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Healthy Pets Equal Happy Pets

Your pet is an important part of your family, and when he or she is ill, you want the best medical care available.

The veterinarians and staff at our clinic are ready to provide your pet with cutting edge veterinary medical care. From wellness exams and vaccines to advanced diagnostics and complex surgical procedures, your pet will receive high quality care at our hospital.

Veterinary Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient form of medical treatment that has been practiced in China and other countries for thousands of years. The first veterinary acupuncture book, Bole’s Canon of Veterinary Acupuncture, was written by Dr. Bo Le between 659-621 B.C. The term acupuncture is from the Latin, “acus” meaning ‘needle’ and “punctura” meaning ‘to prick’. Acupuncture is the treatment of conditions or symptoms by the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body in order to produce a response. Acupuncture points can also be stimulated without the use of needles, using techniques known as acupressure, cupping, or by the application of heat, cold, water, and laser.

The specific acupuncture points have been well charted for both humans and animals. There are 361 acupuncture points in humans and roughly 173 acupoints in animals. The points are connected with each other and various internal organs via meridians or channels. Many of these channels trace the paths of the body’s major nerve trunks.

Each acupuncture point has specific actions when stimulated. Which acupuncture points are stimulated, the depth of needle insertion, the type of stimulation applied to the needles, and the duration of each treatment session depends on the patient’s tolerance, and the condition being treated.

Acupuncture can be used on all species of animals, but it tends to be more frequently used in companion animal species such as the horse, dog and cat. Most animals tolerate the treatments very well. It may be necessary to gently restrain the animal during the first treatment to minimize discomfort. Most animals relax and sit or lie quietly for subsequent treatments.

The American Veterinary Medical Association considers the practice of acupuncture to be the practice of veterinary medicine, and as such, should only be performed by a licensed veterinarian. A certified veterinary acupuncture training course is highly recommended. Certified Veterinary Acupuncturists have the initials CVA following their DVM.

The needles remain in place for 15-30 minutes. Initial acupuncture appointments are 60 minutes long and all subsequent appointments are 30-40 minutes long. The frequency of acupuncture treatments depends on the nature and severity of the illness. Often acupuncture is initially performed once a week for 4-5 treatments. The time between treatments is then gradually increased until a maintenance program is established, often every 6 months, or until the condition resolves.

In veterinary medicine, there is evidence for the success of acupuncture in treating disorders of the reproductive, musculoskeletal, neurologic, pulmonary, gastrointestinal and dermatologic systems. The most common conditions treated, include traumatic nerve injuries, intervertebral disk disease, degenerative myelopathy, epilepsy and other central nervous system disorders; gastrointestinal diseases, endocrine disease, cancer, asthma, allergic dermatitis, lick granulomas; and chronic pain such as that caused by degenerative joint disease. Any condition may potentially benefit from acupuncture. Acupuncture stimulates healing of some conditions, improves the overall function of the immune system, and provides effective pain relief.

Although acupuncture points can stimulate nerves to release various endorphins and neurologic transmitters, acupuncture has also been recognized to have a major impact on the flow of blood and lymphatics to major organs. Blood flow is regulated by enhancing blood supply to areas in need of nutrients and oxygen and shunting blood away from inflamed areas. The lymphatics system is a network of organs and tissues (including lymph nodes) that have a variety of jobs within the body one of which includes production and distribution of white blood cells (a major part of the immune system) throughout the body. Improving lymphatic flow helps improve immune function. Chinese Veterinary Herbal Medicine and Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy (Chiropractic) can be used as an adjunct therapies to improve the effectiveness of acupuncture.

Acupuncture is a very safe medical procedure when administered by a qualified veterinary practitioner. Very few side effects have been found in clinical cases. Such reactions may include mild transient bruising or swelling at the needle insertion site; a mild worsening of the condition for a short time (usually 24 to 48 hours); difficulty removing needles because of muscle spasm; injury to an underlying tissue or organ; and infection at the needle site. Certain acupuncture points are contraindicated in pregnant animals. Caution is exercised if certain drugs such as narcotics or corticosteroids are being used, or if the animal has a clotting disorder.

Comprehensive acupuncture treatment involves a thorough history and physical examination, followed by a patient assessment and formulation of a treatment plan. It rarely involves a single visit, and costs will vary according to the specific condition being treated, the equipment required, and the response of the patient.

Blood Pressure Monitoring

Do you know people with high blood pressure? Some pets have high blood pressure as well. This problem is most commonly associated with kidney disease, but may be present without kidney problems. If you pet has kidney disease or clinical signs commonly associated with high blood pressure, measuring blood pressure would be recommended.

Day Care

Does you pet need attention during the day while you are at work? We will be happy to provide that service for you.

Grooming

Are you tired of wrestling with your pet when it’s time for a bath? Are you nervous about trimming nails? Is regular brushing becoming a chore for you and your pet? Has your pet’s hair become tangled, dirty, or matted? If you’re looking for options when it comes to grooming your pet, why not come to us for your pet’s next bath, nail trim, or haircut?

We offer a convenient solution by maintaining a clean, safe, high-quality grooming facility. When it comes to keeping your pet looking like a star, let us help you! Our professional and friendly staff will take great care of your pet’s grooming needs. We understand that each pet is unique, and we will make every effort to keep your pet safe and comfortable during his or her grooming appointments. We’ll treat your pet with compassion and care while making every effort to create a look you will love! Does your pet have special needs or skin problems? Do you have special requests? We understand that it can sometimes be challenging to find a groomer who will be gentle, take good care of your pet, and give your pet the “perfect” look. We take great pride in providing the highest quality services to each pet that comes to us for a grooming appointment.

We welcome your questions about our grooming procedures and policies and are eager to discuss how we can make your pet’s next grooming appointment as happy and stress free as possible – for both of you. If you have a young puppy or kitten, let’s get acquainted early to help ensure that your pet will be comfortable with grooming throughout his or her life!

Let us answer all your questions and put your concerns to rest. Call today to schedule your personalized grooming appointment!

Laser Therapy

Independent Hill Veterinary Clinic has access to a Class IV therapeutic laser to help our patients with musculoskeletal pain, poorly healing wounds and inflammatory conditions. Like acupuncture, laser therapy helps regulate blood flow to tissues thereby enhancing nutrient and oxygen transportation to the tissues in need of repair. It can improve intercellular communication, increase fibroblast production and decrease pain. For musculoskeletal problems, treatments are repeated 3-4 days for 3 weeks then as needed which could vary from patient to patient from every 4 weeks to every 12 weeks. Consultations to determine if laser therapy could be of benefit to your pet are welcome.

Microchipping

Microchips have helped reunite many pets with their families. The realization your pet is missing can be a heartbreaking feeling. At Independent Hill Veterinary Clinic, we offer microchipping services to maximize your chances of a happy return.

Pain Management

The practice of high-quality veterinary medicine focuses on the entire patient – from medical issues that affect physical functioning, to emotional and psychological issues that affect well-being. Experiencing pain can affect the body’s physical functioning and can have a detrimental effect on a patient’s well-being and state of mind. That’s why pain management is among our primary considerations when we are treating a pet for any medical condition.

From routine procedures (such as a spays or dental cleanings), to more advanced medical treatments (such as bone surgeries or cancer treatments), to chronically painful conditions (such as arthritis or back pain), we are dedicated to providing safe and effective pain management to every patient. We will also help you recognize signs of pain in your pet so that we can modify his or her pain management plan when necessary.

Recognizing and alleviating pain in our patients is at the very heart of quality, compassionate patient care. We don’t take pain management for granted and will employ all our skills to help ensure your pet’s comfort, well-being, and full recovery.

Surgery

In our continuing efforts to offer the highest quality veterinary medicine, we are pleased to provide a wide range of surgical services for our patients. From routine surgical procedures, such as spaying and neutering, to more complex surgeries, we look forward to the opportunity to care for your pet’s surgical needs.

Our staff is highly skilled in performing veterinary surgeries and will make every effort to ensure that your pet receives the very best care. Our focus on patient safety, pain management, and employing the most current surgical practices is designed to exceed your expectations and put your concerns to rest. Our staff of compassionate, caring professionals will monitor your pet before, during, and after surgery and will take exceptional care to ensure a safe and complete recovery for your pet. We will also address any questions or concerns you may have about surgery, including concerns about anesthesia, pain management, or postoperative care.

When your pet is ready to go home, we will review your postoperative care and medication instructions. If any questions arise after your pet returns home or at any other time during the postoperative period, call us. We welcome your questions and will do all we can to help your pet recover fully. Help is only a phone call away.

Surgery can be a source of anxiety and stress for many pet owners. Maybe you worry about whether your pet will be well cared for, or perhaps you have concerns about adequate precautions and monitoring. Let us address your concerns. Whether your pet needs minor surgery or a complex procedure, call us. Let’s discuss how our surgical services can benefit your pet.

Wellness Exams

Your pet can benefit greatly from regular wellness examinations or checkups. Whether your pet is a youngster, a “senior citizen,” or any age in between, wellness examinations provide an excellent opportunity for us to conduct a thorough physical examination and develop a health profile for your pet. This information will help us identify medical problems and any other issues that can affect your pet’s health and quality of life.

A wellness examination includes an evaluation of all of your pet’s major organ systems. We’ll use the wellness visit to ask you questions about your pet’s behavior, appetite, exercise habits, and regular activities at home. This is also an excellent time for us to discuss any routine diagnostic testing that may benefit your pet or to recommend any vaccinations that may be due. If your pet seems healthy, a wellness examination is a good opportunity to note any changes, such as weight gain or loss or other subtle changes that may not be evident at home. Sometimes, information obtained during a wellness examination can help detect early signs of illness and address health issues before they progress.

A wellness examination is also your chance to have us address your questions or concerns about your pet. We welcome your questions. No question is too small or too silly, and it is our pleasure to address your concerns. We strive to help you understand your pet’s health considerations, and we encourage you to be involved in decisions regarding your pet’s health care.

Finally, wellness examinations help us establish a relationship with you and your pet. Through your pet’s physical examinations, other wellness procedures, and our consultations with you, we get to know your pet and learn about his or her lifestyle, personality, health risks, home environment, and other important information. We encourage you to use wellness examinations to take an active role in your pet’s health care.

Boarding

Are you planning a vacation? Need to go out of town on business? Are you concerned that you won’t be able to find someone trustworthy to care for your pet while you’re away? If you need to travel and can’t take your pet along, why not plan to have your best friend stay with us? Traveling can cause enough stress and anxiety – you don’t want to worry about whether your pet is being well cared for. We offer a convenient solution by providing boarding in our safe, clean, and comfortable environment.

Our professional and friendly staff takes great care of our pet guests. We understand that each pet is unique, and we will make every effort to ensure that your pet is safe, happy, and healthy during his or her stay with us. We’ll treat your pet with compassion and care, and we’ll provide individualized tender loving care until you return!

Does your pet have special needs, health issues, medication, or a special diet? Do you have special requests? Would you like to tour our facility? We understand that your pet has a special place in your family and that leaving your pet with someone while you travel can be a source of anxiety and uncertainty. We take great pride in our attention to cleanliness and in providing the highest quality care to each pet that stays with us.

We welcome your questions about our boarding facilities and policies and are eager to discuss how we can make your pet’s stay as happy as possible, while alleviating any stress you may be feeling about leaving your pet while you travel. Let us answer all your questions and put your concerns to rest! Call today to learn about our accommodations and boarding policies, or to schedule your pet’s stay.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese Herbal Medicine is one modality under the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) umbrella. Acupuncture, Tui-na (therapeutic massage), Food Therapy, and Qi-Gong (Tai Chi) comprise the remainder of TCM. The goal of each modality is to use natural resources to aid the body in healing itself. Chinese Herbal Medicine has been practiced in China and Eastern Asia for approximately 5,000 years.

CVHF are comprised of several ingredients which work together to provide a beneficial effect for your pet’s condition. Most formulas contain only plants (herbs), but occasionally minerals or animal ingredients are used.

CVHF come in a variety of preparations, including powder or granules, tablets, liquid, and topical salves. The powdered form can be sprinkled on the food and ingested. The tablets can be mixed with the food, cheese, pill pockets, or your favorite form of pet bribery. The liquid formulation can be mixed with the food or given orally. The salve formulation is generally applied directly to the skin. The dosage of any preparation is dependent on the animal’s weight and type of disease. The dosage is gradually increased over a 3-7 day period.

CVHF can be used to aid in the resolution of particular signs and symptoms. Improvement may be seen in the initial clinical signs, as well as other symptoms, such as changes in behavior, sleeping habits, energy level, attitude, appetite, urination, and bowel movements. Diseases are complex and have multiple layers. As the pet’s condition improves variations in the clinical signs or the development of signs not previously present may be seen. Because diseases are not static the CVHF may need to be altered as the symptoms change.

Generally mild to moderate improvement is expected within 2-3 weeks. Occasionally initial improvement can be seen within 24-48 hours. The severity and chronicity of the problem(s) will affect the length of time required to see improvement. The CVHF will be continued until the signs have resolved. Some animals are on herbs for 1-3 months while others remain on herbs indefinitely. Recheck examinations are generally recommended 2-3 weeks after starting CVHF to assess response to therapy and discuss future treatment and monitoring plans.

Side effects associated with CVHF are uncommon but may include vomiting, diarrhea, or decreased appetite. Sometimes there may be an initial improvement followed by a decline or plateau. All of these situations represent a change in the primary condition or an unveiling of the underlying (root) problem. The fluctuations in signs are very important and help direct further management.

Dental Care

Does your best friend have bad breath? Despite what many pet owners may believe, “dog breath” is not just a nuisance – it’s a sign of an unhealthy mouth. Bad breath is caused by bacteria. Over time, bacteria lead to plaque and tartar buildup on your pet’s teeth. The result is bad breath, reddened gums, and other common signs of dental disease. As dental disease progresses, other signs can include drooling, discomfort while chewing, and loose or missing teeth. Even if you’re using treats and chews to help control tartar, these are frequently not enough to keep dental disease in check. Ask us about the best ways to control plaque and help protect your pet from dental disease.

Dental hygiene is an important part of your pet’s health, because dental disease can be associated with other serious health problems such as heart disease and kidney disease. But how do you know if your pet has a healthy mouth? Let us examine your pet’s teeth and gums to help determine if there are any dental issues you should know about. After a brief visual examination, we may recommend a more detailed examination (which requires sedation), a dental cleaning, or options for at-home dental care.

Even if you think your pet’s teeth and gums are fine, we can offer expert advice to help you keep them that way! Dental health shouldn’t be taken for granted. Fortunately, many dental problems can be managed through at-home care and by bringing your pet to us for regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings.

We want your pet to live a long, healthy life, and we understand that maintaining a healthy mouth is part of that. Your pet’s health is important to us, so let us help you with this commitment. Call today to discuss your pet’s dental care needs and how we can help!

Glaucoma Testing

Dogs and cats can have glaucoma which can result in discomfort and loss of vision. Early detection can help spare vision for a longer period of time. Although glaucoma can be diagnosed in any breed of dog or cat, the following breeds are genetically predisposed to glaucoma: Cocker Spanials, Basset Hounds, Siberian Huskies/Malamutes, Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, Cockapoos, Shar peis, Chow Chows, Beagles, Dalmations, Lhaso apsos, Shi Tzus, German Shepards, Terriers (especially Jack Russel Terriers), Flat Coat Retrievers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Greyhounds, and Norwegian Elkhounds. We have a tonopen to measure the intra-ocular pressure to determine if your pet has glaucoma. If diagnosed, it is important to monitor the pressure frequently to determine response to therapy.

Nutritional Counseling

From the very first day you bring a new pet home through the final days of its life, nutrition plays a critical role in your pet’s overall health and well-being. Many pet owners take nutrition for granted, in part because the availability of so many nutritionally complete commercial diets has taken much of the guesswork out of choosing a suitable diet for a pet. However, did you know that your pet’s nutritional needs change with age and activity level? Did you know that specially formulated diets can assist in the management of various medical conditions, including kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease? Do you know how many calories your pet should have each day and whether you are over- or underfeeding? Are you comfortable reading and interpreting pet food labels?

Whether your pet has special dietary needs or simply needs to shed (or gain) a few pounds, our nutritional counseling services can help you accomplish your goals and keep your pet in good health. We offer counseling in dietary selection and feeding practices for pets during various life stages, such as growth, pregnancy, nursing, and the “golden years.” If your pet has a medical condition, we can help you select the most appropriate diet to suit your pet’s needs. Our Drs. McFaddin and Connel understand the difference between regular pet food and biologically appropriate food. They are also comfortable working with all types of food options including, raw, dehydrated, freeze-dried, and home-cooked.

It can be easy for a pet owner to become overwhelmed by the available selection of pet foods, all of which claim to have specific benefits for pets. We can offer expert advice to help you negotiate the complicated array of choices. Let our nutritional counseling service help you achieve and maintain optimal nutrition for your pet.

Here is some useful information about biologically appropriate foods for pets:

Biologically appropriate diets are also known as Species Appropriate Diets. The basic premise is that despite domestication and selective breeding the physiology of cats and dogs today is very similar to their wild relatives.

Both cats and dogs are classified as carnivores. Cats are considered obligate carnivores, meaning they must eat prey meat to survive. Dogs are considered scavenging carnivores, meaning they primarily rely on prey meat but will eat whatever is available.

This is a summary of the anatomical features that define a carnivore, with respect to the gastrointestinal tract.

  1. Short, simple and acidic digestive tract allowing for quick digestion of protein.
  2. Sharp teeth designed for piercing and slicing, not grinding.
  3. Vertically mobile jaws. Cats and dogs cannot move their bottom jaw side to side like cows and people. This horizontal action is required for extensive chewing. A hinge-like jaw is used for cutting off chunks of meat which are swallowed whole with minimal chewing.
  4. Lack of amylase in the saliva. Amylase is one of the enzymes used to digest carbohydrates. It is present in the saliva of most herbivores and omnivores. The canine and feline pancreas does produce amylase. The absence of amylase in the saliva makes the pancreatic enzymes work harder to digest carbohydrate-laden foods.

Biologically appropriate diets have certain essential ingredients:

  1. High quality animal protein, including both striated muscle and organ meats.
  2. High quality animal fat.
  3. Both Omega 3 (DHA and EPA) and Omega 6 (Linoleic and Arachidonic Acid) Essential Fatty Acids. The ideal ratio in the diet is between 2:1-5:1 Omega 3:Omega 6. Animal sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, are best. Some plants do contain Omega 3 fatty acids in the form ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). ALA must be converted in the body to DHA and EPA. Cats and dogs have a harder time converting ALA, and thus achieving adequate doses of Omega 3 fatty acids from plant sources. Using plant sources of Omega 3 fatty acids are often reserved for patients with a fish intolerance.
  4. Restricted carbohydrates.
    • Little to no simple carbohydrates is best. Simple carbohydrates are made of sugar molecules which can be easily absorbed and quickly increase blood sugar. This type of carbohydrate causes spiking insulin levels and increases fat production.
    • Small amounts of complex carbohydrates are acceptable. Complex carbohydrates are found in potatoes, beans, and many fruits and vegetables. Complex carbohydrates have less of an effect on both glucose and insulin levels.
    • The Association of American Feed Control Officers (AAFCO) is a non-profit organization that sets the standards for pet food in the United States. They do not list a minimum requirement for carbohydrates in cat and dog food, suggesting the addition is not necessary for a balanced diet.
    • Unfortunately, dry food can never be carbohydrate free even if it is grain free. This is because a certain amount of carbohydrate is needed to act like glue to hold the food together and maintain the shape of the kibble.

Radiology (X-Rays)

Radiography is a valuable diagnostic tool in veterinary medicine. As we continually strive to offer the highest quality medicine and diagnostic testing, we are pleased to offer radiology services as a means of providing excellent care to our patients.

A radiograph (sometimes called an x-rRay) is a type of photograph that can look inside the body and reveal information that may not be discernable from the outside. Radiography can be used to evaluate almost any organ in the body, including the heart, lungs, and abdominal organs, as well as the bones.

Radiography is painless, safe, and completely non-invasive, and it uses only very low doses of radiation. Because the level of radiation exposure needed to perform radiography is very low, even pregnant females and very young pets can undergo radiography. Radiographs can be used to evaluate bones as well as the size, shape, and position of many of the body’s organs. The size of organs is important because some medical conditions—such as kidney, heart, or liver disease—can alter the size of these organs. The shape and position of organs can be altered or distorted by certain medical conditions, including intestinal blockage or cancer. Tumors, depending on their size and location, can also sometimes be detected using radiography. Radiography can also be used to diagnose bladder stones, broken bones, chronic arthritis, certain spinal cord diseases, and a variety of other conditions.

Radiographs are an important tool that can help us make a correct diagnosis for your pet. Our radiology service is staffed by caring, skilled professionals who will provide state-of-the-art care with compassion and expertise.

Vaccinations

Pets today can live longer, healthier lives than ever before—in part because of vaccines that help protect them from deadly infectious diseases. Over the years, vaccines against dangerous diseases have saved millions of pets and virtually eliminated some fatal diseases that were once common. Unfortunately, many infectious diseases still pose a significant threat to dogs and cats that are unvaccinated. Although vaccine programs have been highly successful and vaccines are considered routine today, we (as caregivers) and you (as pet parents) cannot afford to become complacent about keeping pets up-to-date on their vaccinations.

Many vaccines are available for use in dogs and cats, but not every pet needs every available vaccine. Some vaccines are considered core vaccines and should be administered to all pets, whereas other vaccines are optional and may be recommended for pets based on a variety of factors, such as their risk for exposure to disease. Vaccine recommendations can also change throughout a pet’s life, as travel habits and other variables change. We will consider all these factors as we determine which vaccines your pet should have.

We understand that your pet is unique and that no single vaccine program will be ideal for every pet in every situation. Our doctors and other staff members are well-educated about veterinary vaccines, and our goal is to give you the best advice for keeping your pet healthy. Let us develop a vaccination schedule and ongoing booster routine that accounts for your pet’s lifestyle, overall health, risk for exposure to infectious disease, and other factors.

Vaccines help pets live longer, healthier lives. Protecting your pet is our primary goal, so developing an appropriate vaccine schedule for your pet is important to us. Call us today to set up an appointment to discuss your pet’s vaccination needs.

Veterinary Chiropractic

Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy is also known as Veterinary Chiropractic. The term chiropractic comes from the Greek words “cheir” which means ‘hand’ and “praxis” which means ‘practice’ or ‘done by’, and refers to the practice of manipulating the spine to treat disease. Chiropractors’ base their theories of disease on the connections between various body structures and the nervous system via the spinal column, and on the role of the spine in biomechanics and movement. Therapy is directed at the spine in order to modify the progression of disease.

Chiropractic manipulation is frequently performed on horses, dogs, and cats, but can theoretically be performed on any vertebrate species. The training is separate from veterinary school. Dr. McFaddin received a post-doctorate degree in Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy (CVSMT) through The Healing Oasis in Wisconsin. Dr. McFaddin is also a fellow in the College of Animal Chiropractors (CCOAC).

Chiropractic is one of the few modalities in veterinary medicine where results are often seen within minutes to hours of treatment. In general, improvements are defined as an improved gait and an apparent reduction in pain. In orthopedic conditions such as fractures or ligament tears, chiropractic care will not replace the need for surgery, but may be useful in correcting secondary problems caused by compensation or overcompensation due to the injury.

Veterinarians practicing spinal manipulation see the patient as a functional whole, rather than as a sum of its parts. Ensuring normal range of motion of the vertebrae helps optimize function of lymphatics, blood vessels and nerves, which communicate between the spine and various body structures, allowing the body to function optimally to the point that further interventions may not be required. Applied correctly, chiropractic adjustments can alleviate or eliminate the need for long-term drug treatments. The success of the treatment depends upon the degree and chronicity of the problem.

When performed by an experienced, trained veterinary professional, chiropractic manipulation is generally considered safe. If adjustments are performed with the appropriate force, the patient will require a series of treatments, which will gradually result in restoration of health. However, if the force of an adjustment is excessive or the adjustment is applied at an incorrect angle, time, or location, serious damage to the patient could occur. Some animals may be a little stiff for 24 hours after the treatment. If this is noted encourage gentle movement periodically.

Whole-Food Therapy

Euthanasia Services

Saying goodbye to a long-time friend is painful. We work with clients to ensure their pet’s comfort and dignity.
Services include taking care of the remains as directed by the client.

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