Litter Box Blues: an Overview of Feline House Soiling

It’s every cat owner’s worst nightmare: the cat who decides he’s no longer going to use the litter box. In some cases, it’s a long-term issue – maybe you’ve struggled with it since the day of your cat’s adoption. In other cases, a cat who has dutifully used the litter box all his life may one day start soiling outside of it, seemingly out of nowhere. Regardless, it’s a frustrating issue that can cause stress, costly home damage, or even surrender or euthanasia. Read on for some insights on feline house soiling and what you can do about it.

 

Litter Box Problems | ASPCA

 

A Common Problem

Feline house soiling can consist of either urine or feces, and it’s one of the most common issues cat owners face. One study found that of cats that were relinquished to a shelter for a behavioral problem, 40% were for house soiling. It’s also the #1 reason adopted cats are later returned to shelters.

 

Potential Causes

Feline house soiling can be separated into categories of medical problems, toileting, and marking. If your cat is a kitten or a senior, a medical problem is more likely to be a contributing factor to going outside the litter box. Young cats may suffer from bladder or kidney stones or anatomical abnormalities such as ectopic ureters, while older cats are more likely to be affected by urinary tract infections, kidney failure, or metabolic diseases. No matter your cat’s age, it’s important to start with a visit to the veterinarian to rule out potential medical issues before behavior is addressed.

“Toileting” means your cat has found a new place to use the bathroom – and he prefers it to his litter box. Factors such as litter type, cleanliness, or location can affect toileting – we’ll discuss these more below. Marking, on the other hand, is a method of communication used by cats. In contrast to toileting, cats that are marking are more likely to release a vertical spray while toileting cats will release horizontally. Fecal soiling is also more indicative of toileting, as marking is almost always urinary. Cats that prefer one “substrate” over others (i.e., your bed) are more likely toileting than marking. Interestingly, there’s no difference in the volume of urine released in toileting vs. marking, although many people think cats release just small amounts of urine when marking.

 

Why is my cat sleeping in the litter box? | Litter-Robot Blog

 

Treating Toileting

Treatment of a toileting cat focuses on making the litter box as enticing as possible. Litter boxes should be placed in quiet, accessible, well-lit areas, as many cats will avoid noisy laundry rooms, crowded bathrooms, or basements only accessible via stairway. Common knowledge is to have one litter box per cat plus one extra – buy the biggest litter boxes available and keep them clean (scoop daily, empty and scrub monthly). While studies have shown that most cats prefer a clumping clay litter, it may be worth offering several litter boxes with different types of litter in each so you can observe which type your cat prefers. Clean up any soiled areas outside the box immediately, and make these areas unattractive to your cat.

 

Amazon.com : CitiKitty Cat Toilet Training Kit (One Pack) : Litter Boxes :  Pet Supplies

 

Treating Marking

Treatment of marking cats focuses on reducing the need for your cat to “communicate” with others. If your cat is intact, spaying or neutering is the first step to a cat that isn’t desperate to get his “message” out to his peers. The next step is to get rid of any potential triggers for marking. If multiple cats in the household are fighting, institute full or partial segregation and put a belled collar on the aggressor so the other cat can avoid him or her. If other cats out the window are the trigger, remove outdoor attractants and work on blocking your cat’s view outside.

Creating an “environment of plenty” is another important component of treatment. Perches, scratching posts, puzzle toys, even bags and boxes are all good distractions and ways for cats to release some pent-up energy. Short bursts of playtime (i.e. 5 minutes of play followed by 5 of rest) are ideal. The pheromone product “Feliway” has also been shown to reduce marking, and comes in several formulations (plug-in diffusers, sprays, etc.).

Medications are a last-resort option, but often necessary for difficult cases that may be resistant to behavioral therapy. The treatment of choice is fluoxetine (Prozac), given as a daily oral medication. While this can be an incredibly useful tool for some cats, most cats do return to some level of marking when the drug is discontinued.

 

Cat Spraying & Marking: How to Stop it | Purina

 

We Can Help!

While feline house soiling can be challenging to treat, you’re not without options – and with a little work, most cats can be managed at an acceptable level. Your veterinarian will guide you through diagnostic and treatment options and help create a plan for your cat, so you’ll be able to put away that carpet cleaner in no time.

Why are Vet Offices SO busy during COVID?

Why is Your Veterinarian So Busy?

 If your pet has visited the veterinarian within the past several months, you’ve most likely noticed some changes – one of which may be longer wait times. A visit to the veterinary E.R. will make the difference even more jarring, with wait times reaching 8 hours or more during peak hours. Here in the clinic, we’ve noticed the difference as well, with appointments being booked out months in advance. While we don’t have all the answers ourselves, here are a few thoughts on why your veterinary clinic may be busier than ever.

 

 

Curbside Service

To start with the obvious, you’ve probably noticed that your furry friend must go to his or her
appointment unaccompanied. With curbside service, you’ll call the clinic when you arrive so that a technician can meet you at your car and collect any relevant information about your pet. Once your pet is escorted into the clinic and their weight and vitals are collected, the doctor will examine them and call you with their findings, as well as diagnostic and/or treatment recommendations.

Not only do we miss shaking your hand and seeing your face – this process significantly increases the length of our appointments. Instead of discussing exam findings face to face and receiving immediate feedback and conversation, your appointment is now broken into segments: exam, phone call, diagnostics, phone call, treatment plan, etc. While this is the best way for us to provide care for our patients while keeping our staff and clients safe, it’s not without its frustrations.

 

New Furry Family Members

With more time at home (and for some of us, the need for a fun distraction), we’ve seen a sizeable increase in new puppy and kitten adoptions. Trust us – we’re as obsessed with your cute new furry friend as you are! However, new puppies and kittens require much more frequent visits to the vet during their first few months of life. The average new puppy will need to come in for three to four visits by the time they are four to five months old – and this translates to a busier schedule and appointment spots that fill up faster.

 

More Time at Home

Another phenomenon we have noticed is with more clients working from home, many have become more on top of their pets’ medical care. If you used to spend 8 hours a day away from your dog but now stay with him 24/7, you’re much more likely to notice that slight limp or that new skin lump. Or maybe you never noticed your dog licks her feet all day long until you were around to see it. Whatever the reason, we’re seeing an increase in pets here to get that lump or those itchy ears checked out when in the past, it may have taken months to notice the problem. We are ecstatic that so many people are being proactive and seeking care before a problem gets worse! But again, more appointments mean that we book up faster and may not have as many available slots as we have in the past.

 

What You Can Do to Help

There are a few things to keep in mind that can help your appointment run smoothly and efficiently. Arriving a few minutes early to your appointment is always a good idea. Bring your cell phone and something to do. If you have multiple concerns you would like addressed at your pet’s visit, writing down a short list can help keep you (and us!) organized. When calling to schedule annual or routine exams (or those puppy/kitten vaccine appointments), calling three to four weeks in advance is best. If your pet is running low on a prescription medication, calling 24-48 hours in advance will ensure we have plenty of time to get you the refills you need. Above all else, we so appreciate your patience during this time. We are working hard to get as many pets the care they need as efficiently as possible while keeping everyone safe.

Behavior Tips

Behavior Tips

 

Pets are such a comfort and wonderful part of our lives. They’re fun, cute, and give us love. BUT! There’s always a BUT. . .  They can be stressful too. As much as we want things to warm, fuzzy, and perfect . . .  we know that life is a little more complicated than that.  Every family has their specific dynamics and every pet is different with very individual personalities.  We don’t want a family’s relationship with their pet to be undermined. SO, WHAT DO WE DO??

 

Here are some topics (problems and helpful interventions)

Early intervention is best, when possible (like when they are puppies and kittens)

 

Cats Scratching and Clawing.    Damaging furniture is frustrating and can be costly to replace. Having scratching posts is important. Both vertical, horizontal, and located in “public” parts of the house (not isolated).  The posts should be made of rough material that they can shred and be stable so that they don’t fall over and scare the cat.

 

Inappropriate Urination.   Cat urine on the carpet or furniture is one of the most offensive things to us, but not necessarily to a cat.  This is a way that they mark their territory.  Keeping the litter box clean is important. The size and type of litter box is helpful too. Some cats benefit from a larger litter box, especially older arthritic cats. Litter boxes with covers and a door are scary to some cats. The type of litter can be a factor too – fine grained, unscented is ideal.  The location of the litter box is can make a difference. If it’s in the laundry room and the dryer buzzer is going off periodically, then the cat is not going to want to use it.  So a quite spot free of things that might startle them is best. If there are multiple cats, then multiple litter boxes are needed. A general rule of thumb is to have one litter box per cat, plus one more.  The more cats you have, the more likely there are going to be territory marking. Enhancing their environment is worthwhile. Cat trees, Catio’s (patio for cats), and access to a safe yard are helpful.

 

Dog biting family members.  As puppies, play biting is normal. They are so CUTE, it is hard to not engage and let them grab your hand. However, as they grow up, this becomes a bad habbit. No longer is it cute and it HURTS!  Which certainly undermines your relationship with your dog.  Best thing is to play with a toy and calm play time down. Don’t necessarily reprimand the dog, just phase that kind of play out. Redirect it to toys, training time, or walks.

 

Inter-dog aggression.  We see this as a problem for a lot of dogs while on walks.  It is somewhat natural, dogs are territorial by nature. Barking and lunging at other dogs can make your walk miserable though. The root issue is to make sure your dog feels that you are in control of the situation. Use a Gentle Leader or similar type halter type collar, this not only acts as a collar but directs their head including their attention = to you.  Use a normal leash (extend leashes don’t work very well). Hold a section of the leash firm in one hand with only 1-2 foot of distance to your dog and hold the slack in the other hand.  This keeps your dog from careening back and forth on the end of your leash creating chaos and uncertainty. Having your dog short and controlled creates reassurance and a semblance of calm.

 

Separation anxiety. Many pets get scared and anxious when left alone. When they are young, is the ideal time to help them develop confidence to be home alone.  Crate training is helpful for many dogs. They associate this as their “den” and have a sense of security. Getting used to sleeping and or spending time in their crate is something that is started from an early age. It is often hard at first. Naturally you want to coddle them when they are young but it can lead to problems later. Gradually getting them used to sleeping in their crate right from the start is ideal. Having toys, etc, for them makes the transition easier.  Another tip to help with with separation anxiety is to keep your comings and going as benign as possible. When you leave, don’t say good bye, just keep things very “matter of fact” – just do what you need to do to prepare and then leave.  When you arrive, ignore your pets. Making deal about your arrival emphasizes the whole leaving and arriving process excessively. Just ignore them as best possible and once things are settled and their focus isn’t completely on you – then give them some attention.

 

Every pet is an individual and every circumstance varies greatly.  These are some basic issues and tips. For more in depth discussions it is best to schedule an appointment with us. Depending on the circumstances, we may advise seeing a trainer. We have a number of highly qualified trainers in our area that we can recommend.

Vomiting Pets

 

Vomiting is a common symptom that can have a great many underlying causes. When we see a pet that has been vomiting, we first try to narrow down whether it is a long term issue or whether it is more sudden/ recent development.  A critical factor is whether the pet is keeping any food and water down.  If it is a recent development and they are not keeping and food or water down, then it is considered much more urgent. It is also helpful to know if the vomit is consistently undigested food versus a combination of fluid and bile.

 

Chronic vomiting conditions can be caused by a variety of underlying issues. Cats are notorious for vomiting a couple times per week and that can be normal!  (annoying, but fairly normal).  It can be a fine line as too when we should be intervening with low grade chronic vomiting in cats.   But whether it is cats or dogs – low grade chronic vomiting can be caused by a food sensitivity, inflammatory bowel disease, Gastro Esophageal Reflux, organ disease, and sometimes tumors.  Because the pet is usually stable, we can do diagnostics tests and make treatment changes over time.  Often, we will get baseline blood work and do prescription food trials. Depending on what results we get and how the pet is responding, we may advise further testing ranging from specific blood tests to ultrasound.

 

Acute vomiting conditions can also be caused by a number of things, but tend to be much more urgent. So we do a lot of the same things that we would do for Chronic vomiting pets – but we do it a lot faster. We also need to do our best to make sure that the pet is stable and not in pain.  Underlying conditions can range from a stuck foreign body, to a severe upset stomach, Pancreatitis, hormone disease, organ disease, and cancer.   Starting intravenous fluids to keep them well hydrated and at appropriate electrolyte levels can make a big difference. Pain medication as needed. STAT blood work to screen for organ and hormone related diseases. Sometimes Radiographs are helpful. Ultrasound can especially be helpful in these cases.  Ultrasound images are notoriously challenging to interpret. We utilize a mobile ultrasound service.  An experienced technician with a high powered, state of the art, ultrasound machine captures the appropriate images and then sends them to a specialist for interpretation.  In some cases, exploratory surgery is the best way to proceed.

 

We have had some pets eat things (Foreign Bodies). We’ve had surgery in which we’ve removed corn cobs, socks, lead fishing sinkers, hair ties, plastic toys, underwear, string, rocks, wadded up plastic, even an Almond from a cat!  Usually those cases do well, but there can be complications if the foreign bodies have caused necroses to a section of intestines.

 

We have treated pets that had advanced diabetes that was bad enough to trigger Ketoacidosis. The pet’s poor body is going through a “roller coaster” and it is our job to stabilize them. Depending on the severity, we may have to transfer the pet to the Emergency Veterinary Hospital for 24 hour critical care management.

Many cases are gastroenteritis, in which the pet has eaten something that severely upset the stomach. These cases range in severity but often respond to fluid support, anti-nausea medication, gut soothing medication, etc.  Some are severe and take days to respond. Pancreatitis is an extension of gastroenteritis and it can also vary from mild to severe. Sadly, it can even be fatal. Avoiding poor quality food, limiting treats, and minimizing table scraps are important for avoiding pancreatitis. Small breed dogs are especially susceptible to Pancreatitis. Mild bouts of it early in their life can lead to Diabetes because insulin producing cells are located in the Pancreas. They get damaged from the bouts of pancreatitis and stop producing later in life.  SO! NUTRITION is important.  Avoid poor quality food, excessive amounts of treats (especially fatty ones), minimize table scraps, and NO rich table scraps like ham, bacon, roast beef, steak, sausage, etc.

Tumors can trigger vomiting whether they are benign, metastatic, solitary, or multiple. Splenic tumors are one that can potentially have a good outcome with surgery. It depends on which kind of splenic tumor it is, though.  Some splenic tumors are metastatic and have spread by the time you become aware of them.  Other’s are solitary and can be cured by surgically removing the spleen.  Other types of tumors vary vastly. Depending on the scenario, we can ever refer cases to surrounding specialists. We are fortunate to have Oregon Veterinary Referral Associates near by and Oregon State University Veterinary School only an hour away.  Both have specialist on staff that can help with complicated cases.  We always do our best to consider the case in its entirety. Meaning that we consider the pets age, overall condition, and whether surgery, referral, advanced diagnostics and treatments are truly in the pets best interest.  We always want to make them better, but if they have numerous pre-existing issues and their quality of life is already in question – then it may be unkind to put them through too many tests and treatments.

There are SO many variables with pets that are vomiting. Fortunately we have training, experience, diagnostic equipment, treatment regimens, and a whole team ready to help. We make our best judgements to do what is best for the pet and make these judgements together with the pet’s family. Communication and understanding are of course important. Cost enters into what can be done in most cases too.  We use our judgement to prioritize what tests to run first and what treatments have the highest likelihood of working.

Wildfires 2020 Pet Help

Our hearts go out to all the family and pets that have suffered during these terrible Wildfires.  We will certainly help however we can. GreenHill Humane Society has set up services and a Veterinary Triage Center has been set up to help pets needing veterinary care. They will do an initial assessment of the pet and then coordinate care either there or at another clinic (including ours).  The triage center is set up at McKenzie Animal Hospital VCA.  Below is some contact information for those two sites.

https:www.green-hill.org

VCA McKenzie Animal Hospital is for Veterinary Triage Center. (541) 747-3859

Lane County also has some information.       See lanecounty.org Animals in Disaster

 

Mild to serious burns, smoke inhalation, and various injuries are the main things that are expected to be seen by teams involved with the Veterinary Triage Center.  But we know that there are going to be a lot of scared pets that have been separated from their families too.  Teams are searching and working on re-uniting them.

 

 

 

CORONA VIRUS!

Q Street Animal Hospital’s
COVID-19 Action Plan

Modified Hours due to COVID-19: Monday-Friday, 8AM to 5PM
Saturdays, 8AM to 12PM (excluding holiday weekends)

OUR POLICY IS EVOLVING. OUR PRIORITY IS TO PROVIDE CARE TO PETS THAT ARE IN NEED, WHILE PROMOTING SOCIAL DISTANCING TO SUPPRESS THE SPREAD OF COVID-19

1. Please call us from the parking lot when you arrive. If you do not have a phone, knock or open the front door and let us know that you are here. After that, we will give you further guidance either by phone or by coming out to your car. If you need to come up to the clinic (i.e. don’t have a cell phone, or can’t get a hold of us), limit it to one person per pet, and wear a mask or facial covering.

2. If you are exhibiting respiratory symptoms, please let us know. It is best if you not come to the clinic at all, but if you do – it is important to let us know so that we can take appropriate precautions.

3. We are doing exams for pets that are sick. We are doing surgeries and dentals for pets that need a procedure to relieve eminent underlying pain, discomfort, or disease. We are refilling medications as normal.

4. Annual exams and routine vaccines may be delayed for several weeks to minimize exposure and spread of COVID-19. Surgeries such as spays and neuters may be delayed to also reduce exposure, but also to reduce use of personal protective gear such as gowns, masks, and gloves.

5. We are doing Curb-side appointments, meaning that we will bring your pet into the clinic while you wait in your car. The Doctor will then call you to discuss diagnostic and treatment plans. We are certainly sensitive to certain circumstances such as euthanasia, and will make accommodations.

6. Drop-off appointments are also available, in which you leave your pet with us for part of the day. We will do an exam and call you to discuss (again) diagnostic and treatment plans.

7. We are offering Exams via phone as well. There is a $42 consult fee. We can also view images and possibly video from our email for consult exams (reception.qstreetanimalhospital@gmail.com). Normally, an in-person exam is required for diagnostic and treatment plans, but because of COVID-19 – the rules from the state are allowing for “tele-medicine” appointments.

8. It is unlikely that COVID-19 can infect pets at this time. However, pets are susceptible to other respiratory diseases. If your pet is exhibiting symptoms of respiratory disease, then call to discuss and possibly schedule an exam.

**Please be aware that we are experiencing an extremely high volume of phone calls, and ask that our clients continue to be patient with us during this very uncertain time. We are also scheduling many appointments several weeks to a month out since we are so booked at this time. Call us at (541) 746-8491 to discuss availability.

(THE FOLLOWING PROVIDES MORE DETAILS)

The health and safety of our clients, their pets and our employees is our top priority during this period of uncertainty with the corona virus (COVID-19). We are doing everything we can to provide a safe and sanitary experience for you and your pet without compromising the quality of our services.

We are following the latest information and protocols from the world’s leading health experts and government authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). We have implemented the recommended social distancing measures in the workplace as much as possible and ask that if you are exhibiting symptoms such as a fever, cough, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties that you not come in to the clinic, but call us so that we can figure out the best way to make sure your pet is seen. We are also asking that people wait in their cars as much as possible to decrease the number of people in the waiting room and limit your pet’s companion to 1 person in the examination room.

We have increased our stringent practices of sanitation, disinfection and cleaning throughout the building. There is hand sanitizer available in several locations and a restroom equipped with antiseptic soap. We have instituted a policy for employees to stay home from work if they have a fever or any respiratory symptoms.

Spring Health Awareness!

 

 

Spring into action

By: Megan Elias

 

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. We’ve all heard that proverbial phrase April showers bring May flowers but something we may forget is spring can bring some potential hazards for our furry friends. It is important as pet O’s to know what those hazards are and how to prevent them. Some of those hazards include leptospirosis, plant toxicity and slug/snail bait.

Leptospirosis:

Leptospirosis sounds pretty scary and it can affect people as well as dogs. It is an organism that can be picked up by the ingestion of stagnate water that an infected animal has urinated in. Life stock and wild life are the most common carriers of the bacteria. In an article Written by Wendy Brooks DVM she states “Leptospira interrogates sensu lato [leptospirosis] has been sub-classified into smaller related groups called serovars. Over 250 serovars have been named and at least 10 are important for pets.” (https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/). Despite the number of serovars, there are things you can do to prevent infection.

Those April showers bring stagnate water so one of the easiest ways to thwart the contagion is to steer clear of puddles and be cautious about what you let your dog drink out of. If possible remove any standing water from your yard and try to minimize your pet’s exposure to animals that you are not familiar with.  Another easy way to prevent some of the most common strands of leptospirosis is to vaccinate. Although vaccinating may not prevent all strands it can reduce the austerity of the disease.

 

Plant Toxicity:

Spring is most known for its new growth. After our cold Oregon winters the site of blooming flowers is typically a signal of hope for slightly warmer weather. However some of the new growth presents hazardous to our animals. Upon ingestion animals can develop diarrhea, vomiting and hyper salivation. Certain plants can even cause kidney/liver failure, respiratory distress and death. The severity of the reaction varies significantly depending on what is ingested. Some of the most common toxic plants include lilies, azalea/rhododendrons, foxglove, tulips, daffodils and crocus. Visit The Pet Poison Helpline for a more detailed list of plants to be weary of and if you feel your animal has ingested a toxic plant call your veterinarian right away (https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/).

It is frightening to think that something so beautiful could be the source of such harm but that is why it is vital to know which plants cause problems.  Avoiding pernicious plants is the most effortless way to reduce consumption but we realize that is not always practical. Our recommendation is to keep your pet on a leash when you are in an unfamiliar area. If you have plants in your home try finding a high place or a hanging basket that your pet can not access.

Slug/Snail Bait:

Those beautiful flowers can bring unwanted slimy pests and no one wants hole in their plants. The pests are usually repelled with your garden variety bait which presents as yet another threat to our companion animals. Toxicities in dogs seem to be more common than in cats and is provoked when the dog licks or eats the deterrent.  The most routinely used ingredient in baits is called metaldehyde and consumption can cause a plethora of problems. Any dose of metaldehyde 2 mg/kg or greater in dogs warrants decontamination (ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center [APCC].  An animal can experience rapid breathing, seizures, hyper sensitivity and fever. All these symptoms would require the attention of a veterinarian.

Similar to reducing the consumption of plants one of the simplest ways to avoid slug and snail bait is to keep your pet on a leash and be aware of your surroundings. Additionally a safer alternative to metaldehyde is iron phosphate. Unfortunately Iron phosphate is not as effective as the former. Keeping your animal busy with a toy can distract them enough to prevent them from ingesting things they are not supposed to.

In conclusion keeping your animals happy and healthy is one of our top priorities. By springing in to action and taking preventative measures you can have an enjoyable season without urgent trips to your veterinarian.

Canine Influenza

What Is Dog Flu? (Article from AKC website)

Dog flu, or canine influenza virus, is an infectious respiratory disease caused by an influenza A virus, similar to the viral strains that cause influenza in people. There are two known strains of dog flu found in the United States:

  • H3N8
  • H3N2

The H3N8 strain actually originated in horses. The virus jumped from horses to dogs, becoming a canine influenza virus around 2004, when the first outbreaks affected racing Greyhounds at a track in Florida.

H3N2, on the other hand, originated in Asia, where scientists believe it jumped from birds to dogs. H3N2 is the virus responsible for the 2015 and 2016 outbreaks of canine influenza in the Midwest and continues to spread throughout the United States.

How Is Canine Influenza Spread?

Like human forms of influenza, dog flu is airborne. Respiratory secretions escape into the environment in the form of coughing, barking, and sneezing, where they are then inhaled by a new canine host. The dog flu also spreads through contaminated objects and environments, like water bowls, collars, and kennel surfaces, or through contact with people who have had direct contact with an infected dog.

Crowded areas like kennels, grooming parlors, day care centers, and dog parks are breeding grounds for diseases like canine influenza. The close proximity of the dogs means that a barking, coughing, or sneezing dog can easily infect canines around him. This is made more dangerous by the fact that dogs are most contagious during the incubation period before they start exhibiting symptoms.

How Long Are Dogs Infected With Dog Flu Contagious?

The incubation period of canine influenza is approximately 2-to-4 days from initial exposure to the dog flu virus. Viral shedding starts to decrease after the fourth day, but dogs with H3N8 remain contagious for up to 10 days after exposure, and dogs with H3N2 remain contagious for up to 26 days. Most vets recommend isolating dogs with H3N2 for at least 21 days to reduce the risk of transmission.

Almost all dogs that come into contact with the disease will contract it, but not all dogs that become infected show symptoms of the virus. About 20-25 percent of dogs infected are asymptomatic, but these dogs can still spread the disease. If one of your canine companions catches the flu, but the other seems unaffected, remember that he could still have the virus. Talk to your vet about quarantine procedures for all dogs in your household.

Symptoms of Dog Flu

So, how do you know if your pup has dog flu? There are several symptoms all owners should be aware of. Dog flu cases range from mild to severe and, unlike human influenzas, are not seasonal. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms year-round:

  • Coughing (both moist and dry)
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Purulent nasal discharge
  • Runny eyes
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing

Dog flu symptoms resemble kennel cough symptoms, which is also an illness you should talk to your veterinarian about as soon as you notice symptoms.

Most cases of dog flu are mild, but severe cases do occur. In those instances, dogs develop pneumonia, difficulty breathing, and a high fever. Luckily, the mortality rate is relatively low, with less than 10 percent of dog flu cases resulting in fatalities.

Treating Dog Flu

The canine influenza virus requires the attention of a veterinarian. In some states, vets are required to report cases of canine influenza to the government to help monitor the spread of the disease.

There is no cure for dog flu. Treatment is supportive, and your veterinarian can advise you on the best ways to keep your dog comfortable during his illness and recovery. Some dogs may require supportive care, such as fluids, to aid their recovery, as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to reduce fevers. Your vet will help you come up with a nutritional plan and may prescribe antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections.

Your vet will also inform you about appropriate quarantine procedures to prevent the spread of dog flu, depending on the strain of the virus your dog contracts, and can give you information about disinfectant solutions to use in your home to help kill the virus.

Call your vet ahead of time to let her know that your dog is showing symptoms of a respiratory infection. Both kennel cough and dog flu are highly contagious, and your vet may request that you keep your dog outside until your appointment time to prevent the risk of transmission to other patients in the waiting room.

Preventing Dog Flu

The best way to prevent your dog from contracting dog flu is to keep him away from public places or kennels with recently reported cases. If you come into contact with a dog that you suspect has dog flu or has recently been exposed to it, wash your hands, arms, and clothing before touching your own dog. This will reduce the risk of transmission from you to your dog.

There are vaccines available for both the H3N8 and H3N2 strains of canine influenza. Your vet may recommend the vaccine based on your lifestyle. For instance, if you live in an area with a high incidence of dog flu or if your dog regularly spends time in kennels or travels to shows around the country, then he could be at an increased risk of contracting canine influenza and your vet may recommend the vaccine as a precaution.

 

www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/the-dog-flu-symptoms-you-need-to-know/

Pet Loss

Pet’s are such an important part of our lives. Losing a loved pet can be an emotional roller coaster. A client recently contacted me about the tremendous struggles that he had after his own pet had passed. He struggled to talk with other family members and didn’t know what to do. He looked through our web site for resources and went on to find more resources that he shared with us. I’ve included our links and links that he found at the bottom of this page.

 

Sometimes I think of the movie Shadowlands with Anthony Hopkins and Deborah Winger because it involved losing a loved one.  The movie is based on the true story of the author CS Lewis and his poet wife, Joy Gresham. It is a story about how joyful, meaningful, wonderful, and fulfilling love can be. By the end of the story, Joy Gresham dies of cancer and CS Lewis is left coping with such a tremendous loss. It’s been some time since I’ve watched it, but it left a big impression on me because there seemed to be a comforting message. Hopefully my interpretation is somewhat correct. What Anthony Hopkins (as CS Lewis, but with piercing blue eyes) says, is that the loss of a loved one hurts because there was so much ‘good’ there.  I’m sure I’m not doing the film justice, but in other words; During the time you spend with a loved one, you are creating an emotional stockpile of ‘goodness’.  It’s deep and rich, it is something more than just yourself, it’s lots of love and shared experiences. When that is lost, it is very hard. Its hard exactly because you had so much ‘good’.  It wouldn’t hurt if you hadn’t been so fortunate as to have all those experiences, moments, and love.

 

I don’t know if I’ve captured the meaning that I want to convey, but in our own family we have had to cope with the loss of loved pets. It leaves a deep ‘hole’ in our hearts for a time and it is hard to imagine moving forward, but time marches on – we want to honor our lost loved one and never forget them. We try to focus on the things that we’ve been thankful for during the pet’s life. More than anything, I think we want to remember the joy/comfort/love that we shared with them. Hopefully remembering those parts will remind and inspire us to know that joy, comfort, and love will be attainable again. To savor it when it comes our way and to share it with others when possible.

 

It is important to say that we have tremendous compassion for our patients and clients but we are not able to evaluate human mental health issues and do not provide mental health counseling.

 

These are veterinary school websites providing pet loss support

http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/outreach/pet-loss-hotline

 

https://smallanimal.vethospital.ufl.edu/resources/pet-loss-support/

 

https://vetmed.illinois.edu/animal-care/care-pet-loss-helpline/

 

These are some additional links:

Coping with the Death of a Pet – Understanding Pet Loss Grief
https://www.recover-from-grief.com/coping-with-death-of-pet.html

Pet Memorials at Home: A Guide to Logistics and Legalities for Memorializing Your Pets
https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/pet-memorials/

9 Loving Ideas to Honor a Beloved Pet That Has Passed Away
https://winkgo.com/9-ideas-memorialize-pets/

Helping a Child Cope — the Death of a Pet
http://www.sunshinerescuegroup.org/childandlosspet.pdf

Pet Grieving: How Pets Mourn the Loss of a Companion
https://www.natural-wonder-pets.com/pet-grieving-how-pets-mourn.html

How Long After the Death of My Dog Should I Wait to Get Another Dog?
https://www.thesprucepets.com/getting-a-new-dog-after-death-1117496

RABIES – Don’t be Complacent

RABIES! We are not joking, it is HERE!

Truthfully, it has been here all along. Nothing has changed, except that we’ve become more aware of it. We love Bats, they are an important part of our ecosystem and I love that they eat Mosquitoes.         BUT, a certain percentage of Bats do have Rabies. 10% of Bats that are tested, are positive for Rabies.     That does NOT mean that 10% of the Bat population has Rabies, it means that 10% of the Bats THAT ARE TESTED are positive. (usually no one would test a Bat unless something seemed unusual, for example = Bats are not usually out in the day and if someone found a sickly one on the ground they might carefully catch it and have it tested)

We had first hand experience with a Rabid Cat recently.  It was an indoor and outdoor cat that we believe came into contact with a Rabid bat. When they tested it for Rabies, they were able to identify that it had a strain of Rabies that is found in Bats. (There are other strains found in Foxes, Raccoons, etc – that would be new to our area).

The sad part is that this cat had to be euthanized. The owner had a second cat from the same household and had the difficult choice of either putting that cat into isolation for an extended time or euthanasia. Due to limited resources, the owner had to have the second cat euthanized.

The owner brought the first cat to us because it was just acting abnormal. In our exam, it was evident that the cat had neurological abnormalities. We hospitalized it for lab work and further monitoring. Unfortunately, the cat bit one of our technicians. It wasn’t a typical grouchy/ reactive bite. This cat went from being fairly calm to suddenly very aggressively attacking and tenaciously hanging on with it’s fangs and all 4 claws. It was genuinely scary! Because our technician was bitten, and because the cat had never been vaccinated for Rabies – – we had to report the bite, have our technician get Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis injections, euthanize the cat, and have the cat tested for Rabies.

Cat’s testing positive for Rabies are very rare in Oregon, so we thought that the testing was just a formality. But the lab got back to us quickly and alerted us that the test was positive. We were very glad that our technician had received Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis injections. One other team member and the owner of the cat had questionable scratches, so to be on the safe side, they went through Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis injections too.

Fortunately, all the humans involved have fully recovered. Sadly, the two cats had to be euthanized. We are relaying this event because we are adamant that your pet have its Rabies vaccine updated. It is very sad to see the pet’s have to go through illness and end up euthanized, but there is also a very real and very scary risk to humans as well.

Again, we cherish that Bats are an important part of our ecosystem – but a certain percentage do have Rabies. Once those Bats are affected by Rabies, they become neurologic and sickly – becoming easy prey for roaming cats or dogs.  Cats especially cannot resist a mouse sized creature moving around on the ground and any cat “worth its weight” is going to attack (or play) with that bat. At that point, they can contract Rabies. Best to prevent Rabies in your Cat (or Dog), by vaccinating. The vaccines are not ‘benign’, there is always a chance of reaction, etc – but it is rare. Protecting your pet by keeping their Rabies vaccine up to date is a priority.