Happy Independence Day!

With the approaching holiday we wanted to talk about 4th of July safety as it concerns your pets. Independence Day is one holiday that can have many negative effects on animals -from the anxiety caused by fireworks, to upset stomach due to stolen BBQ treats. 

There are several precautionary measures you can take in order to help your pet through the holiday with little to no upset. For starters, keeping your pet inside during firework shows can greatly reduce the chance of escape, as we see a dramatic increase in lost pets at this time. We also strongly recommend double checking (or getting if you do not have one!) a microchip for your pet. This month only, we are offering 15% off microchipping! 

If your pet has a strong noise aversion we recommend a product called Sileo. It’s a gentle anti-anxiety prescription that we have stocked up on for those extra sensitive patients. Please call for an appointment if this is one of your pets!! 

If you have any questions or concerns about the upcoming holiday please don’t hesitate to call!!


Rattlesnake Vaccine: The Why-not’s

Summertime is here! Which means hiking, camping, and a number of other outdoor activities are on everyone’s agenda – which brings an increased risk of running into wildlife predators, such as rattlesnakes. We have had a number of phone calls inquiring about the rattlesnake vaccine, and so we wanted to take this opportunity to talk about why we do not offer this vaccination. 

Both of our veterinarians, Dr. Joe and Dr. Pam, are graduates of UC Davis, and we follow their recommendations closely, and stay up to date with the studies and protocol that UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine practices. The short story is that the rattlesnake vaccine has had minimal studies performed, and is still pending approval by the F.D.A. 

“The Canine Rattlesnake Vaccine (Red Rock Biologics) comprises venom components from Crotalus atrox (Western Diamondback). The vaccine became available in the early 2000s as a means of preventing morbidity and mortality in dogs likely to be bitten by rattlesnakes. Although there may be circumstances where a rattlesnake vaccine may be potentially useful for dogs that frequently encounter rattlesnakes, there remains little fact-based data to support the efficacy of the vaccine to date. Dogs do develop neutralizing antibody titers to C. atrox venom, but titers may vary and frequent boosters (4-6 months) may be required to maintain titers. Vaccine costs are between $20.00 to $40.00 per injection. According to the manufacturer, rare vaccinated dogs have died following a bite when there were substantial delays (12-24 hours) in seeking treatment. According to the manufacturer, no new efficacy trials have been performed to verify efficacy.

Although the product is relatively safe, even vaccinated dogs bitten by rattlesnakes should be considered a veterinary emergency. This is due to the fact that 1) snake venom components vary with species and some (e.g., Mojave rattlesnake) may not be covered by the vaccine 2) antibody titers may be overwhelmed in the face of severe envenomation, and 3) an individual dog may lack protection depending on its response to the vaccine and the time elapsed since vaccination. 

Antivenin and other types of supportive care are still recommended in vaccinated dogs as there is no significant difference in the course of therapy if the animal is bitten.”

The key points in this article from UC Davis, point out that even with the vaccine on board, the same treatment procedure is highly recommended for pets bit by rattlesnakes. If you have any questions regarding the vaccine, please feel free to call!

The Heat is On!

Now that the temperatures are climbing, we wanted to emphasize how important it is to be aware of the dangers of leaving your pets in a locked car, and the consequences you as an owner can suffer by doing so!

“In many states there are no hard-and-fast rules on the legality of leaving a dog unattended in a vehicle, although offenders can (and frequently do) face animal cruelty charges. But 16 pawsome states do have specific “hot car” laws! The Animal Legal & Historical Center reports that these pupactive states have statutes that specifically prohibit leaving an animal in a confined vehicle.”

So in California, what is the law regarding leaving a dog in the car? 
Answer (provided by Santa Cruz Police Department):

This is a great question, as we all care about our animals and want to ensure their safety. When these types of calls are received by the Sheriff’s Office, we conduct our initial investigation, but often times request the assistance of Animal Services for guidance. 

The State of California Penal Code 597.7 states, “No person shall leave an animal in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well being of an animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food and water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal.”

This code does not explicitly provide a temperature that is too hot for an animal to be left in a vehicle. Officers will remove an animal from a vehicle when the temperature inside the vehicle is 90 degrees or above, and the animal is exhibiting signs of lethargy, sickness or excessive panting. We use a reptile cage thermometer to measure the temperature.

Owners often think that leaving an animal in a car for “just a minute” while they run an errand is safe. This is not true. Even cars that are parked in the shade with windows down leave an animal vulnerable to serious illness or death. I have personally seen vehicles parked in the shade with windows down, but due to no ventilation the temperature in the car was close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the dog was suffering and had to receive immediate veterinary care. 

While the law covers all animals, dogs are especially vulnerable to heat-related illness because they can only cool off by panting and through the pads in their feet. Dogs can only withstand a high body temperature for a short time before suffering nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage or even death.

How to help a pet left in a hot car:

  • Take down the car’s make, model and license plate number.
  • If there are businesses nearby, notify their managers or security guards and ask them to make an announcement to find the car’s owner. Many people are unaware of the danger of leaving pets in hot cars and will quickly return to their vehicle once they are alerted to the situation.
  • If the owner can’t be found, call the non-emergency number of the local police or animal control and wait by the car for them to arrive. In several states good Samaritans can legally remove animals from cars under certain circumstances, so be sure to know the laws in your area and follow any steps required.

Lyme Disease

While we are beyond happy that the sun seems to be here to stay, with the warmer weather comes our least favorite little bug: the tick. Ticks are small arachnids, part of the order Parasitiformes. Ticks are ectoparasites, living by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians. But the biggest problem with these tiny parasites is that they carry a whole hand basket of infectious diseases, including lyme disease.

“Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi…the most common carrier of B. Burgdorferi is the black legged tick, otherwise known as the deer tick.” The deer tick is found in wooded areas, marshes, and tall grasses. Numerous wildlife species, including birds, are carriers for the organism. We have already seen an increase in the auburn area for ticks and fleas due to the weather we had this winter; A ton of water, and then a heat wave!

At Meadow Vista Vet we strongly recommend taking a two step approach to the prevention of Lyme disease: keeping your pets on a flea and tick preventative, and vaccinating for Lyme disease. We carry several different flea and tick prevention products at the clinic, and we offer the Lyme vaccine. We also have free tick pullers at the front counter if you wanna stop by and grab one!! Visit our website at meadowvistavet.com for an instructional video on how to pull a tick successfully!! 

Endangered Species of the Week: Bluefin Tuna

Bluefin are the largest tuna and can live up to 40 years. They migrate across oceans and can dive more than 4,000 feet. Bluefin tuna are made for speed: built like torpedoes, have retractable fins and their eyes are set flush to their body. They are tremendous predators from the moment they hatch, seeking out schools of fish like herring, mackerel and even eels. They hunt by sight and have the sharpest vision of any bony fish. There are three species of bluefin: Atlantic (the largest and most endangered), Pacific, and Southern. Most catches of the Atlantic bluefin tuna are taken from the Mediterranean Sea, which is the most important bluefin tuna fishery in the world.

The Atlantic bluefin is a highly sought-after delicacy for sushi and sashimi in Asia—a single fish has sold for over $1.75 million! Driven by such high prices, fishermen use even more refined techniques to catch tuna. And the fish are disappearing as a result. Although tuna do provide food and livelihoods for people, they are more than just seafood. Tuna are a top predator in the marine food chain, maintaining a balance in the ocean environment.

Bluefin tuna populations have declined severely from overfishing and illegal fishing over the past few decades –not just Atlantic bluefin tuna, but also Pacific bluefin tuna and Southern bluefin tuna. Population declines have been largely driven by the demand for this fish in high end sushi markets.

Information provided by the World Wildlife Foundation – if you would like to learn more about the Bluefin Tuna or any other endangered/threatened species please visit their website at worldwildlife.org

Threatened species: The Bison

This week instead of an already endangered species we decided to focus on a creature that is currently threatened, and on their way to endangered: the Great Plains Bison.

Symbols of strength and determination, bison are Ice Age survivors. Clearing away snow and brush with their massive heads, they weigh up to 2,000 pounds and can run up to 40 miles per hour. Once numbering 30-60 million in North America, their numbers were decimated in just a few decades as expansion pressed westward. No other species on Earth has declined so quickly. Several Native American tribes are working with the World Wildlife Foundation to grow bison numbers once again across vast grasslands under their management.

Historically bison were the dominant grazer on the Northern Great Plains landscape. This dominance shaped the landscape by affecting the pattern and structure of the grasses and vegetation that grew. Expansive areas of native grasslands allowed animals to flourish along with many species of other prairie wildlife.

Today, the largest remaining wild herd of approximately 4,500 individuals can be found in Yellowstone National Park. Large North American grazers including the plains bison traditionally roamed across millions of acres, which kept the grasslands and herds healthy and diverse. However, early settlement and current land uses by present day communities have redefined where these large animals are able to roam. WWF’s Northern Great Plains Program is working with National Parks, native tribal communities, and its ranching partners to find common ground on returning bison to suitable intact prairie landscapes.

The below picture is of our receptionist on her journey home from Alaska through Canada with a Bison!

Endangered Pet of the Week: Yangtze Finless Porpoise

The Indo-Pacific finless porpoise, or finless porpoise, is one of seven porpoise species. Most of the population has been found around the Korean peninsula in the Yellow and East China Seas, although a freshwater population is found around Jiuduansha near Shanghai at the mouth of China’s Yangtze River. Genetic studies indicate that the finless porpoise is the most basal living member of the porpoise family.

The Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia, used to be one of the only two rivers in the world that was home to two different species of dolphin—the Yangtze finless porpoise and the Baiji dolphin. However, in 2006 the Baiji dolphin was declared functionally extinct. This was the first time in history that an entire species of dolphin had been wiped off the planet because of human activity. Its close cousin, the Yangtze finless porpoise, is known for its mischievous smile and has a level of intelligence comparable to that of a gorilla.

Finless porpoises need an abundant food supply for survival. The destruction of the Baiji dolphin food supply was central to its extinction. Overfishing is the main factor that contributes to the decrease in finless porpoises’ food supply, but pollution and ship movement are factors as well.

For more information or to help these awesome creatures please visit World Wildlife.