Dr. Elizabeth Thompson decided she wanted to be a veterinarian in 2nd grade after watching an episode of “Emergency Vets” on Animal Planet. She says, “I knew then that vet med would be the best way to impact the lives of both humans and animals alike due to the critical impact animals have on human quality of life.” Years later, Dr. Thompson graduated Suma Cum Laude as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University. Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, Dr. Thompson moved to North Carolina in 2014 for her surgical residency at North Carolina State University. She is trained in all areas of surgery, including small animal soft tissue, orthopedic and neurologic. She has additional training in wound management techniques and minimal invasive surgical techniques.
A hydrolyzed diet is a diet in which the proteins have been broken down into their individual amino acids in order to reduce the risk of stimulating food allergies and other immune-mediated diseases. It is usually only available via prescription and should not be supplemented with table scraps or treats. Transcript: "So the question is, what is a hydrolyzed diet? Basically, that's a diet in which the proteins in that diet have been hydrolyzed or broken down into their individual amino acids. The reason why that can be important is that the immune system often recognizes the proteins in a diet and that's what stimulates a lot of food allergies in pets. So if your pet is suffering from a food allergy, your veterinarian might recommend a hydrolyzed diet so that they are not as stimulated to that. The really important thing to understand is that when you're utilizing any prescription diet, if you give your pet anything outside of that diet, table scraps, treats, things of that nature, you're completely negating the purpose of that. So hydrolyzed diets are good for skin allergies or patients that have other sort of immune mediated disease processes of the GI tract like inflammatory bowel disease. So that would be a really great option. Typically, those are via prescription only so you'd have to chat with your family veterinarian about getting something like that."
Removal of the gallbladder is fairly straightforward, however potential complications such as bleeding, bile leakage, and pancreatitis can occur. If your pet is very sick or has underlying medical conditions, the risks may be higher. It is best to speak to a boarded veterinary surgeon to determine the risks for your specific dog. Transcript: "The question is, is it safe to have my dog's gallbladder removed? And the answer to that somewhat depends on your dog's overall health and stability. Dogs that need their gallbladder removed most often need that done because of something called a gallbladder mucose seal. The gallbladder stores bile, which should be a thin fluid, but if the inner lining of the gallbladder becomes infected or inflamed, that thin fluid can become a thick gelatinous or jelly-like substance that blocks the flow of bile, creating an obstruction, and that can cause distention of the gallbladder and ultimately a fatal complication of gallbladder rupture. If the gallbladder mucose seal is found in its very early stages and your dog is otherwise very healthy, then removal of the gallbladder is fairly straightforward. Potential complications would be bleeding, bile leakage from the duct that is cut during the surgery, pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas, and that can lead to nausea, vomiting, regurgitation, and a prolonged hospitalization stay, and then overall risks just of anesthesia and infection. But a gallbladder removal is something that we do very frequently. If your pet is very sick because the gallbladder has ruptured or the bile duct is diseased or your dog has underlying kidney disease, heart disease, liver disease, things that will predispose them to anesthetic complications, then the risks can be much higher. So you want to talk about your specific dog with a boarded veterinary surgeon to figure out how significant those risks are for your pet and the things that you want to consider in making the decision in whether or not to move forward with that surgery."
The best advice I've ever received was from my dad to "do what you say you're going to do when you say you're going to do it". This has helped me build up faith in myself and become more dependable, something that is important for both personal success and relationships. Transcript: "The question is, what is the best advice you've ever received? And mine's pretty simple, came from my dad when I was very young. And he said, do what you say you're going to do when you say you're going to do it. And I've really lived by that my whole life. And it is a lesson about being dependable, not only to other people, but also having faith in yourself. If you're consistently the type of person that sets goals, makes a plan, and then you fulfill that plan, no matter how many steps it takes, then you really build up faith in yourself and more confidence. And that helps you to extend your goals and to really make progress. But also the people around you find you dependable. They know they can count on you. And that's extremely important. And I really kind of value that and attest to that in my success in life."
To help prevent your dog from having another ACL injury, you should stabilize the knee if it is injured and keep your dog at a lean body weight. Additionally, understanding that the anatomy of their knee predisposes them to ACL tears is important. Transcript: "The question is, is there anything that we can do to help prevent our dog from having another ACL injury? And there are some things you can do to decrease the risk. It's just important to understand that unlike in people where the ACL tear is primarily because of a trauma related incident, in dogs most of the time it is because the anatomy of their knee predisposes them to an ACL tear. Because of that, anatomy is symmetrical, meaning both hind limbs have a knee. Both of those knees are equally predisposed to tearing. And so about 60% of dogs that tear their ACL on one knee go on to tear the ACL in the other knee at some point in their lives. The only things you can really do to decrease that risk are, number one, if your dog tears an ACL on one side, surgically stabilize that knee so that they go back to bearing equal weight on both legs. Because if they're limping, then not only are they not putting weight on their injured leg, they're overloading their healthy leg, thus increasing the risk of an ACL tear on that side. And then additionally, the other thing you can do is to decrease the dietary intake and keep your dog at a lean body weight. So stabilizing the knee if injured can help prevent it from tearing on the other side and keeping your dog at a lean body weight. Both can decrease the risk, but ultimately in dogs this is an anatomy-based injury and so unfortunately it's quite common to tear it on the other leg at some point in their lives."
Whether or not your dog with cancer can still go to the dog park depends on the type of cancer and how it affects them. If they are comfortable and have a quality of life that allows them to enjoy the park, then there is no reason why they should not go. However, if their cancer affects their bone or other organ and makes them uncomfortable or less mobile, then going to the park may be too much for them. Transcript: "The question is, can my dog with cancer still go to the dog park? Well, the first part of that answer depends on the type of cancer and how your dog is affected by it, because really it's all just about the comfort of your dog. So if your dog is comfortable and still has a quality of life that allows them to be able to enjoy the dog park, then absolutely. Cancer is not something that's transmitted from one dog to another, and it's not going to worsen with them enjoying themselves at the park. But if it's a type of cancer that affects the bone or another organ in which their dog is ill or uncomfortable, then taking them to the dog park might push them to a position where they are painful or less mobile the following day. So it's just an assessment of their comfort and mobility, and whether or not going to the dog park is actually contributing to their quality of life."
To avoid hip injuries in dogs, make sure they are at a lean body weight and get regular exercise. Additionally, using joint supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and Omega 3 fatty acids can help to reduce inflammation and support the joints. Talk to your family veterinarian for more information. Transcript: "This question is a really great one because it's a pretty common thing. How can we avoid hip injuries in dogs? And the first part of that is whether or not your dog is specifically predisposed to hip injuries because of congenital hip dysplasia, where there are abnormalities of that ball and socket joint from birth. Finding out whether or not your dog has hip dysplasia is the first step. That's something your family veterinarian may be able to help you with by a physical exam and x-rays. And that tells you if the ball and socket joint of that hip is loose or abnormal, which predisposes to inflammation and arthritis over time. Whether or not your dog has hip dysplasia, the best things you can do are to, number one, keep them at a lean body weight. That is the most important thing you can do for any orthopedic disease long-term. Keeping them fit. Exercise is best with flat-line consistent activity. So long leash walks, leash walks in the sand or uphill. That can really increase the gluteal muscles and help support those hips. And then you can use various joint supplements to help support the joints, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, or my favorite, which is omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. They support the joints, but they also have positive side effects on skin and coat. You can find them over the counter. But the important thing about those is that dogs primarily digest omega-3s, not 3s, 6s and other things that are in over-the-counter fish oils. So using a veterinary-related product is going to be best, and those come in either capsules or pump bottle fish oil. Other things that you can do is chat with your family veterinarian about this. It's a big topic online."