Monday, November 19, 2018



Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season. There are some hazards that we have to be mindful of when preparing food we feed our guests. Not hosting for Thanksgiving? We have some helpful travel information for you as well.


This can cause a condition called pancreatitis. Dog’s bodies can’t digest greasy, fatty foods. Many dogs can vomit, stop eating and become dehydrated.


Chocolate can be harmful for pets, even though many dogs find it tempting and will sniff it out and eat it. The artificial sweetener called xylitol – commonly used in gum and sugar-free baked goods – also can be deadly if consumed by dogs or cats.

Yeast dough can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.


A turkey carcass sitting out on the carving table, or left in a trash container that is open or easily opened, could be deadly to your family pet. Dispose of turkey carcasses and bones – and anything used to wrap or tie the meat, such as strings, bags and packaging – in a covered, tightly secured trash bag placed in a closed trash container outdoors (or behind a closed, locked door).

Hosting family or friends

Visitors can upset your pets. Some pets are shy or excitable around new people or in crowds, and Thanksgiving often means many visitors at once and higher-than-usual noise and activity levels. If you know your dog or cat is nervous when people visit your home, put him/her in another room or a crate with a favorite toy. This will reduce the emotional stress on your pet and protect your guests from possible injury. If your pet is particularly upset by house guests, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions to this common problem.

Watch the exits. Even if your pets are comfortable around guests, make sure you watch them closely, especially when people are entering or leaving your home. While you’re welcoming hungry guests and collecting coats, a four-legged family member may make a break for it out the door and become lost.

Identification tags and microchips reunite families. Make sure your pet has proper identification with your current contact information – particularly a microchip with up-to-date, registered information. That way, if they do sneak out, they’re more likely to be returned to you. If your pet isn’t already microchipped, talk to your veterinarian about the benefits of this simple procedure.

Traveling with your pet

Your pet needs a health certificate from your veterinarian if you’re traveling across state lines or international borders, whether by air or car.  Learn the requirements for any states you will visit or pass through, and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to get the needed certificate within the time frames required by those states.

Never leave pets alone in vehicles, even for a short time, regardless of the weather.

Pets should always be safely restrained in vehicles. This means using a secure harness or a carrier, placed in a location clear of airbags. This helps protect your pets if you brake or swerve suddenly, or get in an accident; keeps them away from potentially poisonous food or other items you are transporting; prevents them from causing dangerous distractions for the driver; and can prevent small animals from getting trapped in small spaces. Never transport your pet in the bed of a truck.

Pack for your pet as well as yourself if you’re going to travel together. In addition to your pet’s food and medications, this includes bringing medical records, information to help identify your pet if it becomes lost, first aid supplies, and other items.

Information proved by AVMA.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Fall And Your Pets

Fall is the perfect time of year. The smell of the leaves changing, sweatshirt and jean weather! 

Unfortunatley, for some of our furry friends this can be a miserable time of year. There are other hazards pets can encounter. 

Our pets can have allergies just like we can. While we may become conjested, they will itch/lick their paws, belly, armpits and ears. 

Allergies can be difficult to diagnose or treat. Often times, it requires medications, food change and/or even bathing. Here are some of the ways our doctors may treat your pet:

  • Food trial: Our doctorsmay put them on hydrolized protein source (something the body doesn't recognize as an allergy). This is a food that highly restricted in the type of proteins so that the body doesn't recognize it, therefore we hope they would not be allergiv to it. This is to be fed by itself with out treats. 
  • Cytopoint injection: This is a 4 week injectable medication that works with your pets immune system to fight the allergens. The antibodies within the Cytopoint injection are designed to specifically target and neutrolize one of the main proteins that sends itch signals to the brain. 
  • Apoquel: This tablet works at the source of the allergic itch to give relief regardless of the allergen. This can be used long term with laboratory monitoring. 
  • Allergy injections: We utilize Spectrum Laboratory which test your pets blood to see what they are allergic to. Depending on what allergens come up on the test, there are injections that you can give on a schedule they provide for you to target those specific allergens. 
  • Steriods: These can be used to stop the itch on a short term basis. This does not treat the source of the allergen. 

Rodenticide toxicity can be prominent this time of year due to the number of mice that are coming in our houses to get out of the cold. These items inhibit the enzyme vitamin K which is responsible for allowing the blood to clot. It can also cause nervous system problems and kidney disease. Some signs of rodenticide toxicity are:
  • Pale gums
  • Bruising
  • Bleeding from the mouth or nose
  • Seizures
  • Increased drinking or urination
Treatment may include either outpatient therapy or hospitalization, depending on the typed of rodenticide injested. 

Tick bourne diseases are of high concern also. Ticks are out if there is no snow cover and the temperature is 35 degrees or warmer. Both Lyme and Anaplasma are high on the list of tick diseases we see in this area. 

  • Lyme disease can cause stiffness of the joints, inappetence, and if severe enough, kidney failure. 
  • Anaplasma can call inappetence and the bodies inability to clot as it attacks the platelets. 

This is why we recommend year round flea and tick prevention.

Even though this time of year is beautiful, there are still hazards looming that you need to be aware of for your pets. Whether it's as simple as allergies or as devstating as rodenticide injestion. 

We hope you have a wonderful fall season!!!!! 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Summer Time Hazards

Summer is here! It’s time to get out and enjoy the nice weather and BBQ with friends and family. While we are all out having great time, we don’t always think about our how our pets are feeling. There are many hazards and stressors that our pets can encounter during the summer.

          Most of us include our dogs when grilling or picnicking. Some foods are not good for your dog to have such as:

                  1.        Grapes and raisins:    

Anything containing grapes and raisins (and even currants) are considered to be poisonous to dogs. Common picnic items like grapes, baked goods containing raisins (e.g., oatmeal raisin cookies), and trail mix all pose a threat.  While one or two grapes are unlikely to cause a problem (depending on the size of the dog), accidental ingestion of the Vitus spp. can result in the following signs:

·        vomiting,
·        abdominal pain,
·        inappetance,
·        diarrhea,
·        lethargy,
·        excessive or decreased thirst or urination, and
·        acute kidney failure

Unfortunately, clinical signs often aren’t obvious until days later, when it’s more costly – and more dangerous – to your pet. Treatment includes decontamination, aggressive intravenous (IV) fluids, anti-vomiting medication, blood pressure monitoring, urine output monitoring, and blood work monitoring (to check kidney function).  

             2.      Baked goods containing xylitol: 

Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute that is poisonous to dogs. While safe for humans, when accidentally ingested by non-primate species, xylitol can result in an insulin spike by the body (with a secondary life-threatening drop in blood sugar). So, if you have any baked goods, candies, mints, gums, etc. that contain xylitol, keep them out of reach of your dog. Clinical signs of xylitol poisoning can be seen as early as 15-30 minutes, and include:

·        weakness,
·        vomiting,
·        collapse, and
·        lethargy (which are all signs of a low blood sugar). 

Really high doses of xylitol can result in liver failure in dogs, and include signs of black tarry stool, jaundice (e.g., yellowing of the gums), malaise, walking drunk, and rarely, seizures and death. Treatment includes decontamination, blood sugar monitoring, dextrose supplementation, drugs to protect the liver, and monitoring liver function.

3.      Corn on the cob and peach pits:  


While corn on the cob and peach pits aren’t poisonous per se, these two common picnic items are very dangerous to dogs. Both of these leftover garbage scraps can easily get stuck in the intestines and require an expensive abdominal surgery to remove. Corn on the cob is notorious for being difficult to detect on x-rays, as the density doesn’t show up well. This makes it harder to diagnose, and potentially more life-threatening to your dog. Never feed your dog corn on the cob – if you want, slice the kernels off for him instead. Clinical signs of foreign body obstructions include:

·        vomiting,
·        drooling (from nausea),
·        abdominal pain,
·        decreased stool production,
·        inappetance, and
·        lethargy.

Believe it or not, left untreated, these picnic foods can cause the intestines to rupture and, potentially, death.

4.     Fatty table snacks or bones:  

Leftover BBQ bits (like bones, gristle, and fat) and bones should never be given to your dog… especially if you own an overweight dog or one of these breeds: Yorkshire terrier, miniature schnauzer, or Shetland sheepdog. Why? Overweight dogs and certain breeds are particularly predisposed to pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas. This organ breaks down fat, and when overstimulated from a fatty meal, can result in the following clinical signs:

·        vomiting,
·        abdominal pain,
·        fever,
·        diarrhea,
·        weakness,
·        inappetance, and
·        death (from organ failure).

When in doubt, keep these picnic items out of reach. Keep in mind that the sooner that you recognize that your pet is poisoned, the easier it is to treat and the less dangerous (and less expensive) it is to your dog.  Enjoy your summer with your dog, but pay heed to these common picnic pet emergencies!

Then there are the fireworks. If a pet is left unattended around fireworks, they can become accidentally poisoned or injured. Fireworks contain hazardous chemicals such as coloring agents, dangerous heavy metals, sulfur and oxidizing agents such as potassium nitrate. Many of them contain dense cardboard also, which can result in a problem (e.g., foreign body obstruction). If fireworks are accidentally ingested, they can cause gastrointestinal upset in your dog (cats rarely ingest fireworks, thanks to their discriminating palate!). 

 Clinical signs of firework poisoning include:

More commonly, pets develop severe anxiety from the noise of fireworks, which can result in undue stress or even the accidental escape out of the house (in an attempt to run away from the sound).

Keep your pet inside while festivities occur. I like to choose the most sound-proof room, farthest from the noise. Keep the room dark and close all windows and doors to minimize the sound.

  • Use white noise such as a ceiling fan, air conditioner, radio, TV, etc. to block out the sounds.
  • Provide your dog some entertainment (such as a stuffed Kong treat) to distract him from the noise.
  • Consider a Thunder shirt to help reduce anxiety.
  • And of course, medications. Consider talking to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety drugs or sedatives that can help pets relax during fireworks.
If your pet may have ingested a foreign object or has anxiety from loud noises, please call us at our Elk River Clinic 763-441-4000 or our Princeton clinic 763-389-4071.

If something happens after hours, please call the closest emergency clinic to you.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Heartworm Awareness

April is National Heartworm Awareness Month

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease that is widespread in pets. Heartworms live in the heart, lungs and blood vessels of affected pets. This causes severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. Heartworms also live in other mammal species such as wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions and even humans in some rare cases.

Dogs are a natural host for heartworms, which means the worms that live inside your pet mature into adults, mate and produce offspring. Dogs have been known to harbor several hundred heartworms in their body.  Long lasting damage to the heart, lungs and arteries can affect the quality of life long after the parasites are gone.

Cats are an atypical host for heartworm. If they do become infected, most of them do not survive into the adult stage. They generally only have 1-3 worms, which means that damage can occur.  Immature heartworms can cause damage in the form of a condition called heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD). The medication used to treat dogs for heartworm disease can’t be used in cats.

How is heartworm transmitted from one pet to another?

       This is where the mosquito comes into play. The adult female heartworms that are living in coyotes, foxes, wolves, or dogs produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria. These baby worms circulate in the blood stream. When the mosquito takes a blood meal from the infected animal, it picks up the baby worms which mature into “infective stage” larvae over the period of 10-14 days. The mosquito then bites a dog, cat or wild animal, in which the infective larvae are deposited on to the surface of the animal’s skin.  These larvae enter the new host within the wound left behind by the mosquito. It then takes 6 months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Once mature, heartworms can live for 5-7 years in dogs and 2-3 years in cats

Signs and symptoms

        Early stages of the disease may not be noticeable in your pet. The longer they are infected, the higher the chance is for symptoms to occur.

        Signs for dogs may include: Persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, heart disease may develop. The longer the disease is present and the more worms your pet has can cause blockages of blood flow within the heart that can lead to cardiovascular collapse which is life threatening. Unless your pet has emergency surgery to remove the worms from the heart, few dogs survive.

        Signs of heartworm in cats can either be subtle or very dramatic. Symptoms may include: Coughing, asthma like attacks, periodic vomiting, loss of appetite or weight loss. Unfortunately, in some cases, the first sign of symptoms is sudden collapse or sudden death.

Is your pet at risk for heartworm disease?

       Heartworm disease is spreading to new regions of the country each year. Even if you live in a place that doesn’t have a high incidence, you may travel with your pet not realizing that where you are going does have a higher incidence of heartworm. Also, stray, neglected and animals traveling to your area may be carrying it. For example, when hurricane Katrina hit, 250,000 pets, many of which were infected with heartworms were adopted out and shipped to all different parts of the country.

How and when should you test your pet?

        We use an in house blood test that can detect the heartworm antigen. We recommend testing your pet at 6 months of age and then yearly after that. It takes at least 6 months to show positive on the test. We recommend yearly after that.

If your pet has not been on heartworm prevention, the recommendation would be to test prior to prevention. You may be wondering why we recommend yearly testing if your pet is on prevention? We need to make sure the prevention they are on is working. Preventatives are highly affective, but giving one dose late or skipping could be the difference if your pet becomes heartworm positive. The National Heartworm Association is recommending year round prevention to be given.

        Heartworm disease is harder to detect in cats than dogs, because they don’t always have adult heartworms. We can antigen test for it, but the veterinarian may also take an x-ray or use an ultrasound to look for heartworms. Prevention is the best way to go for cats, especially since there is no approved treatment for them.

My pet tested positive, now what do I do?

       Not all dogs have microfilaria circulating in their bloodstream or have been on heartworm prevention drugs that kill microfilaria. We will perform an occult heartworm blood (ELISA) test to detect antigens (proteins) given off by adult female heartworms. Any dog that tests positive for heartworm disease will have additional testing done. We will perform chest x-rays to evaluate the size of your pets heart and see if there are any changes to their lungs. If heart failure is suspected, the Doctor may recommend an echocardiogram to make sure there is no other reason for heart failure to be occurring. Some laboratory testing will be done as well to check other internal organs as well. If other disease processes are found, those would be treated first since heartworm treatment can adversely affect the kidneys and liver.

The treatment used in dogs is an adulticide such as Immiticide. There are 2 different dosing schedules available:

1  1.      2 intramuscular injections are given 24 hours apart. This way kills 90-95% of adult heartworms usually in 2-3 weeks.
   2.    Dogs with right sided heart failure or changes in their lungs on x-rays are administered the Immiticide in split doses. This method kills fewer heartworms with each injection which limits the risk of worsening lung problems or acute death. With this treatment, 1 intramuscular injection is given, the pet is rested for 4-6 weeks, then 2 injections given 24 hours apart.  

This form of treatment is not recommended in cats because killing of the adult heartworms can be fatal if too many die at once. Cat’s lungs can’t handle more than 1-2 heartworms dying at once.

Products that have ivermectin such as heartgard can be used to slowly kill some of the adult heartworms if the product is given for at least 18 months. We do not recommend this method because if your dog is too active, you risk pulmonary embolism and sudden breathing problems. We only use this method if there are other health concerns going on at the same time.

Baby microfilaria can be treated after the adult heartworms have been treated. This is an oral form of ivermectin that we give, while your pet is hospitalized for the day so we can monitor. This kills a large number of microfilaria within 2-8 hours after the medication is given.

All pets are kept quiet for 6 weeks following treatment to prevent any pulmonary embolisms or acute death. 4-6 months out, we will run some additional testing to make sure the heartworm disease has cleared. If your pet remains positive, the treatment would be repeated.


Most dogs do well with treatment and are able to be started on prevention after treatment is complete. We have several types of preventions available depending what works best with your lifestyle. If your pet has kidney, liver, or lung changes problems during the treatment, prognosis is guarded if the problems persist after treatment. Some dogs are able to return to normal activity, but may not have the same energy level they had before. Dogs with right sided heart failure may have a poor prognosis because of the treatment and may need treatment for the rest of their lives. 


We have different preventions available. We offer monthly chewables, monthly topicals or a 6 month injection available. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Valentines Day

Be My Valentine

Do you have that special pet in your life that you love deeply? You're not alone!

Valentines day is fast approaching, which means all kinds of goodies!

As much as we love sharing things with our pets, Not all yummy treats are good for them. 

Here are some tips that can help you remember:

1. Melts in your mouth, not theirs:

        Believe it or not, some chocolate is worse than others. Baker's chocolate is the most toxic causing abnormally high heart rates. A hershey's kiss or two may not cause that kind of reaction, but may cause GI upset. We recommend steering clear of all things chocolaty! 

2.  No Candy Hearts This Time:

         Sugar-free candies and gum may contain a sweetener call xylitol, which is very toxic to dogs. It may cause vomiting, seizures, loss of coordination, or liver failure.

3. Flower Power:

         The aroma of those beautifully arrainged bouquets is so nice. So nice that your pet may want a sniff, or a lick. Be careful! Some flowers such as lilies are very toxic to cats. Check what your bouquet contains before you order, or make sure you have a place to put them away for your pets.

If you really want to spoil your furry friend on Valentines day, pick them up a new toy, or collar.

Always be aware of the closest Veterinary Clinic or Emergency Clinic near you in case of an emergency. 

You may also call the pet poison hotline if your unsure if something is toxic. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Holidays And Your Pet's

Image result for pets and christmas

The Holidays And Your Pet's

As the holidays are fast approaching, it’s easy to put our pets on the back burner. However, what we don’t realize is that they feel the stress that we feel. Often times, they feel more stress because their routine is changing and they don’t understand why.

There are some ways make sure your pets are as stress free and comfortable as possible during the holiday season.

Ø Give them some extra love and affection.
Ø Go on extra walks (may be good for you as well with the stress).
Ø Offering a new toy or treat to help them pass the time and make them feel special.
Ø If there is a quiet place they prefer to rest; giving them a new bed or blanket. 

The most exciting part of the holidays for most people is setting up the Christmas tree, hanging lights in/outside the house, making all kinds of goodis and introducing all kinds of good smelling scents to the house! Here are some things you need to be aware of before decorating/cooking.

The most exciting part of the holidays for most people is setting up the Christmas tree, hanging lights in/outside the house, making all kinds of goodis and introducing all kinds of good smelling scents to the house! Here are some things you need to be aware of before decorating/cooking.

House Plants

Ø Poinsettias- Can cause gastrointestinal upset.
Ø Lilies- Can be deadly. Many types can cause kidney disease.
Ø Mistletoe with/without berries- Highly toxic, can cause gastrointestinal upset or fatal heart problems.
Ø Holly- Can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy.


Ø Candles can be knocked over causing hot wax to spill on your pet causing a burn or start a fire.
Ø Smoke from candles and other fragrances can cause some respiratory problems.
Ø Liquid potpourri and sachets- can cause skin or oral damage, leading to illness or death.


Ø Some fatty foods can cause digestive issues causing vomiting and/or diarrhea. Make sure the garbage is secure. This can also cause pancreatitis, which could lead to hospitalization.
Ø Bones- Can cause obstruction within the intestinal tract leading to a tear or requiring surgical removal.
Ø Grapes/Raisins- Can cause kidney failure.
Ø Chocolate- Baking chocolate is the most dangerous to our pets. It can lead to death. Other chocolates can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increase in heart rate causing damage.
Ø Alcohol- Can cause lethargy, weakness.
Ø Onions/Garlic- Can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, anemia.
Ø Xylitol- Can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure. 

Gift Giving

Giving pets as gifts seems to be very popular. What we may not realize is that choosing a pet is a big decision. A pet is a part of the family and the decision should not be made lightly. We recommend that you make an adoption kit. With this you can place objects such as a collar, leash, treats and maybe a gift certificate for adoption in it. This way you can go together to pick out a furry friend!

We recommend that you know where the closest emergency clinic is to you. Also having your Veterinarians number handy is a good idea also!

We hope that everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Image result for christmas lights clipart