Hey, what happened to that Hanks guy anyway?
Right after Becca got married, we lost Dr Arena as a vet. She is fine health wise, but she was also working with a vet who was a solo practitioner and was diagnosed with cancer, so she left to help him. Since then we have madly been looking for the right fit going forward.
For those of you who haven’t met Dr Barry, he and I are doing it alone until May. He is fantastic, we all love working with him and he brings an enthusiasm and compassion that fits perfectly. We have also had Dr Leighton from Penobscot covering here and there, but she is ready to give birth any day now. We also have had Dr Michelle Wells from Little River Veterinary Clinic in Perry, Maine working once a week to help us out.
As it turns out, Michelle’s best friend is also a veterinarian who graduated with her at University of Prince Edward Island. Her name is Robin Hampton and she is originally from Fredricton, New Brunswick, where both of her parents owned a veterinary practice, and have since retired. She has been practicing in Alberta, and after meeting us several times, I offered her a job in January. Since then, she has been wrapping up her job in Alberta, moving across Canada and working through the Visa process and state and federal licensure and it looks like she will be starting at Kindred Spirits in May.
She is sweet, compassionate, polite, and she apologizes a lot even though she did nothing to apologize for. She is sharp as a tack, and prides herself in forming strong bonds with humans and pets. I think you are going to love her. Plus, she says “Aboot” instead of about.
My original plan a year ago was to cut down on my time at the clinic and get a boat. Or maybe I should say a Boot. But a funny thing happened over the past few months as I saw a lot of you…I remembered that the thing that thrills me the most is seeing patients. Last year I delegated quite a bit of the management stuff to Vicki and Christina, and the rest of the staff have stepped up to make the place run seamlessly.
Now, before I tell you what is new in Parasite control (its overwhelming to us as well, but we compared all the products and I will give you our collective opinion for this year), I will tell you that your new vet team will be me (4 days, one day surgery), Dr Chris Barry (4 days, one day surgery), Dr Robin Hampton (4 days, one day surgery) and Dr Michelle Wells (1 day…it looks like it’ll be Tuesday).
For you, the client, you can ALWAYS schedule with the doctor of your choice, as long as its not an emergency…then you see whoever is available. I feel strongly that veterinary medicine is not well practiced with a bunch of vets managing a case. Start with a vet and a problem and continue with that vet. But obviously, if no one sees the new vets, then the whole thing falls apart. The first two practices I worked in had a first come, first served policy. You set up an appointment and the first doctor to get to your chart saw your pet. When I started at Veazie, they scheduled for a specific vet and I believe that is better for everyone. Remember I will never hire a vet that isn’t talented and compassionate. Ever.
OK, stump speech complete.
Now onto Parasites. I pulled my first tick off a dog last week, so they are baaack.
In addition, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of heartworm cases we have seen since 2015. I think the problem is importation of pets from the south. At least every other dog I see is a rescue from the south now. They come with heartworm (remember its carried by mosquitos), and then expose the local dogs. I say this not to dump on the people who are saving animals from high kill shelters, I love you guys. But simply put, we have some new diseases now.
There are now about 14 products that are labelled for fleas and ticks. They vary quite a bit in price and in effectiveness. We have chosen two to stock and I will give you a brief synopsis of my thoughts on the other products that we don’t carry. We have chosen the best one (in our opinion) in 4 categories….topical, oral, natural, and cats only
Here we go…bolding the ones we will carry this year
Advantix (Para-Defense) -Now comes in a generic that Christina found from one of our distributors. Topical, been around a long time. The new stuff (generic) is about $8 a dose!! By the time Frontline came out generic, it had (in our opinion) lost effectiveness. Not true so far with Advantix. Good option if you are ok with topical
Frontline – comes a million ways now. Vet version, OTC version, generic. I think the problem is that fipronil, the active ingredient, is not as effective.
Vectra -been around also for awhile. Effective, but a large volume. We briefly had it, but moved on when we had several patients get local reactions to this topical
Seresto – collar lasts for 8 months. I have two concerns with this product. One is the effect on the environment and two that in cats, use of collars (granted, not this chemical but a relative of it) have been linked to an increase in risk of mouth cancer. Makes sense to me since it concentrates the insecticide toward the mouth. Lots of vets don’t agree with me on this.
Nexgard – Oral Agent. this is a chew that we stocked last year. I still like it. Its effective, low toxicity and dogs gulp it down. Works on a pathway that is insect specific, so low toxicity overall. The only concern I have with this product is price. Balancing it all out, we voted to phase it out in lieu of the next one, which I think it cooler.
Bravecto – 3 month coverage, same chemical class as Nexgard. Its been out a couple years and a lot of you found it before we had it. The only reason I said no last year is that 3% of dogs vomit on it. I asked the rep last year if they would replace the pill if the dog vomits it up and they said no. Its about $60 a pill, so that was a deal breaker for me. This year, they will replace it. If a dog vomits within 3 hours of taking it, just call us and we will get you another one.
Bravecto(feline) also 3 month product, gets fleas and ticks in cats. Major breakthrough. Cats don’t like topicals, there isn’t an oral (yet) and once every three months is great.
Simparica – Kind of like Nexgard, made by a different company. The company says it s much better than Nexgard because it works better at day 30 than does Nexgard. I think its also a good choice, and if your brother is a rep for Simparica and get you free stuff, do it. Otherwise, try Bravecto.
Sentry Natural Defense (Peppermint, clove) Makes your dog or cat smell like an essential oils class. OK at repelling fleas and ticks….OKay, not awesome.
Vet’s Best Flea and tick wipes (oils, meant to be applied before going out). More effective because its applied before going out rather than using it as a drop on. Also smells less like Patchouli. With the choices available, we chose it as our natural product
We have some brand name Advantix and some Nexgard in house that we will sell at a discount to get it out of stock, but then we are narrowing it down this year to:
Generic Advantix (ParaDefense)
Flea and tick wipes
For those who want another one, all will still be available on our website pharmacy. You can still get it online as well, and we will sign any prescription as long as your pet is up to date on exams and routine testing and shots.
Now, onto heartworm and intestinal worm prevention (dog owners only read this).
I fear some of you only got flea and tick prevention last year. If you just got one product, please read this one through. A few weeks ago we treated another dog with heartworm. Its getting much more common. Unfortunately, I think its here to stay.
There are several products that prevent heartworm and also intestinal worms. Its even more overwhelming in the number of products. Long story short, I have to say that I recommend a different one this year called Interceptor Plus. It is essentially the same as Sentinel Spectrum except that it doesn’t prevent fleas. Since there are SO many choices for fleas, most people who were on it are taking the flea part unnecessarily because they are on something else for fleas. For those who still want it, we will have it online at Vet’s First Choice
By the way, the Interceptor Plus is almost 1/2 the price of the Sentinel Spectrum. If you don’t need flea coverage, it’ll save you a bunch of money to use Interceptor Plus.
We also have Heartgard, because some dogs eat it SO anxiously every month and I don’t want them to be unhappy.
Remember too.. we recommend year round heartworm prevention now.
In general, the goal for Kindred Spirits is to review every year the options and choose the best ones for effectiveness, safety and price. If you aren’t sure what to do, you can ask anyone in the clinic. We have done a review for the staff and I even gave them a test…so they are totally ready for your questions.
I have so much more to tell you, but I don’t want your eyes to cross.
Have a great week and stay tuned to the update on our area infectious disease incidence and the update on Team Kindred Spirits for Paws on Parade (doesn’t happen until October but we already raised $5000 thanks to a bunch of great ideas from our clients).