Hours of Operation



Monday - Friday:
8am to 5pm

*CLOSED on weekends & major holidays.


1066 W. Hwy 66
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

*Between Oxendale Kia and Wicked AZ Coffee.

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Veterinary Health Tips
& More


Let's talk about Coronavirus!

COVID-19, the strain of Coronavirus currently making the rounds, is a respiratory infection. The symptoms include a dry cough, a fever, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. There have been a few news reports that have suggested our pets are at risk of contracting COVID-19, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has also released a statement saying, "At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the novel coronavirus COVID-19." Can dogs contract Coronavirus? Canine Coronavirus is not the same as COVID-19. Canine Coronavirus presents as an intestinal infection, with sudden diarrhea (often orange in color, or coated with mucus), lethargy and inappetance. Canine Coronavirus is usually contracted through fecal transmission - meaning that a healthy dog consumes, licks or sniffs the fecal matter of an infected dog. It is treated with supportive care, and it is not transmissible to humans. There is a vaccine that protects against some strains of Canine Coronavirus, but just like the flu vaccine for humans, this vaccine does not protect dogs against all strains of Coronavirus. For this reason, and because Canine Coronavirus is rare in our community, we do not carry the Canine Coronavirus vaccine. Can cats contract Coronavirus? Feline Coronavirus is not the same as COVID-19. Feline Coronavirus can lead to a fatal disease called Feline Infectious Peritonitis (or FIP). It can lie dormant for many months/years before developing into FIP, and unfortunately, FIP is fatal. Feline Coronavirus usually starts as nasal discharge and then develops into FIP. The only preventative measure you can take against Feline Coronavirus is to keep your cat indoors.

We currently have no reason to believe that our pets are at risk.

Some news reports are calling for pets to be quarantined with their humans, but this is not because the pets might fall ill. The intention behind quarantining pets is to prevent the pet from sharing it's owner's infection with someone else. While a pet could, in theory, spread the infection from one human to another human... it is incredibly unlikely. But what about me and the people around me? First and foremost - please follow your doctor's recommendations, especially if you are immuno-compromised or a member of a high risk population. If you feel it is necessary to cancel your pet's appointment because you do not want to risk exposure to the general public (or if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms like a fever or dry cough), please cancel or reschedule your appointment with us. We do charge a $20 fee for all "No Shows." This means that if you fail to notify us BEFORE your appointment that you will not be keeping that appointment, you will be charged a fee. If you call us ahead of time - even just twenty minutes ahead of time! - we will waive this fee. We do this in an effort to encourage our clients to give us notice, that way we have the opportunity to give their appointment away to someone else. Our appointments are in high demand these days, and we often have a wait list. What are you doing in-clinic to fight COVID-19? Rest assured, our infectious disease control policies are strict. Our primary cleanser is Rescue - a hydrogen peroxide based cleanser that protects against Coronavirus, as well as Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper virus, Enterococcus, Microsporum Canis, Streptococcus, Trichophyton (Ringworm) and more. We use this between every appointment and wipe down every surface at the end of each day. This was our policy before the COVID-19 outbreak, and will remain our policy long after. In the meantime, we will be DILIGENT.

Some of you have probably heard recent reports that grain-free diets are being linked to heart disease. We wanted to address these reports, as well as share our opinion on grain-free diets as a whole.

Grain-Free Diets

To begin -- grain-free diets are often marketed as the safest food for pets with allergies and dogs with gastrointestinal upset (like diarrhea, gas, et cetera). While there are dogs and cats with documented grain allergies/sensitivities, it is rare. The most common food allergies are protein allergies, but it could also be something else! We even have several patients that are allergic to peanuts! The point is: you cannot know what ingredient your pet is allergic to until you have your pet's allergies tested.

One of our staff pets, Matilda, is allergic to the following food ingredients: chicken, venison, eggs, oats and corn. This makes it very difficult to find safe foods for her, as chicken (especially chicken fat), oats (especially oat fiber), and corn (especially corn meal) hide in so MANY diets and treats. And we would have never known the full scope of her food allergies if we hadn't tested her! Yes, she may have felt better by switching her to a grain-free diet... but it wouldn't have been enough, since she's also allergic to several protein sources.

If you are interested in having your pet's allergies tested, call us. We use Spectrum Labs and offer their SPOT Platinum test -- which covers indoor allergens, outdoor allergens, and food allergens. Spectrum also provides a list of "safe diets" based on your pet's allergens, to help you find an appropriate food or treat. And if your pet has outdoor or indoor allergens, there are two types of treatments available through Spectrum. This test generally costs $300*, plus the cost of the exam -- but we think the information provided is absolutely worth the expense.

*prices subject to change

Grain-Free Diets & Heart Disease

On June 27th, 2019, the FDA publicly identified 16 different dog food brands that were routinely reported in conjunction with cases of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

What is DCM? DCM is a serious and often fatal heart disease that results in a weak and enlarged heart that struggles to pump blood effectively. Symptoms of DCM typically include coughing, trouble breathing, and a lack of energy. Some pets may also be very quick to tire. In advanced cases of DCM, pets may collapse, faint, experience sudden and extreme weakness, or die without warning.

It is important to mention that some dog breeds are predisposed to DCM - including Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Cocker Spaniels, and Newfoundlands. Purebred cats are also predisposed to heart conditions.

Between 2014 and 2019, there were 574 reported (and confirmed) cases of DCM. Of those, 560 were dogs (119 of which died) and 14 were cats (5 of which died). Many of the breeds involved in these reports were *not* any of the breed listed above, which is what caught the attention of Veterinary Cardiologists and convinced them to dig deeper.

After reviewing case histories, one of the few common denominators among these pets was a grain-free diet. While researchers still have not identified exactly what is about grain-free diets that might be increasing the risk of DCM, they have also reported that many pets diagnosed with DCM are seeing improvement with a change of diet.

The FDA's official statement says, "Based on the data collected analyzed thus far, the agency believes that the potential association between diet and DVM in dogs is a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors." They also are not requiring any manufacturers to issue recalls of their diets, as there simply is not enough concrete evidence at this time to warrant a recall.

The brands mostly commonly reported in this investigation include: Acana, Zignature, Taste of the Wild, 4Health, Earthborn Holistics, Blue Buffalo, Nature's Domain, Fromm, Merrick, California Natural, Natural Balance, Orijen, Nature's Variety, NutriSource, Nutro, and Rachael Ray Nutrish.

For more information, please check out this article:

If you simply decide that you want to change your pet's diet, we can provide you with several recommendations. Many of our staff members (including both Dr. Mac Kenzie and Dr. Wessel!) are using Purina ProPlan diets for their personal pets, and we use Purina ProPlan diets for our in-house food, as well.

If you have questions that were not answered with this blog post or the attached article, we encourage you to contact our office and schedule an appointment for a Nutritional Consultation. This way, we can answer any questions you may have, discuss testing your pet for allergens, and help you choose an appropriate diet for your pet(s). You can reach us anytime by email (, or weekdays by phone (928-774-9441).

- Alpine Animal Staff