Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital™ Blog

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.

Hurricane Dorian: Animal Update

Tue, 09/03/2019 - 15:22 - Carol

You know a hurricane is big when we get called to conduct pre-deployment examinations for the search and rescue dogs of Task Force 3. More properly called the Urban Search and Rescue California Task Force 3, or CA-TF3, it's the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force based in Menlo Park, California. 

Sure enough, we got called, and Dr. Meghan Davis stepped up. Task Force 3 has been activated and are working toward likely deployment tomorrow. While you keep the whole area, and the Bahamas, in your thoughts and prayers, please include our local heroes and keep them in your thoughts and prayers as well. We want them to return home safe and sound.

One positive update for this particular disaster comes out of Martin County, Florida. They've opened their first-ever pet-friendly shelter, described as a 'collaboration' between the county officials and the school district officials. The shelter will hold up to 300 people and their pets.

We stand and applaud! Hopefully, this collaboration can make it easier by serving as a model to be copied in other counties in hurricane prone areas.

While it's a no-brainer to acknowledge that many people simply will not evacuate to a shelter without their beloved animals, we also recognize that running one is a wee bit more complicated. Pet owners are asked to bring several items with them, including: a crate, shot records, current rabies vaccination certificate, county animal license tags, medications for the evacuee and their pet, food for the evacuee and their pet, cleaning supplies if necessary, newspaper or pet pad, and comfort items for the pet.

In terms of any evacuation, that's the list we suggest pet owners to bring with them for any disaster. Beyond evacuation, when we talk about earthquake preparedness at home, we also emphasize first aid kits. All these suggestions are really good reminders that it's a good time to double check your own kit. Also, feel free to contact us if you need a proper first aid kit, need additional meds, or can't locate your shot records/rabies certificate. 

Harmful Algal Bloom

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 13:18 - Carol

As if the heat weren't enough to worry about in the summer, now add Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) in streams and lakes where your dogs cool off to the list of worries.  

If your dog likes to jump in a pool of water, don't let them if you see blue-green algae.  It can poison them.  It can kill them.

If you already did let them hop in a pond and you're not sure if blue-green algae was in it, here are the signs and symptoms that they have ingested some: Diarrhea or vomiting, drooling, blood in stool, pale mucous membranes, jaundice, weakness, disorientation or confusion, collapsing or unconsciousness, seizures, and breathing difficulties.

Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, can be found in fresh water or salt water estuaries and it can contain toxins that can be fatal to dogs within minutes, hours, or days of exposure.  So, it's just best to avoid altogether. That is also true for you, but dogs are more likely than people to ingest it when swimming.

Unlike green algae, blue-green algae can be fatal. Blue-green algae is on the rise due to factors like the use of crop fertilizer and rising temperatures due to climate change.  Cyanobacteria can vary in color. Aside from the familiar blue-green, harmful blooms may be blue, bright green, brown or red. They may resemble paint floating on the surface.

The heat is also a good reminder to make sure your pets are never left in cars, or confined spaces where heat can rise dramatically and fast. Aside from these two don'ts, the dos include: do provide shade, do hydrate a little extra and definitely do get out there and have fun this summer.