Cardiology

The cardiology service at Four Seasons Veterinary Specialists provides comprehensive, one-on-one care in cardiac medicine.
Dr. Allison Heaney is board certified as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine — Cardiology.  She completed a residency in cardiology at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, followed by completion of rigorous certifying examinations through ACVIM in 2006. While Dr. Heaney enjoys all facets of veterinary cardiology, she is particularly interested in the management of congestive heart failure as well as the medical management of pulmonary hypertension.   She has done research in degenerative heart valve disease and has published articles in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, American Journal of Veterinary Research, Journal of Veterinary Cardiology, Journal of Veterinary Clinical Pathology, and Veterinary Pathology, and earned a Young Investigator Award by the Journal of Veterinary Cardiology in 2009.

Our comprehensive cardiac examination for outpatients includes a one hour consultation with the owner present along with a complete cardiac physical exam including non-invasive diagnostics: echocardiogram (heart ultrasound), blood pressure evaluation, and electrocardiogram (single-lead, rhythm).  Dr. Heaney will provide an in-depth written report that includes medical recommendations and a treatment plan, along with ongoing support for her patients.

Further non-invasive diagnostic tools, such as Holter monitors and radiography, are available when necessary, and when warranted, Dr. Heaney and our surgeons can also provide surgical intervention such as pacemaker implantation and other cardio and pulmonary procedures.

Pets that exhibit any of the following symptoms may benefit from a cardiac evaluation:

  • Heart murmur
  • Shortness of breath or breathing problems
  • Coughing
  • Heart arrhythmia (irregular heart beat)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Fainting
  • Fluid accumulation in chest or abdomen

Pets at risk for anesthesia may also be evaluated by our cardiologist to assess possible risk and to determine the right plan and safest method moving forward.  For owners with breeding animals, Dr. Heaney can provide screening to help rule out congenital heart disease like HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) in cats and degenerative value disease in dogs.

Dr. Heaney will work closely with your referring veterinarian to provide the best care for your pet’s quality of life.  Please ask your veterinarian to provide recent blood work, radiographs and records related to your pet’s heart condition.  These records may provide vital information in creating the right plan for you and your pet.  To schedule a cardiac consultation, please call Four Seasons Veterinary Specialists at 970-800-1106.  There is no waiting period to schedule an appointment with Dr. Heaney.

Dentistry & Oral Surgery

OUR DENTISTRY AND ORAL SURGERY SERVICE PROVIDES THE HIGHEST QUALITY, STATE-OF-THE-ART CARE FOR YOUR PETS TO HELP THEM LEAD HAPPIER, HEALTHIER LIVES.
Dr. Clarence Sitzman graduated from Colorado State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in 1975, and practiced as a small and large animal vet for many years.  After completing a residency in dentistry, he passed rigorous certifying examinations to become an AVDC Diplomate in 2007.

Dr. Sitzman schedules comprehensive dental consultations and offers a broad range of dental and oral surgical procedures, including digital radiography, ultrasonic cleaning, root planing and sealing, endodontic treatment (root canal therapy), oral and maxofacial surgery including maxillectomies and mandibulectomies, surgical extractions, crown restorations, treatment of periodontal disease including bone augmentation, malocclusion and orthodontic treatment, oronasal fistula repair, and interdental wire/acrylic wire repair of jaw fractures.

Studies show that the vast majority of dogs and cats suffer from dental disease by the age of three.   Preventative care like brushing teeth and regular cleanings by a veterinarian can help pets live longer and healthier lives.  Dr. Sitzman has decades of experience treating gingivitis, tooth resorption, gingival hyperplasia, enamal hypoplasia, stomatitis, and other dental disease and trauma.

 

There are a variety of common conditions you may observe in your pet that are indications of dental disease:

  • bad breath
  • difficulty chewing or eating
  • broken, loose or missing teeth
  • trauma to the head
  • drooling
  • red, swollen or bleeding gums
  • tartar on teeth
  • receded gums

Dr. Sitzman will work closely with your referring veterinarian to provide the best care for your pet’s quality of life.  Please ask your veterinarian to provide us with your pet’s medical records and recent blood work.  These records may provide vital information in creating the right plan and treatment for you and your pet.  Dr. Sitzman will provide you and your family veterinarian with a written report of his treatment as well as photo documentation and radiographs of your pet’s mouth.  To schedule a dental consultation, please call Four Seasons Veterinary Specialists at 970-800-1106.  Typically there is no waiting period for appointments.  A consultation and procedure can be scheduled for the same day.

Critical Care, Emergency & Urgent Care

FOUR SEASONS VETERINARY SPECIALISTS OFFERS EMERGENCY, URGENT AND CRITICAL CARE SERVICES  24 HOURS A DAY, 365 DAYS A YEAR BECAUSE PETS DON’T KEEP BUSINESS HOURS.
The emergency service at Four Seasons Veterinary Specialists provides emergency treatment, walk-in urgent care, intensive care and overnight patient monitoring 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  An experienced emergency veterinarian is always on site, teamed up with our expert veterinary technicians.  Our team of ER doctors includes:  Laura Halpin, Meredith Burket, Nicole Vumbaco, Lisa Nowicki and Neil Ellis.  As ER/ICU Director, Dr. Ayla Preston, oversees the Four Seasons intensive care unit, takes appointments and is available for critical care consultations.   Emergency surgeries are performed by our board certified surgeons, Dr. Tara Britt and Dr. Jayce Lineberger.  Emergency ultrasounds are available by our board certified radiologists Dr. Jennifer Lowry and Dr. Amy Felumlee.  At Four Seasons Vet Specialists, we tap into the expertise of our whole team to provide the best care for our patients.  Our specialists in critical care, surgery, cardiology, internal medicine, oncology, dentistry and diagnostic imaging are available for consultations whenever needed.  

Our skilled emergency veterinarians are trained to handle all manner of emergencies, and experienced veterinary technicians are an integral part of our team that help ensure your pet receives the highest quality nursing care available.  Our hospital offers state-of-the-art equipment to facilitate the best care for your pets.  We have a full on-site laboratory, diagnostic imaging (digital radiography and ultrasound), additional advanced diagnostics, surgical facilities, blood products, oxygen cages and ICU.

We all know that our pets don’t keep a schedule, so we are here to help at any time of the day or night.  Our team will keep our clients — and their family veterinarians, informed of their pet’s progress throughout their hospitalization, and families are welcome to call or visit most any time.

It is vitally important to us that we create a cohesive team with your family veterinarian.  As a result, we maintain continual communication with referring veterinarians and keep them informed of any visits, diagnostics and procedures that are performed at Four Seasons Veterinary Specialists. We are available to support and advise referring veterinarians on their emergency cases and it is our mission to provide comprehensive and integrated care for your pets.

Click here for our location. 

No appointment is needed, but we welcome you to call ahead:  (970) 800-1106

Some common veterinary emergencies include:

  • severe weakness, collapse, or inability to walk
  • trouble breathing, excessive panting, pale or bluish gums
  • vomiting and other gastrointestinal disturbances, including bloat and abdominal pain
  • acute injuries and trauma, such as bites wounds, lacerations, broken bones, hit by car, snake bite, etc.
  • seizures, stroke, and other neurological disturbances
  • heat exhaustion
  • animals who are unable to urinate or defecate
  • uncontrolled bleeding
  • allergic reactions
  • toxin ingestion, including many common items such as xylitol (sweetener), grapes and raisins, chocolate, onions and garlic, certain plants like lilies and poinsettias, rat bait, or prescription medications.  IF YOUR PET CONSUMES SOMETHING TOXIC, PLEASE BRING THE PACKAGING OR CONTAINER IN WITH YOU!  It can be extremely helpful in diagnosis and treatment.
  • any unusual symptoms that, in your pet, cause you concern

If you are not sure if your pet is experiencing an emergency, please call us at (970) 800-1106 and we will help you determine if your pet should be seen.  If you have them available, please bring your pet’s records and current medications with you to the hospital.

Referring veterinarians, please contact us at (970) 800-1106 if you wish to send a patient for overnight care.  Please see Overnight Services information and forms.

Diagnostic Imaging

THE DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING SERVICE AT FOUR SEASONS VETERINARY SPECIALISTS PROVIDES EXPERIENCED, CAREFUL AND COMPLETE DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING STUDIES, PROCEDURES AND INTERPRETATIONS.
At Four Seasons Veterinary Specialists, our board-certified radiologists Dr. Jennifer Lowry and Amy Felumlee  provide expert digital radiography interpretation and ultrasound services, both of which can be critical tools for the proper diagnosis for your pet. Dr. Lowry is one of the most well-respected veterinary radiologists in the region with more than 25 years of experience in her field of expertise.  Dr. Felumlee completed a radiology residency at CSU and became board certified in 2015.

RADIOGRAPHY AND ULTRASONOGRAPHY

Our digital imaging services include radiograph and ultrasound capabilities.  Radiographs, or x-rays, provide doctors with a two-dimensional view of internal structures of the body (like bones of the skeleton or certain swallowed foreign bodies), while ultrasound is a non-invasive way to take a three-dimensional look at the internal organs to view any abnormalities. Special view radiographs and contrast studies are available at Four Seasons Veterinary Specialists, and we provide abdominal, thoracic, cardiac, joint and other types of ultrasound studies on both an outpatient and in-house basis.  During the ultrasound, our radiologists view and measure the liver, kidneys, spleen, bladder and intestines, as well as smaller structures such as the lymph nodes, adrenals and pancreas.  Echocardiograms, or ultrasounds of the heart, can also be performed at our hospital by both our radiologists and cardiologist, to diagnose the degree of heart disease present in an animal.

In addition to viewing internal organs, our doctors can perform ultrasound-guided tissue aspirates and biopsies without surgery.  These biopsies can be taken from various areas within the body or from visible masses seen on ultrasound.  These samples are then sent to an outside laboratory for analysis to obtain a diagnosis.  Limited ultrasound exams (known as FAST scans) are used by our emergency veterinarians to diagnose fluid accumulation and to assist in obtaining fluid and urine samples in pets.

 

 


DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING CAPABILITY

  • Digital radiography
  • Arthrogram
  • Fistulogram
  • Contrast pnuemo-cystogram
  • Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) radiographs/certification
  • Ultrasonography

FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

For your ultrasound appointment, it’s important that your pet have no food for approximately 12 hours before their ultrasound, but do provide your pet access to clean water at all times.  If your pet is diabetic or on medication, please contact our office for special instructions for feeding and medication administration.  An empty stomach allows us to look at the liver, stomach and pancreas.  For bladder issues, a moderately full bladder is necessary.  If the bladder is empty, we cannot evaluate it.  We recommend allowing your pet to urinate an hour or more prior to the appointment, but not again until after the ultrasound is complete.  No special preparation is needed for echocardiograms or pregnancy checks.  Pregnancy checks can be performed via ultrasound on dogs at least 21 days post last breeding.  Radiograph pregnancy checks can be done on dogs 42 days past the last breeding.  It is rare for a pet to need sedation for an ultrasound or radiographs.  Our capable technicians are skilled at handling stressed pets for these procedures.

We encourage our clients to be present for their pet’s ultrasound so we can discuss the case as we scan.  We will fax or email the written report of the ultrasound to your family veterinarian, as well as to you, the owner.  For added convenience, pets may be dropped off early and/or picked up later if needed for scheduled appointments.

Internal Medicine

FOUR SEASONS PROVIDES COMPASSIONATE INTERNAL MEDICINE EXPERTISE FOR ALL PATIENTS NEEDING ACUTE OR ONGOING CARE.
Internal Medicine, hand in hand with Critical Care, is the heart of our hospital.   Our two well respected, board certified internal medicine specialists, Dr. Lauren Prause and Dr. Karen Hilling, together encompass a wealth of expertise and experience to benefit all of our patients.  Dr. Prause has been certified in internal medicine since 1998, and Dr. Hilling became certified in 2009.  Together with our specialized internal medicine technicians, our team is prepared for the complexities and special needs of all of our patients.

Internal medicine encompasses the diagnosis, management and treatment of many ailments commonly faced by our dogs and cats: liver disease, diabetes, chronic stomach and intestinal issues, chronic kidney and bladder disease, cancer, and heart and lung problems, to name just a few.  To aid in the diagnosis of disease, our team can perform multiple advanced diagnostics including endoscopy, rhinoscopy, ultrasound, and ultrasound-guided biopsies and aspirates.   In addition, we can provide chemotherapy and surgery for cancer treatment.

Four Seasons is committed to providing the absolute best care for our patients.  We feel that the keys to providing the best care include compassion, education and open communication.  We strive to help clients understand their pet’s condition so we can enable them to make good decisions on their pet’s quality of life.  Our specialists offer hour-long appointments that provide ample time for getting to know their clients, carefully reviewing a complete patient history, and thoroughly examining the patient. Once the history-taking and exam are complete, diagnostic and treatment plans are tailored to the needs of patient and client.  Hospitalized internal medicine patients remain in the care of Drs. Hilling and Prause, with overnight and weekend care shared with our Emergency and Critical Care veterinarians.  With appointments available six days a week, typically there is no wait for an appointment with one of our medicine specialists.  Appointments can be made any time by calling (970) 800-1106.

Because of the complexity of some disease processes, internal medicine patients may also be seen by other specialists at Four Seasons for evaluation of multiple issues of concern.  For example, one may receive an ultrasound exam by our radiologist, a consultation with our surgeon, or a heart evaluation with our cardiologist, as part of their diagnostic and treatment plan.  With these specialties in-house, these consultations are often done seamlessly during one visit to the hospital.  We feel strongly that this approach, utilizing the expertise of our whole team, allows us to provide the best care available to each of our patients.

FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT:

Typically, we recommend you bring your pet fasted to appointments with our internal medicine specialists.  Many tests are adversely affected by recent feedings.  To ensure the best use of your dollars, our vets recommend pets fast for a minimum of eight hours prior to their appointment, unless otherwise advised.  If your pet is diabetic or takes medications with food, please discuss specific feeding and medication instructions with us prior to your appointment.

Our internal medicine specialists find it helpful to have complete medical records on each of their patients.  These records are vital to understanding the condition of your pet, so we ask that you provide us with a complete list of all your veterinary providers past and present so we can collect these records prior to your appointment.  Our internal medicine team love nothing more than to study records to find the clues that will lead to a diagnosis for your pet.

Overnight Care Service

FOUR SEASONS VETERINARY SPECIALISTS PROVIDES OVERNIGHT CARE, IN CLOSE COOPERATION WITH THE PATIENT’S FAMILY VETERINARIAN.
Overnight care is hospitalization for medically stable patients coming directly from the care of their family veterinarian.  Patients come with their own treatment plan, medications, fluids, and other equipment and supplies provided by their referring veterinarian.  Our veterinarian provides a physical exam, patient care, monitoring and specified treatments.  We will follow the referring veterinarian’s treatment plan unless the patient’s condition changes.

The Overnight Care fee covers the overnight period from 5PM to 10AM and encompasses our ER veterinarian’s physical exam(s) and patient oversight, a hospital cage or run, nursing care and any needed equipment (such as fluid pumps).

Overnight Care patients are released to their owner or to the referring veterinarian at or before 10:00 AM the following morning.  There is an additional charge if patients arrive before 5PM or are picked up after 10AM.  Weekend day care is not considered part of overnight care.  There are two levels of overnight care:

Level 1: No IV fluids, CRI or IV injections.  An in-place IV catheter is ok.  Oral, SQ and IM medications are ok.
Level 2: IV fluids (single line), CRI’s, IV injectables, and urinary catheter care are included.  Clinically stable patients only.

★ If any additional procedures, tests, medications or supplies are requested or needed, the referring veterinarian will be contacted.  Additional fees are approved by the client and will be in addition to the overnight care fee.  Patients who are not stable will be admitted to our hospital under the care of our specialists and emergency veterinarians who may revise the patient’s treatment plan and Discharge Instructions.

Referring Veterinarian and Client Procedure

  • The referring veterinarian faxes to (970) 712- 5595 or emails to ([email protected]) the completed Overnight Care Form, pertinent medical records, and lab work to Four Seasons.  Hard copy radiographs are sent with the patient.
  • The referring veterinarian faxes or emails the completed Treament Form to be used for overnight care.
  • The referring veterinarian is encouraged to call and speak to the Four Seasons doctor on duty about the case they are transferring.   If a doctor is not available, they will speak with a technician.
  • The client and patient arrive at or after 5 pm with all of the patient’s supplies, medications, radiographs, etc.
  • If the patient is expected to be released to their home in the morning, the referring veterinarian’s Discharge Instructions will have already been explained and provided to the owner.  A copy of the Discharge Instructions is sent to Four Seasons with the patient’s other records.

Four Seasons Overnight Procedure

  • At check in, the veterinarian on duty performs a physical exam.
  • If the patient’s status worsens or the FSVS doctor determines that the patient isn’t stable, the referring veterinarian and client are contacted to discuss transferring the patient into the Four Seasons hospital’s care and oversight.
  • All treatment specified on the Treatment Sheet is completed by Four Seasons staff, keeping to the specified treatment times as practicable.  Patients are fed and walked as appropriate.
  • All medical notes are faxed/emailed to the referring veterinarian the following morning, before the overnight emergency doctor leaves.
  • The patient’s owner is charged for our services at check out.


Overnight Transfer Form

Overnight Care Treatment Form

Surgery

THE EXPERT SURGERY TEAM AT FOUR SEASONS VETERINARY SPECIALISTS LISTENS TO YOUR CONCERNS AND OFFERS OPTIONS THAT ARE BEST FOR YOUR PET AND YOU.

Whether planned or an emergency, surgical services at Four Seasons are provided by an exceptional team of specialists led by Dr. Tara Britt, an ACVS-certified surgeon who specializes in orthopedic, soft tissue and oncologic surgery.  Dr. Jayce Lineberger, also a board certified surgeon, specializes in orthopedic and soft tissue surgery.  They are assisted by our surgical technicians Rona, Rachel and Roxane.  Our state-of-the-art technology provides our team with the tools they need to provide the highest level of surgical care available today, including less invasive  laparoscopy, thoracoscopy and arthroscopy.  

The credentials of our surgical team are a cut above the typical veterinary hospital.  Dr. Tara Britt and Dr. Jayce Lineberger both completed a three year surgery residency after vet school and passed rigorous exams to become American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) Diplomates.  Above and beyond this certification, Dr. Britt dedicated an additional year of training in surgical oncology at Colorado State University, becoming an ACVS Founding Fellow in Surgical Oncology.  Her oncology fellowship provided a multi-disciplinary approach to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of cancer patients.  

Dr. Lineberger has a wealth of experience: five years of mixed small and large animal general veterinary practice, two years of small animal internships, one year of small animal emergency practice, three years of small animal residency training, and 12 years of small animal surgery.  During his residency and continuing afterward, Dr. Lineberger has continued training in areas of orthopedics, minimally invasive surgeries, and interventional radiology-assisted procedures.  He is certified as a PennHIP provider.

Drs. Britt and Lineberger diagnose and treat many types of surgical cases including orthopedic, abdominal, oncologic, oral, soft tissue, and thoracic procedures, multi-modal wound management, regenerative therapies, and minimally invasive procedures.  Regenerative therapies include stem cell therapy and platelet enhancement therapy for orthopedic injuries.  They also provide mobile surgical services to the surrounding area.

Our surgical technicians are veterinary technician specialists.  Rona is a specialist in anesthesia and Roxane is currently pursuing her certification in anesthesia.  The title “Veterinary Anesthetists” refers to a veterinary technician who has been a certified or licensed technician (CVT or LVT) for at least three years and has then pursued further training in anesthesia. Veterinary anesthetists have a minimum of 4500 hours of anesthesia care, at least 40 hours of continuing education in anesthesia and pain management every five years, have documentation of mastery in advanced anesthesia skills and have then passed rigorous exams.  There are only a handful of veterinary technician specialists in anesthesia in Colorado and we are proud to have one of them, Rona, at Four Seasons.

Consultations with clients include a thorough examination, review of patient history and lifestyle, and further diagnostics when necessary.  Our treatment plan will take into account the special needs of patient and client.  Pain management therapies are prescribed to ensure your pet’s comfort through recovery.  Post-operatively, care of our surgical patients is provided by our our team of specialty and emergency veterinarians and technicians, who provide round-the-clock care in our ICU.  We will provide detailed discharge instructions specific to your pet that include information about the procedure, medications, diet, activity restrictions, and follow up care.  We work with many alternative medicine clinicians in the area who can provide massage, acupuncture, laser, electrical stimulation (E-stim), and underwater treadmill therapies to aid in your pet’s rehabilitation. 

Call our office at (970) 800-1106 to schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons to discuss your pet’s needs.  Elective surgeries are schedule weekdays, emergency surgery is available 24/7.  Services and surgeries available at Four Seasons include, but are not limited to:

DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURES

  • Joint taps/arthrocentesis
  • Lameness evaluation
  • Medical treatment of osteoarthritis
  • Diagnosis of biceps tenosynovitis
  • Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) radiographs/certification
  • PennHIP radiographs/certification

MULTI-MODAL WOUND MANAGEMENT

ABDOMINAL PROCEDURES

  • Adrenal gland removal/ adrenalectomy
  • Bladder stone removal/ cystolithotomy
  • Bloat surgery/gastric dilation volvulous (GDV)
  • Intestinal and gastric foreign body removal
  • Gall bladder removal/cholecystectomy
  • Intestinal mass removal
  • Liver mass removal/liver lobectomy
  • Pancreatic mass removal
  • Portosystemic shunt ligation
  • Splenic (spleen) mass removal/splenectomy
  • Stomach mass removal/partial gastrectomy
  • Cesarean section
  • Cystotomy
  • Blocked tomcat repair/Perineal urethrostomy
  • Removal of bladder/Cystectomy (partial)
  • Diaphragmatic hernial repair

MINIMALLY INVASIVE SURGICAL PROCEDURES

  • Arthroscopy of stifle, elbow, shoulder, torsus
    • Fragmented coronoid process (FCP)
    • Un-united anconeal process (UAP)
  • Thoracoscopy
  • Laparoscopic surgery
    • Liver biopsy
    • Intestinal biopsy
    • Gastropexy
    • Ovariohysterectomy

ONCOLOGIC SURGERY

  • Anal sac mass removal/anal sacculectomy
  • Hemi-pelvectomy
  • Limb amputation (tumor associated)
  • Limb-sparing techniques
  • Lung mass removal/lung lobectomy
  • Lymph node excision
  • Tumor biopsy/removal
  • Maxillectomy/mandibulectomy

ORAL SURGERY

  • Brachycephalic airway syndrome correction
    • Elongated soft palate
    • Everted saccules
    • Stenotic nares
  • Cleft palate repair
  • Jaw fracture
  • Mandibulectomy/maxillectomy

ORTHOPEDIC PROCEDURES

  • Joint fusion/arthrodesis
  • Corrective osteotomies for limb deformities
  • Stifle stabilization
    • Extra-capsular cruciate repair
    • Tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO)
  • Fracture repairs
    • Bone plating and pinning
  • Femoral head and neck ostectomy (FHO)
  • Juvenile pubic symphysiodesis
  • Double pelvic osteotomy (DPO)
  • Patellar luxations
  • Traumatic injury
  • Limb amputation

SOFT TISSUE PROCEDURES

  • Anal sac removal/sacculectomy
  • Arytenoid lateralization for laryngeal paralysis
  • Total ear canal ablation and bulla osteotomy (TECA)
  • Ear polyp removal
  • Thyroid gland removal/thyroidectomy
  • Parathyroid gland removal/parathyroidectomy
  • Lipoma removal
  • Diaphragmatic hernia repair

THORACIC SURGERY

  • Pulmonary
    • Lung mass removal/lobectomy
  • Cardiac
    • Pacemaker placement
    • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) ligation
    • Thoracoscopic assisted subphrenic pericardectomy
    • Persistent right aortic arch repair and division
    • Thoracic duct ligation for chylous effusion

REGENERATIVE THERAPY

  • Bone marrow derived stem cell therapy
  • Canine platelet enhancement therapy

Oncology

A DIAGNOSIS OF CANCER IN A PET IS A VULNERABLE TIME FOR FAMILIES, AND OUR TEAM IS SYMPATHETIC TO THE NEEDS OF PATIENTS AND THEIR PEOPLE.

Is cancer more widespread in animals these days, or are veterinarians becoming more adept at diagnosing it in pets? The answer to both questions is yes.  Dogs and cats get similar types of cancer as people, and the treatment they receive is similar as well.  However pets tolerate chemotherapy much better with fewer side effects than humans do.

Dr. Erica Faulhaber, who recently completed a rigorous, three year medical oncology residency at the world renowned Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University, and Dr. Tara Britt, who is a Founding Fellow in surgical oncology and also trained at the Flint Animal Cancer Center, together form the nucleus of the oncology team at Four Seasons.

Four Season Veterinary Specialists’ oncological services include consultations, advanced diagnostic imaging, chemotherapy, surgery, supportive and palliative care.  The oncology service is integrated with the other departments in the hospital, where patients benefit from the expertise of the entire team of specialists. As an example, a patient presenting to the hospital through either the emergency or internal medicine departments with vague symptoms of lethargy, loss of appetite, or weight loss, may receive diagnostic tests such as x-rays and ultrasound by a radiologist. Should these tests confirm a diagnosis of cancer, the patient then may have a surgical procedure followed by chemotherapy treatment with the oncology department.

Developing strong relationships with clients is at the heart of Dr. Faulhaber’s and Dr. Britt’s philosophy.  Listening to clients and supporting their concerns is paramount to their practice, while making their priority the quality of life for their patients.

Once a cancer diagnosis is made, the doctors at Four Seasons help clients navigate the options available for their pet so they can make informed, critical decisions. Each case requires an individual approach, which may include advanced diagnostic testing, chemotherapy, surgery, or supportive care. Most importantly, Drs. Faulhaber and Britt believe in taking time to explain the diagnosis carefully, answer questions and offer hope. Treatment options, including palliative care or even euthanasia, are a means for owners to make a very loving gesture for their pet.  They provide guidance to help clients make the choice that is best for them.  Just because some treatment options are available does not mean it is the right decision for their pet and family.

Four Seasons’ service prides itself on providing efficient, high quality, individual-based cancer treatment for our patients, with a focus on patient quality of life.  Empathy and compassion are the foundation of our approach toward pets and their people. A vital part of the team includes the patient’s family veterinarian, providing an integrated, comprehensive approach to ensure each pet has the best veterinary medicine has to offer.

Unlike in human medicine, veterinary oncologists do not always look to cure cancer in their patients. Instead they work to provide a good quality of life while keeping symptoms at bay.  While few pets are truly cured of cancer, our team strives to provide a good quality of life for patients and hope for clients, buying them more quality time with their pets.