Buffalo Grove, Lincolnshire boast ‘the Mayo Clinic of veterinary medicine’
While veterinary assistant Gianna Brescia makes adjustments on a machine, technician Jena Komosa tends to the patient, Link, Sept. 11 at the Veterinary Specialty Center. | Michelle LaVigne ~ for Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 9, 2012 8:56AM
LINCOLNSHIRE — The letter was framed, posted on the wall, and heartfelt.
It was a thank you note from someone whose friend died in the adjacent room. Although she lost her friend in that medical center, the letter’s writer made sure to express her appreciation for the care her friend received before cancer claimed him.
“Montana was a happy, loving, beautiful genetic defect who never should have made it past his first birthday,” the writer explained.
Montana was a dog, and his owner sought treatment for his cancer, ulcers, bad hips and more at Veterinary Specialty Center, 1515 Busch Parkway, located on the border between Buffalo Grove and Lincolnshire.
Calling themselves “the Mayo Clinic of veterinary medicine,” the group hired seven new staff members in September, including an oncologist, surgeon, radiologist, neurologist and a specialist in sports medicine and rehab — all for animals.
“It’s one place that people can bring their pets to treat conditions with input from multiple disciplines,” explained JoAnn Stewart, the hospital director.
Founded in 1976, the veterinary center occupies a 26,000-square-foot, 110-parking-space medical facility for dogs and cats, to other household pets, racers and show creatures.
As the new hires’ expertise indicates, the center offers much of the same equipment hospitals have. The center is capable of performing brain surgery, chemotherapy, hip replacements, ultra sounds, MRIs and CT scans.
“We say ‘CT’ because it’s corny to say ‘CAT’ scan,” Stewart said.
Marketing consultant Sarajenie Smith noted that some of that equipment actually the same as those humans go under.
“No one builds it for veterinary medicine,” she said.
But the center is not a walk-in facility, Stewart added. To become a client, one’s regular veterinarian must provide a referral. The center’s regular clients also include show kennels and racing groups, but many of the new faces, and tails, that come in are families deeply attached to a four-legged friend. The owners typically have the means to give their pets extensive care.
“There are people with mutts that will spend $10,000 on their mutt,” Stewart said. “It’s the attachment level that people have with the pets that causes them to come here.”
And that level of attachment included the owner of Montana, who worked with Veterinary Specialty Center for years to cure her dog’s many ails.
Montana ultimately gave his owner 10 years before she decided that he was suffering too much. His last day came in 2005, and the two spent their last moments together in the center’s visitation room, decorated with soft woods, comfortable furniture, tissue boxes and several memorials from other animal lovers — all grateful for the care they received in the hospital.