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Previous Pets

Meet Rocky Road


Rocky is a 5 year old Cocker Spaniel who came in for his dental cleaning. During his last physical exam his teeth were a dental grade of 1 (minimal tartar with the most tartar on his upper canines). His owner was worried that she had seen a bad tooth in the last couple of months and wanted to make sure he got a good cleaning. We discussed that dental xrays were recommended and his owner agreed. Once the dental cleaning began the tartar was removed from his Upper Forth Pre Molar, and we saw that it was completely fractured. You couldn’t see the fracture very well with the naked eye, but it was very obvious on the xray.

Rocky Road had what is called an Upper Forth Pre Molar Slab Fracture. This is when the tooth cracks while chewing on something hard most of the time. Depending on the fracture the pulp may be exposed. Just like people, dogs have a blood vessel and nerve, called the pulp cavity, which runs in the middle of the tooth. When the fracture extends into the pulp cavity, pain results. Since the pulp cavity is also exposed to the air, bacteria can travel up the canal and cause a tooth root abscess, which cause more pain and can go elsewhere in the body. A fracture should be addressed as soon as possible.

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

Brushing your pet's teeth is the best thing you can do for them. Three to four times a week is best to help prevent tartar and plaque buildup. If you are unable to brush your pet’s 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.

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)
  • VeggiedentM
  • CET Dental Rawhide Chew
  • Hand out to help with brushing at home

Rocky’s gums healed great and his owner will be cautious about what she gives him in the future. To help prevent fractures hard bones should be avoided. Good alternatives are “Nylabones and “Kongs” or any softer chewing toy.

Meet Bruno


Bruno is a 11-year-old red Chow Chow. Every year since he turned 8 his owner has brought him in for a Senior Work Up. Each year we are
able to track any changes in his health with this in-depth diagnostic testing. If any changes occur, we make a treatment plan
to increase the health and longevity of Bruno’s life.

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 such as 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, using a needle to collect cells from the lump, 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 and a complete blood count. It helps determine your pet’s health status and causes of illness accurately, safely and quickly. It also lets 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 lifestyle changes. Diagnostics preformed during a senior work up will help individualize a health care plan for your senior pet in their golden years.

Karen Corey, Lead Technician

Meet Maurice


Eliza one of our clients was on Facebook and came across a post from a woman in Algonquin that had been feeding a stray cat since July and was searching for its owner. However, she was not having any luck finding the cats owner. She made several attempts to place the cat into an adoption facility where he could be placed in a foster home but they all told her they had no room due to the holidays.

With winter fast approaching her last option was a shelter. She did not feel like placing him in a shelter, so she thought someone would adopt him by making a post on Facebook. Eliza was interested in adopting him. Eliza went and picked him up and brought him to our hospital for an exam. During every initial pet examination, we scan the new pet to check for an existing microchip. It was during this exam that we found his microchip number. We were able to obtain that the microchip was a Petlink Microchip and it was registered to Second Time Around Animal Rescue. We then called Second Time Around Animal Rescue they said that the owner had reported to them back in the summer that he had gone missing and his name was Maurice! The rescue gave us the information of the owner. We then gave the information to our client, Eliza who then called Maurice’s owner and arranged to bring Maurice home. Maurice has been reunited with his owner and she is so happy that he is back at home with her.

Microchips are very important, and we recommend all pets should have one. Microchips can help in getting your pet back to you if they go missing. We have the Avid Microchip. We always recommend placing a microchip into any puppy or kitten at the time of their spay or neuter while under anesthesia. However adult pets can also be microchipped at any time as well.

Many animal shelters, animal hospitals and police departments carry a universal scanner that can pick up most microchips. There are many microchip companies now, that have different chip numbers and frequencies.

If you ever come across a stray dog or cat you should take them to an animal shelter, hospital or police department to get them scanned for a microchip. Microchips are inserted between the shoulder blades, but stray pets should be scanned across the front shoulders and back. If you travel internationally it is a requirement that your pet has an international microchip. If you travel with your pet in the United States it is not a requirement, but it is still a good idea to have them microchipped with the standard microchip. International microchips have 10 to 15 numbers and before you travel you want to check and see if that country requires a 10 or 15-digit international microchip. In the United States our Microchips numbers can range anywhere from 9 to 15 digits numeric (numbers only) or alphanumeric (letters and numbers) it all depends on the manufacture of the microchip. When your pet has a Microchip placed in them, that Microchip is registered to the rescue, shelter or animal hospital that placed the chip. It is the responsibility of the owner to contact the Microchip company and have the pet registered to them. Each company has a small registration fee. It is important to call the Microchip company and have the Microchip registered to you, this will help get your pet back to you as quickly as possible in the event of your pet being lost.

There are several Pet Recovery Databases on the internet that you can use to search a Microchip number after a lost or stray pet has been found that has a Microchip.

1) PetLink24/7/365 Pet Registry and Recovery Service

2) National database run by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) that searches most (but not all) database in the USA

3) International database that searches more that 30 international pet recovery databases

In Maurice’s case it was a happy ending. He was found his way back home to his original owner. Sometimes when a stray dog or cat is found with a Microchip they are not always placed back to their original owner. There are many reasons for this. Sometimes it’s because the original owner is unable to be reached or the original owner was reached but no longer wants the pet and in this case then the pet will be placed into a new home with a new family. Maurice is happily back at home with his family just in time for the holidays.

Tina Gasior, Technician

Meet Isabella


Isabella is an 8 year old Golden Retriever. Isabella only has 3 legs. Despite her disability, Isabella gets around

This spring, Isabella seemed to be swollen on her left frontleg on her carpus (wrist). She didn’t seempainful walking on the leg, or when the carpus was touched. X-rays were taken of her leg. The x-rays showed a lytic lesion (a boneybreak down) of her left radius bone (a bone in her front leg). When the bone breaks down like this, it is usuallyfrom cancer. Isabella was sent to a referral hospital in Buffalo Grove called Veterinary Specialty Center(VSC). A specialty hospital has more diagnostictools and board certified veterinary doctors for certain procedures. A bone biopsy was performed on herlesion. The histopathology results cameback “sarcoma”, which is a type of cancer. The only way the cancer could be removed so it didn’t metastasize(spread throughout the body) was to remove the leg. Isabella’s left front leg was amputated (removed off her body).

Isabella also has degenerative joint disease. She has had issues with her right front elbow in the past. The veterinarian prescribed some medication. The vet put her on adoggy NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory) called Carprofen, generic for Rimadyl, and a nutraceutical called Dasuquin, which includes glucosamine andchondroitin. A blood panel was run tomake sure Isabella’s kidneys and liver could metabolize drugs without causing harm. Isabella routinely had lasertherapy to reduce inflammation and goes for physical therapy rehabilitation atVSC.

It is important to know dogs and cats cannot take humandrugs such as Aleve, Ibuprofen, and Tylenol, etc. Veterinary staff should always be consultedbefore giving companion animals any medication.

Isabella now stands on 3 legs and is back to her normal self. She is enjoying life and is backto being a fun loving Golden Retriever.

Adrienne Allen Hark,
Veterinary Technician


Senior pets and adoption

Meet Denny and Maisie! These two adorable senior cats belong to our client, Meredith. A little over a year ago she adopted TK-old Maisie from Young at Heart Pet rescue. A few months later she brought Denny home from Barb’s Precious Rescue in Palatine.

When Meredith first met Denny, he afraid of other cats and was staying alone in a bathroom at Barb’s. She knew he needed her and she needed him. She adopted him on the spot, but Denny had an upper respiratory infection that prevented him from going home right away. He was also underweight and had an eye infection. He was treated by Barb’s and once deemed healthy enough to go home, Meredith brought him to us for further treatment. With our help, Meredith nursed him back to health. Denny has been with Meredith for close to a year and has undergone a total transformation. He is kind, gentle and friendly.

Meredith is very happy to have Maisie, and now Denny, in her home. She says Maisie is confident and friendly She says Maisie is confident, friendly, and happily accepts petting, but on her own terms. .. Maisie happily accepts petting, but on her own terms. She and Denny get along well and both of them join Meredith while she watches television, with Maisie sitting on her lap.

It is important to reiterate that Denny and Maisie are senior pets. People often hesitate to adopt seniors for numerous reasons, including the fact that the pet is old and will obviously not live as long as a younger pet might. Another big reason people might hesitate to adopt older pets is the fear that the pet might have health issues that they may not be able to handle. While this may be true in some instances, health issues can be treated and shouldn’t be a huge factor when it comes to adopting a senior pet because younger pets can also develop health issues.
There are many benefits to adopting an older cat. Most likely he or she will already litter box trained and will not require the training that younger pets need when being introduced to your home. Older pets have not only developed physically, but psychologically as well. Their personalities are already formed, meaning….. Remember that you’re saving an animal’s life when you adopt a senior pet. Pets that remain in shelters for too long are at risk of being euthanized. There are no-kill shelters, but if not adopted, the animal may potentially live the rest of its life in the shelter, which may not provide the same quality of life as a home.

Whether you adopt a senior pet or younger animal, you must be ready to commit yourself to them so that they can live the rest of their lives happily and comfortably with you. Senior pets can bring people great joy! They are as loving as younger animals and can give you the furry companionship you seek.

Credits: Logan Cyan.

Meet Buddy


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?


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


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.


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

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

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.


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


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!


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


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


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


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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