Parasite Prevention: Isn't It Too Cold To Care?

Year Round Preventative Care

The days are cold and snowy, but did you know that your pet is still at risk for parasites? Let’s discuss the importance of year round preventative! For dogs, we recommend giving Heartgard Plus once monthly year round. This medication protects against intestinal parasites such as roundworms and hookworms in addition to heartworms. Your pet can be infected with intestinal parasites at any time of year, even in the heart of our winter months. Because these parasites can be transmitted to the humans in the household, giving Heartgard Plus to your dog(s) during the winter months is just as important as it is during the warmer months of the year.

We recommend flea and tick prevention with Nexgard or Frontline Gold from spring through fall depending on our weather. However, depending on your pet’s lifestyle, you may need to administer flea and tick prevention year round. If your pet visits the grooming facility, dog park, day care, dog classes or boarding facility regularly, your pet is exposed to other dogs --- those dogs may be carrying fleas or other parasites. If this fits with your dog’s lifestyle, year round flea and tick prevention is advised. Nexgard has the advantage of protecting your dog against mites as well. (Nexgard is for dogs only and should not be used in patients with seizure disorders.)

In most households, our feline friends have fewer outside interactions than dogs, especially in the winter months. Keep in mind, though, that if you have an active dog who is regularly exposed to others, your dog could be a source of parasites for your indoor cat, even in the winter months. If your cat hunts, intestinal parasites are a risk as well. As with dogs, roundworms and hookworms can be transmitted to the humans in the household. If you have any of these risk factors in your household, we would recommend Revolution topically once monthly for all cats.

2018 Promotions

Heartgard Plus: Buy 12 doses = $12 mail in rebate

Nexgard: Buy 6 doses = 1 dose free

Frontline Gold: Buy 3 doses = 1 dose free

Frontline Gold: Buy 6 doses = 2 doses free

If you buy 12 doses of Heartgard Plus and 12 doses of either Nexgard or Frontline Gold, you will receive a $50 mail in rebate.

For cats, Zoetis is no longer offering the Buy 6, Get 2 Free or the Buy 9, Get 3 Free offer for Revolution. Instead, they will be launching their Zoetis Petcare Rewards program on March 1st. When you purchase Revolution, you will earn dollars to be used for any veterinary care at St Francis.

In addition, we will once again be offering our Parasites and Your Pet Promotion to provide you with additional savings on your year round parasite prevention.

Dogs: Purchase 12 Heartgard Plus or Tri-Heart Plus, a 4Dx Test, and a fecal test and receive 10% off plus a $12 mail-in rebate.

Cats: Purchase 12 dosages of Revolution and receive 20% off a fecal examination.

If you have any questions about the best preventative care for your pet, please contact us at (651) 645-2808 or group@stfrancisabh.com.

Courtesy of Laura Berg, CVT, Director of Preventative Care Services

Reducing The Stress Of A Veterinary Visit

Sabrina Reed, CVT, our Director of Behavioral Services, recently completed a three-month internship with Dr. Margaret Duxbury of Veterinary Behavior Specialties of Minnesota. She is also a Fear Free Certified Technician. She is a great resource for questions about training or basic behavioral modification, and is playing an integral role in helping our doctors manage our patients’ behavioral conditions. For more complex behavioral cases, we will refer you to Veterinary Behavioral Specialties of Minnesota to work with a board-certified behaviorist.

Many of you have talked with Sabrina in the past month about things that we can do to reduce the stress to our pets when they come into the veterinary clinic. Getting your dog used to the car for short trips up and down the block or training your cat to go into the carrier for food are excellent ways to reduce stress associated with the veterinary visit. Some of these measures can be quite simple. For example, rather than carrying your cat’s carrier by the handle, try carrying the carrier by supporting the bottom instead. This can mean the difference between a wild carnival ride and a smooth transport for your cat – it is much less stressful.

For our avian patients, working with a towel at home can greatly reduce the stress of a veterinary exam and procedures such as blood draws or grooming. Start by offering your bird special treats on a towel. Once comfortable with walking on this new object, you can begin to lift up the corners. Make this a fun ‘peek-a-boo’ game. Eventually, with slow steps, your bird will allow you to flip the towel over his or her head.

These training exercises take time, but will make a big difference in your pet’s perception of visiting the veterinary clinic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Can’t You Refill My Pet's Medication or Food?

The Board of Veterinary Medicine requires us to maintain an active Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR). This means that we are legally required to examine your pet within the past 12 months in order to refill prescription medications or prescription food items.

Why Is A Nail Trim So Expensive?

It is true that a nail trim at a veterinary clinic is more expensive than going to a grooming facility. At a grooming facility, you are paying a groomer or a grooming assistant for that service. At a veterinary clinic, you are paying a certified veterinary technician or a veterinary assistant to perform this service. These are skilled individuals with medical knowledge and advanced training in the veterinary field -- there is an additional cost for that knowledge and skill.

While the majority of pets will do great with the groomer, if your pet is fearful, anxious, or has a medical condition, it is beneficial to have this procedure performed by a skilled medical professional. If needed, we are also in a position to recommend sedation or additional care for your pet.

Why Should I Leave A Voice Message?

We understand that there has been some frustration with our phone system. We know how it feels to hear an answering machine when you’re worried about your loved one. Please know that we make every effort to answer the phone at the time of your call, but if all of our technicians are working with a patient or client or all lines are in use at the time of your call, we cannot always do so immediately.

Voicemail is a great option if you need to request a refill of a medication, leave an update for the doctor, or have a non-urgent question. For more urgent needs, please know that we will call you back as soon as possible. On average, we return calls within 1-2 hours if the message was left during our normal business hours. If your pet is experiencing an emergency during business hours, please hang up and call back immediately.

We are exploring the following measures to help with communication: a) adding receptionist(s); b) adding additional phone lines; and c) adding a call queue to allow you to stay on hold until we are able to answer the call. If you have additional suggestions to help us improve our customer service, please let us know. We really welcome your feedback on this issue.

Why Did You Recommend Urgent Care or Emergency Care?

Our primary goal is to ensure that your pet receives the highest quality of care at all times. Sometimes, that means that it is best for your pet to receive care at a different facility -- St Francis is a small general practice. If your pet is experiencing a true emergency situation (i.e. severe trauma, severe bleeding, respiratory distress, or repeated seizures), your pet requires emergency care that is above and beyond what we can provide. In those scenarios, we recommend that you seek emergency care immediately at either the Animal Emergency & Referral Center or at the University of Minnesota. We may also recommend a referral to a 24-hour care facility if your pet requires more intensive care or care that will extend into the evening hours. For example, if your pet requires oxygen, IV fluid therapy, a feeding tube, or will require monitoring post-anesthesia (i.e. emergency surgery, urinary obstruction), we may recommend a referral. Lastly, we very rarely find ourselves in a situation where we have reached our capacity with regards to the number of patients we can properly care for. If we cannot provide your pet with the best quality care, we will be honest with you and may recommend that you seek care at an urgent care or emergency facility.

News Briefs

February: Pet Dental Health Month

February is Pet Dental Health Month. At-home dental care is so important in the maintenance of your pet’s dental health. During February, stock up on toothpaste and dental chews and receive 10% offof all of these products.

For tips on brushing your pet’s teeth, please visit this page on our website: Dental Care For Your Pet.

New Veterinarian: Jessica Lewis, DVM

Many of you know her already --- she’s been at St Francis since 2011 as a Veterinary Assistant and a Veterinary Technician. In May, she will graduate with her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree. We are very excited to announce that she will join the St Francis team on May 29th as our 7th veterinarian.

Congratulations, Dr. Jessica Lewis!

Marie Adamczyk: 15 Year Anniversary

Congratulations to Marie Adamczyk on her 15 Year Anniversary at St Francis. Marie started at St Francis in 2003. In addition to being an amazing technician, she serves as one of our Senior Veterinary Technicians, is our Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Officer and is the Veterinary Assistant Team Leader involved in the management and training of the veterinary assistant team.


Image Credit: defy | Shutterstock

We would like to take this opportunity to share our Purpose Statement and Core Values with you. As a team, we are proud of our values and strive to uphold them every day. Our values guide each of us as we work to create an exceptional experience for you and your pet at every visit.

We would like to take this opportunity to share our Purpose Statement and Core Values with you. As a team, we are proud of our values and strive to uphold them every day. Our values guide each of us as we work to create an exceptional experience for you and your pet at every visit.

Purpose Statement

At St. Francis Animal & Bird Hospital, our purpose is to provide compassionate and quality care for our patients, to build meaningful relationships with our clients, to share our knowledge and experience, and to exceed the expectations of those who demand the very best of veterinary care.

Core Values

We have a fundamental commitment to excellence in veterinary medicine. We create value for our clients by providing quality and excellence in all that we do and the way in which we do it.

We are committed to providing compassionate care for our patients and their people. We treat our patients and clients as if they were members of our own families.

We are dedicated to lifelong learning and to providing exceptional client education each and every day. By sharing our knowledge, we can work together with our clients to make careful and informed medical decisions about the care of their loved ones.

We have mutual respect for each other, our clients, and our patients. We respect the special relationship that each individual shares with his or her pet.

Integrity is the moral foundation for our practice. We understand that truth, honesty, dependability and consistency form the framework for building meaningful relationships with our clients and with each other.

If, at any time, you feel that we are not achieving these goals, please reach out to us. You may contact Molly Moy, Practice Manager, or Jennifer Blair, DVM, Practice Owner at (651) 645-2808 or group@stfrancisabh.com. Your feedback is very valuable and appreciated by all of us.

Pain Management

Have you noticed that your dog is having more difficulty with the steps? Has your cat stopped jumping on to the table? Is your bird spending more time sitting on the same perch? Has your rabbit stopped racing around the living room? These subtle changes may be early indicators of pain or discomfort.

Fortunately, we have many tools available to help with pain in all of the species we care for. While this article is not all-inclusive by any means, it provides you with an overview of the treatments available for your loved one.

Joint Supplements
There are a variety of joint supplements available for pets. Because these are nutraceuticals, it is important to be cautious about which product you purchase. The majority of these supplements are not regulated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and consistency and accuracy in labeling are not required. We generally recommend Dasuquin for dogs and cats. Dasuquin is manufactured by Nutramax, a reputable company in the veterinary industry. It contains glucosamine, chondroitan, and ASU. We may also recommend Cosequin, especially for birds or small mammals. In addition, fish oil supplements can be beneficial in most species for reducing inflammation.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) reduce pain by reducing inflammation. We commonly use Rimadyl (carprofen), Novox (carprofen), or Metacam (meloxicam) for dogs. For cats, birds, and small mammals, Metacam is the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication of choice. Other examples of NSAIDs include Previcox, Deramaxx, and Onsior.

Side effects are rare, but may be severe. Vomiting, soft stool, lack of appetite, kidney abnormalities, and liver abnormalities are the most common side effects. We always recommend lab work prior to starting these medications, after 4-6 weeks of use, and annually thereafter.

Please note that human medications in this class (i.e. ibuprofen, naproxen) are not safe for pets --- these medications can be fatal. Please do not give your pet any human medications without consulting your veterinarian.

Gabapentin is a neuropathic pain medication. Gabapentin can prevent allodynia (sensation of pain resulting from a normally non-painful stimulus) or hyperalgesia (exaggerated response to painful stimuli). It is a great medication for pain arising from the neurological system or for patients with chronic pain. Side effects may include sedation, drunkenness, or dizziness.

Opioid medications are not used as commonly in veterinary medicine as in human medicine. We occasionally prescribe tramadol, morphine, or codeine. Side effects may include sedation, agitation, anxiety, constipation, or other gastrointestinal side effects (vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite). These medications are scripted through a human pharmacy.

Acupuncture has been practiced in China in both humans and animals for thousands of years. It is one of the branches of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine also includes herbal medicine, food therapy, and Tui-na, a type of Chinese massage.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of small, thin, sterile needles into specific points in the body to cause a therapeutic change to occur. These points are called acupoints. Over thousands of years, we have created a map of 359 transpositional acupoints and 77 classical acupoints in humans and animals; we routinely use 173 acupoints in veterinary medicine. Research shows that these points are located in areas with a high density of free nerve endings, mast cells/immune cells, small blood vessels, and lymphatic vessels. Stimulation of these points leads to a cascade of change in the body including an increase in blood flow to the area, an increase in local immune response, and release of beta-endorphins, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters to reduce pain. These acupoints are located along meridians or channels that interact with specific internal organs.

Dr. Jennifer Blair is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (CVA). She performs our acupuncture appointments at St Francis Integrative Services.

Massage Therapy
Massage can be a valuable component of physical therapy and is most often applied after an injury as a rehabilitation tool. Massage therapy can also be used routinely to help muscles stay toned and healthy and is a wonderful adjunct therapy for aging pets to help manage pain and improve overall mobility.

Massage therapy may be used to increase circulation, extend range of motion, decrease muscle tension, aid digestion, improve neurological signs, reduce pain, reduce inflammation, reduce anxiety, and increase energy.

Whether your goal is to maintain your healthy athlete, provide rehabilitation after an injury, or give your pet comfort and pain relief as he or she ages, massage is a wonderful addition to your pet’s therapeutic pain management program.

Christine Severance, CVT, CMT is a Certified Canine Massage Therapist. She performs our massage therapy appointments at St Francis Integrative Services.

Laser Therapy
Laser therapy uses specific wavelengths of light to induce a therapeutic effect in the body. Laser therapy is used to reduce pain, reduce inflammation, improve circulation, improve nerve function, and increase healing. It is excellent for localized areas of pain (i.e. ruptured cruciate ligament, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, or intervertebral disk disease (IVDD).

Our laser therapy appointments are performed at St Francis Integrative Services.

Additional Therapies
Additional pain management therapies that may be prescribed include physical therapy/rehabilitation (Animal Emergency & Referral Center), Chinese herbal therapies, prescription diets (Hill’s j/d, Purina Joint Mobility), or chiropractic care (Chiropractic For EveryBody).

If you have concerns that your pet may be experiencing pain, please schedule a visit to discuss these options with your veterinarian. You may reach us at (651) 645-2808 to schedule an appointment at St Francis or St Francis Integrative Services.

Cause For Paws

Cause For Paws is a small, all-volunteer Minnesota nonprofit 501(c)(3) group founded in 1998. Their main focus is to find loving permanent homes for stray and abandoned cats and kittens. All cats in their care are fostered in volunteers’ homes. Their work is funded entirely by donations.

The holiday season is a time of giving. Please take a moment this season to help support Cause For Paws. You may do this in one of three ways.

1) We will once again have a Christmas tree in our lobby starting this week. You may donate any amount to Cause For Paws in exchange for an ornament to hang on our tree. Consider purchasing an ornament in honor of your pet or in memory of a loved one who has passed. Ornaments will be available starting on Wednesday, November 29th.

2) When you shop on Amazon this year, consider shopping on AmazonSmile.com instead. It works the same way, but you can choose a charitable foundation for Amazon to donate a portion of the proceeds to.

Choose Cause For Paws Inc in Roseville MN as the recipient.
Cause For Paws Inc Location: Roseville, MN
Categories: Animal Protection & Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs)

3) Visit a Cause for Paws Adoption Day. To learn more, visit their website by clicking here. St Francis will host a Cause For Paws Adoption Day on Saturday, January 13th, 2018 from 1:30-4:30 pm.

News Briefs

Facebook & Nextdoor
Thank you to everyone who has Liked our St Francis Animal & Bird Hospital Facebook page. Thanks to you, we just reached 1,000 Likes! To visit our Facebook page, click here.

We love being your favorite neighborhood veterinary clinic! Thank you so much to everyone who voted in the Nextdoor Neighborhood Survey. We were selected as the 2017 Winner of the Neighborhood Favorite for Veterinary Clinics in 12 neighborhoods on Nextdoor. We are incredibly honored!

Referrals and Online Reviews
Thank you to everyone who has recommended us to their neighbors, colleagues and friends. Our clinic is growing thanks to all of you who spread the word. If you refer a friend, remind them to list you as a reference ---- you will receive a $20 coupon for your next visit.

Take a moment to write us an online review on our Google, Facebook, or Yelppage. For every positive online review, we send you a $10 coupon for your next visit. If you use an alias or just a first name, send us an email to let us know that you posted a review --- we need to be able to find you to send you your thank you!

Welcome, Chelsea Kovar, CVT and Cate Boisjolie
Chelsea Kovar, CVT graduated from Ridgewater College in 2016 with an AAS degree in Veterinary Technology. She joined St Francis as a Veterinary Technician on November 13th. She lives in Roseville with her husband Thomas and two kitty fur babies Scrappy and Sullivan.

Cate Boisjolie joined St Francis in September 2017 as a Veterinary Assistant. She is a pre-veterinary student with interests in research, pathology and large animal medicine. Her hobbies include reading, running, camping, clumsily learning guitar, traveling with her fiancé Danny and cheering on the St. Louis Cardinals.

Most people enjoy chocolate, and not surprisingly, most pets do too! Unfortunately, chocolate can be toxic to pets and can lead to severe clinical signs including vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, ataxia (‘drunkenness’), increased heart rate, heart arrhythmias, increased blood pressure, increased body temperature, difficulty breathing, and even death.

The toxic compounds in chocolate are methylxanthines – this includes both theobromine and caffeine. These compounds inhibit cellular receptors, stimulate the central nervous system, and enhance cardiac and skeletal muscle contractility. In addition, the high fat content in chocolate leads to local gastrointestinal irritation (vomiting and diarrhea), and in severe cases, a serious disease called pancreatitis. Clinical signs occur within 12 hours, but most pets will begin exhibiting signs within 1-4 hours of ingestion.

Different types of chocolate have different amounts of theobromine and caffeine. Relative amounts of methylxanthines in chocolate are as follows:

CompoundTheobromine (mg/oz)Caffeine (mg/oz)
White chocolate 0.25 0.85
Milk chocolate 58 6
Dark chocolate 130 20
Semi-sweet chocolate 138 22
Baker's unsweetened chocolate 393 47
Dry cocoa powder 737 70

St Francis Animal & Bird Hospital's 25th Anniversary Open House

Sunday, September 10th, 1-4 pm

St Francis Animal & Bird Hospital, recently voted "Best Place For Pet Care" in the Roseville Review, will host its 25th Anniversary Open House on Sunday, September 10th from 1-4 pm. You will have the opportunity to meet our doctors and staff and take a full tour of our facilities. Several educational stations will be set up throughout both the St Francis and St Francis Integrative Services locations to showcase our preventative care, surgery, anesthesia, dentistry, laboratory, radiology, acupuncture, laser therapy, massage therapy and hospice/palliative care services. We will also have a special kids' station for kids to experience what it's like to be a veterinarian!

We'll have information available to learn more about Chiropractic for Every Body, Cause for Paws, Dig It Dog Grooming, Veterinary Surgical Specialists, Sarah Beth Photography, Avian Suites, Care Credit, Minnesota Companion Bird Association, Heartgard/Frontline Gold/Nexgard and more!

Dr. Chuck, otherwise known as Dr. Charlie Cosimini, will be signing your copy of his new children's book, A Hedgehog With a Sneeze. Purchase your copy in advance at Amazon.com or purchase a copy directly from Dr. Chuck at the event. Please bring cash or check payments; Dr. Chuck will be unable to take credit card payments. The cost is $10.

In addition, we will have drawings for great prizes including gift certificates for services and products from St Francis and St Francis Integrative Services; a 12 month supply of Frontline Gold; grooming services at Dig It Dog Grooming; free laboratory screening tests from Idexx; a 4K Waterproof Action Camera; St Francis mugs and T-shirts; a signed copy of A Hedgehog With A Sneeze; dog, cat, and avian gift baskets; and many other special items.

We also hope that you will make a donation to benefit our local rescue group: Cause for Paws. If you've been looking for a special individual to add to your house, Cause for Paws will have information about pets that are currently up for adoption. Cause for Paws may even have kitties for you to meet on site!

Toby, our mascot, will be there to greet everyone, but due to the small size of our clinic, he asks that you not bring pets of your own to the event. Again, due to our small size, for everyone's safety, we ask that you do not bring pets of your own to the event. Additional parking is available on the street or in the Cub Foods parking lot.

Please help us celebrate our 25th Anniversary on Sunday, September 10th from 1-4 pm. If you have questions, you may contact us at (651) 645-2808 or group@stfrancisabh.com.

We look forward to sharing St Francis Animal & Bird Hospital with each and every one of you!

Open House: 25th Anniversary Celebration

St Francis Animal & Bird Hospital will host an Open House on Sunday, September 10th from 1-4 pm. You will have the opportunity to meet our doctors and staff and take a full tour of both facilities. Several educational stations will be set up throughout the clinics to showcase our preventative care, surgery, anesthesia, dentistry, laboratory, radiology, integrative services, and hospice/palliative care services. We will also have a special kids' station for kids to experience what it's like to be a veterinarian!

We'll have information available to learn more about Chiropractic for EveryBody, Cause for Paws, Dig It Dog Grooming, Veterinary Surgical Specialists, Sarah Beth Photography, Avian Suites, Care Credit, and more!

In addition, we will have drawings for great prizes including gift certificates for services and products from St Francis; a 12 month supply of Frontline Plus; complimentary laboratory screening tests; dog, cat, and avian gift baskets; and many other special items.

We hope that you will make a donation to benefit our local rescue group, Cause for Paws. If you've been looking for a special individual to add to your house, Cause for Paws will have information about cats that are currently up for adoption.

You will also have the opportunity to have a book signing by our very own author, Dr. Charlie Cosimini --- also known as Dr. Chuck. You may purchase his book in advance on Amazon or by clicking here; they are also available in the lobby at St Francis. Dr. Chuck will have a small quantity of books available to sell during the Open House. Please bring cash or check payments; we will be unable to accept credit cards on this day. The cost is $10.

Toby, our mascot, will be at the main St Francis location to greet everyone, but due to the small size of our clinic, he asks that you not bring pets of your own to the event. Again, due to our small size, for everyone's safety, we ask that you do not bring pets of your own to the event. Additional parking is available on the street and in the Cub Foods parking lot.

Please join us on Sunday, September 10th from 1-4 pm. If you have questions, you may contact us at (651) 645-2808. We look forward to sharing both locations, St Francis Animal & Bird Hospital and St Francis Integrative Services, with each and every one of you! We thank you so much for your dedication to St Francis over the past 25 years!

Canine influenza had received media attention recently and many pet owners have questions. Previously, this was a disease that had not affected the Midwest states, though in the past month, 34 cases have been confirmed in the Chicago area. To date, we have had five cases in Minnesota.

The following information is provided courtesy of Veterinary Information Network: VP Client Information Sheets:

Influenza A virus in dogs (canine influenza virus, CIV, canine flu) is a respiratory tract disease that mimics bordetellosis (Bordetella bronchiseptica infection, kennel cough, infectious tracheobronchitis). However, unlike many cases of bordetellosis, the dog needs veterinary care.

Canine influenza is caused by a highly contagious virus that was identified in Florida in 2005 when it caused several severe respiratory outbreaks in racing greyhounds. The disease appears to occur most frequently in high-density dog populations: dogs who are housed with numerous other dogs in places such as shelters, boarding facilities, breeding kennels, pet stores, rescue groups, dog shows, and greyhound racing tracks. The disease is thought to have originated as a mutation of an influenza strain that affects horses and is not related to typical human influenza strains or the avian flu.

 kitten flowers

Psstt... Don't Forget Your Pet's Monthly Preventative!

Heartworm disease is prevalent in Minnesota. Since it is transmitted by mosquitoes, even the dog that ‘never leaves the house’ is susceptible. We have treated eight cases of heartworm disease in unprotected pets at St Francis over the past 12 months --- this is a significant increase from past years.

Adult heartworms live in the heart and pulmonary vessels. The offspring, or microfilariae, enter the bloodstream, where they are then ingested by a mosquito. The immature heartworm develops into the infective stage (L3) within the mosquito, where it can then enter the new host when the mosquito takes another meal. Once the immature heartworm is introduced into its new host, it migrates to the heart and finishes its development. This entire process takes 5-6 months.

Treatment of heartworm disease consists of administering an arsenic compound called melarsomine in a series of three injections. Treatment is expensive, and serious side effects and complications can occur. It is much better to prevent heartworm disease than to treat it post-infection.

Heartgard Plus and Tri-Heart Plus are safe and effective heartworm preventatives when used properly. The active ingredients are ivermectin and pyrantel. Please make sure you remember to give your dog his or her monthly heartworm preventative. For cats, we recommend Revolution (selamectin) topically once monthly for heartworm prevention. All of these preventatives also protect your pet against the most common intestinal parasites (roundworms and hookworms).

We recommend Nexgard or Frontline Gold for protection against fleas and ticks in your dog. Nexgard contains afoxolaner and is a chewable tablet. Frontline Gold is a topical product that contains fipronil, (S)-methoprene, and pyriproxyfen.

Why do we care about tick control? We have several species of ticks in Minnesota, and even those small dogs in the city are susceptible to ticks if their yard has any brush or tall grass. The ticks carry Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, all very serious diseases. Because of our abnormal weather patterns this year, we started seeing ticks as early as February and have continued to find large numbers of ticks on unprotected pets well into this summer. Please remember to give your pet his or her monthly flea and tick preventative.

If you have any questions about protecting your pet, please contact us at (651) 645-2808 or group@stfrancisabh.com.

We encourage you to take advantage of the Buy 12 Heartgard and 12 Nexgard or 12 Frontline Gold and receive a $50 rebate promotion!

Roseville Rose Parade: Rosefest 2017

  • Please join us in celebrating Rosefest 2017 by attending the Rosefest Rose Parade starting at 6:15 pm on Monday, June 26th. St Francis Animal & Bird Hospital is currently #32 on the list of parade participants.
  • We’ll be handing out dog treats, information about our practice, and coupons to use at St Francis Animal & Bird Hospital. Please give a shout out and wave to us as we pass by!
  • We will be closing at 4:30 pm to attend the parade. We are very sorry for any inconvenience. For more information about the parade, please visit the parade website by clicking here. We look forward to seeing you there!

Cause for Paws

  • Cause for Paws is a small, all-volunteer Minnesota nonprofit 501 (c) (3) group founded in 1998. Their main focus is on finding loving, permanent homes for stray and abandoned cats and kittens. We have provided care to the cats at Cause for Paws since 1999.

  • This group is funded entirely by donations. Please consider donating dry or canned cat food or cat toys. Monetary donations or gift cards to Petco or Petsmart are also always appreciated.

  • If you are interested in meeting some of the cats or are searching for your next feline family member, please visit Cause for Paws at their next adoption day. It will be held on Saturday, July 8th, at the Petco in Highland from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m

News Briefs

  • CongratulationsCongratulations to Audrey Ruddy (University of Illinois), Ellyn Harris (Ross Veterinary School), and Hannah Hodnefield (Iowa State University) for their acceptance into veterinary school for the upcoming academic year. They will be amazing veterinarians!

  • 25th Anniversary
    Mark your calendars for our 25th Anniversary Open House on Sunday, September 10th from 1-4 pm. Continue to check out our Facebook page on the 25th of each month for exciting giveaways! We love celebrating this milestone with you!

  • Happy Anniversary
    Graduation from veterinary school is a great accomplishment, and this month, we celebrate two important anniversaries commemorating that day: Patricia Novak, DVM: 20 years (U of M 1997); and Jennifer Blair, DVM, CVA, CVFT: 15 years (U of M 2002).


Image credit:  Andreja Donko | Shutterstock

Cats: Tips For A Stress-Free Trip

Courtesy: Boehringer Ingelheim

Compared with dogs, nearly three times as many cats in the U.S. did not receive any veterinary care in the past year. Often, this is due to difficulty in taking some cats to the veterinarian. We know that a trip to the veterinarian can be more stressful for cats than for dogs. In this issue, we provide you with some tips to help make your clinic visit more pleasant. Many of these tips may also apply to nervous dogs as well.

Buying a Carrier

  • Top-loading carriers make it easier to place your cat inside
  • Carriers with a top and side opening have additional versatility
  • If your carrier has a removable top, your cat may feel more secure remaining inside throughout the exam

Practice at Home

  • Leave the carrier out for several days before the appointment so your cat gets used to it
  • Put treats, toys, blankets and a favorite person's clothes in the carrier for a comfortable and familiar environment
  • Reinforce your cat's positive associations with the carrier using calm praise
  • Never dump your cat out of the carrier - either let her walk out or gently remove her from the carrier

Car Rides

  • Always put your cat in a carrier when traveling in the car - it's safer for you and your cat
  • A synthetic feline pheromone such as Feliway in the carrier may help your cat stay calm during transit
  • Drape a blanket or towel over the carrier to reduce motion sickness
  • Take your cat for a few short car rides to build familiarity
  • Do not feed your cat for several hours before traveling to reduce motion sickness
  • After each successful car trip, reward your pet with positive attention and treats

At the Clinic

  • Practice regular care such as brushing, nail trimming and teeth brushing at home
  • Touch your cat's face, ears, feet and tail at home so she will be used to similar procedures at the clinic
  • Go to the veterinarian for visits that don't involve exams or procedures to create positive associations
  • Ahead of time, ask the clinic staff if you can take your kitty directly to an exam room upon arrival
  • Speak softly, because if you remain calm, chances are your cat will too

Calming Strategies

  • Reward good behavior with treats and ignore bad behavior - never speak harshly or use punishment
  • Avoid direct eye contact with your cat
  • Handle your cat with a towel if necessary
  • Speak in soft, soothing tones but avoid whispering

With these strategies, we hope that you feel more comfortable bringing your cat to the veterinary clinic. We recommend annual examinations for all cats, even those who reside indoors. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a visit, please contact us at (651) 645-2808 or group@stfrancisabh.com.

Summer: Hot Temperatures and Your Dog

shutterstock 172940522

Your pet can rapidly overheat in the following situations:

  • When an animal is left outdoors in hot humid conditions without adequate shade
  • When exercised in hot humid weather
  • When left in a car even on a relatively cool (70°F) day --- this equals approximately 100°F in the car
  • Other predisposing factors may be obesity or diseases affecting a pet’s airway.

Preventing heat stroke is key, but if your dog has been in one of these situations, it is essential that you recognize the signs and respond promptly.

Initially the dog may appear distressed. He or she may be restless or panting more than usual. As the hyperthermia progresses, your dog may drool large amounts of saliva from the nose or mouth and may become weak or unsteady. You may notice the gums turning lavender or bright red in color.

What to Do
Remove your pet from the environment where the hyperthermia occurred. Move your pet to a shaded and cool environment, and if possible, obtain a rectal temperature. Begin to cool the body by placing cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, in the armpits, and in the groin region. You may also wet the ear flaps and paws with cool water. Directing a fan on these wetted areas will help to speed evaporative cooling.

Most importantly, transport your pet to the closest veterinary facility immediately.

If your pet is critical, it is best to go directly to a 24-hour hospital such as the Animal Emergency & Referral Center or to the U of M as extended intensive care will likely be necessary.

What NOT to Do
It is very important to not overcool the pet. Most pets with hyperthermia have body temperatures greater than 105°F, and a reasonable goal of cooling is to reduce your pet’s body temperature to 102.5-103°F while transporting her to the closest veterinary facility. Offer fresh cool water but do not force water into your pet’s mouth.

The most important thing is to prevent situations in which your pet could overheat. Never leave a pet in the car, even on a moderately warm day. Walk your dog in the early morning or evening hours when it is cooler and always have fresh water available when your pet is outside.

Anxiety: Thunderstorms or Fireworks

Does your dog shake when it starts to thunder? Does he hide when it begins to rain? Does she destroy the furniture when she's left alone during a thunderstorm? If you've answered yes, your dog may have a thunderstorm phobia. Fireworks can cause the same response.

If your pet has thunderstorm phobias or anxiety associated with fireworks, please talk to us - - we can help! Composure, herbal calming supplements (Composure or Solliquin), calming collars (Adaptil collar or NurtureCALM), or anti-anxiety medications such as trazodone, alprazolam, or Sileo are great options for your pet.

Sileo is a gel containing dexmedetomidine that is absorbed through the gums. It is an FDA-approved treatment for noise aversion. For most dogs, it calms without causing excessive sedation, though as with any medication, it is important to monitor closely for adverse effects with use. It should be administered 30-60 minutes prior to the event and can be redosed every 2 hours up to five times.

If we prescribe Sileo for your dog, it is very important that you understand how to dose it appropriately. Please discuss proper use of the dosing syringe and locking mechanism with the staff to avoid accidental overdose. Click here to learn more about Sileo and to watch a video on proper administration.

Please contact us at (651) 645-2808 if your pet suffers from anxiety associated with fireworks or thunderstorms.

News Briefs

Favorite Animal Hospital
Congratulations to St Francis Animal & Bird Hospital for being voted Women’s Press Magazine’s Favorite Animal Hospital in May.

Thank you for your patience during our construction this past week. St Francis will soon have a new roof --- and hopefully no more leaking!

Schedule Changes
We will be closing early on June 26th for the Rosefest Parade. We will also close early on September 27th and will have limited availability on September 30th.


Image credit:  uhercikova | Shutterstock

Tick-Borne Diseases in Minnesota

Warmer weather is here, the flowers are blooming, the days are longer --- and the ticks are out. What do you need to know about ticks and your dog?

First, we recommend a 4Dx test every year. This test evaluates your dog for heartworm disease as well as three tick-borne diseases: Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis.

If your pet tests positive for Lyme, Ehrlichia, or Anaplasma, it's important to understand that this test only indicates the presence of antibodies against these organisms. A positive test indicates exposure to these organisms, but it does not necessarily indicate that your dog has clinical disease. A positive test warrants additional testing to evaluate whether therapy is necessary.

tick prevention st francis animal and bird hospital

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by deer ticks. Symptoms may include lameness, reluctance to move, swollen or painful joints, lack of energy, or an increase in urination. Lyme disease can cause chronic damage to the joints and kidneys. Neurological abnormalities and cardiac signs may occur, but are rare. If your pet tests positive for Lyme, we recommend a quantitative test called a Quant C6. This test provides a numerical measurement of your dog’s antibody level. If this value is low, treatment may not be necessary. This value will also provide a baseline prior to treatment to allow us to measure success of therapy if needed. Some patients require extended therapy to treat this disease. If your pet has any applicable clinical signs, we may also recommend specific testing to evaluate his or her kidney health.

Anaplasma or Ehrlichia

Ehrlichiosis is a bacterial infection transmitted by brown dog ticks and lone star ticks, while Anaplasmosis is a bacterial infection transmitted by brown dog ticks, deer ticks, and western black-legged ticks. Symptoms may include fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of energy, depression, lameness, swollen or painful joints, bleeding abnormalities, or pale gums. Some pets may develop life-threatening changes to their red blood cells or platelets with this disease. Anaplasmosis is more common than Ehrlichiosis in Minnesota.

If your pet tests positive for Anaplasma or Ehrlichia and is not symptomatic, these diseases may not require treatment. However, both diseases can cause life-threatening changes to the white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelets. We recommend a follow up complete blood count (CBC) for all patients who test positive for these organisms.

If your dog is showing any clinical signs of any of these tick-borne diseases and he or she tests positive, we would recommend treatment. Some pet owners request to treat their pet regardless of the results of the ancillary follow up tests. Treatment of all positive pets is controversial within the veterinary community, but since the treatment is reasonably safe, we would support this decision if desired.

Treatment, Follow Up, and Prevention

1) An extended course (28 days) of doxycycline is the treatment for any of these tick-borne diseases. This is an antibiotic.

2) For Lyme patients, we recommend a follow up Quant C6 in 6 months. A decrease in this antibody level by at least 50% is considered a successful therapy. An inadequate decrease in this antibody level warrants an additional course of antibiotic therapy.

3) In subsequent years, we recommend a 4Dx + Quant C6 at the time of your dog’s annual testing. Because your dog will likely be positive for Lyme for many months to years, we will need to continue to evaluate the Quant C6. In addition, Lyme disease can lead to protein loss via the kidneys. This is a specific type of kidney disease called glomerular disease. We may recommend a urine test to screen your dog for abnormalities.

4) For Ehrlichia and Anaplasma patients, no additional follow up is necessary unless the CBC was abnormal. These patients will often be positive on the 4Dx test for several years.

Prevention of tick-borne diseases is the key. If you are not already doing so, please make sure you are using excellent tick prevention once monthly. We recommend Nexgard (oral chews) or Frontline Gold (topical). All dogs with exposure to ticks, even if minimal, should be vaccinated for Lyme disease. Unfortunately, there is no vaccination for Ehrlichia or Anaplasma at this time.

If you would like more information on these diseases, visit our website at www.stfrancisanimalandbird.com in the Pet Resources: Pet Library section.  Dogs and Ticks, a website hosted by Idexx, also contains excellent information.  If you have additional questions, you may reach us via phone (651-645-2808) or email (group@stfrancisabh.com).

Have We Seen Your Cat Lately?

(Courtesy:  Boehriger Ingelheim)

Did you know that there are 86.4 million pet cats in the United States, compared with 78.2 million pet dogs, making cats the most popular pet? A third of U.S. households own at least one cat and more than half of those own at least two.

Despite the fact that in the last five years the number of pet cats has increased, the number of feline veterinarian visits is declining. Compared with dogs, nearly three times as many cats did not receive any veterinary care in the past year. The American Association of Feline Practitioners and American Animal Hospital Association recommend a minimum of one annual wellness exam for cats, with more frequent exams for senior and geriatric patients or those cats with medical or behavioral conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I've heard that cats are naturally very healthy and don't need to go to the veterinarian as often as dogs do. Is this right?

A: Cats are no more or less healthy than dogs and require annual wellness exams just as much as dogs do. Also, cats are notorious for hiding illness, and cat owners may not be aware that their cats are sick until the illness has become critical and requires longer and more extensive treatment.

Q: I can't get my kitty in a carrier to take her to the veterinarian. She runs off and hides and then when I find her and pick her up, she tries to bite and scratch me. It's been almost two years since she's been to the veterinarian. Any ideas would be helpful because I know she needs her shots.

A: Your cat is just being fearful of the carrier because it means a ride in the car and a visit to an unfamiliar place. Try keeping the carrier open in your home with her favorite blanket, toy or treats in it. This allows her to become accustomed to the carrier and see it as a comfortable place to sleep or play.
After a couple of weeks of this, try getting her in the carrier and taking a short ride in the car. Do this several more times so she'll begin to lose her fear and allow you to get her to the clinic for the exam.

Q: My cat is very healthy, so I don't know why she needs to go to the veterinarian every year for an exam. If she gets sick, I'll know it and we'll go then.

A: Did you know that cats instinctively hide illness? There's a good chance you won't know if your cat is sick, especially in the early stages of any illness. Annual exams may uncover an underlying illness or condition. Diagnosing illnesses or conditions and beginning treatment early can save your cat a lot of suffering later if the disease or condition has progressed.

If we haven’t seen your cat recently, we would love to do so!

To schedule an appointment for any of your pets, call us at (651) 645-2808.

Happy 1st Anniversary: St Francis Integrative Services

We are proud to celebrate St Francis Integrative Services’ First Anniversary! In addition to our state-of-the-art traditional veterinary care that you’ve known for years, we are pleased to offer massage therapy; laser therapy; Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) including acupuncture, food therapy, and herbal therapy; hospice and palliative care services; and pet bereavement counseling.

All of these services are performed in a quiet, relaxing location next door to our main practice. Our Integrative Services space is located at 1235 Larpenteur Ave W, just to the west of St Francis Animal & Bird Hospital’s main location. Consultations and services are by appointment only.

To schedule, please call us at (651) 645-2808 or visit our St Francis website.

Chiropractic for EveryBody also provides chiropractic care from our Integrative Services location. Together, we provide your pet with a range of treatment modalities in an environment that supports health and well-being for all.

To schedule chiropractic care, please contact Chiropractic for EveryBody at 952-484-5460 or visit their website.

News Briefs

May 19th
Dr Sandra Soucheray
Dr. Sandra Soucheray will be providing relief veterinary care at St Francis on Friday, May 19th. Dr. Soucheray owns Dr. Soucheray’s At-Home Veterinary Care and will be providing periodic care at St Francis. You will find that she provides the same level of exceptional care and education that all of our doctors provide. Please give her a warm welcome when she’s at St Francis!

April 30th
Pet Project Rescue Fundraiser
Join us today from 12 pm to 4 pm at the annual Pet Project Rescue fundraiser at the Bauhaus Brew Labs located at 1315 Tyler Street NE in Minneapolis. St Francis is sponsoring the event and will be providing a $100 Gift Certificate to bid on at the Silent Auction.

To learn more about Pet Project Rescue, please clickhere to visit their website.

September 2017
St. Francis Schedule Changes
Please take note that we will be closing early on Wednesday, September 27th and Friday, September 29th. We will not be scheduling any appointments on Saturday, September 30th. St Francis is hosting a national veterinary practice management meeting and there is an important St Francis wedding. It’s a big week in September!


Image credit:  wildpixel | iStock | Getty Images Plus

Cruciate Ligament Disease by Dr. Kevin Roeser

Your dog’s knees, just like your own, are supported and stabilized by several ligaments. The cranial cruciate ligament of dogs is analogous to the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL of humans. This ligament keeps the tibia from sliding too far forward and limits internal rotation of the knee. Dogs or cats who are suffering from acute damage to the cranial cruciate ligament typically present to our hospital with non- or partially weight-bearing lameness of the affected hind leg.

cute puppy


In many cases, a thorough orthopedic examination will raise suspicion of a cruciate ligament injury. Most pets are painful upon palpation of the affected knee, and your veterinarian may identify swelling in the area or a soft click that typically represents secondary damage to the associated meniscus. Chronic cases of cruciate ligament disease may also exhibit evidence of degenerative joint disease or thickening of other fibrous structures associated with the knee. In either case, your doctor will evaluate for presence of a “cranial drawer” or “tibial thrust” – two actions of the knee that suggest that the function of the cruciate ligament has been compromised. Radiographs (x-rays) of the area will help to rule-out other potential causes of lameness as well as to characterize the extent of secondary changes. While x-rays cannot identify the cruciate ligaments specifically, there are several classic signs on x-rays that are supportive of cruciate ligament disease.


Management of cruciate ligament injuries may involve surgical or medical treatment. For most cases, surgical management provides the best stabilization of the joint and the best long-term prognosis.

Surgical Management

Unfortunately, there is no current surgical repair method that can restore a cruciate ligament after it has been damaged. Instead, surgical corrections are aimed at stabilizing the knee in other ways. These techniques include:

  • Extracapsular Repair: This technique is often elected for small dogs and cats as it is unlikely to provide adequate support for larger patients. The surgical repair procedure involves the placement of a thick monofilament suture or surgical cable outside of the joint to mimic the function of the cruciate ligament. It provides stabilization, but degenerative joint disease (arthritis) is still likely to develop. Rarely, this surgical repair can fail if the suture or cable subsequently breaks.
  • Tibioplasty: Large dogs typically do better with a more substantial surgical procedure. Doctor preferences vary, but the Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) and Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) procedures are most often recommended. Both options involve surgical adjustment of the proximal tibia in an attempt to minimize sliding forces. These procedures are best performed by a board-certified veterinary surgeon. These types of surgeries provide the best stabilization of the joint, though degenerative joint disease (arthritis) can still develop. These surgeries rarely fail, but there is a small percentage of patients that do not recover as well as expected.

Medical Management

Given adequate time and rest, many dogs can develop sufficient stifle stabilization without surgical intervention. Again, our goals are not to promote specific healing of the cruciate ligament, but to allow other soft tissue structures in and around the knee to scar down and provide additional support. This process typically takes 4-8 weeks, during which patients should be strictly limited with regards to their exercise habits. Short leashed walks to urinate and defecate are acceptable, but avoid any running, jumping, or playing. It is best to confine patients to a small room or crate/kennel when unsupervised to avoid injury during your absence. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and other pain-relieving medications are used during this period to maintain patient comfort and support healing. Joint supplements (glucosamine/chondroitan and fish oils), laser therapy, and acupuncture can be beneficial as well. Medical management does not provide the same degree of stabilization as surgical repair, so most patients will develop significant arthritis if medical management is chosen alone.


Cranial cruciate ligament injuries can be the result of traumatic injury to the affected leg or can be related to chronic degenerative disease in certain breeds. These injuries may also occur secondary to other orthopedic conditions of the knees, including medial patellar luxation or inflammatory/infectious joint disease. Maintaining your pet at an optimal weight and promoting regular exercise are two important factors in preventing orthopedic disease. Your veterinarian can help identify other risk factors for your individual pet. Unfortunately, most dogs develop bilateral cruciate disease, so any possible preventative steps should be pursued to prevent disease in the opposite leg.

Happy Easter: Avoid The Chocolate Easter Bunny

Most people enjoy chocolate, and not surprisingly, most pets do too! Unfortunately, chocolate Easter bunnies and Cadbury eggs can be toxic to pets and can lead to severe clinical signs including vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, ataxia (‘drunkenness’), increased heart rate, heart arrhythmias, increased blood pressure, increased body temperature, difficulty breathing, and even death.

The toxic compounds in chocolate are methylxanthines – this includes both theobromine and caffeine. These compounds inhibit cellular receptors, stimulate the central nervous system, and enhance cardiac and skeletal muscle contractility. In addition, the high fat content in chocolate leads to local gastrointestinal irritation (vomiting and diarrhea), and in severe cases, a serious disease called pancreatitis. Clinical signs occur within 12 hours, but most pets will begin exhibiting signs within 1-4 hours of ingestion.

Different types of chocolate have different amounts of theobromine and caffeine. While we generally consider 100 mg/kg to be a toxic dose, some patients will exhibit clinical signs at a dose as low as 20 mg/kg. However, often, we don’t know the type or amount of chocolate that was ingested, so it is best to proceed as if the ingestion was the worst-case scenario.


Treatment depends on the amount of methylxanthines ingested, the time of ingestion, and the patient’s clinical signs. If recent ingestion occurred, vomiting is induced to evacuate the stomach. In severe cases, sedation and gastric lavage with a stomach tube may be performed to evacuate the stomach contents. Activated charcoal is administered to bind the toxins in the gastrointestinal tract. Fluid therapy, anti-vomiting medications, gastrointestinal protectants, and a bland diet may be prescribed. In severe cases, patients require intensive care including intravenous fluid therapy, continuous EKG monitoring, oxygen support, urinary catheterization, and intravenous medications to manage seizures, cardiac arrhythmias, and abnormal respirations.


If treated promptly, most patients with chocolate toxicity recover, but it is important to understand that chocolate ingestion can lead to severe complications and even death. It is best to avoid chocolate ingestion in your pet. During the holidays when chocolate is abundant, make sure it is kept out of reach of your pet. If you suspect ingestion, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Our Partnerships

Dr. Soucheray's At Home Veterinary Care
We are happy to introduce to you Dr. Sandra Soucheray with Dr. Soucheray’s At Home Veterinary Care. Dr. Soucheray is a 2002 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. She worked in private practice for years before opening her own mobile veterinary practice. Dr. Soucheray will be one of the doctors involved in our Hospice & Palliative Care Program network that will launch in May. She will also provide relief veterinary services at St Francis from time to time. She will be seeing patients at St Francis on Friday, May 19th -- stop in and meet her!

Animal Emergency & Referral Center: Oakdale
As a growing percentage of veterinary practices are being consolidated into large corporate entities, we strive to create partnerships with smaller veterinarian-owned facilities. We encourage you to consider Animal Emergency & Referral Center in Oakdalefor all of your pets’ specialty needs. They offer dermatology, cardiology, dentistry, internal medicine, critical care, and physical rehabilitation in addition to their emergency services. John Nielson, CVT-VTS, CVPP, CCRP in the Sport & Strength Department is working closely with our team at St Francis Integrative Services to provide integrative care to our patients.

Joy Session and Sarah Beth Photography
We are excited to be involved with the Joy Session project. You’ve seen her talent displayed throughout both of our St Francis locations. But now, Sarah Beth from Sarah Beth Photography is teaming up with other photographers as well as veterinarians, businesses, and other animal health care providers to offer a website dedicated to the aging pet and hospice/palliative care. We at St Francis Animal & Bird Hospital are very excited to be one of the resources for Hospice & Palliative Care on the Joy Session website. To learn more, visit the Joy Session website.

News Briefs

Pet Project Rescue Fundraiser
Join the St Francis team at the 9th Annual Pet Project Rescue fundraiser at the Bauhaus Brewery at 1315 Tyler St NE in Minneapolis on Sunday, April 30th, 12-4 pm. St Francis Animal & Bird Hospital is proud to be a presenting sponsor this year. Click here to visit their website and purchase tickets to this event.

St Francis' 25th Anniversary Open House
Mark your calendar for our 25th Anniversary Open House celebration on Sunday, September 10th, 1-4 pm. Check out our St Francis Facebook page on the 25th of each month for contests and giveaways. Thank you to everyone who has been part of the St Francis family for all these years!

Dr. Jennifer Blair: Cuba
Dr. Blair recently traveled to Cuba with the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners to discuss veterinary medicine with local practitioners and government officials. Their group also spent time at ANIPLANT, an organization dedicated to the protection of animals in Cuba. To learn more about ANIPLANT, click here.


Image Credit:  bschuidesign | Collection: iStock / Getty Images Plus

woman and  dog 

Protecting Your Pets: Parasite Prevention in 2017

With our unusual winter weather, parasites will be quite abundant this year. Is your pet adequately protected? In 2016, we had 104 dogs test positive for Lyme disease, 26 dogs test positive for Ehrlichia, 68 dogs test positive for Anaplasma, and 8 dogs test positive for heartworm disease. Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma are all tick-borne diseases; heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. These diseases can be a significant threat to your pet if unprotected. Our goal is to help you protect your pets and reduce the prevalence of these diseases in our pet community.

All dogs should receive Heartgard Plus, Tri-Heart Plus, or an equivalent product once monthly year round for heartworm, roundworm, and hookworm prevention. Nexgard and Frontline Gold are our recommended products for flea and tick prevention in dogs. Nexgard is a chewable tablet to prevent fleas and ticks, while Frontline Gold is applied topically. Frontline Gold has an additional ingredient called pyriproxyfen to help prevent the growth and development of fleas. It is as safe as Frontline Plus, but more effective; Nexgard is the most effective product available. This year, when you purchase 12 Heartgard Plus and 12 Nexgard or Frontline Gold at St Francis, you will receive a $50 mail-in rebate.

Did you know that many cats are left unprotected? Like dogs, cats are susceptible to heartworm disease, intestinal parasites, fleas, and ticks. Heartworm disease in cats is difficult to diagnose. Clinical signs may include coughing, respiratory signs, vomiting, lethargy, or even sudden death. Since there is no treatment for this disease in cats, prevention is essential. For cats, we recommend Revolution once monthly from May through October. At St Francis, when you purchase 6 doses of Revolution, you receive 2 doses free. If your pet is outdoors often and has significant tick exposure, we recommend a combination of Revolution and Frontline Gold.


Leptospirosis is a disease caused by a spiral-shaped bacteria (spirochete) called Leptospira interrogans. Dogs usually become infected when infected urine is ingested in water, food, bedding, soil, plants, or other contaminated material. Infection may also occur if the bacteria are absorbed through damaged skin. Wild animals such as raccoons, squirrels, rodents, skunks, opossums, deer and farm animals serve as reservoirs for this disease. Less commonly, infection may be transmitted between dogs. The organism can survive in the environment for weeks to months.

Following infection, the bacteria target the kidneys and liver. Clinical signs of leptospirosis vary. Often, pets have no clinical signs or nonspecific signs such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, decreased appetite, increased water consumption, lethargy, or weakness. Unfortunately, many other more common clinical conditions can cause these clinical signs, so leptospirosis is easily missed in these early stages. Kidney failure, liver failure, joint pain, muscle pain, stiffness, spontaneous bleeding, and meningitis are some of the more severe clinical issues seen with this disease.

A vaccination is available that offers protection against four of the six serovars in Minnesota: L. icterohaemorrhagiae, L. canicola, L. grippotyphosa, and L. pomona. While this vaccine does not offer 100% protection, vaccination is still recommended. If possible, keep rats, mice, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, and deer out of your yard and avoid contact with urine from farm animals. Lastly, prevent the accumulation of standing water in your yard and prevent your dog from drinking from water puddles. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease; humans are susceptible. We encourage you to take these steps to protect yourself and your pets.

Vetsource:  Our Online Store

We understand how challenging it is to fit one more errand into your busy day. That’s why we offer an online store to purchase your pet’s food and medications when it’s convenient for you! Not all online sources are reputable, and in fact, some of the largest ‘online pharmacies’ like 1-800-PetMeds are simply large warehouses staffed with non-veterinary personnel. Products may be dispensed incorrectly, labeled inappropriately, or expired; these products are not supplied by veterinary manufacturers. There are often no trained professionals to discuss side effects or other medical concerns with you.

By authorizing a phone or fax prescription directly from one of these large warehouses, we are responsible for the products that you receive. For these reasons, we cannot directly authorize these requests. We will gladly provide you with a written script for any product for you to fill at a pharmacy of your choice or you may visit our online store. Our store is powered by Vetsource, a veterinarian-approved, reputable source for your pet’s food and medications. Because it is affiliated with a veterinary practice, we can offer the same guarantees that you would have if you purchased products directly from us.

For preventative products such as Heartgard Plus, Nexgard, or Frontline Gold, our in-house prices tend to be more competitive than any online pharmacy due to the rebate offers we can provide. However, for those who prefer to buy one month at a time or who need to spread out the annual costs, Vetsource offers a monthly autoship of these products directly to your door – one dose at a time. In addition, if your pet is on a prescription diet, you can sign up for autoship of your pet’s favorite food and you may receive an additional 15% off! Our goal is to save you both time and money while providing the best care for your pet. Click here to learn more about these options.

News Briefs

St Francis Integrative Services: Massage Therapy: Massage can be a valuable component of physical therapy for your pet. While massage therapy is most often applied after an injury, massage may be useful for many other purposes as well. Massage therapy can be used routinely to help maintain your active pet before an injury even occurs and is very beneficial for pain management in aging animals. To learn more, please contact Christine Severance, CVT, CMT at (651) 645-2808.

St Francis’ 25th Anniversary: We are celebrating our 25th Anniversary in April 2017. Visit us on Facebook on the 25th of each month to help us celebrate with great prizes and exciting events!

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Sunday, September 10th from 1-4 pm. We’ll be hosting an Open House celebration at both St Francis and St Francis Integrative Services. We hope to see everyone there!

Thank You For You: Thank you so much for loving St Francis! If you refer a new client to us, ask them to give us your name when they visit us for the first time. We’ll send you a $20 coupon for each new client you send our way. In addition, if you write a positive review on Google, Yelp, or Facebook, let us know and we’ll send you a $10 coupon for sharing your thoughts! We love being part of your family and your pets’ lives!


Image credit:  Solovyova | Getty Images