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Managing my Pet’s Medical Bill

We all want to provide the best care possible for our pets, but sometimes figuring out the financial side of providing care can be stressful. 

At Westgate Pet Clinic, we want to make sure that our clients have options for managing their veterinary bill, and budgeting for future expenses. 

Managing a veterinary bill when your pet is sick. 

No one wants to have their pet become ill.  Not only is it worrisome to see your pet sick, but having a large, unplanned for bill can be very stressful.  We offer several alternative payment options for clients to help manage their veterinary expenses.

Care Credit:  Care Credit is a credit card for your pet.  This card allows no-interest financing at Westgate Pet Clinic for up to 6 months.  This card can be used any time at Westgate, and most of our local emergency clinics and referral hospitals also accept Care Credit!  Care Credit provides an instant line of credit at each visit and allows you to easily spread your expenses into manageable monthly payments.

Payment Banc: If Care Credit is not an option for you, our clinic has also partnered with Payment Banc.  After a $25 set-up fee and a 25% down payment,  Payment Banc will divide your veterinary bill into monthly payments for up to a 12 month period.  Each month, Payment Banc will process the pre-determined amount on your personal credit card. 

Budgeting for Well Pet Visits. 

Care Credit and Payment Banc are not just options for when your pet gets sick.  You can use these budgeting tools for Wellness Visits, Heartworm and Flea Tick preventatives, Vaccines and Medications!  If you would like more information on using Care Credit or Payment Banc for your pet’s Wellness Visits, please ask a team member about how to get started with either of these payment options.

Asking for an Estimate

We are always happy to provide you with an estimate before services are performed.  Just ask! 

Open Communication with your Veterinarian

All of our doctors are comfortable working with you to develop a treatment plan that you are comfortable with both financially and philosophically.  Open communication with your veterinarian about financial concerns, or “how far you want to go” with treatment is imperative for you to get the care you want.  Veterinarians are used to working with clients that have a wide range budgets and philosophies about health care.  Bringing up your concerns and wishes for your pet from the onset will allow for the best working relationship.

Pet Insurance

Pet Insurance is another way to budget for your pet’s medical expenses.   For more information about Pet Health Insurance, click here. 

Petly Access

What is Petly? 

Petly is a free service that allows you to access your pet’s medical file and more!  With Petly you can:

  • View and print your pet’s vaccine status
  • Your veterinarian can share lab results
  • Make appointments and prescription requests on-line.
  • Read up-to date pet health articles


REQUEST A PETLY ACCOUNT:  frontdesk@westgatepetclinicmn.com

Knowing when it's time to say goodbye...

We've all been there. Our beloved pet is getting old. He's sleeping more, moving a little slower and he doesn't seem to be hearing as well. He still likes to play ball but not as yorkie freevigorously as he used to and he tires more quickly. We start to wonder, is it time?

Having pets in our lives is a great joy. From the first introduction into our household to becoming part of the family to growing older, our pets are beside us every step of the way. We don't think about tomorrow or "what ifs". We just enjoy the time we have.

Our pets age many times faster than we do. A 10 year old dog or cat is about 56 human years and larger breed dogs age even more rapidly. So while our pets are still kittens or puppies in our hearts, they are actually quite a bit older.

What do we do when we are faced with the declining health of our pet?  What factors come into play in deciding when is the right time and how far do we go?   The decision is a very personal one and different for each pet owner.

It all comes down to quality of life. Quality of life is very subjective. It depends on your pet's disease process, his/her personality and your own personal beliefs. There are, however, some things to consider when evaluating the quality of your pet's life.

Best Veterinarian in Edina 2016!


Best of Edina 16

Congratulations to Westgate Pet Clinic for winning "Best Veterinarian in Edina" for 2016!  A special thank-you to all of our dedicated clients that voted for us.  Words cannot express how much we value and appreciate you and your "furry children".  Also, thank you to Edina Magazine for featuring us in their 2016 "Best Of" issue.   

Excercise in the Winter Time

Avoiding weight gain in our canine population during the wintertimeexercising away those winter blues!

Winter monthsa time of "semi-hibernation"Icy Nose

One of our passions at Westgate Pet Clinic is finding ways to help keep our canine population lean and healthy all year round.  Often during the winter months, pets get less activity as we quit venturing outside as much.  Walking, running, or dog park visits become less frequent, but we tend to put the same amount of food in the bowl for our pets. Often at preventative health visits to the clinic, we observe a seesaw pattern of weight gain and weight loss during the year, with most pets gaining at least a mild-moderate amount of weight during the wintertime when people and pets are less active.  Most of these pets do lose some weight over spring, summer, or fall, but the most common trend is to steadily have at least some overall gain of weight each year, which compounds issues of inactivity in our older pets as they develop mobility issues related to arthritis or injuries that either develop or are aggravated by weight gain.

What are things we can do to help our dogs avoid weight gain in the winter months?

Calorie Restriction

Calorie restriction is one simple way to avoid weight gain.  Calories unused = weight gain.  If schedules are too busy for exercise (or if you or your pet really dislike the cold and prefer some TLC on the couch during the winter months), then reducing the amount of food and/or treats fed is an easy way of limiting weight gain over the winter.  Because every dog is different, I would recommend you consult with your Westgate Pet Clinic veterinarian about how much reduction would be recommended for your pet.   We want to make sure that each pet is still getting a complete and balanced diet from their daily calories.


Skijoring is a fun way to help your dog stay healthy and lean during the wintertime.  It is also a great way for you and your pet to bond and enjoy some really great places in the Twin Cities area. 

What is skijoring?  Skijoring is a sport in which a dog (or dogs) assist a cross-country skier. 1-3 dogs is the most common use, and both the skier and the dog are usually working in this sport.  The human involved gets exercise through using their skis and poles, and the dog gets exercise through running and pulling (to various degrees).  Equipment is fairly minimal, involving a skijoring harness for the human involved, a sled dog harness for the dog, and the duo or the team is connected with a length of rope (usually a nylon rope made with a quick release). 

Sporting breeds and northern breeds (Siberian and Alaskan Huskies, and Samoyeds) are the most common skijoring dogs.  Any large, energetic dog will usually love to skijor, but even smaller dogs under 40# may be out running alongside their owners (just don’t expect a lot of pulling action!).   Dog temperament and level of motivation probably have more to do with skijoring success than the size of the dog.  In my own personal experience, our springer spaniel mix around 45 pounds was a much better skijoring dog than our 65 pound lab-shepherd mix!

Where can one skijor with their dog in the Twin Cities area? Several opportunities exist through the Three Rivers Park District.  There are designated trails at Cleary Lake and Eagle Lake regional parks.  A Three Rivers Park District cross-country ski pass is required on these trails.  Multi-use trails at Baker, Crow-Hassen, Elm Creek, and Murphy Hanrehan do not require a pass or permit.  For more details, see https://www.threeriversparks.org/activities/skijoring.aspx.

Where can one find skijoring equipment?  A couple good options are Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis or Black Ice Dog Sledding Equipment, a catalog company.  

Ready to go beyond recreational skijoring?  There are usually at least a few opportunities a winter for skijoring competition, including a skijoring event put on by the Minneapolis-based Loppet Foundation during the annual Loppet Festival.  For more information about this local race, see http://www.loppet.org/cityoflakesloppet/loppet-events/saturday/chuck-dons-7k-skijoring-loppet/

Agility is for the dogs!

If cross-country skiing is just not your thing, then consider a class at a local dog obedience school to allow your pet to burn some calories learning the sport of agility.  Your dog can zoom up the a-frame, cross over a high dogwalk, overcome fear of the bump that inevitably comes with the drop of the teeter-totter, weave through a set of poles (easier said than done!), pause at the table, leap over jumps, and run through a tunnel to the home stretch.  Each course is different and the possibilities are endless, making it a constantly challenging activity, both physically and mentally for both dog and handler. 

Two places in the area that offer agility classes are The Canine Coach! and Twin Cities Obedience Training Club.  These dog schools also offer basic through advanced obedience classes, which are usually a prerequisite to agility classesduring agility, dogs are usually off leash, and they must be able to respond to their handlers commands (think of the confusion that could otherwise ensue!).  For more information on agility opportunities, contact these dog schools. 

Health considerations related to skijoring or agility

Because ice and crusty snow encountered during skijoring may be a risk for lacerations or abrasions of the foot pads, I would recommend using Musher’s Secret, an emollient that helps condition your dog’s pawswe have this available at Westgate Pet Clinic.  I would also recommend investing in some dog booties that will protect your dogs feet.  These will also help keep down snow clumping of the fur between the toes in some of our breeds and make running on a very cold surface more comfortable.  If you ever notice that your pet is having issues with a pad (licking, chewing, limping, or an obviously injured pad), prompt veterinary attention can help the problem from escalating. 

With either sport, watch for any limping and have this addressed by your Westgate Pet Clinic veterinarian.  Also, make sure you take cues from your pet.  If they are running or pulling less than they usually do, or refusing or missing obstacles on the agility course, then maybe they need to stop for the day, take some days off, or do less distance or duration of time for their sessions. 

Canine athletes working hard need to stay hydrated.  Make sure to bring fresh water for your dog and avoid community type dog bowls for concerns of canine respiratory and gastrointestinal pathogens including viruses.  Offer small, frequent amounts of water, allowing them to drink larger amounts only after they are recovered from an exercise session (the latter will decrease risk of a sometimes fatal condition called GDV, gastric dilation volvulus). 

Health considerations for our canine athletes on the bench

Some dogs are naturally predisposed through their anatomy to have issues arise with exercise.  Also, our aging population may have degenerative conditions that begin to show through in their exercise sessions.  If you think your pet is having any problems with mobility or is showing any signs of pain during or after exercise, please see your veterinarian at Westgate Pet Clinic to have them evaluated.  Because exercise is so important for maintaining ideal body weight, mobility, as well as giving our pets the mental stimulation that they need, we always hope to find the right balance for them to continue doing what they love and enjoy the highest quality of life.  If your pet is having more days on the bench than not, consider canine rehabilitation exercises through Dr. Teresa Hershey at Westgate Pet Clinicshe will work with you and your pet to troubleshoot those issues that are keeping your canine athlete from doing the things they love the most. 

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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