News & Events


News and Events

Avoid Pet Surgery This Winter

The holidays are a joyous and warm time, that is until your pet gets into something he or she shouldn’t and needs to see a veterinarian. Some injuries and accidental ingestions may be a minor issue that a little bandaging or fluids can remedy, but some can be more severe and require emergency surgery. One of our surgeons, Dr. Dietrich Franczuszki has some tips on avoiding pet surgery this winter.

Winter Wonderland Mishaps

Many pets get very excited by the snow, especially if they rarely see or have never seen it. The squishy, white fluff coating the world can be incredibly enticing until dogs lose their balance on ice or overexert themselves with rough play. This can lead to injuries like torn cruciate ligaments or dislocated kneecaps, all of which might require surgery. Consider getting special snow booties for your pet that help them maintain their balance and if your pet gets excitable in the snow, try to keep him or her in a smaller enclosed area or on a leash when outside to avoid too much running and jumping.

Osteoarthritis can also flare up more in cold weather, resulting in joint swelling and pain for your pet. If your pet has a history of osteoarthritis, do what you can to keep him or her warm inside as much as possible and consider buying doggie outerwear for short trips outside. Warm compresses to the affected joints may also ease the pain.

Biting Off More Than They Can Chew

Certain holiday and winter-related objects can cause internal obstruction or even toxicity if ingested. Antifreeze is extremely toxic for pets, so much so that for cats, even just a lick at the bottom of someone’s shoe after stepping in antifreeze can be fatal.  Keep this product far away from pets and wash hands well after use.

Holiday decorations like balloons, tinsel, and ornaments, as well as small toys, wrapping paper, and batteries, can be an issue if ingested. Even less considered holiday items like kebab skewers, toothpicks, sewing and knitting needles (anyone embroidering a stocking?), etc. can cause piercing or blockage of essential organs.

Many of these items require minimally invasive or invasive surgical removal as they can cause an obstruction that may not resolve on its own, and in some cases, like batteries, toxic leakage. It’s also very important to remember that if you see something hanging out of your pet’s mouth or behind (such as tinsel or string), DO NOT attempt to pull it out. This string might be wrapped around something internally that could cause extreme damage if pulled. If you see this, bring your pet to a veterinarian right away for professional removal.

At VRC, we offer both minimally invasive and traditional surgical solutions for your pet, as well as a variety of on-site diagnostic capabilities like X-ray, ultrasound, and CT should your pet ingest something they shouldn’t. We are open 24/7, 365 days a year for emergency care and also offer 24/7 emergency surgery if needed.

New Referral Relationship Manager, Joe Simpson

Meet Joe

Born in Philadelphia, PA, Joe earned a B.S. in biology from Southampton College in 2003 and has worked in the veterinary field since 2005.  During that time, he has worked in a variety of roles including as a veterinary technician, in vaccine production for Merck Animal Health, and a human resource/practice manager for a local AAHA accredited veterinary hospital.  Prior to joining VRC, he spent the last 3 years as a veterinary services representative for Petplan Pet Insurance.

During his freetime, Joe enjoys spending time with his wife Brittany and their two amazing daughters.  He also enjoys hiking with his two crazy dogs Harley and Oswald, running, and spending time at the beach.

What is a Referral Relationship Manager (RRM)? 

VRC has a Referral Relationship Manager to ensure that the needs of local general practice veterinarians are being met, to distribute up-to-date materials about new specialties and services, and to introduce our specialists to the referring community. Joe works with referring partners to schedule Lunch & Learn events and VRC doctor Meet & Greets that enable us to nurture relationships with one another. He also coordinates Continuing Education courses at VRC for rDVMs and technicians.

When you schedule a Lunch & Learn or Meet & Greet with doctors at VRC, we travel to your location (with complimentary breakfast or lunch) and provide education, training, and relationship building opportunities

Do you have a request for Joe?

Interested in inquiring further about the opportunities that we offer?

  • Schedule a visit from Joe
  • ​Request more materials (brochures, magnets, doctor directory, business cards, etc)
  • Schedule a Lunch & Learn at your facility (food provided)
  • Schedule a VRC doctor Meet & Greet at your facility (food provided)
  • Request Upcoming CE Information
  • Schedule a tour of VRC

Dangers Cold and Flu Medications Pose to Your Pet

Sneezing and sniffling are very common during the winter months as more and more people come down with a cold or the flu. This means that many households have stocked up on common cold and flu medications. These medications can pose hazards to your cat or dog. VRC is here to break down some of the most common ingredients in these human medications and the risks they pose to pets.

Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen is a common pain reliever and fever reducer. It is toxic to both cats and dogs, but its effect on cats is especially dangerous. Acetaminophen can cause a condition called methemoglobinemia, which causes decreased levels of oxygen in body tissues. It can also cause liver failure. In cats, acetaminophen can cause swelling in the face and paws.

Ibuprofen and Naproxen

NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can be very dangerous to pets. Both ibuprofen and naproxen are NSAIDs that could lead to gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, kidney damage, and liver damage. In cold and flu medications, these drugs are often combined with decongestants. Carprofen is another NSAID that you should be cautious of around your pets.

Phenylephrine and Pseudoephedrine

Decongestants, such as phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine, can cause big problems for our pets. While pseudoephedrine causes symptoms like restlessness, agitation, increased heart rate, muscle tremors, increased blood pressure, and seizures, it can lead to death if a large amount is ingested. Most cold medications containing a “D,” like Mucinex-D, contain pseudoephedrine.

Phenylephrine can cause similar symptoms as pseudoephedrine, but it is considered a bit less dangerous. If your cold and flu medication has “PE” on the package, it likely contains phenylephrine.

Dextromethorphan

This medication is a non-addictive opioid. It is used in cold and flu medications to help with coughing. Pets who ingest medication containing dextromethorphan commonly exhibit symptoms including vomiting, lethargy, agitation, tachycardia, tremors, and seizures. Typically, vomiting is only treated when it is severe. In these cases, IV fluids can help. Tremors and seizures will likely be treated with benzodiazepines. Similar to humans, pets could be allergic to the drug and might battle hives and facial swelling. An allergic reaction is usually treated with antihistamines and corticosteroids.

Cough Drops

Cough drops can be problematic for two reasons. First, cough drops can be a choking hazard for dogs and cats. On the other side, certain ingredients can cause health problems for pets. Ingredients like sugar, eucalyptus oil, menthol, and colors and flavors might cause stomach problems for your pet, but this is mild compared to other ingredients.

Xylitol is an extremely toxic artificial sweetener that is becoming more and more common in cough drops. It can lead to hypoglycemia and liver damage.

Benzocaine is another ingredient that could be problematic. It is a local anesthetic used to numb the throat. Generally, it just causes gastrointestinal upset, but in large doses, it can be metabolized into compounds that can cause methemoglobinemia. Since it is a numbing agent, it can also cause aspiration.

Eye Drops

A common symptom of colds and the flu is red eyes. Since treatment for irritated eyes is generally eye drops, they make the list for pets, too. Pet owners also don’t tend to think of eye drops as being a dangerous substance for pets. However, when ingested, eye drops can lead to bradycardia, hypotension, and depression.

What to Do If Your Pet Ingests These Medications

If your pet has ingested any of the above drugs, it is a good idea to contact your local 24/7 emergency pet hospital or the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. Either of these resources can help you determine what course of action you should take. You should reference the product’s packaging and try to determine just how much of the medication your pet has ingested.

If one of these centers advises for emergency medical care, contact an emergency veterinarian right away. If you are in the Malvern, Pennsylvania, area, contact VRC in the event of cold and flu medication poisoning in your dog or cat. When you come in for emergency care, bring the medication packaging with you for the veterinarians to reference.

VRC’s emergency hospital is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If your pet has ingested any dangerous medication, our emergency team can help. If you are unsure of whether you should come in, give us a call at 610-647-2950. We would be happy to answer any questions you have about pet drug ingestion.

Dec 12: Holiday Pet Safety & Dessert Social


Holiday Pet Safety & Dessert Social With Dr. John Anastasio

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 

7:00pm-9:00pm

The Black Cat Cafe
42 Berkley Rd, Devon, PA 19333

Join us for a dessert social, holiday safety lecture, pet CPR demonstration, “Ask a Vet” Q&A with Dr. John Anastasio, and a holiday raffle supporting PALS Pet Adoption and Lifecare Society. Assorted desserts and warm holiday beverages will be provided throughout. Limited space available so RSVP via the link below today!

While this event is free to attendees, please consider bringing a monetary donation or an item from the PALS registry below to help support the many cats in their care.

RSVP HERE

Let people on Facebook know you’re coming!