The Critter's Chronicle Blog

9/18/2018 8:30:32 PM | Erin Mills, RVT

Why make such a big deal about a pets food?  They’re all the same right?  OK, so I know you know that’s not true.  I also know that you know some foods are better than others, but how can you tell?  When I was goring up, my mother always told me to read the list of ingredients on any foods I wanted, and if there were any words I couldn’t pronounce than it probably wasn’t healthy for me.  For the most part it’s a pretty good rule of thumb to live by, but when it comes to your pets food the rules are a little different.  Because pet foods are a pet’s only source of nutrition it needs to a complex balance of all the daily nutrients a pet needs.

Nutrients are different than ingredients.  An ingredient is the edible material that provides the nutrients that a pet’s body needs. Nutrients are the actual components of each food required to support life.  To give you a few examples corn is an ingredient that provides various nutrients such as fiber, protein and carbohydrates, Blueberries are an ingredients that contain the nutrients iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K.  When a veterinarian says to offer your pet a “Balanced Diet” they are referring to a diet that contains all the required nutrients to sustain a happy and well-balances life for your pet.  Many pet foods that have a healthy balance of nutrients are made from the actual nutrient and not always the whole source ingredient which can lead to some difficult to say words. For example the nutrient Tocopherol (Vitamin-E) can be found naturally in wheat germ, corn, vegetable oils, nut and seeds. However the amount of those ingredients that a pet would need to eat to get the appropriate amount of Vitamin-E would also add too many calories and fats causing our pets to become unnecessarily overweight. We humans often take a daily multivitamin for that very same reason.

So back to the real question at hand.  How do we know what food is best for our pets?  After all isn’t this what we are really after.  When you are examining a bag of food trying to figure out if it is good for your pet or not there is really only one place to look.  Every pet food brand is required by the Association of American Feed Control Officials to meet a minimum level nutrient profile for the various life stages of a pet (growth, adult or all life stages) and the pet food companies are required to add a nutritional statement to the side of their food bags. There are two different nutritional statements, one for food that is formulated to be balanced, and one for food that has been tested to be a complete and balanced diet. For example:

– Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that X Brand Dog Food provided complete and balanced nutrition for adult dogs.
– The X Brand Dog Food is been formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO for dogs of all life stages.

Testing a pet food to know if it truly is complete and balanced diet is very time consuming and expensive and a step that many pet food companies just aren’t willing to take.  If you want to find out if a food is a healthy option for your pet then find a brand that has taken the time to test the food to make sure that it will do what it claims.


7/12/2018 10:39:03 PM | Erin Mills, RVT

You wouldn’t think that something as simple as bathing a pet, an act we all hopefully engage in ourselves on a regular basis, would require lengthy instruction. But the truth of the matter is that our simple lather, rinse, repeat directions can be a bit more complicated with our pets.  Not all pets like to be bathed. Anyone that has ever tried to bathe a cat can attest to that.  However, even pets that don’t like to be bathed can be taught to be okay with it. The key is to take things slow. To start, there are a few thing that can cause an anxious pet to panic.

  1. Slippery tubs.  Dogs, especially older dogs, are more comfortable on surfaces with good traction.  This can easily be fixed with a good no-slip bathmat.
  2. The Faucet.  A faucet or a hose with water rushing out can be loud and a bit frightening.   You may need to use a detachable showerhead or a bucket of warm water with a cup for rinsing.
  3. The water temperature. Dogs are very sensitive to water that is too hot or too cold just like we are.  The water should be warm but not too hot.  Similar to warming a bottle for a baby.  You want it at a normal body temperature.

If you have a pet that is apprehensive, getting them accustomed to a bath can take a few days or a even a few weeks. Be patient.

Step 1: Start by placing your pet in an empty tub, sink or wherever you wash your dog. Don’t run water yet!
Step 2: Give him treats or his favorite toy to play with. Keep giving him treats for just a few minutes and then take him out.  That’s it. Keep repeating this step every few days until your pet gets accustomed to the tub and starts to associate it with a positive thing like treats or a special bath only toy.
Step 3: Slowly introduce the water.  You may need to start out with just a wet washcloth that you wipe over his body, then slowly progress to water being poured over him and eventually the faucet.
Step 4: Once your pet is comfortable being wet you can proceed with the Shampoo.

When its time to bathe your make sure to gather all the supplies you will need before getting your pet.  A few things you will want close at hand would be things like shampoo, washcloth or sponge, towels, cotton balls and a few treats or toys.

Finally it’s time for a bathe!

Wet your dog’s body with water. Wet your pet from neck to tail making sure his coat is fully saturated. This can take awhile for dogs with thicker coats. Generally you don’t need to bathe a pet’s face unless they just spent the morning rolling in a mud puddle or if instructed to do so by your veterinarian.  If you need to bath your pet’s head or face use a sponge or wash cloth, carefully avoiding their eyes and ears, to shampoo and rinse.  Avoid dumping water directly over a pet’s head.

Shampooing.  You should never use a human shampoo to wash your dog.  Dog’s skin has a different pH balances than our skin does and altering their skin’s pH can make them more susceptible to parasites and infection.  If your pet has a skin condition, there are special medicated shampoos that can be prescribed by your veterinarian to help maintain healthy skin.  Just like with people you should bathe your pet twice.  The first shampoo is to remove dirt and oils from your pets fur, and the second it to allow the shampoo you’re using to condition the pet’s skin.  This is specially important of you are using a medicated shampoo.  Since the first shampoo is for cleaning you can use a  a simple shampoo and save your more expensive medicated shampoo for the second round of bathing. When you are bathing your pet for the second time, really massage in the shampoo so that it gets down to the skin and then let it sit in their fur for approximately 10 minutes. Then rinse out all the shampoo fully.

Time to dry. Depending on how thin your pet’s coat is, you may need multiple towels to dry them fully. Getting your pet dry is especially important in the colder winter months.  It is also important to dry out your dogs ears with cotton balls.  Ears harboring water can lead to ear infections.

Finally, avoid washing your dog too often. Most dogs only need a bath every few months to monthly as long as they haven’t spent the day getting into something dirty. In between bathes, brush your dog’s coat often. to help keep him clean and to help promote healthy skin. 

6/1/2018 9:40:50 PM | Erin Mills, RVT

Soft Paws

Many cat owners have turned to these great products as an alternative to declawing.  Like fake nails for humans these plastic tips are glued over a cats nails.  This will allow Fluffy to continue her usual scratching behavior with the added benefit of protecting your furniture.  A win win for human and pet.  The downside is acclimating Fluffy to the soft paws can be a challenge.  Here are some tips to help get your feline looking fancy in their new nails.

Tip 1:  GO SLOW.  Forcing the soft paws onto Fluffy will never end well for anyone.  For the first week or two don’t even use the soft paws.  Try placing Fluffy on your lap with her back to your front in a sitting position.  Get her into position, give some treats, put her back down.  You want to get your kitty comfortable and relaxed in your lap before moving on.  Some cats can take a long time but don’t give up.  Some felines like to be brushed and the brushing can be substituted for treats if Fluffy prefers.

Tip 2:  Once Fluffy is comfortable sitting on your lap practice doing this but adding in touching of the feet.  Just a soft simple pet down one paw is a great start.  Hold, pet paw, treat, put down.  This is acclimating kitty to you touching their paws in a comfortable non-threatening way.  Again, this can also take weeks to perfect but don’t give up.  Once Fluffy is comfortable with touch, you can move on to gently holding the paw for 2-3 seconds.  From there add on gently pushing on the paw to get Fluffy’s nails to extend out, release the paw, treat, done.  Using these small increments may seem like a long and aggravating process but in the long run you will have better longer lasting results than struggling and wrestling with Fluffy to put her soft paws on.

Tip 3:  Once you can get the claws extended without stressing Fluffy out you can repeat the process and finally add the soft paw to kitty’s feet.  Be aware they may walk strange or act out in the beginning.  They will need some time to understand how the new caps work and what to do with them.

Remember:  Fluffy’s nails are still growing underneath the soft paws.  They will need to be changed regularly and the nails trimmed to prevent injury.

Speaking of nail trims let’s get some quick clips on kitty pedicure time.  Next to scratchers, nail trims are the next best thing to keep you and your furniture safe from kitty’s weapons.  You can begin this process the same as for the soft paws.  Get Fluffy to sit on your lap, treat, put back down.  Once you can successfully have your cat on your lap and extend their claws we add a few extra steps to the process.  With claws out, gently just tap the nail with your trimmers, treat, and release.  This is showing Fluffy things touching their nails are ok and not going to hurt them.  Once acclimated the next step is to replace the tapping with actually cutting.  Cat nails are much easier than dog nails because they are transparent and the quick (the part that bleeds) is more evident.  The basic tenant of nail trims is do NOT cut the pink part.  Aim for the clear or white tips.

I have used this process on my own cats and while they still don’t like their nails being done, they will sit in my lap and allow me to give them a pedicure.  Even my blind cat gets her nails done with no fuss.

If you do accidentally quick Fluffy don’t panic.  A little cornstarch or some water and flour paste applied to the bleeding will stop it quickly.  If you are still unsure give your Vet.  We would be happy to have you come in and show you where and how to do nails comfortably at home.

Phew, that was a lot of information!!!!  This can feel overwhelming but anyone can do it we promise.  The staff of Animal Health Clinic are always ready and willing to answer your questions or concerns regarding feline health and wellness so don’t be afraid to ask.  We also offer Behavioral Consulting appointments if you are struggling with your feline’s behavior.  Our goal is to keep owners and kitties happy, healthy, and bonded together in a happy coexistence.

5/15/2018 4:01:14 PM | Erin Mills, RVT

by Danielle Boock, RVT
Every cat owner has said this phrase at some point.  Cats like to scratch and sometimes we feel powerless to do anything about it.  We have compiled some information and techniques on how to get Fluffy to scratch appropriate places and keep you from wanting to pull your hair out.

Scratching Post 101

Everybody knows that cats LOVE to scratch, and even after a declaw cats will still perform the scratching behavior.  What drives our kitties to do this?  The scratch-marks themselves serve as a visual territorial marker letting other animals know, “hey, this is my spot”.  Cats also have scent glands in their paws that allow them to deposit their smell along with the visual marks.  If that’s the case, why does my cat keep scratching after their claws have been removed?  Take note of Fluffy’s body position next time they use their scratcher.  They will latch onto their scratcher and pull their shoulders back.  This motion is providing a stretch for kitty’s arms and back muscles similar to when we stretch our arms over our head after sitting too long at a computer.  Even without their claws cats will still need to mark and stretch in order to be a happy kitty.

My cat scratches everything BUT the scratching post!?!?  Don’t fret friends, let’s look into how to choose and acclimate your feline to scratch where you want them to.

Placement:  First let’s look at where the scratcher is placed.  Is it in a room where your cat actually goes?  Placing it in the basement will not be effective if Fluffy never goes down there.  Scratching is a social behavior and they tend to scratch where others (including us humans) can see it.  Choose a room or two where your feline hangs out.  Also, don’t just shove it into a corner.  This can be difficult for a lot of owners who don’t want their living room looking like a cat playground.  Ask yourself, is having a scratching post sitting out really that bad compared to Fluffy destroying the couch?

Vertical or Horizontal:  Walk into any pet supply store and there are an overwhelming number of scratchers.  Don’t let the sheer volume deter you, Fluffy is going to tell you what kind she prefers.  Take note of where Fluffy is currently scratching.  Are they standing on the floor and scratching up the side of the couch?  Then she prefers a vertical structure.  Does she sit on the couch and dig at the cushions?  Fluffy says she like a horizontal scratching surface.  Maybe she does both, then you will need some of each type.

If you are still unsure which way Fluffy prefers then experiment.  You don’t have to go out and purchase the top of the line $500 cat condo.  Start cheap just to get a baseline.  The $10 cardboard scratcher can tell you so much information about Fluffy’s preferences without having to spend a ton of money.  And like any experiment, you can fail.  I have purchased several types of scratchers I think my cats will like only to have them be ignored.  Don’t give up and don’t be afraid to try something new.  Just as we have preferences for certain furniture our felines do as well.

Now for the challenging part.  How in the world do I get my cat to use the scratcher? 

Step 1: Place the scratcher in the middle of the room and let the cats check it out.  Cats are curious by nature and will want to smell and explore the new thing in the room.  You can encourage this by placing a few of their favorite treat on and around the new scratcher.  If they like to chase the laser or a stick toy, play with kitty and get them to pounce on the toy right on the base or along the horizontal surface.  Offer lots of love and praise.  Pet them and use that cute baby talk voice on them.  They will quickly learn that playing and scratching on this is a good thing.

Step 2:  Once they are comfortable using the scratcher you can move it a little more out of the way.  Again, don’t just stick it in a corner, but somewhere Fluffy can access it easily.

What if Fluffy is being stubborn and still scratching in unwanted places?  Let’s face it cats can be very stubborn if they put their mind to it.  One option is to place the scratcher right next to where kitty is scratching.  Keep some treats ready and when Fluffy uses the correct scratching surface give a treat.  You can also use some catnip rubbed onto the scratcher if your kitty likes the nip.

Another option is a great new produce from Ceva Animal Health called Feliscratch.  Many people are familiar with their Feliway products already and this is a great tool to add to your arsenal.  One pack of Feliscratch comes with a months worth of doses and most cats will not need more than one or two packs.  Using pheromone technology this product mimics the scent cats deposit with their scent glands.  This unique product is placed directly onto your scratcher.  Allow five minutes to dry and you are ready to go.  I purchased a pack to test out on my own girls, even though they do not typically scratch in unwanted places.  The very first application all three of my cats were rubbing, playing, and trying to climb the scratching post.  I was amazed.  This is a wonderful and inexpensive option to try out on Fluffy if she is still scratching on unwanted surfaces.

Scratching furniture is one of the first go to products recommended for cats who are scratching in unwanted places.  Many cats will be happy to be given a place they can scratch and be themselves without making their owners upset.  This will help increase the quality of the bond between human and feline.

Phew, that was a lot of information!!!!  This can feel overwhelming but anyone can do it we promise.  The staff of Animal Health Clinic are always ready and willing to answer your questions or concerns regarding feline health and wellness so don’t be afraid to ask.  We also offer Behavioral Consulting appointments if you are struggling with your feline’s behavior.  Our goal is to keep owners and kitties happy, healthy, and bonded together in a happy coexistence.

4/24/2018 12:47:43 PM | Erin Mills, RVT

by Danielle Boock, RVT
Did you know that by the age of four over 50% of cats have already developed dental disease? (Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine)  We talk about dogs needing their teeth brushed, but what about our feline companions?  One of Animal Health Clinic’s own Vet Tech’s decided to take on the kitty dental challenge to see how her three cats responded to some dental TLC.

  • Greenies Feline SmartBites Hairball Control Chicken Flavor Cat Treats
    • This treat was chosen due to a cat with hairball issues.
    • How did it work at home? This was a very simple method for helping to control tartar on kitty’s teeth.  Simply toss some to the cats and let them do the rest.  Two out of three cats approved and gobbled up the snack, while one sniffed, licked, and turned her nose up at the Greenie.
    • Down Side: Owners must use treats sparingly as they can cause weight gain.  Some cats can be finicky about textures or flavors so this can be a hit or miss when it comes to the cat consuming the treats.
    • Special Note: These treats have been accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council for their ability to control tartar.
  •  Oxyfresh Dog & Cat Oral Hygiene Solution
    • This product is a liquid added to your pet’s water bowl.
    • How did it work? This was a quick way to add some dental hygiene to the household.  Oxyfresh is rated for cats and dogs which is perfect for a multi animal home.  After adding fresh water to their bowls one teaspoon of Oxyfresh is poured in.  All three cats were very curious and took their time sniffing the “new” water.  Each cat was observed drinking from the water bowl after the Oxyfresh was added.
    • Down Side: It can be easy to forget to add in the Oxyfresh when changing water.    (An easy solution is to mix it up a gallon at a time in an empty milk.)
  • Dental Diets
    • Both Hill’s Science Diet and Purina carry food designed specifically to help kitty’s teeth. Both brands are veterinary approved and highly recommended by veterinary professionals.  They also have prescription level pet foods available from your veterinarian for pets with chronic dental disease.
    • How did it work? Since my cats are already on Science Diet I chose to test out their over the counter Oral Care food.  All three cats liked the food, but my feline with hairball issues began to cough them up again.  I transitioned them back to the hairball control due to this issue, however I started using the Oral Care as a treat.  A small bag of Oral Care is inexpensive and lasts a long time when used for treats instead of regular feeding.
    • Down Side: Pets that have multiple conditions such as hairballs, weight issues or pets that need a prescription diet for medical reasons may not be able to use a dental formulated pet food as their primary diet.
    • Special Note: This food has been accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council for its ability to control plaque and tartar.

3/23/2018 7:51:20 PM | Erin Mills, RVT

March is Poison prevention awareness month!  So here are 7 common household toxins that can be dangerous to pets.

  1. Rodenticides- When it comes to rodent baits it does not matter what form or color it comes in (block, pellet, granule, blue, green, red, tan etc.) they are all highly toxic.  There are 3 important things to remember if you suspect your pet has ingested rodent poison. First, Contact your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY! The toxins in most rodent baits are fast acting. Second, The doctor is going to need the information off the box so BRING IT WITH YOU. The active ingredient, the concentration, and/ or the EPA # all can be found on the box and this information is EXTREMELY important and will determine what type of treatment your pet will need.  (Not all rodenticides are the same)  Exterminators also put most of that information on the invoice, so be sure to check. Lastly, STAY CALM! If you panic so will your pet.


2. Antifreeze. Antifreeze is a serious threat to our pets because it is found in almost every home or garage, and can easily be found spilled on streets and/or parking lots.  The most common ingestion is from licking it off the ground or off paws after walking through it.  A lethal dose in cats can be as little as 1 teaspoon and in dogs as little as 1 tablespoon.  Antifreeze is fast acting so time is important.  Contact your veterinarian immediately.  If treated within 4 hours for cats and 8 hours for dog prognosis is fair to good.  If untreated death occurs within 24-48 hours after exposure.

3. Cleaning Products. The main concern with detergents is chemical burns on the skin, the pads of the feet or the GI tract, if ingested.  Drano, Ajax, Windex, bleach and SO many other household cleaners should be watched carefully when in use and stored in a safe place when not in use. The chemicals destroy tissue on contact by acid or alkaline burns.  Even soap and detergents can be mild irritants, especially if ingested.  More deep penetrating tissue damage can occur from stronger alkaline products and severe systemic disease can be caused by pine oils or other oil based products.

4. Heavy Metals. Many heavy metals can be very toxic to your pet and surprisingly accessible. The main source of Zinc toxicity in dogs is by ingesting pennies.  The metal interacts with the dog’s Red Blood Cells (RBC) and can cause weakness, trembling, loss of appetite and the pennies themselves can lead to Gastrointestinal (GI) blockage, that may require surgical intervention.

Lead is also commonly found in toys, drapery weights, fishing weights, even batteries.  Signs of lead poisoning can be vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, depression, blindness tremors, and in-coordination. Onset is usually quick.  Other signs such has anorexia, convulsions, tremors, blindness, anemia, or renal failure have been seen.

5. Liquid Potpourri. Cats are especially attracted to the scents of some heated liquid potpourri.  Cats usually consider it food or at least worth trying, therefore liquid potpourri can cause severe oral, ocular, and dermal burns (mouth, eyes, skin) in cats. This occurs when cats lick the heated liquid in simmer pots or by pawing at or walking through spills and then grooming the heated liquid off themselves or licking the spilled liquid.

6. Ice Melt. Ice melts are irritants to the skin (from walking on it) and mouth (from licking it off their feet) of our pets. If you use ice melts in the winter be diligent in wiping clean your pets feet every time it is out.   Ingestion of ice melt results in excessive drooling, depression, and vomiting.  Since most Ice melts are made of various salts severe electrolyte imbalances can also occur.  If you suspect your pet is reacting to exposure to ice melt contact your veterinarian immediately.

7. Pesticides. Herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers are generally highly toxic.  If used be sure to keep your pet out of any area that has been treated with a pesticide.  Most pesticides contain heavy metals that cause severe intestinal upset and possible GI obstruction.   Most dangerous pesticides are snail bait (metaldehyde) fly bait (methomyl) and Zinc Phosphide (Mole and gopher bait)  Zinc Phosphide creates a toxic gas that build up inside the animal that is also very toxic to people.  If you find an animal that you suspect was exposed to a Zinc Phosphide pesticide stay away from the animal and call your local Animal Control or ASPCA.

11/21/2017 9:16:34 PM | Erin Mills, RVT

A few commonly used foods at Thanksgiving that can harm your pet include Macadamia nuts, Chocolate, Grapes, Onions

It’s that time of year again… my favorite time of year. Turkey, masked potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie, and stuffing are only a few of the reasons that I LOVE Thanksgiving. But, as much as I look forward to having friends and family gathered around the table; I know that there are other members of my family (dogs and cats alike) that don’t see it the same as I do. Here are a few tips to help make this Thanksgiving holiday a safe and happy event for everyone.

1. Your pet does NOT need his own plate of your Thanksgiving spread. Even though it is the holidays try and avoid giving your pets any leftovers from your meal as it can cause severe GI upset leading to diarrhea, vomiting and pancreatitis. Turkey bones can also get lodged in a pet’s throat or splinter and cause punctures, tears, or obstructions in the stomach or intestinal tract.

REMEMBER: A warmed can of pet food can go a long way to allowing your dog or cat to celebrate without the risk of illness or surgery.
2. Many human foods are toxic to pets and can cause illnesses even more severe than GI upset. Foods such as Macadamia nuts, raw yeast dough, alcohol, garlic and onions, sage and other spices, chocolate, and especially grapes and raisins can be harmful and even life threatening to your pet. If you suspect your pet may have ingested any toxic foods contact a veterinarian immediately.

3. Keep holiday candles or warmed potpourri out of the reach of your pets. Curious noses and paws could be burned and wagging tails could cause serious fires.

4. Secure your trash cans so that your pets cannot tip them over and get into unwanted items. Items that were used with food such as the string to tie the turkey, aluminum foil, plastic wrap even wax paper can be very appealing to your pet, but very dangerous if ingested.

5. Provide your pet with a quiet refuge away from the hustle and bustle of holiday guests. Too much attention can become upsetting to your pet and can cause them to become more irritated and agitated than usual.

6. Be certain to have your pets current ID tags on at all times. Expected guests or surprise visitors provide opportunities for your pet to escape.

7. Puppy eyes can be almost impossible to ignore and the temptation to offer them a small bite from your plate can sometimes be to hard to resist. Before you sit down to your own meal remove temptation from both your guests and your pets by feed your pets their own regular meal in a gated or play pen area nearby. Your pets will be focused on their own meals and will hopefully be out of the range for begging or stealing.

9/8/2017 5:52:04 PM | Erin Mills, RVT

No matter how many years we get with our pets it’s never long enough. For most of us our pets are an integral part of our family. Which makes it difficult to know when it’s time to say goodbye. It’s important to remember, that even though we may not have much time left with them, we can make sure that time has value.

Evaluating a pet’s quality of life revolves around three main dynamics:

Emotional –It’s important to to watch for any changes to their daily routine or their willingness to receive treatment that may be related to depression. Appropriate mental stimulation through environmental enrichment is important to maintaining a happy and engaged mind.

Social – Engagement with their family and/or other pets is also important. If your pet is isolating himself or avoiding interaction with family members or other pets, tell your veterinarian.

Physical – Evaluating a pet’s physical condition can involve everything from management of a pet’s pain to hygiene, nutrition, mobility and more. Does your pet need regular bathing or a hygienic shave? Maybe they would benefit from the use of non-skid floors, harnesses or slings, or maybe a warm quiet area with comfortable bedding is what they need.

Knowing when it’s time

Whether it’s administers subcutaneous fluids or giving your pet pills regularly, when discussing quality of life a pets personality has to be taken into consideration when discussing treatment options. A pet’s willingness and capacity to receive care may determine what treatments option would be right for your pet.

One of the most useful tool you can have is your own experiences. You, better than anyone else, know what makes your pet happy. So, create a list or a journal of your pet’s favorite things from their normal routine, and what things, if removed, would affect your pet’s quality of life. Things such as: being unable to take a morning walk or not being able to get up on the bed anymore, lack of interest in treats or toys, or cognition issues that would lead to crying, whining or pacing.

Many of the things on the list will be for your pet and their comfort, but some will be for you as well, and that’s okay. Maybe you’re not strong enough to support his weight to help him walk. Maybe you have financial constraints that prevent you from exploring alternative treatment options. Those with a full time job or children may not have the time available to dedicate to a more involved treatment plan.

Also consider your own personal beliefs. Some people want to take every possible path to treating their pet, where others may ready to say goodbye sooner. There is no right or wrong path to take as long as the pets comfort and well-being is considered.

Share your plan with your veterinarian

Discuss everything with your veterinarian and create a hospice plan for your pet’s care. Together you can determine what treatments, or palliative care options, are best for you and your pet. Communicating your choices before the end-of-life process begins will ensure that both you and your pet will have a peaceful end-of-life experience.

9/1/2017 5:50:45 PM | Erin Mills, RVT

Our own Dr. Virginia Scrivener is a Fear-Free Certified Professional.

If you have been moseying around any pet-related websites lately you may have seen this symbol more and more and wondered what exactly it stands for.

There is a new approach to handling veterinary patients that helps take care of a pets emotional well being, as well as they physical well being.  Stress and anxiety, or white coat syndrome as we call it for people, exists with pets; especially cats.  Stress and anxiety, just as in humans, can affect a pets health and can make treating those patients more difficult.

So what can we do?

The first thing is to recognize how a our pets react on their trips into the vet.  Is it the walk into the hospital that is a stress or does it start before that?  Is it the car ride or maybe even something at home that tells them what is about to happen.

Maybe your pet would benefit from a pre-visit sedation or supplements that you would give at home to help take the edge off and keep your pet happy and relaxed.  Maybe it’s just a matter of waiting in the car rather than the waiting room? Maybe your pet prefers a non-slip floor?

Maybe pheromones might help relax your pet. In our exam rooms we use pheromones.  We try to allow our patients time to explore the room and to give the pheromones time to help a pet relax a bit before anything physical happens.

Maybe your pet is food motivated. Bringing your pet to the vet hungry can make everything they experience positive with super yummy treats.  This can make a trip to the veterinarian a good thing and will help keep their stress levels low.

Going to the vet doesn’t have to be stressful.  We are proud to have Fear Free Certified Professionals on our team that are dedicated to caring for your pet’s emotional well-being as well as his or her physical well-being.

Interested in learning more about Fear Free? Visit



7/20/2017 8:09:55 PM | Erin Mills, RVT

AAHAlogo120%20copyThis symbol means that we have chosen
to undergo regular evaluations
to maintain our AAHA accreditation.
Not every hospital puts in the work
and chooses to earn this designation,
but we’re proud to say we do!


Not all veterinary hospitals are created equal.  We’re not saying this to discredit anyone, or to force anyone to leave a veterinarian that they trust.  On the contrary, we want to help pet owners make the best decision possible.

In human medicine it is the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) that requires all hospitals in the United States to be accredited through one of three accrediting agencies: The Joint Commission, Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) or Det Norske Veritas Healthcare, Inc. (DNV).  This means that to provide Medicare services to patients they must undergo regular reviews and quality checks to ensure they meet a specific set of Standards of Quality for every aspect of medical care.

In veterinary medicine there is only one organization that accredits veterinary hospitals, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).  What most people are surprised to learn is that accreditation is voluntary.  This is different from state licensing and regulatory agencies standards that must be maintained for general health and safety. There is absolutely no law that requires a veterinary hospital to meet and maintain a precise level of quality veterinary care.  AAHA accreditation is a very rigorous and time-consuming process, and most veterinary hospitals do not take the time to meet these standards since it’s not required by law. In fact, only about 12% of veterinary hospitals, clinics and practices are accredited.

There are approximately 900 Standards of Accreditation that a veterinary hospital must meet to become accredited. These standards include patient care and pain management, surgery, pharmacy, laboratory, exam facilities, medical records, cleanliness, emergency services, dental care, diagnostic imaging, anesthesiology, and continuing education.

AAHA accredited hospitals don’t have to meet these standards just once either. These standards are subject to regular review and onsite-evaluations to ensure that the high quality of care is maintained.  Animal hospitals that choose to be accredited show they are committed to going above and beyond for their patients to consistently provide the safest and highest quality care.

How do you know if your veterinary hospital is AAHA accredited? Hospitals that are AAHA accredited with proudly display the AAHA logo.  Looking to find one in your area? The easiest way is to use the AAHA Accredited Hospital Locator.

Click here to find an AAHA accredited practice in your area.