Newsletter - August 2021


Summer school with a smile

For Djion Holness, school was in session at Greenwood Lake Animal Hospital this summer!

Going into her third year of vet school at Cornell University, Djion, 24, sharpened her skills in between semesters working under the guidance of Dr. Louër.

"With the pandemic, my hands-on experience was blunted," Djion said. "I had spent the majority of my vet school experience online. I knew that was an area that I was lacking in, so I wanted to develop these skills more."

During her time at GWLAH, Djion honed her surgical techniques and got more familiar with surgical procedures, including pre-surgical exam, catherization, induction, intubation, anesthesia monitoring, tissue handling, appropriate techniques for common procedures and suturing.

"I was so lucky to learn so much about the process in a one-on-one setting," she said. "Apart from surgical experience, I also learned about many aspects of dental care, including radiograph interpretation, identifying teeth that need to be removed, and various tooth extraction techniques."

According to Djion, it was happenstance that led to her shadowing experience in the first place.

Planning an event for her school's student veterinary organization put Djion in touch with many industry professionals, including GWLAH Business Manager Carol Louër.

"I actually developed a relationship with Carol due to the unfortunate circumstance of her order not processing correctly," Djion said. "She then invited me to the hospital to shadow Dr. Louër!"

Going into the next stage of her veterinary education, Djion said that her skill set has grown during her time working with Dr. Louër.

"I definitely improved the most with my catherization and basic tissue handling," she said. "I had very minimal experience before starting here, but now I am confident in my ability to place catheters, and have a good foundation in tissue handling."

As for her experience at GWLAH, Djion said it was so much more than what she was expecting.

"I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work so closely with Dr. Louër," she said. "He was very patient with me and took the time to answer all of my questions. I am not the type of student that usually asks questions in class; but being in a one-on-one environment gave me the confidence to voice my thoughts and ask questions freely. It was exactly what I needed."

When asked what she loves most about veterinary medicine, Djion said it's the challenge of it all.

"To me, it is so exciting to work through a case, come up with differentials and a treatment plan for a patient," she said. "It is also so rewarding to see how a treatment can help end a pet's pain and suffering."


Is your pet up-to-date?

August is National Immunization Awareness Month so the doctors and staff of Greenwood Lake Animal Hospital would like to remind you of the vaccines we recommend to help your pet keep living their best life.

For our canine patients, we recommend DHPP, leptosporosis, Lyme and rabies vaccinations.

DHPP protects your dog from the (D)istemper, (H)epatitis, (P)arvovirus and (P)arainfluenza viruses, many of which have no effective treatment other than supportive care. Vaccination can prevent these diseases and minimize the signs of illness.

Leptosporosis is a bacterial disease that attacks the kidneys and liver of infected dogs and is spread by wildlife. It can also be transmitted to humans.

Endemic in wooded areas, Lyme disease in dogs can be largely prevented by using effective tick control and vaccination. The Lyme vaccine is about 80 percent effective at preventing infection, which is why tick control is so important. If it affects the kidneys, Lyme disease can be fatal.

Rabies is a 100 percent fatal disease of mammals. Because there is no effective treatment and because it can infect humans, rabies vaccinations for companion animals are required by law.

If your dog has had their puppy DHPP series and their first booster at a year old, you may opt to do a blood test called a Distemper/Parvo vaccine antibody titer to see if they still have protective immunity. Many dogs do and, if so, they do not need the booster. Antibody levels are checked every three years to ensure your pet remains protected.

Additionally, if you are planning on taking your dog to the kennel, doggie daycare, the groomer's, training classes, or other situations where they will come in contact with dogs they do not live with, we recommend giving the Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccine and/or the canine influenza vaccine.

Some kennels require the canine influenza vaccine, while others do not. It's always a good idea to check the vaccine requirements of your kennel well in advance of your planned stay.

Though our feline patients don't (generally) lead the active social lives their canine counterparts do, it's still important to vaccine them against FVRCP, rabies and/or feline leukemia.

FVRCP is a combination vaccine, the letters of which stand for (F)eline (V)iral (R)hinotracheitis, (C)alicivirus, (P)anleukopenia. It protects your cat from three serious airborne viruses that can be contracted at any age.

As with dogs, cats should be vaccinated for rabies, even if they do not go outside, as rabid wildlife could come in contact with your pet inside your home. In 1997, a Warren County man died of rabies after he removed several bats that had gotten into his home and failed to seek medical attention.

If your cat does go outside, we recommend vaccinating them for feline leukemia, which is spread by close contact with infected cats or through bite wounds.

This National Immunization Awareness Month, take a few minutes to check your pet's vaccine status. The next time Fido gets into a scuffle with a groundhog or the fur flies when Fluffy's out roaming the neighborhood, you'll be glad you did!

Somewhere over the Rainbow (Bridge)

As anyone who's ever loved and lost a pet can attest, saying goodbye and watching them cross the rainbow bridge can be incredibly difficult.

Following the death of her cat Mr. Jazz in 2013, author Deborah Barnes published a book detailing their time together and founded Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day due to the overwhelming response she received from people sharing their own stories of their pets' passing.

This year, the holiday is celebrated on August 28 and serves as a way to celebrate and remember all the pets we've loved before.

Ways to observe Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day include reminiscing about your pet with family and friends, posting memories on social media using the hashtag #RainbowBridgeRemembranceDay and looking through old photos of you and your pet together.

You can also make a donation to an animal charity in honor of your pet or create a work of art, such as a painting or Christmas ornament.

We may not be able to cuddle them close anymore, but those we've loved are never really gone, so long as they live on in our hearts and minds.


Cooling off during the dog days of summer

As summer winds down and the temperature soars, it can be tempting to give your dog a pup-sized ice cream cone or cup of frozen yogurt.

After all, who doesn't love something cold on a hot summer day?

But before you give in to those heart-melting eyes, consider this. For some dogs, dairy consumption can result in gastrointestinal upset, such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Additionally, flavors such as chocolate and macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs, and many frozen yogurts, ice creams and popsicles contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol, which is extremely toxic and potentially fatal.

To help your furry friend beat the heat, try whipping up a batch of these dog-friendly frozen treats at home instead:

With a little kitchen creativity, both you and your dog can stay safe and keep cool as we enjoy summer's last hurrah!