It’s no secret that our pets make us happy. We all love being bombarded with animal attention as soon as we walk through the front door, and even a cute pet photo can be enough to brighten our mood on a crummy day. But the connections we feel to our furry friends run even deeper than that! May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it’s a well-documented fact that pets have a lot to say in this conversation. So today we’re talking about our pets, our mental health, and the amazing links that exist between them.
Pet ownership encourages all sorts of wonderful improvement to our behaviors and our routines, but we’ll start even more basic than that: hormones! Hormones are chemicals that act as our body’s messengers. They can have a huge impact on our physical and mental health, and our pets can have a huge impact on our hormones!
Spending time around our pets can trigger releases of the feel-good hormone dopamine, and simple eye contact with our dogs can be enough to release the “cuddle hormone,” oxytocin. And on the flip side, spending time with pets can lower levels of cortisol, a hormone that contributes to stress and anxiety. So when cuddling up with your dog makes you feel better after a long day at the office, it’s not just in your head- it’s in your endocrine system as well!
We also owe a lot to endorphins, a group of hormones that are basically your body’s natural opioids (without the nasty side effects). One reliable way to trigger a rush of endorphins is through exercise, and just a few minutes of activity a day can bring about improvements in your physical and mental health. Even if you don’t have the time or the energy to hit the gym, a ten minute walk with your canine companion can still be enough to get those endorphins flowing!
Taking your dog out for a walk can also be a great chance for socialization, for you and your pup alike! While we all know socialization is important for our dogs, it’s just as important for us humans. Face-to-face socialization with others has been shown to help alleviate symptoms of depression, especially in individuals over 50 (mental health matters at every age!). So while you might think your trips to the dog park are just for your pup’s benefit, think again! Even short conversations with other dog owners can provide a boost to your mental state.
Of course, a lot more goes into owning a pet than cuddles and occasional walks in the park. They need to be fed, groomed, exercised and played with regularly, and require lots of attention and affection. While these responsibilities can seem daunting, especially if you’re already struggling to keep up with the other responsibilities in your life, the two can actually go hand in hand. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, find that taking care of another creature can improve pet owners’ sense of self-worth and their confidence in their ability to take care of themselves. Pet ownership also tends to come with routines, and building a routine to take care of your pet can help you stick to your own self-care routines as well. Not to mention, maintaining a regular routine is shown to help improve sleep! Who doesn’t love that?
Even now, we’re only beginning to understand the links between animals and mental health. New studies are coming out every day exploring these connections further, and the more we discover the more we can find ways to take advantage of these effects. Animal Assisted Therapy is becoming increasingly popular as a supplement to standard therapy regimens, while new studies are focusing on the impact animals might have on the development of children, especially those with certain conditions such as ADHD or autism.
So our pets are pretty cool, huh? But while they love us unconditionally and brighten our days just by being there, we know they can’t do everything. If you’re struggling with mental health and need help or guidance, don’t be afraid to reach out! Mental Health America has put together a wonderful guide that can help you figure out where to start, and can make the process of finding help a little less daunting. And if you won’t do it for our sake, then consider doing it for your pets’. We know it’s what they want.
On a personal note…
As veterinary professionals, Mental Health Awareness Month is a cause close to our hearts. 1 in 6 veterinarians will consider suicide at some point in their career, and the number of veterinarians experiencing extreme psychological distress has increased since the beginning of the pandemic. Not One More Vet is a nonprofit organization that aims to address the growing mental health crisis in the veterinary industry through education, outreach, peer support, and grant programs. Visit their website to learn more, make a charitable donation, or get involved as a volunteer.
The team at Concord Animal Hospital is excited to open a second veterinary clinic. Located in Burlington, MA, Cambridge Street Animal Hospital is scheduled to open in May 2022.
A happy effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a dramatic increase in pet ownership. While the proliferation of new pets is amazing, it’s straining the capacity of animal care services. “Our team sees a need for increased pet healthcare services across our region,” says Concord Animal Hospital co-owner and Hospital Administrator Katherine Wilson. “We hope to help meet the needs of a broader community with our sister hospital in Burlington.”
Three members of the Concord Animal Hospital team will move to the new hospital once it opens. Dr. Rhea McCullough will be the practicing Veterinarian, Stephanie Saglimbeni will be the Hospital Administrator and Charlene McLaughlin will be Head Groomer. Concord Animal Hospital has hired new team members to take their places in time for their transition in the spring.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to practice the same high-quality and compassionate care we deliver in Concord to the pets of Burlington,” says Dr. McCullough. You can follow the new hospital’s progress by visiting their website and following them on social media: cambridgestreetanimalhospital.com.
Clients who would prefer to have their pets cared for or groomed by the team at Cambridge Street Animal Hospital can either let our front desk know or sign up on the Cambridge Street Animal Hospital website!
In our continued efforts to provide the highest standard in medical care for your pets, we are thrilled to announce the addition of laparoscopic surgery to Concord Animal Hospital's services.
Laparoscopy has been used in human medicine for the past 25 years and the team at Concord Animal Hospital is excited to help drive its adoption in veterinary medicine.
“A laparoscopic procedure offers so many benefits for pets and owners,” says CAH owner and Veterinarian Dr. Wilson. “The incisions are significantly smaller, there is less tissue handling, and less time under anesthesia. All of this results in a faster and safer procedure for pets. The recovery time is days instead of weeks and your pet will be in far less pain.” Dr. Wilson adds, “yes, that does mean just a couple of days in a cone with exercise restriction instead of two weeks. This is a tremendous benefit, especially for puppy owners!”
Laparoscopy is not necessary for all surgical procedures. “Laparoscopy is a great alternative for procedures where the team needs to access deeper into the body cavity. These procedures require large incisions and handling of vessels and tissue with a traditional surgery,” notes Dr. Wilson. “A LOVE Spay, short for a laparoscopic ovariectomy, is a great spay alternative for large breed dogs, overweight pets, and for pets who have gone through a heat cycle.” With some exceptions, your veterinarian will recommend a traditional surgery for neuters of male pets instead of a laparoscopic surgery.
Effective immediately, CAH will not accept any new grooming pets or book future appointments for pets that aren’t also patients of the hospital.
A happy effect of the pandemic has been an explosion in pet ownership. Trapped at home, many of us are looking for some companionship and unconditional love in the form of a new furry family member.
While the proliferation of new pets is amazing, it’s straining the capacity of animal care services across the board. Many veterinary hospitals have stopped taking new clients and veterinary emergency hospitals either won’t see pets whose illness isn’t life-threatening or have very long wait times because they are simple working at full capacity.
We are extremely fortunate at CAH that we have capacity to care for our current pet patients while still taking on new patients. Our new and larger building plus the addition of two amazing veterinarians to our team have allowed us to continue to serve our community’s veterinary health care needs.
While we have had room on our hospital side to accommodate new pets while still serving our current patients, the same can't be said about our grooming service. A shortage of groomers combined with the surge in pets that need regular grooming have stretched our grooming capacity to the limit. Our two talented groomers, Cindy & Charlene, are booked out over three months and have long wait lists. Since most dogs require grooming every five or six weeks, we are simply not able to meet the needs of everyone who wants to use our grooming services. We don’t have room to expand our grooming space, nor can we clone our amazing groomers, Cindy and Charlene, despite our best wishes.
Because of this, we are limiting our grooming services. Effectively immediately, we can not take on any new grooming pets. This includes pets that are patients of the Concord Animal Hospital that haven’t been groomed with us previously. This is the first group we will add back once we feel we can properly take care of additional pets’ grooming needs on a consistent basis.
For pets that come to us for grooming but not for veterinary care, we will honor appointments that we have previously booked but will not book appointments going forward.
As always we are here to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have.
It’s been a year since COVID hit and a year since CAH has allowed clients into the building for their pets’ appointments. As with other COVID-imposed limitations on our lifestyle, we’re all sort of over it. We know many of you are all wondering when you’ll be allowed into this lovely new building of ours. Here's the scoop!
WHY HAVEN’T VETERINARY PRACTICES ALLOWED CLIENTS IN WITH THEIR PETS?
Over this past year you’ve been allowed into grocery stores, restaurants, and doctors offices. Why is the veterinarian different?
Veterinary medicine doesn’t allow for social distancing. For every pet's exam, two technicians assist a doctor in performing a physical exam, administering medications and vaccines, and performing blood draws. Allowing clients into every exam adds dozens of new exposure opportunities for our clients and our team every day, hundreds per week.
While you are permitted into your doctor appointments, these appointments are not possible without you present. While not preferable, it has been possible to deliver healthcare to pets while their owners wait outside throughout this pandemic. Few veterinarians have chosen to allow clients into their buildings during this time. As a profession, most of us determined that the risk to our clients' and team's health and safety outweighed the benefits. Additionally, if CAH needed to close due to a COVID-19 outbreak, we would not be here to care for your pets.
WHEN WILL I BE ALLOWED IN?
Veterinarians and veterinary workers in Massachusetts are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting in mid-April. We plan to give our team a chance to be fully vaccinated and then begin welcoming one client in (likely still masked) with their pet in by July, hopefully sooner. Some transactions will still be done curbside, such as picking up food or prescriptions and grooming and technician appointments.
Many of us have know you for years (decades even!) and we really miss you - it will be good to have you back. Also, we are beyond excited to FINALLY show you all our new building!
FINALLY, OUR THANKS TO YOU
It's hard to find the words to express our gratitude to you all for trusting us to bring your pets into the building without you. This year has been very hard for parents of nervous pets and very sick pets. We also know that it’s tough for our new pet parents who’ve never met us in person – we’re asking for trust we’ve had no chance to earn. Thank you all for your trust and patience over the past year and for continuing to allow us to do the job we love, caring for your pets.
Five years into ownership of Concord Animal Hospital and the Wilson’s are feeling grateful.
A little over five years into ownership of the Concord Animal Hospital, and Dr. Wilson and I (Katherine Wilson) are reflecting on the journey we’ve taken with our team. With Thanksgiving approaching during a year like no other, here are five things we’re grateful for:
During a challenging year we have a lot to be thankful for. We hope you are also able to find your silver linings during this Thanksgiving. From all of us at CAH, we wish you and your families (including the furry family members!) have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
Concord Animal Hospital (CAH) is thrilled to announce the addition of Dr. Kaitlin Rondeau to our team of skilled and compassionate veterinarians! Dr. Rondeau joins Drs. Wilson, Carpenter, Hardie, Fritz, McCullough, and the rest of the CAH team to care for your beloved, furry family members.
Katherine and Dr. Stephen Wilson purchased CAH five years ago and the hospital has been growing since. However, an interesting effect of the pandemic has been lots of people adopting new dogs and cats. People are also home more often and noticing their pets' ailments that they might miss in normal life while off at work or school. The results is lots of new CAH patients and appointment requests for current patients. We always want to accommodate both new patients and our current patients when they need us the most, so we've been expanding our team or technicians, receptionists, and now doctors!
Dr. Rondeau is the perfect addition to our team. She is warm and smart and brings the experiences of her ten year career to CAH. A graduate of Pine Manor College and the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Rondeau previously practiced at Middlesex County Animal Hospital and Hudson Animal Hospital. In her free time, she enjoys running and spending time with her family. Dr. Rondeau is a native of neighboring Chelmsford. She still lives there with her husband, two children, and their cat, Gracie.
For more information or to request an appointment with Dr. Rondeau or another CAH veterinarian, please visit concordanimalhospital.com.
Learn more about grooming at CAH and request an appointment!
Paws up for beautiful kitties!
Cats will only be groomed on Mondays, a day when we don’t offer dog grooming. This will give cats a quiet, dog-free space. Cats in for grooming will be brushed & combed. Mats will be removed with a brush or clipper and kitties will be given a bath and blow dry. While we know that owners would often prefer an all-over trim, leaving the hair long, cats don’t tolerate that. Instead, long-haired cats can be clipped down or given a lion cut.
Charlene will also trim your cat’s nails and clean their ears while they are in for grooming. Prices range from approximately $75-100 depending on the cat’s condition and behavior.
Because cat grooming appointments are limited, we are only offering cat grooming to feline patients of the animal hospital.
Yesterday Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency due to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). We understand and respect that many in our community are concerned about coronavirus exposure and we want to create a safe working environment for our clients and our team members.
WHAT WE'RE DOING
At Concord Animal Hospital, we clean exam rooms after every visit, clean the hospital twice daily, and have professional cleaners deep clean the office weekly. We always adhere to these strict sterilization standards to keep our pet patients safe from communicable diseases like kennel cough, but it positions us well to prevent transition of illness between humans.
We are increasing our already rigid cleaning standards and reminding employees that they must stay home if they exhibit signs of illness. We ask clients who are ill to either reschedule their pet’s appointment for a future date or have someone else bring their pet to their veterinary visit.
As always, call or email us with any questions of concerns!
WHAT IF YOU'RE AT A HIGH RISK
Some of our clients are at a high risk if infected with COVID-19 or live with someone who is. If you are concerned and want to limit your exposure, you can call to check in from your car to avoid the lobby. You can also opt to stay in your car for the entire visit: we will take your pet from your car into the hospital. We can have you on speaker phone while we examine your pet, return them to your car, and we can take payment over the phone.
WHAT ABOUT PETS
We also want to update you with the latest information available on the coronavirus and pets. Since this illness is so new, much remains unknown. Thus far animals don’t appear to be adversely affected by coronavirus, though one dog tested positive at low levels in Hong Kong. This dog didn't exhibit any symptoms and is owned by a COVID-19 positive person. However, if you suspect you have COVID-19 we recommend that you limit contact with pets until we know more about the virus. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, you should have another member of your household take care of your pet. “If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.”
Throughout construction the team will minimize any impact to their patients. “We considered remodeling the current facility but were concerned that it would be too disruptive to the care we deliver to our patients,” says co-owner and Hospital Administrator, Katherine Wilson. “It’s really important that we’re here when our patients need us, so we’ll build the new facility behind the current one and be fully operational throughout construction. We’ll end up with a building that’s perfectly suited to the needs of our patients and the medicine we want to practice.”
With our new building, our team can’t wait to offer you and your pets:
We can’t wait to show you our new facility and to continue to partner with you to care for your pets. Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns.
Celebrating keeping pets happy and healthy with specials for friends old and new
Put your paws together for Dr. Stephen and Katherine Wilson!
One year ago, the animal-friendly couple bought Concord Animal Hospital (CAH), located at 245 Baker Avenue in Concord, MA. And they got right to work!
“We wanted to build on CAH’s 63 years of service to animals by updating the clinic to provide the very best in compassionate care to pets,” explains Dr. Wilson.
Priority #1: Put together a great team of caring and highly-skilled veterinarians and animal care staff. Today, patient-favorite Dr. Hardie, new face Dr. McCullough, and Dr. Wilson, along with the rest of the exceptional CAH staff all work together and with you to keep your cats, dogs, and pocket pets healthy and happy.
The addition of new equipment including a digital full body and dental x-ray enhance the quality of care your pet receives at CAH. Other updates such as an outside dog walking area, a bright and freshly-painted interior, new furniture and pet portraits by the very talented Fred Levy also help you and your pet relax during your visit.
“If you love your pet, you should love your vet too!” says Katherine, who grew up in Concord and has loved the chance to reconnect with former neighbors and welcome new friends to CAH. “From the moment you walk in our door at CAH, you and your pet will feel our dedication to providing exceptional veterinary care.”
TIME TO CELEBRATE! New friends - Come experience the quality of care at CAH with a free wellness exam! Use the code NEWCLIENT when booking your pet’s appointment and visit our Specials page for more details on this offer.
BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT NOW: Call (978) 369-3503 or email to make an appointment now!