When you think of a person who helps your pet when they’re sick, you probably picture a veterinarian in a white coat and stethoscope. While it’s true that the veterinarian is ultimately responsible for helping you make important decisions regarding your pet’s health, you may not realize that there is another member of the veterinary team that is essential to providing medical care for your four-legged family member: the veterinary technician. Vet techs are the passionate, hard-working nurses of the veterinary world who handle all of the aspects of veterinary medicine that allow the veterinarian to do his or her job.
You might be surprised at how much of your pets’ medical care actually falls under the responsibility of the veterinary technician. The list of tasks a vet tech is responsible for is seemingly endless. In fact, it is much easier to simply list the three things vet techs are NOT legally permitted to do: diagnose disease, perform surgery and prescribe medications. This doesn’t mean that technicians aren’t involved in these aspects of veterinary medicine. On the contrary, without skilled technicians, it would be nearly impossible for the doctor to effectively do these things!
For instance, while a technician cannot officially make a diagnosis, they are responsible for performing all of the tasks necessary to help the doctor reach a diagnosis for the patient. Just a few examples of this include drawing blood, taking x-rays, processing samples in the laboratory and obtaining thorough medical histories from clients. A technician cannot perform surgery, but they are responsible for administering and maintaining anesthesia, performing full dental cleanings, monitoring vital signs on anesthetized patients and even scrubbing in to assist the veterinarian during surgical procedures. And while technicians cannot prescribe medications, they can fill orders in the pharmacy, dispense medications to clients, calculate dosages and administer medications to patients in all kinds of ways, whether it’s a pill, an eye drop, an ointment or an IV injection.
Because they are responsible for such a variety of tasks, a day in the life of a veterinary technician is never dull. Techs are constantly busy, usually multitasking and performing jobs that are physically demanding and occasionally dangerous. They are frequently managing multiple cases at a time, working quickly and efficiently to keep everything running smoothly. If you were to walk through a veterinary hospital you would find technicians performing all sorts of tasks in every area of the clinic and working with patients of all shapes and sizes: They could be trimming nails on a dog, calculating an IV fluid rate for a sick puppy, taking x-rays on a cat’s leg, using the microscope to examine a urine specimen or calling a client to find out how a patient is doing at home. If there is a test or treatment that needs to be performed, a technician is prepared to do it! But technicians provide even more to their patients than a versatile skill set. They give your pet love and care when they are away from you. Technicians are often the members of the veterinary team who spend the most time working hands on with your pet and are therefore especially in tune with how they are feeling. They can tell when your pet is feeling stressed, can identify signs of pain and are responsible for making sure patients are comfortable, calm and clean. Technicians are, above all, advocates for animals and strive to treat each patient with the same compassionate care that they would want for their own pet.
No matter the setting or how varied the job, veterinary technicians are united by one common calling: to improve the lives of animals however they can. These dedicated medical professionals are extremely passionate about their job and invested heart and soul in their patients. The job can sometimes be stressful and emotionally difficult, but to the special people who choose this career, there is no greater joy than seeing the difference they make in the lives of their patients and the fulfillment that comes from knowing they have helped an animal in need. So the next time your pet pays a visit to the vet, don’t forget to thank the veterinary technician, because they recognize how much your beloved family member means to you and their skill and dedication helps to provide the quality care they deserve.
Ticks are ICK and they can make pets SICK!
Just thinking about ticks causes us to curl our toes, grit our teeth and makes our skin itch. We aren’t huge fans of these creepy crawlers for lots of reasons and more importantly, we desperately want to keep them away from our patients!
Ticks carry disease. Many people have heard of Lyme disease but ticks in Michigan carry lots of other diseases as well and can make our pets extremely ill. Although there are over 850 types of ticks, we have several common ticks in Michigan: the Deer Tick (aka the black legged tick), the American Dog tick (aka the Wood tick) and the Lone Star tick.
Have you ever heard of Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Hepatozoonosis or Babesiosis? Ticks in Michigan can carry and transmit all of these diseases to our pets! If you think pronouncing or spelling these diseases is bad, wait until your pet has one of them and your vet needs to treat them for it!
Signs of tick borne diseases in pets include fever, lethargy, decreased appetite, stiff/swollen/painful joints and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, ticks can even cause paralysis. Tick borne diseases in pets are debilitating and can even be life-threatening.
Removal of a tick as soon as possible is ideal. If you are unable to get your pet to the vet right away, there are several online tutorials to train you to remove it on your own at home. The most important part of removing a tick, is making sure you remove the entire tick. Leaving behind part of it can lead to an abscess or localized skin infection at the site where the tick was removed. Once you have safely and completely removed the tick and cleaned the underlying bite wound with a gentle, mild cleanser, you can save the tick in a plastic bag (make sure it’s sealed tightly!). The tick can be submitted by your vet to the University lab to see if it was carrying any diseases that may have been transmitted to your pet. Many ticks have friends so make sure you or your vet fully examines your pet for other ticks left behind.
Checking your pet for ticks should be part of your daily (or at least weekly) routine. Run your hands throughout your pet’s entire coat and don’t forget to check inside the ears, between the toes, inside their armpits and around their face. If you are unsure if what you have found is a tick, wait for your vet before trying to remove it on your own. If you don’t see legs, it’s not a tick!
Tick prevention is crucial in the warm months in Michigan. Topical products such as Frontline Gold and oral products such as Nexgard can protect your pet from these unwelcome visitors. DePorre Veterinary Hospital also carries a flea/tick collar called Seresto that can be used in conjunction with a monthly prevention and provides extra protection for those patients who will be spending time in heavily wooded areas or areas known to be endemic to many ticks. Ask your vet what the safest, most effective tick prevention is for your pet and remember to use it as directed, every month during flea/tick season. We are here to help keep your pet protected from these little buggers so you can safely enjoy outdoor time together.
For more information and to see the statistics for individual states, go to:
For tick removal example videos, go to:
Spring is FINALLY here and that means a lot of things to many people. Flowers and sunshine, warmer weather, picnics, barbecues and of course, the end of the dreaded flu season.
But unfortunately that’s not true for our pets. While the flu, or influenza, is seasonal for people, pets can get it all year round.
In cats and dogs, influenza is a respiratory virus that can cause anywhere from mild to moderate illness to severe, debilitating (and sometimes life-threatening) disease. In dogs and cats the most common symptoms that we see are nasal discharge (typically yellow or green in color), an intense cough, high fever, lethargy and a decreased appetite. More severe cases of the disease will develop into pneumonia.
Influenza is highly contagious and because of lack of previous exposure to the virus, dogs and cats have no natural immunity to it and the disease is rapidly transmitted between them. Luckily the H3N2 (dogs and cats) and H3N8 (dogs) flu viruses are not contagious to people or other species of animals at this time. Since influenza is spread in several different ways including via direct contact, aerosolized particles and contaminated dishes and toys, the biggest risk factor for whether our pets will be exposed to and contract the flu virus comes down to their social life.
So, what’s your pet’s social status?
We aren’t talking about how many followers your pet has on Instagram (although we’d bet they have a lot!) or how often your pet’s Facebook status is updated. We are talking about how often your pet interacts with other animals. Dogs who frequent dog parks, boarding facilities, doggie day care or who visit a groomer frequently are at a much higher risk for coming down with canine influenza than those that stay close to home. Age and immune status play a role in risk of infection once dogs have been exposed to the flu.
After a pet has been exposed to one of the flu viruses, they typically start showing symptoms within two to five days and can continue to shed the virus weeks after they no longer have symptoms. If your pet has come down with the influenza virus, treatment consists of supportive health care. This can include intravenous or subcutaneous fluids, balanced nutrition, supplements, cough suppressants and sometimes antibiotics are necessary to treat secondary bacterial infections. Some patients also benefit from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce fever, aches and inflammation.
The best way to protect your social pet is to have them vaccinated. There is now a safe and highly effective vaccine available for dogs at DePorre Veterinary Hospital that protects against the two most common strains of canine influenza: H3N2 and H3N8. Adequate protection for your dog consists of a series of two of these combination vaccines administered a month apart. The vaccine is then boosted annually. If your pet’s social status, risk factors or the prevalence of the flu virus in our area changes, boosting the flu vaccine may be reconsidered at the time your pet is due for their annual booster. Ask your veterinarian if your dog is a good candidate for the Influenza vaccine. Unfortunately, there is not yet an influenza vaccine available for cats. Thank goodness most cats enjoy being anti-social and staying home resting on a sunny patch on the couch!
Websites with additional information:
http://www.aaha.org/ (includes a lifestyle based vaccine calculator)
Fox 2 Interview Link:
Each year, an international, volunteer group of veterinarians, technicians and students travel to Oaxaca, Mexico to conduct an intensive spay/neuter program in rural villages situated along the Pacific coast. The mission is to protect the endangered sea turtles by controlling the population of dogs that eat the turtle eggs and hatchlings along several of the most important sea turtle nesting beaches in the world.
Team members from DePorre Veterinary Hospital began participating in the project in 2006 largely driven by Dr. Pierre DePorre’s passion for this project and they have witnessed the positive impact the project has had on the beautiful coast of Oaxaca. Since the program’s inception in 2001, the dog packs have been controlled that previously dominated these beaches. This has contributed to the preservation of sea turtles, improved the overall health of the pet population and increased awareness of our planet’s delicate ecosystem in the communities that we serve.
For this year’s project Dr. Pierre DePorre was awarded an educational grant by the Michigan Animal Health Foundation. The grant provided a unique, hands on experience for two veterinary students and a faculty member from Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. They were also joined by students and faculty from the University of Oaxaca’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Becker University and Universidad Del Mar.
Each day the team traveled to different coastal communities. The sites were chosen based on
the impact of its canine population on sea turtle nesting sites. The rural nature of these villages
provided unique challenges, especially with the outdoor field setting in which surgeries were
They commonly set up surgery clinics in the village square where lines of people and pets were waiting when they arrived. Curious locals and school children formed a gallery to watch the mobile surgical teams in action. These educational and bonding opportunities help build trust in the participating villages.
The surgical team also had time to see the sea turtles in their natural habitat and released hatchlings on the beach. This fulfilling experience was one of the trip’s highlights for team members as hope is kept alive with another generation of sea turtles starting their life journey.
Thank you to the Michigan Animal Health Fund and the generous companies that donated supplies for the Mazunte project: Idexx Laboratories, Zoetis Animal Health, Merial Animal Health, Patterson Veterinary Supply and MWI Animal Health.
One of the most common sentences a veterinarian hears is: “He’s just getting old.”
Most veterinary appointments start with taking a history, and asking how your pet is doing at home. For our senior patients, we often hear a list of ailments that owners may assume are simply to be expected as a natural part of the aging process. Although some problems are common in older patients, age itself is not a disease. Veterinarians love to fix “aging issues” to improve quality of life for our senior patients. It’s extremely gratifying to see that 15 year old pet act like a puppy or a kitten again! Please let us help!
“Fluffy’s not eating as well as he used to. But he’s just getting old.” Wait! We’ve got this!
If a senior pet isn’t eating well, it can be due to dental disease, diabetes, kidney failure, oral tumors or a number of other reasons, even a broken tooth. A thorough oral exam, some routine lab work and a detailed history can often help determine where the issue lies and in many cases, the problem can be corrected. In no time, Fluffy may be licking his bowl clean and you may be shelling out big bucks on that “Costco-sized” bag of pet food again.
“Fido’s just not getting around as well as he used to. But he’s just getting old.” Wait! We’ve got this!
Although age plays a factor in the process of arthritis, age itself is not the culprit; in this day and age we have an arsenal of tools and tricks at our disposal to improve mobility and comfort and actually slow down or even halt further arthritic changes. Joint supplements and nutraceuticals, anti-inflammatory and other pain medications, acupuncture and laser therapy all help improve the symptoms associated with arthritis and diminished nerve conduction. And let’s not rule out an orthopedic injury, a torn nail or even a pebble or thorn in the pad! Sometimes old dogs DO learn new tricks and they can get the same injuries as the young pets do!
“Smokey’s starting to have accidents in the house. But she’s just getting old.” Wait! We’ve got this!
Inappropriate urination is common in older kitties and pooches and is often a sign of a bladder infection, lower urinary tract disease or an inflammation of the bladder wall. There are sometimes contributing metabolic or hormonal diseases such as diabetes and Cushing’s disease. Sometimes it’s an innervation issue or a cyst or tumor in the bladder. A thorough exam and history coupled with a urinalysis, lab work and/or bladder ultrasound can help sort through potential causes and many of these have simple and inexpensive fixes.
“Bailey is tired all the time. But he’s just getting old.” Wait! We’ve got this!
Lethargy is a red flag for many diseases including heart disease, thyroid disease, kidney disease, Addison’s disease and many others. Any type of chronic infection can also cause animals to feel tired and run down. Also, pain as from arthritis may present as lethargy.
So remember, if your senior pet starts to “act their age,” call your veterinarian and let them help. They may be able to find your pet that Fountain of Youth. Age is NOT a disease!
We have certainly heard a number of different responses over the years when clients are asked how often they brush their dog or cat’s teeth. One of our clients actually had an electric toothbrush for her dogs and she would use it to clean all three of her schnauzer’s teeth every day, twice a day, seven days a week! Needless to say, those schnauzers had the best “doggie breath” in town! More commonly, however, we get the opposite response to our dental inquiry. “You don’t really expect me to brush my cat’s teeth do you? It’s a miracle when I can get my seven year old son to do it!”
Brushing your pet’s teeth isn’t easy and it isn’t convenient, but it is extremely helpful and is crucial to their overall health and well-being. Can you imagine what your mouth would feel or smell like if you didn’t regularly brush your teeth? The thought is likely repulsive. So why should your pet’s mouth be any different? While we know it is unlikely that you’ll be able to brush your pet’s teeth daily, we recommend setting a goal of 2-3 times a week to help prevent plaque and calculi from building up and periodontal disease from occurring. In addition to brushing, there are dental chews and treats, dental wipes, dental enzyme food additives and even prescription dental diets to help keep Fido and Fluffy’s mouths healthy and dental disease under control. The Veterinary Oral Health Council website is another great resource for learning about dental health chews and treats. www.vohc.org/
Signs of dental disease in pets include red, inflamed or bleeding gums, bad breath, drooling, discolored teeth, broken teeth, plaque/calculi, swelling of the jaw or below the eye, trouble chewing, nasal discharge or sneezing. Sometimes the signs come and go and the level of severity can vary. In addition to the discomfort for your pet, bacteria accumulates in the mouth and can travel throughout the bloodstream affecting their kidneys, liver, heart and lungs.
The majority of dental disease in your dog or cat’s mouth occurs underneath the gum line. So even when you can’t see the problem, your pet may be suffering from some of the symptoms. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that 85% of dogs over the age of three have some level of periodontal disease. So unless you own a puppy or happen to have a schnauzer with an affinity for electric toothbrushes, we are likely talking to you!
We all know how busy life is. Keeping up with your pet’s dental hygiene isn’t always going to be your top priority. But it IS very important once you do get behind, that we schedule a full dental cleaning for your pet so we can address the symptoms and the dental disease and intervene before more serious health issues arise.
Dental cleanings in pets require anesthesia to be able to safely and effectively scale, polish and evaluate the teeth and entire oral cavity. The procedure is safe, effective and necessary once dental and/or periodontal disease has developed. Our clients are often amazed at the improvement in their pet’s overall activity, appetite, energy level and general zest for life after getting their teeth cleaned. It feels great to have a healthy mouth again! We even send home a sparkly new toothbrush and a toothpaste sample. It’s not quite the same as that toy chest your dentist let you pick from as a kid, but it’s a close second!
February is National Pet Dental Health Month. No matter where your pet’s dental hygiene is at this point, it’s the perfect time to make the pledge to improve it. Ask your DePorre veterinarian what recommendations they have for your pet’s dental hygiene plan.
We know what you’re thinking….
But we aren’t talking about “fate”, “fuzz” or even “feet”. We are talking about “FEAR”.
DePorre Veterinary Hospital now has Fear Free certified individuals including veterinarians, technicians, assistants and receptionists and we are extremely proud of it because it means we are providing a better veterinary experience for all of the patients that we love.
So what exactly is “Fear Free Certification” and what does it mean for your pet?
Our staff has studied extremely hard and taken multiple exams (just when we thought we were done with school!) to master techniques, skills, approaches and more to make our patients and our clients feel comfortable, safe and completely at ease during veterinary visits. We are working hard to have our entire practice certified as Fear Free in 2018. The goal is to make veterinary visits fun and rewarding while eliminating stress and fear as much as possible. We meet monthly to review the program, evaluate our efforts and find ways to improve DePorre’s Fear Free Program.
Fear free visits start at home.
We recommend getting pets used to carriers and car rides several weeks in advance and using pheromones (such as Adaptil or Feliway) and/or neutraceuticals/vitamins (such as Solliquil or Composure chews) to prepare for veterinary visits. In some cases, medication to decrease anxiety is dispensed. It can be helpful to bring along your pet’s favorite snacks, and to bring your pets in hungry so the treats are more enticing and effective. If your pet isn’t a foodie or is restricted on calories, a special toy from home can be a big comfort for them here not only for something to hold but also to provide a familiar scent.
Once you’ve arrived with your pet, we make our species-specific exam rooms as calming and comfortable as possible using pheromones, music, heated towels, treats, mats and other non-slip surfaces to help your pet feel balanced and secure.
Starting to sound like a day at the spa, right? Exactly!
From here, we incorporate all sorts of individual techniques catered to your pet’s personal needs that involve reading behavioral cues and personality traits to provide the best examination process possible.
Don’t worry, we always leave time for cuddles and treats!
Last but not least, we make notes in the file at each visit about which techniques were most effective and what areas need improvement so that the next visit goes even more smoothly than the last. We also welcome client feedback and advice on what may work best for your pet. Please let us know if there’s anything we can do to make the experience better for you or your pet. After all, nobody knows your pet better than you do!
The Fear Free Program prides itself on taking the “pet” out of “petrified” and putting the “treat” back in “treatment.” Aren’t you glad your veterinary hospital has certified “Fear Free” individuals and is dedicated to making every visit a positive one for all?
Monday 7:30 am to 8:00 pm
Tuesday 7:30 am to 6:00 pm
Wednesday 7:30 am to 8:00 pm
Thursday 7:30 am to 8:00 pm
Friday 7:30 am to 6:00 pm
Saturday 7:30 am to 4:00 pm
Get In Touch
4066 West Maple Road
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301
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