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



The Animal Wellness Center would like to formally introduce you to Zander, a beautiful young adult purebred Persian image001Zander “helping” Dr. Ambrose get work donecat looking for his forever home. Zander arrived on our doorstep late one night in June. He was dying of a urethral obstruction, meaning he was unable to pass urine out of his bladder. Even in his critical state, he
purred as if to express his gratitude at being taken in. Dr. Elliott anesthetized Zander and relieved the obstruction, as well as checked for a microchip (none was present). Zander then had a specialist procedure called a perineal urethrostomy performed with a board certified veterinary surgeon to repair the damage to his urethra that the obstruction had caused.  This makes it very unlikely that Zander would ever have a urinary obstruction again.                                                                                                     

Since Zander’s recovery from surgery, he has revealed himself to be one of the nicest cats we’ve ever met.  We are so proud of him for using the litterbox faithfully throughout his ordeal. Every day he hangs out with the doctors in the office and is not shy about getting attention by sitting on our keyboards while we type.  He spends long hours playing, napping in our laps, or soaking up sunshine in the bay window, contemplating his new lease on life.  He wears his blue recovery collar proudly, which we have dubbed his “cape of pride” – we think he wants to be the superhero cat you have been waiting for!

image002Wearing the Cape of Pride . . . “Maybe I’ll be a superhero”While it is bittersweet, we are happy to announce that Zander will be ready for adoption as soon as his sutures are removed next week!  He is now neutered and was negative for feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus (FeLV/FIV). We believe he is about 2-3 years old, and he has gotten along well with the many dogs that rotate through the doctor’s office!

While he has had several thousand dollars worth of life-saving medical procedures, we are asking only that his new family make a donation to our Helping Hands Helping Paws Fund. This foundation provides financial assistance to AWC clients whose pets have an urgent medical need and who otherwise could not afford their care. image003Even superheroes need to nap sometimes.

Zander is considered a special needs kitty. With his surgically-altered urethra, he is at higher risk for developing urinary tract infections in the future. Therefore he will need a urine culture twice annually in addition to his routine health care (wellness exams, annual wellness labwork, vaccines, heartworm and flea/tick preventative). That said, we think you will find his special needs far outweighed by his incredible loving personality. If you are interested in adopting Zander, please call the Animal Wellness Center at 763-420-7958.


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With one of the most fun, but also NOISY holidays fast approaching, here is a fabulous reference from Dr. Marty Becker.  Print this off today and place it where you can frequently access.  Many times we overlook these very common signs of stress, fear and anxiety in our pets.  
If your pet is one that is bothered by sounds of fireworks or other loud noises, schedule a visit with one of the Animal Wellness Center of Maple Grove veterinarians.  There are many ways that we can help to reduce the stress that your pets feel, whether situational or on a daily basis.
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What is Canine Influenza?
  • Canine influenza can be caused by the influenza virus, which has numerous strains. The current outbreak that started in Chicago is caused by H3N2.
  • Canine influenza cannot infect humans or other animals except possibly cats.
How could my dog be exposed?
  • The highest risk of transmission currently is for dogs traveling to the Chicago area, and for dogs participating in sports or shows in which many dogs are brought together from different areas.
  • Dog classes, the dog park, grooming, boarding and day care facilities are all places of potential exposure.
  • Transmission of influenza is by aerosol (droplets in the air) – dogs do not need to touch another dog in order to become infected.
  • The virus can be transmitted on hands and surfaces and can live up to 48 hours on hard surfaces, 24 hours on soft surfaces such as clothing and bedding. Dogs in the same area as an infected dog are highly likely to become infected.
What are the symptoms of Canine Influenza?
  • Coughing, fever over 103, nasal discharge, lethargy, decreased appetite, and difficulty breathing
How long after exposure will by dog get sick?
  • About 20% of dogs will become infected by the virus but will not get sick – just as sometimes humans can overcome the flu without significant illness.
  • Generally, signs of illness will occur 2-4 days after exposure to the virus.
Could my dog die?
  • About 3 to 8 out of a hundred dogs could become sick enough to die from this disease – most dogs will recover well with appropriate medical care.
How long will my dog be contagious?
  • The contagious period is up to 10 days after exposure – dogs will be most contagious before they show any sign of illness.
  • It is safe to consider them not contagious 10 days after they first become ill, or 2 weeks after potential exposure.
Should I vaccinate my dog against this disease?
  • There is no vaccine for this specific strain of influenza. There is a vaccine for a different strain, called H3N8, which is available. Currently, we do not know if this vaccine provides any protection against H3N2, but we do recommend vaccination for dogs at high risk (currently any dog traveling to Chicago or participating in dog shows/trials)
  • We may recommend vaccination with the H3N8 vaccine for our patients at some point, but currently it is not part of our core vaccines.
  • The vaccine is given as 2 doses 2 weeks apart and can be scheduled as a technician appointment so long as the dog has had a wellness examination in the last year.

Informational Links:



What is being done right now:

Due to the contagious nature of CIV, the  Animal Humane Society is doing the following (This information is directly from their website):

  • Animal Humane Society is consulting with a leading expert in shelter medicine, Dr. Sandra Newbury, of the Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Wisconsin.
  • AHS is having nasal swab testing done at  the University of Wisconsin to confirm canine influenza infection. A second possible case has been identified and that dog is also undergoing treatment and testing. Animal Humane Society is working with these two families to cover the cost of treatment and care.
  • Effective immediately, AHS is halting dog adoptions and surrenders at the St. Paul facility only until they have confirmed that no animals in their care are infected.
  • All dogs with Kennel Cough or similar symptoms at the St. Paul facility have been isolated and are being tested for canine influenza today. The tests are expected in by 4 p.m. tomorrow, June 19, 2015.
  • Although veterinary staff at AHS do not believe that canine influenza has made its way to the other AHS other shelters, AHS is testing all dogs with Kennel Cough and implementing enhanced protocols across all five locations.
  • Animal Humane Society is reaching out to families of dogs adopted from the St. Paul facility in the last 30 days, urging them to contact their veterinarian if symptoms develop.
  • Dogs in Animal Humane Society’s boarding facilities (Animal House and Now Boarding) do not share staff, facilities, or equipment with the population of adoptable animals.

The Animal Humane Society will be updating their website as new information becomes available. 

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Why does your dentist tell you to brush your teeth at least twice a day? It is to break up the thin layer of plaque that forms on teeth quickly even in a healthy mouth. If not broken up with brushing, the plaque starts to accumulate and mineralize into calculus (tartar).  Once mineralized, tartar requires more force to remove, which is why you have your teeth scaled and polished once or twice a year at the dental office.

Take a peek in your dog or cat’s mouth. Many of our patients have some level of periodontal disease, even in young adulthood. Signs of gum infection and pain include bad breath, a bright red gumline, hard yellow tartar accumulation, and even bleeding and gum recession. Without oral care, periodontal disease leads to tooth loss, pain, and possibly serious complications like jaw abscesses or fractures.

Luckily, we are empowered these days as pet owners to take care of our pets’ mouths.  It is recommended to have your dog or cat’s teeth professionally cleaned once annually. This is the only way to get plaque and tartar out from under your pet’s gumline, where it is able to cause rapid progression of infection and bone loss.  However, it is equally important that we don’t forget about our pets’ teeth the other 364 days of the year! 

To prevent tooth loss in between cleanings, we recommend daily brushing with veterinary toothpaste, for the same reason that your dentist recommends daily brushing for your oral health. Dogs and cats build up a plaque layer every day, and that plaque mineralizes into stubborn tartar in LESS than 48 hours. This means that if we are only brushing weekly or monthly, periodontal disease will progress despite our efforts.  It also means that DAILY brushing is the best way to prevent mineralization of plaque and the cascade of periodontal disease that follows.

On a side note, you may have encountered “grooming packages” that offer to brush your dog’s teeth for an additional fee. Please be aware that a single tooth brushing session cannot appreciably reduce dental disease in your pet – pick up some pet toothpaste and a pet-certified toothbrush instead for a much better value.

There are many additional dental products available for our pets. Plaque-fighting products such as water additives, dental chews and toys, and protective gum gels are all excellent additional tools in preventing periodontal disease. If at any time you would like a demonstration of how to brush your pet’s teeth (including tips on introducing it successfully to older or reluctant pets, various toothbrush and toothpaste options, and other helpful hints), please give us a call!

Image credit:  Александр Ермолаев | Thinkstock
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Dog Bite Prevention Week just wrapped up, but we're recapping some important points to remember, especially in the upcoming summer months.  


Dog Bites by the Numbers
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