Why is my cat still hacking?

July 2017, I discussed the topic of hacking cats and wrote more about hair issues and only briefly mentioned other causes. That blog has the 4th highest views on our entire website. People do not like hacking when it comes to their cats! It is messy and ruins fabric and carpets which can make having a cat less desirable. Follow this link to see how to handle hairball issues in your cat. If you have already made changes and are still dealing with a hacking cat, read on.

What other reasons cause cats to hack? This list is extensive and difficult to determine sometimes. One thing that owners can do after addressing a hairball issue is look at what the cat is eating.  If the cat is not dropping weight and acts completely normal but is vomiting up bile and/or hair on occasion, consider removing all treats, people food, and canned food first. Go for 2-3 weeks with only dry food and see if any vomiting occurs. If no vomiting, then you can feel confident the dry diet is not responsible.

The way to determine if it was one of those other 3 things is to add each one in separately and go for 2-3 weeks independently and see if any reactions occur.  For cats that act completely normal and are not dropping weight this method is okay while trying to figure out the puzzle. People food can always be a culprit especially if owners do not offer this to their cats regularly. Cats can be sneaky and mischievous and find people food on their own.  Once consumed it causes a digestive issue usually 2-3 days after the intake. It is not an immediate response like most people think.  It is important to watch friends, family, and young children who offer people food without your awareness. 

If doing these two things independently at home and your cat “is still hacking”, I would encourage you to seek veterinary care.  Cats can have other digestive or respiratory issues that can trigger hacking as well. We can have inflammation of the digestive tract that triggers vomiting of bile. We can have respiratory tract concerns that can trigger vomiting of a white foamy substance. Heart issues can cause cats to cough but after the cough some will spit up phlegm that is not yellow in color. This can be coming from the respiratory system. There are lung worms that can be present in a cat’s respiratory system. This is most common in outdoor or stray cats that have been introduced into your home.

Taking video of your cat during the episode can be helpful for your veterinarian to view.  These videos can help solve the puzzle. Paying attention to when they occur.  Does it happen with activity, after eating or drinking, after sleeping or resting, etc. What does it look like? Again, a photo can be helpful. We do not need to have you bring it in on a paper towel.  It is important to know what their stool looks like and the volume of stool. This is easy with one cat but can be complicated with a multi-cat household. Many times, an answer for hacking is not a quick and easy diagnosis. Getting frustrated with your cat or veterinarian is not going to fix the problem either. Switching from one cat food to another cat food or veterinarian to veterinarian is also a bad idea. This can prolong the situation and make it more challenging to control.

With many conditions in our furry friends, sometimes a cure is not meant to be but managing a condition with diet, supplements, medications, feeding routines can be achieved. One of my favorite diets to manage hacking of bile in cats is Royal Canin’s Hydrolyzed Protein dry cat food. This diet has allowed many cats to continue living in their homes and reduced the frequency, if not eliminating it completely, of hacking (vomiting) up bile. They cannot get any other foods or treats or people foods to be successful. It is a prescription diet and must be prescribed by your veterinarian.   If you are seeing more white frothy phlegm than bile in what is hacked up, this usually points to a heart or respiratory issue. It is important to seek veterinary care early since a delayed diagnosis can have long term complications.  Some of these episodes can occur seasonally and may be a form of asthma in cats. There is no one treatment fixes all “hacking cats”!  Just remember to be patient with your cat and your veterinarian as they help you work through all the causes of “hacking cats”.

Dog Bite Prevention Month

April 9-15th in 2023 is National Dog Bite Prevention week. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) cosponsors this event annually the 2nd full week of April. This week attempts to raise awareness on the high numbers of dog bites each year. In 2020, insurance companies paid out $853.7 million for 16,991 dog bite claims. The dog bite numbers are increasing but more importantly the dollars paid out for each claim has risen significantly. With the interest in taking our dogs more places this statistic is sure to grow over time. This number does not represent dog to dog fights which also involves cost of care to pet owners.

In March 2019 I posted a blog talking about dog bite prevention week coming up in April. This link will take you to that blog which has some great information about how to approach dogs: Dog Bite Prevention

Many of the dog bite events involve children. Dr Sophia Yin has some great posters centered around this topic. I have posted two here with permission from CattleDog Publishing to show how we should approach kid and dog interactions. If we focus on education about how to prevent dog bites, we can spare children having a lifelong fear of dogs related to these traumatic events. It has been noted that dog bites to children are as often from pets in their own homes as it is a stranger’s dog. These 2 following posters are a great reminder of how kids should and should not interact with dogs. Share this information with your families. If you see a child doing something that could trigger a bite, speak with the parents or the child to educate them on more appropriate interactions. This needs to be everyone’s mission regardless of your relationship with the dog or the child.

For many years I was involved in the Madison County Health Safety & Wellness Fair. Many professionals visited schools in the county and spent time educating the middle school kids about multiple topics. There were doctors, dentists, chiropractors, police, fire, ambulance, etc. that presented to the students. My topic each year was Dog Bite Prevention. I spent 12 minutes covering general information about what to avoid and how to protect yourself in the event of an attack. I sent home information with each student and we spoke to 6-8 different groups in a matter of a few hours. When covid hit in 2020, the program was halted and has not been restarted. It is necessary to somehow spread the word about dog bite prevention. If you have children or grandchildren share this information with them. Do not ever think that any dog is above biting.  Many people whose dogs have attacked people have said, “I do not know what happened. They had never done this before.” It can happen to you so be prepared.

Early intervention is still key when trying to prevent aggression with your dog. Spay and neuter since dogs left intact are 3 times more likely to bite. Take puppies less than 4 months of age to classes. It has been proven that early socialization to lots of people, other dogs, and new experiences helps make your dog more comfortable as an adult when introduced to new situations. Going to dog classes gets you time with pet trainers to ask how to deal with behaviors that are considered normal in dog world but unacceptable when interacting with people. Learn how to play with your puppy and what is not advised to prevent behavior issues. Classes often train the humans as much as we hope to train our puppies. If you get a puppy do not wait to start training. A puppy goes from 0-16 years of age in the first 12 months. We all know how difficult it can be to retrain a teenager SO START YOUNG.

Springtime Checklist for Poisons

March 20-26, 2023 is Pet Poison Prevention Week. Forty-six years ago the 3rd week in March was designated Pet Poison Prevention Week. Each year the Pet Poison Hotlines keep track of the most common pet poison calls. It is interesting to compare from year to year what the top accidental exposures are. They do not alter much from year to year. A few years ago though Cannabis entered the top 10 related to all the edible products that are now available for humans. With the online sales of CBD oil for anxiety and pain in canines there are accidental overdoses as well. 

It is noted that these are all accidental situations. No one offers these items to pets but our pets gain access to them one way or another. Puppies are the largest group involved because they chew and seem to be indiscriminate with what they put into their mouths. My suggestion is to get down at their level and look around to see what items my be in harms way. Check all rooms that the dogs have access to. Be certain to revisit these actions as the puppies grow since their reach increases as well. If visiting family and friends make certain to do a similar check in their homes and garages. With sheds and garages being open as warm weather increases these buildings are often a source of these toxins. Watch for access to neighbor’s buildings as well.

One common way to get pets to vomit up items they have consumed is to offer hydrogen peroxide orally until they vomit. My Weimaraner a few years ago gained access to my daughter’s gum in her room and I administered hydrogen peroxide orally until he vomited. I used up over 2/3rds of that bottle before he gave it up. I realize that seems like a lot but better to have him vomit then deal with the toxin going into his body. If your pet has swallowed gasoline or a caustic chemical, you should consult with poison control since those substances can cause more burning when coming back up again. I have used hydrogen peroxide to get a puppy to vomit back up a cat ball that he consumed to prevent a blockage as it moved through the digestive tract. Rat poison exposure is another good time to use the peroxide. If the time since consumption has been over 3-5 hours you will not gain anything by having them vomit. In those situations consulting with your veterinarian or the poison control would be advised. If you do not know exactly when it was consumed offering the hydrogen peroxide will not cause any permanent damage but may not be helpful either.

 The Pet Poison Helpline listed these as the top 10 poisons in 2022.

  1. Chocolate
  2. Grapes and raisins
  3. Xylitol – gum
  4. Ibuprofen
  5. Bromethalin – rat poison that causes brain edema – limited treatment options
  6. Marijuana
  7. Anticoagulants rodenticides – rat posion that causes clotting issues – have a treatment
  8. Vitamin D-3
  9. Onions/chives/leeks/shallots
  10. Carprofen

Item number 5 and 7 are confusing to people. There are differences between the poisons available to rid your home and buildings of rodents. The active ingredients sound similar but are very different in their toxicity to pets.  Brodifacoum is the active ingredient in anticoagulant poisons verses Bromethaliin. Bromethalin is a poison that causes lethargy, weakness, limb paralysis, tremors, seizures, coma, and even death at toxic levels of consumption.  Once this toxin has left the stomach, we do not have an antidote for it.  Please know what you are purchasing and how lethal the Bromethalin can be.

Another source that listed the top 10  poisons in 2021 was the ASPCA organization. This link will take you to their site. I like how they listed the items and gave more examples of what substances are important to consider.  Please take note of the plants listed and maybe visit the link provided to see a detailed list of toxic plants for pets. Many people are unfamiliar with what plants and flowers are a concern for our pets if consumed. Yet we may already have some of them in our home or landscaping.

In February 2017 my blog was about March being Pet Poison Month. I have attached the link since additional information is available there: March is Pet Poison Awareness Month

Spring is just around the corner so get outside and enjoy! Make certain to protect your pets so our children can enjoy their best buddies for years to come!  FYI – the photo is my oldest daughter with Coach from 1992. Weren’t they cute!

Dental Health Month is Here

We made it to February. This is a short month and before you know it the spring flowers will be in bloom! The days are longer and the sun is getting closer to the earth to heat it up! Bring it on!

Looking back at the blogs from the last 6 ½ years I have discussed dental health month 4 different times. Of course, the blogs were about different teeth concerns but it still emphasizes the importance of dental health. I still counsel people regularly about what items to avoid their dogs chewing on. The blog from January 2018 talks about the common issues we see with pet’s teeth that are chewing on bones and antlers. If these are common items you offer your dogs, I would look at this blog:

Read the Post: No Bones About It (January, 2018)

Was your New Year’s resolution to start brushing your pet’s teeth? It is a great time to start during Dental Health month. The February 2020 blog goes through a step-by-step process to introduce this new procedure to your pet. I always encourage people with kittens and puppies to get them accustomed to brushing while they are still young. This is always the best time to start all routine care programs such as cleaning ears, clipping nails, giving bathes, brushing teeth, combing hair, etc. This blog also has a nice video from a client who brushes her dog’s teeth. What a difference this has made in their oral health.

Read the Post: February is Dental Health Month (February, 2020)

Ever wonder how a dog’s teeth are cleaned. Certainly, they will not just lie there and let us clean the teeth. They do need anesthesia and are required to be still during the entire procedure. We do the dental scaling, cleaning, and polishing in the morning so our patients can go home in the afternoon. This blog talked about the equipment needed to clean teeth. Extractions are necessary if we have extensive damage to the gums or roots present. It makes no sense to keep teeth that are no longer viable for chewing. The reports indicate most dogs and cats have some dental decay by 3 years of age. Check out this blog from a year ago.

Read the Post: February is Dental Health Month (February, 2022)

Imagine what your teeth would look like if you did not brush daily. Our pets are no different. This is one daily task that can make a huge difference in the oral health of our pets. The Pet Industry wants you to believe that chewing a dog biscuit or piece of rawhide is all that is needed to keep their teeth clean. I hope you realize that only by brushing are you going to impact their long-term oral health. Go ahead and FLIP THE LIP of your pet! If you do not see pearly whites flashing back at you….It is time to set up a dental procedure to protect your furry friends oral health.

Why is “Pet Selection” Still Important?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Welcome to 2023 and all this year has to offer for new beginnings. We are excited to be here to assist our customers and their furry friends during this year and beyond. Dr Jim and myself will be celebrating 35 years since receiving our Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degrees. The clinic will be celebrating 40 years of business this year. Dr Jim has been here for 35 of those years. Stephanie celebrated 20 years as an employee and myself, 15 years in 2022. We all feel a connection to this business but more importantly to the clients that we serve and their critters. Whether they are big and cannot come in the building or small and we need a gram scale to weigh them, they all are important to us.

I recognized last year, that I have now come full circle with my time here at Winterset Veterinary Center (WVC). What I mean by that is, I am now helping my clients(friends) say goodbye to those bounding puppies and snuggling kittens I first got to know back 15 years ago when I began working at WVC. This is a first for me. Most of my career I have moved around enough that I never got to this stage at my previous locations. It is heart wrenching but also fulfilling to be here through all the stages of our pet’s lives. Both Dr Jim and myself know that helping a pet pass from this life to the next is as important as other needed therapies.

I have been doing blogs for 6 ½ years now and realized that there are many topics that I covered early on that I should revisit in 2023. I am looking at which ones have been googled most often and plan to adjust or add to the original blog. One topic that is near and dear to my heart is pet selection. I feel the blog is still relevant and needs very little adjustments. I know there are more online tests that can be taken to help someone select the best pet or if it is a dog you are wanting, there are tests to help you select the right breed.

Reach out to your veterinarian and ask for their help in assisting with pet selection. The years of training not only in higher education but also practice will serve you well in finding the perfect pet for its forever home. Many factors are used to help someone decide if they should get a rescue pet or a new pet. How much time do you have each week to spend with your pet? Are you home regularly to feed, water, and exercise? Do you have allergies against pet dander and hair? Are you willing to commit to this pet for the next 15-20 years if it is a dog or cat? How much money do you intend to spend to purchase the pet and care for it each year? These are some of the questions that are important to consider when selecting a pet. The online tests cover these and other questions to help guide you in the selection process. Please feel free to reach out to Dr. Jim or myself if ever you need help in this process. Daily we see decisions that were made quickly without thinking through the long-term scenario. Once the pet is home it can be difficult to return so do your homework first! Thanks for reading my blogs and let’s make 2023 the best year yet for caring for our furry friends who make our life complete just by being here.

Click on the link and read all about the importance of pet selection.

At Last — The Microscope

Can you believe it is December? We have passed through another year with blogs. I have written about the different equipment used here to help us do our day to day business. For my final blog of 2022 I will talk about the microscope.  This microscope was in veterinary school with Dr. Jim (I have mine at home on a shelf).  This is the one piece of equipment a veterinary student must purchase to start at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Yes, this scope would be over 35 years old now. It is still a very important piece of equipment and with ongoing maintenance can last for many more years. 

On a daily basis we use the microscope for analyzing stool samples looking for intestinal parasites. Once found we can then offer recommendations on what medications would be suitable for treatment. Often people buy over the counter dewormers, but never know if their pets had parasites or not. Plus, not all dewormers are successful for treatment of the different species of internal parasites.

We use the microscope to look for mites and lice after swabbing ears or scraping skin. The mites are quite detailed after looking at them under magnification. I often will bring the scope into the exam room to show clients what external parasites look like. Some are fascinated others…not so much.

Dr. Jim is using the scope to analyze bovine sperm in this photo. After he does the semen collection and the physical exam on the bull, he then places the specimen of semen under the scope to look at movement, shape, numbers, etc., of the sperm. The bull breeding soundness exam is critical to a cattleman’s herd. The news that a bull did not pass the exam is disappointing. Worse yet is a whole herd of heifers or cows that are open because someone neglected to do the bull’s breeding exam. No pregnancies, means a rancher just fed his cows/heifers for a full year with no profits. That would be hard to swallow but it has happened. A good breeding soundness exam can prevent this.

We use the microscope to look at urine sediment to help us determine cause of abnormal urination. We use the microscope to evaluate a blood smear. Laboratory results include many different tests to help put the puzzle together on why or what may be causing a pets health concerns. These are all screening tests to direct us in a manner that will help the patient get home as quickly as possible. That is where the pet and the owner want them to be.

Fine needle aspirate samples are evaluated under the microscope for certain cell types. A biopsy is by far a better form of diagnosis but sometimes we get lucky and will find cells that indicate cause of the health concerns. When these are found, we can begin formulating treatment while offering up a smaller biopsy if needed to verify our diagnosis. In some situations, time is important and so evaluation here at the clinic is important. Starting treatment as soon as possible would not be an option if we could not get the results on the same day.

We have also used the microscope to magnify ticks and fleas for identification. The different types of vectors can mean different diseases that we need to be concerned about. Ticks especially come in multiple shapes and sizes. Identification helps eliminate diseases, like Lyme disease, if it is not a deer tick.

As you can see this microscope has served us well over its lifetime. We would be lost without it and if this one ever breaks down… I still have mine on a shelf at home! We are so grateful for your business and confidence in our team at Winterset Veterinary Center.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our clients and their critters.

Platinum Year for Stephanie

November 2002 was the month Stephanie began working at Winterset Veterinary Center(WVC). She had been working at a bank in her prior years. They moved out in the country by Winterset as a young family. She had 2 young children who were in school. At that time Dr Ken Henrichsen and Dr. Jim Pottebaum were the two owners of the clinic. Stephanie was good with numbers and customer service. She was a willing worker for whatever task was needed and quickly became efficient at all tasks within WVC.

I was looking up the symbol of 20 years and discovered it was platinum. Platinum has become popular and its traits are to be admired as a “noble metal”.

A noble metal is a precious metal that is resistant to corrosion and oxidation in moist air. It is in the class with gold and silver, the same metals used in fine jewelry. Platinum will not tarnish and yet is soft and malleable which makes it easy to shape. It is unreactive and can change shape without losing its toughness. I see Stephanie in this light. She has shown her soft side to many over the years during times of loss or tragedy. Many customers have felt heard and understood when sharing situations. She has become as important at the clinic as Dr. Jim and myself because she anticipates our needs but also those of the clients and other staff. She can be tough when needed and is slow to show her frustration in many stressful daily situations. I have fully relied on her and when she is gone, I definitely feel her absence. We laugh that it is good job security when one is missed during vacation.

Stephanie has a daughter Ashlyn and son AJ who are the same age as my 2 oldest Jaclyn and JD. We now each have a granddaughter and share many fun stories of our “Yaya” and “NeNe” time. We both live on acreages outside of Winterset and see our husbands as our best friends. We love to travel to warm sunny places and eat great food while sipping fruity cocktails. As you might notice we have lots in common besides working at WVC.

I decided to honor Stephanie with this blog and share some fun photos taken over the last many years. She always loves to have her picture taken with the unique critters that come into the clinic. We have had many fun staff photos over the years that I posted in August when I wrote my blog about my 15 years at WVC. The following photos are just a few of the interesting critters that came into WVC for some reason or another. Of course if you want photos through the last 15 years — go look at the August blog from 2022.

On Wednesday, November 30th, we plan to celebrate Stephanie’s 20 years with WVC.  Please stop in anytime during our regular business hours 7:30-5:30 to congratulate her. She is not retiring — that would be terrible for all of us — we just feel the need to recognize her many years of service. If you cannot stop by but want to congratulate her – feel free to send us an email or drop a comment on Facebook for her to see. Our email address is wintersetveterinarycenter@gmail.com. Facebook is Hemingway Winterset or Winterset Veterinary Center.

A few clients have sent us messages and I want to share a few words from them.

“Steph has such a compassionate heart towards animals and is so good at what she does. Her smile and laugh are contagious.”

“Steph has seen me through some very difficult circumstances over the years with my fur babies, as well as enjoying my “ newest additions too…always professional, caring, and empathetic.” “I’ve always felt like she listened to me and helped me make the best decisions for my furry family. When calling the clinic you can hear it in her voice she loves what she does.”

You have always given our animals the BEST of care and attention. You care, really care, each time we walk through the doors.”

As you can see, it is not just the staff at WVC that appreciate Stephanie. The gratitude we have for all she has contributed over the years could never be expressed in the words of this blog. The appreciation I have for not only her professionalism but more importantly her friendship runs deep. CONGRATULATIONS STEPHANIE ON 20 YEARS OF SERVICE AT WINTERSET VETERINARY CENTER.

Digital Radiology

Way back when radiology was cumbersome and messy, we had dark rooms with red lights and tanks full of water initially that were required to develop the films. A file cabinet was essential to store all the radiographs taken. Then we got automatic processors for the films but still had lots of maintenance for those machines. Today the process is much simpler and safer. We use a cassette that is connected by Wi-Fi to a computer that captures the digital image. The image immediately shows up on the screen so additional views can be taken or bad images removed. We can adjust the exposure, email the image, and store on a thumb drive which makes everything smoother. Less radiation is used to produce a digital image verses the older equipment of the past.

Digital radiography can be used to examine a pet’s urinary system, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system, and bone structure. It is noninvasive and a great tool to reveal internal or structural abnormalities. We can use a chalky white substance called barium to help us see if the intestinal tract has a blockage. We can use air as a contrast agent to identify abnormalities in the bladder. The air in the lungs can give us a great image of the heart and its size and shape. Mineralized densities can be detected easily within the bladder or intestinal contents when present. Broken bones are always difficult to see since we know how much pain the pet must be in from their traumatic event. Subtle changes to joints can offer an awareness of early stages of arthritis or vertebral disc disease. We sometimes use digital films to verify that a dog did not eat a diamond ring or someone’s silver coin.  

Many sites post each year the unusual things that pets have consumed and their appearance on a digital film.  The following link is one sight you can see some interesting digital films that show the objects dogs have eaten. The amazing thing is these pets recover from the abdominal surgery and go on to live a normal happy life. Some continue to want to eat things they should not so safety measures are important, like picking up socks and undergarments so dogs do not have access to them.

This tool is important as a diagnostic addition to our physical exam and bloodwork. Some conditions are obvious, but others can be more subtle and difficult to diagnose. We have the option of sending films to a specialist to help determine what might be going on. With the digital age that happens much more quickly than when we had to send the films by mail to get a 2nd opinion. Over the last 35 years there has been tremendous advancement in radiography and that only helps us and our patients to have the best possible outcome. Hopefully your furry friend will not need this technology, but if they do we are prepared.

Happy Fall everyone!

Cryosurgery — What is it?

Ever been to the dermatologist showing off all your skin imperfections and they hit you with a cold blast of forced air? Sometimes shocked at the surprising cold pressure on your skin. The first time it happened, I was startled since there was no warning or conversation about why and what was about to happen. Maybe because I over explain procedures to my clients it felt strange to me. We all have different bedside practices, and in this case, surprise was this dermatologist’s method. The liquid nitrogen comes out at over 250 degrees below zero. It freezes deeply and should prevent further growth in the future. Occasionally the lesion or growth will need an additional freezing depending on the size and thickness of the lesion or growth.

We purchased a CryoPen a few years back to use in the clinic for such purposes. This is the only cryosurgical system that does not require gasses or liquids to operate. This tool is reliable and easy to use. Of course, we can explain to the owner what we are about to do, but the poor patient will have a surprise once we press the trigger. In the following photo you can see the instrument and the growth we are freezing on this patient. The second photo shows the frozen growth.

The dog is awake for this procedure. Most do not move while using the CryoPen. We freeze and then let it thaw and then freeze a 2nd time. A growth such as this would require additional CryoPen procedures to remove it completely. We do the 2nd one 2 weeks after the first. If additional treatments are needed, we will schedule them as needed.

Many clients find this more desirable than placing a pet under anesthesia to remove growths. We are willing to use this, but it does have its limitations. We have used it for eyelid tumors that are small and not ulcerated, lick granulomas, skin growths, small anal growths, etc. Most pets do require additional treatments after freezing. We did have an eyelid growth that disappeared but returned about 6 months later. Therefore, it is not 100% curative in some situations. We leave the decision up to the owner as to what their personal preference would be.

The next time you notice a small dermal growth on your furry friend feel free to ask us about cryosurgery. It might be the best option for your pet. This is another tool we use to practice Veterinary Medicine.

Quindecennial at Winterset Veterinary Center

What is a quindecennial? Last 15 years at WVC has been eventful. I never knew there was a name for it but google seems to have the answers for everything. This is something that many clients comment on when bringing their pets to see us, “I know google is not the doctor but I think this is what is wrong.” Much has changed since August of 2007 when I first started working at WVC.  I thought it would be fun to share photos of the quindecennial at WVC. Many names and faces have changed but some have remained the same. Many pets that started as puppies and kittens with me have now reached old age or even passed on. The relationships I have enjoyed with the furry friends and their two legged families have brought me much joy and satisfaction. I have not only watched your pets age but also your children. Many families were busy with school aged children when I began and now like myself have become empty nesters. Through all of these transitions it has been fun to share life with all of you. I hope as you look at these pictures fun memories will come to mind and if the opportunity presents itself, please share those with us. We do consider our clients family and are grateful that you have entrusted us with your most precious family members.


Hemingway was dropped on our doorstep summer of 2008 with 2 other littermates. He had a sternum that was deformed and so we decided to keep him. We did not know if this would cause health issues for him in the future. He was a polydactyl which means he was born with extra toes. His little buddy, Cheddar, was a stray and only with us a short time because he ran off in the first few months. Hemingway spent days at school, was in the Bridge Festival Parade, got his own Facebook page (still bears his name to this day), and was the official greeter at WVC for years. We lost him in 2020 and were so glad for the joy he brought to our staff and clients over his 12 years.

Cheddar & Hemmingway

A few months after Hemingway’s passing, a client brought in a litter of kittens that needed care. While attending to their goopy eyes and snotty noses, I noted that 2 of the 5 had extra toes just like Hemingway. We were fortunate that they had no problem letting us have those two kittens. We had a naming contest at the clinic and Eian’s family came up with their names, Cheetoe and Furitoe! Furitoe is furrier than his brother. They have been a welcome addition to our daily routine. Since they came to us during Covid, they were able to be in the exam room with clients pets as they were growing up. This has helped prevent running and drama when around all the day to day noises and commotion that comes with a busy practice. They have become WVC’s social media sensation us sharing videos and photos of some of their crazy stunts.


A few times over the years we have gone all out to celebrate or boost spirits for our staff and clients. These photos show we do like to have fun while at work. In 2020, the Winterset Park and Rec held “Spirit Week”. We contributed each and every day with new duds during that week. The Bridge Festival Parade and Halloween are other fun opportunities we have enjoyed.


Dr Jim started at WVC in 1988 right after graduation. I joined him in 2007. Here are a few photos from then and now. They say gray hair indicates wisdom, both of us are getting grayer and hopefully wiser each year. Facebook and our website were set up in 2010 and 2012 respectively. This is where most of these photos have come from.


This is a look at the quindecennial of staff photos. When we started our social media posts we began updating photos multiple times a year. I think I captured most everyone that has worked with us in the past. It is time for a new photo since the class of 2022 has gone on to college and we have hired new kennel staff. Stay tuned!


We decided if we were going to have a social media presence we should have a logo. The logo was created and we now use it on business cards, clothing, letterhead, advertising, etc.


Being in this business we get the pleasure of educating others on pet care and safety. We have judged events at the fair. Given tours to different youth organizations at the clinic. We held a customer appreciation dinner. Held raffles and contributed donations of pet services and products to different auctions. All of these activities bring us closer to our clients and their pets.


I started at WVC after taking a 10 year break from practice. I was blessed to be able to be an at home mom of 4 kids during that time.  Dr. Jim had just become sole owner after Dr. Ken Henrichsen decided to retire. All my kids were in school and I needed something to keep me busy. He graciously accepted that I would not do large animal but indicated that already a majority of the practice was small animal on a daily basis. I completed over 120 hours of CE in less than a year to renew my inactive veterinary license. I quickly found my rhythm and settled into the daily routine. I recall being overwhelmed by the maturity of this practice. Everywhere I had practiced prior to WVC was a newer or start up practice where so many of the patients were younger. At WVC, there were dogs and cats of all sizes and ages with many clients needing help saying good-bye to their furry friends. That was exhausting and difficult to process since I had not been in that place before. I learned to focus on what was best for each patient. I learned to help the pet’s owners be able to see the peace that comes in those final moments. I learned that just because we can keep them alive for extended periods, that is not always what is best for that pet. Fast forward to today, a quindecennial has passed, now I have seen the full circle. I watched many puppies and kittens grow up and now like myself, many have gray hair, are slowing down, sleeping a lot, and together with their families, we have had to say goodbye. It cuts much deeper now. You have become my family away from home. I cry right along with you. I know it is the right decision, but my heart aches knowing that you will miss that wet nose or nuzzle when you return home without them. I will miss their excitement when I get the squeeze cheese off the counter. I will miss seeing you come in for routine visits but also the opportunity to catch up on what is going on in your life. You see, after all these years of being a veterinarian, I have come to realize we are all looking for a relationship with those we do business with. It is not just about the care or the cost or the staff or the facility. I love the connection to each of you and your furry friends. Thank you for trusting me with your beloved pets and for letting me be a small part of your family as well. I have been truly blessed to be your veterinarian and I hope in some small way you feel our connection too.

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