Wellness for Your Pet
Living Well is not just for humans. The Madison area offers comprehensive veterinary and pet care services. Here are five resources that just might surprise you.
University of Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Hospital
Just as University Hospital is a teaching school, so too is the UW School of Veterinary Medicine’s UW Veterinary Care—complete with the same access to groundbreaking research and cutting edge technology. Essentially a self-funded primary-care-for-animals provider, this emergency and specialty referral services clinic is open to the public twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It teaches fourth-year students and employs veterinarians seeking training in cardiology, oncology, neurology, dermatology, ophthalmology, dentistry and oral surgery. The large-animal hospital staff works in general medicine, surgery and reproduction.
“We have more specialists and specialty services than any other veterinary medical hospital in Wisconsin,” says Dr. Ruthanne Chun, director of UW Veterinary Care. “If somebody has a complex problem with their animal and wants peace of mind knowing all the people who could potentially need to be involved are there, we’re here. We’re all in the same place, we all work together. It’s comprehensive specialty care.”
Take, for example, cancer. Animals develop cancer at essentially the same rate as humans. UW veterinarians not only perform surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and immune therapy, they counsel on quality-of-life options and have board-certified anesthesiologists who are also certified in acupuncture. Wisconsin’s veterinary medical school is internationally known for its clinical trials with dogs with cancer, and it’s one of only two veterinary hospitals in the world with a tomotherapy unit.
“The academic setting sets our bar higher,” says Chun. “It pushes us to know and offer the very best treatment options for our clients.”
“Many people are surprised to learn we have a veterinary staff here at the store,” says Shanna Larson, head of Animart’s veterinary department. “We’re super passionate about pets and their families. We’re dedicated to providing them with medical treatment and empowering owners with knowledge they need to help pets live the best lives they possibly can.”
In addition to checkups, medical treatment, prescriptions, microchipping, vaccinations, spays and neutering, Animart offers a variety of holistic and natural therapy options, foods and products. Acupuncture, nutritional counseling and herbal supplements may provide alternatives or complementary treatments for issues such as arthritis, seizure disorders and incontinence.
“With my dog, personally, I’ve talked to the doctor here about acupuncture for separation anxiety,” says Larson. “It releases the chi and makes the blood flow better in the system. It’s healthy for my pet without having to introduce drugs, and then maybe she’s not so upset when Mommy leaves.”
Animart vets also provide discounted spaying and neutering for all rescue puppies and kittens before adoption. In addition, Larson says people should not forget about exotic and nontraditional pets—Animart vets treat chinchillas, ferrets, snakes, lizards, and more, for skin issues, upper respiratory infections, mouth rot and general well being.
“We’re always studying new and better ways to improve well being for the pets in our lives,” says Larson. “We treat every pet as one of our own.”
A Madison-area stronghold for nearly three decades and Best of Madison Gold winner for three years in a row, Camp K9 has stayed ahead of the curve by offering doggy day camp, a la carte activities such as pet massage and vacation photos, environmental features including specially designed rooms for comfort, safety and stress reduction, and 25,000 square feet of new “doggy turf” for cleaner, safer, healthier surfaces—no more sore paws from stones or concrete.
“We’re constantly upgrading and remodeling, always trying to keep up on cutting edge trends and developing our own,” says owner Lori Campbell. “Pet care has come a long way from when we started twenty-eight years ago.”
Camp K9’s sprawling fenced-in play yards span two acres, with an additional ten acres available for nature walks through the countryside. Construction of a second, larger indoor area with play equipment for inclement weather is currently underway.
“We give tours every day, and when people come out here they’re just amazed at how relaxed the pets are, how spa-like our facility is,” says Campbell. “They say, ‘Can we stay here too?’”
Campbell acknowledges businesses like hers have become somewhat trendy, but says her mission remains the same as it was in the beginning—to provide the best care possible for every pet that comes through her doors.
“I feel my business is based on trust, honesty, and love for animals,” says Campbell.
What about pets that don’t quite fit into the boarding model? Or families in search of doggy daycare only once or twice a week? Out-U-Go! offers an affordable, professional, insured, safe and fun alternative to days-long boarding.
“A lot of people don’t even realize they have an option like ours,” says Out-U-Go! owner Lisa Hartman, who also volunteers at the Dane County Humane Society and works with a number of rescue pets. “We’re a great alternative for dogs that might get overwhelmed in a daycare, or maybe they’re dog-aggressive, or for whatever reason it just hasn’t worked out. That’s where we come in.”
Out-U-Go! is a fun and professional dog walking and pet sitting service. Hartman visits potential “pet parents” in their homes, gets to know their animals and their needs, then matches each one by temperament and behavior to a vetted, trained staff member. Out-U-Go! staffers then visit as often or as little as you wish—to feed the cat, scratch the bunny, converse with the bird or get the dog out for a potty break, physical exercise and mental stimulation. Out-U-Go! also provides housesitting and overnight stays with pets, and keeps a one dog walker per household ratio.
“People might have a misconception that they have to use us every day,” says Hartman. “We are completely flexible and customized to whatever the pet parent needs.”
Sit Means Sit
Sit Means Sit owner and head trainer Mike Wheeler hopes to turn traditional dog training on its head with Canine Lifestyle Training, something he calls a monumental shift in training thought and curriculum.
“To avoid life for the sake of training the dog is by far the craziest idea I have ever heard,” says Wheeler. “Canine Lifestyle Training is the customization of training the family and the dog in real-life situations and challenges.”
Rather than having one family member working with the dog in ideal conditions, and instead of using treats to teach “tricks” or bribe for obedience—something Wheeler says often inadvertently reinforces bad behavior—Sit Means Sit trainers enlist the entire family in full immersion training. From aggressive to timid and everything in between, Wheeler says his program is effective for any breed, age or “problem” dog. The Sit Means Sit franchise has been featured on Animal Planet, the Outdoor Channel, ESPN, CNN and
the Today Show.
“Canine Lifestyle Training empowers the family to communicate effectively in any given situation, regardless of the distraction,” says Wheeler. “You should be able to bring your dog anywhere—because my dogs are a part of my family—and they will listen to a two-year-old as well as they do to an adult.”