Veterinary specialist services
Acupuncture can be used in support of rehabilitation alongside other treatment. Animals whose pain has been relieved with the help of acupuncture are again able to use their body normally, which improves their quality of life. This way, their movement increases, which means that pain relief initiates a positive cycle in the animal’s healing process. Acupuncture, used to treat a range of ailments in a versatile manner, is not associated with the same side and adverse effects as long-term drug regimens are, in addition to which, its effect lasts longer.
Acupuncture helps animals in, for example, the following problems:
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Ossification problems
- States of tension
- Reproductive problems
Unfortunately, acupuncture is not a suitable form of treatment for all diseases, such as canine rheumatism. Specialists in veterinary acupuncture also treat emergencies, fractures, borreliosis, bacterial infections and other serious cases always primarily with the means of traditional veterinary medicine.
The response to acupuncture greatly depends on the disease being treated. In the case of musculoskeletal diseases, the technique helps approximately 70–95% of patients. In cases of epilepsy, roughly one-third of patients treated with acupuncture manage without any drugs post-treatment, another one-third with mild medication, while the rest gain no relief from acupuncture.
Often, acupuncture should be attempted three times, after which the treatment is not continued unless seen to have an effect on the animal.
Many Finnish insurance companies cover acupuncture treatments for animals administered by veterinarians.
The acupuncture clinic of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital has been operational since 1997. At the moment, patients are cared for by Docent Anna Hielm-Björkman, DVM, an internationally trained specialist in veterinary acupuncture.
Further information (in Finnish)
The exotic animals clinic welcomes birds, rodents, rabbits, ferrets, reptiles, fish and other small pets.
In recent decades, the research-based healthcare and medication of rarer pet species has considerably improved. Even though it may at times be difficult to diagnose diseases suffered by exotic animals, they can be treated according to current care guidelines just as dogs and cats are. Many exotic species also have special needs, requiring advanced knowledge from both the owner and the veterinarian.
The health and wellbeing of small pets is just as important as those of larger ones. Fortunately, responsible owners and expert veterinarians can together maintain and improve the health and quality of life of such fascinating animals.
Our physiotherapists are focused on preventing, investigating and treating various musculoskeletal problems and motor disturbances in animals. We treat small animals from all over Finland.
How to book a physiotherapy appointment
- In the case of treating a sick animal, with a referral by a veterinarian
- In the case of examinations of healthy animals or preventive physiotherapy, without referral
Who can book appointments
Even though our physiotherapists work also with healthy and sporting animals, the physiotherapy services provided by the Veterinary Teaching Hospital are primarily targeted at sick animals suffering from pain, other problems or ailments related to mobility.
Customers usually arrive at physiotherapy by referral from a veterinarian. Appointments for physiotherapists can also be made without a referral, in which case the physiotherapist refers the patient for further examinations, if needed.
Veterinary physiotherapy is focused on preventing, investigating and treating various musculoskeletal problems and motor disturbances. Typical patients include animals struggling with pain and musculoskeletal issues underlying a range of causes, as well as those with problems related to the nervous system.
Physiotherapy is always carried out in cooperation with the animal’s owner and the veterinarian in charge of the patient.
In addition to broad-based experience, veterinary physiotherapy at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital is based on scientific research. All of our veterinary physiotherapists have long and varied experience in the field. Seamless cooperation with referring veterinarians is one of the cornerstones of our veterinary physiotherapy services.
Hyytiäinen and Boström are the first Finns to complete a master’s degree in veterinary physiotherapy at the Royal Veterinary College in London, England, the only educational institution in the world offering this two-year degree programme. Kirsti Lind is a veterinary physiotherapist by training.
In addition, Heli Hyytiäinen completed a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the field of veterinary physiotherapy in 2015 at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki. Hyytiäinen is Finland’s first doctoral degree holder in the field.
about the physiotherapy process and, for example, equipment rental (in Finnish)
Small animals can have many skin diseases, some of which are lifelong and require long-term treatment. Such conditions include allergic skin diseases.
A treatment plan drawn up by a veterinarian specialised in skin diseases and the owner's commitment to the treatment are the best guarantees of successfully treating a disease. To support the examination, comprehensive background information is collected on the animal, general and cutaneous examinations are carried out, and skin samples are collected for testing. Several blood samples are collected to determine the health status of the animal. Allergy tests can be carried out either as skin tests or by measuring allergy antibodies in the blood.
In the case of ear diseases, a video otoscope is used to project images of the ear canal on a screen, so that the owner can also see its condition. Another technique increasingly used in the examination of ear diseases is computed tomography.
Skin diseases are treated by Riitta Seppänen, a Licentiate of Veterinary Medicine specialising in skin diseases.
Tumour diseases are one of the most significant disease categories affecting ageing pets. The most common cancer types in pets include skin and mammary gland tumours as well as lymphoma, or cancer in the lymph nodes.
The detection of tumour diseases is usually based on general examination findings and, if necessary, an abdominal ultrasound examination and a chest radiograph. Information on the nature of the tumour is important for treatment and can be obtained through fine or core needle aspiration or biopsies. In addition to acquiring information on the type of tumour involved, it is important to know the stage of the tumour through fine needle aspiration of the local lymph node as well as through chest and abdominal X-ray and ultrasound examinations. Further information on diagnostic imaging at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
The treatment of a tumour disease often involves the complete surgical removal of the lesion, aiming to remove the tumour in its entirety. In many cases, surgical removal at a sufficiently early stage leads to a full recovery.
If complete surgical removal is impossible due to the metastasising of the tumour disease, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital can offer oral or intravenous chemotherapy. The condition and blood values of the animal are regularly monitored during chemotherapy
Dogs, cats and horses exhibit various behavioural problems. Addressing such problems is important for the health and wellbeing of the animals and their owners alike. Some behavioural problems have underlying medical conditions, and many other complaints can often be resolved through other means. A single consultation is often helpful.
Behavioural problems in pets include the following:
- Destruction of the household and property
- Toilet training issues
- Marking in the house
- Making disturbing sounds
- Separation anxiety
- Fear of car rides
- Self-harm through continuous self-licking or chewing
- Being shy or nervous
- Chasing other pets and wild animals
- Being otherwise out of control
All the above problems may cause stress not only to the owner, but also to the animal and may, ultimately, force people to give up their pet. The Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s behaviour clinic offers help for all these issues as well as the behavioural problems of smaller pets and horses. Consulting a veterinarian is often the natural course of action for owners needing help with their pet.
You can request or receive a referral from your veterinarian to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital if your pet suffers from behavioural problems. The behaviour of pets is an important part of modern veterinary skills because health, behaviour and welfare are interconnected.
The clinic’s operations are based on the latest scientific research and provide opportunities for related teaching and research at the University of Helsinki Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.
What kind of assistance does the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s behaviour clinic offer?
It takes time to identify the cause of a behavioural problem and make a treatment plan suitable for both the pet and the owner. The Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s behaviour clinic has the resources and expertise required to achieve the set objectives with reasonable costs.
What happens during a consultation?
Consultations are based on appointments and usually last from one and a half to two hours. If possible, the whole family should attend.
During consultations, we explore the history of the problematic behaviour and assess the character of the pet. The behaviour consultant then explains what is causing the behaviour and helps the client devise a treatment plan.
What happens after a consultation?
Treatment programmes vary depending on the problem and its severity. Because the behaviour consultant explains the stages of the treatment programme to the owner and describes what the owner should do and why each stage is important, the owner can often follow the programme independently and a single consultation may be enough.
This means that results are occasionally obtained quite rapidly, but usually it takes time, effort and the commitment of all family members to change a pet’s behaviour. It is important to remember that the behaviour problems may have developed over a long period of time.
Clients can also ask questions after the consultation by email or phone. If necessary, a follow-up appointment can also be booked. A report on the consultation is prepared for the client and the referring veterinarian, indicating the main features of the treatment programme.
- Information on the behaviour clinic for the referring veterinarian (in Finnish)
- A new perspective on canine leadership (in Finnish) – David Appleby
- Research Centre for Animal Welfare
Typical symptoms of neurological disorders in dogs and cats include seizures, pain, weakness and paralysis of the limbs. The most common disorders investigated are epilepsy and various back complaints, such as intervertebral disc problems.
The services of the neurology clinic are also available to the patients of the Equine Hospital.
Patients always first undergo a neurological examination assessing their mental alertness, movements, postural reactions, spinal reflexes, cranial nerve function and pain sensitivity. Based on the examination, the problem can be traced to, for example, a specific area of the brain, the peripheral nervous system or part of the spine. Any necessary further investigations are then decided. Patients can also undergo MRI or CT scans. Further information on diagnostic imaging at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Neurological disorders are divided into diseases of the central nervous system and diseases of the peripheral nervous system. The former include diseases in various parts of the brain as well as spinal cord issues, while the latter include diseases of the nerve roots, peripheral nerves and neuromuscular junctions as well as muscle diseases.
When investigating diseases of the peripheral nervous system, patients often give blood samples and undergo electromyograms and, if necessary, a conduction velocity measurement of peripheral nerves. The examinations conducted may also include samples of muscle or nerve tissue.
Diseases of the central nervous system are studied with a number of devices, such as MRI and CT. When suspecting epilepsy, EEG can also be used. An audiometer is used if deafness is suspected. In addition, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s neurologists also perform brain and back surgery. At the neurology clinic, we also perform scanning under the official syringomyelia screening programme as well as BAER hearing tests.
Both of the veterinarians at the neurology clinic have completed a European qualification in veterinary neurology. In addition, the clinic staff include designated nurses with long experience in working with neurology patients.
LVM (Licentiate of Veterinary Medicine)
DECVN (Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Neurology)
DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine)
Docent (Veterinary Neurology)
DECVN (Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Neurology)
Musculoskeletal disorders are typically manifested as lameness or difficulties getting up. The causes of lameness may include pain in the bones, joints, muscles or tendons. An examination for lameness must be performed to establish the cause. This examination begins with an investigation of the patient’s structure and movements, followed by a detailed examination of the back as well as the fore and hind limbs and their joints.
Based on the findings, the decision is often made to carry out further investigations, such as an X-ray or CT scan. Ultrasound scans are used to explore tendons and muscles. When suspecting arthritis, synovial fluid samples may be taken. Other tools used include a pressure mat and a force plate, which help determine weight bearing during movement and explore any imbalances in the use of limbs.
Musculoskeletal disorders often require surgical treatment. Pauli Keränen, LVM, specialist in small animal medicine, and Ella Söderlund, LVM, perform a wide range of orthopaedic operations. The most common operations include fracture surgery and the surgical treatment of cruciate ligament rupture and patellar luxation. Arthroscopy is used to investigate and treat joint diseases. We offer specialist expertise in areas such as joint replacement surgery and corrective surgery for abnormal posture in the limbs.
We provide soft tissue surgery for dogs, cats and exotic animals requiring surgical treatment of the ear, nasopharynx, neck, chest cavity, heart, airways, digestive tract, and the urinary and sexual organs.
In the case of severely ill patients and major surgical procedures, a successful surgical treatment outcome often requires high-quality treatment before and after surgery. This is possible at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s intensive care unit.
Safe veterinary anaesthesia and effective pain relief are vitally important for surgical procedures. The staff of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s anaesthesia unit see to the anaesthesia of all animals undergoing surgical procedures during the unit’s regular opening hours. This enables surgeons to fully concentrate on their work, maintains high standards of patient safety and provides ideal conditions for successful surgical treatment outcomes.
We specialise, for example, in various surgical procedures involving the thoracic and abdominal cavities, such as the following:
- Pulmonary lobectomy
- Closure of the patent ductus arteriosus
- Closure of extrahepatic portosystemic shunts
- Gallbladder surgery
- Treatment of congenital ureteral anomalies
We treat a large number of surgical patients with tumours and also have the capacity to perform demanding neoplastic surgery. In skin surgery, we can also use various skin grafts, if necessary. Examples of surgical procedures performed in the head and neck area include the surgical removal of the ear canal in chronic ear infections which do not respond to treatment; the shortening of the soft palate and the widening of the nares for the alleviation of breathing problems in breeds with short muzzles; surgical procedures of the thyroid and parathyroid glands; and surgical treatment for pharyngeal paralysis.
Sari Mölsä , DVM, DiplECVS, also has expertise in laparoscopic surgery. The advantages of endoscopic surgery over open surgery include small surgical wounds and, consequently, minor pain as well as quick recovery after surgery. Endoscopic surgery can be carried out on dogs, for example, to perform an ovariectomy, cryptorchid neutering and the surgical fixation of the stomach to prevent gastric volvulus. Endoscopic surgery can also be used to take liver biopsies required for the diagnosis of liver diseases.
Our staff are highly experienced and specialised.
Professor Outi Vapaavuori and Sari Mölsä, DVM, have extensive work experience and hold European specialist qualifications in small animal surgery. They are thus able to offer state-of-the-art small tissue surgery.
All our surgeons also cooperate with fifth-year veterinary students in performing such operations as castrations, hysterectomies, ovariectomies and the removal of tumours.
The Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s oral and dental clinic accepts patients on referral from all parts of Finland.
The treatment of oral and dental diseases covers the following:
- Dental and oral examination
- Dental radiography
- Dental prophylaxis
- Tooth extraction
- Occlusal assessment and treatment of malocclusion for health reasons
- Root canal therapy
- Tooth filling
- Treatment of jaw fractures and oral tumours
You can book an appointment for a procedure or examination for the treatment of oral and dental diseases. Based on the age and health of the pet, we will assess whether to directly book a procedure or whether the patient should first visit the outpatient clinic for a health check-up and any necessary blood tests taken under anaesthesia for the purposes of dental treatment.
Patients undergoing procedures
Patients who will undergo a procedure must be brought to the hospital on the morning of treatment and will remain at the hospital throughout the day. A general examination is always conducted on the patient, and a blood sample will be analysed before the induction of anaesthesia. Dental treatment always takes place under general anaesthesia. The patient is supervised carefully with various types of monitoring devices. A veterinarian specialised or experienced in anaesthesia is responsible.
An appointment for a check-up lasts approximately 15–30 minutes. Check-up appointments are always scheduled for before noon. Fifth-year veterinary students and a veterinary nurse also participate in the treatment of patients, and specialising veterinarians occasionally visit the clinic.
The nutrition clinic provides expertise in animal nutrition to dog and cat owners as well as veterinarians. Identifying the nutritional causes of an illness diagnosed by a veterinarian and calculating a feeding plan and issuing instructions typically require a few days of expert work, for which veterinarians do not have resources during regular consultation hours. The majority of the work required to draw up a nutrition plan takes place after the client’s visit to the clinic. Careful investigation of the animal’s nutrition problem and good advice for the customer ensure a speedy recovery, promote welfare and reduce unnecessary drug therapies and treatment costs.
What kinds of problems can the nutrition clinic help with?
Experts in animal nutrition can offer nutritional advice, establish the nutrition-related reasons that may underlie a problem, plan an individual diet for a dog or cat, and monitor its implementation. The experts of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s nutrition clinic also make nutrition plans required for the treatment of various diseases.
Is a referral from a veterinarian required?
The nutrition clinic’s experts work in pairs (a veterinarian and an academic agronomist) both during consultations and when calculating feeding plans. As a rule, patients come to the nutrition clinic on referral from a veterinarian, which means that the veterinarian attending to the animal also participates in the implementation and monitoring of treatment.
In the case of a healthy dog or a dog with small-scale nutrition problems, you can book an appointment directly.
What should I do before a consultation?
The dog’s diet must be monitored with a food diary for seven days before the consultation. All food given to the dog must be recorded. The amount of food or raw materials must be carefully weighed and reported in grams. No measures of volume are used when calculating feeding plans. In addition, information on the long-term nutrition history of the dog is required to establish the problem and plan the diet, particularly in the case of allergies.
The referral from a veterinarian, treatment and nutrition history, and a food diary must be submitted five days before the consultation to Riitta Kempe at email@example.com.
The nutrition clinic also collects research-based information on dog nutrition. Before the first consultation, dog owners can complete a Finnish-language food survey associated with the DOGRISK project at www.ruokintakysely.fi.
How can I book a consultation?
You can book a consultation by calling the Small Animal Hospital on 02941 57201. We accept clients from throughout Finland. The fee for a clinic visit is €260, to be paid to the reception desk.
The nutrition clinic is open once a month, usually on the last Friday of the month, but occasionally also on Saturdays. In urgent cases, please contact us to enquire whether we can see you sooner. For information on the nutrition clinic’s opening hours, please contact the appointment service.
What happens during a consultation?
We reserve one hour for each consultation. The owner brings the dog to the practice for weighing and an assessment of the body condition score. During the consultation, we explore the background to the nutrition problem and review treatment and nutrition options appropriate for the client’s situation. As the dog’s long-term food history is analysed carefully, you should prepare for this with notes. If further examinations are required, a blood, stool or urine sample can be taken. In this case, the necessity of a fast (eight hours) is assessed before the visit, and the owner should ask the staff whether this is necessary at the time of delivering the food diary.
What happens after a consultation?
It takes time to identify the cause of a nutrition problem, calculate a feeding plan and draw up instructions. The majority of the work required for a nutrition plan takes place after the client’s visit to the clinic.
Treatment regimens vary. Their duration depends on the owner’s commitment and the severity of the problem. The owner can usually follow the instructions independently, and a single consultation is sufficient. Guidance and advice continue after the visit via a shared platform, email and/or phone. If a client requires long-term intensive guidance, a follow-up visit at the clinic will be booked for a date one or two months after the initial visit.
The team’s expertise encompasses the key areas of domestic animal nutrition: nutrition physiology and metabolism; nutrition requirements; knowledge, composition and suitability of feed and raw materials for various animal species; feed technology; the impact of food on animal health and welfare; animal genetics; and calculated feed formulation.
Animals suffer from many of the same eye diseases as humans. Particularly dogs, but also cats, have several genetic diseases of various parts of the eye.
These include the following:
- Structural problems of the eyelid (e.g., abnormal position or additional eyelashes)
- Corneal diseases
- Different degrees of opacity of the lens (cataract)
- Lens luxation
- Retinal degeneration
Also common are various injuries of the eye and the tissues surrounding it as a result of, for example, fighting or colliding with a sharp object.
Common reasons for seeking treatment include changes to the appearance of the eye (e.g., red or cloudy eyes or discharge from the eye), watering of the eye and changes to vision. Some diseases, such as glaucoma and serious eye injuries, require urgent treatment so that the animal does not lose vision or the eyeball. Eye complaints should be examined without delay, particularly if the eye is very sore (symptoms include squinting, redness, watery discharge and sensitivity to light), the surface of the eye is cloudy, or the appearance of the eye has otherwise clearly changed.
Urgent medical attention is also necessary if the animal’s vision clearly decreases.
At the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, eye diseases are treated by Elina Pietilä, a veterinarian who has completed specialist education in ophthalmology and works mainly at the Small Animal and Equine Hospital, but if necessary also at the Production Animal Hospital. Eye diseases are occasionally associated with a more extensive set of problems, in which case their treatment may involve cooperation with other hospital wards.
The Veterinary Teaching Hospital treats a range of diseases requiring expertise in internal medicine. Many patients arrive at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital on referral from another veterinary practice.
Pet owners can book an appointment at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s general outpatient department regardless of where they live in Finland. If a pet needs extensive further investigations or surgical treatment, the necessary appointments can be made on referral from a veterinarian or following a visit to the general outpatient department.
- Medical disorders affecting small animals include respiratory and pulmonary diseases, ear and skin diseases, urinary tract diseases, hormonal diseases, diseases of the digestive tract, infections and cardiovascular diseases.
Common symptoms include:
- Increased drinking and urination
- Lack of appetite
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Weight gain or loss
As the examination and treatment of patients requires diverse specialist expertise, our experienced veterinarians cooperate extensively to identify and treat symptoms.
The Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s veterinarians have broad familiarity with the field of internal medicine, and each also has a separate specialist area. Patients are referred to the top expert in the field. Our experts in medical disorders and diseases of the digestive tract are Professor Thomas Spillmann (DiplECVIM-CA) and Susanne Kilpinen, DVM, veterinary specialist in small animal diseases. Other experts with extensive knowledge of medical disorders include Henna Laurila, DVM, veterinary specialist in small animal diseases (specialising veterinarian ECVIM-CA) and Sanna Viitanen, DVM, MSc, veterinary specialist in small animal diseases (specialising veterinarian ECVIM-CA). They also treat patient suffering from pulmonary diseases together with Docent Minna Rajamäki, DVM, veterinary specialist in small animal diseases.
Heart and lung diseases often cause coughing and shortness of breath in dogs and cats. To ensure appropriate treatment and a reliable diagnosis, a veterinarian with expertise in heart diseases performs examinations, including radiography, ultrasound imaging and electrocardiogram (ECG) tracing. Our experts in heart diseases are Docent Maria Wiberg, DVM, and Docent Minna Rajamäki, DVM.
The most common heart diseases developing in dogs and cats as they age include defects in the atrioventricular valves as well as cardiomyopathy. In young animals, puppies and kittens, a cardiac murmur can be caused by congenital heart disease. Occasionally, no structural changes are associated with a heart defect, but the symptoms include cardiac arrhythmia. If occasional arrhythmia is suspected, patients can also undergo Holter heart beat monitoring over a period of 24 hours.
In some dog breeds, the breeding programme includes resistance to typical heart diseases, and when selecting dogs for breeding, the heart disease clinic conducts official breeding inspections approved by the Finnish Kennel Club.
The Veterinary Teaching Hospital can also offer surgical treatment for congenital heart defects, such as correcting the fetal blood vessel linking the aorta and the pulmonary artery or performing a balloon dilatation procedure to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.