Allentown Animal Clinic

Allentown Animal Clinic

Many people refer to their pets as “fur babies” with good reason: just as with human children, pet owners are responsible for everything their pets need, including medical care when necessary. The staff at Allentown Animal Clinic (AAC) has been a healing force for ailing pets since the 1980s.

Dr. Debra Schoenberger opened the practice in the basement of a dental office in the 2800 block of Walbert Ave., near the clinic’s current location. “Dr. Schoenberger operated it on her own for years,” recalled Dr. Judy Rutkowski, DVM, lead veterinarian at AAC. “As her business grew, she hired me as her first associate. Just a year later, she retired, and I bought the practice.” The clinic moved to its present location at 2640 Walbert Ave. in 1994.

Today, the Allentown Animal Clinic’s five doctors treat the full spectrum of dogs and cats, as well as more exotic animals. “That group includes snakes, lizards, guinea pigs, rabbits—we even saw some pot-bellied pigs during that fad. Those are unusual animals for this area,” she said. (But owners of sick pet fish must go elsewhere.)

Rutkowski relies on a staff of about 25 to keep things running smoothly, and the lineup includes veterinarians, licensed veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, and a coterie of customer service reps, kennel personnel, and other support staff. Because of the clinic’s long hours (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday) the staff rotates through various shifts.

“Basically, everything that a physician can do for humans, we can do for pets,” Rutkowski said. And a pet’s medical care can be practically as complex as our own. The staff at Allentown Animal Clinic is trained in such areas as internal medicine, surgery, cardiology, dermatology, fracture repair, and diabetes management, among others. But, just as your own family physician would do, if your pet’s needs exceed AAC’s capabilities, the clinic will refer you to a specialist.

AAC treats pets at every life stage from infancy to old age. For starters, that includes ultrasound and x-ray exams to determine pregnancies, complete pre-natal services, and all necessary vaccinations for the little ones.

As your pet grows and ages, its medical needs will change too, and Allentown Animal Clinic is ready for them. Some of its general services include:
• Full-service dental care, including ultrasonic cleaning, extractions, flap surgeries and digital dental x-rays. “Many pets have dental problems,” Rutkowski said, “but they have no voice to complain, and so their owners may be unaware of the conditions.” An infection in the mouth or a tooth could easily enter the pet’s bloodstream and spread throughout the body.

• Digital pet radiology, which allows medical staff to view images of a pet’s organs that would be unattainable without invasive methods.

• A well-stocked pharmacy, for on-the-spot provision of flea, tick and heartworm preventatives, as well as antibiotics and other medications that promote a pet’s health and well-being.

Just as with humans, a little “routine maintenance” on our pets can help avoid serious future consequences. “So many things are preventable through regular care,” she said. “There are vaccines for distemper, herpes virus, and rabies. Taking steps to prevent fleas and ticks can help avoid Lyme and other diseases spread by those pests. Proper nutrition, weight control and screening blood work are other ways to help pets stay healthy.”

Our furry friends face other challenges, too, such as getting lost or being stolen. The American Humane Association estimates that over 10 million dogs and cats disappear each year. Microchipping at AAC is a safe and effective way of identifying your pet in such circumstances. The tiny devices, which are placed under the skin, contain your contact information and can increase the chances of your pet’s return.

But regardless of the love and care you’ve provided, age, diseases, or injuries can devastate a pet’s quality of life; many times, euthanasia is the only humane solution to your pet’s suffering. AAC can help guide you through each step of this difficult process.

In addition, Allentown Animal Clinic provides many services to local animal rescue groups, including Outcast Rescue, Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue, and Peaceable Kingdom.

“We hold fundraisers for them, and collect needed items like food, beds, and toys,” said Susan Young, practice administrator. “The clinic also provides pre-adoption medical services at discounted rates, which are paid from the adoption fee.”

In our efforts to keep our companion animals healthy, asking “Dr. Google” for advice can be appealing. But that’s not always the best approach. “Misinformation is so prevalent,” Rutkowski said, “and it’s difficult for people to wade through it as they search for facts. It can be dangerous to listen to unknown sources. Instead, develop a good relationship with a trusted medical professional. That’s how you’ll get accurate advice.”

Allentown Animal Clinic
2640 Walbert Ave

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