Advanced Animal Medical just recently opened its doors this February to the Northwest Indiana region providing with a highly trained staff who’s practices go above and beyond the typical clinic setting. There they believe in treating every patient as if it were their own with compassionate service while making it their duty to take extra precaution when it comes to animal stress or trauma. Any animal that enters their doors are greeted with special attention to detail regarding those aspects.
Dr. Karen Askounis is an ambassador for what she believes as a movement of practicing low stress handling. At Advanced Animal Medical, Askounis and her team are trying to permanently change the way they and other practices interact with pets, to make it as low stress as possible.
Dr. Karen Askounis started her career in veterinary at the University of Illinois. After graduation, she started at County Line Pet Hospital in 1991 and pursued additional training in trauma medicine, behavioral counseling, and Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation.
“We spend a lot of time with the pet owners making sure they don’t feel like a bunch of stuff was thrown at them, because we want them to understand and participate in the decision making,” Askounis said. “Our practice goes all the way up to end of life care, counseling how to make the decision for euthanasia, and how to make it peaceful as possible for both the pet and the owner.”
Advanced Animal Medical encourages their pet owners to always ask them questions about any type of treatment or why they are choosing to do something, as they are more than happy to explain the ‘why’.
“We want more information from the pet owner about behavior at home. When they notice things, they need to feel comfortable to give us a ring and ask questions. We are missing appropriate parts of healthcare if our pet owners don’t feel comfortable talking to us,” Askounis aid.
Askounis expressed how important it is to communicate with your veterinarian.
“A pet owner might not be educated enough to make the best decision, and choose an alternative for the wrong reasons. A trained professional helps you understand what's happening with your pet enough for you to make a decision that is best,” Askounis said.
Askounis explained an example of a case that affects many animals in her practice due to lack of information: Heart worm disease. The disease can be prevented with medication for as low as $10-12 a month.
“Sometimes clients come from other practices and say that other facilities ask if they want heartworm preventative. They will typically say no, because they might not know that the worm that is growing in their heart is going to kill their animal. It’s because no one explained it to them,” Askounis explained.
Many times people don't take their animals to the veterinary because of fear that they will be scared and stressed. The appealing part of Advanced Animal Medical’s large facility is that they have the room to provide two separate waiting areas and exam rooms for cats and dogs. When cats or kittens are in the exam room, they cannot smell a dog’s scent or hear barking.
“You can just see that the cats are happier,” Askounis said. “A lot of time when you take a cat out of their carrier at the hospital, they are scared to death. Now they walk around the exam rooms and are so much more comfortable.”
Askounis explains that families are often incorporating pets as family members, and believes in all types of pet ownership experiences. A pet can fill the position of a child for someone with no children, or provide emotional support for veterans with PTSD.
“We all know how important it is to have these beings in our lives. We also want to be an advocate for a pet and help the pet owner continue this relationship for as long as possible.”
In her free time Dr. Askounis enjoys the companionship of her three pitbulls, and four cats and also raises rare breed sheep for conservation and wool.
Advanced Animal Medical offers medical and surgical healthcare for animals alongside offering preventative care visits. Their mission is to educate pet owners with specific ways to keep their pets as healthy as possible. If you are interested in Advanced Animal Medical, visit https://advanimalmedical.com/.