Grays Harbor Veterinary Services

16 Old Beacon Road
Montesano, WA 98563

(360)249-4840

www.ghvet.com


Antibiotic Resistance - 03/04/2016

I am compelled to point out and hopefully educate the pet owning public about the role that they may be playing in causing antibiotic resistance.  Antibiotics are failing.  There is a war between bacteria undergoing genetic mutations to fight our current antibiotics and scientists coming up with better and stronger antibiotics to fight these super-germs.  These super-germs are becoming more prevalent and more difficult to treat. 

Georgette, a beagle breeder, had an outbreak of Giardia ("Beaver-Fever") in her 18-dog kennel.  Her vet ran multiple fecal samples and dispensed hundred of dollars of medication to treat the Giardia in these dogs.  The expense put a huge dent in her profits for the year.  She also had the embarrassment of selling puppies that had diarrhea and the damage to her reputation.   Georgette was able to buy the same antibiotic at a feed store and now all of her dogs are preventatively treated with it every year and her puppies are sent to their new homes with it.

A client bought a puppy from Georgette a few years later.  The puppy had chronic, bloody diarrhea when she picked him up at 5 months of age.  We diagnosed the puppy  with Giardia and treated it with the standard antibiotic, but it didn't work.  The owner then had to buy a very expensive, less-common medication, treat the puppy for several months and re-submit the feces to the lab multiple times.  We were eventually able to get the Giardia resolved, but this dog still has chronic gastrointestinal problems and chronic diarrhea due to the damage done to his intestines when he was a puppy.  This breeder caused serious health problems in her puppies by treating them with unnecessary antibiotics for years.

Mike, a hound hunter, has a pack of 8 hounds that he hunts cougar with.  He loves his dogs beyond belief and would be devastated if anything happened to them.  After a friend's hound died from an infection that he got while hunting, Mike gives his hounds a shot of penicillin whenever one gets slapped by a cougar during the hunt. 

Mike sold one of his puppies to a friend.  This happy puppy presented at her first exam with infection throughout her body.  We treated with standard antibiotics for weeks, but she was never able to kick the infection until we put her on a less common, more expensive antibiotic.  By treating his dogs repeatedly with penicillin (at the wrong dosage and not long enough), Mike was selecting for resistant bacteria on his property:  The bacteria remaining in these animals became resistant to the antibiotics that he used and the resistant bacteria were excreted back into the environment to infect other dogs.  Because of his mis-use of antibiotics, Mike is causing health problems in his pack of hounds and their offspring.

 As a pet owner, I would like you to do your part to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  My challenge to you is this: Finish all of the antibiotics that your veterinarian dispenses for that skin infection, bladder infection or abscess.  Do not be the client that does not complete the course of antibiotics.  The last thing your vet wants to hear at your pet's next exam is: "I have some antibiotics left from the last time we treated my dog for that."   Ask for cheaper alternatives if needed and educate yourself on the necessity of a specific treatment, but do not contribute to antibiotic resistance by cutting your pet's treatment short.

By Sonnya Crawford, DVM






The Top 3 People Foods That Are Poisonous to Dogs - 02/24/2016


Most dogs love food and they especially love to eat the foods that we eat.  While sharing the occasional scrap of food with your dog is fine, it is important to know about foods that are extremely dangerous to your dog.  Be very careful that your dog never gets access to the following foods.

The number one poisonous people food is chocolate.  We see chocolate toxicity more than all of the other toxicities combined. Chocolate has two ingredients that are toxic to dogs; caffeine and theobromine.  The signs of chocolate toxicity are hyperactivity, restlessness, rapid breathing, muscle tremors, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, coma and death.  Some dogs are more sensitive than others and not all chocolate is created the same.  The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.  Semisweet and dark chocolate are the worst.  We can make your dog vomit and decrease the severity of the toxicity if you get him to the vet within two hours of eating chocolate.  If it's been longer than 2 hours and your dog is showing any of the above signs, he will need to be hospitalized and treated with IV fluids and supportive therapy.

Xylitol, a popular sugar free sweetener, is the second human food that is poisonous to dogs on my list. Xylitol is found in gum, cake mixes, candy, pudding, gelatin snacks, toothpastes, vitamins, fish oils and many other products.  Xylitol is extremely toxic.  Only 1 gram of xylitol in a 20 lb dog can cause life threatening low blood sugar, liver failure and death.  Signs of toxicity are vomiting, yellow gums, weakness, tremors, seizures, and black tarry stool.  

Grapes and raisins are the last poisonous food on my list.  Grapes and raisins cause kidney failure but veterinarians don't know how or why.  Additionally, the degree of toxicity varies between dogs and doesn't happen with every grape ingested.  Raisins seem to be more toxic than grapes. Until the cause of the toxicosis is better identified, the safest course of action is to avoid feeding grapes or raisins to your dog. Clinical signs include vomiting, often with pieces of grape or raisin in it.  Three days later the dog goes into kidney failure, but by this time the damage is done.  At this point, all we can offer is supportive care in the way of IV fluids and hospitalization in an attempt to preserve the remaining function of the kidneys.

Even if you do not offer your dog table scraps, he could still find something that is hazardous to his health if he raids kitchen counters, cupboards and trash cans.  Being aware of these poisonous human foods is important if you have a dog in your home.  There are numerous other human foods toxic to dogs, so if you have any specific questions please contact your veterinarian.


Food Allergies - Diagnosis and Early Management - 02/10/2016



The above chart is from a study and shows the MOST COMMON proven allergens in dogs.  Please note that CORN is very low on the list.  It is not the villain that pet food companies make it out to be and many dogs do great on corn products.  But, if your dog does have food allergies, he MIGHT be allergic to corn.  We will begin to diagnose his allergies by feeding a food with only ONE protein (meat) source and ONE carbohydrate (vegetable) source that your dog has NEVER been exposed to before.  Common examples are Duck and Potato, Venison and Potato, or Rabbit and Pea.

Please begin your dog on a HYPOALLERGENIC food that does NOT have one of the above protein or carbohydrate sources in it.  READ THE INGREDIENTS LABEL.   Brands that I recommend are Royal Canin, Natural Balance, Purina Veterinary Diets, or Science Diet.  Costco also carries 2 hypoallergenic foods under its Kirkland brand.    

It will take up to 6 weeks to get the allergens out of your dog's system.  This means that the signs of food allergies such as itchy skin and ears, hair loss, flaky skin, GI upset and other signs take up to 6 weeks to resolve.

Feed the hypoallergenic food that you have chosen and ONLY this food for 6 weeks.  I call this the "cleansing period". Do NOT feed supplements, vitamins, treats, or human food during this period.  DO NOT allow your dog to eat the cat's food, cat poop, horse poop, garbage, or lick any dishes (human or another pet), etc.  This is EXTREMELY important.  If your dog gets even a lick of another food, you have wasted your money on the hypoallergenic diet and have pushed the diagnostic period back several more weeks.  If your dog cheats, you will need to begin the 6 week cleansing period over. 

After the 6 week cleansing period, IF your dog's signs of food allergies (itchy skin and ears, GI upset, and hair loss) have resolved, you can begin slowly adding back foods to see what  your dog's system can tolerate.  If the itching has not resolved, please schedule an appt with Dr. Sonnya or your veterinarian.

After the 6 week cleansing period:

We are going to begin formulating a list of the foods that your dog can tolerate by adding in one protein or one carbohydrate each week.  During the first few weeks, choose a food that is NOT on the chart above.  Each food is IN ADDITION to the hypoallergenic food that your dog has been eating for the past 6 weeks.  On the first day, put approximately 1 tablespoon of the new food on top of your dog's regular meal.  On the second day, add 1/4 cup of the new food.  On the 3rd day, add 1/2 cup.  Stop.  Do not give any of the new food on day 4,5,6, and 7.  Watch you dog for any signs of food allergies.  These signs can show up on day one, or you might not see them until day 5 or 6.  If you do not see any signs of food allergies, then add this food to your list of "Foods My Dog Can Eat". 

On week 2, you will add a different protein or carbohydrate.  On week 3, another.  This will continue until you feed your dog a food that makes him starting showing signs of food allergies.  When you feed  your dog a protein or carbohydrate that  causes any of the signs of food allergies, you will put that food on your list of "Foods My Dog can NOT Eat".  At that point wait THREE weeks, or until all itching and GI issues resolve, before you try another protein or carbohydrate. 

After you have a decent list of foods your dog can tolerate, you can find a kibble that is 1) less expensive and 2) has more ingredients (perhaps egg, corn oil, wheat, etc).  Also, this list will allow you to find treats with ingredients in them that your dog can eat.

Here is an example:

My dog, Shamus, has gone through his 6 weeks of cleansing food (Royal Canin Rabbit and Pea) and now we are ready to start adding foods back in.  On Monday of week 7, I added 1 tablespoon of soy beans to his food.  On Tuesday, I added 1/4 cup of soybeans.  I'm watching him and he still isn't itching or rubbing his ears.  On day 3 I added 1/2 cup of soybeans to his food.  He is doing great, so I add soybeans to my list of foods that Shamus can eat.

On week 8, I decide to add some venison from the freezer to his food.  I cook a little bit up (baked in the oven with no spices or oils) and add in the 1 tablespoon on Monday, 1/4 cup on Tuesday, and 1/2 cup on Wednesday.  He is doing great!  No itchy skin, no red ears, and no rubbing of his face and ears. 

On week 9, I decide to add some egg to his food.  So I scramble some in a teflon pan without oil or spices and begin adding it to his food every day.  On Tuesday, I think I see him paw at his ears a little.  On Wednesday, I'm seeing him lick his feet.  I don't give any egg on Thursday or Friday, but he is still rubbing and by Saturday he is scratching at his hind end really aggressively.  I add egg to my list of Foods the Shamus CANNOT eat. 

Now I wait 3 weeks to cleanse his system again before I add anything new.  Unfortunately he keeps itching for several more days, but by the following Thursday, the itching has stopped.  I am only feeding his Rabbit and Pea food at this point. 

On week 13, I begin to offer him a new food.  This time I choose sweet potato. 

Here is what Shamus' chart looks like:
Week Number
Food
(In addition to Rabbit & Pea Food)
Itching (yes/no)
Foods Shamus Can Have
Foods Shamus Can NOT Have
M
T
W
Th
F
Sat
Sun
7
Soybeans
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Soybeans!

8
Venison
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Venison

9
Egg
No
?
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Egg!
10
Nothing
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No


11
Nothing
No
No
No
No
No
No
No


12
Nothing
No
No
No
No
No
No
No


13
Sweet Potato
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Sweet Potato

14
Carrots
No
etc









Here is a blank chart for you to work on at home:

Week Number
Food
(In addition to hypoallergenic food/kibble)
Itching (yes/no)
Foods ________ Can Have
Foods ___________
Can NOT Have
M
T
W
Th
F
Sat
Sun
7










8










9










10










11










12










13










14

















Upper Respiratory Infections in Cats - 01/27/2016


Upper respiratory infections are common in cats and are extremely contagious. Signs of an upper respiratory infection are runny, watery eyes, rusty-brown eye discharge, and sneezing.  If your cat is having trouble breathing or has green eye discharge, he has something more serious and needs to be seen by his veterinarian.

The most likely causes of upper respiratory infections in cats are calicivirus or herpes virus.  Calicivirus causes mouth sores along with upper respiratory signs and typically runs its course without veterinary intervention, although vaccinations will help prevent the disease.  Herpes virus is more complicated.  Once infected with herpes virus your cat will become a carrier.  It is estimated that up to 80% of cats are carriers of herpes virus.

Herpes virus, also known as Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, causes severe disease including pneumonia and death in kittens.  Herpes virus is spread through direct contact between cats and is common in breeding facilities and shelters.

Although the disease may be dormant in your cat for years, stress and corticosteroids can cause the disease to flare up.  This is why cats will often show signs of upper respiratory disease after visits to the veterinarian, the addition of a new pet, or any other stressful event.  

The supplement L-lysine will prevent flare ups of herpes virus in cats and will reduce the severity of active disease.  L-lysine is an essential amino acid that your cat cannot produce and must get from his food or supplements.  If your cat is showing clinical signs of the disease (runny eyes, sneezing, or rusty-brown eye discharge) give him 500 mg of L-lysine twice daily.  To prevent outbreaks, cats should be given 250 mg of L-lysine daily.  This dose can be given indefinitely as there are relatively no side effects to this herbal remedy.  

For the herpes virus to replicate in the body, an amino acid called arginine is required.  However, L-lysine can go into the same slot in the replication process that arginine can, but herpes virus cannot replicate with the L-lysine in the slot.  By flooding the body with L-lysine, we can stop the replication of the herpes virus, and allow the immune system to suppress it.  

L-lysine is available in several formulations for cats including treats, gels, powders and pastes.  You can buy L-lysine in a human formulation at a health food store.  If you are purchasing L-lysine at the health food store to use in your cat, check the formulation to assure that it does not contain any preservatives.

Since upper respiratory infections, and specifically herpes virus infections, are so common in cats, I recommend that all cats are given a L-lysine supplement as a regular part of their daily routine.  If you have further questions about this disease or the supplement L-lysine, please contact your cat's veterinarian.







The Back Room - 01/21/2016

Our veterinary hospital sends out email surveys to our clients after their visit.  Last week I received a survey that made me pretty sad; a client was upset because we took her dog "to the back room".  This made me realize that many people have questions about why their veterinarian takes their pet to the back room for procedures.   

Every veterinarian has a "back room".  We call it the treatment room and it is the heart of everything that happens at the hospital.  This is where we clean wounds, draw blood, set catheters, and perform minor procedures.  The treatment room is set up with easy access to everything we need: syringes, excellent lighting, IV fluids, microscopes and otoscopes.  Access to this special equipment makes the job easier and quicker for us and less stressful for your pet. We have instant access to things that we may not even know we need until things go wrong.  

We have more room to maneuver in the back room.  The back room in constructed with efficiency and space in mind so that one or two technicians can help restrain while the veterinarian does the exam or procedure.  Exam rooms are generally smaller.  Once you get the owner, a couple children, the animal, the veterinarian and an assistant in the room, there just isn't room to move around efficiently any longer. 

Often we take your pets into the back room because many pets are just less stressed when you get them away from their human Mom or Dad.  One of our favorite sayings is that stress travels down the leash.  Many pet owners are also stressed about the vet visit and their pet is feeding off that anxiety.  These pets are just calmer when we get them away from their owners. 

Most veterinary clinics have a "dog whisperer" on staff.  Our dog whisperer is Courtney.  With just a touch or a look, she can calm down the most anxious pet.  If I have a pet that needs just a little extra care, I call in Courtney.   Most veterinary hospitals have at least one of these special technicians with this same innate talent. 

The bottom line is that none of  us would be doing this job if we didn't love animals and strive to make their lives easier and better.  Veterinary doctors and staff have pets of their own.  We treat your pet the way that we treat our own pet; because actually we do treat our own pets here, too!  We would never treat your pet with less respect than we treat our own. 

Veterinarians have nothing to hide in the back room and a lot to be proud of in our modern, well-run practices.  As a matter of fact, we love giving tours, so just ask!  As long as we don't have other sick pets and emergencies going on, we would love for you to see what happens in the back room because we have no doubt that you will be pretty impressed.


Grays Harbor Veterinary Clinic
Grays Harbor Veterinary Services

16 Old Beacon Road
Montesano, WA 98563
(360) 249-4840


Like Grays Harbor Vet On Facebook!

 

Click the link above to access your pet portal!

 Order Online Using Grays Harbor Veterinary Services' Online Store!