Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital™ Blog

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 17:58 - Carol

People are asking us if pets can get the virus that causes COVID-19. The question really breaks down into two parts: "can our pets get it from us" and "can we get it from our pets?" The gist is whether one can put their pet at risk, or whether a pet can become a spreader?

Medicine is often about consensus. Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital is a member of the Amercan Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) who have joined the preliminary consensus, based on the available information. AVMA states on their COVID-19 page: "Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets become ill with COVID-19 or that they spread it to other animals, including people."

As such, we encourage normal interaction with your pets, unless you yourself are sick. Ours is a belt-and-suspenders approach to advising, out of an extreme abundance of caution, until more is known about this pandemic. The logic behind avoiding your animal if you are sick is to avoid creating a situation where one could cough or sneeze on the animal directly. 

With multiple people in a household, the CDC recommends that symptomatic family members avoid contact with animals whenever possible, adding "If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them"

When we need to run laboratory testing, the company we partner with is a world leader, as you might expect. The company, IDEXX, has labs all over the world. When we draw samples to be tested, we always send enough fluids to run the test, to run it again if needed, and a little extra. Everyone follows this standard procedure.

During their research work to validate a new veterinary test system for COVID-19, IDEXX evaluated thousands of canine and feline specimens, and found "no positive results in pets to date of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus strain responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) respiratory outbreak in humans."

None in dogs. None in cats. It seems like our advice to hand-off the care of your cat or dog to a family member if you get sick is potentially overkill, but we'd prefer to err on the side of caution. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also echoes our advice to avoid pets if you are sick. If it's too late, and if you can manage it, bathing the pet should reduce the risk to others.

If you are not sick, the scientific community has given you one less worry in that COVID-19 is spread between humans and not to, or from, our companion animals. This is good news if you need to bring your animal in for care. While people exercise social distancing of 6' between ourselves, you can cuddle and interact with your animal as normal. This is particularly good news at a time when we need to cuddle our companions, get out and take more walks, and generally find comfort where we can. Stay healthy.

 

 

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 17:15 - Carol

Thank you for all of the well wishes for our doctor's speedy recovery. The deluge into our inbox of all the warm wishes has been heartening.

A quick update from here. By close of business yesterday, we completed all of the calls to anyone who had potentially been in contact with her (defined as "within 6 feet" of proximity) even before she had any symptoms. Since she had only been in the animal hospital once, more than a week ago, there weren't many to notify. Her last day in started the 14-day count, which concludes on March 29th, and then we will re-open with appropriate social distancing. 

The only other people being called are those who need to be rescheduled. We are also closing at 5pm during this week. The disinfection procedures that we initially heightened many weeks ago are being continued, as are additional deep cleaning procedures. As medical professionals, we default to over-sanitizing and that's just fine.

In speaking to our doctor today, she continues to improve and greatly appreciates all of the thoughts and prayers. She asked us to thank you, ergo this update. Thank you. We also appreciate the flexibility in rescheduling the appointments for this week by those who were affected by our semi-closure. We also appreciate those who have held off on non-urgent calls -- a couple more days ought to do it. Most everybody has been gracious, which is very much appreciated. 

We are blessed with such a tremendously supportive, smart and loving community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those far more impacted in our community. We know these are trying times. We know people are stressed out. It's the graciousness in the face of all that stress we appreciate, and remember.

We have the best clients in the world. They have proven it once again. Thank you so much for all the well wishes and support.

 

 

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 18:08 - Carol

Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital is temporarily closing the hospital to in-person visits for one week, while maintaining availability for phone questions, pharmacy and prescription diet operations.

Until testing is more widely available, out of an abundance of caution, we are closing our doors through March 29th, for any in-person appointments and procedures. We will have receptionists and technicians on the premises to take phone calls, field medical questions, and staff the pharmacy and prescription diet orders using extreme social distancing (hands-free). RVTs will answer medical questions in consultation with doctors. During this period, we will rigorously disinfect the entire hospital (again).

Last Monday, one of our doctors was in the hospital working. A day or two later she began to feel under the weather. She immediately began a self-quarantine at home. She is already feeling better, but did receive positive test results for COVID-19 today. Anyone who had potentially been in contact with her (defined as "within 6 feet" of proximity) during the last 2 weeks, will be contacted directly today and asked to quarantine for two weeks. 

Short of wider availability of testing, we believe this is the only prudent course of action. We apologize for any inconvenience. We will keep you posted.

 

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 09:05 - Carol

What a difference a day or so makes! We're making a slight adjustment to our process for Drive-in and Drop-off appointments. If you are coming in for an appointment, please read this carefully.

Our focus is continuing to provide the essential services of healthcare for the pets in your family, while complying with the 6' social distancing model to protect everyone, including our dedicated staff. When we had the original discussion about going to a Drop-off and Drive-in appointment process, personnel at all levels were consulted and weighed in on the decision. But we forgot to consult with the animals.

Apparently, animals are used to their owners securing them and taking them out of the car. Many of them are demonstrably displeased with someone coming up to the car and doing it for the owners. They have now put in their two cents.

New-and-improved Process
When you come in for your appointment, please secure your animals. We have hospital leads hanging from the garage walls and request you add one of those, along with your own leash. Call us to let us know you are here, staying in your vehicle. After a brief wait to make sure the path is clear, we will let you know when to bring them into one of two doors.

We are using the door labeled "Enter" to receive dogs, and the door labeled "Exit" to receive cats. You will notice the paper signs designating "dog" and "cat" posted on the door itself.

Here's what they look like:

If you usually park on the street and come in through the front door, you may want to come into the garage instead, then call us to receive your animal at the appropriate dog or cat door.

Thank you for your understanding as we modify our process. We've never done this before. While Drop-off appointments are not new, traditionally they had been brought inside to check in. Now, we are asking you to secure your animal, call us and bring them through the applicable door.

Thanks, and stay healthy!

 

 

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 17:19 - Carol

As we all shelter in place to reduce the community spread of COVID-19 or the Novel Coronavirus, we'd like to share with you how we are further modifying our processes to comply with the order while protecting our staff, you and your pet. 

The shelter-in-place order allows for conducting essential services related to healthcare for you and your family; this includes your pets. To be clear, the order specifies that your pets are part of your family, and specifies the inclusion of veterinary services. 

Of course, we all need to practice appropriate social distancing. We have decided to conduct our Doctor's appointments on a drive-in or drop-off basis. Any exceptions prove the rule. In addition, we are conducting technician appointments on a drive-in basis. 

The drive-in appointment option is new to facilitate social distancing by reducing the number of people who enter the hospital. Basically, you come by appointment to the garage. When you arrive, call us and our staff will come to your car to get the animal. The doctor will speak to you by phone, do their exam and then we'll bring the pet back to your car.

Drop-off appointments are not new. They are always offered to accommodate busy schedules. Sometimes considerable time is required to perform a test or do a procedure, and clients prefer to leave and return later the same day, rather than wait.

By conducting appointments this way, our veterinarians and staff are maximizing the social distancing principle, and hopefully maximizing our ability to remain available to serve the community's animals during this unique time. The fact is we are operating with a reduced staff due to school closures and this shelter-in-place order. We appreciate your patience and cooperation in scheduling non-essential appointments for a month out. At the same time, we also encourage you to reach out to us so we can make sure that all of your pet's needs are met.

In compliance with the order, we are scheduling annual exams and non-essential services that can wait approximately one month out. Rabies vaccines, plus puppy and kitten vaccination schedules, are time sensitive and essential. Non-rabies annual boosters, however, are being scheduled for one month out. Please reach out to us with questions or to discuss your particular case.

If you need to come in to pick up supplies, we'd love it if you called ahead so we can get it ready for you. Let us know when you get here and we can bring it out to your car.

Again, if you have symptoms, concerns or just want to protect yourself, please don't come in. Instead, call us to discuss how we can take care of your pet. We can schedule a telephone consult with the doctor and make a plan. Social distance doesn't mean going it alone. Reach out to us. Working together we will all get through this.

 

 

Sun, 03/15/2020 - 17:46 - Carol

As we all do our part in reducing the community spread of COVID-19 or Novel Coronavirus, we'd like to share with you how we are protecting you and your pet. 

At this point, we are currently staying open, to take care of the community's animals, with some process modifications to maintain social distancing and address extra disinfection. The modifications that affect you are described below. We are executing our sanitization procedures more frequently, plus disinfecting each exam room between each patient visit. 

If you or anyone in your family have a fever or cough, please stay home until testing is widely available

For anyone coming in, when you arrive, please stop at the hand-washing station in our reception area. Washing hands thoroughly for 20 seconds is recommended. We've also placed boxes of tissues around the hospital for your use.  

If you are planning to hunker down and follow the social distancing recommendations by staying home, remember the provisions you need include your animal's prescriptions and food. Don't stress out if you forget something. We can work with you to get you the supplies that you need.

If you have symptoms, concerns or just want to protect yourself, please don't come in. Instead, call us to discuss how we can take care of your pet. We can schedule a telephone or video consult with the doctor and make a plan. 

In addition, we are scheduling drive-in technician appointments where you park in our garage, and call to let us know you are here. This is particularly well suited for clinic appointments. We will come out and take your pet inside for the test or treatment, while you wait in the car. For some, this method will optimize our ability to take care of your animal directly while keeping you the most socially distanced possible. You can wait in your car or come back later. 

This is similar to our drop-off appointment option for doctor exams. Drop-off appointments are not new. They are always offered to accommodate busy schedules.

Also, remember, we offer pet taxi service and now may be the time you want to use it. We ask you to please stay home while you have a cough or fever. If you are sick or symptomatic, please let us know so that we can take appropriate precautions for our staff. 

During this whole COVID-19 pandemic, social distance doesn't mean going it alone. Reach out to us. Working together we will all get through this.

 

 

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 12:10 - Carol

A quick progress update about the research surrounding the FDA's concern over what's causing dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain types of pet food. In case you missed it, this is an issue we brought to your attention last summer to clear up confusion with some dog foods' relationship to DCM. 

The issue is important because DCM is a form of canine heart disease that can cause congestive heart failure in dogs, even sudden cardiac death. It's significance was highlighted by the FDA taking a rare step of naming names -- backed up by science, of course. UC Davis had originally sounded the alarm and other universities are now pursuing to aid the research. 

Like we mentioned in our blog post at the time, the FDA named 16 brands representing the most reported cases. They typically are labeled as "grain-free" (90%), and typically with high levels of peas and lentils (93%). Researchers found that most dogs on this diet had low levels of taurine in their bloodstream. Taurine is an amino acid which is crucial for heart health. 

Since then, research has continued on the issue. Of the reports of DCM which appeared to be related to diet, 90% ate grain-free food, but what about the other 10%? What about those cases with DCM that show normal levels of taurine? These and others are really great questions!

More recently, the research has broadened to include a wider scope of foods. Also being examined are foods made in small batch by small companies, and those which contain exotic incredients (duck, alligator, rabbit, bison, etc.), in addition to the grain-free foods heavy in peas and lentils. There's even an acronym term for this broader scope. The term now being used is "BEG" diets, which is not a play on what your dog may do at your heels while you're at the dinner table.  It stands for "boutique," "exotic" and "grain-free." The point is the research scope has broadened.

Another change is switching from thinking about finding the most common commonality (or the 90%) to thinking about the issue in a more complicated way. Scientists and doctors refer to it as a 'multi-factorial' approach, which recognizes that multiple factors may be at play, particularly for the other 10%. Perhaps some of these BEG foods somehow inhibit taurine uptake, or interfere with how the body absorbs amino acids, or interfere with how the body utilizes those amino acids. 

Yet another factor is that some animals may be genetically predisposed to this path, which might explain why some are super quick to develop the food-related DCM in just a few months. These are all questions being examined now.

As you can tell, this is a topic we're very interested in. It's not because we offer these types of products -- quite the opposite. We only sell prescription food. As we mentioned before, if you get your food from us, particularly a special diet, rest easy on that score. 

Given that we do not currently offer any BEG diet products, we may seem a little disproportionately fixated on the topic. When it comes to concern for what goes into our clients' pets, focus is appropriate. We may not offer it, but some clients may use it. Plus, we are always interested in "food as medicine" as a topic. 

It goes without saying that if you have concerns, or questions, or want to screen to be sure your animal isn't developing DCM, please feel free to ask your veterinarian. We will also keep you posted once in a while here too.

 

 

Thu, 01/02/2020 - 11:08 - Carol

We ring in the baby New Year with a baby announcement of our own!  

Welcome Alexandra, daughter of our talented veterinarian, Dr. Forgette. A little ray of sunshine herself, Miss Alex arrived at sunrise after keeping her mom up all night (despite an epidural which proved slightly less than 100% effective). Technically, she'd already kept mom up for the second night in a row.  

When the sun rose on November 23rd, the world welcomed Alex -- all 7-pound-11-ounces of her, at 21 1/2" long. You read that right: 21-and-a-half inches, which is indeed the 99th percentile for length. 

"We're very excited," explained Dr. Forgette. "My parents are coming out next week, and we're going to the midwest to visit his parents soon."

Progress wise, Alex has started looking at faces, and she is tracking objects now. The family dog, Archer, is also handling her well, so far. He's not freaked out by crying. If anything, he gets more exercise now than he did before. Archer likes to stand guard when the family is on the couch. Most of the time he's laying somewhere within three feet of Alex. Other than standing guard, Archer's been very, very snuggly. 

Alex arrived when mom was already out on scheduled leave.  "I really appreciate that everyone's been covering for me, so I can be with her for a few months," explained Dr. Forgette. "It's nice being able to focus on having time with her. She's fantastic. She's either asleep, eating or just happy. She sleeps 5 hours at a time. We've been very lucky in that regard."  

Mom and Dad are still working on figuring out day care, but Dr. Forgette aims to come back in March. 

So, as we all welcome in the New Year, 2020, please join us in also welcoming Miss Alex to the world, and congratulating Dr. Forgette on a healthy, happy new baby girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 16:41 - Carol

We had a great time together at our company holiday party! This year marked our first year in Redwood City. While our new location is very close to our old location, here on the peninsula, every neighborhood has their own great places. 

 

The place we chose is a beautiful gem. Open to the public, the Dragon Theater at 2120 Broadway, in Redwood City, is fairly close to the San Mateo County History Museum, and easily walkable from the Redwood City CalTrain station.

The Dragon Theater is available as an event space for parties such as ours, of course.  However, it's main objective is to produce professional theatre productions that are uncommon, intimate, and empathically bold. They focus on accessibility for audiences, artists and the community.   

Productions are either Main Stage productions (with audience discounts available for subscriptions of as few as three (3) shows), or 2nd Stage productions, which serve as a nesting incubator for developing producers and artists. A step beyond, their immersive art explores the audience relationship to performance through the theater's new Dragon Experience Design Lab (DXDL). 

And if that's not enough, the Dragon Theater gets super immersive with classes for adults and children, corporate workshops and private coaching for actors or anyone looking to beef up their public speaking chops. Classes range from story telling and play writing to improv. 

For our particular event, we set up noshing in the lobby, and were treated to a private performance of the Nutcracker. One of the highlights, for us, was watching one of our very own fabulous RVTs, Anna Yanushkevich, perform as Uncle Drosselmeyer and the Rat King. She did a terrific job, and made us proud. The theater is "on Broadway," in a lively, thriving cultural section of Redwood City. The whole experience was intimate, uncommon and truly festive. 
 

 

Sun, 12/22/2019 - 07:17 - Carol

As we all gather with family and friends for the holidays this year, please note our holiday hours:

    Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: Closed
    New Year's Eve: 8am to 2pm
    New Year's Day: Closed
    
Best wishes to you and yours for a season of love, peace and joy!