Our Services

We see dogs, cats, and small mammals (such as rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, & rodents) and we offer limited services for birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. 

We bring state of the art diagnostics into your home:

  • Full Diagnostic Capabilities (Bloodwork, etc.) with IDEXX Reference Labs

  • Specialized Diagnostic Capabilities (Vitamin Levels, Disease Monitoring) with VDI

  • Ultrasound Imaging to assist in diagnosis and treatment of health conditions

  • Tonometry to diagnose and manage eye conditions such as glaucoma and uveitis

  • Cryosurgery for non-invasive and anesthetic free removal of skin masses

 

Because of the unique nature of our clinic, we do not offer vaccinations, radiographic imaging, or surgical/dental services.  We will, however, help to arrange these services if needed.

Appointment Types & Levels of Care

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Telehealth is a virtual consultation where you can speak with Dr. Cook about your pet. We conduct Telehealth consultations by video conference (preferred if possible) or over the phone.

Common reasons you may decide to schedule a Telehealth consultation include:

  • Quality of Life (QOL) Evaluation Consultation: We will discuss your pet’s current health concerns and whether current therapies are providing a good QOL, and if not, what next steps are available for your pet’s care.

  • New Patient Pre-Consultation (for Longevity Support or Palliative/Hospice Care): You can meet Dr. Cook (virtually) before setting up an appointment for in-home Longevity Support, Palliative, or Hospice Care to discuss whether this type of care is a good fit for you and your pet.

  • End of Life Care Pre-Consultation (for In-Home Euthanasia): You can meet Dr. Cook (virtually) before setting up an appointment for End of Life Care, such as in-home euthanasia to discuss any concerns, special considerations, and questions that are important to you.

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Longevity Support is an entry level of care, and is for families seeking additional support for their pet's health before diagnosis of serious illness. Longevity Support is for pets who are relatively healthy, are usually older (senior or geriatric), and for whom we want to monitor health more carefully. They may have mild or minor chronic health conditions, but no serious or life-limiting illnesses. For these patients, we have the ability to use a variety of supportive therapies, as well as advanced physical examination skills and diagnostic testing to monitor their health. These pets generally will need to have appointments at minimum every 3-6 months.

Common examples of Longevity Support are:

  • TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) for wellness

    • Acupuncture​

    • Chinese Herbal Medicine

    • Chinese Food Therapy based on Thermal Nature and Organ Support

  • Nutrition Counseling

  • Pet Wellness Coaching, including Vaccination Counseling

  • Advanced Monitoring for the Development of Disease

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At Chicago Veterinary Geriatrics, we understand that it can be incredibly difficult to know what to do when our pets are struggling with health conditions. No one wants to feel that they have stopped too soon, but we also want to protect our pets from experiencing an episode of distress or crisis.  It can be very hard to know if the current therapies are just not adequate, or it there really are not any other good options. Although Palliative and Hospice Care are really the same in terms of philosophy of prioritizing comfort and understanding that a cure may not be possible, Palliative Care generally refers to earlier stages of a disease process and Hospice Care generally refers to late stages of a disease process.  

  • Palliative Care is for pets who may or may not be older, but who are experiencing chronic health conditions and/or the early stages of a serious illness.

    • For these pets, there are generally a number of symptoms or issues that are starting to compromise their good Quality of Life, such as pain, nausea, anxiety, etc.

    • These pets generally will need to have appointments every 1-3 months.

  • Hospice Care is for pets who again may or may not be older, but who are experiencing health conditions that have become unstable, and are often in later stages of a serious illness.

    • Unfortunately, sometimes serious illness is either very acute or progresses rapidly, so some pets will need to begin their Palliative Medicine journey in Hospice Care.

    • In veterinary medicine, End of Life Care is the final stage of Hospice Care, and may or may not involve euthanasia services.

    • These pets generally will need to have appointments daily to every 4 weeks.

  • Common examples of conditions where Hospice & Palliative Care can be beneficial:  

    • Education and Explanation of Your Pet's Heath Conditions

    • Nutrition and Hydration Support

    • Advanced, Multi-Modal Pain Management

    • Mobility Enhancement Strategies

    • Cancer (including while undergoing chemotherapy/radiation)

    • Cancer (including while undergoing chemotherapy/radiation)

    • Degenerative Neurological Conditions

      • ​Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS, dementia)

      • Weakness

      • IVDD, Myelopathies, Neuropathies, Radiculopathies

    • Organ Failure (e.g. heart, liver, kidney)
    • Immune Medicated Diseases

    • Symptom Management (often associated with one or more conditions above)

      • Loss of Appetite, Nausea & Vomiting

      • Coughing and Shortness of Breath

      • ​Anxiety Management and Insomnia
    • Emergency Prevention and Preparedness

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Dr. Cook and Chicago Veterinary Geriatrics will always ensure that your beloved pet will be treated with respect and dignity--in life and in death. Preparing for our pet's end of life care may be the hardest thing we will ever have to do to help our pets, and you do not have to be alone. We are here to help and to ensure that this final way you help your pet is carried out gently, and with the utmost compassion and care.  

When we choose to bring an animal into our homes and share our lives, we take on all the responsibility of their care in return for their lifetime of love and companionship.  

As our animal friends age, we make educated decisions at every turn to help them be comfortable and happy.  At the end of their life, we face this most difficult decision.

Many people express “I wish they would just pass in their sleep...”

Facing the weight of making the decision to end a pet's life is unimaginable.  However, that decision can be the ultimate act of friendship and respect, loving your animal so much that you choose, when circumstances warrant, to help them pass free of pain and suffering, after a lifetime full of wonderful living.

  • In-Home Euthanasia Services

The decision to help your animal pass peacefully also brings the choice of how you want to help them pass. We have the choice to give our animal friends the most peaceful passing, right in the comfort of home, anywhere (inside or out) you may feel that that provides the most comfort and serenity for your pet. You do have the option to make one of the most difficult times we go through with a beloved pet as gentle, comfortable, and stress-free as possible.  

 

Dr. Cook and Chicago Veterinary Geriatrics will do everything we can to ensure that these last moments and memories are filled with love and understanding, not pain and suffering.  Our goal is to give your pet the most peaceful and compassionate parting, full of dignity and respect, so that your last memories with them, and theirs with you, can be graceful, peaceful and intimate.

 

  • Hospice Supported Death (also called Hospice Supported or Palliated Natural Death)

The term "Natural Death" has recently become more common in veterinary medicine as a way to describe death without the intervention of euthanasia. It is very important to remember that euthanasia, as it is intended to be, is not an "un-natural" process.  It is a way that we help our beloved animal companions when their bodies can no longer support a good quality of life. 

We tend to hope that our loved ones will pass away peacefully in their sleep before enduring a period of suffering, pain, and distress. Part of this hope is often that we will not have to intervene, but that our loved ones can pass away on their own terms without us having to make a decision to help with euthanasia.  

 

Unfortunately, this is the exception, not the rule--and that is why Hospice Care at the end of life is so very important.

If your beliefs do not align with the choice to help with euthanasia, but that otherwise there may be undue suffering, we can discuss the option of Hospice Supported Death where we used Advanced Hospice Care therapies to ensure comfort. This type of care is relatively intensive for many patients, and requires a very dedicated caregiving family.

 

Without having the proper Advanced Hospice Care support though, an animal may suffer unduly while their family struggles to care for them.  We can help you to understand what to expect during this process and if this is the right option for you and your pet. We will work together to give your animal specific supported comfort care to ease, not hasten, their transition.

  • Deceased Pet Services

If your pet passes away at home, we can help by coming to help with body care and to make arrangements for aftercare.  It is usually not possible to discern a definitive cause of death at that time, but we will spend time talking and doing everything we can to help with this difficult time. 

  • Aftercare Services & Memorial Keepsakes

We can also help arrange end of life services that you feel are best for your pet and your family, and we want you to be able to honor your pet the way that feels best to you.  You are, of course, also welcome to make your own aftercare arrangements.

We work exclusively with Hinsdale Pet Memorial Services for cremation and burial services because we feel that they are the most gentle and reputable service in the Chicago area. We know and trust Hinsdale Pet Memorial Services, and are privileged to have their help in providing gentle, respectful, and beautiful aftercare services for our patients.  www.hinsdalepet.com

Some of the ways we can assist with aftercare are:

  • Transport & Safe Handling for Cremation or Burial

  • Body Preparation Assistance for Home Burial

  • Selection of Memorial Keepsakes (such as urns, caskets, paw prints, & fur clippings)

Our promise is that your pet will always be treated gently, carefully and with the respect and dignity.