Thursday, September 8, 2016

Alphabet Soup at the Veterinary Hospital: What do all those letters mean?

Some people have asked about all the letters after the names of some of our doctors, so we thought we would clear up some of the confusion about what they mean.

DVM/VMD - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine/Veterinary Medical Doctor - Veterinarians who have completed 4 years of veterinary coursework at an AVMA accredited university and have passed a licensing examination called the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE) are awarded this title. Only one college in the US awards a VMD - the University of Pennsylvania - because the Veterinary Medical School there is one of the oldest in the US and arose out of the medical school at that institution. This is also why dentists that graduate from that school are designated as DMD, not the more common DDS.
Dr. Bailey is a Diplomate of the AMareican Board of Veterinary Practitioners, Feline Specialty

DABVP (Feline) - Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (Feline Specialty) - Veterinarians who have made a choice to undergo a rigorous process of additional studies, residency,  and a challenging examination are then awarded the designation of board certified specialist recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). This process takes a minimum of three years to complete, and there are 41 distinct specialties recognized through the American Board of Veterinary Specialists.

Dr. Demos has a BVMS from Murdoch University in Australia

BVMS HonsBSc - Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, Honors level courses. The BVMS designation (and other variations) is considered to be equivalent to DVM/VMD degrees, and is awarded in the UK and Australia. It is a degree that is 100% transferable to the US in terms of licensure if the college that awards the BVMS is AVMA accredited.The Honors designation refers to the fact that the student was held to higher standards than the average student, often requiring the production and presentation of a high-quality research thesis, which may or may not be published in a scholarly journal.

For our technical staff, there are some other designations you may see:

LVT, CVT, RVT - Licensed Veterinary Technician, Certified Veterinary Technician, Registered Veterinary Technician, respectively. These designations indicate that a professional has received a 2-4 year degree from an AVMA accredited program and passed both state and national licensing examinations. Those who attend a 2 year program are referred to as veterinary technicians, and those who attend a 4 year program are referred to as veterinary technologists.

VTS - Veterinary Technician Specialty - similar in nature to the DABVP specialties available for veterinarians. Technicians must complete additional studies, provide references, write scholarly articles or case studies, and pass a rigorous examination to achieve this designation. There are 13 specialties that technicians can pursue. There is not currently a feline specialty.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Meet our September Cat of the Month: Marley!


 Age: 16 months
Breed: Snowshoe 
Gender: Neutered Male 
Demeanor at the vet: Sweet, maybe a little timid
Last checkup - August 27th: Healthy young adult cat!

Marley is a very energetic, very friendly & snuggly cat! He loves playing & wrestling with his sister Maggy, a small Mountain Tree Feist dog. 

He also loves to play fetch with his toys, and plays with the water in his water fountain. 

Here is a photo of Marley as a 6 month old kitten. So cute!

Notice how his coat has darkened over time. It is very common for cats with colorpoint coats like Siamese, Ragdolls, Himalayans and Snowshoes to experience coat color changes due to changes in their body temperature and the temperature of the environment. The gene that helps create colorpoint coats is a gene that controls temperature-dependent albinism. The cooler the body temperature on average, the darker the coat color, because the albino gene is only turned on by warm temperatures. When the temperature reaches a certain level, the albino gene turns on, which turns OFF the color genes. Ears, face, tail and limbs are cooler than the trunk of the body, so that is where the color genes are allowed to be expressed.

Cats of these breeds that run fevers while they are ill may develop a ticked or spotty mask because the facial hairs that grow in during the fever will be whitish in color in contrast to the darker hairs that grew while the cat was not running a fever. Additionally, these breeds may develop very dark patches over the kidneys as they age, as the kidneys have many blood vessels that circulate while they are healthy. As the cat ages and blood flow in the kidneys may not be as strong, the areas over the kidneys can become darker-furred. Colorpoint breeds that live in northern climes where the winters are colder will develop darker coats than cats of the same breed that live in the south. These cats may even become darker and lighter with the seasons, if they have access to the outdoors.

If you are interested in genetics, read on for further information on the case of the color changing cats:

Messybeast: Colorpoint and Masked Cats

Siamese Cats are Walking Heat Maps

Siamese Cat Genetics

Wikipedia Article on Point Coloration in Various Species