We offer a full range of services to help you care for your best friend. We are pleased to offer Complementary and Alternative medicine for pets, including acupucture!
     Preventative Medicine      Compassionate Care
Preventative Medicine

Preventative medicine is the cornerstone of our practice. It's always better to identify potential illness early before an advanced state is reached, when more treatment options are available and there is greater hope of arresting the progression or reversing the process.

Routine testing saves lives. Every animal needs an annual physical exam. Older animals--or those with chronic illness--can be seen more frequently. Aging can cause organ functions to decline. Medication and nutrition can give your pet quality of life. Problems can often be identified before serious illness develops. Preventative medicine helps pets live longer, healthier lives.

Spaying and neutering help keep your pet healthy and happy. Besides preventing unwanted litters, spaying reduces the risk of breast cancer later in life, and eliminates the risk of ovarian cancer and life-threatening uterine infections. The best timing of this procedure is dependent on individual factors and will be discussed during the examination.

Neutering males reduces roaming, inter-dog or cat aggressiveness, and behavioral problems such as urine marking. It reduces the risk of prostate problems, and eliminates the risk of testicular cancer. This procedure can be done at 6 months of age.

We don't cut corners. For all surgeries we use a combination of anesthesetic agents best suited for each individual patient, pulse oximetry monitoring (the same standard as in human medicine), and we pay attention to pain management. Spays stay in the hospital two days after the procedure, neuters one day so we can make sure your pet is well on its way to a full recovery.

Nutritional counseling helps you optimize your pet's health. Obesity is a growing problem with pets and we can show you how to avoid or treat it. Diet is an often-overlooked contributor to many health problems, from skin issues, allergies, gastrointestinal problems and even, in some cases, seizures. Specialized diets are available to treat many medical conditions, and we can advise you on these. We are also happy to advise you on preparing healthy, home-cooked meals for your pet.

Dental scaling is an important aspect of our preventive health plan. Most animals over 2-3 years of age have accumulated significant tartar and can benefit from dental prophylaxis. The brown or green discoloration you see on your pet's teeth is 90% bacteria, and can lead to a serious condition where bacteria gets into the bloodstream, or cause infections in other organs such as the heart or kidneys. Gingivitis ("red gums") is the leading cause of tooth loss in animals.

Early intervention and diligent home care can reverse gingivitis; in more advanced cases it can prevent further tooth loss. We perform dental prophylaxis under general anesthesia, including both ultrasonic and hand scaling, thorough dental examination for cavities and pockets, polishing of the teeth and apply a barrier sealant, Oravet®. Oravet® functions to keep plaque bacteria from getting below the gumline. Weekly applications have been shown experimentally to be equivalent to brushing daily in preventing tartar buildup. An 8 week kit is included with all dental prophylaxes performed. We want to work with you to maintain your pet's good dental health (and fresh breath!).

Behavioral counseling is an essential part of routine care. Pets need training so that they can be an asset to your family. Puppies benefit from obedience training--it builds the bond between you and your dog, as well as teaching what you expect in terms of behavior. Exercise and mental stimulation are other important factors in avoiding behavioral issues and maximizing the well-being of your pet.

We recommend the Northern Virginia Dog Training Association (contact Cheryl Pratt at 703-960-2868 for schedules), a nonprofit organization. Group classes meet indoors and use positive training methods. Fairfax County also runs obedience classes, as do many independent schools. We suggest that you investigate a school's philosophy before enrolling your dog. Dr. Owel and Dr. Miller will be glad to help you decide whether or not a trainer is a good fit for you and your dog.

Undesirable behaviors are best handled as soon as possible. We can help you develop a plan to modify your pet's behavior. Pets should add pleasure to our lives--you don't have to "live with" problem behavior.

Compassionate Care

Our state-of-the-art laboratory offers on-site blood testing for serious illnesses such as heartworm disease, feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus. This allows us to have the results within minutes, minimizing your anxiety and waiting time. We also use sophisticated blood analyzers to do complete blood counts and chemistry panels. This lets us evaluate the blood system and organ function quickly, without the need to send all samples to an outside laboratory for critical patients. Urine samples can be examined in-house as well. Some tests still need to be sent to the laboratory, but in most cases the results are available the next day.

We take our own Xrays, and we can arrange for a mobile
ultrasonographer to perform chest or abdominal sonograms at our facility. In some challenging cases, we may recommend having these performed by a local specialist for best results. These non-invasive tests vastly increase our knowledge of many disorders.

We offer boarding for pets of all sizes. Cats and small-to-medium sized dogs are housed in stainless steel cages with open-barred fronts. Large dogs are kept in concrete-floored runs with concrete dividers and chain-link fronts. Pets are fed once a day (unless you request otherwise) and provided with fresh water at all times. Dogs are walked at least three to four times daily and everyone gets a sanitized cage and clean bedding every day (more frequently if needed). Our kennel staff showers loving attention on our boarders and informs the medical staff of any signs of illness.

We offer baths, regular and medicated, both for boarding pets and non-boarders, dips are available for certain skin problems, and we are happy to advise you on flea and tick control. We offer nail trimming and anal gland care. For your other grooming needs, we recommend Pretty Pets or Bark Avenue Pet Spa.

We stress pain management. Animals, like people, feel pain after surgery. Unlike people, they can't tell us when they hurt, so we anticipate procedures that are painful and use a variety of safe and effective medications to make sure your pet is comfortable. Each plan is tailored to the individual situation, so please feel free to discuss your pet's pain management with us.

In our extensive pharmacy we can fill the vast of the medications we prescribe - or we're happy to write you a prescription to take to a pharmacy of your choice. We can also have the medication compounded into a form which is easier-to-give (i.e., flavored liquids, transdermal gels, or different strength capsules than are commercially available). We know that giving pets medication is sometimes challenging, so talk to us about the options if you're anticipating difficulty.

When surgery is necessary, we perform a variety of soft-tissue procedures using the safest anesthesic methods available today and monitoring every patient with a pulse oximeter (a sensitive device that detects the oxygen saturation of the blood - an important indicator of the depth of anesthesia) standard in human hospitals! Every animal also has a human monitor - a veterinary assistant - to assess its progress. Teamwork ensures that your pet is well cared for at each step of the way.

Home - All About Us - Services - Alternative Medicine - Newsletter
News and Updates - Patient Gallery - Wildlife Gallery
Petlover's Library - Links - Contact Us