The 411 on Canine Influenza!

We’ve all heard (and most of us have caught it!) about the dreaded flu sweeping our nation,  but could our dogs be susceptible to their own strand of influenza?

Canine influenza (also known as dog flu) is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by specific Type A influenza viruses known to infect dogs. No human infections have ever been reported, so if you are worried about catching the flu, or giving the flu to your pup, fear not. 

Signs of this illness include cough, runny nose, fever, lethargy, eye discharge, and reduced appetite, and typically lasts 2-3 weeks. Almost all dogs are susceptible to canine flu infection, and illness tends to spread among dogs housed in kennels and shelters. The spread of this illness is similar to humans; coughing, sneezing, and unifected dogs coming into contact with contaminated objects. 

Luckily, there is a vaccine available and we do carry it. The vaccine course requires an initial shot, and then a booster three weeks after. If you have any questions regarding the flu or vaccine please give us a call! Below you can find a map showing the areas highly affected by the canine influenza!


Celebrating the New Year

Many people look forward to celebrating on New Years Eve, but for many pets its a very scary and stressful night. Many pets have noise aversion, where loud noises can send them running scared, thunder or fireworks are the most common causes of fear for them. We have some tips for your pets to help everyone have a happy new year celebration. 

  1. Wear them out: excercise them vigorously during the day so that they sleep through he fireworks
  2. Ask abot meds: Some pets need medication to be comfortable, ask your vet about available medications
  3. Don’t leave alcohol unattended, pets don’t recover as easily from alcohol ingestion
  4. Put your pet in a quiet room; loud noises and extra house guests can be very unnerving for pets, sometimes it’s best if you let them hide
  5. Microchip your pet!  If your pet gets out or gets away from you they can be identified without a collar. Your pet has a much higher chance of getting home with a microchip

Treat yourself NOT your pet- Chocolate Toxcicity 

Most everybody loves to have a treat of chocolate now and then, especially during the Halloween and the holiday season. Some of us also like giving our pets treats too, or our pets treat themselves to some treats we may have neglected to put away. Chocolate however, is toxic to dogs and cats and can make them very sick. Chocolate contains theobromine which is a substance that causes release of the hormone epinephrine and the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. Those substances have multiple effects on the intestinal tract, cardiovascular and neurological systems. 

There are varying levels of theobromine in different types of chocolate, for example:

  • Milk Chocolate:                          60mg/oz
  • Baking chocolate:                     450mg/oz 
  • Semi sweet chocolate:            260mg/oz
  • Dry cocoa powder:                  800mg/oz
  • Hot chocolate:                          12mg/oz
  • White Chocolate                       1mg/oz

Mild symptoms of toxicity start at approximately 20 mg (1kg=2.2lb), cardiotoxic effects start at 40-50 mg/kg and neurological effects generally start around 60mg/kg. Half of the dogs exposed to a level of 100-200mg/kg will die. To put it into a more practical terms, the average chocolate bar contains 2-3 oz of milk chocolate which equals 120-180mg of theobromine. That means a 6 kg (13 lb) dog will start to show mild symptoms if they were to eat one chocolate bar. A 50 lb dog would need eat 3-4 chocolate bars that start seeing mild symptoms, although they would only need to eat 1 oz or 1 square of baked no chocolate to see those same symptoms. 

Milder symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, panting, and restlessness. More severe symptoms include muscle tremors, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, cyanosis ( blue lips or gum color), seizures and could ultimately lead to cardiac arrhythmia and death. Most commonly, we see the milder symptoms. If you know your pet has eaten a large amount of within the last 2 hours then your veterinarian. There are many things your vet can do to treat the symptoms, even if they are severe.

So as much as we would love to treat our pets to a little chocolate like we do ourselves the safest thing is to not give them any chocolate treats. We hope your fall holiday season is an enjoyable one! 

By: Dr. Pam Pussich

Endangered Species of the Week: Proboscis Monkeys

Proboscis monkeys are endemic to the jungles of Borneo, never straying far from the island’s rivers, coastal mangroves, and swamps. They are a highly arboreal species and will venture onto land only occasionally to search for food. They live in organized harem groups consisting of a dominant male and two to seven females and their offspring. Various groups often congregate near water at night to sleep.
Unfortunately, Borneo’s most threatened landscapes are home to these highly specialized primates. The rampant clearing of the region’s rain forests for timber, settlement, and oil palm plantations has depleted huge tracts of their habitat. The fragmentation of the monkeys’ range means they are being forced to descend from the trees more frequently and often must travel perilously long distances to find food. Their land predators include jaguars and some native peoples who consider proboscis monkey a delicacy.

Over the last 40 years, proboscis monkey populations have plummeted. They are currently protected from hunting or capture in Borneo.

It may seem hard to believe, but male proboscis monkeys use their fleshy, pendulous noses to attract mates. Scientists think these outsize organs create an echo chamber that amplifies the monkey’s call, impressing females and intimidating rival males. Sounds good to us!

Thank you to National Geogrpahic for providing the information about the Proboscis Monkey.

Endangered Pet of the Week: Snow Leopard 

This week, because we are all dreaming of cooler weather, our featured endangered species of the week is a Snow Leopard. Snow leopards have evolved to live in some of the harshest conditions on Earth. Their white-gray coat spotted with large black rosettes blends in perfectly with the steep and rocky mountains of Central Asia.

The snow leopard’s powerful build allows it to scale great steep slopes with ease. Its hind legs give the snow leopard the ability to leap six times the length of its body. A long tail provides balance and agility and also wraps around the resting snow leopard as protection from the cold.

For millennia, this magnificent cat was the king of the mountains. The mountains were rich with their prey such as blue sheep, Argali wild sheep, ibex, marmots, pikas and hares. Snow leopards are found in 12 countries—including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, and Mongolia—but their population is dropping.

The sole predator of snow leopards? Humans. Hunting, habitat loss and retaliatory killings are the main reasons this big cat is now listed as an endangered species.

Snow leopards are often killed by local farmers because they prey on livestock such as sheep, goats, horses, and yak calves. The animals which snow leopards would typically hunt—such as the Argali sheep—are also hunted by local communities. As their natural prey becomes harder to find, snow leopards are forced to kill livestock for survival.

All information provided by the World Wildlife Foundation.

Give us the scoop!

Bring us poop. 

No seriously, we want your pets fecal sample! July is fecal testing month, and we are offering our fecal lab tests at a great discount!

Even when our pets are well taken care of, they are at risk for parasitic infections. Our neighborhoods are home to many wild species that can spread parasites – which puts your pet at risk! Typical behaviors, such as eating from the ground, grooming, playing fetch at the park, and drinking from puddles all predispose your pet to infection.

We recommend annual fecal exams for the best care of your pet! 

Endangered Species of the Week: Radiated Tortoise

“The Radiated Tortoise is a relatively large species of Tortoise, natively found on the island of Madagascar. Although having evolved in similar environments to other star-patterned Tortoises from around the tropics, the Radiated Tortoise has more striking and complex markings than those of the Indian Star Tortoise, for example. The Radiated Tortoise is also known as the Sokake in Madagascar, and although they are critically endangered in the wild, it is widely believed that they are the most beautiful of all Tortoise species. Naturally then, they are a popular exotic pet, which is thought to be one of the main reasons for their demise.” –
In their natural habitats, these ground-dwelling animals are prey to a number of predators including Snakes and large Birds Of Prey. Radiated Tortoises have a couple of defence mechanisms to try to protect them seeing that they can’t run away, including making a loud screeching sound and the ability to pull their soft limbs and head inside their hard shells. Humans are however, the biggest threat to the Radiated Tortoise both through habitat destruction and exploitation. The Radiated Tortoise is commonly consumed and captured for the exotic pet trade.

The oldest living reptile was a Radiated Tortoise known as Tu’i Malila that was given to the Royal family in the mid 1700s by explorer Captain James Cook, and she died in 1965 at around 250 years old from natural causes. Although Radiated Tortoises are native to Madagascar, they have been introduced to the islands of Reunion and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean to boost their Tortoise populations. Despite the fact that many Radiated Tortoises are eaten in Madagascar, it is actually people coming from other parts of the island, as the local tribes living alongside Radiated Tortoises believe there is a taboo against both touching and eating them.