Turner Veterinary Clinic has been serving the Greater Battle Creek Area for over 75 years. We pride ourselves in the fact that there have only been four different owners during that time span. Dr. Benjamin Huelsbergen bought the practice in 1998 and has continued a long tradition of compassionate and personalized care for each of his patients and their families.
Although your cat probably thinks it should be every month, September is officially Happy Healthy Cat Month. The love and care you provide your cat makes a big difference in his longevity and overall well-being. Cats are wonderful companions who really ask for so little in exchange for the purrs, snuggles, and unconditional love. In honor of this special month, here are some things you can do to give your cat the happy life he deserves:
• Provide several places to sleep and hide throughout your home. Cats need a place to retreat when they feel fearful in addition to wanting privacy from time to time.
• Get your cat microchipped and provide her with a collar and identification tag. This greatly increases the chances of a happy reunion should she ever become separated from you.
• Feed your cat nutritious food, limit treats, and make him work for his food sometimes. Place it inside of a toy or in different places around the house to satisfy his natural hunting instinct. This also gives him much-needed exercise.
• Make sure your cat has plenty of toys and spend a few minutes each day playing with her. Cats are just as entertained batting at a piece of string as they are with an expensive toy from the pet store. Playing with your cat encourages exercise, mental stimulation, and the human-feline bond.
• Place scratching posts in a few different areas of your home to give your cat the chance to sharpen his claws as well as release the natural need to scratch. This saves your furniture too.
Regular Veterinary Care is the Most Important of All
A 2013 study by the American Association of Feline Practitioners indicates that more than half of all cats don't see the veterinarian regularly. Although more than 80 percent visit the vet during their first year of life, cat owners seem to only bring them in when they are sick or injured after that. At Turner Veterinary Clinic, we encourage all cat owners to schedule a physical exam at least once a year. This is important for early diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of feline diseases as well as to track your cat's growth. Dr. Huelsbergen looks forward to seeing you and your cat soon.
It's August, which means that National Immunization Month is here. Just like people, animals need vaccines to protect them from the devastating effects of several contagious diseases. Keeping up with your pet's regularly scheduled vaccines is one of the most important things you can do to ensure her long-term good health. This is true even if she mostly stays inside. Many serious animal illnesses are spread through airborne contact, which means your pet could pick up a virus through an open window. Germs can also spread quickly among unvaccinated pets in places such as grooming salons, boarding kennels, and dog parks.
Essential and Optional Vaccines for Cats and Dogs
The feline distemper shot, also called the FVRCP, protects cats against the serious and highly contagious diseases of Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia. The canine distemper shot, also called the DHPP, protects your dog from Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus. Most states also enforce mandatory rabies vaccinations for both cats and dogs.
For cats, Dr. Huelsbergen may recommend a vaccine for Bordetella, Chlamydia, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), and Feline Leukemia based on your cat's lifestyle, breed, and other factors. For dogs, he may advise you to get a vaccine for Bordetella, Canine Influenza, Canine Virus, Leptospirosis, or Lyme Disease. Dr. Huelsbergen always takes your feedback into consideration when making these recommendations.
Kittens and puppies should start their FVRCP or DHPP series between six and eight weeks of age. This involves getting the original dose followed by several boosters to ensure strong immunity. If your adult cat or dog is behind on his shots, we can get him caught up at Turner Veterinary Clinic. We are happy to discuss your pet's vaccination schedule at his next well visit exam, by phone, or through electronic messaging.
Did you know that July is National Recreation and Parks Month? Although this awareness campaign is directed at getting humans to exercise and enjoy the great outdoors, it's important to remember that pets also need physical activity. Besides keeping his weight at a healthy level, regular exercise helps to decrease digestive disorders, joint problems, diabetes, heart issues, and other serious health concerns for the animal member of your family.
Exercises for Dogs and Cats
Dogs who don't get enough exercise may engage in destructive behavior to burn off their excess energy. One easy way to make sure your dog gets enough physical activity is to take her for a walk each day. Throwing a ball in the park, swimming, or setting up an obstacle course in the backyard are additional ways to see to it that your dog has fun while getting the exercise she needs.
Cats are naturally less active than dogs and tend to prefer sleeping to movement, especially as they age. To ensure that your cat stays trim and healthy, set aside at least 15 minutes each day to play with him. Some favorite cat games include batting at string, chasing the light from a laser pointer, and pouncing on a toy mouse. Making the time to engage your cat in play also helps to increase your bond with him.
Ask Us for Diet and Exercise Recommendations
Please schedule an appointment with Dr. Huelsbergen before making any significant changes in your pet's diet or exercise routines. He will evaluate your dog or cat's current health and offer suggestions to get more exercise. If you're still stumped for how to get your pet moving more, remember that we stock a variety of toys for dogs and cats in the Turner Veterinary Clinic online store.
It only takes a few seconds for your pet to be lost forever, like when you're busy with other things and she slips out the front door to take off after a squirrel. The experience is so common that the American Humane Society estimates one in three pets will get lost at some point in her lifetime. That's over 10 million pets every year who can't find their way home. In many cases, it's because the pet didn't have proper identification. Even a collar with current contact information on it can catch on a fence or come off by the pet's own force.
What is a Pet Microchip?
Even though June is National Microchip Month, people often have misconceptions about what a microchip is and what it can do. A microchip is about the same size as a grain of rice. When a veterinarian or someone from your local Animal Control scans your pet, the information contained on the microchip appears on a computer screen. This typically includes the pet's name, your name, and your current contact information. This makes it possible to contact you to let you know that your pet has been located.
A microchip is not the same thing as a Global Positioning System (GPS). That means you can't rely on it to let you know where your pet is if he gets away from you. It's also essential to register your microchip and keep your contact information updated. There is nothing sadder than discovering a pet has a microchip and then not being able to reach the owner due to it containing invalid details.
Schedule Your Pet's Microchip Appointment Today
The procedure to get a microchip is fast, inexpensive, and painless at Turner Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Huelsbergen inserts the tiny device in a flap of skin under your dog or cat's shoulder blade. It's over in seconds and your pet won't feel any more discomfort than she does with a typical shot. Although a microchip isn't an absolute guarantee you will be reunited with your lost pet, it increases the odds dramatically. It's the least you can do for your best friend.
To help foster a more respectful attitude towards animals and encourage people to honor their responsibilities towards them, In Defense of Animals (IDA) has declared May to be Responsible Animal Guardian Month. Having a respectful attitude towards our pets starts with not referring to ourselves as their owners. This word makes a pet our property while the word guardian means that we are responsible for their well-being for a lifetime.
Goals of the Guardian Campaign
IDA hopes to accomplish two major things during the month of May. First, the organization wants to encourage responsible and loving behavior from people who are already pet guardians. This means committing to caring for the pet's physical and social needs in addition to forming a deep bond with the animal. The following are just some of the ways you can be a responsible pet guardian:
• Invest time in training your pet and apply rules consistently
• Use positive reinforcement rather than punishment
• Ensure that your pet gets plenty of opportunities for socialization
• Make exercise part of his daily routine
• Feed her nutritious food and limit treats
• Spend one-on-one time with him each day
• Schedule regular wellness exams at Turner Veterinary Clinic and bring her in if she displays new or worsening symptoms
IDA also uses this awareness campaign to discourage people from purchasing an animal from a pet store or breeder. The campaign's motto of "Adopt, Don't Shop" urges potential pet parents to consider saving a life by adopting from an animal shelter instead.
Has Your Pet Had a Wellness Exam Recently?
One of the mistakes that pet guardians often make is assuming that the animal doesn't need to visit a veterinarian unless he is sick or injured. Just like physical exams for people, annual wellness exams for pets help to identify and treat issues before they become more problematic.
Please schedule an appointment with Turner Veterinary Clinic if your pet hasn't had a preventive exam in more than a year. Senior pets should be seen bi-annually while puppies and kittens under a year need regular exams and vaccinations. Dr. Huelsbergen will let you know his/her preferred schedule when you bring your pet in for his first appointment.
Heartworm is a common parasite in dogs, cats, ferrets, and several mammal species. During National Heartworm Prevention Month, we urge you to learn more about the transmission, symptoms, and treatment of this parasite. Left untreated, heartworm disease can cause serious illness or the death of your beloved pet.
What is a Heartworm and How Does It Get Inside Your Pet?
A heartworm is approximately 12 inches long and lives inside the blood vessels, heart, and lungs of animals who are infected with it. The most typical course of transmission is through a mosquito. When a female heartworm is present inside of a dog or cat, she can reproduce thousands of microscopic worms that travel to the bloodstream. A mosquito ingests some of these baby worms when it stings an infected pet and feeds on his blood. Heartworm transmission occurs the next time the mosquito bites a pet.
Symptoms of Heartworm in Dogs and Cats
Heartworms can live up to seven years in dogs and up to three years in cats. However, the two types of animals exhibit entirely different symptoms when infected. The first signs in dogs include early fatigue, appetite loss, persistent cough, and weight loss. Dogs with advanced heartworm disease will have a swollen belly, bloody urine, and labored breathing.
Cats tend to display either subtle or dramatic symptoms with no middle ground. Common symptoms include vomiting, appetite and weight loss, and coughing that develops into asthma. As the disease progresses, an infected cat may experience problems walking as well as fainting and seizures. Some cats show no symptoms of heartworm infestation until they collapse and die.
Diagnosing and Treating Heartworm Disease
If you’re the pet parent of a puppy or kitten, schedule an appointment with Dr. Huelsebergen at Turner Veterinary Clinic when she is six months old. Dogs should be tested annually thereafter and started on a heartworm preventive as soon as possible. You can greatly reduce your cat’s risk of getting heartworm by keeping her indoors.
We encourage you to speak to Dr. Huelsbergen to establish a heartworm protocol for your pet as soon as possible. For your convenience, our clinic offers several different types of heartworm prevention products in our online store.
Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? Although originally started to promote the importance of human nutrition, the veterinary industry has adapted it to its own needs. As a pet owner, providing the best nutrition for your dog, cat, rabbit or other animal is the single most important thing you do. That is because the food you select has a major impact on your pet’s long-term health.
Pet owners sometime make food buying decisions based on convenience or price without considering what is best for the individual animal. For example, many dog and cats have skin or coat issues, a sensitive stomach, or problems with their joints. This requires selecting a species-specific food that addresses these unique concerns. Pets also have different nutritional requirements based on their stage of life.
Although the Food and Drug Administration has specific regulations about what must be included on a pet food label, it can still be challenging to interpret. Most pet foods contain some combination of carbohydrates, fats, minerals, preservatives, and vitamins. However, it can be difficult to know the actual percentage of each of these that the pet food contains or to know how much your pet specifically needs.
In honor of National Pet Nutrition Month, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at Turner Veterinary Clinic to discuss your pet’s nutritional needs with Dr. Huelsbergen. You’re also welcome to ask for a nutritional assessment at the next wellness exam. We will let you know if your pet appears to have specific dietary restrictions and whether he or she is at a healthy weight. A nutritious diet and regular exercise help to prevent serious health conditions as well as provide your pet with the highest possible quality of life.
Image Credit: Damedeeso @ iStock
It’s that time of year again. Love, hugs and chocolate are on everyone’s mind. For your pet, the first two come out way on top! (Chocolate is a no-no, but you already knew that!)
Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats, affecting 78% of dogs and 68% of cats over the age of three. Although most dogs and cats will develop some sort of dental disease, small dog breeds, such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Dachshunds and Toy Poodles, are more prone to developing periodontal disease than larger breeds.
If your pet has bad breath, it may mean there is a problem with their teeth and gums. This can also contribute to more severe medical conditions. If dental issues are left untreated, you may put your pet at risk for problems in their mouth (periodontitis) or with internal organs (heart disease). The challenge most pet owners face is that even if their pet’s breath smells fine, some dental issues are hard to spot.