Dr. Colleen Helgen and her expert staff at Animal Medical Center will work with you as a team for the best treatment for your pet. Our hospital has state of the art equipment, such as our new therapeutic laser to help your pet heal quickly, surgical suite, full service pharmacy for your convenience, an on-site IDEXX veterinary laboratory for quick test results and advanced, diagnostic tools including EKG and blood pressure monitoring, and a digital x-ray system for the best diagnostic x-rays obtainable. We also offer complete grooming services.
General Medicine

We believe preventative health care is the key to ensuring that your companion lives a full and healthy life. We recommend that all pets undergo a complete wellness exam at least once a year. Wellness care includes such things as yearly check-up exams, customized vaccine schedules that reflect your individual pet’s needs, proper food/nutrition and screening tests for diseases such as heartworm, Lyme, and giardia. Frequent routine exams help us identify and treat dog and cat diseases quickly.

The annual exam provides an opportunity for you to discuss your pet’s health with one of our veterinarians. Everything from dental care, arthritis, nutrition, immunizations, and any lifestyle changes are encouraged discussions.

Most importantly, we do a complete examination of your pet which allows us to develop a comprehensive health profile for your pet. This information aids us in future treatment and helps us identify medical problems at an early stage before they develop into serious conditions that are difficult and expensive to treat.

Routine annual exams cover:

  • Wellness Exams
  • New Puppy Exams
  • New Kitten Exams
  • Vaccinations
  • Heartworm Protection and Flea Prevention
  • Microchipping
  • Nutrition Counseling

We see a variety of dog and cat medical problems, but the most common problems include:

  • Ear infections/problems
  • Skin problems-itchy skin, hair loss
  • Increased drinking
  • Loss of appetite, decreased appetite
  • Abnormal urinating
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sneezing/coughing
  • Cancer treatment/chemotherapy
  • Diabetes
  • Limping
  • Difficulty rising, walking or climbing stairs
  • Cuts or wounds that are not healing
  • New lumps or bumps

Dental Care is Very Important for Cats and Dogs.

Plaque and tartar that build-up on your pet’s teeth can lead to gingivitis. Reddened, bleeding gums, difficulty chewing and bad breath are all signs of oral and dental diseases in dogs and cats. Untreated gingivitis can progress to a more advanced form of periodontal disease, a bacterial infection that, if left untreated, can cause the loss of teeth.

Signs of oral and dental diseases in dogs and cats:

  • Loss of appetite or loss of weight
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth or teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • Your pet shies away from you when you touch the mouth area
  • Drooling or dropping food from the mouth
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Loss of appetite or loss of weight

The same bacteria causing gingivitis and periodontal disease can be carried into the blood stream and cause damage to your pet’s kidneys, heart, liver and other organs. Regular dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar and prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Routine, Preventative Dental Care:

Our routine dental care includes complete ultrasonic scaling, root planning, and polishing. We place your pet under anesthesia and perform a comprehensive oral examination. We examine individual teeth for mobility, fractures, malocclusion, and periodontal disease. We remove plaque and tartar using hand instruments and power scaling equipment. We give your pet’s teeth a thorough ultrasonic cleaning and polishing.

Advanced Dental Care:

We are able to provide advanced dental care for your pet. Our goal in providing these services is to keep your pet’s mouth healthy and pain-free for years to come. Proper dental care can increase the lifespan of your pet.

  • Periodontal Therapy
  • Orthodontics – basic tooth alignment issues
  • Restorative Dentistry – repairing teeth, bonding enamel, caps
  • Oral surgery

At Home Dental Care:

Brushing your pet’s teeth every day will reduce or eliminate plaque buildup. Plaque, which is an accumulation of bacteria, will progress to periodontitis, which is characterized by pockets of chronic infection, oral pain, and severe infections. Left untreated, it will eventually loosen and destroy the tooth and possibly lead to bone loss. The infection under the gum line can also spread to the liver, kidneys, and heart.

Therapeutic Laser
Advanced Pain Relief for Your Pet!

We have a new therapeutic laser! Laser therapy is a noninvasive, painless and side-effect free treatment to reduce pain, reduce inflammation, increase speed of healing of your pet, increase joint flexibility and relieve joint pain. It uses a beam of laser light to deeply penetrate tissue without damaging it. It induces a biological response in the cells which leads to reduced pain, inflammation and increased healing. Most treatments only take a matter of minutes.

It is used to treat a variety of injuries and illnesses your pet might be experiencing. Treatment protocols are unique to each patient and condition. Treatments vary in time, complexity and costs. Laser therapy can also be used to enhance other treatment plan recommended by us.

We have an in-house, fully stocked pharmacy for your convenience!

Animal Medical Center has an on-site, fully stocked pharmacy, meaning convenience for you and immediate treatment for your pet. We only carry the safest flea and tick control choices for you and your pets.

We stock medications and products your pet might need for wellness care, critical care, emergency situations, and the best products to manage ear infections, airborne allergies, heartworm, fleas, intestinal worms, and chronic medical conditions. If your pet has specialized requirements, we may use local pharmacies and special compounding pharmacies to meet your needs.

If you need a refill on your pet’s prescription, please give us a call in advance and we will have it waiting for you!

Kitten Care

Congratulations adding a new member to your family!

We can’t wait to meet your new kitten. Please bring your new kitten in as soon as possible after you bring him/her home. Your investment in good basic care will reward you with the companionship and affection of a healthy cat for fifteen years or more.

What to bring with you to your kitten’s initial exam:

  • Your kitten in a pet carrier
  • Any previous medical history, i.e. vaccines, deworming, etc.
  • Fecal sample less than 24 hours old

The initial exam will include:

  • Complete physical exam
  • Screening for viruses specific to felines, such as Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immuno Virus
  • Recommendations for controlling and preventing external parasites such as fleas
  • Heartworm preventative as needed
  • Fecal examination for intestinal parasites and appropriate deworming
  • Development of an immunization program based on your kitten’s lifestyle
  • Necessary vaccine boosters
  • Testing for Feline Leukemia Virus FIV and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is highly recommended

Kitten Vaccination Schedule:

  • FVRCP (prevents Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus infection, and Panleukopenia)
  • Administered every 3 to 4 weeks until 16 weeks of age.
  • Cats over 12 weeks of age with an unknown vaccination status will be given 2 vaccinations 3-4 weeks apart.
  • Rabies vaccine will be administered at 12 weeks of age or older.
  • Additional vaccines such as Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) will be discussed with you and given based on your kitten’s lifestyle and risk.

Information about vaccines for your kitten:

Distemper vaccine. The distemper vaccine typically includes protection not only for feline distemper but also some upper respiratory viruses. Feline distemper (panleukopenia) is a serious, often fatal disease that is easily transmitted, so do not delay getting this important vaccination. Your kitten should receive his first distemper shot when he is about 8 weeks old. A booster shot is then needed 3 to 4 weeks later. After this, your kitty will need annual boosters.

Rabies vaccine. Rabies is a serious, fatal disease that can attack any mammal, including humans. Your kitty should get her first rabies vaccination when she is 4 months old. After this, she will need a booster one year later. After that, she will need boosters every 3 years.

Nutrition and Diet

Nutrition is one of the most important factors in maintaining your pet’s good health. Proper nutrients are necessary for every organ system in the body to function properly. Maintaining your pet’s ideal body weight can improve his or her life expectancy. Many gastrointestinal ailments can be linked to inappropriate diets, and many skin problems have a nutritional component to them.

“What should I feed my dog or cat” and “how much should I feed at each meal” are two of the questions we hear often. Diet is the foundation of your pet’s good health and longevity, and we will work with you to create a nutrition plan appropriate for your dog or cat’s age, weight, health, lifestyle, and activity level. By assessing your pet’s history and current health conditions, we can assist you in keeping your pet healthy and active. With all the pet food brands on the market, talk to one of our veterinarians about your pet’s nutritional needs.

If your pet is overweight, there are many things you can do to help him get back into shape. For some pets, feeding a diet formulated for weight loss and carefully selecting lower calories treats can help. Increasing exercise as appropriate for your pet may be helpful. Most often, simply learning the correct volume of food to offer works wonders.

At Home Care

We can now travel to you and your pet! In the comfort of your own home we can provide the following services:

  • Wellness Exams
  • Vaccinations
  • Routine Lab work
  • Hospice care and euthanasia

We understand that the vet’s office and car rides can be exceptionally stressful for some pets. Let us help by coming to you. These services are available during normal business hours Monday through Friday.


Surgical procedures often are a necessary component of your pet’s general health care plan. At Animal Medical Center, we provide the highest quality surgical care, recovery and pain management for your pet. Our clinic contains state-of-the-art surgical and anesthetic equipment to perform a variety of surgical procedures.

We offer advanced surgical techniques and technology. All patients are carefully screened, and anesthetics are specifically tailored to your pet.

Surgical services and facilities include:

  • Fully trained veterinary and technical staff to ensure the safest, most efficient state-of-the-art procedures for your pet
  • Heated surgery tables for greater comfort
  • Advanced sterilization techniques
  • ECG and oxygen saturation monitors
  • Intensive after-surgery care and full pre-anesthetic blood testing

We are capable of performing most surgical procedures. Surgeries performed by us include (but are not limited to):

  • Spay and Neuter
  • Emergency Surgery
  • Soft Tissue Surgery, including:
    • Exploratory surgery
    • Laceration repair
    • Growth removal
    • Oral/periodontal surgery
    • Orthopedic surgery
    • Declawing
    • Safety and Comfort

Before any anesthetic procedure or surgery, we will ensure your pet is an acceptable candidate to undergo anesthesia by doing a thorough physical exam and we might, depending upon your pet’s health and surgical needs, recommend pre-surgical diagnostics. During anesthesia and surgery, your pet’s vital signs, oxygen levels, and heart rate are constantly monitored by a trained veterinary technician using advanced monitoring equipment. A trained veterinary assistant is on hand to monitor your pet’s condition after surgery as well.

Pain Management

Your pet’s pain relief is our top priority. We ensure your pet has minimal pain before, during and after their surgery by utilizing multiple therapies to control pain so that your pet is as comfortable as possible until he or she is fully recovered.


We Treat Your Pet’s Itchy Skin and Ear Infections!

Dogs and cats can have allergies too! Itchy skin problems can be very frustrating for both you and your pet. At Animal Medical Center, we offer dermatology services to diagnose and treat your pet’s itchy skin and chronic ear infections. We are trained to diagnose and treat a variety of dermatological conditions, such as:

  • Allergies (food, inhalants, contact, and fleas)
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Hormonal Diseases
  • Parasites (fleas and mites)
  • Infectious Diseases (bacterial and fungal)
  • Recurring Ear Infections
  • Skin Cancer

If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, please call us for a dermatology appointment:

  • Continuous scratching
  • Face rubbing
  • Excessive licking of feet, legs and belly region
  • Hair loss
  • Recurring skin infections
  • Chronic anal sac problems
  • Biting and chewing at the skin
  • Ear infections
Diagnostic Services

We utilize advanced technology to aid us in the diagnosis of many of the medical conditions your pet might be experiencing.

Digital X-ray

Our in-house, state of the art digital X-ray equipment provides Dr. Helgen with fast x-ray results, as the digital format provides a more enhanced image and eliminates processing and development time required with traditional x-rays. X-rays are very useful for diagnosing medical problems. A mass or foreign object in the stomach is often easily seen in an X-ray. If your pet is vomiting, an X-ray can reveal whether your pet has eaten string, socks or a large part of his/her toy. Digital X-rays help us evaluate skeletal, cardiopulmonary, abdominal, reproductive, and urinary systems. It is the perfect tool for OFA x-rays of the hips and elbows.


Ultrasonography is a non-invasive technique that allows the Doctors to visually examine your pet’s internal body structures, allowing for more accurate diagnosis and treatment of diseases. The patients are able to be fully awake during this procedure. Areas of inflammation or ulceration are easily seen. Masses, strictures and foreign bodies (hairballs, bones, toys, rocks, socks, coins, etc.), vessels, clots, and organs may also be examined.


Nothing could or should replace the attentive, professional, and compassionate care we offer during your pet’s veterinary exam. However, because many conditions cannot be diagnosed without the assistance of lab tests, we support our tradition of hands-on medicine with the latest technology of onsite laboratory diagnostics. We can perform a urinalysis to check for kidney and bladder health, blood tests for heartworm and tick-borne diseases, fecal analysis for the presence of parasites and giardia, plus complete blood chemistry and advanced diagnostics to determine the overall health of your pet. Because our laboratory is on site, there is no waiting for test results. We are able to share the results of numerous tests with you in just minutes. That way, we can respond immediately if treatment is needed, and your pet will be on its way back to health.

Puppy Care

Congratulations on adding a new member to your family!

We can’t wait to meet your new puppy. Please bring your new puppy in as soon as possible after you bring him/her home so that we can ensure they are healthy. We will answer your questions about caring for your puppy long-term, including food and nutrition questions, vaccinations, other health topics, and behavioral issues. Before you decide on a puppy food, talk to us. There are so many choices available and we want you to be able to choose the right food for your puppy.

What to bring with you to your Puppy Exam:

  • Your puppy on a leash
  • All paperwork that you have pertaining to the previous care of your puppy
  • Any questions you may have regarding your puppy’s health
  • Fecal sample less than 4 hours old

The initial exam will include:

  • Complete physical exam
  • Fecal examination for intestinal parasites and appropriate deworming
  • Necessary vaccine boosters
  • Flea/tick preventative
  • Heartworm preventative (as needed)

Which Vaccines Should Your Puppy Receive?
Very young puppies do not have fully developed immune systems and are highly susceptible to infectious diseases. To keep your puppy healthy and to provide optimal protection against disease for the first few months of life, a series of vaccinations are scheduled, usually 3-4 weeks apart. For most puppies and kittens, the final vaccination in the series is administered at when they about 4 months of age.

We will discuss your pet’s lifestyle, access to other animals and travel to other geographic locations with you during your initial exam since these factors affect your pet’s risk of exposure to disease. Together we will decide on a vaccination schedule that best suits your Puppy.

Flea and Tick Prevention for Your Puppy
Diseases such as tapeworm, and Lyme disease, are preventable if you prevent flea and tick bites. The latest medicines have provided effective and safe flea and tick prevention products. Flea and tick medicines are good for a variety of diseases, including:

  1. Tapeworms
  2. Lyme Disease
  3. Ehrlichia
  4. Flea allergies
  5. Skin infections
  6. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Using a flea prevention medicine, you can keep fleas from infesting not only your puppy, but also your home. We will discuss flea and tick prevention for your puppy and together decide on a preventative that best suits your puppy.

Senior Pet Care

As your pet ages, his or her veterinary medical needs change. Wellness examinations, blood work, and dietary counseling all are important steps you can take toward keeping your senior pet healthy and happy. At Animal Medical Center, we take pride in offering the very best health care and support to our senior citizen patients. Our senior wellness exams are specially designed for your older pet’s good health.

As your pet ages, normal changes take place and some diseases follow that can often affect their overall health, well being and comfort. We have experience, knowledge, and access to diagnostics that allow us to detect some of those changes and diseases. Many conditions, when detected early and treated properly, can be prevented from progressing into more serious and sometimes life-threatening illnesses. Our goal is for your pet and you to enjoy the longest healthiest life together.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, we strongly recommend you schedule an appointment to discuss them with us:

  • Loss or increased appetite or thirst
  • Increased/decreased thirst or urination
  • Difficulty with stairs, getting up or down from rest
  • Coughing or exercise intolerance
  • Weight loss
  • Sneezing, foul breath, dropping food
  • Lack of energy
  • Arthritis or orthopedic problems
  • Loss of hearing or vision
  • Dental problems
  • Heart and kidney disease
  • Other behavioral changes
  • Reduced exercise, reluctance to move, run, jump, etc.
  • Perception of pain when your pet moves or is handled
  • Any vomiting, diarrhea or lack of bowel movements

Along with the wellness exam our veterinarians may recommend different diagnostics such as blood work, urinalysis, x-rays, ECG’s, blood pressure checks and other tests as selectively determined.

Microchip Implantation

Every year millions of pets are lost and can be reunited with their family if they are found. We use the Avid microchipping system that is used by shelters and veterinary clinics throughout the world and we strongly recommend microchipping all animals. In the event your pet is lost, it may be your only means of being reunited with them.

A microchip is your pet’s permanent ID. We can microchip your dog or cat during any routine visit. It is a simple procedure and no anesthetic is required. We can also scan your pet to see if they already have a microchip. You can visit the AVMA’s website and the Avid website to learn more about some of the most frequently asked questions about microchipping.

You can also use the Pet Microchip Lookup website to find a pet’s owners based on the microchip number, independent of the microchipping company.


We would love to board your pet while you are away! Your pet will be safe and sound under the watchful eye of our professional kennel staff. When you board your pet with us, your pets will be treated like our family; we feed, nurture and lavish attention on them. We provide tender, loving, individual care along with frequent walks (a minimum of 2 per day). Our kennel is both air-conditioned and heated, as appropriate, for your pet’s comfort. Boarding is available for both current and new clients.

All pets staying with us must be current on Rabies, Distemper, and Bordetella vaccines.

Our boarding facility drop off and pick-up hours are the same as our regular hospital hours:

Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday: Closed

For boarding over long weekends and holidays please make your reservations as early as possible as our space fills up quickly.

Your partner in pet health.


321 W. Columbian Blvd
Litchfield, IL 62056
Click here for directions.


Mon - Fri: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat - Sun: Closed


Fax: 217-324-5616
Email [email protected]
During business hours, if you suspect your pet of having an emergency, please give us a call and we will prepare for your pet’s arrival. If your pet has an emergency outside of hospital hours, we recommend the following local veterinary emergency care clinics:
Hawthorne Animal Hospital
#5 Cougar Drive
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Springfield Animal Emergency Clinic
1333 Wabash Ave # A
Springfield, IL 62704

Have a question?

Please don’t hesitate to contact us using the form below. If you need immediate assistance, please call our team directly at 217-324-3311.