Beautiful For You but Toxic To Your Cat!

By: Brook Buckholtz, CSR – Zimmvet (763)856-4848

Lilies are beautiful flowers! They can mean something special when put into a bouquet or could be a statement piece when put into your garden. Unfortunately the problem that arises is that Lilies are extremely toxic to cats, even one sniff could send them to the emergency clinic or be fatal. So if you want to ensure that your furry friends stay safe make sure you keep lilies out of your house and garden! Remember they are beautiful to you but toxic to your cat!

Signs of Lilly Toxicity:

Every part of the lily flower is toxic to cats. The pollen, the leaves, the flower itself and the stems. If you have lilies in a bouquet in your home even the water the lily plant sits in can cause severe damage to your pet. The best way to avoid this from happening is to keep lilies out of your house and garden if you have a cat.

Kidney failure can happen very quickly in cats that come in contact with Lilies. If you know that your cat has come in contact with Lilies seek veterinary care immediately. Signs of early toxicity include but are not limited to:

  • Decrease activity level
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increase urination
  • Dehydration


Remember lilies are so toxic to cats that even just one sniff can cause them serious medical problems or even death. The best way to prevent this from becoming a problem is to keep lilies out of your home and garden. If you think your cat has come into contact with the lily plant seek veterinary care immediately! Below is a link to the FDA website which has more information on lily toxicity.

For more information please visit the FDAs webpage on Lily Toxicity in cats at,in%20less%20than%203%20days.

If you are considering adding new plants to your house or garden make sure to do your research! This blog post goes over some safe and unsafe house plants to pets.

Leptospirosis a risk to Pets and People!

By Dr. Maria Krenz, DVM – ZimmVet-763-856-4848

Leptospirosis (Lepto) is an infectious disease and can cause serious illness in dogs and people. This disease is from a spiral-shaped bacteria called Leptospira which live in water or warm wet soil. Any type of animal can potentially get infected. In fact, this has been a problem for years but is now more prevalent; which means Leptospirosis is a risk to all!

How Pets and People get Infected

Lepto is spread through bacteria in the urine of the infected animals. Humans and animals can potentially become infected through skin, bodily fluids (except for saliva), and mucus membranes (such as eyes, nose, and/or mouth). Dogs can pass the disease to each other as well as to people.

Lepto has become more problematic with the increase in development in areas that were once rural. As a result, pets may be exposed to more wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, squirrels, opossums, or deer that have been infected with the disease. In the event that your pet does become infected, it could mean that your pet may have been drinking, swimming, or walking through the contaminated water or soil.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs can vary and are nonspecific. However, some pets do not have any symptoms.

  • Common signs to list that have been reported in dogs are:
    • Fever
    • Vomiting
    • Abdominal Pain
    • Diarrhea
    • Refusing to eat
    • Severe weakness
    • Depression
    • Stiffness
    • Severe muscle pain
    • Inability to have puppies
  • Younger dogs (less than 1 year of age) tend to get the most severe forms of the disease.
  • 87-100% of dogs that have been infected will have some degree of kidney dysfunction.


The disease is treated with an antibiotic. More often than not pets will need other supportive treatments. Unfortunately, in some cases the disease has caused too much damage to the pet’s liver and kidneys which means the pet doesn’t recover.


  • Firstly, vaccinating your pet is key in preventing the infection for your dog. See below link for more information on vaccines.
  • Second of all, the American Animal Hospital Associations guidelines recommend the vaccination for all dogs regardless of lifestyle!
  • Unfortunately, there is no current vaccination for cats.
  • The vaccination is often combined with the distemper which is considered a combination vaccine. The vaccine is administered yearly.

If your pet is diagnosed, make sure that you avoid contact with their urine. During this time, if your pet has an accident in the house ensure you wear gloves and clean well with disinfectant. Lastly, make sure you wash your hands!

In conclusion it is recommended that you vaccinate your pet; no matter what lifestyle you and your pet live! That way you can both continue to live a happy and healthy life.

CDC Fact Sheet:

Disclaimer:  This written content is meant to be educational and is not medical advice.  Always consult a veterinarian about medical advice for your pet.

Canine Influenza

By Dr. Maria Krenz, DVM – ZimmVet-763-856-4848

Canine influenza, or dog flu, has been in the news on and off when outbreaks occur. Recently there was an out break in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area that affected many. Make sure your dog is protected from the flu with the Canine Influenza Vaccination.

Spread of Dog Flu

Dog Flu is spread by direct dog-to-dog contact. The secretions from infected dogs coughing and sneezing can stay on objects and people that healthy pets may come in contact with. The virus is active in the environment for up to 48 hours, however, disinfectants can kill the virus. The flu is not seasonal, but can be contracted year round.

Signs and Treatments

Signs of Dog Flu may be mild to severe, but it can also be deadly. The signs of Dog Flu can look like other respiratory diseases such as kennel cough. Signs of Dog Flu can develop 2-4 days after exposure to an infected dog and illness may last up to 2-3 weeks. Signs can include:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • nasal discharge
  • eye discharge
  • decreased appetite
  • lethargy
  • Fever
  • In severe cases, a secondary bacterial infection can cause pneumonia. These pets have high fevers and trouble breathing.

Treatment includes antibiotics for secondary bacterial infections, fluids for dehydration, medication to reduce fever and nutritional supplements.  If you notice any signs of illness, make an appointment with your veterinarian for an examination as soon as possible.

What dogs are at Risk?

Pets that are around other dogs are at higher risk of contracting canine influenza. Examples are pets that stay in a pet hotel, dog daycare, training class, dog parks and grooming facilities. Young and Senior Pets, along with pets that have medical conditions that affect their immune systems, are at higher risk of getting severe forms of the dog Flu.


A vaccination for Dog Flu is available. Dogs have no natural immunity to Dog Flu since it is a newer virus. The current vaccination is for both the H3N8 and H3N2 strains. If this is the first time your dog is getting the vaccination, it will need to be boostered in 3-4 weeks and then given yearly. This vaccination is recommended for dogs that are around other dogs frequently. This vaccination is available at ZimmVet. For more information on vaccines visit

In conclusion

As long as the facility you are bringing your pet to have good sanitation methods and protocols for disease outbreaks in place, you do not need to be overly concerned about bringing your pet around other dogs such as a Pet Hotel or Daycare. It is best practice that dog facilities require the flu vaccination to keep dogs healthy. If you are wanting more information you can visit the CDC website

**Disclaimer: This written content is meant to be educational and is not medical advice. Always consult a veterinarian about medical advice for your pet.

Dog Bite Prevention!

By Dr. Soderberg, DVM – ZimmVet – (763)856-4848

Dog bites pose a serious health risk to our communities and society. More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, including more than 800,000 who receive medical attention for their injuries. More than half of those bitten are children.

Reasons a dog could bite:

  • Dogs bite for a variety of reasons, but most commonly as a reaction to something.
    • If the dog finds itself in a stressful situation, it may bite to defend itself or its territory. They can bite to protect something that is valuable to them, like their puppies, their food or a toy.
    • Dogs can bite because they are scared or have been startled. They can bite because they feel threatened.
  • Dogs might bite because they aren’t feeling well. They could be sick or sore due to injury or illness and might want to be left alone.
  • Dogs also might nip and bite during play. Even though nipping during play might be fun for the dog, it can be dangerous for people.
    • It’s a good idea to avoid wrestling or playing tug-of-war with your dog. These types of activities can make your dog overly excited, which may lead to a nip or a bite.

Preventing Dog Bites:

  • Socialization is a good way to help prevent your dog from biting. Socializing your pet helps your dog feel at ease in different situations. Introducing your dog to people and other animals while it’s a puppy makes it feel more comfortable in different situations as it gets older. It’s also important to use a leash in public to make sure that you are able to control your dog.
  • Responsible pet ownership builds a solid foundation for dog bite prevention.
    • Carefully select the dog that’s right for your family
    • proper training, regular exercise, and neutering or spaying your pet.
  • Educate yourself and your children about how, or whether, to approach a dog.
  • It’s important to know how to avoid escalating risky situations and to understand when you should and should not interact with dogs. Some risky situations include, but are not limited to:
    • If the owner does not give permission to pet the dog, they are barking or growling, or if the dog appears to be hiding or seeking alone time.
    • The dog is on the other side of a fence.
    • If a dog is sleeping or eating, or playing with a toy.
    • Sick or injured.
  • Reading a dog’s body language also can be helpful. Just like people, dogs rely on body gestures, postures and vocalizations to express themselves and communicate. While we can’t always read a dog’s body language accurately, it can give us helpful clues as to whether a dog is feeling stressed, frightened, or threatened.

If you would like to learn more ways to make your pet into a well socialized good citizen please see

More information:

If you have been bitten by a dog and the dog’s owner is present, request proof of rabies vaccination, and get the owner’s name and contact information.  Clean the bite wound with soap and water as soon as possible and consult your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if it’s after office hours.

Please visit for more information of Dog bite prevention.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your Dog!

By: Brook Buckholtz, Customer Service Representative at ZimmVet

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your dog! It’s Saint Patrick’s day and you may want to do something with your furry friend to celebrate, but really aren’t sure what you should do. Thankfully you have a couple options you can choose from; bringing your dog with to go out or sharing a night in. Before you decide here are some tips and ideas on how to ensure you are picking the best option for you both.

Going out with your dog to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day:

  • Make sure you know your dog. If your dog is nervous or has high anxiety around large crowds and other dogs consider leaving them home or staying home with them.
  • Ensure that you are your dogs advocate. It’s okay to say no!
    • If someone asks to pet your dog and you can tell they are tired say “No, not right now. Thank you for asking though”.
    • If your pet seems uncomfortable because someone is getting too much in their space you can say “Could you please step back? (pet name) just needs a little space right now”.
  • Be prepared to leave suddenly if needed.
  • Make sure to call and confirm with the bar/restaurant or wherever you choose to go that they are actually dog friendly. Below is a list of dog friendly bars/restuarants in Isanti, Chisago, and Minneapolis area.
  • Try to only stay for a few hours.
  • Go during the day instead of in the evening.
  • Bring someone else who can help you manage your dog.

Staying home with your dog:

If you choose to stay home with your dog here are some tips and ideas on things to help you celebrate St. Patrick’s day together.

  • Dress your pet and yourself up in some festive green clothing!
  • Take photos to post on social media.
  • Buy them some green treats (shamrocks) and/or toys.
  • Paint your dogs toenails with green pet friendly dog nail polish!

Whether you choose to bring your pet or stay home we hope you have a great St. Patrick’s Day!

Flea and Tick Preventatives

Written by Valerie – ZimmVet CSR Lead

Have you ever wondered why your pets’ Veterinarian recommends administering flea and tick preventatives over winter?

There is a common misconception that if there is snow on the ground and temperatures are cooler that fleas and ticks are not out. While it is true that flea and tick activity may slow during the winter months, they are able to survive any time the temperature is above freezing, even during the winter months when it is snowy as long as they have a host such as an animal or person.

Ticks carry various diseases that have the potential of being very dangerous or even fatal for animals and humans. These diseases include but are not limited to Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Powassan virus disease. If these diseases are contracted and are undetected or remain untreated, they can have long-term adverse effects on the body.

Fleas are very active in the Fall months as temperatures begin to drop. Fleas survive by biting a host and taking a bloodmeal from them. Oftentimes they seek out our furry counterparts as a warm host to survive the fall months which can result on your pet bringing them into your home, where they can survive throughout the winter. It can be very difficult to clear your home of fleas once an infestation takes place as the lifecycle is very complex and they lay large amounts of eggs rapidly. The only way to rid your home of a flea infestation is by vacuuming daily, washing of blankets and bedding in hot water, brushing your pet and treating all fibrous surfaces while treating your pet and administering a preventative. It can take months before your home is free from these pesky biting parasites. Fleas can cause flea bite dermatitis in pets and people which is a reaction to the protein in the saliva from the flea bite and is extremely itchy.

It’s always easier to prevent rather than treat diseases.

Routine checkups: Why are they important?

By: Monica Bock veterinary technician in training at Zimmvet 

What are routine checkups?

Routine checkups will consist of a yearly or bi-yearly physical and lab work. This is important, because often while technology has advanced, we may not catch a disease or parasite from the first sample taken.  This can also aid in treatment of your pet if something is consistent within the routine checkups, it can be monitored and growth or progress of the issue can be tracked for better treatment. This would also be the time we vaccinate your pet from unwanted disease that could be potentially fatal to you or your pet.

What type of pets need them?

            Routine checkups are recommended for all pets healthy in appearance or not! Many pets are good at hiding discomfort, pain or illness and this can make it difficult for even the pet parent to identify an issue with their pet. No matter how well you may know your pet, things can be missed and could potentially be detrimental to that pet’s wellbeing if treated too late. Routine checkups are even more essential when the pet is older, as with ageing comes illness and discomfort.

What your veterinarian is looking for in a physical:

Head, fingers, knees, and toes! Your doctor will check everything with a quick assessment of the pet’s outward appearance. Looking at your pet’s body condition score, ears, eyes, lymph node sizes, toes, knees/ joints, abdomen, throat, mouth and for any lumps and bumps on the body your doctor can get a better idea if more testing would be needed for a potential disease or ailment. If your pet is considered a senior, a doctor may also add eye pressure, eye testing or take more time talking about joint related diseases that tends to be common in older pets but not as common in younger pets.

Lab testing and bloodwork:

At both your annual and biannual exam bloodwork is generally done to ensure your pets health adding additional trend data that can be looked at to monitor progression of a disease or to ensure that your pet is continuously healthy. Depending if your pet is considered a senior, juvenile or young adult bloodwork may differ slightly. Depending on the age of the pet they can be more prone to ailments and disease thus need to be tested for different things.

Biannual vs annual checkups:

Its biannual checkup times! Many people question why they need to come back again for more lab work and a checkup as they did so earlier in the year. A biannual while important in itself is not the same as the annual exam, though similar procedures are performed. Biannual exams are meant to ensure that there is nothing new could have popped up since the beginning of the year and to record trends of upcoming or confirmed ailments due to the fact that pets age differently than humans.


Keepin up with your pet’s health is important, a thorough examination of the pet can ensure your pets health and well-being. A yearly check up combined with your biannual can track trends and identify problems early on, proving increasing your pet’s quality of life. Even if you can’t see any signs of disease doesn’t mean that they are not sick or in pain this is why its important to schedule your routine examinations in a timely manner.

Why grooming your dog is important

Written by Valerie – ZimmVet CSR Lead

Grooming is vital to your dog’s health and well-being. The amount of grooming your dog needs will depend on their coat type, but adequate grooming is important for all dogs. Whether you take your dog to the groomer or tackle the task yourself, keep in mind the reasons why grooming is so important.

Nails – some dog’s will file their nails down as they walk on hard surfaces, but the nails should still be monitored to ensure that they are not getting too long as this can have adverse effects. If the nails are left to grow they can curl into the pad of the foot, get stuck as they are running and tear or break, or even cause mobility issues if your pet is experiencing discomfort when they walk; this may result in them compensating for the discomfort and changing their gait.

Skin and coat– the hair should be brushed regularly to avoid matting and to disperse the oils in the skin. Matting pulls on the skin and coat and is not only painful but often causes of sores. Regular brushing removes any dead hair to allow new healthy hair to grow in. Double coated dogs should be brushed with an undercoat rake to ensure that the dead hair in the undercoat is removed. Regular brushing will also decrease the amount of shedding from your pet. Always be sure to get your dog completely dry after bathing to minimize the risk of them developing hotspots.

Ears – ears should be cleaned regularly with an ear cleaner made specifically for pets. This will keep the ears clean of debris and wax that may build up and cause discomfort, odor or ear infections. Often times ear cleaners contain a drying agent that will dry any moisture in the ears that can cause an infection if left in the ear canal, it is especially important to clean the ears following, bathing, swimming or hunting.

The Sport of Skijoring

By: Dani Gunder VT at ZimmVet

As many of us Minnesotans know, truly the best way to survive our cold winters is to find something enjoyable about them! Luckily there are plenty of winter sports for anyone and any interest- today we’d like to highlight skijoring; a winter activity that keeps us humans in shape and is such a positive way to exercise our dogs in winter! A positive way to look forward to our colder and darker months-

Skijoring is best described as a combination of dogsledding and cross country skiing; together we have a mushing event harnessed directly from dog to person and together cross wintery terrain for both hobby and competition.

The perfect skijoring dog can be any shape size or breed! And as people we can classic tour xc ski or skate ski for a quicker and more whole body workout! Some of the best skijoring partners enjoy working with their human, do not mind the winter elements, and can benefit from winter or consistent exercise. I’ve personally worked with aussies, mini aussies, and husky mixes in this sport and can honestly say size is not of biggest importance!

Ideally, we as the dogs’ leaders into this adventure are already confident and sure-footed on any type of cross country skis. And if not, we recommend hitting the trail without Fido for a bit. Once you are ready to help teach your 4-footed pal come back for the next session:

It’s important when introducing your dog to this sport that nothing we do is too much or too scary for them. Introduce equipment alone very slow and gradually, keeping things short and positive. When your dog has made some positive associations that our equipment itself is cool, then we can get strapped up and let them freely experience the sound/movements without being tied to us and ideally in a safe/secured fencing like backyard. Taking our time once your dog is fully used to equipment and skiing be sure they have a properly fitting and type of harness designed for pulling. Over time equipment will be no big deal and possibly our dogs are excited about. Many people cross train in warmer months with other omnijoring sports. Nothing wrong with some dogs needing more time and confidence.

Cue training will be important since as we ski our hands are full and we rely a lot on vocal commands. Familiarize your pup with “line out, gee, haw, easy, and woah” commands.

Next we can hit the trail! If you have the connection and ability, pairing your dog with an experienced skijoring dog will be very helpful. It’s even more easy for
Your first few outing to go out to groomed ski trails. Remember this all takes time and patience. Over time you and your canine compadre will be looking forward to snow and winters together to further advance your skills/technique and to explore all the amazing trails!
Happy skiing!

Beating the Winter Blues

Written by: Valerie Ferguson Customer Service Lead at ZimmVet

We all tend to go a little stir crazy when the weather is so cold that you can’t walk outside without your nose freezing, dogs are no exception. Long, cold winter days with minimal activity can cause your dog to be bored and may become destructive causing damage to your home or injury to themselves. Mental exercise has been proven to minimize behavioral issues. The goal of mental exercise is to engage your pet and exercise their brain. According to – studies show that 15 minutes of mental exercise is equivalent to 60 minutes of physical exercise.

Some ideas for mental exercise include:

Puzzle toys

Setting up an obstacle course for your dog

Hide-and-seek – searching for treats

Stuffing a Kong with tasty treats (frozen)

Playing tug

Indoor fetch with a soft ball

Shown above are a couple of photos of my dogs, Dakota and tucker, working for their dinner with a couple of their favorite puzzle toys.