Preventive Care Plans For Your Pet!

I want to inform everyone of a great opportunity, our preventative care plans. We offer these plans as a way to take care of your dog and/or cat for one year and save money at the same time. Often owners are unaware of what their dog or cat might need from their veterinarian during one year. Our goal for creating the plans is to allow owners to get the best care for their dog and/or cat. Our receptionists, assistants and veterinarians can give you the information to help you make that decision. Each plan includes at least one free office visit and discounts on other services or products that aren’t included in the plan. This will hopefully allow you to bring your pet to us more often with less expense so that you can take care of your pet the way you want. We also have special financing options available. Please contact us today about this exciting opportunity!
Regards,
Mark Plott, DVM, CCRT-pending

 

Canine Rehab- Why I’m Loving It So Far

Well, I’ve been certified in Canine Rehabilitation since March of this year. With that certification, I now have extra initials after my name- CCRT. (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist) I’ve had the opportunity to work with many great patients and clients here at Foster Animal Hospital. To all of us, Canine Rehab has been a new experience. I’ve tried to use these experiences to, first and foremost, benefit my patients but also to learn and hone my technique and to get a better grasp clinically about what I’m doing. It’s been an excellent 8 months and I am more excited than ever about Canine Rehab.

So, let me tell you why I love Canine Rehab after these last 8 months? First of all, with Rehab Therapy we are reducing and in some instances eliminating pain completely. And pain is a reality to dogs. They oftentimes will not show us when they are painful. Or if they do, we don’t interpret it as pain. Some subtle signs include: decreased activity, sleeping more, keeping to themselves with some to the point of hiding, restlessness especially at night, panting, decreased appetite, weight loss, sighing or moaning when getting up or down, and grumpiness towards owners or other pets. Pain management is a hallmark of Canine Rehab.

Initially, we address pain medically. We as vets are very blessed to have access to many safe medications that make a tremendous difference in our patient’s pain levels. Through rehab, we also address pain with LASER therapy, range of motion techniques, manipulation of restricted joint capsules and muscles, massage, and muscle strengthening. I love the fact that pain-free dogs can now be a reality! I am waging a personal battle on eliminating pain for my patients.

I’ve also observed that obesity is a critical factor for all pets. Obesity is even more of a detriment to those with physical issues. Carrying extra weight creates physical limitations for post-op patients, geriatric patients with degenerative arthritis, and acute or chronic neurological patients. Fat cells also produce hormones that create inflammation within joints. Young, overweight dogs are already being set up for arthritis!

I do not love the fact that obesity is a problem for so many dogs (and people). I do love the fact that through Canine Rehab, we are able to help these dogs lose weight and become more physically fit! I have seen first hand through rehab patients that lose weight, what amazing benefits they reap. Remember the rule of thumb for your dog’s weight- you want to be able to feel ribs without a layer of fat and you want to see a waist starting behind the last rib. If you can’t do either of these with your own pet, well you know…

I love the fact that dogs that are pain free and are an appropriate weight, want to be active! I see this everyday as my rehab patients progress. I see this with my own dog Bunker. (You know, the one that likes to blog) I hear it from the moms and dads that tell me their dog is now jumping in the car again, wants to go on walks, and wants to play more. I love it that they wear me out, wanting to do the exercises and work-outs we create for them! They also can’t wait for manual therapy because they love how it makes them feel, which it makes them feel GOOD! And just like Skinner’s or Pavlov’s or whoever’s dog it was, my rehab patients immediately relax when we put their LASER Doggles on because they know the LASER Therapy really makes them feel good.

So, I hope you see why I love Canine Rehab after 8 months. If your dog fits any of the descriptions above and is painful, let’s love him enough to put an end to that pain!

Until next time,

Steve Foster, DVM, CCRT

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Paws in Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center

sfoster@fosteranimalhospital.com

Dental care for your dog and/or cat is very important for their health

 

Dental care for your dog and/or cat is very important for their health and is not simply a cosmetic issue. About 75% of dogs and cats by the age of 3 have dental tartar that untreated can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease, ultimately resulting in tooth loss. In addition to causing bad breath and smelly hair, your pet’s dental tartar can cause infection in their mouth which can spread to other body organs like the heart, kidney and liver. Gingivitis and periodontal disease is a painful condition that can make your pet not eat properly and not want to interact normally with their family.
We at Foster Animal Hospital are experts at helping you prevent and treat your pet’s dental problems. Please give us a call or schedule an appointment so that we can help you with your pet’s dental care.
Regards,
Mark Plott DVM, CCRT-pending

Bunker’s Back For Thanksgiving!

Hey, yo, well I’ve been gone a while from the blog, but that ain’t kept me from snooping on dad’s computer.
Funny thing is, I’ve been going to jail, I mean my dad’s office for some canine rehab. When I’m there, a bunch of folks are talking about somethin’ called Thanksgiving. What’s even funnier is some of ’em say THANKSgiving and other say ThanksGIVING. What is up with that? Geesh people!
But nonetheless, heretofore, furthermore, and four score, it got me to thinking. I guess I’m thankful for stuff. Let me see: food, oh yeah definitely food. Heck fire, I’m even more thankful for treats. I wish they filled the bowl like the food does. What else, water, yep, water keeps me hydrated, it’s good to swim in, and provides me with the opportunity to mark my spot, iffin you know what I mean! Tehe. I guess I’m thankful for my dad and mom, and my siblings- 2 and 4 legged ones. I’m thankful for cats and the yummy treats they leave behind. I’m thankful for the squirrels and deers I used to be able to chase. (I’m still eyeballin y’all and it’s dirty pool to mock my old arthritic hips. Better look out!) I’m thankful for the back seat of my dad’s truck. It’s 11 years old and he’s hauled so many dogs in that thing, I am in sniffin’ heaven I tell ya. I’m thankful for that stuff in funny bottles they give me everyday and that rehab thing dad does on me. Man do I feel better with it. I really am thankful for that laser. Heck you get to wear funny sun glasses and all the, ahem, female dogs give me the eye when I wear ’em.


So back to snoopin. I found another short story dad had written way back. I think the names were changed or it could be a blend of folks. Who knows with my old man. I thought it was purty good and wanted to share. If nuttin’ else, I guess it’s shows somethin dad was very thankful about. Anyhoo, Happy THANKSgiving, ThanksGIVING, or THANKSGIVING whichever it is for you and yourn! Check ya’ later!

 

“Reid”

What is the best thing that can happen to a young, aspiring, inexperienced veterinarian? Finding the right practice? Working for an experienced mentor? Having the freedom to make decisions and introduce new methods to improve the practice and benefit the patients? Making a good salary for a good days work? Being completely happy and satisfied with all of the above? I was fortunate to have them all. I was fortunate to be the son of Tom Foster and to reap the rewards of his practice of 27 years. I was fortunate that Dad’s clientele were generally good people that you enjoyed helping. However, as I said they were just that- Dad’s clientele. Don’t get me wrong, they were and are some of the greatest people I know. My professional care for and friendships with them hold true today. What they mean to me is immeasurable. I am truly honored and blessed to know and serve them to this day. I am not, excuse the pun, looking those “gift horses” in the mouth!

 

But, as wonderful as they are, and as honored as I am, they still weren’t “mine”. Not that it burned in my gut during the night or caused me many hours of unrest and heartburn. In fact, I wasn’t really aware of it until Reid came into my life. For you see, Reid was probably the first client that was “mine”. Oh I’m sure I had seen new clients that didn’t know Dad or had not been to his practice. That goes without saying. I’m talking about the type of client/vet relationship that can only occur with regular contact over a period of time. Reid was my first and Reid was “mine”.

 

Our practice was, from 1958-1996, a mixed animal practice. If it was alive and was not a human, we would see it. As a new graduate, I enjoyed the variety mixed practice afforded. From the pampered house dog to the 2000 pound charging bull, practice was a pleasure. Graduating from vet school at Auburn, I had a special attraction to large animal work. Don’t misunderstand, small animals were very important too. But, the mystique, and power, and allure of large animals to me were special. Call it a nostalgic attraction of Roy Rogers, John Wayne, or the Cartwright boys, not to mention growing up riding the roads with Dad making large animal calls day and night. Whatever it was, I wanted to be the best dang large animal vet around. Coming home after graduation, I knew I would have a chance to do large animal practice. Dad did most of the specialized work- monthly herd checks or show horse work. I would do a lot of the “fire engine” work of going from farm to farm doing emergencies or urgent cares or routine vaccinations and dewormings. I longed to be able to be the one to do the specialized visits. With time this came to pass. Nonetheless, most of these people were still not “mine”.

 

One morning, a call came in from Sharon Falls about her horse that was experiencing colic. I took the information, checked to verify that she was a new client, and headed for their farm. Turning onto their drive, I was struck by the beauty of their place. The drive, long and paved, was lined with split rail fence, finely mown grass and beautiful landscaping. To the left was a large horse pasture where two jet black Tennessee Walking Horses frolicked. On the right was another large pasture with many of the finest Santa Gertrudis cattle I had ever seen. The house was a typical ranch style made from beautiful logs and stained dark mahogany.  To the left of the house was a large gravel area that had an old restored plank barn at the very end. To the right of the barn was a wood enclosed corral that led to a long chute in which to work the cattle. The barn itself, simple and old, was a thing of beauty. The grounds were perfectly manicured- the grass mown, the gravel raked, and not a plank out of place. Behind the house and corral, was a large pasture that contained a large goose infested pond and more of those beautiful cattle.

 

As I pulled into the graveled lot, Mrs. Falls was walking a young Tennessee Walker. The bay colored filly looked to be around a year of age. As she walked her, the young equine would drag her rear feet and then stop to kick at her belly. These signs were typical of belly pain or colic. I got out of the Blazer and introduced myself. “It’s very nice to meet you Dr. Foster, I’m Sharon Falls”. Mrs. Falls was an attractive, middle-aged woman. Her eyes had the genuine warmth of the early morning sun. Her smile was radiant and welcoming. “It’s nice to meet you as well. What seems to be the matter?” She continued to walk the filly and stated “ We put her in the barn early this morning and must not have noticed the sweet feed in the trough. I was walking by a few minutes later and saw her eating. It was then I noticed the feed. There was a lot of it. I took the remaining feed out and have been checking her regularly. On my last time out I noticed her starting to colic. I hope she didn’t get too much.”  I carefully examined her. All vital signs were good. I placed a stomach tube and relieved some stomach gas. Before removing the stomach tube, I used a stomach pump to deliver a half-gallon of mineral oil in her stomach. I administered pain medication and within minutes she was walking well. She even began to nibble on some grass! “I think she just over did it with the grain. The oil will move it through her. She’ll be good as new in a few hours.”

 

About that time a blue Ford pickup eased it’s way down the long drive. “Oh that’s my husband Reid. He’s awfully fond of this filly. She’s out of a World Champion mare we own. He has big plans for her!”

 

The shiny new pickup rolled to a stop next to the Blazer. Reid exited and came over and introduced himself. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. Falls,” I said. “The pleasure is all mine,” he said with a big smile. “How’s my baby here?” He walked over and gently cradled her head with his big arms. Reid looked to be mid to late forties, with a large firm frame. You could tell that in his younger days he was quite a physical specimen. The filly responded with a nuzzle that quickly brought a smile to Reid’s face.

 

“I think she’s going to be fine. She just overloaded on grain. I gave her a good dose of mineral oil and something for pain. She’ll be kicking up her heels soon!” Looking me squarely in the eyes, Reid said,” You’ll never know how much we appreciate you coming so quick and doing such a great job. We had been using another vet and they were unavailable today. Get me a bill and Sharon will get you a check before you leave. Sharon, it looks like we found us a vet!”

 

Sharon hurried to the house to write the check. “ If you have a second Steve, come over here and look at these Gerts.” We walked over to a small enclosure adjacent to the barn. Inside the immaculate lot were 10-12 yearling heifers and bulls. A long wooden trough was in the middle with ground corn as a feed. Ample hay was in the corner. “ They just aren’t growing right. We’ve wormed and vaccinated ‘em. They eat better than I do. I just don’t understand.” He was right. These youngsters certainly had the frames to be showpieces. But, their coats were dull and raggedy, and their body condition was thinner than it should be. “What did you worm with?” “That stuff in a tube, TBZ I think.” TBZ had been a good dewormer but had lost effectiveness due to overuse and natural resistance developed by the worms. There were certainly better products available, with no resistance and much better efficacy. “ They look wormy to me. I’d suggest a different dewormer. Send someone by the office and we’ll get you what you need.” Reid looked at me warily. “You think that’s it? I’ve used that TBZ a long time. It’s always worked before.”

 

“That may be your problem, Reid. With time, resistance may be built up. It has happened with other producers. Just come try it. If it doesn’t work, you owe me nothing.” It’s not general practice to make medical guarantees. In fact, we rarely considered it much less offered it. I had complete confidence in my assessment. “ I’ll just get some of this stool in here and test for worms. You give my medicine a try.”

 

Two weeks later, I was in the area and stopped by to check on Reid’s yearlings. Approaching the corral I could already see a marked difference. The hair coats will slick and shiny red. Their once thin body-lines were full. “Reid is tickled to death,” Sharon said as she approached the corral. He checks on them every evening when he gets home. He is your biggest fan!”

 

Our professional relationship would grow into one of deep respect and admiration. Reid insisted that I come to his farm routinely twice a month to check the stock. Some trips were just a walk through. Others were planned herd health. Reid never questioned my advice or diagnoses. I don’t know who was more proud, Reid of his beautiful stock or me for being their vet.

 

One of the hardest decisions in my life came many years later. Our county was growing at such a rate there were fewer and fewer farms. We had already cut back our large animal clientele due to the immense growth of our small animal practice. Veterinarians for hire that would do mixed or large animal practice were increasingly harder to find, especially with a practice that was now doing as little as we were. At the time we had 7 full time vets in our practice but only two of us were doing the large animal. When my large animal associate announced he was moving back home due to the bad health of his in-laws, the decision was made to stop all large animal services. The decision was extremely tough because Dad had done so much work for so many of them and now I had too. Heck, I grew up going to a lot of those farms. We were practically family. The phone calls to those clients were some of the toughest ever. All were gracious, appreciative, and saddened by the news.

 

The call to Reid is still as vivid today as it was then.

 

“Reid this is Steve. How are you?” His typical response always was, “Doin’ great Steve. You?” “Oh, I’m fine. I just have some tough news to deliver” I went into the changes in the practice and the concerns of being able to provide the services needed by myself. I told him of our decision. I iterated that there were 2 large animal only practices that were more than qualified to assist him. “I would trust them with my own,” I reassured him.

 

“So you’re getting out? Well I tell you what, if you’re getting out, I am too. There’s nobody I want to handle my stuff if you can’t. I think the time is right for me too.”

 

Stunned I emphasized he shouldn’t do that. “I’d be ashamed to think I caused you to get out.”

“No it’s nothing to be ashamed of, if you can’t do it nobody can.”

We exchanged thank yous and appreciation for each other. We promised to stay in touch. As I hung up the phone, tears streamed down my face.

Reid had truly been “mine”.

 

(Please do not reproduce this article without permission from the author)

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope this Thanksgiving finds you healthy and thankful for many things. I am very thankful for my family, including my three dogs and four cats, for the support that they give me day after day. I am thankful for my coworkers at Foster Animal Hospital for their knowledge and how they help our clients and pets to make the quality of their lives better. I am thankful to this community that has so many wonderful people. I was reminded of this Saturday when my son and I ran the Santa Scramble 5k through downtown Concord with 600 or so of the fastest runners I have yet encountered. I am thankful to live in such a great state in the best nation in the world.
We at Foster Animal are helping the Humane Society of Concord and Greater Cabarrus County to collect pet food for those families that are in need of food for their pets. We are also helping the Cooperative Christian Ministry with their work to provide families with food. You can bring by donations or food any time.
Sincerely,
Mark Plott, DVM, CCRT- pending

RABIES- Alive and well in Cabarrus County

 

This is just a short post to let everyone know a skunk tested positive for rabies in Cabarrus County. The sad part is 2 small puppies, that were too young for rabies vaccinations, had to be euthanized. There were also 2 adult dogs involved, but thankfully they were current on their rabies vaccinations and only had to receive a booster.
As we all know, rabies can affect any mammal, including man. The 3 most common carriers, in the wild, are raccoons, skunks, and foxes. Many ask about possums. While they to can get rabies, they have a strong natural resistance to rabies. The last article I read stated possums needed something around 700 times the virus to contract rabies. That’s a strong resistance!
North Carolina rabies laws are very strict, and they should be. Any UNVACCINATED animal that is exposed to a rabid animal, will have to be euthanized or quarantined for 6 months at the owner’s expense. This means if your pet is overdue, even by one day, you have only those 2 options. Any pets current on their rabies vaccination, may be required to be quarantined 10 days and will receive a booster.
Many people are exposed unknowingly by handling their pet after they have been attacked. Remember, the rabies virus is transmitted in the saliva. So if your pet comes home injured, wear protective gloves and long sleeves before handling. The virus can enter your body through cuts, scrapes, scratches or through contact of your mouth and eyes. Always use extreme caution in handling any injured animal, especially when the cause of the injury is unknown.
The folks that lost there pups are very sad. Unfortunately, what happened has happened and there was nothing they could do about it. Don’t let you or your pet be next. Double check and assure that all of your pets are current on their rabies vaccination. Stay away from any wild animal that is acting strange, friendly, or is out during the day. Prevention is the only way!