PET EMERGENCY     |     Coral Veterinary Clinic Locations:

FORT MYERS: 9540 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers FL 33919 | Ph 239-481-4746

SANIBEL: 1530 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957 | Ph 239-472-8387

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Pet Gazette Spring 2011

Laser Therapy

By: David B. Nichols, DVM, CVA

Coral Veterinary Clinic is proud to offer Class IV laser therapy to our clients and their pets as an effective treatment for many cases of acute and chronic pain, inflammation, post-surgical, and wound healing. Laser Therapy can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments, and has the benefit of being a drug-free, non-surgical, safe means of providing lasting pain relief.

Laser Therapy uses light to penetrate the tissue in a process called photobiostimulation. Studies have shown many benefits, including:

  • Reduced Inflammation – Laser Therapy dilates the blood vessels and stimulates lymphatic circulation, helping to reduce inflammation. Pain Relief.
  • Laser Therapy provides pain-killing or analgesic effects. It has a direct effect on nerve cells, including suppression of receptors that send pain signals to the brain. It also increases production of endorphins and enkephalins, which are the body's "natural pain-killers."
  • Accelerated Healing – Laser Therapy stimulates activity within the cells, resulting in increased oxygen, increased production of the energy molecule ATP, and increased enzyme production. These actions help tissue to heal more quickly and reduce the formation of scar tissue. Surgical incisions and other injuries benefit from treatment with laser therapy.

Laser Therapy has been used in Europe for many years, and is currently used in the United States to treat human patients for everything from sports injuries to rheumatoid arthritis. In dogs and cats, laser therapy has been used to help relieve the following conditions: degenerative joint disease, back pain, arthritis, muscle, ligament & tendon injuries, hip dysplasia, gingivitis & periodontal disease, wound healing, lower urinary tract disease (bladder infections), otitis (ear infections), anal gland inflammation, accelerated fracture healing, and lick granulomas.

No sedation is required for your pets laser treatments; it actually has a calming effect on the patients. Depending on the condition being treated, most pets show improvement within 12-24 hours (some are immediate!) The treatment protocol consists of a series of treatments, each lasting from 10-20 minutes, depending on how many areas and settings we are using. Most conditions recommend starting with a series of 6 treatments so we are offering a free treatment every time a series of six is purchased (Buy 5 get 1 free.) All of our Veterinarians and several of our technicians are certified K-Laser operators.

We are excited to provide this advanced technology to our canine and feline patients. Ask if your pet may benefit from this affordable, noninvasive, drug-free technology. Your pet will be glad you did!

For more information check out Coral Vet's Face Book page, K-Laser is one of our "favorite pages," on the left side of the screen. K-Laser's Face Book page has several testimonials and videos on human and veterinary use.


Meet our Staff

Jodie Rennie

Jodie RennieJodie is the nice brownhaired lady who can be seen all over the hospital! She is multitalented and versatile and works mostly as a veterinary technician in the exam rooms, but also works shifts as a receptionist and as a surgery tech when needed. She is a dedicated mother and wife. Her family consists of her husband, Chris, a fire fighter, and her two sons; Joshua, 14, and Justin, 18.

Jodie's animal family is even larger. She has three dogs; Ellie, a boxer, Mai Tai and Chiang Mai, both Shih Tzus. She owns four cats; Garfield, an orange tabby, Charley, a silver tabby, and Ramsey and Pharaoh, both Sphynx cats. Jodi also owns and rides Pogo, her quarter horse.

Jodie was born in Hialeah, Fl, on the other coast, and moved to Lehigh Acres when she was 7 years old. She has lived in Fort Myers for the last 18 years and is a self described Florida Cracker. She attended Riverdale High School. Jodie has a degree from St. Petersburg College in Veterinary Hospital Management and has taken vet tech courses from Penn Foster.

Jodie's hobbies include horseback riding, photography, boating and fishing. Jodie has also worked as a volunteer fire fighter for four years and is certified in CPR. She is definitely a great person to have around during an emergency! We enjoy having Jodie around us at Coral Veterinary Clinic, and we are sure you will appreciate her knowledge, skills and kindness with our patients and their owners!

Michelle Syms

Michelle SymsMichelle is the darkhaired young receptionist with the big smile. She was raised by her mother, Cindy, who is a long-time client of Coral Veterinary Clinic and even worked in our kennel back in the 80's Michelle is one of those rare people who was born and raised in Fort Myers. She attended Cypress Lake High school and is currently attending Edison State College. After she gets her associates degree, she plans to get certified as a veterinary technician.

Michelle shares her home with Mandie, her lab-pit bull mix and Patch, an American bulldog. She also owns Midnight, her cat, and Mufasa, the beta fish! Michelle was president of an animal club in high school, hardly a surprise, and likes to spend time with her family, friends, and her animals.

Michelle says laughing and having fun is her favorite thing to do, which you'll definitely know to be true if you spend a little time around her. Going shopping and to the beach are her two favorite pastimes.

Michelle loves working at Coral Vet Clinic and it shows. She is always happy to give you a smile and help you and your pet get the best care possible.


The Benefits of Diagnostic Ultrasound

What is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound is the ability to emit and recapture high frequency sound waves. Not too different from Radar or Sonar. The sound waves are emitted by vibrating crystals. These waves can penetrate various depths in the skin (tissue) and this gives us our two dimensional view of the body's tissues and fluids. It is not unlike taking tiny cross sections and looking at what is inside. We can evaluate tissues and fluid spaces in the body without having to surgically open and look at the underlying structures. Although surgery may be the ultimate answer, ultrasound will sometimes reinforce the pursuit of a cure. When used with radiographs it helps bring texture to a shadowy image. With the evaluation of that texture, your Veterinarian can determine if there is unseen disease. By viewing the normal and potentially abnormal structures along with determining the pattern of change present in a disease process, we can then make a more informed diagnosis.

An ultrasound picture, in real time, can also guide one to retrieve samples of affected tissues or fluid that you may not otherwise be able to acquire through any other method. Especially if a blind attempt at acquiring samples could lead to tissue damage, guidance from the ultrasound image prevents unwanted tissue destruction. This then speaks to the safety of the ultrasound system. Radiographs emit a radiation, which in high doses can lead to tissue damage. However, there has been no evidence to date to link ultrasound exposure to detrimental biologic effects to the patient or the ultrasonographer.

Here at Coral Veterinary Clinic we use the ultrasound machine to evaluate soft tissues in the abdomen like the intestines, kidneys, urinary bladder, liver, and adrenal glands to name a few. We also use it to collect samples of these tissues through fine needle aspiration techniques – meaning you place a small needle directly into the desired area and withdraw a sample, making this procedure minimally invasive. This causes very little tissue damage, and gives us an extraordinary amount of information when processed and evaluated by a pathologist.

We also use the ultrasound machine to perform echocardiography, which allows us to evaluate the heart and its function. Radiographs and electrocardiogram (ECG) together are the hallmark in evaluating heart function and pathology, and with the addition of the echocardiogram, the actual muscle movement and dimensions may be evaluated directly. The integrity of the heart walls, valves, and supporting structures are plainly visible. The muscular contractions and the chamber spaces may be evaluated as the heart is working. Disturbances in the various structures are usually readily apparent which allows us the ability to determine the best course of action medically.


Acupuncture and Herbs for your Pet

By: David B. Nichols, DVM, CVA

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs as medical therapy for pets has been available at Coral Veterinary Clinic since 2004. For those of you not familiar with the use of Acupuncture and herbs on pets as part of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), a brief explanation and history may be helpful.

Acupuncture may be defined as the stimulation of a specific point or points, on the body with a needle or needles, resulting in therapeutic homeostatic effect. The specific point on the body is called an acupuncture point or acupoint. The ancient Chinese healers discovered 361 acupoints on humans and 173 acupoints on animals. Modern research shows that acupoints are located in areas where there is a high density of free nerve endings, mast cells, small arterioles, lymphatic vessels. A number of studies have demonstrated that stimulations of acupoints induce the release of neurotransmitters that help relieve pain, reduce inflammation along with other positive physiological effects. As more studies are conducted, the mechanism of this ancient therapy will be better understood.

In TCVM therapy, a body's health depends on the state of Qi (pronounced Chee.) Qi is the life force, or vital energy, and flows through the body along pathways called meridians. All acupoints are located along the meridians. There are two opposing forms of Qi in the body called Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang should be in balance, or homeostasis, in a healthy animal. The concept of Yin and Yang are better understood if you think of the opposing properties of hot and cold, moist and dry, dark and light, or soft and hard, etc.

Of these opposing properties, the former items are Yin while the later are the Yang. The body is said to be in harmony when Yin and Yang Qi are in balance. In traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, all disease is caused by an imbalance of Yin and Yang and blockage of the normal flow of Qi. External factors such as infectious agents or trauma can upset the body's balance as well as internal factors such as cancer, stress, poor diet, or lack of proper rest and exercise.

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine has been practiced in both animals and humans in China for thousands of years.

The first Veterinary Acupuncture book, "Boles Canon of Veterinary Acupuncture" was written between 659 to 621 B.C., over 2600 years ago!

Today numerous studies show Acupuncture induces the following physiological effects; regulation of the immune system, hormonal and reproductive regulation, anti-fever effects, circulatory improvement, and relief of pain.

Acupuncture is a very safe when administered by a qualified practitioner. We have seen very few side effects with the use of Acupuncture &/or herbs. Most sessions last about 20-30 minutes, and we recommend 4 to 6 weekly treatments to achieve maximum effectiveness of the therapy. Many animals with chronic conditions such as arthritis or disc disease are brought in for treatments every 3 to 6 weeks. At Coral Veterinary Clinic we have used Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs to relieve or help the following conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic cough
  • Chronic cystitis
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Geriatric weakness
  • Hyperadrenocortism (Cushing's Disease)
  • Hyperthyroidism (Usually cats)
  • Hypothyroidism (Usually dogs)
  • Incontinence
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Chronic Arthritis (from hip dysplasia & other joint conditions)
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Epilepsy
  • Muscle soreness and back pain
  • Side effects of Cancer & Chemotherapy
  • Invertebral disc disease & paralysis
  • Liver disease
  • Nerve paralysis
  • Skin problems

At Coral Veterinary Clinic, I practice what is called integrative medicine, which is a combination of western medicine along with acupuncture and Chinese herbs to achieve the best result for the pet. In many cases, especially chronic conditions, western treatments alone have proved to be inadequate or possible dangerous because of drug intolerances or other medical conditions of the patients. Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs allow me to use a safe, holistic modality to enhance or replace western treatments.

I was certified in Veterinary Acupuncture in 2004 at the world-renowned Chi Institute in Reddick, Florida. I have also completed further studies in Chinese Herbal Medicine at the Chi Institute. Since 2004, I have treated over 1,000 pets with Acupuncture and/or Chinese Herbs. I would be honored to consult with you about the use of Chinese medicine for your pet's medical problems. We are presently offering a discount program for acupuncture treatments. Purchase 5 treatments and the 6th will be at no charge.


World Veterinary Year

2011 is the 250th anniversary of veterinary education. The world's first veterinary school was founded in Lyon, France in 1761, by French veterinarian Claude Bourgelat. Dr. Bourgelat was also the first scientist to suggest that studying animal biology and pathology would be help our understanding of human biology. In recognition of this anniversary, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is partnering with veterinary leaders worldwide to celebrate 2011 as World Veterinary Year. Please join us in celebrating 250 years of the veterinary profession working to improve both animal and human health. Learn more at


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FORT MYERS: 9540 Cypress Lake Drive . Fort Myers, FL 33919 | Telephone: 239.481.4746
SANIBEL: 1530 Periwinkle Way . Sanibel, FL 33957 | Telelphone: 239.472.VETS (8387)
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