Have you started your flea and tick preventative yet?

March 1st, 2015 by Park Grove

Have you applied your flea and tick preventative yet? If not, today is a great day to start! Dangerous disease carrying ticks come out early spring and will be here before we know it. Start your dog or cat on a flea and tick preventative now to help prevent diseases and infestations.

We recommend either Frontline Plus or Nexgard.

Frontline Plus is a monthly liquid applied between the shoulder blades. It is absorbed through the sebaceous glands on your pet’s skin and can take up to 48 hours to be fully effective.


Nexgard is a new monthly oral beef flavored chew that dogs love! It is absorbed through your dog’s blood stream and takes full effect within 4-6 hours.

Stop by today to pick up your flea and tick preventative!

February is Dental Health Month!

February 24th, 2015 by Park Grove

Many of you have probably heard that February was Dental Health month for pets. When was the last time you looked in your pet’s mouth? Why don’t you take this opportunity and take a peak. Does your pet gums show any redness or irritation?  Are any teeth discolored?  If so, your pet is showing signs of dental disease!  Like many deadly diseases, things may be lurking underneath the surface. Painful conditions such as abscesses, gingivitis and resorptive roots can be lurking under seemingly normal conditions. Regardless of how your pet’s teeth look, annual dental exams should always be done by your veterinarian, and they may recommend further oral diagnostics such as x-rays.


Do your pets teeth look like this picture? If so, they are showing signs of dental disease.
Dental disease is a nasty thing. Bacteria in your pet’s mouth can travel into the rest of your pet’s body, affecting their heart, liver, and kidneys. By keeping your pet’s mouth clean, you are helping to keep the rest of their body healthy! Not only does dental disease cause further health problems in pets bodies, but it is also incredibly painful for them. Often times pets will push through the pain, and will come to a point where they are no longer able to eat hard kibble because their mouth is so tender. I encourage anyone who has ever had a bad tooth to remember how painful that was. Now imagine your pet going through that for years!

The great news is that dental disease can be prevented, and bad teeth can be taken care of! Dental cleanings done by your veterinarian are a safe and effective way to take care of your pets teeth. Your pet will be closely monitored by one of our Certified Veterinary Technicians, while the doctor works on your pet. Annual dental cleanings help stop progression of dental disease, allows us to remove tartar and plaque, and prevents discomfort for your loved companion. If your pet has any problem teeth, one of our veterinarians is able to expertly remove any said teeth to make your pet comfortable. Your veterinarian may recommend X-rays to help identify problem teeth. Checking beneath the surface allows us to check for current or brewing problems. Your pet will stay with us for the day, then return home with you that evening with a clean and healthy mouth.

What else can be done to help my pet’s mouth?
Fortunately there are things we can do at home for our pets to help keep their teeth and gums healthy. In addition to annual dental cleanings, tooth brushing is the single best thing to do for them! Pet toothpaste is unique in that it is infused with enzymes that chemically help break down tartar and plaque on teeth. The key to a healthy tooth brushing relationship with your pet is to start slow and make it a positive experience for them. Pet tooth paste is often flavored, and they usually enjoy the taste. Start by offering a small amount to your pet as a treat, then slowly work your way to brushing their mouth, starting with small sections at a time. By making it a positive experience, brushing your pets teeth will be an easy and quick process. Make it a part of your routine! If you are unsure about how to properly brush your pets teeth, give us a call! We would be happy to assist.

There are a lot of dental chews available at stores that people ask us about. It can be very difficult for us to give recommendations, as we are not always familiar with the ingredients or companies that make them. With any treat or product that you give to your pet, make sure to check that all ingredients are fully digestible in case your dog or cat eats large pieces of them. We have heard of some dental chews getting stuck in stomachs! ALWAYS make sure to closely monitor them whenever they are chewing on any sort of treat or chew!! We sell great dental chews here at Park Grove Pet Hospital called CET chews. They come in many sizes and in canine and feline versions. The great thing about these chews is that they are infused with the same enzymes that are in pet tooth paste. When your pet chews on them, the enzymes break down tartar and plaque. As with any chew, make sure to closely monitor your pet while giving them CET chews.

Another option for healthy mouths is specially formulated dental diets. These fully formulated diets are made of large pieces of kibble made to mechanically scrape against your pets teeth. Royal Canin Dental is our recommended brand and uses a special calcium binder to reduce plaque buildup.

In honor of Dental Health Month, Park Grove Pet Hospital is offering 10% off of your pet’s teeth cleaning! Call today to schedule your appointment as spaces are filling up fast. Pet must have been examined by a veterinarian at PGPH within 6 months of dental cleaning, if exam is not up to date, exam may be scheduled.  If scheduled in February, we are honoring the dental discount.

Feline Focus: Have we seen your cat lately?

May 31st, 2013 by Park Grove

We know cats hate the vet.

But we like them a whole lot, so it’s kind of disappointing the feeling isn’t mutual, but we
understand. Because of this stress and anxiety, we don’t always see our feline patients as much
as we should. So many of our clients (and family members!) tell us, “Oh, but my cat doesn’t go
outside, she doesn’t need to come in.” If this were only true, I’d stop writing right now. But the
truth is that not everything that is dangerous to a cat (or a dog, or a human, for that matter) exists outside.

In fact, for most cats, the dangers lurk within. Maybe that sounds a little more dramatic than it
should, but it’s the basic truth. While we do see some infectious diseases, even in indoor cats,
the most common problems we see in our feline friends are organ system malfunctions (Or as
my daughter likes to say, “meowfunctions”. (The Hansens love a good or bad pun).
Some examples of internal problems include kidney and bladder disease, liver disease, thyroid
dysfunction, intestinal disease, heart disease, and different types of cancers.

Regular physical exams (every 6-12 months is ideal) let us monitor weight, heart sounds and
rhythm, changes in muscle tone, and joint, eye, and dental health. Keeping track of all of these
things lets us monitor for changes from year to year, and hopefully helps us identify when
something is wrong from an early stage. Early treatment leads to better results and that leads to
happier cats.

Recently we’ve made some changes at the clinic that will hopefully improve your cat’s
experience at Park Grove Pet Hospital. We routinely spray the exam rooms (and our scrubs and
lab coats) with feline pheromone spray, which helps reduce anxiety in many cats. The staff
participated in some extra continuing education on gentle cat handling. We also include catnip
shakers and treats in all the exam rooms to help make the visit a little more pleasant.
Is the struggle in the transport? If so, please check out this helpful guide: Getting Your Cat to the vet http://www.fabcats.org/publications/2011_Feline__FriendlyClient_Handout.pdf.

These tips and techniques can help make the whole experience more enjoyable for you and your cat. If that’s still not an option, we do offer house calls on a limited basis. Please call our office to talk with the receptionists if you think a house call would be more appropriate for your cat.

Another wonderful resource is this guide: CATegorical Care http://www.americanhumane.org/assets/pdfs/animals/pa-aacm-categoricalcarepdf.pdf. It gives excellent tips on how to care for your cat from kitten to old-timer. It also includes a lot of great information on the importance of veterinary care for your feline.

Please call our office to schedule a check-up for your cat today!

Dental disease and tooth care

February 20th, 2013 by Park Grove

by Dr. Julie Hansen

Whenever I see a 1-2 year old dog or cat for their annual exam, I get a little excited when I get ready to look at their teeth. I know that when I lift that lip, I’ll be greeted by beautiful white teeth and healthy, pink gums without a trace of angry, red gingivitis. It’s honestly a pleasure, because after age 2 or 3, it’s rare I get that same pristine view.

Just like humans, dogs and cats accumulate plaque and tartar on their teeth. Much unlike humans, they’re not brushing several times a day to get rid of it. And most of them are not using their teeth in the way nature intended: hunting and chewing live prey. Now, I’m not advocating feeding your pets live prey (definitely don’t do that), but because our domestic dogs and cats are eating commercial diets and living the high life in comfy homes, it’s our responsibility to help keep those teeth in good shape.

Dental disease in dogs and cats is much more than just tartar accumulation. That tartar is composed of millions of  bacteria that creep under the gum line and cause destruction of the bone that surrounds the teeth and often infection around the roots of the teeth. This process is painful, but often our pets simply “grin and bear it” because eating is much more important than complaining about tooth pain.

Luckily, routine care such as tooth brushing, use of special dental chews and diets, and periodic dental cleaning by your friendly veterinary professionals will go a long way in keeping your pet’s teeth clean, healthy, and pain-free.

A few facts:

● The bacteria associated with dental disease can get into the blood stream, traveling to vital organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys. We see dramatic reductions in heart disease and kidney failure when our patient’s teeth are kept healthy.

● Cleaner teeth = longer lives. Some studies have shown an increase in up to 2 years of good-quality life for our patients whose teeth are routinely cleaned and treated for problems.

● Older pets (if hearts, lungs, kidneys, and liver are healthy) are not necessarily “too old” to undergo anesthesia and dental cleaning. Often, these are our patients that are in the most need of immediate dental care, and will feel great once their mouths are pain-free.

● Prevention, as with most health-related issues, is the key. Starting to brush at an early age, and also starting professional veterinary dental cleanings and exams are essential to keeping the teeth healthy and preventing pain, inflammation, and infections down the road.

Our main concern at Park Grove Pet Hospital is giving you the information and the tools to help your pet live the longest and healthiest life possible. Good dental care is just one of the ways we can do that.

Please call us at 651-459-9663 to schedule a dental exam for your pet, and we can discuss proper dental care tailored specifically to your pet.


April 21st, 2012 by Park Grove

What’s with the collection of random letters in the title? They’re of course not random, but acronyms for two important partners working for the health of your pets! Now that we’ve got our blog up and running, we wanted to share again with you the wonderful news that last summer, PGPH became AAHA-accredited. Hooray!

Most of you may have no idea what I’m talking about. For those of you that do … HOORAY! For everyone else, this blog’s for you.

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is an organization dedicated to promoting veterinary excellence. It exists to support veterinary hospitals like Park Grove Pet Hospital in our goal to continue to improve, to provide excellent health care for your pet, and to help educate veterinarians and hospital staff in the cutting edge of animal health services. The Association develops industry benchmarks, business practice standards (known as the Standards of Accreditation), and informative publications and educational programs designed to help companion animal hospitals thrive.

For a few years, the doctors at PGPH have been talking about AAHA accreditation: what it means to us as individuals, as a practice, and in the industry. We all agreed that we wanted PGPH to be at the top of the field, and we work hard each day to continue to climb that hill. A way to show you, our clients, and our community that we were dedicated to quality and continual improvement was to complete the process for accreditation.

We met with the generous folks at Pet Crossing Animal Hospital and Dental Clinic in Bloomington to get some advice. One of the owners of that hospital, Dr. Kate Knutsen, is an AAHA board member and was very supportive in our application for accreditation. At the beginning of 2011, we decided to start the process.

The really encouraging thing was that PGPH had to change very little about our day-to-day practice. That gave us a lot of confidence: knowing we were already practicing medicine, surgery, and anesthesia at very high standards. We got all our medical and practice protocols down in writing, worked on streamlining certain processes within the clinic, and made sure we were adhering to safety protocols. We communicated closely with the folks at AAHA who were so supportive and helpful in the process. Our staff worked many hours writing and rewriting protocols, discussing aspects of accreditation, putting the finishing touches on our bid, and spiffing up the clinic for The Big Day. The front lobby got a fresh coat of paint (not an AAHA Standard, but wow does it look beautiful!), and we are working on updating our artwork with photos of our pets and patients.

On June 29, 2011 AAHA Accreditation Day arrived and I’m happy to tell you we passed with flying colors! We are so proud to display the red and white AAHA logo throughout the clinic, on our brochures, and in our marketing materials. It’s our promise to you and your pets that we are working hard to bring you the best in medical and surgical care for your pet. It’s a promise that we care and will continue to improve. It’s a promise that we will keep.

Please take some time to check out www.healthypet.com – a website run by AAHA and dedicated to providing you with accurate information on health care for your furry family member. It’s a very useful site to look up info on different conditions and diseases, as well as help finding AAHA-accredited clinics should you ever move from the area.

Please let us know if you have questions about AAHA, or any PGPH-related info. Thanks for stopping by the blog again this week. TTYL.

~ Dr. Julie Hansen
Associate Veterinarian/ Assistant Medical Director

Working Toward Wellness

April 14th, 2012 by Park Grove

Thank you for checking out the first entry in Park Grove Pet Hospital’s blog! We’re really happy you stopped by. My first blog post is dedicated to the most important issue for vets and our staff: helping you keep your pet healthy – a term more broadly referred to as wellness.

I’ve been practicing now for about 10 years, and although the knowledge and abilities of veterinarians have increased exponentially during that time, a recent study shows that despite our advances and new information, veterinary visits are declining! This even in the face of a 3-5% increase in ownership of dogs and cats –  we are seeing less of them in our veterinary hospitals. The study, conducted by Bayer Animal Health, looked at veterinary usage in the United States and how it has changed over the last decade. This emboldens us in the veterinary industry to do a better job to inform and educate.

So that’s today’s topic: why annual examinations (or even twice-annual exams!) are a good idea for you and your pet … OK, mostly for your pet, but we like to see you, too.

Spot can’t speak
As you can imagine, people who work in the veterinary industry have a special challenge that people in the human health world usually don’t have: our patients can’t talk! They can’t verbalize things like, “Gee, Doc – I’ve been feeling a little run down lately. Sure, I go about my business as usual during the day, but overall I feel more tired. And sometimes a little achey.” Think about how you might act if those were your symptoms. Perhaps your coworkers or family members would have no idea there was anything wrong with you, unless you told them.

Same is true for our pets – if there is something wrong, especially in an early stage, they may not act any different. If your pet is a feline, they are especially adept at hiding how they feel about things.

One of the problems with these decreasing veterinary visits is that we are seeing increases in serious diseases in pets, including diabetes, heartworm disease, cancer, obesity, arthritis, dental disease, ear infections, fleas and ticks, and internal parasites. Many of those diseases are easily preventable with regular veterinary care.

An exam once or twice a year can help identify problems before they start to make your dog or cat feel sick. What are we looking for during the physical exam? Basically anything that looks, sounds, feels, or smells abnormal. Sometimes these changes are subtle and not easily detectable by you during your normal interactions with your pet.

Those annual exams also let us inform you of the best preventive care for your pet. For instance, discussing dental care early and often can help improve your awareness of the fact that dental disease is present in 70-80% of our patients over age 3. We can help you learn how to brush teeth, discuss the best dental care products, and educate you on how early intervention and regular dental cleanings at the clinic can extend your pet’s life up to two years! Proper dental care and prevention can also help to limit the risk of costly and more painful procedures later.

We can talk about how to get your pet to shed some unwanted pounds (obesity is our #1 health-related preventable issue at the moment). Even better, we can talk about keeping your pet at his/her current healthy weight, and stop the obesity epidemic before it starts! Another fun fact: dogs and cats with healthy body weights live an average of TWO YEARS longer than their overweight counterparts.

Other topics we address during those annual exams are heartworm prevention, flea and tick prevention, proper vaccinations based on your pet’s risk factors, proper diet/nutrition, care of aging pets, and much more.

Well, what about wellness?
“Wellness” is the buzz-word of the moment, in both the human medical world and the animal medical world. What does it mean, exactly? Wellness is a process, an active process toward health and well being, for both us and our pets.

I think of wellness as being the central principle guiding all of our recommendations and guidelines in veterinary medicine. We are always striving to provide our patients and clients with the tools they need to prevent illness and injury.

A big part of “wellness” is illness prevention, or preventive medicine. There are things out there we know can make your dog or cat sick – infectious diseases like rabies virus, distemper, leptospirosis bacteria and others can be prevented with the appropriate vaccines given at the appropriate times. We have preventive medications to that keep our dogs from becoming infested with heartworm disease, which is potentially fatal.  We have screening tests for early kidney and liver disease. We have knowledge about proper foods and supplements for your pets. But we can only have these conversations when we can examine your pet and chat with you in the clinic.

Work toward wellness at Park Grove Pet Hospital
The people who work at PGPH are dedicated to your pets and to their long-term wellness. We love the work we do, and we love helping keep your pets as healthy as possible. Our motto is, “Pets are family, too!” and we truly believe that. We all have our own furry family members, many of whom come to work with us every day. We celebrate their birthdays, get them Christmas presents, and work hard to keep them healthy. When we recommend a preventive measure (such as vaccines, heartworm or flea/tick prevention, diet, bloodwork, dental care) it’s because we do the same for our own pets.

Our experience, training and continuing education enable us to recommend what’s best for your pet. And we recommend different strategies to reduce the chances of seeing your pet for a preventable illness in the future. We want your pet to be healthy and happy and stay that way into their geriatric years.

We’d love to hear from you! Give us a call at 653-459-9663 or stop by the clinic any time!

~ Dr. Julie Hansen
Associate Veterinarian/Assistant Medical Director

Welcome to Park Grove Pet Hospital’s new blog!

January 30th, 2012 by admin

We haven’t written anything yet, but stay tuned for some great news, information, and updates!