What’s New

Meet Santa and Win Prizes at Santa Sunday!

Meet Santa and Win Prizes at Santa Sunday!

It is with great pride and excitement that we announce that our staff have chosen Lowell Humane Society as the Wignall Animal Hospital Santa Sunday Recipient 2016. Santa Sunday is an annual charity event run by our staff one day every year. Centered on the Christmas holiday and “pet photos with Santa”, the day is the end result of a 3 month-long fund raising effort by our staff.

Each year, staff choose an animal-related charitable organization to be the recipient of all the proceeds raised through this effort. The hospital covers all the expenses, the staff donate their time at the event as well as homemade appetizers and baked goods. Top off the afternoon with a professional photographer snapping photos of clients’ pets with Santa, add lots of holiday spirit and you’ll attend a truly fun and rewarding event. We work closely with several local shelters, rescues and animal control, therefore our staff see quite a bit of animal hardship. This year, they have chosen LHS because our staff have seen firsthand how their good work has helped thousands of pets get a second chance. Some of them—dogs, cats and owners–have heartbreaking stories which makes participation in their care even more rewarding for us as healthcare providers.

German Short Hair Pointer Wins Best in Show

He beat out a German shepherd, a bulldog, a Skye terrier and a shih tzu for the top prize at the 140th annual show from NYC’s Madison Square Garden.

CJ the German shorthaired pointer had tails wagging on Tuesday night when he was named Best in Show at the 2016 Westminster Dog Show.

The 3-year-old took home the top honors to close out the 140th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show held at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

He beat out fellow fan favorites Annabelle (a bulldog), Rumor (a German shepherd), Lucy (a borzoi) and Panda (a shih tzu).

Best in Show was judged by Dr. Richard Meen of Ontario, Canada, who crowned Lucy as the reserve runner-up.

CJ is the first Sporting Group winner to take Best in Show since 2009, and the 20th from the group to win over all.

“He was born for this,” owner Valerie Nunes-Atkinson, from Temecula, California, said after CJ, short for California Journey, won best in the sporting group earlier in the night. “There’s something special about him.”

CJ now gets to enjoy a steak lunch at Sardi’s restaurant, a tradition that was almost abolished in 2012 due to health code concerns. There, he will lap up a gourmet meal from a silver platter.

It’s the third time this breed has won, with previous victories coming in 1974 and 2005. Judges select the best of each breed and group, divided into seven categories — hound, toy, non-sporting, herding, sporting, working and terrier.

A Beagle named Miss P won Best in Show in 2015.

Courtesy of The Wrap

Keep Your Pets Warm, Cold Weather Safety

January---Cold-Weather-SafeSoaking up winter sunshine, breathing in fresh, clean winter air and bonding with your pet while exercising all make spending time outdoors with your pet worth the layers of clothes you need to keep warm! Another benefit of outdoor activity during the winter that you might not think about is weight gain: not yours, but your pet’s. Keep your pet active indoors and outdoors to avoid gaining winter weight—in fact what better way to keep you both in shape, than to take daily walks even in winter.

To avoid hidden hazards covered with snow in your yard, we recommend that part of your fall clean up each year be safely discarding and/or safely storing lawn, garden and other warm weather chemicals used in your yard and home. This includes fertilizers, weed killers, insect and rodent poison but also antifreeze you’ve purchased to winterize your vehicles. Also on your cleanup checklist should be removing debris, brush and other objects that, when covered with ice and snow, will present a new challenge or risk to your pet outdoors. If year round physical activity is one avenue to overall pet health, then incorporating a little pet-friendly yard preparation into your outdoor chores makes good sense. We know that things like antifreeze and other chemicals, sharp objects buried in snow, lack of shelter and food, and even dehydration from a lack of drinking water outdoors are all major risks to our pets during cold weather. Offer your dog water before and after outdoor activity and ensure that clean, fresh, unfrozen water is available outdoors for extended outdoor times. Other considerations for extended outdoor times are providing a covered, padded place to be sheltered from the weather; access to food and water; and a heat source available when the outdoor temperature is extreme. Keep an eye on the temperature outdoors, ice melt chemicals on sidewalks, streets and driveways, sharp edges of ice encrusted snow and frozen puddles; but with a little awareness of your surroundings outdoors, the benefits for you and your dog are worth it.

Another component of pet safety during the winter is safe travel. While most pet owners still don’t place their pets in animal-friendly harnesses or carriers while traveling in motor vehicles, more and more are. Understandably, pet owners may skip this aspect of travel with their pets because it seems unnecessary or takes too much extra time, however consider the fact that the American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates pets moving inside vehicles is the third worst distraction to the driver and passengers. Additionally, pets can’t brace themselves against swerves and turns of the vehicle which often result from ice, snow and black ice on the roads mixed with vehicles. These unexpected movements can cause injury to pets as well as the human passengers on board. Beyond the added safety provided by a harness or carrier, this pet equipment is inexpensive; therefore cost is not an issue and the few minutes required to use them yields peace of mind and reduces the likelihood of severe injury during travel.

To learn more about cold weather safety,read on. We’re here to answer any questions or address any concerns you have, therefore feel free to call or email us with questions.

Getting Your Cat to the Vet!


Our Professional Staff are available to answer all your questions and are happy to help you learn more about your cat’s health.  If you can help your cat to feel more comfortable about car travel and trips to the Vet, it will help you to be more relaxed too!

   Help your cat feel more comfortable by “pretending” to do routine veterinary procedures at home such as touching his/her feet, trimming nails, cleaning ears, and teeth brushing.

   Stop by with your cat when you don’t have an appointment, just to weigh him/her and reward with a treat afterwards.

   Ask us for help with these home-care activities. With practice, you will be comfortable and confident …and your kitty will be too! 

For more information, visit:   www.wignall.com   978 454 8272. 


Transporting a cat to any destination can be a harrowing experience…unless you know and use our Transport Tips.  There are 4 key steps to increase the success of transporting your feline family members. Start out by following “C.A.T. S.”






Create a Comfortable
Carrier Environment 

▪   Never dump your cat into the carrier. This creates anxiety about the carrier.

▪   Consider a carrier whose top comes off and enables your cat to stay in the bottom half    during his/her examination!

▪   Keep soft, padded bedding inside the  carrier to make it an inviting place to travel.

  • Keep treats inside the carrier as a reminder that the carrier is a good place to be.
  • Scatter some catnip into the carrier to soothe and calm your cat any time he/she is inside the carrier.
  • Spray the inside of the carrier with Feliway® Spray to release calming  pheromones.
  • Keep a favorite toy in the carrier to create a positive, comforting connection with the carrier.
  • Cover the carrier with a familiar towel or blanket for “privacy” while he/she is inside the carrier.  


Make the carrier a normal part of every day life: 

▪  Keep the carrier in a place your cat can explore at all the times, including just to take a nap or have a treat.

▪  Keep toys, a favorite pillow or blanket inside the carrier.

▪  Take your cat for rides in the carrier other than just to the Vet.

▪  Start with short rides and gradually extend the rides to a longer distance.

▪   Never leave your cat unattended in your car! Heat and cold can place your cat in serious danger.

▪   Cats travel best on an empty stomach, therefore plan your car rides for several hours after your cat has eaten.

▪  End each car ride with lots of praise, petting and a healthy treat!


Timing is Everything!

  • Refrain from feeding your cat for a few hours before a trip to the veterinarian. 
  • Feel free to bring your cat’s favorite treat or the missed meal with you. We will happily bond with him/her by feeding him/her here at the hospital! This will create a positive connection between us and your cat!
  • At least one week before the appointment, be certain the carrier is comfortable, accessible to your cat, has cleaning bedding and is ready for travel!


Although your cat may protest going into the carrier, it really is the safest place for him/her while traveling to the vet AND while waiting in the Waiting Room.  There are things you can do to help your cat feel better about being in his/her carrier

▪   The carrier should be sturdy enough to bear the weight of your cat without  straining at the seams or places where there is a handle or other hardware.

▪   A cleanable surface is a must. Most carriers are made of hard washable plastic or soft-sided, added washable vinyl.

  • Rollable carriers come with a handle and on wheels, just like a suitcase.
  • Consider your comfort and safety too: pick a carrier style that is a good match for your physical strength and size to enable you to use the carrier safely and without dread.
  • Test out any new carrier at home after you buy it, before you need to use it for a trip.  If it’s not a good fit for you and your cat, return it and try a different style!

Questions? Call or email us!

  (978) 454-8272


Wignall Animal Hospital……where we take care of your  furry “kids” just like they were our own.


AAFP Certified Cat Friendly Practice

The AAFP Promotes Quality Care

The AAFP Cat Friendly Practice Program was first conceived in the United Kingdom by the Feline Advisory Bureau. Participating practices in the UK that have become cat friendly have noticed a considerable difference. The AAFP’s Cat Friendly Program was inspired to ensure that veterinary practices in North America are committed to feline healthcare and implementing cat friendly standards.

As a Cat Friendly Practice, we completed a self-assessment checklist that shows we have incorporated the standard criteria for our practice to be cat friendly. The program standards for the delivery of care to the feline population are research-based and represent the highest standards of feline medical care. Once we met the criteria on the checklist, reviewed educational materials, and designated at least one Cat Advocate in our practice, the practice was submitted for approval into the program.

Our Cat Friendly Practice:
· Uses innovative cat handling techniques.
· Works to create a calmer veterinary
environment for cats and cat owners.
· Will suggest new products and stress-reducing
tips especially for cats.
· Is up to date on the latest veterinary
veterinary information applicable to cats.
· Has FIVE Cat Advocates.
· LOVES Cats!

Meet Our Cat Advocates!

Client Care Supervisor, Amy
Amy is the proud mom of Frankie, a 2 year old spayed Calico she adopted and dotes on, along with her two dogs, Moxie and Timber. Amy has had cats in her family for many years and loves the differences between dog and cat behaviors. In fact she has trained Frankie to do some tricks…ask her about it!

Candas is our Veterinary Patient Coordinator who is the liaison between our clients and medical staff . You’ll often speak to Candas on the phone if you have a question about an upset tummy or a medication refill. She is the proud mom of 3 cats: Abby and Maggie are spayed black Domestic Short Hair aged 15 and 8 respectively; and Rockstar Mags is a 3 year old Tiger. Her kitties are part of a brood of pets that includes Avery, Butch, Jasmine and Vinnie, her dogs. Candas has had cats as family members her whole life and is used to lots of pitter pattering around her home.

Aleisa handles many different administrative tasks including client accounts and special events at the hospital. Used to a tribe of family pets, she currently is proud mom to Sakura, a spayed 4 year old black and white Domestic Short Hair, along with Dixie and Izzie, her dogs. Alesia has experience with aging pets and balancing dogs and cats peacefully in her household!

Wignall Animal Hospital Achieves High Level of Veterinary Excellence


Wignall Animal Hospital Achieves High Level of Veterinary Excellence


Dracut, MA—Wignall Animal Hospital has once again achieved the highest level of veterinary excellence following a thorough and rigorous evaluation by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). AAHA accreditation requires a review of the hospital’s practice protocols, medical equipment, facility and client service.

Unlike human hospitals, not all animal hospitals are required to be accredited.

Accredited hospitals are the only hospitals that choose to be evaluated on approximately 900 quality standards that go above and beyond basic state regulations, ranging from patient care and pain management to staff training and advanced diagnostic services. AAHA-accredited hospitals are recognized among the finest in the industry, and are consistently at the forefront of advanced veterinary medicine. AAHA standards are continuously reviewed and updated to keep accredited practices on the cutting edge of veterinary excellence.

Pet owners look for AAHA-accredited hospitals because they value their pet’s health and trust the consistent, expert care provided by the entire health care team. At AAHA-accredited practices, pet owners can expect to receive the highest quality care from well-trained, professional veterinary teams.

Only the top small animal hospitals in the United States and Canada have achieved accreditation by the Association. To maintain accredited status, Wignall Animal Hospital must continue to be evaluated regularly by AAHA.

Wignall Animal Hospital has been serving the Merrimack Valley for over 38 years, has been voted #1 Veterinarian since 2002 and provides extensive veterinary services to its patients and clients. Services for dogs, cats, reptiles, birds and exotic small mammals include wellness, senior and geriatric pet care, general and orthopedic surgery, emergency care, digital radiography, ultrasonography, dentistry and laser therapy. Other services offered are boarding for all species, dog daycare, pet grooming and dog training.

Wignall Animal Hospital, located at 1837 Bridge Street, Dracut, MA can be reached at 978-454-8272, Facebook.com, info@wignall.com and www.wignall.com.

For more information about accreditation, visit aaha.org/petowner, or connect on Facebook and “like” the American Animal Hospital Association.