Archive for February, 2012

Cryosurgery, tumor freezing, was performed on a large cutaneous mass on a six years old male dog. The location, near the knee, and size of the mass might have caused incision healing problems if approached by routine surgical excision, therefore cryosurgery was chosen for this patient. The procedure was done as an outpatient in our facility with the owner present. The mass was injected with local anesthetic before the freezing. Using a cryo-spray attached to a cryo-chamber the mass was frozen two times using a quick freeze an a slow thaw approach. The patient experienced no discomfort at all. The prognosis for the patient is considered good, and the mass should regress within the coming weeks.
Please call our office if you have any question regarding cryosurgery or any other procedure for your pet. Gentle vet Animal Hospital: 954-972-5900.


Cryosurgery is the surgical use of freezing in the treatment of certain skin diseases. It is mainly used for the treatment of certain skin cancers. In my facility:  I use this less invasive surgical procedure for certain patients that would benefit from it. The advantages of the procedure resides mainly in the fact that it doesn’t require general anesthesia. This is especially important with high anesthetic risk patients. The procedure is done as an outpatient procedure, and usually the patient is out of the office within half an hour. For larger lesions local anesthetic is used, for very small lesions, usually there is no need for it. Like anything else in medicine, the procedure can have its down sides. Mainly, it might take a few weeks for a lesion to regress and heal, and some lesions may require a follow up treatment. Another possible down side, is the fact that as the lesion responds to treatment, the area may look inflamed, or reactive, or sometimes in very large lesions it may look necrotic. Every effort is made to avoid as much as possible damage to normal surrounding tissues, but occasionally this may happen. Usually a biopsy of the lesion will be done before the freezing.

In conclusion, Cryosurgery is a valuable tool, and gives an additional treatment modality for our pets.
Please do not hesitate contacting our office at: 954-972-5900 with any questions you might have.
Dr. Ehud Sela
Phone: 954-972-5900

Heartworm disease in cats is emerging as a significant cause of serious and possibly fatal disease. For many years the disease wasn’t considered an important disease in cats, but things are changing rapidly. Cats can become severely ill with even a very low worm count. In the dog, the disease has very well known symptoms, in cats on the other hand, the symptoms can be very wide in range. A cat can suffer a sudden death, being apparently normal just prior, or show respiratory signs, such as: coughing, labored breathing, and panting. A cat might have also signs of vomiting, or present with lethargy, and lack of appetite. It is now recommended that all cats will be tested for heartworm disease, even the indoor cats, and all cats should be on a monthly prevention. In my office I recommend a topical product called “Revolution.” The product is easy to apply, and protects from many other parasites besides heartworms. disease
Please don’t hesitate contacting our office if you have any further questions.
Dr. Ehud Sela


Rabies is a highly contagious viral lethal disease, that affects all mammals including humans. In South Florida the disease is present in many localities. The disease once contracted is usually fatal. The symptoms of the disease in animals can be grouped into two major groups: Dumb rabies, and Furious rabies. We all have in mind the latter form of the disease, with an animal that runs furious and drooling, and attacking everybody in sight. But the Dumb, or Paralytic form is also very dangerous. By Dumb, we refer to an animal, mainly a wild animal, who is acting strangely, for example loosing its fear of man. A wild Raccoon, or Fox, should not be coming to a person all happy, and letting you pet him; something is wrong with this animal, and although it’s rare, a non-bite exposure: contact with infectious saliva, or neurological tissue, can be a source of concern. Therefore, we should not feed or come in contact with wild animals; it’s not good for them, or for us. Prevention of the disease in our pets is extremely easy, and it entails a preventive vaccination. In Florida all pets are required to be vaccinated for the disease, including indoor pets. Given the deadly nature of the disease for both pets and people, it’s imperative that you keep your pets vaccinated for this deadly disease.

Please call our office at: 954-972-5900 if you have any questions regarding your pets’ health.

There are many disease processes that can cause heart failure in dogs and cats. These processes can be congenital: such as a pet being born with an abnormality in the heart, or acquired: such as a disease due to infectious agents, or parasitic agents, or the passage of time–getting old. No matter what is the cause of the disease, if it becomes advanced, and or untreated, it can lead to heart failure. The symptoms of heart failure depend on the severity of the failure and they may include: lethargy, anorexia, coughing, shortness of breath, collapse, and death. Heart failure is a serious disease, and early diagnosis can improve the length and the quality of life of our pets. A complete physical exam by a veterinarian, can help in the detection, and early treatment of the disease. In my office I recommend that senior patients should have a complete physical exam at least every quarter, and non senior patients, at least twice a year.
Please feel free contacting our office at: 954-972-5900 if you have any questions regarding your pets’ health.

This Month we are happy to bring to you the latest information about canine influenza, by one of the nation’s leading experts: Dr. Cynda Crawford, co-discoverer of the virus and Maddie’s Clinical Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine.
Canine Influenza Frequently Asked Questions by Sheltering Organizations Dr. Cynda Crawford, Maddie’s Clinical Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine
1. What is canine influenza? Canine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory infection of dogs caused by a novel influenza A subtype H3N8 virus first discovered in 2004.
2. Where does canine influenza occur? Canine influenza has been documented in 30 states and the District of Columbia. Canine influenza virus (CIV) has been very prevalent in many communities in Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
3. What type of infection does CIV cause? Similar to influenza viruses that infect other mammals, CIV causes an acute respiratory infection in dogs. It is one of several viruses and bacteria that are associated with canine infectious respiratory disease, or what’s commonly referred to as “kennel cough.” CIV infection can cause respiratory disease by itself or in conjunction with other respiratory pathogens such as distemper virus, respiratory coronavirus, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, and Bordetella bronchiseptica. It is important to note that influenza virus is not related to parainfluenza virus, and vaccines containing parainfluenza virus do not induce cross-protective immunity to CIV.
Unlike human influenza, canine influenza is not a “seasonal” infection. Infections can occur year round.
4. Who is susceptible to CIV infection? Dogs of any breed, age or health status are susceptible to infection. Vaccination with DA2PP or the “kennel cough” vaccine for Bordetella does not provide any immunity to canine influenza.
Canine influenza outbreaks are most likely to occur in facilities where dogs are housed together and there is frequent introduction of new dogs into the resident population. Canine influenza outbreaks have impacted many sheltering facilities and organizations around the country since 2004, including open admission shelters, limited admission shelters, and foster homes or rescue/adoption groups in California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming. Many of these outbreaks have resulted in increased euthanasia due to the overwhelming number of sick dogs or the severity of illness.
CIV does not infect people, and there is no documentation that other species have become infected by exposure to dogs with canine influenza. However, ferrets are very susceptible to influenza virus infections in general and should be protected from exposure to dogs with canine influenza (and people with human influenza). We recommend that other species such as cats, birds, small mammals (rabbits and rodents), and pot-bellied pigs also be protected from exposure to infected dogs.
5. How is canine influenza transmitted? As with other respiratory pathogens, the most efficient transmission of CIV occurs by direct contact with infected dogs and by aerosols or very fine mists containing virus that are generated by coughing and sneezing dogs. The virus also contaminates kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs. Influenza virus can remain viable on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours. In a shelter environment, CIV is mostly spread by aerosols that move throughout the kennel ward and by staff members that handle infected dogs, then handle other dogs without washing hands and changing clothes.
Important risk factors for introduction of CIV into a shelter population include 1) location in a community where the virus is prevalent, and 2) transfer of dogs from shelters where the virus is prevalent to other shelters, foster homes, or rescue adoption groups. The virus has also been transferred from infected dogs in shelters to pet dogs at home by staff carriage of virus on hands and clothing.
CIV is easily inactivated by washing hands, clothes and other items with soap and water. Quaternary ammonium disinfectants, bleach, or Trifectant will kill influenza viruses in the environment.
6. What are the clinical signs of canine influenza? Similar to other respiratory pathogens, CIV causes a transient fever, cough, sneezing, and nasal discharge. Persistent coughing is the primary clinical sign.
Virtually all exposed dogs become infected; about 80% develop a flu‐like illness, while another 20% do not become ill despite being infected. Once CIV is brought into a facility or foster home by an infected dog, all dogs in the facility or foster home should be considered exposed and likely will become infected, whether or not they develop clinical disease.
Influenza virus replicates in the respiratory tract from the nose to the lungs. Virus replication destroys the tissue barriers that normally protect the respiratory tract from bacterial infection, and it may take 3 to 4 weeks for these barriers to regenerate. Therefore, dogs infected with CIV are predisposed to secondary bacterial infections from the nose to the lungs, resulting in purulent nasal discharge, productive cough, and even pneumonia. In addition to secondary bacterial infections, there is an intense inflammatory response to CIV infection; this inflammation persists for several weeks and contributes to the persistence of the cough.
Fortunately, most dogs recover within 2 to 3 weeks without any further health complications. While the overall mortality rate for canine influenza is low, the secondary pneumonia that occurs in some dogs can be life-threatening without proper treatment, usually in a hospital setting. There is no evidence for age or breed susceptibility for developing pneumonia.
7. What is the incubation time and how long are dogs contagious? The incubation period is the time from infection by a pathogen to onset of clinical disease. The incubation period for CIV is 2 to 4 days. Peak viral shedding from the upper respiratory tract starts during the incubation period; therefore, dogs are most contagious prior to showing obvious clinical signs. Dogs with subclinical infection also shed virus and are contagious.
Virus shedding decreases substantially after the incubation period, but continues for 7 to 10 days. Once virus shedding ceases, the dog is no longer contagious. Therefore, it is unlikely that dogs pose a significant infectious risk by 10 days after onset of clinical signs.
Knowledge of the virus shedding times is important to selection of diagnostic tests and to management of an outbreak.
8. How is canine influenza diagnosed? Canine influenza cannot be diagnosed by clinical signs because all of the other respiratory pathogens cause similar signs of coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharge. Many sheltering organizations believe that they have canine influenza, when in fact, the dogs are infected with other respiratory pathogens.
The best approach for diagnosis of canine influenza is collection of nasal swabs and serum samples. The swabs are used for detection of virus in dogs at the time they start coughing, and serum samples for detection of CIV‐specific antibodies in dogs that have been ill for more than 7 days. For dogs that have been ill for less than 4 days, veterinarians can collect nasal and pharyngeal swabs for submission to a diagnostic laboratory that offers a validated PCR test for CIV. The PCR tests are very sensitive in detecting virus, but the swabs must be collected during the period of high virus shedding (first 4 to 5 days of infection only). Positive PCR results are most likely correct, but negative results may be “falsely negative” due to swab collection when virus shedding has significantly decreased. In a population of dogs such as in a shelter or foster home, swabs should be collected from sick dogs as well as dogs that have been exposed but are not yet sick. This increases the probability of virus detection.
Serology is the most accurate and reliable diagnostic test for diagnosis of canine influenza in dogs that have been ill for more than 7 days and for confirmation of CIV infection in cases where the PCR test is negative but the index of suspicion is high. Paired acute (sick for <7 days) and convalescent (10 to 14 days later)serum samples are preferred for diagnosis of recent active infection based on seroconversion
9. How is canine influenza treated? Since canine influenza is a viral infection, treatment consists mainly of supportive care based on clinical signs and laboratory tests. Although there is no specific antiviral treatment for canine influenza at this time, a variety of secondary bacterial infections may play a significant role, and antibiotics are indicated for dogs with fever, productive cough, and purulent nasal discharge. Nasal discharge usually responds within days to treatment with a broad spectrum bactericidal antibiotic, but cough may persist for 14 to 30 days. Antitussives (cough suppressants) are not very effective in reducing the frequency and duration of coughing, and should not be used on dogs with productive cough.
Dogs that develop pneumonia based on clinical signs and chest radiographs often require hospitalization for intravenous fluids and parenteral antibiotics. Ideally, a tracheal wash or bronchoalveolar lavage for bacterial culture and antibiotic sensitivity testing should be performed to target the choice of antibiotic. For dogs in which cultures are not performed, empirical treatment with a broad spectrum combination of bactericidal antibiotics to provide 4‐quadrant (gram positive, gram negative, aerobic, anaerobic) coverage has worked well. For more severe cases of pneumonia, oxygen supplementation and nebulization with coupage have been very beneficial.
10. How can a canine influenza outbreak be managed? The most important factor contributing to transmission of CIV within a facility is the failure to promptly remove sick dogs from the general population. The magnitude of canine influenza outbreaks has been amplified in those shelters that leave sick dogs in the population and treat them with doxycycline based on the assumption they have “kennel cough” due to Bordetella.
The cornerstones of influenza management strategies are to reduce virus transmission between dogs and reduce virus load in the environment. The overarching goal is to effectively create a break between sick and exposed dogs in the facility or foster home and the unexposed dogs that will be entering. Since most dogs fully recover from canine influenza, it meets the definition of a treatable-rehabilatable disease based on the Asilomar Accords. To reduce virus transmission and virus load in the environment, sick dogs should be promptly isolated in a separate physically enclosed area, and exposed dogs quarantined from newly admitted or unexposed dogs. Staff should care for unexposed dogs first, followed by the quarantined dogs, then the sick dogs in isolation. Staff should wear protective clothing and gloves to care for the quarantined and isolated dogs, including protective footwear such as rubber boots (not booties) to cover the lower leg. Footbaths are not very effective and may provide a false sense of security. Hands should be washed with soap and water after removing gloves.
Each sick or exposed dog should be isolated or quarantined for 14 days to allow for cessation of virus shedding. Following this period, they should not be an infectious risk and can be moved forward in their pathway to adoption.
11. Is there a vaccine for canine influenza? The cornerstone for prevention of influenza viral diseases includes reducing the number of susceptible individuals and increasing community immunity. This is best achieved by vaccination.

Please call our office at: 954-972-5900 if you have any questions regarding Canine Influenza or any other questions regarding your pets’ health.

A 6 month old female, spayed 24 lbs puppy presented with a history of vomiting, seizures and incoordination. Blood work was done, and symptomatic treatment started. Careful inspection of the house revealed that the puppy ate part of a cardboard box where over the counter cold medicine spilled and soaked into the box. The puppy recovered completely and she’s doing great. This case demonstrates the risk to pets from over the counter medications. In this case the symptoms were due to alcohol toxicity. Many of these preparations have High alcohol content. In this case the puppy ingested a small amount, and indirectly, by chewing on the cardboard box, and yet became very ill.

Cryosurgery is a surgical modality that utilizes freezing in order to treat various lesions and tumors.

We use cryosurgery extensively in our practice in patients that are too old or debilitated to undergo a resection surgical procedure, or with tumors/lesions that are in a location that’s difficult to resect.

In our office most patients undergo the procedure as outpatients, with local anesthetic and with the owner present. Most patients are done with the treatment within 15-30 minutes.

Post treatment pain is usually minimal to none at all.

We have used cryosurgery in patients with facial tumors with great success. We have also used the technique for patients with perianal tumors also with great success rates. In addition we have used cryosurgery on a multitude of other cutaneous tumors/lesions, both benign and malignant.

In conclusion: cryosurgery is a unique surgical modality that can greatly benefit the quality of life of our beloved pets.

Please do not hesitate contacting our office if you have any further questions regarding cryosurgery in pets.

Phone: 954-972-5900


A 13 years old m/n 85 lbs lab mix presented for cryosurgery of a tumor near his left eye. Due to the tumor location and the patient’s age, cryosurgery–tumor freezing–was selected as treatment modality. The Tumor has been biopsied before and found out to be a fibroma, or low grade fibrosarcoma. The patient was sedated and anesthetized and a series of cryo treatments utilizing an appropriate size cryo-cup were preformed. The entire procedure lasted no more than 15 minutes. The patient went home two hours post recovery. The prognosis is good.
Cryosurgery is an excellent additional surgical modality for certain types of tumors and skin lesions.
In this case the patient was anesthetized–due to the tumor location near the eye–but in most cases the procedure can be done under local anesthesia.
Post treatment pain seem to be minimal or non existent in these patients.
If you have any questions regarding cryosurgery for your pets,please feel free to contact out office at: 954-972-5900

Feline Asthma is a serious and insidious disease of cats, that if goes untreated can be sometime fatal.

The disease is most often manifested with coughing, shortness of breath and labored breathing.

In advanced and severe cases respiratory failure and a secondary cardiac failure can ensue.

The disease usually can be diagnosed with the aid of chest x-rays.

Most cats once diagnosed can be greatly helped with the appropriate use of prescribed medications.

As the disease often manifests itself early in its process with a cough, it’s recommended that a coughing cat should be immediately examined by a veterinarian.

Please don’t hesitate contacting our office if you have any further questions about Feline Asthma or any other health concerns you might have regarding your pets’ health.

Dr. Ehud Sela
Gentle Vet Animal Hospital

%d bloggers like this: