Thursday, June 15, 2017

Getting Your Cat To The Vet

One of the most important parts of the veterinary visit actually starts at home.  This is the "art" of getting your cat into the carrier, then into the car, then into the clinic - without raising their "FAS" or Fear/Anxiety/Stress scale.  The more fearful, anxious and stressed they are, the less we are able to handle them and ensure they have a pleasant visit at the vet. 

Among cat owners, 44.9 percent did not take their cat or cats to a veterinarian during 2011, up from 36.3 percent in 2006. People don't take their cat to the vet because it is stressful to their cat - therefore making it stressful for the client!

One of the ways you can begin to ensure your cat has a fear free visit is to get them used to their carriers.  That means, don't get the big scary box that only transports them to the big scary vet the day of the visit!  Cats should be trained to love their crates and find them a safe, happy place to sit.  Leave the carrier out all the time - or at least several days/weeks prior to the visit.  Put their bed in it.  Give them yummy food and treats in it.  Cats love boxes...make them love their crate!

One of our awesome kitty clients, the Thomas family, leave their crates out before visits and look how relaxed their cats are!  They didn't drag them from under a bed and shove them into the carrier and toss the carrier in the hot car and bring them to the scary vet.  They slept in their crates willingly because it is a safe place to them.  

  <<<<<Meet Punkin and Max Thomas 

Another important part of the kitty transport is getting them into the car.  You should let the car cool off (or heat up in winter) to ensure they are comfortable.  They should be covered with a towel so they don't see anything scary.  The car should have on soft music (it shouldn't sound like a concert hall) and the windows should be up.  

They should be placed in an area where their crate remains still and doesn't slide all over the trunk or back seat.  They should be carried into the clinic in their crate with a towel covering them like this (like a heavy box that is steady): 

They should not be carried like this (swinging from side to side):


Please help your cat to have a better visit by ensuring the process to get them TO the vet is stress free!  The more your cat likes getting here, the better we can make their visit!  To read more about getting your cat to the vet click the links below:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Moth balls

It's that time of year again for the snakes to come about.

Some people will use moth balls as a snake repellent, but these are actually toxic to dogs, cats and other animals. Plus, they don't work well at repelling the snakes.

Dogs like to eat anything smelly so moth balls may be yummy to dogs even though they smell horrible to us. If a toxic amount is ingested it can cause a severe hemolytic anemia. This disease often needs blood transfusions to treat it.

So, keep your pets safe and avoid the moth balls.

Hair Ties Not so Fun for Some Cats

Hair ties not so fun for some cats

Hair ties can be very entertaining for a lot of cats and provide hours of fun. But these are not good toys!  Many cats actually eat them and have to undergo surgery to remove them. Here's and x-ray of a kitty who had eaten multiple hair ties and got very sick from them.

Cats and Arthritis, It's a Real Thing

In one recent study 90% of cats over 12 years of age had radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative, progressive and irreversible condition. It's also PAINFUL!  The elbows and hips are the most affected joints in cats but all joints are at risk. Our kitties are very good at hiding the signs of pain. Here is a video of a kitty with arthritis in her hips. Note how she bunny hops down the stairs instead of having a separate stride for each back leg.  

There are medications to help these kitties feel better and be pain free. If your note that your kitty has slowed down in their older years or isn't making as many or as high of jumps they may have osteoarthritis. Ask our veterinarians about options for treatment to help keep your kitties comfortable!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Parasites Pets and Kids

Parasites, Pets, and Kids

Tiffany J. Rule, DVM

Know the facts:  Don’t expose your children!
  • Hookworms and roundworms can be harbored by your dog or cat and transmitted to children who are living in homes with pets.  In some cases these parasites can cause blindness in humans.  It is thought that 30% to 50% of dogs and cats carry gastrointestinal (GI) parasites and that 1 to 3 million people in the U.S. have infections from the same parasites carried by pets.  Children, the elderly and immunocompromised people are at high risk.
  • Dogs get infected with hookworms and roundworms by walking places where other dogs have defecated.  The microscopic roundworm eggs and hookworm larvae end up on your dog’s feet.  Your dog then licks his feet and infects him or herself with these GI parasites.  Three weeks later, your dog is shedding hookworm eggs and larvae from his GI tract.  If your dog licks his anus and then licks your child, or if your child pets your dog, he or she can become infected with these parasites.
  • Dogs can get ticks that spread Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and tularemia, which can affect people if the ticks detach from the dog and attach themselves to your child.  This could be a risk factor for your children if the family dog or cat sleeps in their bed.
  • Cats get infected with hookworms and tapeworms by hunting prey.  Even if your cat lives indoors, the ingestion of one house mouse can expose your cat to GI parasites.  Cats with a flea infestation can spread cat scratch fever to children, elderly people, or immunocompromised (AIDS, cancer patients, organ transplant recipients) people.

How Can You Prevent the Risk of Spreading Parasites to Your Children?
  • Keep your dog on monthly heartworm preventative all year.  This medication helps to prevent hookworms and roundworms in your dog.  Keep your dog on topical flea and tick control all year.
  • Scoop the yard where your dog defecates at least weekly, ideally daily, as worm eggs and larvae are found in stool and can contaminate the environment.
  • Bring your pet’s stool sample to your veterinarian at least twice per year and ideally four times per year.  You do not have to bring your pet into the veterinary hospital for this service.  The stool should be fresh.  Many veterinarians will provide a special cup that allows specimen collection without touching the stool.
  • Keep your cat on heartworm prevention once per month all year.  This medication eliminates hookworms that could be potentially spread to humans in the household.  It also kills fleas, which can be culprits in spreading cat scratch disease (cat scratch fever).
  • Teach your children to wash their hands before eating, especially if they have recently handled their pet.

Rabies Outbreaks

Rabies is a deadly virus for animals and humans. It's state law to make sure your dogs and cats are up to date on their rabies vaccines and are registered within the city you live in. is a website that records animals that tested positive for rabies by location.  Take a look and see how close Rabies is to your house. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Toxic Mother's Day flowers

Lilies and cats are a bad combo

As Mother's Day is fast approaching, please remember lilies are highly toxic and potentially deadly for our cats. There are many varieties of lilies. The genera Lilium and Hemerocallis are the genera that have been associated with renal failure in cats. All parts of the lily (flower, stem, leaves) are toxic and cause kidney damage and or failure. Most of the time symptoms do not arise for 12-36 hrs post ingestion and death occurring 3-5 days after exposure. If your kitty happens to eat a lily please bring them in ASAP to start treatment and also bring the remaining part of the lily with you so we can try and identify it. Many cats can survive the toxicity with prompt medical care.

So, if you're ordering flowers for a loved one with cats, make sure the florist puts a hold on the lilies!

Love, Dr. Carter

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Nurse appointments can save you money $$$

Did you know that AHR doesn't always require you to see the doctor?  We don't always charge an exam for every visit and we never charge an "office visit" fee.  Once your pet has established a relationship with AHR, they can come in for wellness items with a nurse if their physical exam is current with us.

If you bring them in on January 15 for an exam with the doctor, they can come in until January 14 the next year for vaccines including Rabies, DHPP, Bordetalla, Lepto, Lyme, Rattlesnake, Flu, nail trims, anal gland expressions, teeth brushing, vaccination boosters, intestinal parasite exams, labwork, heartworm tests, chronic medication monitoring, etc.

This is a great way to save money between visits or to break up wellness services to split up the payment a bit.  Just another way AHR tries to help save you money!

If you come in for a sick exam with the doctor, it updates your wellness exam reminder so that you don't have to come back for another year.  If the doctor recommends a recheck after a sick visit, the recheck exam is discounted if you come back within 4 weeks.

Ask about our Super Savers and low cost spay neuters next time you are in....or check out our February and October dental cleaning specials!  We also have a promotion on acupuncture right now! Call or email us for details!

We love Dr. D

We decided to share a popular facebook post on our blog too =)

I just have to say how proud I am to work for AHR. I love how the vets care about the animals like their own family.

I'm sure she'd be mortified to know I wrote this, but Dr. Downes told a story today with literal tears streaming down her face. She cried because she cares about how animals are treated - no matter where they're treated.

Her mommy took her cat to a vet closer to her home to confirm a ringworm diagnosis (Dr. D couldn't confirm via a texted picture and her mommy doesn't live locally).

The veterinarian scruffed her cat (even though it will let you do anything to it without any restraint at all) and they administered an unnecessary antibiotic (one that we save for critical things so they don't become ineffective from too frequent use so now we can't use it when the cat has future flare ups of an unrelated issue) and they administered another drug that wasn't needed at all. They didn't give any antifungals for the ringworm and they used an ear cone for a large dog instead of a small cat which caused the kitty to cry and put its paws over its ears as if to say "stop it".

She cried, y'all. Tears welled up in her eyes as she talked about how scary that must have been for the kitty. All the vets at AHR commiserated with her and said they couldn't believe it. It's sad for our profession that not everyone cares and provides the same level of care.

I'm just thrilled to know I work somewhere that they will always treat my animal with a gentle touch, they'll always respect me and my pet and will always provide the TOP level of medicine.

I also read on a friends Facebook status just to the other day that Dr. Downes sat in an exam room and cried with them. They came in for a quality-of-life discussion and to start making plans for an elderly pet that may not have much longer. It's so special to me to know that our doctors care about each and everyone of their patients like it's their own pet.

Anyway, sorry to be so long-winded. Let's give this post some "likes" to give some support to our veterinarians, who love each of our animals and provide the best care on earth. It's a very difficult, emotionally draining job… And we're so happy that they are here to do it.

- Christen, practice manager (although, I know I speak for the entire staff when I say this…)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Exam Room Assistants

If you have been into the clinic in 2017, you may have noticed some pretty big changes with our exam room flow.  While some of the familiar faces from the front desk may not be there to greet you, we want to be sure that you realize this change is to improve the client/patient experience!

Some of our more tenured, full time CSR staff have been moved into a role that we like to call ERA, or exam room assistant.  Each doctor is paired with a primary ERA who will be with the doctor at all times.  Their role is to enter exam notes so that the doctor can spend more time focusing on you and your pet, without having to escape to the computer constantly.

We want you to get to know your doctor's primary they will help answer questions for the doctor when messages are left in their box, they will be the one calling to confirm your appointment and will be the one watching the appointment book to hopefully communicate to you if the doctor is running ahead of schedule (or behind schedule).  Dr. Clary's primary ERA is currently Cara, Dr. Carter's is Fallon and Dr. Hurley's is Adrienne.  Jessica is with Dr. Downes frequently at our Heath location.

Each Doctor/ERA pair also has a daily secondary ERA.  The role of the secondary is to meet you at the front door to greet you and immediately show you into an exam room (as long as one is available).  This prevents your dog or cat from having any run-ins with other pets in the lobby, keeps smells to a minimum and hopefully decreases any fear they have when coming to the veterinary clinic.  They will provide treats and low stress handling during the examination.

If your pet is timid and prefers to remain in the examination room with you for the entire visit, we can do vaccines, blood draws and nail trims in the room with you.  If they love to explore and meet with our clinic pets (Stone, Maggie, Sheldon, Bob, etc) they we can have a nurse perform those items in the treatment area while you chat with the Doctor.

We hope this provides a faster visit for you - because we know that nobody wants to spend hours at the vet office (no, seriously...studies show this! and don't worry, it doesn't hurt our feelings).  We hope it tones down the anxiety your pet might get waiting in the lobby with other animals coming and going.  We hope it allows you more quality time with the doctor and your pet.  We love our new flow and we hope you do too!

We invite you to come by in 2017 and check us out.  See how we are different from other practices in the area and make AHR your home away from home.  As always, we look to improve every interaction with you.  If you have any feedback, please fill out our client satisfaction survey and receive a $5 credit on your account!