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Brachycephalic Breeds: They are awfully cute but boy do they have a lot of problems!

I finally did it.  After enjoying from a far, I finally took the plunge and purchased a French Bulldog!  As a veterinarian I thought this was somewhat crazy, brachycephalic breeds have a whole host of problems.  But from an animal lover’s standpoint, I wanted one of these funny looking, clown-like dogs to share my life!  I did my research, asked a lot of pointed questions to a lot of Frenchie breeders and selected one that I thought bred problem free dogs.  So I purchased a puppy and got a puppy with - wait for it - brachycephalic syndrome! white bulldog


What exactly is Brachycephalic Syndrome and what problems are associated with this condition?  Brachycephalic means short head.  Dogs with short, pushed in faces are brachycephalics.  This includes not only all types of bulldogs but Pugs, Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus, Pekingese and Boxers.  There are even brachycephalic cats - think Himalayan and Persian.  These breeds have been bred so that the lower jaw is normal but the upper jaw is compressed leading to the smushed face appearance.  This cosmetic appearance can lead to issues with the respiratory system, eyes and cause dental issues.

Tips for Pilling Cats

Tips for getting cats to take their medicine


Getting a cat to take their medication is sometimes not an easy task!  If your cat won’t readily take medication in food, then sometimes we need to pop the pill in their mouth.  Free black and white catThere are some cats that are very difficult to pill and suspect that you are poisoning them when you try to hide the medication in food.  When giving your cat their medication turns into a fight, this isn’t good for you or your cat.  Your cat may start to hide from you, and you may get bit or scratched while trying to medicate your kitty.  Below are some tips for giving your cat medication.


Preventative Care for Indoor vs. Outdoor Cats

Indoor Cat

Definition: Never steps outside the house except for a car trip to vetfree cat picture


Outdoor Cat

Definition: A cat that leaves the house, even if only occasionally.  


  1. Goes outside regularly  

  2. Goes outside on or off a leash, supervised in yard or on patio or deck   

  3. Occasionally will “escape” or run outside due to an open door from kids or a dog being let outside  

  4. Goes to a groomer or a boarding facility


Indoor Cat Vaccinations  

  • Rabies Purevax once a year, starting at 12 weeks of age.  Rabies exposure for the indoor cat is usually through contact with a bat indoors.  Older homes are prone to having bats in the attic and this is how we see cats get exposed. If cats are not current on their rabies vaccine and exposed to a bat that is shown to have rabies or bitten by an animal that is not available for rabies testing, the Board of Animal Health will require quarantine for 45 - 180 days.

  • PRC for upper respiratory viruses and distemper.  The initial kitten vaccines are a series of 2-3 vaccines from 8-16 weeks of age; then a one year booster, then every 3 years.  In geriatric indoor cats, we may stop the vaccines as research has shown that their immunity may be good enough if not exposed to outdoor cats carrying the viruses.

  • Feline Leukemia vaccine.  It is recommended that all kittens, regardless of lifestyle recieve two vaccines, one month apart as kittens.  Adult cats that are indoor cats do not continue to receive the vaccine.

Lyme Disease Q&A

Lyme Disease in Dogs Q&A


What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme Disease is a condition caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans and dogs through the bite of infected black legged ticks.  Most people that get exposed to the Lyme bacteria get sick with symptoms ranging from fever and fatigue to infection in the joints and nervous system.  What we see in dogs is different.  Current studies demonstrate that 80-95% of dogs exposed to the bacteria never show signs of disease.  Because most of our canine patients don’t get clinically ill from infection, veterinarians talk about two different conditions in dogs; being exposed to the Lyme bacteria versus having Lyme Disease. tick picture free


Dogs that do get sick from Lyme bacteria most commonly will have lethargy, fever and sore joints.  However, there is a very serious and rare complication of Lyme Disease that can affect the kidneys, called Lyme Nephritis.  In this disease, an autoimmune problem develops in the kidneys triggered by the Lyme bacteria.  Dogs with Lyme Nephritis can have vomiting and poor appetite.  Their kidneys can go into failure quickly and there are limited treatment options.  Lyme Nephritis is fatal if a dog develops this complication.

Our Mission:

We provide the quality care our clients expect and their pets deserve, by relying on the expertise and
compassion of each team member.


Contact Us

Westgate Pet Clinic
4345 France Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55410
Directions to Our Clinic
(612)925-6297 Fax
(612)568-1405 Pharmacy

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