Author Archives: DrDVMD

Sweet Cats: Feline Diabetes

Wait, what? Cats can have diabetes? Yes it’s true! Your cat can develop diabetes, just like humans. After hyperthyroidism, diabetes is the most common endocrine disorder we diagnose in middle aged and senior cats. Diabetes results from either the inability to produce enough insulin (typically called Type 1 diabetes in humans) or the development of […]

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Fun Furry Facts!

Let’s have some fun with unusual facts and figures about your favorite four-footed family members! Dog and Cat Fun Facts Male dogs can smell a female dog in heat up to three miles away Cats sleep 16 to 18 hours per day   Approximately 80% of all pets that are hit by cars are un-neutered males […]

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Something to Sneeze At!

NSVH frequently receives calls from concerned owners, worried that their dog is making a strange “choking noise” that lasts for a few seconds and sounds like they may be gasping for air. They dog is often described as having “honking” spells or sounding as if they need to bring something up. What on earth could […]

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Grain Free is Not the Way to Be!

Choosing the best food for your dog can be a hard decision to make. With so many different dog foods on the market, how do you choose? Pet food companies are experts at advertising and quick to promote “trendy” diets, even if they may not be the best food for your pet. “Grain-Free” diets are […]

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Fear Free is the Only Way to Be!

Pet owners can all agree that Fear Free is the only way to be! NSVH has embraced the Fear Free philosophy, and we are seeing such a difference in our patients. Low stress handling techniques, high value/ tasty food treats and calming pheromones markedly reduce our patients’ fear, anxiety and stress. We see so many […]

Posted in Fear Free and Cat Friendly, Good Eats | 2 Comments

It’s our birthday, and we’re giving YOU presents!

Oh what fun! NSVH is turning one! We’ve had a wonderful year, and welcomed many clients and cute pets to the NSVH family. As a thank you for all of the love and support, we are sharing the birthday fun with a week of contests and giveaways! The week of November 13th NSVH is planning […]

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Not All Online Pharmacies Are Created Equal!

One of the most stressful parts of being a pet owner is making medical decisions. At NSVH, our goal is to help our clients work through this process by pointing them in the right direction, with the best options. Often times such decisions involve veterinary prescriptions; with the plethora of online pet pharmacies available we […]

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Fear Free and Feline Friendly

In building my dream practice, I had a few very specific goals for Newtown Square Veterinary Hospital. One was to create a personalized, progressive hospital with a family-friendly feel and state of the art medicine. Second was to provide our patients with a calm, welcoming and stress-free environment. Third was to design a hospital that specifically […]

Posted in Cats Are Not Small Dogs, Featured | 4 Comments

Our Love Letter to Abby

Dear Abby, Thank you. There is no other way to start this letter to you without thanking you.  You have been an amazing dog, mom and friend. One month before you entered our lives, we opened Newtown Square Veterinary Hospital. Our hearts were led to partner with Senior Dog Haven and Hospice, the organization that […]

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Our good friends at PetPlan have created a guide with some tips to keep our pups and kitties safe and healthy when the weather turns cold. Animal hospitals throughout the Philadelphia area see some specific cold-weather injuries and illnesses when the temperature drops. What are the most common cold-weather issues we see at Newtown Square […]

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Sometimes Pups Need to Muzzle Up!

Understandably, we see a number of canine patients who are anxious and fearful of their visits to Newtown Square Veterinary Hospital. Our staff fully embraces the Fear Free initiative, doing our best to ensure a calm, welcoming and nonthreatening environment for our patients. Dr. DiGiacomo advocates for the use of calming medications, both in the […]

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Something’s Fishy!

We’ve always had fish as pets. Currently, we have a 5 gallon tank on the kitchen counter; a few neon tetras, two snails and one glowfish swim happily against the current flowing from the tank’s filter. As a longtime fish owner, I read with interest a recent article in the New York Times about how […]

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Who’s Gonna Bite?

In the veterinary industry, we frequently talk about how our perception of which dog breeds display aggressive behaviors differs significantly from the general public’s perception. Consider the recent attempt to ban pit bulls in Montreal: this legislation was met with much public outcry and has recently been suspended, pending further review. Most of us who work with […]

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Presidential Pups

I’ve always loved seeing photos of the Obama family’s dogs, Bo and Sunny. They even have their own page on the White House official website! Knowing that most of our Presidents have owned pets somehow humanizes the office of Commander in Chief. Recently, the New York Times featured an article about presidential pets. Various dog […]

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They Really Ate It!

Every year, Veterinary Practice News publishes an article which showcases radiographs that veterinarians have submitted. These radiographs have a common theme: interesting, unusual and hard-to-believe foreign body ingestions from a variety of animal patients. Foreign bodies are a common finding in the veterinary profession. (It even happens to us “animal professionals”; I previously posted about […]

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Internet Pet Meds Come with Hidden Costs

Most of us are cost-conscious. Most of us like to price shop, to ensure we are getting the best deal on a purchase. Most of us use the internet to compare prices for everything from televisions to shoes to diapers. When it comes to pet medications, however, the cheapest drugs found online may be counterfeit, […]

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Easy Rider

I’ve previously written about ways to make your kitty’s trip to the veterinarian less stressful for everyone. Our feline friends sometimes do not receive the medical care they need and deserve, because it may be unpleasant for owners to try and wrangle Fluffy into her cat carrier. There are many strategies that can be implemented to […]

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A Tomato Grows in Staten Island?

I’m a burgeoning backyard vegetable farmer with a lot to learn, but a love for gardening and an appreciation for locally-grown, organic produce. I’m in awe of Zaro Bates, a farming pioneer who was recently featured in Modern Farmer. This amazing woman has converted the roof of a parking garage in Staten Island into a 4,500 square […]

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Dogs Really Hear Us!

Most of us dog owners shouldn’t be surprised to know that dogs understand the tone of voice we use. It’s very obvious that a dog understands tone; think about how Fido cocks his head when you ask “Do you want a treat?” or “Do you want to go for a walk?” Honestly, though, I never […]

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Land Shark

We all have expectations of what our newly adopted puppies will be like: cuddly, cute, sweet, funny, and playful. What most of us don’t expect: a puppy piranha! So many clients show me their “war wounds” when bringing new puppies for wellness care to Newtown Square Veterinary Hospital. Puppy teeth are sharp teeth! They can slice and dice […]

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At the Dog Park

There is a longstanding joke among veterinarians: “Dog parks keep us in business.” Why is that the case? Dog parks are rife with well-intentioned owners and misbehaved dogs, resulting in dog fights and dog bites. Dog parks may seem like a good idea: a way to exercise Fido, a way to socialize him, a way to […]

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Cats on the Underground

A marketing group in London has papered the city’s Underground stations with cats! Normally covered in ads of every sort, on September 13th the railway stations were instead decorated with cats of every size, shape and color. The ad takeover was intended to “encourage positive values in society” and also features homeless cats in need […]

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Hunting for Food

We may have domesticated cats in many ways, but we have not successfully domesticated their appetites. “Snarf and barf” is an all-too-common phenomenon, where pets inhale their food, and then regurgitate it moments later. Couple this problem with the fact that many indoor cats lack physical activity, and it’s understandable that there is a feline […]

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Doggie Dash

I saw this article on a few news outlets recently, and I think this is an inspired idea. A high school cross country team in California has begun running with shelter dogs in need of adoption. Shelter dogs, particularly those that are caged for long periods, can develop stress-related behaviors such as spinning, bar chewing and cage […]

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Happy Cat Month

My friends at the CATalyst Council have designated September as Happy Cat Month, and for good reason. Despite the fact that there are significantly more pet cats than dogs in America (75 million cats vs. 69 million dogs), dogs come to the vet more than twice as often as cats. Many cats go to the vet […]

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A Shameful Circus

I recently got on my soapbox about SeaWorld and the scientific reports that whales held in captivity suffer both physically and psychologically. Now I will get on my soapbox again, to say the same for animals forced to perform in circuses across the globe. Responding to widespread public outcry, Ringling Brothers has decided to retire all of […]

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Pups on Public Transit?

Some subway passengers in New York have gone to great lengths to obey the transit law, which states “No person may bring any animal on or into any conveyance or facility unless enclosed in a container.” It’s impressive that anyone could train a Husky to ride in a tote bag on the subway. I’m not […]

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Disasterously Cute

Who doesn’t love bulldogs? Their squishy faces, snorty noses, stubborn personalities and awkward limbs make them cutely comical. According to the American Kennel Club, English bulldogs have been the fourth most popular registered dog breed in the United States for the past several years. While the pet-owning public may love bulldogs, veterinarians have an entirely […]

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No Puppies For You!

Most clients have received the loud message us veterinarians have been sending: spay and neuter your pets! There are health benefits, behavioral benefits and societal benefits to spaying and neutering. I’ve written about this topic before, but the message cannot be shared enough. Just because your puppy is cute, or unique, or “pedigreed” does not […]

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Rat Patrol!

A Chicago cat sanctuary, Tree House Humane Society, has come up with an innovative way to deal with the city’s rat problem and feral cat problem simultaneously. Tree House is putting feral cats to work, doing what cats do best: rodent extermination! I’m certain these cats are happy being “employed” and they find permanent homes […]

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They Hear Us. They Just Don’t Care.

If you’ve owned a cat, you won’t be surprised by this study. Scientists at the University of Tokyo have confirmed what us cat owners have known for years: cats can recognize our voices, yet they often choose to ignore us! To me, this is what makes cats so intriguing. We really have to work to […]

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Goats Are Friends, Not Food

I have a long list of favorite animals. A really long list. High on that list are goats. Veterinary students at the University of Pennsylvania are required to learn about large animals as well as small animals. I spent several months caring for horses, cows, goats and sheep at New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large animal […]

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Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully Blue

I have a friend who is a jewelry artisan and she recently posted this article. To me, there is something really interesting about the junction of art and science. When something beautiful is made by accident, as with this gorgeous blue color, it’s even more compelling.

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Give Peas a Chance!

I try not to get on my vegetarian soapbox too often. Really, no one wants to hear anyone else preach about their religious, political, dietary, exercise or any other strongly held beliefs. Now and again, though, an article appears that warrants sharing for conscious eaters. This article from the Washington Post sums up one of […]

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City of Puppy Love?

I’m a lifelong Philadelphia area resident, and a passionate defendant of our wonderful city. The restaurants, the history, the beautiful architecture: Philadelphia has a lot to offer. One area where we seem to fall short is dog friendliness. I often hear from clients how difficult it is to find a dog-friendly apartment. There are a […]

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A Blackfish is Not a Happy Fish

Many of you remember the documentary Blackfish, about the horrendous conditions endured by captive Orca and other sea mammals at Sea World. The movie has spurred a much needed backlash against Sea World, and against keeping these large whales in captivity while asking them to perform as entertainers. A recent article in Psychology Today confirms […]

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Pets Are the Best Medicine

I can only imagine how much hospitalized kiddos must miss their fluffy friends. Many studies have shown the health benefits of owning pets (pets are known to lower blood pressure, reduce the incidence of allergies and asthma and increase longevity). It makes good sense that some children’s hospitals are now allowing pets to visit their […]

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Plus Size Pets

Is your Fido pleasantly plump? Is there even more of Fluffy to love? Your chubby pets are in good company: the majority of American pets today are considered overweight or obese. Even major athletic apparel companies are recognizing the trend: It may seem impossible, but Fluffy and Fido can lose weight! We can create a […]

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Midnight Snack Attack?

I recently dealt with several months of hungry cat 4:00am wake-ups thanks to my cat Pudge (pictured at left, helping with an art project). Pudge started waking me up earlier and earlier each morning, demanding food by screaming all around the house, jumping on me while I was sleeping, and knocking items off my bedside table. […]

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Kitty Can Love the Vet!

I saw this photo on Facebook recently: Hysterical right? It’s funny because it’s true. I wish I could help Diane (and her kitty) learn that there’s a better way to take a cat to the vet. I may not be able to help Diane, but I can help you:      

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Fetch! Fetch! Fetch!

This invention is inspired. I recently saw a video for the GoDogGo Fetch Machine and think it may be one of the best ideas I’ve ever seen for a ball hog dog. My previous dog Kona would obsessively play fetch, and would catch balls all day if we let him. Of course, my arm would get […]

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A Dog with a Duckling?

I love dogs. I love ducklings. And I love stories that disprove the myth that pit bulls are vicious killers. Check out these photos, and you may feel the same way!

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Hay is For Horses

I never knew about Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines until about three years ago, when we bought our current home. The previous homeowner provided us with a folder of documents about our property’s 200 year old history. From 1927 until 1933, our property (which I lovingly have named Fox Valley Farm) was part of Ryerss Infirmary for […]

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Is Science On the Outs?

There’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and probably something that has occurred to every physician, veterinarian, researcher, pharmacist and scientist at some point recently. When, why and how did it happen that the general public (particularly the educated general public) become distrustful of science? How did it happen that a random dog […]

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If Kitty could speak…

…what would she say? According to the makers of Catterbox, if Fluffy could speak, she would primarily say “No. No. No.” Anyone who is owned by a cat shouldn’t be surprised to know that, much like a two year old toddler, a cat’s favorite word is “NO!” If I had to guess, my cat Pudge’s favorite […]

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If you can fry an egg on the sidewalk…

…you shouldn’t walk your dog on that same sidewalk! During the last week of school, I walked my dog Maeby to the bus stop to meet my son’s school bus. Maeby kept holding her feet up, doing an awkward dance that I didn’t recognize. It was a warm, pleasant 80 degree day, and when I […]

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But the Humane Society is Cheaper

A client said to me today: “My brother had his dog spayed at the Humane Society and it was only $100. Why is your clinic so much more expensive? Cost is an issue for us and if all things are equal, we would rather have our dog spayed there, too.” Sigh. All things aren’t equal […]

Posted in Featured, Insider Scoop | 2 Comments

“Vaccine Reaction”? Probably Not.

Vaccinations are a scientific miracle. The number of human (and animal) lives saved by vaccinations cannot be overestimated. Once-common diseases such as canine distemper and feline panleukopenia have been virtually eliminated in vaccinated pets (I’ve only seen a handful of pets with these diseases, as opposed to some of my more seasoned colleagues, who used […]

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“My Breeder Said”

There are three words that every veterinarian dreads: “My breeder said…” Fortunately, a good majority of owners these days rescue their new dog from a shelter or foster group. Certain clients are very loyal to specific breeds, and will elect to buy a new puppy from a breeder. There are some really good breeders out […]

Posted in A Day In the Life, Dog Day Afternoon | 2 Comments

Litter Box No-No’s

I’ve written before about the trials and tribulations of owners with felines who stop using the litter box. Inappropriate urination is an incredibly common problem, and one of the most frequent reasons that cats are relinquished to shelters. A decade of practice in veterinary medicine has brought to my attention a number of litter box […]

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Please Don’t Waste Your Money!

‘Tis the season! Flea and tick season, that is! Warm weather brings along with it parasites of all shapes and sizes. Pennsylvania is rife with external and internal parasites that can affect our cats and dogs. Ticks are by far the most prevalent parasite in our area, but fleas, heartworm, mange mites and intestinal parasites […]

Posted in A Day In the Life, Innovations and Ideas | 4 Comments

A Local Food Utopia

Last night my husband and I uncovered a hidden gem, a local food utopia that prepares amazing food, grown on premises in a humane, healthy and organic way. To me, this is the holy grail of dining! The utopia in question is called Wyebrook Farm, a gorgeous working farm in Honey Brook, Pennsylvania (about an hour’s […]

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Your Pup is Not a Person!

I recently saw this article and it emphasized a point that I’ve been making to dog owners for years: I love your dog, and I know you do, too…but your dog is not a person! Your dog is not a baby. Your dog is not human, and is not capable of human emotions! I know […]

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Preposterous Pet Store Products: Part Deux

I like to do “undercover” recon missions any time I’m at a pet store. There are so many bizarre, hysterical and downright befuddling products on the shelves at pet stores. My previous post on this topic detailed some products I’d seen recently. Just this past weekend, I found a few more goodies at our local […]

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Your Vet Is Not In It for the Money

This needs to be said. No veterinarian is in it for the money. I repeat: NO veterinarian is in it for the money. We become veterinarians because we love animals, and science, and we want to help creatures in need. With an average starting salary of $67,000/year and an average student loan burden of over […]

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Truth: It’s an Amputation

It is 2015, and yet we still get requests from clients to declaw their cats. Although illegal in most of Europe and Australia, declawing is not (yet) illegal in the United States. There are even a few American veterinary schools that now refuse to teach their students how to perform declaws. When push comes to […]

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Swheat is So Sweet!

I used the same kitty litter for the past 15 years. That same clay-based, clumping litter served me well through four cats and five different homes. I had a healthy relationship with my kitty litter and no desire to change. And then came Pudge. Pudge is the cat who creates a sandstorm of kitty litter […]

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Embrace the Tofu

This post could also be titled: Why I Became a Vegetarian at the Ripe Old Age of 35. Fair warning: I will be on my soapbox a bit in this post. My goal is not to guilt, convert or shame anyone into changing their own eating habits. Food is one of the most wonderful joys […]

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New Year, New (Skinny) Pet!

I was so excited to see a blurb in a recent issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, discussing one of my great veterinary crusades: pet obesity. The cat in this photo is obese, but my guess is that many clients would think he’s only “chubby” or “plump”. Let’s call a fat cat a fat cat! Obesity […]

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Preposterous Pet Store Products

When I say preposterous, I mean preposterous. I was recently at a few different pet supply stores, and saw several products which seemed preposterously unnecessary and a downright waste of funds. I frequent pet stores, because that’s where I stock up on kitty litter, cat food, toys and treats for my cat and dog. There are […]

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Ensure to Insure!

A bit ago, at the AVMA Convention, I ran into a former colleague at the airport. She now works for Petplan Pet Insurance, which is a neighbor of NSVH, based in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. We had a lengthy discussion about the value of pet insurance, and what Petplan offers its customers. Pet insurance is something […]

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A Barn Roof Mystery

Many of you know that the Dr D family lives in a 140-year old farmhouse. Our property also has a gorgeous old barn (which currently houses my husband’s workshop, and provides extra storage for our attic-less and basement-less house.) Since our property slopes downward from the street toward the house, part of the barn roof is actually […]

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I am a Community Helper!

Yesterday, I had the great privilege of participating in the Malvern School’s Community Helper Day. My son recently graduated from a similar preschool program, so I was quite acquainted with the target audience (two to five year olds) and the topic of “community helpers”. Preschoolers spend a fair amount of time learning about different careers […]

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Just Say No to Food Fights!

This week, I had similar conversations with several clients about their “picky” dogs. Most dog owners have the opposite experience: their Fido will eat anything, anywhere, anytime (including trash, inanimate objects like socks and grossly unappealing items like deer feces.) This is true for most dogs; we have domesticated dogs in virtually every way, but […]

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Scoot That Booty?

We’ve all seen it: Fido, scooting his rear end along the carpet, dragging his nether regions across the floor. It’s not a pretty sight (and not a pretty smell.) Why on earth would Fido scoot, scratch and drag his tush? Scooting is unsavory to say the least, but it is also a frequent topic of […]

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Canines, Cancer and Chemo

The diagnosis of cancer in Fido or Fluffy can be devastating and overwhelming. As with people, cancer is a common diagnosis in cats and dogs. There are a variety of treatment modalities available, depending on the specific type of disease present. Some cancers in animals can be treated with surgery and/or radiation, some can be […]

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Departure from Denver

Today was my final day at the AVMA Convention, but I wish I could stay through the lectures tomorrow! If anyone has to stay in downtown Denver for work, or pleasure, I highly recommend the Hotel Teatro, a cute, unique, boutique style hotel. The Teatro is just two short blocks from the Convention Center and […]

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AVMA Day Two

One of the best parts of attending a veterinary convention is the wacky titles of some of the lectures. With lectures like “Appropriate Grooming of Birds”, “Training Foals to be Good Patients”, and “Finfish Anatomy and Physiology”, who wouldn’t have a good time? In all honesty, the AVMA Convention draws so many attendees because of […]

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Hello from Denver!

Well, friends, I’m lucky enough to be spending several days in Denver, Colorado attending the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) annual conference. The AVMA is the largest veterinary organization, and thus they host the largest continuing education conference for our profession. This is the third AVMA conference I’ve attended, and I have been consistently impressed […]

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A Chip on Your Pet’s Shoulder?

Most clients know that NSVH offers microchipping for all pets. I am a huge advocate for microchips. Just last week, I had clients bring in a young, male stray cat who wandered into their yard. They intended to adopt the little guy, assuming he wasn’t owned by anyone. As is standard protocol for all lost […]

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Every Season is Pumpkin Season!

It may be time for lazy beach days and summer BBQ’s, but many of us in veterinary medicine have pumpkin on the brain. Once available only in autumn, canned pumpkin is now available year-round in grocery stores. Why is pumpkin so important to veterinarians? Pumpkin is widely used as a source of dietary fiber for […]

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Don’t Call Me Olivia!

*Update* Oliver has officially been adopted! See the comments at the bottom of this blog for more on his happy ending.   This story has a happy ending, but a not-so-pleasant beginning. Most of you know that Malvern Veterinary Hospital is fortunate to work with an amazing rescue group called Senior Dog Haven and Hospice […]

Posted in A Day In the Life, Dog Day Afternoon, Featured | 1 Comment

How to Bring Your Cat to the Vet in 3 Easy Steps

In the average week, we see easily three to four times more dogs than cats for appointments, despite the fact that pet cats outnumber dogs in the United States. Why is this the case? A recent study determined that the number of feline visits to veterinarians decreased 14% from 2001 to 2011 despite an increase in […]

Posted in A Day In the Life, Cats Are Not Small Dogs, Featured | 6 Comments

Human Medicine is Going to the Dogs!

My alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, is known for pioneering innovative medical and surgical techniques that benefit dogs, cats, horses and many other species. They are also known for medical breakthroughs that benefit humans! The physiologic similarities between dogs and humans are innumerable. One of my former oncology professors, Dr. […]

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Spring Cleaning for Fido and Fluffy

After the Winter That Wouldn’t Quit, it’s so lovely to see the sun and enjoy some warmer temperatures outside. It’s spring cleaning time, not only for your house, but also for Fido and Fluffy! This is a great time of year to think about protecting Fido and Fluffy from parasites (warmer temperatures mean increased numbers […]

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Animal Cruelty Prevention Month

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. In my career, I am fortunate to have dealt with only a very small number of cruelty cases. Newtown Square Veterinary Hospital is privileged to have amazingly caring, compassionate clients who want to make the best choices for Fluffy and Fido. Unlike our shelter veterinarian colleagues, we rarely […]

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Keep Fido and Fluffy Healthy in Five Easy Steps

Most of our clients are absolutely, positively devoted to their pets, which makes working at Newtown Square Veterinary Hospital such a pleasure. I’m often asked by clients what specific things can be done to keep Fido and Fluffy happy, healthy and long-lived. The right food, the right accessories and the right haircut may seem important, but […]

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