Difficulty breathing. Fainting. Persistent cough. These are possible signs of cardiac
concerns. Just like people, dogs and cats can experience heart problems such as
hypertension, irregular heartbeat, murmurs, valve malfunctions, and congestive heart
failure. To diagnose and treat heart-related problems, your veterinarian may suggest
that your pet be examined by a veterinary cardiologist – a specialist in diseases
of the heart, lungs and circulatory system. Our board-certified cardiologist will
evaluate your pet utilizing the same type of diagnostic tools human cardiologists
use – electrocardiograms, radiographs (x-rays), and echocardiograms with Doppler ultrasound – to determine
a diagnosis and specific treatment plan.
Specialized Cardiac Services:
- Evaluation of Acquired and Congenital Heart Diseases
- Pre-anesthesia assessments
- Two-dimensional and Doppler evaluation
- Bubble Studies
- Blood Pressure Monitoring
- Electrocardiography (ECG/EKG)
- Holter Monitor (24 Hour ECG) & Event Monitor Application
- In-house Telemetry Monitoring
- Thoracic or Abdominal Fluid Removal
- Catheter-based/Minimally-invasive tests and interventions:
- Pacemaker Implantation and advanced programming
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) Occlusion
Georgia Veterinary Specialists began a little more than a decade ago with one internal
medicine specialist. Today, a team of specialists certified by the American College
of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) provides a combined level of expertise found
in only a handful of specialty referral hospitals and academic settings across the
Your veterinarian may refer your pet to an internal medicine specialist to diagnose
an abnormality or for management of a chronic disease such as Addison's disease,
cancer, Cushing's disease, diabetes mellitus, thromboembolic disease, hemorrhagic
gastroenteritis (HGE), kidney and liver diseases and pancreatitis.
The GVS internal medicine specialists also have the necessary advanced diagnostic
technology at their fingertips:
- Ultrasound allows visualization and examination of many body organs and systems.
Because ultrasonography is non-invasive, sedation is rarely necessary for the procedure
to be performed. Biopsies of many internal structures may also be performed with
the use of ultrasound.
- Endoscopy often aids in the diagnosis of complex medical problems. The endoscope
allows the veterinarian to examine and collect biopsy specimens from the gastrointestinal
tract, urinary tract, nasal cavity and respiratory tract. In addition, foreign objects
ingested by your pet can frequently be retrieved by endoscopy, making surgery unnecessary.
- CT Scan allows visualization of different parts of the body with great detail. It
is particularly useful in aiding the diagnosis of nasal disease, middle/inner ear
disease, neurologic disease and certain bone disorders. In addition, chest and abdomen
CT examinations are helpful in diagnosing certain problems which are difficult to
diagnose with routine radiology.
- Laparoscopy/ Thoracoscopy: Through tiny incisions we are able to introduce a camera
and surgical instruments into the abdomen and / or chest to perform minimally invasive
surgery and biopsies of internal organs.
- Nicolas Berryessa, DVM, ACVIM
- Mark Dorfman, DVM, MS, ACVIM
- Derek Duval, VMD, ACVIM
- Lisa Langs, DVM, ACVIM
- Meri Miller, DVM, ACVIM
- Alysa B. Cook, DVM
When your veterinarian refers your pet to GVS for surgery, you can take comfort
in knowing your four-legged friend will be in good hands. The evolution of animal
health care has led to a world of treatment options, including highly specialized
surgical procedures in orthopedics, oncology, neurology and as well as advances
in general (soft tissue) surgery. Such complex and demanding procedures require
concentrated training and state-of-the art technology. Our board-certified surgeons
not only possess these skills, they also have the best equipment and surgical assistants
at their fingertips. Great minds, good hands, and fine facilities – they all add
up to a higher and more advanced level of care for your pet.
- Complex Fracture Repair
- Cruciate Ligament Stabilization
- Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy
- Tibial Tuberosity Advancement
- Correction of Patella Luxation
- Limb Deformity Correction
General Surgery Procedures:
- Total Ear Canal Ablation
- Correction of Patent Ductus Arteriosus
- Portosystemic (liver) Shunt Attenuation
- Perineal Urethrostomy
- Laryngeal Tieback
- Thoracic and abdominal mass removal; other oncologic surgery
- Alan Cross, DVM , ACVS
- Julie Duval, VMD, ACVS
- Lori MacDougall, DVM, ACVS
- Kevin Winkler, DVM, ACVS
- Cassandra Ruthrauff, DVM, ACVS
Skin, fur, nails, mouth and ears. There are many diseases and conditions that can
affect these areas of your pet's body, including allergies, infectious and non-infectious
diseases, cysts and tumors, and chronic conditions. A veterinary dermatologist draws
on specialized training and vast experience to recognize the subtle differences
in these skin disorders, resulting in an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Schick
performs many specialized diagnostic procedures, including:
- Microscopic examination of skin biopsy specimens
- Cytological smears
- Intradermal allergy testing
- Fungal cultures
- Microbiologic examination of skin scrapings and secretions
- Management of chronic ear disorders
- Complete endocrine (hormonal) assays
- Middle ear evaluation with CT scan
- Video otoscopy
- Treatment Options
- Laser surgery
- Nail surgery
- Management of chronic ear disorders
- Biopsy techniques
- Excisional surgical procedures
Because critically ill or injured pets need immediate attention and constant monitoring,
Georgia Veterinary Specialists provides emergency and critical care services 24
hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year (including holidays). Serving
as an extension of your veterinarian’s practice, our staff of emergency doctors
and critical care nurses focuses on evaluating your pet’s condition quickly so that
appropriate treatment can begin.
From minor infections to life threatening trauma, the GVS emergency team diagnoses
and treats a range of medical problems, including those that may require surgery.
And, because GVS is a specialty referral hospital with a full complement of veterinary
specialists, your pet can be referred to the appropriate specialist, if needed.
Specialists typically see patients during the day. However, after hours, the emergency
team will consult a GVS specialist when necessary.
For pets that require hospitalization, the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at GVS is specifically
designed for comfort, safety and close monitoring of our patients, much like an
ICU in a human hospital. The unit is equipped with the latest technology, including
a heated oxygen therapy cage and monitors for key vital signs, and is staffed with
veterinarians, veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants experienced in emergency
and critical care. The team is also assisted by GVS staff doctors. These are licensed
doctors of veterinary medicine who have chosen to pursue an additional level of
professional experience through a 12 month internship. During that year, the staff
doctors also rotate through all of the GVS specialty service areas, resulting in
a broadened knowledge base.
Georgia Veterinary Specialists is dedicated to providing compassionate care throughout your pet’s lifetime. Even if your beloved companion is diagnosed with a terminal disease, we can help you provide a comfortable, loving environment much like that of hospice care for people. Hospice is supportive care – assistance in evaluating and managing your pet’s quality of life at each key stage. Hospice may last from days to years. During illness, your pet may suffer from losses of certain functions of daily living. Our team will help you identify, address and correct some of those, which may include:
- Recognition and management of pain
- Appetite and food intake
- Dealing with incontinence
- Managing immobility and/or paralysis
- Assessing your pet for dehydration
We will educate you about medicines that are used in supportive care, including analgesics for pain, appetite stimulants, anti-nausea medications, subcutaneous fluids for hydration, as well as the administration of injections when necessary. We can advise you on mobility aids that can help aging, unsteady animals negotiate their environment more confidently. You can also turn to us to help you recognize the signs of impending death and the process of euthanasia, because we understand how difficult it is to know when “the time is right” to make that decision.
If hospice is right for you and your pet, please make an appointment with Dr. Susan G. Wynn.
Radioiodine I-131 Treatment for Feline Hyperthyroidism
The thyroid gland, in cats as in humans, produces hormones that are vital to maintaining normal growth and metabolism. Occasionally in older cats, a tumor forms on one or both of the thyroid glands that causes the gland to produce abnormally high levels of these hormones (hyperthyroidism). Hyperthyroidism has become the most common endocrine (hormonal) disorder in cats. Up to 2% of cats seen by veterinarians are reported to have the disease. Cats with this condition will frequently exhibit many of the following symptoms: weight loss, behavioral changes, increased appetite, increased heart rate, increased consumption of water and urinary output, excessive shedding, vomiting and diarrhea. If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can be fatal.
Radioactive iodine (I-131)provides a simple, effective, and safe treatment for cats with hyperthyroidism unaffected. . Treatment with radioiodine avoids the inconvenience of daily oral administration and side effects associated with antithyroid drugs, as well as the risks and postoperative complications associated with anesthesia and surgical removal of the affected thyroid gland. A radioactive isotope (I-131) is given which concentrates in the abnormal thyroid gland which then irradiates and destroys thyroid tumors while leaving normal tissue unaffected. More than 97% of all cats treated never need future treatment. There are very few side effects and normal thyroid function returns within approximately four weeks. The primary disadvantage to I-131 is the isolation of the patient for a short period of time.
The treatment involves only a single oral dose of medication. By law, your cat is required to stay with us for three days, but will receive plenty of TLC during that time. Your pet’s progress is monitored daily by specially trained medical personnel, and you will be updated regularly with updates. By the end of the three days, the radiation levels from the treatment are low enough for your cat to go home. Your cat will then need to be kept in a semi-isolated environment in your home for an additional two weeks.
The nervous system is comprised of the brain, brainstem, spinal cord, and nerves
and muscles. It is both a complex and highly sensitive system that controls even
the most basic functions. A disease affecting any one of these components can sometimes
be a puzzle to solve. Various neurological conditions may produce symptoms such
as limb paralysis, pain, vision problems, seizures and difficulty with balance.
Frequently, more extensive diagnostic evaluations are required in order to pinpoint
the problem and provide treatment options. Drawing on a vast knowledge of all aspects
of the nervous system, a solid foundation of general medicine, as well as keen observation
skills, a veterinary neurologist thrives on finding answers. Our neurologists have many advanced
diagnostics available to help them arrive at these answers, including:
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Electrodiagnostic examinations (Electromyography, Nerve Conduction Studies)
- Evaluation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
Proper nutrition is just as important for your pet’s good health as it is for yours.
The clinical nutrition service at GVS enhances your pet’s prognosis by improving
the animal’s wellness diet, designing nutritional programs for specific disease
conditions, shortening hospitalization and speeding recovery from surgery and illness.
If your pet is hospitalized, the attending doctor may consult with our veterinary
nutritionist, Dr. Susan G. Wynn. By developing feeding plans customized for individual needs,
Dr. Susan G. Wynn plays a vital role in supporting your pet's recovery.
- Formulating balanced homemade diets for well and ill pets
- In depth counseling on food and nutrition issues, including raw diets
- Advice on nutritional supplements: nutraceuticals and herbs
- Providing nutrition support for ongoing medical and surgical patient issues: Obesity,
kidney and liver disease, bladder stones, pancreatitis, diabetes, arthritis, cancer,
food allergy, anorexia, weight loss, and other problems
- Designing feeding programs for multi-pet households
- Education for pet owners and veterinarians
- Detailed analysis of owner supplement choices for overdoses, imbalances and deficiencies
- Designing critical care nutrition plans for hospitalized patients
- Investigating and implementing current nutrition research information into hospital
Because dogs and cats rely on their keen senses to explore and enjoy their world,
we want to be sure our pets have optimal functioning of these senses. There are
a number of diseases that can affect the animal's eyes, including one of the most
common -- cataracts. And because many of our pets are curious creatures, they may
poke their heads where they shouldn't, which sometimes results in an eye injury.
In cases of disease, trauma or other conditions of the eye, your veterinarian may
determine that the best course of action is to have the pet seen by a veterinary
ophthalmologist. With expert training focused solely on the eye, an ophthalmologist
is in the best position to help restore or improve vision.
Diagnostic procedures in GVS ophthalmology:
- Slit lamp biomicroscopy
- Ophthalmoscopy (indirect, direct)
- Applanation tonometry and gonioscopy
- Ocular ultrasound
- Radiology,CT scans and MRI for orbital disease
Ophthalmic surgical procedures:
- Phacoemulsification with artificial lens implantation for cataracts
- Paracentesis, medical therapy and 24 hr tonometry monitoring
- Diode laser cycloablation for glaucoma
- Evisceration for endstage glaucoma
- Cryosurgery for distichia, glaucoma, lid tumors
- Conjunctival grafts for deep corneal ulcers
- Blepharoplasties for eyelid disorders
- Nictitans gland (cherry eye) reposition
- Debridement and grid keratotomy for chronic ulcers
Our canine companions get cancer at relatively the same rate we do; our furry felines
somewhat less. And with that diagnosis comes just as much concern. At GVS, cancer
and compassionate care go hand-in-hand. From diagnosis to treatment, the overriding
goal of our comprehensive Oncology department is comfort and quality of life. The expertise of our board-certified medical oncologists, Dr. Terrance Hamilton, guide
the management of the patient. GVS not only has the most modern technology, including a linear
accelerator, it also has the capability of a multi-modality approach, which means
combining traditional therapies for optimal outcomes. Many types of cancers respond
favorably to specific treatments, and research continues to identify new treatments
like the DNA vaccine for melanoma.
- Early diagnosis has a significant effect on the success of treatment. GVS has a
CT and MRI technology on site for precise diagnosis. Both the CT Scan and MRI allow
visualization of different parts of the body in great detail and contrast. CT is
particularly useful in aiding the diagnosis of nasal disease, middle/inner ear disease,
neurologic disease and certain bone disorders. MRI is utilized to diagnose brain
disorders, spinal cord disease or difficult to diagnose soft tissue injuries.
- Chemotherapy uses combinations of different drugs in the form of pills, injections,
and IV infusions to control the growth of tumors. This method of treatment may be
recommended for cancer that has spread, tumors that occur at more than one site,
tumors that cannot be removed surgically, or for tumors post-operatively. Generally,
animals tolerate chemotherapy better than humans, usually with fewer side effects.
- Surgery remains a common and valuable treatment for benign and malignant cancers.
It is often recommended to remove as much of the tumor as possible, or to explore
an area to evaluate the tumor itself.
- Radiation therapy is the use of a directed and focused beam of radiation to damage
and/or kill cancerous cells in a localized area. It can be used as the sole treatment
or as part of a multimodality treatment course for either local tumor control or
palliative therapy for pain control and relief from symptoms caused by the tumor.
- Biopsies, bone cores, bone marrow aspirates and ultrasound are procedures used to
diagnose and stage the cancer (determine the advancement) to establish the best
course of treatment.
- Currently, GVS is the only facility in Atlanta offering the vaccine for melanoma.
Robin Chisolm-Seymour holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology, and a Bachelor’s
Degree in Psychology, and more than 30 years experience in the mental health field.
She is a member of the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (APLB). Aside from
her genuine interest in helping people, Robin has also experienced both the intense
joys of the much-loved pets that have played a pivotal role in her life, as well
as the deep sadness when they pass on.
How to Participate
Space is limited to allow for optimal comfort and discussion between participants
and the facilitator, thus a weekly reservation is required.
To speak with Robin and make a reservation, please call 770.642.3665 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
To accurately diagnose and treat many medical conditions, veterinarians must be
able to “see” the problem. That’s why GVS has a full-time, board-certified veterinary
radiologist and a dedicated diagnostic imaging (Radiology) department. With a full
range of diagnostic imaging capabilities, including CT and MRI, GVS has the ability
to perform in-depth studies, and to work with your pet’s veterinarian to “see” more
Diagnostic Imaging Services:
- Ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure using sound waves to visualize and examine
many body organs and systems.
- CT and MRI both allow visualization of different parts of the body with great detail.
CT is particularly useful in aiding the diagnosis of nasal disease, middle/inner
ear disease, neurological disease and certain bone disorders. Chest and abdomen
CT examinations are helpful in diagnosing certain problems which are difficult to
diagnose with routine radiology. MRI is used to diagnose brain disorders, spinal
cord disease or for difficult to diagnose soft tissue injuries.
- The use of digital radiography means finer image quality with fewer image retakes.
Clinicians and technicians can adjust the contrast and balance of an image as well
as crop and zoom-in on particular sections, resulting in a shorter wait between
imaging and interpretation.
By combining conventional Western medicine therapies with traditional Eastern medicine
methods, veterinarians who practice Integrative Medicine have a number of tools
for the health and well-being or our pets. Like in human medicine, many people are
seeking the additional options for “whole body” health that Integrative Medicine
offers. GVS is fortunate to have Susan G Wynn, DVM, on staff. She has published
textbooks and lectured worldwide on the subjects of alternative diets, nutraceutical
supplementation, herbal medicine and acupuncture, which she believes are the “alternative
therapies” best supported by scientific evidence. Dr. Wynn is certified by the International
Veterinary Acupuncture Society and a member of the American Herbalist Guild and
certified in Chinese Veterinary Herbal medicine by the Chi Institute.
Specialized Integrative Medicine Services
- Alternative diets, including “raw” diets
- Nutraceutical supplementation
- Herbal medicine