Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital™ Blog

Wed, 09/25/2013 - 13:40 - M. Penny

We have a big cat practice; by which we mean that we treat a lot of cats in all sizes, and sometimes a truly, truly huge one. Case in point is Domino pictured here with our head nurse, Suzanne, and her daughter, Madeline. 

http://midpen.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_fre... cat image

Mon, 08/19/2013 - 15:34 - M. Penny

Spring and summer may be the time of most Lyme disease activity for ticks, but summer is the time when most humans are outside hiking and walking with their dogs. As such, we are concerned about ticks and Lyme disease as well as an ever expanding list of new tick-borne diseases for you and for your dogs.

The issue isn't that ticks carrying the bacterium which causes Lyme disease are as particularly pervasive as they are in New England and the upper Midwest. Yet we are concerned. Our concern stems from one simple fact: in the Bay Area there are pocket areas where rates are so high that every single day dogs will surely get infected.

Lucky for us, right here in our back yard is one of the foremost tick and Lyme disease experts, Dr. Robert S. Lane at UC Berkeley. Dr. Lane has spent decades studying medical entomology, parasitology and tick-borne diseases. Over time we've watched his research, and taken note of what he has to say, particularly his recommendation for using a small dose of Permethrin to prevent tick exposure while hiking.

Permethrin spray is old school for a pesticide chemical, composed of synthetic compounds made to mimic the pyrethrins that are isolated from chrysanthemum flowers. Its advantage is it's very short lived, and ticks hate it. Permethrin breaks down in soil and breaks down in sunlight. Of course, all pesticides are by their nature toxic in some way to some organisms, or they wouldn't be an effective pesticide; so the trick is repelling the ticks and keeping humans and dogs safe.

Urgent note of cat-caution however: high concentration of Permethrin can be fatal to cats. So, take appropriate care around felines and make sure they are not exposed to the spray. We have a new tick collar that has a cat-safe synthetic form of pyrethrin tested and approved for them. These are especially useful for cats and dogs if you live in a wooded area and have lots of ticks near your home. Otherwise, ticks are not such a big deal for cats as they are for dogs and for people who visit wooded areas.

The technique for using Permethrin spray is very inexpensive and simple. For people: What Dr. Lane's team does is put all the outer clothes and shoes and socks for the whole crew into a garbage bag the night before, and spray one spritz of permethrin into the bag opening. No need to saturate the clothes, a single spritz will spread to all the clothes overnight in a dark plastic bag. By the next day you can wear them and ticks will be repelled. As soon as they touch the clothes they dance the hot-foot-dance and drop off to the ground. For your dog: just put a light spray over the large fur surfaces and legs of your dog before the hike. Shield the eyes and hold the can not-too-close while sweeping quickly from front to back. Again minimum spray, 3-4 spitzes total. Dr. Lane says no-one has ever had a tick bite since they've used this method and they are in the woods looking for ticks!

With such a simple solution, there's no reason to avoid hiking with your dog. Get out there. Get that exercise. Go on a nature adventure. Just take the Permethrin precaution before heading out.

Wed, 08/14/2013 - 17:17 - M. Penny

Summer is the peak season for heartworm. If you don't treat your dog or cat for heartworm every month as recommended, please at least do so this month and next month.

The Western Tree Hole Mosquito is an incredibly common pest mosquito and the most important carrier of heartworm. Three months after the peak season for Tree Hole Mosquitos is the peak season for spreading heartworm. In other words, that's now.
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 mature mosquito picks up heartworm from the coyote, and then seeks the indoors where it is easier for it to fly.
It's also easy for humans to forget prevention, mostly because they don't realize what's at stake. Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that can infect your animal through the pulmonary artery that supplies the lungs, and the right side of the heart, congesting the area, slowing blood flow and compromising your animal’s health.
Typically, they will not show any symptoms of an early heartworm infection. If your dog develops an advanced case of heartworm, you may begin to see them coughing and suffering from exercise exhaustion, weight loss, fainting, coughing up blood, and, in the worst cases, congestive heart failure. If your cat develops heartworm, the symptoms are primarily respiratory in nature, coughing mostly. If your animal presents any of these symptoms, call us for an appointment immediately. Remember, we're now open until 11pm on weekdays.
The good news is that there is a treatment for canine heartworm. The bad news is that treatment is no guarantee—particularly with heartworm disease advanced enough to cause symptoms. The other bad news is there is no treatment available for feline heartworm. Therefore, the best and most affordable approach you can take to heartworm is preventing it altogether. We recommend a monthly year-round treatment purchased directly through your veterinarian.
We all get busy and forget the routine things sometimes. If this means you, or if doing it each month isn’t currently feasible, we recommend that you at least do it during heartworm’s highest risk months of the year (which is now). You may be reading this just in time to protect your beloved canine from a terrible infection.
Fri, 07/26/2013 - 15:29 - M. Penny

You wanted weekend hours; you got it. Now, you want evening hours?  Guess what?  We are very pleased to announce that starting August 5th, we now offer new evening hours for your convenience.

Monday through Friday to 11 pm.
These new hours apply to regular veterinary appointments, urgent care, or for an emergency. 
There is one distinct difference between regular hours and evening hours. After 6pm, the entrance to use for the new evening hours is around the corner at 520 Santa Cruz Ave.
We are still open the same weekend hours:
     Saturday 8am - 5pm
     Sunday 9am - 5pm
Only now, instead of closing at 6pm during the week, we are open until 11pm. It is our hope these new hours will make it easier than ever to give your furry family members the best care possible.
Call for your appointment today!
Thu, 04/25/2013 - 06:02 - M. Penny

Is your dog just the cutest? Calendar cute? Can you imagine a picture of your canine in a calendar?

We're teaming up with the American Cancer Society on the production of the Bark For Life calendar. Submissions are being accepted now for an 18-month calendar, which will cover July 2013 through December 2014.
Proceeds go to the American Cancer Society to help save lives and fight against cancer. All proceeds are tax deductible. What could be better than a great cause, a tax deduction, and a showcase of your canine as a calendar dog!
You'll want to hurry though. The deadline's coming up!  The cover is already sponsored. You can sponsor a calendar month for $200 (and you will receive 1 free calendar), or you can sponsor a calendar day for $20 (and you receive 1 calendar for half price). 
To submit a photo of your dog, you'll want to submit two photos of only the dog (alas, no humans). It's better if the dog can be looking up (looking down looks sad). Photos need to be 300dpi, which is high resolution, so a cellphone photo just won't cut it. After all, we want your dog to look fabulous!
DEADLINE: photos need to be paid for and photo files emailed by 5/5/13 (May 5).
Check (made to ACS) get snailmailed to:
    T. Barker, 155 Doherty Way, Redwood City, CA 94061
Photo/s get e-mailed to tbarker61@comcast.net
Questions:  415.238.3736
So, act soon, and thanks for your support!
Thu, 04/11/2013 - 11:43 - M. Penny

Learn what you need to know! Join us for an exciting half-day of information and training from veterinary professionals and emergency response experts, and even experience live demonstrations with search-and-rescue dogs to get you inspired and ready for the next earthquake as a pet owner. 

Adobe and Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospitals are teaming up to teach you what you need to know, with special appearances by Los Altos Hills County Fire District and FEMA Urban Search and Rescue to bring you the best information available so you know you are ready. 
Pet Ready! is Saturday, April 27, 1:00pm to 4:00pm, on the Foothill College Campus. Sponsored by Adobe and Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospitals, there is no cost to you to attend. 
So, come on down. Bring a friend or neighbor. Find out the differences between being prepared for humans and being prepared for pets (hint: some standard practices for people might actually harm pets). The Foothill College Student Chapter of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (SCNAVTA) are hosting the event, including a rare public tour of the veterinary tech lab. The vet tech students will also show you proper bandaging techniques. 
RSVP not required, but the first 50 people who RSVP to foothillscnavta@yahoo.com> will get free parking (otherwise, metered parking costs $3cash). For more information visit http://www.midpen.com/petready>.
Tue, 12/11/2012 - 09:52 - M. Penny

We have a heads-up for dog owners about mushrooms. 

Recently, a few cases of dogs with mushroom poisoning have come into the hospital. Sometimes an owner will actually see their dog eat mushrooms, but think nothing of it until later.    

80 If you see your dog eating mushrooms from your yard, please bring them in urgently. It's a bona fide emergency. Bonus points if you can bring a sample of the mushroom with you. If caught early, treatment is relatively simple and straightforward. 

If it's caught late, however, treatment can be difficult to diagnose, difficult to treat, or it could be fatal. 
We also recommend that you clear your yard of mushrooms, even ones that don't look particularly exotic. Toxic mushrooms come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can look just like a mushroom you use in your kitchen. They can also pop up over night, so keep your eyes peeled. 
The fact is that most mushrooms are benign, but the toxic ones are so poisonous that if you have a dog, clear them anyway. It's not a great idea to feed wild mushrooms to humans either, as we recently saw with four Loomis residents who died from eating soup containing a poisonous mushroom that resembled a non-poisonous Asian mushroom. Not good for people, not good for animals.
So, if you see your dog eating a mushroom, any mushroom growing in the neighborhood, or if you have reason to believe they did, get them to an emergency room!
Fri, 09/07/2012 - 14:50 - M. Penny

Quick headsup, just to let folks know about Dog License Amnesty, which lasts the entire month of September. Dog License Amnesty provides a window of opportunity to avoid any citations, late fees or penalties, and still get your dog licensed. Even if you don't think you would be subject to any late fees, etc., it's nice to just get it done already. 

Dogs do need to have proof of a rabies vaccine. We can provide certificates for any rabies vaccine we have given, or schedule a vaccine 7 days a week! 
The Dog License Amnesty applies to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View and Palo Alto. It runs Sept. 1 through 30. Once you have your rabies vaccine certificate, you can get your dog license at the Palo Alto Animal Services office, at http://maps.google.com/maps?q=3281+E.+Bayshore+Road
Fri, 06/15/2012 - 15:01 - M. Penny

We're not flexing our Medical Geek cred, but really, what's passes as a first aid kit for sale in the local store is quite silly in a major earthquake scenario. Different sized Band-aids, are you kidding me?

Don't get us wrong, we would never discourage having one. They're great for little kitchen mishaps, and the labeling does make them easier to find. But for a real First Aid kit, good for a real earthquake, it's super easy to pull a few things together and be ready for real. BTW, if there's a teenager in the house, maybe show them this post. Then, let them show you how it's done.

First you need a container: for a regular household kit, a tackle box comes with nifty little compartments plus a really helpful handle; but for a simple earthquake kit a gallon-sized zip lock will work. Or keep it in a knapsack in a handy location, with the rest of your earthquake supplies.
Second, you need the first aid items themselves. The main principle is to have items that are designed to work for different things and different scenarios. For example, disinfectant pads are good, but disinfecting liquid can cover the same smaller scenario, or larger wounds. Gauze and tape can become a bandage for larger injuries, or small. A cohesive bandage can wrap a wrist, or couple with gauze and tape to add pressure to a bigger situation. Tongue depressors can double as little splints. Eye irrigating solution can flush an eye, or flush out a wound before you apply disinfectant. You get the picture.
So we have a quick list of 15 items for a Real First Aid kit:
- surgical gloves
- an assortment of band-aids
- gauze and cotton squares, and rolls
- cloth bandage tape
- antibiotic ointment (avoid "triple")
- tongue depressors (6 or so)
- burn/wound dressing
- straight mosquito forceps (5")
- bandage scissors (4.5")
- hand sanitizing lotion (4oz)
- eye irrigating solution (4oz)
- Povidone-iodine, or chlorhexidine gluconate first aid antiseptic solution (3oz)
- digital thermometer, with batteries
- lubricant and covers to go with the digital thermometer
- flexible cohesive bandage (that sticks to itself, 3"x2.2yards)
If you get these 15 items, you have a real bona fide emergency kit, good for basic first aid for you and your pet. Put these in a gallon zip lock to keep it dry, and again with the "cool, dry, accessible" reminder for your earthquake kit location. You may want to increase your stock and bandage supplies, as your budget allows, in order to take care of more family and friends.
You should be able to find these items at the local Pharmaca, Wallgreens or your favorite Pharmacy. We found everything on the list in local stores, except maybe forceps and bandage scissors which we carry. For forceps, we like Halstead. For Bandage Scissors we like Lister. 
We order these hospital supplies in bulk and are happy to build a kit packaged in zip lock bags for our clients upon request. Nothing fancy, but high quality items you might not be able to find from a reliable source otherwise. We can assemble a "Zip lock" first-aid kit with the above items at our cost for $75. If you would like us to build one for you, please just let us know.
That said, it's quite easy to put a real first aid kit together. It's really important, when the hospitals are likely to be overrun, to do as much as we can on our own, and we should be able to take care of something more than your little day-to-day ooowie. This kit is pretty versatile. It's definitely a no-joke first aid kit of which you can feel proud and prepared.
Note: this blog post was updated July 2019 to reflect current kit costs. 
Fri, 05/11/2012 - 16:02 - M. Penny

Welcome back to the earthquake prep series. In our last installment, we covered food and water - the true basics of your emergency preparedness kit. Here, we'd like to dive a little deeper -- into water. 

First we'll cover water storage and secondly we'll talk about water treatment. 
If you have a swimming pool, don't even think about it. Ingesting small amounts of swimming pool water isn't particularly harmful, but several days' worth, while they fix the water pipes, is a bad idea. Pool water contains chemicals that could cause diarrhea or otherwise speed dehydration. Storing emergency water is a much better idea, and your pet will like it better.
Consider where and how you'll store it. The standard one- and two-gallon containers typically found in grocery stores are not designed for long-term storage, and are likely to begin leaking after about 6 months. 
Also, water should not be stored directly on concrete, which degrades plastic bottles, causing them to fail, plus allows chemicals to leech into the water and contaminate it. A good idea? Place water stores on a wooden shelf or palette where container failure won't damage other supplies.
Is there an EASY option? Well, yes. Commercial water distributors assert that the 5-gallon containers they offer are good for 5 years if factory sealed, and stored properly. That's the easiest, if you get water delivery. We called the commercial distributors (Alhambra, Calistoga, Arrowhead, Sparklets etc.) and none of them would deliver a one-off order for emergency prep. Slightly less easy is to store your own. 
What to store it in? Vessels made from plastic, glass, fiberglass, or metal lined with enamel are suitable. Avoid using any lids with paper components. We're not huge fans of plastic, but in this case, it seems like a better idea than the potential of broken glass jugs. We found that Whole Foods sells 2-, 3- and 5-gal BPA-free plastic jugs with screw tops and a handle. The 5-gal can be a bit difficult to lift, but the 3-gal is pretty manageable, particularly with the handle. 
There are boxed water options as well, which are BPA-free and Coast Guard approved with a 5-year shelf life, available in 3-packs of 250ml each
But what if you live in a tiny apartment and barely have room to store all your shoes, let alone storing water?  Water treatment is a more compact option, though you're betting that water will be available. Also, if you have your basic 3 days of water stored, or better 7 days for a stronger quake (or the whole 2-3 weeks worth for major M8 quake), and want to go beyond even that level of readiness, adding water treatment is an idea. 
The classic water treatment technique is to boil it to prevent microorganism growth. If you're forced to get creative and pull water from the toilet (the tank, not the bowl, eww) or drain the water heater, boil it. Another classic is to add liquid household chlorine bleach that contains 5.25% sodium hypochlorite, and no soap or added perfumes, at a ratio of 16 drops per gallon (which equates to 4 drops per quart, or 8 drops per half-gallon, or 1 drop per cup, whatever's easiest to remember). 
It is OK to use bleach that has Not For Personal Use warnings, as long as sodium hypochlorite is the only active ingredient, and only the small amounts recommended are used. If you don't have a dropper, here's a Girl/Boy Scout trick that's easy to remember: place a thin strip of paper or fabric (say a 1/4 wide and 2 inches long) into the bowl of a spoon and add bleach to the spoon. Carefully tip the spoon