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Caring for our Four-Legged Companions
By Amy Leigh


Caring for the four-legged creatures that command so much attention in the lives of animal lovers can be difficult, to say the least. The language barrier alone prevents humans from coming to the aid of their furry family members as quickly as they might need at times. Instinct dictates that animals mask their illnesses and injuries from the world; in the wild, the sick and lame are left for dead as nature demands the survival of the fittest.

Although many animals such as dogs and cats have been domesticated, this does not eliminate the instinct that is born into every creature of nature. A basic understanding of the needs of dogs and cats can prevent unnecessary suffering when illness or injury does strike.

According to Matt Johnson, Certified Veterinary Technician and Hospital Manager of the Animal Care Hospital in Morris, Illinois, dogs and cats have very similar needs and requirements when it comes to their healthcare. To begin with, all domesticated dogs and cats are required to be vaccinated against rabies by the state of Illinois and registered as such with the county that they reside in. Johnson states that it is “advised to have every animal vaccinated [against rabies] that can be. Especially those exposed to wild animals, like on a farm.”


Beyond fulfilling the state’s requirement for rabies vaccination, there are numerous other vaccinations that are recommended. However, the most important aspect of animal care is the annual physical examination. With complete medical records kept in one place, veterinarians can often discover an illness before any symptoms become visually obvious to owners. It is at this time that blood work can be drawn to determine the true nature and extent of an illness before it overwhelms the family pet.

“Animals age very quickly. They can’t tell us how they feel and by the time we discover it through simple observation they have suffered a great deal,” says Johnson. Again, the annual exam will help prevent this and as with humans, the sooner an illness is discovered, the greater the chance for effective treatment and recovery. At the very minimum, a quick discovery will help ease or eliminate any pain that an animal might be experiencing.

The annual exam will also be the time to administer vaccinations and examine stools for intestinal parasites, many of which can be transferred to humans. “Every time a dog steps outside it is exposed to intestinal diseases. These diseases can be transferred to humans. Called Zoonosis, the primary job of veterinarians is to help prevent the transfer of diseases,” Johnson states.

With a simple routine of annual visits and routine vaccinations, pet owners can work with their veterinarians to prevent the transfer of diseases and keep pets comfortable when fighting illness or recovering from injury. These visits become especially important as an animal enters their senior years. Both cats and dogs are considered seniors when they turn eight. At this time it is necessary to monitor their health very closely as there are many changes that occur in the organs along with hormonal changes. It is also important to change the diet at this point because an animal’s metabolism slows down and their nutritional needs change.

Matt Johnson along with Dr. Nicolette Polson-Meade, DVM; Dr. Matt R Teuscher, DVM; and the entire staff at the Animal Care Hospital work diligently to make sure the pets they see are well taken care of. Preventative medicine is the key, but in the event of injury or illness, they are ready to help bring their four-legged visitors back to health.

According to Johnson, the veterinarians must participate in continuing education throughout their careers. “Every two years, they must meet a minimum number of education hours to renew their licenses,” said Johnson. The doctors dedicate their education to dogs, cats and horses – the three types of animals the hospital takes care of. Thus, their knowledge of the latest science regarding the care of these animals is up-to-date; they are aware of technological advances as well as the most recent information regarding diagnosis and treatment.

The hospital is well-equipped to handle everything from routine check-ups to emergency surgery. Although most of the visits they receive are for routine care, there is always the exception. At one point, the hospital performed a skull facture surgery on an injured dog. Services of the hospital include routine healthcare, surgery, dental care, diagnostic services, emergency and critical care tools, boarding and bathing and hygiene services.

Rezin Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

From professional to recreational, athletes run a risk of injury in any activity or sport. Most common are sprains and strains, caused when too much stress is placed on tendons, joints, bones and muscle. The more prepared your body is for activity, the less likely you are to sustain a sprain or strain injury. Injuries can occur under various conditions and circumstances, however, if you follow these few tips provided by Rezin Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, sport injury is preventable.

Warm Up and Stretch – all physical activity should be preceded with a warm up to increase circulation and flexibility making you less prone to injury.
Wear Protective Gear – be sure all protective equipment fits properly and is in good condition.
Rest – brief rest periods during physical activity can greatly reduce your risk of injury.
Hydrate – drink plenty of water before, during, and after activity.
Schedule a sports physical – a sports medicine physician can help you assess your readiness for sport and activity.

The physicians at Rezin Orthopedics and Sports Medicine are on your team for injury prevention. With six orthopedic surgeons, a podiatrist, and a physiatrist, Rezin Orthopedics and Sports Medicine is committed to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of injuries due to athletic activity or an active lifestyle. The physicians and athletic trainers provide coverage and injury prevention for nine area high schools including Morris Community High School and Minooka Community High School. Rezin Orthopedics is dedicated to returning you back to an active, healthy lifestyle so you can; Work. Play. Live. Visit us at or call 815-942-4875.

Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers


Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers has been serving the health care needs of Grundy County residents since 1906. Located 55 miles southwest of Chicago in Morris, Illinois, the 87-bed Morris Hospital serves residents of Grundy, Will, LaSalle, Livingston, and Kendall counties. The hospital owns and operates six primary care physician practices located within a 30-mile radius of the hospital. These practices are located in Braidwood, Dwight, Gardner, Marseilles, Minooka and Newark.

Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers is known for its compassionate and personalized approach to healthcare. This is attributed to the outstanding work of 800 employees, 300 fundraising and service volunteers, and a medical staff of more than 180 physicians representing most medical specialties.

The Emergency Department at Morris Hospital is a Level II Trauma Center, with board-certified emergency medicine physicians who are specially trained to evaluate and treat patients during the early, and often most critical stages of an illness or injury. As part of its commitment to caring for families with young children, Morris Hospital has voluntarily achieved designation by the state of Illinois as an Emergency Department Approved for Pediatrics. For the treatment of minor illness and injuries, Morris Hospital offers immediate care services at the Diagnostic & Rehabilitative Center of Morris Hospital. At immediate care, patients are seen on a walk-in basis.


The Family Birthing Suites at Morris Hospital provides the perfect setting for welcoming a new baby into your life. In this beautiful, home-like environment, parents bond with and learn how to care for their newborn. With a Level II special care nursery for infants who need additional medical care, the highly-skilled physicians and nurses at Morris Hospital enjoy the privilege of helping parents cherish those first hours as a family.

At the Radiation Therapy Center of Morris Hospital, patients find comfort in having expert cancer care and the very latest technologies close to home. The warmth and understanding of the staff at the Radiation Therapy Center surrounds each patient as they are guided through cancer treatments.

Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers is also home to a number of skilled heart and vascular specialists who are experts at detecting early signs of trouble. And when it’s time to start down the road to recovery, patients never have to travel far for an exceptional cardiac rehabilitation program. The experienced staff at Morris Hospital knows what it takes to make the heart healthy so patients can get right back into their old routine……or maybe even start a new one.

Along with these services, Morris Hospital is also pleased to provide a state-of-the-art intensive care unit, a dedicated pediatric unit, pain management services, wound care and hyperbaric medicine services, occupational medicine services, and physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Morris Hospital’s commitment to the community is also evident through its free patient transportation service, the Lifeline Program, which enables medically at-risk and older individuals to live independently and with peace-of-mind, and a free SeniorWell program with special wellness offerings for individuals age 55 and older.

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