Here's a hot topic - the cost of veterinary medicine. Dr Riggs calls it as it is from his perspective.


Where is the wing with my name on it? Vets are so expensive!

I have always wondered why people think vets should do things cheaply or charge nothing at all for some things. Shouldn’t we make a good living? So where is the wing? Sorry, we wanted to draw up those plans, but the money went to pay for the electric, or phone, or salaries, or benefits, I don’t know which, but sorry no wing.

Veterinary medicine… are you sitting down as this will come as a shock to some, but... veterinary medicine is a business.

Yes… we all love animals, we really do, but we are like any small business, we do need to make money to survive. We need to make money to be able to diagnose and treat your pets in a professional manner. When we pay our bills to the electric company or our mortgage company, I try to tell them we are very nice people, who care for your pets, and they should cut us a break, but, they don’t really care. They just want our money.

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Bailey the patriotic goldendoodleIt's that time of year again with fireworks, loud noises, bee stings, heat strokes, water dangers, snake bites - whoever thought summer was fun!

Well, of course it is fun but certainly for your pets, a certain amount of awareness of simple safety strategies keeps everyone safe and healthy.

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Continuing our discussion about pet behavioral issues this month, Dr Patrick summarizes the most common dog and cat behavior issues he sees in your practice (separation anxiety, aggression (toward people and animals), noise phobia/anxiety,  inappropriate elimination (cats and dogs), excessive barking, eating foreign objects)

He also covers some questions from our Embracers on pet behavior:

  1. Adrienne: When diagnosing a behavioral problem what diagnostics should regularly be run to rule out other potential medical conditions?
  2. Laura: I won’t declaw my cat and she’s pretty well trained not to scratch our furniture but I think she does it on purpose to get attention – she actually looks at me as she’s doing it and seems to think it amusing when I wave my hand at her to get her to stop. What can I do to
    discourage this naughty behavior? 
  3. Katie: Why is my dog fine for extended periods of time, but then every couple of weeks or so, I come home and my blinds look like they were attacked by Kung Fu Panda as a result of his separation anxiety? Is dog Prozac recommended? How long are pheromone collars usually used for before eliminating them as a possible solution? What are other training aids that might help eliminate stress?
  4. Melissa: I'd like to know why one of my dogs likes to eat the other dog's poop.  It's gross! 
  5. Megan: So many struggle with inappropriate elimination/urination with cats.  It’s the top reason for cat euthanasia.  What would your suggestions be for that and can you think of things that are out of the ordinary to try?

 Click on the link below for the audio file.

Laura Bennett & Dr Patrick Mahaney pet behavioral issues

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Dr Riggs discusses something we all face in our lives - stress. As we continue on our discussion of behavioral issues in cats and dogs, Dr Riggs talks about some solutions to the issues you might be facing.


Anxiety is a part of modern life.  We all have stress, or at least perceived stress, in our daily existence.  We work long hours, often not eating right, don’t get enough exercise and sleep poorly.  Many of us ooze stress.  Dogs are very perceptive of our moods.  They are often a mirror of our feelings.  Dogs can feel our moods.  I have worked for years with Canine Companion for Independence service dogs, and I am amazed of how perceptive and intuitive the dogs can be.  They actually anticipate their owner’s needs.  One of these dogs lives in our local hospice, and I can’t tell you the number of times that dog goes to the person and family dealing with the imminent passing.  Dogs feel our pain.  So it is not hard to see why we are seeing more anxiety issues in our pets.

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OK, confession time.

A few months ago, I found myself pulling my hair out over my nine year old daughter's behavior. What really bothered me was that it was so illogical, starting with crying at the least significant thing, then escalating into full blown door slamming, and drama for the whole family.

While I know she is growing up and this sort of behavior is normal, I realized that it was me that was part of the problem. My behavior and my reaction to the initial trigger were causing the whole thing to escalate. But I couldn't seem to help it! Thank goodness for good parenting books is all I can say.

I only tell that story because I don't have a dog to tell behavior stories about - but I'm sure it would be the same. As owners and pet parents, we are responsible for our charges' behavior and we certainly don't want to accidentally enable the behavior we are trying to stop or at least curtail down to a soft landing.

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