Debunking the Myths of the Feline Diet

Debunking the Myths of the Feline Diet

Cats come to visit us for various reasons.  Illinesses, injuries, and new kitten visits are all popular reasons to bring your cat to the doctor.  Among all the different accounts that we run into with pet owners, feline nutrition is often at the top of the list of insecurities for what is the best thing to do.  We often hear “How much should I feed my cat?” or “ Isn’t dry food better to feed cats for their teeth?” Even “How am I supposed to choose the right food with so many different brands on the market today?”  Considering nutrition touches every aspect of the health of our pets, feeding your cat properly is vital to a long, happy life. Let’s take a deeper look….

When browsing pet foods at the store, there is so much to think about.  You can feed your cat dry, canned, or even raw commercial diets. Unlike popular thought, dry food is not always the best option for our feline friends.  Cats tend to not be good water drinkers, so a diet with more moisture is better for their overall nutrition. Also, thinking back to a cat’s primal diet, cats are carnivores.  Canned or raw foods are much closer to what they originally ate as wild animals. Importantly it is good to know that cats also lack the enzyme that metabolizes plant based proteins. 

In addition, dry food is high in carbohydrates, which cats need very little of in their diet.  A diet high in carbohydrates can cause diseases like diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, and obesity.  Also dry food actually leaves a residue on the teeth that encourages plaque build up. So unlike the popular myth, it is actually not better for their teeth.

This is not to completely discount all dry cat food diets.  There are times when cat owners can not feasibly feed their pets canned or raw pet foods.  When looking for a quality dry cat food the first three ingredients need to contain meat or meat meal such as beef, chicken, or turkey.  Wheat, corn, soy, sugar, or gluten are not quality ingredients in pet foods. Even foods that are labeled organic are not always the highest quality food, if it contains high amounts of grain.

Don’t fall for gimmicky dry pet food names either.  Foods labeled for senior cats, hairball issues, or breed specific foods are often marketing techniques. Most times these issues can be addressed in a good, quality pet food or food based nutritional supplements that can be found at your veterinarian office. 

On to the most commonly asked question that we get in the veterinary office about feline nutrition: “How much should I feed my cat?” To answer the question, feeding amounts vary by age, type of food, and energy level of the patient.  Kittens, adults, overweight cats, underweight cats all need different caloric intake depending on the foods they are being fed. 

 The best way to find the right amount of kilocalories that your cat should be eating everyday is by talking to your veterinarian.  Through the use of mathematical equations and your pets lifestyle they formulate what your cat should be eating every day. The doctors will also be able to tell you if your pet is overweight, underweight, or being fed a proper quantity of food.  In addition they can address any other medical problems, like arthritis, that can be managed with a nutritional supplement. In all, yearly exams would be highly beneficial and can even be critical for the health of your pet.

A few things to remember about feline diet-

  • Dry foods are not always the best option
  • Read the ingredients on the back of the bag
  • Double check the feeding guidelines on the product with your veterinarian.
  • In having your cat examined by a doctor annually they will be able to closely monitor your cats nutrition and needs.  

Always remember that South Town Animal Hospital is here for you and your cat.  Cats are amazing members of the family and we want to ensure that they live healthy, long lives.  

Getting to the core of “non-core” vaccines

Getting to the core of “non-core” vaccines

Getting to the core of “non-core” vaccines

What to consider when you are vaccinating your pet

Generally, when you bring in your pet for her annual preventative exam, the veterinary staff often ask a great number of questions . We want to know the details of the kinds of environments your pet is exposed to. We might ask if she ventures on vacation with the family.  Is she around other animals? Does she get boarded or groomed? There are many aspects to consider when we are talking about protecting pets from disease.  

The questions all lead up to which vaccines should be recommended for your pet.  Vaccinations are a key component to the overall health and wellness of our pets. There are a few vaccines that are what we call “core” vaccines.  These vaccines are the ones that almost all pets receive.  

The rabies and distemper vaccines are core vaccines.  The rabies vaccine is mandatory by law to protect your animal in the event that an infected animal bites or scratches him/her.  The distemper vaccination is a combination vaccine protecting from several diseases. In dogs, this vaccine protects against distemper, adenovirus-2, parainfluenza and parvovirus.  These are fatal diseases that are highly contagious, and can easily be prevented from the vaccine. These are why animal professionals will label these vaccines as the “core” vaccinations.  

Non-core vaccines are vaccinations that are suggested considering your lifestyle and environment.  Bordatella, influenza, lyme, and leptospirosis are all considered non-core vaccines. There are times when it can be difficult to sort through which vaccines are necessary depending on where you live and the activities you do.  Many times people do not feel that their pets are at risk, even though many times they are. Below is a list of the non-core vaccines and what the purpose is for your pet.

  • Bordatella- The bordatella vaccine is an oral vaccine that is administered to dogs that are in contact with other dogs or in social situations.  The vaccine protects against certain strains of kennel cough. This is typically a mandatory vaccine for boarding and grooming facilities.
  • Canine Influenza-  This vaccine protects against the canine flu.  There are two different strains of canine influenza in the US, H3N2 and H3N8.  In 2015 the Chicagoland area had a large outbreak of the H3N2 strain. There are now combination vaccines to protect both strains.   Flu symptoms are very similar to upper respiratory symptoms. Again, if your pet is boarding or in other social situations, this is a recommended vaccine.
  • Lyme-The lyme vaccine, although is considered a non core vaccine, is becoming more of a regularly administered vaccination.  Lyme disease is carried by the blacklegged tick or deer tick. As climates in the US change, ticks are becoming more prevalent in our area.  You can find ticks everywhere, including in your own backyard! In the US last year there were 318,000 confirmed cases of lyme disease. Considering this environmental factor, most dogs in Illinois should be receiving the lyme vaccine as part of their annual vaccine protocol.  

Preventative flea and tick medications are still necessary due to the fact that these medications rid your pet of ticks.  Even if your pet is up to date on the lyme disease, it is not the only disease your pet can get from a tick. In combination with your oral or topical tick preventatives, this vaccine is necessary for any pet that spends any time outdoors. 

  • Leptospirosis-Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that is spread through the urine of other animals.  Most commonly it begins with wildlife urine that ends up in the environment. This infection can affect the liver and kidneys.  When left untreated it can be fatal. Unlike the other diseases listed above, leptospirosis can be transferred from dogs to humans.  This vaccination is not only important to protect our pets but our people as well!

When considering which vaccines are best for your pet it can be a detailed process to sort out what is necessary protection.  Make sure that when you take your pet in for the annual exam you answer all questions as best you can. The risks are out there and vaccines are one of our greatest tools to protect our loved ones.  After all South Town Animal Hospital stands by our motto of Healthy Pets, Longer Lives!

Tick Talks

Tick Talks

Tick Talks: Who is really at risk ?

Ticks are no longer a bug of  thick wooded areas. Species of ticks can be found in all areas of the United States.  Illinois has four of them. They are the Blacklegged (deer) tick, American dog tick, Lone Star tick, and the Brown dog tick. Since, they are found virtually everywhere in Illinois, not only are our pets at risk but so are we.  Here’s what you need to know about ticks, where they survive, and most important, how to get rid of these pesky parasites.

    Ticks are a small blood sucking parasites that can be attached on a host for up to several weeks if they are not removed. The tick has four life stages: eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults.  Besides the egg, each life stage requires a blood meal to survive. Ticks can feed off of birds, reptiles, mammals and even humans! Thus living on many animals that can be found in your backyard! Ticks spread disease and can lay thousands of eggs at a time. Unfortunately these pests are hearty parasites.

    Ticks, unlike fleas, are not fast moving or jumping creatures. They love to climb and crawl on the host. Ticks only need to go a short distance to find their next meal.  Most commonly, they find their host when they are brushed up against in tall grasses. They can even fall from a bush onto their host on a windy day. Surprisingly, they particularly enjoy low lying vegetation such as bushes or groundcover which provide coverage from the sun and helps them retain moisture. Regular mowing will help to combat ticks in your yard. The best place to keep your children’s play structures is in direct sunlight and out of wooded areas. In the fall, clearing up leaf litter will also help. Keep in mind, that if a tick gets on your pet you might wind up with ticks in your home.  

As far as temperatures for survival, ticks can be found in temperatures above 32 degrees. Most ticks are not as prevalent in dry and super hot environments. They do well in moist climates. However, considering the changes in season weather patterns, South Town Animal Hospital is now seeing ticks starting in late February and all the way through December.   

     Common places to find ticks are in crevices on the body.  On dogs or cats typically they can be found near the ears, neck, groin, or underarm areas.  They are often hard to locate at first due to the fact that they are about the size of a poppyseed.  As they feed, they become engorged and can often grow to the size of a pencil head or corn kernel. They are black or brown in color and while feeding can appear gray as well.

It is especially important that during the warmer months to do a daily tick check on your pets and family members.  We love to enjoy spending time outdoors but need to protect ourselves and our family as well. If you are suspicious that a tick is on your pet, call South Town Animal Hospital and we will be glad to help. We can decipher if it is indeed a tick, the type it is and help with removal. Considering ticks attach tightly onto their host, it can be difficult to remove the tick, especially in its entirety. If a portion of the tick is left inside the host it might cause swelling and an infection.  

 Due to the fact that different species of ticks carry specific diseases, identification is very important. The black legged tick or deer tick carries lyme disease.  Lyme disease is a disease that can be given to any mammal. Some of the other diseases are ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and anaplasmosis.  When necessary, the doctors at South Town Animal Hospital are here to help with diagnosing and treatment. But the best treatment is prevention.

Schedule an appointment to talk with a South Town Animal Hospital veterinarian about any concerns you may have regarding ticks. They can provide routine blood tests for diagnosing tick borne diseases, vaccines that protect against tick carrying diseases and medications for tick prevention.  Tick bites on pets may be hard to detect. Signs of tick borne disease may not appear for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bite, so watch your dog closely for changes in behavior or appetite if you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a tick. Ticks can be harmful and prevention should not be taken lightly. The staff at South Town Animal Hospital is here to help ‘you’ protect your pets and your family in addition to providing your pet’s best preventative options.  

For further information on lyme disease or tick borne diseases:

Considering Visiting a Dog Park?

Considering Visiting a Dog Park?

Pet socialization is vital to the overall health of you pup!  They are after all pack animals and do enjoy playing and interacting with friends and family. With summer just around the corner, who doesn’t want to bring Fido or Fluffy out for a playdate?  One of the ways to give our furry friends more social interaction is by visiting a local dog park. Not only is it a fun and interesting way to get your dog out for a romp in the sun, you get to meet other dog lovers.  Dog parks are fenced in areas that are typically supported by local park districts. They provide an off leash environment, and a place for dogs to be dogs, to sniff, run and play.

There are a few things that should be noted before jumping in the car and taking your dog for a dog park adventure. First and foremost, your pet needs to be completely up to date with all healthcare needs, such as vaccinations and fecal testing.  In addition, most puppies should be up to date by 16 weeks with necessary vaccinations, dewormings, fecal checks and will have begun heartworm and flea and tick medications. Also, making sure you tell your Veterinarian that you plan on visiting a dog park is recommended.  There are additional vaccines to help protect your pet in these environments. The thing to remember about the dog park is that not everyone’s pet is up to date with their healthcare.

Besides ensuring your pet has been deemed healthy from your veterinarian, there are a few items to consider bringing along.  Pack some water, a bowl, a blanket or towel, an extra leash, and waste bags. Keep in mind that it is best to leave toys at home. They might get lost, broken, or even create a sharing issue.

On that note, always be aware of how your dog might interact with others. Some dogs don’t necessarily enjoy interacting with unknown dogs or people. Others may not enjoy rough play or with being in close proximity to other dogs.  

Always pay attention to your pets body language. Is their hair standing on end?  Is their tail tucked? Are they stiff or relaxed? These indicators can help you decide if a dog park is a good activity for your pet. In the event that an altercation happens, grab an object that can make a loud noise or try to spray them with water.

It is best to observe the dog park ahead of time and get a feel of what it is like. Be your pets advocate. Make sure to pay close attention to how your pet will react in social situations and always be aware of where they are and what they are doing.

If the dog park ends up not being a good fit there are other alternatives.  Many areas have dog friendly forest preserves, where you can walk your leashed pet along paths.  You can also try pet daycares, training, or dog sport or agility classes to get more exercise and socialization.

All in all, the dog park is a great way to get outside with your pup.  It is important to remember that in order to enjoy these areas you must be alert and prepared.  Make sure that your pet is healthy to play, can happily engage in the environment, and that you know the layout of the land.  With these vital things in mind the dog park will be an enjoyable place for both you and Fido alike!

Listed below are a few of the local dog parks in our area to check out. Make sure you review the rules and regulations prior to your visit. For any questions on dog parks or pet socialization don’t hesitate to contact our staff at South Town Animal Hospital. We are always happy to talk at 847-695-7387 or  Wishing a ‘Happy Summer’ to all our furry friends!  

Kane County Dog Parks :

Schweitzer Woods Forest Preserve

16N690 Sleepy Hollow Rd, West Dundee, IL 60118

Fox River Bluff West

5N753 State Rte 31, St. Charles, IL 60175

Freedom Run Dog Park

6150 Russell Dr, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192

James O. Breen Community Park

Peck Road, St Charles, IL 60175

Complement Your Pets Health with Standard Process

Complement Your Pets Health with Standard Process

Nothing Standard About Complementary Medicine for Your Pet

Health and wellness is no longer just about treating illnesses and preventing disease. In veterinary medicine today, we are examining the pet as a whole, and recognizing how critical nutrition, physical activity, and complementary medicine is in playing part of the wellness circle. South Town Animal Hospital has realized that in combination with traditional veterinary medicine, complementary treatments, supplements, and nutritional diet aids in a long healthy life for your pet. These are reasons why South Town Animal Hospital has chosen to treat our patients with Standard Process Whole Food nutrient solutions. 

What is Standard Process Whole Foods Nutritional Supplements? Standard Process whole food supplements are a line of products that combine targeted vitamin and minerals with whole food nutritional support. In combination with traditional medicine, Standard Process aids in the health, wellness, and healing of our pets. When adding Standard Process with traditional medicine, doctors are able to tune into the nutritional component of the animal. Standard Process has a feline and canine line, but they were treating humans long before pets. The company has been creating their human line for over 80 years!

What does Standard Process supplements consist of and how is it made? The supplements are typically a powder or tablet that you would insert into your pet’s food. These ingredients are grown on a certified organic farm, so all products are controlled, tested, and verified from beginning to end by the company. The vegetables are all locally grown and the meats are USDA inspected. The company sure does focus on quality! Our veterinary professionals trust that these supplements use the highest quality ingredients to aid in treating the mind and body of our faithful, furry, friends.

What can be treated with Standard Process Supplements? Although we use traditional medicine in treating many ailments and preventing disease, supplements have a strong place in ensuring the health of your pet. Standard Process supplements have enabled us to fill the nutritional gaps. The supplements support all major organ systems. For example if your pet has a heart condition that is needed to be treated, along with traditional heart medicines the doctor might prescribe a Standard Process Cardiac support. There are other supplements used to treat everything from allergies to thyroid issues.

Is there a science to all of this? Even though many of the products are specified to what organ it is treating. There are times when conditions aren’t readily presenting themselves. In these cases doctors have a nutritional questionnaire that pet owners will take in regards to assessing their pets issues. The doctors will use this tool to find out what will be the right supplement to administer to the animal . This is why Standard Process can only be prescribed by a medical professional. Standard Process understands that doctors know best on how to utilize vitamins, minerals and supplements along side with traditional treatments and medications.

Complementary medicine has its place in treating our pets. South Town Animal Hospital trusts that Standard Process nutritional support fulfil a natural role in the treatment and wellness of our pets. Ask a veterinary professional today for more information!



Heartworm disease is something that many pet owners have heard about but not something we think about all that often. Who wants to think about their pet suffering from parasitic worms living in their heart and blood vessels?

Heartworm disease is a fatal disease that is common in the United States. Fortunately, it is an easily preventable disease with routine diagnostic testing and monthly preventative treatments.

What would you like to know about heartworm disease, diagnostics, prevention, and treatments? Let’s take a look at the most frequently asked questions regarding heartworm disease.

What is heartworm disease?

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease common in pets across the United States and other parts of the world. The disease is caused by foot-long tubular parasites—also known as heartworms—that live, mate, and reproduce inside a pet’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels causing complications such as heart failure, lung disease, and possible irreversible damage to other organs.

Heartworm disease is common in dogs but can affect other mammalian species—some common in urban areas like Elgin—making them prominent carriers of the disease and facilitating its spread. Coyotes, wolves, foxes, and even sea lions are among those that can be affected by heartworm disease.



How is heartworm disease spread?
Mosquitoes play a central role in the lifecycle of heartworms. Adult female heartworms
reproduce inside their hosts—dogs, foxes, coyotes, wolves, etc.—and produce microscopic
worms called microfilaria that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites an infected
animal, the mosquito ingests the microfilaria and deposits the worms into the next susceptible
animal it bites. Once in a new host, it takes roughly 6 months for larvae to mature into adult
heartworms which can live 2-7 years depending on the host they are inhabiting.
What are the signs of heartworm disease?
Symptoms of heartworm disease can be very pronounced, subtle, or nonexistent.
Early Signs:

  • Coughing
  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Fatigue/Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
    Progressive Signs:
  • Heart failure
  • Swollen belly
  • Caval Syndrome
    o Labored breathing
    o Pale gums
    o Dark bloody or coffee-colored urine

Progressive Signs:

  • Heart failure
  • Swollen belly
  • Caval Syndrome
    • Labored breathing
    • Pale gums
    • Dark bloody or coffee-colored urine

How significant is my pet’s risk for heartworm disease?
Heartworm disease is becoming more prevalent each year. It has been diagnosed in all 50
states and spreads to new regions of the country each year. From 2013-2016, there has been a
21.7% increase in cases of heartworm! Whether you believe your local area has a heartworm
problem or not, risk factors such as climate variation and the presence of wildlife carriers, or
even if you travel with your pet, put your pet at risk for contracting heartworm disease.
Just check out these incidence maps:

“My pet is an INDOOR pet…”

Indoor pets ARE at risk for heartworm disease! Even if your pet doesn’t go outside or only goes outside for a very brief amount of time whether to walk or go to the bathroom, mosquitos can infect them in that timeframe and infected mosquitos CAN get in the house.

What do I need to know about heartworm testing?

Because heartworm is a progressive and fatal disease, annual testing is necessary. The earlier heartworm disease is detected, the sooner we can treat the pet and better the chances are that the pet will recover. A heartworm test requires a small amount of blood and the test can be performed quickly by a veterinary technician or a veterinarian. Even if you give your pet year-round heartworm prevention, a heartworm test is still needed to make sure the prevention is working for your pet—especially if you have forgotten doses or give it intermittently. If the latter is the case for you, more frequent heartworm testing might be required.

What if my pet tests positive for heartworm disease?

If your dog becomes infected, don’t panic! Most infected dogs experience successful treatments if started right away.

Treatment is as follows:

  1. Confirm the diagnosis with additional testing. Treating heartworm disease is very expensive and intense and we want to be absolutely sure before beginning treatment.
  2. Restrict exercise. This might be very difficult but physical activity puts extra stress on the heart and lungs by increasing the rate that heartworms cause damage to those organs which may increase your pet’s chances of developing complications.
  3. Stabilize your pet’s disease. Before any treatment can begin, the disease must be stabilized with the appropriate therapies which can take several months in severe cases.
  4. Begin treatment. Heartworm treatment begins after therapies, such as antibiotics and steroids, and is given through a course of three injections. Cage restriction and strict exercise restriction during injections is necessary to ensure your pet has successful treatment and restriction should continue 6-8 weeks after the third injection.
  5. Recheck. Thirty days after the last injection we will need to recheck your pet for heartworm microfilariae.
  6. PREVENT and retest. With the help of your veterinarian, you will need to establish a year-round heartworm prevention regimen. Six months after, we will need to recheck your pet with a heartworm test.

How much is heartworm prevention?

You can protect your pet from heartworm disease for as little as $12.16 a month OR ~$145.92 a year depending on your pet’s weight range. It may seem pricey but year-round heartworm prevention is much more cost effective than treating the disease. 

You can purchase heartworm prevention at our clinic or through our online pharmacy on Vetsource.

(Not so) Fun Facts:

  • In the U.S., heartworm disease effects more dogs than any other canine insect born parasitic disease
  • Only 2 out of 10 dogs are on 12-month prevention
  • Another 2 out of 10 are on inconsistent prevention
  • The last 6 out of 10 are not on any prevention
  • 30% of pet owners think that flea and tick preventatives treat heartworm disease which is not the case! Make sure you are using heartworm preventatives such as Heartgard or Sentinel in conjunction with you flea and tick preventatives such as Nexgard or Frontline!

With more and more pets not being on consistent, year-round heartworm prevention—or on the wrong prevention—your pet is even more at risk! Don’t keep your pet at risk, call us today and we will help you protect your pet from heartworm disease for life.

Call us at (847) 695-7387

Or email us at

Adventures in Veterinary Pharmacies

Adventures in Veterinary Pharmacies


Adventures in Veterinary Pharmacies
at South Town Animal Hospital

The Difference Between Online & In-house Pharmacies. There’s so much to know.

The way we shop has changed so much over the past few decades. Most of us are looking for products to purchase that are not only convenient to buy, but at the best deal. Online shopping has taken the world by storm! We can literally purchase anything we would like, anywhere we want, with the touch a button, even our pet’s prescription drugs! Something that many people do not know is that purchasing your medications online may come with a deeper cost than we thought……

At South Town Safety is #1!

As your pet’s doctor provider, one of the biggest concerns is SAFETY. South Town Animal Hospital purchases medications and supplies, through vendors, that have been inspected and approved by the FDA and manufactured and packaged according to U.S. regulations. Striving to provide safe medicine is a vital part of our practice. The following are some concerns regarding alternative online pet sources –

  • Medications purchased through alternative online pet sources may have been purchased outside the United States and have different strengths and labeling than U.S. products (
  • Some alternative online pet sources may not be aware that their products may have issues with the following: manufacturing, dating, labeling, shipping, storage and guarantee (

Possible substandard medicines would keep your pet from getting better or could even make them sick. So, we recommend when purchasing products look for the FDA approval “Caution: Federal law restricts this drug to be used by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian” ( With all these concerns in mind we have decide to launch an online pharmacy through VetSource (a veterinary pharmacy) as a safer choice.

Where are my pets medications coming from?

Our doctors and staff know exactly who our vendors are and where the products are manufactured. Many alternative online pet sources purchase their medications from secondary places. Our trusted vendors, who assure quality, sell only to licensed veterinarians for their in house use and for their online practice pharmacy. This is the most important part of our vendor relationship because it provides a 100% product guarantee that is passed on to you and that cannot be provided otherwise.

Price Checking & Insurance Reimbursement

Would you be surprised to know that alternative online pet sources do not always have the lowest price for medication? Both South Town Animal Hospital’s inhouse pharmacy and online VetSource pharmacy are priced competitively to outside sources. Our practice also passes on manufacturers promotions and/or rebates which result in greater savings. These rebates we offer are not usually available from alternative online pet sources. Something else to keep in mind is that pet insurance companies require all prescriptions be FDA approved. If you have pet insurance with medication reimbursement, submission and approval will be easier with purchases from either South Town Animal Hospital’s inhouse pharmacy or online VetSource pharmacy.

Ordering from other online sources may not guarantee confidentiality

Some questionable alternative online pet sources lack the right safeguards to protect personal and financial information. These alternative sites could infect your computer with viruses or sell your personal information to other websites and internet scams.

When using alternative online pet sources to order your prescription drugs remember to be A.W.A.R.E

  • Ask your doctor. Who better the tell you about what trusted sites to use.
  • Watch for red flags. If it doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription, it is not a safe source to get your medications from.
  • Accreditation. Check your non-veterinary online source website for accreditations.
  • Report it. If a situation arises where you find a faulty online pharmacy, report it to the the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) by calling 1-888-332-8387) or AskCVM@fds. Lets make our cyber world a safer place.
  • Educate yourself. Protect yourself and your pet from faulty pharmacies.


The world of cyber shopping is a big place, if you are looking for a safe, reliable online pet pharmacy, start with our convenient online pharmacy, VetSource. VetSource not only has rebates, product guarantees and weekly/monthly coupons, it is a place South Town Animal Hospital staff knows you can trust. If your interested in online shopping, be safe.  You can reach VetSource by going to our website at Simply click on the ‘Vetsource Online Pharmacy’ tab and while shopping make sure to look for the weekly/monthly specials and savings!


For more information on safe online purchasing of your pet’s prescriptions click on the following:
Also Google – “BeSafeRX Know your online pharmacy: FDA”

The Story of Bad Breath…..

When my eldest son was very little we read every day together. Being in the animal field and an animal lover, always enjoyed reading dog related stories to him before bed. One of our favorite books was a story of a dog named Hally Tosis. This book made us crack up! Hally Tosis was about a dog that saved her family from burglars by knocking them out with her bad breath. It was a cute story, but little did I realize.

Speed forward about ten years. As of today I have been in the animal field for a total of 17 years. I have seen the field grow and flourish in ways that I have never even thought of. We now do surgeries of all sorts, offer life saving drugs to our animals, and have specialty doctors for all different kinds of ailments. One particular field that has grown leaps and bounds is dentistry. Right along side with human dentistry, animal doctors are now seeing the great importance of dental health. Dental health effects all different kinds of areas in the body. Signs and symptoms of oral problems, like the bad breath of Hally Tosis, should not be overlooked.

On that note, I finally decided to perform a dental on my very old friend and family member, my 16 year old pitbull, Coco. Coco is very special to my family. In the past year I noticed that she had been doing a lot of drooling. I had overlooked it due to the fact that she’s always been kind of a drooler. She always ate great and showed no signs of oral discomfort. Even so, the smell coming from her mouth was literally horrendous. When the family stopped wanting to cuddle her as much, I knew something needed to be done.

I brought Coco in to see Dr Crittenden As usual her bloodwork looked great and despite her old lady ailments, like her arthritis, she was overall healthy and we got the green light for a dental. She also had a localized mass on her arm so the plan was to remove it at that time as well. Why not, knock two birds with one stone. We scheduled her a few short days later for surgery with Dr Cody.

The morning I brought her in I was nervous, yet ready to get rid of some of that tarter that was causing all the funky smell. Alison (my trusty sister, and technician) helped Dr Cody get her settled under anesthesia. Dr Cody removed the lump first with no issues. Her heart rate was solid, her temperature was great, and fluids were administered to keep her hydrated through the whole procedure. I got the go ahead from both Alison and Dr. Cody to do the dental cleaning myself.

The tartar was awful, even though I failed to mention this is not her first dental. She had the procedure done two years ago but she’s not much of a chewer anymore, so I knew this was going to be the case. I also have not had success with brushing my dog’s teeth. Sheesh! I tell you I should have tried a little harder on that one! Anyway, I cleaned up one side of her teeth no real issues. When I got to the other side and I began to clean and the tater came clean with no problems as well. I got to the back of her mouth and had to hold her cheek open to reach far back and noticed a thickened area inside. Sure enough, Dr Cody took a look and it appeared to be some sort of mass. We took a biopsy of the lump and finished up her dental and got her into recovery.

The next few days in recovery the entire staff was there for us. All three doctors were checking on us and answering any questions that I had. The technicians and receptionists were all there by my side rooting us along for a speedy recovery. I can’t believe how blessed animals are to have three amazing doctors and a slew of technicians and animal professionals to look after them!

Long story short, Coco has made a decent recovery. The teeth are cleaner and my girl loves eating canned food. The mass we found in her mouth is a pretty aggressive type of cancer. I’m not sure of what the future holds. What I do know is that if I never did the dental procedure, I would have never found the cancer. I’m not sure how we will proceed with treatments in the future, but the importance of dental health really hit home this time. As for the story of Hally Tosis, maybe she should have had a dental cleaning too.

Year Round Heartworm Prevention is the Best Medicine!

Year Round Heartworm Prevention is the Best Medicine!

Year Round Heartworm Prevention is the Best Medicine!

We know that you want what’s best for your pet. Know that you’re doing a great job by just walking through South Town Animal Hospital’s doors. We understand that your pet is your family and proper healthcare is an integral part of caring for your pet. A very important area of managing your pet’s health care is to have them on year round heartworm prevention. Heartworm prevention provides safety for not only your pet, but for your entire family!

Often times we think that during the cold winter months our pets no longer need heartworm prevention. Illinois winter temperatures range from below freezing to above 50 degrees. Since, mosquitoes will come out to bite in 50 degree temperature it is important that your pet is on heartworm prevention. Melanie McLean, D.V.M., a veterinarian at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that “You never know when the first mosquito is going to come out, or when the last mosquito is going to die. Heartworms have been reported in dogs in all 50 states, and just because you live in a state with a colder climate doesn’t mean that your animal is safe,”

Heartworm disease is increasing in the United States. According to the American Heartworm Society, positive heartworm cases have increased in veterinary hospitals 21% from between 2013-2016. This is due to climatic changes and the lack of year round heartworm prevention. Year round heartworm prevention is vital to the wellness of our pets!

The warmer weather not only brings out mosquitoes but also slushy muddy environments filled with other parasites. Roundworms, hookworms and other intestinal parasites that live in the soils can easily be ingested by your pet. Additionally, these creepy creatures can infest humans as well. Thankfully, year round heartworm prevention deworms your pets from these pesky parasites, keeping the entire family safe!

There are a few important things to remember about heartworm prevention:

  1.  Make sure your pet is heartworm tested annually, especially before starting your pet on prevention.
  2. Give heartworm prevention on the same day every month.
  3.  There are options! Heartworm prevention comes in different methods to administer. South Town’s favorite brand is Heartgard, and it comes in a yummy beefy chew! Dogs typically love it! If for any reason they don’t like the chews there are alternatives. Talk to a South Town team member if there are any questions.
  4. Heartworm prevention is very financially reasonable. You can protect your pet for under $12.00 a month. The treatment of the actual disease is very costly, with multiple veterinary visits. Because of the treatment’s high cost some owners are unable to comply. This contributes greatly to the spreading of the disease.
  5. Give heartworm prevention year round! Even if you think your pet is at low risk, you truly never know when parasites can strike!

To further discuss signs, symptoms, or prevention of heartworm disease please don’t hesitate to contact us at or call us at 847-695-7387. A team member is always happy to walk you through any questions or concerns that you might have. Year round prevention is safer, easier, and more cost effective than the alternative. The best medicine for your pet is keeping your pet on monthly heartworm prevention throughout the whole year!