Vets in the News

Swimming With the Sharks

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If you think it’s hard to win the hearts and minds of middle-schoolers on any given day, try an assembly at the end of day, on the precipice of summer vacation. But Yarmouth veterinarian Thomas Burns had teeth on his side...

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Great White Shark Photo Shoot

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It took thousands of dollars, a few fake seals, and many months, but underwater photographer Brian Skerry finally got the shot. With more and more great whites being spotted off the beaches of Cape Cod, Skerry set out to document the massive predators, hoping to learn about their behaviors...

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Whale Sharks Draw Attention of Researchers

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On a warm August night last summer, Eric Savetsky and Tom Burns headed out from Nantucket in Savetsky’s 36-foot fishing boat for the 90-mile trip to the southern edge of Georges Bank, a 150-mile-long drowned coastal plain...

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How to Respond If Your Pet Has A Medical Emergency

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According to Amy Sarmento, a certified veterinary technician at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod, every cat and dog owner should purchase a pet first aid kit...

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How to Keep Your Pets Safe in The 'Dog Days' of Summer

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Veterinarians warn that the "dog days of summer" can be a dangerous time for our companion animals.

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Keeping Pets Safe From Heartworm

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"Heartworm is a very preventable disease," says Dr. Thomas Burns, hospital director at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth.

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Fur, Fins and Feathers: Grieving process for pet owners takes time

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According to Dr. Thomas Burns, hospital director at Cape Cod Veterinary Associates in South Yarmouth, helping children cope with the death of a pet is "one of the greatest silver linings to the pain of pet loss."

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Keep Fido from getting sick as a dog

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WEST BARNSTABLE — Cape veterinarians are running flu clinics for canine members of local households, hoping to stave off outbreaks of the H3N8 virus.

Several local veterinarians are recommending the Merck vaccine for dogs in shelters, kennels and doggie day care.

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Fur, Fins and Feathers: How to treat (and avoid) arthritis in your pets

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According to veterinary experts, painful arthritis also affects many of our companion animals.

"Arthritis is more often noticeable in dogs, but cats also suffer from arthritis much more often than many owners realize," begins Dr. Tom Burns, hospital director at Cape Cod Veterinary Associates in South Yarmouth.

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Winter doesn't have to be a season of despair for pets

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Winter and the rapidly approaching holiday season can be enjoyable for companion animals if owners plan ahead and take a few precautions. According to Dr. Tom Burns, hospital director at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod in Yarmouth, taking your pet for a check-up is advisable before the cold weather sets in.

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Owning a dog: Early care saves pain and cost

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This is the second of a two-part series.

Veterinary experts tell owners that preventive health care is almost always less expensive than treating medical conditions, not to mention it is much better for the pet.

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Owning a dog: Just how much does it cost?

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While the cost of raising a dog may not be as expensive as raising a child, prospective dog owners should be prepared to spend at least $1,500 in the first year of their pet's life.

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Missing Yarmouth cat found alive

Boston Herald

SOUTH YARMOUTH — Shirley Hebert marveled at the elaborate sweaters Esther Kieval would knit for her pet cat, Lee, a 6-year-old ragdoll with bright blue eyes the size of marbles.

“He was so coddled, like a baby,‒ said Hebert, who works at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod. She knew Kieval, who died in a tragic fire Jan. 25, for the 40 years she had been bringing her pets to the South Yarmouth veterinary clinic.

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Laparoscopic surgery becoming veterinarian tool

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Willey is one lucky little schnauzer.

Last month, Dr. Tom Burns of Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth discovered through routine medical tests that the 9-year-old miniature schnauzer had bladder stones, formed by calcium deposits. As in humans, the stones can block an animal's urinary tract.

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Choosing the right vet

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Selecting a veterinarian is as important as choosing a family doctor.

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When Pet Soiling Isn't Just An Accident

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Have you noticed that your pet is suddenly having accidents in the house?

If this is abnormal behavior for your usually fastidious dog or cat, incontinence is the likely reason.

According to Dr. Thomas Burns of Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth, there are many medical causes of incontinence in pets.

Among the culprits are anatomical abnormalities, neurologic conditions, bladder storage and urinary tract disorders, hormonal problems and infection.

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Physical Therapy Not Only For Aching Humans

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Could your pet benefit from some physical therapy?

Dr. Thomas Burns, hospital director at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth, reports that while physical therapy isn't new to veterinary medicine, the use of this form of rehabilitation has become a lot more popular in recent years.

“It is common knowledge in human medicine that physical therapy promotes a quicker recovery from surgery or injury," Burns says. "Through advancements in veterinary medicine, now pets can benefit from species-specific therapy. From dogs, horses, to even cats, physical therapy makes for a healthier patient without the potential side effects of pharmaceuticals.”

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Vet Draws Attention To Breed-Specific Conditions

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Owners of purebred cats and dogs often find themselves paying large veterinary bills to treat genetically linked medical conditions after already spending a lot to buy the pet.

Sadly, these pets are often euthanized or brought to a shelter because owners can't afford the cost of long-term veterinary care.

That's why it's important for potential owners to conduct thorough research before making a purchase, and talk to knowledgeable breeders about the conditions that are linked to a specific canine or feline breed.

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Pets' Odd Behavior Could Mean Dementia

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Does your dog wake up in the middle of the night and pace back and forth in a frenzy?

Perhaps your cat scratches up a storm in its litter box, and then relieves itself on the kitchen floor.

While these behaviors may be caused by underlying medical conditions, the family pet could also be suffering from dementia, or cognitive dysfunction as the condition is called in veterinary medicine.

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Learning from Eddie

Day after day, I'd ask my husband, Bob, "Has the vet called with Eddie's results?"

"Not yet," he'd say.

On the day he answered, "Yes," I blocked his response from my brain. I had just come in the front door and went to hang up my coat. Bob touched my shoulders. "It's not good," he said.

I felt like something explosive hit me in my chest. "Just tell me straight," I said.

"Eddie has a very aggressive cancer. He has about two months at the most."

Now, I have worked in emergency rooms as a psychiatric consultant. I am used to trauma - that is, other people's traumas.

But I had the oddest reaction. I thought, "If I put my coat on and go back out the front door, as if I hadn't come home yet, I could go back in time and what I'm hearing will not have happened." I really believed that.

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PET GAZETTE: Helping 'Honey' and Other Abandoned Pets

Pets abandoned by Cape Codders and visitors in late summer when the vacation scene winds down, or in the early fall, can cost towns a chunk of change if the animals are scooped and rehabilitated.

One town is trying to do something about such costs. The Bourne Department of Natural Resources has set up an Animal Rescue Fund, and in one month townspeople and visitors to town hall have donated nearly $2,000.

The story started in August when a beagle was abandoned in North Sagamore near Great Sagamore Marsh. A police officer discovered the dog in extremely bad shape and hungry, and took her to the Main Street station where the Department of Natural Resources took over.

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Sweet Honey—Rescued Beagle Treated at Forestdale Vet Clinic, the website of the Enterprise Newspapers

A yellow and white "lemon" beagle—dubbed Honey for her sweet disposition by town workers—was found wandering down a road in Sagamore Beach near midnight last Saturday.

This dog, however, was not just sweet and approachable; she had nails that were so long they crossed over and even dug into the pads of her feet and a cantaloupe-sized tumor visible on her stomach.

The policeman who spotted her brought her into the station for the night.

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Owners Treated For Rabies After Cats Get Disease


Cape Cod - Two Cape Cod residents are receiving rabies shots after their pet cats were diagnosed with the disease.

It is the first time domestic pets on Cape Cod have ever tested positive for rabies, which is potentially fatal to humans.

Dr. Thomas Burns, president of the Cape Cod Veterinary Medical Association, told the Cape Cod Times that the discovery of the disease in two domestic animals has dire public health implications.

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Accredited Practices Assess Pets for Pain

South Yarmouth - Shari Sears knew something was wrong with Butterscotch, her 15-year-old cat.

"She would cry and just didn't seem happy at all," said Sears, who monitors the cat's glucose levels and gives her insulin shots to regulate her diabetes. "She was not her perky little self," she recalled.

Sears took Butterscotch to Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod, an AAHA accredited clinic in Massachusetts, where Thomas M. Burns, DVM, diagnosed her with acute pancreatitis.

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Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod Receives AAHA Accreditation

American Animal Hospital Association

South Yarmouth - Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod of South Yarmouth has again received accreditation following a comprehensive evaluation by the American Animal Hospital Association. The evaluation includes a quality assessment review of the hospital's facility, medical equipment, practice methods and pet health care management.

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Rabies vaccines urged for pets

South Yarmouth - As a man lay in a coma in a New Hampshire hospital with one of the first cases of rabies in New England in years, the Cape Cod's Rabies Task Force yesterday offered half-price ($10) rabies vaccines at clinics from Plymouth to Provincetown.

"Rabies is fatal," said Dr. Tom Burns, president of the Cape Cod Veterinary Medical Association. "Our role as veterinarians is not just to protect animals, but the public health."

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Jennifer Moody and Amber and Missy

Cats' kidneys fail after eating Iams

South Yarmouth - Amber and Missy appear to be among the first Cape animals severely affected by contaminated pet food recalled from store shelves across the country last week.

The two cats' kidneys failed after they ate Iams canned tuna and salmon cat food, according to their owner, Jennifer Moody.

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Was Honey Too Sweet?

Dr. Burns and Honey

South Yarmouth - The small leather-brown pup is timid when first meeting strangers, but after a few minutes she is a wiggling whirl of love.

"Honey," who has called the Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod home for the last two months, can be excused for her initial shyness. She was found limping and badly injured in a Sandwich neighborhood in October, after neighbors heard a car drive by, screech to a halt, and speed off.

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Tick-borne illness remains a serious threat

Spiraling footballs sail past young receivers, landing in the deep grass at the edge of the yard where children chase after them. Dogs race through the dune grass to launch themselves into the surf for a refreshing bath. Both are idyllic scenes for the Cape Cod summer season. Unfortunately, disease-carrying ticks, the ultimate party crashers, cloud the scenarios.
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Giving the Kiss of Life

Giving the Kiss of Life

Pet owners gathered at the veterinary hospital at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod on White's Path in South Yarmouth yesterday to hear about life saving CPR techniques that could one day save their cat or dog.
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Life's a beach... but too much sun can harm pets (and their humans!)

Life's a beach

The weather's finally turning warmer and you're chomping at the leash to romp outdoors with your pet.

Although you probably protect yourself from the summer sun - you do, right? - you may not think it's a hazard for your furry friend.

Think again.

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Six Kittens Abandoned by Owners in South Yarmouth

Abandoned Kittens Abandoned Kittens

SOUTH YARMOUTH Tourists taking a stroll around Long Pond were surprised to find a litter of kittens on Thursday.

The half-dozen kittens about a month old -- were apparently abandoned on a beach along Long Pond in Yarmouth. (read more...)

Rabies reaches tip of Cape

YARMOUTH - As of this week, rabies-infected animals have been discovered in every town on Cape Cod, state and local wildlife experts said yesterday. (read more...)

Call goes out to help storm's animal victims

Dr. Tom Burns

Dr. Tom Burns Examining the Pets of Hurricane Katrina's Victims at Otis Air National Guard Base

In the shadow of the human suffering from Hurricane Katrina, a rescue effort is unfolding simultaneously for millions of pets, livestock and wild animals that have been injured, lost or displaced by the storm. (read more...)

In rescue of animals, much cause for praise

BOURNE, MA -- As more than 100 of Hurricane Katrina's human victims arrived at Otis Air National Guard Base yesterday, they were accompanied by some evacuees of the four-legged variety: two black German shepherd mixes; a Pomeranian; a scrappy poodle mix; a cocker spaniel, and a sixth dog of as-yet undetermined breed, all of them pets. (read more...)

Keeping Your Pets' Summertime Cool

After you've taken your bathing suit out from the back of the closet and recovered from that shock, you might want to turn your attention to keeping your pets comfortable, healthy and safe for the summer. (read more...)

Rabies vaccinations urged for cats, dogs

Cape Cod is in for a tough couple of years, now that rabies has established itself here, according to state health department epidemiologist Dr. Alfred DeMoria. (read more...)

Pet emergency? New Cape clinic open 24 hours

The cat purred and rubbed her head against the veterinarian's hand as he examined her Sunday morning. She looked fine. But Pepper was potentially near death. (read more...)