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


We are proud to announce that the Animal Wellness Center’s Gold Status as a Cat Friendly Practice has been renewed. The AWC was one of the first hospitals in the Twin Cities to achieve Gold Status in 2011 as the Cat Friendly Practice Program was launched by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP)! Currently, we are one of 209 Gold Status Clinics in the United States.

The AAFP launched the Cat Friendly Practice Certification Program to provide a framework for creating a positive practice environment for cats. This includes both medical care dedicated to the needs of cats as well as knowledgeable staff members who understand feline friendly handling and nursing care. The goal is to improve the treatment, handling and overall healthcare of cats.

As a Cat Friendly Practice, we are committed to continuing to learn ways to make your cat’s visit more pleasant. We also have adapted an environment that is less stressful to cats and meets the unique needs of cats.   Here are some of the guidelines we are following as a practice to help with the needs of our feline patients:

  • Feline-only exam rooms. We have exam rooms available that are to be used for only our feline patients. This reduces the potential odor from canine patients, which can be stressful for our kitties.
  • Use of Feliway and cat-sacs. We utilize multiple techniques to help reduce the stress of our kitties, including Feliway (which is a natural pheromone used to reduce stress) and cat-sacs, which allow our fearful patients to hide during an exam.
  • Anesthesia. Our feline patients are treated as individuals and each anesthetic protocol is designed to fit their medical needs.
  • Handling techniques. Our skilled technicians are trained to handle our feline patients with techniques that reduce their stress.
The AWC is proud to maintain and promote the high standard of care our feline patients receive. We are dedicated to continue our support of the Cat Friendly Practice program as it continues to positively impact the care and wellbeing of cats. For more information on the Cat Friendly Practice Program and how it can benefit your cat, visit www.catvets.com/cfp/cat-owners.

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Dear Boarding and Daycare Clients,

A happy and relaxed boarding client....Ruby!

Animal Wellness Center is committed to making your pet's experience with us carefree, educational and fun. We are happy to announce a number of changes which will help us to do just that.

The first change you will notice is that guest drop offs and pick ups will take place at the front desk of the hospital entrance during hospital hours. This will ease the safe and orderly movement of your pet to and from the play and resting areas in daycare and boarding.

Second, no matter how much we all love to play, we also look forward to taking a break and relaxing and our guests are just the same. We recognize and honor their needs for a break in the action to wind down, rehydrate and recharge for the next inning. So for those of you who love to use the webcams to watch your buddy's activities, keep in mind occasionally you'll catch him napping!

Our goal at AWC is to tailor your best friend's experience to her preferences for play time and companionship. To help us discover what those are and to make sure the daycare environment is right for her, we will be utilizing on-going personality and behavioral assessments for all of our guests. These evaluations are a very useful tool in configuring play groups and activities. They will also provide pet owners with helpful information and insights into their pet's psychological and behavioral well-being.

The other change you will notice is plenty of new faces. We will be increasing the staff to guest ratio. Smaller play groups, more individual interaction and increased attention to the emotional needs of our guests means we need to add more staff. Rest assured our new caregivers will all have the same commitment to your best friend's health and happiness you have come to expect.

Let us know if you have any questions. Thank you for the opportunity to care for your pet(s)!

The Staff of Animal Wellness Center

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Dear Animal Wellness Center family—

Dr. Ireland

I’m writing this post with very mixed emotions.  After much reflection and research, I’ve decided to leave small animal private practice and therefore Animal Wellness Center.   I’m planning the next phase of my career in veterinary public health, and to that end, I’m returning to school to earn a Master’s in Public Health at the University of Minnesota.

Many people have asked what a veterinarian has to do with public health.  And the answer is many many things.  In the small animal medicine world, we keep your pets parasite and infection-free, so that diseases do not get transmitted to people in the household.  But in the wider world, public health veterinarians are involved in ensuring the safety and security of our food supply, researching and controlling diseases that transmit from animals to people, policy and planning for all the ways people and animals interact.  Those are just a few broad examples.  I’m not sure what the future holds for me, but it could be USDA- Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or the Centers of Disease Control, or state government, or even academia.

I’m excited to start this next phase of my career.  However, it is incredibly difficult to leave AWC.  I have wonderful cherished co-workers that I will miss seeing everyday.  I will clearly miss the daily interactions with animals.   And I will definitely miss our dedicated clients.  It has been such an honor and privilege to care for your animals, for everything from sweet puppy and kitten visits to providing peaceful last moments.  Thank you for your trust in me to help you care for such important family members.

I know this is the right decision for me, but it still hurts to leave.  My dogs will still be coming here for their care, so maybe I’ll see you in the lobby!  Thank you so much for the opportunity to share in your pet’s lives.


Malia Ireland, DVM

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Photo credit: Xtremerx | Dreamstime.com

by Dr. Carolyn Apker

I have some very exciting news to share with you. There is a new movement in the veterinary profession which will change every interaction the veterinary staff has with patients. The reason I am so excited about it this is because it speaks directly to the reason I decided to open my own hospital in 1987.

Our goal is not a small one and will not happen quickly but it’s time has come. We want to alleviate the stress our patients feel when they visit the hospital and in doing so we will reduce owner stress because they will see how much more calm their pets feel. We want to eliminate patient fear and anxiety from veterinary hospitals.

Sound impossible? I assure you that it is possible. It will require a fundamental change in the way we practice. It will require every member of the veterinary staff to make patient emotional comfort their top priority. It will require our profession to rethink everything we do for your pets to find gentle methods of handling and ways to build trusting relationships with them.

I was contacted last fall by Dr. Marty Becker who is nationally known as “America’s Veterinarian” and appeared on Good Morning America and ABC News for 17 years. He is leading the movement for fear free veterinary visits and is in an ideal position to take our goals to the national stage. Dr. Becker heard about Animal Wellness Center through some of his colleagues with whom I am also familiar. He invited me to be a member of the advisory board based on the reputation of Animal Wellness Center and our patient-based approach to veterinary care. Needless to say I am thrilled about this opportunity and will keep you up-to-date as things develop.


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Animal Wellness Center receives annual AAHA accreditationACC_tRB_RGB-WEB.jpg

The Standard of Veterinary Excellence

You’ve probably seen the red logo and the acronym AAHA. However, do you know what this means and why it’s so important for the health of your pet?

AAHA stands for American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). It is the only association that provides voluntary accreditation to companion animal hospitals. So, when you see that a hospital is AAHA accredited, you can have peace of mind that the hospital meets the highest standards of veterinary care. To become AAHA certified, a veterinary hospital is evaluated on nearly 900 veterinary standards of excellence.

Animal Wellness Center is proud to announce that the hospital received its AAHA Standards of Accreditation. To maintain the accredited status and to make sure hospitals keep up with industry updates, AAHA evaluates hospitals every three years.

What this means for you and your pet?

To be AAHA accredited, Animal Wellness Center must demonstrate an exceptional level of medical care and client service. AAHA’s standards cover every aspect of the hospital to assure your satisfaction with the level of care both you and your pet receives. Choosing an AAHA-accredited hospital for your pet’s medical care assures you that the hospital has the team, equipment, medical procedures and facilities that AAHA believes are important for the delivery of high quality veterinary care.

For example, the standards require Animal Wellness Center to provide diagnostic services (x-ray and laboratory) so that we can quickly and accurately diagnose your pet. Plus, the standards require Animal Wellness Center to have an onsite pharmacy so treatment can begin immediately. Another standard is that your pet’s medical history must be complete and thorough so Animal Wellness Center can give the best care possible.

“We are proud to be an AAHA-accredited practice and believe this helps keep us on the leading edge of veterinary medicine and focused on continuous improvement to assure we can offer the quality and range of services you expect and deserve for your pet,” Dr. Carolyn Apker of Animal Wellness Center.

Who is AAHA

AAHA was founded in 1933. Animal Wellness Center is one of about 3,000 traditional hospitals and numerous referral hospitals in the United States and Canada that are AAHA-accredited and have made a commitment to meeting the highest standards of veterinary care.

More information

For more information about AAHA accreditation, ask one of our team members or visit www.healthypet.com

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