Meet the Team at Pewaukee Veterinary Service
Our team of vets are an exceptional bunch. Each has extensive training in veterinary medicine, and they are experts in various areas of special interest. No matter what you bring your pet in for, there’s a veterinarian who can give you an expert opinion. Learn about them below, and be sure to book an appointment soon to meet them in person!
What Are Our Clients Saying About Us?
Check out reviews from our current clients to learn more about why so many of Pewaukee’s pet parents bring their companions to us!
Dr. Randy Schuett
Dr. Randy Schuett is the co-owner and founder of Pewaukee Veterinary Service. He received his undergraduate and DVM degree from Kansas State University and opened the hospital in 1975 with the vision to give the surrounding communities, his clients, and their pets the best veterinary health care available. A former president of the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) and member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Dr. Randy has been active for many years in both associations in a variety of roles.
Dr. Randy's special interests include diagnostics, endoscopy, and laparoscopic surgery. He is a pioneer in the use of laparoscopic techniques in veterinary medicine, traveling nationwide — and even overseas — sharing his knowledge and expertise with other veterinary practitioners. His active involvement and technique refinement over the years with an ongoing research project, studying the use of laparoscopy in bear reproduction, hopefully, will allow researchers the ability to extend and enhance the breeding capabilities of bears and also of endangered species such as the giant panda.
Fishing, hunting, and enjoying the great outdoors keep Dr. Randy busy when he's not practicing as well as enjoying time with his family and seven grandchildren!
Dr. Jeff Schuett
Dr. Jeff Schuett joined his twin brother, Dr. Randy Schuett, as co-owner of the Pewaukee Veterinary Service in 1980. He received his DVM and B.S. degree from Kansas State University and is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners Certified in Canine and Feline Practice. The American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) seeks to promote the highest standards in contemporary veterinary hospital practice. Open only to established practitioners, the ABVP certifies its candidates in species-specific categories. Once certified, the practitioner must periodically recertify. Dr. Jeff has been a Diplomate of the ABVP in the canine/feline specialty since 1979 and was the first veterinarian to be certified in this specialty in the state of Wisconsin.
With over 38 years of experience in general practice, his special interests in practice are internal medicine, dentistry and orthopedics—especially cruciate repair. A strong advocate for both preventive and lifetime wellness care for pets, Dr. Jeff believes in addressing each pet’s unique breed and lifestyle as part of their individual healthcare plan.
When Dr. Jeff is not actively practicing, he enjoys upland game hunting and farming. He also enjoys his passion of training and competing with his Labradors in retriever field trial competition, and spending as much time as he can with his first grandson!
Dr. Tom Hirth
Dr. Tom graduated from the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in 1994. He also holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from UW Madison and joined the Pewaukee Veterinary Service team in 1997. His professional interests include diseases of the chest, and also diseases of the skin in cats and dogs. He is actively involved in continuing education, as are all of his colleagues here, and attends frequent educational meetings and conferences in veterinary medicine.
Dr. Tom and his wife enjoy the 'silent' outdoor sports of canoeing, biking, and fishing together. When forced to remain indoors, reading is also a favorite pastime of his—especially when keeping up to speed with the latest in honeybee society, biology, and diseases that affect honeybees. He's become what he terms 'a novice beekeeper of only a few years'—bringing the fruits of his bees' hard labor to work for all to enjoy!
A Memorable Moment
Practicing medicine demands curiosity and continued education—and often I’m in the role of teacher and educator. And then, sometimes our clients become our teachers.
I'll never forget PJ and her pet parent. She brought PJ, a senior cat who was very much young at heart, in to see me because she was pawing at the right side of her face and making exaggerated yawning motions. My thorough work-up included investigating the mouth pain by taking radiographs, and having a dental prophylaxis done. Nothing was found amiss.
Since PJ's owner was one of our very own staff members, I knew she was a diligent pet owner and health care advocate for PJ. She alerted me to PJ's likely condition through her own research she had done—Feline Orofacial Pain Syndrome (FOPS). It was a condition I was unfamiliar with.
FOPS appears to be a neuropathic pain disorder, similar to human trigeminal neuralgia, and is seen most often in Burmese cats. This suggests genetics may play a role in the disease. It’s often not responsive to the usual non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and opiate pain medications we would prescribe. However, there are neurogenic pain medications that may be helpful, such as gabapentin.
I’m grateful for that teachable moment and happy we found the answer to help PJ feel better.
Dr. Ann-Margret Morgan
Dr. Ann-Margret is a 1992 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College in Canada. She practiced for seven years in the Niagara Peninsula, gaining interest and knowledge in both complementary therapies and holistic medicine.
Once Dr. Ann-Margret 'crossed the Canadian border,' she practiced both traditional and holistic medicine for over six years with the Silver Spring Animal Wellness Center in Milwaukee, gaining experience with herbs and nutrition to complement her growing knowledge in the complementary therapies.
Attaining her certification in Veterinary Acupuncture by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, as well as her certification in Veterinary Spinal Manipulation by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association, she realized her true passion growing for rehabilitation medicine. Joining our team at Pewaukee Veterinary Service in 2006 as director of our Rehabilitation Center, Dr. Ann-Margret continues to broaden her special interests in pain management and nutritional therapies by practicing acupuncture, massage, herbal therapy, chiropractic, and therapeutic exercise.
Her passion for pets and rehabilitation medicine continues as her journey comes full circle with her becoming a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist (CCRT). As an active member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management, she enjoys sharing her knowledge of complementary and rehabilitation medicine with our clients to help address the unique health needs of their pets.
When she's not practicing and pursuing her many interests in rehabilitative medicine, she enjoys relaxing by flexing her culinary muscles (Top Chef—look out!), gardening, and traveling.
A Memorable Moment
George, a big lovable Labrador mix, came to visit me with his owner one day. George had been hit by a car and sustained an injury to his left front leg that left the leg paralyzed. Even though he ultimately had to have his leg amputated, it didn’t slow George down—in spirit, or zest for life, one iota.
He comes twice a week religiously for his hydrotherapy sessions with us and wears a supportive brace on his right front leg to help keep it strong (since now it’s doing the work of two!). In addition to his hydrotherapy, George also receives spinal manipulation. This therapy helps to reduce the stress to his neck and back, which happens when a limb is lost and the rest of the body is working hard to compensate.
George is also working hard to lose some weight. Getting him down to a healthier weight will help ease stress on his joints and really help his mobility. He’s making great progress and you can tell he’s really proud of himself!
Through everything George has been through, he never stops smiling—he’s a true inspiration to us all at the practice. His picture even graces our rehabilitation center hydrotherapy room as inspiration to others who may be struggling with the same challenges. He’s a rehab hero!
Dr. Nick Schuett
Dr. Nick received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. Upon graduation, he relocated to North Carolina and began practicing veterinary medicine at Hinkle's Pet Hospital, offering surgical and urgent care services. At Hinkle’s Pet Hospital, Dr. Nick performed many surgeries allowing him the opportunity to hone his surgical skills. He was also involved in assisting local canine officers and members of the animal control division of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department and takes great pride in the work he accomplished with them in North Carolina.
Dr. Nick relocated back to his native Wisconsin in 2013 to join the team at Pewaukee Veterinary Service. With his growing interests in orthopedic and arthroscopic procedures, Dr. Nick found he really enjoys helping patients suffering from knee injuries. His goal in providing surgical options for these patients is also helping to decrease surgical healing times to return the patient to their full function post-surgery, as soon as possible. He enjoys keeping abreast of new surgical procedures and treatment techniques to ensure his patients receive the highest quality healthcare possible.
When Dr. Nick isn’t practicing medicine, he enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, fly fishing, snowboarding, and the great outdoors—his pups join them often on their outdoor excursions!
A Memorable Moment
I had the pleasure of meeting Maddie—a very sweet 13-year-old Golden Retriever that has been coming to Pewaukee Veterinary Service with her parents for the last few years. Maddie's ‘mom’ first brought her here on a recommendation from a friend who had been a client of our practice for years with her own pets. For nearly 10 years prior to me seeing her for the first time, Maddie suffered from severe reverse sneezing episodes that would occur multiple times throughout the day. She had been seen by multiple other veterinarians for the symptoms with no diagnosis made to date. Frustrating for sure!
After reviewing Maddie's health history, it became obvious that she had already been through some thorough medical evaluations from my fellow colleagues in their efforts to figure out what was happening with her nose. I proceeded as well to give Maddie a thorough evaluation exam and also diagnostics in my efforts to get to the bottom of her sneezing issues. One potential reason, not previously considered, was a possible infection from a small external parasite known as a nasal mite (pneumonyssoides caninum).
While nasal mites are not a common infection in dogs in the Midwest, they are found worldwide. Long-lasting nasal discharge or sneezing that doesn’t behave like a regular upper respiratory infection means the nasal mite very well may be the culprit.
I treated Maddie with two doses of an anti-parasitic medication, which was given to her three weeks apart—almost instantly she experienced relief from her symptoms. The reverse sneezing that had been plaguing poor Maddie for almost a decade was gone. And even better news—Maddie has been free of nasal issues for at least two years and going strong!
Dr. Kelly Flowers
Dr. Kelly received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015. Many remember Dr. Kelly long before she became a veterinarian with us since her career at Pewaukee Veterinary Service actually began in 1998. She joined our team as a veterinary technician intern when she was still in school at the Madison Area Technical College. Upon graduation, she became a Certified Veterinary Technician, and for many years, worked hand-in-hand with our doctors helping many of our clients and their pets.
Dr. Kelly loved working in the veterinary profession so much she decided to go back to school to pursue her dream of becoming a veterinarian. With the support of her husband, her children, her family—and, of course, all of us here cheering her on—she juggled both working at the practice and attending school full-time to graduate with flying colors and now we're so proud she's part of our team of veterinarians!
Enjoying all aspects of veterinary medicine, Dr. Kelly loves serving our clients and their pets, as their veterinarian. When she’s not practicing medicine, Dr. Kelly has several passions she loves to indulge in—most importantly spending time with her family. She has a small hobby farm with Nubian goats (Moose & Delilah), eight chickens (her kids know them all by name!), Emma the Mastiff mix, Charley the Great Dane, George the cat, and of course, who can forget Bacon—their Juliana pig! Her household is busy as you can imagine with four-legged family members and five children.
Summertime camping (yes, the dogs and their pig join them), road trips out west to see national parks and landmarks, and enjoying the great outdoors are on Dr. Kelly’s ‘love to do’ list. When the cold in Wisconsin comes a calling, she heads out with the family to the warmer weather—which includes sand, lots of beach time, and enjoying her family’s love of snorkeling and seeing the world with its creatures that live under the water. All share a love of the ocean and have been to Cozumel, Cancun, Puerto Morelos, and Riviera Maya and look forward to more tropical destinations to explore!
Read more about Kelly.
A Memorable Moment
“Cedar,” a sweet and highly loved Vizsla, had come to pay me a visit at the practice. I had seen her many times since meeting her in November of 2015. Unfortunately, she has a two-year history of immune-mediated polymyositis—this means her body reacts to and attacks her own skeletal muscle.
After her diagnosis, she was started on immunosuppressive drugs to dampen the immune system’s assault on her body. Over time, her medication was slowly reduced and eventually discontinued. Sadly, her symptoms returned time and time again. Cedar came back to visit me with her parents because the classic signs of her disease returned. We began treatment once again, but unfortunately, she continued to do poorly with the method of treatment. Two weeks later, she was back to see me with her parents. Her classic myositis signs improved but now she was also vomiting off and on, developed soft stools, and had not eaten well in six days—she lost a significant amount of weight, too.
This poor sweet pup was wasting away quickly and I was determined to do all I could to help her. My first thought was to look at the combination of medication she was taking. I knew it wasn’t uncommon for dogs on these medications to develop an upset stomach. I treated her clinical signs to give her some relief and then moved forward with bloodwork diagnostics. I found out from her blood that her potassium was high, her sodium low, and her kidney enzymes were elevated. With this trio of abnormalities I was looking at, I knew it was a disease called Addison’s, or hypoadrenocorticism. A baseline cortisol (a natural steroid) test found her level to be less than 1. So my next step was to admit her for an ACTH stimulation test. This test challenges her adrenal gland to produce cortisol. Her test result once again was less than 1; so now I had confirmation her adrenal glands could not produce the cortisol steroid her body needed to survive.
Addison’s is an uncommon disease affecting less than 0.5% of the dog population. It’s a condition in which the immune system destroys all three layers of the adrenal gland. Each layer of the adrenal gland is responsible for different tasks. The outer layer (zona glomerulosa) is in charge of making and secreting mineralocorticoid hormones, most importantly aldosterone. Aldosterone is responsible for regulating the body's electrolytes. The middle layer, the zona fasciculata, makes the glucocorticoid hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is important to every cell in the body, regulates blood pressure, blood vessel tone and health, and counteracts stress. The third layer of the adrenal gland is responsible for secreting sex hormones.
So why the increase in kidney enzymes? Ill dogs stop drinking, become dehydrated, and prerenal azotemia (which means increased BUN and creatinine) develops. Once dehydration is treated, the kidney enzymes return to normal.
Addison’s Disease is known as the “Great Pretender” because it can mimic anything. Dogs may have sudden symptoms or have waxing and waning symptoms over a length of time. “Stressful” events such as boarding, grooming, or if they have another disease can exacerbate the signs. Symptoms are vague and include weakness or lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, and decreased appetite.
Diagnosis is made by performing an ACTH stimulation test, as Cedar received. When challenged, the adrenal gland should make excess steroid. If unable to do so, the level will be low.
So what’s the treatment for Addison’s Disease? It consists of replacing glucocorticoid the body fails to naturally produce. This is done by giving a small dose of Prednisone (steroid) daily. Mineralocorticoid supplementation is also given by injection every 25-28 days. This regulates the body’s sodium and potassium levels. Once the body receives what it needs, these once very sick dogs return to normal health and have a great prognosis for a long, happy life.
I’m happy to say that Cedar is months past her diagnosis and is doing fantastic! She continues her immunosuppressive medication to treat her polymyositis, takes her daily dose of steroids, and has her parents give her a little “poke” every 28 days to control her electrolytes. She’s gained weight, energy, and is pain-free, too. I smile to myself when I think of her and know that this is what being a veterinarian is all about.
Dr. Carolynn Hamm
Dr. Carolynn received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015. Originally from the area, she found herself starting her career as a veterinarian at a large veterinary practice that served the Stow Kent communities in Northeast Ohio. She practiced preventative medicine, as well as emergency critical care, performing many surgical procedures from routine spays and neuters to a variety of soft tissue surgeries.
Dr. Carolynn found that even though she enjoyed Ohio, she and her husband wanted to come back to Wisconsin to be closer to their friends and family. As a classmate of Dr. Kelly Flowers at UW-Madison's School of Veterinary Medicine, it didn't take long before she found her way back home—and we love having her on our team!
Dr. Carolynn enjoys practicing a wide variety of medicine and has a keen interest in solving the many allergies and dermatological conditions affecting so many pets. When she's not working, you’ll find her with her husband and her Great Dane, Presley, tending to the rather large garden she has and tackling projects around her home. She and her husband love to explore the Lake Country area where they live, and bike on the trails and of course boat on the countless lakes they explore. You may even see her out and about since she delivers Meals on Wheels to those in need in her Oconomowoc community.
Once the weather turns brisk, you’ll find her taking in the fine arts at the Milwaukee Performing Art Center and Overture Center. She’s also an avid reader and traveler—having explored Australia, Costa Rica, and Europe already, she’s adding more to her list of must-sees!
A Memorable Moment
I’ll never forget Cooper—a 14-week-old, Border Collie Mix puppy, who I saw early on a Monday morning for extreme lethargy, pale gums, difficulty breathing, and a bloody nose. He was immediately rushed into the treatment area by our technical team for assessment, which was when he and I first met.
While I was examining him, I knew he was in serious trouble and saw his condition worsen in front of my eyes—he appeared to go from a stupor to bordering on comatose. I found his gums were ghost white, epistaxis (bloody nose) from his right nostril, slow ocular (eye) reflexes, tachycardia (fast heartbeat), a loud heart murmur, and muffled breathing sounds. We placed Cooper on oxygen immediately because he was having difficulty breathing, and an intravenous catheter was placed so we could give him intravenous fluid therapy to help stabilize his blood pressure. At the same time, blood samples were being collected so we could run stat labwork in-house to find out what was happening.
His laboratory results showed he had extreme anemia (low red blood cell count), low blood proteins, and clotting times that were too long to even register on the analyzer we have. With this information, I could determine quickly that Cooper had likely gotten into a rodenticide (mice bait or rat poison) and was bleeding to death. We needed to act fast to save his life.
Talking to his parents, they were certain that Cooper had no access to any rodenticide and that they did not have any in their new house. Despite their certainty that Cooper did not have any exposure to rat poison, I explained to them that in a young dog with laboratory results that Cooper has, the diagnosis strongly shows rodenticide toxicity until I can prove otherwise. Understanding the critical life and death situation their beloved pup was in and that he would need intensive care to have a chance to survive, Cooper’s owners told me to treat Cooper with whatever we felt was needed to save his life.
My team of veterinary technicians and I got to work quickly. While Cooper was on oxygen to help with his breathing, we gave him an emergency blood transfusion—this would get Cooper more blood, platelets, and clotting factors to help slow down his bleeding. We also gave him an injection of Vitamin K. This treatment is the key to treating rodenticide intoxication because anti-coagulate rodenticides prevent the body from using its Vitamin K to make valuable clotting factors—and you need these factors to stop bleeding. After Cooper received his transfusion, he became more alert and I began to see the pink color returning to his gums, however, his breathing was still shallow and rapid. Because he was too unstable to be moved, I couldn’t take an X-ray to see if he was bleeding into his lungs, so an ultrasound was performed where we found a large amount of blood in his chest. This blood was compressing his lungs, making it hard for him to breathe. A large amount of blood was removed with a needle and this helped improve his breathing. Even though he was breathing easier, he was still very lethargic and not really responsive to me and his surroundings. Medication was given to help reduce swelling in his brain and this helped him to really start improving.
At this point, I was anxious to speak with Cooper’s owners with the good news that he was improving and becoming more stable. They were incredibly relieved to hear this, and told me that they had taken a break from their vigil at the hospital to go home and scour their house for signs of rat bait—and they had found an empty container of d-CON under some furniture left by the previous homeowners. Learning what they found was d-CON was incredibly important information for me because it confirmed Cooper’s diagnosis and treatment of the right syndrome.
Cooper remained on oxygen throughout the day and had to have blood removed from his chest a few more times. That afternoon, even though he was continuing to improve, it wasn’t as fast as I was hoping for, so we gave him another blood transfusion. After this second transfusion, Cooper perked up enough to where he could actually get up and walk around outside—he even ate a whole can of dog food!
At this point, I felt Cooper was stable enough for me to recheck his red blood cell count, which after checking I found had doubled with the treatment he received. He was also stable enough for us to move him to take an X-ray. The X-ray showed he still had quite a lot of blood in his chest and also some staples in his colon—the staples were likely from the d-CON container. Cooper was breathing better, however, he would require emergency care overnight to ensure he remained stable.
We transferred him to the Wisconsin Veterinary Referral Center, where he received an additional plasma transfusion and was kept on oxygen overnight. By mid-morning the next day, Cooper was able to be weaned off oxygen and he was back to his normal puppy self—he even came back to our practice to visit us and show how great he was doing! For the next month, it was necessary for Cooper to stay on the Vitamin K therapy to help support his clotting until his body could make and use its own Vitamin K. When Cooper came in for his one month recheck, his clotting times returned to normal and he was able to stop the Vitamin K therapy. Everyone he saw just loved him up, relieved and very happy to see him back to his old adorable, high-energy puppy self!
Anticoagulant rodenticides are the most widely used rodenticides in the United States and it can take anywhere from 3-7 days after ingestion for signs of life-threatening bleeding to become apparent. They are often sweet tasting which makes them attractive for pets to eat. In addition to anticoagulant rodenticides, there are other types of rodenticides that are bromethalin based, and cause seizures and even death, and cholecalciferol-based rodenticides that cause kidney failure and heart arrhythmias. Telling your veterinarian what type of rodenticide your pet ingested is critical information to know for effective treatment.
If you suspect your pet has ingested any type of animal bait, call Animal Poison Control (888-426-4435) right away or get them to your veterinarian immediately. It really is a matter of life or death.
Dr. Jeff Baker
Dr. Jeff's passion for wanting a career helping animals began at an early age. He graduated from the University of Michigan where he received a bachelor’s degree and master's degree in wildlife biology. Working with human facial orthopedics research at the university's dental and medical schools, he found he really enjoyed the surgical aspects of the field. This led Dr. Jeff to pursue his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, graduating with honors in 1989 from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Upon graduation, Dr. Jeff started practicing at a very busy hospital in the Metro Detroit area, honing his skills in orthopedic surgery along with his volunteer interests of serving on the council of the SE Michigan Veterinary Medical Association. Moving to the Milwaukee area with his wife in 1999, he joined the practice of a fellow colleague from veterinary school and developed a strong interest in orthopedic surgery. Working with techniques for cranial cruciate injuries such as the Arthrex TightRope CCL and Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA), Dr. Jeff also expanded his surgical expertise with laparoscopy, cystoscopy, vaginoscopy, and rhinoscopy.
Dr. Jeff joined our team at Pewaukee Veterinary Service in 2016, bringing over 27 years of medical and surgical expertise — he loves to share his knowledge and educate clients. He hopes to continue to build on his knowledge to help our clients keep their pets happy and healthy for years to come.
When not practicing medicine, Dr. Jeff enjoys a number of outdoor activities — and quite the busy outdoorsman he is! Although they rarely get the chance as of late, both he and his wife, Melody, enjoy sailing and are avid scuba divers. They enjoyed doing some diving in the Great Lakes area, particularly in Michigan and Tobermory, Ontario, Canada, but really prefer the warmer waters of the sub-tropics. Their diving adventures have taken them to Florida, California, Hawaii, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Cozumel, Belize, Honduras, Bonaire, Cyprus, and Zanzibar. Next up on the bucket list is the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and Truk Lagoon in Micronesia!
Dr. Jeff also enjoys taking advantage of water sports around here, as well as throughout the US — stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and fly-fishing for trout and steelhead. His favorite areas to fish include the spring creeks in the Driftless Area of southwest Wisconsin, northern Wisconsin, and the rivers of western Michigan, Montana, and Colorado. His fish bucket list includes the famed steelhead rivers of the Northwest and Scotland. When the weather turns, it doesn’t deter him in the least — he goes downhill skiing.
And when he’s bitten by the travel bug, both Dr. Jeff and his wife have visited Canada, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, the Caribbean, England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Cyprus, Tanzania and Zanzibar, Myanmar, multiple trips to Thailand and Laos, and Hong Kong. Moving forward, he wants to head to Scotland to trace his wife’s Fraser Clan roots!
A lot of their travel is geared for having fun; however, some is associated with their love of working to support the mission of a nonprofit, non-government organization called Partnership for Sustainable Aid. This agency fosters partnerships with key national leaders of self-sustainable agencies and institutions that serve the needy and vulnerable in SE Asia. He serves as the agency’s Vice Chairman and is on the Board of Directors.
Enjoying his wife’s wonderful cooking and baking masterpieces, the occasional glass of a good red wine, helping with his church’s mission work, and walking his energetic Golden Retriever, Fraser, in the hills of the Kettle Moraine prove to be his ‘best medicine.'
A Memorable Moment
A beautiful 7-year-old, spayed female Golden Retriever by the name of Abby came to see me. She was recently diagnosed with pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism (more commonly known as ‘Cushing’s Disease’) and had seen me multiple times in the last six months for urinary tract infections. Each time she came in for her infection, a urinalysis was performed and the urine was also cultured in efforts to find out what the culprit was. When the results of the culture came back and the reason for the infection found, she was given an antibiotic to clear it up. Each time this happened to her, she was treated for approximately two weeks, then she’d have a follow-up urinalysis and culture—the resulting culture would show a negative result proving the infection cleared up.
One day, Abby came to see me because her owners found she had blood in her urine. This was approximately one week after finishing her last round of antibiotics for the previous infection I saw her for. How frustrating for Abby and her parents! We performed an ultrasound and radiographs as I was searching for a possible contributing factor that was making Abby susceptible to recurrent urinary tract infections. The ultrasound I found wasn’t that helpful because I found an unusual gas shadow that obscured my view of what was actually in her bladder. The X-rays of her abdomen showed a dark rim of gas around the entire inner surface of her bladder, outlining the urine in her bladder.
The X-ray findings were confirmation of a rare condition called Emphysematous Cystitis. This literally means that there is an infection of bacteria that is growing in the mucosa or lining of the bladder and producing gas in the mucosa. This is the first case of this condition I had seen in my 27 years of practice, it’s that rare. When this condition does occur, it is mostly seen in diabetic dogs. In those cases, there is usually sugar in the urine that acts as a good source of food for bacteria making the conditions nearly perfect for chronic bladder infections. In Abby’s case, I knew she wasn’t diabetic but had Cushing’s Disease. Meaning, with Cushing’s, her adrenal glands are overactive and produce high levels of cortisol. This condition often suppresses a patient’s regular ability to fight off infections.
I had both anaerobic and aerobic cultures completed on Abby’s urine—I was going to get to the bottom of this. An E. coli organism was found in the urine cultures; however, no organism was found on the anaerobic cultures. I put Abby on two separate antibiotics for a total of 40 days, which I felt confident would take care of eliminating her E. coli infections, and just in case there were other undetected anaerobic bacteria sneaking around that could cause the gas formation in her bladder lining.
I then saw Abby for her recheck appointment after 27 days of treatment. Her symptoms had disappeared, but she was still on both the antibiotics I gave her. I did another series of X-rays of her bladder, as well as an ultrasound, and was very happy to find no appearance of gas in her bladder lining—all looked great! Her recheck urinalysis also showed me she had no visible signs of bacteria either. I scheduled one more recheck appointment with me in a week, just after she finished the antibiotics, and I planned to do one more X-ray, urinalysis, and a urine culture just to be sure the medications did their job and she was in the clear. Finally, no more infections and Abby’s back to her bouncy, happy Golden Retriever self!
Dr. Lisa Nashold
Dr. Lisa graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. She also holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Biomedical Sciences with a minor in Neuroscience from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which she obtained in 2011. While pursuing her research in respiratory neuroplasticity, she completed the science-based Medical Acupuncture for Veterinarians certification program held at the Colorado State University campus in 2009. Dr. Lisa has been a lecturer of courses in biology, anatomy and physiology, and zoology at UW Madison, UW Milwaukee, Madison College, and Carroll University.
Dr. Lisa and her husband are avid gardeners with vegetable gardens, fruit trees, berries, and flowers that keep them busy canning and preserving the fruits of their efforts. They have been beekeepers for many years with hives at their home and at the family farm where Dr. Lisa grew up. They also enjoy occasional travels and canoe trips on Wisconsin’s beautiful lakes and rivers.
A Memorable Moment
Veterinary medicine provides many challenging cases that keep me aware of each animal as a whole and not a single problem. I’ll always remember a sweet German Shepherd, Ziva, and her owners, who brought her in feeling so sad for her. They had tried everything they could but could not stop Ziva’s relentless itching and rubbing that resulted in hair loss almost everywhere on her body, skin infections, and a dog that was feeling miserable and didn’t want to get up, play, and or even eat much anymore. None of the many previous antibiotics, parasite treatments, or anti-itch medications had made this sweet dog feel better, and the owners were almost ready to give up because they couldn’t stand to see her suffer like this.
I knew we needed a comprehensive approach and we had to look at all of Ziva’s issues at once. A diagnostic work-up included skin scrapings to check for parasites, skin biopsies to check for immune system conditions, skin swabs with culture and sensitivity testing for bacterial infections, and blood testing for hormonal disorders. We found a lot of issues to address. First, there was a severe skin infection with three different bacteria that were each resistant to most of the antibiotics tested. There were two uncommon antibiotics needed to control these infections. Now, the underlying itching due to allergies had to be addressed. And finally, the blood tests found that some of the chronic changes in her skin and her low energy were the result of a hormonal disorder, hypothyroidism. That is now well-controlled with a thyroid supplement.
Today, Ziva keeps her other dog friend at home busy playing with her, and her super joyful, sweet disposition shines through!
Dr. Hillary Geipel
Dr. Hillary is a Pewaukee native and the first Pewaukee High School alumna to join the PVS team as a veterinarian. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin in 2018. Throughout her education, Dr. Hillary gained additional experience while employed at UW Veterinary Care's critical care unit and also at a local emergency veterinary clinic. Dr. Hillary has many interests in veterinary medicine, including emergency and urgent care, and the challenge of problem-solving neurology issues.
Dr. Hillary currently does not own any pets, but she spends a lot of time with her "dog niece" Lola and plans on adopting a Brittany Spaniel in the near future. During her time off, Dr. Hillary can be found running around the Pewaukee area. She enjoys long-distance running and has raced in several marathons, including the Boston Marathon. Dr. Hillary is a triplet and she values spending time with her family.