Thoughts For Thanksgiving

When is a treat not a treat?
Do I even need to say it? People food is not good for pets. In fact, chocolate, raisins, alcohol, macadamia nuts, bread dough, and onions are downright dangerous. If your pet ingests any of these, it’s time to call a vet. For a more comprehensive list of foods to watch out for, visit this ASPCA link. Even foods high in fat can cause issues, such as a life-threatening inflammatory condition of the pancreas called “Pancreatitis.”

Healthy alternatives
There are so many healthy options for pets, now, that it’s easy to pick up something safe and appropriate. Here at Gem Vet, we have a nice variety to choose from. For cats, we have Greenies, Grain Free Crunchy Creations, and Science Diet T/D. For dogs, we have lean treats, CET chews, Cranberry and Pumpkin treats, and more. Oh yes, and did I mention that we carry Turkey Dinner for both cats and dogs? Swing by and check it out!

Garbage in, garbage out
If you don’t have your garbage can safely locked away, your pet is very likely to get into the trash to munch on leftovers. This goes right back to pancreatitis and tummy issues. If your pet eats a nonfood item because it’s covered in gravy things can get very bad very quickly. Believe it or not, we once received a call about a dog that had eaten a metal fork. The string that sometimes comes wrapped around turkey and roast is also something that can tangle up your pet’s digestive system. Cats seem to be especially tempted by it. Be safe. Take trash right outside and make sure that it’s been safely secured.

Safe haven
Better still, let your pet stay safely in another room during the festivities. This heads off many potential dangerous situations. For instance, it keeps pets away from tempting trash and inappropriate “treats.” It prevents children and guests from sneaking food to pets (I mean, who can resist that sweet, begging face?) It also prevents indoor-only pets from escaping. It would be a tragedy for your beloved pet to go missing or get injured while running around loose outside during the holiday.

Work it out
Consider helping your pet burn off a little nervous energy by playing with it extensively the day before a holiday, and the morning of the holiday. It will behave better and be calmer. As an added bonus, it will help you be happier and calmer as well. Besides, isn’t playtime one of the biggest perks of pet ownership?

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!


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Baby, It’s Cold Outside

To borrow from a popular book and television series, winter is definitely coming. As the temperatures drop, it’s important to keep an eye on our furry friends. Cold weather can cause all kinds of health issues. The good news, though, is that they’re easy to prevent.
Shelter From The Storm
It’s a bad idea to leave a pet outside in the cold for long periods of time, and a doubly bad idea if they don’t have adequate shelter. Taking the wind-chill into account, it’s much colder out there than the temperature might indicate. This is a recipe for both frostbite and hypothermia. We’ve seen more than one short-statured male dog for some very uncomfortable frost bite. Ears, toes, and tails are also susceptible, as are the wattles on chickens. A little prevention through limiting outside time, and providing a warm shelter can head off trouble.

Constant Vigilance
Pay special attention while walking your dog near icy lakes and ponds. They don’t instinctively know where the thin and rotten patches of ice are. They could easily fall through, or slip on the ice and injure themselves.

Water, Water Everywhere
Pets get dehydrated just as easily in winter as they do in summer. It’s vital to provide fresh (unfrozen) water at all times. In fact, dehydration plays a major role in hypothermia. When an animal gets dehydrated, their blood volume goes down. This means their body can’t circulate enough blood to their muscles and organs to keep them functioning and warm. It’s a quick trip to serious illness.

I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty
Pets need to be well-groomed for their fur to insulate them properly. This doesn’t necessarily mean baths, but it does mean plenty of brushing. Fortunately, there are reasonably priced groomers here in Emmett to help you keep up with that if you find yourself short on time.

Clothes Make The… Dog?
There are all kinds of protective wear for small and hairless breeds of dog (and cats!). I know, I know, for some people it can feel a little odd to put clothes on a pet. However, there are styles to fit every budget and preference, from utilitarian to playful. It can make the difference between comfort and shivering.

My Aching Bones
Most pets need a little extra bedding to nuzzle into when it starts to get cold. For indoor pets, especially older ones, heated beds and blankets can be the difference between suffering through arthritis, and being comfortable. There are several good options on the market, including heated throw blankets for humans. Sometimes the human version is cheaper than a specialized version for pets. If your pet seems to be achy in spite of being provided warmth, we have some excellent arthritis treatments available. You’ll be amazed at the difference they can make. Feel free to call us today if you’d like to set up an appointment, or have questions.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure for Your Puppy and Parvo!

sick puppy
Recently we have been having quite the Parvovirus outbreak in our area so I thought I would share a little bit of information about signs of parvovirus and prevention and control.

No appetite
Rapid weight loss
If you see any of these signs get your pet to the veterinary clinic ASAP.

There are a variety of risk factors that can increase a dog’s susceptibility to the disease, but mainly, the virus is transmitted either by direct contact with an infected dog, or indirectly, by the fecal-oral route, i.e. an infected dog poops and your puppy sniffs the infected dog’s poop, your puppy will contract the disease! The virus can also be brought into a dog’s environment by way of shoes that have come into contact with infected feces. Parvovirus can live in the ground for a very long time!

Not properly vaccinating your puppy or a vaccination failure can also lead to a parvovirus infection. For unknown reasons, certain dog breeds, such as Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Pit Bulls, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, English Springer Spaniels and Alaskan sled dogs are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

When a puppy less than a year old comes to the clinic with any or all of the symptoms we are forced to first suspect the Parvovirus. Since the parvovirus is a highly contagious viral illness we ask that you leave the puppy in the car and one of our nurses will come out to your car to perform the parvovirus test.

The Parvovirus is diagnosed here at Gem Veterinary Clinic by a fecal snap test. A swab of the rectum is done and then it takes approximately 8 minutes for the result.

If the test indicates that your puppy has the parvovirus we will put you and the puppy into our isolation treatment room. At that time the doctor will do a physical examination and assess the prognosis of the puppy. Since the disease is a viral infection, there is no real cure for it. Treatment is focused on curing the symptoms and preventing secondary bacterial infections. Ideally we would hospitalize your pet and give intensive intravenous fluid therapy to control/prevent dehydration as well as treatments to curb vomiting, stomach acid reducers and antibiotics. Depending on your puppy’s condition they could be in the hospital for one day, but may be much longer with you possibly incurring a substantial pet care bill. If money is a concern and depending on your puppy’s’ condition the doctor may deem out-patient treatment a possibility. Out-patient treatment involves administering subcutaneous fluids and injections of anti-nausea and antibiotics. This treatment may need to be repeated until vomiting stops and then the puppy can be placed on oral medications. Either treatment can be fairly extensive and does not guarantee the puppy will survive the disease.

VACCINATE, VACCINATE VACCINATE!!! As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” certainly rings true with the parvovirus. The best prevention you can take against parvovirus is to follow the correct protocol for vaccination. Young puppies should be vaccinated at eight, twelve and sixteen weeks of age. The parvo vaccine is a preventative, not a cure. If you suspect your puppy has parvo DO NOT give your puppy the parvo vaccine!! It is highly recommended you have your puppy be examined by a veterinarian to determine their health and wellness before they receive their vaccine. Not all vaccines are the same, at Gem Veterinary Clinic we use MERIAL® brand vaccines the safest most proven vaccine on the market, if your puppy were to be diagnosed with the parvovirus after following the correct vaccine protocol MERIAL® would cover most if not all of the cost of the treatment.

As much as you love your new puppy and want to show it off to everyone you know; puppies should not be considered fully immunized until at least two weeks after their last set of vaccinations. So no trips to the dog park, pet store, the neighbor’s house, etc. until your puppy is fully vaccinated!!

Gem Veterinary Clinic offers a Puppy Package to encourage new puppy parents to get their entire puppy vaccines completed as well as the Rabies vaccine and six months of FREE EXAMS from the time that you purchase the package! Call us at 365-6008 to make your puppy’s appointment and invest in their healthy future!!

There is an easier way to get your pet’s food!

dogeatingbreakfastinbedPicture this…It’s dinner time for the furry kids, how do you know this?? Because they have told you for the past hour that it was coming!!! You go to their bag of food and find out with DREAD that the bag is ‘gulp’, E-M-P-T-Y!! After a mad bag shake trying to get out every last kibble and dust you realize there is no way they will be happy with what you present them! You turn around to find pairs of eyes looking at you expectantly and you’ve got NOTHING and their food store is closed!!! You reluctantly give up your tasty steak dinner to the dog and a can of tuna fish for the cat and all you are left with is some limp broccoli!! But better that, than a lost limb!!
Now picture this scenario…You go to and click on the on-line store and purchase a bag of food from a multiple group of food suppliers, including: EUKANUBA, IAMS, PURINA, ROYAL CANIN AND SCIENCE DIET, they will get you set up with automatic delivery based on how often you need food and it gets AUTOMATICALLY SHIPPED TO YOUR HOUSE! Your pet(s) get their food and you get your steak dinner. Life is good for everyone!!

Old dogs…

Old_Dogs_CoverOld dogs….It is about this time of year we get a lot of calls from owners whom are contemplating euthanasia of their old dog because, “they just can’t get around like they use to.” In Idaho, animals are considered property therefore an owner has the right to decide when they think it is time for a pet to be euthanized. Nine times out of ten, we do what is requested of us because we have a “developed relationship” with the client and we know that they believe that they have made the best decision for their beloved pet. But, occasionally when a pet comes in that old age seems to be its only issue, we begin to question what is truly in the best interest of the pet.
Just because a pet is old doesn’t necessarily mean that it is time to say goodbye. Age is relative, what truly matters is quality of life. “Old dogs” suffer from many of the same things that bother “old humans” one such issue is arthritis. Most of the “old dogs” that come in for euthanasia would probably act like “young pups” again if the owner would put their pet on a prescription of a NSAID (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug). When “old dogs” suffer from arthritis you often see them having trouble getting up and laying down, trouble with having a bowel movement or will also leak urine (this one could also be a sign of a bladder infection or urinary incontinence, both can also be treated).
Although we applaud your efforts in not wanting your pet to suffer please don’t hesitate to ask us if there is anything else that can be done to add quality to the quantity of life for your best friend!
Gem Veterinary Clinic offers Senior Wellness Packages that an owner can take advantage of for any pet over 7 years of age. The Package includes: *Senior consultation *Annual vaccinations (unless doctor has recommended otherwise) *Arthritis evaluation *Nutritional assessment *Complete blood count *Biochemical analysis and a Comprehensive Senior Wellness Package would include the above as well as a Thyroid screening and Urinalysis. The package saves you 15% off our regular prices!! Just because you have an “old dog” doesn’t mean they can’t be healthy and happy!
So before you make the decision that nobody wants to make, give us a call at 365-6008 and we’ll do our best to keep your pet as a part of your family for as long as possible!

One pet’s hope

GVC staff member Tracy, is a proud mama to this girl Piper Ann, a 9 year old Golden Retriever. A few months ago Piper came into the clinic to be seen for a limping issue. After several x-rays and exams, Piper was referred to WestVet Speciality Center. Piper underwent an MRI and was finally diagnosed with a Hemangiosarcoma (an aggressive, malignant tumor of blood vessel cells). They are highly metastatic and will frequently spread to the brain, but also to the lungs, spleen, heart, kidneys, skeletal muscle and bone. Because of where the tumor was located, surgery was deemed not possible. There was not a lot of hope for Piper….

Not long after Piper was diagnosed, a pharmaceutical representative came into GVC and told us about a new product “Kinavet” a chemotherapy drug that has been proven to shrink most malignant tumors. With nothing to lose, Piper was begun on a course of the chemotherapy.

The first few weeks were extremely hard on Piper and her family. Lots of tears were shed and a lot of thought went into Piper’s quality of life. Piper was a typical chemotherapy patient she has been nauseous (which has been treated with Cerenia, an antiemetic), weight loss (probably due to the nauseousness and Piper now get’s to eat pretty much whatever she wants) and she also has had a considerable amount of lymphodema (swelling) on the leg where her tumor is located.

Piper was here for some routine bloodwork yesterday and although the length of time that we’ll actually get to have Piper in our lives is still unknown (as it is for all of us) she is doing well. Her bloodwork is maintaining, the swelling is reducing and most importantly…PIPER IS HAPPY!!!

We here at Gem Veterinary Clinic wish nothing but the best for Piper Ann. All of us animal lovers know that our pets unfortunately don’t live forever, but it’s good to know that through science they are getting to live longer!

If you have a pet that you love, please make sure that you are getting routine wellness exams and preventative bloodwork done to ensure that you can keep them as long as possible. As the old saying goes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!!

Pet Gazette March 2011

Yes, it’s that time of year again. The time when a young cat’s (or dog’s) heart turns to… well, you know.

Don’t litter! Spay and neuter your pets. Pet overpopulation is a huge issue in this area. If you’re thinking of breeding, please visit a shelter or Humane Society before making your decision. An unconscionable number of pets are euthanized each year simply due to overpopulation. There aren’t enough homes for all of them.

We offer exceptional surgical care at an affordable cost – in fact, we charge less than even the Idaho Humane Society. Unlike the Humane Society, we’ll make sure your pet will receive loving, individual care. That’s an exceptional value!

To read more, click the link below to view our newsletter:
Pet Gazette March 2011

Pet Gazette February 2011

February is National Pet Dental Month! To celebrate, we’re offering a 10% discount for dental cleanings for dogs and cats this month. If you’d like an estimate, we offer free dental exams, to! Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Click on the link below to view our newsletter and read more about the importance of dental health.
Pet Gazette February 2011

Pet Gazette December 2010

Read all about pets and Christmas perils! Click on the link below to view our newsletter.
Pet Gazette December 2010

Pet Gazette November 2010

Get the skinny on Thanksgiving by clicking the link below to read our newsletter.
Pet Gazette November 2010