Tag Archive: Dr. John Crumley

What is Bloat?

Bloat; The Mother of All Emergencies

By: John Crumley DSC_0303-001

I want to take this opportunity to let you know of a severe, life-threatening syndrome that affects large breed dogs and a recent advance in preventative surgery for the condition.

Since your pet is a large breed dog, you may have heard of gastric dilatation volvulus complex, also referred to as “bloat” or “GDV.” This syndrome occurs in certain breeds, specifically large “deep-chested” breeds. The stomach dilates with gas and food and then begins an abnormal rotation (illustrated on the illustration-dog-bloat-500ximage to the left). This can happen very rapidly, often in hours, and if untreated results in obstruction of the stomach and death. Treatment consists of aggressive fluid therapy and prompt surgical correction. The success of treatment ranges from 60 to 80%, thus unfortunately, some of the patients die despite our best efforts. Cost of the procedure, excluding the obvious emotional cost, can range from $1,500 to $5,000.

Although this syndrome is not encountered every day in predisposed breeds, the severity of the condition has incited us to explore the latest surgical techniques to both correct and prevent it.

In the past the surgical procedure to prevent this syndrome (gastropexy) had to be performed with a more traditional surgical approach with a recovery time of 7 to 10 days and a 6 to 12 inch abdominal incision. Our hospital has invested in laparoscopic equipment and advanced surgical training for our doctors to enable us to perform surgeries such as this with minimal incision size and recovery time for the patient. We often recommend preforming this procedure during the time of great_dane_stock_7_by_sigarnistock-d3hwnnjthe spay or neuter. The surgery for the gastropexy can now be performed with two small incisions (less than 1 inch in many cases) with a recovery time of 2 to 4 days. If you have any questions on whether your pet would benefit from a preventative surgery please call us and speak with Dr. Baker, Dr Davidson, or me about the details of this surgery.

My Dog Eats Grass, Does That Mean He’s Sick?

By: Dr. John Crumley DSC_0303-001

The short answer is no; eating grass does not mean your dog is sick. Eating grass is a normal behavior in dogs. A study revealed that the majority of dogs eat grass routinely (79% of the dogs studied ate grass daily). The same study revealed less than 20% of dogs that ate grass vomited after eating the grass. This means that grass is a poor inducer of nausea and/or vomiting. So dogs eat grass normally and it doesn’t make them vomit enough to give support to the claim that dogs eat grass to make themselves vomit.

I’ve always heard dogs ate grass when they feel sick to intentionally cause themselves to vomit and I never questioned it until

images (1)veterinary school. Why is this “wives tale” so pervasive that most of us have accepted it as truth if it has been proven to be false? Nobody really knows, but consider this explanation. Grass if indigestible by dogs, so if grass is ingested it will remain in the stomach longer than digestible items. If the majority of dogs eat grass daily, when they vomit for any reason there is a strong possibility there will be grass in the vomitus. We see grass in the vomit and jump to a simple, but wrong conclusion that the grass caused the vomiting. I think over the years we have come to the erroneous conclusion that the grass causes vomiting just because it is present in the vomitus so often.

So if your dog eats grass, don’t worry so much. However, if you dog is vomiting please have him seen by one of our veterinarians to try and determine the real cause of the vomiting.


What is Parvovirus?

By: Dr. John Crumley DSC_0303-001

Parvoviruses are a large group with almost every mammal species (including humans) seems to have its own parvovirus. Fortunately, each virus is specific for which animal species it can infect (i.e. the canine parvovirus will not infect people). However, the canine parvovirus will affect most members of the dog family (wolves, coyotes, and foxes).

While the parvoviruses of other species have been well known for decades, the canine parvovirus is a relative newcomer. The original canine parvovirus, discovered in 1967, lead to a series of infections in the 1970’s and unfortunately still to this day.

Golden Retriever puppyThe most common form of the virus is called CPV-2b, but there is a new particularly virulent strain of parvovirus (CPV-2c) which is rapidly becoming the second most common form of canine parvovirus. Fortunately, currently available vaccines cover all variants of canine parvovirus including CPV-2c, as do all the commercially available diagnostic test kits.

After a 3-7 day incubation period, the disease manifests itself with vomiting, diarrhea, and poor appetite. If untreated, death from dehydration and sepsis is most commonly the end result. If treated with aggressive care, up to 80% of patients will survive and go on to lead normal lives after infection. Since the treatment is extensive, often times requiring isolation in a veterinary hospital for many days, we must be prepared for significant expense of treatment (often times over $1,000).

Treatment for parvovirus infection centers on supportive care. This means that the clinical problems that come up in the course of the infection are addressed individually with the goal of keeping the patient alive long enough for an immune response to generate. We do not have effective antiviral drugs and must rely on the patient’s immune system for cure. Puppy on Fluids Intravenous fluids, anti-nausea medication, anti-diarrhea medication, antibiotics, and pain medication are paramount if the pet is to survive infection.

The sad truth of canine parvovirus is that we could eradicate it with simple vaccination as we have with other terrible diseases (ever heard of small pox? ) Vaccination must be done at an early age (as early as 6-7 weeks of age), then repeated every 3-4 weeks until the pet is 16 weeks of age, then every 1-3 years into adulthood.

The difficultly lies in the robust nature of the virus; it can live on surfaces (pavement, grass, dirt, bottom of shoes and the SAMSUNGlike) for months to years. A sick pet’s feces and/or vomit can spread thousands to millions of viral particles into the environment. If an unvaccinated, or undervaccinated, dog sniffs or licks up viral particles, they can become infected.

So, if you have a new puppy, make sure you get him or her vaccinated at the correct times with your veterinarian and avoid areas where dogs congregate until the vaccine series is finished.

Puppy Play


By:  John Crumley, DVMDr. Crumley

I want to socialize my puppy, but I was told not to take him around any other dogs what can I do?

Early socialization is a very important step in the early behavioral development of puppies. Current recommendations are to get puppies into a structured puppy class before 16 weeks of age, but the vaccine and deworming series is not completed until after 16 weeks of age. Since the vaccine series is paramount to prevent terrible diseases, such as parvovirus, this can seem like a “Catch 22” scenario. We want our puppy exposed to the proper social environment, but we don’t want them exposed to disease, right? Well, it can be done and safely.

In the past, veterinarians would always recommend keeping a puppy inside the home and away from other dogs or places dogs have been until the vaccine series was completed, but recent evidence does not support this recommendation. In fact, veterinary behaviorists believe we may be harming a puppy’s early social development by keeping them isolated from other dogs and new people. The current recommendations from veterinary behaviorists is to get puppies into socialization classes before 12 weeks of age.


Our biggest infectious disease concern in Reno is parvoviorus. The vaccines are very effective in preventing the disease, but they must be given in sequence starting around 7 weeks of age until a final puppy vaccine after 16 weeks of age. During the vaccine sequence the immunity builds with each successive vaccination so the risk of infection reduces, but it is complete until after the final puppy vaccine is given after 16 weeks of age.

So, is my puppy going to get parvovirus if I go to puppy classes before 16 weeks of age?

Very unlikely. In the spring of 2013, researchers looked into puppies that were enrolled in puppy classes before 16 weeks of age after receiving at least one vaccination for parvovirus from a veterinarian. More than 200 puppies in four cities were studied and not a single puppy developed parvovirus. So, it appears that puppy classes are safe if your puppy has received at least one vaccine by a veterinarian. We recommend enrolling in puppy classes around 12 weeks of age (after we have given at least one vaccine). We have never documented a puppy getting Puppies playing sick from parvovirus that could be traced to a puppy class here in Reno.

So I can take my puppy anywhere after you give a parvovirus vaccine?

No! There is still parvovirus in our town, so going to places where many dogs have been is a big risk for parvovirus until the vaccine series is complete. Your home, your yard, and puppy classes are safe, but avoid anywhere else many dogs have been to reduce your puppy’s risk.

But I should enrol my puppy in puppy classes?

Yes! At your first puppy vaccine visit, ask your veterinarian about when to get your little one started in classes. In the meantime, get your puppy used to a collar, leash, and harness. Also pug pack start teaching them to sit and stay and work on crate training. All these things will give your little puppy a “leg up” on the future classes!

Why is my Dog Afraid of Thunder and/or Fireworks?

Dr. Crumley

By: John Crumley, DVM

Adverse reactions to thunderstorms and fireworks are understandable since dogs don’t understand the origins of the noises. Loud and foreign noises from overhead are difficult to orient to and can cause panic and anxiety. While many dogs get accustomed to storms, others may become even more sensitive, resulting in additional fear with each exposure. The degree of anxiety is based on a dog’s perception of a threat. When a dog’s response to thunderstorms is extreme, it is considered a phobia.

Dogs may show a variety of anxiety signs during or before a thunderstorm: panting, trembling, hiding, pacing, vocalizing, being destructive, and attempts to escape. Many dogs are found lost after a storm and/or fireworks because they are scared and escaped from a yard or a kennel.

hiding puppy    Dogs may try to hide during a thunderstorm or firework display. This is understandably a normal response. If your dog seems agitated or restless, you may be able to assist by securing a safe haven and help him/her relax during storms. This safe location should be readily available, especially when no one is home. You can try to limit exposure to the overwhelming and fear-evoking elements of a storm or fireworks by closing doors and windows. White noise or music can block out the sounds as well. You can also redirect your dog with obedience exercises and other fun activities (agility or food puzzle toys).

Recordings of thunderstorm sounds may be played and you can associate them with pleasant outcomes. Programs such as Sounds Scary® offer gradual and positive exposure to noises in a non-threatening manner; this method is known as desensitization/counter conditioning. Rehearsing a safe haven routine or redirection strategies while listening to recordings of storm noises will prepare your dog for more imposing threats. Try not to show your own anxiety during storms to avoid making your dog’s anxiety worse. If your dog’s anxiety is minimal and recovery is quick, it may be appropriate for you to ignore the anxious behavior and allow a natural adaptation to storms or fireworks (habituation). Ignoring severe anxiety or extreme displays is not a good idea and may be confusing and could even make the anxiety worse. If the anxiety persists, seems extreme or your pet is at risk for self injury, medications should be considered.

Dogs with severe anxiety may benefit from long-term management wdog-take-ibuprofenith anxiolytic medications plus rapidly-acting anxiolytics that may be given immediately prior to or even during an event. Dogs with a more mild anxiety may require only the rapidly-acting anxiolytics given immediately prior an event.

Dr. John Crumley



Dr. John Crumley was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and worked in several veterinary clinics during the summer months before moving away to St. Petersburg, FL. He attended Eckerd College and studied biology and chemistry while working in several research and rehabilitation laboratories for marine wildlife. He attended veterinary school at the University of California at Davis and graduated in 2000. After graduation, Dr. Crumley moved to Bend, OR and became an associate veterinarian at the High Desert Veterinary Hospital. There he provided care for dogs, cats, horses, llamas, and many exotic species at the High Desert Museum. He joined Baring Blvd Veterinary Hospital in January of 2002 as an associate and became at partner in 2006. Currently, He is serving as president elect of the Nevada Veterinary Medical Association. His special interests include ultrasound diagnostics, cancer medicine, internal medicine, laparoscopic surgery, and endoscopy.




Helpful Guidelines and Tips On What To Do If Your Pet Has A Seizure

By: John Crumley, DVM JPC


Seizures (often called convulsions or fits) are involuntary behaviors caused by abnormal firing of the synapses in the brain. The behaviors vary depending on which part of the brain is involved. The classic seizure is a grand mal type convulsion where the pet may fall over, paddle its legs, lose consciousness, and possibly lose control of its bladder and/or bowels. There are three phases to the seizure: 1) the pre-seizure or “pre-ictal phase” which is a period of disorientationyour pet may cry out, or seem anxious and try and seek you out during November-27-2012-18-40-11-mqwthis stage, 2) the seizure itself – where the pet usually falls over and displays classic convulsions, and 3) the post-seizure or “post-ictal”phase – marked by disorientation, stumbling, and anxious or even aggressive behavior. Sometimes this may appear to be a “regrouping” or a recovery/rest period after the seizure and can last from a few minutes to several hours.

Seizures are fairly common in dogs and cats, but are always very frightening and stressful to the family of a cherished pet. There are many causes of seizures, some relatively benign (such as juvenile epilepsy, while others are much more serious (such as brain tumors). A thorough examination and full labwork are warranted if your pet has a seizure. In this blog, I would like to focus on the seizure itself and what you can do at home if your pet unfortunately has a seizure.

The first thing to remember is that in most cases the seizure is harder on you and the family than your pet. During a seizure your pet is unconscious and will have no memory of the event. They may vocalize, thrash, and yelp like crazy, and this often appears as if they are in pain, but they are not. They are unconscious and unaware of what their body is doing. So, don’t panic (I know, easier said than done, right?). The average seizure lasts about two minutes, some shorter and some longer, but it can seem like Cat-and-Clockan eternity. Try and stay objective, note the time, then start timing the seizure. Look at your pet’s surroundings and see if there is any way your pet could be hurt (e.g.,are we at the top of stairs, in the street, are there other animals around, etc.)? If there is danger, try and move your pet, but be careful you do not get hurt! Stay away from your pet’s mouth as you may be inadvertently bitten during the seizure. Do not place anything in your pet’s mouthyour pet will not swallow its tongue. I am not sure where this myth came from, but it is simply not true. Now, back to the clock. Hopefully, the seizure has stopped in a minute or two, but if it lasts longer than 10 minutes, try and safely get your pet to a veterinary hospital. cropped-baring-vet-3.jpgHaving long, sustained seizures (greater than 10 minutes) is called status epilepticus and requires immediate veterinary attention to stop the seizure. Similarly, if your pet has more than three seizures in a day, regardless of how long they lasted, you should get to a veterinary hospital as quickly (but safely) as possible.If it is just one or two seizures lasting less than 10 minutes, make sure your pet is comfortable and call your veterinarian for an appointment for a medical workup to try and determine the cause.

After the initial evaluation and labwork has been run, your veterinarian may begin medications to control the seizures, depending on the severity and frequency of the seizures. We always want to monitor the seizures whether medications are indicated or not. Keeping a “seizure log” is a simple tool to help your veterinarian decide if your pet needs to start medications. Make three columns, one for the date, one for the duration (not the pre- or post-ictal phases, just the fit or convulsion’s duration), and a third one for the severity. You could use a numbering scale (such as 1 through 5) for severity, or you could just jot down some information, like “lost consciousness”, or “this was much milder than the first seizure.” Just pensomething that you and your veterinarian will understand. This log will help us make medication adjustments based on increases or decreases in frequency, duration, and severity and make sure your pet is treated appropriately.


Why Spaying and Neutering  Are Important.

By: John Crumley DVM

I neutered Steven, my cat, when he was six months old.  When I adopted my dog, Seneca, I made sure she was spayed before I brought her home.  There are both ethical and medical reasons to spay and neuter our pets. With all of the pet overpopulation issues, it’s nice to guarantee there will be no unwanted pregnancies.
In my mind, the medical benefits to spaying and neutering are so great, pet owners should, in most cases, have their pets neutered.  Spaying prevents estrus, commonly referred to as being in heat.  The several weeks of bleeding is enough to convince most people to spay their dogs, but roaming behavior also increases during this time, which leads to a higher risk of being hit-by-a-car or fighting (especially in cats).  By going through even their first heat cycle, the risk of mammary cancer increases significantly.  Mammary cancer is virtually unheard of if the dog or cat was spayed before its first heat cycle.  By spaying, we can also prevent a serious uterine infection called a pyometra in dogs and cats.  We frequently have to perform an emergency spay and hospitalize these very sick animals.  It’s much easier on our pets and less expensive to spay them when they are young and healthy vs. older and in critical condition.

In male dogs, neutering  eliminates testicular cancer, and reduces the risk of prostate diseases (such as benign enlargement and infection) and tumors and hernias around the anal region.   In addition roaming and some aggressive behaviors are reduced by neutering, as well as marking (spraying) in cats.

By spaying Seneca and neutering Steven, I helped make them healthier and safer and I’m not contributing to the pet overpopulation problem.