Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Should AAHA Accreditation Be One of Your Criteria For Picking a Veterinarian?

The following is a guest post courtesy of Pet Health Care Gazette:

Have you heard of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) but aren’t really sure who they are or what they do? Ryan Mason is here today to tell us more about the association. Here’s Ryan’s post:

Many veterinarians are quick to mention that their veterinary offices are AAHA accredited. To most pet owners, this is an impressive-sounding fact with an often unknown meaning. What exactly does this accreditation mean to your pet’s well-being? Let’s take a look.
Veterinary Hospital

An AAHA Accredited Veterinary Hospital Is Not Common

According to AAHA itself, only 17 percent of veterinarians are AAHA accredited. It goes without saying that any accreditation that is that difficult to earn undoubtedly has stringent requirements. This is true. The benchmarks for AAHA Accreditation are high in regards to cleanliness and sterility, and inspections are common. The standards go further than just cleanliness, though. Patient care, hospital management, pain management, and record-keeping are all subject to the high standards established by AAHA. The varied standards and high benchmarks make obtaining AAHA accreditation difficult for most veterinary offices.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bob Taxi

Bob talked Christen (our practice manager) into carting him around the practice. He prefers girls with lots of hair to snuggle up to...

Friday, February 21, 2014

How Well Do You Know Your Dog? Enough to Recognize Him by Smell?

According to a study at The Queen’s University of Belfast, our knowledge of our dog goes well beyond what we see. The study at the Canine Behaviour Center in the School of Psychology "examined the ability of humans to identify individual dogs by smell.”

In the study, dog owners smelled two blankets — one that had been infused with the individual odor of their dog, and one that had the smell of an unfamiliar dog. To infuse a dog’s smell in a blanket, the researchers placed the blanket in the dog’s bed for three nights with nothing else in there. Dog owners were blindfolded and then smelled the two blankets.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Did you know we are a Certified "Cat Friendly Practice?"

What this means to You

Cat friendly practices are sensitive to the needs of both cats and their owners. Cat friendly practices consider the unique needs of cats in the waiting and examination rooms, handling of feline patients, attitude and knowledge of staff, and the comfort and concern for cats and their owners.

Staff training and continuing education are key. Within a cat friendly practice, clients will find that the staff is well versed in feline handling techniques and can expertly deal with frightened cats. Furthermore, the staff is well trained in alternate techniques to calm an anxious cat and ensure that exams and procedures do not escalate anxiety.

Staff training focuses on being knowledgeable about the complete cycle of file life stage issues that require special care and attention. As with humans, health issues change as aging occurs. The frequency of health care visits may need to increase and the course of treatment will be adjusted according to the cat's individual healthcare plan.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Is it "OK" to Pick Up My Cat by the Scruff

Not only does it display inappropriate cat handling technique to pick your cat up by the scruff, but lifting or suspending a cat's entire body weight by the skin on the back of its neck can be potentially painful to the cat and cause a stressful reaction.

Veterinarians were once taught to utilize this antiquated technique for control during exams and procedures, but many feline behaviorists no longer believe that "scruffing" a cat is the best method for administering restraint. We at Animal Hospital of Rowlett certainly don't!

The "flexor reflex" that kicks in to allow a mother cat to move her kittens only occurs in very young, baby kitties. Gripping the skin in "mother cat" fashion may indeed make it easier for the veterinarian who still utilizes the technique to administer an exam, but we believe it just causes stress and makes the cat more fearful of a visit to the vet.

You can rest assured that as a "cat friendly" practice, we never scruff cats in the exam room. Instead, we use much gentler methods, such as providing cubbies and "hidey-holes," that allow your cat to relax in the room so our veterinarians and technicians can use looser hold techniques if needed. Does your vet still "scruff?"

Visit our Rowlett Cat Hospital page to see some of the other unique ways we cater to cats.

The proper way for you to pick up your cat is to slide your hands under his chest and legs to support his entire weight evenly between your hands. You can then pull the cat closer to your chest to support his weight against your body. Your grip should be loose, but firm enough to notice any tension.

It's actually very simple. Treating your cat with respect and proper support not only makes the cat less stressed when visiting the hospital, but also makes it much easier for you next time your feline friend needs to visit the vet.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sheldon and Stone

Dr Clary's lab Sheldon and Dr Downes's "career changed first guide dog" Stone caught in a snuggle in the hallway....

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Do You Have an Unruly Dog?

Teach Your Puppy how to be a good citizen with our dog training classes

Certified dog trainer and owner of Canine Solutions, Valerie Fry will be offering dog training classes at our Heath and Rowlett hospital locations.

Module 1 classes will be held March 5 in Heath at 5:30 pm, and March 8 at 12noon in Rowlett.

Module 2 classes will be on March 19 at 5:30 in Heath, and March 22 at 12noon in Rowlett.

Visit our Dog Training class page for more information.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February is Dental Health Month

The entire month of February is National Pet Dental Health Month. This means big discounts on all dog and cat dental cleanings at Animal Hospital of Rowlett and Animal Hospital of Heath.

Slots fill up fast, so call now to schedule your appointment - 972-412-0101. Or even better, schedule your appointment online at: http://ahrdvm.com/schedule-appointment/appointment-forms/medical-appointment-form

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Snow Goatee

Guide-dog-in-training Pax has fun in the snow that recently fell in the Dallas area

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Meet Pax

Meet Pax, our second Guide-dog-in-training for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Our first, Stone, was career changed for medical reasons.

Pax on the left and Stone on the right.

Dr Clary helps Dixie

February is National Pet Dental Health Month and we offer discounts to celebrate.

Dr Clary found a great example Tuesday of a patient (Dixie Andres) with a painful mouth that was not visible without radiographs!

The area in the oval was not detectable any other way!

New Guide Dog Puppy!!!

As many of you know, our first Guide Dog's for the Blind puppy-in-training, Stone, was career changed due to a potential medical issue and has since become a fixture on the couch.

Our second Guide Dog Puppy - Pax- will be picked up today from the airport.

Mom - Jenai (black lab)
Dad - Blake (yellow lab)
DOB 12-3-13

Drop by to visit anytime to meet Pax!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Veterinary Technicians: When Love for Pets is a Given

BUT, is love really all you need? Becoming a veterinary technician is a rewarding profession in which one gets to help save lives and bond with clients. It is also one of the few positions around where you have to go from somber euthanasia rooms to happy new puppy rooms in the blink of an eye. It takes a special person to be a veterinary technician. Perhaps even more difficult than becoming a veterinary technician, is finding highly qualified technicians to join our medical team!

The skill level among the veterinary technician field varies widely. There are some candidates that apply for veterinary technician positions who have done little more than clean floors at another veterinary facility, and amazingly, they are hired to work as technicians in clinics... even potentially monitoring surgery for your pet! Scary thought, huh?

One of the most recent candidates for our technician position had been a nurse at an area practice for 5+ years. We were excited to interview the candidate, as skilled technicians are few and far between. Upon interviewing, we found that this candidate had administered vaccines, performed dental cleanings, and even monitored every single surgical procedure at that practice. Exciting!

When questioned further, the candidate did not know how to take a blood pressure, the word EtCO2 meant nothing, and they were unsure what high and low temperatures would be alarming during a surgery. Turns out, the way they were taught to monitor a surgery was to "listen for the beeping" and "alert the doctor if anything was off". The machine didn't even monitor blood pressure or temperature.

Holiday Pet treat No-Nos and Some Healthy Alternatives

The holidays are nearing and it's important to realize there are some holiday feasts that should not be fed to your pet.
  • No fatty/dark meat or skin
  • No ham bones
  • No macadamia nuts
  • Nothing with onions/garlic - even just seasoning
In Case of Emergency:

Record what the pet ingested and how much. Immediately call your veterinarian or poison control center. Do not induce vomiting. In case of toxins or chemicals on the skin from oils, paints, insecticides and other contact irritants, request directions on if and how to wash the toxin off.

Go here for some basic pet first aid.

Healthy Alternatives

Sweet Potato Treats (home-made!)

What You'll Need:
  •     Large sweet potatoes
  •     Mandolin or sharp knife
  •     Cutting Board
  •     Baking Sheets
  •     Aid of your choosing for greasing the pans
Oven Preparation:

Filling Your Prescriptions at Animal Hospital of Rowlett

While it looks like there are dozens of people working on any given day in our hospital, only one or two are veterinarians.

The rest are veterinary technicians, reception staff and kennel assistants. For the safety of your pet, only specific staff members are allowed to assist in filling medications and only after they have passed rigorous verbal and written internal testing. While the technician plays a vital role in the pharmacy, everything done requires a final check by a veterinarian. The veterinarian is responsible for checking each prescription that goes out.

This is not just checking to see if what is in the bottle is what the doctor ordered. It involves ensuring that the medication is compatible with the other medications your pet takes, and your pet's other health conditions. They also make sure that your pet has no history of allergies to the medication or to one like it.

In addition to filling several medications for several patients every day, the veterinarian is examining sick patients, giving vaccinations, performing dental prophies and other surgical procedures, and is taking care of numerous hospitalized patients and emergency room transfers.

These are just some of the responsibilities that fall on the veterinarians' shoulders and your patience is greatly appreciated when medications are requested. We will always call you when the medications have been filled and are proud to have a 24 hour turn around on most items (unless out of stock/backorder). We are always happy to fill medications with less than 24 hours notice for a small fee.

Thank you for allowing us to be mutual caretakers of your precious furry family members!!!

Five Things Your Vet Wants You to Know

  1. Yearly exams are crucial. Remember that a pet ages about the equivalent of seven human years every year and tremendous changes can happen in those 12 months. The mild staining on your pets teeth last year could now be a nasty case of gingivitis or the mild heart murmur that wasn't a problem last year could be early stages of heart disease.
  2. Meal time can boost brain power. Dog bowls are old school. Try feeding them with a puzzle where they have to work for their food. Check out our retail area for examples! In addition to feeding in unique ways, ask us to help you select a quality food! Some food companies pay big bucks for marketing, while GOOD food companies pay big bucks for research. It's no coincidence you took the Blue challenge and ended up with a result telling you to feed Blue Buffalo. That is marketing genius with no research behind it.
  3. Don't try to diagnose your pet. When in doubt, don't consult with PetWebMD or Dr. Google. You get what you pay for and when your pet is sick, days matter. You need professional eyes, ears, hands and sometimes diagnostic tests to assess them!
  4. Microchip your pet. A microchip will speak up when your pet can't and can be what leads you together again! Collars come off, tags fall off...microchips are forever!
  5. Don't forget about their teeth. Dogs and cats need routine dental care to clean their teeth--including x-rays to reveal hidden problems. Dental disease can cause infections in the heart and kidneys. A full work up does involve anesthesia which is safer than ever, and is necessary to clean under the gum lines where infection lies!

The High Price of Low-Cost Vaccines

We know times are tough. We know it often comes down to feeding the family or a vet visit for your furry family member. It's tempting to find yourself in the lobby of a "low cost vaccine clinic"...but you may want to know how many can be SO low cost.

First, you do "get what you pay for." All dogs get the same vaccines, regardless of what they are actually due for. The way low cost works is high volume. You cannot read records to determine if the dog had a 3 year rabies or a year long bordetella. Everyone gets vaccinated and they call it an annual vaccine; so guess what? You're pet is now due for 4 vaccines again next year.

The scariest part of some vaccine clinics are the quality of the vaccines used. To give dirt cheap vaccines, you have to buy dirt cheap vaccines. Did you know there are cat vaccines that are "adjuvanted" and can cause vaccine induced sarcomas (cancer!)? Is it worth saving $6 for a vaccine that could eventually kill your cat? What about dog vaccines like 2 way Leptospirosis instead of the 4 way that is on the market. 2-way means your dog is only protected against 2 strands of the disease instead of 4...and the 2 it doesn't cover are the most common!

Our vaccine clinic
In an effort to provide you with a SAFER low cost option, we have developed "low cost vaccine hours". While you will purchase vaccines in a package, we will NEVER lower our standards by using cheap vaccines. Your pet will only receive the best of the best, as they always have at AHR!

Read about Animal Hospital of Rowlett's Low-Cost Pet Vaccination Clinic

Here’s a warning from the Food and Drug Administration that most Internet pharmacies are fraudulent, selling drugs that likely are counterfeit and could harm or even kill your pets