Acupuncture services are offered at our Lake Geneva office by Dr. Terri Schreiner and at our Walworth office by Dr. Kelly Roy. Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that may be used alone or in conjunction with Western medicine. Dr. Schreiner has found that it works well in patients who have trouble handling or cannot use pharmaceutical therapy. Both dogs and cats have benefited from the use of acupuncture.
Acupuncture involves using thin needles to stimulate the energy flow within the body. The basis of acupuncture is to regulate this flow of energy and maintain Chi throughout the body. Acupuncture medicine has been used for thousands of years and is often combined with herbal therapy to achieve improved results.
Commonly 10-20 microneedles are placed throughout the body based on the condition being treated. The animals then relax with their owners for 15-30 minutes with the needles in their body. Some neurologic and arthritic conditions also benefit from electrostimulation of the needles (similar to a TENS machine commonly used by physical therapists).
More often than not, the patients tolerate the treatment very well and are happy to return for another treatment. The number of visits necessary vary on the conditions. Most neurologic and arthritic conditions require 4-6 visits (weekly or twice weekly) initially and then follow ups depending on the progress of the patient.
Conditions that we often treat with acupuncture include:
Although many people hear the word “cancer” or “chemotherapy” and think about the worst-case scenario, there are many safe options and advancements in veterinary oncology. Dr. Welch and the staff at Lake Geneva Animal Hospital have experience and insight to help clients make a treatment plan that is best suited for their pet.
Chemotherapy is a broad term that is used to describe drugs that are toxic to cancer cells. Some chemotherapeutic drugs are administered orally as pills or capsules and some chemo drugs are given through injections. While the safety margin in some drugs is quite narrow, these drugs have been used very safely in pets and quite often are very effective in the management of cancer. Dr. Welch’s extensive experience providing cancer care has resulted in focused safety for both clients and their pets. Dogs and cats both will generally handle chemo drugs with little to no side effects.
There are many different types of cancer in both people and pets. While many cancers are similar in people and pets, the treatment options often can vary greatly. Some types of cancer respond very well to chemotherapy or radiation therapy while some other types do not respond well. Certain cancers such as lymphoma, certain types of leukemia, and mast cell tumors will often respond very well to chemotherapy. It is important to consult with a veterinarian that feels qualified and comfortable discussing treatment options for each individual patient.
We have recently incorporated the use of autologous cancer vaccines to help extend quality of life and comfort in our veterinary patients. Some tumors are able to be harvested and turned into a vaccine that can be given to your pet for tailored cancer treatment.
At Lake Geneva Animal Hospital we take a team approach to managing cancer patients. All of our veterinarians bring their own area of expertise to your pet’s treatment. From the initial diagnosis, chemotherapy, surgical intervention, pain control, and nutritional support to palliative and end-of-life considerations, we draw from the extensive knowledge of our entire team to provide your pet with the best quality of life they can possibly have.
The skin is the largest organ of the body in dogs and cats. It serves to protect our pets from environmental insults and performs a multitude of functions to optimize overall health and comfort. Unfortunately, it is also susceptible to disease arising from parasites, food allergies, inhalant/seasonal allergies, immune-mediated disorders, chemicals, cancer, and underlying systemic illness. Skin issues are one of the most common and frustrating concerns for owners. Signs of skin disease include itching, ear infections, paw licking, fur loss, redness, open wounds, swelling, and odor.
At Lake Geneva Animal Hospital, our doctors take a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and managing skin disease. A thorough history and physical exam can help guide our choice of diagnostics which may include:
Once a cause of your pet’s skin disease is identified, we can institute therapy to help manage the symptoms and heal the skin. We offer a variety of treatments and often use a multi-modal approach to managing skin disease. Preferably, the treatments can be dietary or topical in nature to help reduce systemic side-effects. Current options include:
At Lake Geneva Animal Hospital, we use both in-house and outside laboratories. Our in-house lab allows us to run the vast majority of samples immediately after collection. Sick animals benefit greatly from this quick turn-around allowing faster diagnosis and more accurate treatment. Our technicians and veterinarians are highly trained to prepare and evaluate a wide variety of laboratory tests. Any lab work that cannot be done in-house is picked up that night by a courier, taken to a reference laboratory, and most results are faxed the next day.
In-house laboratory testing available includes:
Lake Geneva Animal Hospital uses digital radiography to quickly attain highly detailed images. The system uses no x-ray film like in the past. This has been a huge leap forward in x-ray technology with images that are much clearer than anything before. Because the images are produced almost instantaneously, your pet also spends less time in the radiology room. The images can be enlarged and manipulated to see great detail as well as instantly sent to other veterinarians for consultation or directly to the client. In addition, the system no longer uses the harsh chemicals and silver of film x-rays and is much safer for the environment.
Your pets are part of your family and you want them to have the best quality of life possible. Laser therapy can help achieve that goal. Lake Geneva Animal Hospital has added MLS laser to our lineup of medical technology and the results are incredible! MLS Laser Therapy, the most advanced laser therapy on the market, uses light to quickly relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and speed healing.
The laser beam is moved over the skin so that the light energy (photons) penetrates the tissue where it interacts with various molecules (chromophores) that cause photochemical, photothermal and photomechanical effects. Reduction of response times, and therefore overall treatment times, distinguishes MLS Laser Therapy from traditional laser therapy. Results have often been seen after the first treatment. Most conditions have protocols that range from 6-10 treatments.
The treatments are cumulative and are delivered 2-3 times per week for 2-3 weeks. Ten benefits of MLS Laser Therapy for pets are anti-inflammatory effect, analgesic (pain relief) effect, accelerated tissue repair and cell growth, improved vascular activity, increases metabolic activity, stimulation of trigger points and acupuncture points, reduced fibrous tissue formation, improved nerve function, immunoregulation, and faster wound healing.
The most common conditions we use MLS Laser Therapy for include:
Talk with our veterinarians to determine if laser therapy can help improve quality of life for your pet.
Lake Geneva Animal Hospital is well-equipped to handle most ocular emergencies and chronic eye problems. Our ophthalmic exams include an overall evaluation of your pet’s current status and health history. Eye problems are often severely painful and can also be a sign of other underlying systemic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, fungal infections, and kidney failure.
Our advanced laboratory testing can readily test for these diseases. Dr. Mona Hodkiewicz and Dr. Terri Schreiner perform the majority of our ophthalmic care for dogs, cats, and other small mammals. We work with local board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists who can provide advanced specialty care such as cataract removal surgery, luxated lens removal surgery, and severe eyelid abnormalities. They can also provide CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) exams to help reduce heritable ocular abnormalities in breeding animals.
Diagnostic procedures we commonly perform at Lake Geneva Animal Hospital include:
Ophthalmic conditions we commonly diagnose and manage include:
Sharing your life with a beloved pet is truly one of life’s most enjoyable experiences. From the time your pet is a puppy or a kitten or you adopt your new family member until they cross the rainbow bridge, the doctors and staff at Lake Geneva Animal Hospital strive to provide the best care for your best friend.
Puppy, kitten, and new older patient visits start with a thorough history and physical exam. We then discuss any health or behavior concerns, breed-related issues, and lifestyle concerns that may influence your pet’s care. We are strong believers in preventive medicine and can tailor vaccine protocols (including titer testing), parasite prevention, nutritional concerns, and exercise recommendations to each individual pet. Surgical procedures such as spays, neuters, and prophylactic gastropexies are discussed to determine the most appropriate time and procedure for each animal. We incorporate both traditional western medicine and integrative medicine to offer the most well-rounded health care to your pet.
Dr. Welch has performed a number of stem cell therapy treatments, providing relief for pets in pain with powerful healing cells. Innovated by MediVet, this advanced stem cell therapy uses your pet’s own stem cells for treatment. There are no ethical or moral concerns with the use of stem cells from one’s own body as these cells are adult and not embryonic. With this technological advancement, we are using the body’s own regenerative capabilities.
How it works:
Stem cells are powerful healing cells in your pet’s body that can become other types of cells. There are many adult stem cells in fat tissue, however, they are asleep. Stem cell therapy allows us to isolate stem cells from your animal’s own (autologous) fat tissue, wake them up, and reintroduce them directly into damaged areas. For example, in the case of arthritis, stem cells can become new cartilage cells and have natural anti-inflammatory properties, thus reducing pain and increasing mobility.
Stem Cell Therapy has been shown to provide about 18-24 months of relief after the initial treatment, and even longer when treatment is sought at earlier stages. Most pet owners choose to bank cells, so re-treatment is easy and cost-effective. If symptoms return, we retrieve a dose of cells from the bank and inject them. No surgery is necessary.
This treatment has been used to relieve osteoarthritis (hip dysplasia, degenerative joint disease, calcifications, common degeneration, and inflammation), soft tissue injuries (cruciate injuries, tears, ruptures, inflammation), or for accelerated fracture healing.
We also treat other cases under “compassionate use.” We know less about these conditions but are seeing some exciting results. Some of these conditions are degenerative myelopathy, feline gingivitis, end-stage renal disease, liver and kidney failure, allergy, auto-immune, inflammatory bowel disease, pulmonary fibrosis, IMHA, atopy, and spine trauma.
For more information, visit MediVet Biologics.
What are the cruciate ligaments and how are they damaged?
There are two bands of fibrous tissue called the cruciate ligaments in each knee joint. They join the femur and tibia (the bones above and below the knee joint) together so that the knee works as a hinged joint. They are called cruciate (meaning cross) ligaments because they “cross over” inside the knee joint. Commonly, the cranial (front) ligament acutely ruptures when the joint endures a twisting motion, either from an athletic endeavor or a traumatic injury such as a slip or fall. The joint is then unstable, causing pain and lameness. Cruciate ligaments can also be partially torn either from a more mild injury or other factors that weaken the ligament and knee joint. These dogs may initially be only slightly and intermittently lame. Partial ruptures often fully tear and necessitate surgery. Obese patients are at increased risk of damaging the cruciate ligaments. Menisci (shock absorbers inside the knee joint) are often also damaged when the cruciate ligaments rupture. They are usually repaired at the same time as the ligament surgery.
How is the condition diagnosed?
With traumatic cruciate rupture, the usual history is that the dog was running or jumping and suddenly stopped or cried out and was then unable to bear weight on the affected leg. Many pets will “toe touch” and only bear a small amount of weight on the affected let. During the examination, our veterinarians will try to demonstrate a particular movement, called a drawer sign. This indicates excess laxity in the knee joint. Many dogs will require mild sedation before this test can be performed. Other diagnostic tests such as radiographs (x-rays) are necessary to further evaluate the joint for swelling, degree of current arthritis, and to rule out other factors such as bone cancer.
How is the condition treated?
Dogs under 5 kgs (11 lbs) may heal without surgery although they will develop more severe arthritis. These patients are often restricted to cage rest for two to six weeks. Dogs over 5 kgs (11 lbs) require surgery to stabilize the joint and reduce arthritis as much as possible. There are various techniques available to replace the action of the cruciate ligaments. Historically, the surgeries focused on replacing the ligament that was torn using a very strong suture called an Extracapsular Technique. Though this surgery is still done, especially on dogs under 30 pounds, it has been largely replaced by two newer methods. These two techniques involve changing the conformation of the joint so the cranial cruciate ligament is no longer necessary. The first technique is the Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) done by Dr. Scot Hodkiewicz. He has successfully performed thousands of surgical cruciate ligament repairs. The second is the Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) which is performed at our hospital by a board-certified veterinary surgeon. These techniques are especially beneficial for larger, more athletic dogs that tend to break the suture in the Extracapsular Technique. Studies have shown a clear benefit of the TTA and TPLO methods over the older Extacapsular Techniques. The TTA and TPLO have very similar outcomes in most dogs. Dr. Scot Hodkiewicz can help determine which surgery would be best for your dog.
How is the pain managed in cruciate ligament disease?
Pain control is of utmost importance in managing cruciate ligament disease. Before the day of surgery your dog is usually given oral non-steroidal pain medications and/or opoids to help reduce pain and inflammation of the joint. The day of surgery your pet will also be given both pre- and post-operative opoid medications to effectivey manage surgical pain. Our anesthetic protocols involve modern induction agents and isoflurane gas anesthesia to mitigate anesthetic risk as much as possible. Postoperative care after leaving the hospital can then include oral pain medications, physical therapy, cold therapy, acupuncture, oral and/or injectable joint supplements, and our MLS laser therapy.
What is involved in post-operative care?
It is important that your dog have limited activity for six to eight weeks after surgery. Provided you are able to carry out your veterinarian’s instructions, good function should return to the limb within three months. Nutritional supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin may help improve function of the knee. Many dogs will receive physical therapy after the surgery to speed recovery and reduce complications. Weight control is also an extremely important aspect of cruciate disease management. Overweight dogs have a longer, more difficult surgical recovery and are at increased risk of injury to the other knee. Your veterinarian will discuss your pet’s recommended post-operative care with you before your dog is sent home.
Fractured bones occur frequently in veterinary medicine. Dr. Scot uses a variety of methods to repair these injuries. Plates, screws, pins and wires are commonly used. He also uses the newest “locking plates” recently introduced in veterinary medicine. These plates “lock” together with the screws to ensure a stronger, more stable fixation. This is vital in dogs that are large or likely will not be able to be confined for the eight to twelve weeks it takes for bones to heal.
Dislocations of the Hip
Dislocations of the hip are first reduced without surgery by anesthetizing the patient and reducing the hip. The hip stays in in about half the dogs. In the other half, the hip pops back out either immediately or within a week. These patients need surgery to keep the hip in place. The surgery involves drilling a hole through the ball of the hip and through the hip socket. A stainless steel “Toggle” anchors a strong suture to hold the ball of the hip in the socket replacing the ligament that would normally perform this function. Most dogs will regain full range of motion and use of the leg after two to three months.
Femoral Head and Neck Excision for “Bad Hips”
This procedure is indicated for those dogs with severe hip arthritis where a total hip replacement is not an option. A total hip replacement is the best choice for most dogs but can be cost prohibitive. With a femoral head and neck excision (FHNE), the ball of the hip joint is cut off and removed leaving the leg to float free on the pelvis. The muscles of the hip hold the leg in position without the ball allowing the patient to use the leg normally within three to six months. This eliminates the bone on bone contact that causes the pain of “bad hips”. FHNE hips are not perfect after surgery but pain is usually greatly reduced and function improved.
Arthroscopic surgery replaces traditional large incisions with small ones just large enough for a small camera and small tools to enter the joint. Lake Geneva Animal Hospital is one of the few facilities in our area to offer this service. Problems such as Fragmented Coronoid Processes (FCP’s) of the elbow, OCD (cartilage flaps) of the shoulder, and diagnosis of cruciate disease of the knee are all candidates for arthroscopic surgery. The camera provides better lighting and magnification in these very small, tight joints eliminating the traditional large incisions and joint damage of older procedures. Most animals go home the same day with very little aftercare and much less pain.
Fragmented Coronoid Processes – This dog had a peice of cartilage floating free in the joint likely due to an untreated Fragmented Coronoid Process in the past. It was removed with the arthroscope.
OCD (Cartilage Flap) of the Shoulder – Arthroscopy was used to remove the cartilage flap associated with OCD. Here a grasper is being used to remove the loose cartilage. This dog had two incisions; the first was a quarter inch for the camera, the second was about a half-inch for removal of the flap.
Lake Geneva Animal Hospital performs the majority of specialty surgeries once only found at referral-type veterinary hospitals. We are constantly implementing new techniques and procedures to stay on the cutting edge of veterinary medicine. For example, we have extensive experience utilizing endoscopic equipment which creates smaller incisions and less post-operative pain. It has always been part of our philosophy that we will do as many procedures “in-house” as possible rather than sending our clients hours away. Often, we can offer advanced procedures at a lower cost than many referral hospitals. Because of our ability to perform these advanced procedures, animals commonly come from hours away to as much as across the country to be treated at our hospital. We also work extensively with a board-certified surgeon that comes to our hospital as well as a variety of specialty clinics when needed to ensure the best care for our patients.
Brachiocephalic Syndrome refers to the breathing problems seen in short-snout dogs like English Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers and other breeds. Though the snorting, wheezing, and snoring seen in these animals is often thought of as “cute”, it is a serious condition that severely affects the dog’s quality of life. Narrow nostrils combined with an elongated soft palate (the tissue in the back of the mouth) result in a very narrowed airway. That snorting is the dog struggling to get enough air. Most dogs with Brachiocephalic Syndrome need both nostrils opened and their soft palate resected with a surgical laser or radiofrequency probe in order to open their airway. Some will also need removal of “everted saccules”, small pouches of tissue that normally sit against the windpipe but become “everted” into the airway due to the dog’s constant struggle to breathe. These procedures open the airway allowing the dog to breathe more normally and even exercise.
Lung lobe removal is most commonly done due to lung cancer or severe infections. The doctors at Lake Geneva Animal Hospital use laparoscopy to assist in the removal of the affected lung. This allows for smaller incisions and staging of the cancer prior to completing this very difficult surgery. The lungs are first visualized to check for more involved disease and to ensure proper placement of the incision to be used for lung removal. Because lung lobe removal must be done between the ribs, it is imperative that the incision is placed correctly. Laparoscopic visualization often eliminates having to “spread” the ribs and greatly reduces post-operative pain.
The liver is often the site of diseases or abnormal growths. Often, a problem is first discovered on bloodwork and confirmed with an ultrasound. Definitive diagnosis often requires a biopsy where a small piece of the liver is taken laparoscopically and sent to a pathologist for analysis. If there is a mass or tumor, it can be staged by examining the rest of the liver for spread of disease. Many times the disease is a form of hepatitis (liver inflammantion) that is not cancerous. Hepatitis comes in many forms but the biopsy can determine the cause and treatment options. Most of these procedures are done as an out-patient through a small incision.
Liver lobe removal is almost always done due to a tumor and may be done at the same time as the laparoscopic exam. Many primary liver tumors are benign (non-cancerous but often very large) or single, cancerous tumors that can be surgically removed. A liver lobe can usually be taken without any significant loss of liver function to the patient.
Large, deep-chested dogs are particularly prone to the stomach filling with gas and twisting. This condition is known as Gastic Dilation and Volvulus (GDV or “bloat”). It is an emergency situation, extremely painful, and the patient’s condition deteriorates quickly. Left untreated, a bloat is always fatal. Preventive surgery to permanently suture the stomach to the abdominal wall (termed “gastropexy”) can be done to nearly eliminate the risk of bloat and we recommend it for all high-risk breeds. It is most commonly done at the time of the spay or neuter but can be done at any age.
Bladder stones are one of the most common disorders of the urinary system. They are concretions of sediment in the urine and can be secondary to improper diet, infection, or other causes. The endoscope has become a very useful method for bladder stone removal allowing a much smaller incision and a much more thorough examination of the bladder. With traditional surgery, a large incision is made in the bladder and the stones are removed by hand. The bladder is searched “by feel” with the surgeon feeling blindly for the stones. Unfortunately, the bladder narrows as it turns into the urethra and cannot be adequately examined in this way. Stones often fall into this area and may be missed by the surgeon. The endoscope’s small size and greater illumination allow for direct visuallization of this area and the entire bladder ensuring that all stones are successfully removed.
Male cats are uniquely prone to urinary obstruction. Their urethra narrows near the tip of the penis, making it a common place for small urinary stones to lodge. Urine is constantly produced by the kidneys, but without being able to be excreted, the bladder enlarges in size and is at risk of rupture. Obstructed cats are very painful and often do not eat or play. Initially, the cat is placed under anesthesia and a urinary catheter is inserted for a short time to relieve the obstruction. Despite medical and nutritional management, some cats continue to experience urinary obstruction. For these cats, a perineal urethrostomy is performed in which the penis tip is partially removed and the urethra split open to a level where it naturally widens closer toward the bladder. This is a technically challenging procedure that should be only done by experienced veterinarians. When healed, the patient will now have a much wider urethra and recurrent blockages are very rare. Use of a prescription food to prevent recurrence of stones or crystals is recommended but not essential in most cats.