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.


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.

Cold Laser Therapy for Pets: The Healing Process

Review from the last post “Fundamentals of Laser Therapy for Pets“:

Cold laser therapy is a noninvasive procedure that uses light to decrease pain and inflammation of the cells. The laser itself is a beam of light that travels at certain frequencies and penetrates into the tissue. The laser goes deep into the cells to start a chain of chemical reactions known as photobiostimulation. Pain is relieved by the release of endorphins and it stimulate injured cells to heal faster. Our Class IV Cold Therapy laser that we have here at Oakview Vet is programmable to treat many different medical conditions in small animals.

One of the benefits of laser therapy is that it is noninvasive. There is no need to shave or clip the hair, and the animal can move and walk around during the process. Depending on the condition we are treating, we like to think of the laser as a warm massage with a smooth ball like head gliding over the skin slowly with small amounts of pressure. Treatments can vary in length typically anywhere from 3-8 minutes per site. Each “site” can include an area such as the shoulder, hips, or stifle (knee) and is about the size of a playing card. Treatments are cumulative, but you can see improvement after one session. It is beneficial to do multiple treatments so they add up to a greater improvement over time on your pet.

Christina CVT - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI
Christina giving a laser treatment to Keana for her hips

As we administer laser therapy to your pet, everyone in the room needs to wear special glasses including your pet to protect their eyes from the red laser itself.

How can my pet benefit from laser therapy?

After just one session, you may notice an improvement in your pets pain level or you may notice a change in mobility of your pet. Maybe they use stairs again or play with a ball that he has not picked up in months. Maybe he would even be able to get up on the couch to snuggle. When we increase the mobility in our pets, we may be able to decrease the amount of medication that is needed for pain and inflammation as well.

Hip X-Ray Canine
Normal ball and socket joints of the hips with smooth surfaces
Hip Dysplasia - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI
Keana’s Hips – The surfaces of both the balls and the sockets are ragged and uneven


There are a variety of medical conditions we can use laser for including but not limited to:

  • Muscle, ligament, or tendon injuries
  • Post-surgical incision sites
  • Soft tissue trauma
  • Spinal pain/disease
  • Ear infections
  • Gingivitis/Tooth extractions
  • Hot spots and open wounds
  • Arthritis/Hip Dysplasia
  • Anal gland infection
Laser Therapy - Oakview Vet Stevens Point Plover WI
Treating ear infections

Many of our laser therapy patients are older and benefit very much from treatments. Some signs of pain to look for if you have a senior pet:
• Abnormal posture during sitting
• Restlessness
• Whining, vocalizing more often
• Limping
• Unable to get up or down
• Difficulties getting upstairs or even into car
• Lack of grooming
• Licking or biting areas on body
• Lack of appetite

It is important to keep an eye on your animals closely so we can treat them sooner rather than later. The sooner we begin, the better chance we have of helping them feel better!

Laser for pain relief and inflammation

Laser Therapy - Oakview Vet Stevens Point Plover WI
Post Surgical Laser (the laser was turned off for this picture– the kitten would normally have a protective cloth over her eyes)

Laser treatments are an excellent way to provide pain relief for many patients. The laser light reduces pain by a process called “vasodialation” (the opening of blood vessels) and also by activation the lymphatic drainage system, thus draining the swollen areas. Reduced swelling then reduces pain. The laser also stimulates nerve cells that block pain signals being transmitted to the brain.


The production of endorphins, which are natural pain relievers in the brain, are increased using laser. Here at Oakview Vet, we use laser therapy on just about all of our patients that come in for routine surgeries such as spay or neuter unless contraindicated. Because the laser works directed on affected areas, we can help speed up the healing process, strengthen the muscle and tissue, and of course decrease pain and inflammation associated with the surgical procedure itself.

Laser Therapy - Oakview Vet Stevens Point Plover WISo why laser therapy?
Laser treatment is pain-free and often comforting. As the laser treatment is being performed, your pet may feel a soothing, warm feeling (similar to a warm compress). For many pets laser treatment is very relaxing and they may even take a snooze! As we laser the tissue, areas of pain and inflammation become more comfortable, reducing anxiety and tension. Eventually, your pet will realize they are getting a relaxing massage!


written by Christina Brandes, CVT

Christina - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI


Christina graduated from Madison Area Technical College. She joined us in 2016.

She and her fiance David have a baby boy named Kaysen. They also share their home with 2 cats, Moby and Annabelle, a bearded dragon named Leonard, and a gecko named Clyde.

In her spare time, Christina enjoys camping and other outdoor activities.


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