2935 South 2nd Street

St. Cloud, Minnesota 56301

Telephone: (320) 252-0277
 Fax: (320)252-5901

Office Hours
 

Monday: 7 am - 8 pm

Tuesday: 7 am - 6 pm

Wednesday: 7 am - 8 pm

Thursday: 7 am - 4 pm

Friday: 7 am - 6pm

Saturday: 8 am - 10 am**

Sunday: Closed 

 

**Please note: Saturday hours are for technician appointments only.

For Saturday or Sunday emergencies, please call Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Services at
(320) 258-3481.

 

Granite City Pet Hospital Blog

 

Welcome Winter!

It’s December, and winter weather is here! It may be dark and cold outside, but you can keep your pet happy and warm through the long winter months. As we head into this chilly season, we’d like to share a few tips for keeping pets safe and healthy through the winter:  

·         Staying warm. The most obvious fact about winter is that it’s cold outside. For this reason, it’s best to keep pets mainly indoors. When going outside for walks, keep short-haired pets warm with sweaters, coats, and booties. Even for thick-coated breeds, their fur alone is not enough to keep them warm outside on cold winter days. If a pet must live primarily outside, be sure to provide adequate shelter where they can get away from the cold, such as a heated garage or insulated dog house with plenty of blankets and/or straw. If the pet’s water supply is outdoors, use a heated water bowl so it cannot freeze solid. Outdoor pets also need to eat more during cold weather because they use more calories keeping themselves warm. 

·         Beware of winter weight. While outdoor pets need more calories in the winter, the opposite is true for indoor pets, as they tend to be less active. Adjust the amount of food your pets gets as needed to accommodate the less active months. More indoor play can also help pets stay fit and trim.  

·         Antifreeze is highly toxic to dogs and cats. Watch for any spills or leaks, and keep your pets away from these areas. Also consider switching to a product that uses Propylene Glycol instead of Ethylene Glycol, as this is less toxic (although not harmless).

·         Salt on sidewalks and roads can be irritating to paws. When walking outside, avoid highly salted areas and always towel off your pet’s feet and belly after walks. Another option is to have your dog wear booties on walks to avoid cold and salt exposure.

·         Outdoor cats often seek warmth under car hoods. To avoid turning the engine on while the cat under the hood, get into the habit of tapping on the hood a few times before getting in the car – this will wake up any sleeping cats and give them a chance to get out safely.  

·         Holiday decorations, although festive, can pose a danger to pets. Keep any electric wires and candles out of reach. Ornaments can also be a risk for foreign bodies if ingested. Tinsel and other string-like decorations are especially dangerous to cats.

We wish everyone a warm and cozy winter - for both you and your pets. Please let us know if you have any questions about winter safety or the health of your furry family members.   

Sources cited: humanesociety.org, ASPCA.org, photographyblogger.net

Loving Our Senior Pets


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As we celebrate Senior Pet Month, let’s take a moment to appreciate all the joys of living with pets who are in their golden years. Older pets bring many benefits to their owners – besides the obvious love and companionship, they tend to be calmer than young animals and require less work and training. Enjoying our older pets, or adopting an older pet, can be extremely rewarding. However, there are also challenges involved with caring for an aging pet. Senior pets often require more medical attention as they begin to experience the health problems that come with age, and it can be difficult to watch a loving companion experience the discomfort that accompanies many of these issues. So what can we do to give our senior pets the best quality of life possible? Here are several strategies that can help:

1.       Regular veterinary visits. Having senior pets checked out with an exam and bloodwork every 6 months allows us to catch any health issues early, which typically leads to a better treatment outcome if concerns do arise.

 

2.       Maintain a healthy weight. Many pets, young and old, are overweight or obese. This is a problem for any pet, but even more so for senior pets, as it increases the stress on their joints and can lead to arthritis and other joint concerns. Maintain senior pets at a healthy weight by feeding appropriate amounts, feeding a senior food, and providing regular exercise. Starting a joint supplement can also help with mobility issues. 

 

3.       Environmental considerations. As pets get older, they tend to have more trouble with stairs and jumping up onto furniture. Sometimes hardwood floors become difficult to walk on because they are too slippery. Being aware of these changes can help you modify the environment as needed – for example, adding area rugs to hardwood floors.

 

4.       Pay close attention.  Often the signs of a health problem begin as very subtle changes in behavior and attitude. Aging pets can also experience mental changes. Watching your pets closely can help catch any signs early. 

Our senior pets add so much to our lives with their love and companionship – they deserve the best golden years that we can give them.   

 

 

Sources cited: AVMA, adoptaseniorpet.com

Obesity and Chronic Inflammation

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It is already well known that obesity leads to a variety of health problems in pets, such as osteoarthritis, Diabetes, and overall shortened lifespans. But research reveals another side effect of obesity that may come as a surprise: chronic, low-grade inflammation.

Experts believe that this chronic state of low-grade, continual inflammation caused by obesity leads to orthopedic, respiratory, cardiovascular, pancreatic, and renal diseases. It’s more than simply having extra weight to carry around. The changes that occur in the body are due to the additional adipose tissue which acts as an endocrine organ, secreting hormones, proteins, and growth factors. These substances that are produced by the adipose tissue are collectively called adipokines. High levels of adipokines are associated with chronic inflammation, which leads to the variety of conditions discussed above. Unfortunately, they also lead to increased weight gain, and the cycle of obesity continues.

Weight loss helps pets to not only have better mobility and less pain, but also reduces their risk of many diseases associated with chronic inflammation, making weight loss even more important than previously known.
So what can we do as pet owners to help our pets lose weight? There are a few simple steps we can blog 2take. Measuring out the amount of food your pet gets through the day is a great place to start. Increasing their activity and exercise is also helpful. In addition, feeding in creative ways can be very effective in helping pets lose weight. Having pets work for their food also has the added benefit of increasing their mental stimulation and enrichment. Toys such as food balls allow your pet to “hunt” for the kibbles while getting exercise playing with the food ball. You can also use their daily allotment of food as training rewards instead of feeding from a dish. This has multiple benefits of training your pet using positive reinforcement (which leads to better behavior and a better relationship), while not giving any additional calories in the form of treats.  

Please let us know if you have any questions regarding obesity, chronic inflammation, or weight loss strategies. Together we can help your pet maintain a healthy weight and a happy life!   

 

 

Sources cited: Insight magazine (pattersonvet.com)

Photo credits: petsbesthealth.com, amazon.com                   

Dangers of Blue-green Algae



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Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy nature, including the many beautiful lakes in our area. However, there’s a good reason to look at the water closely before jumping right in – it may contain a dangerous substance called blue-green algae. These algae are common in our area, and are extremely toxic to pets.    

 

What is blue-green algae? The Wisconsin DNR states that “blue-green algae, also known as Cyanobacteria, are a group of photosynthetic bacteria that many people refer to as "pond scum." Blue-green algae are most often blue-green in color, but can also be blue, green, reddish-purple, or brown. Blue-green algae generally grow in lakes, ponds, and slow-moving streams when the water is warm and enriched with nutrients like phosphorus or nitrogen. When environmental conditions are just right, blue-green algae can grow very quickly in number. Most species are buoyant and will float to the surface, where they form scum layers or floating mats. When this happens, we call this a "blue-green algae bloom." Blue-green algae blooms generally occur between mid-June and late September, although in rare instances, blooms have been observed in winter, even under the ice.”

 

Blue-green algae produce toxins that are harmful to people and pets. During certain times of the year, more toxins are released. However, it is impossible to know when the algae are producing the toxins without testing the water, so it’s safest to assume that any algae you see is toxic. The Pet Poison Helpline states that the toxins are extremely dangerous to pets - even very small exposures, such a few mouthfuls of algae-contaminated water, may result in fatal poisoning. The toxins can cause liver damage if ingested. Clinical signs of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, blood in stool or black, tarry stool, weakness, pale mucous membranes, jaundice, seizures, disorientation, coma, and shock. Death generally follows within days as a result of liver failure. Aggressive, immediate treatment is necessary to help treat this quick-acting, potentially fatal poison.  

 

Our veterinarians recommend checking water for surface algae before swimming and do not allow your dog to swim if you notice any signs of algae in the water. It’s also a good idea to monitor pets closely for any concerns after swimming, even if you did not see algae. Let us know right away if you see any of the concerns listed above.

  

Please call us if you have any questions or concerns. Together we can keep your pets safe and healthy so you can enjoy all that summer has to offer!    

 

 

Sources cited: Wisconsin DNR, Pet Poison Helpline

Photo credit: www.thepetwiki.com

Boat Safety For Dogs



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Summer is finally here, and we are all ready to get out and enjoy our many lakes! For dog owners, this probably means bringing your furry friend along for a day on the water. Here are a few tips to make sure the boat ride is safe and fun for everyone:

1.      Safety first! Think about the potential hazards of boating for your dog. Going overboard, slippery surfaces, heat stroke, and dehydration are some of the main concerns. Be sure to invest in and bring along a life jacket that fits your dog properly, a first aid kit, a water dish and water bottle, and sunscreen. Lighter colored dogs are in danger of being sunburned. The areas that are most at-risk for sunburn are dogs’ noses and top of their muzzle, and any other areas with thin hair. You can use a light, unscented SPF 15 sunscreen on these areas.  
 
2.      Plan ahead. Talk with your family and friends about a plan for if your dog goes overboard. What will each person do? Someone should stop the motor, another person call to the dog, and several people to lift the dog back into the boat. Walk through the plan beforehand if possible. This will help everyone stay calm if an incident occurs.
 
3.      Give your dog time to adjust. Especially if your dog hasn’t spent much time on a boat, you’ll want your dog to become comfortable and make their boating experience a positive one. Give your dog several opportunities to get used to everything from wearing the life jacket to the motion of the boat in the water before the actual trip. Have your dog wear the life jacket at home for brief sessions, and take your dog out on the boat for short periods of time before the trip. Make the first several trips on the boat with your dog shorter. If your dog acts fearful, give lots of treats and progress slowly in gradual steps.
 
Please let us know if you have any questions about boating with your dog! Have a safe and happy start to the season of summer fun! 
 

Photo Credit: dogsmagazin.c
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Summer Safety Tips




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Warmer weather is finally here! While everyone is getting outside and enjoying the nice days, we wanted to share a few tips on how to keep your furry friends safe and healthy as summer approaches:

 

1.    Don’t leave pets in the car. Even on moderately warm days, the interior of a vehicle can heat up to life-threatening temperatures in just a few minutes, even when the windows are cracked open. It’s best to leave pets at home if you know you will need to make a stop.

 

2.    Don’t let dogs ride loose in the back of a pickup truck. It’s safer to keep them in the cab with you. If they need to ride in the back, make sure they are in kennels which are securely tied down so they cannot shift or move during the ride.

 

3.    Don’t let your dog hang their head out the car window. We know it’s cute, but it can also be dangerous. Dust, dirt, and other small objects can fly into your pet’s face and eyes, causing ocular foreign bodies and other injuries.

 

4.    Gradually get back into shape. If you and your pet have been less active over the winter months, it’s tempting to jump right back into full-force exercise. However, this can be dangerous for pets who are not used to it. Especially on warmer days, they can be more susceptible to heat stroke and exhaustion. It’s best to take a gradual approach and slowly increase the intensity.  

 

Please let us know if you have any questions about these or other warm weather considerations. Together we can keep your pets healthy and safe as we all get into the swing of summer!

 

Photo credit: 123rf.com