Animal Clinic of Kalispell - August 2023

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How the Transition Affects Us All SCHOOL IS ALMOST IN SESSION

As I write this newsletter, the school year has barely ended. But classes will start up again before we know it. I personally would love to see the school calendar change to perhaps (gasp!) year-round. That is a foreign concept in Montana. With the current schedule, people try to pack a year’s worth of fun into a couple of months. And while this year was an exception, it’s often hardly warm when summer vacations start in June. Then, the kids go back to an 85-degree F day in late August. So, if we don’t switch to year-round schooling, I’d at least like to see the break pushed forward a month. I suspect most of my fellow Montanans disagree with both suggestions, but you can’t blame me for trying to start the conversation!

Transitioning into middle school is probably even more consequential than starting high school. I still remember my first year at East Junior High. I was excited to be older but also scared to death. I was a puny seventh-grade kid weighing in at 105 pounds who was now going to a school that included ninth graders. Who knew what might happen to me? We had the option to pick up our schedules a few days before the start of class, and I remember mapping it all out and doing dry run-throughs at least five times. I hate looking stupid (and don’t need any help), so I wanted to have it all down to an exact science. I memorized everything so well that I remember my schedule 42 years later. The day started with science, second-period Spanish, then geography before lunch. The afternoon was English, band, gym, then math. You can probably tell I wasn’t exaggerating about my terror! My wife watches her sixth graders go through the same thing each August. Fortunately, her school has them start a day early, so they have time to acclimate before the school is full. The lockers are

I also find it funny how the rhythms of school affect us all. The U.S. Census showed only 40% of families had minor children in their homes in 2022,

but we all feel it. The traffic patterns change as school buses and high school kids in their cars start daily

commutes. And businesses see a disruption, too. The last and first weeks of school are sometimes unpredictable here. I think parents are so overwhelmed with their kids that pet care has to go on the back burner briefly.

a bigger ordeal than you’d expect. Some kids get the concept immediately, while others struggle with their combination locks. A whole group will form around them to help solve the puzzle. I get to hear new stories about this strange drama each year.

Whether you’re experiencing all this madness firsthand in your family or are just a bystander like me, I hope you adjust well to the new rhythms the school year brings. No matter how hectic it all feels in the moment, it’s reassuring that we usually get back into the swing of things in no time. – Dr. Jevon Clark

My boys have been out of the house for a while now, but I still get a taste of the excitement because my wife is a middle school teacher. It baffles me how much she loves working with that age group — I must confess, I wouldn’t last a day as a teacher — but I’m glad somebody passionate about the work is doing it.



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My name is Kiwi, and I live at the Trinity Lutheran Child Care Centers — at least during the school year! I’m looking forward to going back to the classroom to see all the kids this month. I’m still little, but I bet they’ve grown a lot. I met everyone at the school during a pretty rough time. They had two other guinea pigs, Squeaker and Cookie. But Squeaker died, and Cookie was injured during a break-in one night. The Kalispell Police Department gave me to the teachers to help them feel better. I couldn’t replace Squeaker, but I did my best to give everyone lots of love! Cookie fully recovered, and we were friends for a while, but sadly, he died last year. A Star Pupil

Reduce Pre-Flight Wait With TSA PreCheck Don’t Remove Your Shoes

Harley and Sadie

When you arrive at the airport, you likely feel resigned to the hassle of waiting in a long security line and taking off your shoes. But did you know there’s an elite flight club full of people who don’t need to go through that routine? They have that privilege because TSA PreCheck has confirmed they aren’t a security threat. Best of all, the program is inexpensive and easy to join. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began the TSA PreCheck program in 2013 to improve frequent flyers’ experience. TSA performs an enhanced security screening on applicants and issues those who pass muster a Known Traveler Number (KTN) that entitles them to fewer security checks at the airport. A TSA PreCheck registration, however, won’t let you waltz straight from the parking lot to your plane. Members must still walk through a metal detector and allow the TSA to X-ray carry-on items. But people with TSA PreCheck can bypass the full body scan or pat down. They also keep their shoes and belts on while leaving laptops and appropriately sized liquids in their carry-on bags. Finally, PreCheck passengers have a designated security line where, in March 2021, TSA reported the average wait was only 5 minutes. The vast majority of airlines and airports operating in the U.S. accept TSA PreCheck, and you can apply with an online application. You must finish registration and submit fingerprints at an in-person enrollment center, but most appointments take about 10 minutes. Five years of enrollment costs $78. At that price, even those who only book one round-trip flight a year might decide to avoid the typical security hassle. Further, many credit cards will reimburse the cost. TSA PreCheck isn’t the only method on the market. Nexus is another domestic security program, and Global Entry allows expedited processing through customs and immigration when returning to the U.S. on international flights. Which service best meets your needs depends on your travel habits. But if you fly regularly, these programs are almost certainly worth your time and money. Don’t get left behind — consider enrolling before your next trip!



Now it’s just me. My mom Tammy teaches the kindergarten and pre-K classes, so I live in their classroom during the week. The children are usually very gentle with me, but Mom still warns them to be careful. Little fingers can look a lot like yummy carrot sticks.

Tasty Tuna Crack

Is your cat a tuna fanatic? If yes, these crackers healthy!) ingredients, these snacks provide yo tuna flavor cats go wild for.



THE BATTLE IS RAMPING UP IN MONTANA DOGS VS. BUGS Tick-borne diseases aren’t typically a problem in Montana. If we see a dog with Lyme disease, they relocated here from another part of the country. And despite the name, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) rarely comes up; the name comes from the lab where scientists discovered it.




Kiwi and Mom

I live at home with Mom on the weekends and during the summers. It’s a pretty full house with four dogs. Luna is a sweetheart, and Jackson is a big lovebug. Harley and Sadie are another story. Mom says rat terriers and rodents don’t usually mix. Sometimes, Harley still looks like he wants to eat me, but he accepts that I’m family, not food. One of my favorite things is when Mom cleans my cage. She washes my feet at the same time, and I love to cuddle up against her neck. But the thing I love most of all is carrots. I squeak and squeak until Mom gives me some, then I put them on top of my cave to eat. I’m also a big fan of lettuce and hay. I think any food is good food. When I’m feeling silly, I turn my cave upside down and sit in it like a boat. I also like to ring my bell over and over. I always want to know what’s happening, so I watch from my cage and make sure I don’t

But times are changing. We also haven’t had heartworm problems in the past, but cases are starting to crop up. Heartworm was practically nonexistent in Oregon and Washington but is now becoming endemic. It could eventually happen here, and it’s unclear what the future holds for tick-borne diseases in our area.


So, the Animal Clinic of Kalispell has begun to change our protocols. We now have a new test for heartworm and several tick-borne diseases. Rare though they might be now, they’re nasty conditions. Ehrlichia can cause bleeding and

miss anything important.

The kids are some of my best friends, so I can’t wait to go back to school. I hope they’re looking forward to all of the excitement as much as I am. I think we’ll learn a lot together!

neurological problems, and anaplasmosis creates flu- like symptoms. Lyme disease is incredibly debilitating, and RMSF and heartworm can be deadly. Conducting regular screenings for these conditions will give our clients peace of mind and help their pets live longer, healthier lives. We also have and will continue to push flea and tick prevention. Fleas are unpleasant and uncomfortable and can spread from your pet to your home. Meanwhile, tick-borne diseases aren’t common here, but that doesn’t mean they can’t cause problems. Some dogs are allergic to tick saliva and develop tick paralysis. It clears up quickly with treatment but can be fatal if left untreated. We recommend everyone keep their dogs on flea and tick prevention from April through October if they stay in the area and year-round if their pets are outside or they’re snowbirds or travel a lot. Heartworm prevention is also essential for those spending time out of state. Someday, it may be routine for dogs here, too — only time will tell.


Inspired by

s are the purrfect treat for them! With only four simple (and our feline friend with the satisfying crunch and intense


• •

6 oz undrained tuna

• •

1 cup flour

In the meantime, we’ll continue doing routine screenings to treat any problems that crop up. And if you notice your dog has a fever, swelling lymph nodes, or neurological issues, bring them in as soon as possible. Whether or not the symptoms are a sign of one of these diseases, it could save their life.

1 cup cornmeal

1/3 cup water


1. 2.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a bowl, mix ingredients together until combined.

3. On a flat surface, roll dough into 1/4-inch diameter balls. 4. On a greased cookie sheet, place the dough balls and bake for 20 minutes. 5. Let cool and invite your cat to dig in!

– Dr. Jevon Clark







How the Transition Affects Us All

2 Travel Like a Pro With TSA PreCheck


Kiwi the Guinea Pig Goes Back to School

3 Tasty Tuna Crackers

3 A New Testing Protocol for Dogs

4 A Guardian Angel Covered in Fur

A Cat’s Nose Knows


We all wish our pets would be there for us in an emergency. Dogs, cats, and other animals can accomplish amazing feats when provided with enough love and care, and a cat from Liverpool named Willow recently proved that many times over. A cat’s sense of smell is incredibly effective at detecting when something is abnormal, and Willow used her nose to save her owner in the nick of time. For many with diabetes, falling into a diabetic coma is a constant concern, and they regularly check their blood sugar levels

sugar was dangerously low. Thankfully, her cat, Willow, noticed something was wrong and sprang into action.

Willow went to the living room, where Amanda’s husband had fallen asleep watching television. Willow proceeded to bite his leg and jump on him until he woke up around 4 a.m. He could tell something was wrong, as this was abnormal behavior for Willow, so he followed her to the bedroom, where he spotted his wife. She was slumped over and unresponsive, and he immediately called her an ambulance. Doctors informed Amanda’s husband that she was moments away from slipping into a diabetic coma, but Willow had smelled something off and gotten help before it was too late. Most pets would get a few extra treats for their heroism, but Willow’s feats earned her a more prestigious award. The National Cat Awards named Willow as a finalist for their “Moggy Marvels” category. If Willow wins, she’ll receive a trophy, a £200 pet store voucher, and a year subscription to Cats Protection’s “The Cat” magazine. Although Willow likely doesn’t care about the trophy or the subscription, she’ll be happy enough with £200 worth of goodies and her owner safely by her side.

and take insulin shots to avoid that scenario. Amanda Jameson, a

51-year-old woman from Liverpool, received a diabetes diagnosis years ago but had always stayed on top of it. In April 2023, she fell asleep while her blood



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