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Most dogs love peanut butter, and it is commonly used for training or as a fun treat such as filling a Kong toy. Peanut butter is generally safe for dogs to eat, but there are a few specialty brands on the market that dog owners need to be aware of because they contain the ingredient xylitol.

Xylitol, a natural sugar alcohol sweetener found in chewing gum, baked goods, and toothpaste. It can be purchased as a sugar substitute to bake with or sweeten beverages. It is not harmful to humans, but it is toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), seizures, liver failure (hepatic necrosis), and even death.

Several specialty peanut butter and nut butter brands include it in their formulations. Nuts ‘n More, Krush Nutrition, and P-28 Foods all make peanut butter and nut-based spreads containing the ingredient. So far, mainstream peanut butter brands haven’t started using xylitol but it is gaining in popularity and it may end up in other brands of peanut butter as food companies switch out refined sugar for natural sweeteners.

If your dog loves peanut butter, check the peanut butter you buy for your furry family member to make sure it isn't sweetened with xylitol. If it is, keep it for the human members of your family only.


Image credit:  matka_Wariatka | iStock
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A couple of weeks ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Orlando, Florida to the North American Veterinary Community Institute.  At the Institute, there is a selection of several in-depth courses on everything from dental surgery techniques to ultrasonography. The course I attended was the Feline Medicine course…and I was in heaven!

For four days (two of which we were in class from 8am to 8pm!) I was surrounded by some of the best feline medicine experts in the world. Our course leaders were Drs. Susan Little and Margie Scherk, both of whom are some of the most respected leaders in feline medicine and handling. We covered a wide range of topics from current updates on feline infectious diseases to current thoughts on feline nutrition.  In addition, I was able to soak up so many tips and techniques for helping our feline patients when they are here in the clinic.

I went to Orlando with a tool belt full of feline medicine, behavior, and handling techniques. But after being immersed in the world of cats for four awesome (and intense) days, I now feel like I have a whole tool chest full of knowledge, skills, and handling techniques that I am excited to utilize for the benefit of all of our feline patients. 

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Dr. Carolyn Apker of Animal Wellness Center of Maple Grove was recently featured in an article in Maple Grove Magazine discussing Fear-Free Veterinary Medicine.  Dr. Apker explains the importance of establishing trust to help make pets not only feel more comfortable in their visits, but experience less stress, as well.  The Animal Wellness Center is on track to become one of the nation's first Fear-Free certified practices in 2016.
Read this article here and make an appointment at Animal Wellness Center of Maple Grove to experience the gentle, positive and calm environment that we have to offer.
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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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