Thursday, September 8, 2016

5 Symptoms Not to Ignore with Your Pets

  • Ingestion of Human Medication

As little as a single Aleve tablet can be deadly.  As tempting as it may be to reach for the Aleve or Ibuprofen when we see our pets in pain, it is a terrible idea!  Aleve, Ibuprofen, Tylenol and even Asprin can be extremely dangerous and even deadly to pets.  These medications are also commonly flavored or encompassed in a sweet coating, making them even more tempting for our companions.  If you are concerned that your companion may have ingested any human medication, contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Hotline at 855-764-7661 immediately.

  • Unproductive Vomiting

A dog that appears to be gagging or vomiting but doesn’t produce anything is very concerning.  Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV), sometimes referred to as “Bloat” is one of the most serious non-traumatic emergencies we see.  This happens when the stomach or other part of the GI tract twists and reduces or stops the flow of blood.  If this issue is not addressed quickly, the pet can pass in a matter of hours.  The majority of pets with GDV require surgical intervention to restore bloodflow to their GI system.   Symptoms may include unproductive vomiting, restlessness, increased breathing rate or effort, excessive drooling, or listlessness.  As the condition progresses you many notice the dog’s abdomen becoming enlarged, pale gums, high heart rate or the pet collapsing.

  • Unproductive Urination

Pets that are struggling to urinate may be in more danger than you think.  Although this is most common in male cats, it is occasionally seen in other pets.  Male cats are notorious for having urethral obstructions that prevent them from urinating normally, or at all.  This can become a very serious issue the longer it is left untreated.  Often owners observe their pets trying to urinate frequently with out producing anything or only drips, in and out of the litter box often, or urinating inappropriately outside of the box.  Pet’s often express discomfort vocally or become reclusive and as the condition progresses begin vomiting and become lethargic. 

  • Ingestion of People Food

As pet owners, we love to share our food with our pets, especially when they show us those cute puppy dog eyes.  Be cautious what you share, because some foods can be toxic to our furry and feathered friends!  To top this list, Chocolate.  Chocolate is derived from the roasted seeds of Theobroma cacao, which contains certain properties that can be toxic to animals: caffeine and theobromine. If ingested, these two ingredients can also lead to various medical complications and may even prove fatal for your dog.  Goodies that contain higher amounts of cacao are most dangerous, such as dark chocolate bars and home made goodies.  For a list of other toxic foods, please visit

  • Birds

Our feathered friends don’t often show when they are not feeling well.  As a prey species, they know if they are showing a vulnerability to a predator, they will be eaten.  This is an important piece of knowledge when caring for birds because once we realize they are not feeling well, it is a very serious situation.  Birds that are observed being ‘fluffed up’ or remaining on the bottom of their cage unusually should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

IVH's Ten factoids about Canine Parvovirus by Dr. Fiona Caldwell

IVH's Ten Factoids about Canine Parvovirus

"Tipsy" our technician, Alyssa's, Catahoula Puppy

Every dog should be vaccinated against parvovirus as a puppy!  Parvovirus causes debilitating vomiting and diarrhea, and left untreated can be fatal.  It is entirely preventable with an appropriate vaccination schedule.  Here are some parvo facts that might help your understand of the disease.

1. Canine parvovirus destroys the intestinal villi, which are small finger-like projections in the intestine that absorb nutrients.  Without villi the patient will suffer bloody diarrhea.  The dog has to re-grow the villi, which can take weeks.  This the reason the symptoms can persist for a long while.

2.  Parvo is transmitted fecal-orally.  This means the puppy needs to come in contact with infected feces.  This can be easily done since the virus can travel on unwashed hands, in soil, on the soles of shoes and by spread by contact with infected animals.

3.  Parvovirus symptoms include general lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia.  Any puppy that presents with these symptoms and an incomplete set of vaccinations could be at risk for the disease.

4. Parvovirus incubation period is 2 to 10 days.  Puppies can be infected for well over a week before becoming ill.

5. For up to six weeks, infected puppies can shed the virus in their feces.  Thus, even when feeling 100% better, these puppies can still transmit the virus to unvaccinated dogs.

"Tipsy" was diagnosed with parvo and hospitalized
6. The virus is very hard and difficult to eradicate from the environment.  It can live for several years in soil.  This is why unvaccinated puppies and dogs will most likely become exposed at some point.

7. Not all dogs are able to develop an immune response to a parvo vaccine until 16 weeks of age.  Therefore, one or two vaccines before 16 weeks are not guaranteed to prevent the disease.

8.  From birth to about 8-10 weeks of age dogs are protected by their mother's antibodies.  It is uncommon for parvo to strike puppies less than 8-9 weeks of age due to this.  Mother's antibodies start to decrease by 10 to 14 weeks of age.  This leaves the puppy vulnerable to contracting the disease.

After extensive hospitalization, "Tipsy" made a full recovery!
9.  Most mammals can get parvovirus, however, the disease is very species specific.  Each mammal, including humans, get their own type and cannot infect each other.  Thus, cats and humans are safe from canine parvovirus infections.

10.  Survival rates are variable and can range from 65% to 95%.  This depends on how quickly and aggressively veterinary care is started.  Most sick puppies with parvo need to be hospitalized with intense care in order to improve chances of survival.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Why does my pet need another exam?!

One of the more frustrating things for a pet owner to hear is, 'you need to have an exam before we can refill those meds.' 

We get it... Often it's the same problem as last time, or it's just a regular preventative medicine you need. But, here are three reasons your veterinarian insists on exam every time!

1. The problem may have changed. Veterinarians are trained medical professionals that can determine if alternate treatment is needed.
That fungal ear infection might be bacterial this time. Using the meds you had previously used for your pet's yeast ear infection could make the problem much, much worse.  Or the ear drum might be perforated, making some prescription ear meds dangerous to use. There is no way to tell what is truly going on with your companion without an exam.

2. The pet's health may have changed. Sure your cat is itchy again and needs those steroids, but during an exam a veterinarian might diagnose a heart murmur or other problem that would make steroids contraindicated. 
3. Legally, a valid patient-doctor relationship is needed prior to dispensing medications. Even though you get heartworm preventative every year and Fido is feeling fine, she still needs an exam in order to validate that relationship. Most veterinarians aren't willing to compromise their license by ignoring this. 

It can be frustrating, but there is a reason for this annoying rule. Our goal is to keep your pet as healthy and happy as possible, and an exam is necessary to do this!

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Here is a great link for owner's on how to help your pets become comfortable with brushing their teeth!

How to Brush Your Pet's Teeth

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Debunking the Grain-Free Myth - Dr. Fiona Caldwell

The driving force behind the increasing popularity of grain-free dog foods is mostly marketing and not based on actual research. Here are some common myths about grains in dog foods and the truth behind them.
Aren't grains poorly digestible?
Consumers are often told that grains such as wheat and corn are poorly digestible, and they should not be used in good-quality cat and dog foods. The truth is that the nutrients in grains are often readily available and absorbable to dogs.
Some prescription GI diets whose goal it is to be highly digestible will use grains such as rice and corn to deliver nutrients.
Aren't a lot of dogs allergic to grains?
There are very few reported cases of dietary intolerance or proven food allergy to corn in either cats or dogs.
Unlike corn, however, wheat and specifically wheat gluten can be a cause of food intolerance and hypersensitivity in dogs. It is estimated that about 5% of allergic dogs (not all dogs, just 5% of allergic dogs) are actually allergic to their food, and most are allergic to the animal protein (chicken, beef, pork, etc).
Beef, dairy and other protein sources are much more frequently implicated as causes of food allergies in dogs.
Isn't corn and wheat bad for dogs?
There is very little, if any, objective scientific evidence that shows corn is deleterious when used as an ingredient in commercial pet foods. The nutrients in corn are in fact readily utilized by the dog. While it cannot be used as the sole source of protein, it can be an important part of a balanced diet.
Corn is an excellent source of several important nutrients, including the essential fatty acid linoleic acid, as well as the carotenoids β-carotene and zeaxanthin.
Wheat is unique and particularly valuable amongst cultivated grains because of its high protein content. It is well utilized in dogs, and similarly to corn can be part of a nutritious diet.
Aren't grains just 'fillers'?
Studies show that dogs can thrive on plant based proteins in addition to animal based proteins in their diet. Dogs are not obligate carnivores, they are omnivores, meaning they eat a little of everything.
Grains, including corn, wheat, rice, barley, oats, sorghum, millet, rye, and others can all be a nutritious part of a well balanced diet. They can contribute not only as a protein source, but can also provide essential nutrients such as fatty acids.
Ok, you convinced me... Are grain-free diets bad then?
Studies providing clear evidence that grain-free cat and dog foods are better are lacking, but this does not necessarily mean you should avoid a good-quality pet food that also happens to be grain-free.
As long as the diet is a good quality, proven complete and balanced dog food with either detailed chemical analysis or feeding trials, then it doesn't really matter.
The primary contraindication to the use of grain-free foods in cats and dogs is probably the fact that these diets tend to be relatively high in both fat and protein. High fat content means more calories which can predispose to obesity in some animals.
High protein intake is contraindicated in animals with significant preexisting renal or hepatic dysfunction. Furthermore, when protein intake is higher than the actual requiremen
t, the extra protein will simply be stored as body fat.
The best dog food for your dog is the one that keeps your dog the healthiest, with shiny coat and normal stools and minimal flatulence.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

February is National Pet Dental Health Month - Dr. Cavender

February is National Pet Dental Health Month
Good oral health is more than just a pretty smile. This is the time of year we remind owners to think about their pet's oral health care.    
Poor dental hygiene can put both your pet’s health and your pocket book at risk. “Dog breath” – or a cat with a foul-smelling mouth – can be a sign of untreated dental conditions. If left untreated, you may put your pet at risk for greater problems such as periodontitis.  

Routine cleanings can help prevent periodontal disease and save money in the long run.  A 2014 analysis conducted by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. showed that the average cost per pet to prevent dental disease is just one-third of the average cost of treating dental disease.
More importantly, a complete oral examination can detect hidden health problems. Even if your pet’s breath smells fine, there still could be dental conditions that are hard to spot without a complete veterinary exam.  Most pet dental disease occurs below the gum line, where you can not see it.  Your pet's teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian. 
Schedule your pet’s dental checkup with us now. We’ll do a thorough checkup to make sure your pet is at optimum health. We also can show you how to brush your pet’s teeth in between exams. Brushing is the single most effective thing you can do to keep your pet’s teeth healthy between dental cleanings.  It may also reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian. 
We’re committed to your pet’s health and wellness, and we know that you are as well. Book your appointment today!  We look forward to helping your pet have a clean and healthy new year!1

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Canine Influenza

Canine Influenza is a highly contagious infection that can be caused from 2 different strains, H3N8 and H3N2. H3N8 is the strain that was responsible for the outbreak 10 years ago. The outbreak in Chicago last spring was caused by H3N2. It takes 2-4 days before dogs start showing symptoms and this is when they are most highly contagious, allowing them to spread the disease unknowingly. 

Symptoms of Canine Influenza come in two forms, the mild form and the severe form. Most dogs develop the mild form and although Canine Influenza is highly infectious, it has a fairly low fatality rate (less than 10%). Mild form infections have a soft moist cough that can last for up to 30 days. They can become lethargic, have a low grade fever, decreased appetite, sneezing, and discharge from the eyes. They can get secondary bacterial infections and develop thick nasal discharge. Sometimes the cough is very similar to the dry cough of “Kennel Cough.” The severe form infections are associated with high fevers (104-106 degrees) and develop pneumonia and difficulty breathing. The pneumonia may be due to a secondary bacterial infection. 

Treatment for Influenza is mostly supportive and can range from just monitoring at home to hospitalization for IV therapy depending on the severity of the illness. The canine influenza virus is not transmissible to humans and there have been no reports in cats. The dogs that are most at risk are ones that are in close proximity to other dogs such as boarding facilities. There have only been 2 reported cases in Idaho recently. If your dog is coughing it is most likely not Canine Influenza, but your pet should be seen to be evaluated for other respiratory diseases. 

At this time we are not recommending vaccinating for Canine Influenza for the general population; however if you have a high risk pet (traveling or being exposed to a large amount of dogs such as at a dog show that have been traveling) please let us know and we can discuss whether or not vaccination should be considered. 

We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated on changes.