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Doc Smith's Blog

Journaling about veterinary medicine, life in Cumberland Valley, pet care, and other topics.
Veterinary clinic activities
Dec
04

A Vet's Life Is A Daily Surprise

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Veterinary Medicine provides vast opportunities to see many strange and wonderful things. This profession also provides daily possibilities to make you look like an idiot. These stories give rise to the romantic ideas and dreams that everyone believes life as a modern veterinarian must be. I can’t deny that I have seen my fair share of crazy over the last three decades, but it’s the routine stuff that will drive you mad.

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Nov
27

What Would You Do?

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Clients ask me all the time, “If this were your pet, what would you do?”

I appreciate your question, and yes I hear what you are asking of me. However, it is an unfair question and I sweat a little each time someone asks me. I do not want you to be offended in any way by my saying it makes me nervous because I truly am flattered that you have that much confidence in me to ask.

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Jul
10

Roscoe's Tumor

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Every day at Cumberland Valley we are asked to deal with dermal tumors of some nature. Of course, as a rule of thumb, the sooner you identify and remove a potentially life-threatening lesion or mass, the better the outcome would be expected. Still, sometimes factors get in the way of early identification and we are presented with much larger growths that prove hard to remove.

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Apr
05

The Cookie Monster

The Cookie Monster

I believe it was Lord Byron that penned the phrase, “Truth is stranger than fiction,” which of course I have been saying wrong all along as, “Life is stranger than fiction.” Whichever saying you hold nearest and dearest to your heart, I would enjoy reinforcing your philosophy with one of the craziest veterinary stories I have had the pleasure and awe in dealing with lately. This is the story of Cookie, or as we like to call him, Zombie Dog.

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Feb
21

Handling Bonnie's Tumor

Handling Bonnie's Tumor

Bonnie is a sweet Great Pyrenees dog that about a year ago developed a small, soft lump on her left side. It was about the size of a small corn nuggett, and was freely moveable when you grabbed hold of it. In expected fashion, it pretty much stayed the same. It didn't grow or change in any way for nearly a year. And then, about a month ago, the small spot, became a huge problem. It began to rapidly grow. Without delay, we at Cumberland Valley removed the tumor. 

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Dec
08

Holy MAT-rimony.

Holy MAT-rimony.

I know that the holiday season is upon us, and with the cold snap coming on strong it's easy to forget about grooming issues. However, you can never let your guard down, especially on those "haired" breed dogs like Poodles and Cocker Spaniels. These guys, even in winter, need special grooming care. There is nothing wrong with having long hair, but the more length, the more care it needs. Damp, dirty, long, matted hair spells trouble for our canine companions. It's important that you maintain the hair or trim it to the appropriate length to avoid problems. 

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Dec
01

Turducken: A Grave Enemy To Your Pet

Turducken: A Grave Enemy To Your Pet

It's that time of year again where we enjoy family, snow and a host of banquets. Inevitably, there will be food that won't get eaten. We hate to see food go to waste so a grand idea pops in our head, "I'll bet the dogs will enjoy this left-over turkey!"

I know it's tempting, but you need to slow down and think for a minute. Is feeding that entire turkey carcass really good for your pet? The answer is no. 

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Oct
12

Videos: Electrocautery

Videos: Electrocautery

Electrocautery is used exactly like a scalpel. Anywhere a surgeon might find a need to cut, the electrocautery is used, but the benefits are tremendous over traditional knife cuts. Such as less bleeding, trauma, swelling, and pain. This equates to a more comfortable surgery for your animal. We use the electrocautery unit for everything! including spays and neuters.

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Sep
28

The Craziest Day of My Life!

The Craziest Day of My Life!

A few weeks ago, the Bob and Sheri Show took calls for people who had life experiences where things got out of hand. They described it as, "A day where you needed to blow a whistle and have everything stop!" I had one of those days nearly 16 years ago. Yes, I know that there are similar days, events, hard hours to trudge through since, but nothing like this day. (I called in to the show and got on! But, I wanted to tell you the rest of the story.)

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Sep
06

Crossed Wires

Crossed Wires

Dr. Smith wrote about advice he gets from clients so I wanted to share some of the things we hear before clients ever make it to the office.

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Jul
29

Secondary Poisoning From Euthanasia.

Secondary Poisoning From Euthanasia.

Euthanasia is a tough subject. Reading the word 'euthanasia' immediately churns a negative gastric tightening because we remember. We remember how hard it was, and for many, the feelings of loss and heartbreak last forever. Still, we know that relieving pain and suffering is a calling that must be answered when our pets, friends, and furry family members reach that point in their lives.

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Jul
27

Maybe we just need a 'stronger' antibiotic, Doc.

Maybe we just need a 'stronger' antibiotic, Doc.
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There are so many misconceptions about antibiotics and their use in animals. There are now literally thousands of different formulas, chemicals, and strengths available providing a variety of treatment options to help our creature friends. So how do we choose the right one? What are our responsibilities to our patients? How about bacterial resistance considerations? What part do we play on the world's stage? I'm glad you asked. These are tough questions to answer in our very busy world, so let's you and I spend a few minutes together here learning and growing.

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Jul
08

The Passing of Annabelle, The Purple Cow

The Passing of Annabelle, The Purple Cow

Many have asked, "What happened to the purple cow?" I am sorry to report that she was murdered! (For you sensitive types, she wasn't really murdered because she was a concrete statue, but I digress.)

The fugitives are still at large, even though I know who they are and where they live. I've got one word for you two: Karma!

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May
26

Baskerville: Not a Place You Want To Get Stuck.

Baskerville: Not a Place You Want To Get Stuck.

Warning! Graphic Pictures in this post!


I was presented with a beautiful older Basset Hound with a great disposition. He was happy-go-lucky with a tongue made for licking. When I walked into the room, he was there immediately to greet me (he must not have heard the rumors about me) with his tail wagging and the saliva ready to go. I had never met the Grant family either and was a bit surprised when they asked for me by name. (Obviously they hadn’t heard all the rumors either). Here was this wonderful pet who seemed healthy, except he was thin. The owners were quick to inform me that he wanted to eat but kept regurgitating everything he had eaten, to the point where now he didn’t want to eat at all. They had sought help, and believed the problem had been corrected because the dog had responded to initial therapy, but then things quickly escalated out of control.

I petted “Big-B,” as I called him, and then placed him on the examination table. His gums looked good. His temperature was normal. He didn’t howl in pain when I felt around on his stomach. His eyes were goopy, but nothing serious. I was a bit taken aback by this thin feller. After discussing options with the Grant family, I proceeded with radiographs (X-rays) of his belly and bloodwork.

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May
19

I Don't Know the Answer to your Question.

I Don't Know the Answer to your Question.

As a veterinarian, I get a lot of questions. When  I say a lot, I mean hundreds per day. Most of the questions I expect and have prepared answers. Some I have to study on for a bit. But some I just don’t know. Without a doubt I am the smartest person my wife knows, as I reminder her daily, but even my super powers are limited. In case you were wondering where my intellectual prowess stops, I’m about to tell you. Enjoy the abyss.

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May
04

Eating Socks Is Never Good.

Eating Socks Is Never Good.

This is the story of Kate. She is a beautiful, well-kept, pampered Doberman from London. She has the best of food, the best of care, the best parents anywhere on the planet. Regardless of her Life of Riley, she ate a sock! In case you don’t know, socks are non-digestible.  So the sock became lodged in her gut making her a very sick dog.

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Mar
08

Warning! The following pictures are totally Gross.

Warning! The following pictures are totally Gross.

I mean it. Disgusting. Unless of course you are mentally deranged like me and enjoy gross stuff. If that is the case, then this is the blog posting for you.

I have had so many cases over the last twenty years that it’s hard to pick a favorite. I find new things everyday to photograph.  In this new digital age I can take excellent pictures...and I do take them. I have thousands of cases, thousands of pictures, and thousands of things that I’d love to share. I could sit down and create a three-day slide show and just barely scrape the surface of the treasure trove of death, disease, and mayhem I’ve captured.

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Feb
23

The Most Boring Veterinary Blog Ever.

The Most Boring Veterinary Blog Ever.

I own quite several small treasures that I have saved up over the last 20 years of veterinary life. I thought it would be cool to share a few of those images with you and share some stories. I know that many people are totally turned off by history, but not me. I love looking back on how things were for my forefathers. The lessons I learn from these men and women of my past, teach me how to be grateful for the more modern era I am privileged to work. I invite you to take a stroll with me. I mean it’s just a blog…how long could it take?

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Feb
16

Reflections: I am so embarrassed!

Reflections: I am so embarrassed!

I tend to stay away from the dark side of Veterinary medicine, and focus upon the good things going on in the world. There is way too much hate and extraordinary attempts to focus on dark things by too many that I just tend to look at the lighter side.

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Dec
01

Some of the WORST advice I have ever been given!

Some of the WORST advice I have ever been given!

I will forever be totally amazed at how confident people are when giving me advice on how to practice. For instance, I have been trimming toenails on cats and dogs for well over 30 years, but a couple of days ago a client scolded me on how wrong my technique was while giving a pedicure to her pooch. But, I'm not a super proud man, so I did my best to accommodate her wishes. What's the harm if you cut them sideways, front-to-back, or horizontal as long as the end result is a shorter nail? She's happy, I'm happy, the dog's happy—it's all good.

Except when it's not.

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Oct
13

Those Nasty Ears Part II

Those Nasty Ears Part II

Last week, we talked about different primary reasons your Feline Friend or your Canine Companion would develop an ear infection, and we talked about some simple signs of what might be going on inside that ear. Today I'd like to tell you about the aftermath: the end result if left untreated, the daunting task of curing a chronic disease, and the frustration that we see so many time with our patients.

For the record, I am talking about the EXTERNAL EAR CANAL, defined as the eardrum to the pinna. Again, I must emphasize that many illnesses have a specific regional application. What we see here in Kentucky, may not be the same for furry friends in Wisconsin.

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Oct
06

Those Nasty Nasty Ears...

Those Nasty Nasty Ears...
those nasty nasty ears

I treat ear infections in dogs and cats everyday, without exception. There is very little that can frustrate an owner, a pet, and a Veterinarian than an unresponsive ear infection. In this blog post, I would like to describe to you what I see in this are most often, what to look for, and some treatment options for pets with ear infections. Now please, you know that I cannot cover EVERY SINGLE detail about your dog, or the complexities of treatment. This is an overview, and YOU should consult with YOUR veterinarian about proper treatment. There are basically three things that I see as PRIMARY reasons a dog or cat has an infection in this area.

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Aug
18

The Rabid Vet: A Run-In

The Rabid Vet: A Run-In

I often get asked by clients and friends, “What’s the weirdest animal you’ve ever worked on?” Of course, the question itself is kind of open-ended seeing as how what might be weird to you may not be weird to me. Regardless, I understand the nature and the spirit of the question.

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Aug
04

The Valley Vet: So WHY Would You SHOOT a Dog?

The Valley Vet: So WHY Would You SHOOT a Dog?

Over the past two decades as a veterinarian, I have seen many terrible things. Death, disease, and neglect are enemies of all creatures and humanity alike. However, when the pure insensitivity and evil of this world strikes a blow to the innocent, it leaves a scar on my heart. I am sad to say these scars never really heal—they just make you more numb and less hopeful for our world. So why would anyone shoot a dog?

Oh sure now, I can hear the voices screaming in my brain, “It’s just a dog." "It was mean." "It was suffering." "I did it a favor." "No one wanted that dog anyway.”

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Jul
28

The Rabid Vet: The Horse That Went Over the Mountain

The Rabid Vet: The Horse That Went Over the Mountain

I will admit that in my youth I have suffered many embarrassments that defy explanation. I have allowed situations to dictate my next action instead of using my training to control the events taking place. Age brings on wisdom and I certainly look back on some of my earlier days as a veterinarian and just shake my head.

This particular story makes me laugh because it had a very happy ending. I realize that things could have been much worse.

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Jul
21

Unforgettable Patients: Phoebe Carter

Unforgettable Patients: Phoebe Carter
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I want to introduce you to one of the best patients I ever had as a veterinarian at Cumberland Valley Animal Hospital.  This is Phoebe Carter, owned, loved, and cared for by a great lady, Sandy Carter.  Phoebe was born December 1, 1997. Let’s put that  date in perspective. I was 27 years old when Phoebe was born. Bill Clinton was the president of the United States and the twin towers were still standing. When Phoebe passed away last month, she was 20 years and 7 months old.

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Jul
07

Reflections: A Dog was Hit by Lightning!

Reflections: A Dog was Hit by Lightning!

Back when I was young and had all my hair, I had recently moved from Fort Smith, Arkansas where I had just left a practice and started the process of buying Cumberland Valley Animal Hospital. During that time, I worked for Dr. Campbell Mercer, the former owner, for 6 months while we finished the transfer of ownership.

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Jun
23

The Valley Vet: Hot! Hot! Hot!

The Valley Vet: Hot! Hot! Hot!

No, I’m not talking about swimsuits and movie stars. I’m talking about the weather. We went straight from winter to the dog days of summer. Here in the great Commonwealth of Kentucky, we have been dealing with high humidity, and smoldering afternoon heats. I mean, I’m not complaining because it is much better than the snow.

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Jun
02

The Valley Vet: Summer is Quickly Upon Us!

The Valley Vet: Summer is Quickly Upon Us!

This is a great time of the year. Dogwoods are blooming, flowers are bearing their beautiful bounty, and everywhere we hear the humming of those stinging, biting, flying insects! Yes, I know you are thinking, why did you have to ruin such a beautiful thought of summer? Oh hush your whining! You could be under a foot of snow! (which, by the way, was only 3 1/2 months ago.) Besides, we've all had the unpleasant experience of being stung by something. Too many times I have had the personal honor of being the victim of a brutal dive-bombing attack by a hornet, wasp, bee, or even a horsefly.  Even my poor dogs have had to fend off the vile nature of this evil as it exists in the world around us!

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May
26

The Rabid Vet: My First Visit to the Veterinarian!

The Rabid Vet: My First Visit to the Veterinarian!

Growing up in rural Kentucky was a sheltered life. I admit it. I was stunned by what there was out there in the world once I left home and headed for college. Lexington was full of buildings, people, traffic at all hours, and noise. It’s a story for another time, but it took me two years to get used to city life.

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May
12

The Valley Vet: Mosquitoes

The Valley Vet: Mosquitoes
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It’s that time of year again. Time for the 100°F days and the warm comfortable nights. Time for tornadoes and budding flowers. Time for the sweet smell of spring and summer and the last dying memories of winter past. (Yah know, the back-to-back one-foot snows and a month out of school for the kids.) It’s also time for the arrival of Mosquitoes.

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May
05

The Rabid Vet: Mighty Joe

The Rabid Vet: Mighty Joe
the rabid vet mighty joe 2

I had a dog that could smile.

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Apr
28

The Rabid Vet: Travels

The Rabid Vet: Travels

Being in this awesome profession has afforded me the opportunity to see much of the United States. Mostly because in order to maintain my veterinary licenses, the Commonwealth of Kentucky requires that I secure 15 hours of continuing education every single year.

I enjoying teasing young graduate students with the mantra, "You're really never finished with school. It just keeps going, and going, and going…" But don't lose heart! Anything in life is what you make of it, and if you find CE a drudgery, then I would suggest a new approach. Attack it and learn something new.

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Apr
21

Unforgettable Clients: Suicide

Unforgettable Clients: Suicide

Some of the most vivid memories I relive periodically, are the horrific things I have witnessed as a veterinarian. I’m sure for most, it comes as no surprise that every day is not a bed of roses in this profession. I have had firsthand experience with animal abuse, neglect, endangerment, death-threats, theft, unexplained illnesses — these all come with the job. However, there is one horrible event that haunts me continually to this day.

I had a client commit suicide.

Fifteen years have now passed since that tragedy, and I look back over the years and wrestle with my spirit wondering if maybe I could have noticed something and intervened.

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Apr
07

The Valley Vet: Puppy Diarrhea

The Valley Vet: Puppy Diarrhea

 If the title doesn’t scare you, the picture will! So you can finally walk through your house in your fine Angora socks with no worries of finding those “wet” landmines in the carpet. It would appear that potty training is finally taking hold. The kids are picking up their toys before Princes has time to chew them up, (yeah, right!) and they are keeping up with the watering and the feeding.

GREAT JOB!

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Mar
31

The rabid vet: Injuries

The rabid vet: Injuries

I get asked a lot about my injuries. Of course, Veterinary Medicine is chock full of ways to get hurt. You don’t even have to try getting injured in this profession. Pain will find you! But I’m not belly-aching too much about it. To put it plainly, there are jobs seriously more dangerous than working with pet animals. So why are so many of us veterinarians injured? The simple answer is, we get comfortable, in a hurry, and let our guard down.

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Mar
24

The Rabid Vet: Prayer on the Mountain

The Rabid Vet: Prayer on the Mountain

I was in a bad mood. A very bad mood. There was rarely a break during the calving season and I was totally worn out. Being too tired to drive with heavy eyes, I was sleeping in the cab of my mobile veterinary truck on the side of the road: not my idea of fun. I stunk, I was hungry, and I wanted to go home. That’s when the pager liked to tease me the most, and right on cue it started screaming at me (or laughing). With one eye open and the only two fingers that weren't bruised or cracked, I managed to open the digital message. Hurry Doc, I don’t think she’s gonna make it!

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Mar
02

The Valley Vet's Advice: Kittens

The Valley Vet's Advice: Kittens

Dawn is breaking, the coffee is percolating, and the alarm is screaming. A new, glorious day has arrived! As you pry open your eyes from the night’s dreams, you ponder the day, how much there is to do, and how many places you have to go. So with the force of sheer will, you sling away the covers only to feel the Goosebumps springing up on every square inch of exposed skin.

Turning down the thermostat to 50 seemed like a good idea because it’s cheaper to burn gold than gas these days, but I digress.

Stunned by the cold, you struggled to find the off button on the alarm clock and accidentally turn up the volume to the ‘jet plane’ setting. Now deaf and cold, you stumble to the hall. In this dream-like state you have missed something. Someone, or something has been stalking you. Yes, that little nudge in the back of your head you chose to ignore.  The the question creeps up through the fog of your mind, “Where is Tiger?”

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Feb
24

Life in the Color Weird: Ogden Nash Was Right

Life in the Color Weird: Ogden Nash Was Right

In the words of the great Mike Culver, DVM, “Veterinary medicine provides a new opportunity every day to look stupid.” I absolutely love this statement of truth and believe me, I have been humbled more times than I can count.  I get many questions like, “What is the weirdest animal you've worked on?” or better, “What is the weirdest thing you have ever seen?”

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Feb
03

Unforgettable Clients: Moses Hamblin

Unforgettable Clients: Moses Hamblin

I start this section off with the memory of one of my good friends who passed away at the start of 2015, Moses Hamblin. He had so many wonderful things to share through his life as an art teacher, craftsman, Civil War actor, and husband. But where I related to him most was in his love of animals.

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Jan
20

Rabid Vet Stories: The 8-Track Canine

Rabid Vet Stories: The 8-Track Canine
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Growing up in the hills of Kentucky was a childhood fantasy. I was free! There were hills and mountains, streams and ponds, mud and rocks that provided an enchanted experience for a boy. I was blessed to be raised in a time before computers, internet, and iPhones. So, I know what you are thinking! "How did you ever survive the dark ages?”

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Oct
08

Seven Things Your Child Might Want to Know About Veterinary School

Seven Things Your Child Might Want to Know About Veterinary School
What I Do

I love the tiles we see posted a lot on social media that have four squares: a picture of what most people think a veterinarian does, what mom thinks, what you think, and what actually happens in the world a veterinary medicine. The images are cute and, to be honest, contain some underlying truths. Isn’t the best comedy rooted in a hint of truth? Anyway, I get asked tons of questions about my journey to becoming a veterinarian. Where did you go to school? How long did it take you to become a veterinarian? What are boards like? Why did you become a veterinarian? I’m sure you are probably thinking up a few right now. That brings me to this week’s blog. I want to answer seven big questions I get and, hopefully, you’ll get to know me a little bit better as I walk you through my journey. I want to warn you though, I’m older now and things seem to get more “fond” as we look back on our youth. If I get too romantic in my writing, forgive me.

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Oct
03

Costume Contest 2014

Costume Contest 2014

Have you heard about our costume contest?

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Sep
30

The Loss of a Pet

The Loss of a Pet

 I know that death is not a very pleasant topic of conversation, but reality dictates that the best time to deal with the loss of a pet is before it happens. In my years of practice, death is the hardest subject to help my clients through. However, I have found that being honest about reality is the best approach, even when it seems the most difficult. So I offer you an open letter. I have no idea what you may be going through today, but I hope that this might be a blessing.

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Latest Blogs

04 December 2017
The Valley Vet
Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary Medicine provides vast opportunities to see many strange and wonderful things. This profession also provides daily possibilities to make you look like an idiot. These stories give rise to t...
27 November 2017
The Valley Vet
Pet Care
Clients ask me all the time, “If this were your pet, what would you do?”I appreciate your question, and yes I hear what you are asking of me. However, it is an unfair question and I sweat a little eac...
13 November 2017
Family Life
I heard the first crack followed by a loud pop. My hands tightened around the tree branches hoping that would save me in the event that things decided to go south, literally. I clung to the snow-cover...
06 November 2017
Dogs
Pet Care

So, yesterday I was looking at a dog in my exam room when I made a horrible statement that got me in a lot of trouble. After I said it, I got “The Look.”

02 February 2016
Animal Behavior
Cats
Pet Care
Yes, I have a fat cat. Alright, you caught me—he's obese.Look, it's not all my fault. I only fed the guy once a day, as in every morning when I got the kids out of bed for school. Of course, My son Al...
10 July 2017
Tough Cases
Every day at Cumberland Valley we are asked to deal with dermal tumors of some nature. Of course, as a rule of thumb, the sooner you identify and remove a potentially life-threatening lesion or mass, ...
05 April 2017
Tough Cases
I believe it was Lord Byron that penned the phrase, “Truth is stranger than fiction,” which of course I have been saying wrong all along as, “Life is stranger than fiction.” Whichever saying you hold ...
21 February 2017
The Valley Vet
Videos
Bonnie is a sweet Great Pyrenees dog that about a year ago developed a small, soft lump on her left side. It was about the size of a small corn nuggett, and was freely moveable when you grabbed hold o...

Testimonials

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Cumberland Valley Animal Hospital

110 Lagoon Trail
London, Kentucky, 40744
P: (606) 864-9120
Email Us info@vetspetsandlaughs.com

Hours of Operation

  • Monday: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • Tuesday: 8:30 am - 6:00 pm
  • CLOSED
  • Thursday: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • Friday: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • Saturday: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

Please note that the office will be CLOSED on Wednesdays from November 1st through February 28th and will reopen on Wednesdays beginning in March.

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