Puppies, Kittens, Rabies and Tigers – Oh My!

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to our lives. We are excited to learn that many of you, and your friends, are using this time to add new kittens and puppies to your family. During these tough times, they are so significant to us. We welcome these new family members to our West Loop Community.

After speaking with the proper authorities, we have added the following to our services during this stay-at-home period:

  • Comprehensive new kitten and puppy consultations.
  • Rabies vaccination for pets that have never been vaccinated or have only had one rabies vaccine in their life.
  • Additional availability for emergency care appointments on Sundays to support our local pet emergency hospitals.

We will continue to provide the following services: 

  • Urgent or emergency care for sick or injured pets
  • End-of-life care for terminally ill pets
  • Surgery
  • Puppy and kitten vaccinations
  • Rabies vaccinations as required by law
  • Dental care for the health and comfort of the pet
  • Refill of prescriptions, food, heartworm medication and other preventatives

Although we are not currently scheduling wellness appointments and regular dental cleanings, we look forward to catching your pets up on their regular care when that becomes possible.

You can request an appointment by calling our office at 312-421-2275 or go to our website and schedule an appointment online (https://connect.allydvm.com/practice/westloop/appointment_request).

Please remember that for the safety of our team members and clients, pet owners are not allowed in our building, except in special circumstances such as end of life care.

Tigers and lions and COVID-19

No doubt, you have heard that a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City tested positive for the COVID-19 illness and that other tigers and lions were also sickened. While we don’t treat tigers, – or lions, we do treat cats and dogs and we want to reiterate a few key points from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

  • At this time, there is no reason to believe that pets can spread COVID-19 to people.
  • Although more than a million people worldwide have been confirmed to have the virus, only a few animals have been diagnosed with it and just a handful have shown any signs of illness.
  • As always, pet owners should wash their hands before and after handling their pets.
  • Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 should follow these guidelines related to interacting with pets:
  • No petting
  • No snuggling
  • No kissing the pet
  • No being licked by the pet
  • No sharing food with pets
  • No sharing household items such as dishes, glassware and bedding

If you have COVID-19, it’s best to have someone else care for and interact with your pets. If that is not possible, or if you have a service dog, the CDC recommends you wear a mask and wash your hands before and after interacting with animals, their food, dishes, toys, bedding and other items.

Easter & Passover

Easter and Passover celebrations this year will no doubt be different than usual. Please remember  that many of the items we enjoy these holidays are dangerous to pets. Please keep the following items out of the reach of cats and dogs:

  • Lilies – which are extremely toxic to cats. In fact, lilies are so toxic, our veterinarians recommend that they not be allowed in homes with cats.
  • Chocolate candies and baked goods are toxic to both cats and dogs. Too often dogs are will eat any chocolate they can reach, even if it’s still in a wrapper.
  • Sugar-free candy, gum and baked goods often contain the
  • Decorations, including plastic eggs and grass can be problematic for curious cats and dogs. These items can become lodged in your pet’s intestines and require surgery to remove.
  • Fatty foods such as ham, lamb, buttered vegetables can cause stomach upset or a more serious illness, pancreatitis.

Closed Easter Sunday

West Loop Veterinary Care will be closed Easter Sunday, April 12.  We will reopen with regular business hours on Monday, April 13.

We hope you and your family are safe and well throughout this crisis. We will continue to be here for you.

“Stay at home order” policies & procedures

On March 20, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued a proclamation requiring all Illinois residents to stay at home. This order does permit essential activities, including seeking veterinary medical care for your pets. Veterinarians play an important role in good public health, so West Loop Veterinary Care will maintain its regular business hours.

To be flexible in the event of future governmental requirements, and to protect clients and team members, there will be NO NEW wellness appointments scheduled at this time. Already scheduled wellness appointments WILL be honored.

Appointments WILL be scheduled for sick, urgent and emergency care patients and for the services listed below. This difficult decision will be reviewed periodically to determine when new wellness appointments can be scheduled. Until Monday, April 6, though, West Loop Veterinary Care will see patients only for the following services:

  • Urgent or emergency care for sick or injured pets
  • End-of-life care for terminally ill pets
  • Surgery, including spay/neuter
  • Puppy and kitten vaccinations
  • Rabies vaccinations
  • Level 2 dental care for the health and comfort of the pet
  • Refill of prescriptions and food

If a pet has vaccines, other than rabies, that have lapsed or will lapse soon, please be aware that it will still be protected from the more serious viruses for at least a few more weeks, possibly longer. For pets that must have updated vaccinations for situations such as air travel and apartment leases, please contact a Patient Care Coordinator.  Rabies vaccines, which are required by law, will be administered to help the pet owner maintain compliance with the law. All cats and dogs in Illinois are required by law to have up-to-date rabies vaccinations. 

West Loop Veterinary Care has also adopted the following policies:

  • No clients are allowed inside the building, with the exception of special circumstances such as end-of-life care.
  • Curbside pickup and drop-off is available for food, medication and laboratory samples.
  • Curbside pickup and drop-off is also utilized for pet patients. Clinic leashes will be used for dogs, and cats must be brought in the owner’s carrier.
  • Tele-health appointments are available, as necessary.
  • Veterinarians and staff will communicate with clients via telephone or an online service.

West Loop Veterinary Care is committed to the health and well-being of patients, families and team members, and appreciates your understanding during this stressful time. As always, the team is here for you and your pet.

Remember, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is no indication that pets can become ill from or spread COVID-19. Details and the latest updates are at:

Centers for Disease Control: www.CDC.gov

World Health Organization: www.WHO.int

World Organisation for Animal Health: www.OIE.int

We extend our best wishes to you and your family during this difficult time. If we can be of assistance to you or your pet during this difficult time, please let us know.


Information is valid as of 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2020


Despite the COVID-19 crisis, West Loop Veterinary Care remains committed to providing outstanding care for pets and exceptional service to the people who love them. As we deal with the ramifications of COVID-19 (coronavirus), we will keep in touch with you via our website, email newsletters and our Facebook page. These sources will provide information about our practice and tips for keeping pets safe. The best source for the most up-to-date information about the overall situation is the U. S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at www.cdc.gov.

COVID-19 & Pets

There is no evidence to indicate that the COVID-19 virus is a danger to your pets. The CDC does recommend that people who have been sickened with COVID-19 avoid interactions with their pets. Learn more about COVID-19 and pets from Dr. Gonsky’s recent Blog on COVID-19 and, pets and from his recent News interviews.

COVID-19 & West Loop Veterinary Care

West Loop Veterinary Care is currently open and we are following our regular schedule. Our veterinarians and team members are providing the full-range of wellness services for pets and are able to see emergency patients during regular business hours.

We have changed some of our policies and procedures and are offering Curbside-No Contact service when possible.

To help minimize exposure for all, we have implemented the following:

  • Our team will NOT shake hands with clients.
  • If you are sick, please don’t come to our facility. Call us and we will try to accommodate your needs and provide care for your pet.
  • We can provide curbside service for those wishing to order food or medicine in advance.
  • We can provide curbside drop-off and pick up for day-stay appointments for pets.
  • In certain situations, we may be able to offer a tele-medicine appointment.

As you know, West Loop Veterinary Care maintains exceptionally high standards for cleanliness and order at our facility. We will continue to do the following, and as appropriate, will increase the frequency with which these steps occur:

  • Sanitize all door handles and doors
  • Sanitize floors
  • Sanitize all exam tables and equipment
  • Sanitize treatment areas
  • Sanitize equipment frequently touched by staff or clients including computers, keyboards, telephones and bank card terminals

Our schedule is designed to minimize wait times in our spacious reception area. You can also help minimize wait times by arriving on-time for your appointment.

We expect to maintain regular business hours and see and treat patients as usual. This includes wellness exams, dental care, surgery and emergency care.

You may find these websites helpful when looking for the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and pets.

Our entire team at West Loop Veterinary Care understands that this is a stressful time for everyone. Please know that we remain committed to the good health of your pets and appreciate the opportunity to partner with you to keep them safe and healthy. We hope each of you stays safe and healthy during the coming weeks as well.


COVID-19 (Coronavirus), Pets & People


COVID-19 & Pets
By David Gonsky, DVM
Founder & Chief Veterinary Officer
West Loop Veterinary Care

At West Loop Veterinary Care, we strive to provide clients with timely and accurate information important for the care of their pets. The information provided below is accurate as of March 9, 2020. Information may change as we learn more, so please check for the latest news at www.CDC.gov.

Here are answers to some of the more common questions we receive about COVID-19 and pets:

Q: Can our pets get COVID-19?

A: The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), has NOT reported any cases of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States. That said, a pet dog in Hong Kong has repeatedly tested “weak positive” for COVID-19, which indicates a low level of infection. The dog’s owner had previously been reported to have COVID-19 and it is believed that the dog may have contracted the virus from its owner. The dog has shown no signs of illness from the virus. Health care professionals and veterinary professionals are uncertain as to the meaning of the positive test result from this one dog. Officials will continue to monitor and test the dog, which is being cared for in a quarantine facility in Hong Kong.


Q:Can pets spread COVID-19?

A: According to the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO) and others, to date, there is no evidence that companion animals or pets can spread the virus.


Q: If a person has been exposed to COVID-19, are their pets at risk?

A: We don’t have enough information at this time for a definitive answer. Therefore, anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 should monitor their pet(s) for illness as they are monitoring their own health.


Q: If a person has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has pets, what should they do?

A: The CDC advises anyone with COVID-19 to tell their public health point of contact that they have pets or other animals in their home.

Additionally, the CDC says that people with COVID-19 who are identified by public health officials as requiring home care and isolation should maintain separation from pets and limit interaction with pets and other animals just as they would with other people.

Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 should avoid the following interactions with pets:

  • Petting
  • Snuggling
  • Being kissed by or kissing the pet
  • Being licked by the pet
  • Sharing food with pets.

The CDC suggests that when possible, a healthy household member should be designated to care for pets in the home. Service animals should be permitted to remain with their handlers.

If the individual in home care and isolation must care for pet(s), including service animals, they should:

  • Thoroughly wash their hands before and after caring for pets
  • Wear a facemask while interacting with pets

This practice should continue until they are medically cleared to return to normal activities.  Pet owners should continue to monitor news about COVID-19 from the CDC (www.CDC.gov).


Q: If I have COVID-19 and my pet shows symptoms of illness, should I take my pet to my veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital?

A: If you have been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 and your pet shows symptoms of illness, the pet should be isolated from other animals in the house and the owner should call their veterinarian or a veterinary emergency center. The owner should be sure to tell the veterinary facility of the potential or actual exposure to COVID-19. Pets exposed to COVID-19 should not be taken to a veterinary clinic or veterinary hospital without first calling and explaining the situation. The clinic or hospital may need to contact the state veterinarian or may want to utilize an isolation protocol in caring for the pet. This will help protect your pet from other potential contaminations and help reduce any risk to people and other animals.

At West Loop Veterinary Care, we may be able to provide you and your pet with a tele-medicine appointment to determine the best next steps. Regular appointment rates apply.  


 Q: In general, what steps can pet owners take to keep their pets healthy?

A: The best way to help pets fight off any potential illness or disease is to make certain that they have:

  • Good nutrition
  • Plenty of exercise
  • See their veterinarian regularly
  • Up-to-date vaccinations
  • Protection from pests and parasites


We hope you and your pets remain safe during this outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. At this time, West Loop Veterinary Care continues to maintain our regular hours and provide regular services to our clients and their pets. We will update clients via our newsletter and Facebook page should the situation change. If you do not currently receive our newsletter and would like to be added to our mailing list, please send your email address with a request to be added to our newsletter list to:  info@WestLoopVet.com.


Dr. David Gonsky

Pet Dental Health

Dental health is closely linked to your pet’s overall health and happiness. Caring for your cat or dog’s dental hygiene can extend the length and improve the quality of your pet’s life. Poor dental hygiene can lead to a number of tooth and gum-related issues, including periodontal disease, gingivitis, tooth decay, broken teeth and abscesses. It can also lead to infections elsewhere in the body, including the liver kidneys and heart.

Periodontal disease is the most common dental problem in both dogs and cats. Most pets will show early indications of the disease by the time they are 3 years old. Signs of dental problems include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Excessive drooling
  • Bad breath
  • Discolored teeth or visible tartar
  • Pain or sensitivity around their mouth
  • Abnormal chewing, such as chewing on one side of the mouth
  • Reduced appetite or refusing to eat

The best way to care for your pet’s health is through regular brushing. Our video shows you how to get your pet accustomed to having their teeth brushed https://youtu.be/18AzaS044S8. Our technicians can also assist in showing you the proper way to care for your pet’s teeth.

Pets may not cooperate initially, but you can gradually introduce it into their schedule. Daily tooth brushing can help reduce the build-up of tartar, which begins to form in just 24-hours. Be sure you use toothpaste intended for pets as human toothpastes may contain ingredients that are toxic to cats and dogs.

In addition to brushing, there are other products that can assist with dental care, including teeth wipes, dental chews, water additives and kibble specifically geared to improve dental health. Talk to your veterinarian about your options if you are unable to brush your pet’s teeth. Your veterinarian can recommend the products most appropriate for your pet’s situation.



With marijuana now legal in Illinois and many other states, it is important that pet owners be aware of the dangers of marijuana to pets. Marijuana in all forms can be toxic, and possibly even deadly, to pets. Edibles and concentrates can be especially toxic to pets. Marijuana edibles, such as brownies and candy, can have additional toxicity when made with chocolate, raisins, macadamia nuts, sugar-free sweeteners such as xylitol or other foods that are toxic to pets. Second-hand smoke can also be a problem for pets.

What if my pet ingests marijuana?

If a pet ingests marijuana, pet owners should immediately contact their veterinarian or a veterinary emergency center. Gather as much information as possible about what your pet consumed and how much your pet weighs. Do not try to treat them at home, and do not try to get your pet to vomit, unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian as it could make the pet’s condition worse.


Symptoms of marijuana toxicity in pets include:

  • dilated pupils
  • drooling
  • dribbling urine
  • lethargic but easily startled
  • difficulty walking
  • vomiting
  • fluctuating body temperatures.


Preventing pets from accessing marijuana is important. Store all marijuana products out of the reach of pets. This includes keeping all visitors’ coats, purses and bags out of reach. Keep pets on a leash and watch closely any time they are outside, as they may find lost or discarded marijuana on the ground.

Medical marijuana for pets

Occasionally, we will get questions from owners about medical marijuana prescriptions for their pet. Federal law prohibits veterinarians from recommending or prescribing marijuana, in any form, for pets.


Many pet owners ask about the use of CBD, or cannabidiol products for their pets. At this time, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any CBD products for use with animals. The FDA says that it cannot ensure the safety or effectiveness of CBD products for pets, which currently are not regulated for content, quality or safety. One of the concerns from the FDA is that CBD can cause negative side effects or interact with other medications.

Although studies are underway and early indications show that there may be some benefits to CBD use for pets, we do not yet understand the full effect of CBD on pets. Pet owners should talk with their veterinarian before using CBD products for their pet. Your veterinarian can guide you on how to best care for your pets and address any health issues they may have.

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