Happy New Year from PAW

By Annie Falkowski
January 1, 2018

See ya 2017!

Happy New Year!  We here at PAW hope that 2017 was one of your best years yet.  If it wasn’t, let us be among the first to wish you good luck in 2018.  As we celebrate the New Year, it’s difficult not to look back at the past 365 days and reflect on some of the changes made.  Although we are in the same building we’ve always been, things are significantly different.  For some of you this is old news, but for some of you, this might be the first you are hearing this.  As of September 1st, 2017, PAW Health Network closed for the very last time.  You heard it right, we are now central Wisconsin’s newest 24 Hour Animal Care Center.  We are still providing the same emergency, urgent care, and walk in services that you are used to.  The only difference is that now we are available for you 24/7.

In order to make this possible our support staff was revamped to allow for daytime hours.  If you remember, we used to only be open nights, weekends, and holidays.  A few changes here, an added veterinarian there, and presto chango, you’ve got yourself staffing around the clock.  As a 24 Hour Animal Care Center it is very important to us that you have another place that you can go to when your regular veterinarian is booked.

Many of the services that we’ve offered before, we are still offering.  Our blood donor program is still saving lives by providing red blood cells and plasma to patients in need.  Currently the blood is acquired from veterinary owned patients, but we are always looking for new donors.  If you’d like to have your canine patient evaluated as a potential blood donor, please email for criteria and to set up an appointment.  We are also still offering our Performance and Play services.  Whether it’s managing arthritis, or recovering from a sporting injury, we are utilizing various methods such as massage, or even surgical repair to help your patient heal and feel more comfortable.  As the progression of this program continues we hope to offer additional services in the future as well.  To read more about some of the service we offer, check out this link.

Bring it on 2018!

Much like the rest of you, we also have resolutions that we are making for 2018.  Looking into what this next year will bring we can tell you that we have more surprises coming your way.  We have more improvements that we plan on making to contribute to our level of patient care.  We also hope that all of these changes will contribute to your experiences with us here at PAW.  Because in the end, our ongoing goal, is to provide the best service we can for you and your patient.  So cheers to another year, and may 2018 be your best year yet!

8 Tick Preventatives You Should Know About

By Annie Falkowski
July 24, 2017

If you’re a caregiver in the state of Wisconsin you have likely been informed about flea and tick preventative at some point.  Maybe you’ve seen a commercial for one, or come across another on the shelf at the Wal-mart, or even shopped for them online, but do you really know which one is best for your pet?

Last time we talked, we discussed the different diseases that ticks can carry, and why preventative is so important.  tick-ducation-101  With this week’s blog we are going to break down some of the most common flea and tick products out in today’s industry.  Some are classics and some are up and coming.  What you will not find in this blog is a ranking system.  We simply hope that this information will help steer you towards a product that will work best FOR YOUR PET!  Every dog and every cat has a different lifestyle and a different need.  Does your dog like to swim?  Does your cat hate taking pills?  Does your dog have sensitive skin?  Do you forget to give preventatives when you’re supposed to?  No shame in admitting that.  All of these questions can be a factor in to which preventative you choose.  So, without further ado, we present the stars of this week’s blog.



Frontline Gold

Parasites covered: Adult fleas, flea eggs and larvae, ticks, and chewing lice

Starting age: 8 weeks old and 5 lbs.

How often: Monthly

Pros: Starts acting quickly, water resistant, can be used in pregnant/lactating females

Cons: Can cause skin irritation, potential human exposure

K9 Advantix II

Parasites covered: Fleas, ticks, biting flies, chewing lice, mosquitoes

Starting age: 7 weeks and 4 lbs.

How often: Monthly

Pros: Contains a repellant, kills within 12 hours, waterproof

Cons: Toxic to cats, can cause skin irritation, potential human exposure

Vectra 3D

Parasites covered: Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, biting flies, sand flies, lice, and most mites

Starting age: 8 weeks and 2.5 lbs.

How often: Monthly

Pros: Contains a repellent, water resistant

Cons: Can cause skin irritation, potential human exposure

Advantage II

Parasites covered: Fleas

Starting age: 7 weeks old and 3 lbs. in dogs, 8 weeks old and 2 lbs. in cats

How often: Monthly

Pros: Waterproof, do not need to bitten to be effective

Cons: Can cause skin irritation




Type of product: Dogs: Chewable Cats: Topical

Parasites covered: Fleas and ticks

Starting age: 6 months old and 4.4lbs in dogs and 6 months old and 2.6 lbs. in cats

How often: Every 3 months

Pros: Less doses needed, flavored(chew), approved in pregnant and lactating dogs, waterproof

Cons: Need to be bitten to work, can cause GI upset


Parasites covered: Fleas and ticks

Starting age: 6 months old

How often: Monthly

Pros: Lasts 35 days, flavored

Cons: Can have neurologic side effects


Parasites covered: Adult fleas and ticks

Starting age: 8 weeks and at least 4lbs

How often: Monthly

Pros: Flavored, waterproof, kills within 24 hours

Cons: Use with caution in dog’s with a known seizure history, need to be bitten to work



Type of product: Collar

Parasites covered: Fleas, ticks, Sarcoptic Mange, chewing lice

Starting age: 7 weeks

How often: every 8 months

Pros: Bite not needed, water resistant

Cons: Can cause skin irritation, needs skin contact to work

The information you just read, as well as the pictures of the products, came directly from each product’s website.  Feel free to check them out for more information.  If there is a product that you wish to learn more about we encourage you to talk to your veterinarian.  They will work with you to help determine which preventative would fit best into your lifestyle.  They might even be able to get you the inside scoop on the different products.  You know, the information that you can’t find on the product’s websites.

*One point that we need to emphasize is NEVER USE DOG FLEA AND TICK PRODUCTS ON CATS!  Some ingredients in your dog’s product may be toxic, and in some cases, can be fatal to your cat.  When choosing a product it is very important to make sure it is manufactured and labeled for your pet.  If not, you might be paying us a visit.*

Tick-ducation 101

By Annie Falkowski
June 19, 2017

Tick-ducation 101

The Basics

If you live in Wisconsin you’re probably all too familiar with these pesky little creatures called ticks. If you’re not familiar with them, let us fill you in. They suck! Literally, they feed on blood from a host animal. They can be found in wooded areas, areas with tall grass, and areas where woodland creatures walk through. This means if you have squirrels or rabbits in your yard there is a strong possibility that you also have ticks. They even seem to find their way into the city where streets are lined with sidewalks and mini malls. So, why does this matter? Aren’t they just another bug? The answer is no. Ticks carry a number of different diseases that can affect your dog, your cat, or even you. Maybe you’ve heard of Lyme disease- transmitted by ticks. Maybe you’ve hear of Anaplasmosis-also transmitted by ticks. Both diseases are caused by a bacterium that gets into the bloodstream of a host (dog) via the bite of a vector (tick). In 2015, the CDC reports, that Lyme disease was the 6th most common notifiable disease. Statistics gathered by the CDC also show that 95% of all reported cases came from only 14 different states, Wisconsin being one of them. These statistics do not take into account the dogs and cats that are also diagnosed with tick borne illnesses each year.

What to Watch For

Tick borne illnesses can present themselves in many different ways. In people it is typically diagnosed in the early stages by finding a bull’s eye rash pattern. Unfortunately with dogs and cats we cannot rely on this method as they do not develop the typical rash. We can; however, rely on caregivers who notice joint pain, limping, and not wanting to eat. With that clinical history, and a fever upon physical exam, a tall red flag for Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis goes up.

The Good News

Although tick borne illnesses are common in the Midwest, there is a silver lining to a positive diagnosis. Because these diseases are so common, doctors and veterinarians know how to handle them. Often times they can be treated with a course of prescribed antibiotics and maybe some anti-inflammatory meds. There are some occasions where the disease may have progressed, and treatment becomes much more difficult.


The other silver lining, there is preventative. Talk to your veterinarian to find the right tick product for your animal’s lifestyle. There are many different products on the market, and although they have the same end goal in mind, some may not be ideal for your situation. Tick prevention is recommended year round, even in Wisconsin. Weather is unpredictable, and let’s face it, nobody knows that better than us Wisconsinites. We’ve been known to experience a year’s worth of seasons in a single week. You don’t want to be caught without protection when we get a heat wave in the middle of January. Plus you never know if the winter is going to be a warmer one or not. If the temperature is hovering around freezing, the ticks will be out looking for a meal. Most veterinary clinics in Tick-USA also carry a Lyme vaccine that can be dosed annually in dogs. Although effective, nothing is a 100% guarantee. In addition to the vaccine and preventatives, your eyes are another way you can help prevent tick borne illnesses. If you’ve been running through the woods, or playing in a field, after you’ve checked yourself over, make sure to do the same for your four-legged furry friend. If you don’t know what these little buggers look like, or how to tell them apart, check out this awesome link for help with identification.

The Conclusion

Tick borne illnesses can happen to anyone. If you have concerns about your critter being affected by ticks please see your veterinarian. Want to know more? Paw Health Network will have more to come on ticks in the next lesson.
Stay tuned!

Lyme Disease. (2016, December 19). Retrieved June 12, 2017, from

TickEncounter Resource Center. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2017, from

How to Beat the Heat with Your Furry Friend

By Annie Falkowski
June 11, 2017

How to Beat the Heat with Your Furry Friend

On June 20th we will celebrate the official start of the summer season and there will be many different opportunities to enjoy the sunshine.  From barbeques to trips to the park to walks around the block, it’s even more enjoyable with your furry friend by your side.  When you’re out enjoying the summer heat it’s extremely important to find ways to keep cool and stay hydrated to avoid overheating.  Did you know that your dog and cat can also experience heat stroke?  As their caregivers it is important for us to be conscious of what they might be going through, and to do what we can to prevent them from getting too warm in the first place.

What is Heat Stroke?

Normal body temperature for dogs and cats sits right around 101.5°F.  When playing out in the sun, not drinking enough fresh water, or sitting in a car, dog’s and cat’s temperatures can rise to dangerous levels.  A body temperature of 103°F is the point where corrective measures may need to be taken.  If the body temperature reaches 105°F it is a true emergency and vet care is warranted.


Who is at risk?

Animals outside enjoying the summer weather if there is not adequate shade are at risk for developing heat stroke.  If they go on a walk, or to the dog park, that exercise can also cause their body temperature to rise.  Heat stroke does not always happen from directly being outside.  There are many cases each year from dogs being left in vehicles.  You’ve maybe seen some of the vehicle horror stories circulating on social media over the years, but it is a very real thing.  According to a study done at Stanford University Medical Center, a vehicle’s temperature can raise 40° in one hour.  So even on a day that feels cooler, inside that vehicle can still be fatally warm.

What Should we be Watching For

Because dogs and cats don’t sweat like you or I do they have other ways of cooling themselves down.  The first sign that you will likely see is panting.  But wait, my dog pants all the time, how will I know if it’s something to be concerned about?  Excellent question, because panting is often normal, we need to look for other signs as well.  Do they seem agitated?  Does their skin feel warm?  Do they seem weak, uncoordinated, or extremely tired?  Are they vomiting, or having diarrhea?  Do they seem to have a difficult time breathing?  Are they drooling?  Are their gums blue or bright red?  If you notice any of these warning signs please have them seen by a veterinarian.  If left untreated the elevated body temperature can move on to damaging organ systems and recovery can become much more difficult.

How can we Prevent it?

  • Keeping environmental conditions under control can be a huge help. When enjoying the outdoors, try to find a spot that has a decent amount of shade.  You can also have an umbrella handy to make your own shade if needed.  If inside, have the air conditioner or fan running.  You can even apply ice packs to their armpit and groin to help cool them down.  Do you have tile floor?  Also a great place for them to cool down.  And please don’t leave them in your car.  If you’re going somewhere where they can’t come inside with you, it’s better if they just stay home.
  • Water!!! Make sure there is access to cool fresh water at all times.  On hot summer days the water will evaporate quickly so frequent refills may be needed.  Also, water is not always for drinking.  Kid swimming pools are great for dogs and cats (if your cat likes water) to cool off in.  If you don’t have a swimming pool you can wet a bandana or a scarf with cool water and tie it, not too tightly, around their neck.  When it dries out simply rewet and retie.  Many dogs also enjoy “pupsicles.”  Throw a couple of treats and a ball of theirs into a bowl with water and freeze it, bring it out on hot days and watch them go to town.
  • Take breaks. Avoid spending an extended amount of time outside to allow them a chance to cool down.
  • Haircuts and regular grooming can also help to keep their temperature down in the summer. This does not necessarily mean shaving them down, talk to your groomer about getting your pet’s beach hair ready.
  • Go shopping. At your favorite store you will likely be able to find cooling mats, or cooling collars, amongst other things for your companions.

Word of Caution

When trying to cool your pet down it is easy to overcool them.  Also, please do not force them to drink, make sure they have access to water should they show interest.  And do not leave them unattended.  If you’ve had an exciting day outside monitor them closely for any signs of hyperthermia.  If there is any question in your mind as to whether or not they are too warm please seek immediate veterinary care.


Vin Emergency Staff, V. (Ed.).

2015, June 02). Hyperthermia (Heat Stroke, Heat Prostration). Retrieved June 08, 2017, from

Getting to Know Us

By Annie Falkowski
May 22, 2017

If you’ve ever driven along I-39 between Mosinee and Wausau you’ve probably seen us off of the highway.  My guess is you’ve probably had thoughts along the lines of, “is that place even open?” or, “I never see any cars there.”  Well, if you’re driving that road on a Monday through Thursday, between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm, we aren’t.  During the week our hours are 6pm until 8am, and then you can catch us open 24 hours on weekends and holidays.  We offer these hours, not only so your regular veterinarians can get a decent night sleep, but also because, situations don’t always arise during typical business hours.

When we think about Urgent Care on the human side of medicine we know that there are doctors and nurses who are working those graveyard shifts so that they can be there when we need them.  You can think of us a lot of the same way.  Whether it be vomiting at 3:15am, or diarrhea at 8p, we are here for you.  Whether it is an allergic reaction at 5am, or an ear infection at 10pm, we are here for you.  Now, obviously there are many more situations that can classify as emergency.  What qualifies as an emergency situation is not up to us.  No matter how big, no matter how small, our staff is available for you to call.  Ok, did not expect to throw in a poem, but you get the idea.  If you have concerns about your pet we are happy to help.


Service Dog

By PAW Health Network Inc
January 9, 2017

The linked form is intended to identify service dogs located within the northern Wisconsin area.

Our goal is to establish a database and working relationship with each service dog and handler. Should anything happen to the handler, we will have necessary information to act on behalf of the service dog during a time of emergency.