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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 www.southtownanimalhospital.com 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!

 

 

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.