UVMA Veterinary Medical Clinic offers a wide range of medical, surgical, and dental services to its clients. Perhaps the most important service we offer is the comprehensive physical examination. The physical examination often affords us the first opportunity to identify an existing or impending problem with a pet. Whether done on a routine annual basis or as a result of the owner's reports of a problem, the physical exam provides clues to the existence of problems and often leads to the recommendation of diagnostic testing to more clearly identify the problem. The examination involves looking the animal over from head-to-toe, feeling for lumps and bumps both inside and outside the body, checking for tooth or gum disease, checking ears, limbs, skin, and eyes, and listening to the heart and lungs for problems. Sometimes a rectal examination is performed as well.
Some eye problems require a closer look with an ophthalmoscope. Ear canals may need to be examined with an otoscope. Sometimes the doctor receives important clues about problems just by watching the animal. Breathing patterns, awareness, general body condition, and gait can all be evaluated just by watching the animal's demeanor when in the exam room. A thorough physical exam can take just a couple of minutes or much longer depending upon the animal's general health and the nature of any problems found. UVMA strongly recommends annual physical examinations for all pets. More frequent examinations may be recommended for pets with medical problems.
Based on physical examination, our doctors may recommend bloodwork or other diagnostic testing to help identify problems. UVMA has the capability to run a variety of tests in-house, including some basic bloodwork, testing for parvovirus, feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, intestinal parasites, skin parasites, ringworm, and performing urinalyses. We also use a variety of reference laboratories to perform more complex tests. Our expertise allows us to obtain the appropriate blood or tissue samples to obtain the information necessary to diagnose problems. Sometimes, obtaining the appropriate samples may involve specialized procedures such as surgical biopsies, ultrasounded guided biopsies and aspirates, fine needle aspirates, transtracheal washes, or other specialized procedures.
Radiographs, commonly known as X-rays, are an important diagnostic tool. Radiographs provide an excellent look at bony structures and many internal organs. UVMA has the facilities to take survey radiographs of the body and to perform contrast studies on some internal organs. Some conditions require the use of specialized radiographs that may require a referral to a specialist.
Diagnostic ultrasound provides a special type of imaging of various parts of the body. This non-invasive technology examines internal structures using sound waves. UVMA offers abdominal ultrasound to examine kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract, adrenal glands, urinary bladder, and other internal structures. Thoracic ultrasound can identify chest masses and heart problems. Ultrasound technology plays an important role in diagnosing and managing many medical problems. Ultrasound can also be used to obtain diagnostic samples in a relatively non-invasive way, sometimes enabling us to avoid more risky surgical procedures.
Fiber optic technology enables us to see things that would normally not be easily visualized. UVMA is equipped with a fiber optic scope that enables us to get a closer look inside body cavities. The most common use of our scope is to visualize the deeper regions of the ear canals down to the ear drums. With such clear visualization, we are able to clearly identify ear problems so that they can be treated appropriately. Using heavy sedation or anesthesia, we can also use the scope to guide flushing catheters and grasping forceps deep into the ear canal to clean out even the most tenacious debris. Since using our scope for diagnosing and treating ear problems, we have been able to greatly reduce both the frequency and severity of chronic ear problems in many of our patients. This same scope can be used to visualize structures deep in the throat or in other cavities such as the rectum or vagina.
UVMA offers dental services ranging from providing products for home dental care to providing professional teeth cleaning and polishing using ultrasonic technology. We can also perform routine extractions of diseased teeth. In some cases, diseased teeth can be saved through the use of endodontics, fillings, and other restorative procedures. For these cases, we offer referral to a veterinarian who practices veterinary dentistry exclusively, Dr. Tom Chamberlain. For further information on Dr. Chamberlain and his dental practice, see our section on specialists.
UVMA offers a wide range of surgical services to its patients. Our surgery suite contains state-of-the-art equipment including surgical instruments, modern anesthesia machine, and monitoring equipment. Our doctors are assisted by a licensed veterinary technician during surgery. Procedures performed range from common procedures such as spaying and neutering to more complex surgeries such as exploratory laparotomy, thyroidectomy, amputation, tumor removal, and surgical biopsies. We also perform some orthopedic (bone) surgeries, including pinning simple fractures.
UVMA discourages "cosmetic" elective surgeries such as ear cropping, tail docking, declawing, and dewclaw removal, but does provide these services on a limited basis for regular clients after consultation with a doctor. Decisions on whether or not these services are provided are made on an individual basis. We do not provide these services for clients of other veterinary clinics.
There are times when a surgical procedure is best placed in the hands of a board certified surgeon. For these procedures, UVMA offers referral to an appropriate facility, depending upon the specific procedure needed. For more information on referral for more complex procedures, see our section on specialists.
UVMA offers a full range of medical services, from treating a simple infection to managing complex medical problems. Drs. Honaker and Gahagan both have extensive backgrounds in emergency medicine and critical care. This experience enables them both to manage even complex cases either short term or long term, depending upon the problem involved. In most cases, we can diagnose medical problems at UVMA. In some cases, referral for specialized diagnostics is needed. Even in those cases, once a diagnosis has been reached, we can usually take over management of the case. UVMA maintains a well-stocked pharmacy to meet most patients' medication needs. We also utilize local pharmacies to provide special medications that we do not routinely stock
Perhaps one of the most frustrating and rewarding areas of medicine involves the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Pets, just like people, can get many forms of cancer. Some are curable; others are not. Diagnosing cancer can be as simple as performing a needle aspirate and as complex as performing extensive surgery. Treatment and prognosis depend very much on the particular cancer involved. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy alone or in combination are often used. Depending on the individual patients' needs, we may be able to perform all needed services right at UVMA. Chemotherapy is one area that we feel quite comfortable with. We have experience with many different chemotherapy protocols for many different types of cancer. Treating cancer patients also means treating the family members. We provide counseling to family members of cancer patients to help them make the best decision for their pets. Our number one concern in providing cancer treatment is quality of life. It is most rewarding to see patients whose disease is severe go into complete remission for months or even years.