Technology helps Kiel Vet give care
By Mark Sherry
Mark Sherry photo
Veterinary assistant Becky Schneider cleans out one of the cow floating tanks to get it ready for its next use at Kiel Veterinary Clinic.

Technology continues to help improve health care, and that includes the care of Fido, Fluffy, and Bessie.

Kiel Veterinary Clinic, S. C. continues to upgrade its equipment to provide the best possible care for animals large and small throughout a large portion of northeastern Wisconsin.

Its latest addition within the past month is digital X-rays. Until a few weeks ago Kiel Veterinary Clinic had used film X-rays. After X-rays were taken of the pet, a technician would take the film into an adjacent darkroom to develop them. The process would take about five minutes, which does not seem like a long amount of time—unless, of course, it is your dog or cat sitting on a treatment table in pain or discomfort.

With the new digital X-rays, images appear on a computer screen within 5 to 10 seconds after the X-ray is taken. The speed with which the image appears might not be the best advantage of the new system. Dr. Jeffrey Schuette of Kiel Veterinary Clinic showed an example of a film X-ray versus a digital one and the latter was significantly sharper and more detailed.

More advantages of digital

There are other advantages as well, such as the ability to share X-ray images with the pet’s owner on a tablet, laptop or other device, or to easily and quickly e-mail images to a specialist for further interpretation or to another clinic if the animal is being moved.

Just outside Kiel Veterinary Clinic’s X-ray room is its lab, and that is another area which has seen new equipment and growth in the past year. Once again, those changes have been made to benefit Kiel Veterinary Clinic’s “patients” and their owners. Many lab results are now available immediately instead of having to send them out and wait.

“Our ability to do in-house lab testing continues to grow,” Dr. Schuette said. “We continue to add the ability to do specific tests.” As an example he said the lab may run a tick panel at the same time it does a heartworm test. That ability has yielded the fact that there is a relatively high incidence of Lyme-positive animals in this area, allowing Kiel Veterinary Clinic to warn sometimes surprised pet owners to keep an eye out for ticks.

Not everything new at Kiel Veterinary Clinic is equipment as there also are some new faces in the past year. Dr. Matt Slentz and Dr. Leanne Wichman both joined the practice in June. Both treat small animals although Dr. Wichman also does equine work.

Equine veterinarians

In the large animal area, Kiel Veterinary Clinic’s experienced staff includes Dr. David Mueller, Dr. David Baemmert, Dr. Brianna Waldrop, and Dr. Liz Saletta.

With a large support staff as well, Kiel Veterinary Clinic continues to offer preventative health services, internal medicine, surgery, emergency service, and boarding of animals of all sizes to a customer base which covers much of Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Calumet and Fond du Lac counties.

Kiel Veterinary Clinic staff members have been known to go even further— such as a recent trip to Door County— when their cow floating services are needed.

That’s right, cow floating—not on air, but in water.

Kiel Veterinary Clinic has actually been doing cow floating for the past decade, around the time it moved into its current facility at 575 Belitz Dr. in 2006. Cow floating is done with cows which are down because of illness or injury and unable to stand on their own. Dr. Schuette explained that often times those cows used to be picked up with hip lifts, but floating tends to put less stress on a sick or injured animal.

How to float a cow

In the process of cow floating, the cow is rolled onto a mat which can then be pulled into a small metal trailer using a winch. The removable front and back doors are then placed back onto the trailer and the cow is taken back to Kiel Veterinary Clinic. The trailer can be backed indoors in cold or inclement weather.

A hose about the size of a fire hose then fills the enclosed trailer with warm water in the span of about 10 minutes, providing significant buoyancy to the cow. That takes pressure off the cow’s nerves and also helps veterinarians better diagnose what might be wrong with the animal. Sometimes the cows are floated for 8 to 12 hours until the water is drained and they are led into a stall for further treatment and/or recovery.

Kiel Veterinary Clinic has four such tanks as there are not a lot of places which do cow floating throughout eastern Wisconsin. Not all the floated cows can be saved, but Dr. Schuette said they have a success rate of about 50 percent. “We were really surprised how that took off,” he said of the service.

Cow floating is just one more service provided at the large but always busy veterinary clinic. As one of the tanks was hosed out to get ready for its next trip somewhere, another cow stood in a stall hooked up to IV solutions while a couple other cows recuperated in stalls nearby.

A few rooms away, sick calves were being kept warm in large dog pens. Nearby rooms contained other pets awaiting reuniting with their owners, while surgery was about to begin in the clinic’s operating room on a dog which had apparently ingested some type of large object—for the second time in its life.

It is all in a day’s work at Kiel Veterinary Clinic. To find out more or to make an appointment, call 894-3414.