The Department of Internal Medicine consists of four board certified internists and a specialized technical support staff.
Diagnostic services include:
- Endoscopic examinations of the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract, the urinary tract and the nasal passages
Therapeutic services include:
- Chemotherapy for selected tumors
- Radioactive iodine treatment for cats with hyperthyroidism
- Intravenous nutrition for animals too ill to eat
- Treatments for Cushing’s disease
- Treatments for Addison’s disease
- Canine hypothyroidism
- Diabetic Stabilization
Our internists integrate their care with neurology, oncology, cardiology, surgery, and the critical care unit to function as a team in order to provide the best possible medical and surgical care to all of our patients.
LEPTOSPIROSIS UPDATE FROM OUR INTERNAL MEDICINE TEAM
What is leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is a serious bacterial disease caused by multiple strains (serovars) of the bacteria, which are passed in the urine of multiple species of animals. It is a known zoonotic disease. This disease is found worldwide, although strains vary from country to country. The “carriers” of the bacteria (most commonly rats, raccoons, horses, and cows) vary and are often not sick from the disease. Unvaccinated dogs are also likely one of the common carriers in our area. There have been an extraordinary number of dogs afflicted with this bacterial disease in the Northern New Jersey region in the last year, most likely because of our very wet weather pattern. The bacteria persist in areas of standing water such as ponds – either ornamental or natural ponds, mud puddles, or water collecting on tarps. It also hides in warm, wet, shaded areas of lawns or forests.
What does a zoonotic disease mean?
Zoonotic diseases are diseases transmitted from animals to humans. The disease is spread in the urine of the infected animals. If your pet has been diagnosed with leptospirosis, you should follow your veterinarian’s recommendations about the handling of the pet’s urine. You should consult your own physician regarding exposure to the disease from your pet.
How does my pet get this disease?
Dogs become infected by leptospires when abraded skin comes in contact with infected urine, water contaminated by infected urine, or moist soil contaminated by infected urine. Also the organism can gain access to the animal through drinking the urine or contaminated water.
What kind of symptoms occur with leptospirosis and what treatments can be given?
Leptospirosis progresses fairly quickly once animals are exposed to the bacterium. Symptoms often can be very serious and usually include one or more of the following: increased thirst and urination, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice (yellow coloration to the skin). These are usually the result of acute kidney and/or liver failure. This is a very treatable disease. Although antibiotics are effective at killing the Leptospira bacteria, intensive supportive care is often needed to help preserve organ function and give patients the best possible outcome. Most patients require a 3-5 day hospitalization stay to help them get over the acute phase of the disease. With early intervention, the majority of disease cases have a good outcome with up to 70-80% of dogs making a full recovery. However, some cases do not respond to appropriate therapy despite all efforts.
What should I do about leptospirosis and my dog?
It is very important that you keep your dog away from wet areas where the organism is found in the highest numbers. If you have a lot of shading in your yard, you should consider getting sun to those areas to eliminate moist soil which we know can be permanently contaminated if not dried out.
You should also consider having your dog immunized with a Leptospira vaccine if that has already not been performed. The currently available vaccines provide effective protection against the most common serovars of Leptospira. Vaccinations begin as a series of two, and then boosted yearly.
Dr. Deborah Hall publication “Hepatocutaneous Syndrome in Shih Tzus, JAVMA, Vol248, No.7,Pp802-813, April 2, 2016
Doctors in Internal Medicine