Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital™ Blog

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.
Fri, 07/31/2015 - 12:01 - M. Penny
What's the deal with dog flu in the SF Bay Area?
We've taken questions from people who wonder if they can still take their dog to the dog park, or board their canine while on vacation. To sort fact from fiction, let's start with the fact that humans are NOT known to catch canine influenza.

139 Because it's a new flu strain, it made the news. People are concerned since canine influenza spreads through the air, and a dog can be contagious before showing symptoms. Hello. Grabs the attention.

Technically, there are two canine influenza strains -- H3N8 mutated from a horse flu virus and started in 2004 (so, it's been around a while), and the new virus, H3N2 mutated from a bird flu and didn't see an outbreak until March 2015 in Chicago. It has since been reported in more than a dozen states, including California, but not yet in the Bay Area.

Do not confuse the seasonal H3N2 human flu virus that sickened so many people last winter with the H3N2 canine flu. Despite the name similarity the viruses are unrelated.

Dogs exposed to H3N2 canine flu seem to catch either a severe case or a mild case with some showing no symptoms at all.  A mild case looks like kennel cough, although it may be a moist cough. You may see a little coughing, a little lethargy and a runny nose. It is not to be ignored. A severe version comes with a high fever and pneumonia. It would be difficult to ignore. Chicago reports most severe cases were in dogs under 1 year or over 7 years old.  

Particularly, if your dog socializes at the dog park or doggie day care, you'll want to keep a particular eye out for ANY of these symptoms: coughing, sneezing, loss of appetite, fever or a general malaise.

If you see any of these signs, call us right away.

Please let us know if your dog is exhibiting any upper-respiratory symptoms. Only a physical exam and blood test can distinguish canine flu from kennel cough. If you, or we, suspect canine influenza, we will employ infection control measures such as examining the dog in your car or in our isolation area.

Infection prevention includes limiting your dog's interaction with other dogs, and reduced sharing of toys and bowls. You, yourself, may want to wash your hands and clothing after playing with other dogs. On surfaces, the virus is alive and can infect dogs for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours.

If you plan on boarding your dog while you're on vacation, and you have the lead-time you might want to ask your veterinarian about the canine influenza vaccine. Called the Nobivac® Canine Flu H3N8

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 14:34 - M. Penny
Our deepest condolences go out to the family of Jennifer Koo Jahyun, 35, of East Palo Alto who's car was hit by the CalTrain Monday evening. We simply can not fathom the heartbreak of those who loved her.
We also anguish over the car seat. While grateful no child was in it, we fear they now may grow up motherless. It's stunning, the unbearable dolor of so many from simply crossing a train track. Our heads can't wrap around it, and our hearts just tear.
The Ravenswood Avenue intersection is a major intersection, close to the Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital, which crosses the CalTrain tracks. It's a block away, and a short block at that. One of our staff heard the horrific crash and was third on the scene. For our staff, this crash isn't something we will forget any time soon.
Menlo Park Fire District Chief Harold Schapelhouman was quoted in the SF Chronicle article with a particlarly cogent reminder.
“Trains can’t swerve and they can’t stop very quickly,” he said. “If you find yourself in the path of a train, get out of the way, and if you are in a car that is stuck, get out of the car.”
We don't know the reason she couldn't get out of the car, but imagine that there had to be one. So, we'd like to add a little more to the Fire Chief's reminder.
Please, please, if you're walking across the tracks, remove your earbuds, and use caution. Use extra bonus caution. Respect the warning arm.
If you're driving across the tracks, don't start to cross the tracks until you actually see 2x your car's length on the other side. Don't assume the pace forward will continue. Traffic happens. Unless you can get all the way across -- and get all of your car all the way across, plus some more -- just don't even think about it.  Everything else can wait.
If you're coming into the hospital and want to contribute to the family, we are working with Caltrain to ensure that what we collect gets directly to the family.
Fri, 09/12/2014 - 12:47 - M. Penny
In the 1990s, Mattel's Teen Talk Barbie infamously said, math class is tough.  Megan Armor begged to differ. She was raised in Silicon Valley. She loves science, she loves medicine and she loves animals. Veterinary medicine is a great way to combine these passions. Dr. Armor likes deductive reasoning, approaching each case as a mystery to solve, like a veterinary detective.  

126 Megan's undergrad work earned her a biochemistry degree, which she initially applied to scientific research in a lab working on DNA sequencing. She also volunteered, working with animals at a shelter and veterinary hospitals, before making the professional leap from scientific research to veterinary assistant. Once she decided on Veterinary medicine as her lifelong career path, our NorCal local was off to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Armor's particular areas of interest are in urgent care, which requires thinking on your feet, as well as surgery and diagnostics, which exercise that deductive reasoning. Like many general practitioners, she enjoys seeing both dogs and cats. But unlike many general practitioners, she also really loves seeing pocket pets, such as rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs and rodents.
For any animal, Dr. Armor advises that the most important thing a guardian can do is spend quality time and observe their animal every day. This familiarity helps a person pick up on subtle cues, especially as an animal gets older. 
As a native of a region with so many busy people, Dr. Armor knows they appreciate scheduling a routine veterinary appointment during the evening. She also understands sometimes one comes home to find an issue that might best be addressed straight away. Her understanding of the local culture, coupled with her detective-like medical interests, makes her a perfect fit for the evening and urgent care. 
On weekends, Dr. Armor is an avid water sport enthusiast. She is on the boat and wake-boarding in the warm summer months. The winter months can find her snowboarding every other weekend, or sometimes three weekends out of four. She shares her home with a boxer, an orange tabby, and a large Oscar-fish.
Working with animals makes her life feel more worthwhile. As scientifically stimulating as DNA sequencing might have been, it's even more gratifying to apply logical thinking to treat cases all the way to their resolution. Dr. Armor is a true True Silicon Valley story.
Thu, 08/14/2014 - 17:10 - M. Penny
When you were in the third grade, do you remember what you told people you wanted to be when you grew up? A teacher? A fireman? The president? A veterinarian? How many people do you know became what they said as a kid?


Some passions run deeply enough to know early in childhood. Such is the case for Cynthia Easton. She was inspired by her childhood best friend who had lots of pets. Cynthia loved going to her house to play with all of them. Her friend summarily declared she was going to become a vet, and Cynthia decided that's what she would do, too. Her friend never became a vet; however, Cynthia did!
Graduating from UC Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, Cynthia became Dr. Easton, and performed her internship in surgery and medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She practiced at Pets Unlimited in San Francisco for 15 years, and along the way developed her deep interest and training in homeopathy, acupuncture, and Chinese veterinary medicine and herbology. These disciplines complement her veterinary interest in internal medicine, and highlight her a unique ability to approach health and disease from a holistic perspective.
Dr. Easton works with dogs and cats (sorry, no pocket pets). The canine and feline provide abounding and fascinating differences, both medically and from a personality perspective. When you factor in the traditional and holistic approaches, that's one complex and interesting profession indeed.
With so much going on, at lunch time there's only one thing to do: run!
Literally, at lunch, you will usually find that Dr. Easton is out on a run. For her, a mid-day run is light running. Nobody can pull off an entire marathon in a lunch hour; however with more time, Dr. Easton runs marathons -- even the famous Boston marathon.
Her husband is also a vet, specializing in veterinary ophthalmology. They live in San Bruno with two kids, neither of whom has the slightest interest in becoming a vet, or even the slightest interest in math or science. One wants to be an artist and the other an event planner. The family pets also include two dogs, koi fish and some turtles. So, while her childhood friend may have pursued other interests, Dr. Cynthia Easton not only became a vet, but she's created the very household she always loved to visit.