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Welcome Dr. Cody

Welcome Dr. Cody

Welcome Dr. Cody!

 

 

We are welcoming Dr.Cody to the South Town Animal Hospital team!  Dr. Cody graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2000. She lives locally with her husband, 3 children, and four cats. The beautiful kitty above is Triscuit, and she was ready to pose! Dr. Cody loves reading and movie night with her family. We are super excited to have her see our amazing patients!

Giving the Gift of a Home-Things to Consider

Giving the Gift of a Home-Things to Consider

    Videos of surprise puppies or kittens on Christmas morning are flooding the internet. People open the box that meows and break into tears of joy. While this seems like a unique and fun gift, one must ultimately consider the responsibilities that comes with owning a pet.

  1. Time – With a new pet comes many responsibilities including the need to train your pet. Your new family member will need to be potty trained, learn basic commands, and get used to a new daily schedule. All of this takes a lot of time to accomplish.
  2. Space – Breeds matter, depending on location. If you’re getting a pet for an apartment dweller, perhaps a herding dog isn’t the best choice due to their need for space to run.
  3. Funds – Pets overall can be a costly responsibility. Even if the pet is “free” this doesn’t cover veterinary costs, training costs, food costs, and cost of toys and accessories.
  4. Rules and restrictions– Unless the person who is receiving the gift is a homeowner, there are typically rules to which types, if any that are allowed.  One must also be knowledgeable of other potential restrictions, such as allergies.

Before surprising a loved one with a pet, be sure it is thoroughly discussed and the responsibilities are understood. Never ever make an impulse decision with an animal – they’re a serious commitment. Instead of giving a pet as a surprise, agree to pay the adoption fee for a pet that has been considered and visited.  Most important if you are choosing to get the pet for a child, consider the age and responsibilities of the child. Is the child old enough to care for this pet? In addition, be aware that responsibilities may fall back on you as the gift giver, if the receiver not be prepared to be a pet owner.

Overall, it is best to be prepared before giving a pet as a gift.  Pets give us unconditional love and joy, but in return we must have the ability to properly care for them.

Ways We Care

Ways We Care



At South Town Animal Hospital, we have professional and personal standards on how we care for your pet. Oftentimes, these actions happen behind the scenes and are not witnessed by pet owners. This is your opportunity to learn about the special little things that make a big difference for your pet.

  1. We change our needles after each poke: With each use, a needle gets duller and therefore becomes more painful. Here at South Town Animal Hospital, when we draw a vaccine from a vial, we change the needle after, so your pet gets a fresh needle. This costs the clinic, but is less painful for your pet.
  2. We’re often on the floor: Your pets are in an unfamiliar environment and are often scared. We get onto the floor with your pet to make them more comfortable.
  3. We talk to your pet and comfort them: We can only imagine how scared your pet might be, so we talk to them and sooth them, hold them and hug them. Often a pet is scared coming out of anesthesia and a doctor or a technician will stay with your pet while they wake up.
  4. We use Dr. Sophia Yin’s handling guide to minimize stress: Dr. Sophia Yin was famous for her animal behavior and body language guides and revolutionized the veterinary industry with low-stress handling techniques.
  5. Every day is a working lunch for the DVM’s.
  6. We pick eye boogers: Often, we do things that aren’t required of us. Sometimes we clean up a pets face if they have eye discharge, comb out matted fur, or clean ears.
  7. Extra phone time: A lot of a doctors and staff time is spent on the phone. This time is spent on the phone with clients – reassuring them about their sick pet, or with a pharmacy – finding the best prices for our clients, or consulting with veterinary specialists to find the best treatment options.
  8. High-quality Products: The quality of supplies matters. At South Town Animal Hospital, we provide high quality medication and supplies to care for your pet.
  9. The veterinary field is multifaceted in the skills that we are trained in: Unlike the human medical field, veterinarians, vet techs, and customer service must learn a slew of skills for multiple types of animals. We care for your pet in every aspect including but not limited to bloodwork, x-rays, filling medication, surgery and dentistry.
  10. We are with you from start to finish: From pediatric to geriatric care, we are here for you and your pet. We will be here to listen to your worries and share in your triumphs. When it is time to say goodbye, we will be there sharing your pain.

We do these things because we truly care. The love that we have for animals and our profession is a lifelong passion for many of us. Thank you for allowing us to care for your family and trusting us to do what we love.

 

How to Recognize Signs of Pain and What to Do to Manage It

How to Recognize Signs of Pain and What to Do to Manage It

How do Our Pets Show Us Signs of Pain?

Since our pets are not able to tell us when they are uncomfortable or in pain, knowing how to recognize the signs of discomfort in our furry companions is one of the many responsibilities we have as pet owners.  Another important responsibility we have to our pets is knowing our options in aiding their pain relief.

Recognizing pain or discomfort in your pet is the key. Keep in mind that, they can sometimes be good at hiding or masking their pain. Some of the indicators of discomfort are changes in behavior, bodily functions and your pet’s breathing.  If breathing becomes rapid, panting, or short this can be an indicator of pain issues.  Also, a more general sign may be a change in your pets general demeanor including a lack of desire to socialize. With any of these changes there can be irregular patterns occurring in activity level, eating, drinking or bathroom use which may be signs that your pet is in pain.

Cats are more likely to hide when in pain and will seek out spaces they don’t normally use, such as under beds or in closets. In dogs, you may see their ears or tail back or down. Both cats and dogs can become unusually irritable and may want to play less. These can all be signs that your pet is in discomfort and needs visit to the veterinarian.

Bringing any information you think that may have contributed to your pet’s discomfort to the appointment can be helpful. There are an infinite number of reasons your pet may be uncomfortable and this information may help the doctor better identify what may be causing the pain.  Anything from normal aging to a bee sting or a sprained paw could be the cause of discomfort.

Diagnosing may include lab work and/or digital radiography. After which options for pain management can be provided. There are a variety of routes to explore in managing pain, and it will differ if it is short-term acute pain or chronic pain. Treatment options fall under the following: medications, supplements, laser therapy, other therapies and possibly surgery.

At South Town Animal Hospital, the Veterinarian can prescribe medications and/or supplements. South Town carries Standard Process which are “.. supplements made with whole food and other ingredients to provide the body with nutrients that are found in nature but aren’t always found in the average pet diet. These formulas supply vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, and phytonutrients in forms as close as possible to how nature intended – providing whole food nutrient solutions that support the body’s amazing ability to heal itself.”

In addition, South Town provides laser therapy which promotes healing in the body and is performed by trained veterinary professionals over a period of multiple short sessions. Laser therapy speeds up cellular healing to help with numerous conditions such as wounds, allergies, sprains, strains and fractures, post-surgical healing and pain relief, ear infections, geriatric care, and arthritis.

Other therapies include water therapy and physical therapy. ‘The Puddle Pet Aqua Fitness and Nutrition’ facility is conveniently located next to South Town Animal Hospital. At The Puddle, certified swim instructors aid your pet in supervised swims in an indoor heated pool. The warm water helps promote circulation and relaxes tired muscles. Swim therapy aids in pre- and post- surgical management support, relieves pressure on the joints, strengthens and retrains muscles, exercises the cardiovascular system, aids in weight loss, increases range of motion, and improves confidence, relieves anxiety, and reduces stress.

If your pet requires more physical stimulation than swimming can provide, there are certified pet physical therapists. Using a variety of different methods, physical therapy can help with pre- or post- operative support, as well as a number of other conditions. Speak with your Veterinarian if you think this is what your pet needs. They can provide you with a referral to a specialist.

Surgery may be an option, but surgical pain management is typically done as a last resort in the veterinary field. Usually surgical pain relief will be done after supplements or prescription drugs or other therapies aren’t quite managing the pain and more is needed in aiding your pet.

Overall, there are many routes to pain relief for your pet.  Seeking advice and/or treatment from your Veterinarian will help guide you to the best options for your pets health and comfort level.

 

One Flea, Two Fleas, A Million Fleas, Get Off Me!

One Flea, Two Fleas, A Million Fleas, Get Off Me!

Even the Cat in the Hat needs Flea Protection!

 

One flea, two fleas, a million fleas, GET OFF ME! Fleas are a critter that nobody wants to have.  Understanding how the flea life cycle works is important to protecting your pet.  Luckily, you can prevent your pet from getting fleas in the first place.

 

The Flea Life Cycle

Adult fleas will lay eggs while on top of an animal host. The eggs will typically fall off of the host and get burrowed into carpet fibers or furniture upholstery. Depending on temperature, the eggs can hatch within 2-12 days. The larvae lack legs and will crawl around the carpet eating debris. The larvae will spin a cocoon and turn into the pupal stage. They will remain in that stage for 5-14 days. Once ready, an adult flea will hatch out of the cocoon and search for a host – such as a dog or cat.

 

Break the Cycle

Knowing that fleas can survive in the carpet or upholstery can give anyone the creepy-crawlies. Breaking the cycle can help protect your pet (and you!) from flea bites. Vacuuming the carpet, upholstery, and pet beds is important to removing many of the eggs and larvae. Aside from vacuuming the home, providing your pet with a flea preventative is a good way to stop the cycle.  Flea preventative products kill adult fleas and larvae in the immediate surroundings of the pet, and if any adult fleas hop on the pet they will die before being able to lay more eggs.flea

 

Products We Trust  

At South Town Animal Hospital, there are 3 ‘flea & tick’ prevention products we recommend to our clients. They each have their individual qualities that owners pick to best fit their pet and their lifestyle. Two of these products, Frontline and Nexgard, are both dosed monthly but applied differently. If your pet willingly takes treats, Nexgard is a yummy beef flavored chewable. Frontline is a liquid topical application that is put in between the shoulder blades. This is a good option for the picky eater who doesn’t like treats or is allergic to beef. If you prefer to give things minimally, the third product is Bravecto. It is a chewable tablet except given once every 3 months.

 

Detection is our Best Selection! Wellness Monitoring is the Best Medicine!

Detection is our Best Selection! Wellness Monitoring is the Best Medicine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

At South Town Animal Hospital, we monitor your pet’s health annually through regular lab work. This basically includes blood work and testing of a fecal sample. Early detection is our goal since most animals typically do not show signs of illness. It is best to catch any potential issues early with healthy prevention.

For all dogs is usually a heartworm test. It is important to test for heartworm yearly. If a pet is positive it can be dangerous to give preventative medication. At South Town Animal Hospital, we provide a discount to your annual blood test when you purchase a year of heartworm prevention from us.For cats viral testing for FIV and Feline Leukemia is important. These tests are especially recommended for outdoor cats.

As pets age, we practice the “senior at seven” rule, which means once a pet reaches seven years of age they are considered a senior. More in-depth monitoring panels will be suggested to help provide an ‘overall’ picture of your pet’s health and are recommended yearly or semi annually. These panels check values such as liver, kidney, pancreas, calcium levels, muscle enzymes, thyroid, glucose, platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells. Bloodwork can help indicate or detect infections, anemia, organ disorders, and immune system health issues. In addition, blood work can be required to monitor the effects that certain prescription drugs may have on your pets vital organs.

As important as blood work is, there is another type of testing that can be crucial to your pet’s well being which is checking a fecal sample for parasites your pet may have picked up. Having internal parasites can cause your pet to feel unwell and have symptoms such as bloating and diarrhea. Since parasites can be transmissible to humans as well – it is all that more important to check.

Considering pets are unable to physically tell us what is happening, finding clues and getting a closer look with further diagnostics is critical to diagnosis and the longevity of our pets lives. At South Town Animal Hospital we are big proponents of preventative care versus reactive care. This helps aid our mission of healthy pets longer lives.

Give Your Pet a Safety Net with Pet Insurance!

Give Your Pet a Safety Net with Pet Insurance!

 With the exciting development of pet healthcare and scientific discoveries in the veterinary field, the cost of care is increasing. It is becoming more and more vital to invest in a safety net for your pet.  Pet insurance is one avenue that can provide a little security in your back pocket when a situation may arise. There are many options available for pet insurance to help decrease the burden of costs for pet owners.

While many options are great, it can also become very overwhelming when trying to choose a carrier, or even determine whether or not purchasing a pet insurance plan is best for you.  Some of the major factors that are considered by insurance carriers is the pet’s breed, age, or your zip code.

Your first step is to have a clear idea of what sort of plan you want. You may only want a plan that covers regular preventative care such as exams and vaccines. Or you may want a plan that can cover all major medical issues, such as emergency surgery to diagnostic testing.  In addition, knowing how reimbursements and deductibles work is an important step in purchasing insurance.

Once you know what sort of coverage you’re looking for,  you can pick a plan that works for you. With all the different options for insurance – you can go to www.petinsurancereview.com . This website allows you to put in some basic information such as pet breed, age, etc, and will compare quotes from different carriers.  Each carrier typically has multiple options such as exclusive packages or à la carte options where you can pick and choose your specific coverage. Be mindful of deductibles and choose honestly what you believe you will be able to pay out of pocket on any day – as emergencies happen, and you want to be able to make important decisions for your pet without cost being a limiting factor.

It is best to enroll your pet when they are young and healthy, as many insurance companies do not cover pre-existing conditions and it may not be cost-effective to get health insurance for a senior pet. This is why you can get quotes before deciding whether or not to purchase a plan.

If you are having trouble picking a package because you don’t know what your pet may be at risk for, make an appointment with your veterinarian and they can help you determine what your pet may or may not be susceptible to, and that may help you with your decision.

Heartworm Awareness Month is Here!

Heartworm Awareness Month is Here!

Heartworm disease: It’s something many dog owners have heard about but are not always sure exactly what it is.  Heartworm disease is caused by foot-long parasitic worms that are spread through the bite of a mosquito. When fully grown these large adult worms live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of dogs causing potentially fatal blockages.

Mosquitos deposit the larvae into dogs when they take a blood meal. It takes 6 months for the larvae to mature into an adult. The adult worms produce “baby worms” called microfilaria which are picked up by mosquitos and the life cycle continues.  Heartworms can live from 5 to 7 years in your pet!

Since there are virtually no early signs or symptoms of heartworm disease, testing yearly is vital.  Symptoms are not present until the heartworms increase in size and numbers and create blockages in the heart or lungs.  Some symptoms include coughing, reluctance to exercise, fatigue, decreased appetite and weight loss. Unfortunately, sudden death may be the only symptom.

Year-round prevention and annual screening is very important in protecting your pet from infection.  Initial testing is vital before starting heartworm prevention.This is due to the fact that the medication can cause a mass die off of the microfilaria which in return can cause shock and potentially death for your pet.  For this reason, heartworm preventative must be prescribed by a veterinarian after testing.

Heartworm disease is becoming more prevalent in Illinois. In some clinics in the Chicago area, there has been reported an average of 51 to 99 cases per clinic in 2016.  

 

 

If your pet tests positive for heartworm disease, your veterinarian will order a follow up test to confirm the diagnosis. It is important to keep a heartworm-positive dog on very low activity to help decrease damage to the heart and lungs.  There is treatment for heartworm disease but it is complicated and takes several months. The treatment is an arsenic type of medication and is costly. Monthly prevention is much more cost effective and an easier way to keep your pets heart healthy.  

Overall, it is best to screen yearly for heartworm disease and to give heartworm preventative products such as Heartgard and Sentinel. Our knowledgeable staff is here to provide you with further information or answer any questions that you have on heartworm disease or prevention.  We are here to keep hearts healthy for “Healthy Pets, Longer Lives”.

Let’s Talk About Lyme Disease…….

Let’s Talk About Lyme Disease…….

Lyme Disease: Is Your Pet (or You) at Risk?

What is it?

     Most people have probably heard of lyme disease, but many don’t know where it comes from or how it can affect your pet, or humans. Lyme disease (Lyme borreliosis) is an illness that affects both humans and animals. This is known as a zoonotic disease. It is spread through ticks that carry the causative agent, the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Borrelia burgdorferi is transferred by a tick bite. The species of ticks that can carry the bacterium is the American Dog Tick, the Black-legged Tick a.k.a Deer Tick , and the Lone Star Tick. The American Dog Tick and the A. americanum are most active April-late August, and I. scapularis is most active October – May. This means that ticks that can spread lyme disease are active all year-round!

Symptoms
Symptoms in pets don’t typically appear for several months after infection, and not all dogs infected show clinical signs of the disease. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, fever, joint swelling, lack of appetite, and decreased activity. Lameness may also occur.
Symptoms in humans are much the same, but with additional chronic nerve and joint pain, as well as heart and neurological problems. Humans also develop what is known as a “bulls-eye” rash at the bite location that resembles a target.
Lyme disease cannot be passed from one pet to another, or to humans, except through tick bite. However, if one member of the household is exposed, it is wise to have those who were with the exposed patient tested as well, as they could have been exposed at the same time.

Treatment For Your Pet
It is advised to consult your veterinarian regarding what treatment is the best route for your pet. Every case is different, and every dog’s immune system varies. Some pets may have an active infection but show no symptoms, while others are symptomatic. Antibiotics are often used for treatment if your veterinarian deems necessary.

Prevention is Best
The best way to treat lyme disease is preventing it in the first place. Year-round flea and tick prevention is available in numerous forms so it is easy to choose which is best for your pet. There is also a yearly vaccine available. The best idea is to use both monthly prevention and the yearly vaccine as preventatives. Awareness of ticks is good prevention as well. Because ticks are usually in grasses or shrubberies, it is best to keep a maintained lawn and clear any shrubbery next to homes. It is best to check for ticks after going outdoors, even if your or your pet were only outside for a short period of time.