Dr. Chris Bern

Cartersville, GA

Male, 42

I have been a practicing veterinarian since 1997, but have been in and around the profession since 1984. I am a general practitioner and see most pet species, from dogs and cats to parrots and snakes. In my job I do everything from routine vaccinations to complex surgeries and difficult medical cases. Becoming a vet takes hard work and dedication but can be very rewarding.

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110 Questions


Last Answer on July 05, 2017

Best Rated

can dog and cat fleas survive and reproduce on human blood and is it possible for humans to cary fleas from home to there work place?

Asked by charlotte over 4 years ago

Fleas are nasty little creatures and are adept survivors.  There are actually many different species of fleas, but what most people come into contact with are "cat" fleas.  Despite the name they can live off of most warm blooded animals, including dogs, cats, raccoons, squirrles, and yes, humans.  We aren't their preferred host and they will typically chose animals over people, but they do just fine on human blood and will certainly reproduce after feeding on people.  A flea typically stays on its host during the adult part of its life cycle unless somehow removed.  While fleas have been known to come in from a yard into a home, hitching a ride on shoes and socks, a longer journey would be less likely but not impossible.

Hello. A few hours ago I was on a bed and when I stepped off the bed I stepped on my dogs front paw. She has been limping on it, I lightly moved her paw and toes, she didnt yelp but flinched a little bit. I feel bad and I am not sure what to do.

Asked by Liz about 5 years ago

This may sound trite or callous, but it's not intended as such. When something like this happens you should call your vet, not go to the internet. It may not be anything serious, but there is no way someone online can properly diagnose a pet. You will need to have a vet examine your dog and then determine if there is a real concern. I know people want to save money and that there is a ton of information on the Web, but the health of your pet is worth at least an office visit.

Can ANY cat be an indoor OR an outdoor cat, or should some species be kept as one or the other? When my indoor cat pokes his head outside when the front door's open, he starts sneezing like crazy. Is it because he's not used to the pollen?

Asked by Smelanie about 5 years ago

Technically any cat can be either indoor or outdoor. However, I do think that some cats should remain indoors. Long-haired cats will be more likely to get twigs, leaves, and brambles in their fur, as well as have a higher tendency for matting. Hairless cats like the Sphinx have less insulation or protection due to the lack of fur, and so shouldn't go outside. Beyond that a particular breed isn't more or less likely to have problems. Your indoor cat may be sniffing heavily, bringing in more air and dust particles, therefore causing tickling of the sinuses. Pollen isn't the only cause of irritation in the nasal passages. Because he's not used to going outside he'll be sniffing and investigating more than a cat who was outside frequently.

Is it true that people and their pets often end up looking alike, or is it just a thing the media likes to play up when they see it?

Asked by Guanita over 4 years ago

That's definitely a media thing!  The physical appearance of a dog or human doesn't start to change to duplicate anyone or anything in the surrounding area.  If it did, husbands and wives would resemble each other and children would look even more like their parents.  It's amusing to us to see owners and pets looking similar, so media sources like to highlight these situations.  I can't think of any clients I've had who closely resemble their pets.

3 yr old mini -dachs 13 lbs severly injured muscles from his neck back rear by twisting backwards falling 2wks ago. xrays done/ discs appeared fine. He is on prednisone mg 1per day,methocarbam 500. He is worse. can i inc pred by 1/2, pain is very bad

Asked by Ms. Blair Sterling over 4 years ago

Here's advice for this pet owner as well as all others out there.  When you have a situation like this one where your pet is injured or sick and needs an immediate answer, DO NOT go to the Internet with questions.  It would be immoral and unethical for me or any other vet to give dosage advice with a pet that is not a patient of ours.  Changing dosages is not something to be done lightly and has to take into account the pet's other health situations, current lab tests, and many other factors.  In fact, giving specific medical advice like this without having seen the patient is against state law.

My best advice is to contact the vet who made the diagnosis.  He/She is the one who will know whether or not to change the dosage, or if potentially more needs to be done.  Sometimes a spinal/disc injury does not show up on x-rays and additional diagnostics need to be performed.  Talk to your vet.

If a vet that specializes in a particular field, are they able to practice general medicine as well?

Asked by Lee over 4 years ago

Technically and legally, yes, at least in the US.  Specialty licensing is given out by organizations recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association, not by state laws.  Each state's licensing governs veterinarians as a whole, not any particular specialty.  So when a state grants a license it automatically includes all aspects of veterinary medicine.

In reality, however, most specialists become very rusty with disciplines outside of their field.  I'm sure that I'm better at doing spays that most specialists other than surgeons, though they are better at their discipline than I am.  So even though a specialst might be legally able to practice general medicine, they may not be skilled outside of their field, especially if they have been a specialist for a long time.

If you had to guess, what % of your clients pay for visits through animal healthcare insurance vs. out-of-pocket? And is dealing with insurance companies one of your biggest headaches?

Asked by Go 'Canes! about 5 years ago

Here in the US it's less than 1% of clients. Pet insurance is also very different than human insurance. With pet insurance the client actually pays for the medical bill themselves and then is reimbursed a certain amount based on their policy. Vets actually never deal directly with the insurance companies, so it's pretty easy for us.