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Grass Lake Animal Hospital on Pet Health

Molly and her new crown
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My name is Gretchen Humphries and I’ve recently joined the team at Grass Lake Animal Hospital. I’ve been a veterinarian for almost 20 years now. I live in Stockbridge with my husband and four children. The two oldest attend Grass Lake High School (feel free to embarrass them with your new knowledge of me, if you know them).

My non-human kids include 4 cats and a snake.  I  love “exotic pets” too – but I do draw the line at tarantulas!

Some of what I enjoy about my profession is the variety of owners and pets I see every time I’m at work.  But I think the part I love the most is being a small part of the bond between owner and pet.

From the excitement of the first puppy/kitten visits to the last, sad goodbye I am privileged to be part of something special and there aren’t too many jobs where that happens.

To help us get to know each other, I’d like to start something I’m calling “Ask Dr. Gretchen” – an advice column of sorts.  You write me with your general question about animal care – it could be medical, husbandry, behavior or just something you are curious about – and I’ll do my best to answer.

There are a couple of ways you can get questions to me – you can message them to our Facebook page: or you can mail them to us at P.O. Box 768, Grass Lake MI, 49240 or if you’d like, stop by to say hi and drop your question off at the hospital – we are at 1101 Norvell Rd., near the corner with Michigan Avenue.

Dear Dr. Gretchen:
I have an old dog with horrible breath and bad teeth.  Our vet says she really needs them cleaned but I’m terrified that she’ll die from the anesthesia.  Isn’t anesthesia more dangerous than bad teeth? – No Doggy Kisses in Grass Lake.

Dear No Kisses:  Veterinarians use the same anesthesia as physicians and we make sure they are doing well while asleep. All animals have some basic tests done before anesthesia, to make sure they are healthy.  If they are, there’s little reason to avoid it. It is quite rare for a healthy pet to have problems while anesthetized.

In dogs there is a very clear link between dental disease and heart disease – a link that might also be present in humans, by the way – and heart disease is one of the more common diseases of old age in dogs.  Doing nothing about her teeth is more risky than the anesthesia used to get those teeth and gums back into shape.

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