Monthly Archives: February 2012

Jennifer Robbins

Jennifer Robbins


Coming to us from small town Howard, Ohio, Jennifer Robbins is our newest employee.  Jennifer attended the Bradford Business School with an emphasis on Accounting, and after working in the banking industry for a time, she returned to the veterinary field.  With 12 years experience, Jennifer is a knowledgable and compassionate member of our team.

Jennifer’s family has raised standardbred race horses for years, and she enjoys being a part of the training process, while riding and racing them when she can.  In addition to partial ownership of horses, Jennifer also lives with a calico cat named Callie.   

When asked “If you could sum up your life in a movie title, what would it be?”, her response was Trotting Towards Victory.


Nearly 20% of all dogs in the U.S. suffer from canine arthritis.  This disease develops gradually over time, and can cause your dog pain and prevent him from performing the simplest of tasks, like climbing the stairs or walking.

An X-ray image shows a healthy hip in contrast to an arthritic hip.

Canine arthritis occurs in your dog’s joints.  A healthy joint consists of cartilage that covers and protects the ends of the bones in a joint.  The cartilage has no nerves; when it touches the cartilage of another bone, the dog feels no pain.

However, arthritis causes the cartilage to wear away.  This exposes the bone, which has many nerves.  So when two bones touch each other, your dog feels pain.  This pain can greatly affect your dog’s quality of life.

When bones continually rub against each other, they will eventually change shape.  The bone reshaping can make it difficult – or sometimes impossible – for your dog to walk or move naturally.  Arthritis can be managed much more successfully when it is diagnosed and treated early in the process.

Signs of Canine Arthritis

– Sluggishness
– Tiredness
– Low Activity
– Reluctance to walking, running, climbing stairs, jumping, or playing
– Lagging behind on walks
– Reluctance to extend rear legs
– Soreness
– Aggressive or withdrawn behavior
– Other personality or behavioral changes.


Are you concerned that your pet might have arthritis?  Take a minute and ask yourself the following questions:

The Arthritis Checklist

1.  Does your dog hesitate before jumping onto the bed or couch, or have difficulty getting in or out of the car?
2.  Does your dog seem to be lagging behind during walks? 
3.  Does your dog hesitate to go up and down stairs?
4.  Does your dog sometimes seem stiff or shaky when rising or walking?
5.  Does your dog show signs of discomfort?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, it’s time to make an appointment and have an examination performed on your dog.  In addition to an exam, the doctor may consider taking a X-ray of the specified joint to determine the severity of the arthritis.


My dog has arthritis.  What are my options?

There are a few things you can do at home to help alleviate the pain of arthritis, such as low-impact exercise, decreasing the amount of food and treats given in hopes of dropping a few pounds, and using portable ramps for getting in and out of cars or onto the bed.

The introduction of pain relievers (Tramadol) and anti-inflammatory drugs (Rimadyl, Deramaxx) are also an option.  In addition to oral medications, the injectable drug Adequan has been shown to prevent the further deterioration of cartilage in joints.  And it’s never too early to think about supplements: Glucosamine and Chondroitin can be found in several forms including pills, treats and chews.   As always, see your vet before starting any medication regimen, as some of the medications listed require regular bloodwork.

If you are concerned that your dog may be experiencing symptoms of arthritis, please call to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians.  The sooner we can treat the problem, the more comfortable your dog will be.

And to our feline patients, we haven’t forgot about you!  Arthritis can affect our feline friends as well.  Is your cat a bit older?  Maybe you’ve noticed him having difficulty getting in and out of the litter box (or even having accidents in the house) or hopping onto his favorite spot?  If so, we want to see them, too!

A clear sign your cat has arthritis.


To Schedule an Appointment, Please call:
Northstar Animal Care  (614) 488-4121
Upper Arlington Veterinary Hospital  (614) 481-8014

Be sure to visit our Facebook pages!



Advance Stem Cell Technologies

We’ve all heard about stem cell research in the news, but did you know that the stem cell therapy can be used in our animal friends?   Dr. Adam Parson has used this technology in our clinic on a chocolate Labrador to help with the pain and discomfort of arthritis.  While this is not an inexpensive endeavor, the owner was wanting to do all she could, and reported that her dog was jogging around the back yard shortly after the procedure! 


What is stem cell therapy?
Stem cells are the body’s repair cells.  They have the ability to divide and differentiate into many different types of cells based on where they are needed throughout the body.  Stem cells can divide and turn into tissues such as skin, fat, muscle, bone, cartilage, and nerve to name a few.  They even possess the ability to replicate into organs such as the heart, liver, intestines, pancreas, etc.

Why do we take the cells from adipose (fat) tissue?
Adult stem cells are highly concentrated in the fat tissue.  There are 50 to 1,000 times more stem cells in the fat than the bone marrow.  At this concentration, it is no longer necessary to culture the stem cells to acquire the necessary cell numbers to make a healing impact.  The procedure to extract fat from the patient is much quicker and less invasive than a spay.  The stem cells are contained within a pool of cells in the fat termed the Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF).  The SVF may impart anti-inflammatory effects, add bioactive peptides, and contribute to reformation and architectural organization.  These are benefits lost once stem cells are cultured. 

What can we do with the stem cells?
Adult stem cells are capable of dividing into many different cell types.  With this capability, we can use them as a treatment for joint injuries, ligament and tendon damage, and fractured bones.  Research and clinical trials currently support the use of stem cells in these conditions.  Ongoing research is targeting other areas of the body for treatment and the preliminary results are very encouraging.


If you are interested in learning more about stem cell research, please visit the link below.  And as always, be sure to check out our Facebook pages!

Dr. Joanna Parson

Dr. Joanna Parson

Joanna Parson.  Wife to Adam.  Mother to Emma and Jack.  Friend to all. 

This Brooklyn, NY native graduated from The Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2003.  After completing an internship at MedVet Medical Center for Pets, she began working as an ER doctor and spent the next 4 years in that position.  After the purchase of Upper Arlington Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Parson left MedVet to run the newly acquired clinic.  Dr. Parson has a small brood of critters at her house, including Hank, Julio, Stephanie, Mike, and Nugget. 


Julio & Stephanie Parson

In her spare time, Dr. Parson enjoys spending time with her children, shopping,  traveling, dancing, and going out for a night on the town with her husband.


PS – Be sure to check out our Facebook pages.

Mandi Justus – Manager Extraordinaire

Mandi Justus, Practice Manager

We are pleased to introduce our practice manager, Mandi Justus.  Mandi has been in the veterinary field for nearly 14 years, with 5 of those years spent at Northstar Animal Care and Upper Arlington Veterinary Hospital.  She has her hands in many aspects of the clinic, from ordering supplies and making schedules to keeping the finances (and Dr. Adam) in check!  😉

Mandi is from Westerville and currently resides in Worthington with her husband, Paul, whom she married July 2010.  They also share their home with two dogs, Eddie and Ellie, and two cats, Stetson and Zedo.
Ellie Justus
Mandi and Paul are quite the fishing pair, spending their days off together at a local lake, state park or Lake Erie.   When they aren’t out searching for the perfect catch, they enjoy movies, a little car racing, and going to a concert now and then.
When asked “If you could sum up your life in a movie title, what would it be?”, Mandi wasted no time in answering It’s a Wonderful Life. 
PS – Remember to check out our Facebook pages!


Dr. Adam Parson

Dr. Adam D. Parson


A native of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, Dr. Adam Parson discovered an early interest in veterinary medicine.  At a young age, his first job in the industry included cleaning cages, sweeping the floor and mowing the grass.  Over time, Dr. Parson was helping with surgeries and became a veterinary assistant.  After completing his undergraduate degree at High Point University in North Carolina, Dr. Parson made the trek back to Ohio and received his doctorate from The Ohio State University in 2002. 

Dr. Parson shares his Upper Arlington home with his wife, Joanna and their three children, Chance, Emma, and Jack.  In addition to the two-legged family members,  a few four-legged member call the Parson abode their home:  Hank, Julio, Stephanie, Mike, and Nugget. 

When he’s not in the clinic, Dr. Parson enjoys hiking, golfing and taking his son, Chance, snowboarding.  With young children at home, he is kept very busy with school and extracurricular activities.  In addition to his family responsibilities, Dr. Parson is the president of the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society, a Freemason and a member of the Tri-Village Rotary Club. 

Dr. Parson’s commitment to providing the best care for his patients extends to his research into innovative medical procedures and research.  From stem cell transplants to assist canine patients with arthritis to learing new orthopedic surgical techniques, Dr. Parson will leave no stone unturned. 


PS – Don’t forget to check out our Facebook pages!  And feel free to comment on our blogs! 


The Man of the House

Welcome to our blog!

We want to take the time to introduce you to the people and pets that make up our Northstar and Upper Arlington family.  So we thought it wise to start with the one at the top.  The big cheese.  The top dog.



 Hank lives with the Parson’s and came to them by way of a Mt. Vernon veterinary clinic, where he was brought in for a parvovivus infection.  He comes to work nearly everyday with Dr. Adam, and uses his charms to get treats out of unsuspecting people.  

No, he isn’t REALLY the boss, but he is certainly a mascot for our practices.   He greets everyone with a big wag of his tail and is always on his best behavior!  Hank is also known to save a life or two every now and then — he is our number one donator, ready to help any dog in need by giving his blood. 

When Hank isn’t busy working at the practice, he enjoys playing fetch with very big sticks (he’s been known to attempt fetch with a small sapling), taking long naps and going for car rides.

Next time you’re in the clinic, say ‘hello’ to Hank!


 PS – Be sure to check out our Facebook pages!