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Meet Buddy

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Buddy is an 11-year-old Cocker Spaniel Mix. Back in August of this year he lost function of his back legs. He was brought in to Dr. House and the prognosis was poor. Buddy was diagnosed with a herniated intervertebral disc.

What is a herniated disc?

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Injury or weakness can cause the inner portion of the disk to protrude through the outer ring. This is known as a slipped, herniated, or prolapsed disk. This causes pain and discomfort. If the slipped disk compresses one of the spinal nerves, numbness and pain along the affected nerve may also experience.

Buddy experienced almost complete paralysis to the rear legs. Dr. House was unable to get any reaction during his exam on his hind end. Surgery was recommended for the best outcome but other options were considered if surgery was not possible. Buddy’s owner chose to do the other options without surgery. Dr. House gave Buddy a 15% chance of recovery.

Laser Therapy was started here almost every day to every other day for 2 weeks with steroids to help with inflammation. Dr. House also did a couple sessions of acupuncture in conjunction with laser treatments. After his first treatment, there was a 10% improvement and after 2 weeks he could control his bladder and bowel movements again. Buddy has continued with laser therapy every couple of days to once a week. At his last visit Dr. House notated that Buddy has regained 95% of his neuro function in his rear limbs with a little bit of lameness.

Most patients only respond to surgery and sometimes not at all. Buddy is one of the few that responded to other treatments without surgery. We are happy to see Buddy when he walks in the door to greet us. He is one lucky pooch!!

Credits: Ashley Landowski, Technician



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Meet Coco!


Coco is an absolutely adorable 10 year old Shih Tzu. She came in to see us for an annual dental cleaning. At that time we recommended full mouth dental radiographs. Dental radiographs are always recommended to ensure there isn't an underlying problem that can't be seen upon examination with the naked eye. Some of those underlying problems can be infection, abscesses, or root and/or pulp damage under the gums line. Coco's mom agreed to dental radiographs and we got started. The radiographs revealed two impacted teeth and a possible Dentigerous cyst. Without radiographs Dr. Williams wouldn't have known these teeth were impacted. Impacted teeth are adult teeth that never erupted through the gum.

What is a Dentigerous cyst? A Dentigerous cyst is a fluid-filled, benign mass surrounding the crown of an unerupted tooth. These cysts form when abnormal dental epithelial tissue expands and are associated with unerupted or impacted teeth. They are more common in small breed dogs. Dentigerous cysts can be very invasive and expansive-even into the bone. They keep expanding indefinitely and cause damage to anything in the way. If the cyst is not surgically removed, damage to the surrounding teeth and jaw can happen in a very short time. The cyst can also invade the nasal cavity. Typically, by the time Dentigerous cysts grow large enough to be seen by the naked eye on examination, significant damage has already occurred. This is just another reason why dental radiographs are so important!

Dr. Williams surgically removed the impacted teeth and sent out a sample of soft tissue to a pathologist to be evaluated. The biopsy results confirmed her suspicions. It was a Dentigerous cyst. Coco has recovered wonderfully and was doing great at the time of her follow up appointment. Her teeth are now squeaky clean and the impacted teeth and Dentigerous cyst are no longer a threat to her dental health. YAY!!! While there aren't always symptoms when a Dentigerous cyst is present, as we know from Coco's case, there are some symptoms to watch for that can signal dental problems.

  • Changes in tooth shape, color, or position
  • Localized facial swelling or pain
  • Reduced biting pressure during play
  • Reluctance to eat or refusal of food, especially hard food
  • Halitosis

Angela Anderson, Technician



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Meet Sadie Mae . . .


Sadie Mae is a 9 year old Lab Mix. She came in for a lump removal and dental cleaning. Full mouth dental radiographs are always recommended to ensure there is no infection, root or pulp damage underneath the gum line. Sadie's mom agreed to the full mouth xrays and they revealed a fractured tooth under the gum line. Without these radiographs, Dr. Behm would not have know this problem existed. During physical examination there was no evidence that the tooth had a problem. The tooth was extracted and Sadie should have no further issues with the tooth. If it was not detected and not removed she could have had some serious issues. Broken teeth can cause pain, inflammation, abscess and infection.

When we go to the dentist our teeth are scaled as well. Most of us sit in the chair and open our mouths when requested. I don't know about you but I do not know of too many dogs or cats that will sit and open their mouths for us. Dogs and cats need to go under general anesthesia in order to do a proper dental exam and scale the teeth. Once the teeth are scaled and clean the doctor will decide if any teeth need to be extracted. The doctor will also look at the dental radiographs to ensure there are no problems underneath the gums.

A professional dental cleaning is done here to remove the dental plaque and tartar that can cause periodontal disease. This is done with an ultrasonic scaler. After scaling, the teeth are polished to remove residual plaque and to smooth the tooth surface. The mouth is rinsed to remove any additional debris before the final inspection is done. Fluoride foam is applied to help prevent plaque buildup.

Radiographs are recommended and are a valuable tool to evaluate the health of the jaw and the tooth roots below the gumline. Most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where you can’t see it.

What you should watch for signs of a fractured tooth in a dog:

  • Changes in the tooth shape, color or position
  • Localized facial swelling or pain
  • Reduced biting pressure during play
  • Reluctance to eat or refusal of food, especially hard food

During dental month all of our dogs and cats that have a dental procedure go home with a goodie bag that includes:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Hill’s T/D (tartar control food)
  • Veggiedent
  • CET Dental Rawhide Chew
  • Hand out to help with brushing at home

Brushing your pet's teeth is the best thing you can do for them. 3-4 times a week is best to help prevent tartar and plaque buildup. If you are unable to brush their teeth there are other things that may be used to help, such as dental diets and dental bones, treats or chews. Even with daily teeth brushing some pets still need a professional cleaning every year or so.



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Meet Bella . . .


Meet Bella! She travels frequently in the US with her mother. They have traveled by plane and car. Millions of people, just like them, travel with their pets every year. Here are the answers to a few important questions you may have before you travel with your pet.


Question: What do I need to do for my pet before we travel?

Answer: There are many things to know before you go; including if your destination is fine with pets, and if they need to be confined while you are away from them. A great website to find information about traveling with your pet by car, boat, plane or train is www.pettravel.com.

Q: Do I need to see a vet before I take a trip with my pet?

A: You should always check to make sure your pet is healthy before you travel and up to date on any vaccines. Also you may wish to have a sedative on hand in case your pet gets anxious while traveling. You may want to get heartworm or flea & tick prevention for your pet as well. Different areas of the US have different risks when it comes to these pests.

Q: What if I am leaving country with my pet?

A: Every country you travel to has different requirements for bringing your pet into their country. Please check the APHIS website for the requirements of each country. Also check with airlines for any requirements they may have for your pet to travel, and because airlines take a limited amount of pets per flight. The APHIS website is the USDA’s site and keeps updated on what documentation you need to have your pet with you as you leave (and return) to the US. It also lists what your pet needs to have done medically before your trip. Sometimes it can take up to 2 months to have your pet prepared for your trip so check the website early and often for any changes that may have occurred as you prepare. Your veterinarian will be happy to help you prepare your pet for your trip. The website is aphis.usda.gov/aphis/home/pet-travel

Q: When traveling by car how often should we stop?

A: You should stop every 3-4 hours to let your pet go to the bathroom, and get in a good stretch. Make sure that the areas you stop will allow pets, and follow the signs to the area where they are allowed to go to the bathroom. Make sure you keep cleaning supplies with you if the pet does have an accident in the vehicle. If you have a cat bring a travel litter pan so they can go to the bathroom on the floor. The best place to keep it is behind the front seats on the floor. Make sure you NEVER leave your pet unattended in the car. Even a day that is sunny and mild can warm your car up to unbearable temperatures for a pet. Keep a supply of water on hand for them as well.

Q: Does my pet have to stay in a crate/carrier?

A: Your destination or mode of travel may require you to keep your pet contained. First make sure you have theright crate/carrier for you purposes. The airline will list what is acceptable for plane travel. When you use a crate or carrier make sure you have let the pet get acclimated to it. Place comfy bedding (and something that smells like you) in it and encourage them to sleep there while you are still home. And leave the door open so they can come and go as they please. Take them on a car ride with it to get them used to being in the car, and in the crate/carrier. It is best if you start this process several weeks before travel.


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Meet Lexi . . .

Lexi is an 11 year old cat that came into the hospital for a 6 month check up with Dr.Williams back in July of this year. Lexi’s owner found a lump on the left side of her neck that she wanted looked at. Dr.Willimas had done an FNA (Fine Needle Aspirate) on the 1 cm mass on Lexi’s neck. The mass was ulcerated and draining. A FNA is when the doctor takes a sample of the cells from the mass and puts it onto a slide and then looks at the cells under the microscope. Dr.Williams had looked at the cells from Lexi’s mass and found sheets of round cells. When round cells are present this can be highly suspicious of a mast cell tumor. Dr.Williams recommended that we do a full panel of blood work on Lexi to check her liver and kidneys. She also recommended that Lexi have the mass on her neck removed and sent out for a biopsy.

Lexi’s blood work came back and it was all normal. Lexi then came back a few days after her check up to have her mass removed. Dr.Williams removed Lexi’s mass and sent it to the lab for Histopathology to find out what it is. The Histopathology takes about 5-7 days to get the results. The histopathology revealed what Dr.Williams was suspicious of. It came back a mast cell tumor that had complete excision (meaning complete removal of the tumor). There was no evidence of lymphatic spread but this tumor could spread. Dr.Williams recommended that Lexi have an abdominal ultrasound done for staging and to ensure no spread to other internal organs.

Lexi came into the hospital and Dr.House performed an Abdominal Ultrasound. Dr.House checked the bladder, kidneys, spleen, liver, gall bladder, pancreas and the gi tract. Lexi’s ultrasound had no significant abnormalities and no evidence of mast cell metastasis.

Mast cell tumors are the second most common skin tumors in cats. Mast cells are present in most tissues but more prominent in the skin, lining of the lungs, and digestive tract. Lexi had a skin mass cell tumor. Skin mass cell tumors are usually detected by the owners as a solitary raised, firm, hairless lumps on the skin or flat, plaque-like lesions. Approximately 20% of cats with mass cell tumors will have multiple growths and about 25% will have some ulceration of the masses present.

Mast cell tumors are not as aggressive in cats as they are in dogs but it is still good to do a full workup to ensure the disease has not spread. Any lump, bump or lesion should always be checked by the doctor.

Tina Gasior, Vet Tech



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Meet Charlie . . .

Charlie is a loveable Yellow Lab that first came to us when he was 5 months old and 75 pounds. By the time he was 3 in 2014 he had climbed up to 106 pounds. For Charlie, this was about 25 pounds overweight! During his annual exam, Doctor Williams discussed with the owners that if his weight gain continued we may be worried about other health issues such as hypothyroid and heart disease.

In June of 2015, his weight had increased to 109 pounds when he came in for a nail trim; the technician was concerned so she asked his owners what they gave Charlie to eat. They told her he ate a lot of bacon treats and wet food as well as dry food. The technician suggested they cut back on the treats and wet food and also try some treats (with less caloric content). About a month later Charlie had gone from 109 pounds to 102! By September of that year Charlie had dropped to 92 pounds!

Today, Charlie is down to an ideal weight of 79 pounds. He had been around 30-35% overweight, that’s about 50 to 60 pounds overweight for a human! Being overweight can be very dangerous and life threatening for a pet as it can lead to issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and cause problems with their joints.

November is Pet Obesity Awareness month; if you are concerned that your pet may be overweight bring them in for an exam, body mass, and weight check! Don’t forget to bring the type of food they eat with you because we can calculate the calories they need to intake each day and then determine what lifestyle changes may help them lose weight. Other tests may be necessary to rule out any medical issues that could be causing weight gain.

Congratulations to Charlie’s parents for getting the weight off Charlie and keeping him at an ideal weight!


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Meet Chuck . . .

Chuck is a 7 year old Cavalier King Charles. In 2013 our doctors heard a HEART MURMUR for the first time. It was a grade 1 out of 6. An ECHOCARDIOGRAM was recommended and Chuck's owner quickly scheduled the appointment. The next day an echo was performed by Dr. House. After looking at the heart, Dr. House assessed Chuck's heart disease and no medication was needed at that time. An echo is now performed every 6-12 months by Dr. House to watch the progress of Chuck's heart disease. If significant disease is detected there are medications that can help slow the progression of the disease.

An ECHOCARDIOGRAM is a painless procedure requiring no sedation and causing no discomfort to your dog. A small patch of hair is shaved on either side of the chest. An ultrasound probe is placed against the chest wall and the heart is examined to determine the severity of the problem.

A heart murmur is detected by listening to the heart with a stethoscope during a physical exam. When a murmur is heard it can mean either the blood is flowing at an improper speed or the blood is flowing in the wrong direction. Unfortunately heart murmurs in dogs can eventually lead to congestive heart failure and death.

Small dogs can get a type of heart problem call degenerative valve disease or mitral valve insufficiency. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are the poster child for this disease but it can happen in any small dog. These dogs develop a heart murmur since the valve fails to close properly and blood leaks backwards. Any small dog with a murmur should have a heart ultrasound. A recent study showed that early diagnosis and treatment, can extend their life by 15 months!!!

October is Heart Healthy Month. Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in dogs and cats, trailing only to cancer. Our goal at Hoffman Estates Animal Hospital is to diagnose patients early and begin treatment to prevent congestive heart failure and all the other problems that go along with heart disease.

Ashley Landowski, Vet Tech

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Meet Jasper. . .

Meet Jasper, a Bernese Mountain Dog, he is 5 years old, and weighs over 125 pounds. This gentle giant has an important job; he is a Therapy Dog. Therapy animals are personal pets which meet certain criteria such as having good manners, good health and meet specific guidelines. These guidelines include but are not limited to; being at least one year of age, are good around other pets, allow themselves to be touched by strangers, don't jump up on people, don't mind strange noises or smells, and are not afraid of unsteady walkers and wheelchairs, or unusual equipment. Therapy dogs while very valuable in rehabilitation and the health of people are not service, or guide dogs. Service dogs have been specifically trained to help with people who have visual, hearing, mental or physical impairments. A guide dog is a dog strictly for those with visual impairments.

Therapy pets visit hospitals, retirement communities, and assisted living facilities. These pets have a calming and therapeutic effect on patients. Dogs always have a positive attitude and make people happy. They are very intuitive and want to provide comfort to those who are upset or ill. Dogs genuinely like to be around people and want to spend time sharing and being loved. Another way that dogs are helpful is having patients pet the animal. Petting is important, as touch is a need we as humans always have. Touching a pet brings comfort and relieves stress in a person. Pets also remind people of their own happy memories with the pets they have had in their lives.

There are many organizations that certify pets to be therapy pets. Each organization has different requirements, but all pets and handlers must pass a handling portion, and successful supervised visits in therapy situations. Once a pet has been certified, they are ready to help out people in need.

Don’t forget to look for Jasper doing his job at Northwest Community Healthcare Center. He enjoys spending his time helping with the patients there.

Karen Corey, Head Technician

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Meet Madison…

Madison is a 6 year old Golden Retriever who was at home with her owner and her partner in crime, Moe a 14 year old cat. Moe had decided to open up a drawer that had sewing supplies in it. Moe had proceeded to play in the drawer dropping a needle and thread on the floor. Madison was onto Moe and quickly picked up the needle and swallowed it. Luckily for Madison her owner was home and saw this the minute it happened. Madison’s owner called us immediately and brought her into the hospital. We started with an x-ray and the x-ray reveled the needle was in Madison’s stomach. Madison was then prepped for surgery that same day. Dr .Behm performed a Gastrotomy. A Gastrotomy is a surgical procedure where we make an opening into the stomach from the abdominal wall. She found the string with attached needle in the stomach and removed it.

Madison was definitely lucky that her owner was there when she swallowed the needle and thread, because this was caught so quickly Madison’s surgery went very smoothly and she had no perforations of her stomach. Madison made a full recovery and is doing great! In most cases we don’t see our pets' get into trouble and don’t know our pets swallowed a foreign object until they start showing severe symptoms of being ill. A foreign object has a high potential of causing serious issues depending on the object. If the object is sharp if can perforate the stomach or the intestines. If the object is too large it can cause a blockage in the stomach or intestines. When this happens pets become very ill. They can have symptoms of vomiting, lethargy, and not wanting to eat.

It is very important to pet proof your home. Some common household items that are dangerous for cats are: thread, curling ribbon; which is usually attached to balloons, dental floss, rubber bands or hair ties, and yarn. These objects are commonly seen with cats but dogs have been known to ingest them to. For dogs some common items are socks, feminine products, baby toys, pacifiers, crayons, kids toys, and garbage; chicken bones are very common. Pet related products can be dangerous for dogs too, such as toys and rawhides. Dogs can swallow a large piece of rawhide or swallow a piece of their dog toy or the squeaker inside the toy, which can then get stuck in their stomach or intestines. So always remember to watch your dog when giving them a rawhide or a dog toy. These items are just a small list of items that can either block or perforate our pet’s stomach or intestines. To protect your pet simply use common sense and take the same precautions you would use for a child.

Tina Grasior, Technician

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Meet Molly, Myra and Betsy . . .

Molly and Myra were adopted by Betsy’s owner in early March. Shortly after being adopted both dogs became ill and started coughing. Within a few days Betsy started coughing as well. Their owner brought them in to be seen and medication was started right away. Our doctors here were concerned about Canine Influenza since there was an outbreak last year. Unfortunately, the test came back positive for Canine Influenza. All 3 dogs were started on cough suppressants and antibiotics. Their owner kept them confined to the house and made sure no other dogs came in contact with them.

What is Canine Influenza?

There are 2 strains of canine influenza currently: H3N8 which caused an outbreak in 2004 in Florida and the newer H3N2 which caused the 2015 outbreak in the Chicago area. H3N2 is a strain of the influenza A virus from China and South Korea and is extremely contagious. While there haven't been anymore outbreaks in Chicago since last year; isolated cases (15-30 cases per month) are still seen and the virus has become endemic to the area.

How does it spread?

The new H3N2 virus is 10 times more infectious than the older H3N8 virus. It is transmitted dog to dog and can stay infective for 12-48 hours on items (or people!) contaminated with infected saliva or nasal discharge. After a dog has contact with the virus, that dog will begin to show signs within 3-7 days and can shed the virus for up to 3 weeks after infection. The biggest concern is that infected dogs can sometimes be contagious prior to showing any clinical signs (AND a dog can sneeze up to 20 feet!!!!).

Signs to watch for:

Some of the signs to watch for are coughing, sneezing, fever, nasal and ocular discharge. Sometimes this can develop into pneumonia or dogs can develop a persistent cough for 1-2 months. Only 5 of the 1000 dogs diagnosed in Chicago have died from complications of influenza. Rarely cats can become infected but NO humans have developed influenza from the H3N2 strain of the virus.

There is now a vaccine that protects against the H3N2 virus. It is given as 2 doses 2-3 weeks apart and then a yearly booster. If your dog is exposed to other dogs (dog parks, boarding facilities, groomers, daycares and training classes) it is a good idea to have your pet vaccinated. The vaccine should reduce the duration of the infection and the severity. Limiting exposure to large groups of dogs is the best prevention.

The virus is easily killed on clothing or fabric with a 70% ethanol solution left on for 5-10 minutes to dry.

If your pet is showing any signs of coughing or sneezing, call your veterinarian right away and limit exposure to other animals.

We are very pleased to say that the girls have fully recovered from their infection and Molly and Myra are enjoying their new home with their new sister Betsy!

Ashley Landowski, Technician

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Meet Atlas. . .

Meet Atlas, he is a 22 month old Miniature Pinscher who was adopted from the Humane Society along with his brother when they were 6 months of age. He was heartworm tested after being with his new family for a year. His heartworm test was positive and his brother's was not. Atlas had no other symptoms of heartworm disease and had a healthy physical exam that day. Since Atlas was heartworm positive he had to go through treatments to kill the heartworms in his system. The treatment is called Immiticide; it is a series of 3 deep muscle injections done over a few weeks. After these treatments Atlas has to be on strict rest and a sedative. Strict rest is required so Atlas does not become too active and have the heartworms lodge in his heart or lungs and cause complications. After doing 3 of these treatments, staying at the hospital to be closely monitored for the day each time, and being on strict rest for a month after the last treatment; we will recheck his heartworm test in 4 months to see if his system is clear of heartworms.

Heartworm disease is a preventable disease in our pets. There are several types of inexpensive preventatives that can be prescribed by your veterinarian. The most common types of prevention are taken orally like Heartgard, or are topical like Revolution. Some of these medications also help to kill other parasites affecting our pets. Heartgard also takes care of hookworms and roundworms these are intestinal parasites our pets can get from walking through other animals feces, but not fleas or ticks. Revolution prevents fleas and tick, but not intestinal parasites. Both types of heartworm prevention work by killing the heartworms your dog encounters in the past 4 weeks. If your dog misses a dose or vomits up a dose when you don't realize it they can be at risk to catch heartworms.

Some pets can be infected with heartworms for years without showing any symptoms. A pet can even be infected with heartworms for seven months before a diagnostic test will show they have heartworms in their system. Heartworms affect your pets body slowly . They cause damage to the pulmonary arteries, these are the arteries that lead from the heart to the lungs. Eventually the blood flow to the lungs is restricted this can cause a cough, fatigue, reluctance to exercise, and decreased appetite.

The mosquito life cycle has changed over time and we now know a mosquito can go into a form of sleep for a short time during periods of cold or even freezing weather. During this time period the heartworms carried by the mosquito can stay alive and when the weather warms up again the mosquito can infect our pets right away. Knowing this happens and how changeable the winters have become in the Chicagoland area it is best to keep our pets on heartworm prevention all year round and not just during the warmer months. They should also be tested 6 months after you adopt a new dog, and yearly thereafter .

Atlas has continued on heartworm prevention since his treatments. We are hoping his heartworm test will be negative after his four month recheck. Good Luck Atlas!

Karen Corey, CRT and Assistant Technician

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Meet Niko. . .

Niko is an 8 year old happy dog that was involved in a dog fight in his home with a foster dog. He suffered multiple punctures and a fractured leg. With his injuries he had to visit us several times over a 3 month period. His care involved us cleaning, flushing and dressing his bite wounds. We also had to re-splint and re-xray his fractured leg over that time period.

Here are some important tips and some ways to help stop a dog fight that you should know.

Stay calm. The greatest advantage in this situation is a clear head. Resist the urge to grab your dog by the collar. This is usually your first impulse but when dogs are fighting they may whip around and bi

1)te you instinctively.

2)Make noise. You can clap your hands, bang two pieces of metal together or give a loud grunt directly at the dogs but you want to be sure not to scream or yell as these can cause the fight to escalate.

3)Hose them down. If you have a hose nearby you can hose them down or fill a bucket up with water and dump it on them.

4)Use a barrier to split them up. Look for something you can use to separate the dogs. A large piece of cardboard, plywood, and garbage can lid or a big stick-any of these can be used to separate the dogs without you putting your hands in harm’s way.

5)Throw a blanket over the dogs. Some dogs will stop fighting when they can’t see each other anymore. If you have a large blanket, a tarp, a jacket or any other piece of opaque material, try tossing it over the fighting dogs to calm them down.

6)Be creative. If you are near your car and your dog likes car rides, open the car door and say “Let’s go for a ride”. This method has been known to work, but obviously if you can break the attention from the fight.

To help prepare for first aid situations, it can help to have supplies on hand. Here is a list of some first aid supplies you should have on hand in case of a dog fight.

1)Hydrogen Peroxide

2)Rolled gauze

3)Vet wrap (from Petsmart, farm and fleet etc.)

4)Ice pack

5)Disposal latex gloves

6)Towel/blanket

7)Phone numbers for emergency veterinary facilities close to your home. It is helpful to let the hospital know you are on your way with an emergency. Staff then can prepare to help your pet with the care he needs.

It is always important to remain calm and be as prepared as you can for any emergency situation with your pet. A pet fight can happen at any time. Even the best well trained dogs can be involved in an animal fight. In Niko’s situation he is very lucky. His fractured leg healed and all of his wounds healed. The foster pet was re homed with a new foster parent. Niko is doing very well and has no limitations after all his injuries fully healed.

Tina Gasior, Assistant Technician

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Meet Jim . . .

Jim is a 10 year old Schnauzer who has Diabetes and Cushings disease (a disease of older animals where the body makes too many steroids). Unfortunately for Jim, his breed is also very prone to dental disease. Jim developed heavy tartar during the period where his veterinarians were getting his other illnesses under control. Once Jim was healthy enough, it was decided to go ahead with his dental procedure, since dental disease can complicate other diseases due to bacteria and inflammation in the mouth. Older pets or pets with health issues can safely undergo anesthesia. Each pet gets blood work and a thorough examination before the dental cleaning with any problems addressed prior to proceeding with the anesthetic procedure (as was the case with Jim). Because Jim is diabetic and cushinoid, we had to make sure that these diseases were as well managed as possible prior to anesthesia. His owner gave half the insulin dose the morning of his dental procedure and his sugar levels were monitored throughout the procedure. During the dental cleaning, a veterinary technician monitored his heart rate (via ECG), respirations, temperature, and blood pressure.

Jim had a full dental procedure. This includes: scaling off of all the dental tartar, polishing the teeth, and a fluoride treatment as well as a complete evaluation of his teeth, gums, oral cavity and full mouth dental xrays. Dental xrays are very important and recommended at every dental procedure to ensure there are no lesions that cannot be seen under the gum. Tooth roots in animals are very long, and the crown can appear healthy whilst hiding problems under the gum. Jim's heavy tartar was hiding some problems that couldn't be seen until after his dental cleaning and xrays. Jim ended up having to have 23 teeth extracted due to gum recession and infection.

Unfortunately even with owners doing all they can for their pets teeth, some pets are more prone to dental problems. With Jim, it was a combination of his breed and his illnesses that led to his periodontal disease. Luckily, Jim has a great family who love him!!! Jim is doing great and feeling wonderful after his gums have healed and is back to eating dry food. Not to mention that he has kissable breath again!!

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Meet Lily . . .

She is an 11 year old cat and she has perfect teeth. She has never had a dental in her life and her teeth are gorgeous. Her owner has been doing a great job in keeping her overall health great starting with her mouth.

Most pet owners have heard the talk about how you should do home maintenance with your pets teeth. Most of the time teeth brushing is the most effective way of keeping your pets teeth pearly white. However, there are other tricks that work if brushing teeth does not work. Lily has shown that this way has worked for her and her owner. She has been on Hills Prescription Science Diet T/D diet her whole life. What is special about this diet is the unique kibble shape that helps clean the tooth’s surface as your cat chews the food. This diet will not help if your cat doesn’t chew the kibble. Using this diet will help to reduce gingivitis and buildup of plaque, stain and tartar. Lily’s owners has been pleased that she has not had to pay to have her teeth professionally cleaned since using T/D has worked wonders for her.

Lily’s owner has been doing great keeping her on this diet and keeping her oral care healthy. Having good oral care helps to keep the overall body healthy. When bacteria gathers in the mouth and sits on the teeth, this allows tartar to build up. Tartar buildup can lead to liver, kidney and heart disease. Find a way that works best for you and your pet to help get the bacteria out of your pet’s mouth in order to have a nice white smile!

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Meet Sabrina . . .

Sabrina and her family have been coming to HEAH for many years. She is a 14 year old Domestic Short Hair Feline that was adopted as a young adult by a wonderful family who cares for her deeply. To ensure she stays healthy from year to year her owners do a traditional senior work up each year. Cats are very good at hiding illnesses. When a cat starts to show signs of being sick, an illness or disease can have already progressed and be severe. Some signs to watch for are: weight loss, hesitant to jump, slow to do stairs, pupils are dilated in a well lit room, drinking more or urinating more, cat has a bad odor, pawing at mouth and decrease of appetite. The symptoms listed can be signs that you feline friend needs a visit to the veterinarian.

Traditional Senior Work - Up

Radiographs are taken to look at the internal organs and bone structures. The doctors can diagnose arthritis, fractures, irregular organ shape(s) and foreign bodies.

Blood Pressure Screening is important to detect a high/low reading in senior pets. Medications can be prescribed to adjust your pets’ blood pressure to ensure regularity.

Urinalysis is utilized to help identify a number of problems, diabetes, infection and kidney disease.

Neurologic Exam is an examination that assesses the communication between the brain and the rest of the body.

Lump Check a fine needle aspirate is performed to examine cells under the microscope ensuring there are no unusual cells. This test helps the doctors distinguish between a lipoma (fatty tumor) vs. a cancerous tumor. The doctor then can determine if the lump needs to be removed.

Comprehensive Blood Panel shows if organs are functioning properly, complete blood count and thyroid levels. It helps determine your pet’s health status and causes of illness accurately, safely and quickly and let us monitor the progress of medicinal treatments.

Hoffman Estates Animal Hospital celebrates senior pets in January to help bring awareness of older pet diseases and life style changes. Diagnostics preformed during a senior work up will help individualize a health care plan for your senior pet in their golden years.

Ashley Landowski, Assistant Technician

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Meet Moose . . .

Since Moose has become a senior pet his owners decided to ensure he stays health they would do a Platinum Senior Work Up every year. He is a 12 year old Shih Tzu and although he is a senior he’s not letting anything slow him down. Every year the doctors are able to compare the results from the previous year and catch any slight change. Moose is a very lucky dog to have a great family caring for him. He also has a little brother named Bean that will be starting his senior work up this year as well.

Platinum Senior Work - Up

Radiographs are taken to look at the internal organs and bone structures. The doctors can diagnose arthritis, fractures, irregular organ shape(s) and foreign bodies.

Blood Pressure Screening is important to detect a high/low reading in senior pets. Medications can be prescribed to adjust your pets’ blood pressure to ensure regularity.

Urinalysis is utilized to help identify a number of problems, diabetes, infection and kidney disease.

Glaucoma screen is performed by taking Inter Ocular Pressures. Elderly pets are more likely to get glaucoma or cataracts just like elderly humans.

Neurologic Exam is an examination that assesses the communication between the brain and the rest of the body.

Lump Check a fine needle aspirate is performed to examine cells under the microscope ensuring there are no unusual cells. This test helps the doctors distinguish between a lipoma (fatty tumor) vs. a cancerous tumor. The doctor then can determine if the lump needs to be removed.

Comprehensive Blood Panel shows if organs are functioning properly, complete blood count and thyroid levels. It helps determine your pet’s health status and causes of illness accurately, safely and quickly and let us monitor the progress of medicinal treatments.

Abdominal Ultrasound is used to examine the organs in the abdomen in real time and more detail. Some of the organs viewed are: the bladder, spleen, kidneys, gallbladder and liver. Blood vessels can also be seen leading to and from the organs. Any abnormal tissue or masses can be detected as well.

Hoffman Estates Animal Hospital celebrates senior pets in January to help bring awareness of older pet diseases and life style changes. Diagnostics preformed during a senior work up will help individualize a health care plan for your senior pet in their golden years.

Ashley Landowski, Assistant Technician

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Meet Soloman . . .

Solomon is a 7 year old yellow Labrador Retriever. Solomon was trained as a service dog by inmates at a jail in the state of Kansas to help his owner, through an organization called Kansas C.A.R.E.S. (Canine Assistance Rehabilitation Education and Services) Inc.. His daily tasks include picking up items for his owner and balance. Solomon has been a loyal dog to his owner.

When Solomon was only 1 year old, he started limping on and off. At this time radiographs were taken of his hips and spine and no orthopedic disease was diagnosed. Solomon was sent home with an N.S.A.I.D. (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug). This is like an ibuprofen in people, but tailored to a dogs metabolism. At 3 years old, Solomon came to see the veterinarian because his owner noticed he was having trouble getting in and out of the car. It was the way he was reluctant to jump that was most concerning. The doctor was wondering if it had something to do with his back end and took radiographs to rule out any disc or hip disease. The x-rays showed an osteophyte (similar to a bone spur), stenosis (narrowing) and arthritis (inflammation of the joint caused by bone on bone friction) of the lumbosacral (L-S) disc space.

The stenosis or narrowing that Solomon experiences in his L-S spine causes nerves to become inflamed and pinched, which is painful. Over the next couple years, Solomon was put on different NSAIDS to try and keep him comfortable. These drugs need to be monitored by blood work because they are metabolized in the kidneys and liver. Solomon’s blood work was always within the normal limits. Inevitably the disease progressed and became more painful, so Solomon was prescribed a pain medication and nerve blockers. Doctors recommended at this point to swim Solomon as physical therapy. Swimming helps the mobility of joints and keeps the muscles strong, hopefully preventing further damage. At 6 years of age, Solomon had recheck radiographs that showed further progression of the disease. He was diagnosed with spondylosis (an abnormal boney connection beneath the vertebrae which causes limited mobility within the joint). Solomon has been on Glucosamine and Omega 3 fish oils in conjunction with his prescribed medications. Solomon wears a harness when servicing his owner which helps him walk and lives as comfortable as he can at home with his owner. He enjoys swimming at Splash Dog and is on a permanent NSAID. Unfortunately, he has issues getting up and down stairs because his back legs give out on him from time to time. His owner will continue to monitor him and continue her excellent care for him.

Solomon has and is continuing to have, a history of orthopedic problems, which is a problem with joints and bones. Throughout his life, his owner has been seeing symptoms of these problems. The diagnoses of Solomon are slowly progressive, chronic diseases, which can be painful, but can be controlled. Solomon’s owner doesn’t want him to be in pain and unfortunately there is no cure for Solomon’s diseases, but in the last 20 years, veterinary medicine has taken great strides in the ability to manage diseases like Solomon has. These diseases can only be treated symptomatically, meaning as they appear. Solomon's treatments have been, but not limited to, a series of medications and physical therapy. There are other alternative methods used to treat these diseases. Not one treatment plan will work for all dogs. Acupuncture, laser therapy, the assisi loop and chiropractic practices are common alternative treatments that can be used. Another option for patients with orthopedic problems is to meet with a board certified orthopedic veterinary surgeon at a specialty referral hospital for a rehabilitation regiment or to see if they are a candidate for surgery.

Do not treat your dog’s pain by yourself. Dogs cannot take the same medications or doses that humans can. Please check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any medication, over the counter or not.

In a dog, the spine consists of, from head to tail, 7 cervical spine (C-spine orneck) vertebrae, 13 thoracic (T-spine or middle/chest) vertebrae with a “floating rib” , 5 or 6 lumbar (L-spine or lower) vertebrae, 3 sacral vertebrae (S-spine or pelvis area), which connects to the coccygeal (tail) vertebrae.

Adrienne Allen, Assistant Technician

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Meet Maggie . . .

Maggie is a 9 year old West Highland Terrier, commonly known as a Westie. Over all she has led a very healthy life. This has to be credited to Maggie’s parents. They are very observant. When Maggie developed a growth, they brought her to the hospital right away to have Dr. House examine it. Maggie’s first growth was found in 2013.

The first diagnostic measure for any growth is to perform a fine needle aspirate (FNA). The FNA is an insertion of a small needle multiple times into a growth/mass. Cells are collected in the needle. The doctor then “pushes” the cells out with air from a syringe onto a microscopic slide. The slide is then prepped with special stains to help identify cells under the microscope.

Why look at cells of growths? We can determine what kind of cells they are, and if further treatment is needed. Any cell can turn into a cancerous cell. Addressing lumps and bumps early can help with diagnosis and prognoses for patients. For Maggie her first growth was diagnosed as a lipoma. A Lipoma is a benign tumor of fat cells that can grow rapidly. The Doctors advise lipomas be removed if they become overwhelming for the patient, and restrict mobility. Maggie had a lumpectomy (removal of the growth by surgical incision) and recovered well.

A year later Maggies' owners found another growth. This time it was located by her nose. The growth was removed and sent to the laboratory. It was there the growth was biopsied (sample of tissue is examined via microscope). Once received at the lab, the sample is read by a histopatholgist. Not only do they determine the type of growth but they also can report if the growth was fully removed, grade the prognoses and give recommendations. The lab reported the surgery to be curative. The bump was benign (non- cancerous) and called a fibroadnexal nevus.

This summer Maggie was seen again for another growth. This time Dr. House saw abnormal cells on the FNA. His recommendation was to have it removed and send it off to the laboratory.

Maggie underwent another lumpectomy. This time a Plasma cell tumor was confirmed by the histopathology report. Most plasma cell tumors are benign and cured by removing them. They frequently occur in the skin of the ear, lip or paw. Good news for Maggie, her tumor was excised with very good margins!

Maggie is a good example that one patient can have different types of lumps and bumps. Hoffman Estates Animal Hospital recommends that if you find a lump to mention it to any staff member. Finding “bad” lumps earlier will benefit your beloved pet.

Meghan Tobias, CVT

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Meet Leo . . .

Leo is a 6 year old Golden Retriever that came to us in April of 2012 who was very active and healthy but did have allergies with secondary skin problems. Leo at that time weighed 88lbs. We saw Leo the following year for his annual wellness exam and at this visit Leo weighed 109lb. Dr.House was concerned that Leo had gained 21 lbs. Dr.House sent blood work out to check Leo’s thyroid level. Leo’s blood work revealed his thyroid level was low. Leo’s thyroid was <0.5 mg/dL the normal range is 0.8-3.5 mg/dL. We also sent out a more comprehensive thyroid panel on Leo and those results came back and indicated that Leo did indeed have hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid and is caused by immune-mediated destruction of the thyroid gland and is more common in middle aged dogs. Any dog can develop hypothyroidism but common breeds include boxers, dobermans, schnauzers, golden retrievers, dachshunds, standard poodles, and great danes. The thyroid hormone controls metabolism so signs of hypothyroidism include: obesity, lethargy, hair loss, brittle hair coat, and skin infections. If left untreated it can lead to heart and neurologic abnormalities as well.

Once Leo was diagnosed with hypothyroidism Dr.House had put Leo on Soloxine a daily supplement long term to help regulate his thyroid. When a pet is initially put on Soloxine the pet will follow up with us in 4 weeks to recheck their thyroid levels and make sure that dose is regulating their thyroid. When Leo came in 4 weeks later after being on Soloxine he had lost 10 lbs and his blood work showed that his thyroid levels were back in the normal range. Leo would continue on the Soloxine dose Dr.House started him on. Occasionally we might have to change the dose depending on the blood work. Once a pet is regulated they come in every 6 months to have their thyroid level checked to make sure that their dose doesn’t need to be changed. Since Leo was diagnosed with hypothyroidism he has had his thyroid level checked every 6 months and he is currently well regulated on his current dose.

It is important to know that not every pet that gains weight is due to lack of exercise or diet. When a pet comes into see us and has gained weight the technician should always obtain good history from the owner. Weight gain can be due to lack of exercise and/or diet or it can also be due to an underlying medical condition as it was with Leo. Leo is a very happy boy that is doing well and has maintained a healthy weight with his thyroid level being well regulated.

Tina Gasior, Veterinary Technician

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Meet Izzi…

Izzi Engstrom is a 7 year old cocker spaniel. Izzi’s breed, as well as other breeds with long ears, are prone to ear infections. Izzi struggled with ear infections in both of her ears for years and tried multiple antibiotics, steroids, antihistamines, and topical ointments to keep the infections under control. She even underwent a procedure called an ear flush to try to clean out the canal. The ear canal of canines is shaped differently than ours. It is actually shaped like an “L”. When dogs get water in their ears from bathing or swimming, the shape of their canal makes it hard for the moisture to dry out. With long eared breeds like Izzi, this is especially bad because the ear flap prevents additional air flow into the canal. A warm, dark, and wet environment makes it easy for bacteria and yeast to flourish.

In cases like Izzi, if infections persist for too long, the tissues in the canal swell up and become thickened and the ear canal is then virtually closed off. When this happens, a TECA, or a Total Ear Canal Ablation might be necessary. A TECA is a surgical procedure that removes the entire inner ear canal. The outer ear flap is left, so the patient still appears to have normal ears from the outside. This surgery gives the patient relief from the irritation and pain of having chronic ear infections. However, the downside to this procedure is that it also causes them to become permanently deaf. Izzi had a TECA of her right ear in 2009, and after a few years of trying to save the left ear with medications and cleanings, Dr. House and Dr. Sandman agreed that a TECA of her left ear was needed in November of 2014. Izzi might be completely deaf now, but she is still as loveable as she was when she could hear.

Deaf Dog Awareness is the last full week in September. The goal of Deaf Dog Awareness is to spread the knowledge to dog owners that just because a dog has a disability doesn’t mean they are less of a companion. Many shelters and breeders euthanize dogs and puppies if they are deaf because they are less likely to be adopted. This is probably because owners are not educated on how to deal with a deaf dog. There are many ways to communicate with dogs other than verbal communication. Deaf dogs are able to learn sign language. You can teach your dog to sit, stay, lie down, roll over, and more using no words at all. With owning a deaf dog comes different responsibilities. For instance they cannot be let outside into a non-fenced yard without a leash because they cannot hear cars and other hazards that may arise. Owning a deaf dog may have its challenges, but once you learn to work with your pet in a way that they can understand, it can be an amazing thing.

-Kelsey, Veterinary Assistant

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Meet Little Buddy . . .

Little Buddy is an 8 year old handsome cat. We first met him in November 2013 when he was presented with vomiting to Dr. House. The owner stated that he had been vomiting for the past 36 hours after eating his food; however he still had his appetite and had been begging for table scraps. Dr. House treated him symptomatically with an anti nausea medication and special diet, he also sent out blood work. The blood work results did not show a cause for vomiting. Dr House wanted to rule out some other GI issues so the next step was to do an Abdominal Ultrasound. During the Ultrasound Dr. House found that the Jejunum showed thickening. The Jejunum is part of the small intestines. With the findings of the ultrasound Little Buddy was diagnosed with IBD which is Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a condition where cells involved in the inflammatory and immune response are called into the lining of the intestines. When this occurs, the cell lining becomes thickened, which will interfere with the absorption and motility of the GI tract. Chronic vomiting and diarrhea are two of the most common signs.

Little Buddy started to have diarrhea. We sent a diarrhea panel out to check for different bacteria or conditions, this panel came back normal. A Laparotomy was done since he was not getting better on steroids and antibiotics. Laparotomy is the fancy name for making an incision into the body wall in order to look at the organs for abnormalities. During the surgery they took biopsies (samples) of his intestines. This resulted in a diagnosis of Small cell Lymphoma.

Small cell Lymphoma is a slow-growing type of cancer that involves invasion of the small lymphocytes (which are a type of blood cell) into the intestinal wall. This causes thickening of the intestinal lining which interferes with absorption of food and motility just like IBD. The only way to differentiate between the two is to biopsy since they both can present with weight loss and chronic vomiting.

Dr. House and Dr. Hintemeister (an oncologist) are working together to care for Little Buddy. He is on a Chemo medication called Leukeron and steroids. We are monitoring his weight and food intake at his rechecks. His owners are very appreciative of all the care Little Buddy has received. Little Buddy is a wonderful patient to work with, and such a sweet little cat.

Michele Steinke, CVT


Meet Shinto Our Pet of the Month

Meet Shinto Our Pet of the Month

Shinto is an 11 year old Shiba Inu who back in February was rushed to the emergency for acute onset of yelping and falling. Shinto was acting painful and not able to use his right rear leg. After having x-rays and blood work Shinto was referred to the Neurology department for an MRI. Shinto was diagnosed with FCE. A Fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE) which is a blockage in the blood vessels of the spinal cord. When such a blockage occurs, an area of the spinal cord dies. An FCE typically results from an injury to the spinal cord caused by jumping or landing awkwardly. The part of Shinto’s spine that was affected was localized to the T3-L3. The treatment for this condition is therapy. Shinto’s family has chosen to pursue multiple types of therapies for Shinto. Shinto does underwater treadmill, acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, therapeutic exercise/massage therapy and laser therapy. Shinto came to us at the end of February to start his laser therapy treatments. Shinto received the protocol for Acute Disc Disease. This protocol includes on each visit 5 laser treatments on each side of his spine for 1 minute using our large probe, 5 treatments directly on his spine for 30 seconds using our small probe. We also did two treatments on each of his long bones on his back legs using the large probe for 1 minute. For the first month Shinto was getting 3 treatments a week. The beginning of the second month Shinto was coming in twice a week and at the end of the second month Shinto was coming in once a week for treatments. Shinto is doing well and the laser therapy has and is helping with his condition.

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