Most Valuable Player of the Month for March 2017: Dr. Annika Hoffman


Dr. Annika with Mio, Daphne, and Apollo

Annika Hoffman, D.V.M., was awarded Family Pet Animal Hospital’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the month for March of 2017 by last month’s winner, Frank Fiacchino.  Frank cited Dr. Annika’s winning smile, professionalism, and enthusiasm for caring for Family Pet’s patients, along with her patience, listening skills, and teamwork as the reasons he awarded her with the MVP honors.  We couldn’t agree more.

Question and Answer with Dr. Annika

Dr. Annika answers our serious and not-so-serious questions.

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

I have 3 pets. Apollo is an almost 7 year old Doberman mix, who my husband and I rescued a month after I started vet school. I also have two 5-year-old Ragdoll cats named Mio and Daphne. They all love to cuddle and snuggle on the couch.

What is your favorite thing about working at Family Pet?

The team – it is rare to find a job where you enjoy working with every single colleague!

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

It is humbling to have been given this opportunity to be a part of the staff at Family Pet Animal Hospital; so just being able to say that I work at this amazing hospital makes me proud.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In the city, I like to go to musicals, the symphony, and occasionally the opera. However, my true passion is nature, so whenever given the chance I go to my home-country Sweden and hike, kayak, cross-country ski, swim in the lakes etc. I rarely get to enjoy outdoor activities in the US, but when I do my favorite place is Colorado.

If Family Pet Animal Hospital had a theme song, what would it be?

“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” (the Toy Story version)

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

As an ER Doc, I would want my patients to know that I am here for them, and I will do whatever is possible to make them feel better.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Fly- having a bird-eyed view is of great benefit in many situations.

If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

Dolphin, because they are smart, fun, fast and I would absolutely LOVE to live under water.

Name three things on your bucket list.

  1. Backpack in New Zealand
  2. Scuba dive in Indonesia or close to that area in the pacific or Indian oceans.
  3. Horse-back riding trip in Montana

What would you choose for your last meal?

Boeuf bourguignon or Coq au vin

What song or movie are you ashamed to admit you absolutely love?

“The Police Academy”

What is your favorite junk food?

Deep dish pizza


Congratulations, Dr. Annika!  She will pick next month’s MVP, so stay tuned…


Previous MVPs:

Frank Fiacchino (February 2017)

Tony Tramultola (January 2017)

Emily Olvera (December 2016)

Janet Laz (November 2016)

Kate Van Eck (October 2016)

Jim Dinan (September 2016)

Katie Doan (August 2016)

More about us:

Family Pet Animal Hospital’s mission, vision, and core values

Our Doctors

Our Staff

Start Your Dog’s or Cat’s Flea/Tick Preventive Now


While the veterinarians at Family Pet Animal Hospital recommend year round heartworm preventive (for an explanation on why, click here), we’ve generally recommended preventives for fleas and ticks April through November with caveats based on temperatures.  Because of the higher than average temperatures and bouts of very unseasonably warm weather we’ve had in the last couple of months, we’ve seen patients with fleas and/or ticks or our clients have reported seeing them on their pets or in their homes.  If you have not started your pet on external parasite preventives yet this season, we recommend you go ahead and start now.

External parasites, such as fleas, ticks, or mites, are an annoyance that many pets (and their owners) will experience at some point.  Not only can these parasites cause discomfort and skin problems but they can also carry serious diseases.  Modern preventives make treatment, control, and prevention of many external parasites easy and safe.


How does my pet get fleas?

Fleas thrive when the weather is warm and humid and can be found in areas frequented by other cats and dogs.  Unfortunately, fleas can also thrive in our homes.  In Chicago, fleas are typically a seasonal problem.  However, because fleas can also survive in our homes, if they are not eradicated in the home, problems may persist through times not typically associated with flea infestations (summer).

How do my pet and home become infested with fleas?

Adult fleas spent virtually all their time on their host, feeding, and laying eggs (for females).  Females begin laying eggs within 24 hours of landing on a host.  The eggs fall off of your pet into the environment, hatch into larvae, and burrow into carpets, furniture, bedding, or soil in the outside environment), where they can lay dormant for weeks.  Once they emerge as adults, they will seek a host to begin the cycle again.

How do I know if my pet has fleas?

Fleas bite the host and feed off the host’s blood.  You may not recognize that your pet has fleas until the fleas have multiplied to the point that your pet is experiencing visible discomfort – from skin redness and itchiness to open sores and skin infections.  Fleas are no bigger than a sesame seed and are fast movers.  Here are a few ways to check for fleas:

  • If you see a small red or brown, moving speck on your pet, it’s probably a fleaComb your pet’s hair the “wrong” way (back to front) to get a good look at his or her skin.
  • You can find flea combs at pet stores, but any fine-toothed comb will work.
  • Look for red, irritated skin on your dog’s neck, belly, or hindquarters
  • If you see specks of “flea dirt,” the digested blood the flea has excreted, on your pet’s skin or fur, he or she may have fleas.

Should you suspect a flea infestation, contact us to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.  Our doctors and staff will be able to determine if your pet has fleas and proceed with proper treatment.  Additionally, we can make recommendations on how to properly clean your pet’s sleeping quarters and the rest of your home to minimize the risk of re-infestation.

If my pet has fleas, what’s the big deal?

Besides the discomfort it can cause, flea infestations can drain enough blood from your pet to make him or her anemic.  Additionally, fleas also carry tapeworms which can infect your pet if your pet ingests the infected flea(s).

How does my pet get ticks?

Ticks are commonly found in wooded areas, brush and undergrowth.  Pets or people who frequent these types of areas are at risk of becoming a tick’s host.  In recent years, we’ve seen a slightly higher frequency of dogs that live in Chicago contracting ticks as well.  Immature ticks feed on small, wild animals.  Adults typically seek larger hosts such as dogs and cats.

What are the dangers of tick bites?

Ticks can not only cause skin irritation and anemia in pets, but are also capable of spreading serious diseases such as Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (uncommon in the Midwest), Anaplasmosis, and Erlichiosis to your pets.

How do I identify ticks on my pet?  What should I do if I find one or more ticks on my pet?

Ticks can be found anywhere on your pet, but are most commonly found around your pet’s neck, in the ears, between the toes, and in the folds between the legs and body.  These parasites use their tiny sharp teeth to embed themselves firmly into their hosts’ skin and tissue.  An adult tick is roughly 3mm in size and therefore visible to the naked eye.  In their larvae and nymph stages, they are much smaller and may be difficult to identify on your pet.

Ticks feed on the blood of the host and an adult female can ingest up to 100 times her weight in blood.  Typically, pet owners only discover ticks on their pet once the parasite has been feeding and has become engorged.  Prompt removal of ticks on your pet can lessen the chance of disease transmission.  Ticks should be removed properly, with care, to avoid leaving the mouth parts embedded in your pet, which can cause irritation and infection.

If you find ticks on your dog, we strongly recommend consulting with your pet’s veterinarian.  The doctors and staff at Family Pet Animal Hospital can remove ticks appropriately as well as provide recommendations for the appropriate treatment, tick-borne disease screening, and prevention.

What’s the best flea and tick preventive for my pet?

Family Pet Animal Hospital has various effective products for flea and tick prevention and control including monthly topical products and a three-month oral product.  There are many factors to consider when choosing the right preventive(s) for your pet.  The veterinarians at Family Pet Animal Hospital can recommend and appropriate parasite control plan for your pet based on his/her and your family’s lifestyle and needs.


Additional resources:

Tick encounter resource center:


“External Parasites.” External Parasites. American Veterinary Medical Association, n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.

“How at risk is your pet? View CAPC Parasite Prevalence Maps.” CAPC Vet. Companion Animal Parasite Council, n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.