Advanced Pet Technology
in Jacksonville, FL

CO2 Laser

We perform many types of soft tissue surgery at our clinic. As an alternative to surgical blades, we offer surgery being performed by a CO2 surgical laser. Laser stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers produce highly concentrated light rays that are focused into a beam that efficiently ablate (vaporize or chip away) the living tissue. As the laser vaporizes through tissue, it seals capillaries, small blood vessels, lymphatics, and nerve endings. It offers significant benefits over a blade to both patients and surgeons, including less bleeding, less pain, and faster healing.

Differing procedures that we perform routinely using a laser include:

  • feline and canine spays,

  • feline and canine neuters,

  • mass removals,

  • acral lick granuloma procedures,

  • urinary bladder surgery,

  • feline stomatitis procedures and more.

Laser surgery benefits:

  • Less Bleeding: As it cuts, the laser seals small blood vessels. This drastic reduction in bleeding enables many new surgical procedures that are not practical with conventional scalpels.

  • Less Pain: The CO2 laser beam seals nerve endings and lymphatics, resulting in less edema and pain. The patient experiences a far more comfortable post-operative recovery.

  • Reduced risk of infection: This is one of the unique features of the CO2 laser beam. It efficiently kills bacteria in its path, producing a sterilizing effect.

  • Quicker recovery time: Reduced risk of infection, less bleeding, less pain and less swelling often allow the patient a far quicker recovery after the surgery.

 

To learn more about CO2 laser surgery and its benefits over surgical blades, please visit http://www.aesculight.com/state-of-art-laser-surgery.php. Feel free to come in and schedule an appointment to discuss this as an alternative option to routine blade procedures and how CO2 laser surgery might be able to help your pet.

Laser Surgery

The interaction of laser light with tissue provides a fundamentally different approach to surgery. In laser surgery, a highly focused laser beam can efficiently ablate the living tissue. At the same time, it seals capillaries, small blood vessels, lymphatics, and nerve endings, with significant benefits to both patients and surgeons. 

 

X-Rays

When we need to figure out what’s wrong with your pet, we routinely use radiographs (x-rays) to help identify the cause of the problem, rule out possible problems, or provide a list of possible causes. We may also use x-rays during a wellness exam to diagnose potential problems before they become serious.

X-rays provide valuable information about a pet’s bones, gastrointestinal tract (stomach, intestines, colon), respiratory tract (lungs), heart, and urogenital system (bladder, prostate). We use radiology radiographs alone or in conjunction with other diagnostic tools. Interpretation of radiographs requires great skill on the part of the veterinarian.

We are proud to offer digital radiographs radiology radiographs (x-rays that are captured digitally rather than on film). This state-of-the-art technology allows us to provide you with a quicker diagnosis for your pet. Plus, it uses less radiation than traditional x-rays. (The amount of radiation a pet is exposed to during a series of x-rays is less than you are exposed to on a commercial airline flight.)

To avoid a blurry image, pets need to remain completely still while an x-ray is taken. In some cases, we may need to sedate your pet or use short-acting general anesthesia.

If you have any questions about our radiology service or what to expect during your pet’s procedure, please don’t hesitate to ask.

X-rays are not hazardous for your dog or cat and the diagnostic benefits that come from them far outweigh the limited exposure to radiation. If your dog is in pain or uncomfortable, it may be necessary to use sedation in order to get a clear image. Our veterinarian will consider the risk of anesthesia and sedation.

 

Anesthesia

Making sure our patients remain safe during surgery and other medical procedures is extremely important to us. Our team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians is skilled in using anesthesia and monitoring patients to ensure their safety and provide the most comfortable experience. 

 

Anesthesia and patient monitoring vary greatly from clinic to clinic. You can be confident that we use the most effective and up-to-date protocols. We also closely monitor every procedure, regardless of whether it’s routine or more advanced. For more specific information on our protocols, please see the individual descriptions or contact us with any questions.

General Anesthesia

For some procedures, your pet will need to be administered general anesthesia so they will be unconscious and not feel pain. Many pet owners worry about their pets being administered general anesthesia. While anesthesia can carry small but inherent risks for any human or animal patient, we take extra measures at Intracoastal West to perform anesthetic procedures in as safe a way as possible.to Our veterinarians perform a presurgical physical exam and pre-anesthetic bloodwork to ensure your pet is healthy on the inside and out. Then we create a personalized anesthetic protocol for your pet, selecting drugs and doses based on your pet’s specific needs, and utilize local anesthesia when possible to help control pain and reduce general anesthetic risks. Additionally, prior to anesthetic induction, we place an intravenous catheter that provides direct access to your pet’s bloodstream in case emergency medications need to be administered. We place a breathing tube that protects their airway and provides supplemental oxygen and gas anesthesia. Finally, we proactively monitor your pet’s vitals, including heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, oxygenation, carbon dioxide production, and temperature, and take early action to keep these values normal and keep your pet safe.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your pet receiving general anesthesia or about the procedure for which your pet is scheduled.

Patient Monitoring

We monitor our patients closely to keep them as safe as possible during procedures that require general anesthesia. A veterinary technician will continually assess your pet’s heart and respiratory rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs to help prevent any anesthetic risk.

 

Please feel free to ask us about our patient monitoring protocol or any concerns you might have about your pet’s procedure. We’d be happy to discuss these matters in more detail.

Ultrasounds

Ultrasonography (also called ultrasound or sonography) is a non-invasive, pain-free procedure that uses sound waves to examine a pet’s internal organs and other structures inside the body. Ultrasounds of the heart are called echocardiograms or “echos” for short. Ultrasound can be used to evaluate the animal’s heart, kidneys, liver, gallbladder, and urinary bladder; to detect fluid, cysts, tumors, and more.

We may use this imaging technique in conjunction with radiographs (x-rays) and other diagnostic methods to ensure a proper diagnosis. Interpretation of ultrasound images requires great skill on the part of the clinician. 

Advanced Ultrasounds

For advanced ultrasounds, we partner with Dr. Meredith Swart, an expert in both abdominal and cardiac ultrasounds. To increase your pet’s comfort and your convenience, Dr. Swart comes to our hospital for these procedures.

 

What to expect: 

To allow ample time for the procedure we will request that your pet be dropped off with us for a few hours. Most pets do not require sedation, however, we will obtain consent for sedation ahead of time in case your pet needs a little help relaxing and staying still.  The area being examined will be shaved to allow for better image quality. For abdominal ultrasounds, this will be the belly. For echocardiograms, this will be on both sides of the chest, typically near the armpits. Dr. Swart will apply gel and/or alcohol to the skin then use a transducer (a small handheld tool) across the skin to record images. The gel and/or alcohol help the transducer slide more easily and creates a better, more accurate, image.

 

If you have any questions about our ultrasonography service or what to expect during your pet’s procedure, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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Meet Dr. Meredith Swart 

Dr. Meredith Swart is a three-time graduate of the University of Florida, having earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business, a Master’s in Public Health, and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Since graduation, Dr. Swart has had the opportunity to work in multiple practices in the Gainesville and Jacksonville areas and has made Hidden Hills Animal Hospital her new home. Her special interests include ultrasonography and internal medicine.

Dr. Swart has one daughter, Margaux. They share their home with two cats, Emma, and Beans.  Dr. Swart’s hobbies include horseback riding, running and spending time with her family and friends.