Sunday, March 27, 2011

Clinic Kitty Moe Arrayed for Springtime

Our official clinic greeter, Moe, is shown here arrayed for the spring we all hope will soon arrive.
Photographing Moe is a regular clinic pastime... we have shots of Holiday Moe and Valentine Moe as well...but it's not easy! Note the yellow posting behind him. "Moe can be cranky", posted by our receptionist team. Aaaawwww, that sweet kitty?!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dog Ownership Good for Teens...and Adults

A Dog’s Life: It’s good for teens, and adults, too.

An article from the Los Angeles Times, by Shari Roan. Summary.

Dog ownership appears to make teens more active, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Virginia.

They surveyed 618 pairs of adolescents and their parents living in the Twin Cities about the number of dogs in the home and how much time they spent physically active. About half of the teens also wore accelerometers – devices that measure activity – for one week.

Other studies show that adults who have dogs are more physically active, too. Even if people don’t walk their dogs regularly, just having a dog makes one more active because of chores such as getting up to feed the dog, letting it outside or cleaning up after it, the researchers said.

The study appears in the March issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Ever get a little overwhelmed when shopping for pet food? Pet food stores are stocked full of so many different brands and varieties that making a decision can be very difficult. Not to mention that each company says their food is better than all the rest! Dr. Noemi Plantz and certified technician Michelle Malsack recently attended an all-day conference about what goes into a pet food label and how to compare different types of pet food.

Below are some of the high points from what they learned. Please feel free to call Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo and speak with a doctor or technician about any questions you have regarding the foods you feed your pet.

What is AAFCO?

AAFCO stands for Association of American Feed Control Officials. This organization sets the nutritional standards for pet foods sold in the United States. These standards are also recognized in Canada. The nutritional adequacy of pet foods is generally determined by one of two methods based on nutritional levels and procedures defined by AAFCO:

1) Formulation method. This method is less expensive and results are determined more quickly because actual feeding or digestibility trials are not required. There is no guarantee of pet acceptance or nutrient bioavailability when utilizing this method.

2) Feeding trial method. This method is known as the “gold standard” for determining nutritional adequacy. The manufacturer must perform an AAFCO protocol feeding trial using the food being tested as the sole source of nutrition. Feeding trials are the best way to document how a pet will perform when fed a specific food.

It is possible for any consumer to contact AAFCO to report a pet food label as misleading or incorrect.

Helpful Definitions

Many pet food companies use words like “natural,” “organic,” and “holistic” to describe their pet foods. What do those terms actually mean?


According to AAFCO, the term “natural” can be used to label a pet food that consists of only natural ingredients without chemical alterations/synthesis.


According to the USDA and AAFCO rules, the term “organic” may only be applied to pet food that meet certain regulations. When the term “organic” is used, the following categories and regulations apply:

“100% organic”: may carry the USDA organic seal

“Organic”: at least 95% of content is organic by weight; may carry the USDA organic seal.

“Made with organic ingredients”: at least 70% of content is organic, and the front product label may display the phrase “made with organic” followed by up to three specific ingredients. Is not permitted to display the USDA organic seal.

“Less than 70% organic”: ingredient list on product may include items that are organic, but no mention of organic may be made on the main product label. Is not permitted to display the USDA organic seal.

For more information, consult


There is no legal definition of the term under laws devoted to pet foods. Any manufacturer can make claims of “holistic” in literature and brochures regardless of ingredients chosen.

Raw Pet Foods

There is a lot of hype on the internet about raw or uncooked pet food diets. Currently there are no scientific papers that support a raw/uncooked pet food diet as any better for your pet than a commercially prepared diet.

Concerns with raw food diets:

There is no scientific data to support some beliefs commonly held by raw food supporters.

Some published recipes contain deficient and excessive levels of key nutritional factors such as protein, calcium and phosphorous for an adult dog or cat.

Food poisoning and bacterial contamination are obvious safety hazards not only for pets, but also for humans handling raw foods.

Pets eating a raw food diet are at an increased risk for intestinal obstruction and gastrointestinal problems.

Proper diet is as important for your pet’s health as it is for your own. We’re always happy to consult with you about the best food for your companion animal.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


During the month of March, we are partnering with Valley Outreach in Stillwater to collect pet food as part of their special FoodShare month-long drive. Details on how to donate are on our homepage, and here’s a little background information. The genesis of the idea came from our participation in 2005 in a pet supply collection organized by the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Local newspaper readers might remember this photo celebrating that effort. Our partnership with Valley Outreach is based on their concern about some clients who have needed to give up their beloved pets because of the expense of buying pet food. “Pet food is something people don’t always think about donating”, says Kate Krisik, the Executive Director at Valley Outreach. “It’s difficult for us to keep it in stock. We’re grateful to Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo for the help in gathering up donations.”
National Public Radio aired a story… two years ago… called The Recession and Pets: Hard Times for Snoopy. Here’s a digest:
“Because of the economic downturn, Americans are being ousted from their homes and, in many cases, forced to give up their pets for adoption.
“Take, for instance, Snoopy, a 7-year-old Labrador-shepherd mix, and Sheba, a 5-year-old blue heeler mix. Their owner, Edward Jones, 43, was recently evicted from his rental house in Lakeview, Ore.
“For the past seven years, Jones has had steady construction work pouring concrete. When the economy turned sour, he lost his job, then his $400-a-month home. "I couldn't make the rent. Couldn't do it. Couldn't do it," Jones says. Finally the landlord tossed Jones — and his two dogs — out on the street.
“As stopgap lodging, Jones found a subsidized room at a local motel. But dogs are not allowed there. So, with tears in his eyes, Jones put Snoopy and Sheba in the back of his Jeep pickup, drove to the Oregon Outback Humane Society and gave his dogs up for adoption. "Hopefully," he says, choking back emotion, "they'll find a good home."
"The toll on pets is just as big as on people," says Dawn Lauer of the Humane Society of the United States. "We are seeing many more pets relinquished to shelters or abandoned because of the recession."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vet students attend exotic pet wetlab at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo

On a Saturday in February, our Dr. Noemi Plantz hosted a “wetlab” event for veterinary students at the University of Minnesota, giving each participant a chance to get their hands on different species. Twelve students – all but one of them female! – sat in a circle in our lab, many of them with pet carriers between their feet. The lab was for exotic animals and they had brought their own pets as demonstration animals. It was a lot of fun to see what came out of the carriers – out of one carrier came a pair of ferrets, and Dr. Plantz began “With these guys, it’s best to hold them for their physical exam by scruffing…” and she demonstrated by holding at the back of the neck while running her hand over the pet’s body. Our vet tech Michelle held its companion. Another carrier yielded a pretty gray and white rat, and the next held a hedgehog, which was greeted with a collective “ooh” of admiration from the students. Around the circle it went for an hour or more, as Dr. Plantz talked about how to handle each creature, and what common problems we see at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo for each species. The final roster included two more hedgehogs, two more ferrets, two guinea pigs, two guinea pigs, a snake, a rabbit, a sugar glider, a bearded dragon and a turtle! An educational time was had by all and the ties between the vet school and Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo continue to be strong. Dr. Baillie delivers annual lectures on ferret and rabbit medical and surgical care and one entire lecture on rabbit dental care. This is part of the junior year regular classes. In addition, an avian medicine lecture on is given to the sophomore students.
Thanks to Amber (Class of 2013, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine) for photos!