Proud to be AAHA Accredited!

If you are a client here at Midland Animal Clinic, you’ve surely seen, or heard, that we are AAHA Accredited.  We have it proudly posted on our sign out front, in the lobby, on our website and on FaceBook; but what does that mean exactly?

AAHA stands for the American Animal Hospital Association.  They are an association of members who primarily treat companion animals.  AAHA created the Accreditation Program to help set at higher standard of care for companion animals, create a better working realationship between veterinary staff, and provide clinics with a way show their dedication to excellence with their clients and community.

Here at Midland Animal Clinic, we have been Accredited since 1966.  We undergo an intense evaluation process every three years in which we are evaluated on over 900 standards.  Some of the areas on which we are graded include: patient care, surgery, pharmacy, laboratory, exam facilities, pet health records, cleanliness, emergency services, dental and nursing care, diagnostic imaging, anesthesiology, and continuing education.

Of all of the small animal practices in the United States, only 15% are Accredited through AAHA.  We are very proud to be the only clinic in Midland County with this achievement!


Cold Weather Pet Tips

It’s that time of year again here in Midland.  There’s frost on the car windows in the morning, your breath looks like little puffs of smoke, and there’s even been some snow on the ground already.  I’m sure you’re bundled up and as ready as you can be for a few months spent in a frozen tundra, but is your pet?  Here are a couple of things to remember this winter to keep your pet cozy and warm.

Keep your cat inside.  Cats aren’t always able to find adequate shelter, food, or water while outside in the winter months.  If your cat is typically indoor/outdoor, it’s best to keep them inside until the thaw in the spring.  Cat’s looking for warmth outdoors have a habit of finding it in car engines, so be sure to knock on the hood of your car while you’re scraping the ice off of your windows to ensure you don’t seriously injure or kill a cat when you start your car.

While walking your dog, please keep it on a leash.  Dogs can much more easily lose their scent in snow, and may be unable to find their way home if they take off (which they are apt to do if snow is falling heavily).  This is especially important if there are ponds, lakes or rivers nearby where your pet could fall through the ice.  More pets are lost in the winter months than any other season, so please make sure your dog has the proper identification tags.  You can also give us a call, or set up an appointment to get your pet microchipped so it is more likely that they make it home to you should they come up missing.

After your pet has been outside, it is important that you wipe down their feet, legs and stomach to get rid of anything they may have picked up.  Ice chunks left between toes can cause pads to become irritated and bleed.  Pets are also apt to pick up salt, antifreeze, and other potentially dangerous chemicals while on walks which can cause serious issues when they lick their paws later.  It is also important that you are not contributing to the problem of your pet picking up harmful substances.  Please make sure you clean up any antifreeze that may have spilled (if it is possible, use propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol) , and try to use pet friendly deicing products on walkways. You can visit ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for more information.

Leave your pet’s coat longer this winter.  A longer coat helps protect against the colder weather.  Brushing your pet’s coat often and vigorously is also recommended.  The dry, winter climate depletes moisture from your dog’s skin and coat; brushing improves skin, coat, and circulation.  Also, matted fur does not protect against the cold as well as fur that is regularly brushed.  When a coat is ‘fluffy’ the air pockets created help conserve heat, much like layering clothing.  If your dog has a short coat, a sweater or jacket is recommended outerwear.  Also, make sure that if you bathe your pet, they are completely dry before venturing outside.  For pets with dry and sensitive paws, try spraying their pads with cooking spray before taking them out for long periods for a little added protection.

Puppies and elderly pets are more susceptible to cold weather problems.  Puppies are more difficult to housebreak in the winter because they do not tolerate cold weather well.  Elderly and arthritic pets have more stiffness and joint pain due to the cold.  Shoveling out a “potty spot” for puppies, elderly pets, and small breeds can help make doing their business a little easier for them.

Frostbite and hypothermia are major concerns in the winter.  Ears, feet and noses are most apt to become frostbitten.  Skin may appear red, gray or whiteish and may peel off if frostbite is occurring.  To treat, move pet to warm area and apply warm, moist towels to the area, and change them frequently.  DO NOT RUB AFFECTED AREA!! Rubbing the skin is likely to cause more damage.  Take your pet to a veterinarian for further treatment.  Frostbite and hypothermia are more likely if a pet is left outside for an extended period, or if the pet is left unattended in a car.  A car acts like a refrigerator in the winter, and pets can easily freeze if left inside.

Ensure that your pet has plenty of food and fresh water.  Pets that are outside for long periods of time should have food increased to ensure that their coat is healthy and thick.  Making sure that fresh water is available to your pet is very important.  Water bowls can freeze over and cause a pet to search for water in other areas, such as puddles, which can contain antifreeze and other harmful chemicals.

Inside the home make sure that your pet has a warm place to sleep.  A cozy blanket, bed or pillow placed away from drafty areas is ideal.  Tile floors and basements can become very chilly.  Pets should also be kept from getting too close to fire places and space heaters.  Animals can easily knock over a space heater causing a fire hazard, or get tails too close to hot coils and flames.  Another good thing to check inside the home is the furnace for carbon monoxide leaks.  Pets spend more time in the home than their owners and are more susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning.

We enjoy caring for your pets and want to see them continue to be happy and healthy.  Schedule your pet for a winter check up and discuss any questions or concerns you may have for your furry family members this winter.

New Puppy Tips

Getting a new puppy is always exciting, and that excitement can go on for a dozen years or more if you and your family take some precautions to keep your pet safe and healthy. Although all accidents and illnesses cannot be prevented, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce chances that your pet will suffer.

Exam by a Veterinarian

First thing is to get Fido to a veterinarian for an examination and vaccinations. Choose a veterinarian to visit regularly; don’t count on the discounted shot clinics offered away from veterinary offices. Fido needs a personal doctor just like you do.

While you’re at the veterinarian’s office, ask questions about predispositions to medical problems. For example, some breeds are sensitive to skin or allergy problems, others to joint problems or bloat. The best place to get medical answers is from a qualified veterinarian.

After initial vaccinations are done, take Fido to the veterinarian for regular checkups, usually once a year, for boosters and a routine examination, and take him when you suspect or find a problem and when he’s ill.

Now I understand you don’t want to run to the veterinarian’s office every day or week. There are some things you can and should do yourself to help insure his health and safety.

Clean, quality food and fresh water are a must. Fido’s breeder and the veterinarian can help you select a food best suited to Fido. Food dishes must be kept clean, especially in hot weather when bacteria grow very rapidly. I recommend stainless steel dishes, elevated at least knee high for Fido. Stainless steel is nearly indestructible and can be sanitized very easily.

Exercise — physical and chewing — should be part of Fido’s daily routine. Proper levels of exercise keep people and pets physically fit and help fight off disease. Exercise along with a proper feeding program should keep Fido from becoming overweight. Adjustments in food amounts and protein and fat levels need to be addressed as Fido ages — your veterinarian can help decide when changes are needed.

Chew toys help Fido relieve his natural chewing instinct in a positive manner and help keep his teeth clean. Regular toys help Fido occupy his time and enjoy himself while you’re away.

Personal hygiene and grooming are part of everyone’s daily life and should be part of Fido’s life too. Have you ever smelled someone who hadn’t bathed or used deodorant? Did you move away from them rather quickly? When were you last hot, tired, and really sweaty and dirty? Didn’t a shower feel wonderful?

Well, Fido likes to be brushed and clean, too, and he’s certainly a lot more pleasant to be around when he doesn’t smell bad.  Many pets are bathed every week or two and groomed monthly or every six weeks because their owner’s take pride in their pets’ appearance.

Cleaning up the yard after Fido urinates and defecates can be a dirty job, but someone has to do it! Worm eggs leave the dog’s body in the feces and worms can repeatedly re-infest the dog if the feces are not cleaned up.

Do a safety check of your house. Jot down problem areas as you check each room to see what dangers lie in wait for a puppy or dog. Things to watch for are electric cords that tempt puppy to chew or grab, cleaning rags or sponges left in puppy’s reach, hanging cords on draperies and window blinds, small objects that puppy might swallow, a bowl of candy on the coffee table, etc. Keep puppy out of the garage — even a teaspoon of spilled anti-freeze can be deadly.

Make sure you can confine Fido when you cannot watch him. Use a crate or baby gates to keep him safe when you are busy.

Potty Training

Put Fido on a schedule.  Every few hours, and shortly after eating, he should be taken outside to do his business.  Puppies on a regular schedule are less likely to have accidents in the house.  Also, make sure you are watching for signs that Fido has to go.  Sniffing around looking for a spot to squat, or whining at a door are good indicators that nature is calling.

It’s easy to clean up after Fido if you teach him to use one particular spot as a toilet. From the time he’s a pup, take him outside to that spot and tell him to “Go potty.” Put him on a leash so he can’t wander, and don’t play with him until he’s done.

When he performs, praise him and give him a special treat. If you are using a clicker or squeaker for training, click or squeak before you give the treat. Very shortly, Fido will get the idea.

Puppy Proofing the Bedroom

If Fido’s going to play and sleep in your bedroom, make sure you protect your possessions as well as Fido. Don’t leave books or other valuables in puppy’s reach. Puppies must chew in order to ease the discomfort of teething, to explore their world, and to satisfy an instinct to gnaw on things. If you keep things out of Fido’s reach, you won’t be frustrated that he has chewed a library book or your prized stuffed toy.

Put your dirty clothes in the hamper. Puppies and dogs love to chew their owner’s dirty clothes, especially socks and underwear.

Don’t allow tug-of-war with blankets and bedspreads; puppies love to grab anything and pull and can quickly destroy bed linen by doing so.

If you eat snacks in your room, be sure to clean up the crumbs. Puppies quickly become scavengers once they find a regular source of food, which can lead to unacceptable begging, obesity, and intestinal upset.

Dog Health Report Card

The Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association has a report card for pet health to help you determine if your pet needs veterinary attention. Here are the categories and grades.

  1. Hair coat
    • A If coat is clean and shiny.
    • B If it’s just clean
    • C If it’s dull, but clean.
    • D If it’s just dull.
    • F If it’s dull, dirty and matted.
  2. Teeth
    • A If teeth are bright and clean.
    • B If there’s a few dirty teeth.
    • C If most teeth are dirty.
    • D If the teeth are dirty and smelly.
    • F If the teeth are dirty, the breath smells and the gums are red.
  3. Eyes
    • A If the eyes are bright.
    • B If they are clean.
    • C If they are watery
    • D If they are red and watery.
    • F If they are red and watery, have a discharge, are cloudy, or if the pet blinks a lot.
  4. Ears
    • A If the ears are clean.
    • B If there’s some wax.
    • C If they are dirty with lots of wax.
    • D If they are dirty, smelly, and have a lot of wax.
    • F If they are dirty, smelly, very waxy, and hurt to clean
  5. Nose
    • A If the nose is clean and moist.
    • B If it’s clean and watery.
    • C If its watery and your pet sneezes.
    • D If it’s very watery and there’s lots of sneezes.
    • F If it’s very watery, there’s lots of sneezes, and there’s a green discharge.
  6. Vaccinations
    • A If vaccinations have been given every year.
    • B If only rabies vaccination has been given.
    • C If vaccinations more than two years old.
    • D If puppy shots only.
    • F If never vaccinated.
  7. Has your pet been spayed or neutered?

Pets with Cs, Ds, and Fs should head to the veterinarian for a checkup.

Veterinary Technicians Week!

Here at MAC, we know we couldn’t do the things we do without our technicians.  We are lucky to have on our staff five talented full time techs: Justina, Tiffany, Tara, Sarah and Courtney, and five Urgent Care techs: Sarah, Abby, Nicole, Jennifer and Amanda.

Our girls love what they do and it shows.  I asked a few of them to tell me why they enjoy working with animals.  Justina, who has been with MAC for 14 years says, “It’s rewarding to help with the care of people’s beloved pets.”  She would know, she has five beloved pets of her own! When asked what sticks out as something she really enjoys about her job, Amanda thinks that, “This is a job that pulls at your heartstrings a lot of days, but it’s always a great feeling to send a pet home in much better shape than they came in.” and adds, “and the puppies and kittens.  No one gets enough time with puppies and kittens.”  Our newest technician, Sarah, has been here three months now told me, “I’ve wanted to work with animals since I was very young.  Being a technician gives me the chance to help not only the pets, but the owners as well, through client education on how to give their pets the best care possible.  There is a great sense of accomplishment that stems from that.”  We are very happy to have her as a part of our team!

Dr. Moll says about our techs, “In some ways I get jealous of them and the work they do because it is so ‘hands-on’ with the pets.  Deep down that is why most vets go into vet medicine – so they can touch and work with the pets.  However, not all pets like being ‘touched’ and that is when I most appreciate the job the techs do.  Our Midland Animal Clinic techs do a great job keeping me on track and schedule.”  We certainly try!

Some of the responsibilities of a technician include: client education, preparing for the doctor’s next appointment, trimming nails, weighing pets, taking temperatures, drawing blood, running bloodwork, giving fluids and injections, taking x-rays, entering computer charges, setting up for surgery, assisting with surgery, cleaning instruments and repacking surgery packs, reading fecal and urine samples, monitoring hospitalized pets, giving medications, refilling prescriptions, calling clients, tracking inventory, cleaning rooms and treatment area, and documenting everything. They are busy, busy but still make it enjoyable as some of our clients can surely tell you they’ve heard lots of laughter coming from our treatment area.

That type of work ethic doesn’t go unnoticed.  Our Office Manager, Kelly, notes, “The care and compassion that they show is outstanding.  They are very dedicated to this job filled with hard work and long hours.  They, along with our front staff, are the heart of our business.”
So, if you’re in our clinic this week, make sure to thank a technician for all that they do.  It is certainly appreciated!