Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital™ Blog

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 11:28 - Carol

Whether you're new to Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital™ or a current client, the Canine Influenza outbreak in the Bay Area needs to be on every dog owner's radar. We saw our first case two weeks ago, and by week's end had already seen several more cases.

We are strongly recommending the Canine Influenza vaccination for dogs who have frequent dog-to-dog contact. Our CIV vaccination protects against both the current strain H3N2, as well as H3N8. The mechanism for getting your dog vaccinated is different for new clients versus current clients who are up to date with their dog's yearly wellness exam. Clients with dogs who are current on their annual exams can make an appointment for one of our special vaccine clinics.

During a clinic appointment, Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVTs) screen and make sure the dog is healthy enough to have the vaccine administered. Our current clients should have received an email from Dr. Lowery, which is included below. Due to robust demand, we have added several additional clinics to the ones referenced in her letter. If your dog had an exam with one of our doctors within the last year, feel free to call to make a clinic appointment. If you want to bring them in sooner, we can certainly accommodate you with a regular appointment.

For new clients, we sometimes run a special that provides a free initial exam; and now is an appropriate and worthwhile time to do so. All you need to do is make a new patient appointment, tell them you want the Canine Influenza vaccine, and we'll waive the first exam fee. It is a complete wellness exam, which takes a half hour, but you can start the Canine Influenza series at the same time. Simply fill out the “request appointment” form from our website or give us a call.

Feel free to share this blog post with any family member or friend who owns a dog. Just have them make a “new pet exam” appointment, and mention this special offer.

To explain more about Canine Influenza, here is the letter sent out to our current, dog-owning clients:

To our dog owner clients,

You may have heard about a recent outbreak of Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) in the Bay Area. We have now had two confirmed cases at Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital™ this week. We want to share the facts with you, so you can make informed decisions about vaccination and watch for symptoms.

First, we want to assure you that CIV is not caught from humans, nor transmitted to humans. You can't get the flu from your dog, and vice versa. It's easy to get confused because we are also in the middle of a human influenza outbreak, but these flu viruses are not transmittable between species. 

The issue is that for Canine Influenza Virus H3N2 dogs are highly contagious before they show symptoms, and this is a nasty strain for which very few unvaccinated dogs have immunity.

This particular strain of CIV is the same H3N2 strain, which affected the greater Chicago area in 2015 and is now confirmed in 40 states. Dog's peak shedding of the virus typically occurs before they are clinically ill. Virtually all exposed dogs become infected, of which 80% show symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Common symptoms include malaise, lethargy, inappetence, coughing, sneezing, discharge from the nose and/or eyes, and fever. While most cases are mild, those with the more severe form have a high fever and accompanying pneumonia that requires hospitalization. 

If your dog has frequent dog-to-dog contact, we strongly encourage you to have your dog vaccinated. Examples include dogs who board, attend day care, go to groomers or dog parks, and dogs who compete in shows or athletic events. Dogs who have less dog-to-dog contact can also be vaccinated if owners prefer they have some immunity against the virus.

The vaccine is given twice (2-to-4 weeks apart), and then boosted annually.  The earliest age approved for the vaccine is 7 weeks old. A dog is only considered to have immunity two weeks after the second vaccine. The vaccine does not prevent them from acquiring the virus, rather it makes any illness milder and shorter, plus they shed virus for a few days, not weeks.

Clinical signs of many of the Canine Upper Respiratory Disease Complex illnesses are similar, despite the causative agent.  However, the clinical illness produced by Influenza is often worse than what we typically see with common Kennel Cough attributed to the bacterial Bordetella br./Parainfluenza infection.

If your dog develops a cough, please call for an appointment for us to assess their status. We may try to evaluate your dog outside of our hospital, for the initial assessment. If your dog falls into the high-risk group, or you want your dog to be vaccinated for the Canine Influenza virus, please call to schedule a vaccination, or to join our by-appointment-CIV-vaccination-clinic event on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 between 10am and 4pm, and again on February 6 from 10am to 4pm. Check our blog for details and updates at http://www.midpen.com/blog/. 

Janet Lowery, DVM
Medical Director

Sun, 01/21/2018 - 12:18 - naomi

Happy New Year! As we start the new year, we'd like to introduce you to our new veterinarian, Dr. Lindsay Forgette. We are thrilled to have her on board!

Dr. Forgette is a general practitioner, like all our doctors, which makes her ideal for handling any case that walks through the door. She's available afternoons and evenings. She enjoys general medicine, dentistry and surgery, but also has a particular fondness for behavioral issues and palliative care. 

Dr. Forgette was born and raised in New England. She received her Master's and DVM from Tufts University. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Animal Science from the University of Connecticut. Between these two distinguished institutions, she took a year "off" by working full time with laboratory animals at Yale University. 

Her first experience of 'the West' was moving to New Mexico, where her partner landed a dream job. Dr. Forgette worked at the Santa Fe Animal Emergency Clinic. That same dream job brought them to Silicon Valley. Along the way, she experienced hot and cold weather without the oppressive humidity. Now, she admits to being completely in love with the West and the West Coast, its weather and its beauty. 

She also loves painting and quilting, and refers to her visual hobbies as "color therapy." In the rest of her spare time, Dr. Forgette can be found rock climbing at Planet Granite, Pinnacles National Park and Castle Rock. 

She and her partner share their home with Archer, a delightful little poodle puppy and rescue dog. Dr. Forgette met Archer when he was recovering from being hit by a car at five months old. Archer is all better now and loves to run alongside Dr. Forgette. 

When you get a chance, please welcome Dr. Lindsay Forgette. We are extremely happy to have her on board.

Sun, 12/31/2017 - 14:21 - Carol

As we close out 2017, we can't help but to reflect on this year's largest event for us -- the North Bay fires. We want to express a heartfelt "Thank you" to those who contributed to the Stand By You project! We appreciate your joining with us to support the animal victims of the North Bay fires. We thought you'd appreciate a summary. 

When the fire broke out, our initial response was threefold: we immediately addressed the online mechanism for the project, made sure our professionals are registered with the California Veterinary Medical Association's disaster outreach program called "California Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps" (CAVMRC), and asked our distributor for special discounted pricing for the project. All this was completed in 24hrs.

Next, we reached out to industry colleagues to identify our own direct contacts on the ground. At the outset, we gathered supplies focused on food and crates, with medical supplies. Evacuation centers often won't take people who have pets unless those animals have a crate. It makes sense, but with the fast pace of the fires, many people literally grabbed their pets and ran for their lives. We had one false start driving up to an evacuation center in Marin before finding out they had been inundated. The next day we learned our colleagues at Muttville were deployed by the CAVMRC, so we loaded up their Muttville van with medical supplies and pet food for their trip.

Next, our own RVT, Suzanne Tzifas, was deployed. She drove up to the fire-affected area with a good $2000 in medical supplies alone (saline, bandages, burn-related supplies and injury-related supplies), plus the rest of a van loaded with food (both dog and cat, low stress formula, of course) and some crates just in case. In addition, we had a truck already packed up, staged and ready to roll. Consequently, we were able to respond to a Sonoma Humane Society on Highway-12 in Santa Rosa delivering that truckload within hours of their call for help. 

You may have seen the article about our efforts in the Almanac. The response to this disaster is consistent with the path which disaster response usually takes. It shifts from 'urgent' mode to a 'pace yourself' mode. We are pacing ourselves and other partners are joining in as well.

Lynn from The Pet Place contacted us with a generous donation collected from The Pet Place's community of customers. The contribution combined with some of our recent contributions toward responding to a request from the Petaluma Animal Shelter (operated by the Petaluma Animal Services Foundation), and resulted in a run of supplies just last week.

It will be a long road for many animals. We're in it for the long haul, and will continue througout 2018.

As we look toward 2018, and say good-bye to 2017, we reflect on the year and the way we joined togehter to step up for our neightbors. I'm proud of what we did together.  We appreciate you, your business, and your partnering with us on the Stand By You project. We continue to stretch our collective resources and THANK YOU very, very much. 


Carol Schumacher
President, Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital™

PS Here are some photos from Stand By You! Enjoy!

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 16:44 - M. Penny

Our hearts go out to the evacuees from the Napa, Sonoma and Santa Rosa fires, who grabbed their pets and ran for their lives, literally. 

We can't sit by and just be thankful it wasn't our earthquake or disaster. As such, Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital is organizing a pet food drive, and literally driving pet food (along with crates and medical supplies) up to the fire-affected area. In addition, we are organizing a team of Vets and RVTs to go up to provide care.

This is an assistance effort with a very direct impact. If you want to contribute, we'll match your donation (up to $10,000). Every penny YOU donate will go toward pet food (provided at a generous discount from our distributor), crates and medical supplies.

Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital is picking up the costs for gas, and costs related to our staff. This is happening now. So, if you want to learn more or donate, please visit: www.midpen.com/standbyyou/.

Thank you!

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 16:41 - M. Penny

You may want to make a mental note, or just be entertained by the backstory, of a slight adjustment to our evening hours.

As you know, Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital strives to meet all our customers' veterinary needs -- even concierge services like home visits or pet taxi, on-site bathing, specialty food and gear, boarding, etc. That said, our popular extended evening hours just got dialed back ever so slightly, and only on one night.

Turns out busy Peninsula people have party plans on a Friday night. Dinner out maybe. Livin' it up. Just got paid, Friday night, party huntin', feelin' right.

Our staff is right there with you. Since extending our evening hours in 2013, people have appreciated the ability to come in after work on most weeknights. The dynamic drops off precipitously after 6pm on Friday nights. Live and learn.

Therefore, on a Friday night, we will be open until 6pm. 

That said, there are no changes to the extended evening hours Monday through Thursday, all the way to 10pm. Plus, we are still open both days on the weekends. 

Overall, what we guessed people wanted was 95.4% spot-on. And now, we should be closer to 100%.  But most of all, whether day, evening or weekend, we look forward to seeing you. 

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 16:09 - M. Penny

Talk about scary. A Halloween-related animal emergency is horribly frightening, and often avoidable with a little advanced consideration. 

Top of the list 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. 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. 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? 

Beyond dietary issues, we do worry a little about Halloween pranksters, particularly for black cats. Perhaps consider bringing them indoors for a few days. 

Plus be aware of Halloween noises that could cause any pet to try to escape, or experience high anxiety. You know your animals best. Consider those anxiety reducing actions you used for the Fourth of July

After all, we prefer neither fight nor flight, nor fright when it comes to our animals on All Hallow's Eve.

Be safe out there and have a Happy Halloween!


Fri, 10/14/2016 - 14:39 - M. Penny

"It's a pretty big website for such a little screen." This is what we told ourselves as we watched mobile devices access more of midpen.com. 

Early on, mobile device queries were just looking for the phone number, checking the evening hours, or getting directions. A quick pinch-and-zoom got them what they needed. 

Over time (or maybe the introduction of more mobile device sizes) page queries began to change. The website, which was designed for desktop computers, looked too small on a mobile device. So, we shifted our priorities. Fun projects, like the 'showcase and gallery' project, would stay on the back burner in order to deliver the *useful* features of the desktop website to various and sundry mobile devices. 

Crazy, right? Not really. First and foremost, technology should be used to make things easier for you -- request an appointment, get a prescription refilled, grab a form to bring in filled out, or check out information about common topics

When we got all that into a new version for mobile devices, tested up and pushed live, it felt pretty good. Now, people accessing the site from a desktop or laptop computer get the same site they always have, but people using mobile devices get a mobile-optimized version of the website. The appointment and refill requests forms work like mobile forms work.

It should make things easier for you. And that makes us happy. See those big smiles? Those are happy smiles. To make it official, we decided a little ribbon cutting ceremony was in order. All around big smiles for a big website on such a little screen.

Sun, 07/03/2016 - 15:34 - M. Penny
Fourth of July can be scary for animals -- dogs in particular.
It's the fireworks, even at a distance, that registers louder and with a greater auditory range for dogs. Of course, cats are not immune. Even if there's no planned fireworks show nearby, sometimes individuals shoot off fireworks anyway. Here are a few things that you can do:
1) If your festivities end before dark, consider hanging out with your animal after dark and keeping them with you. The simple dynamic of your presence in the room can be a tremendous comfort, particularly if you can project calm. Sometimes being with you is all it takes. If you, yourself, get spooked or project your own anxiety, maybe not; and move on to suggestion number two.
2) Keep your animals in a location where, if they do get spooked, they can not escape and run away. Use common sense: if you know they can clear the backyard fence, or worry that with some adrenalyn they might be able to, then put them in a location where they simply can't escape.
3) Maybe a Thundershirt. A Thundershirt, like swaddling a baby, is a soft compression wrap, shown to help many fearful dogs overcome their anxiety, such as when thunder storms or other loud noises trigger anxiety. Many families find it helpful, and it comes with a money-back guarantee of satisfaction.
If this is your first Fourth of July with your animal it is particularly important that you take your animal into consideration. If this is not your first Fourth of July and your animal freaks out enough where a medical intervention is the ticket, you probably have it dialed in with your vet already. If you've been looking for a good deadline to make sure your pet is microchipped as well as having their collar tags, this is a good one. We're open, so you can give us a call and see about availability.
As long as you remember they hear more than you do, and take your animals into consideration, we can all have a safe and sane Fourth of July.
Thu, 05/26/2016 - 10:22 - M. Penny
Headsup: we're heading into peak season for heartworm, fleas and ticks. Before looping you in on some industry developments about fleas and ticks, a quick mention about heartworm. Even if you don't treat your cat or dog for heartworm every month as recommended, please do so for the next few months.  
It's easy for humans to forget prevention, mostly because they don't realize what's at stake! The short version is heartworm infection can get fatal with symptoms showing up relatively late in the process. Unprevented, heartworm can infect your animal through the bite of a Western Tree Hole mosquito. These mosquitos are particularly active now and have extra high numbers because of the wet spring we've had. 
In dogs, the worm eventually grows to 13 inches and sets up housekeeping in the pulmonary artery that supplies the lungs and the right side of the heart, slowing blood flow and compromising your animal’s health. Most animals respond to treatment, though treatment is no guarantee. From there, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to explain clogged pulmonary artery's ultimate results, if untreated. In cats, it's a bit more complicated, of course, with the signs mimicking asthma both on x-ray and with a chronic wheezy cough.
In the case of heartworm, the culprit is any infected mosquito. The risk increases in locations along creeks or near open space where coyotes roam. But, even indoor pets are at risk. Why? Bay Area coyotes are highly infected with heartworm and serve as a reservoir host. The incredibly common Western Tree Hole Mosquito carries heartworm. The mature mosquito picks up heartworm from the coyote, and then seems to seek the indoors where it is thought to be easier for the infected mosquito to fly. 
Coughing, exhaustion, weight loss, and especially coughing up blood or congestive heart failure are all concerning symptoms. If your animal presents symptoms, call us for an appointment immediately. Remember, we're open until 10pm on weekdays. Hopefully it is easy to understand why the best and most affordable approach you can take is heartworm prevention treatment. In theory, you could use treatment this month and next to help you start a good habit for monthly treatment (as recommended).
While we're discussing prevention, it happens to also be the beginning of flea and tick season. You can find a lot of good information right here on the midpen.com website about fleas and about ticks.
Currently, in the field of veterinary medicine, there have been some seemingly exciting developments in flea and tick control for dogs. We use the word seemingly because we're scientists and require proof. As scientific-minded professionals, we want to examine any potential advances carefully, using a disciplined and thorough approach. You would expect nothing less. 
We are currently in the process of reviewing the research and discussing it amongst our veterinarians. As we develop consensus around any conclusions, we will certainly share them with you. It is worth mentioning that, irrespective of advancement potential, it's important to address the current flea and tick season. Now is the time.
If you already know what you need, please contact us and we will take care of you. If you don't know what you need, or wish to try one of the newest generation of products, the next time you bring your animal in for a wellness check, feel free to discuss it with your Vet.
And have a happy summer!
Sat, 09/19/2015 - 09:13 - M. Penny
Did you know that recent water quality monitoring on the Coastside has shown that dog and other pet waste across the landscape, even in backyards, is affecting the health of our local creeks and the ocean? 


We're all hoping the upcoming El Niño will provide us with relief from the drought. As you clear your rain gutters to get ready, if you can spend a few minutes to make double-tripple sure your yards is clear of pet waste, that will help prevent the waste from entering creeks and the ocean.
The San Mateo County Resource Conservation District recently sent a reminder about pet waste in our local water resources. While everyone can find the few minutes necessary to make sure your own landscaping is clear of pet waste, if you happen to have a little more time, they are also looking for volunteers for their First Flush event to collect samples at various outfalls from Montara to Half Moon Bay. More information can be found on the San Mateo County Resource District website.