Our Community Partners

Caring for pets means meeting a wide range of needs beyond health care. Fortunately, there’s a whole community of organizations and businesses eager to help.

Here’s where to meet the local groups that we recommend to our pet-loving families.

Animal Wellness Center - Focus on Felines

AWC is committed to the physical and psychological wellbeing of all cats. We understand their need for gentle handling, compassionate care and a quiet environment designed to minimize their stress. Download the CATegorical Care: An Owner's Guide to America's #1 Companion.

Visit Focus on Felines

American Association of Feline Practitioners

The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has recognized VCA Animal Wellness Center of Maple Grove as a “Gold Status” Cat Friendly Practice.

The AAFP launched the Cat Friendly Practice Certification Program to provide a framework for creating a positive practice environment for cats. This includes both medical care dedicated to the needs of cats as well as knowledgeable staff members who understand feline friendly handling and nursing care. The goal is to improve the treatment, handling and overall healthcare of cats.

We assessed our approach to the care of our feline patients and completed a self-assessment checklist that shows we have incorporated the standard criteria to be cat friendly. With our current standards and guidelines, we completed the application and were awarded the Gold Status, the highest achievement possible.

As a Cat Friendly Practice, we are committed to continuing to learn ways to make your cat’s visit more pleasant. We also have adapted an environment that is less stressful to cats and meets the unique needs of cats. Here are some of the guidelines we are following as a practice to help with the needs of our feline patients:

• Feline-only exam rooms. We have exam rooms available that are to be used for only our feline patients. This reduces the potential odor from canine patients, which can be stressful for our kitties.
• Use of Feliway and cat-sacs. We utilize multiple techniques to help reduce the stress of our kitties, including Feliway (which is a natural pheromone used to reduce stress) and cat-sacs, which allow our fearful patients to hide during an exam.
• Anesthesia. Our feline patients are treated as individuals and each anesthetic protocol is designed to fit their medical needs.
• Handling techniques. Our skilled technicians are trained to handle our feline patients with techniques that reduce their stress.

Dr. Carolyn Apker, Dr. Laura Durant-Elliott, and Sarah Krats, CVT have also been designated as the Cat Advocates of VCA AWC. These individuals will ensure that the high standards of feline care in the practice are maintained.

Visit American Association of Feline Practitioners

Fear Free

Fear Free – where veterinary health care professionals “Take the pet out of petrified” and “Put the treat into treatment!” and where pet owners are “Helping pets live happy, healthy, full lives”. Fear Free’s mission is to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them.

Visit Fear Free

Low Stress Handling University

VCA Animal Wellness Center is devoted to the physical and psychological welfare of every patient. Our goal is to recognize fear and anxiety in our patients and adjust our approach to meet them at their level of need. Ideally we are able to start a plan early on, before fear becomes an engrained emotional response. If your pet has already developed a fear of the veterinary office, we can help! Using low stress techniques, implementing a behavior modification program, using a gentle sedative or trying a combination of approaches will help to make your pet’s visit to the veterinarian less stressful.

We will handle all patients gently and in a way that reassures them we are on their side. We meet their needs for mental and physical comfort and are ready to adjust our handling and treatments to help every animal through their visits with as much comfort and ease as possible.

Our staff is Low Stress Certified. This program was developed by Dr. Sophia Yin. Dr. Yin was a Veterinarian, Animal Behaviorist, author and an expert on low stress handling. She has been a leader and advocate for educating the animal health community on how to handle animals with the least amount of stress possible. Her philosophy is to “lead like a leader in a dance and to be able to understand and use body language to help communicate clearly. Reward desirable behaviors and remove rewards for undesirable behaviors.” For more information on Dr. Yin, please visit her website at drsophiayin.com.

Additionally, Dr. Carolyn Apker has been sitting on the Advisory Board for the Fear Free Practice Movement for over two years. She has been actively working with a team of Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorists and is a committee chair for the American Veterinary Animal Behavior Society.

A Fear Free veterinary practice involves incorporating Dr. Yin’s philosophy of low stress handling and applying it to the veterinary visit. By constantly monitoring the pet’s level of physical and psychological stress throughout their visit we’re able to use various techniques that lessen their fear and improve their overall experience. Using low stress techniques in combination with something that the animal finds rewarding like a food treat, or possibly using a gentle anti-anxiety medication to help them feel more relaxed help us achieve this goal. Being afraid is not ok, and the use of physical force and coercion are not ok. It is a well-documented fact that calm and comfortable patients (dog, cat and human) recover more quickly and completely than their nervous counterparts.

We are proud to be a practice that holds ourselves to a higher standard and have been a leader in practicing low stress techniques for several years. We are always trying to improve techniques and approaches in order to give your best friends the best medical care possible with the least amount of stress possible.

Visit Low Stress Handling University

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