Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital™ Blog

Happy Holidays

Wed, 12/23/2020 - 11:31 - Carol

What a year it's been! We've all had to adjust to a fast moving situation, and then re-adjust, and then re-re-adjust. You've adjusted with us, and we can't thank you enough. 

This year, there aren't the usual holiday parties or staff photos to share. This year, not-having a party means you care.

Instead, we bring smiles from Ireland. The Dog Trust's Santa Paws dog-toy giveaway provides us a glimpse into how a dog picks "their" toy, and two minutes of smiles for us all.

 

If you need two more minutes of smiles, here's the same event from last year, with puppies.

 

We're so grateful to you for kindness, support and cooperation throughout this unusual year. We wish you and yours all the best for 2021!

 

 

 

 

COVID-19: Why Is My Vet So Busy??

Fri, 12/11/2020 - 16:08 - Carol

It's not just the holiday season. It's not just you. If you feel like we've been super busy all year long, you are correct. Here's a short, 4-minute video about "why" (and a few suggestions about what you can do):

All of the suggestions are sure to go double during the holidays. But know this: we are here for you and your pet, particularly in an urgent or emergency situation. When it comes to emergencies or any veterinary needs, we have a plan. Call us.

While your plans may be simpler due to the pandemic, we know you'll find a way to safely enjoy the holidays and savor every cuddle with your animal companions. 

 

 

 

Meet Dr. Celia Megdal

Thu, 12/03/2020 - 16:46 - Carol

We'd like to introduce you to the latest addition to our world-class veterinary crew here at Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital™. Dr. Celia Megdal comes to us literally from the top of her class. She grew up in the suburbs in Southern California. For college, she went across country to Brown University in Providence, RI where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.

She's easy going, pleasant, and very smart.  Her smile alone can capture your heart.

Collegiate volunteerism took her on a trip to South Africa, which inspired her decision to become a veterinarian. Her lightbulb moment happened while working at the C.A.R.E rehab center in Phalaborwa. She was caring for the cutest little creatures in the world -- orphaned baby baboons -- when one of them got caught on a fence with a pretty nasty cut around his abdomen. (The little guy made it, with human help.)

She was already studying Cognitive Neuroscience, and went back to Brown ready to add pre-vet and a focus in Animal Cognition to her major course of study.

Through the rest of her academic career, her volunteerism continued with externships at Marine Mammal Center and the Georgia Aquarium.

"I started out in wildlife and zoo and aquatics because I wanted to get ahold of as many animals as possible," explained Dr. Celia Megdal. "I wanted to learn as much about all the fields as possible. I really do love it all.  I really love surgery, and I really like neuroscience cases."  

It's not surprising that she's also Fear Free Certified® and available for guardians of animals with behavior issues. Currently, she sees both dogs, cats and pocket pets. In the future, Dr. Megdal will also be available to see "exotics," such as reptiles and possibly birds; and is working on her certified aquatic veterinarian license, which will be good news for our neighbors with koi ponds. 

These additions to her work roster may not happen right away as she's also busy planning her post-pandemic wedding, to be held on a ranch, unsurprisingly.  Meanwhile, she and her silky terrier mix, named Glitch, and her fiancé enjoy the great outdoors, with activities such as hiking and scuba-diving. In her spare time, she enjoys crafting, graphic design, and since the pandemic, she's been painting in water color a bit.

Clearly, Dr. Megdal is the complete package and we are thrilled to have her on board. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Celia Megdal to the team.

 

 

 

Pets and Smoky Air

Mon, 09/14/2020 - 14:42 - Carol

The wildfire smoke has a tremendous impact on all of us here in the Bay Area. But what about our pets?

When it comes to walking the dog or letting them play outside, or live outside, nothing beats relying on actual data. We've got two sources for you. We can recommend both sources, even though we have a slight preference.

PurpleAir.com is easy to remember. It's a crowdsourced map, maintained by a manufacturer of low cost air monitors, deployed IoT (Internet of Things) style. It tends to be more localized, more current, but not quite as accurate as the AirNow.gov site.

Unfortunately, the AirNow.gov site crashed during the Camp Fire last year. AirNow.gov is the gold standard for precision, run by a partnership of individual states, the U.S. federal government, Canada and Mexico. If you can only look at one source, say on your phone, our preference must lean toward "precision" over all else, thus: AirNow.gov.

That said, earlier this month we noticed a KQED report about a pilot program started in August, to combine the AirNow government monitoring devices with the PurpleAir sensors in one map. The AirNow devices are represented in circles and the PurpleAir sensors represented in squares, with triangles at temporary monitors. The pilot program was launched by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Forest Service.

Clearly, we're all pretty tired of being indoors in 2020, but smoky air reduces the dog walks to shorter ones so that we don't end up both sick and tired. Hopefully the forecasts suggesting cleaner air by mid-week bear out. 

However, the fact is, we haven't even hit October yet. It's always a good time to refresh emergency preparedness kits and go-bags. And now you have data resources for air quality at your fingertips. 

When it comes to smoky air, it's pretty intuitive, but worth stating, that the the negative health impacts we avoid are the same for all living creatures, including our animals. It's important to be mindful of the particulates in the air not only for our own health, but the health of our pets.

 

 

 

COVID-19: Pandemic Pet Poisoning

Sat, 08/08/2020 - 14:07 - Carol

Thank goodness for the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). They recently brought our attention to a new dynamic happening as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We're grateful since we have been keeping our heads down, working to take care of our staff and your pets. It's unlikely we would have seen it otherwise.

Pet poisoning is up since the outbreak of COVID-19. Call volume to pet poison hotlines have picked up as more people started working from home. It's unclear whether the dynamic results from a) far more use of disinfecting cleaning supplies b) the animals are actually getting into more things than ever before or c) their behavior hasn't changed, just our ability to see it has changed. 

Puppies and younger dogs, in particular, tend to explore the world with their mouths. Since the first shelter-at-home was ordered, pet adoptions have also seen an uptick. It's most likely the rise in pet poisoning cases is due to "all of the above." 

The most common danger is your medication. You may drop a pill and it bounces, or your pet is simply faster to get it than you. Since you are now spending more time at home, this kind of incident is even more common. Also, common household cleaners can pose an issue. For example, if an animal walks through a puddle with bleach in it, they are not only exposed with their skin, but are likely to lick their feet and ingest it.

In an effort to minimize exposure to disinfectants, confining pets to a room or crate while using these products is recommended. It is also important to prevent their access to products, like hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, which are toxic if ingested.

If you have five minutes, the Animal Poison Control Center has published a video with common concerns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. You can watch it here:

 

You should always feel free to call us with any pet issue, including poisoning concerns. For information, there are two reliable online resources that AAHA suggests. Pet Poison Helpline is run by the Animal Poison Control Center, and their website has a lot of info about specific potential poisoning sources. Also, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has information listed in general categories. Both have veterinarian toxicologists available 24/7 to consult, if you need to reach an expert after hours. 

We are really grateful to AAHA for bringing this issue to our attention. As the name might suggest, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is a national organization, setting the standard for excellence in our profession. We're glad they are watching the national trends, and keeping us informed during these challenging times.

As we all continue to battle COVID-19, stay safe, and stay healthy!

 

 

 

 

 

COVID-19: Update from the Front Lines

Thu, 07/02/2020 - 08:47 - Carol

We thought you might want a status update from us, since we're all in this together.

We're not going to sugar coat it. This pandemic is tough. As it goes on, it gets tougher on some levels, and it's exhausting. Yet, we've been very lucky. As of this writing, we know of only one confirmed case among our staff, and she has recovered. The drive-in and drop-off "no contact" appointment model is working well. And we will never ever forget the wonderful "Stay" banner and other expressions of appreciation from the best clients in the world.

As medical professionals with respect for this virus, we are very conservative. When it comes to our staff, we take the long view. Anyone with a sniffle or cough goes home and stays home. Anyone with an ill family member, or who has been in contact with a known COVID-19 case, stays home and quarantines for 2 weeks. In addition, we require extra work time for obsessive disinfecting. These conservative approaches have led us to be short staffed. We are adding additional staff, and we look forward to introducing you soon.

What can you do to help?  Your kindness and patience is always appreciated. Unless it's urgent or an emergency, please try not to wait to the last minute to call for an appointment. We're currently booking about two weeks out. If you have to cancel or move your appointment, please let us know 24-48 hours ahead - or even better, as soon as you know - so someone else can take the appointment. 

If you recently received a reminder, or know you need an appointment coming up, please get it on the books. Once you have an appointment, you may want to ask to be added to the wait list for an earlier opening. 

We keep a certain amount of appointments open for emergencies and urgent needs. When those aren't needed and come open, or an appointment is canceled, we will call you to see if it works for you. If it does, that's great; the flexibility helps everyone. If it doesn't, that's okay. No worries.

It's not easy living through a historic pandemic. We will all get through this, but there's no point in pretending it's not tough. It's tough. 

But we're tough too!! Credit goes to the quality of our staff - and our wonderful clients - for making it through this together, even when together happens at least 6-feet apart.

 

 

 

Heartworm Prevention Special

Sat, 06/20/2020 - 10:35 - Carol

It's that time of year to focus on heartworm prevention, and we sweeten the deal with (not one, but) two special offers available only through Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital. 

Each offer makes an important point, but first a little context. We've written before about the dangers of heartworm. As you may know, heartworm is transmitted by mosquitos. In our geographic region, the culprit is the tree hole mosquito. If you are unfamiliar with the topic, our previous blog posts and our Heartworm information page are recommended reading.

Heartworm disease is one area where an ounce of prevention is truly better than a pound of cure, particularly since the cure is not 100% sure. What is guaranteed is the prevention medication, literally. 

Unlike some online or theoretically discount sources, our preventatives come with a full medical care guarantee**, backed by the drug maker themselves. When you work directly with your Vet, you get the highest quality medication, adhering to strict handling and storage protocols, a known chain of custody, and a known provenance, all of which combines to facilitate the guarantee. 

The first offer: Now, when you get your year's worth of heartworm prevention medication, you get two free doses. 

This means you can get the assured high quality medication, handled and stored properly, with the manufacturer's guarantee at a decent savings per dose. 

The second offer: When you get a full year's worth of heartworm medication, we will waive the cost of the heartworm test needed to purchase the medication. 

For dogs, your veterinarian may recommend Interceptor Plus, but they may recommend something else. We carry multiple products, some of which take care of multiple parasite types. 

Cats experience heartworm differently, are far more challenging to diagnose, and if they get it, can only be managed, not cured. Thus, cats should also be on a heartworm preventative, which is fairly new within the last couple of decades as feline targeted preventatives have been developed.

Whether dog or cat, each case is different and your doctor will take everything into account on a case-by-case basis, plus explain the logic for the choice they recommend. You and your veterinarian will decide together. 

To recap both offers combined: come in for a heartworm test, and when you get a year's worth of heartworm prevention medication, you get two bonus doses and we'll waive the cost of the test.

Clearly, proper heartworm prevention is truly very important to us. Getting the heartworm test and consulting with the veterinarian about which prevention treatment is right for your animal provides the quality of care your animal deserves and provides peace of mind for you.

 

 

 

**Unlike a guarantee that refunds the cost of your prescription, a full medical care guarantee means that with our documentation of annual heartworm testing and the appropriate medication dosing, if your animal tests positive, the manufacturer will cover all of the costs of treatment. They stand by the medication to work.

 

Open Until Afternoon Protests

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 11:15 - Carol

Please be advised that due to the protests planned for today in Redwood City and Menlo Park, we have boarded up our windows, but remain open for drive-in and drop-off appointments, until 3pm today. Prescription refill and food orders are also available by calling ahead.

Stay healthy. Stay safe.

Garage Improvements

Sat, 05/23/2020 - 11:13 - Carol

With drive-in and drop-off appointments, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are using the Appointment Parking garage more than ever. We thought you might want to know about the improvements we've made since opening the garage. 

We're very pleased with one change in particular -- the displays that let you see the sidewalk and street traffic before exiting the garage.  From within the garage, when you stop your car at the Stop signs, the displays are positioned on each side of the exit at a height which should be comfortable for sadans and SUVs alike. That said, it's not a typical habit to look at the side of the door opening; the habit requires practice to develop. The moving images on the display may help in this regard.

The Stop signs may also help in this regard. To adequately view and evaluate the oncoming traffic on the displays, one must stop at the Stop sign. Getting in the habit now, while the pedestrian traffic and street traffic are low, will have you in the habit when the street traffic returns to normal. 

Under normal conditions, we've noticed the typical street traffic consists of "big waves" of very heavy traffic, punctuated by welcome breaks which are reasonably long with low traffic. This pattern is caused by the traffic lights on the corner. For typical street traffic conditions, it always helps to pack one's patience. While you're stopped and checking the display, you can also admire the refreshed paint on the curb. Parking cars should be able to see the different zones better, and behave accordingly. If they do, they won't park too close, and it will continue to give you a good line of sight once you have moved past the traffic displays.


If you haven't been in the garage lately, you may not have seen the lovely waiting bench. If you are bringing in a dog, you'll notice the hospital dog leads hanging on the walls. We always request you add one of those, along with your own leash. It's a "belt-and-suspenders" approach, to go along with the other classic wisdom: "stop, look and listen."
 

 

 

 

Earthquake Prep in a COVID World

Fri, 04/24/2020 - 10:41 - Carol

The recent anniversary of the 1906 earthquake and fire came and went without the traditional gathering at Lotta's Fountain. Typically, the gathering reminds us about being prepared for the next earthquake. Also, typically, this time of year, we support the Pet Ready! event at Foothill, which is obviously not happening. This is not a typical year.

It's a year when emergency preparedness takes on a slightly new twist. We firmly believe in emergency preparedness, and advocate for including all pets in emergency preparedness. They are family members, after all, yet they have unique needs beyond just a headcount. 

Our hope is that everyone has stashed away everything on our Pet Ready! checklist. The links on the checklist go to the blog post on that specific topic, which contains additional useful information. For example, why you don't store plastic water bottles on a cement garage floor. If you have time, reading the blog posts which interest you, can be super helpful.

The most important thing is gathering the items on the checklist. If you have your kit assembled already, it's a good time to rotate or refresh the stock, such as extra meds and food. The Pet Ready! checklist wants you to include an Info Sheet, which says whether your pet is up to date with their vaccinations, etc. You'll want to review that information.

Here's the new twist. While you're updating the Info Sheet, you may want to also create a brief plan for your pet's care in an emergency. The plan would include: feeding schedule, medicine schedule (or medical condition and treatment instructions), and veterinarian's name and contact information. To match the regular Info Sheet, clearly label it with names (yours and the animal's) and your contact info, but add a couple of family contacts authorized to know your medical status, and at least one temporary caregiver for your pet. If you sign it and send it to us, we'll include it in your pet's record, so your temporary caregiver can act as your agent in requesting veterinary care.

This idea is new, coming out of the COVID-19 crisis, but the plan would apply to any emergency. Honestly, this info could have been part of the Pet Ready! documentation all along, but we didn't think of it until the pandemic brought the new perspective to light. We have the most incredible animal shelters right here in the Bay Area, but the point is to keep your pet out of them. 

It's a two-fer. Good for the current situation, and good for emergency preparedness generally. You know the old saying: "better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it."