Thursday, September 23, 2010

Question: AAHA does it matter?

Dr. Schaeberle,

I’m new to the area, what should I look for in a veterinary hospital? You’re AAHA accredited, does that matter?



Dear Seth,

I feel that the York area has been blessed with many excellent small animal (dogs and cats) veterinarians over the years. When I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, I elected to accept a job at Leader Heights Animal Hospital working with two excellent veterinarians, doctors Moist and Reckleffs. After a few years of gaining real world experience, I eventually founded the Shiloh Veterinary Hospital in 1979,focusing on the needs of dogs and cats.

As with most businesses however, a veterinary practice must find a market niche and then excel with that selection. I always felt it was important for my practice to have a high standard of care. When the Shiloh Veterinary Hospital became accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) in 1987, our standard of care became realized. Veterinary practices that accept the challenge of accreditation are evaluated on stringent quality standards that encompass all aspects of pet care - ranging from patient care and pain management to team training and medical records. Through accreditation, we gained external validation that our practice and our team operates at the highest standards.

It allowed our clients to gain peace of mind, because they know an AAHA-accredited practice is a team that they can trust to provide the very best care for their beloved pets. I am very proud of our staff, we have 5 certified veterinary technicians and 7 veterinarians. We also have a great team of receptionists, veterinary assistants and kennel staff that keeps our hospital running as smoothly as possible.

There are only 4 small animal hospitals in the York Area accredited by the AAHA. Three of them are: Shiloh Veterinary Hospital in Dover, Shiloh Veterinary Hospital East in Manchester and Patton Veterinary Hospital in Red Lion.

When looking for a veterinarian remember the value in quality of care, availability and needs of your pet. To learn more about AAHA or the value in high quality care, please go to our website:

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Question: Heart Disease in Cats

Dr. Schaeberle,

Recently my cat was diagnosed with heart disease, my veterinarian warned me about the potential for blood clots. Should I be concerned?

Jane S.


Dear Jane,

Aortic thromboembolism (blood clot) is a serious condition that may occur in cats with heart disease. Often, there is no history of a heart murmur or heart disease prior to clot formation. Because the diseased heart muscle does not pump blood efficiently, clots can form and travel from the heart into the large blood vessel called the aorta blocking blood flow. Clots most often block the femoral arteries causing partial or complete paralysis of the hind legs. The feet are often cold to the touch and the pads may look grey or purple instead of pink due to loss of circulation. Cats with aortic clots are usually very painful and they may have
respiratory distress.

Prognosis for full recovery is guarded, and many cats die or are euthanized due to heart failure or failure to respond to therapy. If treated early, however, some cats do survive. Clot busting drugs like heparin, low dose aspirin and even plavix are often used to try to break up the clot. Heart medications like lasix and enalapril are also frequently given. Surgical removal of the clot at a veterinary referral center may also be an option.

In summary, aortic clot formation secondary to heart disease is a serious and often fatal disease in cats and there are frequently no warning signs. Early intervention with medication or surgery to remove the clot may reverse the paralysis, but lifelong treatment for heart disease is necessary.

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Question: Horner's Syndrome

Dr. Schaeberle,

I have a cocker spaniel that was recently diagnosed with Horner’s Syndrome. Are there any treatments?



Dear Marcus,

Two peculiar syndromes in pets are Horner’s Syndrome and facial nerve paralysis. They are seen more often in dogs than cats and pets may have one or both conditions at the same time. Cocker Spaniels may have a higher incidence of facial nerve paralysis.

Horner’s Syndrome occurs when there is trauma or inflammation to the nerves on the face or chest that control the area around the eye. Injury to the nerve may occur spontaneously or may be secondary to trauma or to an ear infection. Usually, only one side of the face is affected. Pets with this condition have a small or constricted pupil, a drooping eyelid and a sunken appearance to the eye. Sometimes the third eyelid covers part of the eye.

Facial nerve paralysis also usually affects only one side, and may occur due to trauma or inflammation of the nerve controlling muscles on the side of the face. Affected pets cannot blink and the lip and ear on the abnormal side will droop. Sometimes water or food will fall out of the mouth on the affected side of the mouth. Unless related to an ear infection, there is no specific treatment for either condition. Eye drops may be necessary to prevent dry eye due to lack of blinking.

Pets usually adapt well and the neither condition causes any pain or loss of vision. Horner’s Syndrome and facial nerve paralysis may spontaneously resolve over time, but, in some cases, the changes are permanent.

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Question: Diabetes in Pets Part 3

Dr. Schaeberle,

My cat was recently diagnosed with diabetes. I didn’t know it was
possible! What do we do next?



Dear Darlene,

Over the past few weeks I have discussed a diabetes in dogs and cats. Today I will review diabetes in dogs.

Unfortunately, dogs only have the more serious form of diabetes called type I in people. All diabetic dogs require insulin and although weight-loss may lower insulin levels we still must give insulin 2 times daily.

1. Weight control. Because weight loss can be slow and frustrating in many dogs, I will normally start insulin therapy immediately. High fiber diets are recommended for a diabetic dogs to lower insulin levels.

2. Insulin therapy. Until recently, most veterinarians prescribed an insulin made exclusively for dogs. With present shortages of Vetsulin, we are now using human NPH insulin or PZI insulin. As with cats, our goal is to a limit the signs of diabetes such as an increase in drinking and urination and to minimize diseases (such as cataracts and liver disease) that are secondary to diabetes. We begin with a low dose of insulin two times daily to maximize safety and weight loss. Too much insulin can cause hypoglycemia, seizures and even death. Over a period of a few weeks to a month blood sugars are measured to determine the optimal level of insulin.

As mentioned in the initial article control in diabetes mellitus is a both an art and a science. Many dogs and cats can present roadblocks to easy control. But in general, the treatment of diabetes is very rewarding for both the owner and their pets.

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Question: Diabetes in Pets Part 2

Dr. Schaeberle,

My cat was recently diagnosed with diabetes. I didn’t know it was possible! What do we do next?



Dear Darlene,

Last week I discussed in general terms diabetes in dogs and cats. Today I will focus on diabetes mellitus in cats.

Our general goal of treatment is to decrease of the blood sugar level which will result in less drinking less urination, weight loss and allow for a long quality of life. As with people, we treat diabetes with diet control as well as insulin for most cats.

1. Diet. Addressing pet obesity may eliminate the need for insulin. Recent studies have documented the advantage of a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. Available from your veterinarian, prescription diets can help reach a goal of 1 to 2% weight-loss per week. In addition, canned foods are preferable (they typically have more protein) and scheduling 2 to 3 meals per day (not allowing free choice through the day), can aid in your pet’s weight loss.

2. Insulin therapy. Most veterinarians will select between two available insulins, a new insulin made exclusively for cats (ProZinc) and a human insulin, Lantus. We usually start with a low dose of 1 to 2 units two times daily. Using blood sugar testing as well as a more sophisticated test called a fructosamine, we slowly adjust the insulin to an optimum level over many weeks.

As mentioned last week, treating diabetes in dogs and cats is both an art and science. I have found that it can be challenging to regulate insulin levels if an owner is not compliant to the pets needs. However, with a good teamwork between your veterinarian and the pet owner, most cats will be well controlled with an excellent quality of life and usual life expectancy.

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

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