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Eyes, Ears, Nose, Paws… Specialty Health Services For Our Pets

Now more than ever, Fido, Fifi and our other animal friends have more than a fighting chance when it comes to living happier, healthier and longer lives. Today’s pet owners can take advantage of the same wonders of medicine that help humans to keep their pets healthy or improve pet health.

Today’s medical advances allow veterinarians to practice medicine at a much higher level than ever before. The ability to use tools such as MRI, CT scans, and some molecularly targeted therapeutic drugs allow veterinarians to fine tune therapy for pets, with much greater precision than ever before.

A significant portion of specialty medicine is based on human health advances. In fact, most of the research into human health allows veterinary specialists to borrow back from that animal data, experts say.

Serving the communities in and surrounding Fairfield County since 1997, VCA Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center is a fully-equipped emergency hospital open 7 days a week and 365 days a year. The center, which is designed to function as an extension of services provided by your regular veterinarian, offers highly trained emergency and critical care teams that have direct access to a full complement of state-of-the-art equipment.

In addition, these critical care teams are aided by the support of the hospital’s entire interdisciplinary team of specialists, as well as the referring veterinarian–all working in concert to deliver the most effective and expeditious treatment possible for our pets.

Owner demand is what drives specialized veterinary care. Fairfield County Pet owners are increasingly aware of what is possible in human medicine and they are now inquiring about the reality of their pets receiveing equally advanced care. Specialty care for animals continues to make advances and become more main stream as an option for patient care.

Most pets who visit Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center are either referred by their primary veterinarian or arrive because of an emergency. Referrals are made when a pet has, or is suspected to have a condition which requires advanced diagnostic or therapeutic treatments. Primary veterinarians refer these cases in an effort to maintain the highest level of care for pets in their care. Part of the responsibility and goal for a specialty hospital is to cultivate and maintain very close working partnerships with primary care veterinarians so that the best possible results may be afforded to the patient.

Just as your own primary care physician may feel the need to refer you to the care of a specialist from time to time, your regular veterinarian may feel your pet needs the additional expertise of a board-certified surgeon for certain surgeries. In fact, many general practitioner veterinarians refer all but the most routine of surgeries to specialists.

A veterinarian who knows when to refer you and your pet to a veterinary surgeon is one that is caring and committed to ensuring that your pet receives the highest standard of care for his or her problem, pet experts say.

Today’s advances in technology and education allow veterinary surgeons to repair complex fractures, perform total hip replacements, repair torn ligaments, perform reconstructive surgery, repair heart defects, work on spinal injuries and herniated discs.

Amazingly they also conduct minimally invasive surgery, procedures that let doctors look inside of a patient’s joints (arthroscopy), lungs and lung area (thoracoscopy) and abdomen or pelvis (laparoscopy). In many cases, your regular veterinarian will still supervise your pet’s veterinary care, especially if your pet is continuing to cope with a disease or chronic condition.

Sadly, cancer appears to be on the rise in pets, most likely because they are simply living longer. Early detection and specialized care are leading to increased survival and cure rates in almost all the types of cancers that afflict pets. While cancer is one of the leading causes of death in pets, in many cases owners are not aware that pets with cancer do have options and cancer IS a treatable condition. From surgery to chemotherapy to radiation therapy, veterinary cancer specialists can offer your pet the very latest diagnostic and treatment options and the best chance of survival.

Some pet owners may not even know that veterinary cardiologists exist. But, unfortunately, like in humans, heart disease in pets is common. Many pet heart patients are successfully managed for an extended period of time and some even benefit from treatments common to humans, like pace makers and catheterization procedures and the use of fluoroscopy (an imaging technique to obtain real time pictures of what’s happening in the heart) in these procedures.

And for pets who suffer with diseases of the nervous system–the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscles–your regular veterinarian may recommend neurologic care. Such common neurologic problems seen in pets include epilepsy, herniated disks, spinal and head injuries, meningitis, and cancers of the nervous system. All of these maladies can be addressed at unique facilities such as The Center in Norwalk with it’s array of available specialists.

Pet owners can expect further advances as veterinary specialists work more and more in the areas of gene therapies, minimally invasive surgical procedures, genetic testing and disease prevention.

Costs are always a concern for veterinary medicine because the equipment is the same equipment that is used in human medicine and the case load is significantly smaller with pets. Pet health insurance can help in many cases. There are a growing number of insurance companies that give the consumer multiple options. It’s best to ask your veterinarian about pet health insurance.


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