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Valley Animal Hospital
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Springtime Sniffles

Does your pet suffer from seasonal allergies?
With spring in full swing, many of us start to plan for our annual allergies. With pollination beginning and new plants sprouting up, we humans gear up for our daily Dogs regimen of allergy protection techniques. But, did you know that our pets can suffer from seasonal allergies as well? Just like humans, our furry friends can suffer from food, medicinal and environmental/ seasonal allergies. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of such allergies, because if left untreated, our pets can become very ill. Dogs tend to have more issues with allergies than our feline friends, but none-the-less it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your cats, too.

Signs to Look For:
Our pets can have the usual allergy symptoms of congestion, sneezing, coughing and runny noses and eyes. In addition, your pet may begin continuously scratching themselves, or rubbing against walls, furniture and the floor. Licking and biting at their skin is also a key sign of allergies. Sometimes, scratching and biting can be associated with a severe flea allergy.

Did you know that when your dog is licking or biting at their skin, the saliva will turn their fur a reddish color? Beyond red fur, your pets’ skin can also become red and inflamed. It is important to seek out your veterinarian when this occurs. The more irritated the skin is, the more likely that infection will take place. A scaly rash can be an indicator of infection. It is also important to watch for ear infections. You should be mindful of pets shaking their head, rubbing their ears, and/or a brownish discharge inside the ears. Ear infections can even be the first allergy indicator.

Seek Help:
Consult your veterinarian if you suspect that your pet has allergies. Many times they are very easy to control, but once they get out of hand it can be difficult and uncomfortable for your pet to treat. Your veterinarian can recommend the most effective method to prevent and manage your pet’s allergy symptoms.

Wishing you and your furry friends a wonderful (sniffle-free) springtime!
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The holiday season has arrived, but with all of the celebration comes possible health concerns for our furry friends. Emergency visits to the veterinarian increase during the holidays and are usually due to pets eating something they shouldn’t. Below are some general tips to enjoy the holidays with your pet this year:
 
Make no bones about it. Meat bones can easily splinter and cause serious damage to your pet’s gastrointestinal tract. Make sure you have properly disposed of all of the bones and that the garbage is kept out of reach from your curious companions.
 
Pets aren’t for stuffing. Too many fatty, seasoned, unfamiliar foods can lead to pancreatitis and gastroenteritis in your pet. Both of these medical conditions can be painful and even life-threatening. If you decide to give your pet a bite of turkey, make sure it is boneless, lean and well-cooked to avoid salmonella bacteria.
 
Avoid the sweets, stick with treats. Consider all of the desserts prepared during the holidays, many of which contain chocolate and other toxic ingredients to our pets. Keep your pet’s noses out of the batter and focused on a treat of their own such as a made-for-pet chew bone or a Kong toy.
 
Keep out of the kitchen. Even if your pet isn’t one to snoop through the trash, the tasty smells of freshly cooked food can be very tempting, so make sure the garbage and kitchen preparations are properly tied up and covered to avoid your pet reaching any dangerous items or making a mess of the festivities.
 
Eat, drink, and be merry. With all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, make sure your pet has fresh water, food of their own and quiet time away from the excitement to ensure they aren’t overwhelmed by the festivities.
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Does My Senior Pet Need Bloodwork?

Here’s a quick explanation on why it’s good to get annual blood tests for your senior (7+ yrs) pet: 

If done consistently, annual blood tests can help a veterinarian track and evaluate the overall condition of a pet’s vital organs and health.  In addition, blood tests can help a veterinarian detect early signs of many serious health conditions such as: kidney disease, diabetes, hypo- and hyperthyroidism, and liver disease.

Senior profiles are more comprehensive and will provide a more thorough evaluation of your pet’s current health.  These panels can also provide a good look into the body’s response to medications and anesthesia.  There are different types of blood tests that can be done, all performing different functions.  A CBC, complete blood cell count, looks for adequate red and white blood cell numbers and checks their present condition.  The chemistry profile looks at various organ enzymes, glucose, proteins, electrolytes, and cholesterol.  Finally, senior panels also look at thyroid function, making sure it is not over or under active.  In addition, your veterinarian may need to check your pet’s urine for signs of disease.

Routine blood work is useful in many applications: to establish a baseline on a healthy pet to compare to later, to help diagnose a pet that is “just not right”, and in geriatric pets.  Speak to your veterinarian today to see if a senior blood panel is right for your furry friend.
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Our next employee spotlight is celebrating a milestone birthday today! I hear that you are truly your best self when you hit thirty, and this girl is living proof of that. In the past year we have watched this young lady explore new talents and grow in confidence both internally and externally. In the past year, Olivia has gone from a novice aerial dancer, to an experienced performer! That’s just outside of Valley Animal Hospital. Here at the clinic Olivia is equally as awesome! She rocks out nail trims like nobody’s business, she's never afraid to get down and dirty with the dogs, and she talks to our cat population like she is one of their own. We are proud to have this lady on our team, and want to wish her a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
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Have you ever met someone SO willing to help out that you practically had to beg them to go home? Marge, one of Valley’s reception staff, is that very person. She is always putting others before herself, and we feel that such compassion should be recognized in one of August’s Employee Spotlights! We like to joke that Marge needs to wear a fanny pack full of treats while at work, because no dog will go home without having “a snack” when Marge is on the clock. If you’ve taken advantage of any of our mail-in rebates, you have Marge to thank! She is the “mail-in” behind the rebate smile emoticon, and during the summer months she can have around 350+ rebates to send in PER month! Marge is a proud mama of two grown boys, a new daughter-in-law, and two beautiful fur babies. She will happily talk about any of them at any given moment smile emoticon. We are grateful to have such a genuine individual working at our front desk, and we applaud her care and concern for every client that walks through our doors!
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Is Your Car Too Warm For Your Pet?
 
Leaving your pet in a car on a hot summer day can put your pet at risk of serious illness or death, even on a day that doesn’t seem that hot to you. Here are a few reasons why your pet should never be left unattended in a vehicle.
 
- Your car temperature can rise 40 degrees per hour, meaning a 72 degree day can feel like 112 in your car within 60 minutes.
- It’s been shown that rolling down the windows has little effect on the temperature inside your vehicle.
- On warmer days your car can reach temperatures of 120 degrees within minutes.
 
It’s important to leave your pet at home or in a cooler environment on hot days to avoid heatstroke symptoms including: excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, decreased appetite, rapid heartbeat, fever and vomiting. If your pet shows any signs of overheating, it is imperative to get them cooled off immediately and taken to a veterinarian for additional care.
 
Do you have any tips to keep your pet safe on hot summer days? Share with us below!
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Next up for our Employee Spotlight is our technician manager, Jenny! This lady is often pulled in a hundred different directions, because she’s just THAT good at MANY different things. In the early mornings Jenny wears the mask of a receptionist, by mid—day she changes her cape to that of a mighty technician, and finally in the afternoon she’s back to her best known identity of technician manager. She is truly a superhero with many powers! Most recently, this mama of two has taken on a healthy, more active lifestyle. You may catch her out for a jog with her two young girls, talking about her husband’s new traveling basketball team (Shout out to Elite Skillz Basketball. Tryouts start very soon! http://www.eliteskillzbasketball.com/), or raving about a delicious recipe to try. It is safe to say, Jenny is one busy lady! She’s a key component to our VAH family, both as an employee and as a friend. We are proud to recognize her today, and thank her for all that she does for us!
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When you’ve been with the same veterinary practice for a number of years, you get to see patients from day one all the way through to the very end. Dr. Wiechmann has been dedicated to Valley Animal Hospital for the past 13 years. Believe me when I say that Dr. Wiechmann truly feels all of the highs and lows of your pets’ lives right along with you. To celebrate this rockstar, we would like to recognize Dr. Wiechmann with an Employee Spotlight! Dr. W has seen our clinic flourish and blossom from a small clinic with a few doctors to the vibrant community all of you help create today. Like our clinic, Dr. Wiechmann’s family is blossoming too. She lights up a room when she talks about her life, so be sure to ask her about her daughter’s upcoming wedding, or her energetic granddaughter! She also LOVES to spend her free time on the golf course, and stays active within her church community. Last year she even traveled with the members of her church to Ireland! We couldn’t be more proud to have such a compassionate person here at VAH, and we hope this recognition brings tears of joy as Dr. Wiechmann continues to share in the lives of many more pets.
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Happy July! To start this month with a bang, we’re using our wildcard for the Employee Spotlight. Patti is our powerhouse receptionist! Not only is she a busy mother of two spending all her spare time with her kids, but she is also a motorcycle mama! On a nice summer day, you may catch Patti and her husband enjoying the open road out on their Harley. Be sure to catch a glimpse of her hidden artwork the next time you check-in. You’d never know Patti has a full sleeve hidden under her scrubs! Here at VAH, we completely rely on Patti for her amazing organizational skills, and her attention to detail. If you walk in to our lobby and find it completely rearranged, you know who was behind it! smile emoticon But behind Patti’s professionalism, you’ll find a truly caring person who’s the first person to enjoy a good laugh (especially at herself). We love to laugh right along with her and are grateful to have her on our team!
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Wowza! We are overdue for an Employee Spotlight this month! So with the Hawk's big win last night, this lovely lady comes to mind. Kathy is not only an avid Blackhawks fan, but also one of VAH’s certified veterinary technicians. She will be celebrating 10 years with VAH this year! Kathy provides above and beyond animal care with both our VAH clients, and her personal pet sitting clients. She is an unbelievably thoughtful person and NEVER forgets to celebrate all of our coworkers’ birthdays! Kathy lives a well-rounded life and inspires all of us here at VAH to do the same! Whether it is continuing her education, rocking out at fun concerts, or just catching up with old friends, Kathy works hard to live a full and rewarding life. We are lucky to have such a loyal lady on our team!
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