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Kitty Grimace? Your Feline May Be In Pain!

September 1st, 2021 by Ima Admin

Internet sensation “Grumpy Cat” is legendary for his grimace. Who knew that pulling a face is actually a clue for pet parents who are trying to assess their kitty’s comfort level? A team of researchers at the University of Montreal’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital has developed a pain assessment tool called the Feline Grimace Scale (FGS). It’s a good topic to explore in September, which is IVAPM’s Pet Pain Awareness month.

Pain management is often overlooked in cats and they are prescribed fewer analgesic drugs compared to dogs, according to the study. Read the rest of this entry »


Telemedicine for Aging Pets

May 13th, 2020 by Laurie Brush


In the era of COVID19 social distancing and stay at home orders, many pet parents have had the added stress of managing disease in their aging pets.

The crisis has ushered in a new era of veterinary consultation via telemedicine. This area of service has experienced exponential growth among routine care veterinarians as well as specialists. However, there are a few important things to consider when using veterinary telemedicine. Learn more in our blog post. Read the rest of this entry »


Assessing the Risks of Lyme Disease and Prevention in Dogs

April 17th, 2020 by Laurie Brush


Half the black-legged deer ticks you and your pet encounter on a Sunday stroll are carriers of a disease that can be deadly. The Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium is zoonotic, meaning it can infect both humans and man’s best friend with Lyme Disease.

For your fur friend, if left untreated, canine Lyme disease can damage the heart, nervous system, and kidneys. Chronically infected dogs may develop a life-threatening form of kidney inflammation and dysfunction. Long-term, Lyme can lead to arthritic-like joint stiffness and lameness. Read the rest of this entry »


COVID-19 Updates: Hospice Telemedicine Now Available, Home Euthanasia Still Available

April 1st, 2020 by Laurie Brush

UPDATE: Hospice and Quality of Life Assessments NOW AVAILABLE BY VIDEO

  • Our doctors are not currently visiting homes for hospice consultations, but we are now offering telemedicine visits with our doctors as an alternative. Call (616) 498-1316 to schedule your appointment. You may also, using your mobile phone, DOWNLOAD THE MEDICI APP  here (opens in a new window.)
  • Once you’ve registered on the APP, please enter THIS code to connect to Dr. Amy Hoss and the Heaven at Home Team: EWEKZRVSAS

 


UPDATE: Heaven at Home’s COVID-19 Protocols for Home Euthanasia Visits:

In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we have made some changes to our protocols to protect our clients as well as our doctors and staff, so that we can continue to help pets pass peacefully and comfortably at home. We are following CDC, IAAHCP, and AVMA guidelines.

  • Our doctors will continue to help families say goodbye at home, either outdoors or in a garage or similar light traffic enclosure that can accommodate the 6-foot distance recommendation. We are attempting to avoid indoor exposure for the safety of our staff and your household.
  • Only immediate family, up to 2 people, can attend the appointment but no children under 10 years old may be present. All other family members or friends may attend via Skype, FaceTime, or other technology.
  • We ask all that will be present to please wash their hands just before the doctor arrives.
  • Our doctor will maintain a 6-foot distance from you and your family at all times, both for your protection and for hers. You will be asked to step away from your pet while she gives the initial sedative injection, then you may return as they drift off to sleep. You will be asked to step away again while she places an IV catheter and gives the second injection, then you may return as they pass peacefully.
  • When scheduling, please inform our staff if you or anyone in the home, is sick, experiencing symptoms, or have been exposed to the virus or other illness.
  • We are taking payment over the phone by credit card when you call to schedule. Please let us know if this is not an option for you.
  • Our doctors will go over the consent form with you when they arrive and ask for your verbal consent to proceed, as well as confirm your aftercare wishes for your pet.
  • We are only able to accept favorite blankets or toys to accompany the pet to cremation if your pet is contained in a body care bag, which is available for purchase. Please ask for more information when scheduling.
  • Our doctors will follow disinfectant protocols for themselves and their equipment, including disinfecting their supplies and stretchers, after each appointment. They will, as always, use fresh blankets for each pet.
  • Unfortunately, our doctors will be unable to offer hugs of comfort to our clients during their visit. Please know that this is actually one of the hardest adjustments for our doctors, as they desperately want to comfort you during this heart-wrenching time.

The Pet Effect: Dogs May Help Heart Health

January 31st, 2020 by Laurie Brush

Image of dog with stuffed valentines heart in mouth to depict the heart-healthy effect of pets on humans

February is heart health month!

Make sure you give Fido a lovely Valentine this month; he or she may be giving your heart a healthy boost. A growing body of evidence suggests that having a dog may help with heart health by lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels and even reducing mortality after cardiac events.

One study published recently reviewed patient data from more than 3.8 million people in 10 separate studies. Compared to non-owners, dog owners had a 24% reduced risk of dying from any cause; a 31% reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular-related issues; and a 65% reduced risk dying after a heart attack, according to the reports published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Read the rest of this entry »


Better Ways to Say Goodbye: Pet Hospice & Euthanasia

September 30th, 2019 by Laurie Brush

It’s a tough subject, but our companion animals age faster than we do. It’s hard to see them suffer, and even harder to imagine life without them. What if in their final chapter you could reduce their pain? What if, when the time was right, they could end their life story in the comfort of their favorite place, with the people they love?

“Those are the questions that fueled the rise of the home hospice movement not all that long ago,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice. Read the rest of this entry »


How Can You Tell if Your Pet is in Pain?

August 30th, 2019 by Laurie Brush

September is Animal Pain Awareness month.

Our companion animals often instinctively hide their pain. It’s a habit that has evolved as a survival mechanism to prevent predators from targeting them.

“Pain in dogs and cats can be difficult to measure,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Hospice, which provides palliative and euthanasia services throughout West Michigan. Read the rest of this entry »


One Year Later: Michigan Dog Flu Epidemic

August 23rd, 2019 by Laurie Brush

By this time last summer, Michigan was amidst a rapid spread of Canine Influenza, three years after an outbreak of new strain H3N2 in Chicago. In Grand Rapids, some doggie daycares closed and mounted mass vaccination efforts while pet parents sidelined social opportunities for 10-30 days to confine the spread. Meanwhile, confirmed cases of CIV spread across the US, with approximately 20% of affected pets contracting the severe, life-threatening form. Read the rest of this entry »


Is Lepto Lurking in That Puddle?

April 11th, 2019 by Laurie Brush

Spring rains bring flowers, but pet peril can lurk in standing water, mud puddles, and even swollen rivers and ponds. Invisible bacteria, 250 strains strong, lurk in warm, wet, stagnant areas. Leptospira can fight for survival for months in these areas after being shed by wildlife and rodents when they urinate.

Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can affect both dogs and humans, and be transmitted from dogs to humans. It can cause severe kidney or liver failure, meningitis, difficulty breathing, and in some cases, lead to death. In some dogs, for reasons unknown, it can also be asymptomatic. Read the rest of this entry »


BalanceIt: A Unique Approach to Nutrition for Companion Animals

February 13th, 2019 by Laurie Brush

BalanceIt, a vet-guided nutrition companion for pets including senior dogs and cats in West Michigan

Many pet parents struggle to know the best food, and method to feed their companion animals. Commercial pet food recalls can be scary, as can news about the FDA investigating boutique & grain-free dog food as a potential cause of hidden heart disease.

Veterinarians typically recommend commercial or prescription foods that meet these guidelines developed by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association:

  1. Food is formulated by full-time, board-certified Ph.D. veterinarian nutritionists.
  2. Food is manufactured by a company that conducts extensive live feeding trials.
  3. Company’s R&D team publishes peer-reviewed research.

Yet well-meaning pet food stores often direct pet parents toward heavily marketed boutique brands that do not meet these guidelines. Read the rest of this entry »