Dear Friends,

As of September 30th, 2013 SPAY ILLINOIS will be closing our Momence Pet Well Clinic location while we try to find a new building. The building that we are currently in is over 100 years old and in desperate need of major repairs. Unfortunately we just cannot continue to operate in this facility. We will contact all clients with appointments after this date. Although we are looking into other buildings, it will probably be late spring before we reopen our new facility in the Momence area.

We are sorry for any inconvenience or hardship that this may cause our clients and their pets, but these circumstances are beyond our control. We will be continuing to service this area by offering monthly low cost pet vaccine clinics and spay/neuter transports to help continue our mission in the community.

You can keep up with our progress by watching our website. Again, we are sorry for any inconvenience or hardship that this may cause you and we will keep you informed of our progress.


Best Regards,

Kathi Daniels, CEO


Unfortunately we will no longer be able to hold our low cost pet vaccine clinics at the following Pet Supplies Plus stores: North Naperville, South Naperville, Bolingbrook, North Aurora, and Villa Park. We are sad to go and will miss all our loyal customers and their furry friends who visited us over the years that we were there. Due to this unfortunate loss of these stores SPAY ILLINOIS will need all of our customers support to continue our mission, so please check out our website and find out where we will be or come visit us at our new stationary clinic in Lisle.

But the GREAT news is that local area grooming stores and pet stores have been calling us to come and set up our clinics at their locations, so you won’t have to travel very far from our old locations. We will have all the details for you coming in the next month so you can continue to care for your pets.

One of the AWESOME new locations we have is at Tail Gate in Elmhurst (please check out our website for more info), and we always have our Lisle clinic located at 2765 Maple Ave Lisle, IL 60532.

 Just remember we are still in our local Wheaton, Westmont, and Oak Lawn Pet Supplies Plus stores so please stop in there and see us and support these wonderful stores that allow us to help their local communities.

Since we have been holding our clinics in the Pets Supplies Plus stores we have been able to reach over 14,000 clients and provide low cost vaccines and affordable spay/neuter services to them. We will continue our outreach programs and hope to see you at them also.

Please see our Awesome Dupage and Will County specials for October.  We will also be partnering with one of our new locations in Naperville for our first annual $5 Rabies vaccine clinic. Watch the site for more info.

Today I was at our last Villa Park clinic that we will be holding and it was very touching how many customers came in to tell us that they would miss us and to get our information, even though their pets were already vaccinated they wanted to say good bye and make sure we would still be somewhere in the area. It made me and the staff so happy to know that we have made a difference for a lot of the pet owners in our communities and they really appreciate the services.

So from myself, staff and volunteers of SPAY ILLINOIS we are grateful for your support and all you have done for us through the years. Thank you to all the managers and staff of the Pet Supplies Plus stores for always making us feel welcome and being part of our mission.


Best Regards,

Kathi Daniels



FeLV is one of the most important viruses affecting cats. About 1-2% of cats worldwide are persistently infected with the virus.

The virus is present in respiratory secretions of infected cats, but has the highest concentration in the saliva of infected cats. Transmission of the virus from one cat to another requires prolonged contact via activities such as grooming. For this reason, FeLV is most prevalent in multiple cat homes. Fortunately, the virus cannot survive for more than a few minutes outside of its host (the infected cat). This means that the virus is not transmitted to a healthy cat if it used a cage or carrier that was previously used by an infected cat.

Not all cats exposed to the virus become infected. If a cat is exposed to a small amount of the virus and they have an adequate immune system, they may develop virus neutralizing antibodies against the virus and clear the virus within 4-6 weeks after the initial exposure. If a cat is exposed to a large amount of the virus or does not have a good immune system, the virus will infect the T lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) or intestinal and bone marrow cells. Cats with infected bone marrow become persistently viremic, meaning there is circulating virus is the bloodstream. Persistent viremia allows for the spread of the virus to other parts of the body and allows for the secretion of the virus into saliva, urine, and tears.

Only 28% of cats exposed to the virus become persistently infected. 42% of exposed cats develop virus-neutralizing antibodies and become immune, and 30% clear the infection but have no immunity against the virus.

FeLV can cause a number of diseases that may ultimately be fatal for an infected cat: immunosuppression, circulating immune complexes, anemia, lymphoma and leukemia, platelet abnormalities, enteritis, infertility and abortions, and skeletal muscle abnormalities. Immunosuppression is the most frequent consequence of FeLV infection and allows for opportunistic infection with bacteria, fungi, or viruses. 83% of viremic cats will die within 3.5 years of diagnosis.


How is FeLV diagnosed?

There are a couple of tests that can be run to test your cat for FeLV. The most common one is called an ELISA and is performed at your regular veterinarian’s office off of a blood sample obtained from your cat. This test detects the presence of a protein associated with the virus. All positive results of this test should be double checked with another test or rechecked within 2-3 months. This is because 42% of exposed cats will develop immunity against the virus and another 30% will clear the infection.

If your cat tests positive and you have multiple cats at home, this cat should be quarantined from the rest of the cats and retested in 12 weeks.


FeLV Vaccination

There is currently no treatment available for FeLV. The FeLV vaccine is an effective vaccine. Your cat should be tested prior to vaccination, as there is no benefit to vaccinating an infected cat. Vaccination is recommended when your cat is part of a multiple cat household and there is a known positive cat or if your cat is coming into contact with cats with unknown FeLV status (ie-outdoor cats).

As always, please consult with your regular veterinarian about what is best for your feline friend.


Dr. Ashley Yanchik, VMD

Spaying and neutering are both surgical procedures performed under general anesthesia. Spaying involves the removal of the uterus and ovaries of a female dog or cat. Neutering is the removal of the testicles of a male dog or cat. It is recommended to perform either procedure when the dog or cat is 4-6 months old, prior to the pet reaching sexual maturity. Most shelters will perform spay and neuters on cats that are younger than 4 months old, provided they weigh more than two pounds.


What are the benefits?


Most of us know the obvious benefit of spaying and neutering your dog or cat: overpopulation prevention. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that approximately 6-8 million dogs and cats enter the shelter system in the U.S. each year. Of these, approximately 3-4 million are euthanized, most being young and healthy animals. In 7 years, an intact female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens! In 6 years, one female dog and her offspring can produce up to 67,000 puppies! These numbers are startling.


One of the greatest benefits of spaying your female dog is decreasing her risk of getting mammary (breast) cancer.  Mammary cancer is the most common neoplasia in the intact female dog. It most commonly occurs in intact female dogs over six years old. They may have a solitary mass or multiple masses. In dogs, about 50% of mammary cancers are benign and 50% are malignant. To get the greatest mammary cancer sparing effect, your female dog should be spayed prior to the first heat cycle. The risk of a dog getting mammary cancer if spayed prior to her first heat cycle is 0.5%. There is an 8% risk if spayed after the first heat cycle, 26% if spayed after the second heat cycle. There is little benefit if spayed after the third heat cycle, in terms of decreasing the risk of your female dog getting mammary cancer.


Spaying your female dog also removes the risk of pyometra and ovarian cancer. Neutering males eliminates the risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia and testicular cancer.


Will my pet’s personality be affected?


This is one of the most frequent questions and concerns I receive when talking to pet owners about spaying or neutering their pet. The only behaviors it will modify are those directly related to testicular or ovarian hormones. Spaying or neutering usually affect the following behaviors:

-          Makes them calmer

-          Decreases the desire to wander – especially in males

-          Decreases marking behavior

-          Decreases odor of urine in cats

-          Decreases animal-animal aggression

-          Decreases dominance aggression

-          Eliminates estrus related behaviors (especially important if anyone has had a female cat in heat before!)


It will not affect your pet’s personality or loyalty.


Cost may be a concern in getting your pet spayed or neutered. SPAY ILLINOIS offers low cost spays and neuters. Please contact us if you have questions about he procedures or cost!


Ashley Yanchik, VMD 

Canine Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a tickborne illness caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgorferi. The syndrome was first documented in humans in Lyme, Connecticut, giving the disease it’s name. The Ixodes tick (deer tick) is the species responsible for transmitting the B. burgdorferi organism. The bacterium is transmitted to the dog when an infected tick attaches to the dog’s skin. The two syndromes associated with the disease that are of concern are glomerulonephropathy and polyarthropathy.


What is glomerulonephropathy?

The glomerulus is a part of the functional unit of the kidney. It is a network of capillaries that is responsible in part for filtration. Inflammation related to this part of this kidney in Lyme disease is thought to be an immune mediated process that can lead to protein loss via the kidneys and kidney failure. Clinical signs include anorexia, increased thirst and urination, vomiting, and edema. In the Unites States, Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers seemed to be more commonly affected with this syndrome. 

What is polyarthropathy?

Polyarthropathy, or multiple joint arthritis, is the main clinical disease of concern when talking about canine Lyme disease. Clinical signs associated with this manifestation of the disease include fever, joint pain, lameness, and malaise.

Though almost 90% of people exposed to the organism show clinical signs of Lyme disease, only 5% of experimentally exposed dogs become symptomatic. Most infected animals do not become sick. In experimental studies, all of the adult dogs exposed remained asymptomatic (no clinical signs) and only puppies less than 26 weeks old were the subjects that showed clinical signs. Clinical signs in these animals tended to be self-limiting and did not last more than 4 days.

How is Lyme disease diagnosed?

Unfortunately, there is no single test that can be performed to determine that a dog has a clinical disease related to Borrelia. Diagnosis is dependent on history of known exposure to Borellia, clinical signs of Lyme disease, ruling out other causes of the clinical signs, and response to treatment.

When a dog in exposed to the Borrelia organism, their body develops antibodies against the bacteria. Most in house screening tests detect whether or not your pet has antibodies against Borrelia. This next point is a really important one. Just because a dog is positive for antibodies does NOT mean they have Lyme disease. All it tells us is that they have been exposed to the organism. This is an important point because even in endemic areas where greater than 70% of dogs have antibodies against the organism, only a very small percentage actually go on to develop clinical signs consistent with Lyme disease. Your veterinarian will be able to decide which tests to run and piece the results together with their exam findings to decide whether or not your dog should be treated. Most likely, your veterinarian will also run some basic blood work and perform a urinalysis.

How is Lyme disease treated?

A one month course of antibiotics is the treatment of choice. Dog’s with glomerulonephropathy may need a longer course of antibiotics and will receive other treatments aimed at addressing renal failure. Dogs with arthropathy tend to respond to treatment within 1-2 days, whereas dogs with a glomerulonephropathy tend to respond more slowly.

What about the Lyme disease vaccine?

The vaccine for this disease is very controversial. The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine published a consensus statement in 2006 and stated that, “the only consensus reached is that immunization of dogs in nonendemic states is unneeded.” The 12 states considered endemic areas by the Center for Disease Control for Lyme disease in people are: PA, NY, NJ, MA, CN, RI, WI, MD, MN, DE, VA, and NH. If you are interested in the vaccine, please talk with your veterinarian to help decide if it is right for your pet.


Tick prevention is not only important to prevent Lyme disease, but protects your pet against acquiring other tickborne illnesses such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Anaplasmosis. The deer tick can be found in fields, areas of low vegetation, wooded areas, and overhanging branches. Be sure to check your dog, and yourself, for ticks after returning from walks and hikes outside in these environments. If you find a tick, it is best to remove it and contact your veterinarian with any questions.

There are still many unanswered questions and a lack of consensus on the topic of Lyme disease. Always consult your veterinarian with any questions and before initiating any preventative or treatment protocols.


Ashley Yanchik, VMD

Why are there so many different flea and tick products for our pets?  Well, the answer is actually fairly complex for something that you would think is so simple!  The pet, the flea life cycle, and the environment are all major factors in the convoluted cycle of flea prevention.


Each pet that is on flea or flea and tick preventative has its own unique circumstance.  The species, breed, age, weight, health of your pet and the environment all play an important role in determining the best product to use.  Cats should not use dog products.  Additionally, some preventatives can cause serious toxic effects on sick pets, certain breeds of pets, or even very young pets.  If you are dealing with a severe infestation of fleas versus trying to prevent a flea problem, this will also help to determine the proper product(s) you will use for your pet.  Keep the fleas from making you and your pet’s lives miserable.  Discuss options with your veterinarian to help you to choose the safest and most effective flea and tick preventatives for your pet.


The flea life cycle is highly variable and can be as short as two weeks, to as long as two years.  It is important to remain vigilant even when you think the problem is under control.  The adult fleas have three pairs of legs and are known for their ability to jump.  The adult flea lives on host animals – cats, dogs, humans, etc.  Fleas eat blood from the animal and then defecate on the animal.  The dark black-brown specs are often referred to as “flea dirt” and is the product of digested blood.  The saliva of the adult flea can be very irritating to some animals resulting in severe hypersensitivity, hair loss, redness of skin, ulceration, crusting, and itching of the skin.  Adult female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day.  That’s 1500 eggs from 1 female per month!  The eggs fall off the host animal into carpet, bedding, floorboards, and soil.  The eggs hatch anywhere from 2 days to a few weeks.  After hatching, it becomes a larva and then a pupa.  In the pupa stage, it can hatch to an adult as soon as 3 days or it can remain for in the environment for years until conditions are right before it will hatch.  Warm temperatures, humidity and even vibrations will stimulate the pupa to emerge. 


Only 10% of the flea population lives on your pet.  The flea eggs, larvae, pupa and few adults living in your carpet, bedding and back yard make up the other 90% of the flea population.  Without addressing these areas, flea infestation will continue to be a problem.  

Vacuum Daily – this removes eggs, larva, pupa and adults from the environment.  Empty bags and dispose of them frequently.

Clean – Wash all bedding, vacuum couches at least once weekly.

Yard/Home – Flea bombs, foggers or professional exterminators should be used to kill all flea stages in the environment.


Flea products eliminate fleas by affecting the various stages of the flea life cycle.  Some products kill the adults, others prevent the egg from hatching, while others affect the larva making them unable to spin a cocoon and then die.  No single method or insecticide will completely eradicate a flea problem.  By selecting products that strategically affect the different stages of the flea life cycle, it is easy for a flea prevention program to be successful.

Flea shampoos-  Helps to remove fleas and flea dirt, but there is little to no residual effect.  Only effective for a day or less.

Flea Dips – Typically given by a groomer or veterinarian as the chemicals are stronger.  Removes fleas, mites, and ticks.  Residual effects may last up to 1 week.

Flea Collars – Work by either emitting a toxic gas to the fleas or by being absorbed into the animal’s skin fat layers.  Most over the counter flea collars emit the toxic gas and are only effective in the immediate area of the head and neck.

Flea Powders & Sprays – Provide short term protection of only 2-3 days by killing adult fleas.

Spot-on treatments – Products are applied between the shoulders to the pet’s skin and lasts for about one month.  Frontline, Revolution, Vectra 3D, Advantage, Advantix, etc.  These products are effective for adult fleas and some include ingredients to inhibit larva from hatching and some are against larval development.  Some of these products can also repel or kill ticks.

Oral medications – Products such as Sentinel work by stopping the larva form hatching from the flea egg.  Fleas ingest the blood from animals on the medication and eggs that are laid by the females can not hatch.  Sentinel is given every month.  Another oral product called Capstar works by killing adult fleas on a pet within 30 minutes.  Capstar does not have any long lasting activity.


With all of these variables to take into consideration regarding your pet, the flea, the environment and the numerous available products, the decision can be daunting!  Consult with your veterinarian to help you pick the safest and most effective flea prevention program for you and your pet!


-Dr. Alison Powers, DVM

Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) is a parasitic disease affecting dogs and cats. For the purpose of this article, I will be focusing on canine heartworm disease. This severe and sometimes fatal disease is transmitted to your pet by the bite of a mosquito infected by the heartworm. When an infected mosquito bites the animal, the heartworm larvae migrate through the broken skin and into the vasculature [circulatory system]. The larvae develop into sexually mature adult heartworms over the next 6-7 months. Female adult heartworms can reach up to 10-12cm in length! The heartworm lifespan is 5-7 years. As the name implies, adult heartworms reside in the cardiac [heart] and pulmonary [lung] vasculature. Adult female heartworms produce microfilariae (juvenile heartworms) and release them into circulation. These microfilariae act as a reservoir and can then be picked up by mosquitoes that bite an infected animal.

There is a wide spectrum of clinical signs that infected dogs can display. Severity of clinical signs depends on the number of heartworms, how long the dog has been infected with heartworms, the age of the dog, and the activity of the dog. Early, mild infections may show no clinical signs at all. Other infected dogs may have a cough, exercise intolerance, dyspnea (difficulty breathing), heart murmurs, abnormal lung sounds, ascites (accumulation of abdominal fluid), and liver dysfunction.

Several diagnostic tests are utilized to aid in diagnosis of heartworm disease and determine the severity of disease. The most common diagnostic test is an antigen test.  An antigen is a substance that causes an immune response, typically a protein. This test detects an antigen associated with the adult female heartworm. As you remember from the introduction, adult heartworms take 6-7 months to develop after an infected mosquito bites your dog.  For this reason, puppies younger than 7 months old do not need to be tested for heartworm disease. In rare instances, an infected dog that has a single sex heartworm infection of only male heartworms will have a negative antigen test. This test is recommended on an annual basis.

In the event that your dog tests positive on their annual screening test, a second test should be performed to confirm the diagnosis. The antigen test is very accurate, but no test is 100% perfect. Other diagnostics that may be performed by your veterinarian is testing for microfilariae, radiography, or echogardiography. Thoracic (chest) radiographs help determine the severity of disease and help develop a prognosis. Echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart) aids in determining the extent of heart involvement and enlargement associated with the disease.

Treatment of heartworm disease is directed at killing the adult heartworms and eliminating microfilariae. The traditional heartworm preventatives work by killing the microfilariae stage of heartworms. If your dog is diagnosed with heartworm disease, your veterinarian will likely start your dog on the preventative prior to administering the adulticide treatment. Prior to adulticide treatment, it is recommended that most dogs be started on corticosteroids to limit their immune response to dying adult worms.

Melarsomine dihydrochloride is the drug used to eliminate adult heartworms. There are two different protocols for this drug. Your veterinarian will determine the most appropriate protocol for your dog. As with any treatment, there are risks. The largest risk posed is the development of pulmonary thromboembolism. This is caused by dead heartworm obstructing the pulmonary arteries and veins. Clinical signs of pulmonary thromboembolism include coughing, coughing up blood, exercise intolerance, and sudden death. For this reason, if your dog is being treated for heartworm disease, it is imperative that all dogs are not exercised during treatment. Any dog being treated for heartworm disease should be tested 4-6 months post treatment.

As the old adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” While adulticide treatment of heartworms is usually effective, preventative is relatively inexpensive and wise. The macrocyclic lactones are the class of drug used in heartworm preventatives. The active ingredient, application, and label claim of each drug is different. Available macrocyclic lactone preventatives include:

-          Ivermectin (Heartgard, Iverhart, Tri-Heart)

-          Selamectin (Revolution)

-          Moxidectin (Advantage multi and the 6 month slow release injection, ProHeart 6)

As always, before initiating heartworm preventative or treatment, please consult with your veterinarian to decide which choice is most appropriate for your pet. For more information, please visit the American Heartworm Society’s website at:

Ashley Yanchik, VMD

Early Spay/Neuter Testimonials

Kittens and puppies recover from surgery much quicker than adult animals. They have less body fat, so there is less tissue to cut through, making the surgery itself faster. The shorter surgery time means less anesthesia, and combined with a kitten’s or puppy’s fast metabolism, it makes for a quick recovery and many will be up and playing the same day of surgery. Kittens and puppies can be spayed or neutered as early as 8 weeks and 2 pounds. During kitten and puppy season more than half of the animals we spay/neuter are five months old or younger (we average 260 total animals a week), and we routinely spay/neuter our shelter animals at 8 weeks old. From experience, we know that kittens and puppies also have lower rates of post-operative complications.

There are also health benefits to spaying by 5 months of age. By fixing pets before puberty (which occurs in cats as early as 4 months, and in dogs around 6 months), you ensure that females never have a first heat cycle. Every heat cycle increases an animal’s chance of developing mammary tumors, which is like breast cancer in people. Female dogs are four times as likely as humans to develop mammary cancer, which is often fatal. By spaying before the first heat, you can almost completely eliminate the chances of your pet ever developing this cancer. Spaying and neutering before puberty also reduces the chances your pet will start urine marking; females may do this when in heat, and males tend to start this territorial behavior at puberty. Males also tend to want to roam in search of a female to mate with, so neutering before sexual maturity will reduce this hormone-related behavior.

Finally, a kitten or puppy spayed or neutered before puberty will never produce an accidental litter. More than half of litters born to pets are unintended, and each litter contributes to pet overpopulation. Overall, we recommend spaying or neutering by 5 months of age.

Sarah Moore

Asst. Manager

APL S/N Clinic



Advise:  The campaign for encouraging “Beat the Heat” by spaying the younger pups and kittens by 5 months is based on now 20+ years of studies and evaluation and, yes, rancorous discussions of what was called early age sterilization.  Those who hold to the old mantra of six months or over are simply uninformed of the knowledge and the inevitable damage caused by unintended, unplanned, and unwanted pregnancies.  Now advising anything over five months is tantamount to malpractice.

W. Marvin Mackie, D.V.M., retired

Practice limited to spay/neuter clinics

from 1976 – 2008.