Happy Birthday Orchard Road Animal Hospital

2978305256Every year on March 17th, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. This day also marks the anniversary of the day Dr. Linda Flieg purchased Orchard Road Animal Hospital(ORAH). Twenty-one years ago, the clinic was staffed by 3 people with her as a solo practitioner. Since then, ORAH has grown quite substantially. What was once the clinic is now half of boarding. The other half of boarding as well as what is now surgery, exam rooms, reception and treatment was added on increasing the size of the hospital to 7600 square feet up from 2100 square feet initially.

Not only has the physical size increased, but ORAH now has four veterinarians including Dr. Cheryl Distajo, Dr. Joel Huffman and Dr. Kristen Kennedy who have worked at ORAH for 11, 10 and 5 years, respectively. We also have four certified veterinary technicians, Brook Jadczak, Megan Muhlbradt, Kristina Quiroz and Holly White. All of the above veterinarians and technicians have worked at ORAH since graduating. That just does not happen as many in this profession move from clinic to clinic over their careers. This lack of turnover speaks to the quality of medicine at the clinic and the devotion of its employees.  The total staff now numbers 25 people including  Stacy Robson who was here with Dr. Flieg at the beginning.

Other additions to ORAH include digital radiography, laser surgery and ultrasound to name a few.

I take great pride in working here and love working with all of the people here because of their dedication, humor, skill and love of animals. This job is not the easiest in the world and it takes a team such as the one at ORAH to keep it running smoothly. You may notice that every Tuesday, the staff is proudly wearing green t-shirts with the phrase “TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK.” So true for 21 years and counting…



catincageThanks to Jen Morgan Gabel for this topic:

There are many things that happen during a visit to a veterinary clinic and when I was asked to think of things to do, I thought I could come up with a huge list, but there really are two things that you can do every time that will make your visit the best it can be:


Make sure you let us know everything regarding your pet’s problems even if you think it may not be that important. Now, we don’t need to know what color the tree was in your backyard when you were five(we only have thirty minutes), but sometimes the littlest detail helps us figure out what is wrong. Also, we would not be in business if it were not for you. You need to be happy with our plan in order to be happy with us. We need to know your financial limits, your concerns about side effects, and we need to know you understand what we are talking about. If you ask questions, we know you are engaged and it helps us feel better.


Some pets are very nervous when they are here and may bite when approached by a strange dog or cat. Please be respectful of their space as we want every animal, human and non-human to have as pleasant a visit as possible. Also, we would discourage anyone from using retractable leashes as we find them to be very prone to failure and tangles-this makes it nearly impossible to separate two animals quickly and safely should something untoward happen.

Cats can be very frightened at the vet’s office. Most of you bring your cats in carriers. Some of you may have a hard time getting your animal in the carrier and bring them in a car. Ask us for a carrier and we would be happy to help you get your cat from the car to the clinic entrance in a carrier.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Huffman


Hopefully, you all enjoyed your Valentine’s Day!! For some of you, romance may mean a little one may be joining you in nine months:-)  However, there are many dogs and cats out there whose romantic encounters are filling our wonderful shelters with excessive numbers of puppies and kittens who will never find their forever home.  Spaying and neutering your pets is the best way to keep the pet overpopulation problem down.

Not only does spaying and neutering decrease pet overpopulation, but it also has many health benefits. Spaying a female before they have undergone many heat cycles will nearly eliminate the risk of developing mammary cancer, will prevent ovarian and uterine cancers, and also eliminate pyometritis(an life-threatening uterine infection).  In males, neutering will prevent BPH(benign prostatic hypertrophy) and eliminate testicular tumors.birddogincage

Spaying and neutering will also decrease a lot of aggression issues and some other unwanted behaviors. For example, intact males will often tear apart houses and wander neighborhoods in search of females.

We at Orchard Road Animal Hospital offer the newest in technology including state-of-the art monitoring equipment, certified technicians, laser surgery, in-house diagnostic blood analyzers and my favorite…a caring staff that I would stack up against any other and have cared for my animals many times!!

If you have any questions, stop by and ask. We’ll give you a tour, answer any questions and even show you some pictures of the process in action.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Huffman

Dangers of Chocolate

valentinedogAs Valentine’s Day approaches, you may be giving or receiving that favorite treat, chocolate. You know who else loves chocolate?  Your dog!! But as much as they love it, we don’t love what it does to them.

Chocolate is one of those things that reminds us that dogs are not little people. If they were, it would just make them fat when they ate too much. But instead, chocolate is comprised of methylxanthines(gratuitous medical term) which causes dog’s hearts to race to a dangerously high level even leading to death.

Some are worse than others. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are notoriously bad and although not great, white chocolate tends to be a bit less toxic. If your dog gets into chocolate, this is what you need to do:

1)remain calm and call us if we are closed you can call the Animal Poison Control Center at 888-4ANI-HEL(P)

2)we are going to want to know when they ate it, what kind of chocolate and how much

3)it is always a good idea to have hydrogen peroxide around, but don’t do anything with it unless told to by a medical professional. The thirty seconds it takes to call us will NOT affect the outcome. The advice you get WILL.

Be safe, be educated, and have a great Valentine’s Day.

Dr. Huffman and all of your friends at Orchard Road Animal Hospital (Montgomery, IL)