Blogs

What do we feed our pets?

2/23/2017
by Jami Stromberg, DVM

I often get asked what pet food I feed my own pets. My answer is an honest one – Hill's Prescription Feline Metabolic Diet for my cats, because one of the three needs some help losing weight, and iVet Grain Free Salmon for my border collie. I don’t feed a grain free food because I am a fan of grain free foods – in fact I believe that grain free is a marketing tool (and a very successful one!) that taps into our fear of gluten. I feed the iVet Grain Free Salmon because my dog loves salmon. He is a picky eater and this is one food that he will willingly eat. I guess he jumped onto the grain free bandwagon too.

I polled the staff members here at BPPH to see what they feed their pets. Here are the results:

iVet – 5
Science Diet (including Healthy Advantage) – 4
Natural Balance – 1
Nature’s Recipe – 1
Kirkland – 1
Authority – 1
Friskies - 1
Prescription food (mainly Hill's Prescription Science Diet) – 11

The majority of our employee-owned pets are on iVet and Science Diet in part because we stock both diets at the clinic (and therefore it is easy and convenient for us) and partly because we trust in these companies to provide safe, consistent, healthy food for our animals.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition Tour - Part 1

1/26/2017
by Jami Stromberg, DVM

Last spring, assistant Heather and I had the opportunity to spend a few days at the Hill’s Science Diet Global Pet Nutrition Center in Topeka, Kansas and one of their nearby canning facilities. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is a pet food manufacturer headquartered in Topeka. The company has been making pet food for over 100 years and in 1948 they produced the first prescription pet food – Canine k/d (for dogs with kidney disease). Since then, they have become a leader in the science and art of pet nutrition and they now carry over 60 different prescription pet foods, in addition to several lines of foods for healthy pets. I have been prescribing Hill’s prescription diets since I graduated veterinary school 20 years ago and I have always been impressed by the research that goes behind all of their diets, the veterinary support that I receive if I have a pet nutrition question, and the customer service that they provide to both our clinic and our clients.

It was nice to be able to see the company at work – up close. Their Pet Nutrition Center does a lot of palatability studies on healthy animals – they test different flavors and kibble size/texture to see which food the pets like best. They even compare Hill’s food to other brands! The 900 animals at the facility get better care than many pets do. There are animal care attendants assigned to each room, and a big part of their job is simply to play with the animals. There are also 3 full time veterinarians on staff to provide both preventative care and care to sick animals. No expense is spared to give these animals a great life! You can see more about the Global Pet Nutrition Center by clicking on this link and watching the video.
http://www.hillstransforminglives.co.za/about-hills/hill-s-global-pet-nutrition-center/

I’ll write a bit more about other aspects of my time spent with Hill’s in future blog posts.

Jami Stromberg, DVM

Hill's Pet Nutrition has a mission to help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets. Learn more about Science Diet®, Ideal Balance™ and Prescription Diet® pet foods at HillsPet.com.

Holiday Season

12/1/2016
by BPPH Staff

Pack your bags.
Pack your car.
Pack your sleigh.
But don’t let your pet pack on the holiday pounds.

Schedule your pet’s yearly checkup today.

 

Holiday season is upon us — a busy time of year for festivities, family and of course, lots of eating! Did you know that if a ten-pound cat ate just one ounce of cheddar cheese from your hors d’oeuvres, it would be the same as if a person ate three and a half hamburgers or four chocolate bars? Gaining those “holiday pounds” is not just a problem for humans, but also for our four-legged friends.

Research shows that pets are more likely to gain unwanted pounds during this holiday period than any other time of year. What pet can resist a potato chip, onion dip or chocolate? (Wait, you know better than to feed them that!)

Obesity is the leading medical problem in pets. When a pet is too chubby, not only may they have little energy to walk or play, but also studies have shown that pets who are overweight may have a shortened life span.

How can you tell if your pet is at the right weight?

It can be hard to know because for many pets, they don’t get a big round belly. Instead, the extra fat is well hidden inside your pet’s body, tucked between their vital organs. So let us check! Our veterinary practice team has a trained eye to best assess your pet’s weight. Bring your pet in for their yearly exam and we’ll take a look at their body condition and nutritional needs. If we determine your pet needs to lose a few pounds, don’t worry. We’ll come up with a plan that will keep you and your pet sailing through the holiday season.

Call us today to schedule your pet’s yearly checkup. Happy holidays and remember, pack your suitcase. Pack a trunk. It’s even fine to pack a sleigh. But don’t let your pet pack on the pounds!

It’s the time of year for Thanksgiving.

11/1/2016
by BPPH Staff

The best way to show thanks to your pet is with a yearly checkup.

 

Call us and schedule the appointment today!

All pets come with special care instructions. Feed daily, love forever and yearly checkups. We know you have the first two covered, but what about the last one? Yearly checkups are equally as important! They are essential to your furry friend’s happiness and well-being. They are the best way to keep your pet healthier, longer!

During our veterinarian’s physical exam, your pet gets checked from tongue to teeth to toes to tail. (Plus all the parts in between!) Our in-depth, medical checkup not only assesses your pet’s current health status, but also helps to prevent future problems, such as obesity, periodontal disease and diabetes. At this time, it also provides us with the opportunity to discuss all the ways to keep your pal in good shape and to answer your questions. We can cover any topic you want in the comfort of our exam room.

Yes, all pets do come with special care instructions:

  • Feed daily (but not from the Thanksgiving dinner table)
  • Love forever (you do that the best!)
  • Yearly checkups (we’re here to ensure your pet stays healthy!)

We’re grateful for your trust in us to recommend what’s best for your pet. Call us to
make an appointment for your pet’s yearly checkup. Your pet will be thankful too.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us!

October is a great month for animals!

10/4/2016
by BPPH Staff

It’s National Service Dog Month, National Animal Safety and Protection Month, ASPCA’s Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and there’s even a shout-out to cats this month on National Cat Day, October 29. With all of these warm and fuzzy feelings circulating in the autumn air, it’s a perfect time to take a good, hard look at your pet. How has he/she been acting lately?

Nipping. Scratching. Litter box issues. Leash pulling. Meowing at night. Urinating on the floor. Chewing shoes. Are these behaviors just part of being a “normal” dog or cat, or not?

Some common behavior issues are due to underlying medical problems. These illnesses are tough to recognize even for the most observant owners. For example, if your dog started nipping at the kids, it may be a sign he’s in pain. Your cat may stop jumping on your lap. Not because she’s being unfriendly, but because she has arthritis and it hurts.

If these behaviors are left unchecked, it’s a triple issue. The behavior may worsen, the underlying medical condition may progress (which puts your pet’s health at risk), and most importantly, your pet’s quality of life as part of your family is compromised.

Here’s where we can help. We have the expertise when it comes to analyzing, identifying and resolving behavior issues with your pet. At your pet’s yearly checkup, we can talk about your pet’s behavior and help give your pet a “new leash” on life! We are committed to your pet’s well-being…all the way! Schedule your pet’s yearly checkup today.

Doc, could my dog have arthritis?

9/28/2016
by Jami Stromberg, DVM

YES! 

Arthritis is a common problem in dogs and can affect any age or breed. Causes include a congenital or developmental defect (such as hip dysplasia), an injury that results in an unstable joint (a torn ligament, for example), a fracture that involves the joint, degenerative changes from age and use, infection (Lyme disease), and immune diseases that affect multiple joints.

Signs of arthritis include lameness in one of more legs, stiffness, especially when just getting up, hesitation to jump up or down, or to go up or down stairs, slipping on hard floors, and inability to exercise as long as normal.

Infectious and immune-mediated arthritis are treated with specific medications. The other types of arthritis (also called osteoarthritis or OA) can be managed in one or more of the following ways:

1. Surgery to repair the underlying cause (torn ligament, fracture) if possible
2. Weight loss, if indicated – most dogs with OA do best if they are on the lean side
3. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as Deramaxx, Metacam,       and Rimadyl are very good, FDA-approved, arthritis medications
4. Prescription diets such as Hill's Prescription j/d or Metabolic Mobility, that contain high       doses of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin, l-carnitine, and      antioxidants.
5. Fatty acid supplements, which can help control inflammation
6. Glucosamine and chondroitin, which may help repair damaged cartilage
7. Adequan, which is the only FDA-approved joint repair supplement
8. Physical therapy, chiropractor, and acupuncture are all available

As you can see, there are many options to help to manage your dog’s arthritis. Talk to one of our staff if you have questions!

AAHA-Accredited Hospitals: Champions for Excellent Care

7/22/2016
by

Did you know that accreditation for animal hospitals is voluntary? Surprising, isn’t it? Nearly 60 percent of pet owners believe that their pet’s veterinary hospital is accredited when it is not. In actuality, only 12-15% of animal hospitals have gone through the accreditation evaluation process by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). We are proud to call ourselves an AAHA-accredited hospital.

In the United States, all human hospitals that serve people with Medicare must be accredited through an accrediting body; they undergo regular reviews and quality checks to ensure they meet standards of quality for every aspect of medical care. However, not all animal hospitals choose to pursue the AAHA-accreditation process since it is not required by law. When it comes to pet health care, accreditation is voluntary. The accreditation process is rigorous and time-consuming, and not every veterinary hospital wants to go through the lengthy process.

Accreditation by AAHA means that an animal hospital has been evaluated on approximately 900 standards of veterinary excellence. To maintain their accreditation, hospitals undergo a rigorous review by veterinary experts every three years. State and provincial regulations can vary widely – in fact, some states don’t routinely inspect hospitals, only going in for an inspection when a complaint is filed by a pet owner. AAHA accreditation is considered the standard for veterinary excellence, and does not vary between states or provinces (AAHA accredits hospitals in both the U.S. and Canada).

We are an AAHA-accredited veterinary hospital. That means we hold ourselves to a higher standard. Pets are our passion. And keeping them healthy is our #1 priority. Here, we strive to deliver excellent care for pets. Because your pets deserve nothing less.

Learn more about AAHA accreditation and why our accreditation is important to you and your pet. Visit aaha.org/petowner.

Is your family protected!?

5/25/2016
by BPPH Staff

With the warm weather, flea and tick season is upon us! Get your flea and tick preventative before the holiday weekend! We carry Vectra, a topical monthly product that kills and repels fleas, ticks, and mosquitos in dogs, and Bravecto, a chewable tablet that kills fleas and tick for 12 weeks.

Call or stop in if you  have any questions!

Bones, Muscles and Joints

5/20/2016
by BPPH Staff

Keep your pet moving and grooving this spring
Schedule their yearly checkup today!

 

Musculoskeletal diseases (conditions that involve bones, muscles and joints) can affect pets of all ages. They can have aches and pains like we do. But sometimes these diseases are hard to spot. Think about your furry friend for a moment...

Have they stopped jumping on you when they greet you at the door?

Have they stopped perching on the window sill?

Is your pet acting “old?”

These changes in activity may be due to weather, age or good training. However, to guarantee your pet is at their best, we have to rule out they don’t have a hidden musculoskeletal problem. Infections, hormonal imbalances, nutrition, blood disorders and arthritis can all affect your pet's activity—the way they play, move, eat and cuddle!

The good news is we have ways to prevent, cure or manage these conditions, so your pet can continue to have a good quality of life. We are committed to the well-being of your pet for their lifetime. The best way to do this is to book your pet’s yearly checkup today. Make an appointment and together, we’ll keep your pet’s bones, muscles and joints (and the rest of your furry friend) in good working order!

Q: Is your pet at risk for any of the following:

4/15/2016
by BPPH Staff

A) Fleas
B) Ticks
C) Worms
D) All of the above


A: All of the above (and they ALL can be tough to spot!)

 

Schedule your pet’s annual checkup today to be sure
your pet is healthy!

 

Is your dog very tired? Is your cat eating less than usual? These seemingly minor changes may mean your pet has a flea allergy, an internal parasite infection, or a tick-related disease.

Let’s talk about fleas first. The majority of pets don’t have fleas—but many have been bitten because fleas are everywhere! Yes, fleas live outdoors but they can live indoors too – even in really clean homes – year-round in any climate. Fleas will gladly hitch a ride on your pet into your house. And all it takes is one flea bite (specifically the fleas saliva), to set off a full blown skin allergy. Pets may scratch their sides, neck or even lick their paws until they’re red and painful. What pet wants to move around or eat when feeling this miserable?

Internal parasites (such as worms) can infect your pet in a number of ways. Sometimes, it’s hard to know if your pet has them. But left untreated, worms can be dangerous to your pet’s internal organs. They can even cause your pet to lose blood.
Ticks are tricky. Even when you check your pet for ticks they can be tough to find because they’re small and hide well in dark fur. But it’s crucial to find ticks and remove them quickly. Why? Some ticks carry bacteria that cause disease (such as Lyme disease, but there are many others). And all you need is one undetected tick bite for your pet to become infected. They can become sick and develop kidney problems. At times, these diseases can be fatal.

Ugh! Is there any good news?
Yes!

We’re experts when it comes to flea allergies, tick and internal parasite checks. Even if your pet is on regular monthly preventive, it is still important for us to make sure your pet is healthy.

Make an appointment for your pet’s annual checkup today – we’ll give them a thorough physical exam from nose to tail. Let’s also confirm the prevention you’re using is right for your pet!

Does your dog have seasonal allergies?

3/10/2016
by BPPH Staff

Are you looking for an alternative to steroids, which can have many side effects and cannot be used in conjunction with certain medications?

After a several year wait, we are now able to readily dispense Apoquel, a new allergy medication that is virtually free from side effects and drug interactions. Apoquel works by targeting inflammatory mediators that are involved in allergies, without affecting the mediators that affect your pet’s overall immune system. In addition, it does not affect organs such as the liver or kidney, and does not cause excessive thirst and hunger like steroids do.

Please call our office at 763-566-6000 if you would like more information on Apoquel.

You can also visit https://www.zoetisus.com/apoquel-pet-owner/index.aspx

 

 

 

 

Check out these photos of Sheba before and after starting Apoquel!

 

 

How to extract a tooth

2/19/2016
by Jami Stromberg, DVM

One of the cool things about my job as a veterinarian is that I get to be pediatrician, internist, surgeon, behaviorist, nutritionist, and dentist – sometime all in one day.

I see a fair number of broken teeth in my practice. Let’s face it – dogs are oral creatures and they sometimes traumatize their teeth during play or while chewing. And in most cases the treatment of a fractured tooth is going to be extraction or a root canal. The decision is dependent on the age of the animal, the degree of the fracture, the tooth involved, and of course, how much the owners want to spend. If a root canal is elected, I refer to a veterinary dentist. However, I am comfortable doing most extractions. What a client needs to know is that in most cases it is a surgical extraction, much like what a human oral surgeon would be doing. In order to give the public a better view on what a surgical extraction involves, I took some photos of a case last fall. This is the extraction of a fourth upper premolar (also called a carnassial tooth), which is a tooth that is often traumatized while chewing on hard items.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kiya, a 10 year old Australian Shepherd, is placed under general anesthesia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The teeth are cleaned and evaluated.  Note the crown fracture with pulp exposure (the dark hole is exposed, infected pulp).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A preoperative x-ray is taken.  Note the fractured crown at the bottom of the photograph.  Also, note how big the roots are!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A local anesthetic is injected and then I use a scalpel to make an incision in the gum tissue over the roots.

 

 

Then I use a tool to elevate the gum tissue from the bone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I drill away the bone from around the roots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a different drill bit to cut the tooth into 2 pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A hand elevator is used between the root and the bone to loosen the tooth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the first section is removed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The front portion of the tooth is then cut into 2 sections, following the roots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second piece is elevated...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...and removed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I drill more bone away...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...to expose the final root.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the process of elevation...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...and the extraction is repeated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The extraction site! Note the three sockets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The technician takes a post-op x-ray to confirm that all the tooth and roots have been removed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several sutures are used to close up the site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The finished product!  The sutures will dissolve in a few weeks.

 

 

Kiya stayed for the rest of the day to wake up from anesthesia. She went home with oral pain medication and instructions to feed soft food for 2 weeks. She was doing great at her recheck appointment 2 weeks later.

Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats.

2/5/2016
by BPPH Staff

Does your pet have it?

 

It’s time to schedule their yearly checkup today and find out.

 

It’s that time of year again. Love, hugs and chocolate are on everyone’s mind. For your pet, the first two come out way on top! (Chocolate is a no-no, but you already knew that!)

Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats, affecting 78% of dogs and 68% of cats over the age of three. Although most dogs and cats will develop some sort of dental disease, small dog breeds, such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Dachshunds and Toy Poodles, are more prone to developing periodontal disease than larger breeds.

If your pet has bad breath, it may mean there is a problem with their teeth and gums. This can also contribute to more severe medical conditions. If dental issues are left untreated, you may put your pet at risk for problems in their mouth (periodontitis) or with internal organs (heart disease).

The challenge most pet owners face is that even if their pet’s breath smells fine, some dental issues are hard to spot.

Early preventive measures, such as at-home care and in-clinic teeth cleanings will help to reduce the frequency and severity of dental disease later in life. At our hospital, we will perform a comprehensive examination of your pet’s teeth and gums. Just like when you visit your dentist, we use special tools to remove tartar from below the gum line and smooth the surface of each tooth to prevent tartar buildup.

Keeping your pet healthy from toe to tooth shows the world how much you love them. The best way to keep your pet in tiptop shape is to schedule your pet’s yearly checkup with us. We’re committed to your pet’s well being every step of the way. (Because we love them too!)

Why giving heartworm prevention is truly necessary

1/27/2016
by Jackie Singer

On December 13, I took my foster dog, Jeb, in for his first heartworm treatment.  He’s going to get three injections because his heartworm infection is severe and his lungs have been compromised, even though he’s only eighteen months old.  Jeb came to Minnesota from a great rescue in the southern United States who received some bad advice from a vet and didn’t treat his heartworm infection right away.  So what?  So now here we are, treating it 5 months later, and he’s a much higher risk patient.

I’m writing this because it’s important that people realize how horrible heartworm infection is.  Jeb is my third foster dog with it.  Luckily, I’ve not lost one yet, though my first one was very close.  We received my beagle, Pig, from the south as well, and he tested negative for heartworm when we got him, so we thought he was safe.  We put him on year-round preventative and were ready to place him in a forever home.  He wasn’t an easy placement, though, and 9 months later, he was still with us, so we boarded him with our dogs when we went on vacation.  The day we picked him up, I noticed something was not right.  His balance was off and he was staggering.  He started to walk into walls.  I immediately took him to Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital, where his reflexes continued to deteriorate.  They referred me to the University of Minnesota, so off we rushed to the emergency room.

After numerous tests, they couldn’t find anything wrong with Pig, so they monitored him for a bit, kept him on fluids, and when it appeared that he was coming around, sent him home with us, after we’d racked up about $1,500 in charges.  When we took Pig back to BPPH for his annual exam and vaccine update three weeks later, we found out what had happened – Pig was heartworm positive, and it was likely that a heartworm had broken off and hit his brain.   At this point, we scheduled his three-injection treatment and adopted him, since it was clear that we weren’t going to be able to nurse him through his embolism and heartworm treatment, foster him a year, and then place him in another home.  Luckily, Pig made it through all of this with no residual problems, and we have a dog who loves us dearly.  The only thing we can figure is that the test was done in the short period of time after the dog is bitten by the infected mosquito, but before the worms were mature enough to detect.  Just our luck, right?

Not everyone realizes how serious the treatment is, or how serious the repercussions are if you don’t treat your dog.  We have to watch Jeb closely for signs of pneumonia, compromised breathing, or any signs that he may have had a dying heartworm compromise his pulmonary system.  We have to do this for 8 weeks, while we keep him quiet, which means nothing but leash walking and no playtime with the other dogs.  Have you ever tried to do that with an eighteen-month-old puppy?  Not the easiest thing in the world, but absolutely necessary, since an elevated heartrate greatly increases the risk of pulmonary embolism, which could kill him.

What’s the upside?  At the end of the eight weeks, we’ll have a healthy dog, ready for adoption with a forever family.  Jeb’s a wonderful boy and worth the effort.  It just would have been so much easier if his former owners had kept him on heartworm preventative.  It’s not that much money, given the risks it covers.  It’s really not.

Leave no stone unturned.

12/30/2015
by BPPH Staff

Schedule your pet’s yearly checkup to
ensure their kidney and urinary health

 

Did you know 75% of your pet’s kidney function is gone before you see signs of serious illness?

That means your pet may have kidney disease and you may not even know it.

This month we want to focus on your pet’s kidney and urinary tract health because this is an area of veterinary medicine (and human medicine too) where preventive healthcare can make a big difference! A routine blood and urine test can clue us into the status of your pet’s kidney and urinary system. It’s that simple.

When we talk about chronic kidney disease, it’s a very common disorder in cats, especially those that are older than age 5. Renal (kidney) insufficiency or renal failure occurs when the kidneys are no longer able to do their appointed job--to remove waste products from the blood. 

Renal failure is not the same as not being able to produce urine. In fact, most cats with renal failure make lots of urine in an attempt to remove the waste products that collect in the blood. The kidneys are failing but the cat makes a huge volume of urine...this can be confusing to pet owners!

Let’s switch gears and talk about urinary stones. Dogs or cats with very small stones in the urinary system do not usually have any signs. They look and act the same as usual. However, if these stones become larger, and are not detected and monitored, they can move into other areas of the urinary system that may cause obstruction. Obstruction is an emergency that puts your pet’s health at serious risk.

The best way to keep your pet’s kidney and urinary tract health in tiptop shape is through
preventive healthcare. Schedule your pet’s yearly checkup today so we can examine your pet from nose to tail, run any tests if needed and discuss all the concerns you may have.

We care about your pet so call us today.

We promise, we will leave no stone unturned.

Pets put on “holiday pounds” too!

12/2/2015
by BPPH Staff

Pack your bags.
Pack your car.
Pack your sleigh.
But don’t let your pet pack on the holiday pounds.

 

Schedule your pet’s yearly checkup today!

Holiday season is upon us — a busy time of year for festivities, family and of course, lots of eating! Did you know that if a ten-pound cat ate just one ounce of cheddar cheese from your hors d’oeuvres, it would be the same as if a person ate three and a half hamburgers or four chocolate bars? Gaining those “holiday pounds” is not just a problem for humans, but also for our four-legged friends.

Research shows that pets are more likely to gain unwanted pounds during this holiday period than any other time of year. What pet can resist a potato chip, onion dip or chocolate? (Wait, you know better than to feed them that!)

Obesity is the leading medical problem in pets. When a pet is too chubby, not only may they have little energy to walk or play, but also studies have shown that pets who are overweight may have a shortened life span.

How can you tell if your pet is at the right weight?

It can be hard to know because for many pets, they don’t get a big round belly. Instead, the extra fat is well hidden inside your pet’s body, tucked between their vital organs. So let us check! Our veterinary practice team has a trained eye to best assess your pet’s weight. Bring your pet in for their yearly exam and we’ll take a look at their body condition and nutritional needs. If we determine your pet needs to lose a few pounds, don’t worry. We’ll come up with a plan that will keep you and your pet sailing through the holiday season.

Call us today to schedule your pet’s yearly checkup. Happy holidays and remember, pack your suitcase. Pack a trunk. It’s even fine to pack a sleigh. But don’t let your pet pack on the pounds!

October is a great month for animals.

10/29/2015
by BPPH Staff

It’s National Service Dog Month, National Animal Safety and Protection Month,
ASPCA’s Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and there’s even a shout-out to cats this month
on National Cat Day, October 29. With all of these warm and fuzzy feelings circulating
in the autumn air, it’s a perfect time to take a good, hard look at your pet. How has
he/she been acting lately?

Nipping. Scratching. Litter box issues. Leash pulling. Meowing at night. Urinating on
the floor. Chewing shoes. Are these behaviors just part of being a “normal” dog or cat,
or not?

Some common behavior issues are due to underlying medical problems. These
illnesses are tough to recognize even for the most observant owners. For example, if
your dog started nipping at the kids, it may be a sign he’s in pain. Your cat may stop
jumping on your lap. Not because she’s being unfriendly, but because she has arthritis
and it hurts.

If these behaviors are left unchecked, it’s a triple issue. The behavior may worsen, the
underlying medical condition may progress (which puts your pet’s health at risk), and
most importantly, your pet’s quality of life as part of your family is compromised.

Here’s where we can help. We have the expertise when it comes to analyzing, identifying and resolving behavior issues with your pet. At your pet’s yearly checkup, we can talk about your pet’s behavior and help give your pet a “new leash” on life! We are committed to your pet’s well-being…all the way! Schedule your pet’s yearly checkup today.

Learn From My Fail

9/29/2015
by Jami Stromberg, DVM

I am sure you’ve all heard of the phrase about the shoemaker’s shoe-less kids. Well, that happens in a lot of professions. My pets receive good care – mostly on-time exams and vaccines, a good diet, heartworm preventative, dental care. But…

I have a 2 year old border collie named Gus. As are most border collies, Gus is high energy and requires a lot of attention. So I was very excited to be able to rent a pet-friendly cabin in the heart of Wisconsin last October. Gus loved it! He ran in the woods and played ball for HOURS. And the weather was perfect! Beautiful fall colors and moderate temperatures meant spending lots and lots of time outside.

However, as soon as we arrived at the cabin I remembered that I forgot to apply flea and tick control to Gus before we left (specifically Vectra, the brand I normally use). In fact, it had been a couple of months since I applied the product. Oh, well, I thought. It’s late-October and there have already been some cold nights, so I’m sure the ticks are now in hibernation. Right?

Well, 2 days after getting home we found at least 10 engorged ticks on Gus. We ran him to my clinic for an emergency bath and Vectra application. However, the damage was done. And over the next few days we found at least another 10 attached ticks on my poor dog.

Now I was worried about Lyme (and other tick-borne) disease. Now Gus had a bunch of swollen, inflamed skin lesions where the ticks had attached. Now I felt really, really, guilty.
Please, learn from my fail. Make sure your pet is adequately protected against parasites, because prevention is far easier than treatment. And know for a FACT that even in late fall, the ticks are out there.

Jami Stromberg, DVM

 

Your pet’s skin: there’s a lot to cover!

9/11/2015
by BPPH Staff

Let's make sure your pet is healthy all over.

Schedule your pet's yearly checkup today!

 

September is when kids go back to school, and finally, you have a chance to relax. Who wants to join you? Your pet! While your snuggling with your furry friend, you may feel a bump or rash on their skin. What should you do?

Your pet may have bumps. Lumps. Missing fur. A black spot. A funny-looking toenail. Are these things nothing, or something of concern?

For most owners, it's tough to know what skin issues are ok and what needs further evaluation. Missing fur may be from a lost battle with a housemate. A black spot may be a tick. A rash may indicate a food allergy. A little bump may be cancer. Skin is the largest organ of the body and there's a lot to cover! That's why a yearly checkup is vital to your pet's health. When you bring your pet in for their wellness exam, we'll assess every part of them, from nose to tail. We'll make sure your pet is healthy and stays that way!

Now that there's a little peace and quiet at home, schedule your pet's yearly exam. We'll perform a thorough skin check and a few other easy tests if needed to keep your pet happy, healthy and a part of your family for a long, long time. Make an appointment today!

Hairballs, Hacks, Gags and Gas:

8/19/2015
by BPPH Staff

Learn why you should schedule your pet’s annual checkup today!

 

When you’re a pet owner, you know all the benefits of living with a furry friend in your home. Wet kisses, happy tail wags, loud purrs.

Did you expect hairballs on the carpet? Partially digested garbage strewn all over the floor?

Did you expect your pet to belong to the “Speed Eaters Anonymous Club,” where they eat so fast it comes right back up?

Like many pet owners, you may assume these digestive ailments just happen. You may assume they’re normal and chalk them up to coming with the territory of living with a pet. Perhaps they’ve become regular occurrences that you simply handle with mild frustration. Overall, no worries, you say!

The important thing to know is that many seemingly “normal” digestive problems are best to be checked out by us. We know there’s a lot of information on the Internet you can read, but nothing replaces a face (yours) to face (ours) to face (your furry buddy) visit with us.

When you schedule your pet’s yearly checkup, we can discuss and answer all of your questions. During the checkup, we’ll perform a “hands-on” inspection of your pet’s abdomen by feeling each of the organs and evaluating the shape, size, and position. We’ll listen through a stethoscope for any abnormal gut sounds. We may want to take a look at your pet’s poop to check for parasites and harmful bacteria. It’s all about digestion and it’s how to keep your pet healthy!

Schedule your pet’s yearly checkup today. Let’s determine what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to your pet’s digestive tract.

Just think, after your visit, you may never have to clean up a hairball ever again.

Start summer off right!

6/3/2015
by BPPH Staff

Schedule your pet’s annual checkup today
to be sure your pet is healthy!

 

It’s summer! Time for BBQs, long hikes and refreshing water play! You and your pet enjoy this time of year. It’s filled with activity, fun and food!

There are a few things we have to talk about. First, is your pet eating the right food for their lifestyle? Meeting your pet’s nutritional needs is vital to their health and happiness. So before you take your big hike with Fido or start your movie marathon on the couch with Fluffy, bring in your furry friend for their annual exam.

Second, if your pet is just 10% over their ideal body weight (that may mean 1 lb. for a 10 lb. cat), they are at risk for developing serious medical conditions. Who wants that for their buddy? No way, you say! Come in for a checkup and a pit stop at the scale!
Third, most “people” food is not good for pets, especially from the grill! For example, feeding your pet chicken bones can cause tooth fractures and tear up their digestive tract during digestion.

Make an appointment for your pet’s annual checkup today – we’ll give them a thorough physical exam from nose to tail! And we’ll talk about what they’re eating and if we have to make any changes.

Who loves your pet besides you? Us! Book your pet’s yearly exam today so we can keep your pet healthy and happy this summer!

Bones, Muscles and Joints

5/5/2015
by BPPH Staff

Keep your pet moving and grooving this spring

Schedule their yearly checkup today!

 

Musculoskeletal diseases (conditions that involve bones, muscles and joints) can affect pets of all ages. They can have aches and pains like we do. But sometimes these diseases are hard to spot. Think about your furry friend for a moment...

Have they stopped jumping on you when they greet you at the door?

Have they stopped perching on the window sill?

Is your pet acting “old?”

These changes in activity may be due to weather, age or good training. However, to guarantee your pet is at their best, we have to rule out they don’t have a hidden musculoskeletal problem. Infections, hormonal imbalances, nutrition, blood disorders and arthritis can all affect your pet's activity—the way they play, move, eat and cuddle!

The good news is we have ways to prevent, cure or manage these conditions, so your pet can continue to have a good quality of life. We are committed to the well-being of your pet for their lifetime. The best way to do this is to book your pet’s yearly checkup today. Make an appointment and together, we’ll keep your pet’s bones, muscles and joints (and the rest of your furry friend) in good working order!

Is Your Pet At Risk?

4/10/2015
by BPPH Staff

Q: Is your pet at risk for any of the following:

A) Fleas
B) Ticks
C) Worms
D) All of the above

A: D) All of the above (and they ALL can be tough to spot!)

 

Schedule your pet’s annual checkup today to be sure
your pet is healthy!

 

Is your dog very tired? Is your cat eating less than usual? These seemingly minor changes may mean your pet has a flea allergy, an internal parasite infection, or a tick-related disease.

Let’s talk about fleas first. The majority of pets don’t have fleas—but many have been bitten because fleas are everywhere! Yes, fleas live outdoors but they can live indoors too – even in really clean homes – year-round in any climate. Fleas will gladly hitch a ride on your pet into your house. And all it takes is one flea bite (specifically the fleas saliva), to set off a full blown skin allergy. Pets may scratch their sides, neck or even lick their paws until they’re red and painful. What pet wants to move around or eat when feeling this miserable?

Internal parasites (such as worms) can infect your pet in a number of ways. Sometimes, it’s hard to know if your pet has them. But left untreated, worms can be dangerous to your pet’s internal organs. They can even cause your pet to lose blood.

Ticks are tricky. Even when you check your pet for ticks they can be tough to find because they’re small and hide well in dark fur. But it’s crucial to find ticks and remove them quickly. Why? Some ticks carry bacteria that cause disease (such as Lyme disease, but there are many others). And all you need is one undetected tick bite for your pet to become infected. They can become sick and develop kidney problems. At times, these diseases can be fatal.

Ugh! Is there any good news?
Yes!

We’re experts when it comes to flea allergies, tick and internal parasite checks. Even if your pet is on regular monthly preventive, it is still important for us to make sure your pet is healthy.

Make an appointment for your pet’s annual checkup today – we’ll give them a thorough physical exam from nose to tail. Let’s also confirm the prevention you’re using is right for your pet!

Gone, But Never Forgotten

3/17/2015
by BPPH Staff

The Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital has suffered a great loss this week.  Our beloved Rosie has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.  She was diagnosed in 2010 with failing kidneys, and this week she was showing the effects of that disease.  She was surrounded by the tearful staff as we all said our goodbyes.

Rosie came through BPPH from the Humane Society for spay and declaw surgery in September 2000. While here it was discovered she was pregnant and once she delivered her four kittens and they were adopted out to new homes, we couldn’t bring ourselves to return her to the Humane Society.  She had been here since.

Rosie had shown herself as a good mother and nanny by helping to care for other kittens in addition to her own. More recently she kept our practice manager's desk and computer warm when she wasn’t up front greeting all her guests.


She will be greatly missed.

 

 

It’s Almost Spring!

3/11/2015
by BPPH Staff

Time to check for heartworm disease! Schedule your pet’s yearly checkup today!

 

It’s March—springtime is around the corner! Worms in your garden…and worms in your pet? Eeew! Hold on, let’s explain…

The worms you find in your garden mulch are not the same worms that cause heartworm disease in pets. Mosquitoes carry heartworms. And all it takes is one mosquito to bite your pet to become infected.

Here's the good news about heartworm disease. It's an illness that can be easy and affordable to prevent. The bad news is, if you don't prevent it the right way, your pet is at high risk of getting sick. Heartworm disease is dangerous to your pet and some signs of the illness are tough to spot. Your pet may be acting fine, but they may have so many heartworms inside their body that it can become life threatening.

You may be thinking, “my pet stays indoors, so there’s no need for heartworm prevention.” But, heartworms are carried by mosquitoes, which get into everyone’s homes! One mosquito bite is all that’s needed to spread the disease to your furry friend.

Schedule your pet’s yearly checkup with us. We’ll do a thorough exam, including a simple heartworm test, to make sure your pet is at his/her optimum health. And we’ll talk about the best way to prevent heartworm disease, so your pet stays healthy, happy and safe!

Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital Achieves High Level of Veterinary Excellence

2/26/2015
by BPPH Staff

Dedicated to every pet. Every time.

 

The Brooklyn Park Pet hospital has achieved the highest level of veterinary excellence following a thorough evaluation by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). We earned AAHA accreditation after a rigorous review of the hospital’s practice protocols, medical equipment, facility and client service.  We have held this distinction since 1993.

Unlike human hospitals, not all animal hospitals are required to be accredited.

Accredited hospitals are the only hospitals that choose to be evaluated on approximately 900 quality standards that go above and beyond basic state regulations, ranging from patient care and pain management to staff training and advanced diagnostic services. AAHA-accredited hospitals are recognized among the finest in the industry, and are consistently at the forefront of advanced veterinary medicine. AAHA standards are continuously reviewed and updated to keep accredited practices on the cutting edge of veterinary excellence.

Pet owners look for AAHA-accredited hospitals because they value their pet’s health and trust the consistent, expert care provided by the entire health care team. At AAHA-accredited practices, pet owners can expect to receive the highest quality care from well-trained, professional veterinary teams.

Only the top small animal hospitals in the United States and Canada have achieved accreditation by the Association. To maintain accredited status, we must continue to be evaluated regularly by AAHA.

For more information about accreditation and how it benefits you, check out https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/

Thank you for trusting us with your pet’s health.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

It’s the month of love! Hugs! Kisses!

2/13/2015
by BPPH Staff

If your pet’s bad breath makes them positively un-kissable,
it’s time schedule their yearly checkup today

 

It’s that time of year again. A month about love, hugs, kisses and chocolate. And when it comes to your pet, 3 out of 4 of those come out way on top! (Chocolate is a no-no, but you already knew that!)

What if your pet’s bad breath makes them positively un-kissable? Bad breath may mean there is an issue with your pet’s teeth and gums. But it may also be a sign of a more serious medical condition. Either way, if dental conditions are left untreated, you may put your pet at risk for problems in their mouth (periodontitis) or with internal organs (heart disease). The challenge most pet owners face is that even if their pet’s breath smells fine, some dental conditions are hard to spot.

Keeping your pet healthy from toe to tooth shows the world how much you love them. What is the best way to keep your pet in tiptop shape?

Schedule your pet’s yearly checkup with us. We’ll do a thorough checkup, including a dental exam, to make sure your pet is at optimum health.  We will also give you a hands on teaching lesson on brushing your pet's teeth and you will go home with a free toothbrush and free toothpaste! We’re committed to your pet’s well being every step of the way. (Because we love them too!)

Book their appointment today!

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

2/2/2015
by BPPH Staff

Don't turn your nose to Fido's or Fluffy's bad breath! That odor might signify a serious health risk, with the potential to damage not only your pet's teeth and gums but its internal organs as well.

 

Proper dental care can detect dental disease that not only affects the mouth, but can also lead to more serious health problems such as heart, lung, and kidney disease. Good dental hygiene is just as important for pets as it is for humans. Yet, it is one of the most overlooked areas in pet health. Studies by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) reveal that nearly two-thirds of pet owners do not provide the dental care recommended by veterinarians.

To address the significance of oral health care for pets, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and several veterinary groups are sponsoring National Pet Dental Health Month in February.

Here at the Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital, we want to do our part to help.  During the month of February, all pets coming in for their yearly checkup will get a complimentary toothbrush and toothpaste and will be personally shown how to properly brush their pet’s teeth by one of our staff members.  If your pet isn’t due for their annual checkup yet – no worries – just call and schedule a quick tech visit and you will still get your free products and a personal demonstration on proper home dental care.

We are  aware that sometimes our pets have difficulties with us putting toothbrushes into their mouths – we can also discuss with you other options for home care that are available.

In being proactive in the oral care for our pet’s dental health, with proper home care and yearly professional cleanings, we hope to be less reactive and minimize the need for extractions and damage done to other areas of the body when periodontal disease is left unchecked.

Come and get your free toothbrush, toothpaste and personal demonstration today!!

Happy New Year!

1/24/2015
by BPPH Staff

It’s time to check in on everyone’s health--even yours! Schedule your pet’s yearly checkup today to find out how your pet's health affects YOU!

 

Daily interactions with your pet can be one of the best parts of life. Your dog sleeps with you. Your cat licks you. You go on walks in the woods together.

The human-animal bond is a strong one. For many owners, their pet is considered a family member. So we feel it’s important to give you the facts about a group of illnesses that are passed from animals to people (called zoonotic diseases or zoonoses) that may cause health concerns for you and your pet. You may have heard of some of them: Lyme disease, Cat scratch disease, ringworm, Giardiasis (stomach illness), tapeworm and heartworm infections.

These illnesses are passed from pets to people in a variety of ways:

  • Contact with the infected pet themselves
  • Contact with urine, feces or respiratory droplets of an infected pet
  • Contact with items in the pet’s environment
  • Scratches or bites by a pet
  • Scratches or bites by an insect (such as the Lyme-disease tick) that carries the infection from pets to people
  • Contact with infected wildlife that pass the disease to pets to people

Even the most observant pet owners may not realize their pet has a zoonotic disease. They can be tough to spot! Your pet may look absolutely fine but be carrying an infection that can spread to you and the rest of your family.

That’s why it is important that your pet visits us for their annual checkup. During the checkup, we’ll perform your pet’s physical exam and do the right lab tests if needed.
We respect the bond you have with your pet and want to help you preserve it for as long as possible! Schedule your pet’s yearly checkup today because everyone’s health depends on it!

Our Journey with Cancer and Chemotherapy

1/2/2015
by Rene Harrer

In July 2012 my 7 year old Golden mix named Honeybear was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma.  It all began when I noticed a small lump by her jaw while petting her. Within 3 days it was the size of a small egg.  We were able to get her in right away and Dr. Stromberg suspected lymphoma; she then preformed a biopsy and it was confirmed - stage 4. The next step was to get her in for some blood work to see if it was in her other organs.  Luckily it was not.   Lymphoma is a very aggressive fast moving cancer - from them first getting it (which is not the same as first diagnosed) to the end of life is only 30-60 days without treatment.  Honeybear had been on prednisone, which keeps the swelling of the lymph nodes down, for her allergies so we did not know how long she actually had it.  Dr. Stromberg wanted to start chemotherapy the following week if that was the route we wanted to take, but we had to make a decision by Friday so it could be ordered.   We have pet insurance so with all the infomation we could gather we decided to go with the most aggressive approach - the Wisconsin Protocol. (This also is the most costly - about $5000).

Honeybear responded wonderfully;  she was considered in remission after 1 month.  We completed all her rounds of her chemotherapy treatments (25 weeks total) and we were hoping to get at least another 6-12 months with her. Of course we spoiled her.  We were very lucky and got 18 months, so a total of almost 2-1/2 years until her remission ended and she was again diagnosed with lymphoma. 

For the past 2 years it was always on my mind what I would do when it came back. In all the research I did most people said they would not do a second round of chemotherapy because remission only last half the length as the first and most of it was during their treatments. 

Dr. Stromberg pointed out that with Honeybear she still acted like a puppy and that she responded so well and we had 2 years before the return. 

She also pointed out that we didn’t have to do the full course of the Wisconsin protocol if cost was an issue and that there were a couple other treatment options less expensive that would give us more time. Again we decided to go with the same treatment plan since we still had the pet insurance and we had such wonderful luck the first time.

This can be such a painful decision because of the cost involved, since not everyone has pet insurance.  As pet owners, we don’t want to have to end their life but if the cost of treatment cannot be done we feel there is no other choice.  Please discuss everything with your veterinarian. There are many different ways that chemotherapy can be done, from making them comfortable to treating with less aggressive and less expensive ways that will also give you more time with them. Dr Stromberg said to me once, we treat the patient first the disease second so try to remember that when deciding which type of treatment to proceed with.

Our journey with Honeybear is still continuing and we have been blessed with a good response again -  she will be 10 years old soon.  When we started this we never imagined that we would see her reach the age she is and are looking forward to spending another summer up north where she loves to run.

Rene Harrer

Merry Christmas!

12/23/2014
by BPPH Staff

We wish you and your family a Very Merry Christmas this year!

Begging For a Bite of Holiday Dinner?

12/5/2014
by BPPH Staff

Before the holiday pounds sneak up on your pet, schedule your pet’s yearly checkup today.

 

Holiday season is upon us— a busy time of year for festivities, socializing and of course, lots of eating! And gaining those “holiday pounds” is not just a problem for humans, but also for our four-legged friends! In fact, research shows that pets are more likely to gain unwanted pounds during this holiday period than any other time of year. What pet can resist juicy ham, yummy cookies or a perfectly cooked roast? And what about the fruitcake? (Well, maybe they’d pass on that.)

But you say, “I just give him a bite or two.” The problem is that one or two bites from each meal, every day, seven days a week can really add up the calories! Obesity is the leading medical problem in pets. When a pet is too chubby, not only may they lack energy and mobility, but also they can develop arthritis, diabetes, cancer, skin issues, urinary tract problems and heart disease. Studies have even proved that pets who are overweight may have a shortened life span. All of these problems because of extra, unnecessary fat!

How can you tell if your pet is at a good weight?

It can be hard to spot because for many pets, they don’t get a classic, big round belly. Instead, the extra fat is well hidden inside your pet’s body, tucked between their vital organs. The good news is our veterinary practice team has a trained eye to best assess your pet’s weight. Bring your pet in for their yearly exam and we’ll check their body condition and nutritional needs. If we determine your pet needs to lose a few pounds, don’t worry. We’ll come up with a plan that will help you and your pet through the holiday season.

Call us today to schedule your pet’s yearly checkup. Together let’s make this holiday season a good, healthy one!

Are you thankful for your furry friend?

11/26/2014
by BPPH Staff

Show your pet how much you care. Schedule your pet’s yearly checkup today.

 

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Your furry companions? You bet!

You may not know that your pet’s yearly checkup is essential to their health and well-being. It’s as important as feeding them daily and loving them forever. It’s the best way to keep your pet healthier, longer!

During our veterinarian’s physical exam, your pet gets checked from tongue to teeth to toes to tail (plus all the parts in between)! This in-depth, medical checkup not only confirms your pet’s current health status, but also helps to prevent future problems, such as obesity, periodontal disease and diabetes. At this time, it also gives us the opportunity to discuss all the ways to keep your pet in good shape and answer all of your questions. We can cover any topic you want in the comfort of our exam room.

We’re grateful for your trust in us to recommend what’s best for your pet. And what‘s best for them today is an annual checkup. Call us today to schedule their appointment (your pet will be thankful too).

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us!

Meet Dr. Erika Nordgren!

11/7/2014
by BPPH Staff

We have a new addition the the BPPH team!!

 

Dr. Erika Nordgren grew up in Minneapolis and received her undergraduate degree in Animal Science from the University of Minnesota. She continued her education at the University of Minnesota and graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. She started her career by working at a small animal practice in Brooklyn Park for several years, then worked at a clinic in Chaska for 6 years.

She lives in Eden Prairie with a family that includes dogs, cats, turtles, frogs, rats, and fish. She spends her spare time inventing new ways to keep her pitbull out of the trash can and trying to keep her cats from knocking things off the counters.

Her favorite things about being a vet are getting to work with cats and dogs everyday, problem-solving, finding practical solutions to keep pets and owners happy, and knowing when to worry about her own pets. Her least favorite things about being a vet are giving bad news, always worrying about other people's pets, and trying to keep her lab coats clean.

Make an appointment and come in and meet Dr. Nordgren today!

Is that a skin tag, a tick, a tumor or a toenail?

10/22/2014
by BPPH Staff

Let’s check!

Your pet’s yearly checkup is vital to their health.
Make that appointment today!

October is the month for witches, pumpkins and things that go bump in the night.
But what if your pet has a bump…on their skin? Your pet may have bumps. Lumps.
Missing fur. A black spot. A funny-looking toenail. Are these things nothing, or
something of concern?

For even the most observant owners, it’s tough to know what skin issues are ok and
what needs further evaluation. Yes, your pet may have skin disease and you may not
even realize it. For example, your pet’s missing fur may be a bald spot from a tumble
or a fungus. Eeew! We can run a simple lab test to figure out which one it is!
And if your pet has a little bump, it may be cancer. If it’s left unchecked, the bump may
become larger and harder to remove, which may put your pet’s health at risk. But if we
take a look early enough, we may be able to remove it with a big sigh of relief!
And finally, that black “spot” you thought was a freckle on your pet, may be a tick!
If our team removes it within a certain amount of time, your pet will likely not be
infected by a tick-borne disease. Phew!

Skin is the largest organ of your pet’s body, and there’s a lot to examine. When you
bring your pet in for their yearly checkup, we’ll assess every part of it, from nose to tail!
We’ll look for spots, rashes, warts, skin tags and everything in between to make sure
your pet stays healthy…and cancer-free.

It’s time to schedule your pet’s yearly checkup. We’ll perform a thorough skin check
and a few other easy tests if needed to keep your pet healthy and happy!

Make an appointment today!

When we think of love, we think of hearts…

9/30/2014
by BPPH Staff

You can’t see your pet’s heart. Is it healthy, or not?

Let’s take a listen! Make an appointment for your pet’s yearly checkup today!

You can tell a lot about your pet by looking at them. But one thing you can’t see is their heart. Is it healthy, or not? A pet may have heart disease and even the most observant owners may not realize it.

Heart disease affects pets of all ages. For example, certain breeds of dogs and cats are at a higher risk of heart disease at a young age. In contrast, some pets develop heart disease later in life, concurrent with another illness. And then there are those pets who randomly develop heart disease at any age without any noticeable signs to the owner.

If your pet’s heart is not checked regularly, your pet may be at risk for heart disease and in some cases, a shortened lifespan. The good news is, if caught early, most illnesses can be treated or managed successfully for years. And if your pet already has moderate heart disease but is regularly monitored by our practice, often we can slow its progression.
It’s time to schedule your pet’s yearly checkup. During the exam, we’ll listen with our stethoscopes to make sure your pet’s heart sounds right. We’ll also perform a few other easy tests if needed to keep your pet’s ticker in tiptop shape!

When we think of love, we think of hearts. And we love your pet. Make an appointment for your pet’s yearly checkup today!

When should my pet see a vet?

9/23/2014
by Jami Stromberg, DVM

Although we like to think we can speak to our animals (and they can talk back), sometimes it is unclear if our pet is sick or injured. Most animals, even pets, try not to show us that they are not feeling well. That protective instinct is still present, even after thousands of years of domestication!

If my pet is sick or injured, how will I know if it’s time to make that vet appointment?

Bring your pet in TODAY if you see any of these symptoms!!

  • Lethargy for more than 24 hours, or if the lethargy is getting worse throughout that period.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea more than one time in 24 hours.
  • Not eating normal amount of food for more than 24 hours.
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea accompanied by lethargy or appetite loss, even if less than 24 hours.
  • Any perceived trouble breathing.
  • Vocalizing as if painful.
  • A limp that last for more than 2 days, is getting worse, or if the pet is not bearing weight on the limb at all.
  • Hiding/withdrawing for more than 24 hours.
  • Straining to go to the bathroom, vocalizing while going to the bathroom, or urinating small frequent amounts (or going into the litterbox/asking to go outside more frequently than normal).
  • Any bite wound.
  • Seizure or collapse.
  • A red eye, or new discharge from the eye.

A Minor Facelift for the BPPH

8/22/2014
by BPPH Staff

You may have noticed in the recent months a few minor facelifts here at the Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital.  We added new paint colors to our reception area walls; took new staff pictures, and also updated our hospital sign.   We hope you are appreciating our efforts and continue to see how we are trying to keep our building as progressive as our veterinary medicine.

 

 

 

 

 

Check out the rest of our new staff pictures here!  

What’s the best way to prevent bone, muscle and joint disease in your pet?

8/5/2014
by BPPH Staff

A yearly checkup! Make an appointment for your pet today!

Musculoskeletal disease (disease that affects your pet’s bones, muscles and joints) can affect pets of all ages. They can have aches and pains just like we do. But, because of their survival instincts, they try to hide it. And in the early stages of this disease, it’s hard to spot because your pet may look and act absolutely fine “on the outside.”

But what your pet looks like “in the inside” may be very different. Arthritis, toxins, hormonal abnormalities, infections, blood and blood vessel disorders or inappropriate nutrition can all affect the way your pet walks, plays and moves.

So what’s the best way to prevent or slow down bone, muscle and joint disease in your pet? Supplements? Exercise? Massage?

Nope.

The best way to prevent disease is to schedule regular yearly checkups with us. During your pet’s annual checkup, we can talk about all the things you can do to stop the development of or slow the progression of bone, muscle and joint disease. And we’ll examine every part of your pet “inside and out,” including:

  • An orthopedic exam
  • An assessment of body and muscle condition
  • A review of your pet’s vaccinations
  • A blood test if we think something “inside” your pet needs to be looked at

Make an appointment for your pet’s yearly checkup today. We’ll make sure all of your pet’s bones, muscles and joints are in good working order. We are committed to your pet’s well-being for their whole life.

Call us today!

Blue-Green Colors “Be Aware” When It Comes To Water!

7/29/2014
by Dr. Eduardo Mardones

I was walking my golden retriever at one of the dog parks in St. Paul last week when a sign caught my attention.  It said, “Toxic Blue Green Algae.  Fatal to animals!”  Everyone knows that Golden Retrievers love the water so I had to be extra careful not to let mine swim or drink from the water- which is difficult to do!

I wanted to share with you the dangers of blue green algae to your pets.  If you see algae floating on top of the water it is best to keep your pets out.  It’s impossible to tell by looking at the water if it contains toxins or not so it’s best to err on the safe side.  I see an increase of sick pets due to blue-green algae in the middle of summer and early fall when the water temperatures increase and algae grows.  A small amount of time swimming or a few sips of water can be enough to make your pet very sick and it can happen very quickly.  Symptoms can range from vomiting and diarrhea to seizures, coma and death.  There isn’t an antidote for the toxins, so is best to keep you pet out of the “pea soup like” water.   As a rule of thumb, if you would not swim in the water then your pet shouldn’t either.

For more information please visit links from our local pet poison helpline and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) website.

http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/blue-green-algae/

http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/about-mpca/mpca-news/featured-stories/dog-owners-beware-of-slimy-blue-green-algae.html

Blue-green colors are nice, but not when it comes to stagnant water. Please be safe and enjoy this summer. 

Dr Mardones

Summer Fun!

7/24/2014
by BPPH Staff

Minnesota offers an endless array of activities to do during the summer.  As a Minnesota resident, Gabe also takes great pleasure in partaking in some of those activities.  Veterinary assistant Kim and her mom took Gabe on an afternoon trip to Minnehaha Creek.  The weather was sunny and warm and he had a lot of fun walking around in the water and trying to steal the pretzel snacks the humans brought to enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Has Your Kitten Been to Preschool?

7/18/2014
by Lori, CVT

BPPH is now offering Kitty Preschool!

This is a special class for owners and their kittens ages 7 to 14 weeks to come learn about socializing, handling, grooming, feeding, and litter box management. 

It is fun to watch the kittens romp and play as we learn about what makes life better for cats.  This is a hands-on class.  Be prepared to get a little dirty (in a kitty kind of way).

The class meets monthly on the 3rd Wednesday each month from 6-7pm.  Bring your happy and healthy kitten that has been tested negative for the feline leukemia virus and is current on vaccinations for an hour of fun. 

All kittens should arrive in a carrier for their safety.  Find out the importance of kitty crates; they aren’t just for travel. 

Does your kitty plan to stay inside always? Learn about how they can hunt inside and nurture that natural instinct.

If you have recently adopted a kitten, please give us a call and plan to come to our next school day.  Even if you have an older kitten, you can come without your older baby and learn some valuable information.

As with all of our socialization classes, Kitty Preschool is free of charge!

 

 

 

Is That a Normal Behavior?

7/15/2014
by BPPH Staff

Did you know some of your pet’s behaviors may be related to a hidden illness…and you may not even realize it?

Schedule your pet’s yearly exam today to discuss your pet’s behavior. Let’s check to make sure your pet is healthy!

Nipping. Scratching. Litter box issues. Leash pulling. Meowing at night. Urinating on
the floor. Chewing shoes.

Are these behaviors just part of being a “normal” dog or cat, or not?

Actually, some common behavior issues are due to underlying medical problems. And
these illnesses are tough to recognize even for the most observant owners.
For example, your dog may urinate on your floor. It may be from excitement, but it also
can be from a urinary tract infection. Your cat may stop jumping on your lap. Not
because she’s being unfriendly, but because she has arthritis and jumping is too painful
to her joints.

If these behaviors are left unchecked, it’s a triple issue. The behavior may worsen, the
underlying illness may progress (which puts your pet’s health at risk), and most
importantly, your pet’s quality of life as part of your family is compromised.

Here’s where we can help. We have the expertise when it comes to analyzing,
identifying and resolving behavior issues with your pet. At your pet’s yearly checkup:

  • If your dog is petrified of fireworks, we can discuss desensitization techniques to give him relief.
  • If your older cat is suddenly drinking a lot more water, our physical exam may reveal that your cat has an illness. We’ll run the right tests and prescribe medications if needed.
  • We can talk about your pet’s behavior. Some behavior issues are related to medical problems, but many just require new training strategies. Either way, we can help fix those behaviors and give your pet a new leash on life!

Make an appointment for your pet’s annual exam today. We’ll check to make sure all of
your pet’s behaviors are appropriate and signs of good health. We are committed to
your pet’s well-being… all the way! Call us today!

Tick Territory

7/2/2014
by Dr. Eduardo Mardones

It’s summer in Minnesota, which means that school is out and the sun is shining!  Whether you and your family head up north or stay in town; you should consider protecting your fur friend from ticks.  Ticks are found anywhere you find deer, other mammals and birds to mention a few. I’ve personally seen deer throughout the Twin Cities and Minnesota.  This means that not only is this “Twins Territory,” it’s also “Tick Territory.” 

Ticks can carry many diseases that can affect your pet’s health such as Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Fever.  Finding a deer tick on your fur friend is like looking for a needle in a haystack. After all, some stages of deer ticks can be about the size of the tip of a pen.  Therefore, it’s important to protect your pet from ticks by using flea and tick products recommended by your veterinarian.  The signs and symptoms of Lyme disease can be vague and confusing. Some pets present with painful joints, lameness or lethargy and fever.  However, the symptoms are not always obvious with tick borne diseases, as I’ve also had owners say that “my pet just isn’t acting like himself”. In some cases Lyme disease proves to be fatal when the bacteria attach kidneys (Lyme nephritis) or other vital organs. Be sure to bring your pet in for an exam if you have any concerns, and after running some tests, the diagnosis can be clear.

The good news is that Lyme disease can be prevented. First, bring your pet every year for annual or bi-annual physical examinations to your local veterinarian, discusses exposure to ticks and what to do if ticks are attached.  Second, use a monthly flea and tick product recommended by your veterinarian. If found, remove ticks immediately and call your veterinarian. And third, ask if Lyme vaccine is appropriate for your pet.

Now, enjoy the rest of the summer free of ticks in our Twins - Tick TERRITORY!

Dr Mardones.

Staff Spotlight: Karrie

6/13/2014
by BPPH Staff

On more than one occasion, we have had clients tell us how much they appreciate the staff here at the Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital.  Here at BPPH, we have a unique advantage with the loyalty and longevity of our team members.  7 of the 12 employees on staff have been here close to 10 years or more and over half of them for 15 years or more.  This speaks volumes to the level of dedication that we can give to every pet, every time.  In an effort to let you get to know the staff even better, we will start highlighting staff members and what each person uniquely brings to the hospital.

Today marks the 20th anniversary for one of our veterinary assistants, Karrie.  Karrie started working part time after school in 1994 and has molded that job into her career.  She is in charge of our boarding department and makes sure everyone’s stay here is the best that it can be.  She has a loving heart for abandoned or homeless animals and has fostered pets on many occasions.  She is the person who will make sure your pet is receiving the best care with the least amount of stress they can coming into an environment that can often be scary and anxiety filled for pets.  She helps with monthly puppy parties and if there is an extra project or procedure that needs to get done, we can always count on her.  Karrie is also our go to person for giving tours to clients or daycare/school age classes that want to learn more about the veterinary field.  Thanks Karrie for the 20 years; Your dedication and love for animals is hard to beat!

What’s the right nutrition for your pet?

6/3/2014
by The BPPH Team

Did you know your pet’s nutritional needs change throughout a lifetime?

Schedule your pet’s yearly checkup today to make sure what you’re feeding
your pet still provides best nutrition…for best health!

Gluten free. Mature adult formula. Holistic. Grain-free. No by-products. Active
formula. All Natural. Farm Fresh.

Huh?

The words on pet food labels can be confusing. How do you know the food
you feed your pet is appropriate for his or her current age and lifestyle?
The signs of nutritional imbalances may be obvious on the "outside" when you
look at your pet—a dull coat, dry skin. Your pet may be overweight or have less
energy. But it's hard to know if your pet's nutritional needs are being met – on
the "inside!" It’s important to find out because good nutrition is vital to your
pet’s health. The right food keeps your pet in tip-top shape. They’re healthy,
active and happy both inside and out!

An appropriate pet food is important to your pet’s well-being because:

  • It provides optimal nutrients such as calcium and energy for puppies and kittens to grow healthy and strong.
  • It keeps adult dogs and cats at ideal weight and body condition.
  • It gives senior pets the nutritional support they need.

We’re committed to help you choose the food that keeps your pet healthy.
We’ll work together to decipher pet food labels. We’ll explain what certain
words mean (and don’t mean). And if a pet food claims to have “reduced
calories,” we can tell you if it’s the right choice for your overweight pet. We’ll
also recommend the best food for your pet’s age and lifestyle-- a puppy or
kitten, an indoor adult pet, a working pet, or a senior.

Make an appointment for your pet’s annual exam today – we’ll check to make
sure your pet is getting the nutrition they need to stay well. Call us today and
let’s keep your pet healthy!

Prevent fleas - We can help!

4/18/2014
by BPPH Staff

What bothers you most? When your pet scratches so much his rattling tags keep you up all night? Is it the “thump, thump, thump” of her back leg on the floor that makes sleep impossible for you both? Or maybe it’s just knowing that your best friend is miserable because he can’t get comfortable?

The majority of pets don’t have fleas – but many have been bitten because fleas are everywhere! Fleas live outdoors in warm weather. They can live indoors too– even in really clean homes – year-round in any climate. Fleas will gladly hitch a ride on your pet into your house. And all it takes is one fleabite (specifically the flea’s saliva), to set off a full-blown skin allergy. They may scratch their sides and neck or even lick their paws until they’re red and painful.

If a flea has bitten your pet and it’s not treated, you’ll have THREE problems on your hands:

  1. A little itch can develop into a full-blown skin infection, making life for your pet miserable.
  2. Fleas may infest your house. Remember, fleas just take a quick “blood meal” when they bite your pet. The rest of their lives are spent in your house – and flea eggs can lay dormant in carpets, on floors or in the sofa for months to years. Eeeeeew.
  3. How do you prevent your cat or dog from bringing home MORE fleas?

The good news? You can count on us to help derail the whole flea problem. We’re experts when it comes to flea allergies and flea prevention. Prevention is simple and affordable. Schedule your pet’s annual checkup and let’s talk about the best options for keeping the whole family (both furry and human) flea free.

Make your appointment today and let us help you earn free doses of flea and tick prevention!

BPPH Staff

How much is this going to cost?

4/9/2014
by Lora Steiner, CVT

I invite you to read the following statements; can you relate to any of them?

  • “I live on a fixed income, and I’d like to have a better idea of how much my dog’s annual visits are going to be so I can budget for it.”
  • "I think my veterinarian wants to provide the best medical care for my pet, but we have limited means, and sometimes we feel badly that we can’t always afford what is recommended.”
  • “Considering the economy, I wish that veterinary care was more in line with my pocketbook. I need to be able to save money, but still feel like I’m doing what’s best for my pet.”
  • “I find myself stuck between caring appropriately for my pets on one side, and justifying to my spouse all the vet expenses on the other.”

We at the Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital recognize and understand all the above concerns and want to be able to help you provide the best you can for your pets.  We are now offering Wellness Plans as an option to help you budget your pet’s preventative health care.  Predictable and affordable monthly payments spread out over 12 months can help alleviate some of the financial burden that can all too often be felt when trying to make sure your pet is getting all the proper care they need.  Our Wellness Plans are designed to cover ALL exams throughout the year, core vaccinations, age appropriate screening lab testing (including heartworm testing and fecal exam testing), dental cleaning with x-rays, a year supply of heartworm prevention and seasonal supply of flea and tick prevention.  We also offer plans for puppies and kittens as their needs differ slightly.  Check out this link to our Wellness Plan page to read more about what each plan covers and find which one works for your pet.

Now for a new question I want to ask:

How do free exams for a year sound to you? 

Good!?!  I thought so – give us a call to sign up for a Wellness Plan and it can be a reality!

Lora, CVT
Practice Manager

Meet Dr. Mardones!

4/2/2014
by BPPH Staff

Today We Welcome Dr. Eduardo Mardones to the Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital!

We are happy to have Dr. Mardones join our BPPH team!  We asked him to write a little bio of himself so we can all get to know him and his background:

I was born in Santiago Chile and grew up in the southern part of the country in a small farming area called Valdivia.  After high school, I began my Veterinary training at Universidad Austral de Chile.  I chose the veterinary field because of my interest of medicine and animals.  While in Veterinary School I won a scholarship to attend Virginia Tech University for a small animal clinical rotation; this is where I fell in love with the United States.  I earned my DVM degree from Universidad Austral de Chile in 2001.  After I graduated I participated in an international education program through the University of Minnesota where I was stationed in Kentucky working with horses for 6 months and attended UMN.  In 2004 I moved to Minnesota working at a local veterinary hospital in Bloomington; I worked my way up until I passed the necessary Veterinary exams to be licensed in the United States.  I enjoy Veterinary Medicine because I like making a difference in the lives of my patients and their families.

I’m married and have two children, Benjamin (3) and Vivian (1), and a Golden Retriever named Olive (7).  We currently live in St. Paul.  I love Minnesota because of the four distinct seasons, Minnesotans are nice, the immense park systems, and the overall quality of life that Minnesota provides.  In my free time I enjoy participating in sports such as skiing, snowshoeing, biking, volleyball; however, lately I spend most of my free time at the Children’s museum, indoor playgrounds, the Minnesota Zoo and the dog park with my family.

I look forward to meeting you and your pets at Brooklyn Park Pet hospital.

Schedule your appointment today and help us to give him a warm welcome!

A Letter to Clients, Staff and Friends of BPPH

4/1/2014
by Karin Christopher, DVM

Dear Clients, Staff and Friends of BPPH:

When I began working at Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital four years ago I had 6-month-old triplets at home. Many would say that gave me full decision rights on how I wanted to spend my time trying to regain my sanity.  I opted for returning to my job as a veterinarian.  This would allow me to leave the house, get back to helping animals and people, use my brain, interact with people with whom I could communicate, and get paid so that I could continue to pay down veterinary school loans and the added expense of daycare, you know, so I could leave the house.  Added bonuses were that I could spend a lot of time in the car by myself on my drive to Brooklyn Park from Eagan, then spend the whole day working with a wonderful and very dedicated group of people that I had immediately clicked with while doing previous relief work.

Fast forward four years and three things have changed:

1. The drive to work is not so wonderful, especially this winter

2. I can communicate with the kids now

3. I have a wonderful group of patients and their people that I would not have had the opportunity to meet without having taken this job. 

The children are growing up fast and the next few years will be my last opportunity to spend quality time with them before we get overtaken with the demands of school, activities and growing up!  While I am excited for this new challenge in my life, I will truly miss the bonds that I have been fortunate to develop with my patients and clients and I will miss having the opportunity to work with you.  I have built relationships in a way that I was not able to accomplish while working in emergency medicine or in academia, and for that I am grateful.  My final day will be March 31st.

It is hard to express the gratitude I have to Dr. Jami Stromberg and the entire staff of Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital, with whom I have had the honor of working side-by-side during the last four years.  You are an amazing group of individuals that work well together to form an exceptional team.  I have the highest amount of respect for your skills and abilities and realize that I will be hard-pressed to find such a wonderful working environment again in my career.  You have made me a better doctor and a better person.  I can say wholeheartedly that I will miss the entire staff at Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital.

I know that the high standards of medical and surgical care, the compassion, and the integrity that brought me to Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital, will continue in my absence, and I thank you all for the opportunity to be a part of this family.

Warmest regards,

Karin Christopher

I took out the carrier and Fluffy went into hiding!

2/13/2014
by Karrie Grayden

Did you know that the Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital is a Cat Friendly Practice? This means that we have made changes to decrease stress and provide a more calming environment. The staff has also been trained in feline-friendly handling and understanding cat behavior in order to increase the quality of care for your cat.

It can be stressful for both the cat and the cat owner to visit the veterinarian. However, by providing yearly wellness care, you can assist your cat in having a longer, more comfortable life.The veterinary visit starts before you even arrive at the veterinary clinic with trying to get your cat in the carrier and the car ride to the practice.

The goal is for the cat to enter the carrier voluntarily:

  • If your cat is not acclimated to a carrier, putting it in a small room with few hiding places may encourage the cat to choose the carrier.
  • Consider spraying a synthetic feline facial pheromone in the carrier 30 minutes prior to transport (check out Feliway® as an option).
  • Leaving the carrier out at all times as just another bed or piece of furniture will help a cat feel more secure and comfortable when it’s time to go to the vet or other strange places.  You may find that this ends up to be your cat’s favorite spot to take a nap.
  • Leave treats and toys or catnip inside it.  It can take days to weeks for your cat to trust the carrier.  Be patient.
  • Familiar bedding, toys or food should be brought with the cat during travel or a stay at the clinic.
  • Move slowly and stay calm with making as minimal noise as possible.  Cats do not learn from punishment or force.
  • Choose an inexpensive hard sided carrier that can open from the top, from the front and that can be taken apart.  This allows a cat that is anxious, fearful or in pain, to be examined in the bottom half of the carrier. Choose a kennel that is sturdy, secure, stable and easy to carry.  Some cats prefer being able to see out, others like to be covered.
  • Go to American Association for Feline Practioners for other tips and strategies.

It’s the Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital’s policy to always bring your cat to the clinic in a carrier to ensure our feline friends safety!

Karrie Grayden
Veterinary Assistant

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

1/29/2014
by Jami Stromberg, DVM

The record low temperatures we’ve been experiencing in Minnesota have affected our pets too! My one-year-old border collie loves to be outside, even in the cold, but in the past few days even he comes back to the door after only a few minutes.

How do you know if your pet is getting cold? Well, the first rule of thumb is – if you are cold, assume your pet is too. Heavy coated breeds such as huskies, malamutes, German shepherds (and my furry border collie) can withstand cold temperatures a little longer, but if you don’t want to be outside for more than a minute, it is likely your dog won’t either! Other signs to look for are shivering, wimpering, holding up one or more paws, burrowing in the snow, or reluctance to move.

If your dog will allow it, booties offer good protection against brittle snow, ice, and salt. If your pet has a short coat, a sweater or jacket is also a good idea.

If your pet will be outside for a long period of time, make sure that there is unfrozen water available!

Also, just like us, if a pet keeps moving, he or she will stay warmer. That is why a pet can go for a walk or a run in chilly weather – the physical exertion will raise their body temperature.

Finally, beware frozen bodies of water! A few years ago my yellow Lab had the unfortunate experience of falling through the ice on the creek near my house. And I had the equally unfortunate experience of crashing through the ice trying to rescue him! We both came out fine, but it was a scary experience! And it took hours for us to warm up!

The forecast calls for a bit of a warm up this week. Take the opportunity to get you and your dog outside! We all need the respite from cabin fever!

Jami Stromberg, DVM

Why Didn’t I Do it Sooner???

1/16/2014
by Karin Christopher, DVM

*** Warning *** Graphic pictures on the bottom of the blog illustrate the information described in this blog

Within the last month I have performed 3 emergency surgeries on 2 dogs and 1 cat that could have been prevented had these pets been spayed.  So often we think that spaying or neutering our pets is about stopping reproductive ability, changing behaviors like roaming or marking, or to avoid heat cycles that can be a mess in the home.  Although these are some of the top reasons to do these elective procedures, especially for shelters and humane societies, we can’t forget that for female patients, spaying can be a medical benefit to eliminate the risk of accumulation of pus in the uterus, also known as pyometra, pyo meaning “pus” and metrum meaning “uterus.”

When a dog or cat is spayed in North America, technically known as an ovariohysterectomy, the uterus, uterine horns, and both ovaries are removed.  An infection in the uterus, which usually occurs in middle-aged to older intact female dogs, can be a life-threatening emergency.  There are two forms of pyometra, closed and open.  A “closed” pyometra is one in which there is no drainage of pus from the uterus through the vulva.  Ultimately, the uterus can rupture.  In an “open” pyometra, a mucoid or pus-like vulvar discharge is noted.  These animals tend to be less sick at first but ultimately, surgery is required in either case.

Signs that a dog or cat may have a pyometra can include one or all of the following:  lethargy or depression, not eating, vomiting, increased drinking and or urination and vaginal discharge may or may not be noted.  Pyometra is typically noted a few weeks after a heat cycle.  If you have an intact female pet that shows any of the above symptoms a few weeks after being in heat, it is very important that you have her evaluated by a veterinarian.

Not all pets that act like they have a pyometra are, in fact, a pyometra.  Mucus in the uterus, pregnancy, tumors in the reproductive tract, or twisting of the uterus can look similar and further testing is usually required.  X-rays of the abdomen, bloodwork and sometimes an ultrasound are done to determine a more definite diagnosis.  This is especially important to do if there is even a consideration the pet may be pregnant.
The only way to avoid pyometra is by spaying.  You can avoid the higher costs of emergency surgery by taking the earlier step of spaying your pet while she, and her uterus, are healthy.  Obviously, breeding dogs are the exception but once retired from breeding, they too should be spayed.

Fortunately the three pets all did very well after surgery although one dog required an overnight stay at an emergency clinic due to the surgery being done later in the day, and, as coincidence would have it, I had just informed the owner of one of the dogs about a low-cost spay option the week before because I was concerned about her risk for this disease.  The owner just left asking, “Why didn’t I do it sooner?”

Healthy normal sized dog uterus at time of surgery

Infected dog uterus at time of surgery

Karin Christopher, DVM

Why do you need to run all of those tests?

1/7/2014
by Jami Stromberg, DVM

Your pet is sick and you’re worried, so you bring her to the vet. After the physical exam, the vet recommends bloodwork and x-rays, to the tune of $300. Three hundred dollars??? Why can’t you tell what’s going on, Doc? I already spent $60 for the exam!

I’d like to think that four years of veterinary school and 17+ years as a practicing veterinarian has given me magical powers, but unfortunately the physical exam is only one way in which to diagnose a problem. Oftentimes more testing is needed.

Example 1: I can see a red ear canal and debris, which likely indicates an ear infection, but what is the cause? Ear mites? Yeast? Bacteria? Just waxy debris?  The source of the discharge will determine the type of medication (if any) that is dispensed.

Example 2: A dog is not eating well and grunts when I palpate his abdomen. I feel that the abdomen may be distended. Why? Is he bloated? Is there a mass in the abdomen? Is there fluid in the abdomen? Is the abdominal pain actually back pain secondary to vertebral disk disease? An abdominal (which would also include the spine) x-ray will help determine the cause of the pain.

Example 3: An older cat is hiding and has lost weight. Other than being thin, the cat looks and feels normal on physical exam. A biochemical analysis (aka bloodwork) including a thyroid level would likely be my first test to run, as that can detect kidney disease, high thyroid levels, liver disease, and diabetes, all of which would be on my radar.

Example 4: A middle aged terrier is vomiting and has lost weight. The exam showed yellowing of the eye and gums, which could indicate liver disease. Bloodwork confirms that the liver values are quite elevated. What next? An abdominal ultrasound would be warranted, as it allows us to both look inside the abdomen at the actual structure of the liver and gallbladder, as well as noninvasively obtain a biopsy sample of the liver. Knowing the cause of the liver disease will allow us to treat the specific problem as well as provide  a more accurate prognosis.

Like human medicine, veterinary medicine has come a long way in the past 50 years. We have at our disposal myriad diagnostic tools that weren’t even in existence in the early days of the profession. And unlike in human medicine, our patients cannot talk to tell us exactly where it hurts and how they are feeling. While not everyone can or wants to pay for every test available, judicious use of tests are very important in helping with diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of a sick pet.

Jami Stromberg, DVM

The Stress of Multi Cat Households

12/12/2013
by Karin Christopher, DVM

I came into the care of two healthy and very loving 9 year-old-cats about 2 months ago as their owner had gotten engaged, moved to Germany and was to return near the end of this month to retrieve them and take them back to Germany.  She needed another person with her in order to travel with them on the plane and this was to be her fiancé.  During her time Germany she has discovered a few things:

  1. There are no screens on the windows and they live in a 6th story apartment.
  2. The cats highly dislike travel and it would be about 20 hours of travel time.
  3. The owner herself is very nervous about the stress related to their travel.
  4. She is finding it financially and bureaucratically very challenging to get the cats to Germany from the U.S. (many new international paperwork hoops to jump through).

Can you see where this is going…?  Did I mention that I already have two cats, and a dog, and three young children?  One cat is 17 years old and afraid of his own shadow (he came that way), the other one is young and can hold her own but it’s no secret that this is very stressful for everyone involved.   I was immediately reminded of all of the conversations that I have had with clients trying to work out feline stress behavior problems at home: inappropriate urination, spraying urine, fighting, etc.  Here’s what I’ve done to accommodate the additions to our household and I believe we have reached some manageable code of conduct:

  1. There are 5 litter boxes (1 more than the number of cats) in the house and at least one on each level.
  2. Feliway (a synthetic calming pheromone) is our new home “deodorizer.”
  3. Any time a cat sprays (urinates on a vertical surface/wall) it is immediately cleaned with an enzymatic cleaner which has made a world of difference.   I love Anti-Icky-Poo.  The spraying has subsided by the way.
  4. The cats are kept mostly separated, especially during feeding time as this is when most of the fighting occurs.  The more separation, the better they are.
  5. I give treats when the cats are in the same room to provide positive reinforcement for tolerating each other.
  6. I vacuum A LOT more in order to pick up the piled tufts of hair from those unfortunate fights that leave me wondering if I will need to drag one, or two, of the cats into the clinic.

I’m humbled by the work it takes to manage cats that just don’t get along.  The fact is, if they are not taken back to Germany they will need to find another home other than mine.  It is known that some cats are friends, and some never will be.   If you know of a good home without any dogs or cats…please let me know!

Karin Christopher, DVM

Doc, Is It Time?

12/5/2013
by Jami Stromberg, DVM

Sadly, there comes a time in most pet owners’ lives when they need to make a decision about putting their pet to sleep. And by “put to sleep”, I mean to euthanize, which, by the way, means “good death”. For most pets, euthanasia is accomplished with an intravenous injection of high doses of the anesthetic pentobarbital.

I am writing this blog now because, as happens every year, we have had a seasonal (meaning around the holidays and with winter approaching) increase euthanasia appointments. Last week our clinic lost 16 patients due to death or euthanasia, whereas our average is around three to five a week.

Anyway, I am often asked by owners of elderly or sick pets when they will know it’s time. My usual response is, “When both you and your pet are ready,” because I would not want an owner to make the decision without having processed through it and therefore have regrets about it later. As far as the pet, here are some questions to ask if you are considering euthanasia:

  1. Is your pet mobile? Can he or she climb stairs if needed, and walk to the food dish and to wherever he/she goes to the bathroom?
  2. Is your pet able to eat and drink enough to maintain weight? Does he or she seem to enjoy food, or do you have to coax every bite?
  3. Is your pet having any trouble breathing?
  4. Does your pet recognize you?
  5. Is your pet in pain? Most pets will try to hide or mask pain, so they generally do not cry out or otherwise vocalize if they are in chronic pain. Many will hide, not move around much, have a hunched posture, seem to have trouble getting comfortable before lying down, or hiss/growl when touched.
  6. Is your pet happy? Does he or she find pleasure in toys, food, companions, or even just watching birds out the window?

More detail regarding those questions, as well as other information regarding the euthanasia process and grief, can be found on our website by clicking this link to Services: End of Life.

Ah! It’s An Emergency!

11/29/2013
by Heather, CVT

My three years as a veterinary technician have taught me a lot thus far. I have worked in daytime general practice now for those three years, here at Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital for 1.5 of those years. Last year, I decided to accept a part-time/relief worker position at the Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Service in Golden Valley to earn extra income and in hopes of furthering my technical skill set.  Many people don’t realize how different an emergency animal hospital is from a general practice type hospital.

The number one phone call I take at the emergency hospital is regarding a current medical issue a pet is having and the owner wanting to know if this pet needs to be seen today or can wait another day (or two) to see their regular vet. They also ask me what over the counter medications they could give their pet or for an idea of what their ailment may be. What they often don’t realize is these are two questions I can’t legally answer over the phone because my office has never seen the pet and there is no doctor/patient relationship. In fact, I could be terminated from the hospital if I did give an answer.

As technicians we are trained, in any practice, to recognize certain symptomologies that could be life-threatening conditions, or easily could turn into a life threatening condition. If a condition is described on the phone and the recommendation is to have the pet seen, it really does need to be seen.

The next most common question is cost. Yes, the emergency hospital will cost more than a daytime hospital. Why? Because it’s an emergency hospital that is open nights, weekends and holidays. Similarly to a human emergency room, expenses are going to be higher. Are the costs astronomically higher? No, and the staff on hand will do their best to work within your budget.

The third most common question is regarding wait times. These can vary greatly from hour to hour depending on a multitude of things. The emergency hospital works the same as a human hospital, animals are seen on a first come, first serve basis with the most critical patients being seen/treated first. All animals are triaged when they come into the clinic and their charts are put into line. Animals who usually are seen first, ahead of the line, are usually animals in respiratory distress, cardiac distress or traumatic injury (example would be a dog who was hit by a car). Other considerations are our hospitalized cases in the treatment room. If we have a large volume of hospitalized patients, or critical patients, wait times are longer as our veterinarian is often needed for those cases in hospital. Because of these factors wait times could be 30 minutes to two hours just to see the veterinarian.

The final common question is the owner of the pet requesting to accompany them to our treatment room for treatment (x-rays, fluids, lab work etc). This is always a no, unless it’s to visit with a hospitalized patient briefly who can’t be moved to an exam room. The answer for this is simple, liability. There are often multiple pets in back receiving various treatments or being tested for various things. There also may be a critical patient receiving life-saving care and the staff needs room to work.

In closing, I know nobody wants to go to the emergency clinic, and being told to go can be scary and overwhelming to a person. Just like in people, no one plans for an emergency but it’s nice to know there are places available should the need arise.

Heather, CVT

A Day in the Life

11/14/2013
by Jami Stromberg, DVM

Many people don’t really know what it’s like to be a veterinarian, so I thought I’d share how things went one day a few weeks ago. I picked Thursday, because it was a “surgery day”.

After getting my kids off to school, I readied myself for work and arrived at about 8:30. I had one appointment at 8:30, a dog for a wellness exam. After that, I looked at the three surgery patients (one puppy and two kittens) and a cat that was dropped off for a dental procedure. This cat cannot be examined without heavy sedation, so I also wrote up the drugs to be used to sedate him. Then I double checked the drug doses for the other patients’ anesthesia. The veterinary assistants and technicians are responsible for admitting the patients, drawing and running pre-anesthetic labwork, and placing IV catheters, and most of this was done before I even got to work! Except for the cat, of course.

While the surgery patients were prepared for surgery (premedication is given, a tube is placed into the trachea, and the surgical field is shaved and scrubbed), I went to my office and logged onto my computer to check my “worklist”, which is a list of phone calls that I need to make or re-direct. At any given time there are between 5 and 15 items on my worklist. Some are calls that I need to make to the owner, some are calls I can have a staff member make (normal labwork, etc.), and some are prescriptions that I need to authorize. Rare is the moment when my worklist is empty! An empty list lasts for only a few minutes.
When the first patient was ready, I scrubbed in and performed an ovariohysterectomy (“spay”). Although it is considered a routine surgery, a spay is actually quite complicated. An incision is made into the abdomen and the ovaries and uterus are removed. These organs can be hard to find and to work on, because they are often deep in the abdomen. A total of 6 ligatures are placed to prevent bleeding where the parts are removed. Then the abdominal wall and two layers of skin are sutured closed. A spay can take from 15 minutes to over an hour, depending on the size of the patient, whether the patient has ever been in heat or had a litter, and the veterinarian’s favorite – luck. Complications can arise, often without any warning. Tissue can tear, the ovaries may be hard to find, ligatures can slip off of vessels, or tissue can bleed. In this particular patient, everything went really smoothly and the surgery was over about 20 minutes after it started. At that point, my dental patient was sedated and ready to be examined. Once I gave him an all clear to be intubated, my next surgery patient was on the table. This was a kitten that I both spayed and declawed. Before scrubbing in for the surgery, I placed a local anesthetic nerve block around the front feet, in order to provide more pain relief after surgery.

After my second surgery was completed, I was asked to look at the x-rays that had been taken on the dental patient. This cat needed to have a tooth extracted, so I worked on that while one of the technicians prepared the final surgery patient. In most cases removing a tooth involves making an incision into the gingiva around the tooth and using a drill to remove part of the bone in order to expose the roots. In some cases, the crown of the tooth is simply removed, leaving the roots in place. Due to the disease process in this cat, that’s what I did in this situation. Then I delicately sutured the gingiva closed over the extraction site.

My last surgical patient was another kitten in for a declaw procedure. While I don’t promote that people have their cats declawed, I do not have a problem performing the procedure. We use lots of pain medication and also have a laser that cauterizes while it cuts, meaning less pain and bleeding. Most patients are batting at their kennel door within hours of the surgery. It is really a nice change from the “olden days” when I first started in practice – the cats would wake up trembling or screaming, and the feet had to be heavily bandaged because they bled so much. I was not a fan of the procedure at that time.

After the surgeries were all completed, I called each owner to let them know their pet was doing fine, and to answer any questions. Then I spent about 30 minutes writing up their charts, detailing the pre-op exam findings and how the procedures were performed. By this time, another 5 patients were on my worklist! I ordered lunch in because I was starving and didn’t have time to go to get lunch (and because I was too lazy that morning to actually pack a lunch). After writing up the charts, I started working on other paperwork – paying the clinic bills, proofreading the clinic’s quarterly newsletter, and talking to my practice manager about a new piece of lab equipment we are thinking of purchasing. At about 2 pm, I ran out for an hour to get my hair cut.

Afternoon appointments started at 3 pm, and since it was Halloween, it was a rather slow day. I saw 6 appointments between 3 and 5:30 – mainly wellness exams, but two sick patients as well (one was not eating well, and the other had a bladder infection). I tried to write up my charts right after seeing each appointment. At 5:30, I ran through my worklist one final time, checked on the surgery patients, and left for the day! The clinic was open until 7 pm, and the evening technician was responsible for examining and medicating the surgery patients one last time before leaving. I left feeling pretty satisfied because the day ran smoothly, I was caught up on paperwork (ok, I think I had left one chart to be written up the next morning), and I got out on time. That trifecta does not happen often in this profession! I often don’t leave until at least 30 minutes after my last patient is seen, and about once every 2 weeks I have to stay late to see a sick pet at the end of the day. This is not a 9-5 office job, but the variety does keep me excited to go to work every day.

Jami Stromberg, DVM

The Hidden Truth…I Mean Tooth…

11/5/2013
by Karin Christopher, DVM

I just performed a dental evaluation under anesthesia and was once again reminded of why dental x-rays are so very important when performing dental cleanings.  It’s not that I need this validation as we, in the clinical veterinary setting, see this quite often, but it is not often that you, the pet owner, can witness this reality.  A lot of dental disease is “hidden” and that is why dental radiographs are part of nearly every dental cleaning procedure here at Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital.

The main reason this patient was being anesthetized was for an eyelid tumor removal that was affecting the eye.  In addition, there was obvious dental disease with mobility of the lower incisors (front of the mouth) teeth and the client authorized a dental cleaning while anesthetized for the tumor removal.  Oh, and besides what was found on x-rays, the oral exam under anesthesia also revealed a mass under the base of the tongue which could not be seen during the exam when she was awake!

Here is a picture of the lower left jaw:

 

 

 

 

This is an image of the affected tooth when examined without x-rays.  It doesn’t look too bad!

Here is the x-ray of that same area:

 

 

 

 

Note the black, circular lucency (arrow) surrounding the tooth roots.  The bone is gone!

I hope this makes you look twice at your pet’s teeth.  We always do!

Karin Christopher, DVM

JERKY TREAT WARNING

10/29/2013
by BPPH Staff

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently requested that veterinarians be on the lookout for cases of jerky treat toxicity in dogs and cats and has also requested our help in collecting data and blood and urine sample in suspected cases.  Since 2007, there has been a lot of buzz in the news, and within the veterinary world, about the toxicity of pet jerky treats that come from China.  A kidney disease syndrome can occur and although standard treatment does not work, simply stopping the treats seems to resolve the problem.  A marked drop in cases was seen when jerky treats were pulled off the shelves earlier this year due to finding antibiotic residues in the treats.  The decline in cases is attributed to the removal of a large amount of treats from the market and not the antibiotics, which are not highly suspected as the cause of the toxicity.  The toxic component/contaminant is unknown at this time, but:

  • If you do have a pet that is being fed jerky treats, please stop them.
  • If you have a pet with symptoms of increased urination and/or drinking, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, etc. while on these treats, stop them and contact us immediately.
  • Refer to the FAQ sheet below provided by the FDA.

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/NewsEvents/Newsroom/FactSheets/UCM371715.pdf

The Red Eye

10/23/2013
by Jami Stromberg, DVM

One of the mantras we veterinarians learn early in our clinical training is that a red eye is an emergency. Why is that?

The “white” of the eye is called the sclera. In an unhealthy, irritated eye the sclera will almost always have increased blood supply and inflammation, resulting in a red appearance. Often, there will be discharge as well.

The sclera can become inflamed from myriad causes, such as a scratch or ulcer in the cornea, conjunctivitis (aka “pink eye”), uveitis (inflammation within the middle of the eye), or glaucoma. Some of those problems can be threatening to vision or even to the eye itself if not treated immediately, and a visit to the veterinarian is the only way to make a diagnosis.

If your pet suddenly has a red, irritated eye do not hesitate to call your veterinarian. Prompt evaluation and treatment may save your pet’s vision.

 

Jami Stromberg, DVM

Why Pet Insurance?

10/16/2013
by Jami Stromberg, DVM

Do you know that for as little as $20 a month you can purchase health insurance for your pet? Most pet owners don’t even know that pet insurance exists, let alone how inexpensive it can be.  After a pet is diagnosed with an illness or injury, I am often asked, sometimes jokingly, “Do they have insurance for pets?”  “Yes, in fact pet health insurance does exist, but it doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions!” I reply. So please consider pet insurance now, while your pet is young and/or healthy. And even if your pet has a medical condition, insurance would cover any new, unrelated problems that arise. Veterinary care can be expensive, and having pet insurance can take financial considerations out of the picture when you are faced with a big estimate.

I personally do not recommend insurance that covers wellness exams (vaccines, heartworm, etc.) because you won’t get a very good return on that investment. Putting aside $20 a month into a bank account can cover your pet’s basic wellness expenses, and then you can put another $20-40 a month into an insurance plan to cover illnesses and injuries. At our clinic, the average “sick pet” visit comes to well over $200, and we routinely see bills in the thousands. An emergency or referral center would be even more!

The largest pet insurance company in North America is Trupanion. I like Trupanion because they have low deductibles (and you can decide the deductible based on how much you want to pay in premiums) and then pay out 90% of the bill – the highest in the industry. They also don’t put any cap on the amount they will pay, which is a nice feature when, for instance, cancer treatment can cost $5000-10,000. For more information on Trupanion, you can go to their website at www.trupanion.com or call 1-877-589-1863.

Jami Stromberg, DVM

Safety First!

10/2/2013
by Jami Stromberg, DVM

BPPH, like most veterinary clinics, requires that all pets be restrained when they come into the building. Why? Even the most docile pet can become agitated or scared in the veterinary environment. They can be anxious from the car ride, when entering the clinic they smell and hear things they are not used to, they may be not feeling well or in pain, or they may remember the nail trim or vaccine that was given the last time they were here! Most pets will hunker down when anxious, but some will lash out, even at their owners. This is especially true of cats, which can lose all self-control when their anxiety level reaches a certain point. They will claw and bite at anyone, even their owners. All dogs should be on a leash (6 feet or less) or in a carrier. All cats should be in a carrier.

What if I don’t have a leash or carrier? We would be happy to provide one for you! We have free leashes for dogs, and loaner carriers for cats. In addition, you can purchase a cardboard cat carrier for only $5. You should think of the safety of you and your pet. A cat loose in a car can jump on the driver or under the gas and brake pedals. There are reports of car accidents cause by cats distracting the driver. During the transport from the car to the clinic, we have seen cats jump out of their owner’s arms and run away. We have also seen cats bite or claw their owners when entering the building. Why take the chance?

Jami Stromberg, DVM

Virtual Visits

9/24/2013
by Karin Christopher, DVM

About 2 years ago I discussed  my veterinary profession with an entrepreneurial family member who  has made a successful business of selling dirt on-line, and currently has an idea for making popcorn that will likely get patented after some fine-tuning.  His mind is always working, coming up with new ideas to improve efficiency and the client experience.  So, I asked him, as a dog owner, “What would you change about taking your dog to your veterinarian.”  He responded by saying we should do it on-line.  Mind you, he is nearly a generation younger than me so access and working through the internet is not a virtual- experience, it is the reality he knows.  My response was quick, “That is impossible and unethical in the world of veterinary medicine. “  The conversation went to other creative but currently unworkable ideas.  I appreciated his viewpoint.

I’ve thought about that conversation occasionally and it really hit home when I read that the American Veterinary Medical Association, our nation’s 150-year-old voice for over 84,000 veterinarians, approved the “Remote Consulting” policy that states that the “AVMA opposes remote consulting by veterinarians to diagnose a condition or treat a patient in the absence of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.”   Why, then, is this okay for humans you may ask?  With websites like Virtuwell and Online Care Anywhere it seems that there would be a place for this in veterinary medicine.  Even in human on-line care, the scope of treatment is very limited.

Here is why virtual medicine cannot work effectively for our veterinary patients…

  1. Dogs, cats, mice, rabbits, ferrets, etc. cannot talk.  I know, I know…I put words in my pets’ mouths all the time, but it’s not the real deal.  Animals actually hide their pain more often than showing it.  This is a survival instinct.  They don’t point out the mass that’s been growing for 2 months under their tail.  Without the ability to communicate a history like we give to our human medical doctors, animals cannot effectively be seen virtually.
  2. You cannot see, touch, smell and listen through the internet.  Not yet.  This may be possible someday but I don’t even believe in my lifetime.  When I perform an exam, even while you the owner are giving me a history, I am paying attention to your pet; how they hold their head and tail, how they move and walk, how they sound.   I smell the mouth for infection, diabetes or kidney disease which can each have distinct odors.  The external body is felt for masses, lesions or enlarged lymph nodes.  Obvious respiratory noises can be heard without help but more often, abnormal heart and lung sounds need the amplification of a stethoscope.
  3. The lack of consistent, face-to-face interaction with someone diagnosing and treating your pet would make for a more difficult “relationship.”  I’ve always equated the problem solving techniques that a veterinarian uses to diagnose, to those of pediatrician’s.  We both work with patients that don’t talk.  I personally don’t mind seeing different human doctors but I do want my children to see their same doctor.  We have established a relationship, and trust is built on that relationship.  I can advocate for myself but I want to make sure I’m working as a team when it comes to the care of my children who are not able to speak for themselves…just like our pets!

Karin Christopher, DVM

Walk for Awareness

9/18/2013
by Heather Meyers, CVT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This past summer, Gabe and I, along with my sister and her dog Chip, attended a walk to raise awareness and fundraising for epilepsy.  The 2 mile walk around Como Park was attended by hundreds of people.  Gabe, and his friend Chip, did very well on the walk.  The ride there and back was interesting as Gabe doesn’t do very well with car rides, but overall we had a very fun time. I walked for the support group Hannah’s Bananas. Hannah is a young girl who rides and shows horses at my stable who has epilepsy.   For more information about this organization and its events, follow their web link http://www.epilepsyfoundationmn.org/

 

 

 

Heather, CVT

The “Job”

9/11/2013
by Karin Christopher, DVM

As I sit here at my desk with a dog in my lap (I love my job), I am reminded why veterinary medicine was such a draw for me before entering school.  It is the bond that exists between people and their pets.  The difference with this dog is that it is not my pet, but a “stray” that was hit by a car and wasn’t able to walk when presented to our clinic.  Fortunately, he has made a full recovery with some intervention and now that his pain is managed, he is as sweet as can be.  Cases like this remind me of the Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital motto, “Dedicated to every pet.  Every time.”  The idea that someone may be missing their companion is heart-wrenching but knowing that I am the advocate for their care when there is no other voice is a big part of why I enjoy so much of what I do.  My “job” is especially enjoyable when I can do it with other people that carry the same dedication and passion as I do, and that is what I have found working here at Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital.

I hail from Los Angeles and made my way to Minnesota via a circuitous route.  I attended Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in the West Indies and completed my final year of veterinary school at the University of Missouri, Columbia.  I then applied and matched for a Small Animal rotating internship at the University of Minnesota, School of Veterinary Medicine and I moved here in 2000 to complete my internship.  I realized then that Minnesota would be my new home.  I live in Eagan and don’t mind the commute unless there’s a snow storm.  I am married to a wonderful man and have three beautiful children, 1 dog, 2 cats and 1 cockatiel.  My interests include traveling, reading and working-out and I look forward to returning to those activities someday soon!

Karin Christopher, DVM

Ticks, ticks, ticks!!

9/3/2013
by Jami Stromberg, DVM

The weather is turning cooler, school is starting, and the ticks are coming out again! In Minnesota, tick season is considered to start when the ground thaws and end when it freezes in the fall. However, ticks do not like hot weather, so they tend to be dormant in the middle of summer. There are 13 species of ticks in Minnesota, including the commonly seen American dog tick and the tiny deer tick.

Why worry about ticks? Well, they’re gross, they can crawl from pet to person, and they can transmit disease! The deer tick (also known as the black legged tick) is the most frightening because a) it is responsible for the transmission of several human and canine diseases (such as Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasmosis) and b) because it is small and therefore hard to see, especially in a furry animal. Many tick-borne diseases can cause fever, joint pain, abnormalities in clotting ability, and organ damage. Some can even be fatal!

How can you prevent ticks from attaching to you or your dog? First, avoid walking through tall grassy areas. Although they are sometimes referred to as “wood ticks”, most ticks prefer sunny grassy terrain. Second, check both yourself and your pet for ticks several times a day, before they can attach. Most tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease, take 24-48 hours of blood sucking to transmit the infection. Third, use permethrin or DEET on yourself, and permethrin, fipronil, or other approved ingredient on your dog (never use permethrins on cats!). There is a huge array of tick repelling products available for your pet. If you hunt, camp, or hike – use them! Fourth, consider the Lyme vaccine for your dog if you spend time in high risk areas or are still seeing ticks on your pet even after using tick repelling products.

Many tick-borne diseases cause fever and joint pain, so call your veterinarian if your dog seems suddenly stiff, unable to walk, or lethargic. Most dogs with Lyme disease do not show signs of infection until 2-5 months after being bit by the tick, so we tend to see this disease quite often in the middle of winter. With early detection and treatment, the prognosis is good, so don’t delay!

Jami Stromberg, DVM

Why should we care about heartworms?

8/28/2013
by Jami Stromberg, DVM

Heartworm disease affects one in ten dogs and one in 20 cats in the US. Since the worm is transmitted by mosquitoes, you can bet that Minnesota is considered an area that sees a lot of this disease. Fortunately, the majority of our patients at BPPH are on heartworm preventative at least part of the year, so we only diagnose the disease in dogs about once a year. However, we work with several rescue organizations that receive animals that have had little to no veterinary care, and heartworm disease is fairly common in these dogs.

I am not going to go into the details of the life cycle, but suffice it to say that little tiny baby worms grow in a mammal (usually a dog or other canid, but heartworm has been seen in over 90 species of mammals), and then are picked up by a mosquito when it takes a blood meal. The baby worms (called microfilariae) mature a little in the mosquito and are injected into another mammal when the mosquito takes another blood meal. The “adolescent” worms migrate to the heart and vessels that come out of the heart and then grow into adults.  If there are male and female adult worms, they reproduce and make more little tiny baby worms, and the cycle repeats itself.

The adult worms can cause damage by both impeding normal functioning of the heart, and by causing an immune system reaction, which can cause inflammation in the blood vessels, kidneys, lungs, and other organs.

Left untreated, the adult worms eventually die, but they can cause a lot of damage in the meantime. Years ago, adult heartworms were killed by an IV injection of arsenic, which, as you can imagine, was a tricky endeavor. About 20 years ago a new product, Immiticide, was introduced. This drug was much safer, although the adverse effect rate was still around 10%.

However, last year the company that makes Immiticide (Merial) stopped making the product because they can no longer obtain the active ingredient. That leaves us with going back to arsenic, or trying a slow-kill method by treating adult heartworms with monthly heartworm preventative. The slow kill method works 95% of the time, but it can take years and the worms can continue to wreak havoc while they are alive.

What is a pet owner to do? It’s an easy choice. Give your dog or cat a heartworm preventive every month. It’s cheap, easy, and nearly 100% effective in preventing this disease.

Jami Stromberg, DVM

Meet Douglas the Dobie

8/15/2013
by Douglas the Dobie

Hi!  My name is Douglas the Dobie!

I am a black and tan Doberman pinscher plush toy, and I am helping my friends at the Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital (BPPH) let you all become more aware of what is happening here at BPPH.  You will find me making weekly blogs with stories of my days and lessons I have learned by hanging around everyone.  Most of all I am looking forward to having fun!

Another part of my job at BPPH is to make sure all our patients feel safe and happy while they are away from home.  You may see me assisting in recovery of a surgery patient, helping a scared puppy have fun playing, or visiting with all of our boarding guests.

So keep checking back to our website frequently so you can join me in all of my journeys.  Also, follow us on Twitter (@bppethospital) and like us on Facebook as I will be highlighted there as well.

See you soon!

- Douglas the Dobie

Welcome to the BPPH Blog!

8/8/2013
by Jami Stromberg, DVM

Welcome to BPPH’s new website! We hope that you find it full of information about our pet hospital and pet health in general. We are very proud of the care that we provide and hope to continue to serve the northern metro for many years to come.

As an introduction, I am a 1996 graduate from the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine. I specialized in small animal practice during my final year of school, and for the following 13 months as an intern in small animal medicine and surgery at the Oradell Animal Hospital in Oradell, New Jersey. In my training and early career, I worked in four zoos and three emergency/specialty practices. However, I found that I truly enjoyed the variety of work in general practice coupled with the bond that forms after seeing pets and their families year after year, so I moved to general small animal practice (ie “the neighborhood vet”) in 1999. After seven years as an associate veterinarian at the Animal Wellness Center in Maple Grove, I purchased the Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital in 2006. When I bought the practice, I also inherited the most well-trained and dedicated staff I have ever worked with. And many of them are still here – some for over 20 years!

I recently moved myself and my brood of many kids and pets to Brooklyn Center and I am enjoying getting to know neighbors in the area. When I’m not working on the house or driving the kids around to soccer, swimming, Girl Scouts, etc., I am attempting to train my border collie puppy, participating in some form of exercise, or playing the drums.

Please enjoy the blog! Dr. Christopher or I hope to write every week, and our staff (and Douglas the Dobie) will fill in as well.

Jami Stromberg, DVM