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Dr. Schaffer and Jax pose with cancer-detecting blood test OncoK9.

Veterinary medicine has its share of unknowns. When a pet isn’t feeling well, the answer isn’t always obvious and sometimes there are many possible culprits to eliminate or pinpoint. For our dedicated veterinary staff, one relatively new product is making their job just a little bit easier.

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Veterinary rehabilitation nurse Emily Harkness with loyal client, Colby, age 10.

Whether we are prepared for it or not, it’s a fact that in the best-case scenario, our pets are going to get old. And just like humans, pets’ needs and abilities evolve in their golden years. CHFA’s certified canine rehabilitation nurse, Emily Harkness, has seen these changes happen with many pets through her work in our veterinary rehabilitation facility. Emily and Dr. Greg Paplawsky, director of rehabilitation, describe their work with aging pets as “age management,” and she tailors her sessions and recommendations not only to the particular medical issues of the pet, but also to what is most comfortable to the pet.

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Veterinary care is seldom predictable and rarely goes exactly by the book, but there are some issues that are especially out-of-the-ordinary. In one such recent case, our own Dr. Clayton Siegle resolved a challenging situation with the help of his fellow team members and a trusted mentor.

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Diagnostic imaging opens up answers to our veterinary staff that they’d never find with the naked eye. Your pet might have received life-saving interventions from us because of something revealed in an x-ray, for example. For Dr. Leslie Veneman, the insights that come from ultrasound technology in particular are fascinating. “Every week there is something exciting to see. I just think it’s amazing,” she says.

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When Kathy Tomczak told her older granddaughter she’d be retiring from CHFA to spend more time with her grandkids, the response she got was unexpected. “The first thing she said was, ‘But Nana, we want to come visit you at the animal hospital!’” It’s a bittersweet time for Kathy, who is retiring from CHFA after almost 29 years. “I will miss everyone, but I’m happy to have the free time, especially with my grandkids,” she says.

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From an early age, we’re taught regular habits to maintain healthy teeth and gums. What you might not know as a pet owner is the big role dental hygiene also plays in your cat or dog’s overall health. Although February is National Pet Dental Health Month, at CHFA and BVAC we stress the importance of caring for your pet’s teeth all year long.

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Taking a cat for a car ride is, for some owners, a necessary evil. For cats the trip can be stressful to the point of traumatizing; it’s not exactly a picnic for the owner either. Unlike dogs, cats like familiarity and staying in the same territory. They’re also more likely to associate the sights and sounds of a car ride with an unpleasant past experience in a vehicle. According to Dr. Justine Rasche of Cascade Hospital for Animals and Breton Village Animal Clinic, “Cats feel stressed when their routine changes because they no longer feel safe and confident in their surroundings.”

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The end of the year is a hectic time no matter who you are! Scrambling for last minute gifts, decorating the house, putting on a memorable holiday feast for guests—all holiday stressors we humans face. But what about our cats and dogs? Remember, if your household is experiencing lots of holiday-related changes, so are your pets! Dr. Bianca Buffa of Cascade Hospital for Animals and Breton Village Animal Clinic shares some common dangers that might land your pet in one of our clinics for the holiday…and how to avoid them.

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Dr. Kyle Fuller poses with a dog who fortunately does not reverse sneeze

The first time you hear your dog “reverse sneeze,” you might be a little alarmed. It’s hard to describe the sound to someone who isn’t familiar, but many who have witnessed it say it’s an aptly-named condition: it sounds like the dog is sneezing inward.

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After 44 years as a West Michigan vet, Dr. Richard Siegle is looking toward his retirement

After 44 years in the veterinary field, Dr. Richard Siegle is looking toward retirement. To his clients, the process has already been set in motion, but as an owner of the clinics, he has a lot of work ahead of him to make sure there’s a smooth transition to the next generation of management. As he put it himself: “It’s not as if I’m walking out the door anytime soon.”

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