Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital™ Blog

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.
Fri, 07/18/2014 - 13:02 - M. Penny

From the time she was a little girl, asking neighbors to play with their dogs, begging trips to the zoo at every chance, and collecting the animal posters from the National Geographic children's magazine, Sarah Santiago has always been drawn to animals. An internship at the Central Park Zoo in college sealed the deal.


Fri, 05/16/2014 - 10:54 - M. Penny

We thought you might enjoy a few photos from this year's Pet Ready! 2014 event. As our third annual, and best-attended Pet Ready! ever, we couldn't be happier. 

The goal is to help you find out the differences between being earthquake prepared for humans and being prepared for pets (hint: some standard practices for people might actually harm pets). The information and techniques apply to any emergency situation, but as the Boy and Girl Scouts of America say, be prepared.
Pet Ready! is a fun half-day of information and training from veterinary professionals and emergency response experts, with special appearances this year by Los Altos Hills County Fire District and FEMA Urban Search and Rescue. It's always free for you to attend, and hosted by the Foothill College Student Chapter of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (SCNAVTA).  
This year's event packed the house with young and old alike, learning, practicing and generally just having a great time. As you enjoy the photos from this year, consider joining us next April.
http://midpen.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_fre... lessons (take 2
Thu, 04/17/2014 - 17:35 - M. Penny

Join us this Sat. 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). 

Pet Ready! is an exciting half-day of information and training from veterinary professionals and emergency response experts to help you get ready for an emergency or the next earthquake as a pet owner. Sponsored by Adobe and Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospitals, there is no cost to you to attend. 
Pet Ready! is Saturday, April 19, 1:00pm to 4:00pm, on the Foothill College Campus with special appearances by Los Altos Hills County Fire District and FEMA Urban Search and Rescue dogs. You will get the best information available so you know you are ready. 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.
For more information visit our Pet Ready! page.
Wed, 10/16/2013 - 17:31 - M. Penny

This Saturday, Oct. 19th, 2013 from 11am to 3pm, come by and help us celebrate our Birthdays!  

Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital celebrates its 50th (1963) and CalTrain celebrates its 150th (1863). 
Come on by the 520 Santa Cruz Ave entrance.
Enter Free Drawing to Win one of 50 Pet Ready First Aid Kits (value $50)
Pick up some free Pet Ready disaster preparedness information. 
We're also holding a Pet Adoption Fair in cooperation with the Palo Alto Humane Society and Companions in Waiting.
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.