Our ‘New Normal’ Continues

To you, our valued client—

Thank you for your patience and goodwill as our “new normal” continues to evolve.

Like veterinary practices nationwide, we are busier than ever! Pet adoptions have been on the increase, and since people have been spending more time at home, they’ve been paying closer attention to their pets and noticing more potential health problems.

Demand for our services is at an all-time high, and all of us are grateful for the opportunity to keep doing the work we love, caring for our patients and clients!

Wellness Visits

Many practices—ours included—built up a backlog of deferred wellness visits during March and April, when we were able to offer only essential care.

I’m happy to report the backlog of deferred wellness visits has eased somewhat. Wellness appointments are now available within a week or two—particularly to those who call to schedule early in the week.

Getting ‘Back on Track’

The adjustments we made following the July 4 holiday are working out well as level 4.5 of the governor’s “Back on Track” plan continues.

Since we reopened our building to clients—while continuing to offer curbside service to those who prefer it—we’ve received positive feedback for both types of appointments.

Those 70-75% of clients who are choosing to come inside tell us they feel safe, and they appreciate our stepped-up precautions—continuing to wear masks and maintain physical distance and sanitizing all exam room surfaces, including doorknobs, after every visit.

We still have about 25-30% of clients choosing curbside service for scheduled appointments, and curbside service continues for food and prescription pick-ups.

Our check-in process remains the same.

  • Whether you plan to come inside or wait in your car, call the front desk at (317) 852-3323 when you arrive in our parking lot for your appointment.
  • If you want to come inside with your pet, wait for a team member to escort you into the building, straight into an available exam room.
  • Please plan on having no more than two people come inside with your pet. (Additional family members may be present for a euthanasia.)
  • We will be wearing masks and doing our best to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from you throughout your visit, but keeping our distance may be a challenge during the exam. That’s why we expect you to bring and wear your own mask and stay as far away as possible from our team members to protect all of us! 

Expect Delays

Call volume remains extraordinarily high.

When you call the clinic, if you are not calling about a medical emergency, you may be placed on hold—even if you’re calling simply to let us know you’ve arrived in our parking lot for your appointment.

Please be patient as we handle our calls as efficiently as we can. One of our team members will reconnect with you as soon as possible.

There may also be delays in our technician’s arrival at your car to bring you and/or your pet into the building. With the return to inside service, additional sanitation measures have to be completed between appointments. We need extra time to keep everyone safe!

My team and I understand waiting can be frustrating!

I assure you, we are doing our very best to respond promptly to every call we receive, in order of urgency, and to operate as efficiently as we possibly can while handling a combination of curbside and in-house appointments.

Regardless of your wait time, we expect you to be civil to our team members, once they are able to help you.

Drop-Offs to Minimize Your Wait Time

In many cases, dropping off your pet and returning later that day for pick-up is a great way to minimize your wait time while getting your pet the care he or she needs in a timely way.

If your pet’s medical needs are not urgent, a drop-off can be a convenient way for you to avoid a potentially long wait on a busy day.

Dropping your pet off frees you to make better use of your own time, knowing a veterinarian will see your pet as soon as possible and you’ll be notified immediately when your pet is ready for pick-up.

Welcoming Our New Associate

To further meet the increased demand for services, I’m  pleased to announce Kelli M. Barton, DVM, will be joining our team as an associate, working on Wednesdays and Thursdays, starting October 7.

Dr. Barton has been in practice since 2012, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the clinic. We’ll be introducing her to you more fully in the coming weeks.

For the Good of Your Pet

Throughout the past seven months, our dedication to caring for our beloved pet-patients while keeping everyone safe has remained the first priority for our entire team.

We are all under unprecedented levels of stress and uncertainty, making it more important than ever to treat each other with kindness and consideration. 

Thank you for entrusting us with your pet’s care. We look forward to continuing to serve you, and we hope you and your loved ones are staying well.

Sincerely,

Timea H. Brady's signature

 

 

Timea H. Brady, DVM
Owner, Brownsburg Animal Clinic

P.S. We have been experiencing a higher-than-average number of “no-call/no-show” appointments in recent months. If you find you are unable to keep a scheduled appointment, please call or email us—ideally, at least 24 hours in advance of the appointment time—so we can offer the appointment to another client.

We’re Closed on Labor Day

Brownsburg Animal Clinic will be closed on Monday, September 7, in observance of Labor Day.

Normal office hours will resume at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 8.

We wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday!

Moving Toward ‘the New Normal’

To you, our valued client—we hope you and your loved ones (both human and animal) are staying well as the pandemic continues to impact all our lives.

As healthcare professionals, we know the threat of infection by the coronavirus remains very real. At the same time, we feel ready to take a few cautious steps toward “the new normal.”  

The following are some adjustments we’ll be making when we return after our July 4 holiday, when the clinic will be closed.

Effective Monday, July 6

  • Our weekday office hours will revert to 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with the final appointment of the day at 5:00.
  • While the lobby remains closed, we are opening our facility back up to clients who wish to come inside with their pets, directly to exam rooms, for their appointments.
  • Curbside service will still be available to clients who prefer to stay in their cars.
  • Curbside service will continue for food and prescription pick-ups.

Here’s how our revised check-in will work:

  • Call the front desk at (317) 852-3323 when you arrive in our parking lot.
  • If you want to come inside with your pet, a team member will come out and escort you into the building, straight into an available exam room. Please plan on having no more than two people come inside with your pet.
  • We will be wearing masks and maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from you throughout your visit, and we ask that you wear a mask and stay 6 feet away from our team members to protect all of us! 

Expect Delays

An unusually high volume of incoming telephone calls to the clinic continues to be a challenge as we communicate by phone during appointments with pet owners in our parking lot, answer more called-in health-related questions than ever before and process requests for prescription refills.

Even with two additional phone lines to help your calls get through, we are still having a hard time keeping up, and we are well aware the longer-than-usual hold times are aggravating to many of you.

Please know we are doing our very best to respond promptly to every call we receive, in order of urgency. And despite the longer hold times, we ask that you please be civil to our team members, once they are able to take your call.

We are also still working through a backlog of deferred wellness visits that built up in March and April when we were able to offer only essential care. While we set aside times in our daily schedule to take care of sick pets and administer timely puppy and kitten vaccines as needed, our next available wellness appointments are several weeks from now.

Returning to our former schedule and staying open an additional hour every weekday will help ease the situation, but it will still take time to clear the backlog to pre-pandemic levels. 

Until we are able to get fully caught up, you may expect delays in scheduling a wellness appointment. We ask for your patience with our team members when you call.

Collaboration for the Good of Your Pet

Caring for our beloved pet-patients has always worked best as a collaborative effort among our clients, our veterinarians and the entire clinic team.

Ideally, our interactions take place in a cordial atmosphere of trust, respect and goodwill on all sides.

These days, when all our nerves are frayed because of the continuing threat of COVID-19 and the stress of not knowing just what the future holds, it is more important than ever to be kind and courteous to each other as we continue to get through this unprecedented time in our history together.

Thank you for entrusting us with your pet’s care. We look forward to continuing to serve you.

Sincerely,

Timea H. Brady's signature

 

 

Timea H. Brady, DVM
Owner, Brownsburg Animal Clinic

Managing Your Dog’s Noise Anxiety

July 4 is nearly here, and chances are at least 40 percent of our canine patients will experience anxiety during the celebratory fireworks—the most common trigger for dogs with noise aversion.

Fireworks are a source of suffering for 81% of dogs diagnosed with noise aversion. That’s why the busiest day of the year for intake of runaway dogs in animal shelters is July 5 and why we strongly recommend that you not take your pet to any holiday celebration that includes a fireworks display.

Unlike most people, noise-averse pets do not enjoy fireworks, and may become anxious enough to break free and run away. Trying to find a lost pet after dark in a large, crowded public space is a challenge we don’t want any of our clients to face!

Summer thunderstorms can trigger similar fears, causing panic and dangerous reactions, destruction of furniture and fixtures, self-inflicted injuries and frantic escapes.

Cats can be noise-averse, too, but their fear responses are usually not as pronounced. A cat may retreat to a favorite hiding place when frightened by noise, but otherwise appear unfazed. So most of our clients’ concerns about noise anxiety involve dogs.

Diagnosing Your Dog’s Noise Aversion

Illustrations Showing Noise Aversion Symptoms

This brief animated video from the manufacturer of Sileo, a drug we prescribe to treat noise aversion, shows 13 symptoms to help you determine if your dog is noise averse, The company also offers a checklist you can download and print to diagnose your dog. (Hit the back button on your browser to return to this page.)

Home Remedies for Noise Aversion

Home remedies we recommend in mild to moderate cases include playing soft music to mask the noise and carrying on as usual. It’s tempting to comfort a fearful dog, but a better approach is to signal all is well by engaging in normal behavior. A little cuddling is fine, but anything you can do lighten the mood is most helpful. If you can, just be present to your dog.

You may create a “safe spot” for your pet in a windowless interior room, like a closet or bathroom, complete with bed and blankets, where he or she can feel secure while riding out the storm or fireworks display.

Making favorite treats and toys available can help—especially toys that might distract, like a peanut-butter-filled Kong toy. In administering treats, just be careful not to reward fearful behavior.

Thundershirts, which work by applying gentle, constant pressure to the pet’s body, similar to swaddling a baby, are also popular and have helped many dogs and cats.

Helpful Medical Treatment

If noise makes your dog anxious, and home remedies aren’t working as well as you’d like,  we can help.

For more severe cases, there are drugs we can prescribe to reduce anxiety and keep your dog relaxed and safe during fireworks, storms and other noisy conditions.

The drugs we most often prescribe to alleviate anxiety symptoms are Xanax and Sileo, and for the best effect, we recommend administering them 30 minutes prior to the anticipated noise.

If home remedies are not effective and you would like to see if drug therapy is indicated, the first step is an office visit to assess the severity of the anxiety and discuss treatment options with you.

While we can’t promise a quieter summer, we may well be able to provide a calmer, more relaxed summer for your noise-averse dog. If you’d like our help, call to schedule an appointment today.

Why We Are Continuing Curbside Service—For Now

As safeguards to minimize the spread of the coronavirus are being relaxed statewide, several of our clients have asked when we will reopen our lobby and exam rooms to the public.

The answer is, not yet.

When we implemented curbside service on March 20, we saw it as the safest, most efficient way to continue to be here for our clients and patients while minimizing the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

So far, the curbside strategy—combined with stepped-up sanitation protocols and social distancing—appears to be working. Our doctors and staff have stayed well during the past two months while continuing to keep our patients healthy and ourselves, our families and our clients safe.

Meanwhile, as our state moves to re-open, the infection continues to spread.

According to the Indiana COVID-19 Data Report dashboard, as of noon Monday, May 11, the Indiana State Department of Health had reported 25,127 known cases of COVID-19 and 1,444 known deaths caused by the virus in our state. Hendricks County accounts for 984 of those positive cases and 55 deaths. Next door, Marion County reports 7,632 positive cases and 429 deaths.

Of the statewide total COVID-19 cases,  the State Department of Health confirmed 566 new cases between March 23 and May 11.

Those numbers remind us the risk of infection is still very real and, in my opinion as a health care provider, now is not the time to cut back unnecessarily on sensible, effective precautions aimed at keeping all of us safe. Despite some inconveniences, our curbside service is working well and we intend to keep it in place until we see a definite, persistent downward trend in new cases of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, as clinic owner, I remain committed to keeping my team and our clients safe and the clinic open for business, caring for patients. If just one of  our team members contracts the virus, we’ll be forced to shut down for as long as two weeks, delaying and denying much-needed care to all our patients.

We all look forward to the time when we can safely reopen the lobby and exam rooms to our clients—and we most certainly will—just as soon as we feel it is prudent to do so.

Thank you for your continuing cooperation and understanding.

Timea H. Brady's signature

 

 

Timea H. Brady, DVM
Owner, Brownsburg Animal Clinic

COVID-19 May 4 Update

To you, our valued client:

Governor Holcomb recently issued an executive order allowing health care providers, including veterinarians, to resume offering elective procedures, provided we have adopted policies and best practices that protect patients, doctors and staff against COVID-19 and also have sufficient gloves, masks and surgical gowns on hand.

At Brownsburg Animal Clinic, we meet the conditions stated in the governor’s executive order, so we have resumed scheduling elective procedures, preventive care exams and tests essential to your pet’s continued wellbeing.

Now Scheduling Elective Procedures and Preventive Care Exams

In addition to all essential diagnostics and treatments listed in my April 11 update, we are now scheduling—

  • Dental procedures
  • Elective surgeries
  • Preventive care exams
  • Heartworm tests
  • Adult vaccines
  • Other tests, exams and procedures we may have postponed

If you have postponed an elective procedure or preventive care exam during the past few months, we encourage you to call the clinic at (317) 852-3323 to schedule an appointment.

Given the backlog of demand that has built up over the past two months for elective procedures and preventive care, we have some catching up to do!

You may experience a somewhat longer-than-normal wait time for an available appointment as we do our best to accommodate clients who have deferred care while keeping enough time slots open for sick and injured pets. With help from our relief vets, we look forward to getting everyone taken care of and back on preventive care schedules soon.

Office Hours

For the time being, we will continue opening at 8:00 a.m. and closing an hour early at 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. Saturday hours are 8:00 a.m. to noon. We will let you know when we plan to resume our normal weekday office hours once the decision is made.

Curbside Service to Continue

We remain strongly committed to keeping our clients, doctors and staff safe!

To minimize the risks of infection, we plan to continue allowing only staff inside the clinic until we are confident new cases of COVID-19 are definitely on the decline in our immediate area.

For full details of how our curbside service works, please review the “Curbside 2.0” section in my April 11 update.

If You Are Ill

If you have an appointment scheduled and are experiencing coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue or fever, or if you know you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19, we ask that you call us to reschedule.

If your pet has a medical emergency and you are ill, we strongly encourage you to have a healthy family member or trusted friend bring your pet to the clinic for treatment.

If you are unable to make these arrangements, call us to let us know you’re ill and discuss options for getting your pet the care needed while protecting our team.

While it appears highly unlikely you can catch COVID-19 from your pet, there are several known cases worldwide of pets who appear to have contracted the disease from their owners. If you are ill, you can minimize the risks of infecting your pet by wearing a face mask and washing your hands thoroughly before any interactions. Better yet, ask a well family member or friend to take over caring for your pet until you are well.

Thanks Again!

We greatly appreciate the ongoing cooperation and understanding you’ve shown as we’ve worked together to make sure your pet is well cared-for while minimizing the risk of infection for all the humans involved.

We look forward to getting caught up on any deferred exams and procedures in the coming weeks. And as always, it means so much to us for you to entrust us with your pet’s care!

Sincerely,

Timea H. Brady's signature

 

 

Timea H. Brady, DVM
Owner, Brownsburg Animal Clinic

COVID-19 April 11 Update

To you, our valued client:

We’re still here for you and your pet!

And we deeply appreciate that you continue to be here for us as we work together to keep your pet happy and healthy in these challenging times.

We’re continuing to take extra precautions to minimize the risks of infection for you and our staff, including curbside service (see details of some fine-tuning below), and still closing an hour early at 5:00 p.m. on weekdays.

Essential Services

Under our governor’s stay-at-home order—now in effect until Monday, April 20—it’s still OK to bring your pet to our clinic for essential veterinary care that can’t safely or feasibly be delayed.

Here’s what that includes:

  • Care for sick and injured pets
  • Emergency care
  • Rechecks for follow-up and ongoing treatment
  • Puppy and kitten wellness visits for essential vaccinations
  • Rabies vaccinations required by state law
  • Required recurring visits for medicines such as Cytopoint, Adequan and ProHeart and fluids for kidney disease

Surgeries and Dental Procedures

As directed by our governor, we are doing our part to conserve personal protective equipment—masks, gloves and gowns—in support of our counterparts in human medicine.

As long as this vital protective gear remains in short supply, we are rescheduling elective surgeries and dental procedures for later in the year.

Our doctors are examining and diagnosing patients and advising clients case-by-case on whether a recommended procedure can be safely deferred without impacting the pet’s wellbeing and quality of life. If it can’t be deferred, we will encourage you to schedule an essential procedure sooner rather than later.

Preventive Care Exams and Vaccines for Adult Pets

Essential preventive care exams and routine vaccination boosters for adults pets, other than rabies vaccines, can be safely postponed for a short time, but not indefinitely!

As always, for most adult pets, we recommend annual preventive care exams, including heartworm checks. For older pets and those with serious chronic health conditions, we recommend more frequent exams.

If you’re not sure when your pet is due for an exam and vaccines, call the clinic at (317) 852-3323 to find out and discuss options. If your pet needs prescriptions refilled before you can schedule an exam, our doctors may be able to prescribe a limited quantity of some medications to see your pet through the coronavirus crisis.

Our doctors will assess your pet’s situation and prescribe as needed to assure the pet’s safety and wellbeing—typically prescribing a one-month supply at a time until you can bring your pet for an exam.

For heartworm preventives, if your dog has missed more than one or two monthly doses, a heartworm blood test will be needed before we can safely restart the prescription. If you’ve forgotten or fallen behind on monthly heartworm preventive doses, call the clinic at (317) 852-3323 to schedule a test.

Curbside 2.0

Our curbside service protocol has been working well, and we greatly appreciate your cooperation with this “new normal” intended to protect all our clients and staff from the coronavirus. We plan to continue allowing only staff inside the clinic for the foreseeable future.

Now that we have some experience with curbside service, we’ve done a bit of fine-tuning. Here’s how it works now:

  • Call in advance to make an appointment for your pet’s visit.
  • To make check-in as efficient as possible, a technician will call you before the visit to discuss your pet’s history and the reason for the appointment. As time permits, we are normally making these calls the afternoon before morning appointments and the morning before afternoon appointments.
  • When you arrive for the appointment, call the front desk at (317) 852-3323 to let us know you’ve arrived in our parking lot.
  • A technician will come to your car and bring your pet into the clinic for examination and treatment.
  • Cats must be in a secure carrier—not loose in your vehicle. We provide secure leads for dogs.
  • Our staff will not reach into your vehicle for your pet. We’re asking you to place cat carriers on the ground by your vehicle for the staff member to pick up or stand with your dog on a leash by your vehicle until the staff member secures the slip lead and you can safely hand the dog off.
  • Unless it’s a drop-off appointment or special arrangements have been made in advance and approved by the veterinarian, we expect clients to remain in their vehicles in our parking lot throughout the appointment.
  • All communication concerning diagnosis, treatment options and check-out will take place on the phone.
  • At the conclusion of the appointment, a staff member will return your pet, along with any prescribed medicines or foods, to your car.
  • We ask that you practice social distancing throughout your visit to our clinic, refraining from any physical contact and maintaining a minimum distance of six feet from our team members and other clients who may be waiting in the parking lot.

If you need to visit the clinic to pick up food or medicine, we ask for more than the usual 24-hours’ advance notice during these challenging times. Call well ahead of time, charge the merchandise to your credit or debit card, and we will let you know when your order will be ready. Call the front desk when you arrive for pickup and we will bring it out to you.

You can also order supplies for delivery directly to your home from our online VetSource store.

If You Are Ill

If you have an appointment scheduled and are experiencing coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue or fever, or if you know you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19, we ask that you call us to reschedule.

If your pet has a medical emergency and you are ill, we strongly encourage you to have a healthy family member or trusted friend bring your pet to the clinic for treatment.

If you are unable to make these arrangements, call us to let us know you’re ill and discuss options for getting your pet the care needed while protecting our team.

Thank you!

Personally and on behalf of the entire Brownsburg Animal Clinic team, I want to thank you for continuing to entrust us with your pet’s care and for collaborating with us to keep all the humans involved safe as well!

We’re all in this together, and we appreciate your support!

Sincerely,

Timea H. Brady's signature

 

 

Timea H. Brady, DVM
Owner, Brownsburg Animal Clinic

P.S. We’re receiving more than the usual number of phone calls from clients these days. We appreciate your patience as our team works as efficiently as possible to field your questions while handling our appointments and other patient care responsibilities.

COVID-19 March 25 Update

Now that Indiana’s stay-at-home order is in effect at least through Monday, April 6, you may be wondering how the order impacts your access to veterinary care for you pets.

The good news: In Indiana, veterinary clinics have been declared essential businesses, and even with the stay-at-home order in place, Hoosiers are allowed to seek medical care for pets, should they need it.

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health has provided us with further clarification, advising, “Veterinarians may continue to provide care and treatment to animals as a matter of health and welfare.”

That means Brownsburg Animal Clinic is here for you! We’re open for business and, as mandated, continuing to maintain the health of our patients.

As always, if your pet is sick or injured, call us at (317) 852-3323 to ask for advice and if needed, schedule an appointment. If you’re not sure if you should bring your pet in, call anyway and we will help you decide.

Vaccines and boosters—especially rabies vaccinations—should continue on schedule for pets of all ages.

We are still limiting access to our building to staff only. If you have a scheduled or drop-off appointment, call the front desk at (317) 852-3323 to let us know you’ve arrived in our parking lot. A technician will come out to your car and bring your pet into the clinic for examination and treatment. Please be sure your cat is in a secure carrier. We’ll provide leads for dogs. All communication and check-out will take place on the phone before a staff member returns your pet, along with any prescribed medicines or foods, to your car.

It’s still critically important to continue giving your pet heartworm and flea and tick preventives, along with any other prescribed medicines or diet. If you need to visit the clinic to pick up food or medicine, we will deliver it to your car. Just call the front desk, charge the merchandise to your credit or debit card, and we will bring it out to you. You can also order supplies from our online VetSource store.

We are mindful of the nationwide shortage of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), including masks and gloves used by all health care providers. We have enough PPE on hand to care for our patients in the immediate future, but we may postpone some elective procedures to conserve these supplies until it becomes clear when we can replenish them.

So far, thankfully, we all are symptom-free, and the team is under strict orders to stay at home if they experience fever, cough or shortness of breath.

We are continuing to stay at least six feet away from clients and fellow staff members and following stepped-up sanitation and hand-washing protocols.

The Board of Animal Health has prepared guidelines for pet owners who have been or may have been exposed to the coronavirus. If you believe you or someone in your household has COVID-19, I encourage you to read this document and, as the letter recommends, call us before bringing your pet in to the clinic.

For those of you who are concerned that your pet could contract or spread the coronavirus, there is currently no evidence that animals can do so. The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign has provided detailed information about pets and COVID-19 on their website.

If you have any questions about your pet’s health and whether or not you need to visit the clinic, please feel free to call the front desk at (317) 852-3323. We are happy to advise you and, if needed, schedule an appointment.

And for those of you who are working from home, we hope this additional time with your pet will make your human-animal bond even stronger!

Timea H. Brady's signature

 

 

Timea H. Brady, DVM
Owner, Brownsburg Animal Clinic

P.S. On weekdays we are closing one hour early—at 5:00 p.m., with the last appointment at 4:30.

How We Are Further Reducing COVID-19 Risk

Dear Valued Client,

Rest assured, we are still open and here to care for your sick and injured pets as well as those with ongoing medical conditions.

However, we are making a few key changes to our routines to further reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Based on the latest recommendations from the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we will shift to all curbside service, effective Friday, March 20. That means only the clinic staff will be allowed inside our building.

If you have a scheduled or drop-off appointment, call the front desk at (317) 852-3323 to let us know you’ve arrived in our parking lot. A technician will come out to your car and bring your pet into the clinic for examination and treatment.

All communication and check-out will take place on the phone before a staff member returns your pet, along with any prescribed medicines or foods, to your car.

While essential puppy and kitten wellness visits for vaccines will continue on schedule, we will reschedule wellness visits for adult dogs for after April 6.

If you need to visit the clinic to pick up food or medicine, we will deliver it to your car. Just call the front desk, charge the merchandise to your credit or debit card, and we will bring it out to you.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as together, we get through these difficult times.

Timea H. Brady's signature

 

 

Timea H. Brady, DVM
Owner, Brownsburg Animal Clinic

A Message from Dr. Brady About COVID-19

For those of you who share our concerns about COVID-19, we want to assure you we’re taking measures at the clinic to minimize the risk of introducing or spreading the virus to team members and clients while continuing to care for our patients.

  • In addition to following our usual cleaning protocols, we are doing even more frequent and thorough disinfecting of surfaces everyone touches—phones, keyboards and door handles—than ever before.
  • We are refraining from handshakes and hugs.
  • We have advised our team members to stay home if they are experiencing any respiratory symptoms and to return to work only after going at least 24 hours fever-free without medication.
  • We are asking our clients to stay away from the clinic if they or anyone in their household have symptoms of the virus or believe they may have been exposed to it.  We will be happy to reschedule the appointment.

This situation is evolving rapidly, and there is much uncertainty ahead. We are committed to doing our best to keep our team and clients healthy and will remain flexible in our response to COVID-19 in the coming days. Updates will be posted on our website and Facebook page as needed.

We appreciate your patience and understanding.

 

 

Timea H. Brady, DVM
Owner, Brownsburg Animal Clinic

COVID-19 and Your Pet

Please note: This information is current as of March 13, 2020. As more is learned about COVID-19, advice may change. For the latest information, check the CDC website, the American Veterinary Medical Association, or the World Organisation for Animal Health COVID-19 resource pages.

While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said there is no evidence that companion animals, including dogs and cats, spread the COVID-19 virus, the organization does suggest that people showing symptoms or in quarantine because of the virus limit their contact with pets, just as they do with people.

Specifically, that means people showing symptoms of the virus and being cared for at home should avoid direct contact with pets, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.

“If possible, a household member should be designated to care for pets in the home,” according to the CDC website. “If the individual in home care and isolation must care for pet(s), they should ensure they wash their hands before and after caring for pets and wear a facemask while interacting with pets, until they are medically cleared to return to normal activities.”

We encourage all our clients and staff members to take every possible precaution to lower the risk of infection. But in the event an infection does occur, we recommend treating pets with the same degree of caution as you do other family members.

Preparing for a Possible Quarantine

Are you prepared for a possible quarantine because of COVID-19?

The following is a list of items the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends keeping on hand in the event of an emergency evacuation, and we think most of the contents of the pet evacuation kit would be equally handy in the event of an at-home quarantine.

Because the incubation period for COVID-19 is thought to be 14 days, we suggest stocking up on at least a two-week supply of pet food, medicines and preventives, kitty litter if needed, and cleaning supplies for your pet.

Most likely, your pet would be remaining at home with you during a quarantine, so some items will probably not be needed. We suggest you collect them anyway to be better prepared for anything!

The AVMA’s Pet Evacuation Kit

Food and medicine

  • 3-7 days’ worth of dry and canned (pop-top) food*
  • Two-week supply of medicine*
  • At least 7 days’ supply of water
  • Feeding dish and water bowl
  • Liquid dish soap

*These items must be rotated and replaced to ensure they don’t expire

First aid kit

  • Anti-diarrheal liquid or tablets
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Bandage tape and scissors
  • Cotton bandage rolls
  • Flea and tick prevention (if needed in your area)
  • Isopropyl alcohol/alcohol prep pads
  • Latex gloves
  • Saline solution
  • Towel and washcloth
  • Tweezers

Sanitation

  • Litter, litter pan, and scoop (a shirt box with a plastic bag works well for pan)
  • Newspaper, paper towels, and trash bags
  • Household chlorine beach or disinfectant

Important documents

  • Identification papers including proof of ownership
  • Medical records and medication instructions
  • Emergency contact list, including veterinarian and pharmacy
  • Photo of your pet (preferably with you)

Travel supplies

  • Crate or pet carrier labeled with your contact information
  • Extra collar/harness with ID tags and leash
  • Flashlight, extra batteries
  • Muzzle

Comfort items

  • Favorite toys and treats
  • Extra blanket or familiar bedding

Dr. Brady Certified in CPR for Pets

Our clinic owner, Dr. Timea H. Brady, recently earned certification to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on dogs and cats.

Dr. Brady’s certification by the Reassessment Campaign on Veterinary Resuscitation (RECOVER) initiative required 8.5 continuing education hours of online coursework in basic and advanced life support followed by four hours of hands-on training using stuffed dog manikins in a live workshop setting. She completed the requirements on September 19 at Purdue University’s Fall Veterinary Conference, becoming one of approximately 1,000 “Certified RECOVER Rescuers” worldwide.

CPR Lab
Dr. Timea H. Brady (right), owner of Brownsburg Animal Clinic, uses a manual resuscitator on a CPR patient simulator in the September 19 RECOVER workshop at the Purdue Veterinary Conference while fellow Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine alumna Dr. Katharine Wentworth performs chest compressions. Purdue University photo / Kevin Doerr

“My staff wanted to learn more about CPR and how to do it, but I realized I had only very basic knowledge—certainly not enough to teach it,” said Dr. Brady. “When I saw Purdue was offering the course at their Fall Conference, I jumped at the chance to learn so I could improve my patients’ chances of survival as well as teach my entire team the evidence-based best practices.”

Dr. Brady set aside two full staff meetings for CPR training. The October 22 meeting focused on the basic and advanced life support coursework. In a follow-up training session on November 12, the staff will practice CPR techniques on a stuffed animal.

Using handouts, demonstrations and hands-on practice, the training covers how to recognize cardiopulmonary arrest, the CPR procedure itself and post-cardiac arrest care. Dr. Brady has ordered copies of the RECOVER guidelines and emergency drug dosage posters for permanent display in the clinic’s surgery and dental suites and treatment area.

“We’ll be practicing on a stuffed animal, but in the workshop at Purdue, we had dog-shaped CPR dummies called simulators that had an open mouth with teeth and a tongue so we could practice intubating them,” said Dr. Brady. “The simulators were also designed to give realistic resistance when we were doing the chest compressions. Our stuffed animal won’t have those features, but I think it will still be helpful in learning the techniques.”

In keeping with RECOVER recommendations, the clinic has ordered additional supplies for the emergency crash cart, fully stocking it with multiple sizes of endotracheal tubes and IV catheters, a manual resuscitator bag, fluids and emergency drugs such as epinephrine, atropine and naloxone.

“Our cart has just about everything paramedics for humans have on their trucks, but in more different sizes to suit the smallest to the largest pets,” said Dr. Brady. “Our staff training will cover what’s in the crash cart and where, so there will be no delays in accessing the tools and supplies we need during an emergency.”

About Veterinary CPR

Veterinary cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is called for when an animal’s breathing and heartbeat stop. The causes may include heart disease, metabolic diseases, low levels of oxygen in the blood, electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, adverse reactions to a drug, electrical shock or brain trauma.

The mortality rate is extremely high in veterinary cases of cardiopulmonary arrest (CPA). For animals experiencing CPA while hospitalized, only 1.6 to 6 percent of dogs and 2.3 to 9.6 percent of cats survive to be discharged from the hospital. In humans, approximately 24 percent of adults survive an in-hospital CPA.

CPR is the only treatment of cardiopulmonary arrest. In both animals and humans, the odds of survival after CPA improve with the quality of CPR delivery, including early recognition and response to CPA, skillful application of effective basic and advanced life support techniques and post-cardiac arrest care.

Although one person can administer basic veterinary CPR, alternating between timed chest compressions and breaths, having two people handle both simultaneously makes the procedure easier.

“Once you have an unresponsive dog or cat, it works best to begin immediately with chest compressions, with a second person handling respiration,” said Dr. Brady. “These two can swap places every two minutes, because the chest compressions are tiring, but you want to keep it up until you’ve given the heart a chance to start again on its own.

“If you’re in a hospital setting and your team is trained and available, they can provide advanced life support—things like inserting an IV catheter and administering drugs, intubating and getting the patient hooked up to oxygen and an EKG machine. Team members can also look in the patient’s medical history for health problems or adverse reactions to drugs and write down all that’s being done in the moment to revive the pet so we have it for our records.”

As in human medicine, Dr. Brady said CPR alone doesn’t always restart a cat or dog’s heart, and even if it does, long-term survival is far from guaranteed. “With CPR, we’re mainly trying to buy time and keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and heart in hopes of a successful resuscitation with minimal tissue damage. Ideally, if CPR works, the heart starts back up and you get them breathing again. If you can do that, you then have a chance to diagnose the problem and try to solve it.

“You have the best chances of a successful result when CPR’s a team effort, and what you’re doing is based on current, evidence-based best practices. That’s why I’m excited to pass on to my entire staff what I learned to get certified.”

About the RECOVER Initiative

The RECOVER initiative is a non-profit, volunteer effort undertaken in 2010 by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care and the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. More than 100 board-certified veterinary medical specialists spent 18 months systematically reviewing the experimental and clinical evidence in CPR research and devised evidence-based, consensus CPR guidelines for dogs and cats. The organization published its first RECOVER guidelines in 2012 and, based on its continuing work, anticipates publishing revised guidelines in 2020.

So far, about 9,000 veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary nurses and students worldwide have completed the RECOVER online course. In addition to about 1,000 certified RECOVER Rescuers, there are about 190 certified RECOVER instructors qualified to lead certification workshops and labs.

Although the guidelines have been available since 2012, RECOVER Initiative Program Director Kenichiro Yagi said, “RECOVER is at its initial stages of adoption by the veterinary field. Progressive individuals and practices wanting to adopt the best evidence-based practice in veterinary CPR are the ones who find RECOVER.”

“We don’t have data to show whether the guidelines have led to increased survival,” said RECOVER Initiative Co-Chair Daniel J. Fletcher, PhD, DVM and Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. “Until we have data to share, what we can say is that folks who complete the RECOVER certification process report feeling much more confident and less stressed when an arrest occurs and feel that they are now more prepared when an arrest happens. So we’re making some progress!”

“Until the RECOVER initiative, there were no published standards or guidelines about veterinary CPR, and that led to a wide range of approaches and I’m sure, a lot of chaos, too,” said Dr. Brady. “What veterinarians and technicians did know was often adapted from human protocols, and it turns out what works for humans doesn’t always work for dogs and cats.

“Fortunately, in general practice, cases of cardiopulmonary arrest are relatively rare. I’ve encountered fewer than a half-dozen or so in my 15 years as a general practitioner. Of course, every one of those cases was pretty stressful.

“Now, as a result of this training, my team and I will be prepared to recognize common cardiopulmonary arrest warnings, we’ll all know the evidence-based treatment strategies and proper drug doses to use and how best to care for surviving patients after CPR. I’m sure we’ll feel calmer and more confident, should we need to resuscitate a patient, and the animal’s chances of survival will improve.

“I feel empowered now! There is no longer any guesswork. I know what to do. No more chaos!”

To maintain certification, Dr. Brady will be required to take a comprehensive online course every two years. RECOVER CPR is the only official veterinary CPR certification recognized by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care and the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society.

For information about RECOVER certification programs for veterinary professionals, first responders and pet care professionals, and pet owners, visit the RECOVER Initiative website.

Expanding to Serve You Better

The Finishing Touches

After nearly a year of work on the project, we’re happy to report all the construction and renovation inside our facility is complete, with only some landscaping remaining to be done outside.

Our spacious new lobby is receiving lots of compliments from clients, as are the larger and more numerous exam rooms. The doctors and staff are enjoying the additional, more attractive workspaces and the significant positive impact these major changes to our facility are having on our workflow.

We have a few finishing touches to put on equipping and organizing the isolation room and our offices, but the separate surgery and dental suite are fully equipped and functioning just as we dreamed they would.

Even in its not-quite-finished state, we’re delighted at the impact the expansion and renovation are already having on our ability to serve our clients and care for our patients even better than ever.

Please ask for a tour next time you’re in for a visit.

Update Impacting Clinic Visitors Saturday, August 3

We thought the paving was all done last Saturday, but a portion of the re-paved older lot needs a do-over, scheduled for Saturday morning, August 3.

Plenty of convenient parking is available in the new lot, and for the sake of our more anxious patients, we hope the noise from the heavy equipment will be minimal!

Update Impacting Clinic Visitors Wednesday, July 24 through Saturday, July 27

We’re almost done!

As we’re putting the finishing touches on our newly-renovated interior space, we have one more major undertaking left to complete on the outside: the parking lots.

In preparing for this phase of the project with our builder, we learned this is a two-day job. First, they have to rip up existing blacktop and haul that away, smooth everything out to prepare the surface and finally pave over both the old and new parking areas surrounding the clinic.

One option was to shut down the clinic for two days straight. But we said no to that! Instead, to minimize the impact on our clients and patients, we worked out the best compromise we could to allow us to stay open and still get our new parking lots done.

The ripping up and surface prep will begin on Wednesday, July 24, and the paving will take place on Saturday, July 27. During that time, parking will be limited to the grassy area just in front of the new gravel parking lot.

We know it’s going to be a mess from Wednesday through the rest of the week, with uneven terrain to cross over a greater distance from your car to the front door. There’s also going to be heavy, at times noisy equipment on site, so that your pet may feel anxious.

We apologize in advance for the inconvenience and commit ourselves to helping minimize the impact on you and your pet as much as we possibly can.

If you visit the clinic between now and Saturday and need help getting yourself and your pet into the building, use your mobile phone to call us from your car when you arrive, and a team member will be more than happy to come out and assist you. If you don’t have a mobile phone, call us when you leave your house and we’ll be on the lookout for you! We’ll also escort you and your pet back out to your car after your appointment to get you on your way back home without incident.

Whether or not you will be visiting us during the parking lot paving, to all our clients—thank you so much for your patience and encouragement during our expansion and renovation project. You’ve all been so understanding and so complimentary as our long-dreamed-of facility has taken shape. We can’t even begin to tell you how much we appreciate your bearing with our mess over these many months!

We look forward to serving you in our spacious new, improved facility for many years to come!

Friday, June 28 Update

With new construction done, we’ve been hard at work, radically reconfiguring and renovating our original spaces. We’re especially excited to see our new dental suite taking shape in the space formerly occupied by exam rooms two and three and the pharmacy. Our new table and light will be installed the first week of July, and all our dental equipment—previously in the shared surgical suite—will be moved to this dedicated space for dental procedures soon afterwards.

Below are photographs taken Friday, June 28, of the space reclaimed for doctors’ offices from exam room three, plus a little extra space from the previous reception area. Dr. Brady’s office will occupy the remaining reception area space. Those brand new cabinets are being installed in our new pack and prep area.

Monday, May 6 Update

As of Monday, May 6, we began welcoming clients and patients to our spacious new wing! Our new entrance, lobby and four exam rooms are now in use!

Phase two of our expansion and renovation projects is now underway, and will involve the renovation of the original building to house exam rooms five and six, a dedicated dental suite, a dedicated surgery room and doctors’ offices.

We promise to have an official open house once all construction is complete!

It won’t be long before we’ll be welcoming clients and patients to our new lobby!

Inside our new addition, walls and floors and being finished. Outdoors, concrete walkways have been poured.

The brick work is done!

Brownsburg Animal Clinic expansion

We’re delighted to be at the drywall stage!

Progress! We are so excited to see our dreams of a bigger, better facility being realized right before our eyes!

Taking shape, inside and out!

Hoping the rain holds off another day!

The addition is taking shape! The trusses were put in place on December 19.

As of Saturday, December 15, our concrete slab is in place! First, the pea gravel:

Then, the finished concrete. With every construction milestone, we grow more excited about welcoming clients and patients to our new space!

 

Here’s how the foundation looked, as of November 29.

The footings were poured on November 20.

After years of dreaming, planning and preparation, Brownsburg Animal Clinic’s expansion and remodeling project  is at last underway!

We’re building an addition that will double the size of our hospital as well as reconfiguring and remodeling our existing space. When the project is completed in Spring 2019, we will offer our clients and patients—

  • A spacious new lobby
  • Four more, larger exam rooms
  • Dedicated surgical and dental suites
  • An updated pharmacy
  • An updated business office
  • An expanded parking area

New construction and remodeling are scheduled to be completed this Spring. In the meantime, we apologize for any inconvenience.

Find out more about our expansion and renovation project.

World Rabies Day

September 28 is World Rabies Day.

The day is celebrated annually by the World Health Organization to raise awareness about rabies prevention and to highlight progress in defeating this deadly disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an informative page about rabies on their website. We encourage all our clients to visit the page and learn more about how to protect themselves and their families from this deadly, but vaccine-preventable disease.

In Indiana, all dogs, cats, and ferrets three months of age and older must be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. After their initial vaccine, dogs and cats receive boosters according to the vaccine manufacturer’s recommendations. Although there are rabies vaccines for dogs and cats that specify annual boosters, more often only the first booster is due after 12 months, with remaining boosters due every three years after that.

Besides risking your pet’s and your family’s health, keeping a dog six months old or older that has not received a rabies vaccination is against the law. For complete information about Indiana’s laws concerning rabies vaccines, visit the state web site.

To make sure your pet’s rabies vaccines are up-to-date, call our office. We will be happy to check your pet’s records and let you know when the next vaccine or booster is due.

We require all patients visiting the clinic to have current rabies vaccinations. If you bring in a pet whose vaccine is overdue, we will administer the vaccine if the pet’s health permits. Read about our policy here.

 

Medicines for Humans Can Be Dangerous for Pets

Nearly half the calls to the Pet Poison Hotline involve pets who have ingested over-the-counter or prescription drugs for humans.

In some cases, the pet got into the pill bottle or daily dose holder on its own. In others, a well-meaning owner deliberately gave the drug to the pet to relieve pain, nausea or other symptoms. Owners who store their pets’ prescription medicines next to their human family members’ prescriptions sometimes pick up the wrong bottle and accidentally give the pet a dose of a drug prescribed for a human in the household.

And pet owners sometimes use a drug prescribed for one pet to treat another. This is especially risky when using a drug prescribed for a dog to treat a cat.

Surprisingly dangerous are common over-the-counter pain relievers, including non-sterioidal anti-inflammatories–NSAIDS–such as Aleve, Advil and Motrin, and acetaminophen–the active ingredient in Tylenol. Even one or two pills can be seriously damaging and even deadly for pets.

For a top-ten list of medicines for humans and their damaging effects on pets, visit the Pet Poison Helpline. There’s also a brief video on the page with additional pointers and safeguards you can take to protect your pet.

Although aspirin is not on the Poison Helpline’s top-ten list, treating your pet with aspirin before coming in for an office visit can delay treatment with a more effective drug because we have to wait for the aspirin to clear the pet’s system before starting the appropriate drug. In these cases, using aspirin as a “home remedy” in hopes of avoiding an office visit keeps your pet in pain longer and slows recovery.

Before using a drug intended for humans to treat your pet, call our office to confirm it is safe and effective and to determine the proper dosage.

If you discover your pet has ingested a drug meant for humans on its own, and it’s during our office hours, call us immediately. We need to know the name of the drug, the dosage and how many pills you believe your pet has swallowed. We may have you bring your pet in right away, or we may refer you to an emergency clinic. We may have you call the Pet Poison Helpline, or we may call on your behalf to consult with the toxicologists on the most effective treatment.

After hours, call the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 and be prepared for a trip to the emergency clinic.

 

Join Us in Supporting the Indianapolis Vision Walk

Dear Brownsburg Animal Clinic Client,

My name is Morgan Estes. I am 13 years old and I am an eighth grader at Brownsburg West Middle School. I am selling these beautiful, one of a kind earrings to help raise money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness. They are handmade by my grandma in Salida, Colorado.

Indianapolis Vision Walk earring display
Handmade earrings are on display in the lobby at Brownsburg Animal Clinic and may be purchased to support the Morgan’s Visionaries team for the Indianapolis Vision Walk, Saturday, September 7, at Celebration Plaza at White River State Park.

I have had a visual impairment since birth due to Retinitis Pigmentosa which is a degenerative retinal disease that causes blindness. Since it is a degenerative disease, I could lose all my sight and become blind and not just legally blind. My visual impairment doesn’t slow me down! I am a singer in the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, I love to read, play with my dogs, and travel with my family.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is an organization that funds research to help find treatments for retinal diseases like the one I have. Their mission is to cure blindness. Every year the Foundation Fighting Blindness does their largest fundraiser called the Vision Walk. This year will be the third year that my team, Morgan’s Visionaries, has participated and I am proud to say that we have raised almost $12,000 dollars so far.

My goal is to raise $7,000 more this year and by purchasing these earrings you can help me reach it!

I am hopeful that a cure will be found for my retinal disease, but the Foundation Fighting Blindness can’t find a cure if there are no funds. All proceeds from the sale of these earrings will go directly to the Foundation Fighting Blindness. By purchasing these earrings, you are helping to fund valuable research that could lead to a cure!

Sincerely,

Morgan Estes
2019 Indianapolis Vision Walk Youth Chair

 

Hill’s Canned Food Recall Expanded

On Wednesday, March 20, Hill’s Pet Nutrition expanded its recall to include several additional Hill’s brand canned food varieties and lots because of excess vitamin D.

May 18, 2019, update: Hill’s has added 12.5-ounce cans of Hill’s Prescription Diet I/D Canine Chicken & Vegetable Stew, lot number 102020T21, to the recall list.

If you have any canned Hill’s brand pet food on hand, please visit the Hill’s web site for more information, including a list of all recalled canned food varieties, SKU and date and lot codes. Newly-added products and SKUs are indicated.

We have checked our inventory and have none of the recalled products in stock. We recommend all our clients who have Hill’s canned food on hand do the same.

Please discard any uneaten food you’ve already opened and return any unopened cans of food listed on the recall chart to the place where you purchased it for a full refund.

So far, we have not seen any patients with symptoms of excessive exposure to vitamin D, and we appreciate that Hill’s is being proactive in addressing the issue. Based on decades of experience with Hill’s, we remain confident of the quality of their prescription diets and consider them a reputable, reliable supplier. We plan to continue to prescribe Hill’s diets to our patients as needed and will continue to feed Hill’s products to our own pets.

New Year’s Resolutions for Overweight Pets

The most common New Year’s resolution for humans is to lose weight. With an estimated 58% of cats and 54% of dogs in the United States overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, the new year could be a great time to resolve to help your pet lose weight.

Why does it matter? As with humans, overweight and obese pets run a greater risk of developing a number of medical problems, including:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart and Respiratory Disease
  • Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury
  • Kidney Disease
  • Many Forms of Cancer
  • Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years)

We’re here to help!

Before you begin a weight loss program for your pet–particularly if the problem is severe and/or the pet is older or has other health issues–we strongly encourage you to visit our office for a physical exam and consultation with one of our doctors to develop a safe, effective, individualized weight loss plan.

Our first step is to determine if your pet actually is overweight and to set an ideal, healthier weight for your dog or cat.

We’ll talk about what you’re feeding your pet–including treats and table scraps–and calculate how many calories your pet should be consuming each day. Then we do the math to translate calorie requirements into the amount of food you should be feeding each day to achieve a healthier weight at a safe, comfortable pace. And we do include treats in our calculations!

We also discuss opportunities for increasing your pet’s physical activity, taking into consideration your pet’s age, general health and present fitness level as well as your lifestyle, interests and ability to exercise alongside your pet. If you’re able-bodied and interested in getting more exercise yourself, we might recommend a gradually increasing regimen of walking or jogging with your pet. If you are not interested in or able to exercise yourself, we may suggest teaching your dog to play fetch or encouraging your cat to chase a laser (if your cat doesn’t find lasers too frustrating) or a string toy (under human supervision only).

Another option for increasing activity levels for cats is to use a puzzle feeder, which is a food-dispensing toy you can buy or make for your cat. We found a great blog post on puzzle feeders that includes instructions on how to make your own.

With the nutrition needs calculated and the plan for increasing activity levels mapped out, we will most likely send you and your pet home to implement our recommendations.  We will schedule an appointment for a recheck to determine how well the weight loss plan is working for your pet.

Happily, for many otherwise healthy pets whose owners stick with our plans, these weight loss recommendations work! As the dog or cat approaches the target healthy weight, we adjust the nutrition and exercise program to maintain success over the long term.

If, at the first follow-up appointment, we find the pet is having difficulty losing weight despite good compliance with the feeding and exercise program, we may test thyroid function–particularly in older animals–to rule out hypothyroidism, which makes weight loss difficult.

Our veterinarians may also recommend a prescription food to promote weight loss, such as Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution–more commonly known as Hill’s Metabolic Diet.

We have recently been trying this food with a number of our overweight patients, and the results have been promising. Before releasing this food several years ago, Hill’s conducted in-home trials with 314 pets. 96% of dogs and 81% of cats lost weight in just two months.

This innovative nutrition formula from Hill’s helps pets lose weight by boosting their metabolic rate, regulating appetite and reprogramming the genes that control metabolism so they behave more like those of lean animals.

For more details about how this product works, we recommend this article on the PetMD web site. And here’s a blog post about Hill’s Metabolic Diet by a veterinarian at mypetsdoctor.com.

Hill’s Metabolic Diet is available at Brownsburg Animal Clinic by prescription in dry and canned form and as treats. To use this food to treat overweight or obesity, our registered veterinary technicians take initial  measurements and continue treatment with required monthly monitoring.

Ready to make that resolution to help your pet slim down? Call us during office hours to schedule your exam and weight loss consultation for the new year!

Heartworm Prevention is a Year-Round Commitment

One crisp fall day last week, I spotted–and swatted–a mosquito in my kitchen. As much as a I love all creatures great and small, I am first and foremost a doctor dedicated to protecting my loved ones, including family members and patients, from the many diseases mosquitoes carry–not to mention, the discomfort of itchy mosquito bites.

Long before the mosquito-borne Zika virus became such a concern in human medicine, heartworms, which are also carried by mosquitoes, have been a concern for veterinarians.

Fortunately, the proverbial ounce of prevention for dogs and cats is readily available in the form of heartworm preventives, such as the many brands we carry in our online store.  We also stock heartworm preventives at the clinic. Our doctors are happy to discuss how these products work and help you choose which one is right for your dog or cat.

All the pets in our household are on heartworm preventive year-round, so even if the mosquito I encountered had managed a bite,  the risk of their being infected would have been quite low.

But some clients insist their pets need heartworm preventive only during the summer months because mosquitoes are not a problem at other times of the year. A few insist their pets don’t need heartworm preventive at all because they stay in the house all the time.

The fact is, while there are more mosquitoes during the warmer months, there is no time of year when mosquitoes are not present in our climate.

And mosquitoes can and do come indoors, looking for people and pets to provide the protein and iron found in blood to make their eggs.

To learn more about heartworms, visit The American Heartworm Society’s “Heartworm Basics” page.

HIPPA for Pets

At Brownsburg Animal Clinic, we maintain detailed medical records on every one of our patients. From time to time, our clients ask us to share those records with veterinary specialists, emergency clinics, breeders, groomers and training clubs.

But in Indiana, your pet’s medical records and information about its medical condition are confidential. In fact, we cannot release your pet’s records without a signed authorization from you to do so.

We have a multi-purpose form that includes an authorization to release your pet’s records when you ask us to. You can also use this form to notify us of changes in your address or phone number. For your convenience, we encourage you to download and complete the form and return it to our office so we may respond promptly any time you ask us to share your pet’s medical records.

Here are the specific regulations for Indiana, as summarized by the American Veterinary Medical Association on their web page about confidentiality of veterinary patient records:

An animal’s veterinary medical record and medical condition is confidential and may not be furnished to or discussed with any person other than the client or other veterinarians involved in the care or treatment of the animal without written authorization of the client with the following exceptions:

An animal’s veterinary medical records and medical condition must be furnished within five (5) business days without written client authorization under the following circumstances:

(1) Access to the records is specifically required by a state or federal statute.

(2) An order by a court with jurisdiction in a civil or criminal action upon the court’s issuance of a subpoena and notice to the client or the client’s legal representative.

(3) As part of an inspection or investigation conducted by the board or an agent of the board.

(4) As part of a request from a regulatory or health authority, physician, or veterinarian:

(A) to verify a rabies vaccination of an animal; or

(B) to investigate a threat to human or animal health, or for the protection of animal or public health and welfare.

(5) As a part of an animal cruelty report and associated applicable records that are part of an abuse investigation by law enforcement or a governmental agency.

(6) To a law enforcement agency as part of a criminal
investigation.

An animal’s veterinary medical records and medical
condition may be furnished without written client authorization under the following circumstances:

(1) To the School of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue
University, the animal disease diagnostic laboratory, or a state agency or commission. However, an animal’s veterinary medical records remain confidential unless the information is disclosed in a manner allowed under this section.

(2) Veterinary medical records that are released by the board of animal health when in the judgment of the state veterinarian the disclosure is necessary or helpful in advancing animal health or protecting public health.

(3) For statistical and scientific research, if the information is abstracted in a way as to protect the identity of the animal and the client.

 

Dental Health Begins at Home

Dental health for pets begins at home with regular brushing. Some of our clients or their groomers scale built-up tartar off pets’ teeth, too.

But brushing and scaling are not enough. In fact, scaling without professional polishing creates micro-fissures in the teeth where plaque can adhere, leading to even more tartar build-up.

A professional dental cleaning , done under anesthesia, allows all surfaces of the pet’s teeth to be scaled, polished and examined for defects. We also examine the gums, tongue and the rest of the oral cavity and take full-mouth x-rays to examine teeth below the gum line. The part of the tooth showing above the gums–the crown–can look great, while there can be serious issues going on with the roots.

For more information about your pet’s dental health, including helpful home-care products that really work, we recommend the Veterinary Oral Health Council web site. Products with the VOHC Seal of Approval produce the best results and are safe for your pet. Several of these products are available at our online store.

For a professional cleaning, contact us now to schedule an appointment. February is Dental Health Month, so we are offering a 10% discount off our regular price plus a free dental goody bag to take home. Spaces are limited, so call today.

Dental Health Month

February is National Pet Dental Health Month!

We are offering a 10% discount for dental cleanings in February and sending home a free home dental care kit! All clients who schedule dental procedures in February will also be entered in a raffle to win an interactive pet toy. 

The 10% discount applies to the dental cleaning and polishing and any needed extractions. The goody bag contains all you need for continuing dental care at home–a toothbrush, specially formulated toothpaste for pets, dental treats and chews and dental rinse.

We have set aside 32 appointments for dental procedures in February. Nearly half have already been booked. To take advantage of the Dental Health Month discount and receive your home care goody bag, call our office today to schedule a dental cleaning.

The Health Impact of Obesity on Pets

A recent post on the American Veterinarian web site uses pet insurance claims statistics to document top ten diseases related to obesity.

According to the post, “Of the more than 1.4 million pet insurance claims filed in 2016 through Nationwide, the largest provider of pet health insurance in the nation, 20% were for conditions and diseases related to pet obesity. Unfortunately, this signifies that pet obesity is on the rise for the seventh consecutive year.”

Based on its database of more than 630,000 insured pets, Nationwide determined the top 10 dog and cat obesity-related conditions. Visit the web page to see the top ten list.

If you think your pet could benefit from slimming down, call us during office hours to schedule your exam and weight loss consultation.

 

Holiday Gifts for Pets

If you are like most of our clients–and, according to a recent Nielsen survey, 95% of pet owners–you consider your pet to be part of your family. And if you’re like 90 percent of cat-only owners and 96 percent of dog-only owners surveyed by VetStreet, you buy holiday gifts for your pet.

According to VetStreet, half the owners who buy gifts for their cat spend $10 to $25, 22% spend less than $10, 19% spend $26 to $50, 7% spend $51 to $100 and 2% spend more than $100.

Nearly half of gift-giving dog owners spend in the $10 to $25 range, 26% spend $26 to $50, 15% spend less than $10, 8% spend $51 to $100 and 3% give their dogs gifts costing more than $100.

The most popular gifts for cats were treats and toys, followed by “home items” like scratching posts, cat trees, beds and bowls and holiday-themed toys and clothing.

Treats were the most popular gift for dogs, followed by toys. Owners said they were less than half as likely to buy holiday-themed gifts for their dogs, followed by leashes, collars, harnesses, bowls, feeders and beds.

Of those who own dogs or cats, 66% also buy gifts for other people’s pets.

What’s on your Christmas shopping list for the dogs and cats in your life? We think treats are a wonderful choice, so long as your pet doesn’t overindulge on Christmas morning. Ideally, the gift of treats will last well into the new year!

In choosing toys, we recommend playthings designed specifically for pets. Avoid toys that can be swallowed, either whole or in parts.

Finally, just for the fun of it, here’s our favorite YouTube video of pets opening Christmas presents.

Happy holidays from the Brownsburg Animal Clinic family to yours!

Pets as Christmas Gifts

Each year, with the best and most generous of intentions, people give pets as Christmas gifts. But if you search for “pets as Christmas gifts” on Google or Bing, you’ll find more warnings than support of the idea.

At Brownsburg Animal Clinic, we dedicate ourselves to promoting and supporting successful pet ownership. We believe at any time of year, giving a pet as a gift to another person–particularly as a surprise–can potentially turn out to be bad for the people and pets involved. We also believe, with proper consideration and preparation, giving a pet as a gift can result in a happy, mutually-satisfying relationship for the life of the pet.

And research backs us up.

One study published in the journal Animals examined whether receiving an animal as a gift had an impact on the owner’s love for or attachment to the pet and found no significant difference in attachment to pets between gift recipients and people who had acquired their pets themselves. Some owners feel an even greater attachment to the pet received as a gift because a loved one was the giver. Surprise gifts of animals were acceptable to 75% of those who had received them and some said the surprise itself strengthened their attachment.

Other studies have looked at whether cats and dogs received as gifts are more likely to be surrendered to a shelter than those acquired in other ways. Contrary to what you might expect, it turns out animals given as gifts have a significantly lower risk of ending up in a shelter than dogs and cats purchased or acquired by the owners.

In light of these facts, why do so many people warn against pets as Christmas gifts? Here are the major reasons:

  • Bringing a companion animal into a household creates a major responsibility for the lifetime of the pet, which could be 10 to 15 or more years for a dog or cat. Caring for a pet takes time, money and commitment. Only the primary caregiver can decide if he or she is willing and able to take on the responsibility for a pet.
  • Matching the right pet to the household and lifestyle of the owner(s) requires thoughtful consideration. Pets vary in their needs for time, space and attention, exercise and training. Making a sound, thoughtful choice is key to the longterm success of the relationship, and only the prospective owner can say what his or her true requirements and preferences are.
  • Children who receive pets as Christmas gifts may not be ready, willing nor able to take responsibility for the animal’s care. Older children may take on much of the care, but the adults in the household should expect to be the primary caregivers.
  • Holidays can be hectic, and there are often additional household hazards, such as ornaments, electrical cords, potentially harmful plants and foods, to endanger a pet. Bringing an animal into the household at such a busy time of year places unnecessary stress on the pet and can make the adjustment more difficult than it would be at more “normal” times of the year.

We agree these are all critically important considerations. But we believe, with some creativity and common sense, the gift of a pet can work. Here’s how:

  • As appealing as the image of a kitten or puppy under a Christmas tree can be, we strongly prefer the idea of representing the pet with a stuffed animal.
  • New pets need lots of gear–food, food bowls, collars and leashes, beds, carriers, crates and healthful, safe treats. All these can be waiting under the tree in anticipation of the new pet.
  • Matching the pet to the household and owner requires some thoughtful consideration and can benefit from research. Another great holiday gift, instead of the pet itself, is a book about choosing a pet.
  • Finally, once the new owner has considered and clarified the type of pet he or she will most enjoy and appreciate, we strongly encourage giving the pet the gift of a great new home by acquiring it from a shelter or rescue organization.

At Brownsburg Animal Clinic, every one of us is dedicated to enriching and supporting our clients’ relationships with their pets. We consider all our animal companions to be gifts, providing us unconditional love and enriching our lives with their playfulness and winning ways. If you are the giver or a receiver of a pet this Christmas, we will be happy to support you in making the relationship a success.

Happy Cat Month

September is Happy Cat Month, a great time to focus on what makes your cat happy. Here’s the news release from the CATalyst Council, including good advice for our cat-owning clients.

Cats: feed them, love them, take them to the veterinarian. But when was the last time you thought about whether your cat is happy? Jane Brunt, DVM, Executive Director of the CATalyst Council and owner of Cat Hospital At Towson in Maryland says one of the keys to keeping cats healthy is keeping them happy. “Studies show that happy cats are healthier cats, and healthy cats are happier cats,” she says.

That’s why, for the seventh consecutive year, Brunt and the CATalyst Council have declared September as Happy Cat Month: a time to promote feline wellness by highlighting the link between feline happiness and health, and to encourage actions and activities that support happy  — and healthy — cats.

“Think about it from your cat’s perspective,” says Brunt. Most cats spend their days in a confined area like a house or apartment, they have no choice about what to eat or drink or where to eliminate; there are no trees to climb, and they sometimes don’t have access to a safe hiding place. And even though cats are predators, their natural instinct to hunt is rarely engaged. “They’re often not given the opportunity to be cats,” says Brunt. Plus, she says, “cats are also prey animals. Yet they have to share their limited space with large omnivorous mammals — people — and sometimes with other carnivores like dogs, or even other cats, who compete with them for their limited resources.”

Living in a threatening or unenriched environment is stressful for cats, according to veterinarian and CATalyst Council board member Dr. Tony Buffington, Clinical Professor Department of Medicine and Epidemiology UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.   “When cats perceive threat — or don’t get appropriate stimulation — their stress response system is triggered,” says Buffington. If the situation goes on for too long, it can affect your cat’s health. “For example,” says Buffington, “lower urinary tract signs or symptoms such as not using the litter box or straining are some of the most common responses to constant activation of the stress response system. It is not caused by spite, as some frustrated owners think.”

If a stressed cat is an unhealthy cat, then a happy cat is more likely to be a healthy one. What can cat owners do to make their cats not only less stressed, but more happy? CATalyst Council has a few suggestions:

Let them be safe and secure. “Like other prey animals, cats are vulnerable when they’re eating,” says Brunt. “Instead of putting a food bowl against a wall, move it away about the length of the cat, so your pet can eat facing the room.” If there are other cats in the house, Brunt suggests leaving space in between feeding stations. “If dogs share the home, consider feeding on a counter or designated table, so your cats feel safer.”

Give cats places to get high — and low. “Cats climb trees for two reasons: to survey their territory as hunters, and to escape as prey,” says Buffington. Give your cat access to high places in your home. This can range from expensive store-bought cat trees to simply clearing the top of a bookshelf for easy feline access. Some cats prefer to hide lower to the ground — under the bed, behind the sofa, or in a closet; make sure your home has some high and low places, so your cat can find the safe refuge he or she requires.

Encourage the hunter within. “For cats, hunting tends to take place in a particular order: Find. Stalk. Attack. Eat,” says Buffington. Try to encourage that order when playing with your cat. “Think how an injured bird or mouse might act,” he says, “and mimic that behavior with a cat toy.” Buffington is a huge fan of food puzzles, toys that encourage cats to figure out how to get food before eating it. “Studies show that animals — even humans — are happier when they can work for their meals,” he says. “If there’s one piece of ‘happiness advice I’d give cat owners, it’s to feed their cats with food puzzles.”

Give them their space. Whenever possible in multi-pet households, make sure each cat has access to a complete set of resources. “That includes food, water, litter box, and places to rest, scratch and climb — all out of sight of another cat,” says Buffington. Make sure their access can’t be blocked by another cat, even if you think your cats get along. “Conflict among cats is sometimes difficult for owners to see,” he says. “Even an action as subtle as a glance accompanied by a slightly different body posture can be a way for one cat to intimidate another.”

Keep it clean — litter-ally. “Cats are fastidious creatures,” says Brunt. “Inside our homes, we want them to use litter boxes, but we need to do our part by emptying them at least once or twice a day.” It’s also important to ensure that access to litter boxes cannot be blocked by other cats, or at least to provide alternative locations. Experts recommend at least one litter box on each level of a home, or one more than the number of cats in the house.

“We all can learn to think like a cat,” says Brunt. “And the best teacher is… your cat! Watch where he hides when startled. Pay attention to how she plays. Enrich his life with areas that make him feel safe and activities that play into her innate capabilities. This will help make your feline friend happier — and healthier.”

For more information and tips about ways to enrich your cat’s life, follow @CATalystCouncil or the hashtag #HappyCatMonth on Twitter and Facebook throughout September or check out the Indoor Pet Initiative or The Cat Community.

Caring for Your Canine Athlete

The field of sports medicine for people has grown a lot in the past few years, and within veterinary medicine, sports medicine for dogs isn’t far behind. Of course, it makes sense. As people adopt more active lifestyles, they enjoy involving their dogs in activities, too.

Most dogs are more than willing to run and play until they drop. A lot of times, their owners don’t realize inactive or out-of-shape dogs can over-train or hurt themselves just as human “weekend athletes” do.

Major differences in canine and human physiology make dogs more vulnerable to overheating than humans. Dogs don’t tolerate heat as well as people. Instead of sweating, they pant. When the air outside is hot, the panting doesn’t help them cool down as much, so they may be at risk for a heat stroke in situations that wouldn’t normally cause a person to overheat. Most people think if they’re OK in the heat, the dog is OK, too. But that’s not always the case.

Of course, we want our clients to have fun with their dogs. Walking or running and playing together are great for the dog and the owner. We just want people to ask themselves a few key questions before they get into any heavy exercise program with their dog—particularly in hot weather.

Is your dog in condition? Like people, dogs need conditioning to build muscles and cardiovascular fitness before walking or running long distances. If you want your dog to go with you on long-distance walks or runs, start with short distances and increase distance gradually.

Is your dog old enough for running? It takes 12 to 24 months, depending on the breed, for a young dog’s skeletal system to mature. Your veterinarian can advise you about your breed. Until then, limit running, jumping and other strenuous exercise.

Does your dog have hip dysplasia? Hip dysplasia is a common orthopedic problem in dogs, especially in the larger breeds. If you have a breed that’s prone to hip dysplasia, or if your dog seems to have trouble getting up and moving around, you need to avoid strenuous exercise until your veterinarian X-rays your dog’s hips.

How’s your dog’s cardiovascular system? Any kind of aerobic exercise works the cardiovascular system. Before you get into a strenuous exercise program with your dog-especially if it’s an older dog-you should have a veterinarian check for heart defects or disease.

Is your dog obese? It’s a great idea for overweight dogs to get exercise, but you should start slowly and build up levels of exertion gradually. To tell if your dog is overweight, you should be able to feel, but not see your dog’s ribs.

Does your dog have access to fresh water? Water is necessary for proper muscle function and flushes out waste products without damaging the kidneys. Water helps keep a dog cool, too. We suggest taking along a water bottle or canteen when exercising with your pet.

Do you know the symptoms of heat stroke? Dogs do not tolerate heat as well as humans. Hot weather can be deadly to dogs if they overheat enough to have a heat stroke. If your dog pants incessantly, feels hot to the touch and has pale or blue gums, you must cool him down immediately. Douse him with cool water and get him to a veterinarian at once. Some breeds are more vulnerable to heat stroke than others. Any dog with a pushed-in face, like a Boston terrier, a bulldog, a pug or a Pekinese, is usually more likely to have serious problems with heat than a breed with a longer muzzle.

The veterinarians at Brownsburg Animal Clinic agree the benefits of exercise for dogs far outweigh the risks, provided owners take the recommended precautions. “We don’t want to scare anybody, and we certainly don’t want to discourage people from exercising and playing with their dogs. We just want to be sure dog owners are aware of possible problems before they happen.

Calling Dr. Google

Within the medical community, doctors and staff sometimes refer disparagingly to “Dr. Google”  and the clients who search the Internet for medical information.

67% of pet owners bring Internet research on their phone or web page print-outs.

At Brownsburg Animal Clinic, we choose a more enlightened view of our Internet-based colleague. We appreciate it when our clients take the initiative and try to learn more about their pets’ health so they can ask better questions and make better-informed decisions.

To get the greatest benefit out of online resources as a complement to the medical advice you receive from our veterinarians and staff, we suggest you stick to mainstream veterinary medical sites. In our experience, sites maintained by professional societies and colleges of veterinary medicine offer more reliable information than sites maintained by individual veterinarians.

Here, in no particular order, are some of our favorite online sources:

The American Heartworm Society’s web site has a pet owner resources section that is ideal for learning the basics about heartworm disease and its treatment and prevention.

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) maintains an informative web site with guidelines for controlling internal and external parasites that threaten the health of pets and people. There are sections for dog owners and cat owners and one containing articles of interest to families. Clickable maps show the prevalence of various kinds of parasites in the United States. Click on Indiana and see a county-by-county breakdown. The Resources tab reveals a list of brochures and articles.

VeterinaryPartner.com has a wealth of reliable veterinary medical information for pet owners. While the site design is busy and dated, the search function makes it easy to find articles about specific topics.

The Cornell Feline Health Center web site,  published by the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, focuses on all major aspects of caring for cats.

Cornell’s Canine Health Center web site offers similar resources to help care for dogs.

Sully and the Sunscreen

Last Saturday, my son Rhys and I took a bike ride. Before we left the house, I applied sunscreen to protect his fair skin.

When we returned home about an hour later, I found a large pile of strange-looking thick, white vomit in front of the couch. As I prepared to clean it up, I discovered more vomit on the stairs and in the hall. Then I discovered a chewed-up sunscreen bottle.

Most clients in my situation would have immediately called the clinic for help and guidance. But as general practice veterinarians, we doctors at Brownsburg Animal Clinic are like family doctors for our patients. We know a lot about your pet’s overall health and many common conditions they may have, but we can’t possibly know everything on every subject. That is why we often enlist the help of veterinary specialists, ranging from surgeons to dentists to dermatologists and yes, even toxicologists.

If I had received a call last Saturday morning about a patient who ingested sunscreen, I would not have been certain of the best course of treatment to take. There are so many new drugs and chemical compounds available, it is impossible for a general practitioner to keep up with which ones cause toxicities in pets and how to treat these toxicities if a pet is exposed. That’s why, when we receive such calls, if we’re not absolutely sure of what to do, we make an immediate referral to the Pet Poison Helpline.

The Helpline serves as 24-7-365 poison control for your pet. For a per-incident fee of $59, they will help you and your veterinarian (if needed) work through exposure to medications and chemicals that may be harmful to your pet. You will be assigned a case number and you and your veterinarian can call as many times as needed to seek advice on how to proceed with care.

At the clinic, we have referred clients to the specialists at Pet Poison Helpline several times. In some cases, we found the pet’s exposure to a potential toxin did not need follow-up care because the helpline staff determined the dose was not large enough to be toxic. In other cases, our clients were instructed to bring their pets to our office so we could induce vomiting and give activated charcoal and IV fluids. We also have had clients referred to a 24-hour veterinary care facility for several days of decontamination.

Chewed bottle of sunscreen

With that chewed-up sunscreen bottle in my hand, I thought about all the different chemicals Sully had swallowed, and while I know just what to do in cases of chocolate exposure or exposure to anti-freeze, I had no idea about these chemicals.

So I essentially referred myself to the Pet Poison Helpline, and one of their veterinarians helped me assess the situation.

I was able to provide her the name and brand and some of the ingredients still legible on the chewed-up label. We were able to determine the missing ingredients and estimate how much he was exposed to. Luckily, the level was not fatal and not enough to cause kidney damage. But it was enough to potentially cause stomach ulceration, so I started him on a stomach protectant.

The doctor also recommended doing some blood work the following day, just to make sure the exposure wasn’t higher than we suspected. I found Sully’s liver values were slightly elevated, so I checked back in with the doctor at Pet Poison Helpline, and we discussed adding a liver supplement and rechecking blood work in a few weeks.

This experience with Sully taught me a lot.

  1. Keep sunscreen out of my dogs’ (and son’s) reach.
  2. Zinc oxide is a good emetic (vomiting agent) that stains carpet white.
  3. The Pet Poison Helpline is a great, potentially life-saving resource for pet owners–including general-practice veterinarians like me–who need fast, accurate advice from a specialist in toxicology.

Wishing you all a safe summer!

 

Answering Your Questions About Leptospirosis

Many clients have been asking us about some recent news stories about leptospirosis–a deadly bacteria primarily affecting dogs but also, rarely, in cats.

Leptospirosis is nothing new and in fact, has been in Indiana for many years. The recent increase in diagnosed cases could be due to improved diagnostic tests for the disease, improved tracking, as well as increased contact between pets and the environment where leptospirosis can be found.

Fortunately, there is a leptospirosis vaccine available for dogs, which we recommend for all dogs that have any potential for exposure. If there is wildlife in your neighborhood, your pets are at risk. Another risk factor is exposure to or drinking from rivers, lakes or streams.

This disease can be fatal to our canine friends and is zoonotic, meaning humans can contract it. These are two reasons we highly recommend this vaccine for most dogs.

In some patients, the leptospirosis vaccine can cause a vaccine reaction. In most cases, the reactions we see are mild, with some facial swelling and hives. If your pet has a history of reactions to vaccines, please speak with your veterinarian to discuss the pros and cons of administering this vaccine.

To learn more about leptospirosis, visit the American Veterinary Association web site.  To have your pet vaccinated, call the clinic to schedule an appointment.

 

Dental Health Month 2017 Ends Tuesday!

Here we are, nearly all the way through National Pet Dental Health Month, and all our available dental appointments are filled. We’ve even extended the discount through the first couple of weeks of March to meet the demand!

Thanks so much to  our clients who care enough about their pets’ health to schedule a dental cleaning! They will receive a 10% discount and, while supplies last, a “dental goodie bag.”

We also offer a 10% discount off dental cleanings year-round if, during an annual wellness exam, we recommend a dental cleaning and you schedule an appointment for your pet within 30 days. The goodie bags are available only in February (and until we run out in March), but we offer the discount to encourage excellent dental health care every month of the year.

The benefits of the dental procedure in our office can be supplemented by home-care. To give you an idea of what’s involved, here’s a short video about dental home-care for dogs from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University.

Here’s one about how to brush your cat’s teeth.

For your convenience, we carry the dental health care products shown in both videos in our online store.

Cal’s Dental Procedure

With all of February dedicated to dental health care for pets, I want to give you a behind-the-scenes look at my own boxer–General Stubs Calhoun–and his recent visit to the clinic for a dental cleaning and exam. I hope this post will not only answer any questions you may have about what goes on during a dental procedure, but also show you that I personally consider dental health care essential for all pets, including my own.

Cal turned seven this past July. It had been two years since his last dental cleaning.

As a boxer, Cal is at higher-than-average risk for a condition called gingival hyperplasia, causing his gums to proliferate and grow so extensively as to cover his teeth. Cal has this condition, so in addition to cleaning his teeth two years ago, we did a gingival resection, in which we removed the excess gum tissue in several areas of his mouth. He recovered very nicely and had been doing just fine.

But several months ago, we noticed Cal was not chewing his rawhides the way he used to, and he had a slightly pungent odor to his breath. I did a physical exam, finding a little tartar and a few areas of gingival hyperplasia. I didn’t see any obvious signs of abscessed teeth. Still, I knew something was wrong, so I decided to bring him in for a complete dental exam, including full-mouth dental radiographs (x-rays).

The procedure started with the necessary preanesthetic blood work to make sure Cal had no underlying health issues that might make anesthesia too risky. Once we had Cal under anesthesia, we did our radiographs and found several fractured teeth. The fractures were below the gum line, so there was no way to see them–even with a regular dental cleaning and probing–without the x-rays.

We extracted the cracked teeth and resected the overgrown gums. We scaled and polished the remaining teeth.

Cal has recovered very well. He did need to eat a soft diet for about 10 days, but after that, resumed eating his usual dry kibbles. And he’s back to enjoying his rawhides!

I understand it can be a little scary to consider putting an older pet like Cal under anesthesia for a dental cleaning. That’s why we take measures to minimize the risks.

  • We require blood work within the past six months to be sure all organs are functioning well and able to handle the medications we use.
  • We use the safest anesthesia available.
  • All pets have intravenous catheters and receive fluids throughout the procedure.
  • While one technician cleans the teeth and makes the x-rays, another focuses throughout the procedure on monitoring the patient’s oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, electrocardiogram, heart rate, blood pressure and temperature using monitoring equipment very similar to what you would find in a human hospital.

Still on the fence about scheduling your pet’s dental appointment? Here are some additional resources from the American Veterinary Medical Association, including links to a dental health quiz, videos to help you teach your pet to accept home tooth-brushing and even more information about the “whys” of dental health care for your companion animal.

If you are ready to schedule a professional cleaning, contact us now to schedule an appointment. Remember, February is Dental Health Month, so we are offering a 10% discount off our regular price plus a free dental goody bag to take home to all who schedule dental procedures in February. Spaces are limited, so call today.

Our One-Star Review

Recently, Brownsburg Animal Clinic received its first one-star online review. We discovered it among our eight five-star ratings on Google, and it dropped our overall rating to 4.5. Our perfect 5.0, based on 37 reviews, still stands on Facebook. We also have three 5-star ratings on Yelp.

The one-star review was from someone whose cat had died, and the reviewer blamed the drugs the cat was taking–Cerenia, used to treat vomiting in dogs and cats, and “Covenina,” most likely a reference to Convenia, which we prescribe to treat urinary tract infections in cats.

The reviewer also blamed us. The rest of the review criticized our veterinarians personally as “archaic” and “old school young but stupid” doctors who might be able to treat dogs, but “cats not so much!”

The review concluded with a suggestion that we fire our “partner.”

Naturally, we found this review distressing. Our first impulse was to respond to it online, but upon further reflection, we decided it was better to flag it for review by Google, which prohibits personal attacks in its online reviews, and hope it will be taken down.

Meanwhile, we want to express our sympathy to the client for the loss of his or her cherished cat. Every one of us at the clinic has lost pets of our own, and we understand the pain, grief and yes, sometimes even anger, that are often part of the recovery process.

We also want to note that the drugs mentioned as “killers” are both safe, highly effective medications that have been in use for the past 5 to 10 years–hardly “archaic.” If your pet is taking either of these drugs and you have concerns, please call us to discuss the benefits and risks of the drugs for your pet.

Finally, we want to assure our clients that all of our doctors and medical staff are well-qualified, dedicated general practitioners who follow best practices and protocols in both feline and canine medicine. As small animal practitioners, we keep up with the veterinary medical literature concerning both cats and dogs, and all of us meet all continuing education requirements. We are capable and confident of our ability to provide high-quality medical care for your pet. When more specialized care is called for, we do not hesitate to refer you to the appropriate specialist.

We hope all our clients will feel free to discuss any issues they have about the care we provide in our clinic. If you have a question or concern with our diagnoses or treatment recommendations, we encourage you to discuss it at the time of your visit. While our veterinarians are not always available to take phone calls for much of the day, we are happy to return calls to answer your questions. So please, leave us a message and we will contact you as soon as we are able.

Thank you to all the clients who have awarded us top ratings. We dedicate ourselves to continuing to deserve your trust and loyalty!

Emergency and Specialty Referrals

Have you ever brought your pet here or to some other general veterinary practice and been referred to a specialist or advised to head over to the local emergency clinic?

There was a time, 30 or 40 years ago, when small animal general practitioners did, or at least tried to do, everything. We still do a lot. Most of us do some dentistry and many are comfortable and capable handling some orthopedic procedures.

But with the recent advances in veterinary medicine, specialization has flourished. The American Veterinary Medical Association currently recognizes 22 veterinary specialty organizations. These range from veterinary dermatology to surgery to ophthalmology to dentistry to critical care.

If you bring your pet in, and one of our doctors refers you to a specialist, or an emergency clinic or a 24-hour veterinary care facility, chances are it’s because we believe your pet would benefit from specialized and/or round-the-clock care.

So, you ask, what do we “regular vets” learn in vet school then?

We learn a little bit of everything! In many areas of veterinary medicine, we actually learn a lot, and we keep on learning through continuing education! Our veterinarians are all very knowledgeable and comfortable diagnosing and treating many common ailments. But from time to time, we recommend a specialist as the best person to diagnose and treat rare, complicated, chronic or severe cases.

For example, if your pet has been hit by a car and has multiple fractures, like most regular clinics, we do not have bone plating materials that may be indicated for the types of injury your pet has. So we send you to an orthopedist who has what’s needed to care for your pet.

Or if your pet has severe allergies, and we’ve tried dozens of diets and medications, and your pet is still itchy, we may send you to a dermatologist for allergy testing.

If you come in at 5:45 p.m. and the clinic closes at 6:00, and your pet has been vomiting non-stop for 24 hours, we may send you to an ER as they offer 24-hour care plus a critical care specialist who can take the time and apply the specialized expertise to be sure your pet has the best possible chance of recovery.

So if you come to the clinic and one of our doctors recommends a specialist or sends you to the ER, rest assured it is because in our best judgment, we believe your pet will experience the best outcomes being cared for by someone with more experience and more sophisticated, specialized equipment for diagnosing and treating the particular illness or condition. And that means your pet has the best chances of healing in the shortest amount of time.

Reduce the Risk of Dog Bites

We’ve discovered a great web site filled with lots of free resources to educate children–and adults, too–about how to reduce the risk of being bitten by a dog.

The web site belongs to a non-profit organization called Doggone Safe, founded to help educate children about how to recognize negative emotional signals in the body language of dogs.

Hugs May Be Stressful for Dogs

We came across a Psychology Today blog post in which author Stanley Coren suggests that most dogs find hugs stressful.

The research involved analysis of photographs posted on the Internet. More than 80% of dogs being hugged showed signs of discomfort, stress or anxiety.

We encourage all our dog-owning clients–especially those with children in the household–to read the article. If your dog shows any signs of discomfort when being hugged, it’s a good idea to find other ways to show your affection.

Why Do Cats Do What They Do?

Why does your cat behave as he or she does? This 5-minute TED-Ed video, called “Why do cats act so weird?” has some answers.

Written by Tony Buffington, a veterinarian and professor with a special interest in cats,  the animated video covers a number of common feline behaviors, tracing them back to their evolutionary roots. It’s fun to watch, too!

Estate Plans to Cover Your Pets

When it comes to estate planning, most of us update our wills and name beneficiaries of insurance policies and retirement funds so that our heirs and favorite charities will be provided for.

But what about our pets?

What will happen to your pets if they outlive you? Have you considered including your four-legged loved ones in your estate plans?

Depending on your family, financial and tax situation, you may provide for your pet’s care and support within the provisions of your will or in a trust document. For many people, the best approach is to execute a revocable trust incorporating provisions for pet care. Here’s why:

  • A revocable trust can easily be revised to add or remove a pet.
  • With a revocable trust, the assets you allot for your pet(s) are not tied up in probate, which can take a great deal of time and leave your pets without care.
  • Generally, assets in a revocable trust are not taxed as part of the estate.

Should you change your will or create a revocable trust to provide for your pet(s) in your estate plans? Only an attorney familiar with your situation and estate planning law knows for sure.

As veterinarians, we can’t provide legal advice, but if you are concerned about providing for your pet’s welfare in your estate plans, we encourage you to to ask a competent, licensed attorney.

Ian Dunbar on Dog-Friendly Dog Training

We came across this very insightful TED* talk by Ian Dunbar, a veterinarian, dog trainer, animal behaviorist and author. Over the past several decades, Dr. Dunbar has written many books and DVDs about puppy and dog behavior and training, including AFTER You Get Your Puppy, How To Teach A New Dog Old Tricks and the SIRIUS® Puppy Training video.

For much more information and free resources by Dr. Dunbar, including a comprehensive online dog training textbook, visit Dog Star Daily.

*TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged.

Cold Weather Safety for Pets

Winter is well underway, and we’re sure to face more cold weather before spring is here to stay.

For a good overview of how best to care for your pet when temperatures fall, we recommend Cold Weather Pet Safety, an article on the American Veterinary Medical Association web site.

Diabetes

We all know human friends and family members who suffer from diabetes, but many people don’t realize pets can develop diabetes, too.

The key symptoms are lethargy, excessive thirst and frequent urination.

We can’t yet cure diabetes, but we can help you manage the disease in your dog or cat.

The people at Merck Animal Health have declared November “Pet Diabetes Month.” If you are currently living with a dog or cat who has diabetes, we encourage you to visit Merck’s informative Pet Diabetes Month web site to learn more. If your pet is displaying symptoms, please call us to schedule an appointment.

The Ears Have It

One of our favorite sources of information for clients is the American Veterinary Medical Association YouTube channel.

Today’s topic is ear care for dogs and cats.

First, here’s a brief overview on ear care for dogs. Please note at about a minute and a half in, there’s a recommendation NOT to use cotton swabs. We agree! Cotton swabs can push debris further into the ear canal and possibly injure the ear.

And here’s a video on ear care for cats.

Year-Round Protection

As cool days begin to outnumber warm ones, it’s tempting to consider skipping a few months of heart worm preventive or flea and tick control. After all, come winter, there won’t be a mosquito in sight!

Our advice is to resist the temptation and keep up the good work of heart worm, flea and tick prevention year-round.  In our climate, mosquitoes, fleas and ticks can’t be counted on ever to disappear completely. Even during the coldest months, the risks remain.

We have many options for heart worm prevention and flea and tick control, both topical and oral. Feel free to call the clinic with any questions regarding which product will work best for your pet, and be sure to ask about the rebates that come with many of them when you stock up. 

If you already know the products you prefer, shop for them at our online store.

Misty Eyes ‘Raise the Woof’

Brownsburg Animal Clinic is a proud co-sponsor of the upcoming “Raise the Woof” fund-raiser for Misty Eyes Animal Center on Friday, November 13, starting at 6:00 p.m. at the Palms in Plainfield, 2353 Perry Road in Plainfield.

Since its founding in 2011, we have supported Misty Eyes, and we deeply appreciate the role they play in fostering animal welfare in our community. Their mission is “to end the needless euthanasia of domesticated pets in Hendricks County,” and they work toward that goal using a multi-faceted approach that involves collaboration with local organizations, teaching responsible pet ownership and the benefits of spaying or neutering pets, and placing homeless pets in qualified foster and adoptive homes.

The “Raise the Woof” event is a great opportunity for a fun night out for a wonderfully worthwhile cause. We hope to see you there!

 

World Rabies Day

September 28 is World Rabies Day, officially launched in 2007 to raise awareness about the public health impact of human and animal rabies. Rabies is a devastating disease that can be deadly, but one that is 100% preventable by vaccines.

In Indiana, all dogs, cats, and ferrets three months of age and older must be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. After their initial vaccine, dogs and cats receive boosters according to the vaccine manufacturer’s recommendations. Although there are rabies vaccines for dogs and cats that specify annual boosters, more often only the first booster is due after 12 months, with remaining boosters due every three years after that.

Besides risking your pet’s and your family’s health, keeping a dog six months old or older that has not received a rabies vaccination is against the law. For complete information about Indiana’s laws concerning rabies vaccines, visit the state web site.

To make sure your pet’s rabies vaccines are up-to-date, call our office. We will be happy to check your pet’s records and let you know when the next vaccine or booster is due.

Happy Cat Month

September  is  Happy  Cat  Month, an annual event created by CATalyst Council to educate and inform cat owners about all they can do to keep their cats happy. The goal is to spread the word  about the health,  welfare and value of companion  cats.

Often,  cats  are  viewed  as  self-reliant,  aloof  and  less  in  need  of medical  care  than  dogs. The  aim  of  Happy Cat Month  is to counteract  these  stereotypes  and  ensure  cats  are  well  cared  for and enriched and  that they receive  the  preventive  care  they  require.

The doctors and staff at Brownsburg Animal Clinic are happy to answer questions about “best practices” to keep your cat healthy and happy.

Dogs and Heatstroke

We’ve talked about the dangers of hot weather for dogs before. We encourage all our dog-owning clients to read this article in the New York Times. It has some good advice, including the warning signs of heat stroke: excessive panting, lethargy and a deep red tongue.

If you think your dog is having a heat stroke, get it into cool water immediately. If the symptoms persist, treat it as a medical emergency. If it’s during our office hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon, call us immediately at (317) 852-3323 so our staff can prepare for your arrival and offer you advice for administering first aid.

If it’s after-hours, on weekends or a holiday, please call the Airport Animal Emergi-Center at (317) 248-0832. The emergency center is at 5235 West Washington Street in Indianapolis. Maps, directions and more information are available on the Emergi-Center web site.

WebMD for Pet Health

Many of you may be familiar with WebMD as a source of reliable online information about human health.

But did you know WebMD also maintains a pet health web site with specialized sections for dogs and cats?

While we haven’t reviewed every single veterinary health-related article on the site, the information we have seen appears to be accurate. And some of the topics on the site and in the emailed newsletters look interesting and fun.

As with your human family’s health care,  however, we encourage you always to look to your own doctor as the primary source of definitive information about preventive care, diagnosis and treatment.

The doctors and staff at Brownsburg Animal Clinic are here to answer your questions about the specifics of your pet’s health. We hope you’ll use the information you find online at WebMD and other pet health sites to start a conversation with us.

AVMA’s Check the Chip Day

The American Veterinary Medical Association has declared August 15 “Check the Chip” day.  As you’ll see if you visit the AVMA’s page, the goal is to remind owners of pets with microchip implants to confirm that their registration information is up to date.

For pets without microchips, our strong recommendation is to make an appointment with us to microchip your pet. It’s the best way to increase your chances of recovering your pet, should he or she get lost or be stolen.

For more information about the microchipping procedure itself, here’s a brief video from the AVMA.

At Brownsburg, we use HomeAgain brand microchips. The HomeAgain web site has even more information about the benefits of microchipping, and we are happy to answer any questions you may have about the procedure.

Heartworm Season is Here

With all the rain we’ve had recently, we are sure to have lots of standing water and standing water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are the little creatures that transmit heartworms from animal to animal.

If you do not already have your pet on heartworm preventive, we highly recommend getting him or her covered! If your pet has never been on any kind of prevention, a simple blood draw is all it takes to set the process in motion. We have several options on prevention and some really great rebates!

We never want to see any of our beloved patients come up positive for heartworms. Its very taxing on an animal’s overall wellbeing, and treatment for the parasite can be quite expensive.

If you have questions, please call the clinic at (317) 852-3323 and we will be happy to help you keep your pet happy and heartworm-free!

Fireworks and Pets

With Independence Day fast approaching, we want to remind owners to protect their pets from exposure to fireworks.

  • Fireworks are noisy! While most humans enjoy the lights and sounds of a fireworks display, many pets experience the noise as unnerving or even terrorizing.
  • Lighted fireworks can cause severe burns and trauma to the face and paws of a curious pet.
  • Unlit fireworks can be swallowed, obstructing your pet’s digestive tract and introducing potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.

We know of at least one local July 4 fireworks display this year at Arbuckle Acres Park, and we’re sure there will be many families celebrating the day with fireworks in their own backyards.

We encourage you to protect your pet from fireworks this July 4!

Summer Safety Tips

Summer has arrived!

We found an AVMA video that gives a great overview of how to keep your pet safe during the summer months. Even if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, we encourage you to watch the first two and a half minutes for a good overview of heat stress, including emergency measures you can take.

Adopt a Cat

The American Humane Association has declared June Adopt a Cat Month, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals encourages you to adopt a shelter cat during June.

The checklist on the AHA’s web site offers some great advice for first-time cat owners.

For a very basic overview of cat behavior, check out the AVMA’s video, Cat Behavior 101.

To find a cat who needs a home, we encourage you to visit Misty Eyes Animal Center at 640 East Main Street here in Brownsburg, or visit their web site to see photographs of cats available for adoption.

National Heat Awareness Day

May 23 is National Heat Awareness Day, sponsored by the National Weather Service to remind us of just how dangerous heat can be, not only to humans, but to pets.

As shown on this NWS web page about the dangers of heat to children and pets, even when the temperatures are relatively mild, the interior or a car or truck can heat up very quickly. To reveal more details, click the links on the page.

Also addressing this same issue is a brief video from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

We agree with the advice from the AVMA. If you love your pets, leave them at home!

Preventing Dog Bites

Sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association, National Dog Bite Prevention Week® takes place during the third full week of May each year. The goal is to teach people about preventing dog bites.

The AVMA’s web site has a page dedicated to dog bite prevention.  We encourage you to visit the page and learn more about how you can lower the risk that your dog will bite. There are also tips on how to avoid having a dog bite you or someone you love.

Also from the AVMA is this video about preventing dog bites. This is video has dog bite statistics as well as specific tips for avoiding being bitten. We hope you’ll watch it with your kids.

Dental Care at Home

As Dental Health Month draws to a close, there’s still time to schedule an appointment and receive a 10% discount on dental procedures for your pet.

You also receive a free home care kit when you pick up your pet.

We encourage you to make home dental care a habit!

Cold Weather Tips

Just because our companion animals are furry doesn’t mean they don’t need extra care in extra-cold weather.

This short article on the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has some good advice about caring for pets in cold weather.

The Humane Society offers these suggestions.

 

AVMA Video on Dental Health

The American Veterinary Medical Association has produced a good video overview of dental health for pets. It takes less than six minutes to watch, and is well worth the time!

Don’t forget our 10% discount off dental procedures during February. Call our office today to make your appointment. You’ll receive a free take-home dental care kit, too.

About Trifexis

We have had many questions about the series of articles written by the Indy Star on Trifexis and other veterinary drugs. We would like to address the concern of Trifexis safety that was the focus of the first article.

We have been prescribing Trifexis since it has been on the market and have found it be very safe and effective. The only side effects we have noted are vomiting, occasional diarrhea and, in rare cases, itching. Any medication taken orally can cause vomiting. For our patients that have experienced these side effects, they have been short-lived (24 hours or less) and, based on experience, we typically then decide to use a different heartworm preventive that may be better suited for these particular pets’ stomachs.

Meanwhile, I have continued to use Trifexis with my own pets because of its ease of administration, effectiveness and safety.

What we do know is heartworm disease kills. Period. Our greatest fear is that these articles will incite panic and cause people to stop giving preventives altogether. If you have questions about your pet’s heartworm medication or heartworm disease, please do not hesitate to ask your veterinarian or check out the American Heartworm Society’s website.

We doctors at Brownsburg Animal Clinic always welcome an open dialogue about your pet’s health, medications and any potential side effects. Your pet’s health and well being are always our top priorities. We thank you for your continued trust in allowing us to care for your furry family members.

IVMA Response to Indy Star Series

The Indy Star’s “Pets at Risk” series raised a number of important issues that affect all our clients in their relationships with their pets. At the same time, the articles also suggest that some veterinarians are unduly influenced by our desires for financial gain at the expense of our patients’ health and our clients’ wellbeing.

I encourage you to read the response of the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association to the series.

If you have questions or concerns about the articles, or any aspect of your pet’s health and our recommended treatment and preventive measures, please talk to me or one of the other doctors at the clinic.