Previous Pets


Meet Faith


Faith is a 13-year-old Standard Schnauzer who has been coming to Hoffman Estates Animal Hospital since she was a puppy. We have seen Faith go through all life stages and have treated her for medical concerns as well. As a young adult Faith came into our hospital dragging her rear legs. It was decided that Faith should have an MRI of her back. The MRI found she had an embolism in her spinal cord. As part of her treatment and recovery, Faith came to our hospital for Acupuncture therapy. Due to her owner’s dedication she was able to use her back legs again. The following year Faith tore her left ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) this ligament is in her rear leg and needs rehabilitation and usually surgical correction. Faith had surgery at our hospital with Dr. Sandman. A few years ago Faith was diagnosed with Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) in both of her elbows and in her left knee. Faith started on laser therapy, supplements, and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory for her elbows and knee. As of now Faith comes in for laser therapy as needed and is doing water therapy regularly for her joints. Her owner also has her on joint supplements. Now that Faith is in her senior years her owner has been bringing her in annually for senior workups in January for the last 3 years. Last January Faith came in for a Platinum Senior Workup and during the abdominal ultrasound Dr. House found a mass on the right adrenal gland. Faith’s owner elected to take Faith to the University of Wisconsin for further diagnosis. At the university they performed a CT to make sure there was no evidence of advanced disease. Her CT came back clear for surgery. She then had an adrenalectomy performed to remove her right adrenal gland along with the mass. Faith recovered and has been doing well since her surgery. Faith’s owner will continue to bring her into us to monitor her adrenal situation.

As January is Senior month here at our hospital. We offer several different levels of senior workups. The most comprehensive senior testing is the Platinum Level which includes comprehensive bloodwork, urinalysis, urine culture, x-rays of the chest, abdomen and hips, blood pressure screening, glaucoma screening, neurologic exam, an ultrasound of the spleen, bladder, kidneys, liver and gall bladder and a senior workup binder that contains all the paperwork and lab tests results. There are various levels to monitor your pet’s health.

As shown by Faith’s story it is important to do semi-annual testing of our senior pets. A pet’s health can change rapidly from month to month. No mass was spotted in Faith’s ultrasound the previous year. This is why it is important to start Senior Pet Testing early and continue annually.




Meet Scooter Pie! He is a 14yr old orange kitty that seems to enjoy coming to visit here at Hoffman Estates Animal Hospital. Scooter Pie has been coming to Hoffman Estates Animal Hospital since he was first rescued as a kitten with ringworm in 2004!

Scooter Pie was diagnosed a couple years ago with feline hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) that can cause cats to eat more, drink more, urinate more, and lose weight. Dr. Williams treated Scooter Pie for this and he did gain back some of his lost weight and stopped acting like he was thirsty all the time. In October of this year, Scooter’s mom brought Scooter in because she noticed he was drinking more and urinating more again. Although suspecting the thyroid medication just needed to be adjusted, Dr. Williams wanted to perform diagnostic testing to make sure we were not missing anything else:

T4: One of common thyroid values for thyroid function.

Chemistry panel: Checks metabolic function including liver, kidney, and blood sugar.

Complete Blood Count (CBC): Counts the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Urinalysis: Checks for sugar in the urine, concentration of the urine, crystals, protein, and urinary tract infections.

Since drinking more and urinating more are clinical signs of a multitude of diseases, we had to see what was going on in Scooter Pie’s body to determine the cause of the excessive drinking and urination. Test results came back on the urinalysis dip strip that showed Scooter Pie had an excessive amount of sugar in his urine. After getting the results back on the chemistry panel, it was confirmed that Scooter Pie has Diabetes Mellitus, or type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, we understand the disease process of diabetes, and there is treatment for it. Please see other sheet on “What is Diabetes Mellitus”.

Scooter Pie was prescribed insulin and syringes, so he could start treatment. We start at a small amount of insulin initially, then gradually increase based on the cat’s response to treatment and glucose (blood sugar) levels. Blood sugar levels do need to be checked routinely to see if dosing is appropriate. Checking blood sugar can easily be done at home. Additionally, diet is changed when insulin is started to dull the sugar spike after eating. Scooter Pie was prescribed a special diet to help with this sugar spike.

If Diabetes Mellitus goes untreated, the feline body cannot use the glucose (blood sugar) in the cells for energy, which is their main power supply. The feline body will start to form ketones, which are highly acidic to the body and can cause diabetic ketonic acidosis, which is fatal. Prolonged blood sugar on nerves causes them to deteriorate and is very painful. Diabetes mellitus also lowers the patient’s immune system, so they cannot fight infection.

Scooter Pie’s owner is checking his blood sugar at home on a glucometer called an AlphaTrak to make sure his blood sugar is not to high, or, too low. It is the glucometer we use for “spot checks” in our clinic here. It only requires a very tiny drop off blood from the ear, gums, or paw. Scooter Pie’s owner and Dr. Williams are continuing to monitor his blood sugar. Scooter Pie may need injections for the rest of his life, however his owners love him so much and will do anything to keep him comfortable and happy!




Cardiomyopathy is a heart muscle disease that often causes   sudden death at home or sudden rear leg paralysis due to a blood clot in the aorta.

Because our hospital is associated with a board certified cardiologist from The Ohio State University Veterinary College, Zorro was able to be seen here by Dr. Karsten Schober who designed his treatment program.

The usual life expectancy for a kitty with this severe disease is 4- 6 months.  Without medication, the life expectancy is even shorter. Cats with advanced heart disease can be on three or four medications at one time.  While it is not easy to give cats medicine, Zorro’s owner was dedicated and began giving him his cardiac medications.

Dr. Schober returned to the practice in 6 months and re evaluated Zorro and was surprised to see that he was still doing well.  Zorro was not affected by the usual complications of this disease. Dr. Schober evaluated him several times over the next three years and each time he and Dr. House were amazed at how well he was doing.    They’d tweak his medication routine slightly and off Zorro would go defying the odds and acting as if nothing was wrong with him.

Finally, last month after 3 and 1/2 years of treatment Zorro succumbed to his disease. We are sorry to have lost such a great patient but wanted to share his story.

Zorro and his owner are a testament to what  loving owner care combined with state of the art medicine can accomplish.



Meet Winston…

Dr. Williams recommended a board certified veterinary surgeon, Dr. Kristin Sandman, DVM, DACVS, to perform surgery on Winston’s leg. Winston had a TTA (tibial tuberosity advancement) surgery performed on is left hind stifle under general anesthesia.

g Scout was seen for ear infections and itching. We have tested Scout’s blood and her thyroid levels. Blood tests do not diagnose skin allergies, but they rule out other issues; such as thyroid disease or Cushing’s disease. Scout was diagnosed with environmental allergies based on her symptoms. Recurring ear infections and itching are signs of environmental allergies.

Skin allergies in pets are usually environmental allergies. The allergens; pollen, dust, and dander will touch the pets skin and cause an immune response as the pet’s skin barrier to the environment is poor.  The allergens get through the skin where the immune system starts working on the invader and produces proteins that then attach to the nerves on the skin and cause itching. Once the dog starts itching this weakens the skin causing more allergens to get in and make the itching worse. Seasonal/environmental allergies will usually start between the ages of one to three years old.  The itching usually occurs around the mouth, eyes, armpits, abdomen, lower legs and feet. If your dog is itchy on their back that is usually a sign of flea allergies.

There are many ways to help combat these types of allergies. The simplest way to treat can be over the counter allergy medicine that we humans would use. These work well for a mild allergy or one that is short term. Please consult one of the doctors for recommendations and doses of medicine. Another treatment is steroids; however, these cause an increase in thirst, appetite, and urination.  Steroids also have many long-term effects on the immune system. Newer developments in the allergy field have created allergy medicines that do not use steroids. One is Apoquel this medicine is a pill taken once daily. It works by blocking the itch response to the allergen. If the pet is not itching, then the skin can heal, and this will cut down on the allergy response as well. The latest is an injection given every 4 to 8 weeks. It is a biological therapy which produces antibodies to link to your dog’s immune system and then the itch signals do not go to your dog’s brain, so the itch response is prevented.

Other therapies that our veterinarians might suggest to help the skin are; Fatty Acids these prevent the build-up of inflammatory chemicals, so the skin can heal. They need to build up in your pet’s system for at least 6 weeks. The vet might also recommend weekly baths with a soothing prescription shampoo to clean the allergens off your dog’s skin. The fewer allergens on the skin the less reaction to them there will be. It also helps to clean your pet’s bedding frequently to get rid of environmental allergens.

Scout was much improved when she started on Apoquel. She started having fewer ear infections and was less itchy. When Cytopoint came out she started on that therapy. She didn’t need a second injection for 2 months and hasn’t had any itching issues or ear infections.  Scout is now much more comfortable.


Meet Winston…

Winston is a 6-year-old, neutered male, West Highland Terrier (Westie). Winston’s owner adopted him from Almost Home Foundation in 2012.

Winston presented in March of this year for limping on his left hind leg. He was not putting any weight on his leg. Winston’s owner said they were at the dog park earlier that day, and Winston had an altercation with another dog. The owner heard Winston yelp out loud while wrestling with the other dog. Winston’s owner brought him to see Dr. Williams the same day. Dr. Williams recommended x-rays to see if we could find a reason why Winston was not putting weight on his leg. The technicians took a ventrodorsal (lying on his back) view of his hips and stifles (knees) and a lateral (on his side) of each stifle (knee) for comparison. With Winston’s history, x-rays, and Dr. Williams physical exam on the joint, Winston’s diagnosis was a torn cranial cruciate ligament (CCL).

Dr. Williams recommended a board certified veterinary surgeon, Dr. Kristin Sandman, DVM, DACVS, to perform surgery on Winston’s leg. Winston had a TTA (tibial tuberosity advancement) surgery performed on is left hind stifle under general anesthesia.

Not only was it important to correct the instability of the leg, Winston’s recovery period was very crucial. Winston’s first step to recovery started with a therapeutic laser treatment immediately after surgery. Technicians use the therapeutic laser directly over the incision and have specific protocols for post-operative treatment of cruciate repair surgery. Next, Winston needed strict rest for 6 weeks. This required him to go on a diet, so he would not gain weight while not exercising. He continued the therapeutic laser therapy for 6 weeks, about every 3 -4 days in conjunction with pain medications. Winston even did physical therapy at an outside facility: walking on an underwater treadmill! At 8 weeks post-surgery, the surgeon wanted to make sure the leg is healing well. Another x-ray was done on his leg and Dr. Sandman said he was healing great!

Winston is doing fantastic now. He currently goes to doggie day care most days during the week and runs around with other dogs. Winston has been such a trooper through this whole process. His parents put in a lot of hard work to improve Winston’s quality of life. The veterinarians, technicians, and staff here at Hoffman Estates Animal Hospital are so impressed with how well he healed. Hopefully Winston’s story gives a better understanding of CCL surgery to make it less scary for patients and owners.


In our human world, a cruciate tear is very common among American football players. The bottom part of the leg goes one way, and the top part goes the other way…OUCH! This is commonly called an anterior cruciate ligament injury (ACL) in human medicine.

The cranial cruciate ligament lies on the front side on the stifle (knee) of a dog. This ligament is shaped kind of like a cross along the caudal cruciate ligament, hence the name “cruciate”. This ligament creates a stability for the leg so the femur (top long bone of the knee joint) does not cross back over the tibia (bottom lower weight bearing bone of the knee joint). If this ligament ruptures partially or fully, the leg does not feel stable for the pet, and does more damage if goes untreated. There are other ligaments located in the leg, however, this ligament is commonly torn.

If the CCL goes untreated, arthritis can form within the joint (bone on bone friction with pain), muscle atrophy (muscle loss from not using the muscles in the leg) and can cause the opposite leg to tear its CCL.

The most recommended correction for a torn CCL is surgery. Luckily there are a couple commonly performed surgical options available to owners and their pets. It is important to note no surgical procedure is proven better than the other; it is the surgeons preference.

 TPLO: Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy

In this procedure, the bone is cut and rotates the tibial plateau, where the femur and the tibia communicate, and can no longer slide backwards. It is reconstruction of the bone to eliminate the need for CCL. Titanium hardware is installed.

 TTA: Tibial tuberosity advancement

This procedure moves the position of the front part of the tibia bone, so the joint stabilizes and changes the way the quadriceps muscle pulls on the front of the leg to eliminate the need for a CCL. Titanium hardware is installed.

Recovery is as important as surgery. Common steps to a full recovery are therapeutic laser, strict rest, medications, physical therapy, and most importantly, time.


Meet Stanley…

Stanley is a 2-year-old male neutered Terrier mix.  He has rescued from Paws Chicago as a puppy and has been healthy since he was rescued.  In January on a Sunday, Stanley’s owner noticed that he was having trouble defecating.  She rushed him into Veterinary Specialty Center where the emergency veterinarian found an enlarged prostate which had obstructed urethra so he couldn’t urinate.  Thanks to his owner’s quick thinking, Stanley had emergency surgery to drain the cyst and repair his urethra. 

Prostate disease is rare in neutered dogs.  Enlarged prostates (called benign prostatic hypertrophy) usually occur in older un-neutered male dogs and can be associated with cysts.  Signs include straining to poop and blood in the urine.  Neutering will usually “fix” the issue by removing testosterone and causing the prostate to shrink.  Prostatic cysts can also lead to infection and abscess and sometimes need to be removed or drained in older dogs.   Because Stanley is already neutered, we do not know the underlying cause of his cyst but suspect a congenital problem. 

A rectal examination is the first step in evaluating the prostate.  Rectal exams are done at least yearly to make sure that we aren’t missing anal gland or prostate disease.  Once an abnormality is detected, scanning X-rays are used to evaluate the bladder and rest of the abdomen.  Ultrasound is the most sensitive to actually see inside the prostate and bladder.  In Stanley’s case, his owner’s fast action and the veterinarian’s quick assessment led to a diagnosis.

Unfortunately, since Stanley couldn’t pee, emergency surgery was needed to relieve the pressure.  A board-certified surgeon performed Stanley’s surgery.  Stanley’s cyst was cultured to ensure no bacterial infection and he was started on an antibiotic to prevent this.   The cyst was also sent out for a biopsy to ensure that it was benign (luckily, Stanley’s was!!!).

Stanley recovered well and is doing great at home!!!  His owner monitors his urination and defecation closely (as there is a risk that the cyst could recur) and Dr. Williams checks rectal examinations every 3-6 months.  Emergency surgery saved Stanley’s life and he is back to being a healthy and happy little terrier!

Dr. Williams DVM

Featured Pet - Lyle

Meet Lyle….

Lyle is a 6 year old little rescue pup who is cute as a bug (love the Mohawk, Lyle!!!!). Last May, he started to have seizures. Since it was after hours, his owner rushed him to the ER where his blood work was found to be normal. Lyle came to Hoffman Estates Animal Hospital 2 days later. He had two more seizures, his lymph node on the back of his leg was enlarged, his eye was irritated and had yellow discharge, and he had been coughing for the past week. Chest x-rays showed a lung mass. Dr. Williams became worried about a fungal infection called Blastomycosis and sent out a sample of Lyle’s urine to a special laboratory to look for the fungal antigen. Lyle’s urine test came back positive for Blastomycosis.

Blastomycosis is a serious fungal infection that can affect multiple organ systems and can be fatal if not treated quickly. Infection is caused by inhaling the spores from contaminated dirt into the lungs (the yeast form present at body temperature is not contagious dog to dog or dog to person). It is found in the soil of the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and St Lawrence River valleys as well as along the southern Great Lakes. Dogs and humans are most commonly infected; with dogs being 10 times more likely to contract the disease than humans, and 100 times more likely than cats. Common clinical signs in dogs include: depression, decreased appetite, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, cough, draining skin lesions, and ocular inflammation and drainage. Other less common signs include: lameness, seizures, and heart murmurs or arrhythmias.

Lyle’s owner did the right thing by taking him to see Dr. Williams as soon as she noticed signs. Blood work and xrays are done to ensure no other reason for the symptoms. Blastomycosis is diagnosed by either seeing the fungal yeast organisms under the microscope from a skin lesion or by a positive urine test. 

Once diagnosed, treatment is started immediately to prevent further progression of signs. This was especially important in Lyle’s case since he was having seizures which indicated that the fungus had invaded his brain. He was started on an oral antifungal as well as an anti-seizure medicine. Unfortunately, Lyle continued to worsen, so Dr. Williams sent him to Veterinary Specialty Center where he was started on an additional intravenous antifungal drug and a steroid to try to decrease the inflammation in his brain and eyes.

The first 1-2 weeks of treatment are the most serious. Lyle was given a 50:50 chance but, luckily, his owner decided to pursue treatment. Lyle responded to all of his treatments and was released from the hospital 3 days later (with return trips for his IV antifungal drugs). The antifungal drugs are usually required for a minimum of 6 months since Blastomycosis can be difficult to kill. Treatment isn’t stopped until there is a negative urine test.

Lyle tested negative the beginning of April (after almost a year of therapy) and is off all of his drugs!!!! He is an awesome little dog with a devoted owner and is completely back to his normal self!!! Lyle and his little sister, Lilly Lee, are loving life!!!

Dr. Megan Williams

Why does your veterinarian recommend your dog or cat be Spayed?

Normal Uterus


There is a bit of controversy right now in veterinary medicine: the benefits vs risks of spaying your pet. Our veterinarians at Hoffman Estates Animal Hospital recommend spaying prior to the first heat cycle. Heat cycles not only can be messy and lead to unwanted pregnancies, but each heat cycle also increases your pet’s risk of breast cancer and a dangerous infection called pyometra.

A Pyometra is an infection in a dog’s or cat’s uterus, in other words the uterus has abscessed and filled with pus. The bacteria can leak into the bloodstream and cause life threatening issues. Eventually the uterus dies and the dead tissue and pus are left in the abdomen. The best way to prevent a pyometra is to spay your pet.

There are two forms of pyometra: open and closed. The closed version is less common, and symptoms include lack of appetite, vomiting, fever, and excessive drinking. The pet tends to be sicker with a closed pyometra because the toxins stay in the body. In the more common open pyometra the symptoms are lack of appetite, vomiting, excessive water drinking, fever, and often a smelly discharge from the vulva.

Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose a pyometra based on your pets’ history, symptoms, physical exam, blood work, and xrays or ultrasound.

The only treatment for pyometra is surgery to remove the infected uterus. This is an EMERGENCY SURGERY!!! It can be a dangerous and complicated surgery since the pet is usually very ill and there is a risk of uterine rupture. Usually, the patient is hospitalized after the surgery on intravenous pain medicine and antibiotics. Antibiotics and pain medicine is continued orally at home. Strict rest is needed to allow the pet to heal after the surgery. Blood work is monitored after surgery to ensure that the toxins didn’t do any damage to internal organs.

As you can see, it is much safer, cheaper, and easier to spay your dog early rather than wait for a life-threatening infection!!!

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!

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