Good Communication Leads to Good Health
Our commitment begins right when your new companion enters your family. Our goal is to provide you with the finest veterinary care possible so that you and your beloved companion can enjoy a long, healthy, and happy life together.
Each age and stage of your pet’s life presents different health concerns that may require intervention. Our team of doctors and veterinary staff provide personalized attention and develop a wellness plan for your pet that takes into consideration his/her special needs, lifestyle, breed, and home life. We also listen to you, the pet owner, and your schedule, routine, needs, and family life. By understanding the whole picture, we can better tailor your pet’s health care plan to suit his and your lifestyle.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so the old saying goes. At Veterinary Care of Ithaca, our veterinarians and medical staff recommend regular wellness examinations for the same reason that your personal physician or dentist recommends them: if a health problem or issue can be detected in its early stages, there is a far greater likelihood that it can be resolved and treated with less difficulty, less expense, and greater success.
During your pet’s wellness examination, our veterinarians perform a complete physical to assess your pet’s overall health and to give you, the pet owner, an opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Have you noticed any recent subtle shifts in your pet’s health or behavior? Have you observed any changes in body weight, appetite, water intake, urination habits, bowel habits, and/or activity level? These changes may be signs of a medical problem. Seemingly insignificant lumps and bumps under the skin may be indications of infection or cancer. Ear infections, abscessed teeth, and gum disease are common, painful conditions that may not become noticeable until seriously advanced. A comprehensive physical examination helps your veterinarian and you evaluate your pet’s health and make informed decisions about your special companion’s veterinary care.
Vaccinations are the number one way you can protect your beloved pet from serious infectious diseases and bacteria. Health threats vary from region to region, and your veterinarian can create an individual immunization program for your pet based on his/her lifestyle and your local conditions.
Core vaccines for dogs: distemper/parvovirus and rabies
Other available vaccines for dogs: Bordetella, canine influenza, leptospirosis, Lyme disease
Core vaccines for cats: feline distemper, rabies
Other available vaccines for cats: Bordetella, feline leukemia
To best protect your pet’s health and overall well-being, Veterinary Care of Ithaca offers a broad range of veterinary services. While our focus is on disease prevention and wellness care, you can also rely on our skilled and compassionate medical team when your pet is sick. To that end, an important part of our practice is the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of diseases that can affect your pet’s internal organs and body systems.
Our experienced veterinarians, supported by Veterinary Care of Ithaca’s advanced diagnostic technology, have expertise in diagnosing and treating complex internal medicinal complications, such as kidney, heart, respiratory, immune-mediated, and endocrine diseases.
Glaucoma is a common condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eye increases, resulting in damage to the optic nerve, followed by loss of vision and blindness. There are two types of glaucoma. Primary, or chronic, glaucoma is hereditary or develops as your pet ages. Secondary, or acute, glaucoma develops as the result of an injury or illness. Because secondary glaucoma can progress rapidly, it is considered an emergency situation.
Symptoms of glaucoma to look for include:
- Redness in the eye
- Tearing or discharge
- Eye sensitivity to light
- Cloudy-looking eye
- Bulging eyeball
The experienced veterinarians at Veterinary Care of Ithaca recommend that your pet receive a routine glaucoma exam as part of his or her regular wellness care. The exam is not only an effective screening measure for chronic and acute glaucoma, but it can also help set a baseline measurement of your pet’s normal intraocular pressure (IOP). Establishing an IOP baseline is important because the normal measurement can vary between species, breeds, and even individual pets.
This is a noninvasive, simple procedure that should not cause your pet any pain or discomfort. We apply a mild anesthetic eye drop to ensure your pet is comfortable during the exam.
Some pets have serious nutritional challenges or chronic conditions that benefit from a special diet. When that is the case, we may recommend feeding a special prescription diet. Making this change can have a significant positive impact on your pet’s overall health and well-being.
Prescription diets benefit medical conditions such as liver disease, digestive problems, renal failure, food allergies, diabetes, bladder and kidney disease, and more. Veterinary Care of Ithaca offers a diverse inventory of prescription foods and high-quality nutritional products through our online pharmacy, as well as a selection of pill pockets and dental treats.
Laser therapy has long been known for its usefulness in pain relief, wound healing, arthritic conditions, intervertebral disk disease, pyotraumatic dermatitis (hot spots), post-surgical pain relief, incision healing, degenerative joint disease, lick granulomas, periodontal disease, gingivitis, otitis, and lacerations and abrasions, among other things.
Therapeutic lasers are able to deliver larger doses of optimal wavelength light over a larger area for consistent treatment outcomes. Laser therapy, like acupuncture, eases pain and actually heals without the use of pharmaceuticals and, in many cases, surgery. Studies have shown that when tissue cultures are irradiated by lasers, intracellular proteins, specifically cytochrome C, absorb the energy from the laser. Photons are absorbed within the mitochondria and the cell membrane, producing higher ATP levels and boosting DNA production, leading to an increase in cellular health and energy. Like acupuncture, laser therapy reduces pain and inflammation and stimulates nerve regeneration, muscle relaxation, and immune system response.
In-House Diagnostics Laboratory
When performing routine wellness examinations or diagnosing an illness, what our veterinarians can’t see is as important, if not more important, than what they can see.
Because protecting your pet’s health is our most important job, we have a complete in-house diagnostic laboratory that allows us to perform a wide range of tests on blood, urine, feces, and biopsied tissue. Without timely access to these precise test results, it would be difficult to make an accurate diagnosis or assessment of your pet’s health. Test results can also help us in the early detection of diseases and other conditions affecting your pet’s health and well-being. Veterinary Care of Ithaca also has the ability to send more specialized tests to a referral laboratory, if required.
What Veterinary Diagnostics Can Detect
Diagnostic testing can detect heartworm disease, Lyme disease, infections, feline leukemia, intestinal parasites, urinary tract infections, and many additional diseases and conditions that can go unnoticed in their early stages. Blood testing can show early evidence of diabetes, changes in liver or kidney function, or simply provide a baseline for future reference. Diagnostic laboratory testing is also completed prior to dental or surgical procedures that require general anesthesia.
Laboratory testing provides information about your pet’s overall systemic health without the need for invasive and expensive procedures. Thanks to our in-house diagnostic laboratory, we are able to deliver your pet’s test results quickly—often within the same day—minimizing the time you need to wait for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
A lost pet is a frightening situation with often devastating consequences. Studies have shown more than 10 million pets get lost each year and approximately 90% of those found would not have been returned to their owners without some form of permanent lost pet identification.
This is why the team at Veterinary Care of Ithaca considers microchip pet IDs a fundamental way to protect your pet and an important part of responsible pet ownership. We use the “Save A Pet” microchip system. Each microchip registers the animal with a unique identification number, which is filed in a database with your contact information. The contact information can be updated anytime, and it is important to remember to do so whenever your information changes. If your pet is lost, the microchip can be scanned by animal control officers, at shelters, and at veterinary hospitals in the U.S. and in many foreign countries as well.
This safe, reliable, and permanent pet identification takes less than 10 seconds to implant and can save you and your pet days, weeks, or more of fear and anguish.
You are a responsible pet owner, and you take good care of your pet. But do you always remember to take care of your pet’s teeth?
Pets have dental diseases and problems just like people do. Regular dental check-ups at Veterinary Care of Ithaca, combined with good dental hygiene at home, can increase your pet’s health, vitality, and well-being and help ensure your pet leads the best life possible.
If left untreated, dental disease can not only be painful and inhibit proper nutrition, but it can also lead to serious systemic issues that may threaten your pet’s overall health before symptoms are noticeable. For those reasons, our veterinary team strongly considers dental care an important piece of your dog’s or cat’s preventive health care program.
Protecting Your Pet’s Dental Health at Veterinary Care of Ithaca
We believe that the centerpiece of good dental care is a complete oral exam, sometimes followed by a thorough cleaning designed to remove plaque and slow its buildup.
At our veterinary hospital, a dental cleaning may include:
- Oral examinations under anesthesia
- Diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease
- Full-mouth digital X-rays
- Supra and subgingival scaling
- Tooth extractions
- Fluoride application
Should we find any issues, such as evidence of gum or tooth erosion, gingivitis, or excessive plaque buildup, we will discuss this with you and offer treatment options for your pet. We are experienced dental practitioners and are capable of offering a number of dental procedures and oral surgeries. Our state-of-the-art digital dental X-ray machine allows us to evaluate oral health beyond what is visible to the eye.
In Between Cleanings: Dental Care at Home
You can prevent serious dental problems by making sure your pet receives dental exams at the time of each vaccination, again at six months of age, and then annually. In between visits to your veterinarian at Veterinary Care of Ithaca, check your pet’s teeth regularly for signs of problems. Brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most important procedure you can do to maintain good oral health. If performed regularly, brushing dramatically decreases the incidence of gingivitis and can increase the interval between teeth cleaning appointments. If brushing is not possible in your pet, a prescription dental diet may be a consideration.
If you are unsure of how to brush your pet’s teeth, please ask a staff member at Veterinary Care of Ithaca for instructions.
Signs of Pet Dental Problems
Symptoms of dental disease include:
- Bad breath – one of the first signs of dental disease
- A yellowish-brown crust of plaque on the teeth near the gumline
- Red and swollen gums
- Pain or bleeding when your pet eats or when the mouth or gums are touched
- Decreased appetite or difficulty eating
- Loose or missing teeth
If your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms, please call Veterinary Care of Ithaca today at (607) 273-3133 for an appointment.
Superior Preventive Care
When you bring your pet to Veterinary Care of Ithaca, we work with you to create a lifetime preventive health care plan. This includes a balanced schedule of vaccines (to protect your pet against dangerous but preventable diseases), routine dental care (good oral health protects overall systemic health), and microchip identification (should your pet become lost). We also provide internal medicine services; nutritional and behavioral counseling; general and orthopedic surgery; advanced diagnostic testing capabilities; and much more.
Our commitment to you and your pet’s health begins with an annual examination which includes:
- Examining your pet’s teeth, throat, and oral cavity
- Checking your pet’s vision and eyes
- Examining ears for infection, ear mites, allergic reaction, and other related health issues
- Assessing your pet’s heart function
- Examining the skin
- Palpating lymph nodes and abdomen
- Examining the respiratory system
- Evaluating internal organ function and other systems
- Monitoring your pet’s blood count and serum chemistry
- Performing laboratory tests to determine the presence of specific diseases
- Assessing changes in your pet’s health since the last wellness visit
- Fecal check for the presence of intestinal parasites
During each examination, we also take the time to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and keep you up to date on all the information you need to be the best caregiver to your pet. Good communication between you and your pet’s doctor ensures that your beloved companion is receiving the optimal care and attention that he deserves so that he can live a long and healthy life.
Parasite Prevention & Treatment
Parasites can be real pests. Both external (fleas and ticks) and internal (heartworm, hookworm, roundworm, tapeworms, and whipworms, among others) parasites can cause problems for both your pet and your family. Prevention is the best approach to eliminate these pests. Please ask a staff member at Veterinary Care of Ithaca for the best way to prevent parasite infection in your pet.
Spread by mosquitoes, heartworm disease is potentially deadly. Fortunately, preventive medications exist to prevent heartworm disease in your beloved companion. The veterinarians at Veterinary Care of Ithaca recommend administering preventive medication once a month, all year long to your dog.
Flea and Tick Prevention
Fleas and ticks are more than a nuisance; they carry diseases dangerous to both you and your pet.
Prevalent tick-borne diseases in New York include Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis, and they are a significant threat to you and your dog, especially during the warmer months of the year. Ticks live in the grass and weeds that your dog may run through on family outings or during regular daily activities. Check and brush your dog after being outside, especially in grassy or brushy areas. If a tick is attached to your dog’s skin, remove it carefully with a tick twister, and wash the affected bite area and your hands afterward.
Fleas are most abundant during the warm weather; however, if left untreated, they can be a problem year-round. In fact, flea infestation is one of the most common medical problems veterinarians see. Your pet can be allergic to fleas, and even just one bite can result in a severely painful skin infection. Fleas can also transmit serious diseases such as bartonellosis (the bacteria that causes “cat scratch disease” in people), and parasites like tapeworms.
The best course of action to protect both your pet and yourself from fleas, ticks, and the potential of tick-borne disease is prevention. There are many safe and effective flea and tick control products available at our hospital, and our veterinary team will help you choose the correct preventive regimen based on your pet’s risk factors and health status. We also offer a Lyme disease vaccination, and we recommend discussing whether it is right for your pet with one of our veterinarians.
Allergies & Skin Conditions
Allergies are quite common in animals of all breeds and backgrounds and can also be the result of fleas, food, or an environmental allergen like dust or pollen, or genetics. Most allergies appear after the pet is six months of age with the majority of affected dogs over age two. The most common symptom associated with allergies is itching of the skin, either localized or generalized. Other symptoms include respiratory distress (coughing, sneezing, and wheezing) or digestive problems causing vomiting, flatulence, or diarrhea.
Flea allergy is the most common allergy in cats. A normal cat experiences only minor skin irritation at the site of the bite. The flea-allergic cat, on the other hand, has a severe, itch-producing reaction when the flea’s saliva is deposited in the skin. Just one bite causes such intense itching that the cat may severely scratch or chew itself, leading to hair loss and open sores or scabs on the skin. The area most commonly involved is over the rump or base of the tail.
It is important to be able to identify the first signs and symptoms of allergies and dermatological conditions. These include:
- Scratching, licking, chewing, or biting the skin, feet, and ears.
- Red, raised, scaly areas on the skin
- Bumps, crusts, or pus-filled vesicles on the skin
- Increased skin pigmentation
- Thickened skin
- Loss of hair
- Salivary staining (brown color)
- Head shaking
If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, please make an appointment to have him or her seen by one of our veterinarians at Veterinary Care of Ithaca. We will evaluate your pet, determine the most effective method of treatment, and explain how you can prevent future problems. If left untreated, allergic reactions and skin conditions can become serious medical concerns.
Proper nutrition and a balanced diet, along with fresh, clean water, is an essential ingredient for your pet’s overall good health. As your pet’s caregiver, nutrition is the most significant health variable that you control.
Feeding your pet high-quality food is one of the best ways you can contribute to his or her health and vitality. Although the differences between premium and budget varieties may not be apparent on their nutrition labels, they are in the quality of the ingredients. Both may contain the same amount of protein but be very different when it comes to digestibility and nutritional value. Making the best nutritional choices for your dog or cat not only effects general health but will improve the quality and length of your pet’s life.
To support your efforts, the doctors at Veterinary Care of Ithaca perform a thorough body condition evaluation during every physical examination and give recommendations based on what we see. We can also provide you with important information on proper serving size, nutrient needs, and feeding strategies for your individual pet. We will also help you navigate pet food claims so you can make the most informed choices.
Radiographs, or X-rays, are one of the most common and useful diagnostic tools in medicine. At Veterinary Care of Ithaca, we use X-rays to examine your pet’s bones, lungs, heart, abdomen, oral cavity, and other areas and for diagnosing and monitoring many medical and surgical conditions. If we suspect your pet has a fractured bone, has swallowed a foreign object, or is suffering from a heart problem, an X-ray can tell us what we need to know.
To provide you with the highest quality veterinary care for your pet, Veterinary Care of Ithaca has invested in a state-of-the-art digital X-ray machine. There are many important advantages to digital X-rays:
- They are immediately able to be viewed on a computer monitor.
- The clear, detailed images can be manipulated to get a better view of your pet’s bones and internal organs, leading to a faster and more accurate diagnosis.
- They take less time to process, which means less time for your pet on the X-ray table (and less stress) and less waiting time for you.
- No harsh chemicals are needed to develop the images, reducing potential harm to our staff and the environment.
- If a second opinion is necessary, digital X-rays can be sent by email to a specialist.
Advanced diagnostic capabilities are an extremely important part of veterinary medicine, in part because we can’t simply ask our patients what is wrong. Our investment in digital X-ray technology reflects our commitment to offering you and your pet the best, most comprehensive health care available.
As the prescribing veterinarian for your pet’s medications, we are able to ensure there is a direct link between the exam room and our pharmacy. This means your pet will receive the right medication, at the right dose, in the right form as quickly as possible. We will also be able to easily guide you on the medication’s use, as well as monitor its effectiveness. You can also feel confident all the medications we dispense were obtained from safe, reliable sources and stored under the right conditions.
We maintain a complete inventory of pharmaceuticals, vitamins, shampoos, flea and tick control products, and heartworm preventatives to meet the needs of your pet. We also carry a full line of prescription diets available through our online pharmacy. Our online pharmacy allows you to order medications, diets, and refills at your convenience and have them shipped directly to your home.
Ensuring that you have convenient and timely access to competitively priced medications is an important aspect of our veterinary practice.
Pet Behavior Counseling
Even with the right training and lots of attention and love, your dog or cat can develop bad habits or unwanted behaviors. Please don’t make the mistake of believing that you and your family must live with these problems or worse, consider giving up your pet.
Veterinary Care of Ithaca offers behavior counseling for many of your pet’s problems, including inappropriate urination or defecation; urine marking; aggression; nipping and biting; separation anxiety; inappropriate chewing; barking; digging; and introduction of new pets into the household.
Common Causes of Pet Behavioral Problems
Causes of behavior problems can be environmental, such as a schedule change or introduction of a new baby or pet; learned, as a result of unintentional positive reinforcement; or genetic. Furthermore, any painful disease or condition or degenerative changes associated with aging can cause or contribute to behavior problems.
For example, a pet that is fearful of children may become more reactive, irritable, and aggressive as conditions such as dental problems, arthritis, or an infection make him or her more uncomfortable or less mobile. Addressing the underlying medical problem or providing pain relief, along with behavior modification techniques, can often resolve some of these problems.
Assessing Your Pet’s Behavior
Our assessment begins with your pet’s clinical history and a thorough medical examination. Before beginning behavior therapy, any medical problems that have been diagnosed will be treated. If our veterinarians and technical staff members cannot help with your pet’s behavior problem, we can refer you to a board-certified animal behavior specialist.
For many pet owners, even thinking about their pet’s final days is difficult and emotional. Our animals are a part of our family. It is this strong bond, born from years of loyal companionship, that makes this time particularly hard to bear.
We encourage you to talk with our veterinary healthcare team about these issues before they become an urgent matter. Find out about your options, including our crematory and burial services, make some key decisions ahead of time, and ask us to add this information to your pet’s record. Taking the time to plan, as challenging as it may be, will lessen the pain and stress for you and your pet.
All of us at Veterinary Care of Ithaca will do our best to help you prepare for these important issues with the compassion and sensitivity they deserve.
Whether performing a routine surgery or an emergency procedure, you can have confidence that the entire staff at Veterinary Care of Ithaca will work hard to ensure each procedure is thorough, done with the utmost expertise, and is as stress-free as possible for both you and your pet.
At Veterinary Care of Ithaca, we fully understand the decision to allow your pet to undergo surgery is never an easy one. To that end, we are happy to answer any questions regarding your pet’s specific surgery. In fact, a pre-surgical consultation is an essential part of the process. Additionally, our medical staff is happy to provide you with information on postoperative care to ensure a rapid return to your pet’s happy, healthy self.
Veterinary Care of Ithaca’s state-of-the-art surgical facility ensures procedures are both as safe and efficient as possible. Veterinary technology is advancing at a rapid pace. These advancements, combined with our expertise, greatly reduce the risk for complications and allow us to perform surgical procedures quickly and accurately.
Before Your Pet’s Surgery
Before your pet undergoes any surgical procedure, a thorough examination takes place. This exam includes a pre-surgical blood screen, which, along with your pet’s anesthetic history, breed, preexisting conditions, and age, will be used to determine a unique anesthesia protocol. These tests have the added benefit of establishing a baseline for the comparison of future blood tests, should your pet require any.
Safe Anesthesia For Your Pet’s Surgery
For most surgical procedures, anesthesia is required. While under anesthesia, your pet is continuously monitored by both our staff and specialized anesthesia monitoring technology. Your pet’s blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, body temperature, and oxygen level are all tracked during surgery. We also use a temperature-controlled operating table to assist in maintaining constant body temperature during the procedure.
Complete Pain Management For Your Pet
Just as with humans, pain has many negative effects on pets that go beyond physical discomfort. Pain after surgery can slow healing and worsen diseases like arthritis. And, because our companion friends don’t understand why they are experiencing pain, pain can cause behavioral issues and interfere with the bond between you and your pet.
To minimize your pet’s discomfort, we typically use a combination of local anesthetics, anti-inflammatories, and narcotic pain relievers. The exact protocol is tailored to each animal and depends on a number of factors that are determined by the pre-surgery exam and during the procedure.
The amount of time your pet will need to be monitored after surgery varies. In some cases, animals will need to be monitored overnight; in others, they can be sent home the same day. When your pet is discharged, your veterinarian will provide you with information on proper home care after surgery. Often, your pet will be prescribed medication; in this case, we will explain how and when to administer it. We will also be available to answer questions after your pet arrives home. Contact us at (607) 273-3133 with any questions or concerns following surgery, and we will be more than happy to help you.
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We've proudly served the pets of Ithaca, NY for over 30 years.
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