Lori Jensen (center) and her veterinarian business partners Dr. Linda Axnick and Dr. Todd Whitney
Head technician Corrie Pie, CVT, takes a few minutes to play with Duncan, a Flat-Coated Retriever puppy.
BY KATIE MATTESON
Lori Jensen is an animal lover. Actually, her father describes her as “lunatic fringe” when it comes to her animals. She even had a dog-themed wedding.
She and her husband Eric, along with daughters, Myla, 15 and Eden, 13, have two horses, 17 goats, nine cats (six inside and three in the barn), two rabbits, two rats and five dogs.
Luckily she knows a good vet – well really six of them. They’re on her payroll.
Jensen is the practice manager of North Shore Animal Hospital, a business she’s owned since 2012 with veterinarians Dr. Linda Axnick and Dr. Todd Whitney. However, her experience with the hospital goes back much further.
Dr. Thomas Torhorst, who purchased the practice in 1971, hired Jensen as the morning kennel girl in 1983 and she’s worked there ever since in progressively more responsible roles.
When Dr. Torhorst decided to semi-retire, he offered Jensen the opportunity to buy the practice. As a non-vet, it would have been hard for her to get a business loan, so she teamed up with Dr. Axnick and Dr. Whitney, who are married. The couple owns 49 percent of the practice, Jensen owns 49 percent and Dr. Torhorst owns 2 percent and works one day a week.
Dr. Axnick and Dr. Whitney met while they were studying veterinary medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Their “children” are three Flat-Coated Retrievers and a Golden Retriever, who participate in weekend agility and dog diving competitions. They have a pool at home for training their dogs.
The 28-member staff also includes: Dr. Heidi Jahn, Dr. Al Arbas and Dr. Chantil Ayras, five certified veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, as well as office and cleaning staff.
The practice is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association, which conducts a comprehensive, onsite inspection every three years. Only 12-15 percent of animal hospitals are accredited with the organization which evaluates members based on 900 standards, Jensen said.
Every member of the staff also recently completed the Fear Free Certification Program, which provides professionals with the tools, protocols and knowledge to reduce fear, anxiety and stress in patients, and to implement Fear Free in their practices.
North Shore Animal Hospital has also been named a Cat Friendly Practice by the American Association of Feline Practitioners.
“We treat clients as ourselves and patients as our own,” Jensen said.
This standard of care is reflected in such practices as draping patients during surgery, using IV sedation and intubation, as well as continuous monitoring of vital signs by a certified veterinary technician. The veterinarians often use laser surgery, which offers the advantage of sealing nerve endings and blood vessels which results in less pain and bleeding after surgery. Post-surgical pain medications are also administered.
In addition to wellness examinations and immunizations for dogs and cats, the hospital provides complete diagnostics through the use of an in-house laboratory, digital radiography and digital dental radiography, as well as an onsite dispensing pharmacy.
The hospital also utilizes “cold” laser therapy, which uses specific wavelengths of light to treat painful and debilitating conditions such as arthritis. It is helpful for chronic and acute pain and promotes wound healing.
Jensen serves as president of both the Caledonia Douglas Avenue Business Association and Wisconsin Border Collie Rescue, and is a founding member of the Wisconsin Veterinary Practice Managers Association.
The hospital is open by appointment 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday and Friday, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday.
For more information, call (262) 639-7500, visit northshoreanimalhospital.com or find the North Shore Animal Hospital Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AAHAhospital/