young Chesapeake. “It’s a miracle she lived through that accident. Most dogs would not have made it,” said Dr. Jim Taylor, the lead surgeon on her team. Although the original estimate for the surgeries was about $20,000, once the surgical repairs began, and the team could better assess the full extent of the damages, her bills would end up exceeding three times that amount.

Then disaster struck on that fateful October day--just before the field trial. Polty and another of the author’s dogs chased a wounded deer off the farm, and Polty was hit by a car. The damage was major; the closest vet said she had to go to a specialist, so we drove another hour from my farm in the Blue Ridge foothills to the Life Center in Leesburg, Va., not sure if she would even survive her numerous injuries.

Polty’s initial surgeries repaired one side of her pelvis, stomach wall and prepubic tendon. She had so much swelling from the trauma and the IV fluids and feeding tube, she gained ten pounds. And unfortunately, the repairs to piece together the compound fracture in her right acetabulum kept forcing that femur out of the socket, so the decision was made to perform a femoral head osteotomy.

The Life Center, along with the Veterinary Surgical Centers team operating there, were waiting and

“This was, perhaps, the hardest thing to take in,” the author told her trainers and friends. “It basically

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Six to Seven Days into hospital stay

“It’s a miracle she lived through that accident. Most dogs would not have made it.” said Dr. Jim Taylor, the lead surgeon on her team.

Polty in critical care unit at TLC

Dr. Jim Taylor & Mindy Wolfe

Winter 2018 |


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Polty on right with her Dam Panda on the day before the accident

meant no possibility of any kind of working life for her. I knew the chances were very slim she’d ever be able to compete, but you always keep a glimmer of hope.” Polty’s surgical team included VSC doctors Jim Taylor, DVM, DACVS-SA; Brian Southerland, DVM, DACVS-SA; Lucy Chou and Mindy Wolfe, surgery interns; and a host of technicians and critical-care staff who took care of her around the clock. They were all impressed at the determination and spirit of the badly injured young dog, and she quickly became a staff favorite.

The costs have been devastating, and her field trial career ended before it ever started.

Polty was unable to get up on her own. The hospital staff made sure she was turned and repositioned regularly to keep her comfortable. Plasma transfusions and several sessions in the hyperbaric chamber were among the therapies the rehabilitation staff used to help her battered body recover and she responded well, showing daily improvement. When the IVs and catheter came out, the long process of physical rehabilitation began. It was tricky, as due to the collection of plates, pins and screws in all her fractures plus the abdominal stitches and swelling, Polty was fragile. Most available harnesses could not be used to help her up, because they placed too much pressure on her pelvis and abdomen. But the staff found a suitcase type carrier that worked pretty well, and Polty began short little walks, along with range-ofmotion exercises. As she grew stronger and felt better, Polty alarmed the staff by growling at them—but she was growling at her toys, not the humans.


“She growled at her toys and shook them starting when her eyes barely opened, at two weeks,” the author told them, laughing at the warning signs on her cage: “Do not touch squeaky toys! Dog will attack you.” Although the growling at the toys was harmless, Polty was stubborn and disagreeable about all the pills she had to take, clenching her jaws tightly, turning her head away and growling. She was too smart to fool, refusing to touch any treat that had pills in it, no matter how well hidden. She turned her nose up at her meals, too. “She grew wary of canned I/D stew, once she found it contained medication,” said one of her technicians. Four surgeries, multiple plates, pins and screws, hundreds of stitches and twenty-two days after her accident, the vets approved Polty for discharge and she came home on Nov. 8, 2017. This author was a little worried about caring for her, as she was still unable to walk without help, but she was very cooperative about being suited up and lugged outside for potty breaks. Other than those short walks, and trips for outpatient laser and acupuncture therapy, she was not allowed any exercise. In hindsight, if I had known the extent of her injuries, costs and likely outcome, I would have probably let her go. The costs have been devastating, and her field trial career ended before it ever started. But she continues to improve, and as hard as she has fought to overcome so much, I can do no less.

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

The heartwarming story of a real-life 1800-pound Limousine cow with an amazing will to survive. She lived on her own, roaming the farmlands of Virginia until settling on Kathy’s property. As an animal rescue volunteer and a vegan, Kathy was thrilled to discover a big red cow staring at her one morning. Vegan didn’t share the same enthusiasm at first and resisted Kathy’s attempts to capture her for many months. Today, Kathy and Vegan enjoy a special bond and are excited to share their story of friendship and compassion.

To Order: Also available on Amazon

{ 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, My 12 year old female mixed breed dog, Daisy, was just diagnosed with vestibular disease. She was totally normal on Friday night and by Saturday morning she could barely walk and had a significant right head tilt. My vet offered a referral to a neurologist for an MRI, but by Monday morning Daisy is completely back to normal! Do you have any idea what could have caused this? —Jess, Great Falls VA

Dear Jess & Daisy,

I agree with your veterinarian in that Daisy was having a problem with her vestibular system. This is synonymous with vertigo in people. A full neurologic examination and MRI would be needed to confirm this, however since Daisy has returned to normal within 72 hours of the onset of her signs, idiopathic vestibular disease (aka: Old dog or geriatric vestibular disease) is the most likely cause for her clinical signs. The exact cause of old dog vestibular disease is unknown, however potential causes can include disturbances with the fluid of the inner ear, mild intoxication of the vestibular system or autoimmune disease. There is no specific treatment for this disease. The good news is that most dogs improve rapidly over the course of 72 hours. Complete recovery can take the upwards of 2-3 weeks and some residual neurologic deficits (i.e. a residual head tilt or wobbly/ataxic gait) may be permanent. This condition can also be relapsing.

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


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog


{ ask a neurovet }

Dear Dr. T,

Dear Dr. T,

Milo, my 2-year-old French Bulldog just started holding his neck in a stiff/rigid position. He doesn’t seem able to bend his neck to eat and often moves away when I go to pet him. Milo was formerly a very active and energetic dog and loves to play fetch in the park. Since this problem started he is no longer interested in going for walks or playing with his toys. Can you help me understand what may be going on with my poor puppy? —Tim, Washington DC

Tug my 4 year old Doberman recently developed fine tremors of his head. It tends to happen at all times of the day and it looks like Tug is shaking his head “yes.” I do not think these episodes are seizures, but I cannot be completely certain of this. Tug has a head shaking episode several times a day and they tend to last for 15-20 minutes each. I read about Doberman head tremor syndrome online. Can you confirm this is what Tug is suffering from? —Christian, Bethesda MD

Dear Tim and Milo,

Dear Christian and Tug,

The episodes you are describing sound consistent with neck pain. When dogs are painful in their neck region, they often hold their neck straight and appear very stiff. Many dogs show no interest in their normal activities because they are so painful. There are several neurologic causes for neck pain in dogs, however young French Bulldogs are predisposed to herniated or slipped discs in their neck when the intervertebral disc herniates or slips out of its normal position between the vertebrae, it can push or compress the nerves and spinal cord directly above it. This can be a very painful condition for dogs, especially when intervertebral discs herniate in the neck. Many of these dogs will experience muscle fasciculations or tremors as another sign of pain. I recommend that Milo be evaluated by a veterinary neurologist as soon as possible. They can discuss further diagnostic testing and treatment options.

It indeed sounds like Tug is experiencing benign Doberman head tremors or “Doberman head bobbing syndrome.” This is subcategory of postural tremor disorders involving the muscles of a dog’s neck. When these neck muscles contract uncontrollably, they cause Tug’s head to shake as though he is saying “yes.” This disorder is often seen in Dobermans, Boxers and Bulldog breeds. The head tremors or head bobs can occur in either the vertical plane (“yes” movement of the head) and the horizontal pain (your “no” movement of the head). The good news is these tremors are completely benign and they are not a form of a seizure. Typically dogs with benign head tremors will respond when their name is called and otherwise appear healthy on their physical and neurologic examinations. Bloodwork, MRI and spinal tap results are normal. In some dogs, these head tremors will resolve and in others they will progress over several months. There is no specific treatment for this disease.

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{ Rounding Up Rover }

The Art of

By Anne Wills Photos courtesy of Anne Wills

It’s every pet owner’s worst nightmare: he or she realizes that their pet has vanished from their home and is outside without food, shelter or love. However, there is an organization that can help pet owners find their pet faster than the utilization of flyers, social media posts and so-called animal psychics. The story about this organization is being told in a new television series called “Trackers,” which airs on the National Geographic When Dogs Finding Dogs, K9 Search and Rescue was first started ten years ago, the owners never dreamed that they would have the successes and the opportunities that the organization has had. Starting out with two tracking dogs, known in the tracking business as K9 Heidi and K9 Lessa, as a way to help people find their missing pets, Dogs Finding Dogs has grown to helping pets nationally and

internationally. Officials at the organization estimate that the group has reunited more than 5,000 missing pets. “Trackers” is a reality-based cable television show that shows how tracking dogs work, how trackers develop action plans based on what dogs show the trackers, and the concurrent reunions between

Winter 2018 |


{ Rounding Up Rover }


“Trackers” premieres on National Geographic Wild on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at 10/9 central.

owners and pets. Organization officials say they are excited about the potential to reach and educate more pet owners through the exposure that a nationally broadcast television show can offer. “Trackers” attempts to show the drama of tracking a pet as each story unfolds. Viewers can watch the behavior of the missing pets, the harm they are in. Viewers will see missing animals with severe illnesses and handicaps. And, of course, the show displays the emotional reunions of pet owners and their pets. And viewers will, of course, meet the K9 dogs that work so hard to find the missing pets. “Trackers” is being partnered on National Geographic Wild with the channel’s successful reality show “The Incredible Dr. Pol.” The shows share the same producers.


The owner of Dogs Finding Dogs said she “never imagined in my wildest dreams that we would now [be] recognized as the experts in our plight to save the missing pets. This is the icing on the cake. You will fall in love with the K9s, root for the trackers and shed a lot of tears with the reunions.” Alas, and sadly, K9 Heidi and K9 Lessa have now passed away. “My heart breaks that they are not here,” says the owner of Dogs Finding Dogs. “Thank you to both of them. We know you are with us always! It’s through the both of you that pet owners all over the world can learn how to get their pets home.” “Trackers” premieres on National Geographic Wild on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at 10/9 central.

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

{ ask dr. katy }

?a?k Dr. Katy ?

? ?


? ? ? ? ?



With Katy Nelson, DVM


Dear Dr. Katy:

be safer for long-term use. Side effects will be common to other antihistamines, but because they don’t cross the blood brain barrier, side effects such as dry mouth or heart rate elevation are rare. In general, the biggest problem with long-term antihistamine use is developing tolerance, meaning the body may eventually fail to respond to the medication as well as it did initially, though this is rarely seen with Zyrtec, so it may be worthwhile to at least have the conversation with your veterinarian about Zyrtec usage for your pet.

One of my dogs has mild allergies. At the direction of my vet I have been providing her with Benadryl for over a year now. Although my vet has assured me that the dosage of this product will not cause any adverse effects I am still a bit paranoid. I would be grateful if you could provide your opinion. —Carly J., Washington, DC

Dear Carly,

The side effects of short-term diphenhydramine are generally mild. Some sedation can be seen, as well as anti-cholinergic effects such as heart rate abnormalities, slowing of GI motility and dry mouth. The long-term effects of daily diphenhydramine have not been studied well, but there are other products like cetirizine (also known as Zyrtec) that do not cross into the nervous system and may

Dear Dr. Katy: My dog has been experiencing a weepy eye for over two months now. I have taken him back to my primary vet twice for this issue and have yet to see any positive results from the medication and topical solution that were provided to me. Is there some sort of veterinary protocol that after so many visits by the same animal for the same symptom that a referral will be made to a specialist? I’m starting to get very worried. —Samantha T., Leesburg, VA

Do you have questions for Dr. Katy?


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


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

{ ask dr. katy }


Winter 2018 |







—Karen Q., Abington, VA


A friend of mine had a dog that suddenly collapsed with no warning. She immediately took her dog to a non-emergency veterinary hospital. It was determined that the dog’s spleen had ruptured. While they were prepping him for potential removal of the spleen he went into cardiac arrest and passed away. She was obviously devastated. After explaining this to another friend of whom is a veterinary technician at an unrelated hospital, the technician stated to her that before selecting a primary veterinary practice that one should always inquire as to whether or not they have “life-saving” capability. My friend later learned that the hospital that she took her dog to did not possess what would be considered “live-saving” equipment. She is now worried that this was a factor in the death of her beloved dog. Could you please clarify the technician’s statement about the importance of confirming that a practice is supplied with the necessary “live-saving” equipment prior to making a selection of a hospital for one’s pets?


Dear Dr. Katy:

All veterinary hospitals should be prepared to deal with the critical patient, though some hospitals may be more prepared than others. Most emergency facilities will have what is called a “crash cart,” which is equipped with endotracheal tubes, life saving drugs, suction supplies, IV catheter and fluid therapy supplies, oxygen supplementation, monitoring equipment, tracheostomy and chest tube sets, and perhaps even a defibrillator. All general practices may not have all the equipment above (like a defibrillator), but they are still prepared to deal with critical patients. Any hospital that does surgery should have the ability to resuscitate and stabilize a patient in case of an anesthetic event or walk-in crashing patient. In this particular situation, it sounds like your friend’s pet was in an extremely critical state. Having already collapsed, bleeding in to the abdomen due to the ruptured spleen, I am certain he was severely anemic and weak, perhaps even in shock. Having worked emergency for many years, I can tell you that the statistics were not in his favor. Splenic rupture is usually due to some sort of tumor in the spleen, whether benign or cancerous, who knows, but the fact that it was bleeding heavily is what leads to shock and potentially to cardiac arrest. I’m so sorry for her loss, but it sounds to me that the veterinarian did all that they could to save him, even preparing to take him to surgery to try and stop the bleed and remove the spleen, but sometimes, despite our best efforts, in situations like this we’re not always successful. All this being said, it is never a bad idea to request a tour of a veterinary hospital prior to becoming their client and inquire about their emergency, surgical and imaging capabilities. It’s also a good idea to ask if they have on call services since many hospitals in the DC area do not due to the nearby availability of emergency facilities.


There is no protocol, just simply request a referral. Alternatively, some specialists do not even require referrals, so you may be able to just pick up the phone and schedule an appointment for your pup to be seen by an ophthalmologist. There is a fabulous referral center right there in Leesburg where you’re writing to us from. Give them a call. It’s never a bad thing to be proactive for your pet’s health.

Dear Karen,


Dear Samantha,


{ seeking a forever home }

Seeking A


Forever Home

Duke was dropped off at the Clarke County Humane Foundation by his owner. The family was moving to Alaska and Duke could not go. He is a five year old, full of energy black lab. He is house broken and loves to play with toys. He loves people and has never met a stranger.


Black Lab



Approximate Age:

5 Years


Very Active

Good w/Cats:


Good w/Children:




Medical Issues:


Feeding Issues:


Special Needs:




Microchipped:  No Fun Facts: Duke is a very loveable guy when he is not busy smelling all the scent’s in the yard. He loves to explore. Loves people and is good with children, as well as other animals.

Photo by: Kathy Durand

Clarke County Humane Foundation: The Clarke County Humane Foundation is likely unknown to most folks. However, you may be aware

Clark County Humane Foundation

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

225 Ramsburg Lane

meet these new standards. Barbara got together with Mrs. Stacy B. Lloyd, Mrs. Nancy Simpson, Mrs.

Berryville, VA 22611

Peggy Richardson-Cone, Mrs. Becky McCoy, Mrs. Leslie McLean, and Mr. George L. Ohrstrom II and


Contact: Jenny Wright

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

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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

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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

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The Virginia Maryland Washington DC Dog Winter 2018  
The Virginia Maryland Washington DC Dog Winter 2018