April is National Heartworm Awareness Month

Read about Sam's story and help raise awareness about heartworm disease. Heartworm disease is life-threatening, difficult to treat, and is present in our area. Numbers of affected pets across the country steadily increases each year. Click here to view the American Heartworm Society's Heartworm Incidence Maps. Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitos carrying the microscopic heartworm larvae. Mosquitos are tougher than a lot of us think and can thrive even in cold or dry areas. As the disease develops in pets, adult heartworms can grow 10 to 12 inches in length and make their home in the right side of the heart and lungs. Giving your pet a monthly preventative for heartworm and intestinal parasites is like buckling your seat belt each time you drive in you car. It is a relatively simple measure that can prevent a considerable amount of damage. Annual heartworm testing is recommended in order to verify that prevention is working properly or diagnose an infection so that treatment can begin promptly.

We diagnosed Sam, a local dog from Simi Valley, with heartworm disease last September. Sam had formerly lived in northern California and was on a diligent regimen of off-brand monthly heartworm prevention. Despite this, his heartworm test came back positive and we confirmed the diagnosis with additional testing. Ultrasound showed that Sam had heartworms in his pulmonary artery.

Sam HW tx We began treatment with the only FDA approved adulticide used to treat heartworm infestations. This medication is sometimes difficult to acquire given the national demand for it. It also can cause side-effects. Sam received a series of three injections over the span of a little more than a month. During his treatment Sam experienced varying degrees of inappetence, lethargy, and diarrhea. It is extremely important that a patient's blood pressure is not elevated during heartworm treatment and for a considerable period afterwards. An elevation in blood pressure can be life-threatening as the dying heartworm could cause a blockage in a major artery. In light of this, Sam was limited to very strict confinement for two and a half months which was just as difficult on his mom than it was on him, if not more.

We want to strengthen and lengthen the bond between you and your pet. Please consider heartworm testing and prevention. Also, contact our hospital for promotions surrounding National Heartworm Awareness Month.

This Week Is The First Annual Veterinary Team Appreciation Week

team appreciationWe could not be more proud of our incredible team and how they operate as a family unit to deliver such quality care. The following essay was written by one of our staff members, Rachel, in order to answer the question "What do you think makes Moorpark Veterinary Hospital Unique?" Our incredible team is central to the answer of this question. "If you were to ask every staff member at our hospital what about it they are proud of, you will get a long, varied list of answers. We are proud of our accreditation by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and Cat Friendly Practice certification. We are proud of the level of medicine and care we provide. We are proud of our facilities, our community, and each other. When you ask every staff member at our hospital what makes our hospital unique, each individual will generate a singular, compelling response: our team. The importance of a veterinary hospital’s team is tremendous. Every single staff member executes our standard for care and compassion, they are a beacon for our message and recommendations, they are patient advocates, and they are, in a great sense, the establishers of each other’s quality of life. With the tremendous amount of time and energy that individuals devote to our field, we must recover and recharge somehow. Luckily, we do this by leaning on each other. We go to great lengths to ensure that we create and maintain a cohesive and supportive team unit. Our hiring process is extensive, consisting of a handful of interviews for each candidate and ending with a review form completed by every existing team member. Aside from initial training, all team members participate in a continued education topic at bi-monthly meetings and are allotted a yearly allowance for continued education. Team outings occur quarterly each year but often times occur informally much more often than that. In the past few years, we have had the pleasure of getting together to enjoy dinners, baseball games, bowling night, game night, and pot luck thanksgivings. Our team is exceptional in so many ways. Our doctors have visited patients in critical care at referral specialty hospitals and made themselves uncommonly available to discuss patient care to the team, clients, and other professionals. Our team members regularly send out cards on their own accord to clients to acknowledge events in their lives and in their pet’s lives. Our staff turnover is very low and the average amount of time our staff has been employed here is over 6 years. Every member is positive and supportive of one another. Every member cares deeply about pets and their people. We are fortunate to have leaders who understand the value of utilizing the unique skills of each individual and encouraging personal growth. We have had multiple entry level staff members who are on their way to become or have become successful RVTs and doctors of veterinary medicine. If we assigned additional informal titles to our current team members, the list of titles would include party planner, storm chaser, personal chef, pet sitter, professional organizer, pet nutrition enthusiast, botanist, dog agility and training specialist, and social media expert among many others. Our hospital is only as unique as the individuals realizing its existence each and every day and what a unique hospital we do, in fact, have."

January is National Train Your Dog Month

It's never too late to improve the bond you have with your pet and make your time spent together more rewarding through training or fun exercise activities.
Dog Trainer and Behavior Consultant, Deborah Krasner www.dkdogtraining.com

Deborah Krasner, Dog Trainer and Behavior Consultant

We are happy to act as your resource and partner in addressing behavioral concerns which can arise from a variety of reasons. For over 20 years we have been recommending dog trainer and behavior consultant Deborah Krasner for many training and behavior needs. Deborah is a certified AKC (CGC) Evaluator who works with dogs and cats of all ages and temperaments and specializes in puppies and rescued pets. Deborah can work with you and your pet to develop a personalized program tailored to meet your desired results in a positive way. She is available for in-home lessons and phone consultations for some behavioral issues. Click here to visit Deborah's website and contact her.  
USDAA Dog Agility Trial in Moorpark, CA

USDAA Agility Trial in Moorpark, CA

If you are interested in seeking out fun and unique training or exercise opportunities for your pet, we are here to help. We are partners with local organizations who can provide your dog with experiences in agility, dock jumping, snake avoidance, fly ball, and scent tracking.  Please contact our hospital for more information.

November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month

bobo1Meet Bobo, he was diagnosed in early 2012 at the age of 10 with cancer, specifically, GI lymphoma. Prior to his diagnosis, Bobo had been vomiting and hiding in unusual places for about a day. He was taken to the emergency vet and after some diagnostic testing, the doctor believed he had a possible intestinal blockage or obstruction and surgery was recommended. Bobo’s surgery revealed some abnormal areas and lesions on his small intestine. Some of this tissue was collected for testing which confirmed the cancer but Bobo and his mom made a pact that they were going to fight this. With the right chemotherapy, the average survival rate for this type of cancer is barely over 2 years but because of the appearance of his intestines, his prognosis was very guarded. Bobo’s chemotherapy consisted of a combination of oral medications and after three and a half years of low maintenance treatment, Bobo is in complete remission! Most importantly, his quality of life has remained incredible throughout his treatment. Amidst all of his chemotherapy, Bobo never stopped playing his chase game or being his amazing self. Bobo’s story is absolutely incredible. His recovery is the equivalent to a person living cancer-free for 15-17 years! Bobo is now 13 years old and is fully expected to have the lifespan of any normal cat and it seems like the pact Bobo and his mom made worked. One in four dogs and one in five cats will develop cancer in their lifetimes, however, like Bobo’s story shows, cancer is not always a death sentence for pets. In fact, unlike many common diseases facing pets such as heart failure, kidney disease, or diabetes, cancer is actually curable. Our doctors remain educated in the latest developments and protocols surrounding chemotherapy. The recommended treatment for cancer depends upon a variety of factors including but not limited to age and quality of life and can vary from chemotherapy to supportive care. Some things that you can do to reduce your pet’s risk for cancer include getting them spayed or neutered, keeping them at a healthy weight, and visiting the veterinarian twice yearly for regular check-ups.

Fall Fun at MVH!

LuluOur annual fall photo booth and costume contest is underway! Visit our fall photo booth in the hospital and choose from a variety of costumes for your pet to enter them into our annual costume contest. You can also submit photos of your pets in costume from home by e-mailing their photo to mvhmail@moorparkvet.com. We are giving away great prize baskets to our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. Winners will be featured on our social media and contacted directly on Halloween (Saturday, Oct. 31st). All entries must be submitted no later than Wednesday 10/28/15. While you're here this month you can also play our candycorn count contest by guessing the amount of candycorn displayed in our lobby. Whoever guesses correctly or closest will win an MVH gift card and the candycorn. During the last two weeks of this month you can also vote for your favorite pumpkin carving as our staff competes in their highly-anticipated pumpkin carving contest. This is always a fun time of year for us and we cannot wait to share that fun with you and your pets.
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