Winter 2012 Newsletter

We Need a New Receptionist

Jess (veterinary assistant) has moved, and Melissa (receptionist) is taking over her full time afternoon assistant position. So, we are looking for a part-time afternoon receptionist. Experience is very helpful but not required; we will train the right candidate. This is a Monday-Friday 2:00 or 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. schedule, plus about one Saturday/month from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. See details about the position under “Employment” on our website. Interested, or know anyone who might be? Complete an application and send in (please include a cover letter, resume, and references) via email or FAX to (703) 378-1620, or stop by the hospital in person.

Thank you for your donations!

Thank you for helping us with donations for HART, a local rescue organization. We’ve donated our first batch of food, toys, beds, crates, litter, etc. (see photo) and are continuing to collect more. Almost every pet owner has pet items stashed in the back of a closet or bottom of a drawer – get those unused items out and bring them in to the hospital and we’ll see that they get put to good use! If you’d like to find out particular items they need, go to

We have an experienced, professional dog and cat groomer, and can also do staff baths for cats and dogs on many weekdays.

Professional grooming includes nails, ear cleaning, anal glands, trimming of hair where needed, bath and fluff, and bandanna (bows if appropriate). Pets must be up to date on vaccines to have a grooming appointment scheduled. Our groomer is accepting new cats, and dogs, with some limitations. If you’d like to meet our groomer and discuss having her groom your pet, let us know! Puppies should have their first brief grooming session before they are 14 weeks of age, as part of their puppy training.

Staff baths (done by our assistants) don’t include hair trimming, but do include nails. If your pet has knots or a thick coat, we may recommend a grooming rather than a staff bath, since knots/thick coats must be completely combed out or a bath will turn them into felt. This is uncomfortable and can cause harm. Pets must be current patients and up to date on vaccines to have a staff bath scheduled.

Thinking of getting a puppy or kitten?

Check out our articles on ‘What a Puppy Needs’ and ‘What a Kitten Needs’ for details on veterinary preventive care needed during the first 4-7 months. These articles give you all the information you need to know about the medical and health aspects of young pet care. Of course, your new youngster will also need good food, lots of love and attention, hours of training (especially for puppies), exercise, regular grooming, socialization, and more.

Did You Know? Little known pet facts from Dr. O

(With Madison’s help – photo by Dr. O, January 2012 – doesn’t she look silly?)

Does your puppy or dog jump on people? Try this– have a regular, non-extendable leash on your pup’s collar (a harness won’t work). Stand firmly on the leash so your dog has enough freedom to stand (but not jump up). Don’t look at the dog, don’t say anything to him/her, just ignore the dog until he/she relaxes. Then offer a quiet word of praise or a small treat. Ask people you meet to help you with by ignoring the pup until he/she settles, and then give them the treat to offer. You can also use a Gentle Leader for this training. Ask us how!

Apply monthly doses of Frontline or generic equivalent all year. While a hard frost kills fleas living outdoors, it does not kill ticks at all. We see ticks every single month of the year here in Northern Virginia, and tick-borne diseases are a common illness. Which pets should have monthly treatments? All dogs. All cats that go outdoors at all, plus cats that live with other pets who go outdoors. Cats that live in a household where other pets are fostered should have monthly doses of Frontline, too.

Does your cat go next to the litter box, or did they start to leave their stools sitting on top when they used to cover them? This can be due to a litter dislike (did you make a change?), or your cat is uncomfortable when eliminating (caused by a medical problem). If this is happening, call us for an appointment so the doctor can check for medical causes. She’ll also help your cat correct this undesirable behavior! NOTE: the sooner this is addressed, the better the chances of fixing the problem, so don’t wait to call.

March SPECIAL on Osteo-3 (special supplemental vitamins) for dogs

Also available in chewable tablets

Osteo-3 is a special vitamin supplement containing glucosamine, chondroitin, omega-3 fatty acids, other antioxidant vitamins, and much more. Madison (Dr. Olson’s dog) never goes a day without her Osteo-3! It is beneficial for senior dogs, as well as dogs with mobility issues (stiffness and/or arthritis), chronic allergies, skin and coat problems, and sensitive GI systems (recurring or frequent bouts of vomiting and/or diarrhea). It is also recommended for dogs with cancer and other serious diseases like Diabetes, Cushing’s disease, IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), and more. This special supplement is available in powder and in chewable tablets, and needs to be given daily to be effective. Limit one/household.

$7.50 off one bottle of chewable tablets OR one tub of powder, anytime in March 2012.

We now have free stool containers (stop by and get one).

You can pre-pay for your pet’s stool test and receive a $5.00 discount (just drop off the stool sample anytime during our open hours; we’ll call you with the results).

When and why should you have your pet’s stool tested? Twice yearly tests are recommended for all dogs and also for cats that go outdoors. Indoor-only cats should have stools tested yearly. When we test your pet’s stool, we look for parasite eggs. Most pet parasites are contagious to other pets, have no obvious symptoms, and humans can get many of these parasites from their pets. However, we also check for normal digestive bacteria, non-natural items in the stool (plant material, hair, cloth fibers, etc.), and more. Diligent stool testing plus treatment when needed has really helped decrease the percentage of pets with parasites in our local population. Nonetheless, youngsters as well as rescued adults have a very high likelihood of having intestinal parasites.

Caution for local dog owners – Sarcoptic Mange cases.

We have had 2 recent confirmed cases of dogs with Sarcoptic mange. It is caused by microscopic bugs called mites and is contagious only via direct contact with a living (or recently dead) animal who has this mange. Neither dog had any known exposure to sick animals; both have responded well to treatment.

The hallmark of Sarcoptic Mange is intense itching, often before any lesions (abnormalities) are seen. Later, there can be redness, hair loss, crusts, and more. If your dog has any of these symptoms, please call us for an appointment! While this mage is easy to treat, it is often hard to diagnose and we test for it but will also treat a dog when we suspect Sarcoptic mange but were not able to confirm it via testing.

Do you have a cute, memorable, or silly photo of your pet(s)?

If they are a patient here (or they used to be), we’d love to post their photo on our web site – see examples on our “Aren’t They Cute” photo gallery! Best way to send us a photo is via email to

PS – Check out our ‘Hospital Tour’ gallery and ‘Madison’s’ gallery, too.

Choose to get a microchip for your pet – great for cats AND dogs!

Microchips are ID that your pet can’t lose. This is the very best way to be sure your pet is returned to you in case of accident or disaster (pet runs off, or there’s a fire in your home, you get in a car accident while your pet is riding with you, etc.). These grain-of-rice sized bits of technology are placed under your pet’s skin with a simple syringe and needle. They are read by transdermal scanners (right through the skin), and are good for your pet’s lifetime. Indoor cats that get outside for whatever reason are rarely returned home. A microchip increases their chances of a safe return by almost 75%!

If your pet already has a microchip, make sure to have it registered (we recommend and keep your data up to date (phone numbers, email addresses, etc.). This is how you will be contacted if your pet is found, so check periodically to be sure your information is correct and current in the database.

Get a microchip for your pet before 3/31/2012 and get 10$ off (regularly $74.15). This offer can be used for multiple pets in a household.