We believe every pet should have a thorough exam each year when they are feeling well. We examine every body part, from the teeth, eyes and ears to the tip of the tail. It is important to look for dental problems, check for ear infections, evaluate for cataracts, monitor weight, feel for lumps, bumps and enlarged internal organs, check mobility of the joints, and listen to the heart and lungs. We check poop samples for intestinal parasites and recommend bloodwork to establish a baseline and look for changes in internal organ function. The wellness exam is also the time to discuss health concerns, diet, behavior issues, and parasite control.
As recommended by veterinary organizations, we recommend "core" vaccines: distemper, parvovirus, leptospirosis (DHLPP) and rabies for every dog. We also offer Bordetella (kennel cough) and a combination influenza vaccine for those dogs that are in contact with many different dogs (boarding, day care, frequent dog park visits). Lyme disease is prevalent in our area; we recommend the Lyme vaccine for all dogs at risk of tick bites.
Our cat patients receive rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia (FVRCP) and a yearly Purevax rabies vaccine. The Purevax rabies vaccine contains no adjuvant - the "extra" stuff in killed rabies vaccines that stimulates the immune system and can cause injection-site cancers in some cats. For cats that go outside unsupervised, we provide a feline leukemia vaccination.
Every year we do heartworm testing for our dog patients. Because you never know when your dog will spit out medication, we do test all dogs, even if they are on year-round preventative. We also test for tick-borne diseases at the same time, to determine if your dog has been exposed to Lyme, Anaplasmosis, and/or Ehrlichia. We recommend baseline blood tests for all adult cats and dogs and more comprehensive testing (including a urinalysis) for those pets over 10 years of age.
Most blood is sent to an outside laboratory, with results returned generally within 24 hours. We also have a in-house lab, which we use for sick animals or those coming in for surgery. We have an incubator so we can culture urine samples in-house, before sending them to a lab for antibiotic sensitivity testing.
Fecal samples are sent to an outside laboratory to provide quality control and to make sure we aren't missing any parasites during our analysis. Our nurses will read samples from an animal with diarrhea before sending the sample to the lab.
Four Lakes Vet has a dedicated surgical suite. Surgeries performed include spays (ovariohysterectomies), neuters (including cryptorchids), cystotomies (bladder surgery), lump or tumor removals, nose resections (for those flat-faced breeds with squished nostrils), and foreign body removals/exploratory laparotomies. We have a board-certified surgeon, Dr. Elizabeth Laing, who comes to our hospital for more advanced surgeries, like cruciate ligament repairs or anal gland removals.
All our patients undergoing surgery receive an intravenous (IV) catheter to allow us to administer anesthetic medication and fluids to keep the pet hydrated. We monitor heart rate and rhythm, as well as oxygenation of the blood, body temperature, and blood pressure. All pets undergoing surgery receive pain medication before and after surgery, which improves healing and decreases anxiety in our pets. Because anesthesia can cause nausea, we give our patients an injection to control vomiting. We use a Class 4 laser on surgical incisions to help hasten healing.
For very small skin growths ("moles") we have a cryoprobe, that allows us to freeze the mass without having to sedate or anesthetize your pet.
All our dental cleanings are done under full anesthesia, with IV fluids and monitoring. This allows us to take x-rays, so we can evaluate the tooth roots, probe around each tooth to assess for bone loss, and clean, polish and apply flouride to each tooth. We use a class 4 laser on the gums after each dental to help with inflammation.
If there are diseased teeth, we are proficient in extractions, suturing the gum closed to prevent infection. Veterinary dentists can perform root canals; we are happy to refer you to one if you are interested in trying to save a diseased tooth.
Most prescriptions are able to be filled in our clinic, including antibiotics, pain medications, allergy treatments, heartworm preventative, and prescription diets. We carry the flea and tick preventatives that we consider to be the most efficacious. We try to have our prices competitive with on-line pharmacies. In addition, we often have rebates from the manufacturer that helps lower costs.
We have an on-line store, which is a great place to order prescription diets and have them shipped to your home. We don't recommend other on-line pharmacies. Oftentimes these pharmacies get their products from a third party, not the drug manufacturer, and the medications could be repackaged from a foreign country . The medications may not be stored at proper temperatures and could be ineffective. In addition, if there is a problem with the efficacy of the medication, the manufacturer generally won't work with the pet owner, since the medication did not come from their veterinarian.
If you do want to use a different pharmacy, we will happily write a prescription for you to pick up. Please allow up to 48 hours for refills and written prescriptions, so we have time to review your pet's medical records.
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No one wants their pet to be sick, but Four Lakes is here for you if it happens. We perform diagnostic tests such as skin scrapes or cytology (to look for mites, bacteria or yeast), fine-needle aspirates of lumps (to look for cancer cells), ear cytologies (to determine what is causing your pet's ear infection), urinalyses (to look for infection and crystals), eye staining (to look for ulcers), eye pressures (for glaucoma or uveitis), and x-rays. We can sedate a pet that needs sutures or a broken toenail removed, then reverse the sedative effects so he can walk out the front door within 20 minutes. If we don't have an appointment open, we offer drop-off services so your pet doesn't have to be in pain or discomfort for several days before she can be seen.
Laser therapy is a noninvasive treatment designed to reduce pain and inflammation, and to speed healing. This treatment is quickly becoming standard of care in both human and veterinary medicine. Our staff members administer laser therapy via a handpiece that emits a therapeutic infrared light in a fast, drug-free, and soothing treatment. The light can treat surface problems such as wounds, as well as deeper structures, penetrating through fur, skin, and fat if necessary to reach damaged tissue.
The therapeutic infrared light targets the mitochondria in damaged cells and stimulates them to regenerate and to return to optimal function. This regenerative process is called photobiomodulation (PBM). PBM does not impact normal cells, but can help damaged cells to recover from injury faster.
Laser therapy can be utilized as an adjunct to existing treatments, often reducing or replacing the need for pain medications.
When a pet needs an ultrasound to determine the significance of a heart murmur or to get a better look at internal organs, we bring board-certified veterinarians in to the clinic. Dr. Hattie Bortnowski is an Internal Medicine specialist who does cardiac ultrasounds. Dr. Deb Darien is a board-certified radiologist who performs our abdominal ultrasounds.
For those cases that require additional diagnostics or treatment, we consult and refer to the Veterinary Specialty Center (part of Veterinary Emergency Service), Madison Veterinary Specialists, Edinger Surgical Options, or the UW School of Veterinary Medicine.
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