Uptown Veterinary Hospital_lowres

Ashley Kim (left) and Jessica Miller attend to Boogie, a patient at Uptown Veterinary Hospital.

At Uptown Veterinary Hospital (731 Nashville Ave., 504-897-4973; www.uptownvetnola.-com), it's not uncommon for dogs to come to their appointments wearing tutus and other frilly frocks, even when it's not Carnival season. Dr. Jessica Miller, a veterinarian and owner of the clinic, wouldn't have it any other way.

  "My Louisiana clients have a lot more flair," says Miller, who practiced in Washington, D.C. for four years before moving back to her home state and becoming the owner of Animal Care Center in 2006, and then opening in Uptown Nov. 1, 2012.

  The Uptown building, which used to house Audubon Veterinary Hospital, is a cozy Victorian-style house around the corner from Whole Foods Market and several boutiques and eateries.

  When the decades-old Audubon Veterinary Clinic closed last spring, Miller seized the opportunity to be part of an "intimate neighborhood" closer to her Uptown clients, who'd drive to Metairie for their appointments at Animal Care Center. Miller renovated the waiting room/reception area and the two exam rooms. When clients enter Uptown Veterinary, they'll immediately notice the bright spaces, serene atmosphere, and Ashley Kim, the veterinary assistant who greets clients and takes appointments.

  "I was shooting for a spa-like atmosphere," Miller says.

  In addition to the two exam rooms, the hospital has a modern surgical suite, a dental services room and treatment area with a lab and X-ray. There are separate dog and cat boarding facilities, and pets are welcome to stay as long as needed. There are seven employees, most of whom are veterinary technicians. Uptown Veterinary Hospital offers a full line of services including wellness exams, skin care, flea control, spaying and neutering services — all at prices are competitive, Miller says.

  One of the more common treatments Miller performs is teeth cleaning because many pets have dental disease and their owners are unaware. Pets are under general anesthesia, monitored by Miller while a technician scales and polishes each tooth. Pets recover in the hospital and generally return home that evening. It's a simple and painless procedure that can be cost-effective in the long run.

  "Treat your pet like your child," Mil- ler says, advising pet owners to take their animals to the vet after observing initial symptoms.

  Though most of her patients are dogs and cats, Miller treats most four-legged animals, including an occasional ferret and other pocket pets. Miller, who owns one dog and two cats, enjoys seeing her patients outside of the hospital too.

  "I see them in the grocery store, I see them everywhere," she says. "Reaching out to your clients as friends — the connection is important."