General Interest

Gloved hand holding two test tubes containing blood

How We Manage Lab Test Results

If your pet has needed laboratory tests lately, you may have been impacted by yet another of the many continuing consequences of the pandemic: It usually takes longer for us to receive, review and interpret test results now than it did in the days before March 2020.

Here’s why:

  • Like our veterinary colleagues throughout the nation, we are experiencing unprecedented demand for our services. 
  • In the earliest weeks of the pandemic response, we were allowed to offer only “essential” services, creating a backlog of demand for wellness visits and elective procedures. 
  • Clients spending more time at home with their pets continue to notice more health issues and call for more appointments. 
  • We (and many of our colleagues) are seeing more new clients and patients who need our services. 
  • Although we’ve improved with experience, curbside service is still somewhat less efficient than face-to-face interactions, reducing the number of appointments we can offer in a given day and lengthening the time required for each visit. Phone lines are often tied up. Hold times are longer. Nerves are frazzled. This situation has eased since we reopened our exam rooms to clients, but we are still offering curbside service to clients who prefer it and for tech appointments and prescription and food pick-ups.

Through it all, Brownsburg Animal Clinic has been and steadfastly remains here for you and your pet. Our mission is to care for as many patients as we can capably manage while upholding our standards for safety and quality of care. While it may not be “business as usual” as we and our long-term clients had come to know it before the onset of the pandemic, our veterinarians and team remain committed—as always—to providing uncompromising patient care to the very best of our abilities.

The Pandemic’s Impact on Laboratory Test Results

Every laboratory test result requires careful scrutiny and thoughtful evaluation by the veterinarian handling the case. The process cannot and should not be rushed. 

How soon our veterinarians and team members are able contact you to discuss your pet’s test results depends on a number of factors. To manage these factors and address the many competing priorities demanding our time and attention every day, we rely on a triage (pronounced TREE-ahzh) system to manage our workflow, including review and analysis of laboratory test results. 

When you bring your pet in for an appointment and the doctor or technician take tissue, urine or a fecal sample, or draw blood, we send the specimen to the laboratory—either in-house or outside, depending on the test. How soon we receive test results can vary depending on the lab’s case load and the type of test.

Once the results are in, how soon the veterinarian or a team member can be ready to discuss test results with you varies, too, depending on our current workload and the potential urgency of the case.

In the past, each of our doctors typically had one or two test reports to review and interpret each day. Currently, we are each receiving results from as many as five to seven lab tests a day, and we have to review and interpret each report, formulate a diagnosis and treatment plan options for every case, and contact each owner to discuss next steps. 

Using our triage system, we fit this higher volume of lab report-related tasks in among our other duties—seeing pets at regularly-scheduled appointments, performing surgical and dental procedures, completing medical records, reviewing requests for prescription refills, offering medical advice, answering questions and, if necessary, handling emergency cases that may come in.

Within the context of all these daily duties, here’s how we apply triage principles to lab reports:

  • Test results for more urgent cases and sicker pets take priority over more routine tests, such as wellness blood tests for apparently healthy pets. A veterinarian treating a seriously ill pet will typically make time to review lab test results at the first opportunity.
  • Depending on the purpose of the test and the pet’s medical history, we can sometimes analyze a lab report showing all results within normal ranges more quickly than we can evaluate a report showing one or more abnormalities. A pet who shows symptoms of illness yet tests normally may require further consideration and analysis.
  • Regardless of the pet’s apparent state of health, lab reports showing concerning abnormalities may prompt a full review of the pet’s medical records and, perhaps, additional research and consultation to arrive at a diagnosis and develop treatment plan options. 

We realize waiting for test results can be agonizing—especially when you’re worried about a sick pet and anxious to find out the diagnosis and get on with treatment. We share your concern and assure you, we always do our very best to process lab test results in the most insightful and timely way possible. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding!

Fireworks display

Managing Your Pet’s Noise Anxiety

Independence Day is nearly here, and this year, as COVID-related restrictions on public gatherings have eased, the celebrations may be livelier that usual. Festivities may stretch over two days, as July 4 falls on a Sunday this year, but many businesses—including ours—will be closed to celebrate on Monday, July 5.

Over the upcoming Independence Day weekend, 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.

Pug dog with chin resting on a car window frame

Curbside-Only Continues

Despite the decline of COVID-19 new case and death rates from winter highs to levels close to those experienced last summer, Brownsburg Animal Clinic will continue curbside service exclusively until further notice.

We will also continue following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control regarding wearing masks and keeping physical distance from colleagues and clients.

Like most of our clients, we strongly prefer the more efficient and satisfying face-to-face interactions of indoor appointments. Several of our team members and their pets have recently visited specialty clinics where curbside service was the only option. In sharing their experiences of curbside as clients, they’ve helped all of us understand better than ever our own clients’ frustrations with curbside service.

Other team members have shared recent experiences with providers of human healthcare and dentistry, citing continuing restrictions on family members allowed into exam and hospital rooms.

Within the veterinary industry, we are seeing many clinics and veterinary teaching hospitals continuing to offer curbside only, until further notice—as we have elected to do. Others have reopened their facilities to the public while still making curbside service available to clients who prefer it,. We tried that from last July 6 until November 10, when we reverted to curbside-only as infection and death rates soared.

As a healthcare professional and clinic owner, I am solely responsible for setting policies for our clinic. I consider the current risks of infection too great to reopen our building to the public right now and for the foreseeable future. That’s why curbside-only service will continue at Brownsburg Animal Clinic.

All year long, my first priority has been and remains the health and safety of our staff, our families and our clients. Infections within the clinic could not only make any number of us sick and jeopardize our own and our families’ health, but also shut us down for weeks. I want to keep that risk as low as possible so we can continue to be here for our clients and patients without interruption. I also want to minimize confusion about what our clients can expect when they come for an appointment by continuing the policy we’ve had in place for the past four months until infection and death rates stabilize at lower levels.

As COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available, I am encouraging all on our team who wish to be vaccinated to schedule their appointments promptly. We will track the dates their shots are administered and wait for full efficacy for all vaccinated staff members before we consider reopening the building. We will also continue to monitor the infection and death rates as well as vaccination rates for Hendricks and surrounding counties as we look to restore full access to our building as soon as we feel it’s reasonably safe to do so.

Meanwhile, we are allowing clients into the building for euthanasias. If you observe clients entering the building, we ask that you understand this is the most likely reason for their visit and offer them the same respect and compassion you would appreciate if you were saying goodbye to your pet for the last time.

We will notify our clients by email, website post and Facebook post when we feel it is safe to reopen our building to clients. We apologize for any inconvenience and frustration our continuing curbside-only policy may cause you as a client.

Curbside Protocols

As a reminder, here’s how curbside works:

  • Call in advance to make an appointment for your pet’s visit.
  • When you arrive for the appointment, call the front desk at (317) 852-3323 to let us know you’re in our parking lot.
  • A technician will call you to discuss your pet’s history and the reason for the appointment. 
  • A technician will then 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 by your vehicle with your dog on a leash 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. Because of the increased call volume, you may experience delays in having your call answered and long hold times. Please know we are doing our best to manage phone calls as quickly and efficiently as we can.
  • At the conclusion of the appointment, after you’ve paid your bill, a staff member will return your pet, along with any prescribed medicines or foods, to your car.
  • We ask that you maintain a distance of at least six feet from anyone you encounter during your visit to our clinic.
  • We expect you to wear a snug-fitting mask covering your nose and mouth while interacting with our staff members and other clients who may be waiting in the parking lot.

Food Orders and Prescription Refills

If you need to visit the clinic to pick up food or medicine, we ask for more than the usual 24-hours’ advance notice. 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.

Thank you!

We all join you in looking forward to the time when we can safely reopen the building to our clients—and we most certainly will—just as soon as we feel it is prudent to do so again.

Thank you for your continuing patience, cooperation and understanding.

Sincerely,

Timea H. Brady's signature

Timea H. Brady, DVM
Owner, Brownsburg Animal Clinic

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

Seresto flea and tick collars for dogs and cats

Are Seresto Flea and Tick Collars Safe?

On March 3, 2021, USA Today published an article with this alarming headline: 

‘Popular flea collar linked to almost 1,700 pet deaths. The EPA has issued no warning.’

The collar in question is Bayer brand’s Seresto flea and tick collar for dogs and cats, now sold by Elanco, which acquired Bayer Animal Health in August 2020. Since Bayer introduced the collars in 2012, more than 25 million have been sold in the U.S. The collars are effective at controlling fleas and ticks for eight months.

We understand how clients reading the USA Today article would be deeply concerned—especially if their pets wear Seresto collars!

On our first read-through, we found the article concerning ourselves! 

After all, we’ve been recommending these collars for years as a convenient, effective alternative to monthly oral and topical preventives. We sell them in our online store. 

However, in all our years of recommending Seresto collars for our patients, we’ve witnessed no such severe side-effects as described in the USA Today article. We’ve heard no such stories from other veterinarians, nor have we read about them in veterinary medical publications. The clients who use Seresto collars for their pets seem to love them.

So are Seresto flea and tick collars safe? 

Rather than look to the popular press for definitive veterinary medical information, we decided to find out what veterinary toxicologists—none of whom were interviewed for the USA Today article—have to say in response to the article. 

Here’s what we found:

While the article alluded to numerous consumer reports to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implicating the collars in the deaths of nearly 1,700 pets, injuries to tens of thousands of pets and health problems for hundreds of pet owners, there is no way to know for sure, based solely on raw, unverified anecdotal evidence, that the collars actually caused such a myriad of problems. 

’The signs are very random.’

Quoted in an article published by the Veterinary Information Network (VIN) on March 5, 2021, Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center and a toxicology consultant for VIN, said, “Looking at these reports, these are very random things, ranging from ruptured eardrums — which I can’t make fit really at all — to liver failure, to heart problems, to kidney failure. The fact that the signs are very random makes me think that probably [the collar] is not involved.”

‘You cannot make a cause-effect connection.’

A second VIN toxicology consultant, Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, pointed out that consumer reports to the EPA are often anecdotal and unverified. “Anyone can report anything to regulatory agencies,” she said. “That doesn’t mean it’s true or accurate. This is why looking at the raw data from these agencies is so dangerous — they reflect only the reports, not any ancillary information required to determine if there’s actually any merit to the report.” She added without a veterinary examination or necropsy (an animal autopsy) to rule out other potential causes of illness or death, “you cannot make a cause-effect connection.”

‘The toxicity of these collars is extremely low.’

On a listserv for veterinary toxicologists, Gwaltney-Brant said her colleagues expressed surprise at the concerns about Seresto collars. Even when pets ingest the collars—which happens fairly often with dogs—she said, “the toxicity of these collars is extremely low, and they have no ‘red flags’ on this particular product.” 

‘You don’t necessarily know where these collars are coming from.’

Both toxicologists agreed the prevalence of counterfeit products could make it difficult to interpret the incident reports. Fake collars, packaged to look like the real thing and usually priced somewhat lower than the genuine product, may not only fail to protect pets from fleas and ticks but contain ingredients that do harm pets.

“You don’t necessarily know where these collars are coming from and what actually is in them,” Wismer said. “And that could explain a lot of the different kinds of clinical signs we are seeing.”

‘We feel very comfortable with the safety profile of these collars.’

An article titled “Collar-Gate,” published on March 5, 2021, in The Canine Review called the USA Today report “flawed, incomplete, and misleading.” 

The article quoted American Board of Veterinary Toxicology President-Elect Dr. Ahna Brutlag as saying, “We feel very comfortable with the safety profile of these collars.” 

Dr. Brutlag is the Director of Veterinary Services at the Pet Poison Helpline and has worked with the Helpline since 2004. During that time she said she has not seen any examples of serious adverse events connected with Seresto collars. “Our data has really shown that the collars are not associated with severe adverse events.” 

Dr. Brutlag noted that the active ingredients in Seresto collars—imidacloprid and flumethrin—are widely used and based on experience, have “a pretty wide and favorable safety profile for the collars.”

Until we see solid scientific proof, and until our own profession issues warnings, we intend to keep recommending Seresto collars.

Veterinarians weighing in on a VIN message board about the matter have been contacted by concerned clients—as we have. Like us, after years of recommending the collars, they have had very few if any serious adverse reactions to the collars reported. 

And until we see solid scientific proof of a direct, causal connection to serious adverse reactions, we intend to keep recommending Seresto collars.

Rest assured, if any solid medical evidence of harmful effects of Seresto collars does emerge in the aftermath of the USA Today article, we veterinarians will be among the very first to know and to respond immediately and appropriately to keep our patients safe. The safety and wellbeing of your pets always has been and always will be our first priority!

Meanwhile, here are a few more points to keep in mind:

In our part of Indiana, we strongly recommend some form of flea and tick control year-round.

All flea and tick preventives come with some degree of risk of adverse reactions, but the risks of discomfort and diseases spread by fleas and ticks to animals and humans far outweigh those risks.

If you are currently using Seresto collars and the concerns about them have you feeling uneasy, we encourage you to click through and read the articles linked to on this post. Then talk to any of our veterinarians about oral and topical alternatives to protect your pet and your family from flea- and tick-borne diseases. 

Before using Seresto collars—or any other pet product or medication, for that matter—discuss the risks to your particular pet with your veterinarian, read the entire label and follow instructions to the letter. 

Counterfeit pet care products are widely offered by independent sellers through Amazon, Ebay and other online sources, usually at a lower price than the genuine product. Make sure you buy genuine Seresto collars and other pet supplies only from reputable sources. We guarantee any products you buy in our office and through our VetSource online store are the real thing. 

With any flea and tick preventive in any form, watch your pet closely after administering it—especially for the first time—and call us immediately if you see any signs of discomfort or distress. 

Puppy cradled in owner's arm

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

German shepherd dog looking out a car window

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

Pug on bed with sleeping owner

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

Woman reading magazine with dog

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.

Man on sofa with cat

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.

COVID-19

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

Cat with Christmas gifts

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!

Dog wearing Santa cap

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.

World Rabies Day logo and photo of dogs

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.

Hill's canned food recall

Hill’s Canned Food Recall Expanded

On Wednesday, March 20, 2019, 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.

Dead mosquito

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.

Medical records folders on a shelf

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.

Google home page screen shot

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.

German shepherd in water

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.

 

Brownsburg Animal Clinic dental procedure

Cal’s Dental Procedure

Given the importance of dental health care for pets, I want to give you a behind-the-scenes look at my own boxer—General Stubs Calhoun—and his 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. The 10% discount is available year-round when you schedule a recommended dental procedure within 30 days of our recommendation.

Timea H. Brady, DVM, and her dogs

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!

A black Labrador retriever sniffing a toy duck floating in a pond

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.