Our Services

We see dogs, cats, and small mammals (such as rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, & rodents).  
We offer limited services for birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. 
 
Our approach to your pet's healthcare will be integrative--offering treatment options from Western & Eastern medicine based on your preferences and your pet's needs.  
We will work with you and your pet's current practitioners to implement a holistic care plan.
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 Labs
  • 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
 

Appointment Types

We see dogs, cats, and small mammals (such as rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, & rodents).  
We offer limited services for birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. 
Our approach to your pet's healthcare will be integrative--combining therapies from Western & Eastern medicine based on your preferences and your pet's needs.  
We will work with you and your pet's current practitioners to implement a holistic care plan.
We offer the following Appointment Types for Current/Active Patients: 
 

TeleHealth & TeleMedicine Appointments

What is the difference between TeleHealth and TeleMedicine?
  • TeleHealth appointments are for families where we have not already established a veterinary-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) or where that relationship has expired due to inactivity. An active VCPR is required by law in order to provide diagnosis and treatment (such as prescribing medications).

  • TeleMedicine appointments are for patients where there is an active VCPR but the care and consultation needed can be provided virtually. Especially due to considerations with coronavirus/COVID-19, we are exploring increased use of Telemedicine for active patients in order to protect everyone’s safety.

What does a TeleHealth Consultation involve?
  • 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. 

  • In Telehealth consultations, Dr. Cook is only able to provide general advice, and so not able to make a diagnosis, recommend adjustments in current medications, or prescribe not medications.

    • Based on your pet’s known health conditions & diagnoses, Dr. Cook can describe general care considerations and symptoms that might indicate progression/worsening of your pet’s condition.

    • Dr. Cook can discuss potential next steps, such as a visit to your primary care veterinarian or an in-home appointment with Chicago Veterinary Geriatrics to initiate care or Longevity Support or Palliative/Hospice Care based on your pet’s needs. We can also make arrangements for in-home euthanasia if it is the best way to help.

    • Dr. Cook will also email a brief summary with information and resources to you and your veterinarian.

  • 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.

 

Initial Consultation Appointments

For families seeking palliative medicine and/or hospice care for their pet, we will discuss the level of care that is needed at the initial consultation appointment.  
This will be based on your pet's current condition and may change over time.
We know 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.  
Sometimes it is very hard to know if the current therapies are just not adequate,
or it there really are not any other good options.  

Initial Consultation Appointments are ~1.5-2 hours long, so it is important to schedule when you have ample time and when all members of your family involved in your pet's care can be present.  

Included in the Initial consultation are:

  • A complete review of your pet's medical records and medical history

  • An in-depth discussion of your pet's current condition and your family's concerns

  • A gentle physical exam for your pet done at their pace, in their home

  • Development and implementation of an Initial Personalized Care Plan for you pet

If you choose to pursue Ongoing Care with Chicago Veterinary Geriatrics for you pet, we will discuss what Level of Care is needed based on your pet's evaluation and current health status.  Based on this Level of Care, we will make a plan for minimal frequency of communication and follow-up consultations in or to make sure that we can support you & your pet with the very best care. If after discussion, End of Life Care, such as In-Home Euthanasia feels like the best way to help your pet, either the same day or in the near future, we will develop a plan to help. 

Levels of OnGoing Care

Longevity Support

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 every 3-6 months. 

Palliative Care

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.

Some common examples of conditions where Palliative Care can be beneficial are management of arthritic/spinal pain, mobility issues, degenerative neurological conditions, respiratory conditions, support of early systemic organ failure (e.g. heart, liver, kidney), immune mediated conditions, Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS, dementia),  and support in early stages of cancer (including while undergoing chemotherapy/radiation).

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

Hospice Care

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.

All of the conditions listed above are also common in Hospice Care patients, but just in later stages. 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.

 
 
 
 
 

Nursing Care & Caregiver Support Appointments

Our highly skilled, experienced, and understanding nurses are here to help. Nursing care appointment services include nurse exams & patient monitoring, assistance with in-home treatments, comfort care & hygiene assistance, and family education on older pet care. We offer two kinds of nursing care appointments depending on your pet's needs.
NOTE:
Nursing care services are available exclusively for active patients of Chicago Veterinary Geriatrics, meaning that your pet has to have been examined by and under the ongoing care of Dr. Cook.
 
Nurse Service/Treatment Visits
  • Nurse service/treatment visits do not include an exam.

  • All notes from nurse visits are reviewed by Dr. Cook to ensure that we keep up with all aspects of your pet's care.

  • Some common reasons for Nurse Service Visits:

    • Assistance with In-Home Treatments & Therapies:

      • Subcutaneous (SQ) Fluid Therapy Administration

      • Injectable and/or Oral Medication Administration

      • Bathing, Minor Grooming, & Hygiene Care

      • Medical Laser Therapy for Pain Relief & Wound Healing

    • Specimen Collection for Diagnostic Testing

 

Nurse Consultation Appointments
  • Nurse consultation appointments include a brief exam to check your pet's vital signs & weight.

  • All notes from nurse visits are reviewed by Dr. Cook to ensure that we keep up with all aspects of your pet's care.

  • Some common reasons for Nurse Consultation Appointments:

    • Continued education on senior and geriatric pet care:

      • Demonstrations of therapies (such as SQ Fluid Administration)

      • Caregiver education and respite care

    • Assistance with In-Home Treatments & Therapies:

      • Subcutaneous (SQ) Fluid Therapy Administration

      • Injectable and/or Oral Medication Administration

      • Bathing, Minor Grooming, & Hygiene Care

      • Medical Laser Therapy for Pain Relief & Wound Healing

    • Specimen Collection for Diagnostic Testing

 

 

End of Life Care & 

In-Home Euthanasia

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.  
We can also help arrange end of life services that you feel are best for your pet and your family.  This time is all about your pet and family, and so we want you to be able to help
honor your pet the way that feels best to you.  Our promise is that your pet will be treated gently, carefully and with the respect and dignity the he or she deserves. 

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.

 

The decision to help your animal pass also brings the choice of how you want to help them pass.

We have the choice to give our 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 have the option to make one of the most difficult events we go through with a beloved animal as gentle, comfortable, and stress-free as possible.  We can do everything possible to make sure that these last moments and memories are filled with love and understanding, not pain and suffering.  Dr. Cook's goal is to give your pet the most peaceful and compassionate parting, full of dignity and respect, so that the very end of their life can be as graceful and honored as the rest.

 
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 all hope, and should hope, that our loved ones will pass away peaceful in their sleep, thereby avoiding suffering, pain, and distress.  We all also hope that we will not have to intervene, but that our loved ones can pass away on their own terms without having to make a decision for 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 for euthanasia, we can discuss the option of Hospice Supported Death (also called Palliated 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 care-taking family.

 

Without having the proper 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, 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 after care.  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. 

 

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 www.hinsdalepet.com.  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.  

Aftercare Services & Memorial Keepsakes

Based on your wishes for your pet, we can assist in aftercare arrangements, but you are also welcome to make your own arrangements.  Some of the ways we can assist with aftercare are:

  • Transport & Safe Handling for Cremation at Hinsdale Pet Memorial Services

  • Transport & Safe Handling for Burial at Hinsdale Pet Cemetery

  • Body Preparation Assistance for Home Burial

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

 

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 www.hinsdalepet.com.  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.  

 
 

© 2020, Chicago Veterinary Geriatrics, LLC