Newsletter – 5 Ways Pets Reduce Stress


We hope that everyone has been having a Happy Holidays!!!! We wish everyone the best as we head into the NEW YEAR! 2016 has been a politically charged year, media seems to be constantly reminding us of every problem in the world. It is has been nice to focus on the holidays, wishing each other Peace and Joy. I am so glad that we have our pets, they seem to wish us Peace and Joy no matter what. Their lives are a bit simpler and they inspire us, what matters to them is shelter, food, love, maybe a nice walk, maybe some cat nip, a good cuddle. We could learn a few lessons from them. In FACT, there are studies and it is well accepted that pet’s help reduce our stress. . . .


Arden Moore is an animal expert and author, “There’s something about the animal kingdom that possesses the ability for us to enjoy life a little better” she says. Spending time around animals can be beneficial to your well-being. Here are 5 reasons to include some animal time in your day.

1) They relax you. Petting your cat or dog may be noticeably enjoyable for them, but the act can relax you, as well. Your touch relaxes the animal and releases “feel-good” endorphins in you too, reducing your heart rate.

2) They may reduce blood pressure. Communicating with animals may lower your blood pressure and improve your overall health. Moor suggests that engaging animals in “happy talk,” or speaking in an upbeat tone is soothing. Thinking happy thoughts when talking to your pet or speaking to birds and squirrels in your backyard may seem silly, but the conversation can put you at ease (even if it’s one-sided).

3) They’re therapeutic. Animals from dogs to rabbits are often used for therapy in hospitals and nursing homes. There’s something rejuvenating, renewing about coming home to a friendly animal that greets you like a rock star. Moore suggests that the strong human-to-animal bond could be related to fond childhood memories. People often feel more comfortable being themselves around animals.

4) They can improve human nutrition. Eating in the company of an animal may improve your eating habits. In some cases, the companionship of animals has helped the nutritional habits of their humans. For example, says Moore, research has shown that recipients of the Meals on Wheels program who were allowed to eat near their pets improved some of their eating patterns.

5) They improve your relationships. A good relationship with your animal friends may spill over into better relations with humans. An animal doesn’t care who you are or what outfit you’re wearing; they want to play and be around you, says Moore. This carefree, playful attitude, she says, has made many animal-lovers more prone to live in the moment. Taking care of an animal can also teach responsibility and stimulate feelings of trust, openness, and companionship. Psychology-Man-Dog-Cat-27980490_ml-21

On a more “direct” note. We want to remind everyone that DENTAL MONTH(s) are approaching. It is a great opportunity to provide proactive health care for your pet. Dental disease not only can cause oral discomfort, but the bacteria associated with dental disease can affect the health of the entire body. We offer 10% off on the dental procedure, including (if needed) dental radiographs, extractions, etc. This has been a popular promotion in the past, in fact we simply plan on Dental month extending through February and March – and possibly longer if demand warrants. Visit our website for more information on dentals ( dog-dentist-150x150

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The Verdict on Online Pharmacies!!!

Online Veterinary Pharmacies, Good or Bad????

Many veterinary products are sold through online pharmacies. Some of these pharmacies are legitimate and provide a good value for clients, however – some of these pharmacies are obtaining and distributing medications illegally. It is tempting to buy from sites that offer great “ease” and “cheap” products, but you run the risk of putting your pet’s health at risk as well as wasting your money.

“You’re dealing with people  that are acting illegally, and they know it. You’re risking your pet’s life and you’re also giving them your credit card number.” Executive officer of California State Board of Pharmacy, Virginia Herold.

As a consumer, what should you do? Fortunately there is an accreditation program for Veterinary Internet Pharmacies. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) in 2009 started an accreditation program known as Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites, or Vet-VIPPS, to identify online veterinary pharmacies that are licensed and comply with state and federal laws and rules. Twenty-five pharmacies have Vet-VIPPS accreditation.

Look for this imageIMG_8482

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Top 10 Veterinary Questions


#1: What is the Healthiest Food for My Pet?

Pet food advertising is very aggressive and it can be difficult to tell which food is genuinely good. In general, any major brand of pet food is fine. Dry versus wet food depends on the owner’s preference. Some dogs have underlying diseases that require special diets, but the vast majority are fine with mid to upper range pet food brands. Puppy and kitten food is appropriate for the first 8-12 months of life.


#2: How Much Should I Feed My Pet?

Each pet is an individual and each pet has a much different metabolism. So what is good for one individual may be too much or too little for another. Usually it is best to start with what is recommended on the bag or can of food, measure and feed consistently  — this should really be emphasized : Measure and Feed Consistently. Once you are measuring and feeding consistently, it is easy to make adjustments depending on the pets body condition. Typically we recommend feeding adult pets twice per day, more frequently when they are under 4-5 months of age.


#3: Is My Pet Overweight?

Pets being overweight is a common problem. Many of them enjoy food greatly and we, as pet owners, love to make them happy – – – so it is only natural that we feed them more than they need. But it’s not good for them, especially as they age. We check their Body Condition with each Physical Exam to determine if they are at a good weight. At home a good rule of thumb is that you should be able to feel their ribs. If you can’t feel their ribs then they are likely overweight. Consistent measuring and feeding of their food is important, if they’re overweight, then you can measure 10-25% less food and achieve weight loss. Exercise and low calorie diets can also be important.


#4: Which Vaccines Should My Pet Get?

Vaccines should start between 6-8 weeks of age and be given every 3-4 weeks until 4 months of age. After that, some vaccines are given yearly or every 3 years depending on the pet’s needs. The vaccines can be incredibly important at preventing life threatening disease. In some cases however, vaccines can be unnecessary or even cause problems. As part of our Yearly Physical Exams, we evaluate what your pet’s needs are and advise you as to which vaccines are needed. We want you to be involved in the decision.


#5: How Soon Can My Puppy Go Outside?

It is a dilemma (sort of) because you need to exercise them and get their energy “out”, also you want to socialize them. BUT  PARVO PARVO PARVO  is around (among other viruses), there is no way to guarantee that a pet won’t get sick. The Parvo virus can live in the soil for over 5 years. Keep them in your yard or visit family/ friends that you know are “safe” until they are 4 months old and have finished the full vaccine series.


#6: Should I Brush My Pet’s Teeth?

Brushing teeth is great preventative care for your pet. Bacteria form a hard plaque after approximately 72 hours. The brushing action physically disrupts the bacteria and prevents plaque formation. We certainly acknowledge that it is difficult and impossible with some pets. Best to use flavored toothpaste and set your expectations accordingly. It will take time to get them used to the routine. Chews, treats, mouth washes can be helpful too – but are not nearly as effective as brushing. With our Yearly Physical Exams, we will check your pet’s teeth and give advice. Many pets benefit from a dental procedure (whole other topic).


#7: What Should I Do About Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medication?

Fleas are prevalent here, Ticks are becoming more and more common, Heartworms are not common – but they are around at a low level. Every pet’s needs are different and there are a multitude of products for Flea, Tick, and Heartworm control. We recommend discussing which product fits your pet’s needs as part of your Yearly Physical Exam.


#8: How Often Should I Give My Pet A Bath?

It depends on whether your pet has a skin condition, whether they get dirty a lot, AND whether they sleep on your PILLOWS or not. It also depends on what kind of shampoo you use. Most pet’s don’t need a bath on a regular basis. Monthly is a reasonable time frame. Some dogs really benefit from twice weekly baths. If they are being bathed frequently, then a soap-free shampoo is a good idea so that their natural oils aren’t removed by the soap. If they have a specific skin condition, then we will recommend certain medicated shampoos.


#9: Why Does My Pet Eat Poop?

It is SO Gross! Fortunately that is the main issue = “Grossness”. They don’t do it due to an essential nutrient deficiency. There is simply a small amount of food material still there that tempts their appetite (hard to imagine). One genuine problem with this, is that it can introduce intestinal parasites – so clean and discourage the behavior as best possible.


#10: Can My Pet Give Me A Sickness, OR Can I Give My Pet A Sickness?

No (for the most part – there are always exceptions), rare skin infections can be transferred and intestinal parasites can be transferred. AND RABIES! Typical colds, flu, etc cannot be transferred.

cat and dog 1

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Newsletter – Dental Month!!!! 10% off


Hope everyone has had happy holidays and is enjoying the New Year! 2015 seemed to go by fast. Judging by the conversations we’ve shared over the past year, we’ve all had our ups and downs. The nation and world as a whole have been feeling ‘topsy turvy’. As technology consumes us and world affairs alarm us, our pets serve as a buffer to preserve a simpler life. Our pets are happy to see us when we come home. Our pets enjoy a gentle ‘pat’. Our pets provide some uncomplicated affection. Our pets help us slow down and enjoy the simple company of a friend (with fur). As your veterinary clinic, it is our job to foster that bond between people and their pets. We appreciate that you bring your pets to us and we will do our best to strengthen those bonds by keeping your pets healthy.



Peaches 2Now for some educational topics. RABIES! We all know that Rabies can affect dogs, cats, humans, birds, rabbits, etc, etc. It’s scary!  In the past, it has had a relatively low incidence in Oregon – however, the incidence has increased over the past few years. Prior to 2000, the average yearly incidence of Rabies positive bats (and an occasional fox) was 5 or less. It has steadily increased. In 2015 there were 20 cases of confirmed Rabies in animals (18 bats, 1 fox, and 1 cat in Curry County). 5 of the cases were in Lane County.

Overall, the incidence of Rabies is still relatively low – but this is a 10599844-smallconcerning trend. Bats are the primary carrier of Rabies in Oregon. Bats are helpful to humans by consuming insects, and we need to help protect them – but do not ever handle bats or other wild animals, especially any that appear sick or injured. Vaccinate your pets, that way there is never a question of whether they could contract or even transmit Rabies to you or your family. More information can be found at



dog and cat dentalA topic of more immediate concern is DENTALS!!  February and March are Dental Month(s) at Q Street Animal Hospital. Which means 10% off. Dental disease can have a genuine impact on your pet’s health. Dental disease can cause bad breath, painful chewing, and tooth loss. Bacteria under the gum can travel to the heart, kidneys, and liver. Eighty-five percent of all pets have periodontal disease by age three. A professional dental cleaning is required to remove plaque and tartar from their teeth and assess the health of the mouth. Schedule an appointment to have your pet checked and to learn more – or call to ask about dental procedures – or take a look at our website:

dog cat

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Overcoming Fear at the Vet


scared-dogFear-free experiences for the pets. That’s what we want when they come to the veterinary clinic. We are in this profession because we have compassion and empathy for pets, so we want them to be happy when they see us. The hard part is that some pets will have stress and anxiety when they come the veterinary hospital. We are constantly trying to be mindful of their comfort and look at ways to make it a good experience for them.




One simple thing that we’ve instituted recently is that we’ve put rubber mats on the exam tables. We are trying them out and so far they seem to be helpful. Instead of being on the cold, slippery stainless steel counter tops – pets enjoy something warmer and more secure.


Another thing that we do with cats, is to leave them in the carrier and dismantle the top cat under bedhalf of the carrier. This doesn’t work with some carriers, but in many cases we can use this technique and the cats are much happier because they can stay cuddled within their own blankets while we examine them.



Our approach in general is to try and ACCOMODATE THE PET and keep them comfortable. Sometimes we have to hold them firmly with a big hug, but when possible we will simply use a “less is more” technique in which we move with them. Occasionally things become too stressful and sedation is the best option. We do our best to “read” the pet and see what is going to work best for them.

cattailspeakFearful dog behavior





We have done a couple small remodel projects and created parts of the clinic that are quieter. This gives us the option to separate quite pets from noisy pets. Currently we are remodeling our treatment area so that we can spread out better and the pets won’t feel crowded. More than anything, we want to avoid a situation where the pet is badly scared and may bite someone.


In an ideal world we’d have it always be calm and smell really good here, the reality is that some pets are noisy and smelly. We shift pets around and in some cases we will give anti-anxiety medication. We are constantly cleaning to control smells and keep things sanitary.

For some cats or dogs, it is worth giving anti-anxiety medication before they come to the clinic. We don’t want to over medicate them and we can’t do this if they are sick, but it can be very helpful for some pets. So, ask us about dispensing some calming medication before they come in. The “caveat” with that idea is that we have to have seen the pet within the year to be able to dispense any medications.  Ideally we want every person and every pet to be happy and relaxed.

dog cat                           6390794_f260

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Allergies and Itchy Skin

cat_and_dog_206704We see allergies in dogs and cats on a daily basis. In cats, it is due to fleas 95% + of the time. In dogs, it is often due to fleas, but we definitely see food allergies and environmental allergies too. Discussing allergies is something we do numerous times each day. The ASPCA has a nice article on their website – it has a good overview of allergies and is included below. An exam is very important for itchy pets. Through the exam, we we can get a sense for the severity of the condition and determine how aggressive treatment needs to be.



  1. Typically we will emphasize treating fleas aggressively. Treat all the pets in the house consistently with high quality flea medication. (we can advise you as to which flea product suits your pet best).  In some cases the fleas are causing a pet to be itchy, but in other cases the pet has a full blown flea allergy and just one random flea bite can set off a reaction.
  2. Once we’ve eliminated fleas as the source of itching, then we pursue ruling out food allergies. Often clients do a food trial with a grain free, etc type food. Sometimes that will work, most of the time it won’t. A more specific food trial is needed, one that has one protein source and one carbohydrate source that the pet has never had – or a hydrolyzed diet. They have to be on that diet for 6 weeks straight with no other foods, treats, or anything.
  3. It is important to keep in mind that once you’ve eliminated fleas, then approximately 20% of skin allergy cases are food related, the other 80% are environmental allergies. SO, if itching still persists, then it is ideally time to do allergy testing. Once allergy testing is done, then desensitization injections can be given. OR, treat symptomatically with steroids, Apoquel, cyclosporine, antihistamines, topical medications, shampoos and conditioners, etc.  Many times secondary infections develop and antibiotics or antifungals are needed to treat them.



This is the ASPCA article (

What Are Allergies?

Just like people, dogs can show allergic symptoms when their immune systems begin to recognize certain everyday substances—or allergens— as dangerous. Even though these allergens are common in most environments and harmless to most animals, a dog with allergies will have an extreme reaction to them. Allergens can be problematic when inhaled, ingested or contact a dog’s skin. As his body tries to rid itself of these substances, a variety of skin, digestive and respiratory symptoms may appear.

What Are the General Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs?

  • Itchy, red, moist or scabbed skin
  • Increased scratching
  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Itchy back or base of tail (most commonly flea allergy)
  • Itchy ears and ear infections
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Snoring caused by an inflamed throat
  • Paw chewing/swollen paws
  • Constant licking

Allergic dogs may also suffer from secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections, which may cause hair loss, scabs or crusts on the skin.

Which Dogs Are At Risk for Getting Allergies?

Any dog can develop allergies at any time during his life, but allergic reactions seem to be especially common in terriers, setters, retrievers, and flat-faced breeds such as pugs, bulldogs and Boston terriers.

What Substances Can Dogs Be Allergic To?cat_and_dog_185715

A few common allergens include:

  • Tree, grass and weed pollens
  • Mold spores
  • Dust and house dust mites
  • Dander
  • Feathers
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Food ingredients (e.g. beef, chicken, pork, corn, wheat or soy)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Fleas and flea-control products (The bite of a single flea can trigger intense itchiness for two to three weeks!)
  • Perfumes
  • Cleaning products
  • Fabrics
  • Insecticidal shampoo
  • Rubber and plastic materials

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Food?

Yes, but it often takes some detective work to find out what substance is causing the allergic reaction. Dogs with a food allergy will commonly have itchy skin, breathing difficulties or gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting, and an elimination diet will most probably be used to determine what food he is allergic to. If your dog is specifically allergic to chicken, for example, you should avoid feeding him any products containing chicken protein or fat.

Please note that food allergies may show up in dogs at any age.

What Should I Do If I Think My Dog Has Allergies?

Visit your veterinarian. After taking a complete history and conducting a physical examination, he or she may be able to determine the source of your dog’s allergic reaction. If not, your vet will most probably recommend skin or blood tests, or a special elimination diet, to find out what’s causing the allergic reaction.

cute_cat_and_dog_picture_4_168800How Are Dog Allergies Diagnosed?

If your dog’s itchy, red or irritated skin persists beyond initial treatment by a veterinarian, allergy testing, most often performed by a veterinary dermatologist, is likely warranted. The diagnostic test of choice is an intradermal skin test similar to the one performed on humans.

The only way to diagnose a food allergy is to feed your dog a prescription or hydrolyzed protein diet exclusively for 12 weeks. The importance of not feeding your dog anything but the diet cannot be emphasized enough—that means no treats, table food or flavored medication. This diet will be free of potential allergy-causing ingredients and will ideally have ingredients your dog has never been exposed to. He’ll remain on the diet until his symptoms go away, at which time you’ll begin to reintroduce old foods to see which ones might be causing the allergic reaction.

Please note, many dogs diagnosed with a food allergy will require home-cooked meals—but this must be done in conjunction with your veterinarian, as it requires careful food balancing.

How Can Dog Allergies Be Treated?

The best way to treat allergies is to remove the offending allergens from the environment.

  • Prevention is the best treatment for allergies caused by fleas. Start a flea control program for all of your pets before the season starts. Remember, outdoor pets can carry fleas inside to indoor pets. See your veterinarian for advice about the best flea control products for your dog and the environment.
  • If dust is the problem, clean your pet’s bedding once a week and vacuum at least twice weekly—this includes rugs, curtains and any other materials that gather dust.
  • Weekly bathing may help relieve itching and remove environmental allergens and pollens from your dog’s skin. Discuss with your vet what prescription shampoos are best, as frequent bathing with the wrong product can dry out skin.
  • If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, she’ll need to be put on an exclusive prescription or hydrolyzed protein diet. Once the allergy is determined, your vet will recommend specific foods or a home-cooked diet.

Are There Allergy Medications for Dogs?bigstockphoto_Cute_Rottweiler_1498727

Since certain substances cannot be removed from the environment, your vet may recommend medications to control the allergic reaction:

  • In the case of airborne allergens, your dog may benefit from allergy injections. These will help your pet develop resistance to the offending agent, instead of just masking the itch.
  • Antihistamines such as Benadryl can be used, but may only benefit a small percentage of dogs with allergies. Ask your vet first.
  • Fatty acid supplements might help relieve your dog’s itchy skin. There are also shampoos that may help prevent skin infection, which occurs commonly in dogs with allergies. Sprays containing oatmeal, aloe and other natural products are also available.
  • An immune modulating drug may also be helpful.
  • There are several flea-prevention products that can be applied monthly to your dog’s skin.
  • If the problem is severe, you may have to resort to cortisone to control the allergy. However these drugs are strong and should be used with caution and only under the guidance of your veterinarian.
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Keeping Your Pet Healthy Through the Summer


heartworm-prevention-photoWhat are the dangers lurking for our animal friends?

Keeping your pets safe this summer By Rianna Malherbe, MS, RM (NRCM)

I’ve posted this as a terrific resource on summer related maladies. Click on the link below to access the article.


Rianna Malherbe is a microbiologist with a passion for pets. Her article covers Heartworm Disease, Tick Borne Diseases, Stagnant Water Contamination, Food Poison, and Heat Exhaustion.




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Heartworm Tests $25


Heartworm disease is a genuine problem. Actual worms reside in the heart of an infected patient and lead to congestive heart failure. So it is a concerning and scary disease. It can be treated once they are infected, but it is a difficult treatment process. Once the adult heartworms are killed they float up into the lung field. Imagine earthworm size worms floating into the lung field.

Fortunately Heartworm disease can be prevented. Mosquitos pick up larval stages of the worms when they bite an infected dog. The mosquitos then bite another dog thereby spreading the disease.  The disease is easy to prevent by killing the larval stages before they ever get a chance to mature to adulthood. Since we don’t know when or if a dog will get infected, we give a monthly medicine that kills the larval stages. It is a very low dose of an insecticide with a very very low chance of side effects.

We can do a Heartworm test in the clinic. Once we get a small blood sample, it only takes about 10 minutes to get a result. After we’ve established that the dog does not have Heartworm disease, we put them on a once per month preventative.  Ivermectin and Milbemycin are two common active ingredients used at very low doses, to kill the larval stages.

We do not want to mislead anyone. Heartworm disease is not common in our immediate area. But there are sporadic cases in Lane County. Veneta, in particular, has had a higher incidence. To the south of us, the regions from Grants Pass all the way to Sacramento have a higher incidence. It is definitely nearby. We do recommend doing a Heartworm test and monthly Heartworm preventative.

mapit heartworm

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Bladder Stones


In the past year we have seen a number of dogs and a few cats that have bladder stones. Surgery is necessary in most cases. The big question is, “why do they happen and can they be prevented?”.



There are different types of stones and they form for different reasons. Struvite stones typically form due to infection. Small breed, female dogs are most prone to them.  Urinary tract infections typically cause symptoms of frequent, small volume urination, straining, and sometimes blood in the urine. The hard part is that some infections are not symptomatic. So an infection can persist for a long period which creates an alkaline urine environment, Struvite stones precipitate in alkaline environments.  Once the stones are formed they roll around the bladder and create irritation. They also harbor infection, so even if you treat the urinary tract infection with antibiotics some of the infection will be harbored deep in the stones and come back. Typically surgery is best to remove them and steps taken to prevent further infections. In certain cases, these stones can actually be dissolved with special diets meant to limit Magnesium and Phosphourus, as well as acidify the urine.


Calcium Oxalate stones form in acidic urine environments and are not related to infections. They are caused by genetic factors. I’m typically careful to say that specific diets did not cause the stones to form, but once they are removed, the stones can be prevented with a specific diet. These stones cannot be dissolved and must be removed via surgery.


Urate stones are less common but occur as well. Some urate stones occur secondary to underlying liver disease. Surgery is straight forward and necessary to remove them. Preventing them is more challenging.

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After the surgeries, we have the stones analyzed. Interestingly some stones come back as a combination of Struvite, Oxalate, and even Urate.


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Community Service Activities

BuddyWe strive to do a great job carrying for your pets. All of us at Q Street Animal Hospital are in the profession because we care about animals. They are a wonderful part of life – I’ll concede that they’re not always easy – but for the most part they enrich our lives! The pets we usually see come into us because their owners (you) care enough to bring them in. However (as many of you know), there are a lot of pets that don’t receive regular veterinary care and they need help. Because of our passion to care for animals, we work with a number of local rescue groups to help “pets in need”. In some cases we provide free services, in other cases we offer reduced fees for service, in still other cases we are or have been involved with organizations management. These are some of the things that we’ve been involved with:

Greenhill Humane Society,  Dr. Swanson served on their board and was involved with setting up their surgery suite. Prior to their having a surgery suite, we provided spays and neuters. They have evolved, are located across from town from us, and don’t need us as much these days – but we are big fans and are still donors.

West Coast Dog and Cat Rescue,  We offer some free services and discounted services on a weekly basis. The majority of our community service work in recent years has been with West Coast Dog and Cat Rescue. They have rescued and found homes for many, many cats and we’re pleased to be some help to them.

Willamette Animal Guild (WAG),  Our office manager serves on their board. The biggest problem that faces our community is pet over population. WAG has done a tremendous job of addressing this problem and tackling it as best possible. They’ve spayed and neutered over 30,000 cats and dogs since opening in 2008.

Community Veterinary Center (CVC),  This group offers reduced cost veterinary care for pet owners that can’t afford care for their pet. Their veterinarians do a great job caring for the pets that they see. Their facility is limited in scope and in some cases they coordinate with us to have reduced cost surgeries done. We are happy to have a good relationship with them and help out when we can.

Luvable,  Used to be Luv-a-bul and Luv-a-little.  They originally rescued only pit bulls, now they rescue small breed dogs as well. We’ve worked with them on a number of cases. Unfortunately we are well across town and we don’t get to help out as often as we’d like. But at times we are able to offer reduced cost surgeries or medical care for them. They’re a terrific group.

TNR (Trap Neuter and Release) Program at Green Hill Humane Society, This was a spay and neuter program for cats that involved veterinarians in the community volunteering their time to provide free spays and neuters on weekends. Our clinic was involved until they discontinued the program, but were proud to help put a “dent” in the feral cat population.

Here’s  pictures of a few of the pets we’ve helped through  the rescue groups.

So ShaikittensLuna



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