Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital™ Blog

Tue, 12/20/2022 - 11:11 - Carol

We have some of the best clients in the world who tend to be smart and compassionate. You've been really terrific throughout the pandemic. I can't tell you how much we really appreciate your supportive respect for the mitigations that have allowed us to follow the science and still remain open. As we move from drop-off-only to welcoming in-person appointments, we're going to keep masking indoors.

We want this to be a safe place for everyone, especially those who are literally immunocompromised. We have a duty to protect the vulnerable among our client community and staff by wearing masks and keeping current on booster shots. If you're vax'ed and boosted, then wearing a mask indoors is, indeed, a kindness – and we appreciate it. 

We will also continue to offer drop-off as an appointment option, particularly since some folks feel that an enclosed exam room poses more risk during the winter surge than makes them comfortable. For everyone else, we hope the indoor masking policy provides a comfortable level of reasonable protection.

Secondly, this winter is different. The triple whammy of upper respiratory viruses this year is worrying health care providers. Recently, the rate of Covid infection in California jumped 36% in a single week, typically a precursory rate to a surge. 

In addition, this year’s flu virus is leading to more hospitalizations than normal, and hitting much earlier in the season than normal. Masks help us avoid Covid and flu viruses as well as the current outbreak of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), for which there is no vaccine currently. It's a simultaneous triple whammy that poses a significantly increased concern this winter.

For these reasons, we will continue to require indoor masking throughout the winter. 

The good news is the virus match with the current flu vaccine this year is excellent. The county health department has asked us (and encourage you) to help spread the word to get protected. Nationally, only 10% of young kids are fully immunized for COVID and flu, and hospitals are filling up with sick kids. 

Kids and older adults are most vulnerable to Covid, RSV and flu so please help them get boosters and wear well fitting masks in crowded indoor settings. County-shared data show that cloth masks do not work very well. They advise, at minimum,  a surgical style mask should be used, but the most effective is a well-fitting KN95 or N95 respirator style mask. 

San Mateo County Health offers updated, bivalent boosters, which are effective against both the original strain of the virus and the Omicron variants, at its community clinics. Advance appointments are not required, but available, on MyTurn. Updated boosters and flu vaccines are also available from primary health care providers and pharmacies, such as Walgreens, CVS and others.

We encourage you to protect your families, help spread the word, and are tremendously grateful for your continued support of our indoor masking policy. Most of all, we hope everyone has a safe, healthy holiday season, and stays safe and healthy all winter long.



Tue, 11/22/2022 - 13:09 - Carol

As we take a moment to give thanks, we thought we'd share with you the most profound, inspirational photo we've seen all year. It is of displaced dogs in war-torn Ukraine lining up for their turn at a pet feeding station in Kramatorsk. 

It blows us away that all on their own, they behave in such an orderly, civilized way.

As Nate Mook explained in a twitter thread, "I’ve never seen anything like this. Yesterday we installed a displaced pet feeding station in Kramatorsk (with your support!). This morning, the Ukrainian dogs waited in line to eat."

Nate Mook, the former CEO of the non-profit World Central Kitchen started by Chef Andres, has long followed the approach of getting in there and doing the work, and then making a way for people worldwide to support it. In contrast, our "Stand By You" disaster response projects gather the resources first, then optimize for value upon execution, which makes perfect sense for our single-strike direct actions. For this particular project, the local Ukranian volunteers and the right guy seem to have found each other.

"Food need is huge in liberated areas, but also for vets & evacuating pets from the frontline. Volunteers are risking their lives rescuing cats & dogs. So we’re going to establish a fundraiser to help cover costs." Nate Mook continued in the thread, along with posting an interim paypal link.

Isn't it incredible that it's the cats and dogs who are giving the rest of the world an object lesson in how to behave as they set a perfect example. 

One can take heart from their example, and take their example to heart. 

It may come in handy at a Thanksgiving gathering. Who knows? One thing we do know is that we have so much to be thankful for, this year. We're very grateful for all of you and for all of the animals who share our lives. Happy Thanksgiving.



Fri, 10/28/2022 - 11:22 - Carol

A little consideration in advance can prevent a scary Halloween-related animal emergency! Before you open the door to trick or treaters and watch your animal bolt out of it, or before someone gives your dog chocolate, perhaps take a few minutes to avoid turning Halloween into an actual 'fright night.'

Top of the list of things to think about is to keep the chocolate away from dogs. Actually, keep any sugary or high-fat foods away from dogs, or even sugar-free foods with xylitol in them. At Mid-Pen, what we see most at Halloween (or any of the holidays, really) is urgent treatment for dietary lapses. Sometimes owners forget. Sometimes big-hearted relatives and friends just don't know. Sometimes people forget to tell their kids (don't forget; tell your kids!). But as you know, most animals won't themselves refuse.

Also, did you know that raisins or grapes - even those peeled fake-eyeball grapes - can be toxic to some dogs? 

Be aware of Halloween noises that could cause any pet to try to escape, or experience high anxiety. Perhaps put your animal where they can not escape, even with adrenalyn. This goes double if you're hosting a party, tripple if your animal is not yet microchipped.

Clearly, you know your animals best, but please remember they react differently than you do. If they are prone to anxiety, perhaps confine the pet in a crate or in cozy room with the TV on during trick-or-treat hours, or during a party.

A little consideration beforehand, can go a really long way to ensuring your Halloween - whether festive or chill - doesn't become a nightmare. 

Be safe out there and have a Happy Halloween!



Fri, 10/14/2022 - 10:44 - Carol

If you keep birds, poultry or have a backyard bird feeder, headsup. A particularly nasty strain of bird flu is skyrocketing here in the US with the fall migration of wild birds. Worldwide, people are acting to try to mitigate its spread. In the UK, some call it the "flockdown."

This week, San Mateo County Animal Control formally notified us about recent detections of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in San Mateo and neighboring counties, and asked us to inform you. Why? Because there are things we can do together to slow the spread of this disease that is highly fatal to birds. For example, mortality rates in domestic poultry can be up to 100%.

They also assured us that poultry and eggs remain safe to eat; cook thoroughly.

The big picture is to keep our birds socially distant from the wild birds who are migrating south for the winter. If you have pet birds or backyard poultry, whenever possible, secure birds inside an enclosure that wild birds cannot access. To avoid attracting wild birds, remove bird feeders and bird baths from your property. Clean up any uneaten feed promptly. Use water from commercial sources, rather than ponds shared with wild birds.

One can add more mitigations like, clean and disinfect clothing, footwear and equipment before entering bird housing areas or handling birds. Wash hands with soap before and after handling birds. Wash vehicles in a commercial car wash after driving onto other farms or areas with birds. Veterinarians working with birds will wear the full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) garb.

If you want to do a deeper dive, information is also available from the Department of Fish and Game. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers information on "How Bird Flu Spreads" to other birds (and rarely to humans), and "What to know about Bird Flu." Another terrific flier, particularly for sharing with family, comes from the California Department of Food and Agriculture called "Biosecurity for backyard birds." You can also read the official statement from the County of San Mateo, which includes even more resources.

Please tell people you know who have backyard bird feeders and bird baths about this warning. Together, let's do what we can to slow the progression and mitigate the spread.



Fri, 06/10/2022 - 11:04 - Carol

We will be closed on Friday, June 17th for a very exciting garage door upgrade. You may want to adjust plans for food or med orders, but it's also a good time for a few thoughts about the garage. 

"Go slow" usually goes without saying, but a couple of other helpful tips go a long way when it comes to leaving the garage. 

The first tip is: check the two displays for outside pedestrian, bike and car traffic. The displays (or TV monitors) 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 sedans 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. But try it: check the displays and see what's out there.

Second tip: also when you're at the Stop signs, if there's a lot of traffic, just hold that thought. Don't battle trying to get out in it. Just chill, because the typical street traffic consists of "waves" of very heavy traffic, punctuated by welcome breaks which are very low traffic. The low traffic part of the pulsing pattern is about as long as the high traffic part of the traffic pulse. This pattern is caused by the traffic lights on the corner. 

So, if you stop and there's traffic, sit back and relax for a bit, until the no-traffic time when you can exit in the leisurely, no-stress luxury that you deserve.

Those are our two helpful tips, but we also want to thank our wonderful client community for keeping animal safety in the garage top of mind. People do use the free leashes, and do transport cats in carriers, taking care to not open the car door without first securing the animal. It's pretty wonderful. You're pretty wonderful. Thank you!



Fri, 05/20/2022 - 10:34 - Carol

Happy Spring! We have three updates for you -- a Covid update, a thank you, and a reminder.

First, this Covid pandemic is causing us a bit of whiplash lately. Just when we began to think about slowly loosening up on protocols, we got smacked back into reality. We had started to take a limited number of in-person appointments for a few cases which we thought warranted more intensive interaction. Then, earlier this month, we had a small outbreak amongst our staff. 

The good news is that nobody ended up hospitalized (thanks to getting our vaccines and boosters, no doubt). The other good news is few were involved. Everyone's recovering nicely, but it was a harsh reminder that we are not in charge -- the virus is in charge. 

Apparently, "lifted mandates" that infer an "all clear" are not the same as boots-on-the-ground reality. As such, we are back to being more careful and conservative. We're still suspending House Calls, and conducting appointments as dropoffs. In addition, for a little self care, we will be closed on Sundays during June. 

Secondly, we want to sincerely thank you for your response to our new cancellation policy. The response has been very positive, overall. We appreciate all the support and respect. Implementing a new policy like that is a little nerve wracking, but it did the trick. It's allowed us to accommodate more of your fellow community members. We are most grateful.

Finally, with spring comes an increase in mosquitos, which carries Heartworm. Consider this your friendly reminder to ensure heartworm prevention is up to date. If you are new to pet care or just want a refresher on the topic, see our helpful information page on Heartworm. The bottom line is: a little prevention makes all the difference.

Those are our three quick updates.  Enjoy the terrific weather and have a Happy Spring!



Fri, 04/08/2022 - 14:50 - Carol

There's been a lot of talk lately about getting booster shots for COVID, but today we're talking about getting booster shots for canine distemper for our dogs. There is reason to pay attention right now in the Bay Area.

Recently, there have been several media reports, including the San Francisco Chronicle who warns of "an outbreak of what is believed to be canine distemper, a sometimes fatal viral disease that is highly contagious among some mammals. It appears to be spreading at high rates, threatening to infect domestic dogs."

Canine distemper can be prevented or greatly reduced by a vaccine. Typically, puppies are given a series
of vaccinations "to increase the likelihood of building immunity when the immune system has not yet fully matured." 

Vaccinations need to be done on a schedule to maintain immunity throughout your pet’s lifetime. Yearly wellness checks will include keeping canine distemper vaccinations up to date, along with any other recommended vaccinations.

Here's where the COVID pandemic and this effort intersect. COVID has made it more challenging for all of us, and these days the schedule is pretty tightly packed with appointments booking out weeks in advance (except for bona fide emergencies or urgent care, of course). If your animals haven't had their wellness exam on schedule during the pandemic, it might be a good idea to get that appointment on the books. 

It's particularly important if you are starting to get out more and your animal is likely to come into increased contact with other animals. Canine distemper is spread through airborne exposure, as well as from shared food, water bowls and equipment. Infected dogs can shed virus for months. And like we already said, canine distemper can be treated, but can not be cured, and is often fatal. Vaccination is the key.

Viruses on surfaces and spread with airborne exposure – it all sounds so familiar, doesn't it? So, while we clearly encourage everyone to get a COVID booster, we definitely encourage making sure your dog gets their canine distemper booster too.




Fri, 03/18/2022 - 12:56 - Carol

We have some of the best clients in the world. They tend to be smart and nice, and really partner with their veterinarian collaboratively. We not only recognize it, but we also really appreciate it.

Here's why:  

While its true we have experienced an uptick in No-shows, our cancellation policy seems to be helping on that front. And we do occasionally experience, um, non-nice clients. Sad, but true.

For the most part, our clients know this profession requires a complicated mix of medical knowledge, laser focus and warm compassion on the patient front, plus education, patient communication and more compassion on the client front. You appreciate our skills and work with us to really be proactive partners in your animal's health. You "get" the importance of yearly wellness exams, and tend to them.

On our side, we have also been taking steps to try to protect and care for ourselves during this extra stressful pandemic time. We discussed and implemented a boundary on the no-shows front. We closed on Sundays for several months when we detected the need. And we will be taking our time to figure out any COVID-related protocols for slowly allowing clients back in the hospital space. 

In the meantime, we thought you might find the TEDx talk enlightening and informative. Most of all, we wanted to express appreciation for our wonderful, kind clients, and point out we DO recognize the outsized impact your patience and kind words have on our day and on our mental health. We appreciate you. Thank you!



Thu, 01/13/2022 - 12:28 - Carol

Please be advised: We will be closed from Thursday, January 13th through Sunday, January 16th, due to a small Covid outbreak amongst our staff. If you had an appointment during this time and were contacted to reschedule, please know that we will do our utmost to get you in as soon as possible. If your animal needs emergency care, please refer to our Emergency Services page. Clearly, we apologize in advance for any inconvenience.

Like so many other businesses our staff is like a family to us, and we had to nip this Covid outbreak in the bud. We're also scrambling to get more testing because our reopening will depend on confirming negative Covid status. We have some tests, but if you have a line on getting more tests, we'd love it if you let us know. We're not too proud to accept the help. 

The good news is our staff and our community generally have a fairly high vaccination rate, which makes us optimistic that breakthrough cases will not prove dire. We're also encouraged by news of this surge starting to crest in other parts of the country. The bad news is this Omicron variant is really transmissible. We encourage everyone who is eligible to get boosted as soon as you can. 

Meanwhile, we will post an update here on the blog when we have one.

Please take care of yourself and be extra kind to each other.



Fri, 12/17/2021 - 10:06 - Carol

For nearly 59 years, since we began in 1963, Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital has never needed a cancellation policy. 

It isn't that "No Shows" never happened in all these years. They did, but infrequently. Indeed, they were rare enough to provide a welcome respite -- an opportunity in an otherwise packed schedule to take a breath and take a moment to catch up. 

Since Covid-19, we've seen many changing dynamics. Each appointment takes extra steps to ensure social distancing and keep our staff safe. It's been challenging. We miss our clients, some of whom have booked a lot farther out than they're used to because of the demand for appointments.

As the pandemic has dragged on, we've seen an explosion of people making appointments and just not showing up. It's definitely a pandemic thing, not a demographic or generational shift, or a new-patient thing. It isn't even just happening to us -- it's happening across the industry. But it is new and unusual, and it has a ripple effect to the rest of the community.

When we make an appointment, we reserve that time exclusively for your animal. The veterinarian and her entire team sets aside the time, ready to focus. We don't double-book and risk other clients having to wait. We respect your time. We have a waiting list of people who want to get in sooner. 

At Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital, we value the relationship we share with every client, and we understand that sometimes schedule adjustments are unavoidable. Appointments may need to be changed or canceled. 

We respectfully request 24 hours’ notice for all appointment cancellations. Effectively immediately, late arrivals, missed appointments or insufficient notice will result in a fee for the first occurrence. Full details are outlined on our new Cancellation Policy page.

When appointments are canceled with sufficient notice, our team has the opportunity to fill the vacant appointment time with another wait-listed patient or an urgent care request. We hope the new policy results in less disruption for everyone, and more patients can be better served. Thank you, in advance, for your cooperation.