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Curbside Changes

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Thank you so much for your understanding and patience with us while we provide curbside service! At this point in time we will be transitioning to partial curbside. There will still be many services that will be provided remotely to limit contact and to keep our clients and staff safe during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Prescription medication and food pickup will still be done using the in-place curbside process. You may call us at 616-363-3831 and we will prepare your prescription and schedule a pick-up time. When you arrive we will bring it out to your vehicle.

Most vaccine appointments will still be done remotely. However, some pets being seen for significant medical concerns may request an in-person visit.  At Veterinarian discretion and approval, some clients will be brought into the building to facilitate quality care. This is why you may see others coming in with their pets.  Any pet owners coming inside for an appointment will be required to wear a mask in an appropriate manner.

We apologize if you have been asked to return to your vehicle. We too, hope that all clients will soon be able to come inside for in-person service.

Significant Change Ahead!!!

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Within a month’s time, we will be moving on to bigger and better things, namely a new building and location. While the place is under construction and being remodeled to our liking, an exact date for the switch is still in discussion, but looking closer to within the first week of March 2020. When the date is confirmed, we will be sending out mass communication to keep everyone in the loop.

Our new home is 2755 Fuller Ave Ne., on the corner of Fuller and 3 Mile, just across the street from Reyer’s North Valley Chapel. This is a very exciting endeavor, with many reasons to look forward to the change.

What you can expect at our new location:
-triple the amount of available parking spaces
-a building set back from busy roadways
-eight exam rooms instead of four, reducing wait times
-larger exam rooms
-separate dog and cat waiting areas
-a separate check-in and checkout desk to streamline the processes
We do ask for your patience as we make this transition. On top of the move, we will have one doctor out on maternity leave, and another out for surgery. We will be hiring new staff, but also training current staff to a new workflow. This will be a busy time, and some adjustments to our current schedule will be necessary. For this reason we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Our doctors and staff are anxiously awaiting this next chapter, 3425 has been our home for over 52 years still going strong. We couldn’t have done any of this without our wonderful clients, and we wouldn’t be here without Dr. Wayne Weisner building this place to begin with. We’ve already promised to save him some bricks!

Let’s Do This!

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You might remember us asking for a show of support in regards to moving our practice. That “News” post has now been deleted. Your voices were heard, and after a series of hoop-jumping and meetings, we will be moving! 

Our new address will be 2755 Fuller Ave NE, and the move will be taking place late February/early March 2020. At this moment, we do not intend on closing down for any length of time for the move to transpire, but time will tell. 

This is a change we are all looking forward to–there was cheering and much celebration when the news first reached us. This move will benefit not only staff, but clients and patients as well, with more, safer parking, a less busy road to look out on, and more space to allot for our busy schedule.  We can’t tell you how much we appreciate the support, as we could not have done it without. So here is a big THANK YOU, we can’t wait to embark on this journey together!

Tick Season is Here!

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In the past week, we have removed 4 ticks from dogs here at the clinic. This year thus far, we have removed 7 or more ticks. Something all of these dogs had in common, was that none of them had been running through the woods.

Ticks are a part of the arachnid family. They cannot jump or fly, and are very passive little suckers. They hang on to blades of grass or other plants, reaching upward, just waiting for a host to brush by. Often times the dogs coming in with ticks are picking them up in their own backyard, underneath their deck, or just rustling around in the garden. 

There are over 20 species of tick in Michigan,  but the five most common include the American Dog Tick, the Black-Legged Tick(or Deer Tick), the Lone Star Tick, the Woodchuck Tick, and the Brown Dog Tick. While the Black-Legged Tick is the only local known for carrying Lyme Disease, the others are not without risk. The other species of tick listed may also carry diseases such as Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Hepatozoonosis, and Canine Babesiosis. 

As much as we love to protect our little fur-babies, we can’t lock them all inside, and we can’t all live in a parking lot. If you find a tick on your dog or cat, let us know! We can help with removal, make sure your dog is vaccinated against Lyme Disease, and we can send you home with an appropriate flea and tick product to protect your pet. What you can do is make sure to give your pet a thorough check-over every time they come inside, paying close attention to the axillary/armpit area, legs, ears, and face. These are the most common parts of the body we find ticks. 

Pet behavior and some tips specific to our practice:

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“My pet is always anxious at the vet/out in public…”

Our clinic is a little special. There are a few things different here, that are not typical at other clinics. The one I am mainly pointing out today is that the back of our exam rooms are open to the hallway where we work, run tests, enter information in the computer system, and prepare things for your pet’s appointment. This is very helpful to us, as staff can communicate and move quickly in case of emergency, or even just the doctor needing something we forgot to prepare for them. However, this also means your pet can sometimes see dogs walking by to get to the scale, and can see us working just as well as you can. For the anxious pet, this presents a challenge to the owner. (Most of this applies to dogs, as cats are typically brought in carriers, but sometimes the kitties are on leashes too.)

Here are some pointers to make the appointment a little less stressful on both of you:

-One thing we advise, keeping all of this in mind, is if you have a reactive or dog-aggressive dog, mention it upon check-in, and we can make sure your pet is called  in to Exam Room 3 or 4, where they are less likely to see as many pets in passing. We do have some clients that request bringing their dog in through the back door, as that can sometimes eliminate passing by another dog.

-Secondly, we ask that owners keep a short leash, and do not allow their pet to peek around corners into the next room. If you read our last post, this prevents the spread of illness, and keeps your pet from a potential dog-fight if the neighboring patient isn’t as friendly. Along those lines, we also discourage retractable leashes, as it is very easy for these to break, or the locking mechanism to be disengaged, and next thing you know, your pet is in the other room.

OBEDIENCE! And why we recommend formal obedience training:

We have been stressing and stressing and stressing obedience classes for both puppies and older dogs as well. Not because we want you to spend all of your money, but because it will teach both and your pet things that will last a lifetime. Just about everyone can teach their pet to sit, lay down, and stay. However, with some pets, all of that goes out the window when meeting a new person, going out in public, on walks, seeing other animals, or going to the vet. Obedience classes help to properly socialize your pet, and help you to guide your pet’s behavior in an away-from-home setting. Most dogs are looking to please their owner, and obedience training also helps you to communicate what is expected of them in a way they can understand, and helps them to do their job(in their eyes,) which is pleasing you. We do have a list of places and trainers in the area that we recommend, and can absolutely put the list of phone numbers on your receipt!

One thing we see often is an owner struggling to hold onto their anxious dog’s leash. The dog is pulling, determined go see what is in the next room, smell the smells and worry about what is going on. This is a GREAT time to practice the commands your pet knows. We do have treats on hand, but if your pet has a favorite treat at home, we encourage you to bring that with you. By practicing these commands, even if you are just cycling through sit, lay down, sit, shake, lay down again, you are drawing your pets attention away from the situation that is making them anxious, and giving them a job to do. This also shows your dog that you are not worried about the situation, and sets the example that they should not be either.

*Disclaimer–please do not bring treats if your dog is coming in for surgery. The general rule for that is no food after 9:00pm the night before.*

Hope this was helpful!

Why we ask you to wait in the car…

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We have had a longstanding policy at our clinic, asking pet owners to leave their pets in the car while they check in for the appointment, at least until they are called into an exam room. Many comment on it, and despite our insistence, we do understand how frustrating this can be at times. Not everybody has a vehicle with working heat or air conditioning, which can make the wait a little uncomfortable.

This policy exists to protect you, your pet, and other people’s pets. I like to tell pet owners that introducing dogs to each other at the vet clinic is like shaking hands at the urgent care.  Sometimes its friendly, but we don’t know what the other party is here for, and really don’t want to catch anything that might be contagious. Your six month old puppy may be fully vaccinated for everything under the sun, but the 14-year-old Labrador coming in for an appointment might not have the immune system your healthy-as-a-horse pup does. So if your puppy has managed to fight off a respiratory infection, that doesn’t always mean it can’t be passed on to an unsuspecting patient.

And sometimes, all parties are just not friendly. Dogs can make their own judge of character very quickly, and don’t always tell us why they made that judgement, or what they are going to do about it. Owner A might know that their dog likes making new friends, but Owner B’s dog might be a little grumpy after just getting their vaccines.  All it takes is the wrong sniff, and a fight could break out. Not only do the pets get hurt, but owners get hurt, then we have two dogs and two owners leaving with a bad experience.  It may sound all hypothetical, but there have been incidents, which is why we are so firm on this policy.

If we have an aggressive dog, whether it be towards people or other animals, we will do our best to be certain that walkways are clear upon entering and exiting. This is also why keeping your pet on a close leash is so important. 

Our clinic also agrees that there are at least a few exceptions to every rule. Cats and small dogs that can be kept in carriers do not typically pose an issue. Small dogs that can be held in their owner’s arms are okay if absolutely necessary, but there is still a risk if a larger dog passes by and isn’t happy about other people’s pets. Some service dogs NEED to be in the lobby with their owner, and we will do our best to accommodate this. If there is a reason your pet absolutely cannot wait in your vehicle or outside with you, please discuss it with staff upon check-in, and we will try to work with you, but sometimes it ultimately means rescheduling. 

Thank you for understanding!

Appointment times and wait times…

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There have been many clients, not just recently, but in the past as well, express frustrations with wait times after check-in. And we do understand, your time is important, especially on these hot days, with kids on summer vacation and dogs panting and cats complaining about those darn carriers…  That being said, we do our best to get you and your pet into a room as soon as possible, but there are other factors that can affect wait time.

Sometimes routine vaccine appointments don’t always stay routine appointments. We see dogs and cats with bad teeth, bad hearts, bad kidneys, and many other ailments that were unanticipated at the point of scheduling. Also, we do take urgent care, emergency, and euthanasia appointments for our clients, and depending on the case, these appointments may have to be moved up in line to be seen. It is frustrating, but if it was our own pets experiencing life threatening symptoms, we know we would want them seen as soon as possible.

The number of these urgent appointments increase with the temperatures outside. So what can we do?

  • Our front desk staff should be informing clients checking in of an estimated wait time, and if they do not, you are welcome to ask. This has been stressed to every staff in the clinic–but be patient, as we are training new staff. Even for the old hats, old habits die hard.
  • If your pet is here for a Vaccinations Only appointment, and you have no questions or concerns for the doctor, you may stress this upon check-in, as these may be vaccinations okay for technician to do.
  • Likewise,  if you are scheduled for a routine vaccine appointment, upon check-in, please let us know if you do have any questions or concerns for the doctor. Depending on the situation, there may be an Office Visit charge added to your appointment. When appointments are scheduled for Vaccinations Only, they are scheduled for an amount of time appropriate for Vaccinations Only. 
  • If you are unable to wait for a room any longer and must leave, please do your best to let staff know. We can hopefully reschedule your appointment for a better time. This will also keep staff from going outside to search for a pet that is no longer here.

Thank you for all of your patience!