Recommendations for Protecting Your Pets From Fleas & Ticks

Spring has finally returned, but, unfortunately, that means that so have the fleas and ticks. As flea and tick treatments are always evolving, our own Dr. Darlene Cook, DVM, CVA wanted to share with you her current recommendations for flea and tick prevention for your pets. While we do recommend your pets be on monthly preventatives year-round, Doctor Cook also includes some recommendations for those who use spring through autumn prevention.

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How to Be Prepared for a Pet Emergency with Pet First Aid

A dog next to a first-aid kit.
Australian shepherd puppy with first aid kit isolated

Most of us don’t want to ever consider an emergency situation with our precious pets, but the fact is, most pets will have some kind of emergency in their lifetime. As a responsible pet owner, though, it is essential to recognize the signs of a veterinary emergency and discern whether it is something minor that can be treated at home or something that needs immediate medical attention. This knowledge is key in getting your pet the help they need quickly when necessary.

Since there are some questions and confusion around pet first aid, the team at The Bluffs Pet Clinic is here to help you always be prepared:

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Don’t Eat That! Pet Poison Prevention Tips To Keep Your Pets Healthy and Happy

Two dogs look up at their owner as she washes dishes.

It is impossible to watch your pet every second of the day, and sometimes our furry family members can get into food, plants, or household items that could be dangerous to their health. 

The team at The Bluffs Pet Clinic wants to help you understand more about what is considered toxic for your animals so you can master pet poison prevention in your home and avoid an unfortunate accident.

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The Finest Hour: Kitten and Puppy Care at Its Best

A dog sniffs a stethoscope. Have pictures and videos of really cute puppies and kittens been flooding your feed lately? Or have you taken it one step further over the past several weeks or months and adopted a four-legged angel of your own? Perhaps due to our increased time at home right now, or the need for a little emotional support, young pets are making a huge impact on folks of all ages. 

Kitten and puppy care is definitely rewarding, but it’s not always easy or straightforward. Luckily, we’ve got some tips to make your journey through animal infancy as enjoyable as possible.  Continue…

The Right Stuff: Pet Home Dental Care

We brush our teeth twice a day, and the results of those efforts are definitely noticeable. Most of us wouldn’t dream of going an entire day (not to mention weeks, months, or years) without brushing, and we also benefit from regular cleanings, x-rays, and exams.

The same could be said for the benefits of dental care for our pets. And although applying these same principals to your pet could seem challenging at first, the health benefits to them are nothing short of astounding. 

With that in mind, The Bluffs Pet Clinic takes a deeper look into why pet home dental care is so important. Continue…

Winter Activities for Pets to Keep Them (and You) Moving

The long months of winter can have most of us wanting to curl up on the couch. Add to that the busyness of the holidays, frequent travel, and inclement weather, and keeping up with your pet’s exercise needs can be a challenge.

Thankfully your friends at The Bluffs Pet Clinic have some fun, exciting, and easy winter activities for your pet that will have you both up and moving. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite winter activities for pets – and you, too! Continue…

How to Manage Seasonal Pet Allergies

Just like humans, pets can suffer from seasonal allergies or allergies that persist throughout the year. Pet allergies usually manifest as itchy or inflamed skin, rather than sneezing and watery eyes that people are prone too. 

Seasonal pet allergies is one of the most common conditions we see in our veterinary practice. Symptoms can be intense and extremely uncomfortable for pets, and can affect their quality of life. 

Allergies cannot be cured, but they can be effectively managed. With knowledge, patience and support from The Bluffs Pet Clinic, you’ll be on the right track to managing seasonal pet allergies in no time.  Continue…

Intestinal Parasites in Pets: What You Need to Know

On July 6, 1885, French biologist Louis Pasteur successfully administered the first vaccination against a zoonotic disease – that is, a disease that can be spread between humans and animals. Each year World Zoonoses Day is celebrated as a way to commemorate this historic event, and raise awareness about the risks of zoonotic diseases.

Intestinal parasites is another example of an organism that can be passed from our furry friends to us, and can wreak havoc on the health and well being of pets and people. In honor of World Zoonoses Day, we would like to highlight the very common problem of intestinal parasites in pets, and what pet owners can do to protect their two and four-legged family members. Continue…

The Nitty and the Gritty: Why Cat Wellness Exams Are So Important

Cats have earned their reputations as low-maintenance pets. But just because they don’t require daily walks or basic obedience training doesn’t mean they don’t benefit from routine veterinary care. Cats have evolved to mask any signs of weakness, meaning that chronic illness or injury can go undetected – and untreated  – sometimes until it’s too late. However, when an owner maintains annual cat wellness exams, their feline is given a better chance for a longer, healthier life.

The Forest Through the Trees

When it comes to routine veterinary care, cats have two strikes against them. First of all, they generally detest travel, the possibility of unwanted encounters, and the prodding hands of strangers. Perhaps more worrisome is that a majority of cat owners erroneously perceive their cats are healthy when they could benefit from medical intervention.

An Ounce of Prevention

Disease prevention is the forefront of cat wellness exams. Not only do cats need vaccinations, parasite prevention, and dental care throughout their lives, regular exams are important for getting in front of developing illnesses. Sometimes health conditions are related to age, but cats can suffer from various illnesses without proactive, preventive care.

The Schedule

Young and adult cats should be seen once a year for comprehensive wellness examinations. Once they turn about 9 years old, we refer to them as senior cats, and recommend exams every six months. We also recommend senior screening blood work and a urinalysis to screen for early disease, such as kidney, liver or thyroid disease just to name a few.   Seeing them more often can help toward sustaining high quality of life, decreasing pain, and supporting age-appropriate nutrition. Adhering to this schedule may slow down the aging process and keep them in great shape.

Shifting Approach to Cat Wellness

Previously, pets were seen by veterinarians only when they got sick or injured. We are always here to treat pet emergencies at The Bluffs Pet Clinic of Red Wing, but many illnesses that bring cats in are entirely preventable. When we see them on a regular basis, we can work together to address all of a cat’s unique needs – long before they get out of control.

Getting to Know You

An important aspect of cat wellness care is that our staff at the hospital are fear-free certified which hinges on building relationships with the owners. When we’re able to communicate effectively, cats have the chance to get the best care possible. We are happy to address your questions and concerns, and encourage you to take notes at home about your cat’s behavior patterns.

At your cat’s routine exam, we’ll pay close attention to the following:

  • Nose-to-tail physical health, with a special focus on weight management
  • Appearance of the coat, skin, ears, eyes, and teeth
  • Diagnostics, such as parasite/disease screening
  • Individualized vaccinations and parasite prevention medication
  • Nutrition and exercise
  • Heart rate
  • Abdominal palpation
  • Behavioral consultation

Quality of Life

We always look forward to meeting new feline patients and strive to build trust with their owners in order to deliver excellent veterinary care that all cats deserve. If you have any questions or concerns regarding cat wellness and lifelong health, please let us know.

Periodontal Disease in Pets

If your pet’s bad breath drives you away as she tries to snuggle up to you on the couch, you may be thinking it’s time for a dental chew. But bad breath can signify deeper dental problems than a simple treat can fix – namely pet periodontal disease.

The problems with periodontal disease go further than bad breath. With over 85% of pets affected by the time they reach 3 years of age, it’s no surprise that this topic gets a lot of our attention. Also known as dental disease, periodontal disease in pets can cause bleeding gums, tooth loss, and even systemic disease of the heart, liver, and kidneys.

Luckily, periodontal disease is preventable. We know that conscientious pet owners want to do the best they can for their pets. Here’s some information to help you do just that.

How Periodontal Disease Happens

Periodontal disease in pets is the progressive inflammation of the supporting structures of the teeth. Here’s how it workds:

  • It starts when bacteria in the mouth form plaque that sticks to the teeth.
  • Minerals in your pet’s saliva then bond with the plaque, causing it to harden into tartar.
  • Bacteria that cling to the plaque and tartar then work their way under your pet’s gum line, causing gum inflammation (gingivitis).
  • If tartar is not controlled, it can progress to periodontitis. When this happens, bacteria destroy the supporting structures of the tooth, including the soft tissues surrounding it, the root, and the bone below.

Signs of Periodontal Disease

Pet owners sometimes have a difficult time noticing the first signs of dental disease. We recommend annual preventive care visits in order to spot the signs of dental disease early and treat small problems before they become advanced.

Signs to look for include:

  • Bad breath
  • Drooling
  • Red or bleeding gums
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Pain or sensitivity
  • Loss of interest in chew toys
  • Difficulty eating (sometimes looks like messy eating)
  • Chewing on one side of the mouth
  • Sudden preference for soft food

It is rare that an animal will actually stop eating from dental disease, but you may notice changes in their interest or comfort while eating.

Treating and Preventing Periodontal Disease

Although dental disease is common, the good news is that it is preventable. Treatment and prevention of dental disease can add years to your pet’s life and help keep them comfortable and healthy. Here’s how we do it:

  • Regular wellness exams, even for seemingly healthy pets
  • Professional dental cleanings as recommended
  • Digital dental x-rays to check for disease under the gum line
  • At home care, including brushing your pet’s teeth daily (we can teach you how!)

If you have any questions about your pet’s health, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Your team at The Bluffs Pet Clinic is ready to help!