Category Archives: Uncategorized

Flea, Tick & Heartworm Preventives

Warm weather is here, if you’ve taken a break from flea, tick & heartworm preventives, it’s time to start again!
Ticks are second only to mosquitoes in the number of diseases they transmit & it can take just 4 hours for a tick to transmit disease to your pet.  Signs of tick-borne disease are difficult to recognize in both pets and people.
Heartworms are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. A heartworm infection is difficult to treat in dogs, and there’s no approved treatment for cats.  While we always recommend year round prevention, especially with the other benefits of intestinal parasite prevention the heartworm preventatives have, If you stopped giving heartworm preventative last fall, now is the time to have your dog tested and restarted on the medication.
Tick-borne & heartworm diseases are preventable, simple preventive measures are key.  We anticipate this season to be particularly bad with the mild winter we had.  Remember that there is a very safe and effective vaccination in dogs for lyme disease which should especially be considered in high tick areas. If you have any questions regarding flea and tick preventative, or your options for heartworm preventative, please don’t hesitate to stop in or give us a call!

Surgery Patient of the Month – August – Limb Sparing and Amputation for Osteosarcoma


Scooby is our Surgery Patient for the month of August!

Meet Scooby, the gentle giant! Scooby, a 7-year-old Great Dane, initially was presented to West Hills Animal Hospital in mid-January for right forelimb lameness. Radiographs were obtained, revealing a lesion in his radius, concerning for a primary bone tumor. A week later Scooby was evaluated by the surgery service and a biopsy of the bone was performed to obtain a definitive diagnosis. Results showed osteosarcoma, the most common type of primary bone cancer, seen in dogs.

The recommended therapy following diagnosis of osteosarcoma is amputation of the affected limb followed by chemotherapy. Amputation serves to control the disease locally, as well as relieve the patient from the source of pain. An alternative option is a procedure called a “limb-spare,” where the affected portion of bone is removed and replaced with an implant and a large metal plate. Unfortunately, limb-spare surgery carries the risk of many possible post-operative complications compared to amputation surgery. 

Scooby’s owners elected to pursue the “limb spare” surgery and additional testing confirmed that he was an ideal candidate for this procedure. Surgery was performed by Dr. Hirshenson, our board certified surgeon, who is one of a small number of veterinarians in the world trained in this complicated procedure. He then started chemotherapy as previously recommended.
Unfortunately Scooby experienced some of the more common complications associated with limb-spare surgery including an infection associated with his metallic surgical implants, requiring long-term administration of antibiotics, and ringworm, a fungal infection, along his skin. These setbacks caused several delays in his planned chemotherapy treatments. However, Scooby handled all the vet visits with his typical patience and gentle demeanor.

Unfortunately, in July (5 months after the initial “limb spare” surgery), Scooby‘s lameness returned and radiographs showed tumor growth in the ulna (the bone next to the previously affected radius). Given the discomfort this lesion was causing, an amputation of Scooby’s right forelimb was recommended. He underwent this surgery the following day and in typical “Scooby fashion”, never looked back!

Now, Scooby is hopping around on 3 legs and continues to be admired by all who know him. He is still undergoing chemotherapy, but is taking everything in stride and is comfortable and happy. Scooby holds a special place in our hearts here at West Hills and he continues to impress us all!