Happy National Veterinary Technician Week! October 16 – 22, 2016

10/16/16

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Your pets deserve the best in pet care and it takes everyone on the veterinary health care team to make that happen.  The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) recognized that fact and established National Veterinary Technician Week (NVTW) as the third week in October.  We certainly value our technical team’s contributions every day, but that this particular week to celebrate their contributions to the health and well-being of our patients.

When you and your pet visit Family Pet Animal Hospital, we hope you have an immediate sense of who we are – we truly care about you and your pets and we love what we do.  We pride ourselves on the amazing team members we have that embrace and embody our core values:

  • Ethics
  • Professionalism
  • Empathy
  • Energy & Focus
  • Pride
  • Team Player

 

Veterinary technicians and assistants play a vital role in the care of all our patients (and our clients).  Their jobs are similar to that of nurses in human medicine – to perform technical tasks to support the doctors and provide comfort and support to the patient as well.  Our technicians are trained to provide nursing care, conduct diagnostic laboratory work, aid in medical, dental, and surgical procedures, administer anesthesia, and much more.  We could not do what we do without their talents.

Veterinary medicine and technology is always growing and changing and we strive to be on the cutting edge to provide your pet with the best care possible.  Our technicians’ commitment to continuing education allows us to support the addition and integration of new skills, protocols, and systems to our team because your pet deserves the very best.

We want to express our sincere gratitude to our amazing technicians.  We are so grateful for their tireless work, compassion, humor, and talents.  They are crucial to the delivery of the care we provide to the pets in our communication.  Thank you, Vet Techs, for everything that you do!

Happy National Veterinary Technician Week!

Spike in Leptospirosis Cases in Chicago

The following message was sent to all Family Pet Animal Hospital clients via email on 10/6/16.

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The doctors and staff at Family Pet Animal Hospital want to inform you of a steady increase in leptospirosis cases in dogs in Chicago in the last few months.  Leptospirosis is a zoonotic (can be transmitted to humans) bacterial disease that can be fatal if left untreated.  MedVet Chicago, a 24-hour emergency and specialty animal hospital on the north side of the city, has reported treating 15 cases of leptospirosis since June of 2016.  While this may seem like a small number, it is considered a large spike.  Half of these cases seen at MedVet were fatal, although it is important to note that MedVet tends to see the most severe cases.

Transmission

Chicago’s rodent population and the above average rainfall this summer may be factors in the rise in leptospirosis infections.  The disease is primarily transmitted through the urine of infected wildlife such as rats, raccoons, and squirrels.  Exposure occurs most commonly through contaminated water.  Stagnant or slow-moving water becomes contaminated when diseased small mammals deposit their urine in or near the water.  If pets lick up this contaminated water, either directly or off their nose or paws, the bacteria can enter their system and they may develop an infection.

Symptoms

According to Jayme Hoffberg, DVM, head of MedVet Chicago’s Emergency and Critical Care, most of the dogs infected with leptospirosis are presenting with gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting or diarrhea.  Severe infections can cause acute kidney failure and can also cause damage to the liver.

Symptoms and signs of leptospirosis in dogs can vary and be similar to those of other illnesses.  Some infected dogs may not show any noticeable signs of the disease.   We advise you to seek veterinary care for your dog if you observe the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaundice
  • Fever
  • Shivering
  • Muscle tenderness and/or reluctance to move
  • Increased thirst
  • Changes in frequency or amount of urination

Treatment and Prevention

Treatment for leptospirosis generally involves hospitalization, antibiotics, and supportive care.  If treated early and aggressively, chances for recovery are good.  However, there is a risk of permanent kidney or liver damage.

Vaccination is the best protection for your dog against leptospirosis.  There are 10 serovars (strains) of Leptospira and the current vaccine used by the veterinarians at Family Pet Animal Hospital protects against four serovars (the most coverage available).  While vaccinating your dog does not a guarantee he/she will not contract leptospirosis, it is the best defense available.  The veterinarians at Family Pet highly recommend vaccinating your dog against this serious and potentially deadly disease.

Because leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans, it is important to take precautions to protect yourself, your family, and the community if your dog is infected

  • Follow your veterinarian’s instructions for treatment of your dog.
  • Avoid contact with your dog’s urine. If you have to clean up your dog’s urine in your home, wear gloves and clean the area with a household disinfectant.
  • Encourage your dog to urinate away from standing water or areas where other people or animals will have access.
  • Wash your hands after handling your dog.

If you have questions about leptospirosis or are unsure whether or not your dog has received or is current on his/her leptospirosis vaccination, please contact the hospital.  If you’ve signed up for our online portal or app, you can log in to view your pet’s medical reminders and due dates as well.  (Instructions can be found here to sign up or sign in to allyConnect.)

Sincerely,

The doctors and staff at Family Pet Animal Hospital

Most Valuable Player of the Month for October 2016 – Kate Van Eck

KEV picKate Van Eck, Assistant Client Care Manager, has been awarded the Family Pet Animal Hospital Most Valuable Player (FPAH MVP) award for October 2016 by last month’s winner, Jim Dinan.  Congratulations, Kate!

Kate joined the Family Pet team as a Client Care Coordinator early in 2013 after working as a technician at Dupage County Animal Control for four years.  For her ongoing commitment to our patients, clients, and team, in a few short years, she’s received multiple promotions – Trainer, Shift Supervisor, and most recently, Assistant Client Care Manager.  Her energy, humor, sparkling personality, diligence, and tireless advocacy for the well-being of all animals make her such an appreciated part of our team.

QUESTION AND ANSWER WITH KATE

Do you have pets?  If so, tell us about him/her/them.

I have a small dog, Franklin, who I adopted from DuPage Co. Animal Care & Control where I worked prior to Family Pet. He and I are celebrating 8 years together this October! When I decided that I wanted to adopt him (after fostering him a few weeks) my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, said we have to make it official. So we went on a walk and picked out the name Franklin (after FDR) and then went and bought him a red, white and blue sweater and collar.

What is your favorite thing about working at Family Pet?

My favorite thing about Family Pet is the people I get to work with. I can’t even begin to explain the amazingly kind, open and appreciative environment that exists here.

What is the moment at FPAH of which you are the most proud?

I do a lot of the training of the new CCC’s and it is such a proud feeling when you see new staff members being able to make sound decisions on their own and establishing friendships with clients.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love spending time with Franklin and my husband, Bill, no matter what we’re doing. I go to a lot of Cubs games and keep score by hand. I volunteer with Big Brother Big Sister and spend time with my “little” making crafts and exploring Chicago together. I love singing (especially made up songs about Franklin), playing the piano, watching Jeopardy and spending time with my family.

If you could communicate with our patients, what would you most want them to know?

Not to be afraid or weirded out when I squish their faces and give them hugs and kisses because it’s too hard to resist sometimes.

How would you spend one million dollars?

I would use it to fund the sanctuary farm that my husband and I are planning on opening in the next 5 years.

What’s the strangest job you’ve had?

I used to be a performer at Six Flags Great America and would dress up as the Looney Toons characters. The worst costume was Taz. It was 65lbs sitting on your shoulders and you could barely move your arms, but in one show Taz had to play the drums. It was hilarious.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

A family friend wrote in a wedding card, “Remember every day to share a 10 second hug and a 5 second kiss.” It sounds simple, but sometimes the day slips away from us and we forget. We’ve made an effort to share those two things each day, no matter what is going on around us, and it has really helped strengthen our marriage.

If you could host a talk show, who would your first guest be and why?

I would invite Gilda Radner. She really paved the way for women to be perceived as funny, which is my favorite thing to be.

Tell us something about yourself people would be surprised to know.

I was in an a cappella group in college, The University of IL Rip Chords, and we were pretty much *celebs on campus.

*that’s a lie

Congratulations, Kate!  (Kate gets to pick next month’s FPAH MVP, so stay tuned…)