Practice Manager’s Minute









Get Walking Already! - Walk Your Dog Month

Welcome to 2015!  I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to get started on my personal ‘New Year, New You’ push to work off all those holiday treats.  It feels like we do this every year, but this year, I think I’m going to make it happen.  How, you ask?  One word: Rex.

Walk Your Pet Month RESIZED

This year, I’m enlisting the assistance of my dog, Rex.  January is national Walk Your Pet Month and with that in mind, I will be out there getting my exercise while Rex gets his.  Walking your dog (or hey, your cat too) can be a great source of exercise and bonding between you and your pet.  There are a few things to keep in mind when walking your pet.

The most important thing about taking your pet for a walk is to ensure that your pet is securely leashed.  Pennsylvania Dog Law requires that all dogs are leashed and under control.  We suggest avoiding retractable leashes.  Despite the apparent convenience of a retractable leash, if you are not paying careful and quick attention to the button, then these leashes can be dangerously ineffective at stopping a pet from running out in front of a car or running over to say ‘hello’ to an unknown pet.  When your pet does dash off in those circumstances you could hurt your hands trying to push the brake mechanism, or even have your pet snap the cord (believe me, we’ve heard this one)!  We tend to like harnesses.  But regardless whether you choose a chest harness, neck collar, or facial halter it is absolutely essential that you have it fitted in a manner so that the pet will not be able to slip out of it.  Loose restraints lead to a dangerous false sense of security.

The second thing to keep in mind is your pet’s need for protection from parasites and diseases.   As soon as you walk out the door, you encounter possibilities for your pet to become host to a plethora of tiny pests and parasites.  Fleas, ticks, and other external parasites can range from slightly annoying to difficult and expensive to treat.  Even though preventatives are not 100% fool proof, you may all the more be playing roulette with the infectious disease agents that external parasites can carry if your pet is not on a monthly flea and tick preventative.  In addition, your pet will be subjected to discomfort and trauma if they contract parasites and the diseases they can carry.  An ounce of prevention is absolutely worth a pound of cure here, so make sure your pet is protected!  Don’t forget the heartworm preventatives.  One of their most important jobs (despite the obvious “heartworm” prevention) is the protection they give your pet from common intestinal worms.  Finally, while talking about prevention, it almost goes without saying to ensure that your pet is up to date on vaccines before taking them out!

Lastly, keep the conditions of your walk in mind.  What is the area like where you’ll be walking?  Is there a possibility for sharp objects?  What is the weather like?  For shorter coat-length breeds, do you have a sweater or jacket to help keep the pet from getting too cold?  How long will you be walking?  Will your route be flat or will it have inclines?  Answering all these questions will allow you to be prepared and for you to prepare your pet with the appropriate gear for the walk.

I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to some quality time with my canine walking buddy!  If your pet is up to date on vaccines, well-protected from pests and parasites, and prepared for the walk you have in mind, I don’t doubt that your pet is looking forward to it as well.  Get out there and walk your pets this January and beyond!

Mosquito Day

Mosquito Day 2014

An important holiday takes place this year on August 20th 2014.  For those of you who don’t know, that Wednesday is designated “Mosquito Day.”  Hooray!  Wait, what?  Why am I excited about “Mosquito Day,” you ask?  Well, I am excited because I know that my pets are prepared!  Mosquitos are found in all 50 states and there are over 170 different species of mosquito in the Unites States alone!

Among other diseases, mosquitos carry the larval stage of heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis).   An infestation can create severe problems in your pet’s health or even prove fatal.  Dogs and cats can both be negatively affected by heartworm disease.  The heartworm changes into its adult form over the course of about 6 months in your pet.   The symptoms of heartworm disease in your pet are often subtle at first, such as general lethargy and difficulty breathing.

The treatment for heartworm is complex, expensive, and potentially dangerous!  Prevention is the best way to keep your pet healthy.  We carry safe, effective heartworm prevention products in our office that are given once per month.  Testing for their presence is also advised yearly, whether or not your pet is on preventative.

Who wants mosquitos around in the first place?  Remove mosquito habitats from your yard and living areas.   According to, removing standing water in any form from around your home will help reduce the mosquito population.  Remember to check for standing water in and around gutter clogs, flowerpots, unused plastic pools, tree stumps that collect rainwater, around outside faucets and air conditioning units, tarps used to cover vehicles, and in irrigated gardens.  If you have birdbaths or outdoor water features in your yard, you can also look for top feeding predacious minnows, or mosquito fish, that will eat the larva on the surface.

So what good is a holiday called “Mosquito Day?”  It’s a perfect reminder to make sure that you and your pets are well-protected from all of the headaches a tiny little inspect can cause!  If your pet is faithfully using monthly heartworm preventatives, congratulations!  Remember to enjoy your peace of mind tomorrow.  If your pet is not up-to-date, give our office a call for more information or to ask about getting your pet on prevention for heartworms.

Spring Safety Tips

Spring Tips 2014

If you’re anything like us, you’re excited to see more of the sun and feel more of the warmer weather coming our way.  The only ones more excited than us would be our pets; they’re looking forward to more walks, more time outside, and more playing with four-legged friends!  As spring approaches, there are several things to keep in mind as you’re enjoying time with your pets.

  • Winter storms are very good at knocking down sticks.  If your dog likes to play fetch (or keep away!), a Frisbee or ball is a much better choice because sticks can cause injury to the mouth or accidental ingestion issues.
  • Look for a good guide on toxic plants like that on  Springtime growth of those plants can create a possibility of poisoning your pet should they ingest something they find in the yard.
  • On the topic of toxic materials, make sure that any antifreeze is put away, out of reach for all your pets.  Antifreeze can taste sweet to a cat or dog, but is highly toxic and can prove fatal very quickly, even in small amounts!
  • When spring cleaning rolls around, ensure that the cleaning products you use are pet-approved or non-toxic in nature.  If you have any questions about the pet-friendliness of a cleaning product you use, feel free to give our office a call!
  • Heartworm and flea and tick prevention is a topic that applies for pet owners year-round.  Fleas and other parasites can affect your pet even in the middle of winter.  If your pets are not on prevention products though, now is the perfect time to start.
  • More outside time means more opportunities for your pet to get lost.  Make sure that your pet has their identification tags on and consider microchipping your pet for the best protection if they are lost.  Having a microchip could be the difference between a swift reunion and a lengthy wait for that phone call!
  • The importance of having secure screens in place is tough to overstate.  In addition to keeping pests and parasites out of your house, it can also help to prevent any cats from injuring themselves from a fall.
  • Spring is when I look forward to sprucing up the ol’ homestead with a coat of paint or maybe a few fence repairs.  Remember that even though you know what to do with a hammer and nails or the staple gun, your pet can get seriously injured around nails, staples, and a large variety of the chemicals used in home improvement projects.  Keep sound levels in mind when you work on the house as well; pets’ ears tend to be more sensitive than your own!

Spring is an exciting time of year, and as long as we are careful to keep our pets’ needs in mind, it can be just as exciting and enjoyable for our pets as for us!

Dental Health Season - Part 2

Rex DHS 2014Our most recent dental patient, Rex, now with shiny teeth!

For those of you that may have missed our announcements in the previous few weeks, February and March are Dental Health Season at Blandon Family Veterinary Practice!  We have had several furry family members in for everything from a routine cleaning to serious extractions and all of them are now enjoying the benefits of good dental health.  For good dental health, here are some things you can do for your pet at home to help in the promotion of good dental health.

In the same way that you brush your own teeth to keep them healthy, brushing your pet’s teeth can provide the first line of defense against tartar buildup and disease of the gums.  Brushing your pet’s teeth can be a simple task as long as approached correctly.  The earlier in life you can start brushing your pet’s teeth, the more likely they are to accept and enjoy the brushing sessions.  Begin slowly by simply getting your pet used to having your hands near or on their mouth, reinforcing with treats along the way.  Once they are comfortable with that step, increase the activity to pulling up their lip a little at a time.  Make sure to reward appropriately with treats to help them associate brushing with good things.  Pet toothpaste is specially designed to have great flavor, and can be like a treat for them.  It is a good idea at this point in the brushing training process to introduce their toothpaste as a treat during these sessions.  After they allow you to gently pull up their lip and look at their teeth, start by using only your finger to touch and rub their gums.  Once you’ve reached this point, you can start to use a fingerbrush or soft toothbrush with the pet toothpaste on it to clean their teeth.  You need only brush the outer surfaces (not the biting or inner surfaces).  We suggest that you brush their teeth daily (but please, at least three times per week).  If you have any brushing questions, feel free to give us a call and ask!  We carry fingerbrushes, toothbrushes, and pet toothpaste in several flavors that you can purchase here in the office any time.  As a reminder, NEVER use human toothpaste as some of the ingredients can be actually be poisonous for your dog.

Nothing can replace the value of faithful brushing, but other things that can help assist with dental health include specially-designed toys, treats and even special prescription dental health diets.  We would be happy to answer any questions about which of these options might be best for your pet.

Even just a hint of tartar visible on the teeth is cause enough to come over for a cleaning.  Please don’t wait till your pet has horrific breath or teeth that would give your dentist a heart attack!  We are so committed to maintaining good dental health that our Dental Health Season extends through the end of March.  As a reminder, any dental procedure scheduled in the month of March will receive as many dental x-rays as medically necessary for free!  Call us and make an appointment for a dental exam today!

Dental Health Season

DHS 2014 Button

We have once again decided to set aside both February and March to focus on dental health.  Dental health greatly affects the overall health of our pets.  Even though they are adept at hiding it, poor dental health can be very painful for our four-legged family members!

As our promotion for Dental Health Season, if your pet’s dental procedure is completed in the months of February and March; we are offering a free dental x-ray evaluation (a value of $80)!  Since dentals are done under anesthesia, we will require that your pet has had a physical examination with us in the last year and has recent up-to-date bloodwork to evaluate their safety for the procedure.

Dr. Estelle is well trained and well experienced in veterinary dental techniques for pets.  His own father and brother are dentists for people!   Dr. Estelle’s passion for proper pet dental care has lead him to take specialized training seminars on pet dental care.  At BFVP we have a dental x-ray machine and high quality digital equipment to evaluate your pet’s oral health.   With these tools we can catch disease that might not be evident on the surface, yet still hurts your pet and affects their health.

Hundreds of times over pet owners tell us that their pet acts more like a puppy or kitten after a dental procedure.  Please call us to learn more or to schedule an appointment today!

Pets for Christmas


Pet for ChristmasHaving a puppy or kitten join your family for Christmas can be a joyful and fun experience for the whole family.  To be ready for a furry addition to the household, here are some pet-proofing tips for keeping Fluffy or Fido safe in their new home.

  • Add child locks to cabinets to keep the puppy or kitten out of places they shouldn’t be.
  • Move cleaning products or chemicals to high shelves, out of reach.
  • Move any food products from low areas to higher shelves.  The food itself may not necessarily be dangerous, but the wrapping could be.
  • Be aware of small spaces your new puppy or kitten might wiggle into and get stuck.  Consider blocking them until the new four-legged family gets a bit bigger.
  • Use a covered trash can or put the trash can in a cabinet.
  • Watch out for string or thread; they could be very dangerous if ingested.
  • Be aware of the routing for electrical wires and cords.  Keep dangling cords tucked away so your new pet isn’t tempted to play with them or chew on them.
  • Research your household plants and put any that could be poisonous out of reach.

Lastly, make sure to take your new family member to the Veterinarian’s office for their first checkup.  Dr Estelle will be able to answer your pet care questions and provide help in getting your puppy or kitten acclimated to their new home.

Congratulations!  A new puppy or kitten is a joyful experience and has lasting rewards for you, your family, and for the lucky animal who now has a home!

Thanksgiving Treats (Or Not!)

Thanksgiving for me has always meant a quiet day to enjoy family, food, and football (usually in that order).  Our family gathers together at my mother’s house for a Thanksgiving feast with all the “fixins’” followed by some serious couch time!  One chore we take great care in, however, is putting away all the leftovers before we sit down.  You see, the cats and dog that share my parents’ house would love to sink their teeth into some Thanksgiving goodies as we’re all relaxing.  For one thing, the heavy seasoning and high fat content of many dishes can have a tendency to upset pet stomachs.  The resulting diarrhea or vomiting would likely put a damper on football time.  In addition, leftover bones from the main event can get caught or even splinter in your pet’s digestive system.  Onions and garlic should be avoided as well as raisins, grapes, and avocado.  Chocolate especially should be avoided!  One last thing to keep in mind; remember to put all of the string, foil, plastic, and any other food preparation trash into a secure trashcan with a lid or take it out immediately since these items will smell oh-so-tasty to our four-legged family.1

The best idea for spoiling your pet on Thanksgiving is to give them some of their usual treats and some of your time in playing, walking, or otherwise spending time with them.  Save the Thanksgiving specialties for leftovers!


1. CBSNews,, 11/26/2013

Anniversary Celebration!

FB Event Banner

Doctor Estelle and the staff of Blandon Family Veterinary Practice want to thank you for helping make our first year here a success!

To celebrate we’re hosting a community event outside here at our facility Saturday, October 19th from 9am-3pm.  Please come join us!  We’ll be having a fun time with things like fair-style games, FREE refreshments, and special guest presentations.  Police dog, Deputy Roxy from the Berks County Sherriff’s department will be here for a demonstration.  Bring the family because there’s fun for children, such as face painting and balloon animals.  Dr. Estelle and staff will also offer a stuffed animal clinic to fix up your children’s stuffed animal’s booboos.  The staff is even bringing their family pets for a real petting zoo!  Our technician Nicole is an accomplished decorative cake maker, so come out to see the fantastic festive cake she’s designing!  Thank you so much for joining our “family tree” this past year!  We hope you enjoy this event, and we look forward to many more years serving you and your furry family members.


Grand Opening

This time of year is known for leaves falling, apple cider, and hayrides, but this October is also the time of year for the Grand Opening of Blandon Family Veterinary Practice!  On Saturday, October 27th, from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm, the team will be at the practice with many of our pet service friends to officially open our practice to the public!  In addition to all the fun of meeting the local vendors and our first annual Pet Halloween Costume Contest (top three costumes win a free exam!), we’ll be giving tours of our brand-new facility and setting up appointments for new clients.  It’s such an exciting time for our team, our friends, and our family, won’t you come and join us in celebrating?  See you there!

Construction updates

One of the most exciting things about the construction process is seeing how fast things change in the site.  At a recent meeting, I was able to take a picture at 9:00 am and a second at 1:00 pm from the front of the practice.  The amount of change is enourmous!  If you get a chance, check out our Construction page to see how fast things are changing!

New Beginnings

It’s always exciting when a new opportunity leads to a new beginning, by way of hard work.  We are all very excited to meet your families at our new beginning, Blandon Family Veterinary Practice.  I am fortunate enough to say that what I do is not just a job; it is a privilege that I am honored to have.  Thank you for being a part of this family!