Professional, Compassionate Care
At Clear Lake Veterinary Service, we take quality veterinary care very seriously. Our highly trained staff is experienced in many aspects of your pet’s medical needs.
Routine Preventative Care
Your pet needs to receive routine checkups just like you do. It allows us to make sure that your pet is healthy and allows us to catch any health problems before becoming serious. You should bring your dog or cat in for a checkup at least once a year and once every six months for older pets.
During the visit, we will check your pets’ vitals, make sure all vaccinations are up to date, and perform any necessary blood work. Blood work can help to diagnose heartworm, Lyme disease, viral infections, and other diseases that can be treated more easily when detected early. The best way to combat these diseases is actually to stop them before they happen. There are many vaccines and medications available to prevent them. We will make sure your pet is taking the necessary medications to keep them safe.
At Clear Lake Veterinary Service, we recommend a yearly test for heartworm infection, usually done each spring. This test involves a tiny blood sample drawn from your dog’s leg and is completed in the clinic while you are there, typically within 10 minutes. If negative, you then begin the once-a-month tablet to prevent your pet from acquiring heartworm from infected mosquitoes. Each spring, all dogs receive a reminder postcard from us about this test–don’t let your pet hide the mail!
Comprehensive Physical Exams
The Importance of Physical Examinations
Physical exams are just as crucial for your pet as they are for you and me. They are probably even more important because your dog or cat can’t tell you when they need to go to the doctor! There may be signs from your pet that they are sick, such as laziness, lack of appetite, change in demeanor, among others. If you notice these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Even if your pet seems to be perfectly healthy, you should bring them in for a physical exam at least once a year, and more often if they are older. Your pet’s exam will be very similar to a physical you would have, including checking:
Ears: The ears are checked for infections and also for parasites, as this is a common place for them to nest.
Eyes: The eyes are checked for cataracts, retina disease, signs of glaucoma, and other abnormalities. These can all result in blindness, so it is important to check for them regularly.
Mouth: Gum disease, lesions, tooth loss, and throat problems all affect dogs and cats. They could be signs of larger problems. Performing a full mouth examination allows us to diagnose any problems and take care of them before becoming serious.
Internal Organs: The internal organs are examined to check that they are functioning properly. The abdominal area can be checked by hand for any growths or tumors. A stethoscope is used to make sure the lungs are functioning properly and is also used to check heart sounds.
Skin and Coat: This is checked to make sure that there are no fleas, ticks, or other parasites that have made your pet their home.
If any potential problems are uncovered, further tests and examination may be necessary to rule out the disease or properly diagnose it so that it can be treated.
Rabies is a disease nearly everyone has heard of because it is fatal to your cat and you — Dr. Engel recommends rabies vaccinations for all cats, including indoor pets.
Because we try to keep pet owners as confused as possible, veterinarians love to use initials. Here’s the key to this “code”:
F = Fooled you! Not a disease. It merely stands for ‘Feline.’
R = Rhinotracheitis, which is an upper airway viral disease, one of many that cause cold-like signs in kittens.
C = Calicivirus, which is another upper respiratory tract virus.
P = Panleukopenia is also known as distemper and should not be confused with canine distemper (a totally different disease in dogs). This is a nasty, usually fatal vomiting and diarrhea disease in cats. The vaccine works really well to prevent it.
Leukemia is another bad boy of the cat viruses. Vaccination can only slow it down and not completely prevent your cat from becoming infected.
One service provided at Clear Lake Veterinary Service is notifying you when your dog’s vaccinations and annual exam are due. Usually, you’ll receive a postcard, and it may have some or all of the following on it:
This vaccination is for several virus-caused diseases of dogs. It is given as a series of shots to puppies, another one year later, and then every three years. Here’s the key to the “code”!
D = Distemper, which should not be confused with rabies, has nothing to do with your dog’s attitude. This is a nasty old disease that has been almost eliminated through vaccination.
A2 = Adenovirus (2) is a virus that has been implicated in the kennel cough syndrome and is also associated with liver disease.
P = Parainfluenza is another virus that can influence a kennel cough outbreak.
CPV= Fooled you! This is not three more viruses, but rather the dreaded Canine Parvovirus. This virus causes severe and fatal bloody vomiting and diarrhea, particularly in puppies and unvaccinated dogs.
This vaccination is pretty straightforward. Wisconsin state law says ALL dogs must be vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Usually, the initial shot is given at three months of age and then one year later. After that, rabies vaccinations are given every three years. You will get a rabies tag and vaccination certificate, which is proof that your dog is vaccinated. You may need this proof when paying property taxes, getting a dog license, or if your dog ever bites someone.
This vaccination helps protect your pet from developing Lyme disease. After the initial series of two shots, it is given every year. Because it is not 100% effective, removing ticks daily from your pet is incredibly important. The vaccine does not protect against the other tick diseases we diagnose, such as anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis.
Also known as the kennel cough shot, this vaccine is often required by boarding kennels, groomers, and trainers. If you’ve been reading this far, you have caught on that not just the bordetella bacteria that cause kennel cough, but definitely, it is a significant player. Therefore, it is essential to get if needed, but not necessarily going to protect 100% against the disease.
At Clear Lake Veterinary Service, we offer a wide variety of surgical procedures for your pet. We provide quality techniques, monitoring, and care, from elective surgeries such as spays and neuters to trauma-related repairs. Procedures can usually be scheduled for any weekday morning. Depending on the surgery, pets may go home that same day or may be hospitalized overnight in our bright and spacious kennel room. Pets are never discharged from this clinic in a groggy or sedated state.
When specialty surgical expertise is required, Dr. Engel makes use of surgeons at referral or specialty hospitals. This option can be discussed at the time your pet is examined. In the Clear Lake area, we are fortunate to be in relatively close driving range to board-certified surgical centers providing the best in high-quality care for those more complicated cases.
Pets have teeth too! Since many of us are not brushing our pet’s teeth after every meal, food residue, bacteria, and tartar can add up to foul breath, infections, and even tooth loss. Periodic dental cleanings (just like us going to the dentist) can make your pet’s mouth a much healthier and more pleasant environment. Some pets need this procedure once a year. With good home care, it may not need to be as frequent.
Oral health is an important factor in your pet’s overall well-being. We perform routine check-ups on your pet’s teeth and gums, and we also recommend full cleanings once a year. This allows us to closely examine your pet’s mouth, check for lesions or abnormalities, remove tartar and plaque, and polish their teeth.
To perform the dental cleaning, your pet will be put under anesthesia to prevent them from moving around and to allow the doctor to perform a complete examination and cleaning. We make sure that your pet is comfortable and perfectly safe during the entire process. While your pet is under, the doctor examines the mouth, gums, tongue, cheeks, and teeth. This can reveal any cases of lesions, gum disease, tooth decay, or other problems. When these are discovered, they can usually be handled during the treatment. After examining the mouth, we will clean the teeth and polish them thoroughly to give your pet a healthy, attractive set of teeth.
After the anesthesia wears off, your pet is usually back to its usual self and can go home the same day, wide awake. Call us today to schedule a dental cleaning for your pet.
Emergency Medical Care
While Dr. Engel and her staff try to be available for all your needs, after hours we make use of three emergency facilities for animals. Contact them using the information below:
On-Site Lab Services
Our in-house veterinary laboratory features diagnostic testing for the following:
- FeLV / FIV testing
- Urinalysis and Sediment Examination
- Cytology of Skin and Ear Samples
- Fecal Testing for Intestinal Parasites
- Occult Heartworm Test
- Tick Panel for Lyme, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma
- Blood Chemistry and Hematology
- Thyroid Testing
- Fungal Culture
For more sophisticated diagnostic tests, we use high-quality, reliable laboratories such as Idexx, University of Minnesota Diagnostic Lab, and University of Wisconsin Diagnostic Labs.
*Heartworm testing can be done in the clinic while you are here. Results are usually available within five minutes!*
Digital radiology is another service offered at Clear Lake Veterinary Service. X-rays can provide valuable information on the cause of lameness, illness, or the extent of damage after a traumatic event.
If radiographic changes are subtle, or Dr. Engel wants more information, we often send films out to University of Minnesota radiologists for interpretation, much like your family physician sends your films to a radiologist. These board-certified specialists can give added insight into your pet’s case so that proper diagnosis and treatment can be given.
For breeding dogs, we can take hip and elbow films for OFA evaluation.
The radiograph shown and featured above here is a pet with a fractured pelvis and is also carrying around a few shotgun pellets.
Flea and Tick Prevention
Just another perk of living in Wisconsin! Wood ticks are annoying pests that can be picked up by our pets outdoors, become attached, and are basically gross as they feed on your pet’s blood. Deer ticks, on the other hand, can transmit some nasty diseases to our dogs. There are three basic steps (in order of importance) to controlling and preventing Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and/or anaplasmosis transmission from tick:
1. Check your dog every day for ticks (and remove them, duh!)
2. Use a tick control product, such as Nexgard (once a month tablet) or Frontline Gold (once a month topical), according to the package instructions.
3. Vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease.
If you have questions about ticks and any of the tick-borne diseases, please call us or stop in. We can talk ticks all day long (and often do).
Is your pet battling some bulges? Is your pet more than just fluffy? Please talk to us about your pet’s weight and how to feed for optimum condition. While Dr. Engel doesn’t sell pet food, she does have some strong opinions on the best foods for your pet. We can also help you address some of the weight control issues many pet owners face.
The four most important rules for feeding your pet are:
1. Measure their food with a measuring cup. When Dr. Engel asks, “how much are you feeding?” you can say “1/2 cup twice a day” rather than the usual “oh, about a scoop.” If changes need to be made, it is much easier to adjust a measured amount by a specific volume.
2. Feed high-quality, premium, name-brand food. This means pet food from a national manufacturer that does clinical scientific research and development on their pet foods. Do not focus on brands just using trendy catchphrases like “natural,” “organic,” and pictures of a pot roast dinner as ingredients.
3. NO people food. I’ll repeat this. NO people food. Also, please only give your pet one treat per day. For example, one Milk Bone, or one Pounce or one Beggin’ Strip are perfect. Please do not give your pet five per day or once every time they come in from outside.
4. Do not feed “grain-free” foods. This phrase on the food label is merely a marketing ploy, dreamed up by ad executives to make you buy their food. There is no research that has determined that this is beneficial to our pets. Currently, a possible link between feeding grain-free foods to dogs and a massive uptick in the cases of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (a fatal heart condition) is under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration.
Finally, if you’d like help interpreting that pet food bag, bring it in or give us a call. Marcy or Kristi, our technicians, can unscramble the nutritional information on the label and give you insights on what is valuable info and what is just marketing!
Often the problem we see with our pets has nothing to do with a physical ailment. Some behavioral problems can be so serious that they threaten the pet’s life when a frustrated or fearful pet owner can no longer cope with their pet’s difficult or aggressive actions and even consider euthanasia.
Veterinarians are well trained in pet behavior and are prepared to discuss how to handle their pet’s fear, anxiety, or aggression-based problems with pet owners. At times medications may even be prescribed as part of the treatment protocol.
Many behavior problems are best dealt with by meeting with a trained specialist. Dr. Engel is happy to discuss referrals to these professionals with you.
What is a microchip?
A microchip is a safe, simple, and permanent form of pet identification to immediately identify lost pets and quickly reunite them with their owners. The microchip is injected under your pet’s skin over the shoulders. Each chip contains a unique barcode (much like those seen on products in stores). The chip is gentle to the tissues and does not cause a reaction to the body. When a scanner is passed over the pet, the bar code is read. Most veterinary clinics and animal shelters have a scanner, so this is a valuable tool in getting those lost dogs and cats back where they belong.
At Clear Lake Veterinary Service, we can “chip” your pet during a regularly scheduled appointment, or it is easily injected during surgical procedures, such as spaying or neutering. Please call us for more information.
There are many different types of food available for your pet, and each has its own benefits. You should ask your veterinarian which particular food is best for your pet. The food your pet eats depends on their age, size, breed, as well as other factors. If your pet has a health condition such as kidney disease, heart disease, cancer, stomach ailments, or obesity, there are prescription diets available to help them combat their ailment. Your veterinarian has extensive knowledge on this subject and can prescribe the best food for your pet.