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Sugar Substitute Xylitol is Poisonous to your Pet

By: Dr. Anne Dayton ALD

Sugar substitutes may sound wonderful and may they are if you are a human. If you are a dog, one particular sugar substitute, Xylitol, is potentially lethal. It is often found in sugarless gum, certain baked goods, and some sugarless candies. It may also be found in certain flavored human medications and toothpaste. The potential toxicity to cats is still unknown.

There are two deadly effect Xylitol can have. The first is Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). In a dog the pancreas confuses xylitol with real sugar ad releases insulin to store the “sugar”. The problem is that Xylitol does not offer the extra calories of real sugar and the rush of insulin only serves to remove the real sugar from the circulation. Blood sugar levels plummet resulting in weakness, disorientation, tremors, and potentially seizures.

Labwork The other reaction associated with Xylitol is Hepatic Necrosis the actual destruction of the liver tissue. How this happens remains unknown, but the doses of Xylitol required to produce this effect are much higher than the hypoglycemic doses described above. Signs take longer to show up (typically 8-12 hours) and surprisingly not all dogs that experience hepatic necrosis, will have experienced hypoglycemia first. A lucky dog experiences only temporary illness, but alternatively, a complete and acute liver failure can result with death following. Internal hemorrhage and inability of blood to clot is commonly involved.

It does not take many sticks of gum to poison a dog, especially a small dog. Symptoms typically begin within 30 minutes and can last for more than 12 hours. Vomiting and diarrhea may also occur. A example of a Hypoglycemic dose of Xylitol would be if you have a 10 lb dog it could be poisoned by as little as a stick and a half of gum.  The dose to cause the Gum and Xylitol Hepatic Necrosis would be a whole unopened pack of gum for the same 10 lb dog.

To treat a dog with Xylitol toxicity the patient ideally should be seen quickly (within 30 minutes) and hopefully can be made to vomit the gum/ candy. Beyond that point a dextrose (sugar) IV drip is prudent for a good 24 hours. Liver enzyme and blood clotting test are monitored for 2 to 3 days. Blood levels of potassium are ideally monitored as well. If you are worried about your pet, and think that they might have gotten into a product that contains Xylitol please first contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at  (888) 426-4435 (please note there is a fee of $65). If they recommend treatment give us a call, or if you have questions please give us a call at (775) 358-6880.

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Laser Surgery

Laser Surgery Comes to Baringrh

By: Renaud Houyoux, LVT

The Companion CTS therapy laser unit used that we use at Baring Boulevard Veterinary Hospital  Dr. Dayton doing laser sxalso has a surgical fiber with which we can do surgical procedures on soft tissues. Examples include wart removal, soft pallate resection, overgrown gum-line resection, and various other soft tissue surgery. The advantages of laser surgery include less pain post – operatively, as well as less bleeding and reduced inflammation / edema to the tissues. Small warts can also be removed with a local anesthetic and some patients may not even require anesthesia or sedation. This bjb sxsurgical adaptation to a therapy delivery platform is the latest development in this area of medicine. 

Dental Month

By: Dr. Ben Davidson DSC_0963

February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and Baring Boulevard Veterinary Hospital is joining in.  You may ask “Are you serious?”.  Yes we are.  Pet dental health is very serious.  You take care of your own teeth multiple times every single day, but most of us can’t or don’t give the same kind of attention to our pets teeth.   Because of this, 85% of household pets suffer from dental disease.  Once pets have reached this point, a professional dental cleaning is necessary to address the disease.

CJSo what does a professional dental cleaning entail?  It is an anesthetized procedure in which a team of our doctors, veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants evaluate and treat whatever problems are present.  The evaluation includes a full dental charting and periodontal diagnostics including radiographs of any questionable or affected teeth.  The teeth are then cleaned using an ultrasonic device to clean the visible surface of the teeth, but most importantly below the gum line where the most serious disease occurs.  If any teeth need advanced procedures, such as periodontal antibiotic infusion, sealing and bonding, or extraction, those are performed at this time.  The teeth are then polished to complete the procedure and your pet is recovered in our post anesthesia ICU.

These procedure are performed at BBVH every weekday, year round, but if you schedule during February you will imagesreceive a $35 discount off the cost of the dental cleaning, dental health kit (valued at about $15). If you have any questions about these procedures or would like to schedule your pets dental evaluation, please call our office.  We also are happy to have you swing your dog or cat by for what we call a “flip of the lip” exam, where one of our doctors or technicians will do a free check on your pets teeth to better tell you if a dental procedure is necessary, and if so, what it will likely entail.

Parvovirus

What is Parvovirus?

By: Dr. John Crumley DSC_0303-001

Parvoviruses are a large group with almost every mammal species (including humans) seems to have its own parvovirus. Fortunately, each virus is specific for which animal species it can infect (i.e. the canine parvovirus will not infect people). However, the canine parvovirus will affect most members of the dog family (wolves, coyotes, and foxes).

While the parvoviruses of other species have been well known for decades, the canine parvovirus is a relative newcomer. The original canine parvovirus, discovered in 1967, lead to a series of infections in the 1970’s and unfortunately still to this day.

Golden Retriever puppyThe most common form of the virus is called CPV-2b, but there is a new particularly virulent strain of parvovirus (CPV-2c) which is rapidly becoming the second most common form of canine parvovirus. Fortunately, currently available vaccines cover all variants of canine parvovirus including CPV-2c, as do all the commercially available diagnostic test kits.

After a 3-7 day incubation period, the disease manifests itself with vomiting, diarrhea, and poor appetite. If untreated, death from dehydration and sepsis is most commonly the end result. If treated with aggressive care, up to 80% of patients will survive and go on to lead normal lives after infection. Since the treatment is extensive, often times requiring isolation in a veterinary hospital for many days, we must be prepared for significant expense of treatment (often times over $1,000).

Treatment for parvovirus infection centers on supportive care. This means that the clinical problems that come up in the course of the infection are addressed individually with the goal of keeping the patient alive long enough for an immune response to generate. We do not have effective antiviral drugs and must rely on the patient’s immune system for cure. Puppy on Fluids Intravenous fluids, anti-nausea medication, anti-diarrhea medication, antibiotics, and pain medication are paramount if the pet is to survive infection.

The sad truth of canine parvovirus is that we could eradicate it with simple vaccination as we have with other terrible diseases (ever heard of small pox? ) Vaccination must be done at an early age (as early as 6-7 weeks of age), then repeated every 3-4 weeks until the pet is 16 weeks of age, then every 1-3 years into adulthood.

The difficultly lies in the robust nature of the virus; it can live on surfaces (pavement, grass, dirt, bottom of shoes and the SAMSUNGlike) for months to years. A sick pet’s feces and/or vomit can spread thousands to millions of viral particles into the environment. If an unvaccinated, or undervaccinated, dog sniffs or licks up viral particles, they can become infected.

So, if you have a new puppy, make sure you get him or her vaccinated at the correct times with your veterinarian and avoid areas where dogs congregate until the vaccine series is finished.

Does a wet nose mean my dog is healthy? If it is dry is he sick?

By: Dr. Jackie Pulver Dr. Jackie Pulver

Most dogs have a cold, wet nose-we have all felt this when they nuzzle our hand for a pet. The nose is wet for multiple reasons. Inside of the nose there are glands that secrete watery fluid to help cool the dog through evaporation. The nose is also an area that a dog sweats from 250_Seven_s_Nose(much like the foot pads). Tears travel from the eyes through the nasolacrimal duct to the nose and provide moisture. The moisture in the nose may also make the dog more sensitive to odors. Dogs also constantly lick their noses!

Dogs will have different moisture content to the nose that varies day by day, hour by hour, dog by dog. The nose may be wet and cool one moment, then warmer and drier the next. The nose wetness (or lack thereof) also changes with the humidity.

A dry nose in a dog is therefore not an indicator of health in our pet. We cannot accurately determine fever from a nose. If Golden Retriever puppyyour dog has a dry nose but is otherwise showing no signs of illness, this may be a normal nose for your dog at that time. If your dog’s nose is cracked, scaling, bleeding, or your dog is having any changes in his normal routines or behaviors, he should be examined by your veterinarian.

It’s the Cat or a Baby?
By: Dr. Jackie Pulver DVMDr. Jackie Pulver
If you are pregnant, you can’t have a cat…..This is a common worry with women when they first find out they are having their first human baby. Luckily, this myth is not true.  The concern for pregnant women and cats is a parasitic disease called toxoplasmosis. This parasite is not transmitted by direct contact with a cat, but by contact with Japanese_litter_boxcat feces.  When humans are infected with toxoplasmosis, most do not get sick. Some people may get swollen glands or fell like they have flu like symptoms.  When you are pregnant, if you become infected with toxoplasmosis it may infect the fetus and cause malformation or abortion.
Pregnant women can safely be around cats with a few simple precautions. The easiest way to prevent any contamination is to have another person in the household daily clean the litter box. Pregnant women should wash their hands after handling cats. Gloves should be worn anytime pregnant women 06-pregnant-woman-cat-couch-lgnare handling dirt (cats will defecate in gardens and other loose soil). Cats that are kept indoors only are less likely to be shedding toxoplasmosis. Lastly, toxoplasmosis can also be passed to people from eating under cooked meat-especially pork, lamb and deer meat.

Don’t Worry Purr When Happy?

Dr. Jackie Pulver DVMDr. Jackie Pulver

Most people feel that cats only purr when they are happy. While it is true they do purr when happy, this is not the only reason.  Cats will purr when injured, while giving birth, when nursing, when threatened, even when dying. British zoologist Desmond Morris has observed purring as a “sign of friendship”-whether that be a cat  content with a friend or in need of a friend.  Dr Margie Scherk, a board-certified specialist in feline health likens a purr to a human smile. Much like people smile when happy, people also smile when nervous or faced 99059361-choose-cat-litter-632x475with a threat.  The purr and smile can be used a signal that says “I’m nice, please don’t hurt me”.

Although we know some reasons why cats purr, experts still do not know how.  The most common explanation is that it originates in the vestibular folds or “voicebox”.  Passing air over these structures likely causes the pleasing sound. Domesticated cats have the advantage on purring over their large feline cousins. Tigers and lions can rumble, but can never get their motor running like your household kitty.bandit

Holiday Pet Hazards

By: Bob Baker,DVM Dr. Baker

The Holiday season brings out many potential problems for your pet.

Chocolate exposure and ingestion can cause anything from mild stomach upset to life threatening medical emergencies. If you are giving chocolate as a gift, it is best it does not get put under the tree. The nose of a dog will be able to sniff through the package and gain access to the goodies.

Sugar free treats made with an artificial sweetener called Xylitol can cause liver failure in the dog, Picture 217but is safe for humans. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Macadamia nuts are also toxic to dogs. Some dogs will like the taste of eggnog, and the optional alcohol can be a real problem.

Other dietary misadventures with bones, fatty leftovers, candy etc. can cause significant gastrointestinal upset. Bones can cause obstruction and require surgery, there can be an association of high fat foods and pancreatitis that can be life threatening.

Decorative plants such as poinsettias, holly, mistletoe and lilies can cause mild to severe gastrointestinal upset and holly mistletoe_dogand mistletoe can cause rhythm disturbances in the heart.

Tree tinsel and gift wrapping ribbon can be very entertaining to a curious cat, unfortunately cats can swallow these objects creating a linear foreign body which are incredibly dangerous. They cause a plication (accordion movement) of the intestine on itself and can saw right through multiple areas of intestine. It is very important your cat be seen as soon as possible if you suspect a linear foreign body. People will sometimes put a bow or ribbon around an animals neck which if equipped with a breakaway safety feature could result in choking

The Christmas tree itself can be a hazard, the water in the base can be a source of bacteria or can contain toxic substances to maintain freshness of the tree . We have also seen the curious pet try to climb the tree causing it to fall.

dog-christmas-lights 1Christmas lights have their associated electrical cords are another hazard. Chewing electrical cords can cause painful oral burns.

If you have any questions, just give us a call at (775) 358-6880.

Happy Holidays !

With all the high winds and gusty weather one would think we were in Kansas. There have been a lot of fences that have been falling over which in return has led to many lost dog reports. With no fences to hold them in many of the dogs that have been getting out started wandering away from home. Yesterday we are happy to report that we had several reunion stories.

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One of our employee’s Jeremy was on his way to class when he noticed a couple of dogs wandering out in Spanish Springs. As he was trying to catch those dogs that he saw, he noticed a couple more and so on and so on. Jeremy ended up saving 6 dogs yesterday. He brought them in Baring and thanks to their microchips we were able to reunite all of these dogs with their owners. What a wonderful start to the Holiday Season.

Rabies

Written by Dr. Bob Baker Dr. Baker

Rabies is a viral infection that targets the central nervous system of warm blooded animals. Rabies is worldwide in distribution and causes about 55,000 human deaths each year. Tragically, most of these deaths could be prevented if domestic animal vaccination programs were in place. We are fortunate in the United States in that we see very little rabies in our pets, and subsequently in humans because we have very effective vaccines that are readily available. Rabies does exist in the United States, primarily in wildlife. Exposure risks become evident when wildlife interacts with humans or our pets. In our area, the most common vector or carrier of rabies is the bat. Skunks, skunk_710_600x450racoons, and foxes are also vectors in out area. Unfortunately we cannot be with our pets 24-7 and sometimes then find dead things to play with or eat, or in some situations may predate on bats and this is a risk for exposure. There are documented events of rabid bats getting into peoples homes as well.
What can we do to protect our pets and families? First of all, there are extremely effective vaccines against rabies for dogs and cats. ALL dogs and cats should be vaccinated against rabies. Even indoor cats that do not go outside have the potential for rabies exposure should a rabid bat gain entry to the home. Dogs are vaccinated as puppies as young as 12 weeks of age. They need another vaccination at a year of age, and then every three years after that. Cats follow the same protocol, except that there are two different vaccines used to booster the older cat, one is labeled for every year and another is labeled for every three years.DSC_0854 Your veterinarian can help you decide which product is right for your pet. Rabies vaccinations are also required by Nevada law. NAC 441A.435
If you or a family member do come across a sick or dead bat, or for that matter any animal, do not approach or handle them. If the animal is a potential rabies vector, and there is any human or animal exposure you should contact Washoe County Vector Control to have the animal tested for rabies.

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