A Virtual Waiting Room Added to Services at the APA Adoption Center

IMG_20180417_004229 (1)Some visitors first stop is to see the dogs and cats looking for homes at the APA Adoption Center. It is fun, rivaling the birthday parties, pet showers, or some of the educational classes and workshops at the center.

My first stop at the center in Brentwood, Missouri near Saint Louis is usually the wellness clinic. One of the busiest areas of the adoption center, it serves over 10,000 pets each year.

IMG_20180214_123057The wellness clinic is where veterinary staff perform health screenings, vaccinate against disease and spay or neuter each pet prior to adoption. The APA wellness clinic is open to the public offering low-cost exams and vaccinations for pets.

I’ve found it to be a great place to meet adorable animals and great pet parents while they wait to see the veterinarian or pick up medication. The clinic reception area is a favorite hunting ground in my search for interesting stories about animal adoptions and the role pets play in their daily lives. Many owners like to share what makes their pet special. No matter how hectic life gets, our pets are there for us.

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I’ve seen fewer people and pets in the APA Wellness Clinic reception and intake area. It isn’t that there are fewer pets and people visiting, they just aren’t sitting and waiting as long anymore.

Technology is helping to take the wait and crowded waiting room out of the APA Wellness Clinic. Anyone can get in a virtual line to see a veterinarian.

It is easy to join the virtual queue from home, the office, or on the run using your phone. You’ll receive text updates and notifications on forecast wait times so you and your pet can wait where you want.photo-1423666639041-f56000c27a9a

The QLess platform in use now at the APA clinic helps people around the world every day to avoid wasting time in line at license offices, hospitals, and businesses.

“We give time back to millions of people who otherwise would have to waste time standing in line,” explains Dr. Alex Bäcker, CEO of Qless.

This technology makes it simple to get in line at the APA Wellness Clinic from home, the office or even on-the-go using your phone. The text notifications allow pet parents to stay updated about estimated wait times and when they are next in line.

“With the QLess App we’re always looking for ways to incorporate technology and improve customer service. By reducing time spent in our waiting room we can better serve people and their pets,” says Kim Brown, APA Director of Operations and Vice President.

unnamedIt is easy to join the line, just send a text message “APA Clinic” to 417-720-2235. APA clinic clients will receive a text confirming your place in the queue.

Or pet owners may join the line via a computer by visiting APA website and the virtual waiting room at https://apamo.org/pet-services/virtual-waiting-room/.

The QLess notification is not an appointment time or reservation, but a way to give APA Wellness Clinic clients freedom and flexibility to wait wherever they want.DrD

The clinic’s hours are 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Saturday. The APA is centrally located in Saint Louis County at 1705 South Hanley Road with easy access to interstates 64 and 40.

Learn more about the many community programs at the APA Adoption Center or how to bring home a furry friend at https://apamo.org/

 

Pets in the Workplace: The Employee Benefit That Gets Tails Wagging

QF4PV5HB1EIt’s often tough to grab the phone and look into a beloved pet’s eyes as you are about to close the door on them to head to work. More than half of all households in the United States include a pet. About 84.6 million households or 68% of all American homes include at least one pet according to the latest data from the American Pet Product Association’s National Pet Owner Survey.

Fortunately for pet owners more companies are adopting pet-friendly workplace programs, allowing pets to tag along when their best friend leaves for work each day.

cropped-img_20180205_011823-1.jpgThere are business building reasons why companies are increasingly allowing their employees to bring their pets to work. Research reveals pet-friendly workplaces can reduce stress, increase productivity, build collaboration, decrease absenteeism and boost recruiting and more.

2010_tyd_photowinner_louise_thmbSome of the best known brands on the business landscape offer pet-friendly workplaces and other pet-related perks including Google, Mars, Salesforce, Build-A-Bear Workshop and Purina. I’ve been fortunate to work in two business workplaces where pets were encouraged to be part of the team.

An estimated 7 to 11 percent of U.S. pet owners are allowed to bring their pets to the job. Many more have an opportunity one week a year every June. The entire week leading up to Take Your Dog To Work Day® is Take Your Pet To Work Week® which is June 18-21, 2018.  Businesses interested in participating in Take Your Pet To Work Week® can download a free toolkit at petsit.com/toolkit.  

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Pet Cancer Awareness

My sweet sixteen year old had slowed down, was a bit pickier about her food and didn’t like to get up early, but she never seemed in pain as far as I had noticed. I held my dog tighter and prayed our veterinarian was mistaken.

Our long time veterinarian wasn’t wrong on her diagnosis. My dog was suffering from lymphoma.

Navigating a cancer diagnosis can be a frightening time for a pet owner. It is important to have access to information if you should ever face the issue with your pet. That is why May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of ten years. Cancer in cats is less common than cancer in dogs but it tends to be a more aggressive form. If caught early, about half of all cancers are curable.

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Cancer in dogs is often treatable.

“Cancer in pets is painfully common, frequently treatable, and among the most manageable chronic diseases of old age” explains Jeffrey N. Bryan, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVIM. The Director of the Scott Endowed Program in Veterinary Oncology and Comparative Oncology and Epigenetics Laboratory at the University Of Missouri College Of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Bryan has front line experience in amazing advances in pet cancer treatment.

Many cats and dogs diagnosed with cancer can be treated by their veterinarian. Some cancers can be removed surgically and the pet is cured. For others, there are many of the same options available to human cancer patients; radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

“Cancer treatment involves a lot of communication between what we refer to as the ‘triad of care’ – the pet parent, the primary care veterinarian, and the specialist,” says Gerald Post, DVM, MEM, DACVIM (Oncology), practice owner of The Veterinary Cancer Center located in Connecticut which is one of the organizations sponsoring Pet Cancer Awareness Month. “For example, the pet parent needs to be aware of any unusual lumps or bumps a pet may have, the primary care veterinarian will aspirate those bumps to find out if they are cancerous or benign, and the specialist will develop a tailored treatment plan for that individual pet patient.”

The warning signs of cancer in pets can be similar to those in people. If an animal is not feeling quite right, a swelling or lameness can be a sign to check with your veterinarian explains Dr. Bryan, “Clients should report new lumps or changes in health to their veterinarians immediately. The vets should investigate promptly.”

Unfortunately, sometimes there are few or no warning signs of cancer, at least early on. The point of Pet Cancer Awareness Month is to empower pet parents with knowledge, so that they realize that cancer is not automatically a death sentence for pets.

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Many cats and dogs diagnosed with cancer can be treated

Pet parents can find specialists across the country through location searches on the VetSpecialists.com directory. VetSpecialists.com was developed in 2015 as a partnership between the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Surgeons to provide education about diseases and conditions affecting animals and to increase awareness of veterinary specialty medicine.

If you are interested in learning more about pet cancer check out the University of Missouri’s Veterinary Oncology website. There are a number of resources on cancer and animals on their website.

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An Animal Adventure Can Be Found at Your Area Pet Adoption Center or Shelter

Pet Adoption Centers Offer Fun and Learning Activities for Families

 

You expect to see pets at your local animal adoption center, but often it seems there are as many smiling faces of people at some Saint Louis area adoption agencies as there are eager animals waiting for a home.

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Scouts cuddle puppies

Many animal agencies are also centers for learning and community events centered on animals. For example, the APA Adoption Center in suburban Saint Louis welcomes civic, community, school and scouting groups almost every day. There are tours of the facility, classes on pet care and training, and even pet themed parties where puppies, kittens, pigs and even miniature horses might show up.

No matter your age, there is always something new to learn about pets, animal legislation, safety and the therapeutic value of animal visits to hospitals and health care facilities. It is exciting how many animal lovers want to reach out and support animal programs and pet initiatives. Local animal centers and shelters are at the forefront of this community outreach and education.

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Another Saint Louis area animal rescue center also offers a variety of programs for all ages. One of Stray Rescue’s newer community initiatives uses certified therapy dogs to help young people between the ages of 6 and seventeen develop empathy, compassion and critical thinking skills. This program is aimed at young people from juvenile court system at this time. Stray Rescue’s Redirect Kids program includes one-on-one mentoring and focuses on helping at risk youth stay in school.

Across the country, adoption centers and shelters are putting the power of pets to work to connect with people on behalf of a number of community issues including education, anti-bullying and domestic violence initiatives

Animal adoption agencies and shelters are a great place for families to get involved in the community while learning and having fun. The Saint Louis County Adoption Center is a part of many events for families including an egg hunt for dogs scheduled for around Easter every year. The center brings adoptable pets out to meet the public at events year around.

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It doesn’t have to be a special event to be part of the mission to save a life. For example, during spring break and school vacation some families organize scavenger hunt competitions for things pet adoption agencies have on their wish lists. Or scouts who are learning about pet care and animal safety, get experience making pet toys and beds. Visit an animal adoption center near you soon, it’s a great way to get in some puppy play and cat cuddling and you never know who you’ll see!

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Tips to Make July a Fun Time for Pets

 

205382_4461940550881_1160270335_nThe beginning of July can be a very tough time for pets. Many people get an early start on Independence Day celebrations with their own fireworks and even gunfire! In my neighborhood the backyard fireworks began as soon as the local fireworks stands went up.DSCN1632BucaneerStatePark

These loud noises can send cats and dogs into a state of panic that often lead them to crash through screens, jump a fence or find another method of escape. There are ways to make July 4th safer and less stressful for pets. It starts with keeping your pet inside as much as possible before and after the holiday. In some extreme cases, check with your veterinarian about tranquilizers to help your pet.

It is smart to take pets out on a leash in the in the early evening, well before nightfall, to avoid noisy fireworks. Please do not take a dog to watch a large community or commercial firework display. This only increases the chances of a pet becoming lost in an unfamiliar area. Keep furry family members safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.236504

The Fourth of July and grilling go hand and hand. It may seem like a great idea to reward pets with scraps from the grill. In reality, some festive 4th foods and products can be hazardous to your pets. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals that have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals. Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them! Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets.

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Chow ready to chow down!

July 4th trips or any summer outing with your dog may tempt you to help them by sharing your outdoor products. This can be dangerous! Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems. Have a fun and safe summer with your furry friends.

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Tips for Take Your Dog to Work Day

Friday, June 23, 2017 is Take Your Dog to Work Day. For some animal lovers, it is the one day of the year they are permitted to bring their dogs into the workplace. It is a daily ritual for a growing number of Americans.

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Take Your Dog to Work Day Tips

Eight percent of all U.S. pet owners are allowed to bring their pet to work according to a survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). The number of companies allowing pets in the workplace is on the rise. Researchers found support among the American workforce for pets on the job:

55 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace leads to a more creative environment

50 million believe having pets in workplace helps co-workers get along better

38 million believe having pets in workplace creates a more productive work environment

37 million believe having pets in workplace helps improve relationships between managers and staff

Are you planning on taking your dog to work for the first time? Make sure your office environment is safe. Remove poisonous plants and pesticides, hide electrical cords and wires and secure toxic items such as permanent markers. Any office items in question should be placed out of reach.09_tydtwday_hitachi_data_systems___staff3

Make sure your dog is fit for work. Even dogs don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Be sure your dog’s shots are current. Make plans to have your dog bathed and groomed before accompanying you to work. Be mindful of your dog’s “work readiness.” You know your dog’s demeanor, so if he is aggressive or overly shy, it’s best to leave him at home. Consider how your dog has behaved in the past around strangers before making the decision to bring him. If your dog has shown fear, irritability or aggression, or if your dog has never met strangers, the workplace is not the best place for him.

Have a doggie bag. Include food, treats, bowls, toys, leash, paper towels, clean-up bags and pet-safe disinfectant. If you are routinely in and out of your work space, consider bringing a baby gate for your doorway or a portable kennel for your dog’s comfort and your peace of mind.

Plan your pet’s feeding times carefully. During an important sales call is probably not the best time for a bathroom break. Plan your dog’s feeding time around your work schedule and be sure to choose an appropriate area for your dog to relieve himself afterward.

Champ chow Alvin

Chow ready to chow down!

Avoid forcing co-workers to interact with your dog. Dog lovers will make themselves known. Sally from accounting and Joe in human resources may not want to play fetch or offer belly rubs, so be mindful of fellow employees’ time and space. To avoid pet accidents, monitor the amount of treats your pet is being given from your co-workers. Remember that chocolate, candy and other people food should not be shared with dogs and that not all non-dog owners will be aware that these items can be very toxic to your pooch.11169932_10153285246389184_5258844094715746244_n

Have an exit strategy. Although most dogs enjoy being with owners at work, your pet may not. Should your dog become overly boisterous, agitated or withdrawn, consider taking him home or plan in advance for your professional pet sitter to offer a midday check-in visit. Never, under any circumstance, leave your pet alone in a vehicle while you work!09_tydtwday_hitachi_data_systems___staff

My Pet’s Cancer Diagnosis

541030_10200807370730847_356137719_nIt was frightening. I knew what the words meant, but couldn’t comprehend how they could possibly apply to us. I heard our veterinarian gently explain one of my beloved Maltese needed to see another veterinarian to explore our options. I was shocked. I forced myself to take a breath. My hands were shaking as a hundred questions raced through my mind. I was too afraid to ask some of those questions.

My sweet sixteen year old had slowed down, was a bit pickier about her food and didn’t like to get up before the sun, but she never seemed in pain as far as I had noticed. My best friend still had puppy moments; bark battles with the dog next door and always seemed to lead the way for her younger pack mate. I prayed our veterinarian was mistaken and there was another explanation.

Our long time veterinarian wasn’t wrong on her diagnosis. My dog was suffering from lymphoma.

Navigating a cancer diagnosis can be a frightening time for a pet owner. It is important to have access to information if you should ever face the issue with your pet. That is why May, 2016, is the seventh annual “Pet Cancer Awareness Month.”

Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 10. Cancer in cats is less common than cancer in dogs but it tends to be a more aggressive form. If caught early, about half of all cancers are curable.

“Cancer in pets is painfully common, frequently treatable, and among the most manageable chronic diseases of old age” explains Jeffrey N. Bryan, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVIM. The Director of the Scott Endowed Program in Veterinary Oncology and Comparative Oncology and Epigenetics Laboratory at the University Of Missouri College Of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Bryan has front line experience in amazing advances in pet cancer treatment.

Many cats and dogs diagnosed with cancer can be treated by their veterinarian. Some cancers can be removed surgically and the pet is cured. For others, there are many of the same options available to human cancer patients; radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

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Cancer therapies in pets are very effective if the cancer is caught early enough.

“Cancer treatment involves a lot of communication between what we refer to as the ‘triad of care’ – the pet parent, the primary care veterinarian, and the specialist,” says Gerald Post, DVM, MEM, DACVIM (Oncology), practice owner of The Veterinary Cancer Center located in Connecticut which is one of the organizations that sponsors Pet Cancer Awareness Month. “For example, the pet parent needs to be aware of any unusual lumps or bumps a pet may have, the primary care veterinarian will aspirate those bumps to find out if they are cancerous or benign, and the specialist will develop a tailored treatment plan for that individual pet patient.”

The warning signs of cancer in pets can be similar to those in people. If an animal is not feeling quite right, a swelling or lameness can be a sign to check with your veterinarian explains Dr. Bryan, “Clients should report new lumps or changes in health to their veterinarians immediately. The vets should investigate promptly.”

Unfortunately, sometimes there are few or no warning signs of cancer, at least early on. The point of Pet Cancer Awareness Month is to empower pet parents with knowledge, so that they realize that cancer is not automatically a death sentence for pets.

Pet parents can find specialists across the country through location searches on the VetSpecialists.com directory. VetSpecialists.com was developed in 2015 as a partnership between the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Surgeons to provide education about diseases and conditions affecting animals and to increase awareness of veterinary specialty medicine.

If you are interested in learning more about pet cancer check out the University of Missouri’s Veterinary Oncology website. There are a number of resources on cancer and animals on their website.

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Cancer in dogs is often treatable.