1.) Why should I bring my pet in for an annual wellness exam?

An annual wellness exam allows a veterinarian to assess your pet’s current physical and behavioral health, to diagnose medical problems earlier and when they are more easily treated, to monitor changes in weight or pain levels, and to make appropriate treatment and preventative care recommendations. An annual wellness exam also allows the establishment of a current Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship which allows our doctors to legally prescribe medications for your pet.

2.) Why should I consider blood work before surgery if I know my pet is healthy?

There are times when low-grade systemic diseases do not show any outward clinical signs such as early kidney or liver disease or mild/early diabetes. Any of these underlying conditions may increase the risk of anesthesia if proper precautions or adjustments in your pet’s anesthesia plan are not made. The safety of your pet while under anesthesia is our primary concern.

3.) Why do pets need a catheter and fluids during surgery?

An IV (intra-venous) catheter allows easy access to your pet’s circulatory system to be able to administer safer, faster-acting anesthetic drugs, emergency medications (if your pet should have any anesthetic complications), and also to administer IV fluids. IV fluids help to support blood pressure while under anesthesia, replace blood volume (if your pet experiences any bleeding during surgery), and help to flush anesthesia drugs out of your pet’s system faster.

4.) Why should I have my pet tested for heartworm disease if I give heartworm preventative (HWP) year round?

Some pets are notorious for spitting out pills when their owner is not looking. A single missed dose of HWP may put your pet at risk for being susceptible to disease. A yearly screening test helps to make sure no doses have been missed and that the HWP is effectively doing the job that it is supposed to do.

5.) Why should I keep testing my pet for tick-borne diseases if they test positive year after year?

Some pets do not always stay positive! Seeing a test change from positive one year to negative the next year helps give good reassurance that your tick prevention strategy is being effective at preventing re-infection or re-exposure to tick-borne diseases. The test that we use for tick-borne disease screening also contains your pet’s annual heartworm test (see above).

6.) Why should I have my indoor cat vaccinated?

At Animal Care Center, we frequently get calls from people whose cat has caught a bat in the home. Bats in Minnesota can and do carry the Rabies virus which, if contracted, is 100% fatal. The Rabies vaccine not only protects your cat, but also your family if your cat should come into contact with a rabid bat. Vaccinating for Rabies also provides some degree of legal protection if your cat should happen to bite someone (whether in your home of in the veterinarian’s office). We also recommend the PRC (feline Distemper) vaccine for all cats to protect them if they should sneak out of the house, need a visit to the vet or boarding facility, or in case you have a new feline addition to your home.

7.) What happens if I have an emergency after regular business hours?

Our clinic has partnered together with other local veterinarians (in the Brainerd Lakes Area) and with Blue Pearl emergency clinics (St. Cloud, Duluth, Twin Cities) to provide your pet with around-the-clock access to emergency care. Between the hours of 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM, you will have access to a local veterinarian. From 11:00 PM to 6:00 AM the fully staffed emergency clinics (St. Cloud if available, otherwise Fargo, Duluth, or the Twin Cities) are where we feel that your pet will receive the best quality of care. If you feel as if your pet may be experiencing an emergency, please call our office at (218) 822-6000. If you are calling after regular business hours, please listen for the prompt regarding after-hours emergencies. An answering and triage service will receive your call and will page the on-call doctor or give you contact information for the nearest emergency clinic. Please keep your phone line open so that the doctor on-call can call you back as soon as possible to discuss your pet’s emergency.