Animal Clinic of Kalispell - February 2020




How Often Do Veterinarians Brush Their Dogs’ Teeth?

I ’ve been around long enough that when I was in veterinary school, pets didn’t have teeth. At least, that’s what the curriculum implied. We learned physiology, biochemistry, medicine, diagnostics, and surgical technique, but oral health wasn’t given a second thought. During my senior year, while in my local practice rotations, I did a single dental treatment. Mind you, I had no training in this. I felt like some

our continuing education for technicians. We need to be able to provide our patients with the best medicine to keep their teeth healthy. Our goal is to help our patients’ mouths be healthy for a lifetime. Dental care is about more than cleaning off tartar and removing rotten teeth. Animal dentistry has developed to the point where root canals and orthodontics are possible. Saving a tooth is so much better for a pet’s long-term health

Civil War surgeon on the battlefield trying to clean and extract those teeth. Looking back, it was terrible medicine. It blows my mind how long it took us to pay attention to pet dentistry. When I graduated from veterinary school in 1995, I was not trained on anything related to dentistry. Now, prophylactic and therapeutic dentistry is a HUGE part of our daily practice and medical care. It finally dawned on everyone that if it’s bad when we don’t brush our teeth, what happens to our pets who’ve never brushed their teeth?

than removing a tooth. Infected teeth can cause bone infections and pathologic jaw fractures, and those have to go, but extracting certain teeth changes the facial structure and anatomy, making it harder for them to chew and keep their tongues inside their mouths. We’ve all seen pets (even sleeping in our office right now) with no teeth left, and they do fine, but it isn’t ideal.

Dental care is one of those areas where our pets rely on us entirely. They can’t brush their own teeth, gargle with mouthwash after dinner, or tell us if their mouth is sore. If a dog breaks its tooth chewing on a bone or an old cat ends up with a dental abscess, they can’t do much about it! We need to be aware of our pets’ oral health needs, just like we’re aware of how much they eat or when they need to go outside.

The mouth offers a direct path to the rest of the body. Just like in people, if a dog or cat has rotten teeth, they’re filling their entire biologic system with bacteria and inflammation. It leads to a mess of health troubles, which is why it’s so important for pet owners to brush their pets’ teeth. That said, I’m a veterinarian, and even I don’t brush my own dogs’ teeth nearly as often as I should! That is exactly why our practice focuses our attention on it. Additional technical training in dentistry is a focus of

As far as longevity, it’s not the most stylish part of veterinary medicine, but it is one of the most important.



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LIFE’S A (PETTIN Meet Conan THE DOG WHO HELPED TAKE DOWN AL-BAGHDADI Hello, everyone! My name’s Henly. I’m the blue heeler you might have met at The Animal Clinic of Kalispell. My human, Kristin, works there as a veterinary technician. Sometimes she takes me with her so I can play with everyone at the clinic. It’s always so much fun! I love meeting new people. A Word From Henl

Valentine’s Day Dog Treats: Cranberry Hearts Last summer, we moved to a new house with a barn and tons of space to run around. That’s when the goats and chickens started to arrive. At first, Kristin just got a couple of Nigerian Dwarf goats for Trevor, which are a really small type of goat, smaller than me, so they’re perfect for little him. But when people found out we had goats I’ve lived with Kristin and her husband, Martin, ever since I was a puppy. I joined the family back when they were still dating. Our family has grown so much over the last four years! Back then, it was just us and the cat, Yeti. Then Kristin and Martin got married, had their son Trevor, and brought more pets into the family. Kristin has fostered kittens for the Flathead Animal Shelter for years, so I’ve grown up around cats. But more recently, some very different kinds of animals have made their home with us.

On Oct. 28 last year, President Donald Trump tweeted a photo that quickly went viral. It showed an adorable snapshot of a bright-eyed Belgian Malinois, tongue lolling, still wearing its camo military vest. In the caption, President Trump explained that the pup, Conan, was a national hero who was instrumental in taking down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. With four years in special operations forces and roughly 50 missions under his collar, Conan was selected to be part of the team that pursued al-Baghdadi through a network of underground tunnels in northwest Syria, where the terrorist ultimately died. It’s unclear

whether Conan was there to track al-Baghdadi or to spot improvised explosive devices that may have been planted on the route, but either way, he performed well.

According to NBC News, Conan was injured by some live electrical cables during the mission, but he recovered quickly and was back on duty within the week. Meanwhile, President Trump invited the brave pup to the White House and tweeted out a doctored photo that showed him awarding Conan a Medal of Honor. President Trump captioned the photo “AMERICAN HERO!” and he’s not alone in his appreciation for the hardworking dogs that have been helping our military since World War II. “To me, they’re the first line of defense,” United States War Dogs Association President Ron Aiello told Vox after the news about Conan came out. “They’re such a great asset to our military today.” Military dogs are put up for adoption after 6–8 years in the service, which means a lucky civilian could take Conan in as early as 2022! Meanwhile, dozens of other smart canine heroes are looking for homes. To learn more about military and other working dog adoptions, visit


2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 cup dried cranberries

3–4 tbsp coconut flour

Inspired by Pretty Fluffy





and five acres of land, they started giving us more goats! We have a bunch of Oberhasli

now, which are pack goats. Apparently, a lot of people have goats they can’t take care of anymore.

“This is Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population — have your pets spayed or neutered.”

In 1979, Bob Barker, host of “The Price is Right,” began ending every episode of the popular game show with a plea to pet owners. Barker’s call

Fortunately, Kristin really loves goats, so she’s happy to take them in. I like goats, too! We play together all the time. I practice herding and sometimes the goats chase me back. We have a blast running around together. Right now, we have 14 goats, but that number will probably be even bigger by the time you get to read this article!

to action was part of a larger movement by animal rights activists working to reduce animal overpopulation by normalizing the practice spaying and neutering pets

In addition to the goats, we have 18 chickens, three barn cats, and two clownfish. It’s a real zoo at home, so things are never dull!

in the United States. The movement was incredibly successful. Today, 83% of dogs and 91% of cats are spayed or neutered.

What few pet owners realize is that by spaying or neutering

their pets, they aren’t just preventing overpopulation; these operations also prevent future health problems. Recently our practice has had a flood of female dogs with pyometra, a severe bacterial uterine infection in which

the uterus becomes filled with pus. If just reading about pyometra made you cringe, imagine how your dog would feel to suffer from it. Dogs suffering from pyometra experience severe lethargy, poor appetite, vomiting, and fever. If left untreated, pyometra can and does kill dogs. The best treatment for pyometra is surgery to remove the infected uterus, but emergency surgery carries complication risks. Putting a sick dog under anesthesia is less than ideal, and since pyometra strikes later in life, there’s a greater risk to older dogs going into surgery. Pet owners often end up paying five times more for pyometra surgery than they would have paid to have their dog spayed as a puppy. While male dogs aren’t at risk for pyometra, unneutered male dogs have health concerns of their own. Unneutered dogs can develop testicular tumors and are much more likely to suffer from prostate disease. Much like with pyometra surgery, addressing testicular tumors or prostate disease is far more expensive than the cost of getting your dog neutered. Spaying or neutering dogs and cats helps fight animal overpopulation, but it also does so much for their overall health. Loving pet owners should take care to get their pets spayed or neutered before they suffer from serious health problems.


1. Heat oven to 325 F. 2. In a small bowl, beat eggs

and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine almond flour, coconut oil, and cranberries. Pour in eggs and mix together with your hands until wet dough forms. 3. Mix in 1 tbsp of coconut flour at a time until dough easily forms into a ball. 4. Roll out dough on floured surface and cut with bite- size, heart-shaped cookie cutters. Transfer to cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 5. Bake for 15–18 minutes or until treats are crisp. 6. Remove from oven and let treats cool completely before serving.







Showing Off Those Pearly Whites


Meet the Dog Who Helped Take Down al-Baghdadi Meet Henly the Blue Heeler Valentine’s Day Treats Your Dog Will Love The REAL Reason to Spay or Neuter Your Pets



Your Epic Adventure Awaits

Create Your Own Odyssey


Gozo, Malta While Odysseus’ journey was perilous, he did enjoy one peaceful stop. Odysseus spent seven years on the mythical island of Ogygia, home of the nymph Calypso. Historians suspect that Ogygia was Gaudos, now modern- day Gozo, Malta. Gozo is home to the Ġgantija temples, which are older than the Egyptian pyramids. In addition to exploring its archaeological marvels, Gozo’s visitors can also enjoy snorkeling, horseback riding, and other memorable adventures. Ithaca, Greece If you want to chart your own odyssey, make your final stop Odysseus’ home, the island of Ithaca. Covered in lush greenery and quaint villages, Ithaca is a wonderful place to relax at the end of your trip. Visitors can enjoy their morning coffee by a seaside cafe before lounging on a secluded beach for the rest of the day. It’s no wonder why Odysseus fought so hard to get back to Ithaca! With dozens of other islands to explore, the Mediterranean is the perfect place to plan your own odyssey — minus the mythical monsters, of course.

One of the oldest stories in Western literature is Homer’s “The Odyssey.” This epic poem tells the story of Odysseus and his long journey home after the Trojan War. While Odysseus’ travels were fraught with mythical monsters and magic, many of the places he visited are said to be inspired by real islands in the Mediterranean. Even today, travelers flock to these islands looking for peace, adventure, and epic stories of their own. Sicily, Italy One of the most popular stories in “The Odyssey” is the tale of Odysseus rescuing his crew from Polyphemus, a man-eating Cyclops. It’s said that Polyphemus made his home on what is now modern-day Sicily. Fortunately, there are no Cyclopes in Sicily today; there are only cultural festivals, world- class golf courses, and delicious food.



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