Welcome Dr. Sarah Bruggeman!

September 16th, 2014

sarahThe staff at Billings Animal Family Hospital could not be more pleased to introduce you to Dr. Sarah Bruggeman, DVM.

That’s right, Doctor Sarah Bruggeman!

For many of you, Dr. Sarah’s face is a familiar one, as she has been a part of the BAFH family off and on since 2001. This amazing woman (and Billings native) began with us 13 years ago as a receptionist and kennel attendant, and has been with us ever since (when time would allow) as she completed her education and, eventually, her degree in veterinary medicine. Read the rest of this entry »

Senior Pet Care Improves Quality of Life

September 9th, 2014

iStock_000017127254_MediumWhile many of our adult pets are still active, playful, and in good health; did you know that after six to seven years of age, your cat or dog is considered to be in his or her senior years?

Pets age much more rapidly than we often notice, leaving the early-stages of health issues undetected because we still see our pets as relatively young. While the terms senior or geriatric are sometimes difficult to define, most veterinarians will agree that your pet should see his or her veterinarian every six months, after six years of age. Read the rest of this entry »

Laser Therapy for Pets

September 3rd, 2014

iStock_000014701170_MediumWhile laser therapy may seem a little cutting-edge for the veterinary world, it is an exciting treatment reality that Billings Animal Family Hospital offers to our pet patients. For those of you that are not familiar with therapeutic laser treatments, we want to help you understand why it’s such an exciting option for your pet’s pain management and wound care.

The Use Laser Therapy for Pets

For many of you, laser therapy may sound like something straight out of science fiction, but it’s actually an effective treatment that is approved by the FDA as a safe and effective modality for pain relief and healing. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Things Every First-Timer Should Know About Pet Ownership

August 31st, 2014

iStock_000019367421_MediumSo, you’ve decided to get a pet… Good call! Whether you’re adopting a senior dog or a tiny, fluffy kitten, the relationship you’re about to embark on will be life changing, to say the least.

We hope that you’ve prepared yourself for the journey ahead. Adopting a pet is a huge responsibility. You’re making a lifelong commitment to your new furry friend; and, as with any relationship, there will be the inevitable ups and downs. But, in the end,  the good times and the struggles will be worth it…

Many first-time pet owners have done their homework regarding the responsibilities of pet ownership (we hope!), but there are still a few things every first-timer should know… Read the rest of this entry »

Pet Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

August 31st, 2014

VeterinarianCancer is a word many of us fear ever hearing from our pet’s veterinarian, but unfortunately cancer is one of the most common causes of death in adult and senior dogs and cats.

Although cancers can be caused by a plethora of factors, the reason we see more pets develop cancer, in most cases, is similar to why we see more people develop certain cancers: age. Simply put, our pets are living longer and age plays a role in the ever-increasing diagnosis of certain pet cancer.

Thankfully, pet owners can be proactive in reducing exposure to known cancer triggers, as well as focusing on prevention protocols to keep our pet’s immune system and overall health strong. Read the rest of this entry »

Fun and Safety at the Dog Park

August 19th, 2014

Dog walkFor many, dog park fun is all about socializing – for both you and for your four-legged friend. It’s also a great time for exercising for your pooch, which can help with weight management and his or her mental health (afterall, a bored dog can be a destructive dog). Spending time at the dog park, however, has its responsibilities, too; and it’s important to know the etiquette and safety that is needed for a happy dog park experience.

There are some simple rules every pet owner should follow at the dog park, including you. These rules will not only help you and your pet avoid any health and safety issues that might arise, but will help keep other pets and pet owners safe, as well. Following these rules will help to ensure that your your dog is a model citizen and should reduce the odds of an accident or injury. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting Wet with Your Pet: Water Safety for Dogs

July 29th, 2014

Labrador Retriever Hunting in a RiverMontana may be Big Sky country, but it’s hard not to love her waters. From the Yellowstone and Big Horn rivers to Lake Elmo State Park and the natural hot springs hidden away from it all, it’s likely there is somewhere that speaks to your soul. And, as a pet owner, it’s even more likely that you share these places with your dog.

Whether you’re fishing, boating, swimming, or hunting; when you live in Billings, water safety for dogs is something you can’t take for granted. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

Water Safety for Dogs

Water comes in all different shapes, sizes, and speeds; there is no one-size-fits all approach to keeping your pet safe. However, there are a few pro-tips (and plenty of common sense) to keep in mind… Read the rest of this entry »

Puppy Love: Raising the Perfect Pooch through Puppy Socialization

July 27th, 2014

iStock_000017065286_MediumFrom their waggling behinds to their sheer exuberance as they take in the world around them, puppies provide smiles, laughter, and fun for our families. If you have been or are the pet parent to a new little bundle of fur, you may well be aware that puppies also require a lot of time and energy with house training, positive reinforcement, and socialization.

Of course, there are many benefits for us pet owners when we choose to provide the right training to our new pups, such as avoiding accidents, keeping chewing to a minimum, and redirecting the hyperactivity. But, training, socialization, and behavioral cues for a wide variety of situations also protect your pet from injury, accident, escape, or aggression.

As with all training, puppy socialization allows your pet to become used to or adjust to being around a wide variety of situations, people, and settings. This exposure makes it possible for your pet to feel more relaxed and confident around other people and animals. Read the rest of this entry »

On the Road Again: Traveling With Pets

July 25th, 2014

Westie Enjoyin Teton National Park, WyomingSummer road trips and family vacations bring to mind nostalgia and opportunities for making new memories. Not surprisingly, many pet owners choose to include our family pets, especially our canines, on these memory-making road trips to beautiful destinations. If you are planning on traveling with pets this summer, you’re probably wondering how to prepare for the long trip with your pet.

Here are some considerations and tips to ensure a fun, harmonious, and pet-safe adventure.

Before the Journey: Pet-Safe Travel Preparation

  • If you haven’t taken your pet on a long trip before, spend some time acclimating him or her to traveling by going on short, local drives.
  • You buckle-up for safety, and so should your pet. Use a sturdy, ventilated carrier buckled into the back seat for cats and small mammals, or, for larger dogs, a crate that has been secured with a belt, netting, or straps. Some dogs prefer to sit on the car seat and are comfortable using a special seat belt attachable harness. Do your homework on pet restraint systems before you buy, and call us with questions.
  • If you are traveling to a new environment, consider the possible pests, parasites, or wildlife you might encounter. Discuss additional vaccinations and preventatives (such as those for mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) your pet may require with your veterinarian.
  • Not all lodging or campground facilities are pet-friendly. Do your homework in advance by contacting the facility or hotel and inquiring about their pet policies specific to the breed, size, and temperament of your pet. Websites like DogFriendly.com are great resources in your search for lodging.
  • Microchip your pet and ensure his or her identification tags are current. Include a cell phone number and email on your pet’s ID tags, too.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

    Building Your Own Pet First-Aid Kit

    July 24th, 2014

    iStock_000005766766_MediumWhen you have a minor pet emergency at home, having a pet first-aid kit on hand for immediate care can help a lot. Not only will it allow you to administer any minor care yourself, but it will also give you the supplies you might need to stabilize your pet until you can come in for emergency veterinary care.

    Ideally, a fully-equipped pet first-aid kit will contain most of the supplies you will need for your pet’s situation. It’s also wise to keep a smaller kit in your car for any situation your pet may have while on the go or while camping. Knowing some basic first-aid tips for your pet can also be helpful and we recommend downloading the American Red Cross’ Pet First-Aid app to your phone, for quick reference. Read the rest of this entry »