Accidental injuries and unforeseen illnesses affect pets daily, and when your pet’s condition could be serious, only the most advanced, comprehensive veterinary care will do. A pet’s condition can also deteriorate rapidly, and having board-certified veterinary specialists on hand to manage potentially life-threatening complications is invaluable.

If you keep up with health and science news, you may have heard the concept of the “microbiome,” and its role in overall well-being. When referring to the gut, the microbiome encompasses a vast diversity of billions of microorganisms—chiefly, bacteria—that live in the gastrointestinal tract. Each pet harbors a unique combination of beneficial and undesirable bacteria that, together, affect the body’s various systems. You should not be surprised that gut microbes play a significant role in digestion and metabolism, but did you know that they also aid in vitamin synthesis, immunity, and fighting off harmful pathogens?

puppy eating food

Dog on ventilatorAt Charleston Veterinary Referral Center, our focus and expertise is on stabilizing and treating sick, ill, and critical patients with conditions such as trauma, toxin exposure, gastrointestinal disease, cardiovascular disease, immune-mediated disease, pulmonary disease, neurologic disease, and/or metabolic disease. Among the technology that we use to support the most critical pets is a ventilator. This important piece of equipment allows us to offer the highest level of emergency and critical care, and is required for us to maintain our VECCS Level 1 certification.

As the weather changes, so do the threats to our pets. With warmer weather comes the re-emergence of species that have been dormant during the winter months. South Carolina is home to five of the deadliest snakes in North America, which include the cottonmouth (water moccasin), rattlesnakes (timber rattlesnake, eastern diamondback rattlesnake), copperhead, and coral snake.

Here in the Lowcountry, snakes pose an increasingly more common hazard in the spring and summer months. While found more abundantly in rural communities and undeveloped areas, urban pets are not free of risk. 

Types of Snake Bites & Effects

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If your pet has injured her cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), your family veterinarian may refer you to our surgery department for a tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO). This complex surgical procedure is considered the gold standard for CCL disease, and although other surgical options exist, our board-certified veterinary surgeons prefer the TPLO procedure, which is supported in veterinary surgical literature as the technique with the most reliable outcome. 

If your pet has diabetes, you know that regulating her insulin dose can be challenging. Treating a diabetic pet is not simply administering a set dose your veterinarian has prescribed for the rest of her life. Every pet is different, and one pet’s body will respond to an insulin dose differently than another’s. Veterinarians first prescribe a diabetic pet an insulin dose that is appropriate for her weight and disease severity, but then must assess whether that dose is adequately maintaining blood-glucose levels. 

There is a lot of buzz about grain-free diets. Many people have eliminated grains from their own diets for a variety of health reasons, and, wanting the best nutrition for their animals, have selected grain-free diets for their pets as well. Pet food shelves are now full of grain-free options, and finding a food that contains the typical ingredients of wheat or corn is not easy. But, is eliminating an entire food group a good idea? Grain-free diets have now been linked to heart disease in dogs, and although it’s too early for long-term studies to demonstrate a causal relationship, evidence suggests you should steer clear of this fad. 

A pet’s cancer diagnosis can be devastating, but it may not mean a shortened lifespan. Recent advances in veterinary oncology have made many treatment options available that can put a pet’s cancer into remission, or, in some cases, even provide a cure. “Cancer” encompasses a wide variety of different tumors—some that require just surgery to eliminate, and some that require further investigation. It’s important to know the type of cancer, the stage of cancer, and the grade of cancer, because many types of cancer are very treatable, and the word “cancer” should not automatically imply a death sentence for your pet.

Chemotherapy for Pets

You know we provide 24-hour emergency and critical care to pets, as well as comprehensive specialty care, but did you know we are the only Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS) Level 1 Certified Veterinary Hospital in South Carolina?!

The certification program designates three levels (I through III) based on operating hours, equipment ande personnel. Level I is the highest certification level, and the emergency and critical care facilitty must have the resources and specialty training necessary to provide sophisticated and comprehensive emergent and critical care.

Photo of Brees, a 14-week-old pit bull puppy

George is an 11 ½ year old Labrador retriever who was referred to the Charleston Veterinary Referral Center's Oncology Department by his primary care veterinarian (and good friend of ours) Dr. Marci Sauls at East Cooper Animal Hospital after being diagnosed with Mast Cell Tumors (MCT) on his front leg/shoulder and an unknown abdominal mass in July of 2018. After further diagnostics including cytology and CT Imaging, it was determined that George needed to have a lobe of his liver and spleen removed, along with several external masses. After careful consideration, one of our surgeons, Dr.


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