Run Oskee, Run!

Run Oskee, Run!

Monday, July 10, 2017


Meet Orion!
How Handsome!!

In August of 2016 I was working at Prairiehaven Animal Clinic in Sherman, IL. I was 9 months pregnant and was scheduled to see a little, black, lab mix puppy first thing in the morning. A few of my colleagues had previously seen this puppy for routine visits and a urinary issue but most recently he had shown signs of juvenile diabetes. All of us were all a little concerned with this case, as Juvenile diabetes in puppies was rare! Very rare! When Orion entered I could immediately tell the owners were very worried. He had only been a part of their family for a few short weeks but they had fallen in love with him already!  
Look at that Puppy Face!!!
As I entered the room the puppy wiggled his butt and wagged his tail. He was full of kisses as I knelt down to pet him. I introduced myself as Dr. Erika and let them know the plan for the appointment. We first checked Orion’s blood glucose, which is the sugar level in his blood.  It was high. The owners had also been noticing that Orion panted all the time. They were concerned that something was wrong with his breathing and they did not think the insulin that was previously prescribed was working.  I quickly assessed his heart and lungs and found no abnormalities. I suspected it was the diabetes that had caused his body to enter a ketoacidotic state. This happens in diabetics. Because these animals cannot utilize the glucose consumed in their food, they start to break down protein and fat which causes their pH level to decrease, thus becoming acidotic. Their body has to work hard to try and correct itself, intern causing the panting. Orion was lucky to have such attentive Owners who brought him in for a check up. With some intravenous fluids and insulin we were able to return his body to a normal state. For the long term he was put on a higher dose of insulin, and with his family we formulated a plan to keep him healthy.

Over the next several months Orion continued to grow. With every growth spurt his insulin needed to be increased along with his food. His family worked closely with our doctors to make sure these changes were made smoothly. He was on a special diet and his owners were diligent about his feeding times and treat times. Our clinic saw Orion and his family several times in those first months and we could see just how sweet he really was and how dedicated his owners were. After a couple of months of treatment with insulin, Orion started developing cataracts. Almost all dogs diagnosed with diabetes will develop cataracts eventually but Orion was just a small puppy. By now I was back from maternity leave and Orion was 8 months old. It was sad to see his eyesight fading. He started having difficulty seeing objects and we knew he would eventually go blind.  

It was early one morning when my technician called to tell me Orion was already at the clinic. His owner had called the emergency line the night before because he would not stop scratching at his eye. His glucose was in the high 400’s and they would be waiting for me to get there. On exam Orion was a little scared. I could tell his eyesight had faded to the point where I suspected he could only see shadows.  He had lost 2 pounds since his previous visit and his right eye seemed to be bothering him the most! He took treats out of my hand as I performed my exam. His pressures were normal (no glaucoma). The lens was still in place and the other structures of the eye appeared normal. Luckily, his eye was a bad case of conjunctivitis and nothing more serious.  I immediately started Orion on eye drops, one an antibiotic and one to help with the irritation and pain. I kept him at the clinic with us for the day to monitor his eyes and his glucose. Once again he needed an increase in insulin.

I had contacted Dr. Katie Fleming, an assistant professor of ophthalmoly at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine about Orion’s condition.  I was interested in cataract surgery for him and I thought it would allow him to see again and greatly improve his quality of life. Dr. Fleming was great. She went over the steps of cataract surgery and tests needed before surgery. That night, when Orion’s family came to pick I talked with them about the possibility of cataract surgery. I explained that surgery involved removed the damaged lens and replacing it with a manufactured lens, allowing him to see again. We went over the risks and benefits and how I thought it would greatly improve his quality of life. The down side was, surgery is between $5,000 and $6,000 without any complications.

Orion seen here with cataract. you can appreciate that the middle of his eye is white due to an almost mature cataract. 

Cone of Shame After Sx. :)
No more Cataracts!!
His family was nervous. They took some time to think about it and asked great questions. The ophthalmology technician from the college was also able to go over any questions they had regarding the surgery and after care. After much consideration and thought, Orion’s family decided to have the surgery done. One of our technicians set up a “go fund me” to help the owners with the expensive.

February 24th of 2017 Orion underwent Phacoemulsification (removal of lens) and Lens replaced at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. He did great during surgery and recovered well. Orion’s owners followed every instruction to a T and he continued to do well with each follow up visit. He was able to see again, his diabetes was stabilizing as he is now 1 year old. 

Recently Orion and his family came to the clinic for his wellness exam and vaccines. Along with them they brought a gift and a thank you card for our staff's care and compassion for Orion. the gift was a donation, Orion’s family donated $450 dollars to help other pet’s in need. With the gift from Orion’s family we were able to start the Orion Fund through the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. This fund, named after Orion, can now except donations and help other pet’s in need. Cases like Orion and the family that loves him is why most of us became veterinarians. It is so awesome to know that through Orion's success and hist dedicated family, we can now help others.

From all of the Doctors and Staff at Prairiehaven Animal Hospital 
Thank You!!! Orion, Emily (Orion’s mom), and Candy (Orion’s Grandma). Orion could not have a better family and thank you for paying it forward!

If anyone would like to donate to the "Orion Fund" to help pet's in need, please call Prairiehaven Animal Hospital in Sherman, IL or visit the American Veterinary Medical Foundation at, click on programs, then Veterinary Care Charitable Funds

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Our Teeth cleaning experts!

February is Pet Dental Health Month!!
Cedar loving on her toothpaste!
Really every month should be pet dental health month but February is designated as the month we celebrate the tooth!

I have gone through the importance for dental care before so this time I wanted to show you a different side of our dental procedure and introduce you to our teeth cleaning experts, our technicians!

Holly, Meredith, Cassie, Heather and Tiffany are our technicians at Greenhaven and Prairiehaven. They have a passion for dentistry and take great care of their patients! All are trained in taking dental x-rays and and are experts when it comes to teeth cleaning. From the time you walk in the door until the tail is out the door, these girls are responsible for making sure your pet has the absolute best care while in our hands!

Meet our Dental Technicians!

Pictured here with Schotzi, a very loved boarder at Prairiehaven
"A lot of pet parents don't realize how important dental care is for their pet. Regular oral health exams, as well as, dental cleanings can prevent further health problems and improve the overall quality of life for the pet. A healthy mouth can add 2-4 years to the life of the pet!! Who doesn't want that!!!"
-Cassie Vorachek, CVT

Pictured here with one of her favorite's, Charlie!!
"Oral Health Assessment and treatment procedures are scary to some pet owners because of the anesthesia but Charlie (a senior pet with several health concerns) had his teeth cleaned and 2 minor extractions 1 hour prior to this picture. Delaying this procedure would have caused him more pain, dental infection and more extractions. With 1 day in the hospital his owner kept up on his oral health and that will result in not only a healthier mouth but a healthier heart, liver and kidneys."
-Heather Logan, CVT

Pictured with her cavalier king charles/dachshund mix, Emma
"Preventative oral health care is important to me because it helps my pet live longer by preventing periodontal disease. Simply by brushing my dogs teeth everyday can help lead to a longer and healthier life for my pet."
-Tiffany Kirchgessner, CVT

Pictured below with her red lab named Cedar! Cedar LOVES her doggy tooth paste and can't wait to get her teeth brushed!
"Wet kisses are better with clean chicken Flavor breath!"
-Meredith Weber, CVT

Pictured below with Willie! Notice he is patiently waiting for his mom to let him eat his greenie balancing on his nose!
"Oral care is important to me not only because of the obvious perks but because preventative dental care has many healthy benefits and it has been proven to extend your pet's life!"
-Holly Bell, CVT

Our technicians are AWESOME!!. I hope you liked seeing them with some of their favorite pets and learned a little bit about veterinary dentistry!

Happy dental month! (but don't for get to think about teeth all year!!)

Thank you for reading
Doc E

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Behind the Scenes Tour of our Newest Veterinary Hospital, Prairiehaven Anima Hospital

The doctors and staff at Greenhaven and Best Friends are so excited about our newest clinic, Prairiehaven Animal Hospital. Prairiehaven is located in Sherman, Illinois just off the interstate and right next to Fire and Ale! (MMMMmmm yummy!). It is a fully functioning veterinary office equipped to do just about anything veterinary related, including surgery, dental procedures, ultrasound, laser therapy, fear free appointments, etc… We would love to have you stop in at any time to say “Hi”, take a tour and meet our wonderful staff! 

If you can’t make it out to visit us just yet, the following pictures are a mini tour our clinic and a behind the scenes look at our day to day life!

Let the Tour Begin!!

As you walk into the clinic you will first see our receptionists, Kristi and Charlotte! They love to greet the dogs and cats and are always quick to offer treats! Most of the time they know your name before you even walk in the door and can answer or direct you to the correct person to answer any questions you may have!

Next are our exam rooms! We have 5 exam rooms, one of which is dedicated to only cats. This room is kept apart from the other exam rooms to keep it as quiet as possible for those nervous kitties. Below is a picture of our consultation room where we can go over x-rays, bloodwork or extensive treatment plans with owners. Although you can't seen it, there is a comfy couch in this room too (I know, I was sitting on it to take the picture, HeHe)! Most of the exam rooms look the same

Now for the behind the scenes...

Our treatment area is where we perform most of our blood draws, assessments of hospitalized patients, bandage changes, etc...
On the one side you can see a wet table. We this side for large wounds and some of those not so pleasant and messy procedures (Like expressing anal glands). Across from the wet table you can see a regular counter.

Also in our treatment area are the hospital cages. These cages are for the critically ill patients that need extra care and attention. 

Next is the pharmacy. This is a busy spot throughout the day. the technician s make their call backs from and and are ready to prepare any medication refills for the day. 

One of my favorite things at Prairiehaven, and all of our clinics for that matter, is our in house blood machine. The machine will allow us to receive blood work and urinalysis results in a matter of minutes. The is a great diagnostic tool for us to provide the best care to your pet!
 Here is an example of the blood work
Some of the other awesome features of the clinic are the digital radiology room, surgical suite and separate room for surgical dental procedures. 

Digital radiology allows us to have a board certified radiologist at our fingertips. We can take the image at our facility and evaluate the image. If there is something the doctors are questing or want a boarded radiologist to look at we have the ability to easily send the image to them and receive the results in as little as an hour. 
As you can seen in our picture we have a gas anesthesia machine and monitoring equipment. Ever patient is monitored closely during surgery. It is not on the surgery table now but we do have a warming blanket to make sure patient do not get too cold during surgery.  you can also see a funny shaped machine to the right. That is our surgical laser. It allows us to cut using a laser rather than a blade. This cauterizes as it cuts meaning there is less hemorrhage during surgery. All of our cat declaws are done with a surgical laser to limit hemorrhage and promote faster healing.

Having a separate room for dental procedures is great because it keeps all of that bacteria from the mouth in one room. A dogs mouth contains A LOT of bacteria, especially when there is a large amount of tarter build up. Having a private dental room keeps everything contained!

On to boarding and bathing. We have several cage sizes to accommodate all breeds and sizes of dogs and cats too! Cats have access to cubbies so they can hide if they are scared. 

 Cat boarding cages

 The special little cubbie for cats!

Scrub-a-dub-dub this tub even has a ramp for dogs to step up into the tub. 

We even have a play ares for the dogs to get exercise!

Well I think you have about seen it all! We hope all of you like it as much as we do and we can't wait for you to stop by and see us!

Happy Tails!!

Doc E

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Light Behind "Laser Therapy!"

The Light Behind "Laser Therapy!"

As modern medicine advances, humans and pets a like are benefiting from these advances. We do not just turn to medicines to heal ailments anymore. There are different types of physical therapy, hydrotherapy, acupuncture and laser therapy to heal these ailments faster and fortunately for my patients, these different modes of therapy are also being used in veterinary medicine to help our pets feel more comfortable and live longer, healthier lives. 

In the veterinary world there has been a lot of talk lately about "laser therapy," and there have been MAJOR advances in "laser therapy" in recent years. Laser Therapy can be used for a multitude of reasons from chronic ear infections, to severe dental disease, to helping a surgery patient heal. 

Now, when I talk about "laser therapy" I am not talking about the kind Dr. Evil wanted to destroy the world with. This laser is considered a cold laser because it does not make the tissue being treated hot, a.k.a. it does not cut or explode things. What it does do, is use wave lengths of light to increase
the metabolism of cells, in turn accelerating healing and decreasing inflammation and pain. Research has shown amazing results when using the laser for healing. 

Our doctors and staff are so excited to now offer "laser therapy" to our patients! Each session is done in our office and only takes a few minutes! Sometimes patients just need one session for acute injuries like superficial wounds or after surgery, while other patients need repeat treatments for chronic conditions. 

Oliver is being treated for Chronic inflammation in the mouth. He will have 6 sessions lasting only a few minutes over the course of 3 weeks

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Truth Behind the Tooth

The Truth Behind the Tooth!

Did you know? Practicing proper oral health as a part of your pet's routine health plan can, on average, add up to 2-4 years onto their life! That is 14-28 years in dogs years!!!!!

Dental disease, or periodontal disease,  is one of, if not the most common disease we see in our furry friends. It is estimated that by the time your pet reaches the age of 3 years old they have some form of periodontal disease. For most owners it can be difficult to know if your pet is suffering from periodontal disease. The first sign owners usually notice is halitosis, or bad breath. It is often a common misconception that pets normally have bad breath. This is not the case. If you do notice your pets breath becoming unbearable, there is a good chance that they are suffering from periodontal disease. The foul smell comes from bacteria that becomes trapped under to gum line.

Periodontal disease is classified into 4 stages. 

Stage 1 - Gingivitis
As the bacteria starts to multiply, the gums start to become inflamed and swollen (a.k.a. gingivitis) and we get the beginning of plaque build up. We are now at stage 1 periodontal disease. Treatment is key at this stage because you can actually reverse the disease at this point. Treatment involves brushing teeth at home, providing your dog with dental chews and of course, prophylactic cleanings with dental x-rays at your veterinarian's office. If no treatment is provided, the periodontal disease with advance to stage 2.

Stage 2 - Early Periodontitis
At stage 2 the bacteria continues to increase causing the entire gum to become inflamed. The mouth is becoming painful and the toxins released from the bacteria give off a foul odor. Plaque and tarter continue to build up and the ligament attaching the tooth to the underlying bone starts to loosen. If your pet is at a stage 2 there is a good chance they will need a few surgical extractions. Surgical extractions increase the price of a prophylactic cleaning immensely. This is because oral surgery is involve which is much more technically challenging. 

Stage 3 - Moderate Periodontitis
By stage 3 owners are definitely able to smell an odor from their dogs mouth. The gums are now cherry red and extremely irritated to the point they may bleed. Subtle changes can be seen in behavior and eating habits as well. Most people perceive this as their pet "just aging" when in reality it is the periodontal disease that is painful, making it more difficult to eat. The bacteria start to form pockets under the gum line leading to tooth root abscesses. Some teeth are becoming mobile. At this point, several teeth have significant bone changes on dental x-rays which means they need to be surgically extracted. Periodontal disease at this point is often irreversible. 

Stage 4 - Advanced Periodontitis 
As if Stage 1,2 and 3 weren't bad enough, stage 4 gets even worse. There is a large amount of calculus over the teeth and you can start to see a white discharge coming from the gum line indicating a tooth abscess. The bacteria and toxins they release have started to eat away at the bone and the ligament attaching the tooth to the bone is virtually gone. Many of the the teeth have become wiggly and loose. This is most evident on the molars and premolars in the back of the mouth. Pain increases and you may even notice your dog acting tender when eating hard kibble. At stage 4 the periodontal disease does not just affect the mouth but the bacteria now has an easy route to the kidneys, liver and heart causing systemic disease. Unfortunately, a full mouth extraction is the treatment of choice at this point. It is the best way to clear the mouth of infection. 

Here are some helpful tips to help prevent severe periodontal disease...

*It is never too late to start brushing! Make sure tooth paste is made especially for pets. 

*Use dental chews to help prevent build up. But make sure you follow the BBD rule...all chews must be bendable, breakable and/or dentable. Hard bones such as raw hides, antlers and animal bones can actually be more damaging to the teeth instead of protecting them!

*If they don't already do so, ask your veterinarian to exam your pet's teeth at every visit and let you know what stage of dental disease they have. 

Displaying IMG_3945.JPG

Here is an example of brushing your pet's teeth with a finger brush!

Below is a link to Best Friends Animal Hospital and Greehaven Animal Clinic to watch a short video to give you an overview of what occurs during a dental procedure!
Link to Best Friends Animal Hospital

Link to Greehaven Animal Clinic

Keep Smiling and thanks for reading!

Doc E

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Pet Diet Debacle

The diet Debacle!

There is a large amount of information out there on what is the best diet for our pet's and what we should stay away from. Hopefully through this post I can give you few tips

1.) Now, I know this first statement is not what pet owners want to hear (including myself) but feeding your pet people food is the number one diet mistake owners can make in my opinion. Just like the american population, about 50% of our pet population is overweight or obese. Most of our pets are much small than humans and proportionally need a different diet. Feeding them people food can not only cause them to pack on the pounds but can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, pancreatitis and dental disease. Keeping pets in a healthy weight range will keep their joints feeling better longer, it will be easier for them to breath and decrease other health risks. Quality dog and cat foods are formulated to be well rounded. When feeding quality pets foods there is no need to supplement your pet with human foods and it is important to follow feeding recommendations on the bag. If you have questions on how much your pet should be eating please consult with your veterinarian. 

2.) Prescription Vs. Over the Counter pet foods. As a veterinarian I see prescription diets helping pets in a variety of ways, from preventing urinary stones to keeping liver and kidney values in the normal range. The prescription diets we carry are from reputable food companies that have a long history in the pet food sector, spend millions of dollars on research and follow strict guidelines when sourcing their ingredients and formulating their diets. There is not one company I choose over the other but rather I pick the food that I think will best help a pet with the problem they are having. While I do like prescription diets, pets with no issues can do well on an over the counter product. However, and this is REALLY important to remember, talk with your veterinarian on what over the counter food they would recommend for your pet!!! Many of the over the counter pet foods companies do not follow the same guidelines. Their ingredient sources are not always regulated and their diets are not always as balanced as what label portrays. Some of the companies make good marketing claims about their foods but when those foods are actually analyzed in a lab the label is often wrong or misleading. I encourage pet owners to talk with their veterinarian about the food you are feeding and if they have any recommendations for your pet.  

3.) There are commercials on TV, food ads and internet posts on how grains are bad to feed to our pets. In reality this is NOT true! Grains can be an important part of a pets diet and can provide good sources of protein, beneficial fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Dogs who are truly allergic to grains such as barley, oats, corn and wheat make up a very small percentage of the dogs that actually suffer from allergies. I do not like to eliminate grains from a pet's diet unless I know for sure it is detrimental to their health. 

4.) By product  and chicken meal does not equal low quality pet foods. By products, such as chicken by products, refer to the internal organs such as liver and kidney. These organs provide key amino acids and vital nutrients in a pet's diet. While byproducts may not sound appetizing to humans, they play a huge role in formulating a balanced diet for a pet. Chicken meal just means the water is removed. This provides a more concentrated source of protein which is healthy for your pet. 

5.)   When a pet food package says "all natural," "organic," "holistic," or even "human grade," it does not mean it is a quality pet food. These terms are, for the most part, marketing gimmicks. They are using pleasing words and fancy labels to try and trick you into thinking that the food is of good quality. 

The following links are to our clinic's website where you can listen to a video which has a good explanation about pet food.

To Greenhaven's Website

To Best Friends' website

I hope this clears some of the misconceptions up. Again if you ahve any questions please contact your veterinarian

Thanks again,
Doc E

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Turkey Time!!

Gobble Gobble!!!

November can be such a pretty time of year and is the kick off to the season of good food and family fun. It can also be a time where we see an increase in emergencies with our furry little friends. Most of the time an emergency arises when the pet eats something they are not use to or should be eating. The following are some tips on how to keep your furry family member out of the ER this holiday season.

Number 1: Make No Bones About It!!
Weather you have ham, beef or the all famous Thanksgiving Trukey for dinner, meat bones can cause serious illness to your pet. These bones, raw or cooked, can splinter and cause damage to the stomach and intestines. Make sure all bones are secured in the treat where your pet cannot get into them!
Number 2: Pet's Are Not for Stuffing!
While they will give you those cute puppy dog eyes, stay away from feeding your pet food they are not use to. Too many fatty, unfamiliar, seasoned foods can cause many illnesses in your pet like pancreatitis, gastritis and/or enteritis. The illnesses can cause your pet to experience vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite and they can become dehydrated. These illnesses are painful and can be fatal.
Number 3: Fudge, Cakes, and Pies...Oh My!
Many desserts during the holidays are made with ingredients that may be toxic to your pet. These ingredients can include Chocolate and raisins. Be sure to keep all desserts out of reach from your pet.
Number 4: The nose will get the best of them!
Speaking from experience, be sure to keep the trash secured and closed away from your pet. Even if they are not usually dumpster divers, the yummy smells and new foods can draw them into the trash., not only making a mess in the middle of dinner but also exposing them to those unwanted foods described above! (believe me, I've been there!)   
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Doc E