Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital™ Blog

COVID-19: Responding to Shelter-in-Place Order

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.

COVID-19: Coronavirus Update

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.

 

 

Food-related DCM Research Update

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.

 

 

 

Baby New Year!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside our Staff Holiday Party

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. 
 

 

Holiday Hours

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!
 

Office Holiday Party Closure on Saturday

Thu, 12/19/2019 - 13:23 - Carol

As 2019 winds down, we are taking a moment to gather our family of doctors and staff to celebrate a successful year settling into our new facility.  As such, we will be closed this Saturday, December 21st, all day for our annual Staff Holiday Party. 

If you had planned to stop by on Sat. for a prescription refill, pet's food or what have you, please consider coming in on Friday (open until 6pm).

We will be admitting boarders by appointment only, and naturally the boarding care staff are graciously remaining on site. They are the best and we appreciate their dedication. 

Since the hospital will be closed, we are also taking the opportunity to upgrade a piece of a non-trivial electrical gear on site. We have our fingers crossed that goes smoothly.

While we look forward to celebrating with our staff, we do apologize for any inconvenience the closure may cause.

Thank you!

Power is Back

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 16:15 - Carol

The power is back on and we're operating at full strength. 

 

Yesterday, about a block away, a transformer pole had gone down, which created a power outage for us and the other businesses on the block. We reached out to everyone who had appointments. For anyone who had already hit the road before we reached you, we sincerely apologize. 

 

The power came back on last night about 9:30pm.

 

Houston, we have a problem.

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 10:28 - Carol

About a block away, there's a transformer pole down, which has our power completely out.  No phones.  Nothing.  We've managed to contact today's appointments to reschedule, though we're not sure how much longer the batteries on personal cell phones will hold out. Of course, our dedicated staff is staying on-site to ensure the animals who are in our care are comfortable, warm and well looked after. 

PG&E is working on it now. They estimate the time of restoration at about 7pm tonight.

Meanwhile, we are working hard to re-establish phone communications, but are otherwise closed for the day.

We will keep you posted.

 

 

 

 

FDA Warning: Pig Ear Pet Treats

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 12:36 - Carol

It's not every day when human health is potentially impacted by an FDA warning on a pet product. Preface by saying that we don't include these kinds of treats in what we have available for our clients. We do care, however, and recognize that clients may be purchasing them elsewhere.

Pig ear pet treats are making people sick. It's not as if people are eating the treats, but they are touching them. 

According to the FDA, humans are being exposed to several kinds of Salmonella, and that some of the cases are antibiotic resistant. The Salmonella exposure has a surprising link to the pig ear pet treats. The FDA and CDC are working together on this one. The findings show humans have touched the treats, fed them to their pets, became exposed and they got sick, across 35 states, some requiring hospitalization.

The advice is: throw them away. Don't try to figure out which brand or bulk bin. Simply chuck them, in whatever packaging they're in, and wash your hands thoroughly. The precise language is, "FDA and CDC continue to advise consumers to avoid all pig ear pet treats and retailers to stop selling all pig ear treats at this time." In other words: no, just no. Full stop.

But wait, there's more. Since Salmonella can get established in the pet's gastrointestinal tract, and later shed the bacteria to humans, additional transfer methods need to be considered. 1) Thoroughly clean anything that may have been in contact with the treats. 2) Discourage pets from licking you or other family members, particularly in the face. 3) Always clean up the animal's feces at home or when you're out. 

If you have questions, or think your pet may be ill, please contact us. It's not a bother, and we're here for you. In this instance we have to add, if you, yourself, have touched such treats and are feeling under the weather, don't ignore it, and please do contact your doctor.