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12 Days of Christmas- Merry Petmess

12 Days of Christmas Pet Gift Guide

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1. One Christmas Story- a custom book based on your pet! Check out Petlandia

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2. Two Lupine Accessories- get a festive collar and leash that has a lifetime warranty

3. Three Forms to Finance- sign up for pet insurance, care credit, buy a gift certificate from your vet for those unexpected expenses

4. Four Kids chasing- have your pet microchipped with HomeAgain for lifetime and permanent identification

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5. Five Ugly Sweaters- choose a jacket or sweater for your pet. Better yet, get some socks with your pet’s face on them for yourself at https://myphotosocks.com/

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6. Six Breeds discovered- best for mixed breed dogs, Wisdom Panel will check your pet’s DNA for breed identification and genetic condition carriers

7. Seven Retakes Taken- snap a photo of your pet with Santa, put in a holiday frame to feel all those cozy feels

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8. Eight Snuggly blankets- replace those old dingy blankets and beds with new, soft blankets to snuggle so hard

9. Nine Teeth to treat- pick up CET chews or toothbrush/toothpaste kit to get that breathe minty fresh for some mistletoe kisses

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10. Ten minutes sudsin’- have your pet professionally groomed or pick up the supplies to do-it-yourself

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11. Eleven Snacks stolen- get your pet their own treat so you don’t have to share! Choose Lean treats for a low calorie option- less is more (less calories, more to eat)! Even if your pet is on a specialized diet, Royal Canin and Hill’s both make treats to meet any prescription diet.

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12. Twelve Toys tossing- Plush or bouncy, you know your pet best so give them what they like! There are some toys that will make your pet think and work to receive the treat. Looking for something to keep them busy? Check out the PetStages Challenge Ball

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A technician by any other name would still be a Rockstar

If you follow our All West Facebook or Instagram account you may have noticed that the week of October 14th, we had daily posts about each of our technicians. (If you missed the posts, here are the links to our Facebook and Instagram). You may have noticed that the photos weren’t your average portrait, many of them being taken without the technician even looking at the camera. I intentionally did this, without any resistance,  to show you an average work day of our technicians. It was your behind-the-scenes look at our hospital staff.. now if only we could get Ryan Seacrest to come host!

Our day “starts” at 7am: Truth is, many of our technicians get here before 7 to get ahead of the day. Cleaning, feeding, letting out, administering meds,  taking morning vitals- All of these happen before the average person has had their morning coffee.

Surgery patients begin dropping off around 7:15. From here the doctor performs their examination and pre-meds are administered. The technicians are responsible for monitoring anesthesia and taking patient vitals during surgery. It is nerve wrecking anytime our pets go under anesthesia, because let’s face it, there is always a risk. But nobody knows this better than our technicians, which is why they take this part of the job so seriously.

Appointments start at 8am. A technician starts the appointment with taking vitals and questions. We honestly care what every person feels about each visit, mostly because we expect the same thing for our own pets. We want our concerns to be heard and questions answered. We want to know that the doctor cares about our pet just as much as we do. That is why the technician asks so many questions. They are there to facilitate the doctor’s examination. Most of the time the technician will come back into the exam room to demonstrate medication administration or to follow up with any necessary paperwork. Typically there are 3-4 appointments happening at the same time, so if you hear scurrying feet on the other side of the exam door it doesn’t mean there’s a fire. It just means that the technicians are trying to give as much time and attention to each client and patient as possible.

Think you have a minute? Nope! Let’s get that room clean, patients outside to potty, answer the phone, grab your charts and start entering medical history. But regardless of what is happening, our technicians work together to keep each patient happy and cared for.  While it’s not always sunshine and puppies, our technicians are there to be cheerleaders and as moral support. They follow the progress of most patients almost as closely as the doctors. When your heart is breaking, know that you aren’t alone in that. Many times we go home thinking about a patient or writing notes to remind ourselves of something to call a client about the next day. All day each technician is responsible for being a nurse, groomer, x-ray technician, phlebotomist, chef, personal trainer, educator, and personal assistant. Talk about chameleon! 

The lunch hour is a fun game of hot potato as not everybody can go at the same time. We have an eye on our hospitalized and surgical patients throughout the day- meaning sometimes the sandwich comes with a little hair from the dog whose kennel you are sitting in. Appointments start up again at 1pm and surgical patients begin being discharged around 4pm. Want to come to the hospital when it’s the loudest? Come around 4pm. Want to come to the hospital when you see the most smiling faces? Come around 4pm. Ask most of our technicians- this is the best part of the day. No, not because we are getting towards the end of the day. It’s for the reaction when pet meets person. Have you ever seen a dog smile? We have. When we get to send home a healthy pet, we are reminded why we all got into this career in the first place. These moments are what make the job so meaningful.

The doctors are the hands of the hospital, receptionists are the face of the hospital, but the technicians- the technicians are the heart of the hospital. This job requires an insane amount of multi-tasking without losing attention to detail.  This job is utterly exhausting and wonderfully rewarding. So for doing this job, we want to thank them all for everything they do: Amy, Oleta, Nikki, Taylor, Michelle, Kylee, Sarah, Liz, Shelby, Morgan, Katie, Dalayna, Rheanna, and Logan.

Prevent Howls on Halloween

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For the DIY Vaccinaters

Protect Your Horse with Veterinarian-Administered Vaccinations

 

With vaccines readily available at farm supplies stores, online pharmacies and other retailers, it’s sometimes tempting to save a few dollars by purchasing and administering them to your animals yourself.

 

There are hidden risks and costs associated with vaccinating animals yourself, therefore “cheaper” vaccines aren’t the value they first appear to be. 

 

Ask your veterinarian to develop a customized vaccine program for your horse.  Having your veterinarian administer vaccines is always safer, easier and a better value in the long run than doing it yourself.

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Here are several good reasons why your veterinarian is the best choice for administering vaccines: 

 

Proper Handling of the Vaccine

Many vaccines require special handling and storage, for instance, protection from extremes of temperature or exposure to light to preserve its effectiveness.  Rely on a licensed veterinarian to store and handle the vaccine properly—and to make sure the vaccine isn’t past its expiration date!

 

Safe Administration

A licensed veterinarian knows about safe administration:  clean environment, an appropriate injection site and good documentation. They also know the best time of year to vaccinate and whether vaccinations would react with any medications being administered to the horse.  Your veterinarian will document the vaccine’s serial number and administration date—especially important in the event of a manufacturer’s recall.  This is one instance when poor documentation could put your animal in peril.

 

Availability for Treatment of Adverse Reactions

Any injection can result in adverse effects—mild swelling at the injection site, lethargy and a slight fever for one to two days, the immediate outbreak of hives and life-threatening anaphylaxis.  If your veterinarian is administering the vaccine, he or she will know what to do to counteract a reaction—and they will have the medicine to do it. In some cases, the vaccine manufacturing company will also cover costs associated with a reaction associated with a vaccine when administered by a veterinarian.

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When you think about the risks of doing it yourself, it only makes good sense to have a licensed professional administer vaccines.

Face the Fears

Montana is known for the bi-polar weather patterns. Afternoon storms are exceptionally common during the summer months and provide a much-needed relief from the hot afternoon sun. However, many dogs do not appreciate the thunder clap and flickering lightning that mother-nature often provides. While anxiety and fear are common, it doesn’t mean we are helpless in our pet’s unease. There are several options to help with noise aversion in dogs.

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Behavior Training- treating the symptoms will not always relieve the anxiety until the under-lying issue is resolved. De-sensitizing your pet to thunder or fireworks requires long-term dedication but creating a safe space for your pet to retreat is a good place to start.

Pros: natural, positive reinforcement, creates good habits for storm aversion

Cons: Time intensive if training with a professional, slow progression

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Thunder Jacket- the idea behind it is like swaddling an infant. The hugging effect can calm some pets.

Pros: Easy to use, fast acting, non-medical

Cons: Not always effective- especially in extreme cases, not for long-term use

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Anti-anxiety Medications- Alprazolam, Trazadone, Sileo are commonly used medications that can be given to help your pet feel more relaxed.

Pros: Effective, easy-to-give pill/gel formsDrugItem_3530

Cons: Needs to be given a couple of hours before the stimulus, medication can only be prescribed by your veterinarian

 

When pets are scared, they can react in different ways. Some dogs have been reported to run away from home, even injuring themselves, when afraid. We love our pets and want to keep them happy and safe. Be sure to keep your pet’s identification tags and microchip up-to-date in case of emergency or loss. Your veterinarian can help you to decide what course of action would be most beneficial for your pet. 

Mutant and Proud

Is your dog a Mutant? Not like Professor X from X-men. I mean, does your dog have a mutation to the MDR1 gene (but perhaps if we were talking X-men we could call this particular mutant MD Resisto)! The MDR (multi-drug resistance) gene is responsible for protecting the brain by transporting potentially harmful chemicals away. The MDR1 mutation allows the drugs to build up in the brain, where they can cause ne urological reactions including disorientation, seizures, and blindness. Your veterinarian may discuss the MDR1 gene mutation in more depth with you if your dog is one of the following breeds:

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The MDR1 gene mutation makes affected herding breed dogs especially sensitive to the negative effects of certain medications that are typically tolerated including common drugs like Ivermectin and Imodium (loperamide).  Ivermectin… and herding dogs… It seems to go hand in hand, doesn’t it? Herding dogs are often found where there are livestock. Ivermectin is a common intestinal parasite dewormer used for livestock. This means that if your canine assistant is an MDR1 mutant, you will need to take extra precautions when deworming your livestock. If the affected dog were to ingest some of the horse/livestock Ivermectin dewormer paste or the manure from the recently de-wormed animal, symptoms of an Ivermectin toxicity could present shortly after. While equine dewormers contain high doses of Ivermectin, the ivermectin dose in heartworm preventatives, like Iverhart and Heartgard, are so low that they would not pose a risk to a dog with the mutation.

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Lucky for us, this gene mutation can be tested for. Talk to your veterinarian about testing your herding breed or mixed breed dog for the MDR1 gene. A quick cheek swab or blood sample can be submitted to Washington State University for testing. Results are sent to you and a copy to your veterinarian in 1-2 weeks. The MDR1 gene is also tested for in the common canine DNA test: Wisdom Panel. This information will help to make lifestyle choices and medical decisions based on your dog’s results.

Normal/Normal Results: These dogs do not carry the mutation, and will not pass on the mutation to their offspring. These dogs would not be expected to experience unexpected adverse drug reactions to normal doses of Ivermectin, loperamide, and some anticancer drugs.

 Mutant/Mutant Results: These dogs carry the mutation and can not pass on a normal gene to their offspring. These dogs would be expected to experience toxicity after normal doses of loperamide, some anticancer drugs, and high doses of Ivermectin.

Normal/Mutant Results: These dogs carry the mutation and may pass the mutant gene to their offspring. For this reason, we do not recommend mutant/mutant dogs be used for breeding purposes. These dogs may experience toxicity after normal doses of loperamide, some anticancer drugs, and high doses of Ivermectin.

Visit the Washington State University website for a list of problem drugs for MDR1 gene mutation dogs: http://vcpl.vetmed.wsu.edu/problem-drugs

 

AAHA Accredited!

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We recently became accredited with the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) in March 2018! This symbol means that we have chosen to undergo regular evaluations to maintain a higher standard of veterinary care. Not every hospital puts in the work and chooses to earn this designation, but we’re proud to say we do!

Check out more about AAHA at https://www.aaha.org/

Pet Nutrition Talk

Bring your questions to the Pet Nutrition talk at Heart of the Valley on Thursday, April 26th at 7pm. Dr. Scott Carter from Hill’s pet nutrition will be discussing pet food labels and pet nutrition. We look forward to seeing you there!

 

 

 

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Bold Briggs- A survivor that beat the odds

What are the first items you think of when you hear ‘pet toxicity’? Chocolate.. Mouse poison.. Antifreeze? All of which are correct. But have you thought about less obvious pet poisons? Think about human medications: Ibuprofen, thyroid medications, cold medicine, or household plants: Lilies, daffodils, tulips. What about a sago palm?

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You may not even know what a sago palm looks like, however these plants are deadly to pets. Sago palms contain cycasin, which is the primary toxin agent resulting in intensive liver damage in dogs. If any part of a sago palm is ingested the effect on the gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system can be immediately observed from 15 minutes to several hours afterwards. Even with aggressive treatment, the survival rate is bleak. Enter Briggs…

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Briggs initially came to see us as a healthy 5-month-old puppy. He loved to socialize with people and play outside. One evening Briggs found a sago palm to snack on in the compost pile and within one hour was vomiting and lethargic. Briggs’s owner called the Pet Poison Hotline shortly afterwards to inquire about a potential toxicity. Pet Poison Hotline instructed to bring Briggs in for hospitalization. Bloodwork revealed that Briggs’s liver had already been compromised by the sago palm. Dr. Karyn began treating Briggs right away with multiple medications to buffer the stomach, support the liver, and reduce the nausea. After 3 weeks of treatment and bloodwork, Briggs was getting worse. He began exhibiting other symptoms of a sago palm toxicity: diarrhea, lack of appetite, and fluid accumulation in the abdomen.

Briggs’s owner never gave up on him and continued to purse treatment options through Dr. Karyn. Over the course of 6 months, with intensive care and a little luck, he got better. It has now been 2 years since his sago palm ingestion and Briggs has grown into a strong and happy dog.

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Recognize Common Poisons for Dogs & Cats

Human Food: Chocolate, grapes, xylitol (common in sugar-free gum), alcohol

Human medications: Ibuprofen, prescription medications, cold medicine

Pesticides and Rodenticides: Remember that rodents that ingest rodenticides are still harmful to pets that eat them

Plants: Azaleas, tulips, daffodils, sago palms, lilies

Chemicals: bleach, antifreeze, engine coolant, etc.

 

While it seems impossible to keep track of every potential poison, it is important to know what steps to take after your pet has ingested a poison.

1.       Note what your pet ingested, how much, and when. Also monitor your pet’s behavior.

2.       Call a pet toxicity hotline or your veterinarian to determine risk for toxicity.

 

For a complete list of toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs, cats, and horses visit:

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/dogs-plant-list

Max says Bye-Bye to Bad Breath

Max is a spirited 8-year-old Dachshund. He came in to see us for dental concerns, including bad breath and tartar buildup on his teeth.

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80% of pets have dental disease by 3 years of age.  Small dogs, like max, are at an even higher risk for developing dental disease.  This is due in part to differences in the alignment of teeth as well as chewing habits found smaller breeds.  If your pet is experiencing pain, often exhibited by refusing to eat, has changed chewing habits or has bad breath, then dental disease is likely the culprit.  In Max’s case, his doctor recommended a dental cleaning. 

 

Max was scheduled for a dental cleaning, which is done under general anesthesia.  The morning of surgery, Max arrived bright and early, around 7am. He was received by one of our highly qualified surgery technicians, who would care for him throughout the rest of the day and see to his every need.  He was   prepped for surgery- receiving an IV catheter to facilitate administration of fluids that would help Max maintain normal blood pressure, hydration, and recover quicker.  He was then moved into our dedicated dental suite, equipped with monitoring equipment and dental radiographs.  He was induced with an injectable anesthetic and maintained on an inhaled anesthetic and oxygen for the remainder of the procedure.

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The cleaning process includes ultrasonic scaling and hand scaling of the teeth to remove plaque and calculus.  Probing and measurement of tooth and associated periodontal pocket is done to assess gum and root health.  Radiographs are taken if any tooth appears compromised.  Finally, the teeth are polished, this discourages future bacteria buildup, leaving the teeth pearly white.

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You may be wondering why general anesthesia is necessary?  After all, wouldn’t it be safer for the patent to just due this under sedation?  The truth is, anesthesia when performed correctly is very safe. It is also necessary for the proper evaluation and cleaning of the teeth. Non-anesthetic cleanings do not allow for adequate probing or use of the ultrasonic scaler.  Sedated dental only allows for hand scaling, which can actually result in damage of the tooth enamel and does not allow the doctor to address any periodontal disease or extract teeth if needed. 

In some circumstances, dental x-rays are necessary for the veterinarian to determine the health of the tooth and surrounding bone. Extractions may be performed if there is radiographic evidence of disease. In Max’s case, a total of 9 teeth required extraction.  Losing this number of teeth may seem shocking, however patients seem relieved after extractions and are happier without a constant nagging toothache.

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Max was prescribed pain medication and antibiotics and was able to go home that evening.  A soft food diet was needed for 7 days while his extraction sites healed.  

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Along with his annual examination, Max’s preventative dental care now includes teeth brushing and a new diet.  Hill’s t/d Dental care diet encourages chewing and prevents tartar buildup. Tooth brushing was started slowly so that Max would willingly accept the feeling and process. He now enjoys the Vanilla Mint flavor pet enzymatic toothpaste! Human toothpaste should never be used on pets as it is not meant to be swallowed and can contain harmful ingredients. Another great option for oral health is enzymatic dental chews. Dental chews encourage chewing and contain ingredients that fight tartar buildup. However, it is important to understand that these home care products do not substitute a dental cleaning if it is needed. Talk to your veterinarian about other dental care options for your pet.

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