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Telemedicine:  Enhancing veterinary medicine with technology

By EAH Blog

The American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) defines telemedicine as “the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications regarding a patient’s clinical health status.”  Many of you have experienced telemedicine in one form or another by consulting with your own personal physician or your child’s physician.  We as a hospital have decided to offer telemedicine to our clients because we feel that it will enhance your pet’s health and add another option to interact with our doctors.  Our world is continuously becoming more connected via digital communication.  It is important to stress that telemedicine will never be able to replace the gold standard of veterinary care:  the physical exam.  A veterinarian interacting with your pet cannot be exactly replicated with remote care via telemedicine.

 

In order to utilize telemedicine, we required a Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship or VCPR.  We define a VCPR as a hands on physical examination of your pet in the last year.  If this has happened at our hospital, then you are eligible to participate in telemedicine!

 

By using your smartphone (Apple or Android device), you will now be able to interact digitally with our doctors via the Anipanion app.  We recommend that you utilize as many high quality pictures and videos in good light to show our doctors what you are seeing with your own two eyes.  A good history of what the problem is, the duration of the issue, and any relevant changes in diet, environment, or other variables helps us with formulating a plan.  Once the consultation is submitted, one of our doctors will review your request and respond with a diagnosis and recommendation.  In some cases, we may request additional information and even request that your patient is seen in person rather than digitally.  Medications dispensed, if needed, can be picked up at the hospital or even shipped to you via our online pharmacy.  For those owners that prefer to see our doctors during the visit, video conference options are also available but must be scheduled in advance.  This can be done via our client care associates.

 

Our doctors, client care associates, technicians, and assistants will recommend when we think telemedicine may be a good option for your pet.  In the mean time, consider downloading the Anipanion App and setting up your pet for a potential future consult!

https://www.anipanion.com/pet.html

 

Download for iPhone: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/anipanion/id1310254690

Download for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.animantech.anipanion

 

>Register yourself and your pet on the app and you’re ready to submit for a consultation!

 

Finally, it is VERY important to recognize that under no circumstances should any emergency ever be submitted via telemedicine.  Life threatening injuries and disease should always be seen by a veterinary hospital or emergency facility!

 

We are excited to offer this unique service to our clients and patients and look forward to seeing your pet digitally in the near future!

 

Why is my pet’s surgery date being re-scheduled?

By EAH Blog

With the current pandemic, we are changing our protocols in an effort to uphold our oath as veterinarians to promote animal welfare and protect public health. This is an unprecedented time with COVID-19 on the rise and as veterinary professionals, we are making important changes to help protect our pets, clients, and staff. The demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) is far exceeding the current supply available to not only us, but to health care professionals around the world. PPE includes any item that we use to protect our staff, patients, and owners including gloves, masks, and gowns.

At this time, we will be re-scheduling all non-essential surgeries. These include surgeries like spays, neuters, and low-grade routine, preventive dentals on healthy patients. Surgeries that are being re-scheduled for the future are for those patients where quality of life will not be affected by a delay.

As an AAHA accredited hospital, we hold ourselves to high standards. As such, we are not willing to perform surgeries without the supplies that protect your pets. While some hospitals may be still performing elective procedures, please consider they may either be doing it without appropriate PPE in place, or are doing it with a lower regard for the current shortage of supplies that our nation and world is experiencing. Either way, we are not willing to make those concessions. We are conserving our limited supply of PPE for emergency surgeries, procedures that are necessary to improve quality of life of our sick patients, contagious disease patients, patients that present with potential zoonotic diseases that are transmissible to humans, and to help protect our staff during this time. By temporarily postponing non-essential procedures, we are also able to conserve the limited supply for our human health care professionals that are working around the clock to treat humans affected by COVID-19.

If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s surgery being re-scheduled, please do not hesitate to call and talk with your veterinarian. Certainly, exceptions will be made based on the health and well being of your pet, so don’t be afraid to ask if this applies to you. We will work with you to determine a plan that works best for your family and your pet moving forward.

Thank you for your understanding and supporting us in our commitment to keep everyone safe.

-Dr. Cline

How can my pet get care while I keep myself safe? Life admist the COVID-19 crisis.

By EAH Blog

COVID-19 UPDATE

To our Valued Clients,

The health and well-being of your pet is our top priority. As news of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community continues to develop, we are monitoring the situation closely.

Please note our new hours effective immediately during this outbreak:

-Monday through Thursday:  7:30 am to 7:00 pm

-Friday:  7:30 am to 6:00 pm

-Saturday:  7:30 am to 4:00 pm

-Sunday:  Closed (there will be no pickup or drop off for boarding on Sunday)

While the CDC and other health authorities have indicated that dogs, cats, and other domestic animals are not considered at risk for contracting COVID-19, we are taking extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of humans within our facilities— notably our clients and staff. Keeping our practice “hospital-clean” has always been a priority for us, and we continue to do so. Additionally, for the safety of our team and your family, we are monitoring CDC recommendations and will continue to increase our attention to cleaning frequency and methods accordingly.

To our customers:

  • If you are feeling ill or experiencing flu-like symptoms and have an upcoming wellness (not critical) appointment, we kindly ask that you call us to reschedule.

  • Our hospital is operating on a curb side service only.  No clients will be permitted into the building to reinforce the CDC recommendation of social distancing.  Upon arrival at the hospital, please call us at 803-366-1950 to alert us.  A client care associate will check your pet in over the phone, obtain necessary history, and discuss what services your pet needs at our hospital.  A team member will greet your pet at your car.  Dogs will be double leashed with a nylon lead that will be disinfected prior to retrieval and cats or exotic animals must be placed in a carrier to transport.  If your pet is scheduled for a visit with one of our doctors, he or she will perform a thorough exam in the treatment area and then contact you via phone regarding their findings and recommendations.  Upon completion of the visit, we will check you out over the phone and prefer credit card over cash, if possible.

  • If your pet requires urgent care or has a medical emergency, and you are ill, please arrange for a trusted friend, neighbor, or healthy family member to transport your pet to our hospital. If you call ahead, we will gladly accommodate your representative and make appropriate arrangements.

  • If your pet is taking a daily medication, we encourage you to please consider refilling more than a month’s worth to ensure continuity of care.  Our online pharmacy is also an excellent resource to use for medication refills: https://ebenezervets.vetsfirstchoice.com/

  • There is a significant demand for personal protective equipment in human medicine to combat COVID-19.  Because of this, we will be reaching out to delay all non-urgent surgeries until late spring.  Any urgent surgeries will be scheduled as soon as possible.

  • We will be implementing Telemedicine service for our current clients this week.  As long has one of our doctors has physically examined your pet within the last year, we can provide services by telemedicine rather than an in person visit.  This can be used for non life-threatening conditions such as itchy skin, mild ear infections, and mild lameness or limping.  The platform we will be using is called Anipanion and you can find their website for login and access to the application to download on your smart phone at https://www.anipanion.com/pet.html.  We will have more specific instructions on how to access this service via social media and our client care associates.

If your pet requires urgent care or has a medical emergency, the following critical care practice(s) will be assisting our patients:
Carolina Veterinary Specialists Rock Hill:  803-909-8300

760 Addison Ave., Rock Hill, SC 29730

or

Charlotte Animal Referral and Emergency (CARE):  704-457-2300

3726 Latrobe Dr, Charlotte, NC 28211

For more information and health guidance regarding COVID-19, please visit the CDC or WHO websites. For additional questions, please contact us at [email protected] or call us at 803-366-1950.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation. We look forward to seeing you and your pet soon.

Your pet healthcare partners at Ebenezer Animal Hospital

Update from Team EAH on COVID-19

By EAH Blog

To our pet parents and patients,

We are actively monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in the United States and specifically the Carolinas. Currently, there is no evidence that dogs, cats, rabbits, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, or birds can become ill from this virus. If we become aware of contrary evidence, we will update you immediately.

Our hospital already observes strict infectious disease protocols designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 and any other infectious disease that may pose a risk to you or your pet. As an AAHA accredited practice, we are required to operate under rigorous guidelines that help reduce the possibility of infectious disease in our hospital.

If your pet or you exhibit any signs of an infectious respiratory disease, we ask that you call us first to discuss ways that we can safely treat your pet while minimizing the likelihood that you will expose others to infectious disease. A client care associate will be happy to formulate a plan in order to best serve your pet while minimizing unnecessary risk. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, we are more than happy to discuss them by telephone. Please visit the FAQ link below from the American Veterinary Medical Association for more information:

https://www.avma.org/sites/default/files/2020-03/covid-19-faq-pet-owners.pdf

Stay safe and be well, friends.

The doctors and staff of Ebenezer Animal Hospital

Pharmacy changes just around the corner!

By EAH Blog

Hello, and Happy Holidays!

As valued Ebenezer Animal Hospital clients, we wanted to let you all know of a small change that will be taking place effective January 1st, 2020 regarding filling prescriptions through commercial online pharmacies (Chewy, 1800PetMeds, PetCareRx, Allivet, etc).

We have struggled for years with receiving clear, concise communication from most online pharmacies. Often they tell our clients one thing, but our hospital team another. This interruption in communication is damaging to our clients as well as our hospital. In addition, not all online pharmacies are providing products guaranteed by the manufacturer, and far too often counterfeit medications are being sold as the real thing. We have no control over where the online pharmacies source their medications, and sometimes they are obtained from second-hand sources.

In an effort to ensure our clients and patients are protected, and so that we can ensure communication is clear and complete, we have elected to prescribe all requested prescriptions through our own Ebenezer Animal Hospital ship-to-home online pharmacy. Our EAH online pharmacy will ship medications directly to your home, typically with little to no shipping charges, just as the other online sources will. But we can control and guarantee that they are authentic medications, and that communication is clear.

Going forward, when we receive a fax or call from a commercial online pharmacy requesting a refillable prescription, we will send you an email directing you to our EAH online pharmacy, where the product will be sitting in your online cart. Once processed, the item will be shipped directly to your home. Auto-ship is also available if it is a medication your pet takes regularly.

If, despite our recommendations, you would still like to receive your medication from another commercial online pharmacy, please call our hospital and let us know. In that case, you will need to come to the hospital during normal business hours to pick up the prescription, or in some cases a prescription may be able to be emailed to you. You may then personally submit it to the pharmacy and make all necessary arrangements.

While we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, we feel it is the very best decision for our clients, patients and our hospital.

Please reference the Q&As below for more information, and feel free to reach out if you have questions.

Best-

The doctors and staff of Ebenezer Animal Hospital

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 Why are you no longer authorizing prescription requests from third parties?

Our #1 priority is getting you safe and effective medication from a trusted and guaranteed source. With online pharmacies other than our own, we are not able to guarantee their safety and quality, especially when the request is sent to us via phone or fax.

 What is the benefit of using your online pharmacy?

We have the highest level of security and accreditation to ensure your information is protected and your prescription medications are safe. By ordering through us, we can integrate with your pet’s medical record and better maintain their preventative care. We are also pleased to offer free shipping on medications and supplies, instant rebates and coupons, AutoShip convenience, refill reminders, and so much more. When you buy through us, you are supporting a local business!

 If I don’t obtain a written prescription, will I get charged for my original order?

No, pharmacies cannot charge you until the prescription has been approved by your veterinarian. If we do not authorize this request, your order will most likely be canceled. You may see a hold or pending charge on your credit card in the meantime.

 I would still prefer to proceed with my original order. What do I do?

Please call us at so we can prepare a written script. You can then pick it up at the clinic during our business hours.

So many options out there… what should I feed my dog?

By EAH Blog

What should I feed my dog?

That is a question that every veterinarian receives on a daily basis and may be difficult to answer.  Nutrition is complex and must take into account patient size, species, life stage and any concurrent systemic and metabolic needs. There are, however, guidelines that can be followed.

  • When evaluating food brands, look for ones that meets AAFCO standards. The AAFCO Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food Labeling Guide was developed in collaboration with feed control officials from different states. The labeling guide provides information on the AAFCO Model Regulations for Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food as well as a uniform and consistent way of looking at claims on pet food labels. AAFCO does not regulate, test, approve or certify pet foods in any way. AAFCO establishes the nutritional standards for complete and balanced pet foods, and it is the pet food company’s responsibility to formulate their products according to the appropriate AAFCO standard.
  • Follow WSAVA feeding guidelines: WSAVA stands for World Small Animal Veterinary Association. WSAVA is a global community of more than 200,000 veterinarians worldwide drawn from our 105 member associations that includes board certified nutritionists. Attached are feeding guidelines that are provided by WSAVA. Also review WSAVA’s guide to learning about nutrition on the internet.
  • The large food companies; Purina, Hills, Eukanuba and Royal Canin not only meet AAFCO guidelines but have the resources to run food trials with large sample of dogs and employee veterinary nutritionists on their staff to help formulate their diets to be nutritionally complete and balanced.

These are some basic guidelines. As always if you have questions, please schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians and have a conversation about what food may be best for your dog.

Dr. Maria Belu
Ebenezer Animal Hospital

Exciting news from Team EAH!

By EAH Blog

Dear Ebenezer Animal Hospital Family –

We have exciting news! Dr. Jay Hreiz is opening a second animal hospital in nearby Charlotte!

Queen City Animal Hospital will open in the historic Belmont neighborhood in June of 2019. Situated between the growing Charlotte neighborhoods of Plaza Midwood, NODA, Villa Heights, and Optimist Park, QCAH will extend the high quality pet healthcare offered at Ebenezer Animal Hospital to pet owners 27 miles northeast of Rock Hill. The same team that has successfully run Ebenezer Animal Hospital for the last six years will provide the leadership at EAH’s new sister hospital. Dr. Jay Hreiz is the owner of Queen City Animal Hospital and April Splawn is the managing director of QCAH. The new hospital is located in a renovated grocery store from the 1930’s and shares the intersection of Belmont Ave. and Harrill St. with Siggy’s Good Food and Sweet Lew’s Barbeque. The high quality medicine, diagnostic equipment, and services provided at EAH will also be available at QCAH.

Drs. Hreiz, Stephens, and Cline will begin splitting their time between the two hospitals in June. We encourage pet owners in Charlotte to map out the distance to our new hospital located at 920 Belmont Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205 to determine if the distance is closer. Transferring your pet’s medical records from EAH to QCAH or vice versa will be a very simple process that we will be happy to initiate for you. QCAH will be open initially from Monday through Friday 8 am to 6 pm. We are excited to offer this new option to pet owners in the Charlotte and Rock Hill area as we expand our foot print, paw print, and claw print to your family members! Please follow us on social media (Facebook and Instagram) and visit our website at www.queencityanimalhospital.com for information on our new location. We will begin scheduling appointments in mid May for a projected opening date of June 17, 2019.

Whether you are closer to EAH or QCAH, we hope to see you and your pets soon!

– The doctors and staff of Ebenezer Animal Hospital

AAHA Accreditation and why it matters!

By EAH Blog

Why AAHA accreditation matters

Pet owners choose the American Animal Hospital Association.

We have recently gone through the lengthy process to become AAHA accredited, and are so excited to share this news with you! But why is AAHA accreditation important? What does it really mean for you and your pets?

The American Animal Hospital Association is the only organization to accredit companion animal veterinary hospitals in the US and Canada. Nearly 60 percent of pet owners believe their veterinary hospital is accredited when it is not. In actuality, only 12-15% of veterinary hospitals in the United States and Canada are accredited by AAHA. Unlike human hospitals, not all animal hospitals are required to be accredited. 

What does accreditation mean? It means Ebenezer Animal Hospital holds itself to a higher standard, and that your pet is receiving care at a hospital that has passed the highest standards in veterinary care. AAHA sends consultants to AAHA-accredited veterinary hospitals every three years to evaluate hospitals on their adherence to the AAHA Standards of Accreditation. AAHA consultants evaluate hospitals on approximately 900 different standards of veterinary care.

Accreditation by AAHA is the only way to know a veterinary practice is operating at the highest standards of excellence in animal care. Pet owners gain peace of mind when they choose an accredited practice, because they know their AAHA-accredited hospital has passed the highest standards of veterinary care.

Holiday Travel Tips!

By EAH Blog

Holiday Travel Tips

Sponsored by Vetoquinol USA

Holiday travel can be tough. From weather delays and security lines to hours of traffic on the interstate, getting to your family is a battle. If you’re one of the lucky ones who’s four-legged friend makes the trek with you, here are some tips to make traveling with your pet easier.

Before traveling:
• Make sure your pet is up to date on any vaccines and current on flea and tick medicine.
• Visit with your veterinarian and ask about calming supplements, like Zylkene®, to help your pet cope with the stress of travel.

Traveling by plane:
• Flying is best for cats and small dogs that can fit under the seat in front of you. Larger dogs must be stowed in the cargo hold during the flight – this can be frightening for your pet and it come with risks.
• Each airline will have their own pet requirements – research these before booking your flight. If possible, book a direct flight.
• Visit your veterinarian and obtain a health certificate date within 10 days of your trip.

Traveling by car:
• While you might love cruising down the open road, some pets may experience car sickness. Talk to your veterinarian about solutions to car sickness.
• First time driving with your pet? Get your pet acclimated to the car with smaller trips in the weeks leading up to your big drive.
• Small dogs and cats should be kept in a carrier in the back seat. If your pet doesn’t like traveling via carrier, make sure they are secured in the back seat with a seatbelt harness.
• Pack a bag for your pet! Make sure to bring food, water, a favorite toy, poop bags, a blanket or pillow and any medication. On road trip day, give your pet a small meal 3-4 hours before departure.
• Stop frequently for exercise and potty breaks.
• Don’t leave your pet alone in a closed car.

There are a lot of new and unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells when you travel. If your pet does not cope well with changes to their environment, it may be best to leave them at a boarding facility or with a pet sitter.

Reducing stress during your pet’s visit to the veterinarian!

By EAH Blog

Despite our best efforts, a trip to the veterinarian can be a stressful event in your pet’s life.  There are foreign smells, people, and sounds abound.  Certain pets are indifferent about most events in life.  A trip to the veterinarian is just another chance to interact with people and is not stressful at all.  A portion of our patients, however, have major stress during their visit that can not only endanger the patient (your pet), but can also endanger you (the owner) and us (the hospital).

Stressful visits have their root in anxiety.  Pets who are anxious will react in a manner that is unpredictable.  Our staff has been trained to recognize these signs.  They can be as obvious as vocalization (violent barking or hissing) to very subtle signs such as ear position.  As your pet’s health care provider, it is our goal to make your pet less anxious, and therefore less stressed, during their visit.  We utilize techniques such as relaxing pheromones (odors released by animals when they are calm), towels for your smaller pets to rest on, and treats to establish trust and reward.

We encourage you to take the first step if you suspect your pet may have a stressful visit to the veterinarian.  A week before his or her appointment, request a prescription from us that will provide anxiety reduction and thus make the appointment smooth and uneventful.  Anti-anxiety medications are generally very safe and when used appropriately have little to no impact on your pet’s internal organ function.  We suggest giving these medications at least 2 hours prior to the visit.  The reason for this window is because that once a pet suspects a stressful event may be coming, the effect of the medication is reduced.  We will generally have a range of doses to use since every dog and cat metabolizes a medication differently.

Even with our best efforts, there are certain pets that cannot be relaxed at the veterinarian.  For those pets, we do have the option to sedate your pet with gas anesthesia or chemical sedation given through the veins or muscle.  These medications can be rapidly reversed and your pet will be back to normal by the night of the visit or the following morning.

Take time to think about whether your pet may benefit from stress reduction at his or her next visit.  If you think this would be helpful, give us a call!