“Dedicated to providing gentle, compassionate care for companion animals”



Reggie is a purebred Rhodesian Ridgeback, she is 10.5 years old (her birthday is July 21, 2005), she is wheaton in coloring (and getting grayer by the day!) We picked out her name before we knew what gender we were getting, which is how she ended up with a male name. Her AKC name is Jabulani Player Coach Reggie Dunlap Mills.

We decided to get a Rhodesian Ridgeback when my husband and I couldn’t agree on a breed to get. I wanted a small dog, he wanted a big dog; one day he said “we could get a dog that hunts lions!” Initially it was a joke, but as we read more and more about Ridgebacks we fell in love with the breed. We met with a breeder in Lindstrom in the spring of 2005 and put money down to get a dog from the next litter. When the litter was born, we went and met the pups. The breeder didn’t want us to get a girl unless we were going to show her, but there was one girl with a slipped ridge that could not be shown. I fell in love with her immediately. I had never had a dog before, and when she came home we were both very nervous. It was a bit overwhelming at first, with myself being a first time dog owner and her being so worried, but she finally calmed down and we fell asleep with her on my chest. We have been the best of buds ever since.

Reggie’s favorite toy is any squeaker toy she can squeak and then throw around. She loves to nap in the sun or on the couch. Her best friend in the world is Mom, she can be a bit clingy to Mom at times.

I have so many favorite things about Reggie. The smell of her frito feet, the way her long ears blow in the wind when we are on the boat up north, how she comes and cuddles with me at the perfect time, if I am sick in bed she lays at my feet all day long, barely getting up to go to the bathroom or eat. She is the sweetest dog with our 6 year old son. Now that he is at school all day, she gets so excited for the bus to come; when she sees it out the window in the afternoon her tail wags uncontrollably and she cries until he gets to the door so she can lick him.

Reggie has been through a lot in her 10.5 years and AWC has been there helping her through everything. When I was pregnant with my son, she became very anxious and started breaking out of her kennel, eventually tearing up some of our house while we were away. I brought her into AWC frantic and worried that she ate carpet nails; they took care of her scrapes and wounds and got her on an anti-anxiety regimen to help her anxiety. She also was attacked at a doggy day care and I immediately brought her in with many bloody wounds. The staff helped and loved her through her drainage tubes and stitches. Most recently, she had a tumor removed in 2014. The placement of the tumor made it hard for the incision to heal. For about a month we were SO well taken care of, coming in daily or every other day for bandage changes while she healed. No one at AWC ever seemed to get sick of seeing her come in, she received love and kisses every time. I also recently brought her in thinking I was going to lose her. Dr. Ambrose has been amazing through all these events with Reggie but most recently saved her by noticing her face looked different, and she was displaying tragic face, which is common in dogs that have hyperthyroid issues. After some blood work and tweaking her medications, Reggie is a new dog. She is down about 20 pounds without even changing her diet, is up for going on walks and playing with our son. She has SO much more energy and is happier than she has been in years. We owe all of this to the staff at AWC and the follow up calls and patience that Dr. Ambrose has shown with me as well. 

--Reggie's Mom

From Dr. Ambrose

In the fall of last year, Reggie's owners started to notice that she seemed more and more lethargic and uncomfortable. She had gained a substantial amount of weight and was slowing down considerably. Her owners were becoming concerned about her quality of life and brought her in for me to assess her condition. Reggie's symptoms, including a puffy face and episode of vestibular disease, suggested to me that Reggie could possibly have hypothyroidism. Blood tests confirmed that Reggie's thyroid levels were very low. I started her on thyroid medication and have been amazed by her transformation!

Now we get to enjoy seeing Reggie bounding through the door, excited to see everyone and acting like a dog half her age! Reggie has lost roughly twenty pounds and has become a high energy girl again. Her owners tell us that she is acting like a crazy puppy at home, reminding them of her younger self. I am overjoyed that Reggie is now a happy and comfortable girl!

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Are you contributing to your cat’s anxiety and behavior issues?  It’s possible if you do any of the following:

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Stress Triggers for Cats

Image Credit:  GlobalP | iStock Photo

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The holidays are a joyous time, but they can present certain dangers to pets. With some preparation and precaution, you can still enjoy this festive time with your furry family members without having to make an emergency trip to the vet.

Foods and Beverages

Make sure your guests know not to give your pets table scraps, and stick to your their regular feeding routine.  Common food items that are pet hazards include bones, grapes, raisins and chocolate. Bones are a choking hazard, while chocolate, grapes and raisins contain substances that are toxic and potentially deadly to dogs. Keep in mind that digestive problems can be caused by spicy foods, and fatty foods aren't healthy for your pets to eat. If you'll be having kids over as guests, try to get to any food that's accidentally dropped before your pets do. Also, ingesting alcohol can be deadly for your pets, so keep all alcoholic beverages well out of their reach.


Christmas lights are beautiful, but they can cause serious problems for pets that chew on them. Put all wires out of reach so your pet does not receive a dangerous electrical shock or burn. If you like to light candles during the holidays, keep them on a safe and stable surface that your pets can't get to, and never leave them burning unattended when you have pets around.


Live Christmas trees can be hazardous to your pet for a few different reasons. If they are not properly anchored in their stand, they can fall over onto your pets. Drinking the standing water in the tree stand can make your pet get sick. Bacteria in the water can cause diarrhea or an upset stomach when ingested. Keep breakable ornaments on the higher branches of your tree, so your pets aren't at risk of cutting themselves on broken pieces if they knock one down. Also, skip the tinsel altogether, especially if you have a cat. Tinsel can cause an obstruction in the digestive tract if your cat ends up swallowing a piece.


Common holiday plants, such as mistletoe and holly  can be toxic to dogs. When in doubt, play it safe and stick with artificial holiday plants and flowers. 


Keep your pets' safety in mind when choosing gifts for them. To prevent choking, avoid buying flimsy toys with squeakers inside, especially for dogs that like to chew things up. Puzzle toys are much sturdier and can be filled with treats.  Not only are these safer, they keep your dog’s brain busy for hours!  Buy your cat a stuffed toy to bat around or a larger ball to chase.  Skip toys that have a lot of strings, which can become gastrointestinal obstruction if swallowed.

Avoid using chocolate decorations, candy canes or ribbon on the outside of the packaging for friends and family members where pets may have access to the wrapped gifts. Take care in where you place wrapped foodstuffs for the holidays.  Dogs can smell candies and chocolates through wrapping paper and may ingest the packaging to get to the food inside.

What to Do 

Even though you've taken every precaution possible to avoid pet hazards, you suspect that your dog or cat has managed to ingest a toxic substance.  What should you do?  First of all stay calm. If possible gather the label from the product listing its ingredients, or a sample of the substance you think your pet might have swallowed.  This will help the veterinarian determine if your pet is at risk and what type of treatment should be used. Call your veterinarian or local animal hospital, and give them as much information as you can on what you think your pet ate and if he's having any health issues. If your pet becomes unconscious, has trouble breathing or has seizures, bring him to an emergency animal clinic immediately.   

Wishing safe and happy holidays and looking forward to seeing you in 2016!

Image credit:  humonia | iStock Photo
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We all know stress. It seems to be a pervasive emotional state in our world today. We are bombarded with stressful situations from sunup to sundown. Everything from witnessing  the terrible images that appear on the evening news, to the minute to minute stressors such as fights with your spouse or drivers who seem intent on making you late. What do these stressors have in common? How can we effectively deal with them in ways that don’t let the “stress virus” pass to the next living being we encounter?

What’s wrong with stress? Stress can be a positive thing can’t it? Yes, let’s say you want to improve your physical health. You have to push your muscles, including the heart muscle, if you want to be stronger.  Physical stress in moderate increments will help you get there.  But stress has a dark side. We’ve all known people who have stressed their hearts with the burdens of excess weight, smoking and high cholesterol diets right into a heart attack or individuals who suffer chronic emotional stress such as relentless anxiety.  We’ll call this form pathological stress.

Are you more susceptible to getting the “office cold” if you are tired and stressed?  Chronic stress weakens the immune system increasing your chances of infections.  You are more likely to be irritable to those you love and hold most dear if someone at work sabotaged your proposal. Unfortunately workplace stressors often follow us home spreading the negative emotional state to the rest of the family, including the family pet.  There is nothing positive about pathological stress.

So much for the human condition… I’m a veterinarian. I am addressing this topic because I want to help animal lovers understand how pathologic stress impacts their furry best friends as well. What are the symptoms of animal stress?  What is physically happening when your pet is experiencing stress?  What can be done to change your pet’s reaction to a stressful situation? What is our role as their guardians in alleviating it, preventing it and, when needed, treating it .

Look for my upcoming blogs on symptoms of animal stress and how owners and veterinarians can work together to help the animals under our care.


Photo credit:  fanelie rosier | iStock Photo

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As many of you may know by now, Ceva Animal Health is temporarily ceasing the production and supply of the NEW Feliway and Adaptil brand diffusers and refills that came out earlier this summer. This was due to a packaging defect that in some rare cases will cause the pheromone solution to leak.

There are no health or safety concerns with the diffusers or refills. Because the leakage is a rare occurrence, it is OK to continue to use whatever discontinued product you may have. Ceva is resuming production of the original LEGACY diffusers and refills which should be available soon.

Please visit http://diffusers.cevaconnect.com/ for more information about the discontinuation and product availability. On this site you can also submit a request for a replacement LEGACY diffuser(s) at no charge that will be shipped directly to you once they are available. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
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