Monthly Archives: July, 2012

Roxy’s story and the reason we do what we do! Thanks to Roxy’s family for the beautiful letter.

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Internal Medicine coming to Myrtle Beach area

Internal Medicine offering appointments in Myrtle Beach
    
Starting August 23rd, 2012 Veterinary Specialty  Care – Internal Medicine,  will be seeing cases in the Grand Strand area at the Animal Emergency Hospital of the Strand.  To schedule appointments, please give our Mt. Pleasant location a call at 843-216-7554.   

The cost of veterinary care.

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Why is veterinary emergency and specialty care so much more expensive than my family veterinarian?
By:  Alexis – Veterinary Specialty Care (internal medicine/ER technician)

This is a questions that many veterinary technicians have to explain to owners when they come to our clinic in need of our services. Unfortunately, when we meet clients it is normally because their pet is very sick, and talking about the cost of medical care is very stressful. So I thought this would be a good time to explain why our costs are what they are.

Running a 24 hour business is expensive -There are few people who enjoy working holidays, overnight and weekend hours. Working in a medical setting means you need top-notch staff performing at all hours of the day and night. All employees from the doctors to the veterinary technicians are highly skilled, and are always available to help in case of emergency. Since payroll is one of the biggest expenses of a veterinary hospital, you can see how the cost of having these services available 24 hours a day would translate directly into more expensive care.

State-of-the-art equipment –  Because ER facilities often tackle the biggest emergencies, high-tech equipment and its equivalent know-how is required. Everything from oxygen cages and infusion pumps to access to board certified veterinary specialists, all require and deserve, a higher price tag for these services.

Highly specialized diagnostic equipment, such as endoscopy systems, ultrasound machines, CT scanners and MRI’s, are expensive to purchase, maintain and replace. Having this equipment available to pet owners if and when its needed is invaluable in trying to diagnose and treat our family pets.

Highly trained veterinary board certified specialists –  Just as in “human” medicine, sometimes your general physician may refer you to a specialist because he/she believes you will benefit from more specialized care. This is the same for our pets; although your family veterinarian may be skilled in many areas, he/she recognizes the benefit from getting the opinion of a veterinarian who specializes in diagnosing and treating ailments that family veterinarians may not be as comfortable in dealing with.

The costs associated with your pet being seen by a specialists are related to the schooling they have completed. Just as all veterinary students go to graduate school for 4 years to get their doctorate degree to become a family veterinarian; a veterinary specialist will continue in schooling and externships for several more years. This additional time spent learning allows them to become experts in specific fields, such and internal medicine, cardiology or oncology and neurology.

Highly trained technical staff – Although our veterinarians are very important, the technical staff inside our hospitals are also important. Veterinary technicians see to every need of the patients in the hospital from completing the medical orders written by the veterinarian to the comfort of the bedding in the cage and making sure each pet gets the “human” time they need to be as comfortable as possible when they are not at home. Technicians are responsible for watching your pets case for any changes, even some that seem as insignificant and a slight change in heart rate, breathing or sleeping patterns. This is a demanding job and having highly trained and knowledgeable technicians ensures your pet is getting the best care and highest level of comfort while they are away from home.

VSC helping in a study of Mottled Duck Use of Managed Wetlands in the ACE Basin

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Veterinary Specialty Care was excited to be able to help in this study by providing the sterilization of the transmitters.  We have been providing this for the second year now and are happy to be a part of something so interesting.

Read about the study here: Nemours Wildlife Foundation Research Update
Mottled Duck Use of Managed Wetlands in the ACE Basin

 

The Mottled Duck, a non-migratory resident duck in South Carolina, has become an important species particularly to waterfowl hunters since its introduction into the state in the 1970’s and 80’s.  However, information on the life cycle and habitat needs of this species is not well known.  As a result of this knowledge gap, research activities for the Mottled Duck were initiated by the Nemours Wildlife Foundation and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and supported by Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, and the Flyway Foundation, with further cooperation from USFWS and private landowners.  The goals of this research are to examine the general habitat use and movements during the fall and winter and to monitor their activities during the spring and summer seasons to examine the types of habitat Mottled Ducks use for nesting and raising their young.

In order to gather information for our research objectives, we captured 80 Mottled Duck hens during August and September of 2010 and fitted them with radio transmitters which would allow us to track their movements.  With the help of SCDNR staff, ducks were captured from an airboat at night using spotlights and dip nets.  We used two different transmitter attachment types to compare the effectiveness of the two units.  Forty hens were fitted with backpack style transmitters while the remaining 40 hens had transmitters surgically implanted.  The process of completing 40 implant surgeries in two days was the result of many individuals both inside and outside of the project organizations collaborating in a true team effort to complete the task.  Many hospitals, vet clinics, and equipment manufacturers were invaluable in their assistance by donating or loaning supplies, equipment, or other services.  Also, three local veterinarians volunteered their expertise and endured long, late night hours performing the surgeries.  The process went surprisingly smooth thanks to the efforts of all of those involved.  After the completion of the surgeries, the radio-marked birds were then released at their respective capture sites.

Since their release we have been tracking the ducks from the ground and from the air using a small aircraft equipped with antennas and a receiver to locate each duck’s unique radio-frequency.  The weekly aerial view of the ACE Basin is a much appreciated bonus to this research project.  During our aerial surveys, we have observed a few of these bird moving out of the ACE basin northward up the coast toward Georgetown, SC and also following the river systems inland but the majority of the birds we have kept track of are remaining in the ACE Basin area.

During spring and summer, Clay Shipes, a graduate student working towards his Masters degree under the direction of Dr. Brian Davis at Mississippi State University, will be searching for Mottled Duck nests in our study area.  To date, Clay has found a total of 36 nests, 21 of which are considered active.  Nesting activity peaked in May but has slowed in early June.  Nest searches will continue into July to detect a possible second peak in nesting activity.  As nests reach their conclusions, Clay will be analyzing the vegetation at nest sites to determine which factors may influence nest site selection and nest success.

As summer progresses, our research team will evaluate the activities during the first year of the project and begin to prepare for the second year of field work.  During late summer, with our telemetry equipment and surgical center in place, we will attempt to capture and radio-mark a second group of Mottled Duck hens.  As before, we will track their movements and examine their habitat preferences particularly during the all important breeding season.  The knowledge gained form this research partnership will help in developing wetland management practices that will benefit one of South Carolina’s important resident waterfowl species.

 

Sometimes it’s just sad.

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I have been in the veterinary field for 20+ years and have done my share of fostering as well as experienced pet loss of my own as well as along side clients and their beloved family members.  As the hospital administrator for Veterinary Specialty Care I am more behind the scenes and don’t get the client/pet interaction I used to as a technician and receptionist.  Two weeks ago I stopped by our North Charleston emergency location to visit with staff only to find 4 little kittens that were found.  My 14 year old daughter was with me.  She has grown up in my veterinary world, helping with open houses, Santa Paws and anything else that I was involved in.  She of course saw the kittens and asked if we could foster them until they could go to forever homes.  They were only 2 weeks old and a couple weren’t eating well off the bottle.  One of the little white ones was so tiny – typical “runt” of the litter.  I explained to her that we could but that it would be a lot of work and that there was a chance of losing a kitten along the way.  She said she understood and said we had to try.  So, try we did.  For the past couple weeks we have been making formula, bottle feeding, tackling fleas, listening to hours of kitten cries as they search for mom but my daughter was enjoying every second.  Last night, I was at a veterinary meeting when I received a frantic call from her.  She was hysterical telling me that the runt was not moving much and seemed to be having a hard time breathing.  I left the meeting immediately and rushed home to find my daughter waiting outside with the kitten in a towel.  We quickly took him to see Dr. Klein at the ER.  The kitten needed to be put to sleep to end his suffering.  My daughter cried so hard and even Dr. Klein began to tear up.  We talked to my daughter about doing the best she could and without us they would have had no chance.  She seemed satisfied with that and was happy to rush home to the 3 kittens who were screaming for the bottle when we arrived.  I guess the point to this story is that we truly understand pet loss.  Everyone on our staff is so caring and compassionate.  They sit with clients and cry.  They hold sick pets while they are hospitalized or even just sit in a cage so they aren’t alone.  We have teddy bears that we give to patients after their pet parents held them so they can have their scent on it.  We try very hard to recognize that the things we see daily are new and often sad experiences for our clients and their families and we want to be there to help them through it.  Seeing an emergency doctor cry over a stray kitten who didn’t even have an owner and a child who was heartbroken really and truly reminded me why we do what we do and to sit back and be thankful for the most amazing staff!  Their care and compassion is truly appreciated by not only clients but by me.

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Working like a dog

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Dr. Kelly Love’s dog helps our receptionist Letra man the phones and greet the clients.  When we say we will work you like a dog, we really mean it!

Our staff truly loves and respects animals of all kinds

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We have such an amazing team of people working at Veterinary Specialty Care.  We all got in to this profession because we love animals but it amazes me every day how our staff will stop to help even the smallest creature, who isn’t even someone’s pet. Above, Dr. Kelli Klein holds 2 baby birds that she has just fed as they wait for the rehab specialist to come get them.  Our Hospital Administrator stopped by our North Charleston Emergency facility last Sunday to say hi to the staff and deliver them some ice cream treats and ended up with a treat of her own – 4 kittens only about 2 weeks old.  Donna is now fostering and bottle feeding them until they are ready to find their forever homes. A snake who wanted to spend his day at the golf course ended up in our Mt. Pleasant ER after mistaking a golf ball for some other food choice!  Below one of our North Charleston ER technicians feeds a baby pig and Dr. Mikell Adair, (ER doctor at North Charleston) examines an alligator (bet she didn’t plan on that for the shift)   Penny, an ER technician set up a food drive for the Charleston Animal Society and Pet Helpers.  This type of thing goes on every day here at Veterinary Specialty Care. A true love and respect for animals of all kinds.

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Find out more!

Find out more!

NASCAR drivers, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne, competed along side our Drs. Perry Jameson and Holly Mims (and about 350 other people) early Sunday morning in the Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series race # 3.  Veterinary Specialty Care has been a sponsor of the 5 race series for the past 3 years.  The race involves a 600 yard swim (appropriately in the James Island County Park dog pond), a 12 mile bike ride and finally a 3.1 mile run.  Both drivers flew in from Daytona where they had raced Saturday night.  It was the first triathlon for both drivers. 

 

Please help hungry little tummies with your food donation.

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We are doing our best to help the Charleston Animal Society and Pet Helpers feed all the animals that they so lovingly help. They are both running low on pet food so we thought it would be great to help them out.  We are collecting both dog and cat food. Anything you can donate would be greatly appreciated and feed a hungry little pet tummy.

Food can be brought to either our Mt. Pleasant or North Charleston location, 24 hours per day.

Thank you so much!

Anthony – now that is a dedicated team member

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Anthony works for the emergency facility in Mt. Pleasant and even came to work on crutches.  Now THAT is dedication!