Saturday's Dog Days of Summer - June 10, 2017 - Wenatchee World

WENATCHEE — If you wanted proof that Wenatchee is dog-friendly, you needn’t look farther than Saturday’s Dog Days of Summer.

After voting in its own doggie mayor two years ago, Wenatchee is now catering to its canine population with an event designed just for dogs — and their people — at the Town Toyota Center.

“This is not one of those Westminster Dog Shows,” said Jennifer Bushong, vice president of marketing at the Toyota Center.

It certainly wasn’t, with events ranging from the Mutt Strut and Paw-Geant to Paw Tricks and a Lick-Up Bar.

Bushong and Linda Haglund, executive director of the Wenatchee Downtown Association, came up with the idea over coffee, and ran with it.

Canines started the day with Doggie ‘N Me Yoga, featuring Mission Movement’s Kristen Acesta offering yoga stretches and massage for dogs.

There were also dog obedience and agility trainings, a demonstration of show handling, and a display of different dog breeds to meet the various needs of the people population, all sponsored by the Wenatchee Kennel Club.

Kids had their fun too, with a jumpy castle, photo booth and face painting.

The Chelan County PUD was there to get the word out about keeping our trails dog-friendly by adhering to safety rules, and the Cascade Veterinary Clinic’s booth gave kids a chance to play the role of a veterinarian.

Admission was free, although some booths required tickets, purchased for $1 each.

Bushong said they had an excellent turnout for a first-time event — about 1,000 dogs of all sizes and breeds. “It was nice to be able to have something for our four-legged friends here at the Town Toyota Center,” she said.

 

Featured in Foothills Magazine

New Dogs, New Tricks

PUPPY OBEDIENCE CLASSES AT KENNEL CLUB ARE ALL ABOUT POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT.

Puppy obedience class isn’t about teaching dogs. It’s about teaching
humans.

Casey Roy of Sunnyslope called her Chihuahua-Cocker Spaniel mix, “Oliver, come!” Oliver’s 4-month-old legs bounded playfully and his ears flapped happily as he passed by three other dogs to get a treat from Roy’s
palm.

“That’s great! Throw a party when your dog comes to you!” said Eileen Pearl, a dog trainer for more than 20 years at Wenatchee Kennel Club. “They always have a choice. How do you make them want to come to you?

The answer is reward, and that can be anything that the dog wants right
now.”

Positive reinforcement rules at Wenatchee Kennel Club’s warehouse training center in East Wenatchee. Six days a week, more than 20 instructors teach about 100 owners and their dogs. The page-long list of classes includes therapy dog seminars and competition-level agility.

Over the course of seven weeks, Oliver and his three classmates learned how to come when called, walk on a leash without pulling, sit as a default position and stay close to their owners.

“I learned that it’s 90 percent me, and 10 percent the dog,” Roy said. “I think a lot of people think telling the dog, ‘No,’ is the way to do it. Dogs respond better to love and positive reinforcement when they do well. That was something new to me. It’s so simple.”

Pearl’s training style is a mix of compassion and canine brain science.

“A dog’s brain is fully-formed and capable of learning at 49 days old,”Pearl said. “On the 49th day is the best time to start training the dog. Unfortunately, most people wait until the dogs have problems and they can’t
stand it anymore. Then they think about taking a class.”

It takes more than just class time for dogs to learn new skills, Pearl said. That’s where human training comes in. Dogs’ brains are wired to associate learning with environment. Dogs can learn “sit,” and “come,” in class, but when they get home, they might not know what those words mean.

“People know that a word like ‘sit’ has the same meaning regardless of
who says it, how they said it, where they were, or what they were doing at
the time,” Pearl said. “Dogs can’t figure that out, at least not easily. When you teach your dog something, you have to practice it in a lot of different locations and situations.”

In addition to the classes, Anthony Grande of Wenatchee takes Huan — an English Setter-Saint Bernard mix — out for a walk everyday to practice. Even if they have to skip the walk due to rain or work, Grande finds a way to work in teachable moments around the house.

“I’m constantly trying to find something to reward her for,” he said. “I can always find her doing something wrong, and if it looks like she might get into trouble, I try to give her something else to do that’s a positive thing.”

Latifa Coley, a professional horse trainer from Waterville, saw some similarities when she arrived with her Australian Shepherd puppy, Waylon.

“I felt like a certain level of confidence training him,” she said. “I wanted to have more socializing experience for him with other dogs, and to be able to practice and behave with other dogs around.”

Coley learned some new tricks, too. She taught Waylon how to walk on a leash without pulling by putting a treat on a plate at the far end of the room. Each time Waylon pulled, she stopped or she would walk in the other direction. She taught him to heel by walking along the wall, which gave Waylon a barrier to follow. Then, they graduated to small safety cones set in
a serpentine pattern.

“She (Pearl) had some great techniques that would never have occurred to me,” Coley said. “It was a good reminder that there are lots of different roads to roam, and to keep looking for different, creative ways of training.”

 

 

Five behavior tips for your dog

1. Offer a treat for every good behavior — whether the dog does it intentionally or not — to create a positive association with learning. A reward can be as simple as a pebble of dog food or a pet on
the head. 

2. Teach the dog the same skill in different environments throughout the day to help the dog learn a command universally.

3. Add distractions gradually. Learning “sit” in a quiet home is preschool; learning “sit” in a busy dog park is PhD-level.

4. Use consistent command words. Dogs may not understand the difference between “down” and “get down.”

5. Take a deep breath and choose kindness. Dogs come into the world knowing how to be dogs — barking, jumping, digging. Learning how to live with humans is a process. Find a class if you need more training tools.

 

 

Article by Rachel Hansen, Foothills Magazine

Tech Talks: Pyometra

Tech Talks by Emily Harbury, LVT

The Latin root for the word pyometra is “pus” (pyo) and uterus (metra). Pyometra is an abscessed, pus-filled. infected uterus. Toxins and bacteria leak across the uterine walls and into the bloodstream, causing life-threatening toxic effects. The uterus dies, releasing large amounts of pus and dead tissue into the abdomen. Without treatment death is inevitable. Prevention of this disease is one of the main reasons for routinely spaying female dogs.

 Classically, the patient is an older female dog. Usually, she has finished a heat cycle in the previous 1 to 2 months. She has a poor appetite and may be vomiting or drinking an excessive amount of water. There are two types of pyometra “open pyometra” is the more common and has the better prognosis. The cervix is open and the purulent uterine contents can drip out so that a smelly vaginal discharge is usually apparent. This is what alerts owners early in the disorder to seek veterinary help. The other type is a “closed pyometra” where the cervix is closed. In these cases, there is no vaginal discharge and the clinical presentation is more difficult to diagnose. These patients also tend to be sicker than those with open pyometra due to retention of the toxic uterine contents as well as a longer disease course prior to diagnosis.

Lab work shows a pattern typical of widespread infection that is often helpful in narrowing down the diagnosis. Radiographs may show a gigantic distended uterus, though sometimes this is not obvious and ultrasound is needed to confirm the diagnosis.

How does this Infection Come About?  

With each heat cycle, the uterine lining engorges in preparation for pregnancy. Sometimes, tissue engorgement becomes excessive or persistent (a condition called cystic endometrial hyperplasia). This lush glandular tissue is ripe for infection (while the inside of the uterus is sterile, 5 the vagina below is loaded with bacteria). Bacteria ascend from the vagina into the uterus, which becomes infected and ultimately filled with pus. Hormonal effects on the uterine tissue accumulate with each heat cycle, which means pyometra is much more common in older females because they have experienced many hormonal cycles.

Traditional Treatment: Surgery

The treatment for pyometra is surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries. It is crucial that the infected uterine contents do not spill and that no excess bleeding occurs. The surgery is challenging, especially if the patient is septic. Antibiotics are given at the time of surgery and will be continued after the uterus is removed. Pain relievers are often needed post-operatively. A few days of hospitalization are typically needed after the surgery is performed.

It is especially important that the ovaries be removed to prevent future hormonal influence on any small stumps of uterus that might be left behind. If any portion of an ovary is left, the patient will continue to experience heat cycles and be vulnerable to recurrence. While pyometra surgery amounts to the same result as routine spaying, there is nothing routine about a pyometra spay. As noted, the surgery is challenging and the patient is in a life-threatening situation. For these reasons, the pyometra spay typically costs five to ten times as much as a routine spay.  

With surgery, the infected uterus is resolved rapidly (in an hour or two of surgery) and there is an extremely limited possibility of disease recurrence. However surgery must be performed on a patient who could be unstable and the dog is sterile afterwards.  

Alternative Treatment: Prostaglandin Injections

In the late 1980s another treatment protocol became available that might be able to spare a valuable animal’s reproductive capacity. Here, hormones, called prostaglandins, are given as injections to cause the uterus to contract and expel its pus. A week or so of hospitalization is necessary and some cramping discomfort is often experienced. This form of treatment is not an option in the event of closed pyometra because the closed cervix prevents drainage of the infected material even in the face of prostaglandin contractions. Further, the dog must be bred and conceive on the next heat cycle. If she is not bred or does not conceive puppies on the next heat cycle, the recurrence rate of pyometra may be as high as 77%. After recovery from pyometra, the uterus is damaged and may not carry a litter normally (50-65% pregnancy rates with breeding have been published). Unless the dog has great value to a breeding program, it may not be worth it to attempt prostaglandin treatment. Personally, I have never seen this alternative attempted.

 Prevention

Spaying represents complete prevention of this condition. The benefit/risk of spaying your adult dog is a hot button topic that I don’t want to go into in this discussion. We know that pyometra is impossible in a spayed animal. An intact female, past her reproductive age, can be spayed and completely removes the possibility of pyometra as well as uterine or mammary cancer.

Paw Print Genetics to be at WKC Dog Show

Paw Print Genetics will be at the Wenatchee Kennel Club Dog Show

Paw Print Genetics is heading to the Apple Capital of the World to attend the Wenatchee Kennel Club Dog Show at the Chelan County Fairgrounds in Cashmere, WA. We will be onsite Friday, October 21st 1pm – 5pm, Saturday, October 22nd 9am – 5pm and Sunday, October 23rd  8am – 12 noon.  We will be placing orders at the show, so please come prepared with your dog’s information and we will be happy to assist you.  

Paw Print Genetics offers the largest selection of inherited diseases for more than 350 breeds of dog. You can order single tests including tests for diseases, coat colors and traits or order your breed-specific panel.  We offer the most comprehensive testing options in the industry. Click here to search for available tests in your breed.

With the highest standards in canine genetic testing, Paw Print Genetics will examine each mutation region twice with two independent methods. Your results will be reviewed by and signed out by both a PhD geneticist and a veterinarian. All of your dogs and results will be kept in your secure online account, so that you have access to your reports at anytime.  Any leftover DNA is saved for you, at no charge, should you need further testing in the future.

Participants at the show will receive special show discounts that will save you up to 50% off your testing. So bring your dogs, just stop by the booth to say hello and pick up some fun free stuff, let's talk about Paw Print Pedigrees or ask us about our new Clear by Parentage certificate program. We look forward to seeing you at the show!

Article by Lisa Shaffer, Paw Print Genetics

Tech Talks: Leptospirosis

Tech Talks by Emily Harbury, LVT

I recently attended a veterinary conference in Spokane where one of the sessions was about the incidence of leptospirosis in Washington State. Here is some of what I learned, hoping to keep you current on leptospirosis prevention, recognition and treatment.

Leptospire bacteria are zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted to other species including humans. Leptospirosis is a life threatening condition with worldwide significance. Any diagnosis is reportable to the CDC. Veterinary staff and owners who suspect, or have confirmation, of leptospire bacterial infections must use great caution to contain the bacteria. Diagnosis of Leptospirosis in dogs is rising in the U.S., but the virus has always been present and the rise in detection may be due to more accurate diagnosis. Of the 88 dogs tested thus far in Washington in 2016, 10 dogs were positive for leptospirosis. All of the infected dogs resided on the west side of the Cascade Mountains. Location of clinics with positive cases: 2 cases each on Bainbridge Island and in Seattle; 1 case each in Bellevue, Coupeville, Enumclaw, Nooksack, Poulsbo and Tacoma.

Dogs become infected by leptospires when abraded skin comes into contact with the bacteria. The bacteria are found in water or mud that has been contaminated by infected urine. Rodents are prime carriers of leptospires. If infected rodent urine contaminates soil, water or mud that comes into contact your dog’s abraded skin or mucus membranes, the organisms can get a foothold. Dogs can also be infected by bites or scratches from an infected animal.

The organisms spread through the bloodstream leading to fever, joint pain, and general malaise that can last up to a week. The organism settles in the kidneys and begins to reproduce, leading to further inflammation and kidney failure. Depending on the type of leptospire involved, other organ failure (liver) can be expected as well. Symptoms include fever, depression, loss of appetite, joint pain, nausea, excessive drinking, jaundice, and excess bleeding brought on by low platelet count. In most infected dogs the main symptom is excessive water consumption a week or two after an episode of unexplained fever.

Younger animals tend to be more severely affected than older animals. Leptospirosis tends to be most severe in unvaccinated dogs that are younger than 6 months old. Most cases are diagnosed in the fall in regions that tend to be wet. Hunting breeds may be most at risk as they are often in damp or swampy areas. In one study, acute kidney failure affected 90% of the dogs diagnosed with leptospirosis, 10-20% also suffered liver failure.

Blood testing to detect antibodies can be performed but confirmation is not made until a second antibody level called a titer is run between 2 and 4 weeks and shows a four-fold increase. Vaccination may interfere with testing since the entire point of vaccination is to generate antibodies. If the dog has been vaccinated in the last 3 months, testing will be difficult to interpret. The PCR test, which detects even small amount of leptospire DNA, is an excellent test if vaccination has been recent, but PCR testing is not available in most laboratories.

Urine may be submitted for what is called darkfield microscopy. In this test, a dark background may offset the paler leptospire organisms, rendering them visible. The problems with this test are that the urine sample must be fresh, most animal hospitals do not have the capability to do dark field microscopy, and Leptospires are only shed in urine intermittently.

Although positive diagnosis is difficult, treatment is fairly easy. Leptospires are sensitive to antibiotics. After the antibiotic has been used to stop leptospire reproduction and limit bloodstream infection, Doxycycline antibiotic is used to clear leptospires from the kidneys. IV fluids are crucial to support blood flow through the damaged kidneys so that recovery is possible. Any areas at home that have been contaminated with urine should be disinfected with an iodine based product and gloves should be worn when cleaning any urine. Prognosis is guarded depending on the extent of organ damage. Recovered animals shed leptospires for months after recovery.

Vaccination against leptospirosis is available, however most vet clinics only carry a vaccine that covers two out of the four strains that affect dogs. It is difficult to assess whether it is important for you to immunize against leptospirosis; that is a decision for you and your veterinarian. Most recent outbreaks involve the serovars bacteria for which vaccination does not exist. Important aspects of prevention include controlling rodents or other carriers in the pet’s environment, and avoiding contact with contaminated water by your dog. 

Wenatchee Kennel Club Looks for Larger Home

With its latest event license approval from the American Kennel Club, the Wenatchee Kennel Club continues to have the most diverse range of AKC-approved events of any kennel club in the Pacific Northwest.

The WKC was recently approved to hold Fast CAT tests. Fast CAT, or Fast Coursing Ability Test, is a growing canine sport which is open to all dogs, purebred and mixed breeds, registered with the American Kennel Club. Fast CAT is a timed 100-yard dash for dogs.…

Article by Chuck St. John, The Wenatchee World

Tech Talks: Gastic Dilation Volvulus

 Tech Talks by Emily Harbury, LVT

I would like to discuss a serious, often fatal, condition in dogs called Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV). GDV, often called bloat, is a rapidly progressing and life threatening condition in which the stomach fills with gasses and food (dilatation) and twists upon itself (volvulus).

This condition is most prevalent in large, deep chested dogs. Some examples of dogs most at risk include; German Shepherds, Great Danes, Bloodhounds, and Akitas.

It is imperative that this condition be recognized early. Your dog’s abdomen may not have a bloated appearance to begin with. Most often the dog has been fed a full meal and exercised shortly afterwards.

Signs of GDV include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Frequent retching and attempts to vomit (no food or bile will be seen, though frothy foam will be produced)
  • Anxiousness
  • Restlessness
  • Pacing

If the stomach has a hard bloated appearance it has most likely entered the volvulus stage. This aspect of GDV is much more serious because when the stomach twists on itself, not only is there no food or fluid matter passing to the intestines, but the blood supply has been cut off. If left this way for too long the stomach, intestines and possibly some organs will die. The chance of survival is best when medical intervention begins before volvulous occurs.

Much has been learned about bloat in the past decade. Dogs over 7 years of age are more than twice as likely to develop GDV as those who are 2-4 years of age. With early intervention, the survival rate is better than 80% (2009). The earlier the veterinarian gets started with treatment, the better chance there is for survival. Aggressive medical and surgical intervention early in the course of the disease has the most dramatic impact on overall treatment success. An x-ray can confirm bloat and then surgery will be needed as soon as possible.

Prevention

No one protocol has been shown to prevent this disease process. Elevated feeding bowls may actually increase the risk of GDV in some patients. Smaller kibble size, feeding smaller more frequent meals, and not breeding animals with a history of GDV in their lineage may potentially decrease the risk of GDV for the animal and future generations.

In breeds with a high risk of bloat, there is a preventive surgery called a prophylactic gastropexy that can often be performed when the dog is being spayed or neutered. This involves surgically attaching the stomach to the inside of the abdomen to prevent rotation. This procedure can be done through minimally invasive surgery or laparoscopy. Ask your veterinarian for details and advice if you would like to discuss preventive surgery for bloat.

Tech Talks: Marijuana Toxicity

Tech Talks by Emily Harbury. LVT

Marijuana has been used in Washington State for many years and is legally available in numerous locations in our Valley. As use of marijuana becomes common, the number of pets, particularly dogs, showing up in our clinic after exposure to THC has increased dramatically. The good news is that marijuana toxicity is seldom fatal and your vet may be able to reduce the effects for your dog; the bad news is that if you aren’t SURE that it is marijuana, and only marijuana, that your dog has ingested the symptoms are very similar to much more harmful toxins that need immediate veterinary intervention if your dog is to survive.

Owners are sometimes hesitant to tell the veterinarian that their dog has eaten marijuana, but their hesitance can slow and complicate diagnosis and treatment. It is important for all relevant exposure information to be given to the veterinarian. Veterinary staff don’t care if the owner uses marijuana or if his neighbors have marijuana the dog got into. Veterinarians do not report marijuana ingestion to any legal authorities. They just want to know why the dog is exhibiting symptoms. The Vet needs information to come up with the best treatment plan. If you know marijuana was involved in an intoxication tell the attending doctor.

Marijuana toxicity can look similar to intoxication with numerous other sedatives, one of the most serious considerations is whether the dog has ingested antifreeze. In the early stages, a dog who has eaten antifreeze looks very similar to a dog who has eaten marijuana. But correct diagnosis is important because antifreeze consumption is usually fatal if not diagnosed and treated quickly.

The usual pet toxicity case involves a dog who has inadvertently eaten a stash of marijuana, trimmings from plants, or baked goods with marijuana butter used. In dogs, clinical signs typically begin 30 to 90 minutes after the marijuana has been eaten. Because THC is stored in the body’s fat deposits, the effects of marijuana ingestion can last for several days.

Signs include:

  • incoordination and listlessness
  • dilated pupils
  • slow heart rate
  • urinary incontinence

A characteristic startle reaction has been described where the pet appears drowsy and even may begin to fall over but then suddenly catches his balance.

If the owner doesn’t know what the dog ingested, or doesn’t tell the veterinary staff then testing must be done. Urine testing can diagnose marijuana as well as a number of other recreational drugs. A relatively large volume of urine is needed to run these tests. It can be difficult to collect an adequate sample from small, particularly small female, pets. Metabolites relevant to the test are different between dogs and humans. In dogs, false negative results are common; though a positive is confirmatory. In most cases, diagnosis is made based on the clinical presentation of the dog plus history of marijuana exposure.

If less than 30 minutes have passed since the marijuana has been eaten it may be possible to induce vomiting, but after symptoms have started the nausea control properties of cannabis make it difficult to induce vomiting. Furthermore if the patient is extremely sedated, vomiting can be dangerous as vomit can be inhaled and cause an aspiration pneumonia. Activated charcoal is a liquid material used in the treatment of poisoning.

Activated charcoal is given orally and as it passes from one end to the other, toxins are trapped in the charcoal so that when the charcoal passes from the patient, the toxins pass too. This technique of detoxification may be used to treat marijuana toxicity if ingestion has occurred recently. Fluid support and keeping the patient warm may also be needed. IF the patient has lost consciousness, then more intense observation and support is needed. The chance of fatality is statistically small but possible. In most cases, the patient can simply be confined to prevent injury until the THC wears off. 

Tech Talks: Heartworm

Tech Talks by Emily Harbury, LVT

What is heartworm?

Canine Heartworm or, Dirofilaria Immitis, is a worm that grows up to 14 inches long and lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an infected dog. Dogs can only acquire this parasite through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes readily pick up larval heartworms from infected dogs who have developed second generation heartworms called microfilaria. If the mosquito bites a dog who is in this stage of heartworm development, the mosquito can then transmit the larvae to other dogs. Some geographic areas have severe heartworm problems while others have virtually none.

Adult heartworms produce second generation heartworms called microfilariae; there are five larval stages and are termed L1, L2, L3, L4 and L5.

Heartworms do not lay eggs like other worm parasites; instead they give live birth and the baby worms are called microfilariae. Microfilariae are released into the circulatory system in hope that they will be slurped up by a mosquito taking a blood meal and carried to a new host. Microfilariae may live up to two years within the host dog in whom they were born. If, after this period, a mosquito has not picked them up, they die of old age. Microfilariae may also be transmitted across the placental barrier to unborn puppies if the mother is infected with heartworm. It is important to realize that such puppies will not develop adult heartworms or heartworm disease from these microfilariae; in order for a heartworm to reach adulthood, it must be passed through a mosquito. The mosquito who ingested L1 stage larval will stay with that mosquito until it develops to L2 and finally to L3. How long this process takes depends on the environmental conditions. In general, it takes a few weeks. A minimum environmental temperature of 57 degrees Fahrenheit is required throughout this period. If the temperature drops below 57 degrees, the mosquitoes will die and no heartworms can be transmitted. This is why there are so few cases of heartworm in Washington, Alaska, Montana, Colorado. We have been blessed with a long cold fall and winter.

That being said, there was a case of heartworm in Washington State in 2008 where a dog tested positive for heartworm. Supposedly the dog had lived its entire life in Washington and had never traveled. There is no evidence that there is any increase in new heartworm cases in our state.

There is also no evidence that heartworm is enzootic in Washington, meaning it has not become established as a disease that is consistently present in our animal communities. The most common heartworm occurrence in Washington pets has been diagnosed in those that have relocated to the state from known heartworm enzootic regions. Diagnosis has still been very uncommon and occurred most often on or around military installations and communities with a large mobile population. Over the last three decades there have been a handful of heartworm cases like this in the State – some of them up to incomplete recollection on the part of owners or to owners that have not had the animal its entire life and so missed a bit of its history. The rest? Well, they very well could be the uncommon case that has occurred.

If your dog has traveled through enzootic regions you should get your dog tested for heartworm. The dog’s eventual health, after treatment largely depends on the severity of his infection and how long he has been heartworm positive. The treatment will kill the worms, but the shock of the worms dying quickly could cause your dog to die. The worms can block off circulation. Luckily the testing for adult heartworm is fairly inexpensive; about $40 Treatment for heartworm in a dog who has a large load of worms can be dangerous and requires strict kennel confinement, injections of an immiticide and then monthly preventative medications for 1 year. The dog should be retested every 6 months while receiving the preventative and then annual retesting if the dog continues to live in an endemic region. 

Click the button below for more informatoin from the American Heartworm Society.

Tech Talks: Parvo

Tech Talks by Emily Harbury, LVT

March 23rd is National Puppy Day! Though we certainly love to have puppies around we must be aware of their vaccination history and schedule.

Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than 6months old are the most at risk. The Parvo virus affects dogs’ gastrointestinal tract and is spread by direct dog-to dog contact and contact with contaminated stool, environments, or people. The virus can also contaminate kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs. It is resistant to heat, cold, humidity, and drying. It can survive in the environment for long periods of time (6 months to a year). Even trace amounts of stool containing parvovirus may infect other dogs that come into the infected environment. It can be transmitted from place to place on the hair or feet of dogs or via contaminated kennels, or shoes.

Signs of Parvovirus

Some of the signs of parvovirus include lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, vomiting, and severe (often bloody) diarrhea. Vomiting and diarrhea can cause rapid dehydration, and most deaths from parvovirus occur within 4 to 5 days following the onset of signs. Though these signs can be symptoms of a wide variety of illnesses, dogs and puppies who are unvaccinated are at the highest risk. If your puppy or dog shows any of these signs you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

Treatment

A quick in-house test can be performed at your veterinary clinic. Results of this test will be ready in ten minutes and are 99% accurate. Though there is no specific drug available that will kill the virus in infected dogs, treatment consists primarily of supportive care. This means your pet will be required to stay in the veterinary clinic for a number of days. Veterinary clinics will have a special isolation ward equipped for these highly contagious patients. Your pet will be placed on IV fluids to combat dehydration, medications will be given to prevent vomiting and diarrhea as well as an antibiotic to prevent any secondary infections that may set in while your dog’s immune system is weakened. This treatment can be very expensive.

After Care

While your puppy is recovering from extensive damage to his intestinal tract it is typical for stool to be loose or no stool to be produced. This should gradually return to normal in the first 3-5 days. If vomiting or diarrhea persist, a return trip to the veterinarian is in order.

While the intestinal tract is healing a bland diet is needed. The veterinarian will send home a canned version to last a few days or you can feed rice and boiled chicken. Absolutely no treats, table scraps or gorging are allowed during the first week of recovery. Frequent small meals throughout the day are best for your dogs’s recovering GI tract.

Your puppy should be considered contagious to other puppies for a minimum of a month. It is important to play it safe by restricting trips to the park, kennel clubs, or neighborhood areas.

Contracting and surviving Parvo means that your puppy has effectively vaccinated itself for the virus. However there are other viruses that your puppy should be protected against. Your veterinarian will give you a vaccination schedule for the future. Your puppy can contract parvo again if not properly vaccinated in the future.

The vaccine given by your veterinarian is DA2PPC, which is a multivalent vaccine for dogs that protects against the viruses indicated by the alphanumeric characters forming the acronym; D for canine distemper, A2 canine adenovirus type 2, which offers cross protection to canine adenovirus. The first P for canine parvovirus and the second P for parainfluenza, the C indicates canine coronavirus.

Prevention

Get your puppy vaccinated on a set schedule. Vaccines should be started at 8 weeks and then two more vaccines a month apart. When the puppy is less than 8 weeks old their mother’s antibodies should be active, though reducing the puppies risk by restricting outdoor play and unknown dog visitors is a must. I will discuss vaccine titer testing in a subsequent article.

Tech Talks: Dental Health

Tech Talks by Emily Harbury, LVT

The American Veterinary Medical Association has declared February as National Pet Dental Health Month. Many of our local veterinary clinics offer special discounted prices in February for dental exams and prophylaxis. Prophylaxis refers to the evaluation, scaling, polishing and extractions that are needed for a complete and thorough dental. Sealants can also be applied to healthy teeth to prevent further decay.

How often do you look at your dog’s teeth? Any of these signs are a signal that you need to get your dog into your vet for a dental exam before his next scheduled annual exam:

  • bad breath
  • broken or loose teeth
  • extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
  • reduced appetite or refusal to eat
  • pain in or around the mouth
  • bleeding from the mouth
  • swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth

Periodontal disease starts with plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gumline can often be easily seen and removed. Plaque and tartar below the gumline is damaging to the jaw bone and the tissue that connects the tooth to bone. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe).

Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he will likely have early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Early detection and treatment are critical because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Some serious health problems often found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.

The exam begins with the veterinarian examining your dog’s mouth. The initial exam may tell the veterinarian that all is well with your dog’s current dental health and no immediate action needs to be taken. If there are broken or infected teeth that should be extracted, your dog will need to be anesthetized during that procedure. If serious infection is discovered, an antibiotic will be given for a few days before any procedure.

Your dog will need to be under anesthesia for a thorough dental prophylaxis. Anesthesia makes it possible to perform the dental procedures with less stress and pain for your pet. A licensed veterinary technician (LVT) may perform the cleaning and initial exam. If there are periodontal pockets found, the LVT will consult with the veterinarian to determine if the tooth is still viable or if it needs to be extracted. Applying local blocks and extracting teeth in question are often completed by the LVT. The LVT can suture the flap of gingiva if necessary after extraction.

Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep his teeth healthy between dental cleanings, and may reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian. Daily brushing is best, but less frequent brushing can be helpful. If you have concerns about bad breath or continued health, the vet can recommend chews or drops that are safe and effective in keeping tarter and plaque in check.

There are many over the counter (OTC) pet products marketed with claims that they improve dental health, but not all of them are effective or safe. Talk with your veterinarian about any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you’re considering for your pet. Two recommended products are Greenies or CET chews. Greenies are available OTC and are often available at your veterinary clinic. C.E.T. chews are only available through a veterinarian. These two products have been tested and are highly effective. C.E.T. Chews also have an antimicrobial enzyme to keep the bacteria in your dog’s mouth in check.

If you are concerned about Greenies or the C.E.T. chews causing a blockage in your dog’s intestine, talk to your veterinary staff. Both of the above mentioned products will easily dissolve in water. Your dog’s stomach acid should quickly finish the job. 

Therapy Dog Lowdown Class

Wenatchee Kennel Club Offers Therapy Dog Lowdown Class

If you think your pooch has what it takes to comfort others for all reasons, a seminar detailing official designation requirements will be offered in Wenatchee the end of the month.

Therapy dogs are trained to give comfort to people in a wide array of situations; hospitals, nursing homes, disaster relief, hospice care; even kids struggling to learn to read.

January 31st the Wenatchee Kennel Club is hosting a three hour class to learn if your Fido or Fida does have what it takes.  Therapy Dog International offers evaluation and certification of therapy dog teams to ensure both of you are ready for any related call. Further, a certification testing will be offered February. Contact the Wenatchee Kennel Club for more information. 509-886-647 (886-DOGS) or www.weenatcheekennelclub.com

Article by John Summers, 560 KPQ

Tech Talks: Vet Visits

Tech Talks by Emily Harbury, LVT

Welcome to 2016! I am writing this month about how you can help your dog have a comfortable, low-stress visit to the veterinary clinic. Few of us look forward to doctor visits; we may dread the weight scale, having to sit on crinkly paper, disrobing, and we often need to endure various levels of pain or discomfort.

It can be the same for our dogs, though different stimulus affects them. If the office floor is slippery, your dog may fear falling. There is an overwhelming smell of strange dogs and cats, some of them exuding scents of pain and fear. The veterinarian himself can be unnerving; he is a stranger who wants to look at and physically examine him. Though the exam is not harsh, your dog probably doesn’t get palpated regularly at home.

Here are some steps to help you relax your dog and make for a less stressful vet visit.

  • If you have a new dog, or if you know your dog gets anxious or frightened at the vet, plan frequent visits. Call ahead and see when your clinic should be quiet. Less traffic of both strange dogs and humans will help your dog focus on just the clinic and staff. Bring a hungry dog and numerous high value treats. Let the receptionist and available staff greet your dog and give out those wonderful treats. Maybe ask your dog to step on the scale. Make these visits brief and full of positive memories!
  • Make the scale a positive experience. Though you want to know the weight of your pet, it is quicker and easier if you focus on keeping your dog’s attention and let the staff watch the scale. The staff will usually announce the final weight for you; if not, just ask. The vet office is a highly distracting area, it is common for a dog to get on the scale briefly and then be distracted by something he wants to investigate and step off. When a dog leaves the scale, it can result in more anxiety from the owner, which, of course, alerts your dog that stepping on the scale is something you are anxious about and it can become scary. Relax….It is more important to make the scale just another fun thing to do than to get it done quickly.
  • If your vet clinic has slippery floors and you know your dog has trouble with them, inform the staff before you arrive. They can often bring out non slid mats and arrange them so your dog has a stable route to the scale and to the exam room. If you voice your concerns, the veterinary staff will offer ideas. We want each visit to be enjoyable for your dog. A relaxed and comfortable pet becomes a calm and easily treated patient.
  • Be calm yourself. Most vet visits are routine annual checkups or vaccinations. Some pet owners overreact to the vaccinations. They cling to their dog and repeatedly say “it’s OK” in a worried voice. While this may comfort some pets, generally owners only say this when something bad is happening or is about to happen. It becomes a cue to be afraid or vigilant. Instead, teach your dog other coping methods; ask for a sit and wait while the doctor gives the vaccines. Or gently scratch your dog’s neck. Get those treats out for a quick distraction. The idea is to let the dog know he doesn’t need to worry about what the vet is doing; needle pricks are followed by a delicious treat.
  • Sometimes a nervous dog will growl and snarl even before the exam starts. First off, never punish a growl. While punishment may temporarily inhibit the aggressive response, stifling a growl with punishment often intensifies a dog’s reaction and escalates his aggression or anxiety. Instead, try pausing to either stop the aversive scenario or remove the dog if needed. Then you can devise a plan to address your dog’s response in a helpful manner. In some cases, you can interrupt the negative behavior by redirecting the dog to do another behavior, like sit or a hand touch that you can reward. Your veterinarian may recommend a veterinary behaviorist or work with positive reinforcement trainer to help.
  • If your dog has a history of negative behavior during his exams, let the staff know beforehand. A quick heads-up will help your veterinary staff stay safe and help them come up with a positive plan to counter-condition your dog’s response.

May we all have a wonderful, healthy, and positive 2016!

Tech Talks: Canine Obesity

Tech Talks by Emily Harbury, LVT

With the current holiday season in mind, I think an obesity article is needed. Not only are humans prone to overeating during the holiday season, but so are our pets. An estimated 52.7% of US dogs are overweight or obese. Being obese or overweight comes with health risks; wear and tear on joints, cranial cruciate ligament injury, kidney disease, increased risk of diabetes, increased risk for any anesthesia procedure, respiratory disease. Extra weight, on average, shortens a dog’s life span by 2.5 yrs.

Every bit of food your dog consumes should be monitored by you. Free access to an ever full dog bowl nearly guarantees overeating – as well as deprives YOU of the opportunity to use food as a prime motivator in training. Be sure to account for the calories in dog treats when you are calculating your dog’s total calorie intake.

If you’d like to trim up your pet, consider how to safely start your dog on a diet. First, get a complete exam from your veterinarian because there may be a medical condition causing your dog’s excess weight. Common diseases associated with weight gain include endocrine problems such as hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism. Eliminate disease as a possible cause or contributor to 5 your dog’s weight issue before starting your dog on a weight reduction diet. Too many dogs start on a diet and fail to lose weight simply because diet wasn’t the problem, disease was. Your veterinarian can also give you a good frame for what your dog should weigh. Just like when we start a diet, it’s nice to have a set number to focus on. Your veterinarian can help determine how many calories your dog needs to safely lose weight.

Once you eliminate the possibility of disease causing excess weight you can start a diet and exercise plan. Most leash walks are slow with frequent pauses to allow the dog to smell interesting objects or to mark territory. Though these sorts of walks (called sniff walks) are important and enjoyable for your dog, they won’t help him lose weight. Walk briskly and focus on the “out” leg of your walk and then he can sniff walk on the way back home. Start your activity with the brisk effort first. It should feel like a brisk walk and you should break into a light sweat. The key is to keep it up. Don’t stop. When the dog wants to take a break, get happy! Walk faster or even break into a dance (my dogs love when I do the grapevine) anything to keep them interested in powering ahead with you.

Once you put your dog on a weight loss program, it’s critical that you determine if it’s working for your dog. Each dog is an individual and may require many changes in diet or routine before finding the correct balance. Ideally, your dog should be weighed every month until his ideal weight is achieved. Work closely and actively with your veterinary team to reach goals faster and safely.

The button below will bring you to a visual body score chart to help you determine if your dog is at his perfect weight. Fluffy body hair can disguise weight and you’ll need to feel for his ribs beneath all that hair.

Tech Talks: Pancreatitis

Tech Talks by Emily Harbury, LVT

During the holidays a lot of food will be available to both two legged and four legged celebrants.

This abundance of food and the variance of our schedules during the holidays sometimes give our dogs’ access to foods they wouldn’t otherwise get. Canine food binges may result in GI upset, toxic reactions, or even Pancreatitis – the subject of this article.

Pancreatitis means inflammation of the pancreas. In a pancreatitis episode, the enzymes that digest food are activated in the pancreas instead of the small intestine. This causes inflammation and swelling of the pancreas accompanied by severe pain. Classic signs of pancreatitis are: appetite loss, vomiting, diarrhea, painful abdomen and fever. If you see these signs in your pet and especially if you remember him getting into unusual or fatty food, get him to your veterinarian for testing. Pancreatitis can be very painful and life threatening if not treated.

The most common cause of pancreatitis is ingesting a large amount of fatty foods. The fat content overwhelms the pancreas, and it starts activating enzymes to digest the influx of fat prematurely. Although any dog can develop pancreatitis, genetics may play a factor. Certain dog breeds, such as Miniature Schnauzers, are more likely to develop pancreatitis. Older dogs and overweight dogs are also prone to the condition. Pancreatitis can also be idiopathic; no real causation factor can be found.

Treatment needs to be started quickly to avoid tissue damage and involvement of the adjacent liver. The ability to produce insulin can be disrupted, leading to temporary or permanent diabetes. Most veterinary hospitals can run a very reliable blood test called spec cPL (specific canine pancreatic lipase) in their office which tells whether the pancreas is working normally or abnormally. An abnormal reading is enough to start treating your pet. Other blood tests can determine the specific lipase enzyme level but have to be sent out and results won’t be known for 24 hours. Treating pancreatitis is straightforward. The pancreas needs to rest, meaning no food for several days. The dog will need to be hospitalized during this time so he can be monitored, given IV fluid support to prevent dehydration, and anti-nausea medicine. A low fat diet will slowly be reintroduced.

Most patients will fully recover after pancreatitis and be able to return to regular food, but those who have chronic ongoing pancreatitis or who are prone to frequent flare ups will likely require a fat restricted diet for life. Fat restriction is important in both treatment and prevention.

Have a wonderful, safe, and delicious Thanksgiving.

Tech Talks: Rodenticide Poisoning

Tech Talks by Emily Harbury, LVT

Autumn is the height of a yearly battle against rodents in the Wenatchee Valley. It’s also the time of year for a spike in numbers of animals entering our clinic who have ingested rodenticide. While you may want to get rid of rodents, you certainly do not want to pose a hazard to children or family pets. There are 2 things in particular I would like to highlight in this article:

  1. How to most safely use rodenticides
  2. How to diagnose and treat rodenticide poisoning in your pet

If you choose to use rodenticide on your premises, be aware that there are many types of poisons available. That old can of rodenticide you’ve had for years in your storage shed may contain really awful active ingredients that are highly toxic to pets, wildlife and waterways and have no antidote. Rodenticides with older ingredients should be disposed of safely. The recommended types of rodenticide contain anticoagulants. Active ingredients in anticoagulants include: warfarin, bradifacoaum, diphacinone and bromadiolane.

Anticoagulant rodenticides are recommended because they are less toxic to pets and are the only type available with an antidote. Anticoagulants kill by depleting vitamin K reserves so meaningful blood clotting cannot occur. In cases of poisoning you would normally expect symptoms to be nearly immediate, but in anticoagulant rodenticide poisoning, it takes several days to deplete vitamin K. After that, even the smallest of jostles and traumas can lead to life-threatening bleeds.

The poison is mixed with attractants your dog will want to eat. If you use rodenticides, be sure your dog cannot access them. Do not put rodent bait in an open pan. Be aware that your dog will be attracted to the smell of the bait, or the smell of rodents that are attracted to the bait, and may try very hard to wriggle his way into areas he wouldn’t try to access normally.

 

What should you do if you suspect your dog/cat has ingested a rodenticide?

CALL YOURVETERINARIAN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!! If you know exactly what poison and when it was ingested, you may have options. If the active ingredient was NOT an anticoagulant, vomiting may cause even more damage. If it was an anticoagulant and it was ingested less than 30 – 60 minutes ago, vomiting may help. If the trip to the vet is long, you may be advised to administer hydrogen peroxide at home in an attempt to void the poisons. However, not every dog will vomit from hydrogen peroxide. It is far safer and usually quicker to bring the pet to the veterinarian where they can administer apomorphine, a drug that induces vomiting. This drug creates results in as soon as 3-5 minutes. After vomiting occurs, activated charcoal is administered to coat the stomach and intestine to stop any residual toxin from being absorbed. The veterinarian will likely prescribe a vitamin K regime based on your pet’s weight.

More likely, you won’t know your dog has found rat poison until several days have passed and he becomes symptomatic. You may find the empty carton but won’t be sure how much was left or when the pet ingested it. Your dog may appear weak and/or cold. His gums may be pale or show signs of petechial (pin point bruising). You may notice bloody urine or stool, or nose bleeds. Vomiting will be useless at this point to get rid of the poison.

The veterinarian can perform blood clotting tests called the PTT (partial thromboplastin time) and PT (prothrombin time). If both of these pathways show disruption, rat poisoning is the most common cause. In these cases hospitalization for a number of days and a whole blood transfusion may be necessary to stabilize the patient. If poisoning was by an anticoagulant, Vitamin K is generally started as an injection and when the patient is stable, tablets are prescribed. After a couple of weeks of therapy, medication is discontinued for a short period of time and the animal is then retested. It is important to return for the recheck test on schedule. Waiting an extra day or two may allow internal bleeding to recur. Do NOT self-treat with Vitamin K3 available over the counter; it is sometimes toxic and not nearly as effective as Vitamin K1 that your veterinarian will use. If your pet eats a rodent that has been poisoned with rodenticide, effects can vary.

If it is one of the older types of poison, the danger is very real. Since the first animal that ingests the poison will break it down, your pet is probably safe from anticoagulant poison unless he is very small, eats many rodents, or his health is already compromised.

 

Editor’s Note: It’s National Vet Tech Appreciation Week, so be sure and thank you local Vet Tech!