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Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital Blog

This Saturday: Get "Pet Ready!" for an Earthquake or Emergency

Join us this Sat. Bring a friend or neighbor. Find out the differences between being prepared for humans and being prepared for pets (hint: some standard practices for people might actually harm pets). 

Pet Ready! is an exciting half-day of information and training from veterinary professionals and emergency response experts to help you get ready for an emergency or the next earthquake as a pet owner. Sponsored by Adobe and Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospitals, there is no cost to you to attend. 
"Pet Ready!" is Saturday, April 19, 1:00pm to 4:00pm, on the Foothill College Campus with special appearances by Los Altos Hills County Fire District and FEMA Urban Search and Rescue dogs. You will get the best information available so you know you are ready. The Foothill College Student Chapter of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (SCNAVTA) are hosting the event, including a rare public tour of the veterinary tech lab. The vet tech students will also show you proper bandaging techniques.
For more information visit our Pet Ready! page.

Birthday Party, this Saturday!

This Saturday, Oct. 19th, 2013 from 11am to 3pm, come by and help us celebrate our Birthdays!  

Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital celebrates its 50th (1963) and CalTrain celebrates its 150th (1863). 
Come on by the 520 Santa Cruz Ave entrance.
Enter Free Drawing to Win one of 50 Pet Ready First Aid Kits (value $50)
Pick up some free Pet Ready disaster preparedness information. 
We're also holding a Pet Adoption Fair in cooperation with the Palo Alto Humane Society and Companions in Waiting.

Big Cat Practice

We have a big cat practice; by which we mean that we treat a lot of cats in all sizes, and sometimes a truly, truly huge one. Case in point is Domino pictured here with our head nurse, Suzanne, and her daughter, Madeline. 


Domino's human tells us, "Domino is a seven year old Maine Coon who loves eating, sleeping and playing with catnip cookies. Despite his size, he's incredibly gentle and good natured."

Good natured or not, cats are in particular need of physical exams on a regular basis. Why? Unlike dogs, cats will mask their illness from their owners, often until disease is quite advanced. A check-up every six to 12 months can identify medical problems when disease is early, and therefore less expensive and easier to treat.
Bringing a cat to the vet means getting them into a cat carrier, which can be a bit of a rodeo. It may help to integrate the cat carrier into your cat's daily routine, say, making it into a napping nook, with soft bedding and maybe a toy inside. Then, when you need to use it for carrying the cat, it's a better experience. A hard plastic carrier is usually preferable to soft.
Use the handle judiciously, to avoid too much swing or sway. Kitty Kitty may prefer the carrier to be steadied in transit by using a hard-plastic carrier, holding the bottom and sides while walking with it, and strapping it into the car with a seat belt.
Of course, we also do house calls. Our focus on providing high-level services means that we're happy to offer the service option.
Whether your cat is ginormous or itty-bitty, a godzilla, fraidy-cat, or cool-cat like Domino, regular checkups are particularly important for felines. It's one of the reasons we are so popular with a lot of the local cats.

Hot Tip on Tick Bite Prevention

Spring and summer may be the time of most Lyme disease activity for ticks, but summer is the time when most humans are outside hiking and walking with their dogs. As such, we are concerned about ticks and Lyme disease as well as an ever expanding list of new tick-borne diseases for you and for your dogs.

The issue isn't that ticks carrying the bacterium which causes Lyme disease are as particularly pervasive as they are in New England and the upper Midwest. Yet we are concerned. Our concern stems from one simple fact: in the Bay Area there are pocket areas where rates are so high that every single day dogs will surely get infected.

Lucky for us, right here in our back yard is one of the foremost tick and Lyme disease experts, Dr. Robert S. Lane at UC Berkeley. Dr. Lane has spent decades studying medical entomology, parasitology and tick-borne diseases. Over time we've watched his research, and taken note of what he has to say, particularly his recommendation for using a small dose of Permethrin to prevent tick exposure while hiking.

Permethrin spray is old school for a pesticide chemical, composed of synthetic compounds made to mimic the pyrethrins that are isolated from chrysanthemum flowers. Its advantage is it's very short lived, and ticks hate it. Permethrin breaks down in soil and breaks down in sunlight. Of course, all pesticides are by their nature toxic in some way to some organisms, or they wouldn't be an effective pesticide; so the trick is repelling the ticks and keeping humans and dogs safe.

Urgent note of cat-caution however: high concentration of Permethrin can be fatal to cats. So, take appropriate care around felines and make sure they are not exposed to the spray. We have a new tick collar that has a cat-safe synthetic form of pyrethrin tested and approved for them. These are especially useful for cats and dogs if you live in a wooded area and have lots of ticks near your home. Otherwise, ticks are not such a big deal for cats as they are for dogs and for people who visit wooded areas.

The technique for using Permethrin spray is very inexpensive and simple. For people: What Dr. Lane's team does is put all the outer clothes and shoes and socks for the whole crew into a garbage bag the night before, and spray one spritz of permethrin into the bag opening. No need to saturate the clothes, a single spritz will spread to all the clothes overnight in a dark plastic bag. By the next day you can wear them and ticks will be repelled. As soon as they touch the clothes they dance the "hot-foot-dance" and drop off to the ground. For your dog: just put a light spray over the large fur surfaces and legs of your dog before the hike. Shield the eyes and hold the can not-too-close while sweeping quickly from front to back. Again minimum spray, 3-4 spitzes total. Dr. Lane says no-one has ever had a tick bite since they've used this method and they are in the woods looking for ticks!

With such a simple solution, there's no reason to avoid hiking with your dog. Get out there. Get that exercise. Go on a nature adventure. Just take the Permethrin precaution before heading out.

Beat Heartworm at its Peak

Summer is the peak season for heartworm. If you don't treat your dog or cat for heartworm every month as recommended, please at least do so this month and next month.

The Western Tree Hole Mosquito is an incredibly common pest mosquito and the most important carrier of heartworm. Three months after the peak season for Tree Hole Mosquitos is the peak season for spreading heartworm. In other words, that's now.
The risk increases in locations along creeks or near open space where coyotes roam. But even indoor pets are at risk. Why? Bay Area coyotes are highly infected with heartworm and serve as a reservoir host. The mature mosquito picks up heartworm from the coyote, and then seeks the indoors where it is easier for it to fly.
It's also easy for humans to forget prevention, mostly because they don't realize what's at stake. Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that can infect your animal through the pulmonary artery that supplies the lungs, and the right side of the heart, congesting the area, slowing blood flow and compromising your animal’s health.
Typically, they will not show any symptoms of an early heartworm infection. If your dog develops an advanced case of heartworm, you may begin to see them coughing and suffering from exercise exhaustion, weight loss, fainting, coughing up blood, and, in the worst cases, congestive heart failure. If your cat develops heartworm, the symptoms are primarily respiratory in nature, coughing mostly. If your animal presents any of these symptoms, call us for an appointment immediately. Remember, we're now open until 11pm on weekdays.
The good news is that there is a treatment for canine heartworm. The bad news is that treatment is no guarantee—particularly with heartworm disease advanced enough to cause symptoms. The other bad news is there is no treatment available for feline heartworm. Therefore, the best and most affordable approach you can take to heartworm is preventing it altogether. We recommend a monthly year-round treatment purchased directly through your veterinarian.
We all get busy and forget the routine things sometimes. If this means you, or if doing it each month isn’t currently feasible, we recommend that you at least do it during heartworm’s highest risk months of the year (which is now). You may be reading this just in time to protect your beloved canine from a terrible infection.