Introducing Our Newest Veterinarian, Dr. Suma Raju

Dr. Suma graduated from the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in 2009.  She has many years of experience as in general practice and has provided relief veterinary services in shelters as well.  She has been a friend of Family Pet for years and we’re happy she has joined our team as a relief veterinarian.

Learn more about Dr. Suma with our Q & A below!

What made you want to become a vet?

I was a software consultant for several years during which time I often dreamed of becoming a veterinarian, but 6-7 years of additional schooling and training seemed like too enormous a challenge.  Then in the wake of an unexpected personal and family tragedy, I saw every day how my pets kept me going and helped me to heal, and I couldn’t put it off any longer.  I love animals and medicine, but I am a veterinarian because I know that often the best way to help humans is to take excellent care of their best friends.

How did you find yourself at Family Pet?

I’ve had friends and acquaintances at Family Pet ever since I returned to Chicago following my internship in 2010, and I’ve always thought very highly of the practice.  I am so pleased and excited to be finally joining the team!

Did you study anything besides veterinary medicine in school?

My first time through undergrad I got majors in art history and French with minors in computer science and math.  Let’s just say I was confused about what I wanted to do with my life.

What are the most common questions you answer as a practicing veterinarian?

The questions I get are as varied as my clients and patients!  One of the best things about this job is the need to constantly update my knowledge and keep learning, so I love getting questions I’ve never gotten before.

What do you see as the greatest danger toward household pets?

Any issue that breaks down the human-animal bond between an owner and their pet is a danger.  These are often behavioral challenges, or even medical problems that are misinterpreted as behavioral.  No matter how much we love our pets, sometimes their responses to fear and stress and other natural urges drive a wedge into that loving relationship.  If not addressed with education, patience, and training, these problems can lead to relinquishment of pets which can often be a death sentence.

What has been your most rewarding moment as a veterinarian?

My most rewarding moments have all been, in some way, times of connecting with my clients in a deeply meaningful way.  Sometimes it’s being able to reduce someone’s anxiety over their pet’s condition and helping them feel more in control of it.  Sometimes it’s knowing I’ve earned their trust, or just being a good listener.  And sometimes it’s sharing their grief.  Being there through all the joys and challenges of pet ownership is very gratifying.

What animal scares you more than any other?

I have a knee-jerk fear response to wild snakes (not pet snakes) and large spiders. 

If you weren’t a vet, what would you do?

I don’t know.  I believe this is the career I was always meant for, and I’m so thankful I figured that out!

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Over time, I’ve found I value my milestone accomplishments less and feel more gratitude for the fact that life offers incremental ways to grow and contribute every day. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to cook and I’m a huge fan of audiobooks.  Documentaries and museums appeal to the general nerdiness which is probably one of my defining traits.  I love travelling and still have a lot of places I’d love to visit. 

What is your favorite vacation spot?

My favorite place to visit is Florence, Italy.  Not being a large city, it’s very walkable and quite safe.  Especially for someone who enjoys political and cultural history, there’s no end of things to see and do, even on return trips.

What is your favorite comfort food?

My comfort food is what is known as “tiffin” in South Indian cooking.  The term is used for a group of dishes that are typically eaten for breakfast in South India, such as idli, dosa, poori, chapati, etc. and their accompanying chutneys and curries.

What is your biggest pet peeve?


Who are your heroes?

My brother is my hero.  He’s an incredibly hard worker, as well as an excellent husband and father.  We have very different personalities but when I need advice on virtually anything, he’s the one I seek out.

Name 5 things that people might be surprised to know about you:

  1. I am a reformed plant murderer who has actually gotten quite good at growing orchids.
  2. I love fostering and so far I have fostered 1 dog, 28 cats, 3 birds, and 1 rabbit.
  3. I like mechanical things and got my private pilot license in the late 90s just to learn about small planes.  I’ve never used it to fly myself anywhere.
  4. The animated movie “Chicken Run” caused me to go vegan for three years. 
  5. I think bats are adorable and very fascinating.

COVID-19 & Your Pets


The doctors and staff at Family Pet Animal Hospital want you to be informed about the developing information regarding SARS-CoV-2, the Coronavirus responsible for COVID-19, and companion animals.  We are aware that there is misinformation circulating on social media and want to guide you to reliable resources to answer your questions and concerns on this topic. 

Reliable Sources of Information

The following sites are reliable, factual, and have been continuously updated as new developments arise:

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA): 

World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE):

Summary of Key Points

  • The current worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 is a result of person-to-person transmission. 
  • The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, World Health Organization, and the World Organisation for Animal Health agree that there is no current evidence that companion animals have played a role in the spread of the virus.  Therefore, there is no justification in removing pets from your home or taking any measures against companion animals that would endanger their well-being.
  • Worldwide, only four companion animals have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus after exposure from owners that had COVID-19 – two dogs in Hong Kong and two cats in New York.  The pets were either asymptomatic or had mild respiratory illnesses. (Information regarding the cat in Belgium that had been in the news is less clear – more info the AVMA website listed above.)

Current Recommendations for Companion Animals

Because much is still unknown about the virus, in an abundance of caution, our recommendations are as follows:

  • Treat your pets as you would other members of your household – do not let your pets interact with people or pets from other households, keep cats indoors, maintain at least six feet of distance between your pets and other people/pets when out for a walk or in public, and avoid areas where lots of people and pets congregate.
  • Those ill with COVID-19 should limit contact with their pets, just as they would with other human members of their household.  Whenever possible, have another member of the household care for the pet while you are sick.
  • As always, careful handwashing before and after interacting with your pets and regularly cleaning your pet’s food and water bowls/bedding material/toys  can greatly reduce the chances of spreading any disease.

From the AVMA site:  “While we are recommending these as good practices, it is important to remember that there is currently no reason at this time to think that domestic animals, including pets, in the United States might be a source of infection with SARS-CoV-2. Accordingly, there is no reason to remove pets from homes where COVID-19 has been identified in members of the household, unless there is risk that the pet itself is not able to be cared for appropriately. In this emergency, pets and people each need the support of the other and veterinarians are there to support the good health of both. “

Given that this is a novel virus, the veterinary community is closely monitoring the situation.  Continue to check the AVMA, CDC, and OIE sites listed above, as they are updated as new information becomes available.

Important Updates on Food/Medication Orders & Wellness Care At This Time


To our Family Pet family:

The doctors and staff at Family Pet Animal Hospital continue to be here for you and your furry family members during this challenging time. We wanted to provide you with a few important updates and reminders.

Additional Lead Time Needed for Food & Medication Refills

While we are still able to fulfill the vast majority of food and medication refill requests within one business day, we ask that you provide one week of lead time for orders.  At this time, we are unable to carry our typical level of inventory.  Additionally, a small handful of our prescription diets are on back order through April 7th. If your pet’s prescription diet is currently unavailable, we will discuss other equivalent options with you. 

Please know that there are NO manufacturer shortages or distributor issues with your pets’ medications, we simply must tightly manage our in-hospital inventory at this time.  To ensure all our patients have what they need, we are only filling order quantities up to what is typical and medically appropriate for your pet.

You may request refills via our mobile app, email, or phone (773) 935-2311 (option 2). Payment will be taken when the order is placed.  If you choose to pick up your order from our hospital, call us when you arrive and we will bring the items to your car.

If you would like to have the food or medication delivered to you, please contact We’re There Pet Care (WTPC), our pet-sitting service partner, at (773) 935-9983. Please note that coordination, fee inquiries, requests for availability, and payments for delivery must be handled directly through WTPC.

* Controlled substances cannot be delivered and must be picked up curbside at Family Pet. *

We Are Now Available for Routine/Wellness Care

During the last few weeks, we have deeply appreciated your patience and flexibility in deferring wellness and routine care.  While we must continue to prioritize urgent and sick cases, we do have some availability for wellness/routine care as well.  We recognize that this is a challenging time for everyone and understand the comfort and peace of mind that comes with making sure your pet is up to date on his/her routine care.

Important Note Regarding Rabies Vaccinations

Please note that a current rabies vaccination for cats, dogs, and ferrets is required by law in Cook County.  If you choose to continue to defer your pet’s overdue rabies vaccination, please be aware that if your pet bites another pet or person, the law mandates that your pet must be examined within 24 hours of the incident and is subject to a 10-day, in-hospital quarantine under the supervision of a veterinarian.

For the safety and health of our clients, our staff, and the general public, we continue to offer curbside or drop-off appointments only.  Please contact us if you would like to schedule an appointment.

Doctor Availability & Communication

Due to our modified/reduced doctor and staff scheduling, please be aware that your pet’s regular veterinarian may not be available for appointments.  Additionally, communication turnaround time with your pet’s veterinarian may be longer than normal for non-urgent matters. 

Due to the logistics of curbside appointments, our reduced staffing, and our frequent hospital disinfecting protocols, we may not be able to answer the phone right away.  If you call and we do not answer, please try us again after a few moments.  We are here for you, but may be occupied at the time of your initial call.  We appreciate your patience with us.


As we communicated to you previously, we are offering telemedicine consultations with our veterinarians.  To be eligible for a telemedicine consultation, patients must have been examined by one of our doctors within the last year.  Click the link for guidelines on when telemedicine may be right for your pet’s situation:

As always, we remain deeply committed to the health and well-being of your pets.  We appreciate your continued support, understanding, and patience as we navigate these difficult times.

Stay safe and healthy,

The doctors and staff at Family Pet Animal Hospital

COVID 19 & Family Pet: Telemedicine Consultations


To our Family Pet family:

During this unprecedented period of social distancing due to the Coronavirus, we are now offering telemedicine consultations with our doctors. Please know that we continue to offer in-hospital exams for patients that need our care. 

Telemedicine is the use of telecommunications technology to help diagnose and treat patients. Given the current circumstances, this is a necessary and valuable service we want to offer to our clients. However, please understand that telemedicine has many limitations. We want to provide guidance on when a telemedicine consultation may be a useful option versus an in-person exam.

Is telemedicine a good option for my pet?

Telemedicine may be used when wishing to speak face-to-face, virtually, with your veterinarian for a more personal experience. Using FaceTime, for example, you can discuss your concerns and have the ability to show an ailment to your doctor including, but not limited to:

  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Lameness or a change of your pet’s mobility
  • Skin changes including visualization of your pet licking, scooting, biting himself/herself
  • Ocular changes (i.e. redness, discharge)
  • External ear changes

Telemedicine will NOT be helpful if:

  • A pet is vomiting and/or has diarrhea
  • Inappetence (not eating)
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Lethargy (excessively sleeping or drowsiness)
  • A vague concern that “something may be wrong”

Unfortunately, nothing replaces a comprehensive in-person examination.  A virtual exam does not allow further investigation via palpation of the abdomen, evaluation of dehydration and pain, evaluation of heart and lung sounds, etc. Veterinarians also rely heavily on diagnostics since our patients cannot speak and often instinctually hide their illnesses. A virtual exam would not allow for testing (i.e. radiographs, blood work, cytology and biopsies for skin masses, infections, parasites, etc.) and, most importantly, telemedicine does not offer in-hospital supportive care. A telemedicine consult may, ultimately, result in the recommendation for an in-person exam.

The cost for a telemedicine consultation is $77.50. In the event that your telemedicine consultation results in the recommendation to schedule an in-person examination, a reduced fee of $44.50 will apply. 

 If food or medication is prescribed, do I have to come to the hospital?

For consultations that prompt the dispensing of prescription medications or food, you may come to the hospital for curbside service.  Please call us when you arrive.

Alternatively, if you would like to have the food or medication delivered to you, please contact We’re There Pet Care (WTPC), our pet-sitting service partner, at (773) 935-9983. Please note that coordination, fee inquiries, requests for availability, and payments for delivery must be handled directly through We’re There Pet Care.

* Controlled substances cannot be delivered and must be picked up curbside at Family Pet. *

What apps are you using for telemedicine consults?

We are using FaceTime (Apple/iPhone users) or Zoom Cloud Meetings (Android users – please download the app in advance and we will text you a meeting invitation at the start of the appointment). If you are interested in a telemedicine consultation with one of our doctors, please call (773) 935-2311 or email us to schedule an appointment.

Hopefully, this statement will help you navigate when a telemedicine consultation may be a useful option for your beloved pet.  We deeply appreciate your continued support, patience, and understanding as we navigate these unprecedented circumstances.

Stay safe and healthy,

The doctors and staff at Family Pet Animal Hospital 



To our Family Pet family:

Based on the rapidly-evolving recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Public Health Department (ILPHD), Family Pet Animal Hospital continues to be here for the needs of your pets but is instituting the following changes that are effective immediately.

Call us when you arrive to the hospital in all situations. (773) 935-2311


Call us when you arrive and we will check you in over the phone.  One of our staff members will retrieve your pet from you at your vehicle.  All clients who have a vehicle must stay in their cars for the entire duration of the visit.  Your pet’s veterinarian will communicate with you via phone following the exam.

If you do not have a vehicle, call us when you arrive.  One of our staff members will lead you directly into an exam room and you will stay in the exam room for the duration of the visit.  Please understand that we are following social distancing guidelines of the CDC and ILPHD and will minimize our face time with you.

We continue to ask you to defer non-essential appointments and encourage drop-off appointments.



As with appointments, please call us when you arrive and we will check you in over the phone.  We will retrieve your pet and have you complete the required consent forms at your vehicle/outside the hospital.  Your pet’s veterinarian will contact you following your pet’s procedure.


You will be emailed post-procedure care instructions.  At this time we are suspending our typical practice of having a technician go over these instructions with you in the hospital at pick-up.  Please read through the care instructions and call or email us with any questions.

When you arrive to pick up your pet, stay in your vehicle/outside the hospital and call us.  We will bring your pet to you.


We continue to ask that you request medication or food refills in advance via phone, email, or our mobile app.  Call us when you arrive to the hospital, payment will be taken over the phone, and we will bring the food or medication to you.

We will keep you updated on any additional changes as necessary.  Please call or email us if you have questions.  We deeply appreciate your patience, understanding, and cooperation as we navigate this ever-changing situation. 

Stay safe and healthy,

The doctors and staff at Family Pet Animal Hospital

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Your Pets

3/18/20 – UPDATE to information (below) originally posted on 3/16/20

The dog that contracted a “low level” COVID-19 infection from its owner has died.  When the 17 year old Pomeranian showed a “weak positive” test result on February 28th, members of the World Organization for Animal Health and Hong Kong University felt this may represent a potential of human to animal spread of the disease.  The patient was quarantined from February 26th to March 14th.  Multiple samples were collected during the quarantine and the patient eventually tested negative for COVID-19.  Per the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of Hong Kong (the overseeing body performing the quarantine):  “The negative result indicates that there is not a strong immune response and that there are not measurable amounts of antibodies in the blood at this stage.”  

At that point, the patient was allowed to return home and sadly died on March 16th.  The owner did not allow authorities to perform a necropsy exam to determine cause of death.   The medical history and information regarding the health of the pet prior to COVID-19 infection are not available.  Current testing being performed in the United States by Idexx Laboratories has yielded no positive results in the thousands of samples that have been processed for COVID-19.  Based upon the isolated nature of this case, experts still feel that companion animals do not pose risk to human in the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.  To minimize human contact in the face of the current pandemic, we do not advise appointments to test your pet for COVID-19.

3/16/20 4:00 PM

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Your Pets

One dog in Hong Kong has tested positive for the Coronavirus that causes COVID-19.  This dog belongs to a person that was sickened by the virus, tested via nasal and oral swabs as a “weak positive” for the virus, but has shown no symptoms of infection.  Please understand that the result is unsurprising given the presence of the virus in the pet’s environment.

Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that there is no evidence that companion animals can spread COVID-19.  However, because much is still unknown about this novel Coronavirus, we recommend considering pets as potential carrying surfaces for the virus. (Please understand there is no current data on this.)  Thus, it is prudent to practice good hygiene when interacting with your pets. 

The following information is directly from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA):

  •  Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets become ill with COVID-19 or that they spread it to other animals, including people.
  • If you are not ill with COVID-19, you can interact with your pet as you normally would, including walking, feeding, and playing. You should continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions (e.g., wash hands before and after interacting with your pet; ensure your pet is kept well-groomed; regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys).
  • Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. Have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet. If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with them. 
  • As always, careful handwashing and other infection control practices can greatly reduce the chances of spreading any disease.

Based on the current information available, there is no evidence indicating that there is cause for concern regarding pets and the Coronavirus responsible for COVID-19.  Given that, this is a novel virus that has not been seen before and the veterinary community is closely monitoring this situation.  We will update our clients as necessary.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) website

World Health Organization (WHO) website

Statement from Family Pet Animal Hospital Regarding COVID-19


UPDATE: Additional information on whether pets can contract or transmit the virus can be found here.

Below is the statement issued to all clients on 3/16/20:

Dear Family Pet family,

As you are well aware, these are unprecedented times. During this period of uncertainty, please know that the doctors and staff at Family Pet Animal Hospital will continue to be here for you and your four-legged family members.

While we have already implemented multiple internal policies, such as hourly disinfecting of the hospital, we must now ask for your help and understanding as we implement additional measures to act responsibly during this time. In order to follow the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing necessary to protect you, the general public, and our staff members, we ask for your cooperation with the following:

  • Consider deferring any non-essential appointments and procedures (i.e. annual healthy exams, elective procedures including dental procedures, spays and neuters, etc.) for two weeks.
  • If you already have a non-essential appointment scheduled, we ask that you call or email us to reschedule. If you are unable to reschedule, we will do our best to accommodate you.
  • If you are feeling ill, please do not come to the hospital unless your pet is experiencing an emergency. Call us in advance and inform us of your circumstances so we can take additional precautions for managing your visit. If at all possible, have someone else bring your pet to our practice.
  • Consider a drop off appointment to limit the amount of people in our hospital at any given time. This may include waiting in your car and talking to one of our doctors over the phone during the exam.
  • If you need to pick up food or medication for your pet, please request these in advance by phone, email, or our mobile app. We are implementing a “drive-through/curbside” experience – we will bring food and medications to your car and payment can be made over the phone.

Once again, we are implementing these measures to fulfill our social responsibility to keep you and our staff members safe, slow the spread of the new Coronavirus, and to help conserve personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, during this pandemic. While our staffing will be reduced during this time, as always, we are committed to meeting the needs of your furry family members. Thank you for your understanding, support, and patience as we all navigate through these challenging times.

Stay safe,

The doctors and staff at Family Pet Animal Hospital

Marijuana Toxicity in Pets: What you Should Know (and What’s the Deal with CBD?)

December 16, 2019

With January 1, 2020 just around the corner, the veterinarians at Family Pet Animal Hospital want to share important information with you and offer tips on how to protect your pets from marijuana toxicity (and address your curiosity about CBD).

With an increasing number of states legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana, the veterinary community has seen a notable rise in toxicity cases.  Pet Poison Helpline reports a 448% increase in marijuana cases over the past six years. Even if you do not use marijuana yourself, dogs and cats may find remnants of this drug outside as human use increases.  We want you to know how to protect your pets along with what to look for and what to do if marijuana toxicity is suspected.

What’s the difference between THC and CBD?

Although there are over 100 different cannabinoids that have been identified by scientists in cannabis, the plant genus that includes hemp and marijuana, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two most commonly recognized, utilized and studied. 

THC is responsible for the euphoric high associated with smoking or ingesting marijuana.  Regular marijuana is typically 1-8% THC while hashish, which is made from the flowering tops of the plant and their resin, can contain up to 10%.

CBD, another topic frequently in the news and typically used for medicinal purposes, is also derived from marijuana or hemp plants and cannot contain more than 0.3% dry-matter of THC. CBD is non-intoxicating and has been used to mitigate anxiety, improve appetite, relieve nausea and control seizures in human medicine.

Can I use CBD to treat my pets?

CBD in veterinary medicine is a hot topic and assorted pet CBD products are widely available online and in pet stores.  Some differences between human versus pet use of CBD can be broken down to three main points:

  • Although use of CBD for humans is currently legal and recreational marijuana will soon be legal in Illinois, this is not the case for pets. The Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association (ISVMA) strongly recommends against veterinarians selling/prescribing CBD.
  • There are no current regulations for the products being manufactured for use in pets, meaning there is no mandated quality control or chemical analysis for these products.
  • Research is ongoing on what illnesses in pets are responsive to CBD.  At this time, we do not know what type of CBD works well in pets. 

Each CBD product contains a different cannabinoid and every individual has different cannabinoid receptors.  There is no test to determine which receptor(s) any individual has.  Therefore, you could end up having to purchase a wide range of products, which, as stated above, are not well regulated or consistently chemically analyzed.

While the veterinarians at Family Pet Animal Hospital are excited about the potential of CBD for our patients and pets everywhere, we want to be safe, accurate, and legal with our recommendations.  We anticipate that CBD will eventually be incorporated into veterinary medicine.  However, at this time, due to the limited research and lack of regulations regarding the production of products, we simply do not have enough reliable information to allow us to responsibly make recommendations regarding what conditions can be treated effectively, what dosing is appropriate, what products can be trusted, or what effects it may have when combined with other medications.  We look forward to continuing to follow research in this area.

Marijuana toxicity in pets

Recreational marijuana is typically used in two ways – inhaled and eaten. Pets can be affected by consuming either the edible form or the materials used for inhaling marijuana. Marijuana edibles – which are commonly dessert-type foods, such as cookies, brownies or gummies – are made with marijuana or laced with THC. These products are obviously enticing to dogs and are a common culprit of marijuana toxicity.  Both cats and dogs are attracted to marijuana in its bud form, which can be found both inside and outside the home in the form of discarded joints.

While marijuana ingestion is frequently not life-threatening for pets, it can make animals significantly ill and uncomfortable.

A recent case of marijuana toxicity at Family Pet Animal Hospital.

Common symptoms of marijuana toxicity include:

  • Unsteadiness
  • Depression
  • Dilated pupils
  • Urine dribbling/incontinence
  • Sensitivity to sound and touch
  • Decreased heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature
  • Some cats experience episodes of quiet disorientation with episodes of agitation and aggression.

At higher concentrations or larger quantities, more serious effects are possible. Your pet may show signs of seizures or aspiration pneumonia. In extremely rare cases deaths have occurred after ingestion of foods containing highly concentrated cannabis, such as medical-grade THC. 

What to do if you suspect marijuana toxicity

If your pet is displaying symptoms similar to marijuana toxicity, but there was no known exposure, there are over-the-counter urine screening tests that could be used as a diagnostic tool for your veterinarian. This test does have drawbacks, however, since dogs produce different metabolites in the urine than humans. Thus, false negatives are common. Although animal specific tests do exist that can determine the level of THC in the urine, the time required to obtain results makes them impractical.

If you know or suspect that your pet has ingested marijuana, alert your veterinarian.  Due to the limitations and impracticality of testing, diagnosis is typically based on an accurate history and clinical signs. Providing accurate information about marijuana exposure to your veterinarian is crucial to quickly determining proper care for your beloved furry family members.

In dogs, clinical signs typically begin 30 to 90 minutes after the marijuana has been eaten. Because THC is stored in the body’s fat deposits, the effects of marijuana ingestion can last for several days. If less than 30 minutes have passed since the marijuana has been eaten, it may be possible to induce vomiting. However, after symptoms have started, the nausea control properties of the cannabinol make it difficult to induce vomiting. Furthermore, if the patient is extremely sedated, vomiting can be dangerous as vomit can be inhaled and cause a serious form of pneumonia called aspiration pneumonia.

While there is no true antidote for marijuana, veterinarians can provide supportive care to help pets through the clinical symptoms of toxicity.  Your veterinarian could induce vomiting or, if symptoms are already visible, s/he can start fluid therapy support, control hypothermia, and keep your pet safe and comfortable. Your veterinarian will also be able to monitor for and treat low blood pressure or seizures if they occur. Depending on the severity of intoxication, more aggressive and extensive treatment may be warranted.

Keep your pets safe by storing marijuana edibles and any smoking paraphernalia well out of reach.  If your pet is exposed and becomes ill, provide an accurate and honest history to your pet’s veterinarian so that proper treatment can be provided without delay.

Introducing Our Newest Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Maggie Sharpe

Maggie Sharpe, DVM, Family Pet Animal Hospital's newest associate veterinarian
Maggie Sharpe, DVM, pictured with Frank and Otis.

Meet our newest associate veterinarian, Dr. Maggie Sharpe.  Dr. Sharpe is a 2014 graduate of Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and worked exclusively as an emergency medicine veterinarian for the five years prior to her joining the Family Pet team. We are thrilled to have her and can’t wait for you to meet her!

Find out more about Dr. Maggie with our Q & A below.

What made you want to become a vet?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a veterinarian. I’ve always loved animals, and it just made sense that I be around them all day every day.

How did you find yourself at Family Pet?

I came to Family Pet from MedVet and I have been an ER veterinarian for the past 5 years. After so many long days (sometimes 15 hour shifts!), over nights, weekends, and holidays, when Dr. Van Pelt approached me about a position at Family Pet I knew I had to check it out. Not surprisingly, I felt at home when I visited, and chose to come on full time.

Did you study anything besides veterinary medicine in school?

I don’t know if it counts, but I studied Animal Sciences! I loved working with llamas, goats and dairy cattle— I still miss the adorable giant ears and crazy antics of baby goats, calves, and crias! Ultimately, I couldn’t stay away from the strong human-animal bond that I get to see every day in small animal practice.

What are the most common questions you answer as a practicing veterinarian?

Which food should I feed my pet, why is my pet licking his feet so much, and “is this normal” (about everything from the way they sneeze to the way they lay down)?

What do you see as the greatest danger toward household pets?

This is a great question, and I am a bit biased coming from the ER setting: the greatest danger in my opinion is having your pet off leash—even if they are well behaved you can never predict other animals/people/cars.

What has been your most rewarding moment as a veterinarian?

I have worked closely with rescues in the past, and it’s always rewarding to see a rescue pet go to their forever home. My favorite case was “Chance Christmas.” He came in on Christmas eve as an abuse case, and I was able to be a part of his medical team—he’s doing super well, and I still get updates on him. 🙂

If you weren’t a vet, what would you do?

Travel writer, or food/wine critic — In my off time I LOVE exploring the cities new restaurants.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Steak and an Old Fashioned. Whenever something has gone wrong in my personal life, my dad always says “Maggie, there are few things a great steak and some whiskey can’t fix.”

What is your biggest pet peeve?

People who chew with their mouth open!

Name 5 things that people might be surprised to know about you:

  • I have studied abroad in 5 different countries for different lengths of time
  • I grew up showing dogs and llamas
  • I’ve never broken a bone
  • I went to finishing school
  • I was almost arrested for trespassing in Brazil for trying to pet capybaras (I couldn’t read Portuguese and they are so cute!)

Introducing After-Hours Veterinary Support – GuardianVets

Bella on phone duty


We are constantly striving to provide the best service for you and the highest quality of care for your pet and are excited to announce that we will now be providing you with after-hours veterinary triage support through a partnership with GuardianVets.

Starting the evening of Thursday, April 25, 2019, if you have a medical question after hours, simply call our practice and you will have access to advice at no charge.  You will be able to speak directly with a licensed veterinary professional who can help determine if the symptoms your pet is experiencing are indicative of an emergency or not.

If GuardianVets determines that your pet’s issue is non emergent, Family Pet will be provided with details of your call.  We will be able to follow up with you early the next morning and schedule your pet to be seen by one of our veterinarians as needed.  Of course, if your pet is experiencing an emergency, you will be provided with the information for the nearest emergency hospitals.

We understand your pet’s health doesn’t necessarily follow our hospital’s open hours and that questions may arise any time of day or night.  We hope that our partnership with GuardianVets will give you the advice and comfort you may need after hours, on weekends, or during holidays.  Our goal is to provide the best customer service possible and to be there for you when you need it.

You can find out more information about GuardianVets here:

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.