The New Reception and Waiting Area


Hello All!

Hope everyone is staying warm.  I think I am ready to greet Spring any time now.  The birds are returning to the feeders in droves, and I am ready to see the first blue bird of the year! But I digress…

I wanted to give everyone a sneak peak of the reception and waiting areas planned in the new building.  I get lots of questions about how it might change, so here goes.

There will be one main entrance in our new location, but then there are 2 separate waiting areas: one for dogs and one for cats.  The new feline only section has its own waiting area, exam rooms, treatment area and hospitalization area.  I can’t wait to reveal the details of the exam rooms, but let’s say for now, we have designed them with the cats in mind. (The dog exam rooms are decked out too, so our canine companions won’t feel left out.

Upon entering the new building the view will be something like this:

Perspective drawing of reception

The desk to the right is the welcome station.  From here, patients will be checked in.  This area is also dog waiting and refreshments. The desk to the left is check out and the door to the left is the entrance to the feline waiting area, feline exam rooms and feline treatment.  This will be a no dog zone. To give you a better feel for it see the blue print rendering below:

Blue print of reception area

We are excited to be able to continue keeping our feline patients calm and away from the dogs.  It relieves their stress greatly.  Also,  with our move, our feline only hours will be expanded to the same office hours of the office!  No more need to “come to the dog hospital” because the cat facility is closed.  It will be open the same hours as the dog side, expanding the available appointment times!

I can’t wait to show you pictures of is the walls start going up!

One last note: some folks aren’t sure where the new hospital is going to be, so below you will find a map showing our current location and our future one.  We are only moving 2 miles from our current location, so hopefully this will be equally convenient for you all!

This is a map of our future new location with directions from our old (current for now) location

This is a map of our future new location with directions from our old (current for now) location

I look forward to hearing from you!  Do you think it sound cool?  Are you excited too?!

Dr Nancy


Book Review: ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’ by Garth Stein

Hi All,

I may have mentioned that I love to read.  No?  Well I do. I love to read books of all types… fiction and non-fiction.  Obviously much of what I read is scientific and about pet health, but I love fiction as a way to relax.  That said, I hope to include an occasional post about a book I have enjoyed.  I’ll try not to overload you with thrillers and mysteries as those are my favorites, but I love all books and have been know to say, “I never saw a book that I didn’t love.”

The paper and the smell of a book are wonderful, but I have to admit to owning a kindle and a tablet. Anymore I read off of those as often as a paper book.  Let’s face it, they are more portable and they are hooked to the ‘net’ where more good reads can be had. Plus they hold lots of books at one time.  A readers dream!  Right?!

Ami (golden retriever) and Nancy Hayes

Ami and I are reading a book together in the sunroom.

My latest read is probably one many have read or at least have seen:  “The Art of Racing In The Rain” by Garth Stein. I’ll admit I don’t read lots of books about animals since I love pets tons, but spend my days with them nearly everyday.  There really is such a thing as too much of a good (wonderful, loving) thing. That said, this book was on my to do list.  I admit, one of the reasons I don’t read many animal (dog and cat) related books, is there is often a sad ending. I hate that, and sadness is hard enough when it is real life.  Why tolerate it when it is fiction?  Well, because it is so empowering sometimes.  I loved this book!

If you haven’t read it I encourage you to do so.  It is sad, funny, inspiring, courageous and more all wrapped into one.  I tend to read in spurts, a few chapters a night, but I couldn’t put this book down.  It is really well written and you get sucked into the story line.  The book is narrated by the dog, Enzo.  It’s a memoir of sorts. If you like to read, and aren’t afraid to see a little sadness with lots of love, check it out!  It is well worth it!

Dr Nancy

Construction Update


Hi Everyone!

I sure hope everyone is keeping warm and snuggly in this frigid weather we have had recently. I can say my family and I have been, but the great construction crew is keeping even warmer.  Its heating up in the new building and I thought you would enjoy seeing some progress pictures.

Picture of the temporary sign at 2627 N Knoxville AVE

Future Home of Whitney Veterinary Hospital!

I never thought I would know as much about construction and terminology of construction as I do now.  For example, HVAC is not pronounced H-VAC,  it is heating, ventilation and air Conditioning.  LOL.  That said,  Thank God for people like Rob Lamberson of Farnsworth Architecture and D. Joseph Company’s crew of really wonderful people. All of the sub-contractors have been great too! So many competent people are  making this process smooth and enjoyable!

Let’s take a tour of our progress so far.  Having finalized the purchase of the property, time was not wasted on demolition which started in December of 2014.  The inside was- well-, dated and certainly needed a change.  I think the words “gut it” will cover the activity that took place. Most of the existing walls needed to be removed to make room for our best layout for dogs and cats.  We will still have separate waiting and exam areas for dogs and cats, so reception as it was had to go.

Old reception desk area in the new location.
Before demolition
Franing area of new recpetion begins.

Here is the beginning of the new reception area. You can only see a small part in this picture.

Because this office was a human doctors office previously there was a existing reception/nurses station in the future reception area.  Unfortunately this is simply not what we needed for our pets. That said:  it was removed.






Now, with a clean slate, the reception area started getting a facelift.  We will have 2 reception areas in the new facility to ease congestion at the desk and make it more convenient for you and your pets. There will be a check in desk to assist you with your pets and for picking up medications and food.


Then there will also be a check out desk for when your appointment is over. This is the area shown below.  We are also going to remove most of the telephones out front so your calls can be answered more quickly, and your client care specialists won’t need to interrupt you to answer the phones.

Recption walls of the check out area.

This is a recent picture from the dog waiting area looking towards check out. The cats have their own waiting area which is completely separated from the dog area.



Because of the new reception location, and because we wanted to make it easier for you to open doors when you have your furry kids with you, we will build a new entrance for the hospital.  It will have push button openers to assist you in getting inside. The foundation has been poured, but then it snowed.  Again……

This picture is of the entry foundation.

This is the entry foundation.









With walls coming down and going up, it is easy to forget there is a whole bunch of other areas in the building too.  Exam rooms and treatment rooms (One for dogs and one for cats), surgery, ICU, dental surgery and more.  Below are a few pictures of our progress. You can click on a picture to make it larger.

Of course inspections have to occur as construction goes on.  City officials check our progress at each step.  Rob Lamberson and the teams of contractors and I meet often to discuss changes.  Even Ami (our golden retriever) got into the act.

Ami the golden checking out construction.

Ami and I are checking in on our progress.

Just to be clear, I am not the only one doing some checking in.  Many of our Whitney family team are helping too.  This last week we had a small group meet at the building to go over the progress and be sure the layout was going to work.  This is so valuable, and we did make some changes to help the flow of treatment and surgery.  Many of the ladies pictured actually came in on their day off to participate.  Seen in these pictures are Barb K. (Practice manager), Aly (Office assistant and Client Care Specialist), Lori, Jill and Bunny (Technicians), Rob (Architect), and myself (Dr Nancy). As before you can enlarge the picture by clicking on it.

Well I hope you are as excited as we are!  We are looking forward to providing our furry families all of the great care they are used to, plus adding more services.  Stay tuned for another update soon!  Feel free to ask questions!  I’d love to hear from you————–

Dr Nancy

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

Hello again!

Who’s at risk for bad teeth?

So glad you all could join me today for our discussion of pet dental health.  For a while now we have known that pet dental health is important, but now more than ever we recognize the impact good dental care can have on your dog or cat’s overall health.  Just like for human teeth, not all teeth are created equal.  Some pet’s will have more dental care issues than others.  For example, small dogs and dogs that have short noses will likely have more dental issues than their large counterparts. Some breeds of dogs and cats are at increased risk of dental problems genetically speaking.  For example the Siamese cats have more issues with FORL (cavities) lesions than some other pets.  Regardless of your breed of pet,  dental care is very important.

You want me to brush my pet’s teeth?

Good dental care starts at home form as early an age as possible.  Teaching our furry kids that dental care is easy and not painful and uncomfortable is key.  Think of it like we do our human kids:  we help brush and show them it is good.  The same goes for pets.  The less stressful and more fun it is, the better it will go.  If you have a puppy or kitten, now is the time to get them used to you looking at their teeth and rubbing their gums.  Gently lift the lip and rub the teeth and gums.  You don’t need the mouth open and in fact it is easier if they keep their mouth closed.  Once they accept that (use treats for increased cooperation), then add in the tooth paste. Check out this video for a demonstration of brushing a dog’s teeth.  Got a cat: Same idea, but consider a finger brush.

Dental products come in all types for pets.  A simple soft child’s toothbrush is fine to start.  Use water at first, but flavored toothpaste will help.  Do not use people toothpaste as most contain fluoride which can be harmful if swallowed.  It is very difficult to teach your dog or cat to spit out the paste, so instead go for one designed for pets. If your pet is not a fan of toothbrushes, try the finger brush (available at most pet stores) or even just a washcloth.  Many times this is much easier and better tolerated in smaller pets. How often do we recommend brushing or tending to the teeth?  At least once a day is ideal.  Just like us, their teeth get plaque and tartar quickly.  More is always better.  My groomer does the teeth you say?  Well that is great, but again the teeth need daily care, so once every 4-6 weeks is definitely not enough.

He won’t let me brush, Now what?

If Fido or Fluffy aren’t feeling co-operative with brushing, there are other options.  Generally brushing is best, but any dental care is better than none.  So dental rinses designed to prevent plaque from sticking can be helpful.   Can’t do that?  Try a drinking water additive.  If using the additive, you must also have a second water source that is plain without additive. Dental treats can help, but they all of these options are less effective than brushing.

Wow, is her breath bad! And those teeth are yucky!

Ok,  so the teeth got away form us.  It happens.  Or maybe, we are ready to turn over a new leaf and step up the dental care.  What do we do now?  Each year at your pet’s check up, the doctors will check the teeth.  They will grade them on a scale of 1 to 5 with a one being good and 5 being really bad.  Below you will find some examples of each grade.  Go ahead- check your kid’s teeth.  What do you think the grade is?  If you aren’t sure an appointment might be in order to find out!

Dental grades:

  1. Grade 1 is a set of pretty teeth.  White or stained, as long as there is no tartar or gum redness, we are in good shape!
  2. Grade 2 is early dental disease.  Tartar on the teeth and redness of the gums are noticeable and the breath, well yucky!  Now is the time to clean the teeth before it worsens.  This is when cleaning can prevent tooth loss and bone loss which will result in tooth loss! Besides, cleaning will improve your furry friends breath so those kisses are welcomed again!
  3. Grade 3 is when things are starting to get bad.  There is heavy tartar, inflamed and painful gums, ad probably loose teeth too.  Now our BFF has pain when he chews and the breath: yikes! Cleaning now is extremely important.  At this point we may be able to reverse some of the gum disease and prevent further tooth loss.  For sure, cleaning now will make your dog or cat more comfortable and healthier.
  4. Grade 4 dental disease will be when loose teeth and severe periodontal (gum disease) is present.  There will be lots of tartar, loose teeth, bleeding gums and severely stinky breath.  When we clean the teeth, surgical extractions of the teeth will happen for certain. The extractions will help reduce your pet’s pain (Teeth that are infected hurt!) and reduce the dangerous bacteria in the mouth that can attack the heart, liver and kidneys. Once we have teeth this bad, extraction is the only way out.
  5. Grade 5 is the end of the teeth.  Bone is lost as the teeth get bad an the teeth will be loose or even already missing.  this is when dental care is an absolute must.  These teeth are painful, bone is being lost and jaws can break.  At this point, your pet will be better off without these teeth.  Many times people remark after the dental that they hadn’t realized that their buddy felt so crumby.

Each grade of dental disease means something different, but since we cannot fit pets for dentures, it is best to get care before grade 3, 4, and 5.  By the time those grades are found, extractions are likely.  The earlier the teeth are cleaned the better it is for your pet and your wallet. Removal of diseased teeth is actually dental surgery.  This is performed by a veterinarian only.  Before removing any teeth, full mouth dental radiographs (x-rays) are taken to determine which teeth have an issue. The bad tooth is extracted  and then sutures (stitches) are used to close the gum tissue to reduce pain and speed healing.  Nerve blocks are used to control discomfort as well.  If you or a loved one has had wisdom teeth removed, then you know what I am talking about. Cat’s have the added problem of having teeth that resorb and get cavities below the gums.  These are very painful and extraction of the tooth is the only way to relieve the pain. Just like the dogs, pain management is key.  Nerve blocks and at home meds may be required regardless of species. No matter what the dental grade, once the teeth have been cleaned, it is important to institute a home care plan.  The more that is done at home, the less likely your beloved friend will need extensive care down the road.

It is never too late to start and never too early either. 

If you need help, do not hesitate to call or come in.  Our excellent staff and doctors would be pleased to get you and your buddy on the road to great dental hygiene.

See you soon with another update on our new building and other health topics to help you care for your best friend(s).