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Critter Doctor Animal Hospital Blog

Wise Words from the Critter Doctor

Critter Doctor Helping Needy Pets

The Critter Doctor Trust for Relinquished/Abandoned Pets (TARP) needs your donations today. Animal charity donations from individuals just like you have dramatically improved the lives of the rescued animals we’ve treated. This is a story of some of those pets and how your donations make their care possible.


Kirkland Pet Rescue Trust Begins Fall Fundraising Drive

The Critter Doctor Trust For Abandoned and Relinquished Pets (TARP) in Kirkland needs your tax-deductible donation today!  

Make your donation now so we can continue to help needy pets. It’s what makes it all possible!

What The TARP Does

Provides medical and surgical services and medical supplies, retains veterinary specialists, feeds, houses and adopts out homeless pets.

Some of you may not know that, in addition to being Kirkland veterinarians, we also run a trust fund that cares for abandoned or relinquished pets. Those of you who know us well may have noticed the colorful tile walls in the reception area and may know part of the story, the part about the ceramic art tiles that adorn the walls (individual tiles created by our clients in memory of their pets), the part about Critter Doctor’s donation to the fund when a client’s pet passes away, the part about the many sick and injured pets we’ve rehabilitated and found homes for over the years.

picture1But here’s the other part which few of you may know, the most important part of all:

We can’t do any of it without your help.

Your donations are crucial to our cause. Without them we can’t buy the medical supplies we need, consult with and hire the specialists required, or house and feed recovering pets for the many weeks, sometime months, needed to find them a home.

fundraising-blogWe’re not like National Public Radio (NPR) or other large fundraising organizations. We don’t have the luxury of saying things like “half of our support comes from listeners like you…”

We don’t have listeners.

We don’t have large corporate organizations that contribute that “other half”.

We have you.

Won’t you make a donation today? Help us sustain the human-animal bond while saving the life of a pet. These saved pets end up bringing joy and comfort to individuals and families alike.

The Critter Doctor TARP in Kirkland is a qualified 501(c)(3) charitable trust.



Doc Wendy has received her C.C.R.T. as of 7/1/2016

You CAN teach an old doc new tricks.

Picture1Many of you may have been wondering where I have been lately. The answer is: back and forth to lovely (and sunny!) Coral Springs, Florida (twice in a month’s time) and then off to Fort Collins, Colorado, home to Colorado’s School of Veterinary Medicine. (No, not to enjoy some much needed time in the sun, though I did manage to work some of that into my schedule), but to embark on my quest to become a CCRT (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist). What in the world is that, you may ask. Think physical therapist/personal trainer for dogs.  For more info, click here.

With this advanced training, (which required 112 hours of classroom time, 40 hours of internship, lots of really hard tests, and hours of—Aack!–homework), I can now help your furry friends, young and old, to become more physically fit, recover faster from injuries, and enjoy relief from the aches and pains of, for example, arthritis. Read on for a photo journal and diary of my journey. 36ae62bf-d238-4ad6-a7ff-c1a4a8204366

Days 1-5, Introductory Course


OMG, I had to relearn the names of all of those pesky muscles, bones and ligaments I studied and forgot so many years ago in vet school. This time, not via dissection lab, but instead through “build-a-dog,” which involved applying clay muscles and ligaments to our own model dog skeleton (We named ours “Fluffy”). After lengthy lectures on origins, insertions and actions of these structures, we were ready to identify them on live canine “guinea pigs.” ab34a0af-adc3-491f-a013-19baa50502e3

Day 6 – 9 Canine Sports Medicine

In which I learned all about agility, obedience, rally, lure coursing, fly-ball and much, much more, including how dogs move, jump and trot most efficiently and which therapeutic exercises can build and strengthen certain muscles so as to prevent injury and/or aid recovery.

847efefb-de62-4707-ab55-77c65e669d08Days 10-16, The Canine Rehabilitation Therapist

Putting it all together: from the thorough physical exam, including evaluation of pain, posture, gait, flexibility, range of motion and “joint play,” to prioritizing problems and coming up with a specific treatment plan aimed at helping your dog feel and move better as quickly as possible.

Treatment might include several different therapies combined, such as pain control modalities, like LASER and TENS, and manual manipulation (joint and soft tissue mobilization and passive range of motion). Next we add therapeutic exercises, including a home exercise program that is both fun and effective for you and your dog. Think balance boards, therabands, physio-balls, and cavaletti poles, to name a few “props” that will be my new “tools of the trade.”Picture2

And finally, days 17-22, the 40 hour internship at Colorado State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine

During this intense hands-on week, I examined and treated real patients under the guidance of one of my highly capable instructors. Typical cases included post-op knee surgery patients, older pooches with chronic pain and rear-limb weakness, and performance agility dogs with a variety of strains and sprains.

After a thorough neuromuscular evaluation, we formulated and implemented specific treatment plans aimed at pain management, improving strength and flexibility, and helping the patient quickly return to normal activity.


Doc Wendy introduces “Summer” to underwater Treadmill.

I am so excited by my new certification—because now, instead of just reaching for a bottle of pain medicine to help your furry friend, I’ll be able to say, “Gosh, ‘Max’ has strained his iliopsoas. (Don’t ask. I assure you, he has one!) I know just the thing to help him feel better.”





Pet Dental Care “Unmasks” Angel

Angel (left) before pet dentistry, and (right) shortly after. Notice the brown muzzle discoloration disappears!

This is Angel. And this is the story of how pet dental care didn’t just improve her teeth, it changed her physical appearance. This picture illustrates what all veterinarians know: that proper pet dental care can affect much more than just your pet’s teeth and gums. Read what Critter Doctor client, Debbie Gaudry, has to say about pet dentistry and the importance of brushing your pet’s teeth. (more…)


Keeping Our Senior Pets Happy And Healthy

Happy Birthday, Charlie!

charlieCharlie, my labradoodle, turned 12 this past week. Sure, we celebrated with a scrambled egg breakfast and a trip to the pet store to pick out a new toy, but I couldn’t help thinking, “Wow, 12!  My boy is getting OLD,” and I felt sad knowing his remaining time with me is inevitably limited. While I can’t magically help Charlie live to be 80 human years, there are lots of ways to improve and extend the “golden years” of our senior pets. I learned during a recent continuing education conference that keeping your older dog’s weight slightly under what is considered optimal can actually add a year or two to his life. Charlie eats a high quality, hypoallergenic diet because he suffers from food allergies, but there are lots of good, healthy pet foods to choose from. (more…)


Pet Dental Care–About More Than Just Cleaning Teeth

Pet dental care is an important part of overall pet health care.

Did you know that…

  • Dental disease is the single most frequently diagnosed infectious disease in pets?  Or that, by age 3, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have some form of dental disease?
  • 70% of your pet’s teeth are hidden underneath the gum line where most infection occurs?
  • Chronic oral infections, if left untreated, can spread to the major organs, as well as causing severe pain, bad breath, gum disease, and tooth loss?
  • Non-anesthetic dentals do NOT address the problem and may even damage your pet’s health? See our non-anesthetic dentals video for details?
  • According to a 2013 analysis conducted by VPI Pet Insurance, the average cost to prevent dental disease in pets is $171.82, but the cost to treat dental disease $531.71.?

If these facts come as a surprise, don’t be too alarmed. You’re in good company. Most pet owners are just as surprised as you. They do explain, however, why good pet oral health is such an integral part of overall pet health and why your pet should have an annual oral exam.



Critter Doctor Wins Best Kirkland Vet Award

Critter Doctor Animal Hospital has just been named Best Kirkland Vet in 2015 by the Kirkland Reporter. Each year Kirkland residents submit upwards of a 1000 votes for the businesses they feel are the best in their fields. We are proud to have won this twice in the last 5 years and we want everyone in the Kirkland community to know that we will continue to do everything we can to meet or exceed your expectations. Our goal is to be the best, period.

So in that spirit, we invite you to let us know what you think we need to do to be the best EVERY year. Call or email us. Tell us what you think, what’s working and what’s not. We need to know! Our email is reception@critterdoctor.com. We love reviews on Google and Yelp as well.


Have an Itchy Pet? Need Allergy Testing? $35 Pet Allergy Test.

allergy1Allergies are irritating enough on their own. Testing and treatment shouldn’t be. Here is a remarkable solution to a very common problem.

It used to be that in order to find out if your pet had allergies, you had to go through a comprehensive (and very expensive) battery of tests.  If it turned out your pet was not allergic, then you had just spent a good chunk of change just to find that out.  Now there’s a new, simplified test that will tell you whether or not you need to move forward, and it’s only $35.  If the pet is negative, at least you have eliminated inhaled allergies as the cause of you pet’s itch without incurring a big bill.

Here’s how it works: Critter Doctor runs a new test called “allergy-detect,” which screens your pet for sensitivity to any of the 4 major categories of inhaled allergies: mites and molds, grasses, weeds, and trees.  If your pet responds positively on this screening test, then Critter Doctor will recommend more complete allergy testing. (more…)


Microchipping Your Pet

It was a dark and stormy night (Yeah, it really was. In Seattle what else could it be?), and I was taking out the garbage. As I opened the back door I was startled to see a very large lab mix standing there in front of me.  I jumped back initially thinking this might be Kujo getting ready to rip out my larynx, but then I realized this was a very friendly, sweet animal  who was just trying to figure out where home was.  And I was reminded, once again (as the husband of impassioned veterinarian), just how important pet micro-chipping is. Here was a well-cared for, very lovely pet who someone, somewhere (probably somewhere close) loved.

But how to find that someone, that was the question. This was a job for a professional, so I called in the big guns: “Hey honey, there’s a lost dog at the back door. You want to check this out?”

Flash Gordon to the rescue. Within a minute my wife had corralled the dog, discovered he (actually, she) had no ID of any kind, and called the local 24-hour emergency clinic (EC) to arrange for overnight accommodations. Within 2 minutes, she was out the door on her way to the emergency clinic, despite the fact that she is rarely on time for any event in her life. (more…)


Critter Doctor Animal Rescue Trust Joins Forces With Merrill Gardens To Raise Funds For Needy Pets

TARP2It’s a rare moment when a retirement community approaches a veterinary clinic with an offer to raise thousands of dollars for the clinic’s “pet project,” but that’s exactly what Merrill Gardens, a retirement community in downtown Kirkland, did. And it was quite literally for a “pet” rescue/rehabilitation project.

In what ended up being an unexpected but very pleasant surprise, Merrill Gardens called Critter Doctor to say that they wanted the proceeds from their annual fundraiser to go to the Critter Doctor Trust for Abandoned/Relinquished Pets (TARP). Each year, as part of its commitment to involvement in the community, Merrill Gardens holds an auction for what it deems is a worthy charitable organization. We were more than a little surprised. Stunned might be a better word, and we couldn’t help but ask: Why us?

It turns out that Head Merrill Gardens chef and long-time Critter Doctor client, Dana Bietz, had  heard about the trust and decided she wanted it to be this year’s recipient of the auction proceeds.  Critter Doctor was thrilled and touched by this organization’s offer to help rescue pets and Dr. Wendy Bernstein, (Critter Doctor owner) pledged to help make the event a success any way she could. (more…)