Tag Archive: spanish springs


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.

Hiking Hazards

Hiking Hazards, How to Keep You and You’re Pet Safe.

By: Dr. Ben Davidson

If you are anything like me, you love exploring this wonderful wilderness that surrounds us.  If you’reBen and Tater reading this, you must love taking your faithful four-legged companion with you.  There are a few things you can do to make the hiking experience much safer and more enjoyable for everyone.  Most importantly is controlling the severe elements that we experience on our treks.  In our area, these include the heat and the dry climate.  Our pets tend to walk at least 50% further than we do, running ahead, circling back, and chasing that chipmunk off the trail.  Between the extra exercise and their hair coat, they get a whole lot hotter than we do.  Try to hike in shaded areas, with water around to cool off in. Try to leave early enough to avoid the hottest part of our day, the afternoon.  Make sure you bring plenty of water and a good drinking bowl for them.  Even if it’s a cool day, they hike-with-dog-1need plenty of water.

Hopefully accidents and injuries won’t be a problem, and a few careful steps can prevent a lot of them, but just in case, a few simple additions to your first aid kit are a good idea.  The most common injury we see is pad wear, or blisters on the bottom of their feet.  Just like us, if their little feet aren’t accustomed to long walks, they can get very sore, or crack and blister.  Try to get your pet back into good shape before you take off on that long walk.  Also, wet feet are more prone to injury, so if you are hiking up to some beautiful alpine lake, make sure you plan on letting your pup dry out before heading back down.   It’s hard to prevent little nicks and cuts from them running through the bushes and jumping rocks, but if it is possible to avoid those situations, it’s probably a good idea.  Exercising a little caution and moderation, especially early in the season can also prevent injuries such as muscular and ligament strains, sprains and tears.  Like I said, some basic first aid may be necessary for some of the unavoidable problems.  A pair of tweezers for cactus, foxtails, or other thorns is useful.  Superglue or Pet_First_Aid_Kitany commercially available tissue adhesive can quickly repair a small cut on the fly. Saline eye flush (not a medicated Visine type product) is helpful in case they get something in their eye.  There are some really nice pet first aid kits available at the pet stores or at the large sporting good and outdoor stores.

Finally, just know where you are hiking. Do a little research into what toxins and wildlife you might encounter. If you’re headed off to the east, or just locally, you need to be aware of 45796878.GreatBasinRattlesnake07_05_05rattlesnakes. Up in the mountains it’s not as much of a threat, but still, if you hear that suspicious rattle, get Fido back to you and walk on bye carefully. Flea, tick, and absolutely heartworm prevention is important when out in the elements.  There are certainly other predators out there, and although these incidents are incredibly rare, it’s important to keep an eye out. If you are a horticulturalist and without question know the difference between toxic and safe plants, you are in a great place to go hiking. For the rest of us, don’t let your pets eat plants out there. They may be unsafe both in toxins and also by causing GI upset or obstructions.

Everybody have a great hiking season!

Seasonal Allergies

Every Year Around the Same Time My Dog Gets Itchy.

By: Dr. Tony Luchetti Dr Luchetti

  Many pets, like people, can get seasonal allergies. These allergies usually occur in the warmer months when grasses, trees, and sagebrush are blooming. Some signs of seasonal allergies are: red/inflammed skin, scratching and even excessive paw licking.

Dealing with seasonal allergies can be a frustrating endeavor for the pet, the owner, and also the Bulldog-puppy-scratching_1019491631veterinarian.  There are multiple treatments for seasonal allergies, and as the old adage goes, when there are multiple ways to treat something, there isn’t a great way to treat it. Certain antihistamines can be used orally to try and decrease the itchiness.  However, unfortunately only 30% of pets respond to antihistamines. The nice thing about antihistamines are their side effects are minimal with drowsiness being the most common.

The most common treatment for seasonal allergies are corticosteroids. These medications are relatively inexpensive and highly effective. The major disadvantage to corticosteroids are their side effects. The side effects are directly proportional to the dose needed to control the allergies, and 106906243include: increased water consumption and urination, increased appetite, and increased panting.  Long term, high dosage treatment can cause ligament and muscle weakening, skin and liver changes.  When using corticosteroids we always try to use the lowest effective dose which controls the allergies in order to minimize these side effects.

Another treatment for seasonal allergies in dogs is hyposensitization therapy. With this therapy we try to find out what the dog is allergic to by either a blood test or by injecting different allergens under the skin in small amounts to see if they form a welt (this is done by a veterinary dermatologist).  Once we know what the dog is allergic to, a company formulates allergy injections to these allergens. We then teach the owner how to give these injections (in small amounts) at home in the hope of desensitizing the dog’s immune system to what they are allergic to. Unfortunately these injections don’t work all the time, and the testing and injections can be somewhat expensive. Approximately 25% of patients see no improvement, 50% see some improvement, and the remaining 25% can see complete improvement.

There are currently two additional medications which help to minimize the immune systems response to allergens.  These medications are Atopica and Apoquel.  Atopica is usually effective, but has the disadvantage of being expensive for larger dogs.  Apoquel has just recently come on the market and appears to be very effective and relatively inexpensive with minimal side effects.  We are hopeful that Apoquel will replace corticosteroids as the most common treatment for seasonal allergies.  The biggest hurdle to Apoquel currently, is it is very difficult to get ahold of.Dr. Luchetti

If you think your pet is having seasonal allergies, please give us a call and schedule an appointment with us, and we can help you determine which treatment is the best fit for your situation.

Vaccines,What are the Risks and Benefits to Your Pets.

By: Dr. Bob Baker Dr baker with penny

As a veterinarian I am faced with questions about vaccinations every day, what are the risks? what are the benefits?  To say that vaccines are safe is true, however there are adverse effects associated with vaccination.  While extremely rare, anaphylactic allergic reactions can occur and must be dealt with immediately. Other allergic reactions, fever, vomiting, facial swelling occur on occasion, but are still rare. The old feline vaccinations were associated with development of an injection site sarcoma; this occurred more commonly in patients with a genetic predisposition to cancer. So yes there are some risks associated with vaccination.  When it comes to vaccination, we have to assess the relative risk of vaccination vs. the risk of the disease.  Rabies vaccine however is always indicated as it is state law to vaccinate dogs and cats.  Most pets however, do not have the social risk factors of humans, there  are some such as those that go to groomers, boarding kennels, and day care.  These pets have risk factors more like us, where we go to work, school, shopping; where we interact with others that may or may not be vaccinated or be incubating or spreading a contagious disease.

DSC_0854When an animal or person is vaccinated, most will form antibodies to the false infection that will protect from the real infection when the subject is exposed to the pathogen.  There are however, some individuals that are genetic non-responders, meaning they cannot form antibodies to the vaccine.  These are the individuals that get sick despite vaccination.  This happens in canine parvovirus on occasion because the dog, no matter how many times they have been vaccinated, simply cannot respond to the presented antigen.  So how do we protect these “non-responders” in the population, along with the individuals that cannot receive vaccines because of illness, immunocompromise, or allergies.  The key is a concept called herd immunity, and it derives from infectious disease management mostly in the cattle and dairy industry.  The more individuals that are vaccinated, the more protected the herd, including those that cannot be vaccinated or are non-responders.  The more individuals that do not receive the vaccine, the more likely the herd immunity will fail and an outbreak will occur.

Measles is a virus that belongs to a group of viruses  called Morbillivirus.  It evolved from a cattle virus called Rinderpest around  1100-1200 A.D.   When the measles virus first adapted to infect humans, it had a high mortality rate, killing up to 60% of those infected.  Over time, the virus (and us) have changed to be less fatal, but still is very infective.  It is interestingsierra to note that Rinderpest, the cattle morbillivirus, has been eradicated by a global vaccination protocol, similar to what we did with the Smallpox virus in humans, and almost did with the Polio virus until the Taliban in the tribal areas of Pakistan started shooting the vaccinators.  The canine morbillivirus causes a disease called distemper, which most veterinarians in practice today will never see because enough people continue to give their dogs the vaccine to keep herd immunity up and individuals protected by a highly safe and effective vaccine.

It’s the Cat or a Baby?
By: Dr. Jackie Pulver DVMDr. Jackie Pulver
If you are pregnant, you can’t have a cat…..This is a common worry with women when they first find out they are having their first human baby. Luckily, this myth is not true.  The concern for pregnant women and cats is a parasitic disease called toxoplasmosis. This parasite is not transmitted by direct contact with a cat, but by contact with Japanese_litter_boxcat feces.  When humans are infected with toxoplasmosis, most do not get sick. Some people may get swollen glands or fell like they have flu like symptoms.  When you are pregnant, if you become infected with toxoplasmosis it may infect the fetus and cause malformation or abortion.
Pregnant women can safely be around cats with a few simple precautions. The easiest way to prevent any contamination is to have another person in the household daily clean the litter box. Pregnant women should wash their hands after handling cats. Gloves should be worn anytime pregnant women 06-pregnant-woman-cat-couch-lgnare handling dirt (cats will defecate in gardens and other loose soil). Cats that are kept indoors only are less likely to be shedding toxoplasmosis. Lastly, toxoplasmosis can also be passed to people from eating under cooked meat-especially pork, lamb and deer meat.

Don’t Worry Purr When Happy?

Dr. Jackie Pulver DVMDr. Jackie Pulver

Most people feel that cats only purr when they are happy. While it is true they do purr when happy, this is not the only reason.  Cats will purr when injured, while giving birth, when nursing, when threatened, even when dying. British zoologist Desmond Morris has observed purring as a “sign of friendship”-whether that be a cat  content with a friend or in need of a friend.  Dr Margie Scherk, a board-certified specialist in feline health likens a purr to a human smile. Much like people smile when happy, people also smile when nervous or faced 99059361-choose-cat-litter-632x475with a threat.  The purr and smile can be used a signal that says “I’m nice, please don’t hurt me”.

Although we know some reasons why cats purr, experts still do not know how.  The most common explanation is that it originates in the vestibular folds or “voicebox”.  Passing air over these structures likely causes the pleasing sound. Domesticated cats have the advantage on purring over their large feline cousins. Tigers and lions can rumble, but can never get their motor running like your household kitty.bandit

With all the high winds and gusty weather one would think we were in Kansas. There have been a lot of fences that have been falling over which in return has led to many lost dog reports. With no fences to hold them in many of the dogs that have been getting out started wandering away from home. Yesterday we are happy to report that we had several reunion stories.

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One of our employee’s Jeremy was on his way to class when he noticed a couple of dogs wandering out in Spanish Springs. As he was trying to catch those dogs that he saw, he noticed a couple more and so on and so on. Jeremy ended up saving 6 dogs yesterday. He brought them in Baring and thanks to their microchips we were able to reunite all of these dogs with their owners. What a wonderful start to the Holiday Season.

West Nile Virus
Authored by: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionCDC-Logo

*A recent article (Austgen et al. Experimental Infection of Cats and Dogs with West Nile Virus, EID, Vol. 10, no.1 Jan 2004) in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases discusses WNV infection in dogs and cats in detail.

Can West Nile virus (WNV) cause illness in dogs or cats?

A relatively small number of WNV infected dogs (<40) and only 1 WNV infected cat have been reported to CDC during 2003. Experimentally infected dogs* showed no symptoms after infection with WNV. Some infected cats exhibited mild, nonspecific symptoms during the first week after infection–for the most part only showing a slight fever and slight lethargy. It is unlikely that most pet owners would notice any unusual symptoms or behavior in cats or dogs that become infected with WNV.

  1. How can my veterinarian treat my cat or dog if they are/may be infected with WNV?  
    There is no specific treatment for WNV infection. Full recovery from the infection is likely. Treatment would be supportive (managing symptoms, if present) and consistent with standard veterinary practices for animals infected with a viral agent.
  2. Does my dog/cat becoming infected pose a risk to the health of my family or other animals?
    There is no documented evidence of dog or cat-to-person transmission of West Nile virus. The evidence suggests that dogs do not develop enough virus in their bloodstream to infect more mosquitoes. Cats develop slightly higher levels of virus in their bloodstream, but it is unclear if this would be enough to infect mosquitoes. It is very unlikely that cats would be important in furthering the spread of the virus.  If your animal becomes infected with WNV, this suggests that there are infected mosquitoes in your area. You should take measures to prevent mosquitoes from biting you (use repellent and wear protective clothing.)

How do cats and dogs become infected with West Nile virus?  Dogs and cats become infected when bitten by an infected mosquito. There is also evidence that cats can become infected with the virus after eating experimentally infected mice. *

  1. Can I become infected with WNV if a dog with the virus bites me?  Preliminary studies have not been able to detect virus in the saliva of infected dogs. This suggests that dog bites pose a low risk, if any, of transmission of WNV from dogs to other animals or people.
  2. Is there a vaccine for cats or dogs?     No
  3. Q. Can I use insect repellent on my pets?   DEET-based repellents, which are recommended for humans, are not approved for veterinary use (largely because animals tend to ingest them by licking.) Talk with your veterinarian for advice about the appropriate product for use on your pet.