Does My Cat Need to See the Veterinarian?

How do you know if you furry feline is sick?

Cats are very good at hiding illness, especially in the early stages.  Here are 7 subtle changes your cat may need to visit the veterinarian.

1. Inappropriate Elimination: If your cat is not using the litterbox, it is sure sign that something is wrong.  Not using the litterbox can be due to a health problem like a urinary tract infection or a behavior problem, both of which your veterinarian can help you with.

2. Changes in Interactions/Activities: If your cat is typically a snuggly cat and suddenly does not want to anymore, it could be an indication that your feline is in pain.  While it is normal for your cat to slow down as he/she ages, this can be an indication of arthritis.  Increased activity can also be an indication of a medical problem like hyperthyroidism.

3. Changes in Food/Water Consumption: Pay attention to how much your cat eats and drinks each day.  If your feline’s appetite has decreased, it typically means something is wrong.  Another thing to pay attention to is water intake.  Many times increased water intake is an indication that something is wrong.  If you are having trouble keeping track of your cat’s food and water intake, measure out the food and water given each day to keep track.

4.Weight Loss or Gain: A change in weight doesn’t always correlate with appetite changes.  Cats that have hyperthyroidism or diabetes can lose weight even with a consistent appetite.

5. Changes in Grooming Habits: Cats are meticulous groomers.  Changes in your feline’s coat include hair loss, greasy, dull looking, matting are all indications that something may be wrong.

6. Hiding/Sleeping Changes: Cats are social animals.  They enjoy interacting with their human family and other pets.  Changes in these interactions may be a result of an illness.  It is normal for cats to sleep up to 16 hours each day.  If this increases or deceases, it can also be a sign of illness.

7. Bad Breath: Did you know that over 70% of cats have dental disease by the age of 3? It is important to have you cat’s teeth checked at every exam.  Bad breath is an early indicator of an oral problem.

Whether it’s routine or illness, we are here to help you get the best care possible for your feline companions.  To set up an appointment, click here.


5 Things You Should Know About Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers have been one of the most popular breeds in the United States over the past 10 years.  They are cuddly companions and make great pets.  Here are a few facts to know if you own a Golden Retreiver or are thinking about getting one!

  1. Floppy Ears.  Any breed of dog that has floppy ears has an increased risk of infection as it traps moisture.  Weekly ear cleanings with a good cleanser will decrease their risk of infection.  It is very common for Goldens to need regular ear cleaning.  This is a good ear cleanser that we use.  If your Golden’s ears start to smell funny, this is a good indication they need to visit the vet as they may have an infection.
  2. Joint Care.  Large breed dogs need extra joint care.  Start them young on a joint supplement to help protect their mobility and health.
  3. Grain Free Diets.  This is a big “no no” for Goldens.  Grain free is a very popular trend right now among human diets as well as our pet diets.  We need to remember that grain free may not actually be a healthy choice for our pets.  In fact, it is not a balanced diet at all for Golden Retrievers and can cause MAJOR heart problems.
  4. Grooming.  Regular bathing and brushing will help keep your Golden’s coat healthy and smooth (and smell amazing!)  We know a groomer who loves giving those big kids a Spa Day!
  5. Loveable.  Goldens are one of the most loveable breeds you will meet.  Adopting a Golden Retriever can be a great addition to your family!

Whether your Golden has an ear problem, needs grooming or vaccines updated, we can’t wait to see you next! 

A Farewell Letter

To My Friends at SDMVC,

It is with a heavy heart, I say goodbye to 32 years of working at South Des Moines Veterinary Center.  I have been blessed by three wonderful bosses, Dr. John Matson, Dr. Brenda Flaming and Dr. Melissa Beyer.  I learned a great deal from all three, but I like to think I taught them a little too.

I have worked with countless great people over the years, but I will tell you the team you have now is terrific.  This crew is full of energy, great ideas and compassion for you and your furry kids.

Many of you have become my friends over the years as we have bonded over the joy, love, frustration and even sorrow of letting these furry critters into our hearts.  This has been a great gift to me and has made my life richer.  So thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing those special times.

I look forward to whatever the future has in store, but I wanted you to know you all have a special place in my heart.


Kathy Parker

New Puppy or Kitten? Save 10% on our Puppy & Kitten Packages!

Did you recently add a new puppy or kitten to your family?

Congratulations on the arrival of your new puppy or kitten! Preventive care is one of our top priorities, and we provide puppy and kitten wellness programs and packages to make it easy for your new pet to get the preventive care he or she needs. Your new pet’s first wellness visit should be at about 6–8 weeks of age. Our puppy and kitten consults generally include a full physical wellness exam, age and lifestyle appropriate vaccinations, deworming, dermatology check, and behavior advice. We are also excited to provide information on general wellness care for your new pet.

We are offering puppy and kitten health care pacakges to help you keep track of your new pet’s health easily!  Each of these packages bundle vaccines your pup or kitten needs in his/her first year of life and you save 10% on the cost!

Ready to schedule? Click here.

Kitten Package

Social Puppy Package


Holiday Tips With Your Pets!

They say “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

While that is certainly true, things can quickly change if your cat slips out the door as company arrives or if the dog gets sick on the long drive to Grandma’s  house.  Here are 6 tips to help the holidays go smooth with pets.

  1. Traveling: Whether you are going across town or to another state, traveling can be stressful for our pets.  A pet carrier with pheromones is a simple way to help your pet remain calm during travel.  If your pet gets sick or has anxiety during travel, contact us.  We may be able to help.
  2.  Interaction With Other Pets: If your pet is boarding or will be interacting with other animals, make sure your pet is up to date on their vaccines.  Canines should be vaccinated against kennel cough and influenza to ensure they are protected if they will be interacting with other dogs.
  3. Guest In the Home: Having extra people in the home can be overwhelming for our pets.  Designate a crate or quiet room for them to retreat to.  Play soft music and give them interactive toys to help them feel more at ease.
  4. Probiotics:  The holidays always cause a disruption in the daily routine.  70% of your pet’s immune system is in the gut, so when disruptions hit your furry friend is more likely to have soft stools and be more prone to illness.  The good new is a probiotic is  great      way to strengthen your pet’s immune system.  We have a very easy to give your pets during the holiday season.  You just sprinkle it over your pet’s food once daily.  We have it in the clinic or online. 
  5. Decorations:  Supervise your pets around the decor.  Christmas trees can be easily tipped over by our pets.  Plus, all the shiny ornaments look like new toys in their eyes.  Skip the tinsel: cats are notorious for eating tinsel which can cause some major GI upset. Also, watch those holiday plants and flowers.  Many are toxic to our pets.
  6. Food & Snacks:  Especially with guest in the home, make sure your pets don’t get anything to eat that will make them
    sick.  Most people know that chocolate is toxic to our pets, but did you know an artificial sweetner called xylitol can be deadly to our pets?  It is found in many types of desserts and candies.  Turkey may seem safe, but it can be just enough to cause an upset stomach or worse, pancreatitis.  Yeast/Dough is never safe for your furry companions.  Pet Poison Helpline is a 24-hour resource if your pet gets into something over the holidays.

 If you need to set up an appointment before the holidays, click here.

Buy 2, Get 1 Free! All Toys & Treats: Mix & Match!

It’s Christmas in July!

Spoil your pets all month long with new toys and treats. 2 items, Get 1 free*!

Mix and match with any toys or treats at South Des Moines Veterinary Center!  Stock up for both dogs and cats.  From interactive toys to harnesses, and dental chewz to lean treats.  Find something for all of your pets.  Check out the videos below of our daycare dogs enjoying a few of the toys we carry.

*Free items must be of equal of lower value.





Microchip Your Pet: It Can Save Their Life


Is Your Pet Microchipped?

If the answer is “no” or “I am not sure”, now is the time to connect with us.

What Is A Microchip?

A microchip is a permanent form of identifcation for your pet.  It is approximately the size of a grain of rice and is administered between your pet’s shoulder plades.

How Does It Work?

We never expect our kitty to sneak out the door as the kids are racing in and out of the house.  We never expect our pooch to bolt when the fireworks go off.  But it happens.  If your furry family member gets out and is scooped up by animal control or brought into a vet clinic, they will scan him for a microchip.  The microchip contains a unique identification code.  This ID code is linked to your information.   This allows you to be reunited with your pet fast!


Why Should I Have My Pet Microchipped? 

One out of three pets will go missing in their lifetime.  That’s scary.  If your pet is microchipped, it increases the chances of being reunited by over 90%.

Do you know which day pets go missing the most?  The 4th of July.  That’s less than a month away.

I Want To Get My Pet Microchipped, What Now?

Set up an appointment with us and we can implant the chip.  The cost of having the microchip implanted is $49.35.

To have the microchip registered, it typically costs $19.99.  This month, we are covering the cost of registration for you!

Spring Forward With Healthy Pets!

Along with an annual exam, wellness bloodwork provides insight to what is going on inside your pet.

Testing can reveal:

  • Infection
  • Liver disease
  • Renal/kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Dehydration
  • Thyroid abnormalities

Dogs and cats over the age of 8 have the greatest benefits to receiving this bloodwork. Many times pets appear normal upon physical examination, and their abnormalities on the inside go undetected without bloodwork.

The process of disease development in pets can be slow.  When an organ system starts to fail, that organ will compensate to bring function back to normal.  Overtime, this compensation mechanism will fail as well, and the pet will become ill.  Once the pet is in organ failure, treatment options are limited and prognosis is poor.

The good news is if caught early, three out of four pets have abnormalities that can be treated!  Bloodwork is collected in the clinic and sent out to our lab.  Results come back in 1-2 business days.  During the month of April we are offering $15 off wellness bloodwork for our patients.

Set Up Appointment for Wellness Blood Work Here.

Which Dog Has Heartworm Disease?

If left untreated, heartworm disease is fatal.

It takes approximately 6 months for a dog to test positive for heartworm after being bitten by an infected mosquito.  Many times dogs do not show symptoms of the disease until it has progressed to the later stages.

This is why bringing your pooch to the vet for an annual heartworm screening is so important.  Once the test is completed, you can begin a monthly heartworm preventive like Heartgard Plus, a beef-flavored chew, which protects your pet against this deadly disease.  Currently, we are offering a $12 rebate on 12 months of Heartgard. Take advantage of this deal while it lasts!

Poppy, Mia, Dash & Buster are all patients at South Des Moines Veterinary Center.  One dog tested positive and has been treated for Heartworm Disease.  Can you tell which dog is positive?  The signs are not always clear from just their appearance.  Protect your pet from Heartworm Disease.  Once a month, every month.

Want to protect your furry kiddos from Heartworm Disease?  Set up an appointment here.

Three Weird Cat Behaviors Explained

Our feline friends are wonderful companions, but they can also be curious critters when it comes to some of their behaviors.  Here are three weird cat behaviors explained.

My Cat “Head Butts” Me.

Does your kitty rub his face on you?  This is also known as “head butting” Don’t worry, this is a good thing! This is his way of saying “hello, you are my people and I trust you”.

Cats have scent markers in their cheeks and they are rubbing their pheromones on you when they “head butt” you.  This is just one of the many ways cats show their love for their humans.


My Cat Loves to Sit in Small Spaces.

If you’ve visited our office, you have probably met our charismatic clinic cat “Wesley”.  He is notorious for curling up in the recycle basket behind the front counter that is approximately one size too small to fit (what we would consider) Wesley comfortably.  However, with all his soft, plush beds scattered throughout the clinic, he still prefers to curl up in the basket.   So why does he prefer the small space?

Small spaces actually help cats feel more safe and secure.  This stems to when cats are in the wild, they aren’t going to take a nap in a big open space, are they? No, they are going to hide in an enclosed spot where they are hidden from any potential predators.  So, when they curl up in a box or hide in a small space, it means they are finding themselves a safe, secure spot.

My Cat Sleeps All Day and Keeps Me Up All Night.  

There’s nothing worse than when you are laying in bed at night just about to drift off to sleep and your cat decides to tear through the house like he’s chasing a ghost.  Cats need exercise and stimulation throughout the day to ensure a restful sleep at night.  Consider a cat food puzzle toy to make eating more of  a game or challenge.  Interactive toys, like a laser pointer or a Pounce toy are great ways to stimulate your cats body and mind.   It’s easy to think a cat is a “self-sufficient” pet, but they want companionship from their human friends just as much as we do!