The Fear Free Movement Continues at Oakview Vet

Last year ten members of our staff completed the first level of certification of the Fear Free program developed by Dr. Marty Becker. The goal of the Fear Free program is to provide the best care for our patients by limiting fear, anxiety and stress as much as possible during a veterinary visit.. This year we have decided to continue onto the second level of certification. The second level of certification provides more in-depth education in the areas of patient handling, advanced handling techniques, and in-hospital care. In addition to step by step procedures, the modules feature numerous videos detailing procedures, handling techniques and client communication examples. Each member who is completing the second level certification views the module and completes a quiz at the end. We then meet monthly to discuss what we learned and how to best utilize the information in our daily practice.

LK Fear Free

Our staff feels it is important to continue learning how to recognize fear, anxiety and stress (FAS) in your pets and the best methods to minimize these as much as possible. Our goal at Oakview Veterinary Medical Center is to make your, and your pet’s, visit to our clinic as stress free and enjoyable as possible. This helps us do our jobs better by allowing us to deliver high quality care as we look after the physical and emotional well-being of our patients. We then can practice better medicine because we can get more accurate vital signs and diagnoses, thus providing the best treatment options.

When your pet is relaxed and eating delicious treats during their visit at the clinic it is easier for our veterinarians to complete a thorough physical exam. This is as important during a wellness exam as it is when your pet is sick. Because our patients can’t tell us what is wrong, or where it hurts, we must rely on our pet owner’s observations and the physical exam to tell us where to look or what tests to run. Often during a wellness visit we find new lumps or dental disease that owners were not aware of. If a pet is stressed and it is difficult to complete the exam, then we may not find these important issues.

Cat Cheese Beard
A cheese beard is a sign of a happy vet visit!

We have patients that love coming to our clinic, gladly take treats and allow a comprehensive physical exam. But we also have patients that are nervous, stressed or fearful. One way we can decrease the anxiety associated with a trip to the veterinary clinic is through “happy visits.” Happy visits are just that, a visit to the clinic that is a pleasant experience. This month we will detail what happy visits entail and give some examples of how they may help your pet feel less anxious about a veterinary clinic visit.

For more information about how we currently implement fear free at Oakview, please visit our website.

by Lisa Karnitz, DVM

Dr Lisa Karnitz - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI

Dr. Karnitz graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 2004. She has been in practice ever since. She was also the resident veterinarian at the Globe University for two years.
Dr. Karnitz has a special interest in dentistry and internal medicine.
She shares her home with her husband, two children, and a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel named Harry.


On the 2nd Day of Christmas for Pets

On the 2nd day of Christmas my human gave to me…

2 Chuck-Its for my puppy!

and a puzzle bowl under the tree

Chuck-It is a brand of toys best known for its ball and launcher. It’s nice because it has something for everyone. You can get a tennis ball, a whistler ball, or a squeaker ball. And for the human involved, we can throw it much further with less effort using the launcher they developed. So, for the dog with endless energy, this is the toy for you!

Watch it in action!




We are so excited to share with you our 12 days of Christmas Pet Style!! We love our pets and we know that you do to, so we want to share some of our favorite items with you.

In addition we are giving away one of every item that we mentioned in our blog, all you have to do to have a chance to win is:

  1. Send us an email at with your contact information
  2. Follow our blog
  3. Be able to pick up your prize at Oakview Veterinary Medical Center in Plover, WI within 1 week of being notified that you have won
  4. Employees of Oakview cannot enter.

You may be a lucky winner of a special gift for your beloved furry friend. By submitting an entry to our email you are agreeing to let us use your name to announce the winner.

These prizes are not exchangeable for monetary value. There is only one winner per day for a single item and once you win you are not eligible for the remaining days of give aways.

Lobby Etiquette at the Vet Clinic

Bringing your pet to the vet clinic can be stressful for both of you.  In previous blogs we have talked about Fear Free visits.  We went over procedures to keep your cats and dogs stress free and proper ways to transport your pets. Your and your pet’s etiquette in the lobby makes a big difference in how the visit goes in general. In this blog we will provide information to help make it more pleasant while arriving and waiting for your appointment.

Check your pet’s collar/harness and leash before leaving your home.  Harnesses often work better, because  they don’t pull on their neck. Whichever you use, it should be snug enough so your pet will not slip out of it but not so tight that it harms them.  One way to tell that a collar is fitted correctly is by putting two of your fingers between your pet’s neck and the collar.  We strongly recommend regular leashes because they give you much better control. Even if your dog is always well-behaved, you may find that with the sights, sounds and smells of the clinic they may get distracted and not listen to you! If you do use a retractable leash make sure it is locked with your pet close to you before exiting your vehicle. If you are bringing a cat or other small animal to the clinic we recommend a pet carrier, although some cats enjoy harnesses! For most cats and small animals, a carrier will make them feel more secure and safe. The carriers that are made of molded plastic or heavy canvas are preferred as they allow the pet to feel visually secure and they can easily be opened or taken apart so that the pet does not have to be “dragged” or forced out of the carrier. The open, wire cage-type carriers are less desirable because the animal has nowhere to hide and feels quiet vulnerable if there are other pets in the waiting area!

Lobby Etiquette - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI
A typical scene in our lobby. Notice the pet has gone around the corner unsupervised and could meet up with an aggressive dog!

Arriving at the Vet Clinic

Once you arrive at the clinic do not let your pet out of your car unless they are on a leash or in a carrier.  You do not want to put your pet in danger of having an unanticipated encounter with another pet or running away.  Even if they are very good and listen they may be stressed or scared therefore they may run or go after another pet or human. If you do not have a leash, please come in and ask to use one of ours.  If your pet is small and is not in a carrier let the receptionist know so they can find an exam room for you to go into.

Cat in a harness - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WIDog Harness Lobby - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI


Upon arrival your pet may need to use the bathroom after a stressful ride so let them walk around outside for a while. When entering the clinic lobby make sure you enter before your pet.  You want to make sure it is safe and that you are aware of the surroundings before they enter. Please keep your pet close to you on a leash or in a carrier until you get into a room. Be considerate of the other pets in the clinic lobby.  Many are scared, not feeling well, or do not want to interact with other pets or people. You should always ask the owner if it is okay for you or your pet to socialize with theirs.

Never reach out to touch someone else’s pet without asking

Space Etiquette for dogs - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI

Please keep cats and other small animals in their carriers on our “Carrier Parking” shelves.  These shelves have been made specifically to keep them out of the reach of other pets and help them feel safe.  Let the receptionist know if your pet is stressed so they can get you into a room as soon as possible.  We also have bandannas, towels and blankets that we can spray with calming pheromones (Adaptil  for dogs and Feliway  for cats) to help keep your pet calm. Our clinic has ten staff members who are certified Fear Free and we are a Cat Friendly Practice!

After your visit you will again find yourself in the lobby (ideally on the other side from where you entered). All of the same etiquette rules apply as you leave the clinic. As pets are leaving they may be even more excited and are likely to want to run and jump, sometimes at other pets and people. Although you know your pet is just excited, that can be very scary for the owner and the pet that your pet is approaching!  Walk out the door before your pet so you can assess the situation outside.  Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier until they are safely in the vehicle.

By following these easy suggestions we can work together to make sure your pet has the best possible experience at Oakview!

written by Pat Eckes and Tammy Novotny

Pat - Oakview Vet Stevens Point Plover WI

Pat grew up near Mosinee, WI on a dairy farm, where her family had cows, chickens, rabbits, cats, dogs, ducks and all the extra wild animals that came around. She joined Oakview in 2009.

Pat and her husband have 2 children and six grandchildren. Pat enjoys cooking and gardening.



Tammy - Oakview Vet Stevens Point Plover WI

Tammy began working with us in April 2017. She was born and raised in Auburndale.

Tammy shares her life with her husband Derek and two children, Kendall aged 7 and Devin aged 5. Her hobbies include volleyball, photography, and painting.

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