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January 16, 2024 by Cherished Companions

Bio coming soon.

Jess – Vet Assistant

October 23, 2023 by Cherished Companions

I am originally from the east coast, Long Island, NY! Grew up about 15 minutes from the beach and was there any chance that I could get. Moved to Colorado two years ago for a change in quality of life.

My Harper Grace, the GOODEST girl who makes me laugh and has a better personality than most human beings. She loves to love and be loved, could quite possibly make friends with a tree and LOVES that her bestie, Bucky, is with her at work when she is here. She is easily the best decision I have ever made.

If I am not working you can find me getting lost on an adventure with Harper, trying new outdoor activities, or coaching/working out at my crossfit gym.

I have my BA in psychology and am looking to further my career in the medical field.

Full time vet tech & dog mom.

They say I am here to tech however I think my muscles get taken advantage of and I am used to be the restrainer of the big crazy dogs and for some comic relief.

We have the opportunity to help animals when they can’t help themselves and I think it can be one of the most rewarding jobs when you genuinely make a difference for them.

It looks like you workout, not everyone can hold my dog like that.

Brittany – Vet Assistant

October 23, 2023 by Cherished Companions

Hometown: Elizabeth, CO – This is a small rural community east of Castle Rock. There, I grew up riding horses and participating in 4-H!

Pet Family: Currently, I own an American Quarter Horse named Smoke and a Corgi named Dolly May. Smoke and I have been a team for around 5 years now and we currently compete in Reined Cowhorse Competitions. I have also rode smoke in many parades and rodeos as a local rodeo queen in high school. Dolly is the newest addition to my family. I adopted her as a puppy while I was in college and she turned into the best college dog ever. She is spicy and opinionated, but brings a lot of joy into my life.

When I am not at the clinic: You can find me in the barn! My horse stays with my family’s other 5 horses in Elizabeth, so naturally there is always something to do in the barn. Horses are one of my passions and I love to ride and spend time outside with them.

Education: I got my Bachelors of Science from the University of Wyoming where I studied Animal and Veterinary Science. My degree is focused on Production Livestock, Equine Science, and Animal Biology.

Career Choice: I have always been around animals my entire life and have always enjoyed caring for them. From a very young age, I knew that I wanted to have a career with animals and it wasn’t until college where I discovered my passion for medicine and biology. I chose to work in Vet Med because it allows me to provide care for a large variety of animals while working in medicine. This field encourages me to learn new things everyday which is something I enjoy.

Role at CCAC: Here at the clinic, my job is to be a Veterinary Technician Assistant.

Greatest thing about working with animals: The greatest thing about working with animals is being able to bring peace and resolutions to the families. Growing up with animals, I know that every pet plays a key role in the family. I have been blessed with a lot of great animals in my life and have always looked up to the people who were able to help them in a crisis or even for year to year check ups. I am thrilled to be able to contribute that to the families who visit CCAC.

Favorite compliment: The greatest compliment a customer can give is a smile as they leave! That makes me feel good knowing they are happy with the service we provided.

Scarlett – Vet Assistant

October 23, 2023 by Cherished Companions

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in southern California in a small horse town with my family. We had pgs, goats, horses, dogs and lots of other fun animals. This is where I found my passion for veterinary medicine.

What pets do you have?
I have a German Shepherd named Gator. He is a very goofy and sweet boy that I love with my whole heart. He is friendly with everyone he meets and lves playing fetch any chance we get.

What do you do in your free time?
In my free time I enjoy hiking with Gator, finding lakes for him to swim in and going to my parents’ house to hang out with my family. Anything outdoors is right up my alley.

I was previously pursuing a degree in Animal Science with an emphasis in pre-veterinary medicine. Since then I have decided to go a different route and decided on diagnostic sonography. I still have a huge passion for animals and will thoroughly enjoy my time here while in school.

Role at CCAC?
My role here at Cherished Companions is a veterinary assistant.

Greatest thing about working with animals?
I love working with animals because it gives me a chance to connect with the and help with whatever they need. They exude nothing but love (most of the time) so I enjoy being able to return that favor to them.

Favorite compliment from a customer?
My favorite compliment from a customer was when I helped a couple give insulin to their diabetic dog. I ended up growing a close bond with them and received a card talking about how grateful they are for my help.

High Temps and Hot Pets

May 24, 2022 by Cherished Companions

Serious summer heat is here and many animals struggle to keep cool because they can’t process heat as effectively as we do. Here’s what you can do to keep your furry friends comfortable this summer.

Temperature climbing? Our Castle Rock vets have great tips on how to keep your dog hydrated and happy.

Because dogs primarily pant rather than sweat, they are much more sensitive to heat than humans are. Cats struggle in the heat, too, and can overheat easily because of their limited capacity to cool off by sweating. Check out our blog Overheated Pets: Tips to Avoid Dehydration and Signs to Watch For.

Other summer safety tips from our Castle Rock vets:

  • Never leave your pet in the car on warm, or even sunny, spring and summer days.Even with a window cracked on a 70o day, the interior of your car can reach 100in as little as 20 minutes.
  • Hot asphalt will scorch your pet’s paws. Before you head out for a walk, put your own palm on the pavement—if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pooch.
  • Do not shave or trim your pet. A pet’s coat is an important part of her natural cooling system, as it protects the skin from the sun.
  • Always provide shade and plenty of cool, fresh water when your pup is outside.
  • Take extra water with you just for your dog on long summer walks or hikes.
  • Provide a cool, well-ventilated space for your pet to rest in. Try wrapping an ice pack in a towel and leaving it in their favorite sleeping spot for a cool and comfy dog or cat nap.
  • No air conditioning? You can freeze a water-filled plastic bottle and put it in front of a fan to help keep your pet cool. Just remember that water expands when it freezes, so don’t fill it to the top.

Symptoms of overheating include excessive panting, increased heart rate and drooling, which can quickly advance to seizures, collapse, vomiting and bloody diarrhea. If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, call us immediately at (303) 688-3757.

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Summertime Safety

May 24, 2022 by Cherished Companions

Camping with Your Pet? Check Out These Safety Tips from Our Castle Rock Veterinarians!

Are you one of those people who loves traveling and camping with your dog? We think it’s one of the best things about summer! And while heading into the great outdoors with your pup can be a lot of fun, our Castle Rock veterinarians want you to check out these important safety tips.

Sometimes you can prevent accidents and emergencies when camping just by being aware of your surroundings. Watch out for brambly undergrowth, fast-flowing rivers or plants that could be poisonous.

If you are new to Colorado–or new to hiking—here’s a great blog from our Castle Rock veterinarians to get you started: Hiking with Your Dog: How to Keep Your Dog Safe on Colorado Trails.

Thinking of hiking a mountain trail? Did you know canine depth perception is about half as acute as it is in humans? That’s why dogs have been known to fall off trail edges or cliffs when chasing small animals or running ahead on hikes. You may want to keep your dog leashed or at least closely supervised to stay safe!

Our Castle Rock veterinarians have even more great tips for you this summer:

  • ID inside and out. Your dog should have a collar and identification tags, but a microchip is a great safety net to have if those get lost. Learn more about microchipping on this blog from our Castle Rock veterinarians: Microchipping Pets: What Every Pet Parent Should Know
  • Tick prevention is a must. Colorado doesn’t have nearly as many insects that affect dogs as in other parts of the country. (For example, fleas aren’t as much of an issue in Castle Rock as they are in more humid climates.) But if your dog is forging trails through the woods or grassy areas, your dog may encounter a tick. Check out:  How to protect your dog from ticks in Colorado.
  • Watch for wildlife. You may never run into wildlife, but it’s best to know what to do if you and your dog encounter a coyote, mountain lion or something else. Colorado Parks & Wildlife has put together some useful tips online: If you encounter a coyote and If you encounter a mountain lion
  • Stay on designated paths. While it’s tempting to blaze your own trail when hiking, designated paths are there to keep you and your pets away from hazardous situations. It’s best to walk your dog on a non-extendable lead and please don’t leave your pet tied up at a campsite unsupervised.
  •  No alcohol for animals! Think your dog might like a beer after a long hike? Booze can dangerously intoxicate your pet and result in a coma or in severe cases, respiratory failure. Fermented hops and ethanol are poisonous to both dogs and cats.

Wherever your adventure takes you, take plenty of breaks in the shade and be sure to have lots of fresh water just for your pet.

It’s a good idea to get in for a check-up with one of our Castle Rock veterinarians before traveling or camping to make sure your pet is current on vaccinations, has parasite protection and is healthy enough to travel. To schedule an appointment, call us at (303) 688-3757.

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Cannabis, Cats & Canines

February 10, 2022 by Cherished Companions


Marijuana is toxic for pets—but what about CBD products?

Our Castle Rock veterinarians regularly get questions about marijuana poisoning and if cannabidiol (CBD) products are safe for pets. Given the changing status and wide availability of these products now, we think it’s important that pet parents know as much as possible about these substances.

Is marijuana toxic for pets? If so, why—and how much is considered poisonous?

Yes, marijuana is toxic for pets, but we don’t know how much must be inhaled or ingested before it becomes toxic. This is primarily due to the presence of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the chemical that causes the “high” when you smoke or ingest marijuana. Also, because it is such an unregulated industry with little oversight, products may contain contaminants that can be harmful to pets.

What are the symptoms of marijuana poisoning in pets and how is it treated?

Symptoms of marijuana poisoning usually start to appear within one to three hours and include:

  • gastrointestinal upset like vomiting and diarrhea
  • increased or decreased heart rate and temperature
  • neurological effects: depressed, disoriented, stumbling, muscle tremors, hyperexcitement or dazed and nonresponsive.

These symptoms typically last an average of 18-24 hours, but the range is anywhere from 30 minutes to three days. Treatment is usually supportive care until the substance runs its course. As alarming as these symptoms may be, most pets recover just fine.

Is there any difference if my pet ingests an edible (like baked goods or candy) or inhales marijuana smoke?

While there is a difference in THC content depending on the product, the real issue stems from how quickly the THC was absorbed. With food, it’s slower than if the THC was inhaled. If your pet ate something with THC in it, what will also be a concern is what kind of food it was, such as chocolate—which is also toxic to pets and means the vet must treat symptoms of poisoning from both.

Smoking has its own dangers because while second-hand marijuana smoke may not have an immediate effect beyond the THC, in the long term it can do a lot of damage to your pet’s health.

I’m seeing and hearing a lot about CBD to help pets with pain and other conditions. What’s the difference between marijuana and CBD?

Usually, when people are talking about marijuana or CBD, they are referring to products, not chemicals—but they come from the same plant. The difference is in how much THC they contain. Marijuana should be classified as 5-35% THC, while CBD is only .3% THC. When people say “marijuana,” they are referring to a marijuana product with THC, which in reality contains CBD as well.

Is CBD safe for pets? Does it really work?

While you may see and hear a lot of anecdotal evidence to support the safety and effectiveness of CBD products, our Castle Rock veterinarians think it’s important for you to know that:

  • CBD itself has none of the intoxicating properties of marijuana, but most CBD edibles and oils contain some THC, which is toxic to pets. When various CBD items were tested for THC, 67% of them were mislabeled.
  • As of right now, there’s been no long-term testing completed showing how CBD products can affect animals.
  • CBD products made for humans should never be used on your pets.

Another major concern is that as we mentioned earlier, these products are not regulated and because of that, contaminants and additives are a danger. Currently, there is testing being done on CBD products for pets and it is possible that in the future they will become a recommended supplement or treatment, but for now, we advise our Cherished Companion clients to avoid them.

A final word: To prevent marijuana poisoning in pets, keep all marijuana and CBD products locked away so your pets cannot access them!

Related article

Have questions about marijuana or CBD and your pet?

Don’t wait—Call us at 303-688-3757 or:

Book your visit here 

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic specializes in the care of cats and dogs. Our goal is to help your pet have as many happy, healthy years with you as possible—and to make your experience at our clinic comfortable and as stress-free as possible.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on issues surrounding pet marijuana poisoning and CBD use. If you live in or around the Castle Rock area and have specific questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 303-688-3757.

© 2022, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic, All Rights Reserved


April 8, 2021 by Cherished Companions

fun ways to celebrate your four-legged friend’s special day

Here’s some fun ways to celebrate your four-legged friend’s special day

We know that our clients think of their animal companions as family members—and that means celebrating milestones like birthdays! If you don’t know the exact date your furry friend was born, many families celebrate their pet’s adoption day as their birthday. Either way, we know your pet won’t mind as long as they’re doing something fun with YOU.

Why celebrate your pet’s birthday?

Well, our Castle Rock veterinarians believe in promoting the human-animal bond, and anytime you have the opportunity to include your pet in an activity that you both enjoy, you’ll strengthen that bond.

Family pets who spend a lot of quality time with their people tend to be more responsive and better-behaved companions as well.

So what fun things are there to do with my dog in the Castle Rock area?

Colorado pets are blessed with lots of beautiful outdoor places to play. Our Castle Rock veterinarians have mixed feelings about dog parks, but as long as your pet is current on vaccinations, is well socialized, and you keep your eye on your canine friend, they can be a great experience for you and your pet.

Some of our favorite Castle Rock area dog parks and open spaces include:


Of course hiking with dogs in Colorado is an amazing way to observe their special day. Before you head out, however, you’ll want to make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations and parasite prevention and that you’re aware of hiking hazards

Some of the best dog-friendly hikes in our area of Colorado are:

Dog-Friendly Urban Adventures

Looking for a city setting for your pet’s birthday bash? Now that some businesses are starting to open up post-pandemic, here are some spots where you can shop, dine, and drink with your fido:

Road Trippin’

We know many dogs don’t care where you go as long as there’s a car or truck ride involved—so how about a mini road trip into the country? While we don’t advocate high-speed, windows-down rides on the freeway, a slow meander on a country road to see–and smell–the scenery is great stimulation for dogs. A few fun drives with your dog include:

  • Hwy 67 along the South Platte River to Deckers
  • Hwy 300/Rampart Range Road
  • Hwy 105 to Palmer Lake (where your pet can take a refreshing dip and you can get a delicious scoop at Rock House Ice Cream!)

My pet is older and something of a couch potato. Are there less active things we can do to mark my pet’s birthday? 

Our Castle Rock veterinarians love senior pets and if you have one, that is definitely something to celebrate! And while we’re on the subject of seniors, one of the most loving gifts you can give your elder pet is twice-yearly wellness exams. Because pets age faster than we do, disease and illness progress faster as well, and you want to catch health issues early before they become bigger problems.

While many older pets enjoy parks, hikes, and active play, some are more content to chill in their favorite spots at home. But there are more “sedate” things you can do to make them feel special.

Related article

The best birthday present you can give your pet is regular, preventive health care from your Cherished Companions veterinarian!

Annual exams, vaccinations, parasite protection, and more – call 303-688-3757 or

Book your visit here 

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic specializes in the care of cats and dogs. Our goal is to help your pet have as many happy, healthy years with you as possible—and to make your experience at our clinic comfortable and as stress-free as possible.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on issues that may cause a cat to have a poor coat. If you live in or around the Castle Rock area and have specific questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 303-688-3757.

© 2021, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic, All Rights Reserved00

Diagnosing Pets: Which Is Better, X-Ray or Ultrasound?

February 9, 2021 by Cherished Companions

CCAC Imaging

Diagnosing your pet’s condition may require the use of one of these tools—or both

Over the years, our Castle Rock veterinarians have diagnosed thousands of dogs and cats. As veterinary care has advanced, so has the technology used to help animal doctors get a faster and better picture of how to help your pet.

Two of the best tools for diagnosing sick and injured pets and people are X-ray (also known as “radiographs”) and ultrasound. Our Castle Rock veterinarians break down the difference between the two this way:

  • X-rays use electromagnetic radiation to showcase imaging of the pet’s body structure and highlight objects within.
  • Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images of your pet’s interior systems. The sound waves bounce back and forth to create the imagery.

Ultrasound and X-ray are valuable options for diagnosing illness and injury in both dogs and cats.

What pet health issues can be best seen and diagnosed with ultrasound? 

“Soft tissue” issues in pets, such as those involving the gastrointestinal, heart, and nervous systems, are usually identified with ultrasound, as it essentially shows the vet three-dimensional images of these areas. However, ultrasound doesn’t work well when it comes to respiratory problems in the chest and thorax because the air blocks the soundwaves.

Aside from fractures, what types of conditions can be best seen and diagnosed with X-rays?

X-ray is indeed used frequently for fractures in pets, but it can also reveal lung abnormalities,

congestive heart failure, and foreign bodies in the GI tract—if those foreign bodies are made of hard plastic or metal. That plastic chew toy or spare change your fur friend gobbled up will block radiation, so it will show up clearly on an X-ray.

What would be the reasons for choosing one tool over another? Are there times when both are necessary for a diagnosis? 

There are several things that determine which diagnostic tool the vet will use for your pet. Your pet’s symptoms, health, and behavior as well as our veterinarian’s initial observations are all factors.  

For health issues that aren’t easily visible injuries, your Castle Rock veterinarian would look for signs pointing to your pet having a foreign body issue, an enlarged heart, heart disease or another problem.

In many cases, there is good reason to use both X-ray and ultrasound to diagnose or to narrow down your pet’s health issue. For example, if it appears to the vet that the pet ingested a foreign object, then an X-ray would likely be done first. But should that veterinary X-ray show an enlarged spleen, then an ultrasound would be used to get a better image of the spleen since it is soft tissue.

Does my pet need to be sedated for ultrasounds and X-rays?

Usually not. Most animals will relax once they are put in the position and realize that that the vet tech and doctor are there to help and not to hurt. We’re experts at making your pet feel comfortable!

That said, there are some exceptions. Very young and active animals or those who are unusually nervous may need a sedative to stay calm. It really just depends on the personality of the pet. Another occasion when sedation might be necessary is when doing hip X-rays, which can be more difficult for pets.

Keep in mind that at Cherished Companions, we have a Comfort First Pledge, so you can rest easy knowing we’ll do everything we can to see that your pet stays as pain- and anxiety-free as possible while in our care.

We’ll also make sure that you’re comfortable, too: our warm, friendly staff is here to answer any questions you may have about your pet’s health and to make getting veterinary services at Cherished Companions a relaxed experience. We even have a play area to keep your kids occupied while you wait!

What does it mean when you say our Castle Rock veterinarian uses “digital” ultrasound and radiography for your pet’s diagnosis?

Back in the day, veterinary X-ray films had to be developed like regular photography film. Today most medical imaging is digital and computerized. The benefits of digital X-rays and ultrasounds include:

  • Faster viewing. Basically, the X-ray or ultrasound machine is hooked up to a computer so it can be viewed within seconds. This makes for a quicker diagnosis for your pet, which means treatment can start that much sooner.  
  • Less stress. In the past if an image wasn’t clear or was inconclusive, there would be long waits or even rescheduling for retakes. With digital, retakes can be done on the same day making it easier on pets, families, and the veterinary staff.
  • Easy sharing. When doctors need a specialist to take a look, digital images can simply be emailed.

There are also environmental benefits, given that no physical materials or chemicals are necessary to see and develop the images!

Do veterinarians and veterinary technicians need special training to read ultrasounds and X-rays?

Veterinary technicians don’t usually read X-rays or ultrasounds, and instead are there to assist the doctor by positioning and calming the pet.

Reading veterinary X-rays does require some training, but it’s something that most veterinarians should be comfortable doing. To read ultrasounds, however, doctors do need some special additional education. At Cherished Companions, our Castle Rock veterinarian is a graduate of a two-year veterinary ultrasound certification course, so you know your pet is getting the best medical expertise available!

Related article

Help your cat feel better

If your cat is in pain while eating and you live near Castle Rock, Colorado, reach out to our cat veterinarians at 303-688-3757 or:

Book your visit here 

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic specializes in the care of cats and dogs. Our goal is to help your pet have as many happy, healthy years with you as possible—and to make your experience at our clinic comfortable and as stress-free as possible.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on issues that may cause a cat to have a poor coat. If you live in or around the Castle Rock area and have specific questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 303-688-3757.

© 2021, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic, All Rights Reserved

“My cat sometimes hides. Should I be worried?”

October 27, 2020 by Cherished Companions

CCAC Blog Image

Hiding is fairly normal, but it can also be a sign your cat’s not doing well

Dr. Melanie is the owner of Cherished Companions and has been a practicing veterinarian for over 25 years. She’s had many beloved dogs and cats in her family, including a feline named “Hidey” who got that name because she found great places to hide from predators when she was outside. Hidey lived to be 21 years old, which attests to her ability to avoid danger (and having a vet mom probably helped, too!)

Dr. Melanie says that cats instinctually hide illness and injury, so that makes it even more important to pay attention to their behavior, especially when it changes. Hiding is a behavior that can occur for many reasons, including:

  • Illness/injury. It could be any health issue—dental disease, cancer, gastrointestinal problems, heart or kidney disease, or the cat is physically hurt. Cats should always be checked if they suddenly start hiding and the environment has not changed.
  • If the cat is in a new place. This is normal, just give your cat a few days to acclimate. A sense of fear is normal when the cat’s surroundings change.
  • New people/animals in the house. Again, this is a normal reaction, and the cat may need time to adjust.

When should I be concerned?

When the cat is hiding 24/7 and not coming out to eat, drink or use the litterbox, that means there may be an underlying health condition. At that point, it is important to have your cat checked out by a Cherished Companions veterinarian.

Cats are nocturnal by nature, so if your cat hides during the day and comes out at night to eat and use the litterbox, you don’t need to be as concerned right away.

Is hiding instinctual for cats? Do social or “extroverted” cats also hide at times?

Even extroverted cats like Maine Coons will occasionally hide, especially if in a new place or stressful situation. Again, the main thing to watch for is when they don’t follow their routine and come out to eat or use the litterbox.

In general, there is no breed or type of cat more prone to hiding—but what does matter is how the cat was treated in the past, especially when they were young. For example, if they were feral and eventually tamed, you will find that previously feral cats will hide more than others. If your cat was not socialized with other cats or people when they were kittens, they may also hide more frequently.

How do cats choose where they hide? Should I create safe place for my cat to do this?

Cats tend to choose places where:

  • they feel safest, or felt safest in the past
  • they’re enclosed on all sides
  • they can be in corners, enclosed on three sides looking out
  • there are familiar smells (litterboxes, piles of your clothes, warm fresh laundry)

It’s not necessary to create a “safe space”—your cat will find one. However, you can enhance the space of their choice: for instance, if your cat likes a corner in the closet or a perch up on a shelf, put a soft blanket in the spot for them.

What you should not do, however, is put food or water in your cat’s hiding place—you don’t want to create a habit and encourage the cat to stay hidden more than they already are.

Should I try to get my cat out when she/he hides?

Maybe not initially. If they remain hiding for a half day or a full day, then it’s time to check on your pet and try and lure them out. If your cat does come out, but then immediately retreats to their hiding spot, this should raise concern and a visit to the vet is a good idea.

Are there other behaviors that are common with cats when they hide, such as aggression or licking?

Not always. If you do see these behaviors, take note to what may have caused them. For example, if your cat is suddenly acting aggressive, did they perhaps just have an encounter with a new animal?

If you cannot tell why they are acting different, this is another sign that a visit to your Cherished Companions veterinarian is in order—and don’t forget to tell the doctor about this unusual behavior.

As for constant licking of a certain part of the body, this is a sign in both cats and dogs that they have pain in this location, and another reason to visit the vet.

The bottom line with cats that hide is to pay attention to your pet! Don’t hesitate to reach out to us and ask if you have the slightest concern about your feline friend. It’s much better to have the vet tell you there’s nothing wrong than to find out you could have prevented a health problem if it had been detected earlier.

Related article

Help your cat feel better

If your cat is in pain while eating and you live near Castle Rock, Colorado, reach out to our cat veterinarians at 303-688-3757 or:

Book your visit here 

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic specializes in the care of cats and dogs. Our goal is to help your pet have as many happy, healthy years with you as possible—and to make your experience at our clinic comfortable and as stress-free as possible.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on issues that may cause a cat to have a poor coat. If you live in or around the Castle Rock area and have specific questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 303-688-3757.

© 2020, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic, All Rights Reserved

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