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Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Blog

March 23 is National Puppy Day

Animal activist and author Colleen Paige started National Puppy Day on March 23, 2006 to celebrate the joy that puppies bring. Even more importantly, the Celebrity Pet and Home Lifestyle Expert hoped to encourage people to adopt instead of shop when they want to add a puppy to their family. 

Make Sure Your Pet Has a Safe and Happy St. Patrick's Day

Whether you’re of Irish descent or not, you may enjoy celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with family and friends every March 17. This may involve eating foods and drinking beverages that you wouldn’t normally consume. If you’re a pet owner who plans to host a party this Friday, it’s important to review some safety tips before the guests arrive. Your pets can accidentally get themselves into trouble just because of their natural curiosity.

Pets Need Dental Care Too

You take your responsibilities as a pet owner seriously by feeding your pet nutritious food, bringing her to Minnesota Veterinary Hospital for routine check-ups, and ensuring that she’s well-groomed and gets enough exercise. Even so, you could be overlooking an important part of her overall healthcare. 

How to Have a Pet-Safe Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, you may be busy planning for a romantic evening at home or putting up decorations. You probably aren’t planning an emergency visit to Minnesota Veterinary Hospital. Unfortunately, pets can get themselves into trouble quickly by ingesting chocolate, flowers, and other things associated Valentine’s Day. That’s why it’s important to take a few simple precautions before the big day arrives.

January is National Walk Your Dog Month


January may be cold, but it’s also National Walk Your Dog Month. If you don’t normally take your dog for a walk each day, the flipping of the calendar to 2017 is the perfect opportunity to create a new habit. Dogs who don’t get this necessary daily exercise can develop problem behaviors such as excess chewing, eliminating in the house, separation anxiety, and aggressiveness. Before you get frustrated with your dog, consider if he is getting enough regular exercise.


How an Investment in Training Can Improve Your Relationship with Your Dog


Excessive barking, hyperactivity, chewing up household items, and pulling on the leash when going for a walk are all common dog behaviors that can frustrate their human family. Unfortunately, this makes some new dog owners become decide that having a dog is not for them. They relinquish the animal to a shelter, give it to a friend, or abandon the dog outdoors, which is the worst possible outcome. The dog's problem behavior only grows worse, making things even more difficult for the next potential owner.
Before you give up on your dog, you may want to consider professional training. This is an especially good time since January is National Train Your Dog Month sponsored by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.

Why Do Dogs Misbehave?
What you see as misbehavior may be your dog's only way of coping with stress. By working with a professional dog trainer, you can get to the underlying cause of the problem behavior and devise a plan to correct it. People sometimes take their dog’s behavior personally by assuming he is expressing displeasure with them or somehow retaliating. However, dogs are incapable of vengeance and other decidedly human behaviors. Permanently modifying your dog’s behavior should be the goal of any training session.
Operant and Classical Conditioning
Professional dog trainers use a combination of operant conditioning and classical training to teach your dog more appropriate ways to act. Operant conditioning involves modifying canine behavior through both reinforcement and punishment. While sometimes controversial, this technique distinguishes between voluntarily and purely reflexive behavior. 
The premise of operant conditioning is to reward your dog each time she performs a desired behavior. Eventually, you scale back rewards for every action and praise just the best ones. This encourages your dog to work hard for the reward and to please you. Dog trainers refer to this as intermittent reinforcement. Negative punishment need not be physical to be effective. You simply take away something your dog enjoys, such as a toy or treat, in response to undesirable behavior. 

Classical conditioning is another name for associated learning. For example, most dogs learn early on that their owner picking up a leash means they get to go for a walk. By associating certain items with a desired action, you can have a better-behaved dog. In this instance, your dog allows you to put the least on and get ready to go outside. 

Challenging dog behavior takes a toll on the entire family. It is also a vicious cycle because your dog responds to the negativity by acting even worse. When you reinforce professional training at home, your dog learns to trust and obey you. Eventually this results in you and your dog having a more rewarding relationship. Please let your veterinarian at Minnesota Veterinary Hospital know if you need help with a specific behavior. 

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Understanding Feline FIV


Cat owners are often confused about the difference between feline FIV and feline FeLV and what a diagnosis means for their pet. Feline FIV, which stands for feline immunodeficiency virus, is the equivalent of the AIDS virus in humans. Feline FeLV, on the other hand, is a leukemia virus. Approximately two to four percent of cats in the United States has one of these viruses. Both are retroviruses and can be fatal. That means a cat can live with the virus for many years before becoming seriously ill.

Feline FIV First Identified in 1986
Although the disease has existed for decades, veterinarians first labeled it as Feline FIV a mere 30 years ago. It depletes infected cats of white blood cells, which in turn makes it more difficult for them to fight off infections. Since it is such a slow-acting virus, most cats enjoy a normal lifespan. The reason cat owners tend to panic at the diagnosis is its association with AIDS in humans. However, cats with FIV rarely develop the severity of symptoms that people with the AIDS virus do since they already have a shorter lifespan. Additionally, the strain of each virus differs considerably.

Transmission and Symptoms of Feline FIV
A cat infected with FIV has the virus in his blood, saliva, or both. Biting is the main method of transmission from one cat to another. Outdoor cats who get into fights with other cats are most at risk of becoming infected. The incidence of infection is highest in feral cats and male cats who have not been neutered. If your male cat does go outside, make sure that he is neutered to prevent wandering behavior and fighting. Fortunately, the HIV virus cannot survive long outside of a cat’s body and it cannot be transmitted to humans. It also cannot be transmitted indirectly, such as through contact with food bowls and bedding.

Some cats with FIV remain asymptomatic throughout their life span. Those who do become ill may display some or all of these symptoms:

• Poor appetite and/or weight loss
• Disheveled fur
• Diarrhea
• Fever
• Inflammation of the gums and mouth
• Hair loss
• Non-healing wounds
• Behavior change
• Frequent urination and straining to urinate
• Discharge from the nose or eyes

Please contact Minnesota Veterinary Hospital to schedule an evaluation for your cat if you notice any of these symptoms. We will conduct a blood test to determine the presence of the virus and notify you when the results come back from our laboratory. Your cat’s regular veterinarian will then develop a treatment plan to address her individual symptoms. 

Photo Credit: Bill Oxford / Getty Images


December is Safe Pet Toys and Gifts Month


One of the joys of being a pet owner is watching your dog or cat enjoy playing with a toy that you picked out especially for him. Toys help meet your pet's need for stimulation while also providing him with exercise and entertainment. An added bonus is that having a decent stash of pet toys keeps your dog or cat from becoming destructive with your personal or household belongings. It's also important to keep in mind that your pet needs toys for different reasons, such as activity, comfort, and distraction.
Selecting Safe Dog Toys
Since dogs can range from a few pounds to more than 100 pounds, you need to make sure that the toy you choose is appropriate for your dog's size. Additionally, make sure the toy doesn't have small parts that are easy to swallow, such as buttons, strings, and plastic eyes. We recommend avoiding toys with polystyrene beads or nutshells as these present a choking hazard.
Hard rubber toys, rope toys knotted at both ends, and tennis balls all appeal to your dog's instinctual need to chew. Kong or busy box toys that hide a treat inside will keep your dog motivated to interact with the toy until she uncovers the treat.
Toys to Give Your Cat
Cats are easily entertained, so don't feel like you have to spend a lot of money on toys. If your cat is like most, he may be more interested in the box the toy came in than the toy itself. According to International Cat Care, the two things a cat wants from a toy are that it moves and that it gives her an opportunity to interact with her owner. Homemade items, such as rolled up newspaper or the cardboard center of a roll of paper towels, work just fine.
A fishing-rod type of toy is a great choice for any cat. You hold one end in your hand while dangling the other end containing a small toy just out of your cat's reach. Batting at the toy allows him to release energy while feeling like he has successfully captured his prey. Flashing a light on the wall and having your cat chase it can also prove entertaining. Toy mice containing a small amount of catnip should inspire even the most dedicated napper to get up and swat it around a few times. It is especially important for indoor cats to have access to a variety of toys to alleviate boredom and help them get their exercise.
Order Safe and Fun Pet Toys from Our Online Store
 Did you know that we offer gifts for dogs and cats from nine different categories in our online store? Skip the hassle of shopping at a crowded discount store or pet store this year and have your pet’s gifts delivered to your home instead. 
Minnesota Veterinary Hospital wishes you the happiest of holiday seasons. 

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Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats You May Overlook


Because dogs and cats age much faster than people do, pet owners often mistake symptoms of cancer for normal aging. Many are unaware that cancer is the leading cause of death in pets, especially dogs over age 10. Since November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month, Minnesota Veterinary Hospital would like everyone who owns a dog or cat to be aware of the following symptoms of cancer:

• Abnormal discharge: Bleeding, diarrhea, expelling pus, or vomiting are not normal and should be checked by a veterinarian as soon as possible. A distended or bloated stomach may indicate that the pet is showing signs of internal discharge.
• Appetite change: Disinterest in eating or refusing to eat at all could indicate an oral tumor that makes chewing and swallowing difficult for the pet.
• Body and breath odor: When cancer occurs in the anal region, nose, or mouth, it can produce highly offensive odors.
• Coughing or breathing difficulty: When cancer has spread to a pet's lungs, it usually causes frequent coughing and even gasping for air.
• Elimination changes: The dog or cat may urinate or defecate more frequently or less often. His or her stools may also be loose or bloody.
• Lethargy: Pets that sleep more, seem depressed, and are less willing to engage in exercise or play may be exhibiting early signs of cancer.
• New lumps or bumps: A hard mass that wasn't there before could indicate an internal tumor.
• Non-healing wounds: When a cut or wound doesn't heal in a normal amount of time, it may be cancer that is preventing it from healing.
• Pain: Limping or refusing to use one of the legs may indicate a tumor growing on a bone.
• Weight loss: If you haven’t put your pet on a diet, any sudden weight loss should be checked by a veterinarian.

Never Dismiss Symptoms
While these 10 symptoms don't necessarily mean cancer, we recommend scheduling an immediate appointment if you notice any of them. It is important to determine whether cancer or another health issue is causing problems for your pet. His or her regular veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination and order diagnostic tests to figure out exactly what is causing the symptoms. 

If it is cancer, we will begin treating it right away so your pet can remain comfortable and have a good chance of overcoming it. While a cancer diagnosis is difficult to hear, the staff at Minnesota Veterinary Hospital are dedicated to helping your pet survive and thrive in spite of it. After all, November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month.

Photo Credit: Eriklam / Getty Images


FDA Warns of Danger of Unregulated Online Pet Pharmacies


In response to the many fraudulent online stores selling pet medication, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to pet owners in early 2015. Anyone dispensing veterinary medication must abide by FDA regulations to ensure the safety of animals nationwide. A common practice of unregulated online pet pharmacies is to entice pet owners by promising cheap medications without the need for a prescription. Another practice that led to multiple complaints to the FDA is online veterinary pharmacies that sell counterfeit or expired drugs. Sometimes the product received was not even for the right species of animal.
Pets Must Be Personally Evaluated to Receive a New Prescription
Federal regulations require a veterinarian to examine a patient personally before writing a prescription to treat an illness or injury. However, disreputable online pharmacies find a way around this law as well. The owners of these websites, who often have no veterinary training at all, state that they will evaluate a pet based on a health form the owner completes. Not only does that not usually happen, but the person placing the order may receive drugs in the wrong strength and size for the pet’s condition. The medication may not even be appropriate for the health condition or injury.
One common complaint to the FDA is online pharmacies dispensing heartworm medications and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs to pet owners without a valid prescription. Dogs, cats, and other companion animals that take these medications need to be closely monitored by a licensed veterinarian. These drugs also require a blood test prior to getting started with them. Obviously, an unregulated online pharmacy can’t analyze the results of a blood test to prescribe the correct medication.
Obtain Your Pet’s Medication from Minnesota Veterinary Hospital
When your pet’s veterinarian writes a new prescription for your pet, he or she will give it to you directly. If your pet needs refills or maintenance medication, we offer the option of ordering from My Vet Store Online. If you click on Medications, you will notice that you can order from one of nearly two dozen categories. Some of these include antibiotics, pain management, gastrointestinal, and insulin. You can order a single dose of medication for home delivery though the Easy Dose It program as well as set up repeat monthly shipments. 
When you receive veterinary medicine from Minnesota Veterinary Hospital, you have the assurance of knowing that it has FDA approval. In addition, individual manufacturers guarantee the quality and reliability of their products. With something as important as your pet’s health on the line, it just isn’t worth taking the risk to save a few dollars. 

Photo Credit: naumoid / Getty Image


October is National Pet Wellness Month


Pet Wellness Month was started by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2004 to bring awareness to pet owners on what they could do to increase longevity and quality of life for their pets. One misconception that people have is that a pet is fine as long as he isn’t sick. Just as with people, true wellness for domestic pets involves several different factors. We encourage you to consider the following: 

Learn which vaccines your pet needs and then make sure she gets them on schedule. Vaccines prevent serious illnesses and protect other pets who may be more vulnerable to picking up viruses. Our staff will let you know which vaccines are essential and which are optional depending on your pet’s species, age, lifestyle, and other individual factors. 
Make sure that you schedule an annual preventive care exam for your pet. Dogs and cats over age seven, along with puppies and kittens, need more frequent veterinary visits to ensure their good health. Annual check-ups make it possible to spot and monitor health issues as early as possible. They also give you the chance to bring up any concerns, such as behavioral issues, diet, and sleep habits. 
Your pet needs a regular oral hygiene routine just as you do. You might be surprised at how cooperative your dog or cat will be with tooth brushing if you introduce it early and make it a consistent habit. Good oral hygiene also reduces the risk of diabetes as well as problems with the heart, joints, and kidneys. 

Spaying or neutering your pet prevents unwanted litters of puppies and kittens that may never find a loving home. Additionally, altering your pet eliminates aggressive behavior related to the mating ritual. It can even reduce the risk of your pet developing health issues such as tumors of the mammary glands. 

Minnesota is the land of tornadoes, floods, blizzards, and other weather emergencies. A fire can break out in your home as well. You’re naturally stressed and not thinking clearly when an emergency arises, so make sure that you prepare for one in advance. Gathering your pet’s supplies in a bag that you can grab quickly and knowing how to evacuate with your pet increases the likelihood of him surviving a disaster. 

Your pet needs nutritious food specific to his species in order to thrive. It’s up to you to read food labels carefully and avoid buying anything with artificial fillers that don’t add any nutritional value. While the occasional treat is fine, your pet should have to earn it. Daily exercise is just as essential as nutritious food for your pet’s overall well-being. 
It is important to protect your pet from parasites all year long. We are happy to recommend a specific product for heartworm, fleas, ticks, and other common internal and external parasites. 
The staff at Minnesota Veterinary Hospital appreciates the opportunity to work with you to ensure a happy and healthy life for your pet. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with additional questions about your pet’s wellness. 

Photo Credit:  Hybrid Images / Getty Images


The Feline Leukemia Virus Doesn't Have to Be Fatal


One of the biggest misconceptions about the feline leukemia virus, also called FeLV, is that it only causes the type of cancer known as leukemia. Unfortunately, FeLV can cause a host of other health conditions as well. Some of the most common include eye diseases, gastrointestinal distress, immune deficiency, blood platelet issues, reproductive problems, and low body weight. The virus spreads from cat-to-cat contact and is more common in kittens than adult cats. Humans and other species of animals cannot acquire FeLV. 

Transmission, Symptoms, and Diagnosis of FeLV 
Kittens are more susceptible to this virus because they can easily contract it in utero or when nursing from their mother after birth. Adult cats typically pick up FeLV from sharing litter boxes, food dishes, or bedding with a cat who already has the virus. Other common methods of transmission include mutual grooming, contact with feces or urine, and being bitten by an infected cat. Those with the highest risk of acquiring FeLV are cats who live in communal living situations, a multi-cat household, or who spend unsupervised time outdoors. 

FeLV can be difficult to diagnose because it presents with vague symptoms that could indicate a different health condition. Unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, fever, and general weakness are often the first indications of the virus. If you suspect that your cat has picked up the feline leukemia virus, contact Minnesota Veterinary Hospital to request a blood test. 
One of three things will happen when a cat or kitten is exposed to the FeLV virus. Cats with a strong immune system and limited exposure will not go on to develop any complications of the condition. A second category of infected cats will fight off some effects of the virus but not others. This is called latent infection. Persistent infection is another possible outcome. In this case, the infected cat has progressive symptoms that usually cause serious illness within a few years of infection. Adult cats who have had other immunizations are better able to fight off FeLV than kittens with untested immune systems. 

Preventing and Treating FeLV 
We highly recommend getting the FeLV vaccine if your cat meets any of the risk factors mentioned above. It is also important to test for FeLV anytime your cat is ill, before adding a new cat to the household, when another cat in the home already has FeLV, or when your cat has faced specific risks such as being bitten by another cat. 
If your cat is diagnosed as FeLV-positive, he or she needs to be kept strictly indoors. This protects your own cat as well as any others he or she comes into contact with in the neighborhood. Try to keep life as stress-free as possible for your cat with FeLV and be certain to keep all regularly scheduled preventive care exams. Should you move out of our service area, your new vet needs to know about your cat’s FeLV status.

Photo Credit: vvvita / Getty Imae


It's Happy Healthy Cat Month


Cats are a part of the family in one of every three American households and it’s easy to see why. They’re affectionate, independent, playful, and can make us laugh with their zany antics. While cats can have a dramatic effect on our well-being, they depend on us to keep them happy and healthy. That is why the CATalyst Council decided that September should be Happy Healthy Cat Month. Here are several things you can do increase your cat’s health, happiness, and longevity:

• Cats love to find new hidey-holes to curl up in for a nap and to claim as their private space. Although your cat’s life might seem cushy to you, he does experience stress occasionally and needs a place to retreat. With this in mind, be sure to provide cat furniture that allows your cat to hide as well as places in your home that are accessible for this purpose.
• Make sure that your cat has proper identification in case she wanders away from home. Sadly, only two percent of cats without a tag and collar or microchip are ever reunited with their owners. If your cat must go outside, be sure to supervise her at all times or provide a fenced-in yard where she can explore.
• Provide your cat with quality nutritious food and limit treats to special occasions. You can encourage exercise by placing your cat’s food or treats inside of a toy. This also allows your cat the opportunity to use his natural hunting instincts.
• Cats need a variety of different toys for mental stimulation and physical activity. However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on them. A piece of string, a cardboard box, or a $2 toy mouse will provide just as much activity for your cat as the more expensive toys. Playing with your cat gives you the opportunity to bond with him as well.
• Cats aren’t trying to be naughty when they scratch your furniture because scratching is a natural instinct for them. Placing a scratching post in different areas of your home is ideal to provide your cat with an outlet for the need to sharpen her claws. You can also invest in a soft claw product that goes over each one of your cat’s claws if the scratching does become destructive.

Don’t Forget to Schedule an Annual Preventive Care Exam
The American Association of Feline Practitioners states that people are generally good about bringing their kitten in for vaccinations and other essential care before they are a year old. Unfortunately, routine veterinary visits drop off considerably after that. Whether it’s a struggle to get a cat in the car, lack of funds, or another reason, fewer than half of all cats get a preventive care exam after their first birthday. 
These appointments are just as important for cats as they are for dogs. During Happy Healthy Cat Month, we encourage you to schedule an annual appointment so we can accurately gauge your cat’s health and well-being. 

Photo Credit:  Jessica Holden Photography / Getty Images


September is National Disaster Preparedness Month

A disaster can strike at any time without warning. Would you know how to keep your pet safe if suddenly faced with a tornado, flood, fire, blizzard, or another unpredictable event? Because of the stress of the situation, many people would not. That is why preparing a disaster plan in advance that includes your pets is such a good idea. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control has declared September as National Disaster Preparedness Month to encourage people to create a disaster response plan. However, preparing for a disaster presents additional challenges for pet owners.

What to Include in a Disaster Kit for Pets
It will be much easier to keep your pet safe in a disaster if you prepare a care kit in advance. The CDC recommends including the following items: 
  • Enough food and water for two weeks for each pet. Food should be in an airtight container to prevent it from spoiling. Be sure to pack a scoop or can opener if you need them. 
  • Copies of medical records 
  • Litter and litter box for cats and bags for dog waste 
  • Cleaning items for potty accidents 
  • Grooming supplies 
  • Medication to last at least two weeks 
  • Pet carriers 
  • Leash and harness 
  • Pet beds and toys
Written information about your pet in case you get separated. This should include your contact information, feeding instructions, list of medications, known behavior issues, and details about your pet’s regular veterinarian and boarding facility.

Creating Your Plan
Since it’s easy for your pet to get lost in the chaos of a sudden disaster, make sure that she has identification tags with current information as well as a microchip. Just don’t forget to register the microchip and keep your contact details updated. Each pet should have an individual carrier with both his name and your name written on it. If your pet rarely rides in the car, try a few practice runs in the carrier to get her accustomed to it.

The CDC also recommends keeping a leash or harness near each exit in your home. Your pet may not allow you to hold him in times of great stress and may also run away from home. Having this equipment nearby allows you to transport your pet as quickly and safely as possible.
It’s also important to decide in advance where you will stay in the event of a disaster. While sometimes you have no choice but to evacuate, you can stay at home in other situations. In this case, choose one room in your home to bring your dog or cat. It should be pet-friendly without any plants, chemicals, or small areas where she could get stuck.

If you must evacuate and want to keep your pet with you, make sure you have a list of pet-friendly hotels handy. When you must separate from your pet, it’s helpful to have a list of shelters, veterinary clinics, and boarding facilities in your area with you.

Diseases Spread Easily During Disasters
Exposure to severe weather, wild animals, stagnant water, and large crowds of people and other domesticated animals during a disaster means that serious diseases can spread much more rapidly. Making sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccines is essential to prevent him from acquiring a contagious illness. Please contact Minnesota Veterinary Hospital to establish a vaccine schedule if you haven’t done so already. 

Photo Credit:  Jevtic / Getty Images

Taking to the Skies with Your Pet in Tow



Although flying with your pet may not be your first choice, it isn't always avoidable. Perhaps you're moving cross-country and have no time to spare driving your pet there yourself. As anxious as you might feel flying with your pet, you don't want to hire a stranger to drive her to another state. You may be going on vacation and have a limited time to see all the sites. Your pet enjoys being with you, it's just a matter of getting her there. Whatever your reason for booking a flight with your pet, following the tips in this post will make the experience less stressful for everyone. 


How Will You Celebrate National Mutt Day?


Animal activist Colleen Paige thought National Mutt Day was so important that she pushed for it to be recognized twice a year, on July 31 and December 2. The purpose of the awareness campaign, according to Paige, is to "embrace, save, and celebrate" mixed-breed dogs. All too often, people's desire for a purebred dog means that those with mixed parentage are overlooked. Mutts make up the largest percentage of euthanized animals in part because the desire for the perfect designer dog leads to over-breeding. 


Recognizing and Treating Kennel Cough


Bordetella Bronchoseptica, commonly known as kennel cough, is a highly contagious illness that can spread quickly among dogs and cats in close quarters. Although it typically isn't life-threatening, some pets develop complications after having kennel cough. The main causes of this illness are a combination of Bordetella Bronchoseptica bacteria and the canine influenza virus. The disease is called Bordetellosis when it's caused by a single factor.


How to Organize a Take Your Dog to Work Day Event


Take Your Dog to Work Day is coming up on Friday, June 24. Pet Sitters International started this event in 1999 to highlight how dogs play an important part of our everyday lives. If you still need to convince your boss to participate, let him or her know that studies indicate the presence of a dog can help people feel less stress and be more creative in their jobs. It also helps to encourage more interaction between co-workers who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to talk to each other.


Understanding Infectious Canine Hepatitis


Infectious canine hepatitis is a highly contagious disease that primarily affects puppies under one year old and unvaccinated adult dogs. It's not as common in the United States as it is in other countries, but it's still important to know the symptoms and prevent your dog from acquiring it. This condition causes damage to a dog's liver, spleen, kidneys, eyes, and lungs. Infection can range from mild to severe or even death in extreme cases. 
The virus canine adenovirus-1 is responsible for causing a full-blown case of infectious canine hepatitis. Dogs can pick up the virus through direct contact with the urine, feces, or saliva of another infected dog. It can be as simple as being near a dog with the disease who sneezed or eating from the bowl that an infected dog licked clean. The virus incubates for up to 10 days and then enters the new dog's bloodstream. 


Planning a Successful Move with Pets by Car


There is a good reason that May is National Moving Month. Millions of Americans move between Memorial Day and Labor Day, making this period of less than four months the busiest moving season of the year. Sadly, moving is the top reason that people surrender dogs and cats to animal shelters. Many are renters whose new landlords don't allow pets. Although it is sometimes challenging, you can find a new home that welcomes every member of your family if you're determined to do so.

Once you have secured new housing, it's important to consider your pet when planning the move. Both dogs and cats thrive on routine and can experience considerable stress due to all the changes. The anxiety can be especially high for cats who spend most of their time indoors and who may only travel to see the vet once a year.


Fight Back Against the Pet Obesity Epidemic


According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 54 percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. This is an alarming trend that has become a national epidemic. The numbers are especially worrisome when a pet reaches the obese category, defined as 30 percent or greater than the ideal body weight for his or her age, gender, breed, and species. 
Just like humans, excess weight can cause a host of health problems in pets. Some of these include heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Being overweight or obese also affects the quality of life of a companion animal. He may have difficulty breathing or walking, suffer from chronic joint pain, and not engage as much with the family due to a lack of energy. While it might seem obvious that a pet weighs too much, more owners than not fail to recognize it. 


Spring Cleaning and Yardwork Can Be Hazardous to Your Pet's Health


Spring cleaning and working on your lawn and garden are both time-honored seasonal rites of passage. Many people actually look forward to these chores after months of being cooped up indoors. If you have a dog or cat, it's important to take some extra precautions to ensure that they don't become sick or injured when you clean the house and make the yard beautiful.


Is Your Pet Protected from Lyme Disease?


Minnesota and Wisconsin have more reported cases of Lyme disease that any other Midwestern states. With the peak season coming up in the late spring and early summer, it’s important to know how to protect your pet as well as recognize the symptoms of Lyme disease. With early recognition and treatment, your dog or cat can recover from this potentially serious tick-borne disease.


Pet Poison Prevention Week


Every year since 1962, the Pet Poison Helpline has dedicated the third week in March as Pet Poison Prevention Week. Pets are naturally curious creatures who often can’t resist the urge to smell, taste, and touch things in the home or yard that are new to them. Unfortunately, they lack the ability to understand that certain items could be dangerous or even deadly when swallowed. To help people keep their beloved pets safe, the Pet Poison Helpline recommends going through each room of your home and looking at it from a dog or cat’s perspective.


It’s World Spay Day: Will You Do the Right Thing?


Every year in the United States, 2.4 healthy pets lose their lives to euthanasia because there simply aren’t enough homes for them all. That’s one animal put down every 13 seconds. If every pet owner made the commitment to spay or neuter, this number would reduce dramatically. Spaying removes a female animal’s ability to get pregnant while neutering renders a male pet impotent. However, the benefits of these procedures go far beyond permanent infertility.


Outdoor Winter Safety


Minnesota winters can be brutal on people, cars, and especially pets. If your dog or cat spends time outdoors regularly during between now and spring, it’s important to be aware of the dangers and take precautions to avoid them. This starts by protecting your pet from frostbite and hypothermia. If your dog must spend long hours outside, make sure he can retreat to an insulated dog house. Limit outdoor time on days when the temperature and wind chill are below zero and dress your pet in warm clothing at other times. If possible, keep your cat indoors all winter.


Has Your Pet Had a Dental Check-Up Lately?


A pet’s oral health often gives an indication of her overall wellness, yet many people overlook the importance of a brushing and regular dental exams. Because of this, approximately three-quarters of dogs and cats have some form of dental disease before the age of three. The American Veterinary Medical Association declared that February is National Pet Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of healthy teeth and gums for pets.


How to Pet Proof Your Home this Holiday Season


Putting up the Christmas tree or other holiday decorations is a fun tradition for families, including the pets. They are naturally curious about having a tree in their house and want to check out everything else as well. Unfortunately, their curiosity can get them into trouble. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the organization receives more calls from distressed pet parents on Christmas Eve than any other day of the year. By following a few simple precautions, you can avoid having your pet become part of a holiday statistic.


Holiday Shopping for Your Pet Made Easy


It's only early December and you may have already had your fill of holiday shopping. Fighting crowds and figuring out what to buy for your loved ones can definitely be stressful. Fortunately, choosing a gift for your dog, cat, or other household pet is easy. Our pets love us so much that any present we give them is perfect. This is especially true when it comes to giving our non-human family members the gift of our time.


Going Away for the Holidays? Make Your Pet’s Boarding Reservations Now


If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving, Hanukah, or Christmas and can’t take your pet with you, it’s important to reserve a kennel now so you’re not left scrambling to find pet care before you leave. However, it’s just as essential to choose a boarding facility where your pet will feel comfortable and you can relax knowing that the staff is meeting his needs. 


How to Choose the Perfect Addition to Your Family during Adopt a Shelter Dog Month


Millions of dogs end up in animal shelters every year, often through no fault of their own. Dog owners surrender them to for a variety of reasons, such as divorce, moving, or no longer being able to cope emotionally and financially with the responsibility of owning a pet. The owner may have died suddenly and no one in the family stepped forward to care for the dog. Dogs also get away from their families and can’t be reunited with them without proper identification.


Happy National Veterinary Technician Week!


From October 11 to 17, pet parents, veterinarians, and other clinic staff have the opportunity to show their appreciation for the hard work and dedication of veterinary technicians during a week set aside to honor them. Minnesota Veterinary Hospital is fortunate to have three caring professionals on our staff.Amy Brown, Rachel Copeland, and Tera Thompson help care for your pets each day by assisting with vaccines, preparing lab samples, taking vital signs, and much more. Of all their duties, comforting a scared pet by demonstrating love and compassion is by far the most important.


World Rabies Day and the Importance of Vaccines


The American Veterinary Medical Association launched World Rabies Day in 2007 as a way to raise awareness of the impact this disease has on both humans and animals. In 2012, more than 6,000 animals contracted rabies, many of them domestic pets. Approximately 55,000 people from around the world die because of rabies every year, although all but a handful are from underdeveloped countries. World Rabies Day this year takes place on September 28, and Minnesota Veterinary Hospital is doing our part to educate our clients about this disease.


Enjoying Autumn With Your pet


Fall brings many changes in your family's routine, such as the kids going back to school and a focus on seasonal activities like hayrides and football. As the leaves fall from the trees outside and the temperature is noticeably cooler, it's important to watch for potential hazards that could harm your pet. Like the other three seasons in Minnesota, autumn poses unique risks for your dog or cat. Some of these include:


Vaccines Give You More Years to Enjoy with Your Pet


Our pets are with us for such a short time that it only makes sense to do everything we can to keep them happy, healthy, and comfortable. This includes staying current with their vaccination schedule. Immunizations protect your pet from developing disabling or even fatal diseases. Because the anti-vaccine movement now includes pets, a lot of misinformation about the necessity and safety of routine vaccinations persist.

 At Minnesota Veterinary Hospital, we offer both core and non-core vaccinations for cats andvaccinations for dogs. Core vaccines are those that are essential to prevent highly contagious or deadly diseases. In some cases, such as the rabies vaccine, they are required by law. Non-core vaccines provide protection against illnesses and conditions your pet may pick up due to her day-to-day lifestyle and the risk factors it poses for her. We make recommendations on non-core vaccines according to the age, breed, overall health, and other characteristics unique to your pet.


A Microchip Can Save Your Lost Pet's Life


It's heartbreaking to lose a beloved pet because he got away from you and couldn't find his way back home. Unfortunately, it's also very common. The American Animal Humane Society estimates that one in three pets will get lost at some point in their lifetime. Every year, approximately 10 million pets are lost or stolen. Without a microchip, only about 22 percent of dogs and a dismal two percent of cats entering animal shelters are reunited with their owners. When a microchip is present, these statistics increase by 238 percent for dogs and over 2,000 percent for cats.


Vaccines Give You More Years to Enjoy with Your Pet


Our pets are with us for such a short time that it only makes sense to do everything we can to keep them happy, healthy, and comfortable. This includes staying current with their vaccination schedule. Immunizations protect your pet from developing disabling or even fatal diseases. Because the anti-vaccine movement now includes pets, a lot of misinformation about the necessity and safety of routine vaccinations persist.

At Minnesota Veterinary Hospital, we offer both core and non-core vaccinations for cats and vaccinations for dogs. Core vaccines are those that are essential to prevent highly contagious or deadly diseases. In some cases, such as the rabies vaccine, they are required by law. Non-core vaccines provide protection against illnesses and conditions your pet may pick up due to her day-to-day lifestyle and the risk factors it poses for her. We make recommendations on non-core vaccines according to the age, breed, overall health, and other characteristics unique to your pet.


Heatstroke Prevention for the Dog Days of Summer


It’s July, which means that we are officially in the dog days of summer. This phrase refers to the hottest and most humid days of summer that typically occur in July and August. Both people and animals can suffer from heat-related illnesses at this time of year. Unfortunately, heatstroke is common in pets and has a fatality rate of approximately 50 percent. That’s why it’s so important to educate yourself about heatstroke prevention as well as its symptoms and treatment options.


Tips for a Fun, Parasite-Free Summer


Dogs, and some cats, love spending time outside in the warm weather. What's not to love when there are new areas to explore and holes to dig? Your pet isn't aware of the many parasites that lurk in the grass and on other animals that would love to feast on his fur and inside of his body. Fortunately, you can do several things as a pet owner to prevent these annoying critters from putting a damper on summer fun.


Coping with the Loss of a Pet and Celebrating Their Life


Pets offer us many qualities that are sometimes difficult to find in people, such as unconditional love, emotional support, and constant companionship. It's only natural to grieve the loss of someone who brought your life so much joy, even when it's a pet and not a person. You will eventually get to the point of wanting to celebrate the life of your pet, but for now, it's important that you allow yourself to grieve.


Canine Influenza Update 5.27/15


Press release from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health:

May 27, 2015

H3N2 Influenza in Dogs

Recent test results confirm that at least five Minnesota dogs were infected with a new strain of influenza virus called H3N2. All of the dogs were most likely exposed to this new strain of influenza when they visited the Lucky Dog Boarding and Training Center in Detroit Lakes. All of the dogs fully recovered and no new cases have been seen at the facility since April 25.


Dog Bite Prevention



Parasite Prevention


Parasites that affect dogs and cats can be found either internally or externally. The pest may attach itself to the pet's fur, the animal may ingest it, or it may get infected through a mosquito bite. When left untreated, parasite infestation can cause serious discomfort or even life-threatening complications for the pet. Since animals depend on their owners to keep them well, it's essential for anyone who owns a dog or cat to be aware of the various parasites, their symptoms,and how to treat them.


Spring into safety with your pet!


Human aren't the only ones who get spring fever. Your dog, who may have only went outside to take care of business the past several months, is anxious to get out there to dig holes and go on long walks with you. If your cats go outside, they too are ready to soak up some of the sun's rays outdoors and not just be content to sunbathe inside. As much as you share in your pets' enthusiasm, it's important to remember that spring brings many new possibilities for pet poisoning.


Don't Have a Heartbreak!


Heartworm disease causes serious complication in dogs and cats and can even be fatal to them. The heartworm is approximately one foot long and lives inside the lungs, heart, and blood vessels of affected animals. In addition to house pets, heartworms may be found in ferrets, coyotes, wolves, sea lions, and foxes. Wild species are thought to be a primary carrier of heartworm disease. When left untreated, heartworms can cause heart failure and severe lung disease as well as damage to internal organs.


Celebrate Your Pet


An enthusiastic greeting when you walk through the door after a long day at work. A sloppy kiss. A warm snuggle with the loudest purr you have ever heard. These are just some of the reasons you love your dog or cat so much. The bonds that people form with their pets are just as meaningful to them as those they form with other people, if not more so. You are naturally attached to anyone you live with and care for every day, regardless of his or her species. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, now is a perfect time to celebrate the amazing bond you share with your dog or cat.


Surviving Winter In MN With Your Pet


Let's face it, the Minnesota winter cold is not going anywhere anytime soon. It's not only hard on our bodies, but on our pet's bodies as well. Did you know that your pet's paws are particularly sensitive to the harsh winter cold as well as the salt that they It's no surprise that we want to do whatever we can to keep our pets comfortable and healthy this winter. We just need to know what we should do in order to do that.


Online Store Now Open!


We've cut the ribbon and opened our new online store! In doing so, our main motivation has been convenience to you. We appreciate your loyalty and trust in us and we felt there was no better way to thank you than to do whatever we could to make things more convenient for you! And, because our online store is Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites accredited through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, you can rest assured that the products you receive will be authentic and held to the same high standard of quality that you expect and receive right within Minnesota Veterinary Hospital! 


We Wish you a Safe Holiday Season!


While the holiday season brings happy times and memories each year, it also brings the possibilities of health risks to your pet.


FAQs: Animals and Ebola


From the University of MN Center for Animal Health and Food Safety

Can dogs become infected with Ebola?

Very little is known about how dogs or other animals respond to Ebola virus. Studies on dogs in West Africa have shown that dogs develop antibodies when exposed to Ebola, suggesting that they may develop mild infections without becoming sick.

Are dogs involved with the transmission of Ebola?

Ebola is nearly always spread by direct human to human contact. Dogs and other domestic animals do not appear to be involved in the spread of Ebola virus in the current outbreak.


Pet Food Drive!


Ticks and Diseases


Ticks and the diseases they carry are in a continual state of movement across North America. It's important to talk to your veterinarian about concerns you have regarding our geographical region, but also if you plan on travelling to other destinations across the US and Canada.


Boarding Services (Grooming, too!)


Minnesota Veterinary Hospital offers the best in doggie daycare boarding facilities. We know that it is important for puppies and dogs to receive social interaction, stimulation, and exercise in a supervised environment. We provide safe indoor and outdoor facilities where your furry friend stays active and engaged while you are away.


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The Importance of Spaying or Neutering Your Pet

Neutering is the surgical removal of both testicles and it offers several important advantages.  

Important Notice About Heartworm Prevention and Treatment

Heartworm prevention for your dog is important—something we don’t want to forget as we are engaged in the fun of summer with our pets. Dogs contract heartworm, which is, in reality, a parasitic round worm, through mosquito bites. The end of July is in the midst of the peak season for mosquitoes, although they are out most spring and summer
months—even early Fall. As long as the temperature is above 50 degrees and the wind is 5 mph or less, mosquito danger, and therefore susceptibility to contracting heartworms, is high.

Toxic Table Scraps


Sharing "just a bite" of food off your plate with your pet is harmless, right? Wrong. Many human foods can be dangerous--even deadly--to dogs and cats.


The Truth About Dental Care


For most of us, caring for our teeth and gums has been a part of our daily routine for as long as we can remember. Just like it is for you, oral health care is important for pets -- regular, professional care from veterinarians and home care from pet owners to keep plaque removed.

Daily brushing and feeding special treats or pet foods, such as Hill's Prescription Diet t/d, can help.


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