Illustrated Articles

Small Mammals

  • The complete blood count (CBC) assesses different parameters of the cells in the blood including total number, appearance, size, and shape. Red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets comprise the cellular component of the blood. Changes in the red blood cells can affect oxygen delivery from the lungs to the blood. Changes in the white blood cells can indicate infection, inflammation, and cancer. Platelets are needed for adequate blood clotting so decreased numbers can raise concern for spontaneous bleeding.

  • COVID-19 is a disease caused by the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Current evidence suggests that person-to-person spread is the main source of infection. While there is evidence of transmission from humans to dogs and cats, it does not appear to be a common event at this time. If you suspect that you are ill with COVID-19, you should practice the same precautions with your pet as you would with people: wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands regularly, and avoid cuddling and other close contact. If your pet needs veterinary care while you are sick with COVID-19, do not take your pet to your veterinary clinic yourself.

  • This handout discusses the use of cryosurgery in pets. This technique involves the use of extreme cold to destroy abnormal or diseased tissues. A short discussion in included as to how the technique is used, and in what circumstances it may be appropriate to use.

  • Hospitals providing curbside care have restructured their practice to avoid the need for clients to enter the lobby and exam rooms. This is designed to promote physical (social) distancing and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Curbside care offers a number of benefits for you and your pet. By eliminating the need for you to enter the hospital, potential COVID-19 outbreaks are reduced. The veterinary team is protected under a curbside care model, and in turn, so is your pet. Even in curbside care, you will have an opportunity to speak with your veterinarian in order to discuss findings and recommendations. To help the curbside appointment go smoothly, bring a written list of concerns or fill in any forms your practice has sent to you prior to the appointment. Curbside care truly is in the best interests of you and your pet.

  • Cyclophosphamide is given by mouth or injection and is used off label to treat various cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia, carcinoma, and sarcoma. Common side effects include hair loss and hair coat changes. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it or that cannot be sufficiently monitored during treatment, are pregnant or lactating, have urinary obstruction, infection, bone marrow dysfunction, or have had an episode of blood in the urine that is not associated with a bladder infection. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Cytology is the microscopic examination of cell samples. Cytology can be used to diagnose growths or masses found on the surface of the body, and also to assess bodily fluids, internal organs, and abnormal fluids that may accumulate, especially in the chest and abdomen. Cells can be collected using various methods including fine needle aspiration, skin scraping, impression smear, cotton-tipped swabs, or lavage. A biopsy is the surgical removal of a representative sample of tissue from a suspicious lesion. The most common biopsy techniques are punch biopsy, wedge biopsy, and excision biopsy. The tissue is then processed and is examined under a microscope via histopathology. Histopathology allows the veterinary pathologist to make a diagnosis, classify the tumor, and predict the course of the disease.

  • Your veterinarian wants to keep your pet healthy and the fact is that people who are better informed take better care of their pets. Do not be overwhelmed by “medicalese”. Try your best to understand this foreign language and if you cannot quite decipher it, ask your veterinarian to speak more plainly.

  • Rabbits have incisors plus molars in the back of the mouth for grinding and chewing. Rabbits also have two small, tube-shaped incisors (peg teeth) behind the large upper incisors. Since the teeth continuously grow, the upper teeth must meet the lower teeth to allow for proper wearing of tooth surfaces, preventing overgrowth. All teeth must meet and wear at the same rate as they are growing, or malocclusion with resultant improper tooth wear, and overgrowth of the incisors and/or molars, can occur. Overgrown teeth can cause many problems. leading to pain and infection. Rabbits with chronic dental problems need regular veterinary care including repeated dental filings. Feeding rabbits a diet of mainly high-fiber hay to promote chewing and teeth wear may help reduce the development of dental problems.

  • Deslorelin is injected under the skin or into the muscle and is used on and off-label in horses, ferrets, and dogs to treat reproductive and adrenal conditions (off-label use in the U.S. is prohibited). Give as directed. Common side effects include swelling, sensitivity, redness, and warmth at the injection site. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it. If a negative reaction occurs, please call the veterinary office.  

  • Dexamethasone is given on and off label, by mouth or injection, to treat various inflammatory, autoimmune, and adrenal gland conditions. It can also be used off label as a diagnostic test. Common side effects include increased drinking, urination and/or appetite, dull/dry haircoat, weight gain, pot-bellied appearance, muscle weakness, panting, vomiting, or diarrhea. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it, have systemic fungal infections, diabetes, or stomach or intestinal ulcers, or are taking NSAIDs. It should not be used in rabbits or in surgical pets. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.