“Dedicated to providing gentle, compassionate care for companion animals”


Frankie is around 9 years old. He is a Siamese/Tabby mix with adorable tabby stripes and the Siamese cream color and big, blue eyes.

Frank came to me when I was a junior in college. I had transferred schools and didn’t know anyone in Madison and was feeling super lonely. My parents were friends with the vet tech at the clinic who fostered cats, and she told them she had one of the best cats. She was right! I remember the first time Frankie and I met. He was so confident and walked right up to me as if he was the one deciding if I met his needs. I remember how he just sat right in front of me, looked up at me with those big, blue eyes and I knew he was going to be my best friend. I think he knew it, too! From the moment I adopted him, he has become sort of a living legend. Old friends always seem to ask how Frankie is doing and are quick to share a funny memory of him. He’s inspired many “non cat” people into adopting at least one cat. He is a good ambassador of the feline species!

Frankie’s favorite things are: mom’s lap, food, and cat nip (the fresh stuff – he’s not into dried nip). I have about 30 seconds from the time I sit anywhere to Frankie being on my lap. In the colder months, I have about the same amount of time when I get into bed to have the covers lifted and ready for him to crawl under and sleep on my side. I am, without a doubt, his best friend and he is mine!

There are so many favorite stories about Frankie! It’s so hard to pick just one! He loves to play fetch and “regulate” our dog when she gets too loud. He will stand on something higher up and take swings and yell at her as she passes by him barking. He always feels the need to maintain order in his house when my parents visit with their dogs. Most of Frankie’s visits to the Animal Wellness Center have been for routine check-ups. However, the past few months have been very stressful for him. He stopped eating, so we brought him in for an appointment with Dr. Ambrose and things were looking very bad for a couple of weeks. After a full exam, blood work, ultrasound, endoscopy, and x-rays we found out that he has kitty IDBD, not cancer as the other tests suggested. I will never forget the phone call from Dr. Ambrose telling us about the endoscopy results. I don’t know which one of us was more excited! Throughout this experience with Frankie, it made me realize how lucky we are to have such a caring team giving my babies the best treatment.
Best of all, we have always felt so supported and truly empowered to choose the treatment we wanted for Frankie and never felt pressured into anything. The same can be said when we went through another illness with our dog, Bailey. The staff have always made it seem like my babies are theirs and it’s appreciated more than they know!

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A couple of weeks ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Orlando, Florida to the North American Veterinary Community Institute.  At the Institute, there is a selection of several in-depth courses on everything from dental surgery techniques to ultrasonography. The course I attended was the Feline Medicine course…and I was in heaven!

For four days (two of which we were in class from 8am to 8pm!) I was surrounded by some of the best feline medicine experts in the world. Our course leaders were Drs. Susan Little and Margie Scherk, both of whom are some of the most respected leaders in feline medicine and handling. We covered a wide range of topics from current updates on feline infectious diseases to current thoughts on feline nutrition.  In addition, I was able to soak up so many tips and techniques for helping our feline patients when they are here in the clinic.

I went to Orlando with a tool belt full of feline medicine, behavior, and handling techniques. But after being immersed in the world of cats for four awesome (and intense) days, I now feel like I have a whole tool chest full of knowledge, skills, and handling techniques that I am excited to utilize for the benefit of all of our feline patients. 

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[caption id="attachment_978" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Trick or Treat!"]dog and pumpkinsTrick or Treat![/caption]

Goblins, ghosts, and chocolate…oh my

Halloween is a wonderful, fun holiday for humans and many of their four-legged friends. Even with all of the fun of collecting treats and dressing in costumes, this time of year poses special threats for our four-legged family members.

The sneaky treat eater

“We see a lot of sneaky patients during the holiday season who manage to get into chocolate and other holiday treats,” said Dr. Elliott of Wellness Animal Center in Maple Grove, MN. “During the holidays, we generally have more treats and snacks available,” she said. “It is best to make sure that they are not accessible to our pets,” she said.

“Chocolate is toxic to both cats and dogs,” said Dr. Elliott. If your pet ingests chocolate, it is important to call Animal Wellness Center (or an emergency clinic if Animal Wellness Center is closed). “It is important to access the risk to your pet,” said Dr. Elliott. “The toxicity depends on the size of the pet, the type of chocolate, and amount eaten,” said Dr. Elliott. The result can vary from an upset stomach to seizures and even death from high levels of chocolate.

The escape artists or fearful pet

With many trick and treaters visiting your home, make sure your feline and canine friends are kept safely inside. Pets may be fearful with all the visitors or maybe interested in the action and may escape when the door is open.

“With all holiday festivities—from Halloween to Thanksgiving and Christmas—if your pet feels stress from all of the activities the holidays may bring, it is important to create a safe area for your pet,” said Dr. Elliott. Provide your pet toys to keep them entertained. Animal Wellness Center also offers a variety of homeopathic solutions to help calm pets. “The homeopathic solutions do wonders for both cats and dogs to help calm and relax them during stressful events,” said Dr. Elliott. “We also offer the popular thunder shirts which help calm pets,” she said. The key with thunder shirts is a proper fit. The Animal Wellness Center technicians will be happy to help. Or, for more information about any of these options, call the Animal Wellness Center for more information.

Time to microchip

It is always important to have proper identification for your pet, but holidays are even more important with the extra activities.  “We recommend a microchip for all pets, including indoor cats,” said Dr. Elliott. “Since indoor cats are just that—indoor—many do not wear a collar so a microchip is even more important,” said Dr. Elliott. Contact Animal Wellness Clinic for more information on this simple and painless procedure.



For the social canines

Some dogs enjoy trick or treating with owners and even have their own costumes. “If your pet enjoys trick or treating with the family, use an illuminating collar for safety,” said Dr. Elliott. For safety, make sure your dog is comfortable around children and all the excitement that Halloween brings.

If your pet has a favorite costume, Dr. Elliot recommends making sure the pet can freely move in the outfit, and never leave a pet unsupervised. “Pets can be injured if they try to get out of a costume,” she said. Also, make sure the costume is the proper fit so it does not cause skin irritation or injure your pet.

If you have any concerns about Halloween safety, call Animal Wellness Center. We wish you and your four-legged friends a safe and happy Halloween.

  Photo credit: HannamariaH | photos.com



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Animal Wellness Center doctors consider your pet’s lifestyle
Pet owners realize that pets require vaccines to live a healthy life. However, what may get confusing is what vaccines their pets really need. That’s where the doctors at Animal Wellness Center in Maple Grove make a difference. Continue reading


Our relationships with our pets bring us immeasurable gratification and happiness. Not surprisingly, those intangible feelings are rooted in measurable biological effects that pet ownership has on our health. Medical research has documented many positive impacts that your cat, dog, or even goldfish can have on your well being:

- Spending 30 minutes with a dog triggers the release of chemicals in your brain such that are linked to happiness. People who bring their dogs to work have lower stress levels throughout the day!

- Spending just 5 minutes with a dog lowers the level of cortisol in your bloodstream, which is a hormone linked to stress. No wonder stressed people report feeling more relaxed around their pets than around their spouses!

-  Pet owners can be less lonely and have higher morale than non-owners. This may be because cuddling with a pet releases oxytocin, a hormone associated with love, trust, and empathy.

-  Dog owners are more likely to be physically fit and get more exercise than non-owners. Plus, walking with a dog instead of alone leads to more positive social interactions.

- Watching fish swim in an aquarium can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. The same thing happens while petting an animal! Pet owners also tend to have lower cholesterol levels.

-  The benefits for your heart are very exciting. One study demonstrated that cat owners are less likely to die from heart disease than people who don’t own cats. And another study showed that dog owners are NINE times more likely to be alive one year after a heart attack than those without dogs.

They always say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” We’d like to add walking a dog, stroking a cat, and feeding your goldfish to that list.

Here at AWC we are dedicated to “Adding Years to the Life of Your Pet So They Can Add Life To Your Years.” As it turns out, they might just “Add Years To Your Years” as well!

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