Newsletter



Newsletter The veterinarians and staff at the Stiern and Southwest Veterinary Hospitals are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

October is National Pet Wellness Month

Though it may seem like only yesterday that your pet was a playful puppy or curious kitten, pets age more rapidly than humans. At age 2, most pets are considered adults, and by the age 7, pets have entered their senior years. As pets grow older, it becomes increasingly important to spot health problems before they become serious. In order to raise awareness of the pet aging process and promote twice-a-year wellness exams, the American Veterinary Medical Association and Fort Dodge Animal Health has named October "National Pet Wellness Month."

National Pet Wellness Month.

Regular wellness exams are a key part of keeping pets healthy and happy. While annual exams are a good start to keeping your pet healthy, more frequent exams are better. Twice-a-year wellness exams are a way for your veterinarian to detect, treat and, most importantly, prevent problems before they become life-threatening. These exams are also an excellent time for you to ask your vet questions about nutrition, behavior, dental health and other issues. Click here to calculate your pet's age.

Much like humans, as pets age, the risks of cancer, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, heart disease and other conditions increase. Many of these conditions are treatable if diagnosed in time, making twice-yearly wellness exams extremely important. For adult cats and dogs (ages 1-6 years), wellness exams include immunizations, parasite and heartworm checks, dental exams, urinalysis and blood and chemistry profiles. For senior pets, these exams also include osteoarthritis exams, thyroid checks and other tests. Your veterinarian may recommend additional tests depending on your pet's health history.

Contact your veterinarian today to schedule a wellness exam for your pet.

How to Celebrate a Safe Halloween with Your Pets

When witches, princesses and superheroes take to the streets in search of treats this Halloween, they'll have some furry friends by their side. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, total spending for Halloween is expected to reach $8.4 billion this year, an all-time high since the survey began 11 years. With nearly 171 million Americans celebrating Halloween, it's estimated 16 percent of households will not only pick out costumes for themselves, but for their pets as well. Superheroes and mermaids are the top choices for pet costumes, with bees, sharks and Stars Wars-themed garb rounding out the list.

If you plan on letting your pet don a devilish disguise, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind. First, make sure your pet wants to wear a costume. While some animals may not mind being outfitted with a pumpkin suit, others may experience extreme discomfort and stress while in costume. Try putting the costume on your pet in advance of the big night to make sure he or she is comfortable with the idea. And while your pet is out trick-or-treating, don't forget about the pets that may be coming to your house - keep a few dog treats by the door to hand out to any four-legged companions accompanying trick-or-treaters.

Whether your pet is dressed like a spider or a dinosaur, make sure the costume allows for easy movement and is not restrictive or confining. However, also be on guard for costumes that drag on the ground. These costumes can get caught in doors or snag on other objects. If your pet's costume includes a mask, modify the eye holes so they are big enough to accommodate your pet's peripheral vision. A pet that can't see may experience increased stress and could become aggressive as a result.


Halloween Pet Celebrations

When the trick-or-treating is over and the treats are ready to be had, be sure to keep chocolate away from your dog. Any amount of chocolate is harmful to your pet, so keep the treats out of their paws, no matter how much they beg. Those cellophane and foil wrappers left behind after the treats are gone are also a potential health hazard for your pet. The wrappers can be caught in your pet's digestive track and cause illness, severe discomfort and even death if the problem is left untreated.

Additional pet safety tips to keep in mind this Halloween:

• Jack o'lanterns and lit candles may look spooky, but they can pose problems for your pet. Rambunctious pets can knock lit pumpkins over and start fires, and wagging tails can easily get burned by open flames. Keep lit pumpkins and candles up on a high shelf to avoid accidents.

• If you're hosting a Halloween party, keep your pet in a separate room, away from all the hustle and bustle. Too many strangers in odd costumes may cause your pet stress. This will also prevent your pet from sneaking out through an open door and darting out into the night.

• Keep your pet indoors during the days and nights around Halloween. Pranksters and vandals have teased, injured, stolen and, in rare cases, killed pets on Halloween. Keeping your pet inside will keep them from becoming a target.

• With all the Halloween festivities, it's a great idea to make sure your pet has proper identification if they escape from your house or become lost while out trick-or-treating.


Halloween can be a fun time for you and your pet. Following the above safety tips will make sure the only scares you experience are all in good fun.

7 Reasons Why Dogs Bark

We’ve identified seven general reasons for barking. Each generates a different kind of bark with a unique sound.

1. Barking to induce play—Dogs will stop barking as the play proceeds. If you do not play with the dog, he or she will eventually give up and stop barking.

2. Barking to discipline young—This bark generally does not persist, as one or two warnings usually stops younger animals in their tracks.

3. Barking to warn off danger—This is a deep, repeated bark. The barking will generally persist until the source of danger is removed or until the dog is able to retreat to a position of safety.

4. Barking to threaten intruders—To stop such a bark, you must either remove the intruder or remove the dog from the situation. Sometimes, stepping to the dog’s side and assuring it that all is well will help reduce their fear of danger and stop the barking.

5. Curiosity barking—In general, this bark is displayed when there is some activity near a dog, but in such a place where the animal cannot have a good look. To stop the barking, all you have to do is let the dog see what it is curious about.

6. Barking for companionship—This is an incessant, repetitive bark, accompanied by a relatively motionless tail and concentration toward the area most associated with the dog’s owners. The solution to this type of bark is to spend more time with the dog. This bark is often displayed by dogs who are ignored, tied out alone or locked up alone.

7. Barking for reward—Dogs can be inadvertently trained to bark and will persist with remarkable determination. Barking can become associated with almost any activity that leads to reward. For instance, a dog that barks at garbage trucks because they intrude within its territory will learn that persistent barking leads to the disappearance of the trucks. This rewards the barking behavior and thus a cycle is begun that is difficult to break. To stop this behavior, it is necessary to interrupt the natural system of reward.

National Veterinary Technician Week begins October 13, 2019

Though you may not always see them when you visit your veterinarian's office, veterinary technicians are the backbone of every veterinary hospital. Technicians are there for your pet throughout his or her hospital visit and do everything from conducting laboratory tests to comforting your pet during procedures. To recognize the integral role veterinary technicians play in delivering veterinary medical care, October 13-19, 2019 has been designated as National Veterinary Technician Week.


National Veterinary Technician Week - October 11-17


The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America has sponsored National Veterinary Technician Week during the third week of October since 1993. The week is a chance to focus on the hard work, care and compassion that veterinary technicians across the country devote to animals and emphasize the team aspect of veterinary health care. In fact, this year's theme is "Veterinary Nursing in Action."

Veterinary technicians must undergo extensive training in order to stay on top of the latest advances in veterinary medicine and animal care. Credentialed veterinary technicians (technicians who are certified, registered or licensed by their state) must complete a college accredited veterinary technician program consisting of courses in anatomy, physiology, medical and surgical technology, anesthesia, pharmacology, microbiology, parasitology, radiology and practice management. After successfully completing the required courses, they must pass a state certification examination. Each year licensed veterinary technicians need to fulfill a set number of continuing education credits in order to maintain their certification.

What do veterinary technicians do for your pet? They draw blood, perform microscopic analysis, check your pet for internal parasites, monitor your pet during surgery, perform dental cleanings, administer medication and most importantly, ensure your pet's safety and comfort. Veterinary technicians are with your pet through every step of the hospital visit, from the initial check-in to the time he or she is discharged from the hospital.

There is no "typical" day for a veterinary technician. Some days may involve performing laboratory procedures and administering vaccinations, while other days might include taking x-rays and educating clients about veterinary care. In some veterinary hospitals, veterinary technicians help provide around-the-clock nursing care. So the next time you see the team of veterinary technicians at your veterinarian's office, be sure to let them know that you and your pet appreciate all their hard work, dedication, and compassion.