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Dodgers Pitcher Chad Billingsley Supports the Berks ARL!

The Animal Rescue League of Berks County (ARL) is proud to announce that Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting pitcher and Berks County resident Chad Billingsley has committed to support the ARL’s 60th anniversary Diamond Jubilee celebration. For every strikeout thrown by Chad, he will donate $100 to the ARL and for every game he wins, Chad will donate $1000 to the ARL. To date, Chad raised $7,200 towards the Diamond Jubilee fundraiser. During a recent interview with Chad, he stated, “There wasn’t a single day of my life that we didn’t have a furry family member, and they were just that, members of our family. I now continue that with my own family, and our two dogs, Riley and Roxy. The Animal Rescue League best exemplifies the love and caring that all animals need. They go above and beyond any other animal shelter, to truly care for each animal coming through their door, and no one will ever be turned away. Hopefully, with my continued support, the Animal Rescue League will be able to help many more of our furry friends.” Here is your chance to play in the big leagues! Pledge a matching donation for Chad’s strikeouts and/or his game wins and get a chance to meet Chad. A $100 pledge gets you an invitation to the Meet and Greet on November 7 at the shelter; a $1000 pledge or greater gives you two tickets to join Chad at the Animal Rescue League’s Annual Gala on November 9th at the Reading Crowne Plaza. “Chad and Tiffany are two of the best people I have met in all of my years in animal rescue. They are true animal lovers and I am thrilled to have them as major supporters of the Animal Rescue League,” says Board President Barrie Pease. For more information contact or

Cute Pet of the Week: Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear looks like his cuddly namesake, but he requires much more care than a stuffed animal. Two years ago, Dr. Westfall rescued the homeless dog and diagnosed severe heart disease. Nevertheless, his adoptive mom, Irene, shown here holding Teddy after his Mother’s Day haircut by our groomer Tina, made a lifetime commitment to doing whatever is necessary to keep him healthy. Luckily, she is related to Desiree, one of our veterinary nurses, who helps with his care. So he’s often here at Bernville Vet, and his care is “all in the family.”

Our Stained Glass Windows

        Many of you comment on the beautiful stained glass windows in our hospital. We asked Dr Steve about their history and this is what he said: “Stained glass has always been one of my favorite art forms. I really wanted a pet-themed piece to accent the hospital. I went to South Mountain Stained Glass to get a design. He gave me some very elegant southwest inspired designs that were beautiful but not what I felt was in the spirit of my vision. They would have looked great in a financial building or elegant home but not the hospital. I drew a simple design and I explained to him my whimsical animal inspired theme with the sun & moon and he redesigned from that. He did an excellent job! Also, I can’t take credit for the amazing side windows around the door; they were designed by an intern at Partners’ Design.”

Acupuncture for Pets Works!

Dr. Lee Pickett performing acupuncture on a dog
Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine therapy, is used in conjunction with conventional Western medicine to treat dogs and cats with pain or weakness associated with degenerative joint disease (including osteoarthritis due to hip dysplasia), spondylosis, intervertebral disc disease and traumatic nerve injuries. Veterinarians also use acupuncture in allergic skin disease, lick granulomas, seizures and kidney failure, and in birds with psychological feather-picking. Techniques and Treatment Schedules Treatment consists of one or more of the following techniques, depending on the pet’s medical condition: 1) dry needle acupuncture, the insertion of sterile acupuncture needles into the skin at various locations – points – where they are retained for about 15 minutes; 2) electro-acupuncture, which provides a small, non-painful electrical current to some of the needles; 3) moxibustion, warming the acupuncture point by burning the herb mugwort (Artemis vulgaris) above the surface of the skin; or 4) aquapuncture, injecting a substance such as Vitamin B complex into an acupuncture point. Most dogs don’t mind acupuncture treatments and actually come to enjoy them, although not all cats tolerate them well. A family member usually holds the pet during treatment. A typical treatment schedule starts with two treatments per week for the first two weeks, then one treatment per week for a month. Subtle improvement usually is noted by the fourth treatment. If no improvement is seen by the sixth treatment, additional treatments are unlikely to prove beneficial. After maximal improvement is achieved, treatments are gradually stretched out to a schedule that meets the pet’s needs. Generally, maintenance treatments are repeated every one to two months throughout the pet’s life. At Bernville Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Lee Pickett provides acupuncture therapy. How Acupuncture Works Some, but not all, of the actions of acupuncture can be explained in terms familiar to conventional Western medicine and science. Acupuncture is thought to exert its pain-relieving effects by releasing brain chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin, and by blocking transmission of pain signals up the spinal cord to the brain. Function is thought to be enhanced through increased blood circulation to the area needled. In traditional Chinese medicine, disease is thought to result from an imbalance of yin and yang (essentially an imbalance of normal homeostasis) as well as abnormal flow of Qi (loosely translated to mean energy) and blood (similar but not identical to the Western concept of blood.) The objective of acupuncture therapy is to restore balance and enhance the flow of Qi and blood. Precautions Before acupuncture therapy begins, a conventional Western workup is done to determine whether other therapies would be more appropriate or even whether acupuncture is contraindicated. For example, it is essential to differentiate joint pain due to osteoarthritis (a chronic degenerative disorder for which acupuncture is useful) from pain caused by Lyme disease or septic arthritis (infections for which other treatment is more appropriate) or bone cancer (which will develop faster with acupuncture treatments.) Adverse reactions from acupuncture are rare if the correct points, depths of needle insertion, needling techniques and retention times are used. The possibility of infection, though extremely low, is minimized by using sterile needles and needling only uninfected skin. Bleeding occurs only rarely; when it does, the few drops released from the acupuncture point are a positive sign. For a day or so after an acupuncture treatment, the pet may experience drowsiness or weakness. These transient effects are considered good prognostic signs, but treatments should not be scheduled for the day before competition or heavy exercise (e.g., obedience trials, agility trials or hunting.) Other potential adverse reactions include hives and increased growth rate of established tumors. Corticosteroids, particularly at high doses, may block some of the effects of acupuncture. Suggested Reading Altman, Sheldon. Acupuncture Therapy in Small Animal Practice. Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Third Edition, Edited by Stephen J. Ettinger, 1989, pp. 484-498. Kendall, D.E. A Scientific Model for Acupuncture, Part I. American Journal of Acupuncture 17(3):251-268. Kendall, D.E. A Scientific Model for Acupuncture, Part II. American Journal of Acupuncture 17(4):343-360. Schoen, Allen M. Veterinary Acupuncture: Ancient Art to Modern Medicine. American Veterinary Publications, Inc., California, 1994. Schwartz, Cheryl. Four Paws, Five Directions. Celestial Arts Publishing, California, 1996.


ARL is quite full right now, especially since kitten season has begun. Once kittens arrive, the adult cats often get overlooked. In an effort to find good homes for as many pets as possible, the ARL is now offering half off the adoption fee for any pet who has been there for more than 3 months and free adoptions for any pet here longer than 6 months. Please look for the caption below each pet’s photo on the Adoptable Pets page for eligibility. Thank you for considering adult pets! For more information, please contact

Vote for Canine Partners for Life on June 26 in the Toyota 100 Cars for Good Program

Our good friends at Canine Partners for Life have been selected as a finalist in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good Program. Now they need your support to win the vehicle of their choice! Tell your friends to vote for Canine Partners for Life at on June 26th. Set a reminder in your calendar today and ask your friends to do the same! For more information, go to