- Wellness Care Services
- Annual Examinations
- Heartworm and Parasite Prevention
- Senior Care
- Dental Care
- Nutritional Counseling
- Behavioral Counseling
- Feline Friendly Practice
- Internal Medicine
- Pain Management
- Diagnostic Services
- Elective Hospitalization /Boarding/Grooming
Choose from the services listed above for more information
At River Heights Veterinary Hospital, we believe preventive health care is the best way to insure that your pet remains happy and healthy. We also believe that each pet is a family member, with individual and unique medical, dental, and nutritional needs.
You can expect a Veterinary Technician at every scheduled appointment to assist the doctor. As a team they will answer any of your questions pertaining to the health and maintenance of your four-legged family member. Our technicians work hard as a liaison between you and the doctor to address any of your concerns, “coach” or demonstrate the best ways to take care of your companion animal and are available by telephone when you need them.
All pets should be examined at least annually by your veterinarian. Remember our pets age about seven times faster than we do, so older pets( >8 years of age) should be examined even more often. A comprehensive examination is the single most important service we can provide our pets to help diagnose disease early and to determine the best time for them to be treated. Depending upon the age of your pet and results of his/her examination, blood tests or other diagnostics may be recommended as part of regular wellness care and disease prevention.
Vaccinating your dog or cat protects him or her against a wide variety of infectious diseases. Our staff will discuss with you a vaccination program that is appropriate for your individual pet. At River Heights Veterinary Hospital, we do not believe that one vaccination program is correct for all pets. We do not believe in over-vaccinating dogs or cats. Mature, healthy pets that are not at excessive risk are generally vaccinated on an extended-three year schedule as directed by the American Animal Hospital Association. We understand that your pet is unique and needs a vaccination program specific to him/her.
Heartworm and Parasite Prevention
All dogs in our region should be on a heartworm and intestinal parasite preventive year round. Administration is as easy as a once-a-month chewable tablet. The American Heartworm Society suggests that cats too should be on a monthly parasite preventative.
Annual screening for intestinal parasites is important to detect intestinal parasites that threaten your pet’s health and children in the family. It is performed on a walnut-sized stool sample. Testing is performed at a veterinary specific laboratory using the most accurate (centrifugation) technique and all results are reported to pet owners the following day.
Age is not a disease! But just as women over the age of forty require more frequent mammograms and men have regular prostate exams, our senior pets also have special needs. We accept that our dogs age at a rate of 5-7 “human years” for one “pet year”. What we often fail to recognize is that this means that diseases progress 5-7 times faster than in people. As your pet grows older we recommend that “wellness visits” become more frequent and that we see your pet at least twice a year (every 6 months) for senior bloodwork and senior care. Our “Senior Profile” includes kidney and liver tests, complete blood cell counts, thyroid function, and urinalysis. This profile is used to screen for systemic abnormalities that may be present without any symptoms or that are not apparent on your pet’s physical examination.
These are the top 8 senior or age related illnesses:
- Periodontal disease
- Kidney or Liver disease
- Thyroid disease
- Obesity management
- Heart disease
A variety of diseases that affect dogs and cats can be successfully managed by selecting a prescription diet specially formulated to manage the individual disease. We offer the following:
- Obesity Management
- Diabetic Management
- GI Distress Management
- Allergy Management
- Urinary Tract Management
- Liver, Kidney, or Organ Insufficiency Management
As a member of your family, you want your dog or cat to remain a vital, loving part of your life for as long as possible.
We recommend puppy preschool (socialization) and kindergarten to our new family members between 2-6 months of age. We know that at this age it is critical to expose them to other pets, people, and sounds so they will become social “butterflies” with good manners for a lifetime. During the critical months of learning behavior we would like to assist you in pet socialization and training.
We routinely contact a knowledgeable behavior consultant to offer strategies for unwanted behavior (house training, fears and phobias, separation anxiety, house soiling, unruly or destructive behavior, aggression) and if needed will refer our patients to classes or a board certified animal behaviorist.
Feline Friendly Practice
River Heights Veterinary Hospital has incorporated the guidelines of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and CATalyst Council to become a Cat-Friendly Hospital. We have a separate cat waiting area to minimize stress, our staff has specific recommendations to ease the stress of transporting your cat, and staff has been trained on how to approach and handle cats in ways that will make them comfortable. Moreover, we have an understanding of the unique healthcare needs of cats throughout the various stages of their lives, will encourage discussions with you geared to the life stage of your cat, as well as provide a checklist to ensure your cat has the opportunity to receive age-appropriate monitoring and interventions.
- Cat-friendly transport
- Cat-friendly facility
- Cat-friendly handling and examination
- Cat-friendly healthcare
The veterinarians at River Heights Veterinary Hospital are experienced in evaluating and treating a wide array of serious and challenging pet illnesses. We routinely diagnose and treat disorders affecting the gastrointestinal, urinary, hematologic (spleen, blood), liver, endocrine, and respiratory systems using the most state of the art technology. Some of the diagnostic tools used in our hospital include; radiology, endoscopy, ultrasound, ultrasound guided aspirates & biopsies, doppler blood pressure and Tonapen eye pressure These diagnostic procedures commonly lead to therapy such as; hospitalization, fluid therapy, transfusion medicine, and feeding tube placement and management.
River Heights Veterinary Hospital offers a team of highly qualified technicians and surgeons who perform routine to advanced surgical procedures. These include but are not limited to orthopedic procedures, tumor procedures, abdominal procedures (intestinal, liver, urinary) and maxillofacial surgery.
Surgical services and facilities include: fully trained veterinary and technical staff, two fully equipped surgical suites; heated surgery tables for greater comfort,: ECG, respiratory and blood pressure monitoring; observed recovery in a centrally located ICU area and surgical; patients are supported by a full in-house laboratory.
All patients are carefully screened for anesthetic safety and anesthetics are specifically tailored to your pet. At River Heights, anesthetic safety and pain management is not optional, rather an important part of every surgical intervention. Each surgical patient receives pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative pain medication based on the individual patient and surgical procedure performed. In fact, elective surgeries such as spays and neuters are performed with the same care and dedication as more complex surgeries.
We feel that proactive dental care and restoring oral health will have a significant impact on your pet’s overall health, comfort, and lifespan. Headed by board-certified dentist, Dr. Stephen Juriga, River Heights Veterinary Hospital and the Veterinary Dental Center offer state of the art dentistry and oral surgery. Remember, oral health begins with an annual oral examination. When needed, we will provide a professional dental cleaning***. This includes a safe anesthetic protocol, removal of tartar, gentle probing of the teeth/gums and fluoride polishing. If needed dental radiographs, periodontal procedures, oral surgery, orthodontic therapy or root canal therapy can be performed to relieve discomfort or treat an infection.
Good oral hygiene starts at home with regular brushings and an appropriate diet. Our technicians can show you how to properly care for your pet’s teeth.
Dr. Juriga provides consultations for and accepts referrals from River Heights’ veterinarians and over 90 veterinary hospitals located in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. He also provides dental services and serves on the Medical Advisory Boards of Brookfield Zoo and the John G. Shedd Aquarium.
***General anesthesia with intubation is necessary to perform a proper cleaning of the tooth structures. This will protect the lungs from the bacteria that are being removed from the teeth. Anesthetic protocols, regional nerve blocks, fluid therapy, thermal support and patient monitoring are needed to provide patient safety. Moreover, the specific anesthetic agents are selected not only for patient safety but also to allow a complete recovery prior to dismissal. Finally, each dental patient will have a current physical examination, conscious oral examination and pre-anesthetic blood profile.
Managing your pet’s pain is one of our highest priorities. The theory that pets don’t feel pain or “need” the discomfort to keep them quiet is universally accepted as outdated and incorrect. It has been shown that pain impairs healing and is considered inhumane.
At River Heights, we have many strategies for controlling pain. We strive to provide multimodal analgesia (pain relief) for all pets undergoing a surgical procedure, recovering from an illness/injury or suffering with a chronic illness (osteoarthritis or pancreatitis). Multimodal is a principle in which 2 or more drug classes are used together, resulting in an additive effect when co-administered many times reducing the doses of each drug improving patient safety. These can include oral medications, injections, constant infusions, nerve blocks, and regional analgesia.
Many of these methods are included in the cost for routine surgical procedures. All of these methods are considered for every case, every time. Although these methods are, generally, very safe and very beneficial to our patients, some of these medications do carry risks for some patients. Your veterinarian will weigh these risks when indicated and discuss them with you.
Many older dogs suffer from osteoarthritis. Safe and effective pain medications can make these dogs comfortable and help live longer, happier lives with your family.
Elective Hospitalization (Boarding) & Grooming
River Heights provides specialized boarding services that we call “elective hospitalization.” This service is not equivalent to regular boarding. It is reserved for pets with medical conditions that require more intensive supervision than a normal boarding kennel can provide. For example, pets with diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy, senior pet problems, or in need of serious wound care may require elective hospitalization if an owner is going out of town.
A veterinary technician over sees the care of these pets and will monitor the pet during his/her stay. Your pet will also be included in the daily rounds by the staff doctors who will oversee the condition and treatment of the pet and document any changes.
Grooming is a valuable service offered at River Heights. Our groomer, Jan Ziech, has over 20 years of professional grooming experience as well as a love for all of her patients.
All pets experience the HydroSurge Bathing Experience (which is like a jacuzzi for pets), nail trim, ear cleaning (& plucking if breed appropriate), anal gland expression and monitored drying. De-shedding treatments are also available for both cats & dogs. Breed specific, designer or utility style trims are offered.
At River Heights we have invested in the equipment and training to offer advanced diagnostics which translates into better health.
We offer advanced diagnostic imaging capabilities for a variety of diseases including dental, orthopedic, intra-abdominal, cardiac, and a number of other disorders. These capabilities include an in-house laboratory, digital diagnostic radiology (x-rays), ultrasound and endoscopy.
River Heights has an advanced in-house laboratory that provides fast and accurate results to the veterinary staff. This allows veterinarians offer real time care to your extended family members as well as make a timely diagnosis of critically ill patients as well as monitor their response to therapy in clinic.
IDEXX Reference Laboratory provides comprehensive panels and full laboratory services to River Heights twice daily and on the weekends. Accurate test results are faxed and emailed throughout the day as most are completed within 12-24 hours to diagnose and allow for treatment to begin. IDEXX offers a network of over 90 board certified veterinary consultants to assist in the consultation as well as treatment plans.
Digital Radiology (X-rays)
Radiology or x-rays help our veterinarians evaluate musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary system, intestinal, reproductive and urinary systems. Digital imaging permits the veterinarian to see images much more clearly. With digital imaging, we have the capability of emailing your pet’s x-rays to a specialist or burning the images onto a disc.
Dental Digital Radiology
Dental digital radiology improves dental patient workflow and safety by allowing rapid image generation and reduced radiation exposure to the patient and staff. These high quality digital images can be magnified or contrast can be adjusted to allow improved diagnostics. Moreover, digital images can easily be printed or emailed to referring veterinarians.
In the past, blood profiles, x-rays, dye studies, and exploratory surgery were the most common tools used in veterinary medicine to diagnose disease. Today ultrasound offers a non-invasive, non-painful method to examine internal organs. This allows us to biopsy intra-abdominal structures without surgery. In human and veterinary medicine, ultrasound compliments x-ray evaluations as each diagnostic modality has its own strengths and weaknesses. X-rays offer excellent evaluation of bone structures and air filled structures (lungs) that ultrasound cannot. In contrast, ultrasound is best at diagnosing abnormalities within organs (liver, spleen, kidney, heart) and evaluating an organ’s function such as the direct visualization of the heart while in motion. Once the abnormality is found it can be measured for later comparison. Ultrasound evaluations commonly performed in veterinary medicine include:
- Bladder Lymph Nodes
- Heart Prostate
- Intestinal Tract
High-tech fiber optics permit direct visual examination and biopsies of your pet’s gastrointestinal system. This allows for more accurate diagnosis and treatment of oral, esophageal, stomach, colon and even upper intestinal tract disease. In some cases, foreign objects can also be removed without the need for surgery.
In other cases the endoscope serves as a diagnostic aid (like X-rays with a broken leg). A foreign object (plastic toy) or material (string or sock) can be confirmed and a surgical procedure is performed to correct the illness.
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