Laser Therapy


by: Vicki Schroeder


One of the most exciting aspects of veterinary medicine is watching the development of new technologies that expand the ways we practice veterinary medicine.  One of the emerging technologies in both human and animal medicine right now is therapeutic laser treatment.

Laser therapy is an FDA-cleared modality that reduces inflammation and that results in pain reduction. Laser therapy is effective in treating acute pain, chronic conditions, and post-operative pain.

Just as people receive physical therapy after an injury, physical rehabilitation has become an option for your pet as well.  After surgery for problems such as torn ligaments, broken bones or ruptured disks in the spine, your pet can be placed on a specific laser therapy therapeutic program to help him or her recover from surgery faster. These types of rehabilitative therapies, along with others, aid in the success of the surgery and your pet’s overall well-being.

Almost any painful or inflammatory condition can be treated to some degree.  Some of the common conditions being treated in veterinary patients are wounds, infections, hot spots, lick granulomas, cystitis, disc disease, joint disease, arthritis, hip dysplasia, sinusitis, periodontal disease, gingivitis, and surgical incisions.

Laser therapy treatment is safe, painless and fast. Treatments to deeper tissues are administered in 5 to 10 minutes. Typically, even chronic patients exhibit improvement after 3 to 5 treatment sessions. Laser therapy utilizes the body’s own healing powers by stimulating cellular activity. Despite short treatment times, laser therapy treatments initiate a healing process that continues to actively reduce inflammation for up to 24 hours after treatment.

We are excited to be able to integrate this new technology into our practice!

Heartworms in Peoria

by: Lauren Divet

Whether you live in Dunlap, Mossville, Edelstein, Peoria, Henry, Lacon, or anywhere around/between, heartworms are a problem in Peoria and surrounding counties.  Being on the Illinois River, mosquitoes are an ever present threat to our pets.  Here is a tidbit about the lifecycle of a heartworm.

Heartworm disease is caused by the growth of worms in the heart that are transmitted to dogs from infected mosquitoes. Although heartworms can live up to 7 years in an infected pet, they often show no visible symptoms. There are four main stages of growth in the heartworm life cycle, the microfilariae, larvae, juvenile worm and adult.

The first stage is the Microfilariae, which are microscopic larva that live in the pet’s bloodstream for 2 weeks until they form into larvae.

The second stage is the larvae. This stage involves two steps. The first step is where the infected larva is passed from the mosquito’s mouth to the pets’ skin which then burrows into the pets’ tissue and moves through the tissue for several weeks.

The third stage is the Juvenile Worm stage. About two months after being infected, these worms grow to be anywhere from 1 to 3 centimeters in length. From here they move from the pets’ tissue into the heart and lungs. This can happen just 70 days after infection.

The final stage of growth is the Adult stage. The juvenile worm matures to the adult stage in the pulmonary artery or any other artery that moves blood from the heart to the lungs. Many times the artery will get clogged with living and dead worms and can lead to many health issues including infection, clogging of the arteries, and various heart malfunctions. If untreated long enough heartworms can lead to death.

It is recommended to have pets tested once a year for heartworm disease. Many veterinary clinics offer superior heartworm prevention in either a topical or chewable form. Pets’ should be on heartworm protection monthly year round to help prevent them from getting heartworms.


by: Ashley Murphy

Intestinal worms and parasites are very common in dogs and cats.  They infect not only puppies and kittens, but also adult pets.  Hookworms get their name from the hook-like mouth parts they have.  They attach themselves to the intestinal walls of your pet.  They are very small and can only be seen under a microscope.  Hookworms can be passed from a mother to her puppies before birth or even after birth through her milk.  Your pet can also pick them up from an infected environment.  (Orally and through their skin).  Dogs and cats infect their surroundings with these worms through feces.  Hookworms are zoonotic.  Yes, even humans can get hookworms through direct contact with infected feces.  It is very important to pick up your pet’s stool in your yard and dispose of it.  Hookworms can stay in the environment for months.

Signs may include:

*Weight loss



*Loss of appetite

Some pets show no sign of infection, and hookworms are found on a routine parasite exam.  If a pet has a moderate amount of hookworms it can also cause anemia.

We recommend yearly parasite exams to check for hookworms and other intestinal worms and parasites.  We offer several monthly preventatives to help protect your pet from hookworms and other intestinal worms.

Breed Spotlight: American Staffordshire Terrier

by: Tammi Burton

The American Staffordshire was first recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1936 when the Americans wanted a heavier and larger version of the Staffordshire Terrier. These dogs have genetic lines that can be traced back to the early Mastiffs and the Original Bulldogs of England which were used for bull baiting. According to the AKC standards, these dogs are 17 – 19 inches tall at the shoulder and have a short coat that does little shedding and come in a wide variety of coat colors and patterns. This breed is highly intelligent, good natured and confident but sometimes be a little stubborn (What terrier from the Airedale to the Yorkshire isn’t stubborn?). This breed has an average lifespan of 12 – 15 years. The American Staffordshire Terrier has a medium energy level and is a natural clown, therefore this breed needs a owner who will make training fun and interesting for the dog but also have a firm but patient hand to deal with their stubborn streaks. The breed really thrives when they are made part of a family who will put love and time for socialization into them. The 2 most notable dogs from this breed are Stubby, who earned the rank of Sergeant in World War I and was the most decorated dog of his time, and last but not least Petey, from the 1930’s Our Gang comedies (also known now as The Little Rascals).

In my Experience with this breed, they are a fun-loving, excellent dog who mostly think they are a 10 pound lap dog (which they are most certainly not.. lol) and are very gentle and loving with kids. They are very loyal to their owners and aim only to please them. Sure they can be energetic at times, they are a terrier of course, but other times they just want to cuddle. That being said, there is never a dull moment with theses dogs around you. American Staffordshire Terriers along with Staffordshire Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers (which are NOT a breed recognized by the AKC but only recognized by the UKC or United Kennel Club) are commonly referred to as “Pit Bulls” and are given bad reputations by all forms of media as being aggressive in nature. Before I came to work here at PAVG, I was working at a shelter where it was common to hear the public say “Oh look, that is a Pit bull so that means that one has to be dangerous” and for the most part that is the furthest from the truth. Most of these bully breeds are so sweet and gentle and just want to give kisses (licks) all day long. One of the stories I have to tell is that I was at an offsite adoption event with this shelter where I was handling a very sweet older American Staffordshire Terrier and these 2 kids came up to her and ask to pet her. I said that they could and within minutes, the dog rolled over and started to fall asleep while these kids were petting her. Then after a few minutes the mom comes up and starts yelling for her kids to get away from that “dangerous pit bull.” That fact of the matter is that the mother’s yelling scared the dog more than the kids did. These breeds and mixes of these breeds are the most common that are found in shelters because of these stereotypes (because people have trained them to be this way) and how are we to rid the human race of stereotypes if we can’t get rid of it for animals who can’t speak for themselves. No I am not saying that this is a breed for everyone, but what I am asking is that you educate yourselves and even go meet some of these very wonderful animals before you judge or ban them. And please ask yourselves…. Don’t all pets deserve a chance at their fur-ever homes?