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Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital Blog

Are you "pet ready" for the next earthquake?

Learn what you need to know! Join us for an exciting half-day of information and training from veterinary professionals and emergency response experts, and even experience live demonstrations with search-and-rescue dogs to get you inspired and ready for the next earthquake as a pet owner. 

Adobe and Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospitals are teaming up to teach you what you need to know, with special appearances by Los Altos Hills County Fire District and FEMA Urban Search and Rescue to bring you the best information available so you know you are ready. 
"Pet Ready!" is Saturday, April 27, 1:00pm to 4:00pm, on the Foothill College Campus. Sponsored by Adobe and Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospitals, there is no cost to you to attend. 
So, come on down. 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). 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. 
RSVP not required, but the first 50 people who RSVP to <> will get free parking (otherwise, metered parking costs $3cash). For more information visit <>.

Not-so-magic Mushrooms

We have a heads-up for dog owners about mushrooms. 

Recently, a few cases of dogs with mushroom poisoning have come into the hospital. Sometimes an owner will actually see their dog eat mushrooms, but think nothing of it until later.    

80 If you see your dog eating mushrooms from your yard, please bring them in urgently. It's a bona fide emergency. Bonus points if you can bring a sample of the mushroom with you. If caught early, treatment is relatively simple and straightforward. 

If it's caught late, however, treatment can be difficult to diagnose, difficult to treat, or it could be fatal. 
We also recommend that you clear your yard of mushrooms, even ones that don't look particularly exotic. Toxic mushrooms come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can look just like a mushroom you use in your kitchen. They can also pop up over night, so keep your eyes peeled. 
The fact is that most mushrooms are benign, but the toxic ones are so poisonous that if you have a dog, clear them anyway. It's not a great idea to feed wild mushrooms to humans either, as we recently saw with four Loomis residents who died from eating soup containing a poisonous mushroom that resembled a non-poisonous Asian mushroom. Not good for people, not good for animals.
So, if you see your dog eating a mushroom, any mushroom growing in the neighborhood, or if you have reason to believe they did, get them to an emergency room!

Palo Alto Dog License Amnesty

Quick headsup, just to let folks know about Dog License Amnesty, which lasts the entire month of September. Dog License Amnesty provides a window of opportunity to avoid any citations, late fees or penalties, and still get your dog licensed. Even if you don't think you would be subject to any late fees, etc., it's nice to just get it done already. 

Dogs do need to have proof of a rabies vaccine. We can provide certificates for any rabies vaccine we have given, or schedule a vaccine 7 days a week! 
The Dog License Amnesty applies to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View and Palo Alto. It runs Sept. 1 through 30. Once you have your rabies vaccine certificate, you can get your dog license at the Palo Alto Animal Services office, at 3281 E. Bayshore Road, Palo Alto, CA. Their hours of operation are: Monday - Saturday, 11:00am - 5:30pm, (except holidays; closed every other Friday).
We, on the other hand, are open every day. To pick up your rabies vaccine certificate, just stop on by. To schedule a rabies vaccine, give us a call, or use our handy online form.

You call that a First Aid Kit, really?

We're not flexing our Medical Geek cred, but really, what's passes as a first aid kit for sale in the local store is quite silly in a major earthquake scenario. Different sized Band-aids, are you kidding me?

Don't get us wrong, we would never discourage having one. They're great for little kitchen mishaps, and the labeling does make them easier to find. But for a real First Aid kit, good for a real earthquake, it's super easy to pull a few things together and be ready for real. BTW, if there's a teenager in the house, maybe show them this post. Then, let them show you how it's done.

First you need a container: for a regular household kit, a tackle box comes with nifty little compartments plus a really helpful handle; but for a simple earthquake kit a gallon-sized zip lock will work. Or keep it in a knapsack in a handy location, with the rest of your earthquake supplies.
Second, you need the first aid items themselves. The main principle is to have items that are designed to work for different things and different scenarios. For example, disinfectant pads are good, but disinfecting liquid can cover the same smaller scenario, or larger wounds. Gauze and tape can become a bandage for larger injuries, or small. A cohesive bandage can wrap a wrist, or couple with gauze and tape to add pressure to a bigger situation. Tongue depressors can double as little splints. Eye irrigating solution can flush an eye, or flush out a wound before you apply disinfectant. You get the picture.
So we have a quick list of 15 items for a Real First Aid kit:
- surgical gloves
- an assortment of band-aids
- gauze and cotton squares, and rolls
- cloth bandage tape
- antibiotic ointment (avoid "triple")
- tongue depressors (6 or so)
- burn/wound dressing
- straight mosquito forceps (5")
- bandage scissors (4.5")
- hand sanitizing lotion (4oz)
- eye irrigating solution (4oz)
- Povidone-iodine, or chlorhexidine gluconate first aid antiseptic solution (3oz)
- digital thermometer, with batteries
- lubricant and covers to go with the digital thermometer
- flexible cohesive bandage (that sticks to itself, 3"x2.2yards)
If you get these 15 items, you have a real bona fide emergency kit, good for basic first aid for you and your pet. Put these in a gallon zip lock to keep it dry, and again with the "cool, dry, accessible" reminder for your earthquake kit location. You may want to increase your stock and bandage supplies, as your budget allows, in order to take care of more family and friends.
You should be able to find these items at the local Pharmaca, Wallgreens or your favorite Pharmacy. We found everything on the list in local stores, except maybe forceps and bandage scissors which we carry. For forceps, we like Halstead. For Bandage Scissors we like Lister. 
We order these hospital supplies in bulk and are happy to build a kit packaged in zip lock bags for our clients upon request. Nothing fancy, but high quality items you might not be able to find from a reliable source otherwise. We can assemble a "Zip lock" first-aid kit with the above items at our cost for $50.00. If you would like us to build one for you, please just let us know.
That said, it's quite easy to put a real first aid kit together. It's really important, when the hospitals are likely to be overrun, to do as much as we can on our own, and we should be able to take care of something more than your little day-to-day ooowie. This kit is pretty versatile. It's definitely a no-joke first aid kit of which you can feel proud and prepared.

Water in Depth

Welcome back to the earthquake prep series. In our last installment, we covered food and water - the true basics of your emergency preparedness kit. Here, we'd like to dive a little deeper -- into water. 

First we'll cover water storage and secondly we'll talk about water treatment. 
If you have a swimming pool, don't even think about it. Ingesting small amounts of swimming pool water isn't particularly harmful, but several days' worth, while they fix the water pipes, is a bad idea. Pool water contains chemicals that could cause diarrhea or otherwise speed dehydration. Storing emergency water is a much better idea, and your pet will like it better.
Consider where and how you'll store it. The standard one- and two-gallon containers typically found in grocery stores are not designed for long-term storage, and are likely to begin leaking after about 6 months. 
Also, water should not be stored directly on concrete, which degrades plastic bottles, causing them to fail, plus allows chemicals to leech into the water and contaminate it. A good idea? Place water stores on a wooden shelf or palette where container failure won't damage other supplies.
Is there an EASY option? Well, yes. Commercial water distributors assert that the 5-gallon containers they offer are "good" for 5 years if factory sealed, and stored properly. That's the easiest, if you get water delivery. We called the commercial distributors (Alhambra, Calistoga, Arrowhead, Sparklets etc.) and none of them would deliver a one-off order for emergency prep. Slightly less easy is to store your own. 
What to store it in? Vessels made from plastic, glass, fiberglass, or metal lined with enamel are suitable. Avoid using any lids with paper components. We're not huge fans of plastic, but in this case, it seems like a better idea than the potential of broken glass jugs. We found that Whole Foods sells 2-, 3- and 5-gal BPA-free plastic jugs with screw tops and a handle. The 5-gal can be a bit difficult to lift, but the 3-gal is pretty manageable, particularly with the handle. 
There are boxed water options as well, which are BPA-free and Coast Guard approved with a 5-year shelf life, available in 3-packs of 250ml each
But what if you live in a tiny apartment and barely have room to store all your shoes, let alone storing water?  Water treatment is a more compact option, though you're betting that water will be available. Also, if you have your basic 3 days of water stored, or better 7 days for a stronger quake (or the whole 2-3 weeks worth for major M8 quake), and want to go beyond even that level of readiness, adding water treatment is an idea. 
The classic water treatment technique is to boil it to prevent microorganism growth. If you're forced to get creative and pull water from the toilet (the tank, not the bowl, eww) or drain the water heater, boil it. Another classic is to add liquid household chlorine bleach that contains 5.25% sodium hypochlorite, and no soap or added perfumes, at a ratio of 16 drops per gallon (which equates to 4 drops per quart, or 8 drops per half-gallon, or 1 drop per cup, whatever's easiest to remember). 
It is OK to use bleach that has "Not For Personal Use" warnings, as long as sodium hypochlorite is the only active ingredient, and only the small amounts recommended are used. If you don't have a dropper, here's a Girl/Boy Scout trick that's easy to remember: place a thin strip of paper or fabric (say a 1/4" wide and 2 inches long) into the bowl of a spoon and add bleach to the spoon. Carefully tip the spoon, and medicine-dropper sized drops will drip from the dangling end of the paper or fabric strip.
Other options include a trip to your favorite survival or camping store. Purification tablets are small and inexpensive, or purification systems range in price from about $40 to about $120. Considering that you're betting there will be some water to purify, we recommend treatment and purification only as an added option to actual water storage. Going shopping this weekend?  Did we mention that Whole Foods has BPA-free 2- and 3-gal jugs with handles? ;^)  Good.
Check back in for our next installment that moves beyond the food-and-water basics to some things you may not have thought about yet.