Veterinary Park Potomac

Your pet’s needs are as individual as yours.

Article by Marie Robey Wood

Photography by Ryan Corvello

Originally published in Potomac Lifestyle

The team at Veterinary Park Potomac (VPP), which includes owner and veterinarian Katie Malehorn —“Dr. Katie” —and veterinarian Mariana Fonseca —“Dr. Mari”— view their work as providing an in-depth experience for all the pets they see. The goal of their practice is comprehensive care, including preventive and early detection. “We want to stay ahead of your pet’s health to make sure you’re setting them up for a life of success and comfort.” In addition, their philosophy is built around “fear-free” exams, which provide a peaceful and calm environment so that owner and pet alike will enjoy coming to their appointment.

Almost anything a pet needs during an appointment can be found in the hospital’s treatment area. It includes a full in-house lab and state-of-the-art digital radiology capabilities. They also offer dental cleanings with dental x-rays and a full surgery suite for spay, neuters, mass removals, and more.

The health inclinations of different dog breeds are also considered during a pet’s visit. Below are several examples:

Dr. Katie with Simba, a 5-year-old Yorkie, and Dr. Mari with Minnie, a 4-year-old Chihuahua.

Both dogs pictured are small breed dogs, which makes them very prone to periodontal disease. The VPP team advises their owners on the importance of annual preventive dental cleanings with X-rays as well as daily brushing.
Yorkie mixes are also prone to gastro-intestinal diseases so early testing is recommended as well as annual fecal exams. Preventive medicines to guard against flea, tick, and heartworm infections are strongly encouraged.

Dixie, a 9-year-old cattle dog, with Hope, one of VPP’s beloved Veterinary Assistants

Dixie, a cattle dog, is part of a breed used for herding, usually sheep, and accustomed to running in the fields non-stop. These pets can exhibit behavioral issues if they’re not stimulated enough, so the VPP team discusses ways that owners can provide mental enrichment. Cattle dogs are also inclined to contract skin diseases. Once again, the best defense against fleas, ticks, mites, and ringworm disease is preventive care. Many older dogs have muscular skeletal issues due to the level of activity they exert daily. X-rays in the radiology department at VPP are one way the doctors can diagnose arthritis and advise appropriate pain management.

Chunk, a 5-month-old Pocket American Bulldog.

The American Bully is the type of dog veterinarians call “brachycephalic,” meaning they have skull bones that are shorter in length than other breeds, giving the face and nose a pushed-in appearance. American Bullies, Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus, and even Persian cats can suffer from this syndrome, making them susceptible to airway and respiratory diseases. Therefore, they should not be outside on hot days due to the danger of overheating. Dr. Mari advises all her clients to have their dogs, not just American Bullies, immunized with the influenza vaccine to help prevent respiratory diseases.

Xella, a 1.5-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier, with Keirsten, Receptionist 

American Staffordshire Terriers have a predisposition for skin diseases and allergies. The VPP team discusses with their owners how best to prevent fleas, ticks, mites, and ringworm diseases. A “total game changer” in the health of this breed are annual preventive medicines they recommend. Much of the discussion will center on managing the dog’s itching and determining its root cause.

Simba the Cat, a 1.5-year-old Domestics Shorthair Feline, held by Roxanne, Veterinary Assistant

Twenty-five percent of cats are considered indoor cats, but whether indoor or outdoor, both are prone to heartworm diseases. Owners need to make sure that they have protection against infectious diseases, which can be the result of mosquitoes, heartworms, or even fleas. A lean body weight is ideal, especially for cats who spend most of their time lounging indoors.

To contact Veterinary Park Potomac email or call 240.728.2550.

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