What to Expect: At Your First Visit

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Bringing your pet to the veterinarian can seem scary at first, but we strive to make every visit a pleasant and informative one. For those of you who may not have visited our facility, we provide this information to help put you at ease about your upcoming appointment.

You will bring your pet in a secure carrier or harness in time for your scheduled appointment. We have a New Patient History Sheet that may help prepare you for the questions we will ask, if you would like to fill it in and bring it to your appointment. Our receptionist will greet you and your pet and ask you to make yourself comfortable in our welcome area while she informs the technician of your arrival.

Our technician will make sure the exam room is clean and prepared for your pet and will usher you in. The technician will create a record for your pet based on the information you provide (the New Patient History Sheet is helpful, but not necessary) in our computer system and will weigh your pet. Then the technician will let the doctor know you are ready to begin your pet’s examination.

The doctor will join you in the exam room and will perform a thorough external physical examination of your pet, including checking the eyes, ears, mouth, nostrils, and vent (anus) as well as evaluating overall body condition and reviewing the diet and care history you provided the technician. He or she will guide you through any recommendations and make sure you have a clear understanding of what needs to be done to resolve any issues of concern and to provide for your pet’s long-term care.

In some cases bloodwork, radiographs, or other procedures may be necessary to address issues of concern based on the information provided by you and your pet’s condition. Luckily, many of these services can be provided on-site with immediate results to permit rapid diagnosis and treatment.

Any necessary medications or treatments will be administered and you will be instructed on any home care you will need to provide for your pet. Any questions you may have regarding the diagnosis, treatments, or care will be answered and you will be given written care instructions to take home.

You may be asked to wait in the welcome area while medications to go home are prepared, and our receptionist will let you know when the doctor has completed your invoice and process your payment at the front desk. If a follow-up appointment is needed, you will be invited to schedule it at that time.

Our care does not end when you walk out the door. Should you suddenly remember a question you forgot to ask, have a concern about your pet’s progress, encounter difficulty with the prescribed treatments, or should any other needs arise, we are a phone call away. Our receptionists are knowledgeable and can assist you in many cases, and will have a technician or doctor return your call if the query is beyond their ability to answer.

We hope that this information helps you enjoy a stress-free and comfortable visit with us!

Dr. Biascoechea at ICARE

Dr. Biascoechea spent a week in Paris at the International Conference on Avian heRpetological and Exotic mammal medicine.  In addition to testing out his French, he was immersed in learning the latest and greatest developments in European Exotic Animal Medicine & Surgery at The Alfort Vet School. Get ready Charleston… Here we go!!!

Alfort

Dr. B. at WVC!

The Western Veterinary Conference was held February 15-19 in Las Vegas, NV. It is the largest, most respected veterinary conference in the world, and our own Dr. Biascoechea was selected as a speaker. He shared his expertise in reptile medicine with veterinarians from all over the world, presenting 4 hours of lectures on subjects such as “Bearded Dragon Medicine and Surgery”, “Reptile Reproductive Disease”, “The Top 10 Clinical Techniques in Reptile Medicine”, and “15 Minutes Could Save 50% or More (Geckos)”. He has received a lot of positive feedback from his audiences and greatly enjoyed sharing his specialized knowledge with other veterinarians so they are better able to help their clients and patients. We are very proud of him and glad to have him back!
WVC 2015

“Give Wildlife a Brake!” Week

Next week is “Give Wildlife a Brake!” week, but we want you to be aware of wildlife all year ’round.  Today we are treating this box turtle, who was run over by a car and brought to us for care by another veterinary clinic.  While we do not normally treat wildlife, we are working with the South Carolina Aquarium to reconstruct this poor turtle’s shell, and they will continue its care through the coming months of rehabilitation to help it heal and hopefully eventually return to the wild.

box turtle injury - top
This box turtle has suffered severe damage to its shell due to being run over by a car. We are working to clean the wounds and repair the shell.
box turtle injury - bottom
Bottom view of box turtle’s shell after being run over by a car. Once we have cleaned the wounds and repaired the shell, it will take months of healing and rehabilitation before this turtle is ready to go back to its normal life.

We realize these pictures are graphic, but feel that they illustrate how helpless these animals are in the face of our powerful vehicles. It is our responsibility to watch for them. Simply driving at or below the speed limit can give you the extra reaction time needed to save a life. Today and every day, look out for animals in the road, because they can’t look out for themselves!

Read more about “Give Wildlife a Brake!” week here: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/give_wildlife_brake.html

Kemp’s Ridley Turtle “Blu” Recovering Well

In July, the South Carolina Aquarium brought a Kemp’s ridley turtle to our clinic because it had been hooked by a fisherman and swallowed the hook.  Dr. Biascoechea surgically removed the hook and the turtle was returned to the Turtle Hospital at the Aquarium for continued care.  We recently received the good news that “Blu” is recovering well and will be ready to return to the ocean in about 3 weeks.  We are proud to serve the South Carolina Aquarium and to be able to help our ocean’s wildlife stay wild!
blu the kemp's ridley turtle

For more information on “Blu”, click here: http://www.scaquarium.org/blu/

Dr. Biascoechea and the Shark

Shark vet at the SC Aquarium

Dr. Biascoechea recently worked with Dr. Shane Boylan and a team of biologists at the South Carolina Aquarium on a male sand tiger shark that had been circling in the SCA’s ocean tank for several weeks.

Shark intubation

They anesthetized him, performed a comprehensive physical exam, an ultrasound, took blood samples and also took radiographs which showed some lesions on the spinal cord. His long term prognosis is guarded at this time but they are working on a treatment plan.

Shark swims after anesthesia

Goldfish Swimming Upside-Down: Case Study #4

“Sherman” is a 4 year old Black Moor goldfish.  His owner called us because he had been swimming on his side for about a week and a half, and that morning had started swimming upside-down and his left side was swollen.  The owner had the aquarium water tested and corrected any issues in water quality, but “Sherman” was still floating upside-down at the top of the water so we scheduled a visit for him at our clinic.

Black Moor goldfish swimming upside-down

goldfish radiograph

We performed a radiograph and found an excess of air in his coelom. Our doctor aspirated the excess air and further diagnostics revealed evidence  of an inflammatory response. Medications were prescribed for infection and pain management which his dedicated owners administered at home. “Sherman” was kept in a hospital tank for the course of his treatment. With the excess air removed, he was able to swim normally for the first time in weeks!

Black Moor goldfish in hospital tank

After his course of treatment was complete, “Sherman” was returned to his normal tank with his pal “Penny” and as this video shows, boy, were they happy to see each other!

Click to watch the fish reunion!

Digital Radiography Comes to Birds and Exotics Animal Care!

We are excited to announce that we have invested in a new iCR 3600+ digital radiography system.  With a majority of our patients weighing under 5 pounds, standard x-ray equipment does not provide the detail needed.  This high-definition equipment provides improved resolution and image clarity, as well as the ability to magnify and adjust images for optimum viewing and interpretation.

We are one of the few clinics in the Southeast to offer this technologically advanced radiographic option, and we are already seeing the benefits of the increased definition, which helps us better serve our patients and clients.

Digital Radiography Station

Chameleon with Ovarian Follicles: Case Study #3

“Napoleon” is a 6 month old female veiled chameleon. She was brought in because she had been sitting near the bottom of her enclosure for 2-3 days and breathing with her mouth open over the past day. After an external physical exam and discussion of her diet, care, lighting, and housing we did an x-ray and found her to be severely calcium-deficient and retaining many reproductive follicles.
chameleon xray
She was given fluids with calcium and prepared for exploratory surgery to remove the ovarian follicles.
chameleon spay
The surgery went well and she recovered quickly and was ready to go home the next day.
chameleon recovery
Sometimes in reptiles the reproductive organs regenerate, and this was the case with “Napoleon”, who came back to see us 6 months later with similar issues as before. X-rays confirmed that she was again suffering from follicular stasis and surgery was repeated. Improvement in her bone density is visible on the second x-ray, showing the benefits of proper calcium supplementation and UV lighting over the 6 month period between visits.
chameleon xray
She is now healthy and happy and reproductively inactive thanks to her owner’s dedication to her care.
chameleon postsurgery

Guinea Pig with Uterine Tumor: Case Study #2

“Claire” is a 4 year old female guinea pig. She was presented to us with a history of undesired reproductive behaviors, including mounting her cagemate and having a wet bottom. Upon examination, she was found to have a lump in her abdomen. An ultrasound verified the presence of a 2.5cm uterine mass requiring surgical removal.
guinea pig surgery
“Claire” was prepared for her surgery on a warm water circulating pad to maintain her body temperature under anesthesia. Special equipment was used to monitor her pulse, temperature, and respiration, and an IV catheter was placed so we could provide her with fluid support during the procedure.
guinea pig uterine tumors
The mass we saw on the ultrasound turned out to be several uterine tumors. They were removed and “Claire” was spayed to ensure that this situation would not recur.
guinea pig post spay
Postsurgically, “Claire” recovered very well, and continues to be a healthy, happy guinea pig. She and her cagemate get along great now that they are both spayed!