Pro Tips for Medicating Your Pet

When your veterinarian prescribes a medication for your pet, you are left with the difficult task of getting your pet to take that medication. Some pets will happily eat anything put in front of them, but what can you do if your pet refuses to take their medicine?

The first thing to keep in mind is that many pills have an offensive flavor, with some being much worse than others (tramadol and metronidazole are notoriously icky). Unless a pill is a flavored chewtab, expect that your pet will not like the taste. Many pets will take a pill hidden in food as long as the pill is completely covered. Popular options for hiding pills include Pill Pockets, Pill Wrap, peanut butter, cream cheese, strawberries, and marshmallows. Remember, many pills have an unpleasant taste-, crushing a pill and mixing it with something flavorful will usually make the whole treat taste bad. You want to try to avoid having the pill touch your pet’s tongue as much as possible.

Some pets are suspicious and will carefully nibble away at foods that they know have hidden pills in the past. They can be amazingly adept at removing every last bit of food, then spitting out the pill! You can use the “1-2-3” method to try to curb this behavior. Make three treats for your pet (i.e. three Pill Pockets, three marshmallows). Two should be “blanks” and one should contain the pill. First, give a treat that doesn’t contain medication. Next, give a second treat with the pill hidden inside, followed quickly by a third treat with no medication. This technique prevents your pet from learning that certain treats will always have a pill hidden inside.

If your pet is still too clever to fall for these tricks, consider having their medication compounded into a flavored treat, a meltaway tab, or flavored liquid suspension. Alternately, you can learn how to administer a pill by putting it directly into your pet’s mouth or using a tool called a pill gun. This educational video from Dove Lewis Animal Hospital shows a wide variety of methods for pilling: How to Give Oral Medication to Your Dog at Home

While some of the above options will work for cats, those of us who know and love cats also know that they are often far more discriminating than dogs when it comes to what they are willing to eat, and are generally a little less tolerant of being medicated. Veterinarian Kris Chandroo wrote a very informative series of articles called “Medicating A Grumpy Cat You Love”. You can find part 1 here and part 2 here.

If you are struggling to safely and effectively medicate your pet, please let your veterinarian know. We want to help you be successful so your pet can be as healthy as possible!

Backyard Poultry Health Alert: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in the US

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been confirmed in the United States. HPAI has a high mortality rate for poultry. While we do not have any cases in Minnesota yet, this virus is spread through migrating birds and we are located along a major migratory path. There is no easily-accessible vaccine for this disease, so the best thing you can do for your birds is to practice good biosecurity. Take the following precautions to keep your birds safe:

  • Prevent contact between your birds and wildlife. Migrating waterfowl are the most likely birds to be carrying HPAI, so be especially careful about preventing waterfowl from accessing your coops or other living areas. Non-migratory songbirds are at low risk of transmitting HPAI, but you may want to remove bird feeders and avoid attracting wild birds to your yard if you have poultry.
  • If you have dogs, avoid letting them play in or near ponds and lakes that have waterfowl. They could pick up the virus on their feet and fur and bring it home to your birds.
  • Don’t allow visitors near your birds, especially if they have poultry of their own. If they must interact with your birds, make sure they change clothing and footwear prior to entering your birds’ living areas.
  • Limit movement of birds. If possible, do not show birds, trade birds, or purchase new adult birds that might introduce disease.
  • If you lose one or more birds unexpectedly, contact the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory at 320-231-5170. Close monitoring for HPAI is essential for protecting our poultry!

COVID-19 Update

We are very relieved to see COVID-19 numbers declining in our community, and are very happy to announce that clients are allowed to come inside for their pets’ visits again! We are practicing a hybrid model of curbside care. This means that one client is allowed to come inside the building for doctor’s visits, and two clients are allowed inside for quality-of-life consultations and euthanasia visits. If you are more comfortable staying inside your vehicle while your pet is examined, you are welcome to do so. Medication and food pick-ups, technician appointments, surgery check-ins, and drop off appointments will continue to be curbside to limit the number of people inside our facility.

To control the flow of people through our facility, we will continue to keep our front door locked. Please call the number of the sign at your parking spot when you arrive to get checked in. When your pet’s exam room is ready, a staff member will meet you at your vehicle to escort you and your pet inside. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding throughout this recent COVID-19 surge! We look forward to seeing you in person again!

Clinic News and Events

  • Dr. Mike Petersen attended the VMX virtual veterinary conference in January. Drs. Jennifer Blair, Jessica Lewis, and Megan Schommer attended the MVMA virtual state veterinary conference in February. While at MVMA, Dr. Blair helped to award veterinary student scholarships on behalf of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Foundation, and Dr. Schommer gave a presentation about Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus. We are all excited to bring new knowledge back to St. Francis so that we can continue practicing the highest level of care for your pets!
  • Veterinary assistant Mya was in a serious car accident and will need support for her medical bills and to replace her car, which was totalled. Mya brings her intense passion for pets and their humans every single day, and we hope she can get back on her feet quickly. She has a GoFundMe available here for anyone who is able to give her some support.