The team at McAfee Animal Hospital (MAH) never knows what the day will all entail. The dedicated veterinary team sees more than 130 patients on any given day, and it’s anyone’s guess who is going to walk through the door next.
“Every day I walk in, it’s something different,” Dr. Brooke McAfee said. “Yesterday we helped an owl, today I’m doing a house call for goats. Some days I have three vaccines scheduled, with three or four call-ins and it can get a little hectic. You never know what you’re going to walk into and I love it.”
Animals can’t tell us when they’re ill, a fact that’s often overlooked when taking care of a four-legged companion. That’s why it’s important to make sure your furry (or not so furry) friend is receiving the best veterinary care. You want a team who is knowledgeable and thorough, even when it’s a simple annual wellness exam. But when your pet is sick, it’s even more important.
“Animals can’t talk and their owners say, ‘We don’t know what’s going on, but they’re acting off.’ We start from the beginning and try to find out if they’re in pain, if they’re sick, if it’s something internal. We’re trying to find out what’s going on. That’s the fun part of the job—it’s sort of like a puzzle,” Dr. Brooke said.
Solving the puzzle starts with a simple, routine checkup to narrow down the cause of pain or illness. As MAH’s team of veterinarians start their search, they learn the animal’s diet, and the type of medications they’re taking, such as flea and heartworm medicine.
“We check the eyes for infection or anything abnormal, the nostrils to make sure air is going in and out of both nostrils. Then we look at their teeth, gum color, feel their lymph nodes. I always feel their whole body to make sure they don’t have any masses or lumps. I listen to their lungs, check their knees for any arthritic issues or things of that nature,” Dr. Brooke said.
Over a pet’s lifetime, veterinarians become close with their patients. They see them at their worst and their best, and even at end of life, always with a caring heart for both pets and owners.
“I become attached to my patients - after working with them over a period of time, we build a bond over the time as I work with them,” said Dr. Brooke. “It’s always hard putting an animal down. The thing I love most about this job is when I walk in and I hug my clients that I’ve known for so long. It’s nice having those relationships.”
McAfee Animal Hospital was founded by Dr. John McAfee in 1943 off Laporte Avenue in Valparaiso. At the beginning of the practice, Dr. John served as a veterinarian for large animals, with a focus on equine medicine and surgery. He was the sole practitioner until 1975, when his son, Dr. Larry, joined the team. At that time, the practice was making a transition to adding care for small animals. The practice eventually evolved to focus more on small animals and less on large animals. In 2011, the family tradition continued as Dr. Brooke followed her father’s and grandfather’s footsteps and joined the MAH team.
Becoming a veterinarian is something Dr. Brooke has wanted to do since she was a child.
“I grew up in the house next to the old clinic off of Laporte Avenue, so I would always walk to the clinic and follow my dad around and I loved it. Absolutely loved it. I’ve known forever that this is what I’ve wanted to do,” Dr. Brooke said.
In the clinic’s 76 years, the team has developed relationships that go back generations.
“We do have several clients that worked with my grandpa, my dad, and now me, so we’re a third generation vet. That’s what I love about this practice—it’s still really family-oriented. It’s family-run, and that’s something rare to the industry,” Dr. Brooke said.
Dr. Brooke is just one of the highly-skilled and caring veterinarians on MAH’s team. She’s joined by Dr. Steve, Dr. Danielle, Dr. Jessica and Dr. Lyndsay.
From the time you step foot into MAH, you’re greeted with smiles and a one-of-a-kind staff. MAH’s team of vets is here to keep your four-legged friend happy and healthy. To schedule a checkup for your pet, call (219)-462-5901 or visit https://mcafeeah.com/.