WALLINGFORD — With winter in full swing, and frequent freezing temperatures, it is important for pet owners to keep their furry family members’ safety in mind.
The Record-Journal recently took a tour of Yalesville Veterinary Hospital on Church Street with owner Dr. Frank Kostolitz to talk about proper pet care, winter pet safety and his history in the field as well as the start of the facility in 1990.
Q: What are some of your main roles here?
Kostolitz: Primarily providing medical care and supporting the owners during difficult times and happy times. The primary purpose of us being here is really to help the owner navigate during difficult times and make the right decisions for their pets.
Q: What kind of pets do you care for here?
Kostolitz: Most of what we do involves dogs and cats. We do also provide medical services to rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs.
Q: What kind of tips do you have for pet owners, especially this time of year, to keep pets safe and healthy?
Kostolitz: Pets in a way react to cold just like people. Older pets get colder sooner than younger ones, their metabolism is slower. Pets that are not as tall obviously get colder faster than taller pets. You need to use your judgment. One of the problems we see in winter is that there are products that help melt ice and we always recommend using ice melters and not salt, salt can be toxic. Owners should check and evaluate the paws of their pets and see if there are any cracks or cuts because ice can be sharp and produce cuts.
Q: What temperatures should pet owners feel comfortable taking their pets outside?
Kostolitz: As long as temperatures are in the 40’s they’re quite safe. Owners should feel comfortable taking their dogs for walks as long as they’re covered if they’re a short-haired pet.
Q: What kind of schooling do you need to do to become a veterinarian?
Kostolitz: You have to go to vet school which is a four-year post-grad course and some veterinarians opt to go into specialties...so it has become much more diversified.
Q: What made you want to work in this field?
Kostolitz: Originally I thought it was just about the animals, but then over the years I realized that it is really more of a people type field where you need to communicate to owners what their pets need.
Q: You started offering “home visits” about a year ago, what do those entail?
Kostolitz: There was a need for house calls. Owners that simply feel uncomfortable taking their pet outside the home, pets that are nervous on the trip from home to the hospital and end of life services. We have owners that just feel more comfortable taking a difficult step in their own home.
Q: What are some of the changes and/or advancements in this field in the last few decades?
Kostolitz: It’s been day and night. Thirty years ago we didn’t have all the advanced technology that we have today. We get more and more into minimally invasive surgeries, endoscopies, ultrasounds, those were not steps that were really taken or offered 30 years ago. Since we want to offer the most advanced type of procedures we are one of the few practices in the state that offers this type of technique, laparoscopy, to owners and their pets.
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