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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106 Questions


Last Answer on July 05, 2017

Best Rated

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 over 4 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.

Why do race horses get put down if they break a leg? I know they won't race again, but isn't it still really lucrative for the owner to put them out to stud?

Asked by lol_e2e4 over 4 years ago

Horses are surprisingly delicate creatures. Their legs carry a lot of weight on a surprisingly small surface area. In essence they are putting all of their weight on their middle finger. Sure, the bone is wide, but it ends up being a lot of pressure. When they injure their leg sufficiently the can't heal well and often can't even walk. While a dog or cat can do very well with only three legs, a horse can't. Many injuries that can be fixed in pets with surgery and casts simply won't heal in horses, and they can't get around with a severely damaged leg. So it's not just a matter of them not being able to race's a matter of them not being able to move and thrive. Thankfully veterinary medicine has come a long way in treating bone injuries in horses and things that were once fatal can now be treated. However, there are still many injuries where it's more humane to euthanize the horse.

My dog is weird and barks at things on wheels. WHY DOES HE DO THAT? He goes crazy if someone goes by on a bike, skateboard, or rollerblades. But someone can be running (at around same speed as a bike) and he won't flinch.

Asked by Krass over 4 years ago

Without watching him myself this is purely speculation.  Sometimes it is the noise of the wheels, which is different from the sound of running or walking.  It can also be the motion of the wheels themselves.  This is different than legs and can trigger a different response.

Do you know of any/many people who became vets later in life? Do you have any views on how difficult or easy it is presuming studies have been successfully completed?

Asked by ?1 about 4 years ago

This is more common than you might think.  In my own veterinary class of 70 people at least 10 of them were in their 30s having had careers in other fields.  I knew a man who had a successful career in magazine publishing before deciding to go to vet school at 40.  Age or previous careers should not be any barrier to starting into veterinary medicine.  However, non-traditional students may not be as in the habit of studying as the ones starting in their 20s.  Also, it is increasingly expensive to become a vet and debt burdens are becoming unbearable and difficult to survive.  Becoming a vet at 40 gives you much less time to pay off debt than starting at 25, so that should be kept in mind.

My dog has a thyroid disorder (hypothyroidism) and I can't afford to go to the vet, to get a script for meds. What would be the best herbal med that I can give her?

Asked by Lollie over 4 years ago

I have to absolutely recommend that you go to your vet for proper diagnosis.  If your dog hasn't had a vet run tests and confirm a low thyroid level, you don't actually know if this is the problem.  The symptoms of hypothyroidism can be similar to several other disorders.  A basic initial thyroid screen is inexpensive and can often be performed in the vet's office.  I also trust traditional medicine over herbal remedies in most cases, and cannot in good conscience recommend a herbal remedy, especially without a proper diagnosis.

I have to also be very blunt for a moment.  If you cannot afford a simple blood test and an office visit, do you have your dog on heartworm prevention and proper vaccination?  If not, then I would seriously consider whether or not you are giving proper care to your dog.  Yes, you may love her very much, but proper health care costs money.  By not doing appropriate preventative care you could be willingly exposing her to the risks of more serious and expensive diseases.  Give it some thought.

do you help pythons?????????????????????

Asked by nate over 4 years ago

I'm not an expert, so it depends on the problem. However, I do enjoy seeing "exotic" pets and have better than average knowledge and skills in this area (compared to most general practitioners I know). I will see just about any animal that is commonly kept as a household pet, with certain exceptions. I won't see primates because I don't have the proper handling equipment and they're difficult to handle. I won't see venomous pets because of the potential for serious harm. I don't have the expertise and equipment to see fish. And I'll admit a mild arachnophobia so I won't see invertebrates. It can actually be hard to find a vet who will see exotic pets, so call around if you have a snake that needs to be seen.

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 over 4 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.