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April 21, 2015

Canine Influenza

You may have heard about the recent canine influenza outbreak in Chicago.  Sick pets can be a scary thing.  Let's talk about the facts regarding Canine Influenza. 

What is canine influenza (dog flu)?

Dog flu is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by a canine influenza virus. This is a disease of dogs, not humans.  The previous 2004 outbreak of canine influenza was caused by a H3N8 influenza strain whereas the current outbreak in the Chicago area is caused by a H3N2 strain of influenza virus.

What are the signs of this infection in dogs?

The signs of this illness in dogs are persistent hacking cough, lethargy, poor appetite, runny nose, trouble breathing and fever; however, a small proportion of dogs can develop severe pneumonia.

How does dog flu spread?

Although there are no currently reported cases in Washington state, there are some preventive measures that pet owners can take by simply being aware.  Canine influenza virus can be spread to other dogs by direct contact with aerosolized respiratory secretions from infected dogs, by uninfected dogs coming into contact with contaminated objects, and by moving contaminated objects or materials between infected and uninfected dogs. Therefore, dog owners whose dogs are coughing or showing other signs of respiratory disease should not expose other dogs to the virus.   

How is canine influenza treated?

Treatment largely consists of supportive care to help the dog mount an immune response. In the milder form of the disease, supportive care may include medications to make your dog more comfortable and fluids to ensure that your dog remains well-hydrated. Broad spectrum antibiotics may be prescribed by your veterinarian if a secondary bacterial infection is suspected.

Is there a vaccine for canine influenza?

No, there is not a vaccine available for this newer strain of canine influenza (H3N2).  There is a vaccine for the H3N8 strain, but it is not likely cross-protective for H3N2.

As always, if you have any questions, please call us.  

If your pet is showing some symptoms, call us to schedule an appointment. 

March 10, 2015

Yummy, yummy treats

The other day I was perusing my Pinterest list and happened upon homemade dog treats.  One of them struck me as amusing, and then the ghastly reality hit me that people might actually be making these treats for their pets.  The treat was called the Fat Elvis….no joke!  It boasted yummy flavors that dogs love:  banana, peanut butter, bacon.  Although, this sounds like it might be a good idea, let’s look at the actual suggested caloric intake.  

Per the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, the recommended caloric needs for indoor animals vary based on their current weight and lifestyle.  I do want to note that the calorie counts listed are guidelines for average lightly active adult spayed or neutered dogs or cats.

So, what CAN I give my dogs as a treat?  You have heard a million times the things we CAN NOT give them; chocolate, grapes, raisins, fatty foods, onions, foods with the artificial sweetener xylitol, macadamia nuts, etc.  Please keep in mind that consulting your veterinarian is ALWAYS the first step.  

Lean meat - Besides being a great source of protein, dogs love to eat meat. In order to prevent an upset stomach, or worse yet—pancreatitis—it is safer to feed dogs lean meats such as turkey, chicken, and fish. Fish is not only a good source of protein, but can also be a great source of omega-3 fatty acids—especially salmon. Omega fatty acids are purported to have anti-inflammatory properties, are a major component of the mammalian brain, and can help with skin and coat problems. When giving your pets meat, remember to remove the skin and fat; if it’s not healthy for you, it’s not healthy for your dog. Finally, be sure you also remove all bones. Beef bones can chip a tooth, poultry bones can splinter, and any bone can get stuck in your dog's throat or intestinal tract.

Veggies - Vegetables can be a healthy and tasty treat for your dog. I know a lot of dogs that enjoy carrots, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene and dietary fiber. They can be served raw or cooked (plain with no seasoning). Many dogs enjoy the crunchy texture of raw carrots. Other dogs prefer cooked carrots mixed into their food. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber, and other nutrients with anti-cancer effects. Like carrots, it can be served raw or cooked. In my experience, most dogs prefer broccoli steamed and mixed in their food. Sweet potatoes are loaded with complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and beta-carotene; and are a good source of vitamin B5, vitamin B6, manganese, and potassium. The great thing about vegetables is that they are low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Fruit - 
Many dogs like apples because of the crunchy texture. Apples are not only “Red Delicious,” but also healthy and a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C. Bananas are another fruit-treat you can give your dog. Bananas are rich in vitamin B6 and soluble fiber and also contain moderate amounts of vitamin C, manganese, and potassium.

Grains - You can supplement your dog’s diet with rice, preferably brown rice. In fact, most veterinarians recommend a temporary diet consisting of chicken and rice for dogs with acute gastrointestinal problems. Brown rice is loaded with dietary fiber; minerals like manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc; and vitamins such as vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, and vitamin B6. Flax seeds can also be given as a healthy treat. Flax seeds are a great source of omega fatty acids and dietary fiber.

If you have an overweight dog, substituting one of these healthy veggies or fruits for treats can be a great way to reduce his calories without you feeling like you are denying him. Let’s face it; we all like to give our dogs treats. Unfortunately, treats have calories that add up quickly. Fruit and veggies are a low-calorie alternative. 

This list is meant to give you ideas about foods that you can safely share with your dog. It is neither exhaustive nor meant to be a substitute for a formulated diet. Dogs have very complex nutritional requirements. It is never advisable to give your dog “home-cooked meals or treats” without first consulting with your veterinarian. If you are interested in cooking meals for your dog, hopefully, I have given you some ideas that you can bring to your veterinarian (hint, hint) to create a well balanced diet. Of course, if your dog has a medical condition, your veterinarian will want to consider that before adding anything to his diet.

December 11, 2014

Are you ready for the reported wind storms?  

Some pets can become very frightened or anxious with loud noises, whirring winds and unexpected events.  Make sure to help your pets ease through the storms by making sure you and your family are prepared for emergencies.  A basic Pet Emergency/Disaster Kit should include the following:  

  • Food and water for at least three days, don't forget a manual can opener if your pet eats canned foods.  Also, ensure you have extra water stored in case your pet becomes exposed to chemicals or needs to be rinsed.
  • Medications and pet medical records should be stored in a waterproof container with a pet first aid kit.
  • Cat litter box, litter, scooper and garbage bags
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport your pets safely and to ensure they won't escape.
  • Current photos of you with your pet(s) as well as a description and microchip information in case you become separated and need to prove identity and ownership.
  • Written feeding schedule, medical condition, medication administration times and possible behavior issues as well as the name and number of your regular veterinarian.

For everyday emergencies, like a power outage, there are still some simple guidelines to follow:

  • Always keep your pet with you if you and your family are forced to leave your home due to a power outage.  
  • Make sure to take your pet emergency kit for a possible stay at a pet friendly hotel.
  • Don't be fooled by your pet's fur coat, bring some blankets to keep them warm, too.

November 25, 2014

Ah, Thanksgiving… a joyous holiday when friends and family join us for a day of football (cribbage for my family), lounging, and all-day tryptophan turkey nibbling extravaganza. The smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie, and turkey all baking in the oven slowly filter through the house, driving you – and your pets - slowly mad.

To avoid a trip to the emergency vet, we would like to offer some words of advice.

Keep your dog out of the kitchen…or better yet, crate him.  Accidental counter-surfing can result in severe poisoning to your pet, ruining your holiday and causing you shame when you have to induce vomiting in your dog in front of all your friends and family (Always check with your veterinarian or an animal poison control helpline prior to inducing vomiting, of course.)

Make sure your guests know the house rules: Don’t feed your pets. Your friends and family may not be aware of the common kitchen foods that are quite poisonous to pets. Politely inform all your guests to keep their food out of reach and to never feed your pet without your permission (particularly if your pet has food allergies).

Dump the trashSomehow, your dog will find a way to get into it, and the leftover corn-on-the-cob, yummy string that goes around the turkey legs, turkey skin, bones, moldy food, and fatty grizzle all pose a threat to your pet. Potential problems from “garbage gut” include gastroenteritis (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain), pancreatitis (severe inflammation of the pancreas), a gastrointestinal obstruction, or even tremors or seizures.

So, what tops the list for the most dangerous Thanksgiving foods that are poisonous to your pets? 

Grapes, raisins, and currants
Currants and raisins are commonly found in stuffing, baked goods, and as snacks. When ingested, these fruit can result in severe acute kidney failure. Signs of poisoning often don’t show up for days, until kidney failure has already taken place.

Onions, leeks, chives, and garlic
When ingested, these common kitchen foods can result in damage to the red blood cells, making these cells more likely to rupture.  Cats are especially sensitive, and can develop a severe anemia from even small amounts. 

Chocolate, xylitol, bread dough and alcohol are also at the top of the danger list. Consult your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately if your pet ingests any of these items

Here are a couple other safety tips to think about:

  • Whether you are hosting guests or traveling, make sure your per is wearing a collar and tag with your current contact information.
  • Update your microchip information.  If your pet is not chipped, call us to get them chipped.  
  • If you are leaving town without your pet, use a good pet sitter or boarding facility.  Do not leave your pets alone for days.
  • Explain to guests to be careful at doors.  If your pet is a dasher, keep him in another room with toys and visit him often to keep him distracted and reward his good behavior.
  • Supervise all interactions between your pets and kids - this is for everyone's safety.  A child may innocently give your pet something toxic, and an unfamiliar child taking food from an animal can result in a terrible accident.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season and our sincere thanks for your loyalty and goodwill throughout the year. 

Happy Thanksgiving from your

Poulsbo Animal Clinic family!

November 17, 2014

With the weather getting colder outside, extra precautions are required to ensure your pet's well-being. Following are some simple steps to keep your pet warm and cozy during these chilly months.

The outdoor factor

  • Cats can get frostbite, and many seek warmth by crawling into car engines, which can be dangerous or fatal. Cats should be kept indoors year-round.
  • Dogs also should be kept inside if possible. If kept outside, they should have a draft-free shelter large enough to stand and turn around in, yet small enough to retain body heat. Use a layer of straw or other bedding material to help insulate your pet against the cold. Different breeds of dogs have different sheltering needs. Purchase a commercially produced doghouse, or discuss with your veterinarian a doghouse suitable for your dogs breed and local climate. 
  • After letting your pet out to relieve herself, be sure to wipe her paws when she comes back inside. Tender pads can be injured from salts and other ice-melting chemicals. These products can be irritating to skin and mouth. Signs of ingestion include excessive drooling, vomiting, and depression.
  • Outdoor animals typically need more calories in the winter. This allows their body to produce body heat. Increase the amount you feed your pet if she is allowed to go outside. Indoor-only animals may actually need fewer calories to avoid weight gain.

Watch what your pet ingests

  • Batteries contain corrosives that, if bitten or swallowed, can cause ulceration in your pet's mouth, tongue, and gastrointestinal tract.
  • Antifreeze is deadly to pets. The sweet taste is irresistible to animals kept in the garage in colder months. Look for "safe" non-toxic antifreeze and make sure all spills are cleaned immediately and thoroughly. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet may have ingested any antifreeze!
  • Winter typically is the cold and flu season. Medications as basic as aspirin can be harmful and dangerous to pets. Do not medicate your animal yourself unless under the direction of your veterinarian. Keep all prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs out of animals reach.
  • Rat and mouse killers are used more frequently during the winter months. Place these products in areas that are inaccessible to your pet.

If you suspect your pet has gotten into a potentially poisonous substance, call Poulsbo Animal Clinic immediately. 

November 4, 2014

Whether you are an avid hunter, just enjoy the outdoors, or live near a wooded area, this means you need to be taking special hunting safety precautions for yourself and your pets.

Pet Safety During Hunting Season

For those dogs who accompany their owners out on a hunt, safety is of utmost concern. There are several fronts on which you can protect your hunting companion:

Get a CheckupBefore taking your dog hunting, it is best to have a thorough checkup to be sure he or she is fit for an active outing. Your hunting buddy should also be protected from parasites such as fleas and ticks and be protected against diseases by being properly vaccinated.
Be PreparedMake sure you pack plenty of food and fresh drinking water for your pet while you’re on the hunt. Carrying a small pet first-aid kit is also recommended.
Make Your Pet VisibleDon’t let your pet be mistaken for game. Be sure that he or she is wearing a blaze orange vest and reflective collar. Also be sure that your dog is microchipped and wearing proper identification, should you become separated.  Collars should be a breakaway style, just in case.
Protect Your Dog from the ElementsEarly in the hunting season, heatstroke can be a concern. Be sure to provide protection for your dog’s feet if in rough terrain and have him or her wear a vest to ward off injuries from brush and barbed wire.

After returning from the hunt, be sure to examine your dog for ticks, burrs, or minor injuries. Pay attention to the areas between the paw pads. After your pet has settled down from the excitement of the day, be sure to offer a good meal and plenty of companionship and praise for a job well done.

Hunting Safety for Family Pets 

Even if you are not a hunter, hunting season means special care to keep your pets safe. Be sure to:
•  Know the hunting seasons if you live in a rural area, even if you do not intend to hunt.
•  Familiarize yourself with local hunting grounds and avoid these areas during the season.
•  Never let your dog off-leash in hunting areas to prevent accidents – a loose pet is more likely to be mistaken as game.
•  Avoid letting your dog chase deer or other wildlife that could be in a hunter’s sights.
•  Wear bright colored clothing and provide your pet with a bright colored collar, vest, or bandanna when spending time outdoors.
•  Make yourself heard. Talk, whistle, or sing when outdoors. Consider adding a bell to your pet’s collar.
•  Consider keeping your pets indoors at night.

No matter what your plans are this fall, keeping your pets safe should be a top priority. Hunting season certainly adds some challenges, but with a little effort everyone, two- and four-legged alike, should have an enjoyable autumn.


October 30, 2014

Happy Howl-O-ween!!

Halloween can be a festive and fun time for children and families. But it can be a downright nightmare for dogs and cats. Here are some tips to help you and your pets survive (and enjoy) this Halloween:

  • Trick-or-treat candies are not for dogs and cats: All forms of chocolate -- especially baking or dark chocolate -- can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats so keep that candy bowl out of reach!
  • Don't leave your dog out in the yard on Halloween: Vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. Inexcusable? Yes! But preventable nonetheless.
  • Keep your dog calm, confined, and away from the door: Not only will your door be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, but strangers will be dressed in unusual costumes and yelling loudly for their candy. This, of course, is scary for our furry friends. Putting your dog or cat in a secure room away from the front door will prevent them from darting outside into the night … a night when no one wants to be searching for a lost loved one.
  • Keep your outdoor cats inside several days before and several days after Halloween: Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. In fact, many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution.
  • IDs, please!: If your dog or cat should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that they will be returned. Just make sure the information is up-to-date.

October 22, 2014

Can dogs get infected or sick with Ebola?

At this time, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola or of being able to spread Ebola to people or other animals. Even in areas in Africa where Ebola is present, there have been no reports of dogs and cats becoming sick with Ebola. There is limited evidence that dogs become  infected with Ebola virus, but there is no evidence that they develop disease.

Here in the United States, are our dogs and cats at risk of becoming sick with Ebola?

The risk of an Ebola outbreak affecting multiple people in the United States is very low. Therefore, the risk to pets is also very low, as they would have to come into contact with blood and body fluids of a person with Ebola. Even in areas in Africa where Ebola is present, there have been no reports of dogs and cats becoming sick with Ebola.

Can I get Ebola from my dog or cat?

At this time, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola or of being able to spread Ebola to people or animals. The chances of a dog or cat being exposed to Ebola virus in the United States is very low as the animal would have to come into contact with blood and body fluids of a symptomatic person sick with Ebola

Can my pet’s body, fur, or paws spread Ebola to a person? 

We do not yet know whether or not a pet’s body, paws, or fur can pick up and spread Ebola to people or other animals. It is important to keep people and animals away from blood or body fluids of a person with symptoms of Ebola infection.

What if there is a pet in the home of an Ebola patient? 

CDC recommends that public health officials in collaboration with a veterinarian evaluate the pet’s risk of exposure to the virus (close contact or exposure to blood or body fluids of an Ebola patient). Based on this evaluation as well as the specific situation, local and state human and animal health officials will determine how the pet should be handled.

Can I get my dog or cat tested for Ebola? 

There would not be any reason to test a dog or cat for Ebola if there was no exposure to a person infected with Ebola. Currently, routine testing for Ebola is not available for pets. 

What are the requirements for bringing pets or other animals into the United States from West Africa? 

CDC regulations require that dogs and cats imported into the United States be healthy. Dogs must be vaccinated against rabies before arrival into the United States. Monkeys and African rodents are not allowed to be imported as pets under any circumstances.  Each state and U.S. Territory has its own rules for pet ownership and importation, and these rules may be different from federal regulations. Airlines may have additional requirements.

Can monkeys spread Ebola? 

Yes, monkeys are at risk for Ebola. Symptoms of Ebola infection in monkeys include fever, decreased appetite, and sudden death. Monkeys should not be allowed to have contact with anyone who may have Ebola. Healthy monkeys already living in the United States and without exposure to a person infected with Ebola are not at risk for spreading Ebola.

Can bats spread Ebola? 

Fruit bats in Africa are considered to be a natural reservoir for Ebola. Bats in North America are not known to carry Ebola and so CDC considers the risk of an Ebola outbreak from bats occurring in the United States to be very low. However, bats are known to carry rabies and other diseases 
here in the United States. To reduce the risk of disease transmission, never attempt to touch a bat, living or dead.

Where can I find more information about Ebola and pet dogs and cats? 

CDC is currently working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and many other partners to develop additional guidance for the U.S. pet population.

October 14, 2014

This week is National Veterinary Technician Week, October 12-18.  What exactly does that mean?  What exactly does a Veterinary Technician do?  And most important, who are the Veterinary Technicians at Poulsbo Animal Clinic?  Let’s look at each one of these. 

What does National Veterinary Technician week mean?  Veterinary technicians are critical to the day-to-day function of veterinary practices, and play vital roles in preserving animal health and welfare. National Veterinary Technician Week, first celebrated in 1993, takes place in the third week of October each year, and provides an opportunity to recognize veterinary technicians’ contributions.

What exactly does a Veterinary Technician do?  Veterinary Technicians offer, much of the same care for pets that nurses offer for people.  Credentialed technicians have graduated from a two or four year AVMA accredited program with an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary technology.  In Veterinary Technology programs, a Technician learns how to: 

  • Obtain and record patient histories
  • Collect specimens and perform laboratory procedures
  • Provide specialized nursing care
  • Prepare animals, instruments, and equipment for surgery
  • Assist in diagnostics, medical and surgical procedures
  • Expose and develop radiographs
  • Advise and educate owners
  • Supervise and train practice personnel
  • Perform dental cleanings
  • Etc

And lastly, who are the Veterinary Technicians at Poulsbo Animal Clinic?  We asked each of our Vet Techs a few questions.  It goes a little like this…

  1. My name is:  Shari
  2. I went to school at:  DEVTP
  3. My hobbies include:  reading, cooking, watching hockey and soccer (GO KINGS!)
  4. If I were an animal, I would be:  a Golden Retriever
  5. My favorite animal related book or movie is:  Black Stallion
  6. If I could own only one pet, it would be a: dog
  7. The best thing about my job:  every day has a reward of its own.  It could be getting love from a puppy or the cat that understands you are trying to help.  Helping clients with any questions that can help strengthen the human animal bond.  I love my job!

  1. My name is:  James
  2. I went to school at:  Renton High School (currently completing Vet Tech school)
  3. My hobbies include:  marksmanship, collecting watches
  4. If I were an animal, I would be:  a killer whale
  5. My favorite animal related book or movie is:  Gamura
  6. If I could own only one pet, it would be a: bulldog
  7. The best thing about my job:  all the nice people I get to meet and of course, the animals they bring 

  1. My name is:  Jessica
  2. I went to school at:  Yuba Community College
  3. My hobbies include:  dancing and playing games
  4. If I were an animal, I would be:  a bird!
  5. My favorite animal related book or movie is:  Brother Bear
  6. If I could own only one pet, it would be a: dog (most likely a chihuahua)
  7. The best thing about my job:  helping people and animals. 

Three Rabid bats in Kitsap County

We just received a health advisory notice from Kitsap Public Health District regarding three rabid bats found in Kitsap County.  “One bat from Bainbridge tested positive on 09/18/14 and two were positive on 10/3/14, one each from Kingston and Bremerton.  Although rabies is endemic in Washington, having three bats test positive in a short period is unusual.  Since March 2014, 15 bats from Kitsap with known or potential human exposure have been tested; these 3 are the only ones that have tested positive.”  Please call us to verify your pets are current on their rabies vaccine or log onto your Petly Pet Portal.  If you see a bat or think you may have been exposed to one, please contact us immediately at (360) 779-4640.

Washington State rabies facts:

  • Bats are currently the only known reservoir for rabies in Washington State.
  • Rabies is not endemic in raccoons, skunks, foxes, or other wild carnivores in this state; however routine surveillance testing for these animals is not performed in Washington.
  • Rarely, other animals are bitten by bats and may become rabid in Washington State.

What should I do if I am bitten by an animal?

  • First aid for an animal bite should include thorough cleansing of the wound with soap and water. All animal bites should be evaluated by a physician immediately. Antibiotics and a tetanus booster might be needed.
  • Effective treatment is available to prevent rabies after a possible exposure. Local Public Health Department can help determine if you should receive this treatment.

What can I do to prevent rabies?

  • Do not feed, touch, or handle wild animals.
  • Have dogs, cats, horses, and livestock vaccinated regularly by your veterinarian.
  • Maintain control of your pets by keeping cats indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision.
  • Spay or neuter your pets to reduce the number of unwanted or stray animals in your community.