Animal Clinic of Kalispell - February 2021




If you’re putting together an outfit and ask your friend how you look, what would you want them to say? Understandably, you’d probably want them to be honest with you — whether that means telling you that you look great or that your style could use some work. It takes a good friend to tell you when your outfit just doesn’t work, and when asked, most people are going to tell you that you look fine. Being honest can be hard, but it’s a trait that most of us value immensely. And there’s one historical figure who we tend to remember for his commitment to the truth: Honest Abe. Abraham Lincoln — whose birthday is on Feb. 12 — may, in fact, be the most famous truth-teller. He lived as truthfully as he could, and I find that very inspiring because it can be very hard to be fully honest. One would think that being honest and ethical is easy, but it isn’t. It takes work to be able to tell someone the raw truth, especially when that includes delivering bad news. Too often people want to avoid upsetting someone because they want to be liked, and that leads to downplaying things we really shouldn’t. That is why I always try to be 100% honest in my life, especially when I’m talking to my clients.

news of any kind. Many clients don’t like coming to the veterinarian because they don’t want to know what might be wrong. While we never want to irritate any of our

we can do to address the problem. Other doctors make it a little easier on people, and I’m incredibly proud of them for that. They have created and grown into their own

It takes work to be able to tell someone the raw truth, especially when that includes delivering bad news.

clients when they come into the office, it is our job to tell them what we need to address and why. This is all part of the art of veterinarian medicine. I say all the time that our practice is an art as well as a science. It takes commitment and practice to hone the skills as a doctor to put your feelings aside to be able to tell someone exactly what is happening. Some of the hardest cases, which we see fairly often, are overweight pets. More than half of the pets we see are overweight, and it’s not something we can really skirt around. Our doctors have to tell people that their dog or cat isn’t just plump. They’re not healthy — they are overweight. We have to be very cut and dry — even if our clients might not want to hear. Something I really appreciate about my team is that we each have our own way of telling our clients the facts. I’m definitely one of the more straightforward doctors. I’m not afraid to tell our clients quite bluntly what is wrong and what

communication style, and that is something they will continue to perfect in the years to come.

I’ve been in veterinary medicine for a few decades now. Over that time, I’ve learned that when a client comes to us, they want us to be honest with them, even if they don’t ask us to directly and even when we have news that’s hard to hear. Honesty may not always make you feel good in the moment, but it is important for our clients to hear the truth, so they can make the best decisions for their pets. We understand that here at the Animal Clinic of Kalispell, and we work to let our clients know exactly what is going on with their critters and what we can do to ensure their pets are happy and healthy when they leave our clinic.

– Dr. Jevon Clark

At our clinic, some clients will come in with certain life experiences that lead them to not want bad



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MEET KATO Football Star, Movie Star, and Family


It’s really wonderful to meet all of you! My name is Kato. I’m an Alaskan Malamute, and I’ve had a really full life thanks to my parents, Linden and Jesse Rigler. I’m turning 11 this year, and I’ve been with my human parents since I was about 6 weeks old. I grew up on a ranch with my dog family, which is where my human mom and dad adopted me from. I’ve been at their side ever since and have experienced so many things!

Mom and Dad actually adopted me the same year they were married in 2010. They got married in August, and I became part of the family only a few months later in November. Mom likes to tell the story of how they decided to adopt me: Dad went to Albertsons one day and saw a poster of puppies. He took it home, and he and Mom talked about adopting one. They decided they wanted to, so they came to the ranch and I went home with them! I remember being so excited to be a part of their family.

It’s in the Cards WHY VALENTINE’S DAY IS THE ULTIMATE CARD HOLIDAY This may be the first year in a long time that kids don’t pass out Valentine’s Day cards at school. Going in to the new year, the seasonal section of most stores is lined with cards featuring fun characters from superheroes to unicorns. Handing out cards is now a well-loved tradition, but have you ever wondered how Valentine’s Day became one of the biggest card-giving holidays of the year? Like many holiday traditions, the convention of handing out Valentine’s Day cards goes back centuries. During the 1700s, it became fashionable to trade Valentine’s Day cards with a short poem or verse. The popularity of swapping cards only increased throughout the 1800s. Sometimes, people would go as far as to paint or draw spring-like images on the cards. They were much more elaborate than what we typically see today, though they were still usually very small.

I’ve had such a wonderful life these past 10 years, and I’m so grateful every day for the opportunity I have to be with Mom, Dad, and our growing family. I’ve watched my three human siblings grow up, and I became an older dog-brother, too, when Mom and Dad adopted Blaze. I’ve enjoyed so many wonderful adventures with them!

When I was younger, I was doing all sorts of exciting things. By the time I was 2 years old, I was already a movie star! There was a local author in town who wanted her book to get picked up by a movie director. When she was putting together a movie trailer, she asked if anyone knew a good dog that could play the wolf. My parents had a friend who knew the author and recommended me. I was too young at the ‘My Furry Valentine’ Pup Snacks

But where did those folks get the idea? People of that era were likely inspired by stories that go back even further. There are legends that the originator of this holiday tradition was Saint Valentine himself. One story says that on the night before he was set to be executed, Valentine wrote a small letter to a jailer’s daughter. He ended the note with “Your Valentine.” It’s unknown whether that story is true, but to 18th century Europeans and Americans, it was inspiring! So inspiring, in fact, that the entire Valentine’s Day industry began to gain traction. A guidebook called “The Young Man’s Valentine” was published in 1797 to help suitors garner the attention of their love interests through the written word. Eventually, books aimed at women were also published, including “The Lady’s Own Valentine Writer,” which served much the same goal. These publications, along with young people writing notes to one another every February, have made Valentine’s Day cards an ingrained tradition, and now people can’t get enough of them!

Who needs a Valentine’s Day date when you have a furry friend at home? This Feb. 14, show your pooch your love with these frosty strawberry dog treats. Use a heart-shaped silicone mold to make this snack extra festive.


1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup frozen strawberries, puréed




y Man

time to really know what was going on, but looking back, I’m glad I got to help her out — and I got plenty of attention and pets too!

I’ve also been the trusty mascot of the Glacial Wolfpack football team. Dad is their defensive coordinator. When I was much younger, I remember Dad and all the players running through the tunnel. I thought it looked so fun that I decided to run with them! I went out onto the field, and it was quite an experience. Everyone was cheering and yelling and clapping! It was so cool, and the team loved that I joined them. I’d always liked being part of the team, and once I became the mascot, I had an essential role. In 2019, I was even featured with the team on their poster. It was so cool! My family and I also go camping and hiking, which I really love. Adventuring is wonderful; I love experiencing new things and checking out the world. As long as I’m with my family, that’s all that matters. However, I will say, some adventures weren’t all happy and fun. Two years ago I was diagnosed with cancer; I had a nasal tumor. Overall, I will say it was a great experience even though I was sick. I went to Washington State University to receive treatment, and they took really good care of me and my family.

THE REASON WHY THERE ARE NO DISCUSSIONS A few clients at our clinic have asked our veterinarians about using cannabidiol (CBD) products for their pets. Some of them are already giving their furry friends CBD but want our doctors’ opinion or expertise on the compound. Unfortunately, this is not something veterinarians can discuss with their clients.

I know my family was scared, but seeing how the doctors reassured Mom and Dad made me feel just as happy as having my parents with me the whole time. The treatment was hard on all of us, but it helped so much. Now I am cancer-free and feel so thankful. Each day spent with my family in the past two years has been a blessing. Today, nothing makes me happier than my family. Despite my old age, I love being with them and going on whatever new adventure awaits us. I’ve spent my life with my family and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s not something I can legally recommend or prescribe for the animals we see,” Dr. Clark explains. “Because there just isn’t enough data on the subject. We just don’t know what it does, if anything, and the products have no regulation whatsoever.” CBD oil, for example, is not regulated for pets at all. Without industry regulations, veterinarians can’t be sure if the labels are even correct. Is the percentage on the label the actual amount used, or is it more or less? Added to this, we aren’t sure how CBD affects pets. That fact that it is “natural” and commercially produced does not mean much. Montana is one of the 36 states that has legalized the use of CBD. However, while CBD has been shown to help humans with health problems including pain, anxiety, and sleep disorders, there is still not enough information about whether pets experience the same benefits. As of Jan. 2021, marijuana is also legal in Montana. Though it is rare, we have seen pets in the clinic before that have consumed marijuana edibles, which contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), though this situation is more commonly seen in the emergency room. This is usually very problematic because doctors have to treat the toxicity of the drug as well as the effects of whatever it was placed in, like chocolate or, more dangerously, xylitol. These cases can be severe. We have seen dogs that have accidentally gotten into the substance where the effects lasted several days.



1. Fill each heart in the mold 3/4 full with yogurt. 2. Freeze the yogurt hearts for 1 hour. 3. When the yogurt is set, add the puréed strawberry on top of each heart to fill the rest of the mold. 4. Freeze for another hour, then share the tasty treats with your dog! Note: If you don’t have a heart-shaped mold, you can freehand your treats on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze 1 tbsp dollops of yogurt for an hour, then top with 1/2 tbsp of strawberry purée and freeze another hour.

There are some small ongoing studies that have yielded very mixed results on the effects of CBD in pets. Though it is wise to seek professional guidance on administering CBD or any product to your pet — and we appreciate you asking about it — it’s important to know there is not enough information currently available to answer these questions with certainty. As more studies are conducted in the future, we hope to be able to have these important conversations with our clients.

Inspired by







Honesty: A Skill That Takes Practice to Hone


What’s the Deal With Valentine’s Day Cards?

2 2 3

The Adventures of Kato!

‘My Furry Valentine’ Pup Snacks A Topic Veterinarians Can’t Discuss


A Tiny Dog Is Crowned the Biggest Hero

Heroes Come in All Sizes


The American Humane Hero Dog Awards competition is an annual celebration that honors some of the world’s

affinity for other animals — despite being tiny compared to many of them. That’s when they gave her a special job: caring for baby animals born with birth defects just like she was. Many of the rescue animals MacKenzie helps care for have medical problems that prohibit them from staying with their mothers, but MacKenzie takes a genuine interest in each baby from the moment they’re introduced, no matter its species or size. She plays nurse, cleans, and comforts them through their recovery, becoming a pseudo-mother that teaches them how to socialize and play. She’s nurtured countless puppies, kittens, birds, squirrels, mice, goats, and turkeys. Despite her tiny size, she’s even mothered a Great Dane. In addition to caring for rescued animals, MacKenzie also helps kids learn to be open-minded about both animals and people with physical differences or disabilities. The Chihuahua teaches the kids kindness and patience and shows them that no matter how small you might be, you can make a big difference. MacKenzie lost her ability to bark very early in life, but she has one of the loudest voices when it comes to speaking for disadvantaged animals. Heroism truly comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms, but MacKenzie demonstrates that the most heroic act of all is exuding compassion for others, no matter their circumstances.

most extraordinary canines. The awards recognize dogs that have gone above and beyond the call of duty, whether it’s saving lives on the battlefield, comforting the ill or elderly, or demonstrating just how powerful the bond between humans and animals can be. Winners are crowned in several categories, but the “American Hero Dog” is the top winner selected by expert panelists and a popular vote. It most often goes to dogs who show astute bravery in what they do, and in 2020, that bravery came in a 4-pound package. MacKenzie the Chihuahua bested over 400 competitors to be selected as 2020’s American Hero Dog. Born seven years ago with a cleft palate and severe pneumonia that nearly took her life, MacKenzie fought hard to overcome her sickness and birth defects. Soon after she defied all odds, her owners noticed her



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