Monthly Archives: April 2012

Veterinarians hope to showcase the diversity of veterinary medicine through television show

Mar 1, 2012
By: Stephanie Fellenstein


NATIONAL REPORT — Veterinarians Ronald Lyman and Leilani Alvarez briefly traded their every-day duties for a couple days in a television studio. And if network execs like what they see, Lyman and Alvarez may soon be able to add ‘TV personality’ to their resumes.

It all began on a routine day with an almost 16-year-old English Cocker Spaniel.

Rick Dobbis and Mary Ann Koenig were at their home in Vero Beach, Fla. when their dog Dodger needed medical treatment.


“We were referred to Dr. Lyman’s hospital,” Dobbis recalls. “We met him and found him to be quite extraordinary. He was very smart, thorough and able to communicate to lay people pretty complicated stuff.”

Lyman, who opened his 24-hour emergency and critical care hospital—Animal Emergency & Referral Center—in 1984, used hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat Dodger.

“It improved the dog’s quality of life,” Lyman says, adding he treated Dodger for about a year.

Alvarez also used alternative practices, like acupuncture, while treating Dodger in New York, where Dobbis and Koenig had their other home.

Alvarez joined the Animal Medical Center in New York City in January and is trained as a certified canine rehabilitation therapist and is certified in veterinary Chinese herbal medicine.

“I am still very much a conventional practitioner,” Alvarez says. “I see many chronic cases that wouldn’t respond to traditional therapy. It was so common to hear, ‘isn’t there anything else to do for my pet?’ Now I can say ‘yes.’ This allows me to be a better veterinarian.”

About a year after Lyman started treating Dodger, Dobbis contacted him and Alvarez about an idea.

It turns out Dobbis was actually head of R-DOG (Rick Dobbis Organization; Global), an independent company involved in various entertainment-related projects. His resume includes a laundry list of experience with companies including Arista Records, RCA Records and Sony Music International.

“I didn’t know what they did for a living,” Lyman says. “They said ‘we’re TV producers, and we would like to develop and market a show about the human/animal bond and the sophisticated things you can do to try to give your animal better health care and better quality of life.'”

Dobbis says Lyman and Alvarez were a natural team.

“Ron is on the cutting edge with the hyperbaric chamber and Dr. Alvarez is a veterinarian also trained as a physical therapist, acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist,” Dobbis says. “I like them both. They are very interesting people and very different.”

Lyman says once the plans were in place, he and Alvarez were filmed in a New York City studio. They then came to Florida where they were filmed in front of a live studio audience at the Sunrise Theater in Fort Pierce last August.

“I have never done anything like this,” Lyman says. “It is quite different. The first one, when we were in the studio, I broke out in a cold sweat. The live audience was easier. I’m used to teaching so it was more like that.”

Alvarez says she also had never done anything professional on camera.

Before the live-audience show, the producers visited the family of a dog Lyman previously treated and then showed that interview on a large screen.

“The dog had heat stroke after ingesting large amounts of saltwater. It was young, a large breed with brain damage and was now blind,” Lyman says. “It had been treated by local vets and they didn’t think any more could be done. He was referred to our hospital and the hyperbaric chamber.

“It was a striking interview with the family, especially the wife,” Lyman adds. “The whole family was playing with the dog at the beach. It happened right in front of them. The wife says, ‘I’m being told I need to put my dog down, but my brother is getting married the next day. I couldn’t do it.'”

The dog regained neurological function and his sight, Lyman says. “He did wonderfully in the hyperbaric chamber.”

After the audience viewed the video, the dog ran across the stage and the whole family came out.


“It was one of those feel-good moments,” Lyman says. “The producers really want to emphasize the human/animal bond.”

Producers also spent a couple hours at a ranch where Alvarez did acupuncture on a horse. During the studio show she did acupuncture on a dog and physical rehabilitation on a cat with an amputated leg.

“Veterinary medicine has so many therapies available to us that we really want to promote hyperbaric oxygen therapy, physical rehabilitation and acupuncture,” Alvarez says. “We want to be at the forefront.”

The studio shots, the live-audience portion and the side trips were boiled down into a 3 1/2–minute promotional film.

“We met with a number of agencies and a couple potential production partners,” Dobbis says. “We’re just waiting to hear. This show is not just about pets, but about people and animals, and their related health issues. We share the planet. We are interdependent.”

In the meantime, Lyman still spends seven days a week at his hospital and Alvarez is busy in New York City.

Lyman and his wife, Kip, also are busy teaching others about hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

“Still, for me,” Lyman says, “the most fun is taking care of the patients


                                                    Taken from

To Whomever Gets My Dog

They told me the big black Lab’s name was Reggie, as I looked at him lying in his pen.  The shelter was clean, no-kill, and the people really friendly.I’d only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open.  Everyone waves when you pass them on the street.But something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new life …here, and I thought a dog couldn’t hurt.  Give me someone to talk to.  And I had just seen Reggie’s advertisement on the local news.  The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said the people who had come down to see him just didn’t look like “Lab people,” whatever that meant.  They must’ve thought I did.But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie and his things, which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes and a sealed letter from his previous owner.

See, Reggie and I didn’t really hit it off when we got home.  We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his new home).  Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too.  Maybe we were too much alike.

I saw the sealed envelope.  I had completely forgotten about that.  “Okay, Reggie,” I said out loud, “let’s see if your previous owner has any advice.”

____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ __________

To Whomever Gets My Dog:

Well, I can’t say that I’m happy you’re reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie’s new owner.  I’m not even happy writing it.  He knew something was different.

So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you.

First, he loves tennis balls.  The more the merrier.  Sometimes I think he’s part squirrel, the way he hoards them.  He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there.  Hasn’t done it yet.  Doesn’t matter where you throw them, he’ll bound after them, so be careful.  Don’t do it by any roads.

Next, commands.  Reggie knows the obvious ones —“sit,” “stay,” “come,” “heel.”

He knows hand signals, too:  He knows “ball” and “food” and “bone” and “treat” like nobody’s business.

Feeding schedule:  twice a day, regular store-bought stuff;  the shelter has the brand.

He’s up on his shots.  Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet.  Good luck getting him in the car.  I don’t know how he knows when it’s time to go to the vet, but he knows.

Finally, give him some time.  It’s only been Reggie and me for his whole life. He’s gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can.  He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn’t bark or complain.  He just loves to be around people, and me most especially.

And that’s why I need to share one more bit of info with you…His name’s not Reggie.  He’s a smart dog, he’ll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt.  But I just couldn’t bear to give them his real name.  But if someone is reading this … well it means that his new owner should know his real name.  His real name is “Tank.”  Because, that is what I drive.

I told the shelter that they couldn’t make “Reggie” available for adoption until they received word from my company commander.  You see, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could’ve left Tank with … and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq, that they make one phone call to the shelter … in the “event” … to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption.  Luckily, my CO is a dog-guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed.  He said he’d do it personally.  And if you’re reading this, then he made good on his word.

Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family.  And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family, too, and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me.

If I have to give up Tank to keep those terrible people from coming to the US, I am glad to have done so.  He is my example of service and of love.  I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.

All right, that’s enough.  I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter.  Maybe I’ll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.

Good luck with Tank.  Give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss goodnight – every night – from me.

Thank you,

Paul Mallory

___________ __________ __________ _________ __________ ________

I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope.  Sure, I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like me.  Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies.  Flags have been at half-mast all summer.

I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog.

“Hey, Tank,” I said quietly.

The dog’s head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes bright.

“C’mere boy.”

He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor.  He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn’t heard in months. “Tank,” I whispered.

His tail swished.

I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him.  I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face into his scruff and hugged him.

“It’s me now, Tank, just you and me.  Your old pal gave you to me.  Tank reached up and licked my cheek.

“So whatdaya say we play some ball?”  His ears perked again.

“Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball?”

Tank tore from my hands and disappeared into the next room.  And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.

If you can read this without getting a lump in your throat or a tear in your eye, you just ain’t right.

A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America’ for an amount of ‘up to and including their life.’

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

Judy L. Reid

Tips for Moving with your Pet

Moving can be stressful on people and their pets.  To help relieve anxiety, here are some tips from to help ensure your big move goes off without a hitch.

1. Keep pets safe and secure. With all the noise, open doors and potential chaos involved in a move, it’s important for clients to make sure their pet is safe, happy, and secure. Encourage clients to put their pet in a quiet and safe place. This quiet spot should be a place that the pet is familiar and comfortable with. Maybe it’s a travel crate placed in an out of the way place, or perhaps a bathroom. Be sure that the pet can’t escape during the move. If the pet is in a room, clients can place a sign on the door alerting others to not enter. Another option is to encourage clients to have their pet stay at a friend or relative’s house or a doggy day care on moving day.

2. Check on pets regularly. If clients will be keeping their pet at home on moving day, they need to check in on it regularly. It’s important to maintain the pet’s regular routine for feeding, walks, bathroom breaks, and cuddling.

3. Create familiar surroundings. One of the best ways clients can help their pet become comfortable in a new environment more quickly is to have their things in it before introducing the pet into the new place. Whether it be a favorite chair, dog bed, throw rug, toys, or all of the above, clients should surround their pet with familiar things. Clients should be prepared with all the necessary items their pet will need from day one in the new home.

4. Keep pets on leash. Pet parents need to be aware even dogs that are excellent under voice control can become distracted easily in a new neighborhood and surroundings. To prevent their pet from running off, clients should keep their dog on a leash or in a secure, fenced yard.

5. Keep a photo handy. In the unfortunate event that a client’s pet runs off, they should keep a recent photo of the pet on hand. In addition to the pet’s ID tag and microchip, a photo of the pet will help to ensure the pet’s safe return home.

Above all,  maintain a calm energy.  Pets pick up on our emotions, so deep breaths.  Moving is an adventure, a new beginning—encourage yourself to embrace it and enjoy it with your pet.

A Tribute to the Dog

A speech by Missouri Senator George Graham Vest?
Year: 1870

Gentlemen of the Jury

The best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy.  His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful.  Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name may become traitors to their faith.  The money that a man has, he may lose.  It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most.  A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action.  The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads.

The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.  A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness.  He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side.  He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that conm in an encounter with the roughness of the world.  He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince.  When all other friends desert, he remains.  When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies.  And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even in death.

Feline Leukemia

Feline leukemia is one of the most important causes of illness and death among cats.  It causes cancer in about 20% of infected cats and also contributes to other infectious diseases (such as anemia) by suppressing the immune system and bone marrow production.  A major source of spreading the disease is persistently infected cats that appear to be healthy.


When is your cat at risk?

All it takes to spread feline leukemia is contact with the bodily fluid of an infected animal.  Any of these situations could put your cat or kitten at risk:

  • Social grooming
  • Common litter boxes
  • Shared food and water bowls
  • Bite wounds from playing or fighting
  • Time outdoors
  • Contact with other cats
  • Newly adopted

        The virus is especially dangerous to young cats.  Kittens can contract the disease  from their mothers while nursing or still in the womb. 


Feline Leukemia:

  • is found in every region of the United States.
  • is highly contagious.
  • is transmitted from cat to cat.
  • can be fatal.
  • has few outward signs, and no “sure” signs.
  • is associated with illness and death of more cats than any other disease.
  • can weaken a cat’s immune system. 


When should I test my cat for Feline leukemia?

Since your last visit to a veterinary clinic, has your cat:

  • Had a bite wounds?
  • Been outside for even a brief period of time?
  • Been exposed to any other cat whose status is unknown?

        If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your cat should be tested. 


Why should I test my cat?

Without testing, there is no way to know whether your cat is infected.  Without diagnosis, your cat cannot be treated properly.  The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends that all at-risk cats, sick cats and kittens should be tested. 


Are you unsure if your cat has been tested for Feline Leukemia?  Give us a call to confirm.  If your cat hasn’t been tested, we would be happy to arrange an appointment to have your cat tested. 

(Information from Idexx and Merial)

Fleas, Ticks and Your Pet

Fleas, Ticks and Your Pet

Fleas are probably the most common ectoparasite (external parasite) of dogs and cats worldwide.  In addition to just being a nuisance, flease are responsible for flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) in dogs and cats, which is estimated to account for over 50 percent of all the dermatological cases reported to veterinarians.

Ticks are also ectoparasites.  Ticks are important vectors of a number of diseases, including Lyme disease.  Ticks are second only to mosquitoes as vectors of human disease, both infectious and toxic.  Control and prevention of ticks is extremely important in reducing the risk of disease associated with ticks.

Year-Round Prevention

Parasites can infect your pet any time of year.  While external parasites, such as fleas and ticks, may be less of a problem during certain times of the year, depending on where you live, internal parasites can be present year round.  This is why it is important to keep your pet on prevention year-round.


Common questions about fleas/ticks

Why should I control parasites for my pet year-round?

Due to the large number of internal and external parasites and the hig risk of pet infection, controlling parasites year-round is the most reliable way to ensure the highest level of health for your pet and well-being of your family.  Year-round prevention is the most effective way to control can and dog parasites and the diseases they can carry.  People think their pets are safe during colder months, but pets are susceptible to flea and tick infections at all times of the year.  And regardless of the weather, many of these pests can even survive in your home – in carpeting, on furniture and in the cracks of hardwood floors.

Do fleas on my pet present a health risk to my family?

Yes.  Fleas can carry and transmit several potential illnesses of importance to humans, including typhus and plagues, and can transmit “cat scratch disease” (infection with Bartonella) among cats who can then spread the disease to humans.  Additionally, fleas serve as an intermediate host for tapeworms, which can infect your pet and occasionally humans.

What human-health problems are associated with ticks?

Ticks transmit a large number of diseases in North America.  These diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, relapsing fever, ehrlichiosis, tularemia and tick paralysis.  It is important for the health of your pet, as well as the safety of your family, to include ticks in your pet’s year-round parasite control program.  Parasites are also known to cause blindness in children.

What if my cat never goes outside?

Indoor cats have less chance of acquiring fleas and ticks, but they should be regularly checked.  Other pets and family members can be hosts for fleas and ticks (on pant cuffs or socks) and bring them home to your indoor cat.  To prevent any chance of infestation, it is best to keep your cat on monthly preventive year-round.

Tips to Protect Your Family and Your Pet

  • Wash your hands well after contact with an animal.
  • Do not allow children to put dirt in their mouths.
  • Pick up dog and cat was from your yard daily, especially in areas where both children and animals play.
  • Cover home sandboxes to protect them from fecal contamination.
  • Have your pet tested regularly (at least once a year) for parasites and administer year-round preventive medications to control internal parasites that present a rick to your pet and your family.



What is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis, or lepto, is a deadly bacterial disease spread by wildlife and domestic animals.

  • Lepto is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be passed from animals to people.
  • Lepto has been diagnosed in all types of dogs.  All breed and sizes of dogs are at risk.
  • Common lepto carriers include raccoons, skunks, opossums, squirrels, rats and other dogs.  Livestock can also carry the disease.
  • Lepto bacteria can survive for long periods in water.
  • The number of canine leptospirosis cases has risen dramatically in recent years.  Today, lepto is the #1 cause of acute kidney failure in dogs.
  • Early recognition of leptospirosis is important for a full recovery.


How is my dog exposed?

Lepto bacteria are shed in urine.  Dogs become infected when they come into contact with urine from infected animals.

  • Infection occurs when dogs wade through or drink from contaminated water sources.
  • The bacteria can enter through a cut in the skin or mucous membranes, such as the eye, nose or mouth.


Is your dog at risk?

Because lepto carriers reside in many locations, dogs living in urban, suburban and rural areas can be at risk.

  • Does your dog go outdoors?
  • Does your dog drink from or wade in standing water?
  • Is your dog exposed to areas where wildlife has been?
  • Do you take your dog to dog parks or daycare?
  • Do you live in a newly developed area or near farmland or woods?
  • Has lepto been diagnosed in your area in dogs or people?


Take Steps to Protect

 Every dog that ventures outdoors is at risk for lepto.  Take steps now to protect your pet.

  • Remove food, garbage and nesting material from your yard  to minimize wildlife activity.
  • Discourage your dog from drinking standing water.
  • Most importantly, ask us about protection with the Lepto vaccine.


(Courtesy Fort Dodge LeptoVax Pamphlet)



The rabies virus represents a serious risk to people and their pets – with hundreds of cases in pets each year in the United States alone.  All it takes to contract this deadly disease is exposure to an infected animal through a scratch, cut or bite.

Fortunately, there’s something you can do.  A simple vaccination is the best way to help protect your pet against rabies.  Even if you keep your pet indoors, it should still be vaccinated — and it’s require by law!


What is rabies?

Rabies is an acute viral infection that can affect all warm-blooded animals – including dogs and cats.  The disease is almost always caused by the bite of an infected animal that has rabies virus in its saliva.  Younger animals are usually more susceptible to rabies infection.  And it’s always fatal once clinic signs appears.

What if my pet has possible been exposed?

If your pet has been bitten by or exposed to a wild or potentially rabid animal, speak with us immediately and report it to local animal control authorities.  Even if your pet has a current vaccine, you should still contact us.

Signs and Prevention

Once the rabies virus enters the body, it travels along the nerves to the brain.  It can take a matter of days, weeks or months for your pet to show signs of the rabies virus.

Infected animals often show anxiety, aggression, restlessness and erratic behavior.  They also may develop weakness, poor coordination or tremors.  Wild rabid animals commonly lose their fear of humans. Species that are normally nocturnal may be seen wandering about during the day.

Dogs, cats or ferrets that have never been vaccinated and are exposed to a rabid animal may need to be euthanized or placed in strict isolation for six months. 

Vaccinate to Protect Your Pet

We are committed to helping you make the best choices for your pet’s health.  To give your pet the protection it needs, we recommend vaccination with the IMRAB rabies vaccine. 

What Else Can You Do?

  • Don’t leave garbage or pet food outdoors.
  • Observe all wild or stray animals.
  • If you see a wild animal acting strangely, report it to your local animal control authorities. 


(Information courtesy of Merial)

Jessica Kiffner

Jessica Kiffner: bringer of the baked goods!


Please help us in welcoming our newest technician, Jessica Kiffner!

Jessica hails from Fort Wayne, Indiana and with her, she brings a husband, a dog, Juneau, and two cats to the great state of Ohio.  Jessica attended Purdue University where she received her degree in Veterinary Technology.

In her spare time, Jessica enjoys kayaking, walking, photography, gardening, wildlife, and traveling.   She has a talent for the violin, but she considers herself a non-practicing musician.

Infectious Tracheobronchitis

More popularly known as Kennel Cough, Infectious Tracheobronchitis is a highly contagious disease that is spread through airborne droplets.  Infectious Tracheobronchitis spreads freely at boarding facilities, grooming facilities, dog parks – basically any social situation that you may find a dog in.

Like whooping cough in humans, kennel cough is an inflammation of the upper airways.  It is typically a mild disease, but still has the ability to advance into life-threatening pneumonia in puppies.

The signs of Infectious Tracheobronchitis

  • The main clinical sign = a hoarse cough
  • Cough can begin three to ten days after exposure
  • Bouts of severe coughing
  • Loud, high-pitched “honking”
  • Dogs may cough up phlegm, which looks like vomiting
  • Depression, lethargy, and loss of appetite
  • Discharge from the nose or eyes

In order to diagnose kennel cough, we will ask you about recent exposure to infected or susceptible dogs and consider the clinical signs that we are seeing.   The doctor will also palpate the trachea to initiate coughing.  Once diagnosed, most dogs will be prescribed medication to lessen the cough.  It is recommended that infectious dogs be isolated until ALL signs have disappeared to prevent the spreading of the disease.  To avoid most cases of kennel cough, we recommend an annual vaccination that works quickly to immunize dogs, and is proven safe and effective.   Prevention is key!


Scott Brown

Scott Brown

Scott Brown comes to us from Dover, Ohio.  A recent graduate of The Ohio State University, Scott majored in Biology with a minor in Animal Science.  A stellar asset to our team, Scott has aspirations of returning to veterinary school in the near future. 

Raised around German Shorhaird Pointers, he currently shares his home with two of them.  In his spare time, he enjoys video games,  golfing, airsofting, and rollerblading.
When asked what movie title best describes his life, Scott answered with:  “Live and Let Die”.